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Bob Mackin

On March 8, the Vancouver Park Board is scheduled to debate chair Camil Dumont’s motion to give one of Stanley Park Drive’s vehicle lanes to cyclists and reduce car and truck parking in Vancouver’s jewel until the end of October.

Stanley Park entrance on West Georgia (Mackin)

Expect irate park-based businesses, seniors and people with disabilities to vehemently oppose. They endured the two-month pandemic-inspired ban on motorists last spring, followed by another three months of single-lane vehicle traffic.

No doubt, they will be met by a peloton of proponents, spurred into action by a social media-savvy registered charity that depends on government funding and boasts sponsors in the construction and real estate industries.

Changes to the province’s lobbying laws mean Vancouver’s “bike lobby” is not some nebulous concept anymore.

Hub Cycling and the B.C. Cycling Coalition, of which Hub is a member, have registered provincially.

In its registration, Hub reported receiving $142,149 from an unnamed municipal government in the last 12 months, $6,000 from the Real Estate Foundation of B.C., $4,000 from University of British Columbia and $495,000 from Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure through January 2022.

“We did register for the B.C. Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists  — we are not, however, required to record municipal lobbying activities there as per your request about the City of Vancouver and Vancouver Park Board,” executive director Erin O’Melinn said by email. “In any case, our municipal advocacy is done by volunteers on our board and local committees.”

Hub Cycling’s executive director Erin O’Melinn (Twitter)

Documents obtained under freedom of information by [see below] show Hub billed Vancouver taxpayers $328,064.75 from 2017 to 2019 to organize elementary school training programs, Bike to Work Week repair and refreshment stations and the Bike the Night rally.

The payments also included $4,000 from city hall for matching funds for Hub’s research on how real estate design encourages cycling. The project also included cash support from the Real Estate Foundation of B.C., engineering firm Bunt and Associates, developer Boffo, architect Dialog and Urban Racks bike parking company. Urban Development Institute and Vancity Impact Real Estate were named as in-kind supporters.

Invoices for the 2019 Bike the Night rally show Hub’s events manager, Tracy Wilkins, charged $9,744 for subcontractor fees and O’Melinn $5,468.40. Wilkins joined city hall last month as a planning analyst.

In 2019-2020, Hub Cycling ran on a budget of almost $1.3 million. Of that, it reported $805,000 in staffing costs and $153,000 for subcontractors. The biggest source of funding, $715,000 was from governments, followed by $434,000 in private funding and donations. Only $52,500 from membership fees and $38,000 from courses and fees for service.

Hub’s lobbying at 12th and Cambie sparked bike lane construction on Hornby Street ($3.2 million), Point Grey Road ($6.5 million) and the Granville Bridge ($12.5 million). 

Hub is among the non-profits listed in the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy database, but O’Melinn did not say how much payroll help Hub received or how many jobs the subsidy supported. 

Hub engages in what Canada Revenue Agency calls “public policy dialogue and development activities,” which is legal, as long as it does not favour a specific party or politician.

Hub describes its policy and development work as “calls to political action (encouraging the public to contact their local councillors, park board commissioners, MLAs or MPs) to ask them to make cycling safer and more accessible.

Stanley Park Drive in late June 2020.

“Through its action campaigns, Hub Cycling led online petitions and participated in meetings in order to encourage the building of safer and more connected cycling facilities for all ages and abilities and better policy and education,” said the organization’s disclosure. “These activities relate to Hub Cycling’s charitable purpose of conserving the environment and improving the health of people in Metro Vancouver by encouraging cycling as a mode of transportation.”

Before the 2018 municipal elections, Hub sent a call to action to its members to repeat their 2014 effort, in-person and on social media, to elect cycling friendly politicians across Metro Vancouver.

“These leaders were key to building more than 50 important bike-friendly projects across the region. Our 10 local committees are active, each communicates with councils across the region,” read the Hub email to members. “Hub’s #UnGapTheMap campaign has encouraged municipal councils to close gaps in our cycling network.”

Business supporters on Hub’s website run the gamut from David Suzuki Foundation to Vancity Credit Union. The list also includes major real estate and construction players, some of whom stand to benefit from bike lane construction, including developers Shape and Wesgroup, development consultancy Pottinger Bird, engineering firm Ausenco and the region’s dominant cement supplier for roads and bike lanes, Lafarge.

Last year’s Stanley Park closures, which extended to the West End, left a legacy with a new bike lane on Beach Avenue. When it was installed in December, city hall said the cost was $250,000. 

Ultimately, the new bike lane is part of a bigger strategy, connected to the West End Waterfront Master Planning process. The council-approved project is marketed as a rethink to parks, beaches and other public space. This happens during a wave of upscale condo tower development around the West End, transforming the dense forest of apartment buildings into a resort district appealing to foreign investors who want to buy close to Stanley Park.

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HUB 2020-513 by Bob Mackin

Bob Mackin On March 8, the Vancouver Park

For the week of March 7, 2021:

A look back at the biggest time out in sports history.

When the World Health Organization declared the pandemic emergency on March 11, 2020, it had wide-ranging impacts. Including on the world of sports.

Sports economist Victor Matheson in Vancouver, June 28, 2018 (Mackin)

The NBA got the ball rolling with a cavalcade of postponements and cancellations.

Slowly but surely, sports did return last summer and fall. But there may not be a normal season until 2022. Assuming herd immunity is achieved, will fans be comfortable in big crowds at stadiums and arenas again? Will they have the same spending power as before?

Prof. Victor Matheson of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. is one of the world’s top sports economists. He was Bob Mackin’s guest in March 2020 and is back to break down the dollars and sense of the winners and losers as the pandemic turns into a race to vaccinate.

Plus hear TransLink executives finally clear the air about the ransomware attack that brought the transit and roads agency’s offices to a grinding halt.

Also on this edition, a commentary and headlines from the Pacific Rim and Pacific Northwest.

CLICK BELOW to listen or go to TuneIn or Apple Podcasts.

Now on Spotify!

Have you missed an edition of Podcast? Go to the archive.

Support for as low as $2 a month on Patreon. Find out how. Click here. Podcast Podcast Podcast: Anniversary of the sports world's big 2020 time out

For the week of March 7, 2021:

Bob Mackin

Staff at the Vancouver Convention Centre found an ominous Tweet and sent it to the organizer of the 2020 Pacific Dental Conference — British Columbia’s first-known coronavirus superspreader — the day before an infected person attended.

Pacific Dental Conference 2020 program: the event was B.C.’s first-known coronavirus superspreader.

“@VanConventions I was registered by our dentist to go to PDC but due to the coronavirus outbreaks, we cannot go. PLEASE POSTPONE THE CONVENTION FOR ANOTHER DATE!! DO NOT GO, I urge all of you not to go especially if you have little kids at home!!!” said the Tweet from an account with the handle @biggieshortye.

VCC client services manager Larry Scribner forwarded a screen grab to Shannon Brown, managing director of the March 5-7, 2020 conference, at 9:56 a.m. on opening day. Brown responded almost 20 hours later.

“Our current registration is at 14,735 and our sessions were running almost full yesterday so I’d say we didn’t really feel any drop in numbers on‐site,” Brown wrote.

Later on March 6, 2020, an infected person was on-site between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. — but the public was not told for almost a week.

At least 87 cases and one death, North Vancouver dentist Dr. Denis Vincent, stemmed from the conference, which is being held virtually this year. PDC plans to resume in-person March 10-12, 2022.

In June, Dr. Bonnie Henry called it a “sentinel event” and Health Minister Adrian Dix said in year-end interviews that he regrets not cancelling the conference.

Organizers claimed they had only 36 registrants from outside Canada and the U.S., but none from China, where the virus originated. The nationalities of the 36 were not disclosed in documents released under freedom of information to

Tweet that Vancouver Convention Centre staff forwarded to the Pacific Dental Conference organizer (BC PavCo/FOI)

The full extent of the superspreader is not publicly known. applied under the freedom of information law for a copy of the anonymized contact-tracing report, but Vancouver Coastal Health has refused to release it.

B.C. government officials have released more information about how the virus spread at a February 2021 pub trivia night in Port Moody than they have about the aftermath of a conference at a Crown corporation facility. Two dozen customers and four employees at St. James’s Well tested positive. The virus spread to a school, daycare and an RCMP detachment. 

Could the Pacific Dental Conference superspreader actually have been a megaspreader of global proportions?

A biotech company’s management conference in Boston in the final week of February 2020 sickened 100 of the 175 attendees. Research published in the journal Science estimates a whopping 300,000 COVID-19 cases around the world stem from the Biogen meeting at the Marriott Long Wharf Hotel.

Plan at the Pan

Coincidentally, Premier John Horgan, Henry and Dix held a news conference about the province’s pandemic response plan in the early afternoon of March 6, 2020 at the Pan Pacific Hotel’s Oceanview Room elsewhere in the Canada Place complex. The government event was over before 2 p.m.

On that day, Ministry of Health said there were 21 confirmed cases in B.C., of which four patients had fully recovered. One person was in the Vancouver General Hospital intensive care unit. B.C. Centre for Disease Control tested 2,803 samples for 2,008 people. A year later, after the virus went out of control, 83,107 were infected and 1,380 killed in B.C.

Facebook post that sparked officials to notify the public about a coronavirus exposure (BC PavCo/FOI)

Documents obtained by from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and Vancouver Coastal Health Authority show officials did not conduct a risk assessment prior to the conference. BCCDC was, however, concerned with ensuring that its Dr. David Patrick could add a 10-minute COVID-19 “recommendations and guidance” segment to his March 6 late-morning keynote speech.

It took another social media post to spur officials into action.

A message on the Vancouver Dental Professionals Facebook page read: “A friend just informed me: someone has coronavirus visited the Patterson booth at PDC. Our Patterson technician who was at the booth just phoned to reschedule our maintenance appointment cuz he’s asked to self quarantine.”

At 6:09 p.m. on March 11, Jocelyn Johnston, the B.C. Dental Association executive director, emailed Brown and VCH medical health officer Dr. John Harding about the Facebook post: “Yes, it is this bad… in the last 2 minutes I got a text and another 2 emails.”

Harding put together a news release, for publication at 10 a.m. the next morning. He asked B.C. Pavilion Corporation officials not to circulate until he did.

“I’m sharing with you in advance so that you have an opportunity to prepare your own messaging as appropriate,” Harding wrote at 7:36 p.m. on March 11.

Convention centre general manager Craig Lehto did not wait to inform staff.

Dr. Bonnie Henry (left), Premier John Horgan and Health Minister Adrian Dix on March 6, 2020 in Vancouver (Mackin)

His 7:12 a.m. internal memo on March 12 included a frequently asked questions sheet, but reassured them that the Public Health Agency of Canada and the BC Centre for Disease Control considered the risk of the virus low after a March 11 assessment.

“The affected attendee was onsite in the West building on March 6 from 2 pm and 4 pm, and spent a majority of their time at an exhibitor booth on the trade show floor,” Lehto wrote. “VCH has advised that the individual is recovering at home and there is no ongoing risk to the community, nor is there any further risk posed at the Vancouver Convention Centre. We have also confirmed with VCH that our enhanced cleaning and sanitations measures that have been used at the facility both during and following the conference are considered appropriate.”

Harding advised participants to monitor themselves for the next 14 days for fever, cough, headache or shortness of breath. As long as they remained healthy, there was no need to quarantine.

Four days later, on March 16, a memo from B.C. Dental Association president Dr. James Singer.

Singer referred to Henry’s order for participants to quarantine until March 22 and the College of Dental Surgeons’ recommendation to cancel all elective and non-emergency services.

Singer wrote that the BCDA consulted with the Provincial Health Services Authority about the conference on Feb. 24, and “at no time was the PDC asked by any public health representatives to halt the conference.”

The only evidence of any consultation on Feb. 24 released to was an email from Tara Leigh Donovan, the director of the Provincial Infection Control Network of B.C. PICNET is a division of the PHSA.

Email received by the B.C. government health emergency headquarters about the Pacific Dental Conference (FOI)

“I’m sure this is one of many conference/meeting gatherings but we thought it was worth noting,” Donovan wrote. “Majority of attendees are coming from across Canada and the Pacific Coast of North America with other smaller numbers from Europe. This may be of interest to Bonnie [Henry] and others.”

Brian Sagar, the senior director of communicable disease in the Ministry of Health, responded with a link to the Vancouver Convention Centre schedule and a remark: “Lots of big group gatherings in Vancouver in the coming months!!!”

Donovan also sent her message to the operations of the Health Emergency Coordination Centre in the Ministry of Health. 

However, on March 16, Henry had a different story for reporters in Victoria.

“No, I was not aware of the dental conference, we were not consulted on that,” Henry said. “It was at a time when I was advising that medical conferences in particular should not be held. But I’m very disappointed in that fact.”

On March 8, the day after the conference ended, B.C. recorded its first death from the virus, a man in his 80s at the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver. The World Health Organization declared a pandemic emergency on March 11, leading to mass-cancellations of PavCo-hosted events. The following week, the B.C. NDP government invoked a provincial state of emergency that continues to at least March 16, 2021. 

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Bob Mackin Staff at the Vancouver Convention Centre

Bob Mackin

The Vancouver NPA city councillor who frequents events with People’s Republic of China government officials refuses to comment after the House of Commons declared the Chinese Communist Party is committing genocide against Uighur Muslims.

Sarah Kirby-Yung and Jean Swanson at an event marking 70 years of Communist rule in China (Sun Wah Centre)

“No comment,” Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung said. “Foreign policy is not the jurisdiction of Vancouver city council. We have significant issues to focus on that are within our mandate, and they need our full attention.”

Kirby-Yung did not answer questions about why she is ducking the issue, after being involved in annual social media campaigns to commemorate one of the world’s worst genocides, the Holocaust. In July 2019, Kirby-Yung tabled a motion calling on city council to support the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance campaign to stop anti-semitism.

Kirby-Yung was the only member of Vancouver city council to attend a ceremony outside the Vancouver Art Gallery to mark 70 years of CCP rule on Sept. 28, 2019, where she posed for photographs with Consul-Gen. Tong Xiaoling. Kirby-Yung is married to Vancouver Police S. Sgt. Terry Yung, the chair of SUCCESS who is also involved in a Justice Institute of B.C. program that trains police from China.

Photo from Dawa News story on the Sept. 28, 2019 ceremony featuring Consul Gen. Tong Xiaoling and Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung

The House of Commons voted 266-0 on Feb. 22 to declare genocide and ask the International Olympic Committee to move the 2022 Olympics from Beijing if the atrocities continue. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal cabinet did not attend the vote. More than a million Uighurs are detained in concentration camps and recent reports indicate women have been raped and sterilized.

Unlike Kirby-Yung, her fellow NPA Coun. Colleen Hardwick said “good.”

“Clearly this is out of municipal jurisdiction but it’s encouraging that the federal government is standing up to the PRC, for once,” Hardwick said.

Other NPA councillors, Melissa De Genova and Lisa Dominato did not respond. Same for independent Rebecca Bligh and OneCity’s Christine Boyle.

Two of the three Green Party councillors agreed with Hardwick.

“I support the Government of Canada’s position,” said Coun. Adriane Carr. “Genocide must be strongly condemned and have consequences.”

“Yes! I support the decision at HOC,” said Coun. Pete Fry, whose mother, West End Liberal MP Hedy Fry, was among the 226.

Coun. Michael Wiebe said he had no comment, because “I want to ensure space on this critical topic.”

COPE Coun. Jean Swanson said she consulted former COPE Coun. Anne Roberts. “The treatment of the Uighurs is horrible. Whether it’s genocide is not clear, and there are other political factors that are complicating it,” Swanson said.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart, who discussed “sub-national co-operation” in a phone call with China’s ambassador to Canada last summer, did not respond.

Staff for Premier John Horgan ignored requests for comment. 

During last fall’s election campaign, asked Horgan about British Columbians concerned with China’s human rights abuses.

China consul general Tong Xiaoling, left, and Premier John Horgan on Feb. 4, 2019 in Richmond (BC Gov)

“I’m focussed on getting us all safely through the pandemic,” Horgan said. “That’s not to say we turn a blind eye to abuses in any corner of the world. Largely a federal responsibility, as you know, but I believe leaders have a responsibility to speak up when these issues arise.”

By contrast, Horgan has recently spoken out against new farming laws in India that favour corporations. The controversy has sparked mass-protests in the world’s second most-populous country and noisy car rallies in Surrey, Vancouver and Victoria.

Other B.C. politicians known to be friends of China also did not respond, including NDP secretary of state for international trade George Chow, BC Liberal tourism critic Teresa Wat, Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie, Richmond Coun. Chak Au and Burnaby Coun. James Wang.

The most-outspoken critic of China in B.C. politics is Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West, who appeared with Uighurs at a 2019 protest outside the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention while the Chinese government hosted a cocktail party.

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Bob Mackin The Vancouver NPA city councillor who

Bob Mackin

One of the two men charged with assault at a pizza take-out in Kitsilano is suspended from his job.

Brenton Thomas Woyat is an investment advisor at Canaccord Genuity in Vancouver. He has shut down his business website and LinkedIn and Facebook accounts.

Canaccord Genuity’s Brent Woyat (LinkedIn)

“We are incredibly disappointed to learn of a shameful incident of inexcusable behaviour involving one of our employees,” said a statement from the company to CTV News Vancouver reporter Allison Hurst. 

 “We take these matters very seriously. Immediately upon becoming aware of the incident, the employee was suspended without pay while we launch a thorough investigation of this matter. Canaccord Genuity rejects the disgraceful behaviours, opinions and actions of the individuals involved. They are in no way representative of our firm’s values.” 

Woyat did not respond to request for comment.

Woyat and James Henry Davidson were charged Feb. 20 with assault. A video obtained by CTV shows a male customer at the Pizza Pizza on Cornwall in Vancouver disputing staff requests to wear masks, as per the provincial health order.

“You guys are complete morons, COVID is a joke. You are completely brainwashed,” said the man, yelling as he wore a mask under his chin.

The same man claimed he was worth $50 million and told the employee that he was worth nothing.

(CTV News Vancouver)

Later in the video, the same two men were seen pushing and shoving a teenage male on the sidewalk of the strip mall.

Davidson appeared March 1 at Vancouver Provincial Court and his next date is April 9. Woyat’s first appearance is set for March 17. has been unable to confirm where James Henry Davidson works.

A man with the same name is the defendant in a B.C. Supreme Court lawsuit over a December 2017 two-vehicle crash in Hope.

The defence statement says the plaintiff was driving a BMW X3 and the defendant, identified as James Henry Davidson, was driving a Dodge Caravan that he owned. The lawyer for the Davidson in that case declined to comment.

A man with the same name was also sued in New Westminster Family Court on Valentine’s Day in 2019.

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Bob Mackin One of the two men charged

Bob Mackin

A lawyer for Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou said March 3 in B.C. Supreme Court that President Joe Biden is continuing where President Donald Trump left off, in an ongoing effort to “debilitate, if not destroy” the Chinese tech giant.

The second Trump vs. Biden debate (C-SPAN)

“This specific [5G] technology race has been referred to as the 21st century version of the arms race of Cold War years,” Richard Peck told Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes in Vancouver. “This is not hyperbole on my part, the U.S. sees China and advanced Chinese technological companies and, in particular, this company, as an existential threat to its prominence on the world stage.”

Peck was making the case that Trump abused the justice process in December 2018 when he said he might intervene if the U.S. could gain a better trade deal with China.

Meng was arrested at Vancouver International Airport Dec. 1, 2018 on a warrant from the U.S. seeking to try her on fraud charges for allegedly deceiving HSBC to gain a loan. 

“With that utterance [by Trump, on Dec. 11, 2018], Ms. Meng became a bargaining chip, a pawn in this economic contest between these two super powers. Those words amount to the opening salvo in this trade war,” Peck said.

Richard Peck (Peck and Co.)

Peck is seeking a stay of proceedings, but Canadian government lawyers argue that Trump never followed through on his words before leaving office on Jan. 20.

Peck said Trump “cast a pall” over the proceedings and reduced Meng “from a human being to a chattel.”

“In the annals of extradition law, it appears to be the first time the head of a requesting state has commented directly on the plight of the person sought and it follows that the first time that the head of the requesting state has publicly articulated a willingness, indeed an intent, to intervene.”

Peck cited similar statements by others in the Trump administration, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Attorney General Bill Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Yet, the China strategy predated Trump. Peck cited an Oct. 8, 2012 report to the House of Representatives intelligence committee identifying Chinese telecom companies as a threat.

Peck referred to several comments since Trump left the presidency, by new White House press secretary Jen Psaki and Biden himself. At the Feb. 23 virtual summit with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Biden said “human beings are not bartering chips. We’re going to work together until we get [Canadian hostages Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.s] safe return.”

The context is clear, lucid,” Peck said. “His comments relate specifically to Kovrig and Spavor, that’s the context. Secondly, Ms. Meng’s name is conspicuous by its absence. Thirdly it is in no way an express repudiation of the [Trump’s] words.”

Justin Trudeau, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and Xi Jinping (PMO)

Peck said the U.S. has subverted and destroyed the integrity of the process.

“The requesting state has not acted in good faith, this is an affront to what is fair, right and just, words used by a former chief justice, by its conduct we say is bereft of any right to seek the assistance of our courts. We say it’s the clearest of cases.”

Robert Frater, the top lawyer in Canada’s Department of Justice, called Peck’s argument overboard.

“The base of their claim is non-existent,” Frater said.

Arguments in this phase of the extradition process continue through Friday. The main extradition hearing is in May. Whatever the outcome, it is likely to be appealed.

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Bob Mackin A lawyer for Huawei CFO Meng

Bob Mackin

Two rookie politicians in Vancouver suburbs cashed-in on their political allegiances during last fall’s snap provincial election, has learned.

Delta MLA Ian Paton (left) and Coun. Dylan Kruger (Twitter)

Delta Coun. Dylan Kruger was paid $5,500 to work for Delta incumbent BC Liberal MLA Ian Paton’s re-election. Kruger is Paton’s former constituency office aide and was elected to the $62,788-a-year seat on Delta city council in 2018.

Kruger was the biggest expense on Paton’s post-campaign financial report to Elections BC.

New Westminster Coun. Nadine Nakagawa is also in her first term of office, which pays $50,000-a-year. She was one of two people paid $4,000 each to manage NDP candidate Tesicca Truong’s unsuccessful bid to unseat BC Liberal incumbent Michael Lee in Vancouver-Langara on Oct. 24. confirmed with city clerks in their respective municipalities that neither Kruger nor Nakagawa took a leave of absence from their council duties while being paid for partisan provincial campaign work.

Neither Kruger nor Nakagawa responded to interview requests. originally attempted to contact Kruger by email at 11:35 a.m. on Feb. 24. Instead of responding, Kruger rushed to add his contract with Paton’s campaign to his annual disclosure form. Delta city clerk Robyn Anderson confirmed that Kruger amended his Jan. 21-filed disclosure form at approximately 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 24.

Nakagawa was paid to manage and endorse Truong’s campaign (Twitter)

Kruger is a Delta-appointed director to the Metro Vancouver board and an alternate on the TransLink Mayors’ Council. He also works as a client manager at the Kirk and Co. consultancy, which has contracts with Port of Vancouver, TransLink, Metro Vancouver, Surrey Fraser Docks and the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

Nakagawa is a former constituency office aide to retired New Westminster NDP MLA Judy Darcy and has joined other left-wing politicians in presenting seminars at the Hollyhock new age resort on Cortes Island.

Nakagawa’s Jan. 3-filed disclosure form listed her only other source of income as “co-worker” at the Ablaze Services consultancy. The form did not list her work on Truong’s campaign.

Truong was rewarded in a Christmas Eve cabinet order with a $76,000-a-year job as an aide to NDP Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon.

Premier John Horgan called the snap election on Sept. 21, 2020, after the NDP had amended B.C.’s fixed election date law for an October 2021 vote.

Since the NDP banned corporate and union donations in 2017, B.C.’s big three political parties have taken a combined $14.5 million in direct taxpayer subsidies in addition to accepting tax-receipted donations from individuals.

Parties are also eligible for a 50% reimbursement of 2020 election campaign expenses.

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Bob Mackin Two rookie politicians in Vancouver suburbs

Bob Mackin

The health board that oversees the B.C. Centre for Disease Control said its top medical executive was not available for an interview March 1, after it prematurely claimed last week that she misspoke about a major delay in the vaccine rollout.

PHSA executive vice-president Maureen O’Donnell (LinkedIn)

As exclusively reported, Provincial Health Services Authority executive vice-president Dr. Maureen O’Donnell read from a script at the Feb. 18 board meeting that the province’s program to end the pandemic would take several months longer than the advertised Sept. 30 deadline.

“We’re continuing to roll out B.C.’s immunization planning and program, and the majority of the adult population is expected to be vaccinated by the end of the fall,” said O’Donnell. asked O’Donnell for further comment, but she did not attempt to clarify or correct what she told the webcast board meeting. Instead, the pediatrician, epidemiologist and associate professor at the University of B.C. referred a reporter to the PHSA communications department. Spokesman Ben Hadaway claimed on Feb. 24 that O’Donnell’s comment should have been “end of September.”

CLICK AND LISTEN: excerpt of Provincial Health Services Authority official Dr. Maureen O’Donnell from the Feb. 18 board meeting

But, on March 1, the province’s top doctor did not deny that the vaccine program would stretch well into the fall. Dr. Bonnie Henry announced second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines would be delayed four months so that a majority of B.C. adults would be half-vaccinated by the end of July.

“Does that mean everyone in B.C. will be fully immunized with a second dose now by November?” asked a reporter.

Henry said the shipments of doses from the two main manufacturers would continue to rise into the third quarter so that “second dose clinics” could begin in July.

Dr. Bonnie Henry on March 25 (BC Gov)

“You’re absolutely right,” Henry said. “We will be focusing on second doses starting in the summer.”

Henry said the efficacy of a single dose is higher than expected. But Pfizer said it disagreed with B.C.’s about-face.   

“Pfizer and BioNTech’s Phase 3 study for the COVID-19 vaccine was designed to evaluate the vaccine’s safety and efficacy following a 2-dose schedule, separated by 21 days,” said spokeswoman Christina Antoniou. “The safety and efficacy of the vaccine has not been evaluated on different dosing schedules as the majority of trial participants received the second dose within the window specified in the study design.”

On March 1, B.C. reported jabbing 275,681 people, including 83,777 who received a second dose.

Meanwhile, Washington state reported more than 1.67 million doses given.

Nearly 8% of Washingtonians are fully vaccinated, compared to fewer than 2% in B.C. Herd immunity will require between 70% and 90% of the public to be immunized.

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Bob Mackin The health board that oversees the

Bob Mackin

A suit was the single biggest, non-rent expense for Premier John Horgan’s Langford-Juan de Fuca re-election campaign.

Premier John Horgan during the 2020 election debate (B.C. Broadcast Consortium)

Horgan’s Elections BC filings show he spent $2,654 on “candidate’s suit” Oct. 21 with supplier Martin Fisher. Horgan’s financial agent Shirley Ackland said she did not know the details of the expense.

The big ticket purchase during the pandemic election was paid through Horgan’s local campaign, even though he spent little time in his hometown after launching the snap campaign in a Langford cul-de-sac on Sept. 21. Horgan was based at NDP campaign headquarters in the Marriott Pinnacle Hotel in downtown Vancouver, where he celebrated winning a majority on Oct. 24.

The Office of the Premier referred a query from about the expensive suit and the optics to party headquarters.

The expense you’ve referred to is listed in a summary fashion,” said NDP provincial director Heather Stoutenberg by email. “The invoice is dated September 23rd, and it included more than just one suit. The invoice was for a full suit, a separate jacket, alterations for both those items, and alterations on other suits.”

Stoutenberg, however, refused to provide details and she did not fulfil a request to see the invoice. 

NDP provincial director Heather Stoutenberg (LinkedIn)

The Martin Fisher tailor shop, located four blocks east of the Strathcona Park tent city, advertises made-to-measure suits starting at $875, full custom suits from $1,375 and jackets from $575. 

The proprietor is Mike Mahood, the retired 15-year veteran goalkeeper of Canada’s national men’s field hockey team. He was a teammate of Delta North NDP MLA Ravi Kahlon when Canada won the Pan American Games gold medal at Rio de Janeiro in 2007. Mahood was schooled in fashion at Ryerson Polytechnic in Toronto where he originally opened his shop in 2010.

Horgan is paid almost $211,000-a-year as premier. Almost five years ago, Horgan admitted to charging the NDP $5,000 for clothing during his first two years as leader.

Horgan’s haberdasher Mike Mahood (Martin Fisher)

During a question period debate on April 27, 2016, then-Premier Christy Clark called Horgan “the member who takes free suits from his party.”

But that paled in comparison to the scandal of the day, Clark’s $50,000-a-year stipend funded by BC Liberal donors. That controversy sparked unsuccessful complaints by the NDP and Democracy Watch to conflict of interest commission Paul Fraser, who was in a conflict of interest of his own, as the father of Clark’s deputy minister of communications.

It is not known how much Clark charged her party for clothing because campaign expense disclosures were not released while the BC Liberals were in power. 

In 2016, when Prince William and Princess Kate toured B.C., Clark gave them a blanket, shawl, bow ties and wrap that cost nearly $1,800.

The NDP spent $7.64 million on its 2020 re-election campaign, which had been scheduled by law for October 2021. The tab for Horgan’s suit was covered by both tax-receipted donations to the party and taxpayers.

Since the campaign finance reform law in 2017, the NDP has collected nearly $5.4 million in public subsidies under a per-vote formula. The party is eligible for even more from taxpayers under a scheme for 50% reimbursement of election campaign expenses.

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Bob Mackin A suit was the single biggest,

For the week of Feb. 28, 2021:

Almost a year since the pandemic was officially declared by the World Health Organization, two-thirds of British Columbians aren’t ready to return to live sporting events or concerts.

They’re also reluctant to go to libraries, gyms, rapid transit and restaurants before they can receive the coronavirus vaccine, which isn’t arriving fast enough.

That is according to ResearchCo pollster Mario Canseco’s latest survey.

“The one thing that was quite surprising was that the appetite for reopening things fairly quickly is not there,” Canseco said.

Respondents were more enthusiastic last May, when there was little hope for a vaccine. A third of respondents still won’t go out for dinner, no matter how much care restaurateurs take to follow pandemic protocols and cleaning.

“It’s definitely problematic for economic sectors,” Canseco said.

Plus, hear highlights of a teleconference that took place in December between B.C. spiritual leaders and Premier John Horgan and Dr. Bonnie Henry. Leaders of Christian and Jewish sects expressed their displeasure for worship event bans. The recording was obtained exclusively by under freedom of information.

Also on this edition, a commentary on the NDP’s Site C secrecy debacle and headlines from the Pacific Rim and Pacific Northwest.

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For the week of Feb. 28, 2021: