The mice only play when the cat is away

Here's something that flew under the radar: last Wednesday, when the premier was questioned about the Prem Vinning affair, he told BCTV "I heard yesterday about the situation. And Prem was asked about it. He told the truth about it." In other words, Gordon Campbell knew Mr. Vinning used a fake name during a call-in show a day before the media reported on the affair. Yet the veteran Indo-Canadian political organizer was still working in the premier's office. So does that mean the premier condoned his behaviour? And did Mr. Vinning resign only because the media found out what happened?

18 Comments

The answer is yes.This would be consistent with the liberal moral fibre and the confusion Gordo has with this theme.

Okay this is old news, I think everyone's moved on. Honestly, do you want a government that makes rush decisions, or do you want a government that at least takes a day to reflect on things - even when the decision may seem cut and dry. I think it's important that we don't have our senior government officials running around making spur of the moment decision - especially when they affect people's lives - in this case, Prem and his family. That's not good government.

Absolutely right Max, we wouldn't want a government to make snap ill advised decisions that affect people's lives like say - all those tax cuts for the rich, or closing all of those long term care beds, or pushing sea lice farms that Gordo holds stock on or .... ....

Be reasonable! What do you expect? "Prem, I heard that it was you on the call in show last night. You're fired." In all seriousness, who expects that?

It is articles like this that attest to the journalistic integrity of the editor of this site. He is not afraid of dishing it out to both sides.

It would be reasonable to fire him because it's embaressingly stupid for the Liberals to have this going into an election campaign.

What should the Premier of said? "Gee Prem, that was you on the phone in show pretending to be someone else? And even though this will create trouble for me I'm going to keep you around." If the Premier was smart he would've let him go before someone noticed and called him on it.

In fact he would've insisted that his high-profile supporters use their real names when calling in, or sending letters to the editor. A Liberal MLA back in the 90's almost got re-called because of a similar stunt writing various fake letters to a local paper. In fact the only reason he wasn't re-called was because he resigned a few days before the recall vote was going to be announced.

How about, "Gee Prem, I'm aware of the situation. We'll meet to talk about it tomorrow morning"...?

Good work Sean! These are the sorts of things that need to be checked with these guys. Campbell seems to think that all he has to do is say it and everyone will be believe his crap. Just more lies to British Columbians! Yeah, SUPPORTERS do call in from the different Parties, but don't try to tell us that someone on the Premier's payroll who is calling in, using a different name and handing this liar a soft-ball question is the same thing, PLLLEEEAAASSSEEEE!

Max Power did Paul Reitsma not wring a bell with you? That's the Liberal MLA who wrote letters to the editor I was refering too -- and that's why the citizens of his riding where about to re-call him even though the NDP wasn't the most popular goverment at the time. As far as we know Prem didn't do this to the same extent, but the point is that it's essentially the same thing. When in the employ of a politician phoning, writing, e-mailing etc a media outlet to support their boss they should use their own name so as to avoid any possible conflicts of intrest.

While Rosemary Woods is gone, but that secretary in the Premier's office is not. Thus, I would very much like to hear the full story from her (unless, of course, she went out for a quick 18 minute lunch last Monday).

It is not unusual for parties to get their supporters to phone in to these shows. Perhaps the fact that Gordo had one of his staff on the phone is a sign that BC Liberal supporters are hard to find these days.

One wonders if my prophecy in another posting here about Mr. Vinning somehow re-appearing in the post of Director of Nothing In Particular to collect $100,000 plus benefits isn't in the too distant future. You sit back and say "no way" but seeing as Mr. Vinning has an aptitude for not quite recalling what his name really is... he could always spend $25 (its probably more under the Campbell governments increases to user fees for everything from birth to death) to change his name... then Presto. You have Peter whoever as the new director of nothing in particular.

This story however is (even for me, a fan of Gordo's Liberals tactical bumbling, stumbling, and fumbling) a little on the old side. Of course Campbell wasn't telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. As someone once said at a conference I was at, "he was being tactical with the truth."

I think that the Liberals made a huge mistake in not lynching Campbell after his maui wowie thing. Had they, I don't think you would have seen the Christy Clark and Gary Collins exits, or alot of the backbenchers who chose not to run again. This is just the latest example of political butterfingers from our not so beloved premier. People are on here, going after what they call the Monckton group from COPE. The funny thing is, is as bad as that may or may not have turned out, Campbell's follies are equally amusing, and he's supposedly our premier.

This really is a statement on the state of our society in Canada if this is something that makes people get so morally indignant. So Prem Vinning was over-enthusiastic as a new staffer to the Premier. Vaughn Palmer had a great article the other day about how the same kind of thing happened with a Premier's staffer in the early 60's, and the guy didn't have to quit. No one has any sense of humour nowadays -- and no one is willing to give anyone a break. I thought that by the time the new century came around, we would be contemplating bigger issues.

Instead, we live in neo-puritanical and trivial times.

Phantom, it may seem like a small thing, but the problem I see with the whole Vinning fiasco, and any political staffers who call-in misrepresenting themselves, is that it takes away the public's face to face time with the politicians.

Call-in shows are an opportunity to raise public policy issues with the people who have the greatest influence on them. What's more, it's a rare chance for voters to publicly hold their representatives to account and maybe get a glimpse of them unscripted. The point of these shows shouldn't be another opportunity for politicians (their friends or employees) to pat themselves on the back for another job well done -- they have enough venues within the media to do that.

If the phone lines are jammed with insiders and ass kissers ass who intentionally run down the clock so politicians can avoid (heaven forbid) answering genuine questions from the people who elected them, I say why bother with a call-in show at all.

If that seems hopelessly naive, then so be it.

I am not suggesting that what Prem did was right, I am only suggesting that it might be okay to give the guy a break.

I see what you're saying, I guess my beef isn't so much with him personally -- he's one of many. I'm more upset that it happens at all.

A break, heck how many times has Peter made calls like this one.

Fraud is that what you say ,Prem or Peter,did? Well what could one expect a criminal charge?Ethical faux pas maybe ,but not criminal.
Simple and shut case.Not that the Liberals so-called are liked,but why sweat the small stuff;where is the media hue and cry about the hospital admin posts over 100 grand to Lib supporters,smells like patronage or is that to be expected.Why can't BC stewards of the taxpayers forced largesse be different,well i s'pose you get what was voted in,and by ahuge first past the post system.LOL

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