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Bob Mackin

Two slogans aptly summarize David Eby’s term as the NDP’s attorney general. 

“Dumpster fire,” for ICBC’s financial chaos.

David Eby (left), John Horgan and Carole James, May 15 in Victoria (Mackin)

“Dirty money,” for the nexus of casino money laundering, high real estate prices and the illicit fentanyl trade. 

The latter was in the news on day 5 of the #SnapPandemicStateOfEmergencyElection.

In May 2019, the NDP bowed to public pressure and green lit a public inquiry into money laundering led by Justice Austin Cullen. The third phase, witness testimony, was supposed to begin the day after Labour Day but was delayed to the day after Thanksgiving. 

On Sept. 25, Cullen announced another delay, to Oct. 26, so that the inquiry doesn’t influence the election. 

Premier John Horgan’s snap election call broke his party’s confidence and supply agreement with the Greens, broke the fixed election date law and now it has delayed justice. 

If the NDP stuck to the Oct. 16, 2021 election date, the testimony would have proceeded without a political roadblock and Cullen’s report would have been in the hands of voters. 

The latest delay gave the NDP the excuse to put Eby in front of reporters and rehash the timeline of BC Liberal bungling and corruption. Eby even suggested the inquiry is in jeopardy. 

“The reason we need a public inquiry into money laundering is so that people could see what government has seen,” Eby said. “We simply do not know what will happen to this public inquiry if the BC Liberals are elected.”

When the NDP was relegated to just two seats in the Legislature in 2001, the BC Liberals let several Dippers escape accountability for a 1990s gambling scandal. 

The NDP had been caught diverting bingo profits from charities to the party newspaper. Former NDP finance minister Dave Stupich pleaded guilty to fraud and illegal gambling. But, after the BC Liberals landslide 2001 election win, cost-cutting Gordon Campbell’s attorney general Geoff Plant shut down the $6 million public inquiry into the Nanaimo Commonwealth Holdings Society. 

Horgan, coincidentally, worked in the B.C. Ministry of Management Services during the 1990s when the NDP was expanding gambling. He also ran the IdeaWorks consultancy that successfully lobbied the COPE-dominated city council to end the moratorium on slot machines in the city. That resulted in casinos at the Plaza of Nations and Hastings Racecourse. The key aide to then-Mayor Larry Campbell? Geoff Meggs, who became Horgan’s chief of staff in 2017 after almost nine years as a Vision Vancouver city councillor. 

It’s Garcha, not gotcha

John Horgan was subject to a rough ride from Global BC anchor Neetu Garcha, who put on a clinic on how to hold a politician’s feet to the fire in a live interview. 

During the nearly seven minutes, Garcha asked Horgan what advice he had for British Columbians who have lost a loved one or lost a job during the pandemic, how to concentrate on the campaign. Horgan defaulted to talking points and did not answer her question. 

Garcha: “I apologize for interrupting, but I’d like to remind you that the question is what is your advice to voters right now who are dealing with unprecedented times and hardship in their personal lives and are now being asked to focus on platform planks and make an informed decision? What is your advice to them on how they can do that? “

Horgan: “We’ve been working on all those issues for the past seven months, and I’m asking British Columbians to say we need to stay the course,” Horgan said. 

“We need to put the politics behind us and get focused for the next four years on getting out of this pandemic.”

On tour

Horgan’s tour stop at the Como Lake United Church promoted a BC Housing project. Andrew Wilkinson and False Creek MLA Sam Sullivan appeared inside a patio tent in Yaletown, to slam the NDP for its handling of tent cities, homeless hotels and insufficient drug treatment. Horgan began his first foray outside southwestern B.C. on Sept. 26 in Terrace at Mills Memorial Hospital with candidate Nicole Halbauer. The Coast Mountain College chair is hoping to defeat BC Liberal incumbent Ellis Ross. 

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Bob Mackin Two slogans aptly summarize David Eby’s

Bob Mackin

Another day, another swing riding.

This time, a twofer.

John Horgan brought his snap election bus tour to Maple Ridge to promote NDP incumbents Lisa Beare (Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows) and Bob D’Eith (Maple Ridge-Mission), who both knocked-off BC Liberal MLAs in 2017.

John Horgan (Twitter)

But it did not go according to plan.

Horgan used the event at the CEED Centre Society to remind of what used to be there. The Anita Place homeless tent city, one of the most-divisive issues in an already polarized district. It was dismantled in September 2019 after a court order.

“It’s great to be in a place that just three-and-a-half years ago, Bob, Lisa and I visited and behind us was a homeless encampment that had been left to us by the former BC Liberal government,” Horgan said.

A man who unsuccessfully sought the BC Liberal nomination last year in Maple Ridge-Mission activated his pickup truck horn alarm for the duration of Horgan’s appearance. Jamie Seip’s vehicle had apparently been boxed-in by the bus.

Seip, one of the so-called “Ridgilantes,” showed up to heckle Horgan. Seip was verbally cautioned by a member of Horgan’s RCMP security detail, according to a video he posted on Facebook.

Windy Wilkinson

John Horgan’s Maple Ridge tour stop (Jamie Seip/Facebook)

BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson appeared in windy conditions outside the Pitt Meadows Seniors Centre later in the day, with his two candidates, Cheryl Ashlie (Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows) and Chelsa Meadus (Maple Ridge-Mission).

“Your two MLAs are missing in action,” Wilkinson said, referring to Beare and D’EIth.

Wilkinson referred to the nexus of addiction and homelessness in Ridge-Meadows.

“A lot of people want access to a pathway to get off drugs, that’s our goal, to provide that individual treatment plan,” Wilkinson said. He did not offer details.

Wilkinson also referred to the party’s upcoming environmental platform. The former president of the B.C. Mountaineering Club fondly recalled a summer kayaking trip.

“So if you can wait a few days, we’ll be putting together an environmental package that I think will make people smile and make them look at the BC Liberals with a different eye,” Wilkinson said.

Under Gordon Campbell’s leadership, the party gave B.C. the carbon tax. Under Christy Clark, the party grappled with the Mount Polley tailings pond disaster.

Jamie Seip (Twitter)

Better late than never

After three days on the campaign trail, the NDP began to require reporters register for COVID-19 precautionary reasons.

The advisory came with a Google form link. It is one-part contact tracing, one-part legal document.

It includes a short questionnaire asking whether the reporter had any COVID-19-related symptoms, had been in close contact in the last 14 days with a confirmed or probable carrier of the virus or had returned from travel outside Canada or been in close contact with a returned traveler in the last 14 days.

“Before this form was in place, we were maintaining a tally of all media who were at our events,” said NDP spokesman George Smith. “We simply developed and implemented a more efficient and effective way of asking for and recording that important information.”

Is it lit or woke?

After less than three days, 160,000 mail-in ballots were requested via Elections BC’s website and hotline.

Compare with the 2017 election. Of 1.986 million ballots, only 6,517 were returned by mail. A tiny 0.33%.

Not Oscar-worthy

Samuel Fung (Twitter)

Staged double-ender phone call videos with NDP supporters are not going to win Horgan an Oscar.

One posted late Sept. 23 featured Horgan and “Sam,” a first time NDP donor.

“Sam” is Samuel Fung, the residence life coordinator at the University of Northern B.C. in Prince George.

Horgan recalled the first week of university, when he met his wife of 40 years. He also found common ground with Sam: They both play frolf.

“I used to play golf golf and I was not getting any better,” Horgan said.

UNBC spokesman Matt Wood said employees must not engage in political activities during working hours or use university facilities, equipment or resources in support of those activities.

He said employees are being reminded of the code of conduct clause after the video, which was shot on UNBC premises.

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Bob Mackin Another day, another swing riding. This time,

Bob Mackin

The former constituency assistant to retired BC Liberal MLA Tracy Redies says she quit the party over the way it mishandled the search for a new South Surrey-White Rock candidate.

Debbie Ward (Twitter)

Debbie Ward told that she does not know who will get her vote in the Oct. 24 provincial election, after party headquarters chose Trevor Halford, instead of allowing members to vote.

Redies announced in late July that she was resigning effective Aug. 31 to become the new CEO of Science World.

Ward said there were as many as nine applicants for the nomination. Only Halford passed headquarters’ vetting by the time John Horgan called the snap election on Sept. 21. The party still had time to hold a nomination race, because Oct. 2 is the deadline for candidates to register with Elections BC to appear on ballots.

Ward supported former White Rock Coun. Megan Knight, but said party brass “slow walked and delayed” Knight’s application.

“If they can’t have a little, teeny-tiny election in a riding where they’ve had ample time, then how can they have a big election, how can they manage the province?” Ward said.

The Peace Arch News quoted Knight, who said the fix was in for Halford. 

“I would have loved to run under the Liberal banner, but now I’ve got a taste of how the big boys play,” Knight told the newspaper.

Other hopefuls included lawyer Mike Pearce and Gurminder Parihar, who ran for the BC Liberals in Surrey-Newton in 2017. Pearce wants his $500 deposit back.

Ward said this is why people “get so turned-off” politics.

Trevor Halford (Twitter)

“The people trying to make things happen that [they] don’t organically want to happen,” she said.

The diehard Liberal said she doesn’t need to be a member of a party to express herself. She has applied for a mail-in ballot. “I’ve got lots of time to think about it, I don’t know what I’ll do.”

Halford unsuccessfully ran for Surrey city council in the 2018 election for Surrey First. He was senior communications coordinator in Premier Christy Clark’s office in 2011 before joining TransCanada Pipelines as a lobbyist in 2012.

Halford was not immediately available for comment on Sept. 23.

The leaders

NDP’s John Horgan was in Surrey-Panorama at a tae-kwon-do studio with Jinny Sims. His Sept. 24 event will be in Maple Ridge with the area’s two MLAs, Lisa Beare and Bob D’EIth. That will be three swing cities in three days.

In Surrey, Horgan was asked about the contentious transition from the RCMP to the Surrey Police Department.

“It’s an issue that’s the responsibility of the local mayor and council, delivering public safety services are the responsibility of municipalities supported by the provincial government…. this is a divisive issue. Mayor McCallum opened up the hornet’s nest and Mayor McCallum is responsible for it.”

BC Liberal Andrew Wilkinson was in Victoria where he was asked about the campaign’s defining issue.

“To our surprise it’s turning into trust. We’ve seen John Horgan basically mislead the public about why we’re having this election, we’ve seen him double-cross his coalition partners the Greens, we’ve seen him break the law that he passed, we’ve seen him contradict the Lieutenant-Governor and his own health minister about how things are going in the legislature. Is he telling the truth?” 

Former Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May Tweeted this about BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau.

“Anyone else notice how Sonia Furstenau is Canada’s own Jacinda Ardern? She’s super-cool, scary-smart and fearless. And — yes, a woman crashing through glass ceilings.”

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Bob Mackin The former constituency assistant to retired

Bob Mackin

Protesters who purport to oppose the Chinese Communist Party have shattered the peace and quiet of a cul-de-sac near Surrey’s Bonaccord Elementary School on a near-daily basis.

Surrey RCMP have made at least five visits to the neighbourhood since Sept. 14 to after complaints about protesters chanting and waving professionally produced signs reading “Take Down CCP” and “CCP lied, Canadians died.”

Protest outside Bing Chen Gao’s Surrey home

Cpl. Elenore Sturko told that officers responded to five calls for reports of protesters, on Sept. 14, 15, 19, 20 and 21.

“Our members attended when appropriate and have also spoken directly to the concerned members of the public,” Sturko said. “We received calls for service when events were unfolding, and after the events had concluded officers may not have physically attended the area for reports made on the day after the protest. Attending officers were not provided information regarding any violent activity. However, if witnesses have further information regarding these events which they wish to provide, they can contact Surrey RCMP.”

The protesters are targeting journalist Bing Chen “Benson” Gao, who they accuse of spying for the Chinese government. Gao denies the allegations and says the protesters are slandering him.

Gao, who reports under the pen name Huang Hebian, was fired as columnist for the Global Chinese Press newspaper in 2016. He criticized Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi for lashing out at reporters in Ottawa after they asked about China’s human rights record. In 2018, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ordered Gao to pay just $1 in defamation damages to Miaofei Pan, who hosted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for a private 2016 fundraiser. Pan is the former head of the Canadian Alliance of Chinese Associations, a Richmond, B.C.-coalition aligned with the CCP’s United Front foreign influence campaign. 

Bing Chen Gao

Gao has lived in the Surrey neighbourhood near Green Timbers with his family for the last decade. He is part of a network of critics across North America focusing on Guo Wengui, aka Miles Kwok, the billionaire Chinese real estate developer who fled to New York. Chinese authorities want to prosecute Guo for alleged criminal and civil corruption.

In a letter to his neighbours, Gao claimed Guo organized his supporters to retaliate against critics, including him. 

In August, Donald Trump’s former campaign mastermind Steve Bannon was arrested on Guo’s yacht by U.S. Postal Service inspectors and charged with siphoning $1 million from a charity scheme aimed at building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Gao’s wife Alice Zheng told on Sept. 23 that protesters had returned yet again and were standing closer to their house, even barricading the garage and yelling profanities. Zheng was too scared to take her daughter to a piano lesson and her 70-year-old mother could not go outside for daily housework. Zhang said police told her the group has a right to peacefully protest, but she said the protesters are crossing the line.

“I told them it’s not only the protest, it’s harassment,” Zheng said.

The most-notorious recent B.C. case of a residential protest that crossed the line happened in Premier John Horgan’s Langford neighbourhood last February.

Three Extinction Rebellion protesters were arrested by Westshore RCMP and later charged with mischief for trespassing and blocking Horgan’s driveway in a bungled citizen’s arrest attempt. The eco-radicals were protesting the Coastal GasLink Pipeline.

Regine Monika Klein and Mark William Nykane signed $500 peace bonds, agreeing to not reoffend for two years. Howard Gerard Breen will go to trial. 

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Bob Mackin Protesters who purport to oppose the

Bob Mackin

John Horgan began the first full day of the 2020 Snap, Pandemic State of Emergency Election campaign (and the first day of fall) in North Vancouver’s Waterfront Park.

John Horgan’s snap election tour bus in North Vancouver on Sept. 22 (Mackin)

He couldn’t avoid the questions about why now for an election. I even asked whether the NDP would disclose if a team member tested positive for coronavirus or if the campaign would be suspended if a candidate, volunteer or worker is hospitalized.

“We’ll conduct our campaign following public health guidelines, that’s the commitment we’ve made to British Columbians and I’m going to maintain that from now until election day,” Horgan said. “I can’t predict the health outcomes for people on my campaign or people across B.C.”

To his left was Bowinn Ma, the incumbent whose BC Liberal challenger was revealed on Tuesday: geoscientist ‘Lyn Anglin.


Horgan’s first foray on the mainland was to 2017-elected Ma’s swing riding. Expect to see him make live appearances to support Bob D’Eith (Maple Ridge-Mission), Lisa Beare (Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows), Ravi Kahlon (Delta North), George Heyman (Vancouver-Fairview), Jinny Sims (Surrey-Panorama) and Ronna-Rae Leonard (Courtenay). All, except Heyman, upset BC Liberals in 2017. Heyman did that in 2013.

Audience returns

For the first time in four months, Horgan had a live “audience.” Reporters were allowed to attend his North Vancouver stop. Since late spring, under a deal with the Press Gallery, government news conferences have been conducted on a phone-in only basis. The Press Gallery agreed not to attend any events at the Legislature and the ban carried-over to events on the mainland.

The policy was under the guise of public health, but the Waterfront Park event was conducted outside, with physical distancing, masking and even an NDP “roadie” who wiped down the microphone and stand with rubbing alcohol in-between reporters.


Horgan’s campaign bus did not have a decorative wrap. The bus is supplied by Victoria’s Wilson’s Transportation, which made national headlines 51 weeks ago when one of its motor coaches scraped the underside of a wing on one of Justin Trudeau’s two campaign planes at Victoria International Airport. The Horgan bus was escorted by two black RCMP vans.

NDP “roadie” disinfecting microphone and stand between reporters on Sept. 22 (Mackin)

Party poopers

Trevor Halford was rubber-stamped as the BC Liberal candidate in South Surrey-White Rock, aiming to succeed the resigned Tracy Redies.

Notary and former city councillor Megan Knight was among those that expressed interest. “Megan’s application was slow walked and delayed,” Tweeted Debbie Nancy Ward, Redies’s former aide. “A total of nine applicants were received starting August 26 but the BCL couldn’t process any but Trevor’s, curious. You think he was promised the riding by someone?”

Meanwhile, former BC Greens leader and ex-NDP provincial council member Stuart Parker is now the cancelled leader of the B.C. Ecosocialists (“Further left than the NDP, greener than the Greens”).

In a Facebook rant, he threw his support behind J.K. Rowling, the Harry Potter author who has been critical of transgender activists. The party announced Parker’s resignation late Sept. 22: “The B.C. Ecosocialist Party affirms that Trans Rights are Human Rights.” 

Elections BC

Oct. 24 is general election day, but the winner may not be known during that weekend. Or even the next weekend. As many as 35% of ballots may be cast by mail and the deadline for Elections BC to receive is 8 p.m. on Oct. 24.

The final count, which involves absentee ballots, begins Nov. 6. Ten days later is return day, but that may be delayed if the final count takes longer.

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Bob Mackin John Horgan began the first full

Bob Mackin

“The best way forward is to put politics behind us.”

The words John Horgan said on the first day of his snap fall election. British Columbians will go to the polls Oct. 24 — 51 weeks ahead of schedule.

John Horgan announces the election in a Langford cul-de-sac (CPAC) exclusively reported in August that the Saturday before Hallowe’en was the second of two dates pondered by the NDP for the province’s 42nd general election.

Horgan appeared before his first live audience of reporters in four months, in a Langford cul-de-sac, to announce he called an election in a state of emergency.

Over his right shoulder, two green garbage cans. Over his left, orange goalposts.

If he loses, this will become an own goal, akin to Dave Barrett’s fall 1975 snap election loss.

As for the garbage cans, the two-member Green caucus, leader Sonia Furstenau and Adam Olsen, is angry after Horgan tossed the Confidence and Supply Agreement without the required mutual consent amendment or recall of the Legislature for a confidence vote.

Horgan blamed two bills in the summer session that didn’t get Green support and a Green amendment without consulting the finance minister. Furstenau said CASA did not require total obedience.

“We’re asking British Columbians to engage in their public life, to give advice and counsel to where they want to go and who they want to lead them,” Horgan said. “It’s never a bad idea to do that, I’m firmly convinced of that.”

Vice-regal approval

Government House would not confirm or deny that Horgan met with Lt. Gov. Janet Austin on the last day of summer at the Empress Hotel. Austin is staying at a downtown hotel while renovations occur. She is also using an office on Douglas Street. They met for an hour. Oddly, Austin later hosted Elections BC chief Anton Boegman on the grounds of Government House to sign the official election writs.

The score

At dissolution, the NDP and BC Liberals were tied at 41. BC Liberals had a one-seat edge until Aug. 31 when Tracy Redies quit South Surrey White Rock to become the new Science World CEO). The Greens are the third party with two seats and there were two independents, ex-Green leader Andrew Weaver and Speaker Darryl Plecas. Neither are running.

Seven say bye

Not seeking re-election are NDP cabinet members Shane Simpson (social development), Michelle Mungall (jobs, economic development and competitiveness), Judy Darcy (mental health and addictions), Scott Fraser (indigenous relations and reconciliation), Doug Donaldson (forests, lands and natural resources), Claire Trevena and Carole James (finance). James will act as a caretaker minister, a de facto premier, during the election.

Green leader Sonia Furstenau (CPAC)

Controversy out of the gate

Former Tahltan Nation president Annita McPhee learned by press release that her bid to become the Stikine candidate was over and that lobbyist and ex-MP Nathan Cullen would be the northern riding’s candidate. McPhee was relying on the NDP’s affirmative action policy, the equity mandate, that requires a retiring white male be replaced by a political minority.

Case count

On the day Horgan called the election, Henry announced 366 new cases of coronavirus since the previous Friday’s report, for a total 8,208 (1,987 active). 

Four new deaths, for a total 227. Twenty-one of the 60 hospitalized are in intensive care. 

What the leaders said


“When it comes to our schools, safe operations of our schools is not the responsibility of the premier. It’s the responsibility of school boards, administrators, trustees.”

“I didn’t discuss an election directly with Dr. Henry.”

“The election is not an issue I needed to raise with her.”


“It is irresponsible for John Horgan to suggest anything other than him putting his political future and his party’s fortune ahead of the people of B.C., this has been a historically positive three years for B.C., we were absolutely committed to continuing with it, it is him that made the decision to tear down and tear up this agreement.”

BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson:

“In the middle of a pandemic as the case count in B.C. is the highest in the country per capita, and rising fast, why do we need the upset and turmoil of a general election?”

Dr. Bonnie Henry:

“Premier Horgan did not ask for my advice around calling a general election and nor would I expect him to.”

Said on social

Many on social media were neither enthused or amused by the snap election call.

Singer Raffi on Twitter didn’t buy Horgan’s spin, that B.C. would have been subject to another 12 months of partisan politics before the scheduled Oct. 16, 2021 election.

“Rubbish,” Raffi Tweeted. “You’re the partisan politico here.”

Norman Spector, who helped negotiate the CASA for the Greens, had harsh words for Henry and Horgan.

“Bonnie Henry started by saying COVID is her priority, but it’s starting to appear that she’s complicit in this unnecessary election,” Spector tweeted. “Horgan *himself* set the next election for ‘the third Saturday in October in the fourth calendar year following the general voting day for the most recently held general election’. Then he broke his CASA word and asked the LG for an election.”

Spector used the hashtags #BCersDyingHorganLying and #BCersDyingHorganLyingHenryComplying.

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Bob Mackin “The best way forward is to

For the  week of Sept. 20, 2020:

Will he or won’t he? 

Premier John Horgan could be days away from asking Lt. Gov. Janet Austin to dissolve the Legislature and call a snap election. A year early and during the worsening coronavirus pandemic.

The evidence? A flurry of cabinet ministers resigning from the next campaign simultaneous with a flurry of nomination hopefuls. A $1.5 billion bailout plan followed by a public-paid partisan ad campaign (Horgan promised he would ban partisan government ads). Restrictions on media access to government officials and public records.

There are also calls for Horgan to back-off and stick to governing from Sonia Furstenau, the new leader of the BC Greens, and Norman Spector, the veteran political advisor who brokered the Green/NDP confidence and supply agreement.

On this edition, hear highlights of the week that was. 

Plus commentary and headlines from the Pacific Rim and Pacific Northwest.

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

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: Snap election watch in B.C.

For the  week of Sept. 20, 2020: Will

Bob Mackin

The spokesman for B.C.’s publicans and nightclub owners says the NDP government mishandled the pandemic health order that cut bar hours and shut down nightclubs.

Alliance of Beverage Licensees’ executive director Jeff Guignard said his industry calls Dr. Bonnie Henry’s sudden Sept. 8 verbal order “borderline unprofessional” and is disappointed that there are still no details in writing more than a week later.

During a news conference, Henry immediately set 10 p.m. as last call for alcohol at bars and restaurants and closed nightclubs and banquet halls indefinitely. She also ordered the volume on speakers and TVs be turned down to normal conversation-level. Only establishments that offer full meal service can stay open beyond 11 p.m.

Henry said she was concerned about a late summer surge in coronavirus infections related to liquor service establishments. But, as of Sept. 16, the public health orders website continues to list an outdated July 31 order relevant to restaurants, pubs, bars and nightclubs. Guignard said his struggling members are accustomed to operating in a highly regulated industry and not used to ad hoc announcements not backed-up with paperwork.

“Normally it doesn’t take a week to do this, so normally there is a lot more work goes on with industry beforehand; that did’t happen this time,” ABLE BC’s Guignard told “We weren’t surprised that she was going to make more stringent measures, that appear to have been coming for a while. We were surprised the order got announced without anybody having an idea of what was contained within it.”

Guignard and industry allies, including the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association, appealed to Premier John Horgan, Henry, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Attorney General David Eby in a Sept. 10 letter. They complained about the policy rationale and economic consequences after Henry acknowledged that most in the industry are doing a good job to prevent the spread of the virus.

“Not having the actual public health order makes it impossible for our industry to adapt,” Guignard said. “I’m getting inundated with phone calls from members [asking] what the heck is going on, how come we don’t know?”

The letter from the Business Technical Advisory Panel said all operators are being treated as if they have caused problems, regardless of how compliant they have been.

Adrian Dix (right) and Dr. Bonnie Henry (BC Gov)

“We feel that imposing ‘broad brush’ restrictions does not reinforce the positive and necessary message that a majority of operators are doing the right thing. In addition, the impression for everyday consumers is that there are significant, systemic problems, which there are not,” the letter said.

The letter also said evening staff shifts were cut in half by Henry’s order and Downtown Vancouver pubs are suffering because they generally see almost half their sales after 10 p.m. Pubs elsewhere generate 10% to 25% of their revenue after 10 p.m.

The Business Technical Advisory Panel is asking for a midnight last call, greater enforcement and more transparent guidelines/public health targets.

The Ministry of Health communications office has not responded for comment.

As for the prospect of a snap election while his members are struggling, Guignard said it could put economic recovery at risk. “It just strikes me as a strange time to be having an election in the middle a global pandemic,” he said.

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Bob Mackin The spokesman for B.C.’s publicans and

Bob Mackin

A coalition of three First Nations wants the Information and Privacy Commissioner to order B.C.’s Ministry of Health to release the proximate, anonymized locations of confirmed and presumed coronavirus cases.

A letter to Commissioner Michael McEvoy from the lawyer for the Heiltsuk, Nuu-chah-nulth and Tsilhqot’in tribal councils says the NDP government is breaking the section of the freedom of information law that requires information be released without delay if it is about a risk to the health or safety of the public or group of people.

Heiltsuk chief councillor Marilyn Slett, a Vancouver Coastal Health director (VCH)

The First Nations, fearing spread of the virus in their territories, have unsuccessfully pleaded for the information for months. They even appealed directly to Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Notes from an Aug. 7 teleconference with Henry, released by lawyer Lisa Fong, say Henry denied the FOI law applies to her.

“The [Public Health Act] determines what information can be released and protection of personal health information; it’s the PHA I must adhere to,” Henry said.

She said she “will notify those who need to know, but also have responsibility to protect every individual’s personal health information.”

One of the complainants, coincidentally, is Heiltsuk chief councillor, Marilyn Slett, an NDP appointee to the board of Vancouver Coastal Health

In a statement to, B.C.’s former advocate for children and youth, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, agreed the first nations have the right to know.

“The system currently in place does not reflect the direct sharing of accurate, timely information,” said Turpel-Lafond, who is investigating racism in the healthcare system. “Current arrangements appear to not be aligned with the recognition of the role of First Nations governments in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The B.C. government should make it a priority to ensure that this situation is rectified and that this vital information is shared with First Nations communities in the interests of better pandemic response for all citizens.”

Through his staff, McEvoy confirmed he has opened an investigation and notified the Ministry of Health.

In a 2013 report, then-OIPC commissioner Elizabeth Denham called the public interest override “difficult to apply.”

“While the grounds for disclosure are stated, the determination of what triggers an urgent and compelling need for disclosure can be open to broad and inconsistent interpretation by the heads of public bodies,” Denham wrote.

In that report, Denham found the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, Provincial Health Services Authority and Provincial Health Officer were not obliged under section 25 to immediately disclose two studies about Lyme disease to the public or an affected group of people. 

“While I agree that the 2009 and 2010 studies indicated an underreporting of the disease, there is no evidence of increased incidence of Lyme disease such that there would be an urgent and compelling need to disclose either study to the public,” Denham wrote. 

Dr. Bonnie Henry (left) and Health Minister Adrian Dix (Mackin)

Her report indicated the 2009 study, which was co-authored by Henry, had been delayed due to the H1N1 pandemic.

The NDP came to power in July 2017 with support from the Green Party. It has not fulfilled campaign promises to reform the law, including a pledge to rewrite the public interest override to enable more information to be shared proactively with the public. 

Disclosure delays, on the cusp of an election 

The First Nations’ complaint happens while the NDP government is on the verge of calling a snap provincial election for late October. B.C.’s six-month-long state of emergency was renewed for another two weeks on Sept. 15 as coronavirus hospitalizations continue to rise while government secrecy is at an all-time high.

The NDP government has already benefitted from a blanket two-month disclosure holiday granted by Commissioner McEvoy last spring. After the extension expired in May, McEvoy’s office has allowed various public bodies to delay disclosure of records until November, which would be after the election. has exclusively learned that the province’s six health authorities, which report to Minister Adrian Dix, successfully applied in late June for a 60-business day extension to requests received between mid-May and the end of June.

“Since the introduction of B.C.’s Phase 2 Restart Plan, FOI staff have been receiving COVID-19 related requests from interest groups such as media, unions and political groups,” said the health authorities’ application. “These requests are voluminous, complex and involve records retrieval from literally hundreds of sources in one instance. They also involve cross health sector engagement and coordination of requests to ensure consistency and currency of responses in a C-19 environment that is constantly changing, even on a daily basis.”

Records requested include those about PPE shortages and allocations, surgical and other care and treatment impacts, staff scheduling impacts, staff and patient safety impacts, staffing models, emergency management clinical and business decisions, restart plans and impacts, COVID-19 identification and location of positive patients, staff, families and caregivers and other related issues. wanted to know what, if any, due diligence was conducted. Did OIPC staff conduct a site visit or take statements under oath from health authority staff, before granting the delay?

McEvoy has yet to respond.

Sean Holman in 2018

In a 2018 Ontario court decision about the Toronto Star’s bid to access tribunal records, Justice Edward Morgan found delays unconstitutional. He ruled that in a system that protects freedom of the press, the media should not have the right to report on proceedings delayed unreasonably.

“Just as justice delayed can be justice denied, so reportage delayed can be reportage denied,” wrote Edwards.

Last week, the NDP government announced a $1.6 billion increase to the Ministry of Health budget, but it did not include any boost for FOI offices.

In May a coalition of whistleblowers and government transparency advocates issued a white paper that was critical of various Canadian governments, including B.C. The Canadian COVID-19 Accountability Group called the current approach “secretive and paternalistic” and recommended immediate reforms.

The group includes Sean Holman, a journalism professor at Mount Royal University in Calgary and a former member of the B.C. legislature press gallery. During an appearance on Podcast, Holman said it is crucial for governments to operate openly in a crisis.

“We are in a democracy, we are not in a dictatorship,” Holman said.

“If people can get a better sense about how much infection there is in their local geographic area, they can act accordingly and we really do want people to, in this time of crisis, be acting in accordance to the risk around them. We want people to be self-isolating, we want people to be socially distancing, we want people to be thinking about the larger community, as opposed to thinking about their own individual safety. By disclosing that type of information, we can allow for those kinds of measures.”

READ BELOW: Health authorities complain about transparency obligations.

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F20 0691 Blackline Mackin by Bob Mackin on Scribd

Bob Mackin A coalition of three First Nations

Bob Mackin

A woman who crashed her James Bond luxury car in Richmond and claimed the repairs were botched got a rude awakening from a judge, who tossed her case on Sept. 10.

Bonan “Jessica” Liu hired Burrard Autostrasse Collision Ltd. after a December 2015 single vehicle collision near No 2 and Blundell in her $200,000, 2014 DB9 Century Skyfall Aston Martin. Burrard subcontracted some work to 0880984 BC Ltd dba MCL Motor Cars. The repairs were done by September 2017 and Liu refused to pay. She sued Burrard and MCL for breach of contract, sought $300,000 in damages and the value of a new Aston Martin DB9.

Aston Martin similar to Bonan Liu’s Richmond-crashed vehicle. (Aston Martin)

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Nitya Iyer dismissed Liu’s claim after an Aug. 13 summary trial and allowed Burrard’s $329,000 counterclaim for unpaid repairs, interest, indoor storage fees and insurance.

“Ms. Liu’s claim is meritless and she has made resolution of the issue virtually impossible,” Iyer wrote. “Objectively assessed, her allegations of fraud, conspiracy, fraudulent misrepresentation, or breach of fiduciary duty are without legal foundation and she should not have advanced them. It is clear that Ms. Liu’s conduct of the litigation has been frustrating and extremely unpleasant for Burrard.”

Liu had been represented by four different lawyers until she finally represented herself. Before she sued, the parties agreed Liu would pay half the outstanding invoice. She signed the release, but did not pay the money. Burrard kept the car and Liu sued. A December 2019 trial was set, but Liu sought an adjournment for mediation. However, she did not attend. Liu sought an adjournment to the February 2020 summary trial, but the April court date was adjourned because of the pandemic.

Iyer’s decision said that Liu made the first payment, but not the second. In September 2016, Liu eventually signed a second payment guarantee for the outstanding $50,000 and final balance. Burrard invoiced Liu in May 2017 for more than $135,000 after the repairs, of which Liu had paid only the initial $50,000.

Skyfall poster (Eon Productions/MGM)

“Notably, over $97,000 of this amount represented the cost of the parts Burrard purchased from Aston Martin to perform the repair. Burrard’s labour cost was about $12,000, or just under 9% of the total invoice,” said the judge’s verdict.

She refused to pay the invoice and did not pick up the car. Burrard stored the car indoors for $200-a-day. They settled their dispute in October 2017, when Liu signed the release and agreed to pay $46,000. But, instead of paying, Liu filed a lawsuit.

Iyer wrote that Liu was clear she wanted the car fixed for $50,000 and that is all she would pay. Yet she was told the repairs would cost about $100,000 before she consented and signed the documents. It was Liu who breached contracts, not Burrard, Iyer concluded.

“She claims damages for various personal injuries and for travel to and from China, along with the value of a new vehicle, $300,000 and increased costs,” Iyer wrote. “The stated legal basis for her claims is coercion, breach of fiduciary duty and extortion of her as a ‘financially well off’ person whose first language is not English. None of the evidence before me supports these allegations.”

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Bob Mackin A woman who crashed her James