Saturday, September 19, 2009

Not Done Properly

Gotta laugh at the NDP.

One of the reasons why it didn't win the May 12, 2009 election was its completely inept strategy. Before the election and after the election, the NDP was quick to criticize the massive amounts of money spent on the 2010 Winter Olympics and the corresponding secrecy employed by the Liberals and VANOC.

During the election, the NDP shied away from the Olympics, the Olympic Villages and the big elephant in the corner, B.C. Place Stadium.

How do I know? I broke the story about VANOC's last-minute plea for $499,000 to pay for the one-year countdown ceremony at the Richmond Olympic Oval. I also broke the story about a WorkSafeBC report that said B.C. Place Stadium roof controllers were not properly trained to keep the air-supported roof from falling.

I tried diligently during the campaign to arrange phone interviews with NDP leader Carole James. Her people just couldn't find the time in her schedule, which is political spin code for "we don't want to talk about it with you."

I did interview deputy leader Mike Farnworth about the B.C. Place issue at the time. He understood the magnitude of the problem because it is Vancouver's Olympic stadium. He said all the right things in a genuine fashion. Who can speak out against workplace safety?

Only Liberal finance and Olympics minister Colin Hansen returned my calls during the campaign, though one could easily find fault in his answers to my questions.

So, I got my first morning giggle on Sept. 19 when I turned on CKNW and heard James talk about "learning" this week that the Liberals spent $500,000 on the one-year ceremony.

Not only did the NDP not notice that story published was during the campaign, but I received a call from NDP researcher Amy Higginbotham at the start of June for information about the fishy payment. I informed her of what I had already published.

In recent weeks, the Liberal government has announced a $2.8 billion deficit and may not be able to afford completing the $365 million B.C. Place Stadium renovations with a retractable roof. Meanwhile, more revelations of poor workplace safety have arisen after I broke a story about a B.C. Place janitor who collapsed on the job in November 2006 with a severe headache and died later in hospital. Her death was covered-up by Modern Cleaners and B.C. Place Stadium management until a worker blew the whistle in November 2006.

When will the NDP take these issues to Question Period? Or is it afraid of alienating the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union which appears to have an unusually cozy relationship with B.C. Place management? Outgoing NDP president Jeff Fox is a BCGEU director who checks his words carefully when asked about B.C. Place and all of its troubles.

And the "kneedippers" wonder why they're not in power.

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