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Bob Mackin

A Surrey city councillor says elected officials carelessly put public health in jeopardy during a party at a Surrey restaurant late last month.

Surrey Coun. Mandeep Nagra and Surrey Centre Liberal MP Randeep Sarai attended the Chetna Association’s welcome to new Indian Consul-General Manish Manish at the Mahek Restaurant and Lounge on Oct. 26.

“They chose to put themselves at risk and, more importantly, the public at risk,” Surrey Coun. Jack Hundial told

Mandeep Nagra (left) and Randeep Sarai with India consul general Manish Manish (middle) in Surrey Oct. 26 (DesiBuzz Canada)

Photographs by Aaj Media Group and DesiBuzz Canada, also published by and CTV News Vancouver, show attendees without masks, standing shoulder to shoulder and crowding around a table. All contravening public health orders and rules aimed at stopping the spread of coronavirus.

Surrey is B.C.’s COVID-19 epicentre and the infection rate sparked a new region-wide order temporarily banning house guests until Nov. 23.

Nagra said he was at the event for 15 minutes and made sure he followed all guidelines, which he said he does “every day and all the time.”

Photographs show otherwise.

In one, a maskless Nagra stood next to Sarai in a group photo with eight other men. In another, he was seated with seven others around two small tables.

Masks are recommended indoors when two metres physical distancing is difficult. Each table must be separated by two metres, with a limit of six per table. Patrons are not allowed to mix and mingle.

“Just before the picture, I think one or two more people jumped in and they’re seen sitting at the same table, but they just came in for the picture,” Nagra said in an interview. “There were only six people at the table, I only took my mask off just to get the picture taken, I had my mask on throughout the meeting there.”

Nagra said he was unaware of the photograph of him standing beside Sarai. He suggested it was somebody else. emailed him a copy, but he did not reply.

It is not the first time Nagra’s behaviour has been under scrutiny during the pandemic. Nagra returned from a trip to India and attended a news conference with Mayor Doug McCallum on March 16 at Surrey city hall, four days after the public health order recommending travellers quarantine for 14 days after returning to Canada.

“I came back on March 6, 14-day quarantine instructions came on March 12. How am I supposed to know what’s coming next week?” Nagra said.

Sarai, meanwhile, was apologetic. He said he attended the party of fewer than 25 people for 25 minutes.

Coun. Mandeep Nagra, second from right, Oct. 26 (Suki Pangalia/Facebook)

“It was uncomfortable and it wasn’t something that should be encouraged. In fact, I think it should be discouraged,” Sarai told CTV News Vancouver reporter David Molko.

“[Organizers] should have done better and it would have been better had they not done the event at all.”

Aaj Media Group CEO Suki Pangalia said people sat at their own tables for most of the evening. “I think what happened was at the end, when the photo opportunity came up, people really lost themselves,” he said.

The Consulate-General of India did not respond for comment. The only country suffering more coronavirus infections and deaths than India is the United States.

On Nov. 9, Surrey Board of Trade CEO Anita Huberman issued a public call to modify or cancel Diwali celebrations. The South Asian festival of lights runs Nov. 12-16. She told Molko the behaviour in the photographs was “absolutely unacceptable.”

She suggested the leaders in the photographs hold a news conference, publicly apologize and remind everyone to follow public health instructions.

“If our leaders are not going to adhere to public safety protocols, why would others?” Huberman said.

Huberman has a simple message to those ignoring public health orders, especially in the South Asian community: “Our economy is going to be compromised. You will lose your business. Someone close to you will die. Is that what you want?”

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Bob Mackin A Surrey city councillor says elected

For the week of Nov. 8, 2020.

Bombshells and finger-pointing galore at the Cullen Commission, British Columbia’s public inquiry into money laundering.

(Cullen Commission)

Commissioner Austin Cullen has heard testimony from current and former police officers, casino investigators and B.C. Lottery Corporation managers. British Columbians are learning how casinos became a cesspool of organized crime while politicians and bureaucrats were asleep at the wheel.

On this edition, hear highlights of the first two weeks of testimony, including former Richmond RCMP chief Ward Clapham, former Great Canadian Gaming supervisor Muriel Labine and Fred Pinnock, the former head of the RCMP’s Integrated Illegal Gaming Enforcement Team.

In 2009, Pinnock was a whistleblower who went public with Sean Holman’s Public Eye Online about how BC Liberal gambling minister Rich Coleman shut down Pinnock’s squad, after Pinnock raised the alarm about gangsters infiltrating B.C. casinos.

Pinnock revealed more to Cullen about Coleman’s pivotal decision, which he said was all about filling government coffers with casino profits.

Plus Pacific Northwest and Pacific Rim headlines and commentary.

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Now on Spotify!

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For the week of Nov. 8, 2020. Bombshells

Bob Mackin

The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc with civic finances and Vancouver city council could raise taxes up to 12% in 2021. Finance staff at 12th and Cambie warn council members to limit new initiatives until later in 2021 or in 2022.

Meanwhile, bureaucrats behind a 371-page report want city council to open the door to charging a tax on downtown vehicle drivers and a tax on residential parking permits.

Coun. Christine Boyle (holding megaphone) with a climate emergency lobby group in 2019 (Twitter)

The $500 million Climate Emergency Action Plan, the successor to the Vision Vancouver city council’s Greenest City 2020 plan, goes to city council Nov. 5. Its main author is the city’s climate policy manager, Matt Horne. He spent 13 years with the Pembina Institute think tank before joining city hall in 2017.

The plan has the fingerprints of outgoing City Manager Sadhu Johnston all over it. The American import, who announced his resignation by year-end, was the driver of the Greenest City plan, which fell short of 2020 targets and needed to be rebranded as such. Johnston wants the not-so-cheap CEAP to be his legacy, after falling short with the Greenest City 2020 plan.

Johnston told Coun. Melissa de Genova in a July 13, 2018 email that Vancouver would not reach its 33% greenhouse gas reduction target by 2020 and there was no “greenest city in the world” target or international award.

Day after climate emergency declared: (clockwise from top) Mayor Kennedy Stewart, Coun. Christine Boyle and Coun. Adriane Carr calendars. (City of Vancouver)

The CEAP scheme has significant gaps. It does not account for the carbon impacts of cargo and cruise ships at the Port of Vancouver or the impacts of planes taking-off and landing at Vancouver International Airport. Heavy transport, the region’s biggest polluter, is under federal jurisdiction.

Vancouver is struggling with the opioid overdose and coronavirus pandemic emergencies, both officially declared by the provincial health officer. The climate emergency motion of Jan. 16, 2019 was the product of lobbying by the Force of Nature environmental group and others.

The October 2018-elected city council under Mayor Kennedy Stewart declared climate change an emergency, but no meeting with top emergency management officials followed. Neither did any live, televised news conference. It was pretty much business as usual. Meanwhile, the Downtown Eastside remained full of despair. 

Stewart went about his business for a couple of days and then took the weekend off. It was an emergency in name only. The city’s State of Emergency bylaw was not invoked. 

Same went for Green Coun. Adriane Carr and OneCity Coun. Christine Boyle, the two biggest boosters of the symbolic emergency and the new tax-and-spend plan.

Cover of the Power Shift 2019 conference that organized anti-pipeline protests. (Power Shift)

The new motion for the half-billion-dollar CEAP tax-and-spend plan is supported by another lobby group, called Vancouver Just Recovery Coalition.

The April 2020-launched Just Recovery issued a news release on the morning of Nov. 5, showing support from, the U.S. charity behind the Shut Down Canada anti-pipeline protests that blocked transportation routes across the country in early 2020.

Just Recovery’s co-chair is Matthew Norris. His bio on the Just Recovery website doesn’t show it, but Norris is a part-time, city hall-employed policy and communications specialist assigned to Boyle. That fact was also omitted from the Nov. 5 news release.

Norris claims his volunteering with the coalition is non-partisan and independent of his work in Boyle’s office.

Boyle denied, by email, that Norris is mixing Just Recovery with his duties at city hall.

“As a contract employee, Matthew doesn’t have access to any confidential information, and he didn’t have access to the CEAP any earlier than the public did,” Boyle said. “We are very careful and conscious on all of these fronts.”

So there you have it, a city councillor’s taxpayer-funded aide is also lobbying city council to create policy and pass legislation.

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Bob Mackin The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc

Bob Mackin

A Richmond security company related to alleged money launderer Paul King Jin has quietly shut down.

Blackcore director Jamie Flynn in the company’s YouTube ad (

Blackcore Security and Investigations was incorporated last spring by Jin’s son Jesse Xin Jia and two others at Jin’s World Champion Club. The NDP government licensed Blackcore in early July. The company released a Mandarin-voiced YouTube ad with English captions that self-proclaimed Blackcore the “#1 Security Company in Canada.”

On Nov. 4, the Blackcore website and Facebook and Instagram pages were inactive. The Google directory said the business in the gym at the south foot of No. 5 Road had “permanently closed.”

There was no answer at the Blackcore phone number. Blackcore partners Trevor Carroll and Jamie Flynn did not respond to requests for comment.

The company has been under a provincial licence review since the government’s August-filed civil forfeiture lawsuit, which aims to seize the gym from Jin for allegedly using proceeds of crime to buy the property. Jin has yet to file a statement of defence in the case.

As of Nov. 5, the Security Programs Division database showed Blackcore retains a valid licence. The Solicitor General Ministry told on Nov. 4 that the licence review continues.

However, a source familiar with Jin and his business said Blackcore closed because negative attention meant it never really got off the ground.

Meanwhile, Jin’s name has been mentioned frequently during the Cullen Commission public inquiry on money laundering in B.C., which resumed Oct. 26. 

Paul King Jin (BCLC/Cullen Commission)

B.C. Lottery Corp. anti-money laundering program manager Daryl Tottenham testified Nov. 4 about Jin’s large cash deliveries to River Rock and other casinos, despite his 2012 ban.

Tottenham said Jin supplied cash to whale gambler Jia Gui Gao, whom he described as B.C.’s “top dog” gambler in 2014.

In 2017, reported that Jin and Gao were defendants in a mortgage company’s lawsuit over an $8.2 million British Properties mansion. The filing referenced a 2015 Jin lawsuit against Gao for $2.3 million. Jin alleged Gao spent the sum on gambling and women instead of real estate development.

In his testimony, Tottenham described another high roller, Kwok Chung Tam, as Jin’s boss. Tam is a kingpin of the Big Circle Boys gang.

Tottenham also said gambler Guo Tai Shi received a $150,000 delivery from Jin at Starlight Casino in Queensborough.

Guo’s Lower Mainland real estate portfolio includes a farmland mansion on No. 5 Road in Richmond and Abode Island in West Vancouver’s Eagle Harbour.

On Nov. 5, Commissioner Austin Cullen ruled on an application from Jin’s lawyer, granting him status to participate in the public hearing, question witnesses and make submissions, “but only insofar as it relates to evidence that affects his interests or engages him specifically.” 

Commission Counsel Brock Martland told that no decision has been made whether to call Jin as a witness. 

Jin suffered facial cuts from bullet-shattered glass on Sept. 18 at the Manzo Japanese restaurant in Richmond where Jian Jun Zhu was murdered. Jin and Zhu were implicated in the Silver International underground bank case, which collapsed on a technicality in late 2018. One of the vehicles at the crime scene was a black van that matched one in Blackcore’s YouTube ad. 

In August 2019, exclusively reported that NDP Tourism Minister Lisa Beare hosted a news conference at Jin’s gym and posed in a group photo with him. World Champion Club has hosted training sessions for China’s Olympic boxing team.

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Bob Mackin A Richmond security company related to

Bob Mackin

A Richmond-based group aligned with the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front says it “will take relevant legal measures” if an Ottawa-based journalist does not apologize.

Han Changfu (left) and Zaixin Ma (TVCN)

Han Changfu of the Canadian Alliance of Chinese Associations  said during an Oct. 30 news conference for Chinese-language media at Lipont Place in Richmond that his “caring and charitable group” was “discredited” by Global News’ Sam Cooper.

Cooper reported Oct. 26 that Yongtao Chen of CACA is a partner in a Markham, Ont. hotel business with Wei Wei, who was charged with running an illegal casino in a $10 million mansion near Toronto.

Wei attended the August 2018 ceremony in Vancouver where Chen was installed as CACA chairman. Chen traveled in 2018 and 2019 to Beijing to attend People’s Republic of China government events, including the 70th anniversary of CCP rule.

Chen did not attend the Oct. 30 news conference. His successor, Wei Reimin, was one of the three speakers.

A report on quoted Zaixin Ma, publisher of Dawa Business Press. Ma, a former reporter with the CCP organ People’s Daily, denied connections to the Chinese government and claimed Cooper stigmatized the Chinese community.

Yongtao Chen (left) and Hilbert Yiu (right) at China’s 70th anniversary celebration in Beijing.

In 2016, Ma coordinated CACA’s controversial Chinese national day flag-raising event at Vancouver city hall Attendees included the PRC’s consul general Liu Fei. The Chinese national anthem was sung and dignitaries were given scarves like those worn by Mao Zedong’s Young Pioneers from the deadly Cultural Revolution.

A story about the Oct. 30 event on the Global Chinese Network website,, said there is no timetable for filing a lawsuit. “It needs to be discussed with a lawyer.”

In May, two Royal Pacific Realty real estate agents incorporated a society called Maple Leafs Anti-Racism Actions Association to raise money for a lawsuit after Cooper reported April 30 story about CCP allies in Canada helping Beijing hoard coronavirus pandemic medical supplies and manipulate the global market for masks, gloves and other supplies. MLARA has yet to file a claim. revealed that a CACA ally, Maria Xu, used the WeChat group for Liberal digital government minister Joyce Murray to promote the MLARA fundraising campaign.

An Australian think tank report, called The Party Speaks For You: Foreign Interference and the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front System, describes how United Front affiliates in several western countries, including Canada, hoarded PPE for export to China early this year and later donated supplies to promote the CCP’s pandemic narratives.

Van spotted outside CACA event Oct. 30 was the same one at the Sept. 18 shooting in a Japanese restaurant.

“The United Front system’s reach beyond the borders of the People’s Republic of China—such as into foreign political parties, diaspora communities and multinational corporations—is an exportation of the CCP’s political system,” said the report by Alex Joske. “This undermines social cohesion, exacerbates racial tension, influences politics, harms media integrity, facilitates espionage, and increases unsupervised technology transfer.”

The CACA news conference happened at the end of the first week of witness testimony in the Cullen Commission public inquiry on money laundering in B.C. The focus of the opening week was money laundering in casinos, particularly Richmond’s River Rock. Real estate and luxury cars are on the inquiry’s agenda later this fall.

Meanwhile, a vehicle parked outside the Oct. 30 venue was the same black Mercedes Metris that was photographed behind crime scene tape after a Sept. 18 crime scene in Richmond.

Silver International underground banker Jian Jun Zhu died of gunshot wounds at the Manzo Japanese restaurant. Paul King Jin, an accused money launderer, suffered facial cuts from bullet-shattered glass. The van was also used in an ad for Blackcore Security and Investigations, a company incorporated last spring by Jin’s son.

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Bob Mackin A Richmond-based group aligned with the

Bob Mackin 

Despite publicly expressing remorse to the NDP’s Bowinn Ma during last month’s election campaign, BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson told a caucus meeting last week that the controversy around Jane Thornthwaite’s sexist remarks was just a “fuss.”

The scandalous BC Liberal Zoom roast (BC Liberals/Zoom)

In a September party fundraising roast on Zoom, Thornthwaite accused North Vancouver rival Ma of flirting with the retiring West Vancouver-Capilano MLA Ralph Sultan. In a recording of the Oct. 28 caucus meeting, obtained by and shared with CTV News Vancouver, Wilkinson downplayed the incident that contributed to his party’s loss in the Oct. 24 election.

“Jane and I talked the day after, during the fuss, and I said to Jane, we’ve got to stick together, call me anytime. My heart goes out to Jane,” Wilkinson said.

“In this role you can be skewered for the most trivial thing. In today’s media world, it’s just fundamentally unfair, the fact that those remarks got out was a big problem.”

NDP newcomer Susie Chant leads North Vancouver-Seymour incumbent Thornthwaite by 1,543 votes. As many as 11,586 mailed-in ballots will be counted beginning Nov. 6.

Wilkinson said during the 70-minute meeting with the outgoing caucus that neither he nor any other candidate could be blamed for losing the snap election.

“We have nothing to apologize for,” he said.

Ma was not available for comment on Nov. 2. Burnaby-Lougheed NDP MLA Katrina Chen told CTV News Vancouver reporter Bhinder Sajan that Wilkinson’s remarks were not a surprise.

NDP newcomer Susie Chant upset incumbent BC Liberal Jane Thornthwaite on election night (Mackin)

“It’s not about one individual or one incident, it’s about a bigger problem the Liberal party has in their caucus, it’s about an issue that we face in politics as women and we need diverse representation,” Chen said.

The caucus meeting came two days after Wilkinson’s Oct. 26 resignation announcement. He did not take questions from reporters after the 97-second statement. 

Wilkinson did not specifically mention the Thornthwaite scandal to caucus until Shirley Bond, the re-elected Prince George-Valemount MLA, expressed sympathy to Thornthwaite.

“I was one of the people that sat and listened to the roast and I never said a word,” Bond said. “I didn’t think any thing of it, I took in the context that it was delivered, maybe I should’ve said something at the time or done something. I just want Jane to know that I deeply appreciate her and I think she paid a pretty big price for what happened there. I just want her to know that she did remarkable work on behalf of our team and I’m truly sorry for the repercussions of what happened.

“A lot of us were watching that night and I’m sure not many people said anything to her at the time.”

Shuswap’s Greg Kyllo chaired the caucus meeting. Wilkinson made reference to 45 people “on the screen.” But fewer than a dozen spoke.

Parksville’s Michelle Stilwell and Fraser-Nicola’s Jackie Tegart both blamed media coverage for the party’s poor showing.

North Shore MLAs, pre-2020 election: Bowinn Ma (left), Jane Thornthwaite and Ralph Sultan (Twitter)

“We’ve gone through some tough times in the last five years, that we as a party have gone through an election we won but lost the government, we lost a leader, we went through an interim and went through a leadership race that included many members of our caucus,” Tegart said.

Langley’s Mary Polak trails the NDP’s Andrew Mercier by 1,487 votes. ‘There’s a very, very, tiny, tiny statistical chance I could be back.”

Skeena’s Ellis Ross, who holds a 918-vote lead over an NDP challenger, called the NDP “slimy” and “corrupt.”

“That’s what I see, looking across the floor,” he said.

The retiring Donna Barnett (Cariboo-Chilcotin), Steve Thomson (Kelowna-Mission) and John Yap (Richmond-Steveston) said their goodbyes. A listless version of Happy Birthday was performed in Yap’s honour.

Party executive director Emile Scheffel said volunteers and lawyers were scheduled to meet Oct. 31 to plan scrutiny of the mail ballot count. The party board was to begin planning Nov. 1 for a leadership election and campaign post mortem.

Katrina Chen (NDP)

Wilkinson had earlier in the meeting said that the new caucus could choose before Christmas to instal an interim leader. The interim leader would be ineligible to run for the permanent job.

Scheffel also said the party is looking forward to millions of dollars of taxpayer funds via the per-vote subsidy by year-end or early in the new year and the 50% reimbursement of campaign expenses by spring.

“We’re going to be fine financially,” said Scheffel, who announced his own resignation on Nov. 2.

Said the NDP’s Chen: “I don’t think they connected with people. They were not connecting with people on the needs of people, with people’s wishes and priorities.”

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Bob Mackin  Despite publicly expressing remorse to the

Bob Mackin

Long before thousands of maskless “COVIDIOTS” ignored public health orders and descended upon the Granville Mall for Hallowe’en 2020 revelry, tens of thousands of curious in Victoria and Vancouver packed streets to see Harry Gardiner, the “Human Fly.”

Scene from the Granville Mall on Halloween 2020 (Reddit)

It happened 102 years ago during both spooky season and the deadliest pandemic in human history.

American daredevil Gardiner brought his “Human Fly” act to British Columbia at the end of October 1918 to scale the outside of prominent buildings as a promotional gimmick to sell Victory Bonds, the federal government scheme to finance Canada’s First World War effort.

The Spanish Influenza claimed its first B.C. victims at the start of October. Hospitals were filling-up. Deaths were rising. Indoor events were banned.

But Gardiner’s street-packing exhibitions went ahead.

On Nov. 1, 1918 — 102 years ago today — the Daily Colonist newspaper in Victoria published an angry letter from Victoria’s medical health officer, Dr. Arthur G. Price.

In the letter, reprinted in-full below, Price admonished Victorians for attending Gardiner’s stunt and pleaded with them to follow public health orders. 

Dr. Price scores Victoria crowds

Dr. Arthur G. Price (Victoria Archives)

Medical health officer threatens more drastic measures in fighting influenza if rules are not observed

Dr. Arthur G. Price, medical health officer, has written to the Colonist charging that the people of Victoria do not yet seem to be aroused to a realization of the danger of the Spanish influenza epidemic. He scores the promoters of the Human Fly performance, as well as the spectators, for crowding the streets in disregard to his warning, and declares that it may be necessary to apply more drastic regulations here unless those are present in force or more rigorously observed.

Dr. Price writes:

Sir — Are there still some citizens of Victoria who do not realize that there is an epidemic of influenza raging through the city? Judging from the crowd which gathered in Government and View streets yesterday, one might be led to believe that there were many who knew nothing of the epidemic. Or is it that they know of the epidemic and yet are so selfish that they cannot forego the satisfying of their curiosity to see a foolhardy and useless feat — a man apparently endangering his solitary life — while they, the spectators, we’re doing a much more foolish thing and were endangering the lives of many. They were doing the very thing to increase and prolong the epidemic in our midst.

Has it not been stated over and over again that influenza is a crowd disease? Has the fact not been impressed upon them by the closing of churches, schools and theatres and are they not aware that there is a very serious check to business, grave financial loss to many and considerable loss of life through the continuance of the epidemic? Have they not been asked time and time again to cooperate with the health department in the endeavour to check the epidemic, to save life into see a business? Do they realize the strenuous work all night and all day which is being carried on by the doctors of the city and by the noble band of nurses and girl helpers who, night and day, are risking their lives and giving up their own comfort to attend to the comfort of others?

The Union Bank Building in Victoria, site of the Human Fly stunt on Oct. 30, 1918 (Government of Canada)

In some other cities much more stringent orders are made; persons are not allowed to congregate even in groups of three or four, only one is allowed to leave their home at a time to go shopping, masks are worn in the street and everywhere, and stores are closed. Will it be necessary to go to these extremes in Victoria? It may.

Blames the crowd

I blame the crowd for gathering yesterday, but I blame far more those who instigated the whole thing. Surely we, the citizens of Victoria, are patriotic enough to subscribe with the best of our ability to the Victory Loan without having to be coaxed to action with a silly sideshow which has nothing to do with patriotism. I know we are.

I would say to some citizens: wake up! Realize that there is a war on, a war in our very midst, an epidemic of influenza. Do not sneer at the enemy. Do not belittle it by calling it “flu.” Give it its full name, be serious and realize that the undertakers are busy. Remember the four rules which I published before ever a case appeared in Victoria:

Do all you can do to keep from getting the disease.

If you do get it, go to bed.

Send for a doctor.

Do all you can to prevent the spread of the disease to others.

The Human Fly packed streets below the Sun Tower on Hallowe’en 1918, despite the Spanish Flu pandemic (City of Vancouver Archives)

Accomplish the first and last rules by avoiding crowding, by washing out your nostrils and throat with a weak solution of salt and warm water or some mild antiseptic such as Glyco-Thymoline several times every day and by breathing fresh air, keeping windows open.

If every man, woman and a child will follow this simple advice, the whole epidemic will be stamped out in a few weeks and churches, schools in theatres will again be opened.

Carrying on as at present, crowding and neglecting personal hygiene of mouth, nostrils and throat is only prolonging the epidemic indefinitely. Doctors can but advise and treat their patients, nurses can shower their kindly attention upon the sick, but it depends entirely and solely upon the cooperation of individuals of the public to bring this epidemic to a speedy close.

I would further call the attention of those who are attacked with influenza to the second and third rules. It is the disregarding of these rules which has been the cause of most fatalities. It is the keeping up and about and not going to bed at the very first of the attack, or not keeping in bed until sufficiently recovered which has been the cause of nearly every case of pneumonia. The third rule, send for a doctor is of importance. It is unwise for anyone to tinker with his own health by the taking of patent medicine and advertised remedies about which they know nothing and which may do harm.

This letter is written in full earnestness in the endeavour to stamp out this epidemic, in the endeavour to save the lives of many of Victoria’s citizens and in the hope that it may call forth the full cooperation of all. This advice is not lightly given. I mean every word of it, and I thus appeal to every man, woman and child to do his or her duty.

Arthur G. Price

The Human Fly wore white to climb the Sun Tower (City of Vancouver Archives)

Gardiner climbed the Union Bank Building in downtown Victoria Oct. 30 before moving on to Vancouver the next day. On Oct. 31, he climbed the outside of the Hotel Vancouver and the city’s tallest tower at the time, the World Building, which would later become the Sun Tower. The mass-gatherings were blamed for spreading the virus.

In the Nov. 2, 1918 edition of the Daily Colonist, the opinion-editorial page included this entry: 

Dr. Price, the Medical Health Officer, is right to point out the danger that existed through the assembly of a large crowd on View and Government Streets on Wednesday last to witness a wall scaling feat; but it would have been much better had he warned the public in advance. There was considerable publicity given to the affair before it took place and there never was a doubt that some thousands of people would assemble. Dr. Price is a busy man in these days and can be given the benefit of the excuse that he has no time to read the newspapers. He had the power to have the gathering prohibited and it is regrettable that he did not exercise it. We have no doubt he would have done so had it been drawn to his attention.

B.C. did get some good news on Nov. 11, 1918, along with the rest of the world. The armistice to end the war. It was supposed to be the war to end all wars.

But the pandemic continued. There were three waves. B.C., with a population of less than half-a-million, recorded 3,404 Spanish flu deaths in 1918-19. An estimated 50 million people died worldwide. 

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Bob Mackin Long before thousands of maskless “COVIDIOTS”

For the week of Nov. 1, 2020.

Camille Mitchell of Democrats Abroad Vancouver (IMDB)

Join host Bob Mackin for a special edition on the United States Presidential Election.

Will voters say “you’re fired!” to Donald Trump and end the reality TV show to end all reality TV shows? Will Joe Biden become the 46th President of the United States of America? 

Hear from guests Camille Mitchell of Democrats Abroad Vancouver, Alexandra Wrage of TRACE and the Bribe, Swindle or Steal podcast and Brian Calder of the Point Roberts, Wash. Chamber of Commerce. 

Alexandra Wrage of TRACE and the Bribe, Swindle or Steal podcast (TRACE)

How are supporters of the Biden/Harris ticket getting the vote out during the coronavirus pandemic in British Columbia, home to the largest concentration of Americans outside the U.S.?

How did Trump do with his promise to “drain the swamp” and end corruption in Washington, D.C.?

Will Point Roberts, one of the most-isolated communities in the U.S., survive the closure of the border to non-essential travel because of the pandemic?

Find out the answers to those questions and more, by listening to this edition of Podcast.

Due to the pandemic, Point Roberts, Wash. is CLOSED until further notice to tourists (Point Roberts Chamber of Commerce)

Plus, commentary, headlines from the Pacific Rim and Pacific Northwest and a virtual Nanaimo Bar for a British Columbian who made a difference.

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

Now on Spotify!

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Support for as low as $2 a month on Patreon. Find out how. Click here. Podcast Podcast Podcast: B.C. watches as United States in an excited state

For the week of Nov. 1, 2020. [caption

Bob Mackin

Andrew Wilkinson told fellow BC Liberal MLAs that he is “totally open to the idea” of stepping aside before Christmas, if caucus wants to appoint an interim leader.

During an evening Zoom call on Oct. 28, members of the party’s pre-election caucus heard that the party executive will meet Nov. 1 to discuss how to elect a new leader and to conduct a post-mortem of the Oct. 24 election loss to John Horgan’s NDP.

Andrew Wilkinson announced his resignation Oct. 26 (Facebook/BC Liberals)

In a 97-second statement on Oct. 26, Wilkinson announced he would resign upon selection of a new leader. He did not take any questions from reporters.

The interim leader, Wilkinson said, would have to be someone not seeking the permanent leadership of the party. He recalled the caucus’s post-2017 election “fiasco” in Penticton. That was when Abbotsford-South’s Darryl Plecas successfully challenged ex-premier Christy Clark to resign. Rich Coleman became interim leader until Wilkinson won the February 2018 party election.

“We did our job, each and every one of us on this screen did our job, but there were headwinds,” Wilkinson said in a recording obtained by

The NDP had an overwhelming advantage, just like incumbents in pandemic elections in New Zealand, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick, he said. It was a “low-information environment,” without events, crowds, personal touch or eye contact with voters.

“Just masks and once a day availabilities for the leader,” he said. “So it becomes a totally disembodied, sterile campaign where we’re all fighting against the control factor of Dr. Bonnie Henry.”

The Vancouver-Quilchena incumbent conceded the party was facing an uphill battle, but did not realize how steep it was until the second week of the campaign.

“[NDP] knew the second wave was coming, they hoped to have the election before the numbers went through the roof. Guess what’s happening right now,” he said. “They are going to have trouble managing this and we will have to hold them to account.”

For the time being, Wilkinson said there are about a dozen BC Liberal candidates left in limbo for up to a month while the final count of mail-in ballots decides what the Legislature will look like.

“That’s hard waking up at 4:30 in the morning thinking ‘will I have a job or not?’”

Wilkinson did not point fingers. He said the party had a “good, strong platform” and he never heard any complaints about it.

BC Liberals Sept. 17 online roast for Ralph Sultan (BC Liberals)

“It was not because of anything that you did or I did, we gave it our level best and it did not work out. We regroup and move on. We are proud of who we are, we are proud of what we’ve done. We have nothing to apologize for.”

Prince George-Valemount’s Shirley Bond, however, offered apologies to Jane Thornthwaite, the North Vancouver-Seymour incumbent facing defeat to an NDP newcomer.

In the campaign’s biggest scandal, Thornthwaite was accused of making sexist comments about NDP North Vancouver-Lonsdale incumbent Bowinn Ma in a leaked clip from the Sept. 17 online roast of retiring West Vancouver-Capilano MLA Ralph Sultan.

“I was one of the people that sat and listened to the roast and I never said a word,” Bond told her caucus colleagues. “I didn’t think anything of it, I took it in the context it was delivered, maybe I should’ve said something at the time or done something. I just want Jane to know that I deeply appreciate her and I think she paid a pretty big price for what happened there.”

Wilkinson agreed.

“In this role you can be skewered for a trivial thing. In today’s media world, it’s fundamentally unfair. The fact that those remarks got out was a big problem,” he said.

“I sure hope these remarks don’t make their way out.”

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Bob Mackin Andrew Wilkinson told fellow BC Liberal

Bob Mackin

A tale of two RCMP officers.

First. the Mountie that arrested Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou on Dec. 1, 2018 was on the witness stand for a second day in B.C. Supreme Court.

Meng’s defence lawyer Richard Peck cross-examined Const. Winston Yep Oct. 27 about why the affidavit that triggered the arrest warrant did not mention Meng had connections to Vancouver.

Winston Yep (Ina Mitchell)

Yep admitted it was an error of omission.

Meng — also known as Sabrina Meng and Cathy Meng — came to Vancouver in the early 2000s. She briefly held permanent resident status in Canada. With her husband Xiaozong Liu’s name on the deed, she bought houses in 2009 and 2016, in Dunbar and Shaughnessy, respectively. Both properties are mortgaged by HSBC, which she is accused of defrauding.

Meng lives in the Shaughnessy mansion under curfew as part of her bail. The Shaughnessy mansion is on the same city block as the residence of the U.S. consul general.

Peck contended that Yep made no effort to tell superiors about the omission after he found out more about Meng. Yep was assigned to handle the paperwork, after the U.S. had requested Nov. 29, 2018 that she be arrested.

“I swore the affidavit at the time. I did not have all that information in my head,” Yep said.

“Your obligation is to make sure that you put things that go against her in there and also anything that is favourable, and if you had information of ties to Canada that would be favourable so you would put that in,” Peck said.

Yep replied: “I did not prepare the affidavit, I reviewed the affidavit.” ‘

Meng was not arrested on the plane from Hong Kong when it arrived at YVR or immediately after she disembarked. Instead, she was held for three hours by the Canada Border Services Agency before Yep made the arrest. Yep said he deferred to CBSA, because it had jurisdiction at the airport.

Peck and the rest of Meng’s legal team wants Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes to rule Meng’s arrest was an abuse of process and cancel the extradition. The hearings continue this week and will resume in the third week of November. Yep is the first of 10 witnesses to be heard. 

Meanwhile, the former chief of the Richmond RCMP said he was undeterred by a casino executive who told him uniformed police were unwelcome at River Rock Casino Resort.

In testimony at the Cullen Commission on Oct. 27, Ward Clapham said a vice-president of Great Canadian Gaming, whose name he could not recall, phoned him not long after the casino opened in 2004.

“I was told it was bad for business to have uniformed police officers walking inside of the casino and if I could curtail or stop the viable presence of uniformed officers inside the River Rock casino,” Clapham testified.

Ex-Richmond RCMP chief Ward Clapham (Twitter)

If anything, it backfired. Clapham stepped-up foot patrols and even attended in uniform himself.

“That uniformed presence would be a deterrent. That was one of the messages I wanted to send loud and clear, that was something I could do with my circle of influence.”

Clapham said he had a positive working relationship with Great Canadian in Nanaimo when he worked at that detachment. When Richmond city hall consulted him about the proposal for 2004-opened River Rock, he told city council that there would be policing issues, but they would be manageable. Council told him casino profits would be shovelled into city services, including police budgets.

The scenario changed by the banks of the Fraser.

“By 2005 I don’t think anyone could’ve predicted what we started to see,” Clapham said. “We saw a couple of kidnappings and we were getting lots of intelligence reports and briefings around money laundering, robberies, loan sharking, these generally are not reported to police, the bad guys, the bad girls are not going to report to us, and generally speaking, the victims.“

By 2006, Clapham said he was struggling to maintain a minimum 10 general duty constables on a 12-hour shift and was experiencing friction with city council. The RCMP contract was nearing its 2012 expiry.

“We were always running short, just making it from call to call was a challenge,” Clapham said.

In an email to Al Macintyre, the RCMP officer in charge of criminal investigations, Clapham expressed concern about Great Canadian Gaming: “I’m worried the monster is growing, their influence will soon control B.C. gaming.”

Clapham made two unsuccessful proposals for a dedicated casino crime-fighting team in Richmond.

Earlier, a BCLC investigator told the public inquiry that he was counselled to falsify a report to a federal agency that looks out for money laundering.

Stone Lee testified that a large cash transaction report was incomplete, because the gambler’s occupation was missing. A manager wanted the file submitted to FINTRAC, so a superior suggested fabricating an occupation.

He also said another, Gord Friesen, suggested that the source of a hypothetical gambler’s funds should not be considered suspicious if the gambler was known. Friesen used a $200,000 buy-in as an example.

Lee said he disagreed with the policy.

“It’s not a common practice of a bank issuing $200,000 in $20 bills,” Lee said.

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Bob Mackin A tale of two RCMP officers. First.