Wrongdoing? Nevermind!

If your house is burglarized and cherished possessions stolen, don’t call police. Cost of an investigation is likely more than the cash value of items stolen.

That might be the advice you’d receive from a member of the BC Press Gallery. His Postmedia article was headlined, “Cost of investigating B.C. legislature likely to exceed misspent money.” In it, he asked:

Is the cure for misspending at the legislature — namely, spending an enormous amount of money to investigate — worse than the original ailment?

The answer not provided by Rob Shaw is NO.

As former Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin reported:

…the lack of accountability for the conduct of the permanent officers of the House led to incidents where the lines between the interests of the Legislative Assembly and personal benefit sometimes blurred, creating a space where self-interested opportunism could trump the interests of the Legislative Assembly.

…Mr. James submits that the $257,988.00 payment he received in 2012 represents his payout under the terminated 1984 Memorandum. Based on my review of the documentary evidence, which is not in dispute, I cannot accept Mr. James’s submission…

The payout to Mr. James did not occur in 1987 when the 1984 scheme was terminated, but twenty-five years later in February 2012…

Mr. James asserts that the justification for the payments was a legal opinion provided to the Speaker, which Mr. James admits he never saw until “recently”.

…there is no debate that no written opinion was available to consult before the payments were made. I can only conclude that the written legal opinion that was eventually produced is being offered as an an after-the-fact effort to justify a questionable financial decision…

I conclude that the legal opinion does not actually provide a basis for the payments…

I conclude that Mr. James’s conduct with respect to the 2012 Retirement Benefit constitutes misconduct, whether by participating in the decision to award payments to individuals, including himself, without proper justification, or by deliberately standing at arm’s length and turning a blind eye toward whether Legislative Assembly funds were managed appropriately. ‘Either state of affairs resulted in a significant personal benefit to Mr. James, without any evidenced justification.

…I conclude that Mr. James’s conduct with respect to the April 9, 2018 letter [regarding 2018 Resignation Benefit representing a new and unbudgeted liability of approximately $1.2 million – Ed.] violated Legislative Assembly policies and procedures and constitutes misconduct.

…Having concluded that Mr. James instigated the April 9, 2018 letter [regarding a death benefit to James with a potential liability of just under $900,000 – Ed.] the next question is whether his conduct with respect to this benefit violated the practices of the Legislative Assembly. I conclude it did, for substantially the same reasons I have outlined with respect to Mr. James’s claims for reimbursement for private insurance premiums.

…I conclude that on at least one occasion around April 22, 2013, facilities staff loaded alcohol onto Mr. James’s personal vehicle along with a chair and desk, on instructions that came from Mr. James.

I do not accept Mr. James’s suggestion that the alcohol may have been loaded onto his truck inadvertently.

…I conclude that Mr. James knowingly removed a significant quantity of alcohol from the Legislative precinct. without accounting for what he took or providing verifiable payment for it. This constitutes misconduct by Mr. James.

…I conclude that Mr. James’s retention and use of the wood splitter and trailer violated Legislative Assembly policy and constituted misconduct.

Like other Liberals, Shaw complains about Speaker Plecas, writing, “Part of the problem is how Plecas conducted himself as boss…” He offers no comment about wilful blindness of previous Speakers in office when egregious acts occurred.

In my view, the current Speaker did an outstanding service to BC taxpayers, despite knowing he would be a target for intense criticism by members of the Press Gallery friendly to Craig James and Gary Lenz.

Some corporate media scribblers had grown too close to officers of the Legislature and as a result, they were quick to defend James and Lenz while smearing Darryl Plecas. We have observed glaring failures of long-experienced members of the media.

For the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, Kate Myers wrote:

Journalism fails at showing the systems that drive our society. Individual events and situations may make a good story, but they only illustrate the consequences of the underlying system.

If journalism only shows the visible effects of those systems, the people don’t know how to affect it. I believe journalism fails if it doesn’t place those individual events in the context of the underlying whole. Our audiences need to understand the systems that shape our society, what forces drive that system, and at what points you can use a force to change the system.

I expect Ms. Myers would pass unfavourable judgment on political coverage by many members of the BC Press Gallery.

12 replies »

  1. I was shocked when I read my morning Vancouver Sun’s Rob Shaw comments.

    I can now understand why Sam Cooper’s money laundering reporting provided the means to move up the media ladder 100%. Rob Shaw’s ability of investigating/reporting accurately is ‘Roughly 27%”


  2. Since this incident hit the media, I have wondered if any bottles of good scotch made their way from the Speaker’s office to the press gallery or some MLAs office?
    There is no cure for curiosity.
    Cliff Boldt 🙂


  3. This article confirms my thoughts when I watched an interview on CTV Local News a week or so ago: I remember thinking at the time, that the reporter was falling over backwards to bias the story in favour of the disgraced officials to the point that CTV News – probably inadvertently – was disseminating a story substantially at odds with the Chief Justice’s findings.


  4. ‪In my opinion Mr. Shaw revealed his lack of journalistic integrity with this shameful display of tire pumping.‬

    ‪His actions since have done nothing but reinforce that opinion.‬

    ‪Speaker Plecas and former Children and Youth advocate Turpel-Lafond are both on public record to the effect that multiple legislative staffers have complained to them that they have been mistreated. Mr. Shaw has the journalistic duty to investigate these allegations. Instead he complains about the financial costs incurred by others investigating matters that he and his peers in the Press Gallery should have been on top of long before they necessitated formal inquiries. Had they practiced real journalism instead of regurgitating government press releases and engaging in political gossip, these expensive inquiries might not now be required.‬

    ‪Or is expecting someone mentored by Vaughn Palmer and edited by Mr. Munro to excel as a journalist too optimistic?‬


  5. The mainstream media pundits are getting very long in the tooth. Working for the “Yellow” press has made them zombies, who can only report what they are told to report.

    Herr Goebbels would be pleased.


  6. Misconduct is used many times in Beverly McLachlin’s report. Just misconduct!!! Now that would be hilarious if it weren’t so sick. This criminal activity, not just misconduct as this pathetic report says, but criminal misconduct against the citizens and taxpayers of BC as i see it from my public eye viewing seat, is enough to make me want to throw up. Plecus was not wrong in using that term.


  7. if that is going to be the advise of the scribblers, b & e artists are in for a good time. might be something for us retirees to think about. pensions aren’t worth as much as they used to be. second career, b & e artists, no police investigation. home free. if you have the stomach for it, perhaps drug dealer, its not like its costing any body anything. So a few deaths, that’s not a cost factor. get a second career as a “hit person”. once they’re dead the cost of the investigation isn’t equal to the value of the life. life ends, funeral costs, no we’re good with no investigation.

    Guess the scribblers haven’t figured out yet society has police to investigate and bring “wrong doers” to justice so that society doesn’t become a “lord of the flies’ type thing or the “survival of the fittest”. shooting and killing and thieving is never a good thing and what went on in this province resulted in deaths, disrupted our society, etc. We need an investigation because if we do not find the “wrong doers” it will continue until we look something like Russia or Central America.

    of course the “scribblers” don’t really want an investigation because they may be found to be complicit. they contributed to the problem. They didn’t report the truth. the press, historically reported on “wrong doings” in our society, investigated illegal activities or things of societal interest. Some of us do remember Sima Holt and Marjorie Nicols.


  8. Mr. James committed fraud, plain and simple.
    Fraud is a crime, however white collar crime is seldom adequately punished.
    Craig James committee a crime against the taxpayers of British Columbia.

    Ms. McLachlin has the proof, so call it what it is.
    And have the RCMP lay charges.

    Speaker Plecas deserves a medal and gratitude from B.C. residents.

    Oh…and Liberal leader Wilkinson sounds like more of the same ole’ Liberals.


  9. Great information, thanks. It seems that Rob Shaw has a real ethical problem. Using his standard, every First Nations person arrested, put in prison or harassed needs to be freed and left alone. (A worthy consideration.) Surely their prosecution costs are many times more the damage than what he raves about on white collar crimes.
    Then ethics and equality don’t play much a role when one is for sale.


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