The following is a largely AI-generated transcript for Ep 196. Excuse any errors, we’re trying to catch up on these and need to sort out a workflow. Want to help make our transcripts better? Let us know if you can help our support us on Patreon.
[00:01:55] Ian Bushfield: Well, let’s kick it off for the first segment to find out how things have been going in the legislature itself.
[00:02:16] Last week, we touched on some of the bills the government has brought forward and how the sort of. Debate has taken shape since the legislature has returned, but you’re on the ground. You’re there in the gallery. Shannon, what is it like being back?
[00:02:33] Shannon Waters: It’s weird. I suspect this is true for anybody who has had their work, pause or shift to, you know, home-based, um, Home-based work and then had to go back and things are new and there are new rules and it’s weird.
[00:02:54] Um, so we went back on the 22nd of June after the house hadn’t sat at all. Since the end of March, we had a one day emergency session to basically get the government enough money to keep functioning for the foreseeable future, as well as allocating money to support. The COVID-19 action plan, $5 billion there.
[00:03:18] So the house had been empty for quite a while. And then we had this one week sitting the week of June 22nd and then immediately went on to a constituency week for this week for Canada day. Um, so yeah, we have this. Wild and wonderful hybrid session going on where instead of, um, the 87 MLS that we have all being in the chamber at once, there are no more than 25 at a time now.
[00:03:48] And that includes the speaker. So a lot of empty chairs on the floor, um, and they’ve installed four television screens right in the chamber itself. Um, In order for members who are zooming in either from their home writings or some of them are actually in the legislature itself, but they, they are in an office or some other rooms somewhere rather than being present in the chamber.
[00:04:15] Um, all participating in introducing legislation and debating legislation. They’re doing question period virtually and. It’s gone fairly smoothly. So far,
[00:04:29] Scott de Lange Boom: just the virtual nature of change, the tone at all.
[00:04:33] Shannon Waters: Um, I, I noticed that most during question period and question periods, one of those times, a lot of people really hate it because, um, It’s partisan.
[00:04:45] Obviously there’s a lot of back and forth. It’s not necessarily considered a great use of people’s time. You know, um, critics talk about, they call it question period for a reason instead of answer, period. Um, but what you really notice is that the virtual nature of this hybrid session really cuts down on the haggling because the MLS who aren’t present in the chamber.
[00:05:09] Can’t be heard unless they have the floor. So there’s a lot less, um, we hear a lot less from sort of backbenchers and some of the louder members of the various caucuses who are known for heckling, which. Overall, it’s probably a good thing. Um, it certainly makes it a lot easier to live tweet because I can actually hear what the answer is from the person who’s being questioned.
[00:05:34] Whereas sometimes the heckling gets so heavy that you can’t really make out what they’re saying
[00:05:40] Scott de Lange Boom: comes through now.
[00:05:42] Shannon Waters: Yeah, well, you can hear the answer. You can hear whatever it is that, um, you know, the minister or the premier is offering in terms of an answer. What you don’t get is sort of the color and the conflict that often comes with question period.
[00:05:56] You get a little bit of that, you know, there are still some members in the chamber who. Uh, are, are engaging and heckling and are, you know, making their thoughts on whatever the response or the question is known, but it’s a lot quieter when there’s only, you know, half a dozen or so people doing that compared to, you know, what can be dozens in a very heated exchange with everybody in the chamber.
[00:06:21] Ian Bushfield: So with the virtual nature, uh, one of the things people observed with the house of commons was the variety of bizarre backgrounds, various ML or MPS had at their houses or whatever they chose to use ranging from like the infamous white sheet to hunting trophies. And anything else, has there been any standouts in.
[00:06:43] The British Columbia situation, like, um, anyone have an interesting home, we get a peek into
[00:06:49] Shannon Waters: the thing. So the thing with watching these hybrid sessions is that the seat that I have in the gallery is not great for being able to see the TV screens. I can see the floor very well, but from where I’m sitting, it’s not the best, but having watched.
[00:07:04] Some of the debates going on, virtually where they’re switching between, you know, various MLS in their homes. Um, there’ve been some interesting ones. I’m always fascinated by people’s bookshelves, you know, trying to pick out titles that I recognize, or, you know, whether someone’s got a bunch of empty shelves, there’s at least one MLA who is sitting in front of a giant BC flag, which makes me wonder what is behind that giant BC flag.
[00:07:29] And, you know, just a few like pieces of artwork and stuff like that, but no, I haven’t noticed as much. And that’s something that I think I’ll be paying a little more attention to as the session goes on and we get used to the routine, um, is, you know, who has the really interesting living room or study or stuff like that.
[00:07:47] Although I will say that for a lot of the ministers who are calling in, there are several of them who are just sitting in their offices in the legislature. So it’s not, um, All that. Interesting. I haven’t seen any who have like a lacrosse stick up as the premier has been noted as having in his office previously.
[00:08:06] Ian Bushfield: Well, you mentioned a question period and the. Big thing that comes out in question period is the partisanship between the opposition and government and the clear stark difference during that one sitting that happened, uh, in mid-March to pass, uh, summer emergency legislation, there was a market, uh, increase in cooperation where the liberals agreed to only have a minimal number of their, uh, party there just almost as a show.
[00:08:35] And. They asked the very polite kind questions almost and got good answers as well. Um, I take it we’re back to the more, uh, critical response from the opposition than that.
[00:08:51] Shannon Waters: Yeah. So we all knew that the partisanship was coming back. I will note that at least. During question period on topics that are particularly serious or somber, um, it’s come up when discussing the overdose crisis.
[00:09:07] Um, there does tend to be sort of more decorum and a more conciliatory tone in the chamber. I think amylase are aware that, you know, when we’re talking about thousands of people’s lives loss now is not the time to be, you know, angling for. Partisan points with particularly clever, um, you know, words or stuff like that.
[00:09:27] Um, but yeah, we were, we were back in full force to the parties in ship, basically, as soon as we got into question period, last week, the big issue was the temporary BCS temporary layoff. Period. Um, and the liberals accusing the government of dragging their feet on an extension that BC employers needed in order to one, not have to lay off, um, employees who had been sort of temporarily put on like a furlough, um, And the government basically said, you know, we’ll make the changes if we need to make the changes, but we don’t think we need to make the changes.
[00:10:04] And then by the end of the week, they’d made the changes and the whole thing had kind of gone away. Um, but yeah, the partisanship both in the chamber and on Twitter came roaring back. As soon as the session came
[00:10:17] Ian Bushfield: in, we’ll send him one of the benefits of being able to sit there and watch. Whether it’s debates on the bills or estimates was a big thing this week as well is a lot of little issues will come up.
[00:10:31] Uh, I know I watched a little bit of the education ministries, uh, estimates debates, and the BC liberals were really hung up on these cuts that they were calling them to, uh, into pendant, distributed learning the. Private online schools where Rob plumbing referred to them as more just we’re setting them on a equal footing with the brick and mortar, private schools, you know, that back and forth aside the liberals have their supporters in the Christian homeschooling crowd, frankly, who care a lot about that.
[00:11:04] But, you know, you’re the one who’s sitting there. Having to watch all of this were the big things coming up that you think didn’t get the coverage or the attention that they probably deserved or were maybe even just interesting.
[00:11:17] Shannon Waters: Um, that’s a really interesting question. Cause I often feel like I, you know, there’s, there’s so much that goes on in the legislature on a daily basis.
[00:11:27] And to a certain extent you do have to kind of pick and choose what. You’re going to cover or write about. Um, and I try to sort of at least hit all of the high points, but estimates is one of those situations where a lot of it is very can be sort of not formulaic, but you know, they go over how much the government is planning to spend, um, in a given year, how that compares to previous years, how things are going to be rolled out.
[00:11:53] Um, but there’s also often a lot of, sort of different. Issues that you weren’t expecting, um, that can come up during estimates. Um, Debate. Uh, and it’s, it’s interesting this time around, because what they’re doing is Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are essentially reserved for debate on legislation, as well as some of the other things that happen during.
[00:12:17] Um, the week in the house. So private members, time introductions, you know, question period, that kind of things. And then on Thursday and Friday, they’re solely focused on estimate. So they spend two whole days, um, just debating estimates, um, for various ministries. So I also did some tuning in, um, to the debate on IDL schools.
[00:12:41] The government is, like you said, maintaining that it’s sort of bringing funding levels into line with what other schools around the province receive. Uh, the liberals and education critic. Dan Davies has been raising, you know, this reduction. I think it’s about $800 per student is what it ends up working out to has sort of come out of left field.
[00:13:01] Um, you know, people were unprepared for it, this kind of thing. And they did, it was one of those issues. They spent a lot of time on, even though it was. Something that, you know, sort of seemed fairly minor. I’m sure. You know, to parents who are having to make the adjustment or whatever, it doesn’t seem minor, but was one of those things that they kind of got bogged down in.
[00:13:21] The other things that came up were, or the other estimates that were debated were, um, transportation and infrastructure was in there. And I think they also spent some time on social development and poverty. Reduction, but yeah, it’s like, I guess what I’m saying is it’s a lot to, to keep track of. There wasn’t anything that really caught my eye in estimates so far, but one of the ones I’m really looking forward to is indigenous relations and reconciliation.
[00:13:51] That’s a ministry portfolio that I’m always very curious about. Um, and so look forward to seeing them debate that
[00:13:59] Scott de Lange Boom: I’m curious, what are the sticking points on the, uh, infrastructure and transportation
[00:14:04] Shannon Waters: estimates? Um, they’ve been proceeding quite smoothly so far. It’s one of those ministries that does tend to take a long time.
[00:14:12] Um, you know, to sort everything out. Um, and the transportation minister is one of those who the liberals sort of very early on and I’m talking back like 2017 zeroed in, on minister Trevino as maybe one of the weaker ministers, particularly during question period. Um, so it’s always interesting watching the opposition approach ministers, you know, in estimates.
[00:14:37] Cause it is a very. Sort of intimate debate. It’s often it’s not quite one-on-one, but the ministers are in there with their staff, from the ministry to be able to provide all the supplemental information. And then there’s often very few other people in the chamber and they usually move into one of the committee rooms as well.
[00:14:51] So you have these two debates going on simultaneously, which makes it even more fun to cover. Again, a lot of the costs, a lot of the, um, considerations are around cost changes. Um, Project costs that have gone up since the last time around, or, you know, funding levels that are different for things like road maintenance, Y you know, those have changed or been adjusted again with transportation, from what I’ve seen.
[00:15:18] Theme. And I will admit, I have not read every single line of the Hansard blues for those estimates. Um, no real barn burners as of yet, but they’re not finished. I don’t think either transportation or education are finished at this point in time. The other thing that’s been a bit of a struggle for me. Um, since the new session went back, is that Hansard, which is the service that transcribes sort of everything that is said almost everything that is said in the chamber.
[00:15:47] They aren’t completing their transcriptions on the same days anymore. And this is partly around. My understanding is a need to, you know, like clean and sanitized spaces in ways that we didn’t have to do, um, pre pandemic. And so there’s usually at least 90 minutes of the day where the trend, the transcription is an available until the next morning.
[00:16:11] And so I find myself writing things and being like, This is to the best of my knowledge. And like sometimes I’ll post a link for my publisher, Alison, to check the blues, which is what the draft, um, Hansard transcription is called in the morning and just make sure that they didn’t, you know, finish a set of estimates in the last 90 minutes and move on to something else or, you know, move a bill to the next stage of debate.
[00:16:37] Um, and I had missed it at that point in time, especially cause the house usually sits until six 30, most days.
[00:16:43] Ian Bushfield: They’re really not considering your deadlines, how rude?
[00:16:47] Shannon Waters: No, I wish they would. Just for me, just me,
[00:16:53] Ian Bushfield: I’m sure the other outlets have similar deadlines and struggles.
[00:16:57] Shannon Waters: Well, it’s always fun if you stick around because the house usually, like I said, it sits late.
[00:17:00] Most of us have deadlines ahead of that, but sometimes there’ll be reporters like hanging out. Until the very end of the day. And occasionally there’ve been really interesting votes or divisions or objections that happen in those last few minutes that you get to make a little story out of.
[00:17:16] Ian Bushfield: So speaking of the various reporters around the legislature, one of the things you’ve been tracking is who’s been able to get through on these daily press conference.
[00:17:25] And I guess they’re a little less frequent now, but there’s. More different press conferences happening, who who’s getting through the provincial. I guess it’s the government controlling the press line and getting to ask questions of either dr. Bonnie Henry or the premier at his announcements or others to give us a little bit of peek into the findings or you know, what trends you’re seeing.
[00:17:47] Shannon Waters: Yeah. So that. Is a thing that I’ve been doing since March, partly because it was very frustrating initially. Um, you know, as a member of the press gallery, I have a lot of access to politicians and public officials. And prior to the pandemic, getting really serious, these daily briefings with. Um, dr. Henry we’re happening in the legislature.
[00:18:12] We were attending them in person and typically questions would be taken from the room first, and then they move along to the phone lines and I’ll fully admit, like, I’ve thought about the issue of access. Particularly on a regional basis, you know, reporters around the province who are covering provincial issues.
[00:18:29] I’ve thought about that before. Cause I’ve been one of those reporters previously, but you know, in early March when we were having these briefings, they were starting to become more and more regular. I like it. It didn’t really bother me that, um, They were taking questions from the room first. Cause I was getting questions every single day.
[00:18:48] And then they, we were asked not to attend the briefings in person anymore, um, to call in and to hammer that point home, we were told that they would no longer be giving reporting in the room priority question. And so, you know, everybody’s trying to adjust and we’re calling in to these daily. What I’m noticing is that there are a lot of the same names from a lot of the same outlets, getting questions every single day.
[00:19:16] Um, and my access decreased fairly significantly. Um, so instead of getting a question every single day, I was getting like maybe one or two a week and at times less than that, depending on volume. Um, and so what I’ve noticed that, like I said, I’ve been tracking this since March now and. Basically what’s happening is big outlets get priority.
[00:19:39] You have global does particularly well. You have CBC CTV, the Vancouver sun, uh, tend to get, they will get a question every day. Almost all of those outlets will get a question every day and then. You know, smaller, independent and regional outlets, we’ll get questions sort of time permitting kind of thing.
[00:20:02] Now that the daily briefing is somewhat different from the Premier’s availabilities, because when it comes to the premier, there is more access by the press gallery. Priority seems to be going to press gallery reporters. And my understanding of the justification for that is basically like we would be the ones getting priority on those, um, availabilities anyways, cause typically we would be there in person.
[00:20:26] Um, and then if the premier had time, he would take a couple of questions from the phone. And again, even during the Premier’s availabilities, you’re still seeing the larger outlet sort of get. Priority. And then typically there will be at least one independent outlet in the mix. There are several reporters who work for independent outlets working in the press gallery, and then there might be.
[00:20:48] Another one or two questions that go to regional outlets. But even then, we’re not seeing a lot of reporters from Northern BC get questions on a daily basis. And we’re not seeing a lot of reporters from the interior or really anywhere outside of the lower mainland or off Vancouver Island. Now, what I can’t tell you, because I don’t have access to that information, although I’ve asked for it, I can’t tell you how many reporters are calling into these.
[00:21:14] Briefings or the Premier’s availabilities every day. And I can’t tell you how many reporters are queuing to ask questions. I’ve been told that at times there are dozens and there have been dozens and dozens of questions in the queue, particularly when things were a lot more hectic and the situation was still really developing.
[00:21:34] Um, but I don’t, I can’t tell you on a daily basis sort of. You know, all I can report is here’s you got questions. Here’s how many questions there were. And here are the outlets that those reporters work for. What I can’t fill in is how many other reporters there were waiting on the line to hopefully ask a question who didn’t get access.
[00:21:53] Ian Bushfield: Is that something you could FOI like. Department is running that.
[00:21:58] Shannon Waters: Yes. So I’m working on getting access to that information, filing quite a few FIS because I’m trying to avoid getting hit with any fees for producing these documents. Um, the thing that is really frustrating is that. Getting FLI information can take a really, really long time.
[00:22:18] And those deadlines have been extended due to the pandemic at this point in time. Um, so for instance, I filed,
[00:22:27] Ian Bushfield: I haven’t fully done like the federal government where I think they just said no to a bunch of people.
[00:22:31] Shannon Waters: Yeah. And that would be like, I haven’t filed any of the federal ones lately. My focus is provincial.
[00:22:39] So I do tend to file mostly with either, um, like provincial government entities or other provincial entities. But yeah, I, but the thing is, I’m not sure how much of this information will even fall under, um, the FOI laws. So it’s basically a shot in the dark, but I have asked up front the government office that.
[00:23:03] Is running these teleconferences. I have asked them for the information around how they are prioritizing caller access and basically been told to go file an FOI. So that’s the approach that I’m having to take at this point in time.
[00:23:17] Scott de Lange Boom: So before I move on from what’s happened at the legislature last week, we talked about the bills that were coming up and kind of.
[00:23:23] Our perspective, but there’s definitely a perspective that’s from a ways away, but you’re there every day. Can you kind of give us a bit of an indication of what bills are expected to be particularly contentious and what the next few weeks looks like?
[00:23:39] Shannon Waters: Oh, that is a topic. I wish I had a lot more information on for you.
[00:23:44] Um, I would love if there was a schedule of, you know, what was going to be debated and when at least, you know, sort of a ballpark, but that’s not something that we have here in BC. Um, the one that immediately Springs to mind in terms of generating. A lot of debate and a lot of back and forth is the bill that is supposed to move us to essentially a no fault, um, car insurance system.
[00:24:10] So bringing a bunch of changes into ICBC. I can’t remember off the top of my head, what that one is called, but the government was planning to bring the new regime in, in may of next year. And so that’s a piece that kind of has to be. Past, in order for that to happen. But it’s also something that the liberals oppose quite staunchly.
[00:24:33] They want the government to take other action to fix the problems at ICBC and they worry about, um, or they have concerns about how the government plans to make all of these changes. Um, so that’s one that I think will be. One to watch. I’ll be interested to see what the debate is like around the bill that the finance minister introduced last week, which makes a bunch of changes to enable a lot of the tax deadline, deferrals, and payment, um, extensions and lifting, you know, penalty fees for late payments around I think it’s property tax.
[00:25:13] Um, cause the finance minister introduced that bill last week. But it also allows the government to run a deficit for three years, going forward, as you know, the province tries to recover economically from COVID-19, et cetera. So I’m interested to see what the debate ends up like being on that one, particularly since the liberals.
[00:25:40] You know, when to great lengths to, um, table balanced budgets for an extended period of time. So I expect that will be something that they question quite closely. Another contingent bill was the one introduced by the mental health and addictions minister, um, which the BC corridor actually came out the same day and said, I have some concerns about this bill.
[00:26:05] I think it could mean that more people die, uh, which would obviously not be good when it comes to the overdose crisis. So this bill would essentially allow for young people, people under the age of 19, um, in the wake of an overdose to be held, they’re calling it stabilization care for up to several days after an overdose.
[00:26:31] Um, and they can be held in voluntarily in a healthcare setting in order to essentially stabilize them. And the hope is get them to. You know, decide that it’s time to go into treatment if treatment is available now after the. Chief coroner expressed her concerns. I asked the premier because the chief coroner, Lisa, the point specifically pointed out that, you know, without robust and accessible treatment options, the bill could have a lot of unintended consequences.
[00:27:03] And the Canadian medical association journal has published an article sort of outlining what those consequences could be. Um, so the point is not the only one who has concerns about this issue. Um, but Horgan basically said, you know, I had asked you, are you aware of these concerns? Do you share these concerns and will you be investing, you know, providing more money for treatment options to potentially offset some of the issues that have been outlined here?
[00:27:30] When the premier essentially said passing legislation and announcing investments are. Two different things that we do. He said they’re open to changes on the bill, but there is no commitment to additional funding around that. So the liberals have previously tried to introduce a bill that would have similar implications when it comes to involuntary.
[00:27:52] Care, essentially for young people who have experienced an overdose and who are struggling with substance use. So I, I think from that side, the liberals are probably going to say, this doesn’t go far enough and I’m not entirely sure where the green caucus is going to land on things. But I’m very curious to see how the debate on that bill goes.
[00:28:11] Ian Bushfield: wonder if anyone’s dug into the law lobbyists registry to really look at who’s who are the people pushing for this approach? Because I know Jane has, you know, like you said, tabled, private members bills to try to get this type of situation in, but this really strikes me as someone got. The government’s ear and got them to change their tune on it.
[00:28:33] And not necessarily for better or worse, but just it’s, it’s rare. You see them switch to the opposition’s point of view, quite like this.
[00:28:42] Shannon Waters: And that’s something I’m really curious about. You know, what prompted this change? Um, there’s actually a piece that came out. I think it was published today in the new West record, which was written by a reporter, Dustin Godfrey.
[00:28:58] And he actually talked to both look points, the chief coroner and minister, Judy Darcy about, you know, why this bill came about and Darcy kind of. You know, admits that, you know, she, she talks about the concerns that people have with this bill. And, you know, says that the government is investing in treatment and recovery options.
[00:29:20] It is trying to improve that system and improve access, but says that they couldn’t wait for the system to be perfect before taking action, you know, to address, um, concerns about young people who are getting into substance use. You know, problems with substance use early in their lives and whose parents are kind of at their wit’s end as to how to deal with them.
[00:29:46] Um, so I haven’t like I covered the lobby registry on a weekly basis as well, and I hadn’t noticed any groups. Recently, but the thing is, legislation can take a while to develop. So that, that would be something interesting to look into. Um, there is a group that does advocate for sort of similar measures called moms, stop the harm who wants, you know, they want more treatment options, but they also want more options for parents, um, to try and help their kids.
[00:30:11] When they see them getting into, you know, problematic situations around drugs.
[00:30:19] Ian Bushfield: Well, switching from some of the stories inside the legislature, to some of the other things that have come up in the past week through BC today, and provincially. One of the big, or sort of a pair of big stories that came out and we haven’t touched on were around privacy issues and things that the BC privacy commissioner has started to look into on the one hand LifeLabs and their unwillingness.
[00:30:43] It seems to divulge much detail about what they’re doing with the. Contracts and, uh, people’s private data. And then Tim Horton’s who it turns out is tracking everyone everywhere in Canada, wherever they go. Just sort of briefly, what was your quick takeaway on these stories? You know, what’s the overview?
[00:31:05] Where, where are these stories going?
[00:31:08] Shannon Waters: That’s a good question. I found the Tim Horton’s one, like kind of horrifying. There’s a financial, a reporter with the financial post who had. Uh, requested records of what Tim Morton’s had been collecting on him via this app, and essentially found that even if he didn’t have the app on, they were pulling geo location data about him all the time, including when he went on vacation to Morocco.
[00:31:35] Um, so. Seeing that announcement by the privacy commissioners was not entirely a surprise. Um, it’s quite wide ranging. So it involves the privacy commissioners from BC, Alberta, Quebec, and the federal privacy commissioner, essentially looking into things, um, to see if what the company is doing complies with the various laws.
[00:31:59] The company, I think has already said that they’ve turned off the geo location collection or whatever, but it. To me, it seems like a pretty stunning overreach and like a kind of a good lesson in, you know, not necessarily giving corporations the benefit of the doubt when it comes to how much information they’re collecting about you via, you know, loyalty apps or whatever.
[00:32:23] So that way, you know, the investigations are just starting. So, and there’s no timeline on them. So I have no idea when we’re going to hear back. You know, with the privacy commissioner’s findings, the LifeLabs won the investigation I believe was launched back in December and, and basically privacy commissioners did up this report found that LifeLabs had not taken sort of even very.
[00:32:52] Or had not taken adequate steps to protect people, very sensitive, like healthcare related information, you know, test results from this kind of stuff. Um, and the company then came back and said, you can’t release this report. We cooperated with you. And we provided you with confidential information during the course of this investigation, and you cannot release it publicly.
[00:33:17] And the privacy commissioners essentially said, that’s not how this works. You have two weeks to go to court or we’re going to release the report anyways. So I believe that clock runs out next week. And if LifeLabs doesn’t take court action, then we should be able to see the document. But if they do, it could be a while before, you know, like thousands of people.
[00:33:40] And I think it was millions of Canadians. Um, Can see sort of exactly what went wrong in this massive privacy breach that happened late last year. If it
[00:33:53] Scott de Lange Boom: does go to court or we left to get a redacted version out earlier, or would it pass away for the full process and the appeals and all that?
[00:34:01] Shannon Waters: I’m not sure.
[00:34:03] Um, there wasn’t a lot of information that was available. It was kind of bizarre. Try to cover the story and talk about the findings of a report that I had not seen and could not see. So, but yeah, there, there wasn’t any information included about, you know, what would happen if the company. Does file a legal challenge to this release?
[00:34:26] I would assume that it would be a lot of work. I mean, I don’t, I don’t, I can’t even tell you how long the report is at this point in time. It would seem to me to be a lot of work, to do the redaction and get it out early. Especially if the privacy commissioners contend that the company doesn’t really have a leg to stand on.
[00:34:43] Um, but I suppose that’s possible if they really do want to get the information as much of the information as possible out to people as quickly as possible. Um, but I don’t think we’ll know any more about that until we find out whether the company filed a lawsuit.
[00:34:58] Ian Bushfield: Has there been any reaction from the government on this?
[00:35:01] I mean, the decision to outsource so much to. Private testing facilities like this isn’t one, that’s easy to untangle, but it reminds me of similar moves. And you know, it’s not exactly analogous to the situation in longterm care, but you know, that outsourcing of core healthcare functions to private facilities and private companies seems to keep biting us in the ass.
[00:35:31] Shannon Waters: The health minister did react to that one. He said, And like, he was very sort of upfront right off the top. He was like, I am the health minister and I am a British Colombian, and I want to see that report, but he also said that the province. I believe it was in the process of possibly renegotiating its contract with LifeLabs around the time that this broke, um, either that or the renegotiation was potentially prompted by the data breach.
[00:36:01] And he said that, you know, they’ve renegotiated this contract, they’ve put in a bunch more provisions to, you know, protect people’s privacy. And the company has already made a bunch of changes suggested by the privacy commissioners. Something that the privacy commissioner. Our privacy commissioner here in BC, Michael McEvoy confirmed, but couldn’t speak specifically to what those changes were.
[00:36:22] Um, so to my knowledge, there’s no real change in the government’s relationship with LifeLabs. As a result of this, other than, you know, potentially changing some of the requirements around their contracts. The health minister says that British Colombians can be confident that their privacy will be better protected going forward.
[00:36:44] Um, but essentially at this point we just kind of have to take everybody at their word because we don’t really know how deep. The issues at this company run. And at this point I haven’t seen any reaction to the Tim Horton’s to the Tim Horton’s tracking issue from the BC government.
[00:37:03] Ian Bushfield: Oh, that would be a perfect John Horgan quote.
[00:37:05] You just know it would,
[00:37:08] Shannon Waters: I will add it to my list for the next time I get to ask the premier question,
[00:37:14] Scott de Lange Boom: moving on to segment two, the other, we worked disaster. The federal government’s been in a bit of hot water over the last couple of weeks as externally outsource the Canada student service grant administration to a charity called we with connections to the Trudeau family.
[00:37:35] Ian Bushfield: I work for a nonprofit. So I have been following this pretty closely.
[00:37:41] I mean, looking at, from the start of COVID at what supports were going to be rolled out. Was very interesting to me, our nonprofit, the BC human association, hasn’t been hit hard, but. We like anyone else want to be aware of what government money is out there to get. Uh, we luckily got three students funded through the Canada summer jobs program, which is a longstanding program that it seemed like the government was going to just throw money at, to support students.
[00:38:10] And instead they kind of just let you hire the students through til April or any period up until then and asked everyone who was considering getting one of these grants to. Say if they were still interested given COVID because some didn’t have the capacity anymore. That was very well established program.
[00:38:30] And I’ve still seen a lot of nonprofits who are rejected from it, who had got it many times in the past, the Canada student service grant was then announced in April as this funding program that would pay students to volunteer. And that was kind of it for details on that until this last week, when everything was announced, including the like application portal, which happened to be through wi which confused everyone, because it, everyone kind of asks the question like doesn’t the federal government have a bureaucracy of its own.
[00:39:05] That already rolls out programs.
[00:39:08] Scott de Lange Boom: That’s the thing true Trudeau said when he was defending this, that this is the only organization that can handle a pro administrative program of this size, which it’s a $900 million program. And Trudeau’s probably, couldn’t be pretty embarrassed when he finds out there’s this other organization that does about $300 billion of administration every year.
[00:39:32] He happens to run.
[00:39:34] Ian Bushfield: Yeah. The public service Alliance of Canada, the federal government employees union called it insulting to their members that this project was outsourced. So yeah, it’s weird.
[00:39:46] Scott de Lange Boom: The federal government’s core competency in a lot of ways is collecting money and then distribute in it like this.
[00:39:54] Isn’t some highly technical. They weren’t necessarily needs to be outsourced because nobody else has the technical know how to do it. It’s it’s taken applications and. Dispersing money. Something that
[00:40:08] Shannon Waters: government
[00:40:09] Scott de Lange Boom: does to the tune of about $300 billion every year.
[00:40:13] Ian Bushfield: And they built a new infrastructure to roll up the Serb, this ERB in a matter of weeks, this is a slightly more complicated program.
[00:40:22] And it’s really unclear why? So the program itself to go through, we’ll give students who are in, or just graduating from postsecondary. A 1000 to $5,000 for volunteer hours done over the summer. I think it’s over the next three months or maybe four a year, but it’s based on 100 to 500 hours of volunteering for providing COVID response in some way, which isn’t really defined.
[00:40:49] So you’re going to see a lot of charities really, um, get creative with grant writing as we always do. But if you do the quick math you’ll note that that’s $10 an hour, which is below the minimum wage in every province, at which point you may as well have gone. Why not just give them a little bit more by funding the Canada summer jobs program, more, which.
[00:41:10] Gives the minimum wage in each province. Instead we created a duplicate program. I think the only advantage of this grant over Canada summer jobs is a student who quote, unquote, works on. This can also apply for stir serve or the student serve, which is less money. It’s really like the whole thing is adults and grownups, I guess get $2,000 a month, but students get 1250, and maybe more if they volunteer.
[00:41:36] Shannon Waters: Yeah, the
[00:41:37] Scott de Lange Boom: policy rationale for this one, hasn’t been super well laid out. And then there’s the issue of the connections between the founders that Mark and Craig Gilbert, her. And their connections to the Trudeau family is including, uh, Sophie Trudeau is involved with we and hosts a podcast with them.
[00:42:01] Ian Bushfield: Sophie and Justin Trudeau have tried to defend this as they’re not personally benefiting. So it’s not a conflict of interest in the strictest of senses. Um, It just doesn’t pass the smell test. I think they’re clearly deeply involved and clearly passionate about this charity and feel like, and it seems like this is how they want to help their friends.
[00:42:23] Uh, Trudeau has also tried to say that through this program, we is not going to be making any profit from this, but I mean, that’s true by definition in the fact that we itself is a not-for-profit nevertheless. We as being paid 19.5 million on top of that $900 million to build and operate this infrastructure.
[00:42:47] And then they’re also getting extra grant per placement. So every student who gets a service, a volunteer position means we get a little bit more money and then there’s been a ton of great digging by the globe and mail and others because they. All the journalists saw that we as here and they needed to start digging into this.
[00:43:08] And it turns out we as actually going to be offering 450 of these virtual volunteering positions at its own organization. These are, these include 200 openings for social entrepreneurship innovation lab. Which we’ll try to work to conduct research, and generate and test new ideas to develop and address COVID-19 topics such as wellness and mindfulness and positions at their wellness, digital resource creators, who will, I guess, create content.
[00:43:38] It’s very vague and vacuous, and I’m not, you know, I never went through, we, I didn’t have that in my schools, but it strikes me as something that’s very. We the sort of free the children, the save, save the kids of Africa and in some vague sense, and it’s not clear what actual, tangible changes or improvements to the world will be made out of the, you know, hundreds of thousands of dollars that will be flowing.
[00:44:05] That way in the millions that will be flowing through we itself.
[00:44:08] Scott de Lange Boom: Yeah. And even if there wasn’t those questions just, you shouldn’t have the program administration, the organization that does that also be the one benefiting from it to a large degree in terms of who they’re selecting for, and basically allowing them to double dip into this.
[00:44:27] So that alone is a little sketchy. And why would have been good to. Say half the government
[00:44:33] Ian Bushfield: do this. One of the other things that comes up when it came around to double dipping is we has also, it turns out, seen a number of resignations from its senior ranks, including the presidents of both of their Canadian and U S board of directors.
[00:44:49] And a number of staff were, had to be laid off earlier. Possibly just, you know, we runs big events and with COVID you can’t run big events. So undoubtedly they lacked the funds or capacity to continue to support these staff. But now they’re inviting former staff to apply for open short term contract positions that have opened up following these announcements.
[00:45:12] So in a way it might not be that we as profiting, but. We as definitely thriving with this grant, uh, we has also announced that they are going to pay teachers high school teachers, I guess, to recruit and manage students with this program. There’ll be paid $12,000 as a flat sum for the summer. If they can basically run a team of like 75 or more students in their community, which is also.
[00:45:41] Making a lot of nonprofit people really confused. Like that’s not something most people have ever heard of as a thing that a charity would do. Like, usually it’s just weird. And then there was also a comment from the leader of volunteer Canada, well-established nonprofit, and they operate a platform called I want to volunteer and they pointed it out that, you know, that sounds awfully similar to what we just launched called.
[00:46:06] I want to help and they go. We’ve been trying to run online, volunteer placements for a number of years. We even get money from the federal government to do that. Why did we get this? And we didn’t get a chance to apply for it. So credit to the conservatives and NDP, who’ve been both making stinks out of this.
[00:46:25] The conservatives have written to the ombudsperson and the auditor general asking for reviews. It sounds like the ethics commissioner is also going to be milling around this people on Twitter, including Nora Loretto. Pointed out that we have received a lot of government contracts in the past few years, uh, including at least five sole source ones largely in the last 15 months.
[00:46:47] Uh, some of these contracts were just under the $25,000 limit where I guess additional information gets given about what was in those contracts. Uh, a lot of them are very vague. It all doesn’t smell good.
[00:46:59] Scott de Lange Boom: No, not at all. And every party has its, you know, Fatal weakness. The thing that’ll the narrative about them.
[00:47:10] That’s negative. That stories hurt the most when they play into that for the conservatives, typically stuff around, uh, The nastier parts of their social conservative base, uh, for the NDP, it’s usually stuff about, um, fiscal irresponsibility and for the liberals it’s cozy to the point of corrupt, um, relations with.
[00:47:37] Various power players and outside organizations and be in a little fast and loose with the government’s money in that respect. And it’s worth pointing out that the last liberal government fell. Because government contracts were giving to organizations with ties to the liberal government. So this just plays into that in a way that’s politically, I think going to be really damaging and kind of hits an existing wheat spot and just really drives that home
[00:48:09] Ian Bushfield: very much.
[00:48:10] I think there may have been a, a vision within the liberal party or in the core that, you know, we as a charity, so it won’t be as bad, but. Like, this is a move that has pissed off the charitable sector. And it’s not a sector that generally gets too grumpy at government. It’s kind of largely small C conservative in terms of just like, please give us a little bit more money and we’ll be happy.
[00:48:35] Like loosen the rules a little bit. Don’t. No, send the CRA on us as much. We though is been gaining, uh, you know, bad press in many in recent years, Canada lands done a few series on questionable stuff in the back rooms, but you know, part of that may just be the size of we and how much they’ve grown so fast.
[00:48:58] And it’s hard to keep a, you know, everyone’s got their skeletons in the closet, but yeah, this did not need to be done this way. And. It’s it seems like it’s too late for the government to really back out. So undoubtedly, they’re just going to keep doubling down, but yeah, this is going to possibly hang around the government for a little bit, but it’s also summer.
[00:49:19] And so people might just move on and forget about it.
[00:49:22] Scott de Lange Boom: Yeah, this isn’t well, it’s very unlikely. This will be year of sponsorship. 2.0. But it’s the sort of thing that chips away at them ever so slightly and eventually the, you know, commits metaphors that will be the eventual straw that breaks the camel’s back on this.
[00:49:39] And this just plays into that. And it’s a neat. The whole thing is just needless. And that’s what I don’t really get about. It is why the liberals thought this was a good idea in the first place.
[00:49:49] Ian Bushfield: Trudeau claims that the idea was originally a source from the public service itself, but there’s no evidence of that.
[00:49:57] It’s a good way to pass the buck.
[00:50:00] Scott de Lange Boom: Yeah. There was a couple of comments within, or from the founders. We that suggest maybe that wasn’t the case, but they’ve since tried to walk that back anyway, it’s a mess, but it’s the sort of thing that should just. No I’d have happened. And the fact that it did just raises a whole bunch of questions and yeah, needlessly harms the liberal government.
[00:50:22] Ian Bushfield: In any case, as someone who operates a nonprofit and needs to get every dollar. I can to add, to enhance the causes that I work for. I have been reviewing this program and I’ll probably post a couple of volunteering opportunities. So if you are a student who wants to make some money, try and look for those coming out soon, because fundraising is a shameless game.
[00:50:45] Well, moving on to quick takes press progress. Had an interesting story this past week about. Over a dozen BC liberal MLS. Who’ve spent thousands of taxpayer dollars advertising in a little known magazine called the light magazine, which is infamous for being anti pretty much all the. Letters of the, uh, rainbow alphabet these days, LGBTQ plus, as well as anti medical assistance dying, uh, and even rails against sexual anarchy and or orgies and the like, so.
[00:51:27] So we have MLS like Lori thrown us and rich Coleman, who I don’t think many would be surprised to see in their, uh, Shirley Bond, Marvin hunt, John Martin, Joan Isaac’s, Todd stone, Mike D. Young Simon Gibson, Michael Lee, Sam Sullivan, and Mary Polak. We’re all fingered by press progress. And they also pointed out there was an ad that included Andrew Wilkinson the leaders, uh, photo.
[00:51:49] He, his photo was right beside the sexual temptation article. Basically. MLS have. Constituency funds with which to, and caucus funds that are funded by the government and funded by the taxpayers to do advertising. This is always a little bit controversial in BC because it always seems to go a little bit partisan, but there’s, you know, value to giving MLA some budget to advertise with.
[00:52:13] And these are largely nonpartisan ads just saying, Hey, are your MLA or whatever, but the fact that the ads were put in this magazine, I think. Raised some important questions about what policies are being used to justify these.
[00:52:31] Shannon Waters: And, and who’s placing the actual ad buys. The thing that kind of struck me was that, so Todd stone was the first one to come out and sort of publicly address the issue.
[00:52:41] He came on Twitter and said he apologized. He said he was concerned to learn that, you know, his constituency office had spent money on these ads. Um, and basically said he didn’t know that that money was going out the door from his constituency office, which then kind of begs the question like, well, who.
[00:53:00] It’s placing those ads then, because obviously somebody did it, whether it’s coming, you know, sort of as a director from the caucus and they’re sort of allocating money from different constituencies. Like I don’t know how the process works. Um, and, and that made me curious, like who, who is it? Who decided that this is how to spend.
[00:53:21] The money that is available. Like you said, it’s taxpayer dollars, but they are allowed to make these allocations. And they’re often, um, you know, like you said, they’re not particularly partisan, they’re high on your local MLA or their holiday greetings. Um, you know, they, or they go out to, into publications that have religious affiliations because they are acknowledging religious holidays.
[00:53:45] Right. The other thing that kind of caught my eye was not previously aware of the light, but one of the MLS who was named Simon Gibson actually writes a regular column for the publication, uh, which to me kind of makes it seem. Um, somewhat less believable that other MLS were not aware of the content of some of the lights, articles, although, you know, big caucus, everybody’s got a lot going on, but there’s at least one L MLA in there who regularly writes his own content for that publication.
[00:54:24] Um, The other thing that kind of came up is we don’t know, we don’t have the receipts yet for 2020. So this information came to light when members disclosures and receipts, uh, were posted as they are on an annual basis. So the receipts for 2019 were released and press progress. Pull this information out of there.
[00:54:43] We don’t actually know how much the pockets might’ve spent this year, um, in ads in that publication. Um, and we don’t yet know, you know, Andrew Wilkinson came out and said, there’s no room for discrimination of any kind in our caucus. And we are going to review our policies, make sure they confirm with our values, but I don’t know what the current policies are and what those immediate steps that he identified they were going to take are going to involve
[00:55:11] Scott de Lange Boom: the, uh, Well, this being a partisan thing, the mud slinging and the NDP partisans jumped on this and the liberals dug up their own, uh, example, um, this one in a publication, I think called miracle, uh, where there’s an NDP ad that appeared opposite.
[00:55:30] I think it was a letter to the editor. But that blamed Corona virus on, I can’t ever remember, but, uh, similar sorts of way, I think was her moral degeneracy and stuff. So it’s just turned into one of these like partisan everybody’s accusing everyone else and doing the thing and being hypocrites
[00:55:49] Shannon Waters: as it often does when you’re dealing with partisanship, which is one of the reasons that it makes me roll my eyes.
[00:55:57] Um, and yeah, I mean that, that’s then a question for the NDP caucus. This one example that has surfaced at this point in time of, you know, a caucus ad running opposites material that a lot of people in BC would probably consider, you know, somewhere between ridiculous and offensive. Um,
[00:56:18] Scott de Lange Boom: sorry. I just remembered.
[00:56:20] Uh, attributing the Corona virus to retribution for abortions.
[00:56:24] Shannon Waters: And I think the word fornication also came up and that’s one of those words that always kind of. Sets off, you know, sort of assumptions in my head about the person who wrote it because nobody ever uses the word fornication, unless they, you know,
[00:56:38] Scott de Lange Boom: if it has a very specific connotation,
[00:56:40] Shannon Waters: it really does.
[00:56:41] Um, so yeah, I mean, that’s a question for the NDP. Like if we go digging, you know, if reporters go digging into your side of the disclosures and receipts, are we going to find a bunch of spending, you know, that. British Colombians might have similar concerns about. And so it quickly devolves into sort of a back and forth.
[00:57:02] The thing that kind of struck me about what I was seeing on social media is that the NDP immediately seemed to put up individuals. And I don’t, I have no idea how much of this was like coordinated or how much of it was organic. Um, but immediately the NDP MLS who are commenting were. Either out and gay individuals or individuals whose family members are sort of out in gay.
[00:57:29] So you didn’t see a lot of, like, it wasn’t a universal sort of outcry that came out. And that was something that really stood out to me because I mean, like, forgive me for being a relatively progressive prison, but like LGBTQ to S plus rights are not controversial to me. And it should. It doesn’t seem like it should be an issue that only people who are directly affected by those issues should necessarily be objecting to.
[00:57:58] Ian Bushfield: That’s a fair point. I guess the other thing that, I mean, no, one’s asked about the greens yet. Have they, or Andrew Wilkins or Andrew Weaver?
[00:58:07] Shannon Waters: I don’t think anybody has directly questioned that yet. No, I suspect that the green statement, you know, the green response would probably be fairly direct. This is a party.
[00:58:22] Who’s former leader, Andrew Weaver, when he was still leading the party, introduced a private members bill that would have banned conversion therapy here in BC. And that was something that the light has discussed at some length, um, and objected to any kind of opposition to conversion therapy, um, being banned or being maligned in the province.
[00:58:47] So, yeah, I mean, I would be surprised if, um, If the greens didn’t have sort of a forceful rejection of that viewpoint. Um, I suspect though that the NDP probably isn’t super keen to talk about conversion therapy because they didn’t support that bill. They allowed it to die on the order paper. Um, and basically said there was no need for it because conversion therapy isn’t technically legal in BC here anyways.
[00:59:12] Doctors aren’t allowed to bill for conversion therapy. Uh, and if they were found to be billing for conversion therapy under another name that would be fraud, et cetera, et cetera. And they basically said, there’s no need for this bill, which a lot of advocates and people who have experienced conversion therapy sort of came out against and said it would be.
[00:59:32] You know, uh, a stance by your government that says that we don’t consider this acceptable and we’re putting it here in black and white in legislation to say that it is not acceptable. And
[00:59:43] Ian Bushfield: then when the federal government finally dropped it, so amendments to the criminal code, the, I remember the BC government being very like, yes.
[00:59:50] And that’s exactly what we’ve been asking them to do. This whole time. We’re so glad that they’re taking this step,
[00:59:56] Shannon Waters: but it was quite cross. We wouldn’t take the symbolic step of passing this private members bill in the house.
[01:00:04] Scott de Lange Boom: If I recall correctly, the Canada health that prevents anyone from, uh, basically getting insurance or paying out of pocket for stuff that’s covered by the public insurance.
[01:00:16] But. You know, if it’s not actually part of the public insurance, they didn’t nobody bills for it. I don’t think it’s actually prohibited for anyone to pay out of pocket for it. So there’s still that potential gap there too, that the BC government consume particularly keen on closing
[01:00:34] Ian Bushfield: up. Yeah. It’s all messy.
[01:00:37] And we’ll have to see, I guess what the outcome of these. Reviews of the, uh, advertising policies are, but while we’re on advertising, there was a quick little update story that I thought fit well with. This is that there’s a big move to boycott advertising on Facebook. Because of Facebook’s inability unwillingness refusal to deal with hate speech and white supremacy on its platform.
[01:01:05] As anyone who’s spent any time on Facebook will know it’s kind of a awful social media site there.
[01:01:12] Scott de Lange Boom: A good one.
[01:01:15] Ian Bushfield: Our, our Slack channel, our Slack channel is very good.
[01:01:17] Scott de Lange Boom: Yeah. Yeah. We’re all private Slack, like a public facing social media.
[01:01:22] Ian Bushfield: So the news for the Facebook boycott this week is that the big five Canadian banks, Royal TDC, IBC Bemo and Scotia bank all joined this boy caught.
[01:01:32] Now it’s unclear whether this matters because none of them would say how much they’re actually how much they were actually spending on Facebook adverts. Um, But, you know, it’s a good moral move. Uh, I think the boycott was largely led by the anti defamation league, the N double ACP and other civil rights groups in the U S you know, it’s got a lot of big force behind it with Unilabor Coke, Pfizer, like boycotts.
[01:01:58] A lot of the time struggle to really make an impact. As you know, it’s a bunch of activists who feel strongly, but don’t have the market. Influence to really change things. Uh, but when you have major corporations dropping, who would otherwise be dropping millions to billions of dollars on this product? I think Facebook is starting to listen.
[01:02:23] Scott de Lange Boom: Yeah. The one thing I will note is that, um, the Facebook ad system uses a, um, uh, auction method to assign its ad slots. So there may be an unintended consequence that. As the U S election season years, that advertising actually gets effectively cheaper for political ads.
[01:02:44] Ian Bushfield: And it’s the only people running ads are hate groups.
[01:02:47] Then. That’s not good.
[01:02:49] Shannon Waters: Oh, that sounds really gross. Just there’s all I also noticed though. I, cause I, this isn’t something I don’t spend a ton of time on Facebook. I have been posting there a little more regularly during the pandemic, but, um, Not a platform that I spend a ton of time on, but in my inbox today was an announcement from green party house leaders.
[01:03:10] Sonia first announced campaign, um, first and I was running for the leadership of the party and that race has recently resumed, um, and that she will not be, um, buying Facebook ads for her leadership campaign, uh, and will be, you know, joining this boycott of the platform.
[01:03:31] Ian Bushfield: I was wondering if any politicians.
[01:03:33] Had joined or had joined the call. I mean, I personally haven’t run ads on Facebook for a while, just because the requirements they’ve implemented for verifying yourself as approved to run political ads seem to fail to let me get through with my 20 or $30 ad buy here or there for an event. And I’ve tried to jump through all their hue hoops as best I can.
[01:04:00] The kinds that mean it says this ad paid for by so-and-so because it deals with social issues and. They just made it hard for me to give them money. And so I’m fine not giving them ad money anymore or ever again also, because of all of the civil rights things
[01:04:17] Shannon Waters: first knows the first BC politician that I’m aware of on that front.
[01:04:20] But again, there’s not a lot of politicians who are necessarily spending a lot of time, at least here in BC provincially thinking about the next election, because it’s supposed to be more than a year away.
[01:04:32] Ian Bushfield: Though I do believe the BC government, I have seen a number of their ads on Facebook. So that might be a question for the government side.
[01:04:40] Again, they might want to push around COVID stuff.
[01:04:42] Shannon Waters: I was going to say they have been doing a lot of outreach on various social media channels when it comes to the COVID-19 information.
[01:04:49] Scott de Lange Boom: Yeah. It’s just tough because with fewer and fewer in-person things, it’s just harder to get information out. So I do kind of get why the provincial government’s relying heavily on every channel they can.
[01:05:01] Have access to what? Moving on the province has appointed the Surrey police board that is going to be overseeing their new police department. So on the board is chief Harley Chapelle, the elected chief of the JMO first nations, Chaney cloak, uh, director of the Fraser health authority, Elizabeth model’s CEO of the.
[01:05:27] Downtown, sorry, business improvement, association
[01:05:30] Ian Bushfield: and model is one of the few people to do every iron man race in the world. I discovered on Googling some of these people. Yeah. Very weird fact. It doesn’t really tell me anything about how she’ll do as a police board appointee, but yeah. Loves doing Ironman competitions
[01:05:46] Scott de Lange Boom: also on the board.
[01:05:47] Uh, James called Korana a mediator, an arbitrator desperate, sooner, uh, lawyer and labor relations representative with the hospital employees union and have Gil, a manager with clinical operations at the Fraser health authority. And. preserve regional director of the Canadian union of public employees. So, I mean like pretty much here, you did spread the NDP to a point to a police board.
[01:06:16] Ian Bushfield: I mean, it’s not a super partisan board, as far as I can tell there, aren’t like a bunch of
[01:06:24] Scott de Lange Boom: a couple different labor people on here, which. Yeah, I’m not sure the liberals would necessarily be appointing
[01:06:28] Ian Bushfield: in there. There aren’t a bunch of ex candidates, which is good to see. There is someone from the business, the BIA, which gives it a bit of balance in that realm.
[01:06:38] If you want to see that two people from Frazier health is good to see in terms of trying to make sure those priorities are there and I’m hoping they can bring perspectives around the importance of mental health approaches. And whether those should be prioritized or not in policing. You know, I think there’s a lot of eyes on policing right now.
[01:06:58] And given that series in this transition from RCMP to its local police department, figuring out what these people, these seven plus mayor, Doug McCallum and whoever the Surrey council appoints as the ninth member, what direction they want to take this new police department in will be very interesting to watch.
[01:07:20] Uh, I think before the whole defund, the police movement and black lives matter really gained a lot of momentum. Recently. This was probably going to go fairly under the radar, other than the, um, McCallum general volume. Let’s say of putting the issue out there. But, you know, these are the people who are responsible for selecting the chief of police in Surrey.
[01:07:49] And I think that’ll be the next signal of what kind of police it will be.
[01:07:54] Shannon Waters: It’s hard to believe that it’s been well over a year. Like this, this was an election issue, right? Like, I mean, municipal election issue back in the day.
[01:08:04] Scott de Lange Boom: Yeah. It was one of the, is, uh, Doug McCallum’s major campaign planks. Was replacing the RCMP with the local police department canceling the Surrey LRT.
[01:08:17] Shannon Waters: I
[01:08:17] Scott de Lange Boom: think those are the
[01:08:18] Shannon Waters: primary ones that he talk about the canal in his election campaign. Or did that come later? No, that was
[01:08:24] Scott de Lange Boom: after that
[01:08:25] Shannon Waters: was
[01:08:27] Scott de Lange Boom: something he floated at some random point during this so far, I’ve heard much progress on adding canals to Surrey,
[01:08:35] Shannon Waters: but we are slowly making progress on this. You know, police board issue, um, which the province ended up getting involved in and, you know, did this sort of analysis and sort of not.
[01:08:49] Quite took over the whole planning process, but definitely sort of got in there and said, okay, we’re going to make sure that this is done right. And the thing that caught my attention when they were doing that is that they commissioned a study to see if other jurisdictions had ever made this transition before.
[01:09:08] Um, You know, decided to drop the RCMP and move to a municipal police force, but they never released that report. So we don’t actually know if anybody has done it before. This was something that I looked into last summer trying to figure out, you know, how big of a change this was going to be and could not find any other examples of completed transitions to a municipal policing model from the RCMP, at least in any recent.
[01:09:37] Recently within the last several decades,
[01:09:40] Ian Bushfield: I was going to say, when I was looking at my background for an episode, a couple of weeks ago, we did on policing. There was the transition from the British Columbia police, provincial police to BCPP to the RCMP and the 1950s. But even there, I don’t think many people really know why that was done because there’s no Hansard records of why the soul creds decided to make that change.
[01:10:00] It just seemed like. There’s a bunch of theories that range from, you know, budget to the commies fighting the commies. So, and it seemed like it was an unpopular, but ultimately, you know, it went through and we’ve had the RCMP, since it would be good to see that report, especially as the province looks to do, it’s a police act review whenever that gets underway.
[01:10:27] Shannon Waters: Yeah, supposedly we, or it’s very likely that we are going to hear about that next week. Um, the premier flag bat during his avail today, um, that we’d likely be seeing the committee appointed and the, also the terms of reference for its review, which I’m very curious about
[01:10:47] Ian Bushfield: on the final story on tonight’s docket is that.
[01:10:50] It broke this afternoon that the Supreme court of Canada has rejected the appeal from the Squamish sailor tooth and Coldwater first nations, or at least it’s rejected hearing the appeal on the trans mountain expansion pipeline. Uh, the three first nations had lost at the federal court of appeal. Uh, in their second attempt to quash the pipeline, uh, this was after they previously one additional hearings from the national energy board.
[01:11:22] I believe it was. And. NEB made some of the changes, did additional work to fulfill that first mandate. The three nations did not feel that the updates were sufficient and they fought it and lost. And now it looks like that line of trying to stop the pipeline. Is dead. And that might’ve been the last optimistic route, I think, for opponents to try to win in court.
[01:11:49] Scott de Lange Boom: Yeah. We talked about the appeals decision back when it was released, I think in February. And
[01:11:56] Ian Bushfield: it was
[01:11:56] Scott de Lange Boom: pretty thorough in laying out all the reasons why. Um, they were rejecting the, uh, Squamish over tooth and cold waters, uh, cases on this one. So I’m not that surprised to see that the Supreme court, uh, didn’t grant leave for appeal on it.
[01:12:16] Ian Bushfield: The nations express their disappointment, unsurprisingly. The Supreme court’s move. Uh, they have said they will pursue other avenues, but didn’t or other legal avenues, but didn’t really specify what those are yet. There was some suspicion that might be individually fighting different points along the pathway about how the.
[01:12:37] Route should be aligned possibly to move it off of a sacred territories. Uh, but none of those seem like they have the ability to totally quash that project itself. It can be more like, well, actually it should be five kilometers to the East instead of where it is kind of situations,
[01:12:56] Shannon Waters: the cold water, um, Indian band has been going back and forth on this for a while.
[01:13:02] Their concerns I believe are around a local aquifer or at least. One set of their concerns, um, with the project. Um, so yeah, when it comes to the detailed route hearings, I wouldn’t be surprised to keep hearing some more objections. Um, unsurprisingly, as far as Alberta, premier, Jason Kenney is concerned.
[01:13:22] The issue is dead. The last legal impediment to the trans mountain expansion has been struck down. Um, and I think he called it a great win for the, the. The expansion premier Horgan was asked about it today. Um, of course the province wasn’t involved in this litigation and he, he said, you know, litigation has run its course, uh, from BCS point of view at this point in time.
[01:13:49] Um, but he did say, you know, that the first nations will decide how they are going to proceed with their opposition to this project. And he also reiterated his own opposition to the idea of, um, This export terminal being located in Vancouver, in the increase in tanker traffic that that is going to generate.
[01:14:13] Um, he said, I still maintain that. Vancouver is not the ideal location for a diluted bitumen export terminal. I feel very strongly about that. I
[01:14:22] Scott de Lange Boom: shouldn’t, before we let you go, I’ll work told her listeners where they can
[01:14:25] Shannon Waters: find you. Oh, I haven’t got to do this in a while. So if you are looking for almost daily, um, counts of which reporters are getting questions during these daily briefings, um, or pictures of my cat who is adorable and currently drooling on my foot.
[01:14:46] Um, you can follow me at so bitter, so sweet on Twitter. If you prefer the straight political stuff, including live coverage of question, period, which I am able to do in somewhat more detail. Now that there’s less heckling, you can follow me at BC today official on Twitter. That is my social media platform of choice.
[01:15:06] I know that it has issues. I’m there every day. Um, if you’re looking for the work that I do on a daily basis and my writing, you can check me out. And our other reporters, we also cover Alberta and Ontario. Um, we’re at politics today. Dot CA
[01:15:25] Ian Bushfield: thank you for joining us.
[01:15:26] Shannon Waters: Thanks for having me.