Odd times at the Mother Corp. on the Left Coast.
Richard Zussman is now the ex-CBC reporter at the British Columbia Legislature, after being fired for co-writing a book about the sensational 2017 transition from the BC Liberals to the NDP with a reporter from a competing media company, Postmedia’s Rob Shaw. Zussman hasn’t spoken publicly and CBC has only vaguely addressed the controversy, claiming the termination was not “simply for co-authoring a book.” CBC spokesman Chuck Thompson said there were breaches of the code of conduct, conflict of interest and the collective bargaining agreement.
If not for this, Zussman would most certainly have reported from Victoria on the momentous Dec. 11 announcement that the NDP government would carry-on with the BC Liberal-started Site C dam, now estimated to cost BC Hydro ratepayers $10.7 billion.
One of those happy with the decision was Bill Tieleman, the former NDP strategist, part-time media commentator and West Star Communications public relations consultant and lobbyist. CBC called upon him, along with BC Liberal pundit Alise Mills, for its B.C. Political Panel on the 6 p.m. Vancouver News with anchor Dan Burritt.
The segment began 38 minutes into the telecast. Tieleman and Mills agreed for once — that Premier John Horgan made the right decision to keep building the dam.
Burritt, however, did not mention one of the major reasons why Tieleman is pro-Site C.
Tieleman is a registered lobbyist for several labour unions that will benefit from the decision. He was involved in the public relations campaign for the pro-Site C Allied Hydro Council of B.C.
Tieleman’s registration with the Office of the Registry of Lobbyists for the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers – Local 118 described the objective to “Promote the creation and protection of private sector jobs, economic development and fair labour laws in regard to BC Hydro, Site C dam project and other infrastructure.”
The omission of the disclosure from the TV newscast was in stark contrast to the disclosure made on the earlier broadcast of CBC Radio One’s On the Coast with Stephen Quinn.
Host Quinn said this about Tieleman’s pro-Site C interests: “I will mention as well that Bill does communications work for some of the groups, including the B.C. Building Trades Council which represents construction unions, which are in favour of the Site C dam. So Bill does carry with him a particular point of view when it comes to this.”
Tieleman told theBreaker that he was not aware why there was no similar disclosure on the TV newscast or what the CBC TV policy is. “But I am, of course, willing to disclose anything they feel is pertinent to viewers,” he said.
News director Wayne Williams told theBreaker: “We should have known that and shared the information with our audience so that they could understand that context for how Mr. Tieleman responded.”
Burritt offered a clarification on the Dec. 12 newscast: “In the interest of complete transparency, we failed to tell you at that time last night that Bill Tieleman has also done lobbying and communications work for groups including the Allied Hydro Council and some of its affiliated unions which are in favour of Site C.”
Tieleman, who was the director of communications in Premier Glen Clark’s office in 1996, has 15 active registrations with the ORL to lobby Horgan and others in the NDP government on behalf of clients in the business, labour, health and cultural sectors: locals 115 and 963 of the International Union of Operating Engineers; Construction and Specialized Workers Union local 1611; International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada; Union of Canadian Transportation Employees; locals 111, 333 and 2200 of Unifor; Ironworkers Union Shop Local 712; Canadian Football League Players’ Association; Vancouver Native Housing Society; B.C. Naturopathic Association; CRM of Canada Processing; and Landcor Data Corp.
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