Malaysian Prime Minister and FBI investigation

It’s arguable that no one person is more central to Christy Clark’s LNG dreams than Najib Razak.

So it’s puzzling that when the FBI launches a probe into corruption and money laundering tied to the head of Malaysia’s government, (that’s the same person PETRONAS Corp effectively reports to) , this investigation is reported in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Asian Media, but not in the BC press.

The NYT piece is linked above. Hello CBCBC? Hello Global? Hello CTVBC? Hello Vancouver Sun? Hello Province? Anyone?

A teaser quote : “The inquiry is being run by the Justice Department’s Kleptocracy Initiative, which has seized properties in the United States owned by relatives of politicians from Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, South Korea and Taiwan.”

Conservative MP Dick Harris Travel Expenses

Dick Harris, retiring Conservative MP regularly travelled on the taxpayer dime from Ottawa, not to Prince George where he is MP, but to Osoyoos, where he has lived for years.

This story link is from the Vancouver Sun a few days ago (September 2015). A quick search found links to the beginnings of the story in the Prince George Citizen from June of this year.

My question is why is this not a larger story? Given the fascination with Duffy’s travel, is it not a story in the same league? Harris is retiring now, but he has represented PG since the 90’s, and lived in Osoyoos since 2000 or so.

An anti-corruption Commission for BC?

Do we need a Charbonneau commission? I have written previously about Larry Blain, who received contracts from Partnerships BC while he chaired that body.

Today, Bob Mackin and Business in Vancouver have an important piece on dollars flowing to a contracting firm owned by the brother of the CEO of Translink. The normal disclaimers are put forth. “Ian Jarvis” we are told “disclosed the relationship and had nothing to do with the procurements”.

But is that acceptable? Everyone who was involved with the procurements might have known that the CEO’s brother was up for some of the work. How would that influence decision making?

There’s far too much of the stink of “insiders getting ahead” in this Province. How do we make it stop? The media have their own conflicts, which make them reluctant to cast stones. Here’s the link…. the dollar figures are significant.



The Inconvenience of Truth and the Franklin Expedition

In the middle of the noise around the federal election, budget balances, bozo eruptions, etc., an important piece on the discovery of the Erebus (which sank in the Franklin Expedition) was published on Buzzfeed.

The author is Paul Watson, a journalist, formerly with the Toronto Star, who resigned from the Star when that paper didn’t back him in producing this story.

It’s important because it illustrates that the truth, the facts, are a luxury for the Harper regime. A story, or a myth, was concocted to place the Geographical Society’s John Geiger on the boat that made the discovery.

John Geiger was the PMO’s chosen media spokesperson on the file, but he was inconveniently not on the boat at the time of discovery. And far from being behind the search efforts from the beginning, Geiger was a late-comer, having been involved for only a year or so.

Check it out, because Paul Watson was there, because the scientists who were on the boat were muzzled by the PMO, and because the truth matters…. When we read the chapter in the high school history books, (should our society continue to produce up to date history books, ever) I hope the historical facts are not the media-massaged facts, but the real ones.

Here’s the link.. It’s long but worth reading for all the questions it raises about why the PMO would care so much about inventing the details, when the discovery of that ship was so wonderful just as it was:



Moving to 2 tiered health care in BC?

Below is a fine editorial from the Victoria Times-Colonist on the case against moving day surgeries to private clinics in BC. Points include the potential growth of costs due to the profit margin, the lowering of wages by the operators for skilled staff (eg. nurses), and the obvious ….the violation of the Canada Health Act.

Two questions and some history. First, is this creeping privatization something BCers will be willing to fight tooth and nail, or have we been anaesthetized by years of propaganda telling us that with the aging population and budget pressures, we have no choice but to “innovate”? Second, is our provincial government capable of being honest about it?

The T-C\s take is linked here:

The history, recent and longer term. The recent history is this: Brian Day, longtime advocate of privatization, was recently defeated as candidate for president of the BMA. It took a recount and a revote, during which the doctors who vote in the president woke up at least a little to prevent his victory, and turned up to vote in less pathetic numbers on the redo.

Later, Shane Woodford of CKNW told the story of a clinic in New Westminster which told him he could see a doctor live and in person for a fee of about $170 , or he could video-conference with the doctor for no fee. I have heard nothing yet about legal measures being considered by the province against this practice, but it’s new. The province does have an obligation to uphold the Canada Health Act, and is still in proceedings versus Brian Day, mentioned above.

Longer term history. Gordon Campbell, back when George Abbott was Heath Minister, ran a wide public consultation called “Conversations on Health”. I participated in the Victoria edition. It was well attended, and we were encouraged to think about innovative ways to deliver health care more efficiently. Lots of good ideas were presented, and lots of knowledge shared about how nutrition and fitness promotion saved health care dollars.

But that’s not the conversation government wanted us to have. The talk Campbell had in mind was about the mix of private delivery. Increasing the mix of private delivery got a big fat no from the public. It’s said that George Abbott went back and told Campbell this , and Campbell was not pleased by the message.

Now it’s 8 years or so later, and I’m thinking of a man I met at that little conference named Henry McCandless, who was very interested in accountability. His definition of accountability was in the answer to 2 questions… Who pays? Who benefits?

It’s been amply demonstrated that in BCLiberal land, the private sector always benefits, and we always pay.  Do enough of us care ? Has the Fraser Institute shut down our capacity to think critically enough to defend public health care? We’ll see.


Gary Mason commits Journalism

Globe and Mail writer Gary Mason put up a pretty compelling article about the troubles at UBC that have been in the news recently. He looks at the possible relationship between the bloating of managerial staff, and the resignation of a pro-faculty President Gupta only one year into a five year term. Read it here, but before you do, ask this:

Why does Mason not similarly analyse published and routine salary increases in the double digits of senior non- contract staff across the board in Christy Clark’s government? While the peons settle for less than inflation time and again, there is no shortage of funds for those who oversee government operations and communications, especially if they are related to Press Gallery members.

Why also is he  silent on the gutting of effective revenue from the resource extraction industries in BC? This has cost us a couple of billion every year since 2002 which could have gone to raising starvation level disability rates, for example.

Here’s the link to a good piece on UBC …