by Harvey Oberfeld
May 9, 2021
I’ve been sounding the alarm for months: warning how the BC NDP government has been “playing” and “spinning” the BC media … turning too many of them into government messengers, spokespersons and even cheerleaders.
I prefer a media that is challenging, critical, cynical and, yes, even a bit antagonistic towards politicians who control billions of dollars of public monies and can sign Orders and pass laws that impose restrictions on our lives and our civil rights.
Nothing personal: it’s just the media’s JOB … whichever party is in power!
Now, the BC media … or at least SOME of them … are waking up.
What a terrific story, by Nathan Griffiths, in The Vancouver Sun Thursday!
The headline :” Leaked reports show B.C. health authorities withholding data from the public” said it all.
Despite promises of “transparency”, the NDP’s appointed health officials have been holding back massive amounts of details they had about EXACTLY WHERE the highest spikes in Covid spread were occurring.
Political correctness trumping the public’s right to know? Afraid of embarrassing NDP-supporting neighbourhoods? Covering up ethnic-related Covid spread data? Worried about revealing certain areas are consistently ignoring Public Health Orders?
” A pair of internal reports leaked from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control highlights that health authorities in B.C. are only releasing a fraction of their available COVID-19 information to the public,” Griffiths reported.
” The reports include neighbourhood-level information on case and vaccination counts, for example, a level of detail the Centre has so far refused to make public despite repeated calls from academics and researchers. The city of Toronto regularly publishes neighbourhood-level case and vaccination data, as well as breakdowns by age, income and ethnicity,” the Sun article revealed.
You can read the entire Vancouver Sun expose here: https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/covid-19-leaked-reports-show-health-authorities-withholding-data-from-the-public.
But why did it take a leak to get this information?
For months, the Health Minister and Dr. Bonnie Henry have been mesmerizing the media with all kinds of stats, including not just Covid cases, but also numbers of rubber gloves ordered, face masks acquired, hospital bed capacity … yada, yada, yada.
I’d bet most British Columbians would rather know EXACTLY WHERE the big outbreaks are occurring … and EXACTLY WHO is making it so difficult for the rest of us to put this &*%# pandemic behind us.
And that wasn’t the ONLY lack of transparency by the BC NDP government revealed last week!
On Tuesday, CTV News at Six had a superb piece of investigative journalism about a BC government Public Health official “fired amidst a spending scandal”.
Benoit Morin was paid $352,000 a year by the NDP government as President and CEO of the BC Provincial Health Services Authority for just one year, before being removed, reported CTV’s Penny Daflos.
“On top of his salary … taxpayers paid for an entire year’s rent of $4,500 per month, as well as six months furniture rental ($36,914), utilities and miscellaneous expenses, totaling more than $115,000,” Daflos revealed.
Revealed? Yes, because CTV had to undertake the time, effort and cost to file a Freedom of Information demand to get the 172 pages in documents detailing what happened in Morin’s case.
“Morin came under investigation following allegations he initiated hundreds of thousands in unnecessary renovations to the PHSA offices and thousands on catered lunches for executives, while signing a deal for $7 million worth of face masks that were poor quality and unusable,” Daflos reported.
“He’s being fired specifically, or dismissed I should say, without cause, which means he will receive severance consistent with his contract, which I believe is nine months,” Health Minister Adrian Dix told CTV.
That works out to $264,000.
Take that … BC taxpayers!
No wonder the NDP government didn’t release all that information until CTV won its Freedom of Information case.
Some transparency, eh!
Friday, Vancouver Sun Columnist Vaughn Palmer took note: “Vaughn Palmer: NDP fails three tests in a week of its promise of openness”.
” The past week has featured three tests of Premier John Horgan’s promise of openness and transparency — and his NDP government failed all three,” Palmer wrote.
He cited the withheld Public Health reports, as well as government officials’ refusal to make public the business plan behind a “decision to set up a Crown corporation to oversee $500 million worth of investments in venture capital and other B.C. based businesses.”
Why? No public “right-to-know” there!
Palmer also pointed to “the Horgan government’s deliberate withholding of information was also on display in the fight against the Site C project by the West Moberly First Nations”.
Read all of Palmer’s revelations here: https://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/vaughn-palmer-ndp-fails-three-tests-in-a-week-of-its-promise-of-openness.
So glad to see the BC media … some of them at least … are waking up to realize the public wants, deserves the TRUTH, answers to HARD questions, the FULL story …not just the NDP message-du-jour spun out by government Ministers … and their hired help.