“Government watchdogs are supposed to have teeth, not wear muzzles,” said IntegrityBC executive director Dermod Travis. “It’s difficult to imagine that any successor to John Doyle will not read the writing that was written on the wall with this decision: if you want to be reappointed don’t do the job of Auditor General too well.”
By slanting news or withholding information, media affect what a large segment of the public knows or does not know about public affairs. If groups profit improperly through actions of government, rewards can be immense but, if the looters control media, they can act in the shadows. The checks and balances within a democracy are distorted if media becomes a subsidiary of vested interests. Accurate public discourse is discouraged or impossible.
Overall, says Dermod Travis of Integrity B.C., the Gateway transportation plan — other components include the Port Mann Bridge replacement, widening of the Trans-Canada Highway, and the North Fraser Perimeter Road — overshot budget estimates by more than $2 billion. Travis warns that of 18 projects announced by the B.C. government since 2003, nine hospitals are over-budget by 12.6 per cent, seven transportation projects are 59.2 per cent over budget, and the Vancouver Convention Centre Expansion Project and a new roof for B.C. Place were 68.1 per cent over budget. Then there are the provincial government’s large-scale information technology projects. Reporters Lori Culbert and Rob Shaw found them plagued by operational problems, behind schedule, and $350 million over budget… Finally, there is the abysmal B.C. Hydro file…
Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett announced a five-year, $300 million hydro bill deferment plan for 13 mines owned by six companies.Never mind that B.C. Hydro is already grappling with its own deferral problems to the tune of $5 billion. Make no mistake, there’s a price to pay when B.C. Hydro becomes a political arm of government. The intertwining of self-interests gets complicated, while the interests of ratepayers can take a backseat to political interests. Three of the six companies in Bennett’s deal were highlighted in a December Financial Post article, “Debt risks mount as Canada’s base metal miners sink deep in the hole.”
Prima facie may be used as an adjective meaning: “Sufficient to establish a fact or raise a presumption unless disproved or rebutted.” Listen to Dermod Travis of Integrity BC talking with Ian […]