At 9 am Monday morning February 6th I posted my musings about the coming election campaign which began last August. If that sentence sounds strange it’s because we are behind the looking glass in Wonderland. Within an hour I felt foolish and didn’t “push” the piece on Twitter every four hours or so as I usually do. So much happened by 10 AM. (I won’t be surprised if I feel the same an hour after posting this.)
By Wednesday night Christy Clark and her minions were in a state of disarray I would never have anticipated.
At 10 AM Monday a report (Broken Promises) was made public by the Representative for Children and Youth on the death of an 18 year old in government care named Alex Gervais. That report is linked here. It’s essential reading, and I’ll tell you why shortly .. https://t.co/UbqU1wzSne
At 10 AM Minister of Covering Up the Truth on Health Firings Terry Lake was announcing a $500 million rebuild of Royal Inland Hospital.
About 10 AM, BCLiberal Party spokesman Emile Scheffel alleged attempts to hack the Party website by “opponents”.
Whenever bad news for the government is released, there is some distraction thrown out accidentally on purpose for the media to chew on. Usually it’s a booze policy announcement, but the RCYBC report was very bad news. So those 10 am announcements may not be causally connected, but then again they may. A new hospital. A sympathy play over hacking mixed with dark allegations about the NDP’s dirty politics.
The account of Alex Gervais young life and early death had familiar and tragic themes… He was removed from incapable and abusive parents, thrown into a cycle of foster placements, booted around, behavioral problems, eventually drug use and drug dealing.
The details are shocking.. The agencies shuffling Alex around had the opportunity to place him with stable reliable family members, but they were too demanding of supports. So he was moved around in placements which cost the system far more money but demanded less ‘handling’ (ie. giving a shit).
Alex Gervais last weeks were spent alone in a Super 8 Motel. The person contracted to look out for him was paid $8000/ month plus the cost of a room next to him, but was rarely with Alex and left it to Motel staff to text him if Alex caused any trouble. Alex reached out to a social worker, but after days on end alone and without money, high, he jumped out a fourth floor window.
The words of the Acting Rep who presented the report will end my discussion of this sad case except to say it’s one in a string of heart-rending cases to which the government always says the same thing. “We accept the recommendations and we are making progress toward making things better” . The Reps words paraphrased “When government takes a child from its parents, it assumes the responsibility of a parent to care for that child.” As challenging as that mandate is for MCFD workers, and indeed, for Minister Cadieux (who should resign) , can any of us think government lived up to what we expect? No.
By Tuesday, Christy Clark was in a friendly Facebook Live interview with the Vancouver Sun’s Vaughn Palmer. She chose to finish the interview by directly alleging without evidence that the BCNDP had attempted to hack the BCLiberal website three times. Vaughn Palmer sat there and said nothing. The Premier accused her opponents of a jail-able, criminal offense, and he didn’t even ask “well, really? How do you know? Where is the evidence? And why are you telling me if you’ve not gone to the police?” I hate to dwell on it, but Vaughn Palmer is supposed to be the Dean… seen it all..cynical…BS detector infallible. Not.
In the meantime, Mike Smyth of the Province had been questioning the whole thing. A page on the BCLiberal website that should have been password protected, listing details about donors on Vancouver Island, had been wide open for weeks. Smyth had had a look in there himself January 19th I believe… He raised it with the party and the link was closed over the weekend. But the question arose, was Emile Scheffel making up the hacking story to cover up a self-inflicted security breach by the Party?
Wednesday all hell broke loose. Clark backed off on her claim the NDP had attempted a hack…sort of not quite…she said they wouldn’t admit it, but people had “heard them talking” as if they did it. When asked where the evidence was for her criminal accusation against an opponent she said “I … Don’t…Know…”
She claimed Mike Smyth of the Province had written it.. Front page… Well, read Mike Smyth on the subject here as he calls bullshit loud and clear: https://t.co/4OUSNijQgQ
Scheffel put out a release saying one of the attempted hacks originated at a computer at the BC Legislature. Stay tuned.
NDP leader John Horgan called a press conference denying any hacking attempts and challenging the Premier to put up or shut up with her evidence, apologize on all platforms where she made the allegation, or risk being sued.
Then it got worse!… Press Secretary Ben Chin was called in to spin for us.. He apparently told Gary Mason of the Globe that the hack came from a Legislature computer (one of hundreds used by BCliberal and NDP caucus employees and government employees ). But the hack couldn’t have come from a BCLiberal connected computer because all those had been scoured. Think on this:
Workers in the legislature, regardless of whether or not they work for a partisan side, are employees of the government, so who did the scouring and on what authority? If the computers were looked at by BCLiberal Party people, that’s surely illegal, and if they were looked at by the Public Service Agency, who authorized the search and were the employees advised in the proper manner (in three days)? Don’t worry, we are still in Wonderland.
But wait, it gets worse!! Ben Chin calls Gary Mason back and says he misspoke. The computers weren’t scoured (that would quite likely be the second alleged criminal act this week) , but there was “a way for him to know where each computer had been looking on the interwebz”. Really? Is that news to the employees and have they signed a release for spyware on their government machines? So many questions.
Nobody knows where this is going, and I’m extremely sympathetic to those pleading that this nonsense not be allowed to overshadow the Gervais report. I’ve said so myself. A kid dying needlessly and neglected matters.
But I’m thinking that this could be the end of Christy Clark unless she presents full on retraction and apology today.
Christy Clark has made stuff up many times, some of her fabrications are silly and some are serious. She has lied about polling being done in Lax Kw’Alaams supporting PNW LNG. She has lied about a poll supporting the government position on the South Okanagan park. When a cigarette was suspected of starting a wildfire, she invented the notion the culprit might be caught by a traffic camera on the highway and Global ran with it as if it were credible. At least one of her explanations of how $150K got promised in Old Massett and indirectly helped a councillor who favored her brother’s business interests coincidentally… At least one of the things she said about that was a lie.
Clark lied about the NDP position on at least three subjects yesterday in 10 minutes on CFAX yesterday : https://t.co/sp1WXdtLN1
The trouble has always been that the ProMedia called her out on the lies too infrequently… This time they aren’t letting her get away it. Even Les Leyne drew the Trump comparison this morning.
Blogger and visceral Christy Clark critic Alex Tsakumis was fond of saying Christy Clark is finished. He was wrong every time. So I won’t say that, but I wonder if it’s true this time.
Clark’s once feared and competent communications gurus must be drinking heavily at night this week wondering what the hell to do.
(Editor’s note: In the summary cited of the hacking of BCLiberal HQ, right down to the searching of legislature computers, there may be nothing which is factual. It’s all sourced, but the spin and misdirection are so thick it’s impossible to determine if …. anything…. happened).