One hand washes the other

5d257-one2bhand2bwashes1Phil Hochstein and his Independent Contractors and Businesses Association have had a symbiotic relationship with British Columbia’s governing party for more than a decade. ICBA provides financing and political support; in return, BC Liberals shape procurement policies, taxation, legislation and regulations to advantage these loyal supporters. The same goes for chambers of commerce who get millions in grants from Victoria each year and provide loyal political support in return. One hand washes the other.

With the Liberals in dire straits, sagging toward status as third choice of BC voters, Hochstein is adding his desperate contribution, in the form of attack advertising hoping to discredit this province’s likely next Premier, Adrian Dix. Were I a member of the ICBA, I’d be a little upset about the organization spending money on an effort to save a thoroughly corrupt government.

Hochstein appeared with fellow traveller Bill Good this morning to reinforce a message from a couple of decades back. Dix has readily admitted to making a mistake, accepted responsibility and apologized. Compare that to the history of Liberal politicians and their mistakes, frauds and screw-ups.

Crawford Kilian and The Tyee last April provided “The Framing of Adrian Dix,” a fine summary of honest and dishonest media responses following selection of the current NDP leader. This is a small part,

When, just after Dix became NDP leader, a Province headline dubbed him a “dour Stalinist”, the Globe and Mail’s Rod Mickleburgh countered with a level-headed perspective, noting “unless I’ve missed some dusty, archival memo… Mr. Dix does not endorse executing his opponents, collectivizing agriculture in the Peace River, or sending Jenny Kwan to the Gulag. He is actually a supporter of democracy, businesses making a profit and Stompin’ Tom Connors’s The Hockey Song.”

By the way, an amusing situation on Bill Good’s program today, shortly before 10 AM. Based on call screening, Good was expecting a caller who agreed with Hochstein. When the opposite was true, Good was pissed. It really is unfair when you’re trying to shape the apparent listener reaction and callers don’t cooperate.

Categories: Journalism

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12 replies »

  1. I was out on an errand and happened to catch the “interview”…glad to see several callers brought up the fact Hochstein (refering to provincial Liberal policy) actually said words to the effect “that was then and this is now”…yet in the next sentence goes back to the Dix thing of many years previous….not defending Dix here by any means, but very weary of the game.
    p.s. just so you know we don't just look at your pictures….you said ICBC instead of ICBA…knowing how good you are with allegory, maybe there is a deeper meaning!


  2. I would hazard a guess that all parties may start having “donations” from supporters, not in the usual monetary figure, but in kind, taking out negative ads such as ICBA. I would think that since this is a private organization the cost of the ad would not fall under scrutiny of the election campaign spending cap. All I think of when I hear that ad is I shouldn't trust Dix for fudging an e-mail, but I should trust the libs for Giving away BC Rail, consorting with know crimals, helping Harper abandon environmental policies, and …
    the list goes on… …on another notice, libs start buying votes in bi election riding ~ Thank you Norm, for all your insightful reporting…


  3. Thanks for calling out Hochstein and company, Norm. I fear that these attack ads will bring us down to the level of the advertising inflicted on Americans on behalf of American politicians by those not so super PACS. Wouldn't it be great if we could all focus on the issues, rather than smearing personalities, and start trying to solve problems for the benefit of everyone, not just the friends of the “Liberals”? Instead, we have folks such as Hochstein, almost assuredly with the blessings of the “Liberals”, attempting to bring voters down to his level with no attempt at actual, rational discourse. It's so depressing.
    I applaud Dix for actually admitting he did something wrong, suffering through a firing, then rebuilding his career in politics, winning not one, but two provincial elections and proving himself to be the most effective critic in the legislature. He seems like a very smart, serious, and thoughtful guy who has worked hard to atone for a mistake he made. Everyone makes mistakes but few own up to them.
    It will be a cold day in hell before the “Liberals” admit to any wrongdoing with BC Rail, BC Hydro, BC Ferres, CLBC, etc. etc. The most scary aspect of the “Liberals” is that they may be so corrupt/amoral as to not think they've done anything wrong.


  4. Good points. Hochstein and other Liberal friends prefer the personal smear. A week seldom goes by without Bill Good or one of his guests bringing up ancient smears of those not wearing a BC Liberal label. This is the same guy that refuses to explore the BC Rail fraud because it is “old news.” He seldom even pretends to be a non-partisan commentator. I'm left wondering if Good will soon be doing some consulting and speechifying under the sponsorship of ICBA. He set the precedent taking cash from the BC Chamber of Commerce.


  5. You're right but I only caught the tail end of the Hochstein piece because I tuned in to catch Michael Byers in the 10 o'clock hour. Good's outrage about a caller not supporting the guest shill was amusing so I returned to the audio vault to hear the whole piece before I wrote about it.

    BTW, Professor Byers is a brilliant young academic, always worth listening to when the opportunity presents itself. I first heard him give a lecture to Elder College at Capilano U. Since then, I've read his work, talked with him when Andrew Nikiforuk spoke to the Salt Spring Forum and come to the conclusion that life is enriched by Dr. involvement in Canadian life.

    This is a person who could work anywhere so UBC is fortunate to have him as the Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law.

    Prior to 2005, he was Professor of Law and Director of Canadian Studies at Duke University; from 1996-1999 he was a Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford University.

    So, no matter how much one might object to NW's morning show, there are a few moments each week worth listening.


  6. There is something inherently wrong with CKNW screening callers for Intent! If this should backfire on them they are at fault for creating an atmosphere where callers feel the need to cheat. A call should be a spontaneous event for someone like Mr. Hocstein to deal with that is fair.


  7. Good said something about welcoming callers with opposing views but that is demonstrably empty rhetoric. He's got favourites that regularly stand at the head of the line and without fail, they echo Good's views.

    If this talk show host truly wanted great radio, he would invite Alex Tsakumis on regularly for entirely different points of view. However, NW's morning show is in the business of protecting, not exposing, its sacred cows.


  8. This is the same Phil Hochstein that was appointed to the only Provincial seat on the Port Metro Vancouver Board of Directors in February 2011 after he spearheaded a smear campaign in the Victoria riding of Liberal Cabinet Minister Ida Chong. At the time he started that campaign, using ICBA funds, he was unprepared for several Recall volunteers who took it upon themselves to phone ICBA members (using the membership page on the ICBA website) to find out if they were aware what their membership dues were being used for. A number of them were not aware and they obviously called the ICBA, as the membership list was removed from the website the next day and the negative ads ended. He seems to see himself as a dictator within his Association, using it to advance his own personal interests. No doubt he is hoping to influence voters in the Chilliwack Hope riding such that a BC Liberal can be elected and then he can be rewarded with another 'nice appointment' to another Public Board. He complains about the public sector, yet likes to feed at the Government 'teet' himself.


  9. Did not Hochstein brag, he has three trillion dollars, to fight to keep the HST? It is very easy to fight, using other peoples money. Same as the Campbell/Clark BC Liberals. They use our tax dollars for their asinine attack ads. They are so childish…I would say childish, on a grade three level. However, we all know the Campbell/Clark BC Liberals, are forced to lie and cheat to win.

    The BC Liberals, refused to tax the corporations. AGAIN. The BC Liberals, have to be getting a huge sum of money…for not taxing the wealthiest corporations in the world. Harper likewise, does the same.

    Did everyone see the expense accounts of the BC Liberals. Not only has Ida Chong a taste for fine dining. She has developed a taste for fine wines as well. BC tax payers even paid for nail salon visits.


  10. Dix has readily admitted to making a mistake, accepted responsibility and apologized.

    I am not sure about that as it is a comment on character and we know so little about politicians nowadays that something like this has to stand out. I am surprised the NDP was crazy enough to elect this guy. I am not a fan of the Libs but the NDP always throws a monkey wrench into the economy whenever they take over a major province in Canada.

    As for Hochstein he is primarily against the NDP because of their continued coziness to the unions. He knows that if they get in his non union members will be toast. Just look at the left wing civic governments in greater Vancouver and you will see the future with Dix.


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