The provincial government has awarded Shaw Communications Inc. a $77,000 contract to produce and air two televised town hall meetings on the impact of offshore oil and gas development. The meetings, focusing on environmental and community issues, will be hosted by Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer, produced by Shaw staffer Kim Wildfong and taped this weekend in Port Hardy. But, according to Offshore Oil and Gas Team communications director Steve Simons, those meetings won't be broadcast until after the federal election because the government doesn't "want to stir the pot." Mr. Simons also says the province is taking a hands-off approach to the project.
Former CHEK TV legislative reporter Robin Adair, a government relations consultant with WCG International Consultants Ltd. and Victoria Chamber of Commerce vice-president, was subcontracted by Shaw to find and schedule panelists for the show along with Ian Jessop. Mr. Jessop was communications director for the provincial Liberal caucus while they were in opposition.
Environmental town hall meeting participants will include University of Victoria earth and ocean sciences professor Michael Whiticar, Living Oceans Society executive director Jennifer Lash and Scotia Fundy Mobile Gear Fisherman's Assocation executive director Brian Giroux. The community issues meeting will feature Port Hardy mayor Harry Mose, oil industry consultant Mark Shrimpton and Tsimshian Nation fisheries and aquatic resources director Teresz Ryan.