Friday, July 03, 2015

Translink Referendum's Final Shuffle...Ron Obvious Tries To Eat Hindsight Cake Whole.


Heaps of praise have been thrown around the conventional wisdom offices of the Twittmachinery the last 24 hours or so for Mr. Mason's 'insights' on why the plebiscite was was not a Martha Stewartish thing:

...The B.C. government which called this vote against the advice of nearly everyone tried to put its own positive spin on the outcome; the people have spoken; this is what democracies are all about; the mayors will need to go back to the drawing board. But that is so wrong.

This was a bungled project from the start, one so poorly conceived and rolled out by the province that it was effectively stillborn. Its only value now will be to serve as a textbook example of how not to hold a transit referendum. What a glorious waste of time.

Which is all fine and good.

Except why didn't his Obviousness tell his reader's this months ago.


And, of course, it's not like those paying attention couldn't see, right from the beginning, that the only real winners in this thing were going to be the flack-hackery.


This Day In Clarkland...Giving The Dean What He Wants.


From Mr. Shaw of the VSun:

VICTORIA — The B.C. government has asked the independent Ombudsperson to probe the botched 2012 firings of eight health researchers.

Health Minister Terry Lake has asked the legislature’s standing finance committee to refer the case to the Ombudsperson...

Which, of course, is why the Wizards of Equity Place had to move so fast.

The good Mr. Palmer had something to do with this?....Sure did.



Canada Day's Alright For (NotUke) Cover Fighting.


When we were kids our Dad bought home three LP's with the new record player.

I'm pretty sure one of them was Arlo's post-Alice grab-bag of Hobo songs. And if I'm wrong one of my brothers will correct me.

But I know for sure that one of them was also that last S&G album with all the hits.

When we were wearing out the grooves for the first time, I was pretty certain that the brains behind the operation was the tall kinda cool looking guy in the back.

And even though I didn't believe him at first back in those pro-Googlified times, my littlest brother (who later became the real musician) set me straight.

Who knew the little guy in the front would just keep on keepin' on for pretty much ever?


This tune came out much later.

By then we were living in Vancouver (the first time) and C. was running a daycare while I went to Gradual School and developed a somewhat problematic Revello addiction.

We bought the album on cassette.

I know it made it down to Berkeley but I'm not entirely sure it made it all the way back...

Other cover tunes currently in the rotation can be found...Here.


Thursday, July 02, 2015

This Day In Clarkland: Burying The Mt. Polley Report...


...Under the 'coincidental' same day release of the Transit Plebiscite (non) results.


Via the MoCo:

A report released by B.C.'s Information and Privacy Commissionerabout the Mount Polley Mine disaster last summer reveals that the province had information that indicated a potential safety risk that it did not disclose to local residents — but it didn't have to do so.

The commissioner examined records from the Ministry of Energy and Mines and the Ministry of Environment from January 2009 to August 2014.

The report found that the information the ministries had about the mine did not meet provincial requirements to share the risks to residents. However, they did have information about two events — a tension crack and a "freeboard incident" — that they could have disclosed nonetheless.

"With today's report, I have concluded that urgent circumstances are no longer required to trigger proactive disclosure where there is a clear public interest in disclosure of the information," said the commissioner Elizabeth Denham in a written statement...


The government had information that indicated a potential safety risk to to the public and the environment and they didn't tell anybody.

But, according to the 'rules' they didn't really have to tell anybody.

Therefore the actual disaster is an impetus for changing the 'rules' about actually telling people what is actually going on.

Just think about that for a minute, because...

I mean it's like the precautionary principle times negative eleventy billion infinities.



Crowd Sourcing For A Country.

Ya, sure...

They have only hit ~0.1% of their goal so far.

But 1.5 million euros and more than 90,000 contributors is, at the very least, some kind of statement don't you think?

This Day In Clarkland...'I Would Support A Corruption Inquiry'.

Rob Shaw of The VSun talks to Alana James...

In Australia:

The whistleblower whose concerns led to the investigation and firing of government health researchers is speaking publicly for the first time, and says B.C. should hold a full public inquiry into alleged corruption.

Alana James, who worked as a senior health information advisor in the Ministry of Health during the 2012 firings, said she wants a deeper probe into allegations she first raised about conflicts of interest, contracting, privacy breaches, data handling and financial matters involving ministry health research and contracting.

“I would support a corruption inquiry,” James told The Sun in an email exchange from Australia, where she now works as a lawyer.

“I would not support a review by the Ombudsperson.”

James would be a key witness in any review. Not only was it her concerns that first prompted the ministry investigation, but she has also kept key emails and documents about the initial stages of the government’s actions...


Whatever will the Dean say?

Go read Mr. Shaw's entire piece....Ms. James, who says the fired 8 were scapegoated, talks a lot about how this 'business' is much bigger and more endemic than anything that has been speculated on so far.
Merv Adey, who is on fire over at his blog, tells us about...The foreshadowing.


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

New Music Tuesday...'The Collection'.


There's a whiff of the earnestness of the sky pilot on 'em.

But what the hell...

I dig them anyway.

A more restrained, NPRish version (literally) of this tune, which is called 'The Gown of Green', can be found, here.

Their website, where you can buy their stuff, is here.

(and they'll be in Seattle in September)

Not that I'm suggesting that there is anything whatsoever wrong with the earnestness for earnestness sake...
Rod Mickleburgh has a solid 'B-List' of Canada Day songs up over at his place....Here.


This Day In Clarkland...Horse 1A Has Left The Stable.


From Mr. MacLeod of The Tyee:

After 17 years as an MLA and many years in cabinet, George Abbott is no longer a member of the BC Liberal Party that he once sought to lead.

"I made a decision not to renew [my membership]," he told The Tyee. "It wasn't a dramatic and instantaneous rip-up-the-card-and-burn-it kind of thing. This is something I've thought about for awhile."...

Horse 1A and bet-hedging and all that?....This.


This Day In Clarkland...They Don't Call Him The Dean For Nothing.


Last Thursday we noticed that Mr. Palmer of the VSun and the current Clarklandian Minister pretty much simultaneously came up with the 'idea' of taking the health care researcher firing mess to the Ombudsperson instead of setting up a public inquiry.

And then Mr. Horgan weighed in, as noted by Cindy Harnett of the VTC:

...B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan argued the province’s new ombudsperson, Jay Chalke, a former assistant deputy minister of justice who starts on July 2, would be in the position of investigating his former staff.

“I think that’s a pretty difficult start to a new job,” Horgan said. “It’s not fair to the individuals or the office.”...

And how did the 'Dean' of the Lotuslandian Legislative gallery respond, almost immediately, in his next column the following day (i.e. Friday)?


...The ombudsman, as noted here Thursday, has all the powers needed to get to the bottom things: summon witnesses, take testimony under oath, seek documents and so forth. The office is independent of government and reports directly to the legislature. And if past practice is any guide, an independent officer of the legislature can get the answers in a matter of months if not weeks, unlike public inquiries, which can drag on for years.

But the office is in transition, with outgoing ombudsman Kim Carter preparing to step down and her successor, Jay Chalke, not scheduled to take up a six-year term until July 1.

He comes highly recommended by both parties in the legislature. The New Democrats and the B.C. Liberals on the selection committee last month signed off unanimously on a report that said he has “an extensive background in … the conduct of fair and independent investigations.”

Sounds like an ironclad testimonial. But as the New Democrats among others pointed out, Chalke has served for the past few years as an assistant deputy in the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General.

The ministry would likely be drawn into any inquiry because of the outstanding question of who decided to put that business into the press release about the fired health workers being under police investigation.

In light of that concern, Chalke could chose to delegate the investigation to the deputy ombudsman or another official, as is permitted under the legislation for his office.

Before getting to that point, he would first have to agree that the office should take on the matter, and he can’t be asked to do that until he takes up his duties later next week. He could refuse, after concluding that this mess was the last thing he needs as the new watchdog on the block.

The Ombudsperson Act does say that the “the legislative assembly or any of its committees may at any time refer a matter to the ombudsperson for investigation and report.”

In that event, the ombudsman must 1) investigate and 2) report back. So if the government really wanted to engage the office, it could proceed by bringing in a motion when the house sits July 13...


Notice how that wee little matter of a potential conflict of interest was deftly swept under the rug by the good Mr. Palmer.


By Sunday that noted deep thinker and all around deep sea 'both-sides-do-it' diver, Mr. Smyth of The Province, went out of his way to try and turn the three-day-old 'Ombuddy Solution' into conventional wisdom:

...Watch for the government to appoint provincial ombudsman Jay Chalke to investigate and produce a public report. It’s not the full public inquiry critics are demanding, but Chalke has the power to subpoena documents and witnesses.

The announcement of such an inquiry may come soon — before the legislature resumes sitting for a rare summer session starting July 13...

Sure Mr. Chalke has the 'power'.

But here's the thing...

Would the Clarklandians, and more specifically, Attorney General Ms. Suzanne Anton, actually let him wield it, especially if his preliminary investigations led him to the 'Executive Council' (i.e. the Clarklandian inner sanctum)?

Reader GWest sent us to the heart of that matter's darkness in the actual Ombudsperson's Act.

Section 18 to be exact:

Attorney General may restrict investigative powers

18 (1) The Ombudsperson must not enter any premises and must not require any information or answer to be given or any document or thing to be produced if the Attorney General certifies that entering the premises, giving the information, answering the question or producing the document or thing might

(a) interfere with or impede the investigation or detection of an offence,

(b) result in or involve the disclosure of deliberations of the Executive Council, or

(c) result in or involve the disclosure of proceedings of the Executive Council or a committee of it, relating to matters of a secret or confidential nature and that the disclosure would be contrary or prejudicial to the public interest.

(2) The Ombudsperson must report each certificate of the Attorney General to the Legislative Assembly not later than in the Ombudsperson's next annual report.

Do you see what's really going on here now?

There's a Club?....You bet there is.
Up next...The public inquiries that Mr. Palmer did NOT tell you about when he wrote the original 'Ombuddy Solution' column...Stay tuned...


Friday, June 26, 2015

The Notorious RBG Is...


For the uninitiated, that would be Ruth Bader Ginsburg.