Flimflam sham

When conducting hearings on Northern Gateway, the National Energy Board Joint Review Panel denied participation to many and held sessions behind closed doors to limit opposition voices. Its decision favoured multinational industry over affected Canadian citizens and ran contrary to the bulk of testimony heard, including expert claims that “world-leading” standards will not protect our coast from heavy oil spills.

The Northern Gateway review was revealed as a sham and that revelation made authorities uncomfortable. The BC government has had its own experience with bogus assessments – Narrows Inlet comes to mind – so it developed a changed strategy.

The Ministry of Environment has claimed this as its purpose:

Responsible for ensuring sustainable development of the province’s land, water, and resources while protecting environmental values.

Ignoring its stated role, to ensure development at one large and controversial project indicates the fix is in. The decision is already made. Environment Minister Mary Polak simply removed her department from further review. Fortuitously, she had booked time with Vaughn Palmer’s Voice of BC and the two of them will be able to explain government actions before controversy mounts.

Jumbo Glacier Resort exempted from environmental process, CBC News, April 15, 2014

Environmentalists and the BC NDP are questioning the motives behind a government bill signed Monday night that looks set to clear the way for the controversial Jumbo Glacier Resort — and others like it — to avoid any further costly, environmental reviews.

The order exempts prospective year-round ski resorts in B.C. from the Environmental Assessment process completely…

The lowdown on changes to BC’s environmental laws, by West Coast Environmental Law.

Update 4:50 pm April 16, 2014

Who knows what pressures caused this quick turnaround. The initial decision was so fundamentally flawed that even the people behind it had to realize its stupidity. RossK asked what was going to be next, would surgeons be allowed to operate without review of qualifications? Would lawyers be allowed to practice without passing the bar?

* * * * *

The following was published at In-Sights August 22, 2012 and, with current developments, it’s worth re-posting.

Bob Mackin has an interesting piece in The Tyee about a newspaper tycoon and BC Liberal abettor. David Black’s bluster was about about oil refining but the part of Mackin’s story that caught my eye involved one-time Province newspaper publisher Paddy Sherman.

In 1958, Sherman was both a news reporter and an avid mountain man. Apparently, vocation served avocation when he wrote a front page promotion for an unlikely BC ski resort. There was no financing and little substance to the extravagant plan but that didn’t bother The Province. Sherman wanted the facility to proceed so they gave it maximum splash.

Mackin provides another newspaper’s eventual headline:

Grandiose Garibaldi Scheme Falls Flat on Its No-Assets.

Some months ago, I tracked the life story of Jumbo Glacier Ski Resort. The proposal has reappeared occasionally since it was first reported in a July 1991 edition of the Vancouver Sun:

A Japanese-backed company is planning to build a $250-million year-round ski resort on a series of spectacular glaciers west of Panorama…

In 1993, The Province was calling Jumbo Glacier Resort a certainty involving European and Asian investors. Two years later, newspapers said the project was proceeding with support from a consortium of Canadian, U.S. and European investors. In 2012, the Times Colonist repeated promises the ski hill would soon be operational.

NW’s Bill Good and others try to paint Jumbo as a victim of regulatory foot dragging but actually Jumbo has been an unfinanced scheme with proponents hoping that media play would attract investors. Shills in the corporate “news” operations are willing partners.

By the way, don’t plan your ski vacation at Jumbo just yet.

Media may have people like Bob Mackin aiming to report accurately and sincerely but it has many more who earn a living by shilling for special financial interests. Sometimes, the promoted is a ski hill, fish farming or “ethical oil.” Other times, it is a pipeline operator, car dealer or land developer.

The shill factor in media, especially in new media, is illustrated by a report in ZDNet.

A Federal judge overseeing the Oracle vs. Google patent lawsuit said that search giant has failed to comply with a request to document all payments to bloggers and writers covering the trial.

…U.S. District Judge William Alsup said in his order:

The August 7 order was not limited to authors “paid . . . to report or comment” or to “quid pro quo” situations. Rather, the order was designed to bring to light authors whose statements about the issues in the case might have been influenced by the receipt of money from Google or Oracle. For example, Oracle has disclosed that it retained a blogger as a consultant. Even though the payment was for consulting work, the payment might have influenced the blogger’s reports on issues in the civil action…

Google suggests that it has paid so many commenters that it will be impossible to list them all…”

Categories: Environment, Journalism

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8 replies »

  1. Of course the mainstream media are shills for the government, how else would they get the millions of government advertising spent annually. A very good example of how government money swayed reporting was the Canada line construction.

    The Canada line was the only cut-and-cover subway built in North American and Europe that did not pay compensation to affected merchants and scores went bankrupt. There was a $5 million advertising package to urge people to shop on Cambie, but with no parking , it was near to impossible to do so, yet this money was spent on expensive display advertising for the duration of construction and highly paid spin doctors were a regular on the Bill good program demeaning the “greedy” shop owners for wanting compensation from Canada line construction destroying their businesses. The media and spin doctors ($20,000 a month spin doctors) did very well.

    The mainstream media continues the myth of the Canada line today and the consortium operating the metro thinks it was monies well spent.

    Money, media, and spin doctors is what makes up the news today and most local stories that are on air or in print are spun to the tune to who pays the best.


  2. “I tracked the life story of Jumbo Glacier Ski Resort. The proposal has reappeared occasionally since it was first reported in a July 1991 edition of the Vancouver Sun:”

    Before Jumbo was to be a resort, the divisive issue, in Kaslo at least, was the also likely to never happen Jumbo Pass (highway). Except for some in the tourism biz, most folks in Kaso had no interest in making Alberta a few hours closer with a pass between those on Highway 1 and the Kootenay Pass (Salmo-Creston Skyway.

    Considering that Jumbo Pass is not only north of and higher than the Skyway, not to mention smack dab in the hyper snow belt that is the Monashee, Selkirks and Purcells, many figured it would be open less than half of the year. Check out how often the Skyway is closed for avalanche control (including today, April 16. Unless much of the pass was tunnel, it may have been possible to keep it open

    I always figured that the thankfully now seemingly dead Glacier/Howser River Raping project wanted to send the power east as a backdoor attempt to carry on and eventually build it (the pass) anyway-aww, we had to build some right of way for the transmission lines anyway. Fact of the matter is that there were three closer points to connect Glacier/Howser to the grid via BC Hydro (a few km around Meadow Creek, via Fortis which provides service north of Kaslo down to Balfour which is just a couple km from the Nelson City Power and Light that serves the North Shore almost out to Balfour.

    Stopping Jumbo Resort may not be as critical as stopping the Enbridge Abortion, but it is truly not in the interests of many of the locals, or the nearby ski resorts which due to lack of demand struggle to stay in operation.


  3. Norm, I am going to ramble here.
    But then, when don’t I?

    Today’s blog just reinforces my thoughts about ceasing to read anything anymore.
    You and Bob Mackin shine the light on so much crap over and over and over again, yet rarely does it ever accomplish anything.

    Reading today’s article took me back to Oct 2012 and the Narrows Inlet “debate.”

    In January of this year, silent, unchallenged “approval” was given to the Narrows Inlet Power Project with 7 meatless conditions attached. Meatless conditions that leave policing of those conditions, mostly up to the developers.

    Narrows Inlet is closer to Vancouver than Harrison Hot Springs yet I submit nearly 100% of the lower mainland population has never heard of it. When approaching Tzoonie Narrows, which is deeper than it is wide, something overcomes you. You want to idle back slower than a troll, become silent, and just absorb it all. Forget about the hyped Prideaux Haven, Blackfish Sound and the Broughton Archipelago, Narrows Inlet is as typical of BC’s splendor as it gets. I used to love that people were too intimidated by Skookumchuck Narrows to make it into Sechelt Inlet, leaving me to enjoy it alone, but that isolation is now working against it. Out of sight out of mind; let the damming begin. I'm afraid the same will apply to Jumbo.

    In your October 2012 “guest” blog this jumped out at me; “One report goes so far as to say the property owners are not significant because there are so few of them.”

    “Not significant because there are so few of them.”

    In spite of the efforts of people like you, Bob and your followers, we too are considered not significant, because there are too few of us.

    That Narrows Inlet is back in play; that Flimflam Shams, Casinos, Shaw Bonuses, Portland Hotel, ICBC, BC Ferries, Health Care, Education, Rich Coleman and the constant pillaging get token mention, with little or no opposition, it makes being a concerned citizen more stressful than it is worth.

    I thank you Norm, for all that you do, but honestly, sometimes wonder why you bother.


  4. “she had booked time with Vaughn Palmer's Voice of BC and the two of them will be able to explain government actions before controversy mounts.”

    No longer “The Dean.”

    Palmer now “The Explainer.”


  5. If only the rest of BC's and Canada's electorate had as much sway as First Nations.
    Clearly the sister act, Polak & Clark, are in over their heads. Incompetence reigns supreme in Victoria.


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