BC Liberals

Talking about BC issues

My June 1 time on CFAX1070:

Talk Talk Talk

Host Ian Jessop asked me about Premier Clark giving $150,000 in public funds to assist her brother’s associate in Haida Gwaii. It’s a subject that has been well covered by fellow bloggers Laila Yuile and Merv Adey. However, with the exception of Mark Hume at the Globe and Mail, it’s been of little interest to mainstream media, particularly the “Incurious Bastards”¹ of the BC press gallery.

At her indispensable website, Laila stated a point I believe is key to this and other issues, emphasis added:

Opposition leader John Horgan did the best prosecutorial inquiry in the legislature yesterday since Mulcair on Nigel Wright, Mike Duffy and the $90,000.

This time it was about a $150,000 story that’s been largely untold. A story that got vastly more interesting by the time John Horgan was through with Christy Clark in estimates May 11th.

…That fact should raise alarms in the public mind about media disinterest in official corruption in this province…

In a column this week, Vaughn Palmer might have showed that more than disinterest in corruption motivates pro-media pundits. To journalists with family members employed by Liberal Orders-in-Council or commentators grown comfortable on appearance fees from groups affected by political reporting, the motivations might be self-interest and partisanship.

For example, after noting a partial list of Liberal transgressions, Palmer turns his column into criticism of NDP leader John Horgan for spending both too much and too little effort disparaging Christy Clark. Palmer absolves Liberals of recent wrongdoing, not by weighing facts but by repeating an assertion of the Premier’s office, “there is no merit to this allegation whatsoever.”

Palmer sneers at Horgan for being grateful that social media provides a low-budget alternative to the “established media.” In truth, with the columnist’s $1.7 million a year boss accused by Shannon Rupp of gobsmacking audacity after begging for more tax advantages and public handouts, Palmer’s ailing media is less established than he admits. The blogosphere will undoubtedly be here after Postmedia’s hedge-fund owners finish stripping assets and move to deconstruct their next victims.

Palmer also derides the NDP for “raising only $1 for every $4 reaped by the Liberals.” He fails to state the governing party raised from corporations more than $400 for every $10 reaped by the NDP. Nor, apparently, is he bothered by much of that money coming from companies regulated by the provincial government. Of course, given Palmer’s personal position on conflicts of interest, that fact could never bother him.

By the way, something else not reported in the column was that BC Liberals have a surplus in 2015 of more than $6 million and the NDP in BC, running with less than half the Liberal budget, had a deficit of $300 thousand, after selling the party’s headquarters. It’s more evidence of an severly unbalanced field, where the province’s richest organizations and people ensure they get the best government they can buy. Apparently, no one in the BC Press Gallery is bothered by undemocratic conditions.

It may be a rewarding career move for a political pundit to serve plutocrats instead of readership but that’s a conscious choice that doesn’t offend some who once thought of themselves as journalists. Shannon Rupp, writing at The Tyee recently, delivered a pointed analysis of  the 21st century press in our country:

But ”newspaper” hasn’t meant that for some time in Canada — if it ever did. Certainly newspapers’ former role as the watchdog of society has been diminishing in Canada since the concentration of ownership that both the Davey Commission (1970) and the Kent Commission (1981) warned us about.

And at this point, I think it’s fair to say that many if not most so-called newspapers are misnamed: they deliver less and less news (as defined by journalists) while filling their pages with ”content” — a word that could mean anything from listicles to infotainment to advertising written to masquerade as a news story.

In short, most newspapers have morphed into marketing platforms. Remember Postmedia running front-page ads for the Harper government in the last election? In another era, that would have devalued their product — the journalism. But since marketing is the now their primary business, not journalism, it was a smart business move.

It may be that some columnists are delivering what the industry euphemistically refers to as native advertising, which, according to MediaPress Studios, is “aimed to convince rather than inform the audience.”

Perhaps that explains why Palmer’s Tuesday column ended with a bold commercial plug for the book by former Liberal MLA Judi Tyabji-Wilson. He followed that a day later with a 900-word column promoting the Liberal-friendly publication and presenting a little of the Tyabji-Wilson political story. Somehow though, he missed  important parts. But, you can go to Laila Yuile’s blog for omissions.

Almost 1½ columns of Palmer content probably has an undisclosed purpose. When the Liberal candidate list is complete for the 2017 election, remember this day. The purpose will be apparent.

¹ Credit to Lew Edwardson

10 replies »

  1. I think it might be time to start publicly shaming these so called guardians of the 5th estate . Like if you saw Vaughn at the grocery store you could remark to someone within his vicinity “Hey that’s Vaughn Palmer , maybe we should call Christy and tell her he’s gotten out of the back yard again”. Or asking Baldrey if his wife’s is bigger than his ….. pay check that is. Anyone that supports this government still is either directly benefiting from their largesse or so partisanly blind that they are beyond help. I mean our current premier had no less that 3 career ending scandals land right on her desktop … literally . Quick wins admitted using public money and resources to try and influence the election , the health ministry firings brought us her LYING directly to the public about a non existent RCMP investigation and also in a way compounded the delete gate incident where Christy Clark and her office and most of the government “triple” delete almost every thing in violation of the FOI …. you know LAW. Any single one of these should have crushed a premier and forced them from office. The only difference now is that the 4th estate that these toadies and boot lickers supposedly represent are m i a at best and fully co opted at worst. I think our only hope is for reporters from outside of our bubble smell what we do and move in for the kill. It won’t be hard the BC Neo-Liberals have been rotting from the inside for years.


    • We were listening to “Revolutions” a long series of podcasts by Mike Duncan. He first became known for HISTORY OF ROME, which is available free of charge at iTunes:

      After that came REVOLUTIONS, also available free on iTunes:

      The series offers programs on the American Revolution, the English Civil War and the French Revolution (18th & 19th century).

      Now Mike Duncan is doing the Haitian Revolution and plans a series on Simon Bolivar to follow. His work provides highly detailed reviews of events and he presents sources on his website. It is not original research but he strives for objectivity and tells listeners if information might be less than reliable.

      Duncan’s podcasts have limited advertising and few funding pitches. While it is a listener funded enterprise, the support appeals are a tiny part of each series.

      This is Duncan’s own website:

      I applaud and recommend his work to anyone interested in history, which does, I fear, repeat itself.


  2. It is a favourite quote now from both Government and media “remember the 1990’s, do we really want to go back to that?” My take on that is yes of course we do!
    That was when journalists were fearless on behalf of truth. Remember Glen Clark and his six thousand dollar deck reno? He was crucified publicly by these same so called journalists.
    Now Christy Clark can use $150,000 of the publics hard earned money to interfere with an election in Masset on her brother’s behalf and hardly a word from our upstanding media.

    Mike Duffy was just put through three gruelling years of a court battle, was suspended from the senate and denied his pay all over $90,000 dept to the taxpayers of canada. One must ask himself the question why is it that here in B.C. we have to suffer this blatant corruption?
    We have to look no further than a media now pacified by feeding at the teat of this provincial government for our answer.

    Christy Clark should be made to answer clearly and precisely what took place in Masset and her involvement and the media of this province should be insisting she does so, anything less must be seen as an consolidated effort by Media and Government to cover it up.


  3. I have stopped listening to Palmer and stopped reading his propaganda; I do not buy the Sun and I seldom listen to ‘NW.

    It goes back to the old adage; “if you tell a lie often enough, the people will come to believe it.”

    Palmer is defacto the official BC Liberal party organ and oly writes stories that “fit” with his and the BC Liberal agenda.


  4. Very informative interview as usual Norm.

    The information about three out of four grain elevators in town being filled with fracking sand sticks with me. A very stark reminder of what’s happening to this province.

    This while Christy’s purchased blowhard lectures us on moral authority to help China clean up its coal act as over his shoulder and out the door heavily laden coal ships are heading out of our province to China with not only BC coal, but coal from our neighbours who won’t ship it themselves.

    I’m guessing he and/or his literary sheep-skinner bedmate will be running for office next election under the BC Liberal banner. Unless they get a better offer from anywhere under any cause or banner at all that pays well.


  5. You could have emphasized that the NDP’s deficit would have been $1,300,000 had they not sold their headquarters building. By comparison, the BC Liberal Party is rolling in money and they routinely transfer huge ongoing political expenses onto the taxpayers’ shoulders. We fund the hundreds of toadies, minders, media monitors, personal assistants and PR folks in government. Tax dollars also pay salaries and expenses of the photographers and videographers that travel in the Premier’s entourage.

    If a special political stunt comes along and the Liberals want funding for it, all they have to do is lean on one of the groups (mining companies and private power producers, for example) that relies on government rewards.

    You don’t have to be an NDP partisan to be worried by this uneven situation. You only have consider these dictionary definitions:

    DEMOCRACY: A system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state…

    PLUTOCRACY: Government by the wealthy…

    British Columbia’s system of governance is closer to the latter than the former.


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