Follow Friday or “Go read these other blogs”


Update September 22nd .. As promised below, here’s a link to Laila Yuile’s latest. It documents progress (of sorts) mitigating rainfall caused failures during the construction of Site C… No word on how the over-runs are adding up, but it’s a big story that needs a light shone ..

Follow Friday is a Twitter tradition in which you can acknowledge those denizens of the interwebz that you think everyone should know and follow.  It seems a good Friday to give a(nother)  plug to some other bloggers who do fine work, and at the same time thank them for reading and sharing my commentary..

RossK over at the Pacific Gazette raises a question about who benefits by the blind eyes not prosecuting tax evasion, money laundering and fraud in real estate…

Norm Farrell at In-Sights has hard verifiable and indisputable numbers about the slow steady bankrupting of BC Hydro which we will eventually pay for.. I really really can’t say enough good things about Norm’s work. As he says, if we don’t stand up and demand accountability, in the end we will only have ourselves to blame.

Grant at the Straight Goods has been stellar following the LNG news from around the world and makes a very strong case that the dream is dead. We should not permit BCLiberal hacks to pretend there is any realistic prospect of a profit from an LNG industry. But to my mind Grant is at his very best when talking about life on the coast, and what it means to him to have the salmon threatened, and the westcoast lifestyle threatened for so little return.

Laila Yuile has moved to Vancouver Island and will soon be posting too. I’ll update this with her next piece .. Whenever she takes a bit of extra time to write, I know it will be a must read piece…..

Blogtalk Radio with Canadian Glen

Here’s a link to a podcast I did September 14th.–in-british-columbia-its-not-leftright-its-wrongright-with-merv-adey

We talked at length about BC politics and media.  While I’m finding that radio is obviously different than blogging because you don’t get to go back and edit, revise , expand or say something a different way…it’s also fun and I thank Glen for the opportunity… Here’s the highlights in a nutshell.

1) The BCNDP, I’m told,  has 30 Freedom of Information requests with the BCLiberal government which are in a state of “deemed refusal”. That means the Information and Privacy Commissioner will have a job discovering why records aren’t being produced in a timely manner. So what has changed under the FOI leadership of the Finance Minister, Mike deJong?  Is the government refusing requests a matter of breaking the law wilfully? Did the records exist at one time but got (ahem) triple deleted?

Tell me a story about “open government” again. What’s being hidden such that even overly redacted documents aren’t forthcoming in the legislated timeline? The Minister must surely be Deeply Troubled.

2) Vancouver Real Estate.. The journalism on this, from Ian Young, Sam Cooper and Kathy Tomlinson has been outstanding, as has the research effort of the NDP led by Housing Critic David Eby.

It’s a bombshell a week , including yesterday’s revelation that Canadian banks were granting mortgages to foreign nationals without the proof of income that is required of locals.

But the point I make here is that investigative journalism matters. It causes governments to completely reverse direction, as the BCLiberal government did with the introduction of the foreign buyer’s tax recently. We are no longer being called whiners or worse, racists, if we talk about the effect of speculation from outside BC in the Vancouver market. We need more great journalism in more areas of public interest. Desperately.

3) The BCTF case plays out at the Supreme Court of Canada this winter. It’s my strong belief that the teachers will win. Big BC media and the Clark government will eat a lot of crow. I say that because the recent pattern of rulings from the high court suggests a predisposition to the idea that the powers of government are not, and cannot, be unlimited. Bargaining, consultation – these things have to mean something. The side benefitting from an imbalance of power (government) must listen, and attempt to accommodate.

All the evidence points to the conclusion that the BC Government has simply stalled this decision for 16 years. It has had no interest in a fair bargaining process or a fair outcome.

Recent funding announcements such as the Rural School Fund I suggest, are a tacit admission by the Clark government that the policy of squeezing school budgets to the bone was backfiring politically despite “6 years of labor peace”.

(Note…in the discussion of the capacity requirement for VSB schools I had a brain cramp and misquoted the percentage which is 95%. The point I was making remains valid)

4) We talked about the stripping of title of two Haida Chiefs after they signed on to a letter of support for the Northern Gateway Pipeline. Enbridge does not deny benefits were offered in the form of $100K to the chiefs for their use in setting up a corporation to promote cultural activities on the island.

Given that shortly afterward a corporation was set up by 8 chiefs (two of whom are chiefs no longer), it’s reasonable to suspect this deal was concluded as written.

So what does that mean in the context of Tsil’qhotin, the Truth and Reconcilation Commission and UNDRIP? Can a corporation still go into a community and work to divide it rather than engage it?  Tsil’qhotin (SCC) is quite clear land base decisions must have the support of the entire community. No single FN leader or group of leaders can make these decisions behind the backs of the larger band. This is how it was explained to me very kindly by Judith Sayers.

The issue has been raised by Discourse Media, a small online publication which investigated and got as many details as possible.

If the Tsil’qhotin decision on rights and title carries any weight with the Clark government or with the media in this province, much more investigation should be carried out by both.   It should matter. It’s the law.

Through discussion of all these subjects runs the specter of big business donations to the governing party. It’s difficult not to see that we have a government beholden to something larger in its eyes than the public interest…the corporate interest.