Friday, April 30, 2010

Looking back and ahead

First, as April draws to a close, again I want to thank readers.  Northern Insights reached its own record readership this month. In fact, it topped every other month more than a week ago. Part of that growth came after plugs at Huffington Post and elsewhere.

I don't want to make too much of this but, when I began the journal a year ago, someone joked, "If you are like most bloggers, you'll double readership by convincing your wife to read the blog."  Well, she still doesn't read it but she inspires it through her own thirst for knowledge and fascination with travel and the study of people, art and history. Gwen's interests are broad but not limited to current partisan politics.  She's more likely to be reading about looting of resources that enabled indigenous cultures,  about governance of 15th century Florence or the impressionist movement in 19th century Europe.

Nevertheless, I enjoy the writing experience and it provides stimulation to learn more about the workings of our province. I hope to build on the recent experience and focus even more on fundamental principles of democracy, stimulating a search for ways the public can turn government from master to servant of the people.

This week provides two egregious examples of Gordon Campbell's deceit and corruption. Make no mistake; he is the author and master of sleaze and it is accelerating. Meanwhile, flaccid Liberal members check their brains at the door of the chamber and the government side sits empty of intellectual dignity.

The latest act of deceit is HST closure. Introduction this week of the Clean Energy Act proves unrepentant corruption. Unfairness of the $2 billion annual shift of taxes can be undone by the next administration but the wholesale destruction of energy regulation throws even the pretense of independent oversight to the curb. The province will suffer for it forever as thieves convert public assets into private. More later about this legislation. One MLA already labeled it among the most dangerous acts ever tabled and, after my first read, I conclude that to be a true statement.


Many readers know that Sean Holman hosted an informal accountability session last night, providing his subscribers opportunity to talk about the independent journalism of Public Eye Online. He is the only political writer in town who would dare to do this. I was fortunate to attend, ask questions, learn interesting background information and meet others who value Sean's work.

One viewpoint universal among those of us who met is that non-partisan, on-the-scene reporting of government is essential to making sense of Victoria. We shared the opinion that traditional media offers inadequate political coverage and the certainty this will be worse when new press ownership sends in corporate consultants to invoke major downsizing.

Another common expectation is that television and print journalism will degrade as budget pressures mount and commitments to hard news fade. Broadcasters would rather offer you more news from TMZ and the fake news of pre-packaged video news releases, TV ads disguised as news reports.

If you think political reporting is bad now, wait two years. People who signed up to support Public Eye Online recognize its vital role now and after. But, we who care about what BC will become must raise the level of support to ensure Sean's continuation. He won't say this is urgent, but I believe it is. I'm happy to report that a number of readers of Northern Insights already made commitments but this can only be the beginning. Much more is needed.

People, please understand this. Plutocrats and the corporate oligarchy already own this provincial government. They are suffused with entitlement and their greed is without limit. They put down millions to buy agents to enact laws and they are funding overt and covert public relations campaigns to mislead the citizenry. One egregious example of professional sock-puppeting (If that's a new expression, look it up) recently referred to Alexandra Morton as a "rich American acting as a poor, lonely citizen." I was targeted on one site where words of outrage were falsely attributed to me.

I learned in Victoria this week that the fish farm industry is frightened by the prospect of thousands joining Alexandra as her Walk for Wild Salmon progresses southward on Vancouver Island, headed for Victoria. People have been hired to circulate slanders and libels of this professional biologist who leads the fight to compel federal officers to enforce fishery law. In 1984, Alexandra entered the grand isolation of Broughton Archipelago to study orca, observed ecological changes surrounding open net fish farms and raised her voice in opposition. The farm lobby now aims to soil her reputation, hoping to strip away her credibility. The captive media cooperates with the oligarchy and the complete ruin of our coastal wild fishery will allow industry unlimited expansion.

After the fish farmers, will come the oil and gas rigs to BC's coast. Look at that present disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and imagine crude oil fouling our coast from Point Atkinson to Haida Gwai. The industrialists and the Campbell Liberals don't care. When they ruin this, they'll tell us it was for our benefit.

The only long term opportunity to protect our province lies in gaining citizen control. To do that, people must know truth and the only chance for truth lies with independent journalism. Public Eye Online is British Columbia's leading source of independent professional news gathering about government. But, Sean Holman cannot fund this effort endlessly. He is a man of experience, integrity and capability. We must provide the tools for him to carry on.  Join in the effort. Maybe you can only afford $10, maybe you can add zeros. Do your best; it will be worthwhile.
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