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I started the week pissed off – make that Tuesday morning when I saw an article in the Province from a guy named Marsden who writes in the Calgary Herald and tells us in British Columbia that we ought to be grateful for the opportunity of transporting Alberta’s Tar Sands – that atmosphere-ravisher and source of catastrophic leaks – to market. I don’t begrudge him his opinion – what I’m sick to death of is the Postmedia press.

Where the hell are the sharp-eyed journalists of old that would have eaten this guy alive? Our local guys are almost all let go. We have no political cartoonist unless you count Harrop in the Sun, who’s incapable of drawing faces, and we have two editorial pages that serially kiss the ass of business. On the question of cartoonists, where is Krieger, who is brilliant? The last time I asked that question the Province sued me – yet, I ask again, where is Krieger?

I ask the editors of the two excuses for newspapers this simple question: would you please scour the morgue and find me one line of criticism editorially or by your two political columnists of fish farms, “run of river projects” and the slow-but-steady bankrupting of BC Hydro, of pipelines and tanker traffic? Just a line.

I recognize that Palmer and Smyth have families to feed and kids to educate and were I in their shoes I probably would write what my editor wanted and I would ignore topics that were, wink, wink, off limits. But, gawdamitey, Palmer almost singlehandedly brought NDP premier Glen Clark down and did so by holding his feet to the fire. Nothing sensational, just good old journalistic skepticism.

What happened? Ten years on the NDP’s case but, since 2001, 12 years of canoodling with the Liberals!

The week got worse when Damien sent me some stuff about out of province corporate donations from oil barons to both the BC Liberal Party and the NDP.

And where did he get this information? From the Vancouver Sun? Nay.

From the Province, then?

Nay again, it was from 24 Hours the throwaway free paper which, along with Metro and the occasional bit in the BC section of the Toronto Globe and Mail (it is very occasional), are the “journals of record” for this news-starved province.

One man, Allan Paul Marking, an Alberta Oil dude, gave $150,000 to the Liberals. Alberta oil companies Encana and Cenovus gave them $68,000 and Texas based Spectra Energy gave $33,000. Many made donations to the NDP too, just in case.

No one can be surprised at these gifts – after all it’s all neat and legal. What I do criticize is the lack of mainstream media attention.

This isn’t brain surgery here. The man who pays the piper calls the tune. If you think that this money doesn’t make Premier Clark think nice things about them when she’s making her pipeline decisions, you must believe in the Great Pumpkin.

What is extraordinary about all this is that for the public to get the truth they must read online journals like this one and thetyee.ca, which, along with many others, do a first class job. They may not get the readership of the Postmedia papers – yet – but that’s because the old papers do stuff on cars, stock markets, real estate, etc, that are beyond the ken of these websites.

It’s bad enough that we have such crappy papers that rely on “foreign” columnists, but the killer is that the great issues of the world pass unnoticed and uncriticized. The press has unusual protection, constitutionally giving them wide freedoms to keep the “establishment” reasonably covered, yet they consistently flout these rights and have become house organs for big business, government and the “establishment” in general.

It is truly to weep.

3 Responses to “How Alberta oil companies bought the BC election – and the media missed it”

  1. r says:

    Has msm corprate media been sidelined/marginalized to press release journalism.?
    no political cartoonist because,as you know a picture is worth a thousand words.

  2. Rod Pugh says:

    At least the political reporters have an excuse… They need a job.
    There is NO excuse for my fellow British Columbian’s, who voted liberal.
    Obviously a minority learned while growing up that fairy tails and reality are different…
    We can blame liberals for a lot, but the responsibility belongs to each citizen, exercised at ballot box.

  3. Rod Pugh says:

    Rafe you are holding the steer from the manure end! Oil companies did not by the election, period.
    British Columbian gave it to them at distress sale prices!
    We have come to the stage where my fellow citizens have committed us to a path of extreme pain if not bankruptcy. They have endorsed a government that will be forced by financial constraints to strip its citizens of health-care, ferry system, electric power system, child protection, disabled persons and those whose luck ran out.
    Our citizens have endorsed a system of corporate welfare not seen since the time Charles Dickens. My grand children will face a future complete with the Poor law, Work house, and the Treadmill. Actually the Treadmill is already here condemning most to a lifetime of minimum or nearly minimum part time jobs. You can even open a mine and bring your workers with you…

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