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Muir Case Says a LOT About BC Governance

November 26th, 2011 · 35 Comments

It has been 140 years since British Columbia joined the Canadian Confederation  …. ready, able and supposedly willing to govern itself properly, fairly and according to rule.

Or maybe not.

Far too often, BC still acts like the Wild West, where election laws are seriously violated, but offenders keep their seats; where politicians lie, deceive and after being forced to resign in disgrace, are rewarded with awards an lucrative appointments; and,  where major rules are violated in handing out contracts … and when exposed by the media… the contract is rescinded, but no one reigns and not a single head rolls.

Take the case of Stewart Muir.

Muir may be a brilliant administrator and a wonderful person, but politically his biggest claim to fame is that he is married to the acting premier Christy Clark’s deputy minister in charge of “priority” files, Athana Mentzelopoulos.  And Christy and Anna are such close personal friends that Mentzopoulos was bridesmaid at Clark’s wedding.  That’s tight.

So how dumb, inefficient, and downright ludicrous can the BC system of governance be that the deputy minister’s husband, Stewart Muir, is handed a $162,000 contract by the government-appointed Vancouver Island Health Authority WITHOUT the job being posted, no tenders being called or anyone else even given a chance to apply.

The job:  Vice President of Communications …. a posting that the VIHA’s own rules clearly require a more formal process than just handing the bounty of bucks out the porthole of BC’s ship of state.

Did they think no one would notice? Or know that, despite different last names, Mentzelopoulos and Muir are married?  Or that there are VIHA rules in place calling for contract tendering, except in highly unusual or urgent situations?

And when the Victoria Times Colonist fired a broadside at the VIHA by revealing the legal violation,  the President of the VIHA, adding insult to the injury of the public purse, reportedly said they needed a new VP of Communications URGENTLY … this, after the job had been vacant for almost 8 months.

Of course, when the news hit the fan, the contract was withdrawn  (hopefully without one of those two or three-year severance clauses! :)

But the stench lingers on … and so do the questions.

How did Muir learn of the post being available? Why was he, above anyone else, offered the contract?  Why were normal procedures ignored? Why didn’t anyone in the BC government head this off?  (Clark says she know nothing, saw nothing, was aware of nothing.  But surely her close deputy minister Anna knew something or should have. )

It’s too easy to say they made a mistake; and they corrected it after getting exposed.

If it’s really been 140 years since BC entered Confederation … surely our system of governance should be better developed … and more responsible than just cancelling a contract when caught handing one out ot a politically-connected individual without so much as asking for bids on the job.

Heads should roll.

Harv Oberfeld



Tags: British Columbia

35 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Hans Goldberg // Nov 26, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    It is this sense of entitlements of the, for the lack of a better word, ruling class, that has been fostered. There need to be severe consequences, something like immediate dismissal without any severance pay, pension contributions or other perk. Maybe with all these new jails being built for Harper’s tough on crime strategy, mandatory incarceration.

  • 2 Julie // Nov 26, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Harper’s tough on crime doesn’t apply to him nor to his Conservatives. It’s in our faces obvious, the Campbell/ Clark BC Liberals, are rewarded for their corruption…The tough on crime doesn’t apply to them either.

    We must remember what Harper said, “I am the government”. “I am the law”. “I make all the rules”. So Harper and his Conservatives are permitted to steal our tax dollars, as they have done. Their outrageous expenses, are obscene. Harper’s best buddy Campbell, was permitted to thieve from us. Campbell even thieved from us, on Harper’s behalf.

    In Britain, two M.P’s were imprisoned for corruption and theft. Two Lords from the House of Lords, went to prison, for the same. The Chief of Police, was forced to resign, because of the pepper spray incident. Chancellor Davis’ fate is pending. Politicians in Britain, are not permitted to lie and steal from the citizens.

    The story is quite different, in fascist Canada. Another country’s media have said, how badly Harper is destroying Democracy in Canada. Our Civil Rights and Liberties have been taken away from us. Harper isn’t even allowing full debates in Parliament. He is taking control of absolutely everything he can lay his hands on. We are living under a tyrant, in a dictatorship regime.

    Harper’s Stalag’s will be for the people, who will rise up against him. That is was has gone on, in every country, governed by a dictatorship. Harper has a very shady political past.

    (Response: How you get from Muir to Harper boggles even my cynical mind! h.o)

  • 3 DonGar // Nov 26, 2011 at 5:42 pm


    Right on. But there is also another costly problem happening in health care. The total lack of accountability for $ spent and empires being built, at our expense, that do nothing to improve health care.

  • 4 Stan Mortensen // Nov 26, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    To me it seems like everything over in Victoria is out of control, there does not seem to be anyone in the premiers’ office who has a handle on what is going on. I do not think we have seen anything remotely like this since the decline of the Vanderzalm government when even cabinet ministers were busy feathering their nests.
    I understand why Campbell structured things the way he did, primarily to pass blame through to the arms length agencies and shelter the government from direct criticism but that does not work for extended periods. At some point everyone realizes that with the way the funding goes to these agencies, government is actually dictating what will happen without taking any of the blame.
    If this government is to survive, and it is not looking good, the premier needs to take tight reigns of both the government and the party. More importantly, she needs to have a strong Chief of Staff with enough moxy to lay the law down on the various agencies and crowns and to ensure that these idiots do nothing without first ensuring they have the support of the premier.
    The next government is going to have to eliminates these so-called far flung agencies and bring them back “in house” and under tight control of the ministers responsible.

  • 5 Mo // Nov 26, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    “Christy Clark hires her Maid-of-Honour and media is silent
    August 6, 2011 — BC Blue”

    and so it goes…

    (Response: The media has many faults, but I think you’re being blindly biased on this one. it was the Victoria Times Colonist that blew the whistle, and several media followed up, including Mike Smyth in the Province as well as the Globe and Mail, The Sun, CTV etc. h.o)

  • 6 Richard // Nov 26, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    The Muir incident demonstrates in vivid technicolor that the BC Liberals continue to hold the taxpayer and basic ethics in contempt. There is of course the other recent debacle surrounding the awarding of the Order of BC. I filed an FOI request to determine just how the appointments are decided.

    I was shuffled from one Ministry to the next before finally receiving a reply. In a nutshell the Committee responded to a series of multiple choice questions which were then ranked using a point system.

    In other words, the selection process was anonymous so as not to point the finger at one or more of the Committee members.

    In my opinion the Committee simply colluded before filling out the forms and “presto” Gordon Campbell is awarded the OBC and summarily pardoned from his previous sins.

    When a government becomes this contemptuous and arrogant they really do need to be turfed. You can spray channel number 5 on dog poop all you want but its still dog poop.

  • 7 bg // Nov 26, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Corruption is the downfall of all political systems, but a democracy is generally a more honest system because it allows freedom of speech and a free press to expose the corruption.

    Honest journalists and bloggers are what separate our democracy from dictatorship. The corporations are taking over the press, so that leaves bloggers.

    Luckily young people seem to have no respect for the corporate press and are embracing the “blogosphere”, and that’s a positive sign. But for now they are outnumbered by the old farts that get their voting instructions from Global and the Vancouver Sun. The old farts will soon have their pensions wiped out by the corporatists, globalists and bankers that they keep voting for, if they don’t smarten up.

  • 8 ron wilton // Nov 26, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    When I first became a resident of BC, come from another province of Canada in 1990, I was struck by the insular attitude of many established BC’rs toward the rest of Canada.

    I soon realized there was a measure of contempt for non natives, perhaps bred from an apprehension of financial inferiority or neglect by the eastern establishment.

    I quickly realized that politics and politicians were much different than any I had previously encountered.

    The ruling NDP government of the time were very much in the news and in your face and definitely in your purse.

    It seemed to me that every NDP mla was charged with trying to find some way in which they could extract another dime or another dollar out of John Q and their reward if successful would be in NDP Nirvana.

    I soon learned to dislike the BC version of the NDP. Dislike turned to disdain, then to disgust, thence to detest and ultimately to despise.

    They seemed to have no redeeming qualities and even less regard for the individual citizen. I could hardly wait to turf them out of office.

    Enter the Liberals. I eagerly voted them in, and again and again.

    Thanks to the media, I was oblivious to the fate of BC Rail and assumed the politicians were doing what I always assumed politicians should do.

    Wow! What a price we pay for making assumptions.

    Then after retiring, I bought a computer and entered the world of the internet.

    I soon learned from the likes of yourself, BC Mary, Norm Farell, Laila Yuile, Ross K, KootKoot, AGT, Rafe Mair, Alex Morton, Creekside, and oh so many more informed and informative BC’rs, that I, by my ignorance, had let these political miscreants dispense piece by piece everything that made BC such a wonderful and warm place to be.

    When the proverbial fur hit the fan as a result of these internet bloggers’ expose’s, I awakened from my Rip Van Winkle repose with a thud. Like falling on your head from the top level of a bunk bed.

    I fervently but apprehensively hoped that Ms. Clark would be as good as her word and change the bad direction of her party, but alas, that is not what has transpired.

    The situation now ‘seems’ hopeless.

    I cannot in good conscience continue to support the current crop of profligates, nor do I want to reinstate the tax me to death NDP of old.

    I could never lean very far right without falling in the stanchion trough, so that party is out for me at least.

    The NDP seem not to have learned a great deal from their previous style, although people like John Horgan, Michelle Mungo(?) and that little guy who failed in his leadership bid, do give me reason to consider them in the absence of an alternative.

    I think a system similar to the NWT consensus style would work for the people of BC but the corporate influence certainly needs to be brought under citizen control.

    I expect the internet bloggers will be playing an ever increasing and significantly important role in the scheme of things to come.

    I also hope the bad guys get the punishments they so richly deserve and that I am still around to see it.

    (Response: Now THAT makes me feel good I blog and still speak out and hold their feet to the fire… even though, as we all know, I am of course, retired! ;) h.o

  • 9 JR // Nov 26, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    This unfortunately is normal practice. Consequences are for the low level workers or “Goats” when something goes wrong. The “Side Shuffle Dance” is what rewards management mistakes. They get shuffled around with no real loss of salary or perks. A very sad state of affairs indeed.

    (Response: This one’s even worse… no one responsible for breaking the rules, dropping the ball, rushing to spend public dollars improperly …has even been shuffled! Tells us quite a lot about the standards currently at play at the VIHA …and in the premier’s office. h.o)

  • 10 RossK // Nov 26, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    Mr. O said:

    “…Clark says she know nothing, saw nothing, was aware of nothing…”


    When in doubt, invoke the Sargeant Schultz defense.

    Brilliant, that.

    (Response: Hope it gave you as much a smile reading it as I got writing it. h.o)

  • 11 RossK // Nov 26, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    It most definitely did give me a chuckle or three Mr. O.



  • 12 Scotty on Denman // Nov 26, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Why didn’t anybody in government head off the inappropriate appointment? The answer might be found from whomever invited Mr Muir to take the patronage.

    We can’t discount the possibility that the mis-appointment was designed to embarrass Christy Clark by enticing politically inexperienced staff at the Premier’s Office to unwittingly accept the inappropriate posting whilst she was away in China. The rival Campbellite faction (the rest of caucus) is just sitting on its hands and smiling. Health Minister Mike de Jong, defeated by Christy for BC Liberal party leadership, flat out blamed VIHA (the Vancouver Island Health Authority he is supposed to be responsible for) for breaking its own rules and didn’t even bother to defend his own boss. Would-be Premier Kevin Falcon’s “I told you so” attitude and his barely concealed criticism of the boss is conspicuous.

    Christy’s normally ebullient dispatches from China suddenly stopped about halfway through the junket. Instead of her usual boosting and bragging upon returning, she rushed in silence, avoiding media, into conference with her team at the Premier’s Office as if there were something more urgent to deal with than merely the “honest mistake” of Mr Muir’s mis-appointment.

    Now, it’s no secret that a divide between the BC Liberal caucus and the Premier’s office has existed ever since Christy, then without an Assembly seat, won the leadership. Virtually nobody in caucus supported her bid. That moment of stunned silence before the convention politely applauded the announcement of her win was palpable. Some of caucus probably cursed when Christy squeaked a by-election win (her political career would have otherwise been over.)
    She’s been cowed, slapped down and shooed out of the kitchen by caucus so many times now, she’s starting to look more like a travelling discount mattress salesman than leader of the governing party. What this latest mini-scandal shows is that caucus’ decided lack of enthusiasm for Christy’s leadership has metastasized, while the cat was away, into smirking Schadenfreude: de Jong blithely throws Christy the hot potato that should be his; Falcon barely conceals his criticism. You’re on your own, Christy, they seem to be saying. No one in caucus has her back.

    At some point the increasingly open hostility between these two camps becomes untenable. Recent events will occupy pundits as they speculate whether this point has arrived and what a BC Liberal palace coup will look like given the time constraints, a revitalized and prepared NDP, a new, alternative right-wing party and the level of distrust the BC Liberals of any camp have earned for themselves.

    (Response:A really interesting take on the matter! Almost makes me wish I was still working …so I could pursue the angle up and down the corridors of Victoria. Maybe someone else will?? h.o)

  • 13 Gini // Nov 26, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    I always appreciate an outsider’s view of our B.C. politics. Sometimes, we long-term B.C. residents have become too complacent, or maybe just too entrenched in the status quo. We need to step back and see ourselves the way others see us sometimes.

    Therefore, I would like to thank Ron Wilton for his thoughtful and provocative comments. I was out of the country for much of the ’90s, so was unaware of what the NDP was up to. I arrived back in B.C. about the time that Gordo was in full campaign mode, and after listening and watching much of the usual promises, scare tactics, and eventually the debate, I decided to do what most Canadians don’t dare to do…… for the party who seem to have the best interests of their citizens at heart. I voted for the Unity Party.

    Okay, go ahead and laugh, or perhaps simply ask “Who the heck is the Unity Party?” But I honestly believe that we need to start getting more informed about the political parties that have such a huge impact on our lives. We can’t just keep listening to the MSM, expecting to learn from them what’s necessary to make an informed decision.

    Therefore, I’d like to thank Harv and all the other bloggers mentioned by Ron Wilton. And thank you, too, Ron, for your input.

  • 14 KWM // Nov 26, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    Hi Harv,
    I am so indebted to you and the independent bloggers who write the public’s truth. It was heartening to have the corporate media respond in this instance after so many years of silence and spin. It must be odd for the BC Liberals to realize that it might not be “business as usual” for them. With the press appearing to wake from its slumber (or at least crying out in the case of this one bad dream), it must be odd to realize that all is not as it once was. Guidelines? Rules? Protocol? Accountability? Transparency? Yikes! Keep up the great work/retirement. Future generations owe you!

  • 15 Delvin50 // Nov 26, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    As for your mention of the Vancouver Sun and Province publishing this story, Harvey, yes after Times Columnist exposed this, they had no choice .. but guess what, the afternoon that I saw this story on the Sun&Prov online papers, shortly after the news broke on it, it was taken down by the evening. I swear I looked at all the topics/articles. (And were the comments about Christy C and the government ever something when it was up.) More insignificant stories from earlier in the day, and what I always call ‘distraction’ stories were running, but where was this one – yes on the day this news hit – nowhere. NOW, DON’T ANYONE for a second tell me that if someone in the NDP had done this that this story wouldn’t have stayed on their site maybe for days if not weeks, digging, digging and digging for more details on it. (Even if the contract was cancelled.) It also would likely have made front page the next day in the local rags. With this story, it may have shown up somewhere in the dailies next day, but usually this kind of story with the Liberals is hidden well. It might be there, but it’s dealt with in a way that says nothing here .. move along folks ..

    Yes I also read Michael Smyth’s story on it and the comments were none to friendly towards the Libs; he also questioning why the NDP didn’t bring it up in question period?
    By the way, I hope you won’t mind me asking you something, as I think you might be the best person to have an idea. And perhaps you may not want to answer which is fine. Why is it Michael Smyth can get away with coming down hard on the gov’t at times, and even allows comments on The Province site? .. yet V. Palmer and lots of others seem usually to be more on side with the Libs and the VanSun doesn’t allow for comments with Palmer.
    Example, some of what Michael said about the HST and Campbell etc, he was about the only one who was trying to be honest; other things as well. The following is my little opinion on it but what do I know .. the Province paper gives Michael some leeway on these stories and wants people to give their opinions (even if the story isn’t that favourable toward Clark/Campbell, etc) so that they can kind of get a feel for the lay of the land, people’s opinions I mean. It also allows for the PAB and spin doctors to prepare counter arguments, in defense of the Liberals, and I might add, for the PAB to perhaps make comments themselves.

    One other comment just to add to what Ron said above .. yes it’s great that there are a number of alternative blogs to turn to and certainly many people are, and it’s growing. But .. remember . . . . . because some of us may be political and/or news junkies, I caution anyone to not underestimate just how many people are fine with tuning into the 6 p.m. /11:00 p.m. local news, local rags, even CNN, etc and that’s it for their news, political or otherwise. I know that’s hard for us to imagine. For lots of people, I know a number, the most exciting news is still what Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, etc. are up to every day AND/OR sports junkies. Their fix is celebrity news, movies and TV shows or sports. This kind of thing/political stories is boring to them. Plus they don’t have critical enough thinking skills to question different sides .. whatever BCTV/global/Fox etc tells them is what they will think.

    (Response: First of all , every reporter or columnist COULD be a lot tougher on the politicians like Smyth is, if they and their bosses really wanted to …and didn’t care a damn about playing tennis or golf or having lunch with them. Too many have just become too lazy and been there too long…and I blame their bosses, who KNOW that, but do nothing. My own impression also is that the Province is much more cheeky and gritty than the Sun and more likely to call out the Libs when they screw up than the softer, gentler, more business friendly Sun. h.o)

  • 16 Gini // Nov 26, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    Did anyone catch Vaughn Palmer’s “Voice of B.C.” on Thursday, with Christy Clark? I’m afraid a whole hour was more than my stomach could take at one sitting, so I must go back and try again sometime.

    I did read the column he wrote about his interview with her, though, and I was less than impressed. It looked suspiciously like Vaughn’s integrity had been compromised in some way.

    (Perhaps I’m just being overly cynical).

  • 17 Keith // Nov 27, 2011 at 12:29 am

    Ayup Harvey,

    darn right it says a lot about B.C. governance, but more about the culture that has evolved big time since these appalling people have been in (with the emphasis on) power.

    You can point to any number of appointments and jobs for the in the circle under campbell, and cristy is continuing that fine old tradition. I don’t buy she had no knowledge of this appointment. For heavens sake, the optics of this stinks, However, I believe that VIHA and De Jong wouldn’t have said a peep if the blogosphere and the press hadn’t got a hold of it, to whom I must give credit where credit is due.

    I am the first to slag them for keeping quiet when they should have been doing their jobs, but lately and the Times Colonist in particular, Les Leyne, Paul Willocks with some of the editorials have been quite critical of the Families first crowd.

    Do you think some of the the press is (about time) working out due in great part to the blogosphere, they are on the wrong side of public sentiment.?

    (Response: The media had better be getting the message. After all, their revenues may come from corporations and government advertising..BUT they are based on readership, listenership and viewership ONLY. I think the HST should have shown them that despite the millions spent by big business, despite all the hype by their friendly pundits, despite all the crud broadcast almost daily by Michael Campbell and despite all the dire “reports” from ALL THE government ,messengers in the media that the sky would fall in …the people believed and supported the anti-HST community organizers and the blogosphere. And the sky is still there. h.o)

  • 18 A Dave // Nov 27, 2011 at 4:26 am

    “I caution anyone to not underestimate just how many people are fine with tuning into the 6 p.m. /11:00 p.m. local news, local rags, even CNN, etc and that’s it for their news, political or otherwise…”

    Good point, Delvin50, to which I would add that this mostly older generation (boomers+) of die-hard MSM consumers also make up the largest proportion of people who actually get out and vote.

  • 19 Crankypants // Nov 27, 2011 at 5:42 am

    I think that Scotty On Denman’s assertions about the hiring of Muir for this gig would hold more water if he were not married to Athana Mentzelopoulos whose basic job is to watch Christy’s back. Surely Ms. M. knew of the contract her husband had secured and probably just thought that it would slide under the radar and never become public knowledge. Remember, Muir was hired by the government to write the report on the June riot in Vancouver which garnered very little flack. It is possible that someone in the BC Liberal caucus may have given the reporter at the Times-Colonist the heads up on the story.

    To me the story that received too little coverage was the $30 million payout to Boss Power by the taxpayers of BC. First of all it seems to mirror the $6 million payout of Basi and Virk’s legal bill for no other reason than to not have the details of what transpired aired in court. There is also the matter of who in government ordered a supposed independent body to reject this mine based on ideological rather than environmental reasons.

    (Response: I agree on Athana’s role and resonsibility and also the Boss Power coverage (did a blog on that). With the tame state of the current political coverage in Victoria, I’m thankful we ha the blogosphere to go after these questions again and again. h.o.)

  • 20 Kevan // Nov 27, 2011 at 5:49 am

    Yes Gini, I also saw the interview with Clark on Voice of B.C. Unfortunately, Palmer appeared to be sleep walking through the whole process and reminded me of Spencer Tracy in It’ s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World when he went into a trance and decided to steal the money and run. Smug remarks, missed investigative opportunities and lazy follow ups to very pertinent questions seemed to dominate the whole interview. Both Clark and Palmer appeared to be sharing inside jokes that no one else had assess to and they both seemed to belong to the same admiration society.

  • 21 13 // Nov 27, 2011 at 6:19 am

    Harvey, its not easy being a Liberal supporter. I read your blog this am and honestly felt so disgusted with Ms Clark that I couldnt think of anything to add to the blog. Then I read Scotty On Denman and I saw a tiny glimmer of hope. Maybe somone set Christy up while she was in China. Great theory. Now if she makes an example of the culprit I can go back to defending the BC Liberals as no longer under the corrupt Gordo. I sure hope that the conservative party offers a real right wing allternative to the Liberals.

    BCR. Ripped up contracts. HST. The list of screw ups that I was willing to overlook has come to an end.

    If Ms Clark doesnt prove beyond any doubt that she had nothing to do with this blatant bit of patronage even a diehard supporter like myself will go to the conservatives.

    (Response: Nothing wrong with being a free-enterprise: the success of our country was built on that system,despite some blemishes along the way. But something has gone awry …Clark is displaying the same deceit (on BCR questions, getting a mandate as early as possible, cutting spending to family-related services etc.) and the longer she’s in office, the less sincere, open and credible she seems. h.o)

  • 22 D. M. Johnston // Nov 27, 2011 at 7:03 am

    Corruption; thy name is the BC Liberals.

    The stench emanating from the BC Liberals is rivaling that of raw chicken manure, yet Premier photo-op still doesn’t get it, nor do the Liberal MLA’s, nor do the Liberal MLA wannabes. It continues at an ever growing pace.

    Remember the hapless NDP, just over a decade ago; remember how the voting public reduced them to just two seats, with Cummins new BC Conservatives, the BC Liberals maybe reduced to two seats or less, in the next election.

    This is not to say that Dix’s NDP will be any better, for the last thirty years, BC provincial governments have sunk lower and lower into an ethical and moral morass and unless they do something about it, instead of lip service, the public will treat all politicians as moral lepers, on par with with the most base of society.

    It seems politicians are too weak to enact new laws to stem the tide of lucrative political corruption that has now become common place in both civic and provincial government.

    Brown paper envelopes stuffed with money, deliberate defying of electoral law and an inability to confess to wrong doing demands new laws to protect the voter/taxpayer from unscrupulous politicos.

    What politician is NOT AFRAID TO BELL THE CAT?

    (Response: I’m sure if the NDP wins the next election, we will have lots to critique in their hiring etc…but hopefully they will at least follow the rules in spending public dollars. h.o)

  • 23 Sean in Vancouver // Nov 27, 2011 at 10:18 am

    Perhaps this whole issue is nothing more than a gross misunderstanding and miscommunication.

    I don’t think any harm was intended, and anything that appears to be that way is just a silly coincidence.

    Let us not forget all the pork barrelling that the NDP did during the lost decade of the 1990s!

    (Response: Yes, the NDP also did a lot of friendly hiring etc when they were in power. This, though, is different… they completely IGNORED policy and the rules to hire someone without even asking for applications or tenders. If we are ever to have a better way of doing things, even those with pro-Liberal or anti-NDP biases MUST condemn this kind of incompetence…not make excuses for it. h.o)

  • 24 StandUpforBC // Nov 27, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Harvey, I would be interested in your take on a posting at Norm Farrell’s blog yesterday about how the media altered the Muir story:

    Seems the media is helping the government to massage the news. Sure doesn’t present the Times-Colonist in a very good light.

    (REsponse: My own take, without interviewing the reporter or Waldner, is that this story, like many others, may have “evolved” …not that the quote was changed. I had experiences myself when being the first to contact someone on a story, they would give one explanation when caught offguard, but even hours later…never mind days… they had a new explanation at varying degrees different from their first one. Sometimes that happened because they just legitimately thought more about it, or perhaps consulted with someone …you seldom really know. But it’s their take on it that changes…usually not the reporter’s. h.o)

  • 25 RS // Nov 27, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    “Heads should roll.”

    Yeah. Like HypoChristy’s!

    It is becoming increasingly clear to me that none of the who’s who in BC Liberal Party,nor their sidekicks, are straight shooters, so as legends of the Wild West would have us believe, their life expectancy (politically speaking of course) should be relatively short. So how have they survived for over a decade? Is it because all of our political gunslingers, whether their holsters are worn on the left or right, have never learned to shoot straight?

  • 26 Gloria // Nov 27, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    I have such a rough time trying to understand, how such blatant corruption can go unchecked in BC? Even when any of the BC Liberals are caught, they have a so called, “unbiased” special prosecutor, to get them off their criminal charges.

    The trial of Campbell’s theft and corrupt sale of the BCR, is viewed as a total farce.

    BC’s media will be, the disgrace of the century. A far cry from the days, my family used to gather around the radio, listening to the news of WW11.

    We used to be able to read our newspapers in confidence. These days we can read the first two sentences of a political article, regarding the BC Liberals, and tell the rest of the story ourselves.

    We have seen far too much corruption in BC, to believe anything will be done about Muir. That’s all in a days work for, the Campbell/Clark BC Liberals. They haven’t spoken an honest word, for over a decade now.

  • 27 KWM // Nov 27, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    Yes, I agree that everything is bass ackwards. I remember being in a public building where Gordo was going to appear. I watched in amazement as the security detail arrived almost an hour earlier to, presumably, make sure things were safe for him. It all seemed so corrupt that he was being protected from us when it should have been the other way around. The man with a criminal record was signing autographs for children like a rock star and I felt sick to my stomach that this could occur so blatantly–complete with security and a fawning media entourage.

    (Response: Protecting our politicians is standard practice as required, not based on political popularity. There are nuts on all sides of the spectrum. h.o)

  • 28 Delvin50 // Nov 27, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    I for one would like some of the bloggers, as yourself, to do more in depth research on the smart meters. There is a small growing backlash to this, like the HST, but I just don’t trust the government on this.

    When I received a letter in the mail that says “the facts – what you need to know about smart meters” idea – from experience, right there, I am suspicious about what we don’t know given the Liberals routine of lies, cover ups, benefiting friends, etc. What is it they aren’t telling us??

  • 29 Diverdarren // Nov 28, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    I can’t recall the last time the BC Conflict of Interest Commissioner censured a government official. Even when the Commissioner calls someone to the carpet, (Vander Zalm, and Clark) they are found not guilty by the courts for breach of trust.

    So either the laws are too watered down when it comes to what constitutes breach of trust, ( in the minds of the people) or the MLA is poorly prosecuted when they do get caught .

    The laws of Conflict of Interest are written by the MLA’s, and it’s the same MLA’s being held accountable to these laws, but they never are convicted. That’s a neat little deal they’ve got worked out.

  • 30 Gary // Nov 28, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    A little off topic ( maybe ), but I thought everyone should read this column.

  • 31 e.a.f. // Nov 28, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    I’m not surprised at all. I am just surprised a media outlet reported it. Well good for them anyhow.

    C. Clark or the cabinet minister responsible should have caught this before it even got out the gate. For Clark to use the Sgt.’s I hear nothing excuse, simply demonstrates she doesn’t know what is going on in her own government.

    When even the hiring of a nurse, doctor, technician in a hospital is scruntinzed to death it is hard to believe this wasn’t planned by some one to reward someone. Maybe VIHA thought if they hired one of christie’s friends they would be given more money for their budget.
    the ceo of VIHA should have know this was wrong and fired, no severance, etc.

    This is just another example of the lieberals abuses. Lets see now, highest child poverty rate in Canada, 8 yrs running; underfunding disabled adults by Community Living while paying bonuses to execs; $100 Million a yr, for 25 yrs., to the MacQuire Group for the Whistler Highway; 1/2 Billion for the B.C. Place roof, homelessness rising; people unable to afford food, $1 billion for “smart/stupid” hydro meters; the HST; allowing coal mines to be opened by foreign companies who are then able to import their labour; Clark accepting a billion from a group of investors from China for coal mining exploration; unwilling to take a stand against a pipeline through B.C.

    The lieberals first cut taxes adn then cried, no money. Then they cut services. On the other hand this has been going on since 2000 and still people voted for the lieberals so the voters must enjoy all of this type of treatment. Unfortunately there are those of us who don’t and really would like to see the end of Ms. Clark and her liebeals.

  • 32 morry // Nov 28, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    re my first post:

    the source was this:

    Note the dateline.
    There may have been some response from the MSM later on… but they may have been late to the party … i ain’t blinded by the light ;-)

  • 33 Dean Skoreyko // Nov 29, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    Harvey, You must be getting the two stories confused as there was no mention that Athana Mentzelopoulos was a very close friend of Clark’s when she was hired in early August. My blog post at that time linked the omissions by the Sun and the Globe as examples.

  • 34 Sid Evans // Nov 29, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    just wait, it’s really going to stink when he sues for wrongfull dismissal, ohh! that’s going to leave a mark.
    all involved new exactly what was happening, they were hoping no-one was paying attention.

  • 35 Stan Mortensen // Dec 1, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    Good morning Harvey, during one my more lucid moments, I happened to check out what the White House Press Secretary makes for an income, which regardless of any qualifications Mr. Muir might bring to a job is essentially the similar position. Jay Carney earns a paltry 172,200 for a position that is arguably more visible and requires infinitely more skill than would be required by a Health Authority. It seems to me that salaries, benefits etc for these bureaucratic, patronage positions are way, way out of whack.
    I also had a look at the VIHA executive compensation levels for the top five, as of 06.2011 total compensation $1.595 million vs. the prior year of $1.341 million, an increase of 18.9% on the salary/compensation budget, noting that one individual alone saw an increase of just under $100 K. With these salaries and packages(not to mention exit packages) is it any wonder why BC Voters and Taxpayers are upset.
    No one has a problem with fair compensation but during tough times where public money is tight these packages are way, way out of line.
    The Muir situation really only serves to illustrate the divide between “us” and “them”.

    (Response: Isn’t it strange to see a government and its appointed agencies so generous with its managerial/executive payouts, bonuses and severances …then be so “careful” with public money when it comes to just providing fair compensation for those who actuially work their hearts out day in and day out for us …like teachers, care workers, paramedics etc etc. h.o)