Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Senior Conservative John Reynolds slams federal Liberal Party over BC President Jamie Elmhirst staying in office after being subpoenaed in Basi-Virk
Senior Tory slams Grits over Elmhirst
By BILL TIELEMAN, 24 HOURS
Senior federal Conservative John Reynolds is criticizing the federal Liberal Party for the "embarrassing" failure to remove its B.C. branch president after he was subpoenaed to testify in the breach of trust case against former provincial government aides David Basi and Bob Virk.
Reynolds, the former Member of Parliament for West-Vancouver Sunshine Coast, said Tuesday that lobbyist Jamie Elmhirst should not have continued as Liberal Party of Canada B.C. president after he was subpoenaed on Oct. 4, 2006.
24 hours disclosed Monday that Elmhirst was under subpoena for over three months before he quit his party position on January 15, 2007.
"It's embarrassing for their party. A person in that situation should step aside - there's no question about it," Reynolds told 24 hours. "You always have to do what's best for your party."
"If nothing else, you don't need the president of your party as a witness," said Reynolds, who co-chaired the national Conservative 2006 election campaign.
Elmhirst, a former aide to B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell and ex-federal Liberal cabinet minister David Anderson, was a business partner of Erik Bornmann and Brian Kieran in the now-closed Victoria lobby firm Pilothouse Public Affairs. Bornmann and Kieran are crown witnesses against Basi and Virk in the trial starting April 2.
In an interview last week with 24 hours Elmhirst denied the subpoena was a factor in his resignation and refused to answer if and when he had informed the Liberal Party of his role as a witness.
But Ontario Liberal Senator Marie Poulin, the national Liberal Party president, was unaware Elmhirst had been under subpoena while serving as its top B.C. executive.
"I did not know. He might have told the party and he might not have told the party. I am not aware that he has or hasn't." Poulin told 24 hours Monday.
But what Elmhirst did or did not tell the Liberal Party’s B.C. branch remains a mystery, as repeated calls and emails to Executive Director Mark Grant from 24 hours were not returned.
Reynolds comments echo those of Duff Conacher, coordinator of the citizen advocacy group Democracy Watch. “The members of the party certainly have a right to know,” he told 24 hours last week.
See earlier stories on this website below.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Vancouver Coastal Health Authority CEO cashes in as Director of Shell Canada for $95,000 on top of $360,000 salary
Tuesday January 30, 2007
Perks of the health trade
By BILL TIELEMAN
We dare not allow politicians to establish the principle that senior civil servants can be removed for incompetence. We could lose dozens of our chaps. Hundreds maybe. Even thousands.
What B.C. public service job pays you $360,000 a year, lets you sit on a corporate board of directors for another $95,000 and allows you to miss your budget targets by $40 million while disrupting the lives of hundreds of taxpayers?
Meet Ida Goodreau, Chief Executive Officer of the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.
One might think that being CEO of B.C.'s biggest health region, charged with balancing an annual budget of $2.4 billion, would be enough work.
But Goodreau is also a director of Shell Canada, the gasoline company. Goodreau got a whopping $95,750 from Shell Canada for attending board and committee meetings in 2005 and probably a similar amount in 2006 - financial statements haven't yet been released.
Goodreau was also a director of Terasen Gas until December 2005, earning a $25,000 retainer, $1,500 for each of up to 11 board and committee meetings, and $3,000 for committee membership.
It was Goodreau who frantically explained last week why she closed operating rooms and cancelled patient surgeries to deal with Vancouver Coastal's projected $40-million shortfall.
But the cancellations were reversed after B.C. Liberal Health Minister George Abbott couldn't take the heat for his government's underfunding of the region.
In any ordinary government one might expect that a moonlighting top executive paid a king's ransom who can't balance the budget and embarrasses her employer would be shown the door.
But not in B.C. Instead Abbott tried to shift the blame by firing the rookie chair of Vancouver Coastal, Trevor Johnstone, when the responsibility clearly lies elsewhere.
Holding a part-time board chair accountable for Vancouver Coastal's fiscal follies is as ludicrous as letting your CEO jet off to Shell Canada meetings in Calgary up to 22 times a year.
Then neighbouring Fraser Health Region chair Keith Purchase quit because of government under-funding and the firing of Johnstone.
The new Vancouver Coastal chair, former Teck Cominco boss David Thompson, has likely been hired to get rid of Goodreau. Abbott tellingly informed media it's not the province which fires health authority CEOs but their boards and chairs.
So Goodreau may pay the price for failures that really should be blamed on the provincial government's continued underfunding and poor health-care management.
But Goodreau no doubt stands to cash in with a big severance package if terminated. And thanks to being allowed to sit as a Shell Canada director, Goodreau holds shares and deferred share units last evaluated at $330,000 to cushion any fall.
Nice work if you can get it.
Former BC president of federal Liberal Party Jamie Elmhirst's subpoena for Basi-Virk trial a surprise to federal Liberal Party President
Subpoena news for top Grit
By JORGE BARRERA, SPECIAL TO 24 HOURS
The president of the Liberal Party of Canada says she had no idea the outgoing president of her party's B.C. branch had been subpoenaed to testify in the province's political trial of the century.
Ontario Liberal Senator Marie Poulin said she only became aware after 24 hours contacted her about the issue yesterday.
"I did not know," said Poulin. "He might have told the party and he might not have told the party. I am not aware that he has or hasn't."
24 hours first reported that Elmhirst was subpoenaed to testify at the breach-of-trust trial of former provincial government aides David Basi and Bob Virk on Oct. 4, 2006. He quit as president Jan. 15, but did not mention the subpoena in his letter of resignation, said Poulin.
Elmhirst told 24 hours the subpoena had nothing to do with his resignation.
Elmhirst was a former aide to B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell and former Liberal cabinet minster David Anderson. He was also partners with Erik Bornmann and Brian Kieran as part of the now-defunct Pilothouse Public Affairs lobby firm.
Bornmann and Kieran will testify as Crown witnesses against Basi, Virk and a provincial government communications aide Aneal Basi during the trial which begins April 2.
Monday, January 29, 2007
Former Liberal Party of Canada in BC President Jamie Elmhirst was subpoenaed to testify in Basi-Virk trial 3 months before resigning
Former Liberal president to testify
By BILL TIELEMAN, 24 HOURS
The president of the Liberal Party of Canada's B.C. branch was under subpoena for over three months to testify in the upcoming breach of trust trial of former provincial government aides David Basi and Bob Virk before resigning his position in January.
Lobbyist Jamie Elmhirst quit as president Jan. 15 but was subpoenaed by police Oct. 4, 2006 to testify. His letter of resignation to the party makes no mention of the subpoena, instead stating he was leaving to concentrate on his business and upcoming wedding.
Elmhirst, a former aide to B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell and former federal Liberal cabinet minister David Anderson, was a business partner of Erik Bornmann and Brian Kieran in the now-defunct Victoria lobby firm Pilothouse Public Affairs.
Both Bornmann and Kieran will testify as crown witnesses against Basi, Virk and B.C. Liberal government communications aide Aneal Basi in the trial starting April 2.
On Dec. 28, 2003, the same day police searched the B.C. Legislature and other locations, a search warrant was executed on Pilothouse offices.
The charges allege that David Basi and Virk were bribed to provide confidential information on the $1-billion privatization of BC Rail to Bornmann, who was a lobbyist for OmniTRAX, one of the bidders. Aneal Basi is accused of money laundering.
Information obtained by 24 hours shows police served Elmhirst and Kieran with subpoenas Oct. 4, 2006 while Bornmann was subpoenaed on Sept. 28, 2006.
In an interview with 24 hours Elmhirst denied the subpoena had anything to do with his resignation as president.
"My reasons for resigning are contained in my letter," he said.
When asked if he informed the Liberal Party of Canada that he had been subpoenaed to testify in the Basi-Virk trial, Elmhirst said: "I don't have any comment on that."
But a national citizens' watchdog group says federal Liberal Party members should have been told about Elmhirst's upcoming role as a witness in the trial.
"The members of the party certainly have a right to know," Duff Conacher, coordinator of Democracy Watch, told 24 hours from Ottawa. "It's not something in that type of leadership position that should be kept from party members."
Elmhirst served as LPCBC president for two years.
Elmhirst took over as senior partner from Kieran on April 1, 2006 after Pilothouse was renamed K&E Public Affairs.
A variety of clients paid Elmhirst to lobby the provincial government in 2006 according to the Lobby Registry, including the New Car Dealers of BC, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, the British Columbia Association of Optometrists and the BC Dental Hygienists Association.
Elmhirst joined Mark Marissen, Paul Martin's former top BC supporter, in endorsing Stephane Dion for leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. Marissen was Dion's National Campaign Director for the campaign and is now co-chair of the Liberal Party's National Election Readiness Committee.
For more on the BC Legislature Raid case, related Tyee stories:
BC Leg Case Lurches to Life
Erik Bornman: 'Spiderman' in a Web of Intrigue
Leg Raid Case: New Charges, New Questions
Premier Scrambles to 'Restore Trust'Raids: How Big a Scandal?
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Norman Spector and I join Bill Good on CKNW AM 980 at 11 a.m. today to talk federal and provincial politics after being bumped Monday by Pickton Trial coverage.
Tuesday January 23, 2007
By BILL TIELEMAN
If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.
- John F. Kennedy, Jan. 20, 1961
Here's a simple question: If you were in charge of the B.C. government would you spend $25 million to help the homeless or would you instead give that money to millionaires?
The answer, if you are B.C. Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell, is obvious - the millionaires get it.
And that's exactly what Campbell and Finance Minister Carole Taylor have done, with surprisingly little reaction.
Taylor announced this month that the threshold for receiving the annual homeowner grant to reduce property taxes would be raised to $950,000, a full $170,000 more than in 2006. In other words, you can own a house worth nearly a million bucks and still have the government give you $570 - or $845 if you are 65 or older.
Taylor and Campbell's generosity means 41,000 people with valuable properties who would have received no grant or a reduced one will now get the whole enchilada.
Meanwhile, more than 2,000 homeless wandering the streets of Vancouver alone can politely beg for chump change or scavenge bottles for nickels and dimes.
Doesn't this strike anyone as a completely absurd set of priorities?
And don't worry about "house-rich" seniors who allegedly can't pay their property tax bills - the province also underwrites a tax deferment program that allows cash-strapped home owners over 60 years old to put off tax payments till their property is sold or transferred.
Over 11,000 B.C. seniors benefit from this subsidized program, which currently charges a below-market rate of four per cent interest on deferred taxes.
The Carnegie Community Action Project is about the only group outraged by the government's decision.
"The province is revealing their ignorance or their priorities by not coming up with a detailed plan to end homelessness," CCAP's Wendy Pedersen told 24 hours. "It's a matter of life and death. Millionaires are not suffering."
Pedersen estimates the value of the threshold change to be about $25 million.
But this well-heeled government really doesn't care. After all, when Campbell said in October that the shelter allowance for people on income assistance would finally go up he also said it wouldn't happen until February's budget.
That left those on welfare trying to find shelter for as little as $325 a month for another five months of winter - and with no promise the increase will be significant.
Campbell said then of homelessness that: "The situation we see in our streets today is not acceptable." "But he's done nothing to deal with it.
However when it comes to Campbell helping out homeowners who are getting richer and richer as property values soar, he can't act soon enough.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Erik Bornmann article on Wikipedia proves highly controversial: a tale of intrigue and attack of the "Sock Puppets"
"Sock puppets" - A sock puppet is an additional username used by a Wikipedian who edits under more than one name. The Wikipedian who uses a sock puppet may be called a sock puppeteer. Use of sock puppets is discouraged in most cases.
"Sock farm" - is of course the home of the sock puppetsSo here are just a few excerpts, particularly ones that target my articles. [Emphasis added by me.]
I removed the editorializing about tactics used during the Paul Martin leadership campaign. Let's leave that to the pundits and keep this encyclopedia about the facts. I also removed the Tyee link given that the author is a well known NDP political pundit.
I also question the appropriateness of including snippets of unproven allegations from police warrants. Again, this is an encyclopedia, not a compendium of breaking news about Bornman. I would suggest that we wait until all the information is out and allegations are proven or disproven before we start including them in a biography as fact.
It is entirely appropriate for the CBC to report on the contents of the warrants...it was news. But this is an ongoing story where new information comes out daily. Given that, it is difficult to give a definitive account as one would expect from an encyclopedia.
I am worried that the objective here from certain posters is to write the most negative bio of Bornman rather than the most accurate.
-- Sharon Rosie
Thats fine, but you'll notice that even in Bill Clinton's biography, that Whitewater are mentioned. When evidence contradicts what has been raised by the RCMP, then add it, but don't sabotage info that is public and widely known now.
Slander & Harrassment
Some users continue to put Wikipedia at risk by posting information on the "Erik Bornmann" that is simply untrue.
Typically this information is sourced to political blogs and or commentators. Bornmann is Crown witness and it is evident that individuals either sympathetic to those that have been criminally charged or subscribing to different political views are attempting to ruin his credibility by making slanderous and outlandish edits to this page.
This is similar to the type of activity we've seen on other wikipedia bios for political figures. This is not a court nor the floor of a legislature and these posts have no place here.
I am disturbed by the fact that this has become a forum for cronies of those that have been criminaly charged to attack an individual that has come forward to testify on behalf of the crown. Wikipedia must be concerned by the fact that the encyclopedia is being abused in this way. I encourage others to remain vigilant in preventing this continued abuse.
--rascalpatrol 01:08, 01 December 2006 (UTC)
All of the sourced material was purged by a sock before Proto got here, so I restored it. A total of 18 socks, not counting Rascalpatrol were confirmed as sockpuppets by a request for check user, including Randy3, who keeps deleting material and adding Bornmann's photography website here.
I don't have time right now to work on this, but Proto's right - everything needs to be sourced properly, even non-controversial statements.
Bobanny 17:36, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Can some of the references obtained for this article be lifted across?
I think what you mean is can they be migrated to BC Legislature Raids - ?? Necessarily they're often the same sources/references; those deleted from here (and slowly being restored) were also deleted from BC Legislature Raids ("the Ledge Raids" or "Ledgegate" for short btw), and so are also hidden in that article's edit history; for the usual "reasons" - that the columnist is an NDP (socialist party) or that the Straight or the Tyee is "leftist", or for whatever other non seqitur-ish reason.
Fortunately, some of Wikipedia regular contributors on a wide variety of topics have joined with Wikipedia's volunteer administrators to restore material previously deleted and to ban the "sock puppets" efforts to remove factual and documented information.
Unfortunately, you will not find a single reference to the several articles I have written for http://www.thetyee.ca/ at the Wikipedia website. This despite the fact that I have probably written more on Erik Bornmann and the BC Legislature Raids than any other journalist.
I have no problem if anyone wants to criticize me for my political views, which are well-known and never hidden.
But I am extremely vigorous in ensuring factual accuracy and documented sourcing in all my articles, as are my editors.
I would hope that Wikipedia not allow unknown individuals with unknown motives to remove factual content and links to published material on a matter of significant importance to British Columbians and Canadians.
Meanwhile, Bornmann's own website continues to trumpet his good works as well as his photography!
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Tieleman opposes Tsawwassen Treaty between First Nation and Provincial, Federal Governments over farmland exclusion from Agricultural Land Reserve
New treaty a sham
By BILL TIELEMAN
One does not sell the land people walk on.
- Crazy Horse, Lakota warrior, 1875
The tentative treaty between the Tsawwassen First Nation and the provincial and federal governments must be rejected.
It is totally unacceptable that the treaty terms would take 207 hectares of valuable farmland out of the Agricultural Land Reserve and turn it over to the Roberts Bank port terminal for container shipping expansion. And a further 278 hectares of farmland could also be turned into an industrial wasteland.
One can only hope that the Tsawwassen First Nation members themselves will vote against this agreement for that reason, even though it is worth well over $120 million.
But if not, it is up to the British Columbia Legislature to vote to send the treaty back for renegotiation.
Unfortunately, what should be a positive development in B.C.'s long history of neglect of rightful aboriginal land claims is instead a looming disaster that would both destroy precious farmland and discourage future treaty settlements.
The reason is clear - the treaty with the Tsawwassen First Nation is wrongly being used by the provincial and federal governments to remove farmland from the Agricultural Land Reserve that could never be taken out otherwise.
And the enormous increase in land value that comes from paving it over to expand the port is being used to pay for the deal.
This isn't about helping aboriginal people up - it's about helping big corporations out. It's about using a treaty to do the unthinkable - turn productive farmland into an asphalt parking lot for containers shipped from China.
That's just wrong.
Fortunately some Tsawwassen First Nation members are expressing opposition.
"I want to see some guidelines. I don't want to see containers stacked up. It will be a real eyesore," TFN member Bertha Williams told the Delta Optimist last month.
No one should blame the Tsawwassen First Nation for doing the best it can to improve its members' circumstances.
But the B.C. Liberal government is another matter.
Premier Gordon Campbell can easily give the Tsawwassen First Nation the significant financial compensation it deserves from the government' $2-billion surplus this year.
Instead his government is using the Tsawwassen First Nation treaty as a way to pull farmland out of the Agricultural Land Reserve and to save money while doing so.
The Dave Barrett NDP government introduced the ALR in 1973 to preserve B.C.'s rapidly disappearing farmland from both residential and industrial development.
Today's NDP MLAs need to continue that tradition by fighting to preserve the ALR while continuing to push for fair treaties for First Nations. Liberal MLAs should do the same.
Monday, January 15, 2007
Basi-Virk Trial Date Finally Set - April 2, 2007; Defence to Challenge Wiretap Evidence, Search Warrants Used In BC Legislature and Other Raids
And lawyers for the defence indicated that they will challenge the wiretap evidence and the search warrants executed over three years ago on December 28, 2003 on the BC Legislature and other private and commercial premises through a Charter of Rights challenge to be heard on March 5.
Defence lawyers will also file another disclosure application on February 26, seeking more information from the Crown.
In a short 20-minute session marked by cooperation between defence lawyers and the special prosecutor, Justice Bennett set March 7 at 9 a.m. for an update on progress on disclosure of evidence in the RCMP Project Room, as granted in a previous hearing.
The examination of Project Room information should be completed in a couple of days, Justice Bennett was told.
Regrettably I could not attend today's hearing but am indebted to a reporter who was there for this update information. CKNW Radio AM 980 ran several stories today on the hearing.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Tuesday January 9, 2007
Another poll mystery
By BILL TIELEMAN
Leaders do not sway with the polls. Instead, they sway the polls through their own words and actions.
What people in Vancouver think about key political and city issues must be extremely important because someone is spending a lot of money to find out.
24 hours has uncovered yet another mystery poll asking questions about Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan and city council, how you would vote in a federal election, whether the safe drug injection site should be closed, new federal Liberal leader Stephane Dion, privatized health care and other issues.
Last month 24 hours reported on mystery polling conducted by Justason Market Intelligence that asked questions about Sullivan's performance and potential opponents. While Sullivan's Non-Partisan Association said it did not commission the poll, 24 hours has learned that key Sullivan supporters financed the research, which has yet to be released.
And now national polling firm Decima Research confirms that it conducted an Internet poll of Vancouver residents last month. Two readers contacted 24 hours to provide poll questions.
Cam Davis, Decima's Vancouver-based senior vice-president, said the online poll of about 700 people is an omnibus poll where different clients can put questions in for a fee but declined to name those clients.
"It's proprietory. If they want to release it, that's their business," Davis said. Decima posed some questions itself and will likely release results later in January, he added.
Many questions are clearly political. One asks: "Do you think Stephane Dion, the newly elected leader of the Liberal party will be more, the same or less sympathetic to the interests and needs of Vancouver than previous federal leaders?"
Sullivan is the topic for another question: "Are you very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied with the job that the Mayor of Vancouver is doing?"
Respondents are also asked about the controversial for-profit medical clinic recently opened by Dr. Mark Godley: "Do you think that the Urgent Care Clinic that recently opened in False Creek should be allowed to offer emergency services at additional fees?"
And one question ominously raises the possibility of TransLink rationing automobile access to Vancouver: "Would you support or oppose allowing cars with some licence plates into downtown on some days, and other cars other days?"
The online poll asks whether respondents would increase, maintain or decrease Vancouver tax funding for police, fire, library, parks and recreation, social and community and streets and traffic services.
But a city spokesperson says Vancouver is not sponsoring questions on the survey. Davis said Decima does similar polls in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa and will continue polling Vancouver residents this year.
Nice to know our opinions count - and are worth a lot of money.
BLOG EXTRA - All the polling questions:
Are you very satisfied, satisfied, dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied with the job that the Mayor of Vancouver is doing?
Are you very satisfied, satisfied, dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied with the job that the City Council of Vancouver is doing?
Are you very satisfied, satisfied, dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied with the job that Translink is doing?
Are you very satisfied, satisfied, dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied with the job being done by the police in the greater Vancouver area?
Vancouver and the surrounding area, please tell me if you feel things have been getting better, getting worse or not changing in the last while, in each of the following areas?
Prefer not to say
The overall quality of life
The level of racial tolerance
The services provided by local government
The cost of local government
The amount of traffic
Public safety from crime
Care for the disadvantaged
Thinking about the price of real estate in the greater Vancouver area over the next few years, is it more likely that: prices will rise sharply, will rise a little, will stabilize, will drop a little, or drop sharply?
And how about the neighborhood in which you live?
Do you feel local authorities are well prepared or poorly prepared to deal with the following types of emergency:
A major weather or other natural disaster?
A terrorist attack
Would you support or oppose each of the following measures?
Introducing tolls on roads, and use the money raised to reduce Translink fares
Allowing cars with some license plates into downtown on some days, and other cars other days
Introducing more high occupancy lanes to encourage car pooling
Increasing the number of bicycle lanes
Have you or someone in your household, experienced the following challenges in getting the health services you need?
Long wait for an appointment with a medical specialist
Long wait for a surgical procedure
Long wait for an MRI or similar test
Inability to find a GP taking patients
Do you think that the Urgent Care Clinic that recently opened in False Creek should be allowed to offer emergency services at additional fees?
Yes No Not aware of clinic No opinion Prefer not to say
Should Vancouver's Supervised Injection Site for drug addicts be closed?
Yes No Don't know No opinion Prefer not to say
What is the single most important issue you would like to see addressed to improve the overall quality of life in your area?
Transportation, traffic congestion
Improve public transit/lower transit fares
Prefer not to say
Do you feel that we should increase funding, maintain funding or decrease funding for each of the following?
Community and Social Services
Streets and Traffic Services
Parks and Recreational Services
Would you support an increase in your taxes in the next city budget to fund additional social housing?
Yes No Prefer not to say
Did you vote in the last municipal election?
Yes No Don't know Not applicable
If a federal election were being held tomorrow, do you think you would be voting for...
Wouldn't vote Don't know No answer
Do you think Stephane Dion, the newly elected leader of the Liberal party will be more, the same or less sympathetic to the interests and needs of Vancouver than previous Federal leaders?
Prefer not to say
Demographic questions on age, gender, education, employment status and income followed.
Friday, January 05, 2007
Christy Clark will definitely not run for federal Liberals in next election, despite rumours, encouragement
By Bill Tieleman, 24 hours
Former B.C. Liberal Deputy Premier Christy Clark will definitely not run for the federal Liberals under Stephane Dion, even with her husband Mark Marissen as national campaign manager.
Clark was unequivocal when a caller predicted on air Tuesday on CKNW radio, where she is filling in as host for Bill Good, that she would be a candidate for the Liberals.
“Christy Clark is shaking her head vigorously on that one. Not a chance. No Dave, Christy Clark is not running in the federal election, I can confirm that here and now,” Clark said.
Commentator Norman Spector, a former chief of staff to Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, encouraged Clark on air to reconsider.
“I’m very disturbed and disappointed to hear your statement Christy, because that was going to be my prediction too. I think you should run,” Spector said. “I think you would be a tremendous asset to the Parliament of Canada.”
But Clark wasn’t convinced.
“The reason – I’ve got a five-year-old Norman – I don’t want to get back into politics yet,” Clark responded.
Marissen was national campaign director in Dion’s upset leadership win in December. Clark left provincial politics in September 2004 to spend more time with her son but attempted to win the Non-Partisan Association nomination for Vancouver mayor the following year, losing to Sam Sullivan.
[NOTE: An edited shorter version of this story was published today in 24 hours newspaper]
Thursday, January 04, 2007
Ward won an award of $10,000 when BC Supreme Court Justice David Tysoe ruled yesterday that he had been wrongfully imprisoned and that jail officials had improperly tried to strip search him as well.
While Tysoe did not find police acted maliciously or oppressively it is hard to believe that Ward, a lawyer who has represented complainants in many high profile legal actions against Vancouver police, including the Jeff Berg case - Berg was killed during his arrest by police, was not at some point recognized by police or jail officials.
Ward also represents the family of Robert Bagnell, a man who died after being Tasered by Vancouver police while being arrested.
Ward points out that a simple apology from police for his mistreatment would have ended the matter but because of their refusal to admit wrongdoing, he pursued the matter in court and won.
Isn't it a bit ridiculous for police to:
a) assume a lawyer in his mid-40s is a pie throwing anarchist intent on creaming Chretien?
b) jail Ward even after he clearly identified himself as a lawyer?
c) refuse to apologize for an obvious mistake and instead cost taxpayers probably $100,000 to defend police and jail officials in court?
Good for Ward for sticking up for his rights - and the rights of anyone wrongfully accused, detained and jailed!
Ward continues to pursue a class action lawsuit on behalf of individuals who were detained and strip searched in violation of the Charter of Rights
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Tuesday January 2, 2007
Black fuel not green
By BILL TIELEMAN
Coal - Environmental enemy No. 1
- The Economist magazine, July 2002
Did you enjoy getting the big lump of coal B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell left in your Christmas stocking over the holidays?
That's right - at a time of rapid climate change, global warming and melting Arctic ice shelves, the B.C. Liberal government is promoting the use of coal - a dirty fuel that powered the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s.
BC Hydro has granted contracts to produce electricity from coal to two corporations which will build plants in Princeton and Tumbler Ridge by 2010.
That's despite a poll commissioned by BC Hydro in 2005 found that 74 per cent of British Columbians oppose coal-fired electricity.
It's part of BC Hydro's call for all-private power - another government policy - that resulted in 38 contracts being awarded to energy companies, with 29 hydro projects, three wind power, two biomass and two waste heat.
But it's the two coal power plants that are the focus of environmental group outrage. Together they could produce as much as 28 per cent of all the new electricity contracted by BC Hydro.
So don't believe what the government and BC Hydro say about green power - their biggest single new source of power is coal and their hype is hot air.
The citizens of Princeton, where the new coal-fired power plant will produce 56 megawatts of electricity by burning coal and wood waste, don't believe it. They are fighting back, with 1,100 letters of protest already signed.
So is the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, which says the two coal power plants would increase B.C.'s greenhouse gas emissions from energy sources by more than 135 per cent - the equivalent of putting 457,000 additional cars on our roads each year.
And the David Suzuki Foundation reports that B.C. government regulations allow those coal power plants to emit 300 times more sulphur dioxides per unit of electricity than the cancelled Sumas 2 gas-fired electricity project would have produced in Washington state.
Ironically, the B.C. government and Environment Minister Barry Penner were praised for opposing Sumas 2, and rightly so, since the American power plant would have made the air in the Fraser Valley even smokier.
But when it comes to coal and burning it in our own province, Campbell and Penner are saying bring it on and keep it coming for 30 years, because that's the length of each of the coal power contracts with BC Hydro.
It's a good deal for Compliance Energy Corporation, which is building the plant in Princeton and AESWapiti Energy Corporation in Tumbler Ridge.
For the rest of us it means increased pollution and more greenhouse gases in "the best place on earth" - unless the B.C. government changes its mind.
Don't hold your breath.