Civilized, with a Bickering Room for those who aren't.
2 posts • Page 1 of 1
- Grand Pooh-bah
- Posts: 2130
- Joined: Nov 6th, 2011, 11:37 am
Media have been biased in BC for as long as the Liberals have been in power.
Meet the Pro-Media Contortionists
Tom Fletcher and Keith Baldrey, and others, have been around as leading members of the Press Gallery in BC since before the fall of Glen Clark. I point that out because I recall how relentless the pursuit of Glen Clark was by media over the casino/deck scandal.
Each of them released columns about the “Triple-delete” scandal this week, which were full of logical failures and a more general failure to identify the problem for Christy Clark’s government. Have a look… We’ll take Baldrey first:
“This dismissal of the need to be accountable and provide openness is cavalier at best and sneeringly undemocratic at worst. The investigation by B.C. privacy and information commissioner was justifiably scathing and harsh in its findings and judgment. This mentality – that “winning” is all-important and little else matters – can leave vacant the moral and ethical high ground voters still expect to see occupied by those they vote for. Stephen Harper and his Conservative party learned that lesson in a very painful manner in the recent federal election, a contest that turned out to be more about values than anything else. It’s time to shed the arrogance and start following the law. Otherwise that sense of being bulletproof may one day prove to be delusional. ”
What Mr. Baldrey argues, couched in some rather fine rhetoric, is that if the deletion of emails continues, which is against the law when they are responsive to an FOI request (as was the case in the Tim Duncan matter), the BCLiberals might lose! Heaven forbid!.. He does, correctly , refer to the BCLibs “wanton disregard for the law” , but that is not the problem in itself. It is the threat to the BCLibs electoral dominance that is put forth as the reason for them to reform themselves.
The reaction to this column on Twitter was generally positive, and taken as a sign that the pro BCLib bias among certain pundits may be cracking. Far from it.
On to Tom Fletcher.. While this link is from the Oak Bay News in Victoria, remember Fletcher’s columns are syndicated across the province, particularly in small communities. Here is his column:
“Everyone agrees that the deputy health minister of the day, Graham Whitmarsh, was legally responsible for the decisions and records. Yet somehow the only record released to the NDP for the two-year period of the firings and subsequent investigation was a heavily blanked-out update from his successor, Stephen Brown, to the premier’s deputy, John Dyble…….”
“The larger issue is how freedom of information legislation should work. Should the opposition be able to second-guess decisions of bureaucrats by going through their emails?
The traditional answer is no. Elected officials are responsible, even if they had no actual role, as should always be the case in hiring and firing ministry staff and awarding government work contracts. The buck stops with Lake and Clark, not their deputies.”
So I’m waiting for Mr. Fletcher to hold Lake and Clark accountable for the health firings, for the settlements (the nature and dollar amounts are secret), for the misleading of the public with regard to an RCMP investigation that we know never happened, and for the misleading of the RCMP with regards to evidence which never came. Is it too much to suppose that much of the record was illegally deleted? I don’t think it is.
Mr. Fletcher is right that the buck stops with Clark and Lake on the health firings file, but at the same time, in the same column he argues “everyone agrees” it was Graham Whitmarsh’s fault.. throwing under the bus the one of the many civil servants involved who has left government and has sounded the alarm over being scapegoated by the bunch of cowards who run this government. Whitmarsh pointed to extensive work with John Dyble and others at the time, a man quoted in Hansard this week instructing staff in a thank you note to “delete all drafts and treat emails as transitory”.
I’m in no way exonerating Whitmarsh, (he has much to answer for, and not just on this file) but it’s nonsense to pretend that “we know” it’s his fault, and his alone.
What the “Triple-delete” scandal has exposed is an effort among the political arm of Clark’s civil service to avoid accountability for themselves and for Clark herself pre-emptively. To argue that FOI laws should not expose the inner workings of government when the buck stops with the politicians (always at some future date) is nonsense. We have FOI laws precisely so that we might know how the government works in our interest because we pay for it. In part, we have FOI laws to ensure that the government is considering evidence in its decision making, and what that evidence has been.
And what’s been exposed is a rational, pre-emptive, far reaching, intentional, breach of FOI law. And for that, the buck stops with Christy Clark. The buck stops today, not in May 2017.
For a breath of fresh air, read Justine Hunter here, as she talks about how much has been known for a long time within the Ministry of Transport about the Highway of Tears, and about what Todd Stone didn’t want us to know about community consultations along that corridor.. It’s a good honest piece.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/bri ... le27170780
The point of all of this is that it’s following the spirit and the letter of the law that matters. Let’s not treat this as some sort of game where “our team” made a bad play but they can still win if they score some points in the final quarter of Clark’s term. We pay the civil service, even the political arm, to provide sound advice to Clark and her cabinet. We don’t pay it to delete the record so that we can’t find out what evidence was considered. And certainly not to cover up mistakes for the Premier.
Further, it’s one of the legitimate roles of the Press Gallery to pursue accountability on our behalf from Premier Clark, whether the first name is Glen or Christy.
http://www.bcveritas.com/index.php/2015 ... rtionists/
“If I were to remain silent, I’d be guilty of complicity.”
— Albert Einstein__________________________
— Albert Einstein__________________________