Vaughn Palmer remains respected by many of his colleagues in the mainstream media. At times though, I wonder if he stood too long near the mosh pit at an early eighties Motörhead concert in Kerrisdale. Perhaps, repeated exposure to the world’s loudest band resulted in the former rock critic’s fuzzy headed thinking today. Either that or he has gone unashamedly partisan.
This week, one of his columns was a hit piece on Adrian Dix, not for the NDP leadership candidate’s performance as an MLA and front bench critic of vital ministries. Instead, Palmer reached back to the nineties to describe Dix’s work on behalf of the NDP, which valued him as a leader of their political staff.
Palmer relates Dix’s involvement in various duties but these were jobs in which anyone would expect the party’s chief strategist to play a lead role. An example was the NDP defence against a broad recall effort funded by business organizations.
Palmer states “this had to be done on the sly” because “recall legislation imposed strict spending limits.” The column says there was an arrangement that saw the labor movement quietly cover several expenses. The clear implication is that Dix and the labor unions cheated on financial matters, yet Palmer doesn’t say that directly because that would require evidence.
Nor does Palmer say in a stenographic piece about Kevin Falcon that the Liberal organizer led the “Total Recall” effort in the late nineties, while claiming the effort aimed at every NDP member was not a Liberal initiative.
One day before his Dix article, Palmer gave friendlier treatment to Falcon, writing about Falcon with not a single reference to anything the Liberal hit man had done in the past.
Palmer also failed to report that Falcon allowed and encouraged the Canada Health Act to be systematically broken in BC. There is ample evidence. Refusal to enforce rules under that statute remains a Liberal policy today, one strongly supported by Falcon.
Today, Palmer makes light of the Kash Heed predicament and news the Liberal MLA and former cabinet minister is suspected by the RCMP of both financial and election fraud. This set of charges, by the way, is not a sly implication by a columnist intending mischief; it is derived from court documents filed by police.
So, I guess we are supposed to be a little outraged and fearful regarding ancient acts of Adrian Dix but merely amused by one more Gordon Campbell protégé gone wrong in the present. Warren White, a thoughtful In-Sights contributor nailed Palmer for journalistic failings with a comment posted on the Vancouver Sun website:
When in doubt, make a joke about it?
The information just released could lead in many directions for a real journalist Why is Kash Heed still sitting as an MLA? Why hasn’t the special prosecutor moved on this yet? What role did a Global TV reporter play in the possible fraudulent election of a prominent MLA? What rules govern the conduct of media in political campaigns? How does an acting CEO of Elections BC make crucial decisions on whether MLA’s have breached their duties to the public when he has to return to a job in the legislature?
Instead of these, we get laugh lines… “more like a candidate for a glue factory…”
Wake up Palmer – you can’t just gloss this over – Kash Heed should be going to jail.