“The Content of Their Character”

I’m writing this post after several pretty quiet weeks in the context of the rapid meltdown of the Donald Trump campaign for President of the US…. Revelations of the Donald bragging about assaulting women in 2005 seem to have finished him. This is ironic when there has been so much that he has said during the campaign this year that should have disqualified him without an old video. But it’s got me thinking….how far we have come not only in the USA , but also in Canada and BC,  from an ideal that our politicians must be held to a high code of conduct.

I listened intently to Norm Farrell on a podcast with Canadian Glen the other day. There was much discussion about substantive issues with regard to BCHydro slowly bankrupting itself, paying billions above market value to Independent Power Producers.. but there was also discussion of the starvation of the media, and how it hurts society when journalism is both partisan (in favor of CAPP for example), and under-resourced. The link to that lengthy discussion is here if you have an hour or two…I recommend it… http://www.blogtalkradio.com/canadianglen/2016/10/06/british-columbias-ponzi-party-with-norm-farrell

Norm also talked about why BC bloggers, including myself, do what we do. It’s because we care about our province, and because there is a demonstrable void in news coverage of the deep analytical kind that helps society retain it’s balance and purpose.  (I admire the other voices so much. Norm, RossK, Laila, Dermod Travis, Bob Mackin, BCFIPA, Rafe Mair, Alison Creekside, Grant G and NVG to name only a few. Their research is far deeper than mine. And I feel , to paraphrase the Donald, “I’m the most ordinary citizen.. you wouldn’t believe how ordinary. Everyone is saying how ordinary I am”.)  But I think of an old T-Shirt that made me laugh…the slogan was.. “I YELL BECAUSE I CARE”.

I saw Laila Yuile on Twitter today lamenting how the average BC voter knows more about Donald T than about Christy Clark. It’s true, and that’s also why we must blog. To bridge that gap in any way we can so that government and it’s leadership is held to “a higher standard”. So that we judge our leadership and mark our ballots based on “the content of their character”.

Here are a few of the things that make me worry in the same way the Donald makes me worry. It’s about the normalization of the outrageous..

  1. Dean del Mastro was applauded in the House of Commons when he finally resigned after being convicted of election expense fraud. I wasn’t there, but it spoke to an attitude that his colleagues felt “well, you do what you have to.. too bad he got caught”. He was applauded.
  2. The Green Party of Canada was forced to sign a statement with Elections Canada acknowledging that it had attempted to misinform voters in Victoria at the end of the 2015 Federal election campaign… Flyers were distributed on the last day quoting an out of date and misleading poll that showed the Greens within an inch of taking Murray Rankin’s seat. If you can’t trust the Greens to play straight, who can you trust?
  3. Our pink shirt, anti-bullying Premier Clark has her Education Minister sending open letters to parents in Vancouver fanning the flames on alleged workplace harassment at the Vancouver School Board. The allegations may well have merit. We do not know. The allegations are serious, and should be independently and fairly investigated. (But Clark is not asked questions or called to task for engaging in photo-ops including some with disgraced MLA Pat Pimm, who is now charged with assaulting his wife.) Minister Bernier is part of a government which must be pressed hard to ever comment on “internal matters” or “matters under investigation, whether civil or criminal” that reflect poorly on itself. Yet he has no problem blowing on the embers of a fire in the camp of an activist, pro public education board.
  4. Moira Stillwell “accidentally” let out that the nomination process for her Vancouver Langara BC Liberal seat is being orchestrated “quietly/secretly” by a group including Bruce Clark, Christy’s brother. Vaughn Palmer lets it pass with a chuckle… “denials all round” – heh. Never mind that Bruce Clark was in receipt of confidential documents prior to the BC Rail sale. Never mind that Bruce Clark may have indirectly benefitted from Christy’s strangest ever photo-op in Haida Gwaii. A reminder about the questions never asked by the MSM press here http://www.bcveritas.com/index.php/2016/06/06/again-on-the-old-massett-150k-grant-new-information/
  5. The Rep for Children and Youth, Mary-Ellen Turpel-Lafond is out with another staggering report on neglect of children-in-care ..Please read RossK’s excellent take on it here, as well as Stephen Quinn’s uncharacteristically serious “no satire” column linked within : http://pacificgazette.blogspot.ca/2016/10/why-there-is-no-fall-sitting-of.html The Money quote : “And now the Minister responsible won’t even speak, in person, to the latest devastating report from Ms. Turpel-Lafond and her office? Either to the media or, of course, the legislature? ” And remember how Christy’s office manipulated the release date of its response to an earlier RCYBC report to fall on federal election day 2015.
  6. Bob Plecas was tasked with helping to fix things in the Ministry of Children and Families. He was , (with cheerleading from the Press Gallery) going to get to the bottom of the JP case. Ministry staffers ignored the order of a judge, and thereby exposed a child to sexual abuse (according to said judge). The good Mr. Plecas hasn’t been seen since January, and nobody in the Press Gallery is even asking if he is okay? Poor man. We need that report before next election, not after.
  7. The Health Firings file… I can not let this go.. For more than four years the Clark government has circled the wagons, manipulated the flow of information, lied to the public and the RCMP.. all to avoid telling us why it ruined the lives of eight people and caused a suicide. “The content of their character”. Terry Lake, long serving, celebrated Health Minister has announced his decision not to run again. I hope it’s out of shame.
  8. Our media shows no interest in pursuing the notion that First Nations leaders are being offered what are essentially bribes, to sign on in support of resource projects. Read great independent reporting on the issue here : http://www.towardreconciliation.discoursemedia.org/investigation/what-made-this-haida-clan-potlatch-so-historic/   And ask why this isn’t a dinner table topic? Truth and Reconcilation with First Nations is supposed to be a national priority, but virtually no media and no level of government is questioning the wild west tactics of the Energy Sector in BC. A Vancouver based Canadian mining company is being sued in a BC court for alleged slave labor practices in Africa. We should look hard at how resource companies are “getting to yes” at home, sometimes with a strategy of community division rather than community engagement. Our Premier was asked by the Haida Nation to stay away during a recent photo-op with the Royals.. Was that snub connected to any of the issues I’ve raised here??

I don’t know why it is that Donald Trump is now seen as unfit for office because of things he said in 2005, rather than the equally offensive things he has said throughout 2016… It’s true those things , if unearthed about the candidacy of any Canadian candidate would cause him to drop out of the race. I hope it’s true. It is true, isn’t it?

I do know that I hope and pray that whatever our natural party allegiance might be, we agree with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s overnight statement.. “To put country above party is a duty”.







6 thoughts on ““The Content of Their Character””

  1. Thanks Merv, it needed to be put together in this way. I’ll be sharing widely. We also need to address the double-standard. If the NDP had done any of these things the uproar would have been endless and still is from times past from things that weren’t even true. Ditto the Democrats in the US. One side seems to be louder than the other, they seem to create false narratives that MSM carries forward for them, even hiring their spokespeople to deliver the message.

    1. It’s hard to take isn’t it? The double standard (which is real, damaging, and pervasive, but not universal) does so much harm to public discourse… Government’s ad budgets are a lever of control, and not the only one. Yet complaining about the double standard doesn’t help.. It needs to be demonstrated in a calm and persuasive way, so that people become aware of it. We’ll keep trying to do that. Thanks for visiting Sue.

  2. You have stated it so well, and thank you for YELLING. Our democracy depends on great reporting of facts and it is distressing to see so many journalists cater to our politicians rather than the public. I am doing all I can to learn about more bloggers like yourself and all the non-mainstream media sites that report the facts as they see them. We need our unbiased media and I am always thrilled when I read or hear journalists that point out the hard facts and let me decide for myself. And also a huge thank you to the fantastic journalists that are still employed by the MSM who have done more for BC in the last 6 months than our crappy government for the last 15 years. Keep up the great work!

  3. Very good Merv.

    Now the real question that should be broached at the end of every piece you write, is WHAT CAN VOTERS DO ABOUT THE SHENANIGANS THAT TAKE PLACE REGULARLY IN OUR POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS?

    1. Right.. There are things we can do, but no quick fixes. Simple answer? We can get loud. We can talk to each other and educate in a non-partisan way about what’s going wrong. We can support and promote media that digs instead of reprinting press releases.

      Thanks Mike.

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