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Legislative Scandal: Politicians Set the Tone

January 28th, 2019 · 41 Comments

What a great story! The scandal rocking the BC Legislature, surrounding alleged spending improprieties by two public officials, have riveted the attention of both the media and the public.

However, there are also larger issues that I don’t think have yet  been adequately canvassed or explored: WHY did this happen? HOW could it? WHO is really responsible for setting the conditions for such abuses?

I say look UP … look way UP … to the politicians in every Canadian jurisdiction to see why, how and who is responsible for the mindset and conditions that can lead to these kinds of abuses.

Have we already forgotten that in 2016, there were 14 Canadian Senators ordered, after a special investigation by former Supreme Court Justice Ian Binnie, to pay back improperly charged expenses … as high as $200,000.

And that was totally apart from the other questionable spending habits of Senators Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau.

Or International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda’s $16 glass of orange juice and $1,000 a day limousine tab; Airbus; Shawinigate; Sponsorship; or Prime Minister Trudeau’s ‘free” vacation on the Agha Kahn’s private Caribbean island.

In BC, of course, we’ve witnessed decades of questions, allegations and accusations surrounding a whole host of political figures and their actions, involving waste, conflicts of interest, dealings,  spending or over-spending.

Just to name a FEW: the Robert Sommers affair; Gracie’s finger; Dirty Tricks; Fantasy Gardens; Phil Gaglardi; Bill Reid; Stephen Rogers; Bingogate; BC Rail; Fast Ferries; Coquihalla Highway;  Bill Bennett/Doman Industries; Bollywood; and,  how about when Christy Clark’s government “sold off 150 hectares of land in Port Coquitlam for $43 million BELOW the appraised value, all in the effort to make a quick buck to produce her “balanced budget” for the 2013/2014 fiscal year.” (Huffpost).  Yikes! 

Want more?  Take a look at this synopsis on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_political_scandals_in_Canada

And don’t get me started on all those extravagant “renovations” of offices and furnishings that politicians also so often find necessary to make themselves more “efficient”.   I’d say “comfortable”.

It is NOT just a question of legality: it goes well beyond that to lack of RESPECT. Lack of respect for the public and lack of respect for the taxpayers’ money … and how hard people work to get it … and then turn it over to politicians … too many of whom abuse it.

Just take a look at all those meetings and conferences and conventions and trade missions and fact-finding or friendship boondoggles … ooops, business trips … our elected officials find so important to attend personally, that are so often held at First Class hotels or resorts in balmy, world-wide five-star locations!

Not just politicians at the federal or provincial levels of government, but municipally and regionally as well … too many living too high too often … sucking on the public teat.

Some meetings/conventions etc. are no doubt worthy and productive … but far too many, I believe, do not yield much in the way of productive return on the taxpayers’ dollars. And I have no doubt politicians attending those, especially in wonderful or exotic foreign locales and accompanied by their partners, know that before they go.

It’s our politicians who set the tone … where privilege, pampering and public payouts for private profit …. so often can run amok, to the detriment of our society.

So when “adults” act improperly … it should be no surprise the “kids” are watching … and learning.

None of this, of course, excuses any actions or abuses carried out … if true … by Legislative Assembly Clerk Craig James or Sergeant at Arms Gary Lenz.

But when, over decades, too many of the elected “leaders” show so little regard or self-restraint in spending public dollars on pet projects or partisan political promotions or, worse, feathering their own personal nests, rewarding their friends, families, associates and supporters, why would we be so surprised when bureaucrats also err?

Think about that as the latest scandal unfolds …. and politicians line up to express shock and dismay at abuses by those who so long witnessed how money is spent from within the system.

Harv Oberfeld

Tags: British Columbia · Media · National

41 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Eldon // Jan 28, 2019 at 8:32 am

    Voters from across the spectrum owe Plecas a standing ovation for this one. Hopefully he remains in the house as an independent holding all members accountable.

    (Response: I agree. The Liberals especially should apologize for their doubts, sniping and personal attacks on Plecas: he has earned his post and his pay by pursuing/supporting this investigation despite all the pressures. h.o)

  • 2 Helena Handcart // Jan 28, 2019 at 10:14 am

    C’mon Harvey. You have a problem with three senior guys and their spouses going to London to buy a hat?. The liberals were quite right to cut off disabled bus passes? How else would we have enough money in the trough to allow a VIP civil servant to expense pearl cufflinks.

    (Response: You’re right … my bad for daring to question the wisdom/judgement/standards of our public officials and our elected “leaders”, who set the ethical/spending ground rules for those public officials when it comes to handling public funds! There goes another chance for my Order of BC !!! Thankfully, though I’m retired, our “working”media are standing guard and supporting the search for truth. LOL! Not according to one of my favorite, most respected writer/reporters Bob Mackin … read his recent take here: https://thebreaker.news/news/analysis-bc-media-elites-plecas/ . Sad. h.o)

  • 3 hawgwash // Jan 28, 2019 at 10:31 am

    This goes way beyond the politicians.

    We, the voting public don’t pay attention, don’t vote and when we do we base our votes on the wrong criteria. We sit on our hands and do little to educate ourselves between elections and in the few weeks during the campaign, spend more time on personalities and listening to negative mudslinging than actually educating ourselves on the values, if any, of the candidates. Or we simply vote for the same party, over and over, because that is “what we have always done.”

    We buy the fear mongering of the party in power. For 71 of the last 86 years, BC has had either a Social Credit or Liberal government. 12 of the 14 scandals you list were connected to one of those two governments. Yet when elections roll around they dredge up a 20 year old “other guys” scandal, like fast ferries and scare the pants off the uneducated voter. It works every time.

    I suggest most British Columbians, when presented with your list of a “few” scandals in paragraph eight, could not speak more than a few words, if any, on most of them and when they did it would be based on what they heard rather than what they actually learned, on their own.

    Many people who voted in the last two or three elections were either too young to vote, or were just not here during the fast ferries fiasco, yet they “know all about it” and how the NDP “destroyed the economy” of BC.

    We do not demand better therefore we live with our choices.
    ———————————–
    There has never been a functioning opposition because of the whip system, oppositions being enmeshed in and part of the problem. How many times in recent history have we asked or heard; “where is (insert opposition leader) on this issue?”
    Why? See part one above.
    ————————————
    The mainstream media is too damned cozy with those in power. Far too cozy. The Victoria press gallery has not seen any new blood in decades and those who are there are too comfortable to rock the boat. The real journalists, those who do the deep digging, are outsiders (Sam Cooper, Justine Hunter, Charlie Smith) for example and bloggers (Dermod Travis, Bob Mackin, Laila Yuile, Norm Farrell) to name a few.

    The dysfunctional MSM, in an effort to protect their nests, were regular guests on air with the likes of Bill Good, name calling those bloggers who were asking the tough questions. When Darryl Plecas announced his probe, back in December, the press gallery and onside reporters, took the liberal line and even went so far as too personally attack Mr. Plecas. To date, Gary Mason is the only one to have acknowledged his misplaced judgement. Now even the Tom Fletchers of the world are jumping on the Plecas band wagon.
    ————————————-
    FOI and whistle blowing are two very big hurdles to keeping our politicians honest. So many governmental departments are either exempt from FOI, stall, obfuscate, redact or charge ridiculous fees for information that should be readily available to every taxpayer.

    Within the Plecas report, it is alleged, 20 or more employees, some with near 30 years on the job, were terminated for questioning expenses and perks.

    Those turfed, were paid severance on the condition they sign non-disclosures. Those still employed, are bullied to silence by threat of job loss because the Legislative Assembly lacks protection for workers. They are not unionized and the Employment Standards Act and Human Rights Code do not apply.
    ————————————–
    Ironically, there are some of us who, on your blog and other venues, have thumped the drum for independent candidates. We’ve been told it wouldn’t do any good. For eight years, Vicki Huntington served the people of South Delta, as there independent MLA.

    Lo and behold, who is taking on the establishment now, independent MLA Darryl Plecas. The same Darryl Plecas who, it could be argued, singlehandedly took down Christy Clark. The same Darryl Plecas the liberals vilified. The same Darryl Plecas the press gallery and MSM delighted in taking the party line to disparage.

    No Harvey, the problem is not the politicians; it rests right at the feet of we the people, who allow it to happen.

  • 4 John's Aghast // Jan 28, 2019 at 11:51 am

    Hafta disagree with you here Hawg. A number of ‘we the people’ that you vilify are too busy with mortages, dancing, hockey and deriving an honest paycheque to search out the true story on the ‘elites’. The MSM does not help – perhaps THEY are the problem. Then there is a certain faction that actually benefit from the political ‘craftiness’.
    We expect the politicians to run herd on the rogue employee such as James and Lenz, but as evidenced here, they don’t always manage to. In fact, I wouldn’t be the least surprised to find that they lead by example.

    Be careful who you blame. We have a limited number of choices when it comes to election time and if we culled all the ‘bad apples’ we might not have any choices at all
    Any chance we could elect Dr. Plecas as Premier?

  • 5 Gene The Bean // Jan 28, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    It is all just really sad.

    When the BC Lieberals started attacking Plecas, I knew where justice would fall.

    Hawg , your last paragraph is golden. When morally bankrupt millionaires somehow convinced working and rural people that conservatism was for them, the entire landscape changed. The bigots and racists have always been conservatives but the irony in some working poor folks being conservatives when the people they vote for are working purposely against them still baffles me.

    The polls don’t lie, the majority of conservative voters are uneducated.

  • 6 hawgwash // Jan 28, 2019 at 2:54 pm

    John, you don’t hafta anything and on the surface I take your comments as wry humour.

    Should that not be the case you make two valid points;

    >>A number of ‘we the people’ that you vilify are too busy with mortages, dancing, hockey and deriving an honest paycheque to search out the true story on the ‘elites’.

    >>Then there is a certain faction that actually benefit from the political ‘craftiness’.

    Group two, has group one, exactly where they want them.

    Enjoy the dance.
    ————————-
    Gene, wait for Wednesday.
    Should Mr. Harris win Nanaimo, Horgan’s gone, Mr. Speaker is gone, James and Lenz are back, the clock is reset back, just a few months, more laundries are built, Rich is premier and the ransacking of BC will be completed.

  • 7 SaveUs // Jan 28, 2019 at 3:54 pm

    John’s Aghast; Re”Be careful who you blame.” Are you saying let’s elect bad apples?

  • 8 R // Jan 28, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    If it weren’t for Plecas the media might not even have reported yet alone investigated anything
    Go along to get along gets democacy dying in darkness in a BC information ghetto.
    Some media outlets will probably ask their senior reporters to stay past retirement as to not rock the boat.
    Thank goodness for whistleblowers and. BLoggers who weren’t forced to sign an NDA.
    Editor/owner /advertiser bias spin and spike stories all seem more plausible in BC 2019 ?

    (Response: As I’ve written before, I believe reporters covering political beats should be shifted around and replaced every eight years or so … because over longer periods they can get too friendly with those they cover, just get bored and lose their curiosity and aggressivity … and just go along with announcement or press conference du jour. Or end up chasing after real stories dug up and pursued by younger, more driven competitors.
    In fact, I wonder if ANY of them in Victoria knew about some questionable travel/spending habits by these or other bureaucrats … but just FAILED to pursue or question… because they’re just so nice. That’s scary! h.o)

  • 9 13 // Jan 28, 2019 at 9:20 pm

    Add Van councilors wanting to increase their slush fund allowance from $6000 to $30,000. Not even ashamed they boast about it. Some nurse racked up over $100,000 in massages. her family would need 2 a day for a year. Remember the oasis near metrotown. Restaurant serving first class meals at soup kitchen prices. And oh yeah massages next to the diner. Then there is the voting for your own raises. Then the criminals that condemn auto wrecks that are very repairable so they can buy fix and sell. Or the driving examiners that take cash for an easier pass. The civic workers ordering materials and taking them home to sell for a tidy profit.
    Oh yeah my memorable day trying to deliver a container load to Translinks repair facility in Burnaby. WOW that was an eye opener.
    So when I read eaf s comment where she tells me that these public sector workers deserve a good wage with a great pension and benefit plan, all of these examples of public sector fraud, theft, cheating, waste, and downright criminal activity come to mind and I ask myself how rose colored can ones glasses be????
    Great topic Harvey Disgusting and sad but a great topic.

    (Response: I’d bet every municipal voter in every municipality of BC (and probably Canada) has their own worst examples of wasteful spending. My own in Vancouver include the costly, idiotic, pandering to the rich closure of a portion of Point Grey Road; the horrendously expensive (still counting!) twisting, turning and choking of the Burrard Bridge at both Cornwall Avenue AND Pacific Blvd. for VERY limited results (and also the ludicrous expensive spending on a suicide fence, when that was NEVER a major problem there and anyone really intent on doing themselves harm could easily find the Granville Bridge so close by); the horrible debacle of the City sell off and loss of millions on the Olympic housing lands; and just look at the severances handed out in the public service municipally and provincially ..that most taxpayers would never imagine ever getting in private industry. h.o)

  • 10 SG // Jan 29, 2019 at 7:08 am

    A huge part of the problem is that there really aren’t any old school, hard hitting investigative journalists in the MSM willing to hold their favourite governments feet to the fire…
    We just spent the last 16 years listening to the so called elite of the BC MSM defending, covering up or spinning absolutely every alleged wrongdoing of the liberal government. The voting public simply weren’t being told the truth by the media. Here’s a good article about how many of the players in the BC MSM were protecting the liberals right up to the end..
    https://thebreaker.news/news/analysis-bc-media-elites-plecas/

    (Response: There ARE still good reporters … but notice the best are often new(er) to their beats, thus more enthusiastic, motivated and uncompromised by close ties to those they cover. But the biggest problem they often face is management, probably pushed by the bean-counters, to demand so much out of each “reporter” each day in terms of radio/tv/print reports/shows/live-hits/podcasts/blogs etc. there’s no real time (days,weeks) to pursue much in-depth research-requiring stories. And travel is all but out. News served up on a platter is all many now deliver. Sad. h.o)

  • 11 BMCQ // Jan 29, 2019 at 7:24 am

    Harvey – 8 – Response

    I have just completed reading the first 9 Posts and find some very interesting commentary but first I have a question for you.

    I find your comments regarding “Shifted Around” Reporters every 8 years or so intriguing.

    Where do they go? Do they change Employers? What about Seniority, Salary, Pensions, and the rest? What about their replacements after 8 years, where do they go?

    Not saying I disagree as you would know better than me but I am very interested.

    (Response: They can move on to other beats, other levels of government or other fields of reporting. That’s exactly what I did in my own career. BCTV was very happy with me on Parliament Hill (and I guess so were our viewers). I had gone there for an agreed-upon two years; but stayed eight after they kept giving me raises, even hired our own BCTV crew just to work with me, and paid for several non-working trips home just so I could keep/enjoy my connections to Vancouver and BC. And I loved the work … but I knew after eight years, I no longer found it very interesting, very challenging, was becoming too friendly with some I covered and felt I was getting lazy …especially on those frigid, snowy winter days, weeks and months. So on one of my all-expenses-paid trips home, I just decided I wanted to be back on the West coast … even just doing “general” reporting, so I activated my return home clause. BCTV wasn’t thrilled with that, or the thousands of dollars cost to move me and all my furnishings, but in those days, we had really good management so they respected my decision. Interestingly it was reporting back in Vancouver that I won so many awards and once more really enjoyed reporting again…until the company was sold off, again and again, in my opinion declining in both management and journalistic quality each time. But there WAS life/career after covering Parliament … wonderful, in fact. h.o.)

  • 12 Jay Jones // Jan 29, 2019 at 12:44 pm

    Getting BC’s political community to perform at the world-class level WE THE PEOPLE of Vancouver and BC reached is certainly proving to be quite the challenge. We’ll do it though. Creating a few top quality political parties is a lot easier than creating a world-class city and province and creating them gives us all something really fun and SUPER productive to do.

    (Response: It takes a LOT of bucks to run a party, esp in this age of tv ads and exposure, when so few people actually will attend meetings etc. Good luck! h.o)

  • 13 e.a.f. // Jan 29, 2019 at 3:47 pm

    The Robert Sommers case, to the best of my memory he was the Minister of Forestry, took a bribe and went to jail. Remember the parental units discussing it.

    Given what has happened with forestry in the past two decades, even if they could find the proof, you do wonder if any one would go to jail this time.

    We may get a better idea of how things work out once they finish with the lawsuit now going on in Nanaimo. Timber West is being sued by the largest of the 3 truck logging companies they did business with. Ted Leroy Trucking Ltd, went into bankruptcy. They claim Timber West forced them into bankruptcy, “based in conspiracy and fraud”. There is some speculation Rich Coleman may be required to testify.

    Timber West was having difficulties, they needed to be sold. Eventually sold to two pensions plans, one which represented B.C. government workers. The other Pension Plan represented federal government workers, military and RCMP. It is alleged Rich Coleman had his fine fingers in the sale. So what did he get or not get out of it? It was a publically traded company.

    (Previously “big rich” had drawn the attention of John Doyle. In a 16 July 2008 CBC article, it reports on Doyle’s “displeasure” at Coleman’s decision allowing Western Forest Products, of which his brother was an executive, to remove land from 3 tree farm licenses for residential development. Doyle was concerned about conflict of interest and insider trading by government staff.

    Its all been a tad messy in forestry.

    Muns Lumber, second largest truck logging firm, obtained a judgement against Timber West for negotiating in bad faith. The owner, Geoff Courtnall, had been forced into bankruptcy.

    The third truck logging company managed to stay in business because they cut their rates. However, operated by Lyle Newton, an alleged member or former member of the Hell’s Angels, lost his business because Pension Fund 2, the RCMP retirees, found out they owned a company which did business with Newton and weren’t happy, or so the story goes.

    When TLT (Ted Leroy) went bankrupt the company employed 530 people on Vancouver Island.

    All of this “messing about” with forestry land, included selling off government forested lands, in the Comox Valley, when then MLA, Stan Hagan, went to Crown Isle and offered for sale a track of land which the locals thought was park. It was to be sold to Crown Isle for $350K. Once the public became aware their “park” was to be sold, it had to go to open bid. The community raised approx. $650K. Crown Isle bid $1.3M and won, clear cut in one dark morning and all was well for Crown Isle.

    During this, regulations were changed so that logging on private lands no longer required re planting. Saved some one a bundle but you have to wonder why the regulation was changed. We know who benefitted, but not who else might have.

    Going through my notes, I found a quote, “the top 177 B.C. Lieberal donors who gave $155M to the party received $15BILLION in contracts, subsidies, and other special favours”. I would suggest part of the problem in the past 20 years might have been the same one we see in the U.S.A., political donations to those running for office.

    What gets me, is how little investment had to be made for the $15Billion gained.

    RossK at The Pacific Gazetteer also has some posts up and links to interesting articles regarding, politics and money.

  • 14 AndyO // Jan 29, 2019 at 9:19 pm

    Harvey;
    I couldn’t agree with you more about Legislative Reporters changing it up every 8 years. A couple reporters have been doing this for over 30 years. They get comfortable in their positions and friendly with the people they should be reporting on. One Ledge Reporter I heard on CKNW the other day said he always heard gossip and rumours up and down Government Street in Victoria of Legislative waste. The funny thing is he never said he acted on any. I am under the assumption that most of these reporters should or do know what goes on in the Ledge and let it go for whatever reason.

    But putting that aside, I really hope something is done with these issues going on in the Ledge. Probably nothing will come of it I feel. Horgan seems less than interested and Wilkinson wants us to forget everything that happened before he took over.

    (Response: There are of course legal restrictions on what reporters can actually make public without actual evidence … until the proof is available. However if any abuse has been going on for years , and any of them have word of it, maybe a little more digging through Public Accounts and f.o.i. on expenses could have been done. If their management cared enough to have them do it … and gave them the time to pursue. h.o.)

  • 15 Rob // Jan 29, 2019 at 9:28 pm

    Just imagine how different this province would be if the likes of Baldry, Palmer, Smyth, Fletcher and many more put as much effort in destroying the Liberal “culprits” involved in uncountable scandals as they did when they wanted to ruin Glen Clark and the NDP. The fact that these “lifetime” reporters tried to butcher the integrity of Plecas, just like Wilkinson and then doing a 180 later when the report came out proved again what a bunch of bought and paid for Liberal shills they really are. Why do the general public not know? Because these so call reporters do not tell them!

    (Response: I wouldn’t say they tried to “butcher” the integrity of Plecas … but do feel the political media should all have been more defensive and supportive of him in seeking out the truth. h.o.)

  • 16 SG // Jan 30, 2019 at 7:06 am

    Rob #15.. Absolutely correct, if the likes of Baldry, Palmer, Smyth, Fletcher etc put even 1/10th the effort holding the liberals feet to the fire as they do the NDP, the Liberals probably wouldn’t have been in power for 16 years. Perception is everything, I wouldn’t dare outright accuse the above mentioned reporters as being on the Liberals payroll, but at times it certainly appeared as though they were with their completely unbalanced reporting.. We need more Jack Webster types that equally held everybody’s feet to the fire, even close personal friends of his like Jack Munro.

    (Response: I do not see ANY of those you mention as “completely unbalanced”. Smyth is not a reporter: he’s a columnist and a first class one in my view. And I can be critical of others who are reporters, none of them have been completely unbalanced in my view: maybe not as questioning or as aggressive as I would be or would like them to be … and even open to criticism of being slanted … but completely unbalanced ..NO. h.o)

  • 17 Gene The Bean // Jan 30, 2019 at 8:16 am

    SG #16
    You are correct, those you mentioned were completely unbalanced for years, it was downright laughable at times.
    Despite Harvey’s well placed intentions to defend the journalistic ideals of the profession, those clowns fed at the teat of the Lieberals for years. Unabashedly socializing, strenuously defending and downright taking their side in almost every instance. And if I’m not mistaken, didn’t a couple of their relatives “get” jobs in government? I’m sure they were the most qualified candidate….. cough cough….

  • 18 BMCQ // Jan 30, 2019 at 8:38 am

    I fully agree, Politicians do set the tone and it seems that far too many of them at all Three Levels of Government manage to stick their snouts far too deep into the Public Trough for far too long.

    Quite often I ask the question, “Where are the Statesmen”, OK “States People Kind”, but looking back the more often we hear that even the so called “Statesmen” are basically corrupt.

    Of course most of the time it happens to be Politicians from Parties have held Power but that is not always the case, there are offenders from all Parties.

    Then of course we have others in various positions that take advantage as accusations against James and Lenz.

    Then of course the Stink Rising from others like LINDA Reid, Trevene, and unfortunately more than likely others in the Speakers Office.

    To me this then Begs the question as to whether the New South Burnaby Federal Candidate who was once Assistant Speaker in B.C. Ever took advantage of Spouse Travel to any Conference.

    Will any Intrepid Reporter ask the question?

    Then of course there are other Groups like Non Profits, the PortlandvHotel Society, Townsend, Jenny Kwan and her involvement literally “Taking Food and Shelter right out of the Mouths” of Societies Most Vulnerable!

    Tax Payers put over $ 1 Million Dollars a day into the DES and a high percentage of that is wasted and used by Greedy Management and Staff to Feather their Own Nests.

    I would hate to imagine how much Theft, Abuse, Graft, Corruption, and just plane Criminal Activity takes place at all Three Levels of Government and other associated Charities and Non Profits in Canada in any given year.

    I could be mistaken but I believe Horgan and Wilkinson will manage to get Rules with Teeth in Place regarding the Speaker but I am sure there are other Departments that require changes to arrest Theft and Abuse.

    I cannot help but think of the Greedy Play by POCO Mayor Greg Moore and the rest of Metro Mayors that Voted for Retirement Packages they were forced to rescind after someone did a Great Job of Reporting the potential Rip Off of the Tax Payer. Do they have No Conscience? Oink Oink!

    The Tax Payers deserve Better.

    Harvey – Response – 11

    Thanks, very interesting.

    From what i know so far I have NO Respect for Lenz and James and truly hope they are prosecuted if the charges can be proven but with the Lax Rules in the Speakers Office i fear there will be no charges and no convictions, Sad.

    As a matter of fact I fear there may be a settlement and Payout to both of them and that will be an Injustice. It sickens me to think of that possibility.

    I accept the fact that Speaker Plecas exposed thie Abuse and in my opinion Theft but I feel he was mistaken in taking advantage of Travel, /Expenses, and other Perks, I believe it endangers ant recourse.

    Plecas should have gone to the Premier, the RCMP, and the Auditor General. Some say there should be an Independent Audit along with an AG Bellringer Audit (Checks and Balances) and that really does make sense.

    I do give credit to Plecas for his concern and responsibility but I Question his mechanics.

    I also disagree with the Perp Walk of Lenz and James, That could have been handled differently even though they may be guilty.

    It is NO WONDER People have lost so much respect for “The Ruling Class”.

    We obviously need more Accountability from Elected Officials and others as discussed but once again I call for Term Limits On Elected
    Politicians, we cannot allow them to get too comfortable and look Temptation in the Eye.

    Two Four Term Limits would go a long way to control Theft and Abuse of Tax Payer Funds.

    Hawg – 3

    Do not agree with all of it but that was a Good Post. Yes, I know it angers you when I “Rate Posts” but………

  • 19 SG // Jan 30, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    Hi Harvey, in regards to your response to my comment in post #16… I would say that the above mentioned reporters (and columnist) are indeed completely biased towards the BC Liberals, how else can anyone explain why they all ganged up on Plecas right from very beginning when James and Lenz were first suspended from their positions right up until the Plecas report came out ? I haven’t seen evidence where any of the reporters or columnists working for any of the MSM outlets made any kind of attempt to see if James or Lenz were actually involved in any kind of wrong doing, instead the MSM accused Plecas of being untrustworthy and dishonest because he took the speakers chair, ensuring a NDP/Green majority..

  • 20 r // Jan 30, 2019 at 7:16 pm

    I think from this point forward.. the log splitter will set the tone. 🙂

  • 21 hawgwash // Jan 30, 2019 at 7:49 pm

    r at 20;
    Based on the documents in the Plecas report, a more useful piece of equipment would have been a chipper.

  • 22 13 // Jan 30, 2019 at 8:28 pm

    @r
    On the lighter side (while waiting for Nanaimo results) I laughed at your log splitter set the tone.

    If anyone has to much time on their hands go to the NW audio vault. Go way back to the earliest days of the perp walk . NW reported that one of the spending injustices was the purchase of a wood chipper. As time passed the chipper morphed into a splitter. Who care you say? Check out Simi Sara show from last Friday . Mike Smyth was guest host and asked two contestants 3 questions each. One question was what landscape tool was purchased. Contestant answered “wood chipper” Smitty would not allow the answer and the contestant lost the contest. I think NW should have had to give that contestant a prize because he obviously heard the fake news on NW

  • 23 hawgwash // Jan 31, 2019 at 7:36 am

    HO, sticking up for your family is understandable but, your response at 16 is splitting hairs re Mike Smyth.

    Columnist vs reporter; “reporter” is just another lay word for MSM and a shill wearing a different hat is still a shill.

    I will say, Mike Smyth isn’t as unabashed in his editorial bias as say, Palmer and Baldry, though.

    This…
    https://in-sights.ca/2019/01/31/breathless/

  • 24 hawgwash // Jan 31, 2019 at 8:03 am

    BMCQ…”Hawg-3; Do not agree with all of it”
    I never thought I would see the day you agreed with “Aghast.”

  • 25 hawgwash // Jan 31, 2019 at 11:48 am

    Polsters are an ever larger blight, than a biased MSM.

    What they said:
    National polling form Mainstreet Research conducted a survey of “decided and leaning” voters in Nanaimo that found 44.7 per cent support for the Liberals, while the NDP trailed with 32.2 per cent support.
    vs
    What they didn’t say;
    The poll consisted of 20 people.

  • 26 e.a.f. // Jan 31, 2019 at 1:04 pm

    Hawgwash,
    I agree with Harvey. Palmer and Symthe aren’t reporters in the traditional sense. They report but they also comment and that is why they were hired. They not only comment, they were to provide more information as to why things were, in their opinion. now over the years the “reporters” became less and less a reporting style, but there has become a slant to their writings which almost puts them in the columnist category.
    Like Harvey’s suggestion they get rotated. Once upon a time reporters actually were rotated. But then I go back to reading the Vancouver Sun to 1956.

  • 27 BMCQ // Jan 31, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    There is a lot to change in the Speakers Office and I am very pleased that we might see some important changes Son and those changes will be very late but I am confident there is enough information out there now with more to come those changes should be Transparent and Meaningful.

    Just the thought of a Lifetime Clerk Appointment makes me sick.

    Hawg – 24

    Funny enough most of us on this Blog agree much of the time as most of our opinions are based on common sense. Most people that have worked, do work hard, pay Tax, and contribute meaningful to Society are not that different.

    Where we differ is in some of our Political Ideology which unfortunately quite often clouds and detrimentally affects our opinions and we then become entrenched in our ‘ideological bias which is too bad.

    Some Bitter Hateful Individuals even on this Blog unfortunately believe that all Conservative minded People are Racist, Bigots, Sexist, and Orange when in fact there are many from all Political Brands that are all of those.

    We need to look no further than the Anti Jewish UK Labour Party and their Hateful Anti Semitic Leader Jeremy Corbyn to see a Hate Group on thevLeft.

    Some people just do not want to see the Truth and that makes me “Aghast” !

    I have contacted my MLA and the B.C. Liberal Party to Demand that Action on this File be taken Immediately.

    The Tax Payer has a very difficult time making ends meet in B.C. and that same Tax Payer deserves better from it’s Elected Politicians no matter their Brand.

  • 28 SB // Jan 31, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    Thanks for posting own this Harvey and now that the NDP has won Nanaimo the possibility that far more of the Liberal corruption becomes publi5c it is difficult to imagine between fired employees and what they will eventually dig up liking deeper everywhere in legislature will have bombshells dropped.
    Horgan so far has bèen careful knowing there will be that MSM waiting to point fingers at him look angry John is back, to his credit he has been very smart not to give them the chance.
    If in fact loose laws do not allow criminal charges it still shows a corrupt immoral sense of entitlement which require laws enacted to prevent any such thing happening again.
    I grew up when media asked questions real questions Harvey you and others would never settle for talking point handouts that reduced your proffession to being an advertorial editor, unfortunately MSM today will do so I’ve watched the Palmer Baldry Smyth work and look at them shaking my head and it makes you look at them saying you know they are not that out and out stupid so it’s sad they’ve dropped the ball to a standard far below themselves and they have which has allowed a Liberal govt far to easy a ride and a public a lack of proper media coverage from a fair balanced perspective sorry bunch of hacks in my view.
    I have to believe between the issues coming out of Places report will be beginning of much bigger things burried in Campbell/Clark era in Victoria.
    The truth needs to be told and there are people who know or involved that need to speak up come clean if by court proceeding or inquiry the level of possible corruption needs to be exposed , real estate casinos opiods all tied in as well BC libs lied from BC rail on they should have every piece of dirty laundry hung out publicly tax payers deserve better and future gifts of any stripe need reason to respect all the taxpayers it represents not it’s chosen few and a media who remembers that is part of their job as well thank God for blogs today.

    (Response: Sometimes … but not often … I regret I am no longer “on scene” working and asking questions of officials and politicians … not out of malice, but out of the belief that I was there for my station and the public …never to be the politicians’ friends or allies. Sometimes getting closer can help get you information, but let’s keep it real: I knew NOTHING leaks unless someone WANTS it to … and when they want it ou, you do not have to be buddies or brown-nose them…they’ll come looking for you to get the info out. h.o.)

  • 29 e.a.f. // Jan 31, 2019 at 11:57 pm

    Stevie Cameron did a lovely job on, On the take, the Mulroney years. Perhaps she’d like to come back to B.C. and write one on the corruption in B.C.

    This evening’s news reported, via Sam Cooper, that even after one of the big money lenders/launderers was banned from the casinos, he was still there laundering $3M. Its not enough to talk to the casinos about that sort of thing. YOU CLOSE THEM, end of story. Now my question would be, what politicians knew about it at the time and what did they do about it–well nothing, and if they knew and did nothing, can they be arrested for conspiracy. I understand it can be difficult to prove conspiracy in court, but please it does send people to jail for some times longer times than actually committing a crime.

    B.C. is the most corrupt province in Canada. Eby is doing his best to try to clean it up by instituting new policies and practises, but we need to hold people accountable.

    They just sentenced 3 RCMP officers for failing to do their jobs in the Surrey 6 trial. But all these politicians and their crews, look like they’re going to walk off scot free for all the corruption.

    the MSM won’t even report on the trial going on here in Nanaimo between Timber West and TLT and Rich Coleman’s fine finger, allegedly in the pie. then there were all the other fun and games with forestry including his changing some game rules which allowed Western Forest Products to benefit, where his brother was an executive.

    and then we had all those MSM types singing the praises of the B.C. Lieberals, harris. The MSM could have been mistaken for a P.R. firm for the B.C. Lieberals in the last 24 hrs.

  • 30 BMCQ // Feb 1, 2019 at 10:13 am

    e.a.f. – 29

    From what we see, at least to this point it appears that there have been many problems in the Speakers Office and many other Government Departments and Agencies for Decades.

    It also appears that more than likely scores of NGO Organizations have had their Fill of Dishonest Brokers and Managers, we do not need to look further than The DES and Townsend, Kwan, Kwan’s Husband and several others affiliated with the NDP so let’s not bury those under the carpet.

    Once again I am forced to tell you that

    “You are Entitled to Your Own Opinions but NOT Your Own Set of Facts”

    Much like the Harper China Free Trade Deal you should at least attempt to show a little balance.

    Mistakes are one thing but………….

    Yes it appears that Linda Reid was up to me Her Neck and if I had my way I would come down on Reid, Traverne, Lenz, James, Virk, Basi, and anyone else from either of the Liberals or NDP with the full weight of the law.

    We need to stop making this a Partisan Issue and we need to focus on getting Justice for the Tax Payer of B.C.

    Premier Horgan seems satisfied with the Bellringer Audit and I am even beginning to question that.

    I was in support of Premier Horgan using Bellringer not because of his Political Brand but I feel he wants the best for the B.C. Tax Payer, I do not see him being anything but honest.

    Cannot say the same for Eby or Meggs but that is another story.

    I also must comment that I heard nothing but Fair and Balacned Coverage from Michael Smyth, Baldrey, Palmer, Zussman, and CKNW Global.

    To a person they pointed out facts concerning the Speakers Office Scandal.

    As to the criticism of Plecas?

    if we are honest we must admit that Plecas made several mistakes and he in fact looked anything but stable and in control when this all broke in the Media.

    Regarding the Nanaimo By Election

    All of those Columnists and Reporters mentioned along with NW commentators McComb, Simi, Steele that hate everything B.C. Liberal or Federal Conservative all provided Fair and Balanced Coverage of Nanimo.

    they ALL pointed out that Nanaimo was an NDP Strong Hold and that the Liberals were not favoured.

    They also were quick to point out that they felt the Speakers scandal hurt the B.C. Liberals, what more can you ask for?

    The same people also pointed out that the Greens may suffer some vote losses due to the Polarized Nature of the Election which was true.

    I listened to Palmer and Michael Smyth this AM on CKNDP and their conversation was more than Fair and Balanced, they gave Horgan and the NDP along with Malkonson credit for their Campaign.

    Why is it so difficult for so many to not see beyond heir own Orange Lensed Glasses?

    “Fake News” !!

  • 31 hawgwash // Feb 1, 2019 at 10:37 am

    e.a.f. 29…
    Lack of an MSM coverage in the Timberwest trial is only part of the issue there.

    Our own government is fighting to keep Coleman from testifying.
    https://thetyee.ca/News/2019/01/30/Rich-Coleman-TimberWest/

  • 32 helena handcart // Feb 1, 2019 at 10:56 am

    Let’s not be too hard on the “Unholy trinity” of Palmer, Smythe and Baldrey. They are doing exactly what they are paid to do. Reflect the views of the publisher. The last guy to try to push against the opinion of the owners was the editor in Ottawa and he didn’t last a week after that. I’m quite sure a few of us have compromised our principles just to keep a job. I know that I have (shame!!). P.B. and S. are just trying to keep bread on the table and that won’t happen if they annoy PostMedia. We are all smart enough to simply read their propaganda with a large pinch of salt, and have a good chuckle.

  • 33 hawgwash // Feb 1, 2019 at 12:17 pm

    I just know the local MSM are lining up and pushing to the front of the line to ask the liberals about the once CEO of SNC Lavilin, Pierre Duhaime, who, in Montreal this week, pleaded guilty in a fraud and bribery case.

    Duhaime was the CEO of SNC when it sponsored the 2010 Olympics and when they were awarded the Evergreen contract.

    I’m sure Global BCs legislative bureau chief, Mr. Baldry, will be all over this one.

  • 34 e.a.f. // Feb 1, 2019 at 4:54 pm

    hawgwash, #33.
    What is interesting is that Duhaime was arrested and charged in 2012 for signing off and not investigating what was going on around him. He wasn’t charged with the doing the “work” himself.

    The big difference is not only did Quebec have an anti corruption commission, but they have an ANTI CORRUPTION unit within their police structure.

    Mr. Duhamie was V.P., at SNC Lavalin when others bribed Arthur Porter and Elbaz. on the building of a super hospital in Montreal. The contract was worth a billion and change.

    It was entertaining to watch Wilkinson waxing on about “renewal” with in the B.C. Lieberal party. Don’t know if he wants a new crop of corrupters or just new members in the party who won’t be recognized as having been part of the party while all the corruption was going on.

    At one time during all this corruption going on, Wilkinson was not only in Cabinet, he was Attorney General for several months.

    If the B.C. Lieberals are going to have genuine renewal, all the MLAs who were there in the time of Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark, need to resign. Now it might be argued, some didn’t participate in any corrupt activities. In my opinion, they need to resign because they’re too stupid to be an MLA. If you’re sitting in the Leg.. participate in what is going on around you in your party and you’re “ignorant” of everything, not material for MLA.

    Those thinking of joining the B.C. Lieberals, with the existing crop still in place, need to remember, you lay down with dog, you get up with fleas. If you think you can get elected, run as an independent.

  • 35 Eldon // Feb 1, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    I want more. I want more names of MLAs who cosied up with these 2. Expose the Christy Clark years for what the were and change out the old guard for good.

  • 36 hawgwash // Feb 1, 2019 at 10:24 pm

    This is what a really good reporter does.
    Dermod travis, a blogger by the way, with Lynda Steele.
    A must listen:

    https://omny.fm/shows/steele-drex/have-we-lost-confidence-in-our-provinces-political

  • 37 BMCQ // Feb 2, 2019 at 5:22 am

    Eldon – 35

    I believe all Tax Payers of B.C. Regardless of Party want accountability of Politicians of any Brand at all Three Levels.

    In my mind there just might be more Government Waste, Bloat, and abuse of Tax Payer Funds at the Municipal Level.

    As Tax Payers and Residents of B.C. We need that Accountability to be Transparent by way of an Independent Forensic Audit of the Speakers Office, possibly more and we need it now, why does everything in B.C. take over a year?

    Within the B.C. Auditor General Office we also require a more comprehensive “Whistler Protection Act” that provides not only Protection but a structure that provides Anonymity for those courageous enough to come forward.

    Again, in B.C. that Legislation should cover Municipal Government Workers and others with important information that might save the Tax Payer Money.

    This needs to be a Bi Partisan Act and it must be Independent Oversight.

    You ask for names of others that took advantage of Tax Payer Funded Boondoggles?

    Here is one that quickly comes to mind.

    Claire Trevena MLA for North Vancouver Island.

    True Ana and her Husband enjoyed a lovely Tax Payer Funded Travel Package to South Africa for as usual was a Bogus Conference.

    Travena contends that she and her Husband were “Invited to take the Trip by the then Speaker LINDA Reid and that is the way things were done”.

    Sick and Disgusting Logic!

    Where are the Statesmen? Where are the Politicians of Honour?

    My Apologies, “Where are the “ States People Kind” !

    Sure that makes sense to me, if someone “Pockets a Ring” and Svend then gives it to me that does not mean I took it so it is OK, correct?

    What really makes me laugh is the fact that Trevena hs been let off the hook and the Media have not pursued this, should they not go after FOI on the SpeakersvOffice going back at least 20 years?

    It is only a guess but I believe there is a lot more “Stinking Garbage” to uncover with what may have taken place under Speaker LINDA Reid.

    ‘FOI People, FOI” !!

    Unfortunately Eldon there are Many Bones Buried and there is Plenty of Blame to Go Around but do we have ANY“ Investigative Reporters” worth their Salt to uncover the Disgusting Amount of Government Waste, Abuse, Fraud, and Theft thst has taken place for all of those years?

    We can start by demanding that Premier Horgan immediately Invoke Meaningfulm”Whisle Blower” Legislation, that alone could be implemented the first day back in the Legislature Sitting.

  • 38 13 // Feb 2, 2019 at 7:50 am

    IMHO those of us that expect renewal , a cleansing, house cleaning, full disclosure etc. are only slightly less delusional than those of us that expect trials, convictions, jail etc.
    Federal, Provincial, and municipal . ALL 3 levels are rife with trough dwellers that are there to lock in pension and benefit plans to take them to the grave.
    Those of us that call for efficiencies instead of tax increases to fund bridges, health care etc. are the ones that have always understood how much waste is inherent in our government. The public sector motto is not to do more with less but to do less with more. More tax, more studies, more junkets, more massages, more personnel. As one of our posters has pointed out many many times all politicians should have term limits. They should not have pension plans any different than those offered to private sector administration.
    Every time I read eaf telling me that she would gladly pay more tax for (fill in the need of her choice) I cringe. Not because I dont agree with the need that she wants to address but because I know and understand the amount of tax dollars that go directly into the TROUGH.
    From the PMO to the civic worker emptying garbage cans government and public sector waste is gone wild. Dont hold your breath for the house to be cleaned

  • 39 Gene The Bean // Feb 2, 2019 at 10:32 am

    Scandals…?
    Let’s compare….. because “all” parties are the same and “one” political bent isn’t worse than the other….
    Bingogate and a $5000 deck v/s the easily north of TWO Billion dollars from BC Rail to Expo lands to convention centre to bc place to Casinogate to port Mann etc etc etc all the way to the biggest scam in Canadian history, the dismantling of BC Hydro and the IPP scam.
    Ya,sure….. left and right they are all the same…
    Morally bankrupt or not. Those are the choices.

  • 40 Keith // Feb 3, 2019 at 9:52 am

    After winning in Nanaimo, the Craig – Lenz issue will be the gift that keeps on giving for the NDP with every new revelation, of which everything will stick to the liberals whilst Wilkinson hopelessly tries to clean up on aisle 5. Also knocking the referendum loss on alternative voting, – remember that? out of the political and public discourse.

    And the pile gets larger.

    https://www.vancourier.com/legislature-officers-pay-hikes-spark-questions-1.23619896

    To your broader point of self dealing entitlement Harvey, I’m not sure what the answer is as it the problem is far and wide. When a new incoming government is faced with questionable practices by previous administrations, they mostly seem reluctant to follow the trail too far. It almost seems it’s an unwritten agreement, “we won’t chase you as you may be chasing us next time around.” Which only reinforces the public perception of they are all at it. Maybe it’s time to stop using the title of “The Right Honourable”.

    (Response: No doubt abuses of the public purse by politicians, bureaucrats, over-charging corporations, overstaffed and gouging unions ALL hurt the public perception of government. And then we wonder why so many do not vote! The answer? Those of us in the public and the media who DO believe in good government … not just now it’s OUR PARTY’s turn to raid the coffers … must keep up the pressure and be ready to expose/denounce it .. even when it happens under a party we support. h.o.)

  • 41 13 // Feb 3, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    @ Keith and HO response. Its no secret that I do not support the NDP. Furthermore I have voted for the BC Liberals since the mid 90s . ( I once believed in the socialist NDP until I realized that their ideals ended with public sector unions and did not transcend to the private sector unions). Having said all that I will continue to support the BCL but would not stand in the way of a complete house cleaning under Horgans watch. Public inquiry , subpoenas , trials , resignations and yes even jail. Sadly I agree with Keith and Harvey, Horgan Eby dont have the intestinal fortitude to upset the apple cart. If they did ICBC would be a distant bad memory.ICBC is one of the deepest troughs along with BC Ferries and BC Hydro. Come on Horgan grow a pair

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