Old news, aged quickly

Today, media conglomerates are not only influenced by Big Money interests, but they are often themselves Big Money interests.
– Cameron Gaut

I wrote earlier that the Toope Report helps the Liberal Government change the subject from that which makes it uncomfortable. I also said the subject change would be successful only if media mouthpieces allow focus to wander. The results are in.

Spending a few minutes at CKNW’s audio vault, it was clear that the self-styled news leader of radio dutifully followed the desired line. A report on the CKNW Friday noon news was both incomplete and misleading. By 4 pm, the story was gone, old news that had aged quickly, a fairly typical performance by the Liberals’ favourite radio station.

Stephen Toope said,

“My recommendation in terms of criminal law is that indemnification should be allowed as long as the act was within the course of employment or within the duties that were required.”

Reporter Gord MacDonald ended the item with:

“Toope says if the employee is found guilty in the trial though, then the government should try to recoup the legal fees, something that was not done in the Basi/Virk case.”

Basi and Virk were charged for providing insider information to interested parties in the 2003 sale of BC Rail and receiving personal benefits for the information. They were also charged with fraud. These were not acts within the course of employment, they were criminal acts for personal gain. No democratic government in the world offers protection for crimes committed for an employee’s own gain.

Neal Hall, writing in the Vancouver Sun, offered a dishonest report, clearly aiming to mislead readers. His remarks included,

“Under a new government policy, former government aides Dave Basi and Bob Virk would have been required to repay some of the $6 million in legal fees they racked up before pleading guilty to accepting bribes.”.

Under Toope’s policies, Basi and Virk would not have been required to repay legal fees because the fees would not have been paid by government in the first place. Basi and Virk were engaged in criminal acts outside their duties, for personal gain. Never has the province paid fees in these circumstances, just as the province does not pay for lawyers to defend public employees in impaired driving cases.

Hall knows full well this was not an independent report, it was written by a man who heads an institution that is almost completely dependent on government. The university is a creation of the province, subject by legislation to its direction and reliant on its financing. The very lucrative 5-year contract that Toope holds at UBC is expiring in the fall of 2011 and its renewal is presently under consideration. Toope is not a man who is independent of this government.

This is typical of Neal Hall’s coverage of the entire BC Rail fraud. He mixes inconsequential filler with a few points aimed at creating, overall, an inaccurate portrait.

Categories: Basi/Virk, Ethics, Journalism

8 replies »

  1. What makes 'NW so distasteful, that not a week goes by without the news department or Bill Boring himself remind the people of the NDP Fast-Ferry debacle. But when a caller even mentions Campbell's drunk driving arrest, they are insulted or cut-off.

    'NW 98 is nothing more than a 24 hour infomercial for the BC Liberals.


  2. Sheesh, what a surprise( not) and another Liberal party mission accomplished.

    The “non-reporting” puppet press did as predicted, towed the line and brushed off the very essence of what needed to be investigated. What the report found and was purposely directed not to find was no surprise to anyone – really just a waste of time and money. All now trademark tactics of this government's sad rule and now clinging survival for their “family”.

    NW and VSun did a whitewash in writing off this report. For Ms Clark and company the exercise was from the get-go to delay, deflect and trivialize the horrendous breech of the BCR scandal and Basi/Virk payoff for silence.

    Trash News Thursday (usually a Friday) – this, I think released today for the focus on Remembrance Day coverage and away from their ongoing scandal. Mission accomplished by the conveniently missing in action Christy and crew.
    In these actions the Liberals are ironically all to transparent, as you continue to analyze and report here.

    Good, Palmer and “company” if they had any integrity left in their work would be following the example set by yourself, Sean Holman and other bloggers that are not paid and not paid off. Sheesh.



  3. Complete hogwash making no sense to anyone with any intellegence what so ever! Looking at this as to what took place the trial ended because Basi and Virk ended the trial therefore the premise they should only have to pay if the trial found them guilty cannot apply.
    If this were the case any criminal would opt for this.This would set a precedent you wouldn't even want to think about.
    Guilty is guilty whether deemed by a court or admitted by the guilty party and the same should apply. This was done in the course of government and 'not' personal as this finding would apply.
    Again Hogwash!
    Don F.


  4. Don F., Basi and Virk did not end the trial; the judge did. The judge does not have to accept a guilty plea, and there is no criminal finding until the judge finds it. One cannot legally impose a criminal sentence on himself.

    “Any criminal” is not indemnified by the Crown; but civil servants are in the course of carrying out their duties. So any criminal would not be able to “opt” in.

    I am unable to think of an instance where accepting bribes is “done in the course of government.”


  5. and by funny coincidence the top 3 stories on Google news for BC right now (Sat Nov 12 at 9 am) are:
    “Sail into a Festive Sojourn with BC Ferries” courtesy of the Vancouver Sun
    “Building on a 30 Year Tradition of Helping BC Youth” again the Vancouver Sun
    “Export Increase Narrows BC Trade Deficit” yet again the Vancouver Sun.

    The export piece had just replaced a fawning G&M piece, “Former BC Premier steps into Bright New Career”. (However numerous commenters were weighing in to provide welcome balance. Btw, the Gordon Campbell piece is not on the G&M BC news webpage!)

    So four flat out puff pieces on Google for Sat morning “news”, what's up with that?!

    and then when I googled “BC Liberals” and “Christy Clark” on both news and blogs pretty much nothing came up. No Norm or Harvey, no Bill T, no Alex, no Paul, not even Vaughn, Les or Mike Smyth. No Tyee, no Georgia Straight either.

    I find it disturbing. Anyone else noticing this in Google?


  6. off-the-radar, the BC Liberals, through the Public Affairs Bureau (PAB) and consultants hired by various ministries and agencies, put much energy into search engine optimization (SEO) to manipulate results shown by Google, Yahoo, Bing or others. Government wants positive stories surfacing near the top of search results and they are willing to spend our money freely to achieve this.

    Additionally, the search engine companies are commercial enterprises and their results are biased by their own financial interests. (Some of the best results in my experience are found well below the ones at the top.) I noted a substantial variance in results searching “Christy Clark” at and If the results were not being biased in particular ways by commercial considerations, they would be closer to similar. However, if you allow Google to track your location and web movements, that will affect the results you get.

    Google is secretive about how they produce results but through trial and error, organizations with sufficient resources, can determine how to encourage desired results. SEO is a small industry by itself.


  7. We all need to vote for whoever puts an end toPAB and puts that money toward debt repayment rather than debt creation. Won't be Campbell/Clark obviously. So let's hear from the others.
    We don't need or want mind control. Just the truth, reported factually with the editorial on it's own page and we will figure it out.


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