Excepting the June 16, 2016 piece by Dr. Harry Swain – former federal Deputy Minister and Chair of the Site C Joint Review panel – Vancouver Sun has been reluctant to run any commentary that doesn’t endorse BC Liberal energy policies. Postmedia editors appear to have less regard for ethical journalism than financial expediency. Honest reporting and opinion matters little; editorial support for the company’s business partners takes precedence over all.
So, despite evidence that the BC Government’s LNG campaign was unscrupulously conceived and promulgated, Postmedia continued to play its role, treating Liberal promises of pending prosperity as legitimate. Similarly, while BC Hydro is plundered in private power schemes of fraud that victimize BC taxpayers, corporate media has been largely mute. Site C is an unneeded $10 billion project that will create power at twice the price of alternatives. But that is only one of countless examples of political corruption in British Columbia.
We have a provincial government proven to be dishonest and incompetent and media that aims to share in the spoils.
The remaining material was first published here October 16, 2015. The subject has had too little attention.
Regular readers know my complaints about corporate media found-ins taking payments from parties affected by coverage. People taking the cash don’t feel need to explain or excuse and indulgent colleagues seldom raise the conflict issue.
Vancouver Sun political pundit Vaughn Palmer might believe the practice does not influence reporting, but Premier Clark’s Executive Director of Communications and Issues Management has a different view, revealed by Leslie Campbell in When spin doctors make policy, published by Victoria magazine Focus Online:
After a year and a half of waiting, Focus received records that show in some detail how the provincial Liberals came up with a pivotal element of their winning 2013 election strategy: an LNG industry that would create 100,000 jobs, bring $100 billion to provincial coffers, and underpin the “BC Prosperity Fund.” When juxtaposed against Adrian Dix’s promise to keep Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline from becoming a reality, enough easily-influenced voters in BC opted for Christy’s Clark more economically pleasing vision of the future. But it was phoney baloney, conjured up in a three-week period in a “rush assignment” given to Assistant Deputy Minister of Finance Doug Foster by Clark’s newly-hired communications director Ben Chin.
Chin was formerly a CBC TV news anchor in Ontario and after running for the provincial Liberals there—and losing—he became VP of Communications with the Ontario Power Authority. In that job he infamously advised an OPA official—who was troubled by critical media reports—to “throw him some work” to get a particular journalist onside. “It would be a good score,” Chin said.
The entire piece by Ms. Campbell reinforces what we’ve known for some time. BC’s entire LNG policy was a collection of lies developed as an election ploy that worked for Liberals in 2013 and may work again in 2017.
To seem plausible again in 2017 to “easily-influenced voters” requires continued assistance of corporate media participants. That will be rewarding for the helpful. Both the Finance Ministry and Liberal business friends are used to throwing out lucrative rewards.
For an example, READ Rafe Mair’s LNG shill, Province blogger practices shabby journalism, Common Sense Canadian, October 2015.