|Alex G. Tsakumis, Erin Chutter, Bill Tieleman at Brian Mulroney book launch in 2007|
I take no pleasure in responding to allegations posted on the blog of Alex G. Tsakumis today - no pleasure because Alex and I were once friends, until his behaviour ended that friendship suddenly several years ago. I have no intention to go into the details.
In his post dated October 17, 2012 and titled "The Conspiracy Theorists in BC Know the BC NDP Numbers are Somewhat Soft: A Fear on the Left that the Right Will Unite" Alex makes a number of negative comments and casts several aspersions regarding my blog post on the BC Conservative Party's troubles and a previous column on that party's AGM. Some posters on his blog do the same, along with his additional commentary.
I will not engage in a lengthy debate on the merits of the BC Conservative Party's dissidents, what role the BC Liberal Party or its members have played in these events or my motivation for discussing these issues.
That I am a supporter of the BC NDP is hardly news and has always been well known. In the blog item, I clearly indicated some would reject what I wrote because of that but they should debate the information presented.
Alex also writes that: "NOT ONCE, did Tieleman pay tribute to John vanDongen–who is, naturally, everyone’s hero."
I appreciate the work that Abbotsford-South MLA John van Dongen has done on the Basi-Virk/BC Rail case as an intervenor in Auditor General John Doyle's application for legal fee documents - and I have lauded him in my column and blog for that on September 18, even starting with a strong quote from van Dongen. I attended at least part of every day of the BC Supreme Court hearing and spoke with van Dongen about it every day.
Later, after van Dongen quit the BC Conservatives and I was told he had been talking to BC Liberal MLAs Donna Barnett and Moira Stilwell, I called him up and interviewed him about it, as is only right, and reported his response.
I have not "gone quiet" on Basi-Virk - I've covered the case since day one on December 28, 2003, broken multiple stories, published a 10,000 word A-Z on Basi-Virk and will continue to report on it as I see fit and am able.
But I won't take criticism like that from someone who not once attended a session of the Basi-Virk pre-trial hearings or the trial over all those years.
Lastly, I do not disclose who my clients are any more than Alex discloses his clients or his sources of income or anyone else in the business world does.
Nor do I need to "explain myself" to Alex G. Tsakumis. Nor will I be posting anything on his blog.
UPDATE 7 p.m. - Alex G. Tsakumis tells me in an email that he attended seven pre-trial hearing days and one day of the trial - I accept his information and am happy to correct the record.
UPDATE Thursday 7 p.m. - Alex G. Tsakumis has posted another article criticizing me. I will refrain from much further commentary on it except to respond to this claim:
"When I was still his colleague in 2009, three times in six months, while my column’s popularity at 24 Hours had easily eclipsed his, he took shots at me in his Tuesday column space. I went to my then editor and asked if we were a team or not. I don’t mind taking criticism, but for a colleague AND FRIEND to despicably group me together with climate change skeptics that allegedly were taking bribes from major oil companies, was beyond the pale. If it was anyone else alluding to that, I’d have immediately sued.
You can read the column I wrote here and decide for yourself but the only mention of Tsakumkis was as follows:
Tsakumis quit 24 hours newspaper before he had read my column and before it was published.
He did not contact me to ask what I had written in the column that evening. I did not and do not have a "PR consultant friend" who was dating the editor.
I do not recall taking "shots" at Tsakumis previously - certainly at that point he and I were still friends and he had not raised concerns with what I had written.
Again, I regret this situation but I will leave it to my readers to judge for themselves what happened.