The full version of his article is available in The Sun. .
Forest firm takes issue with extraneous issues in land-use report
Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver SunPublished: Saturday, July 19, 2008
VICTORIA - In the midst of a bitter exchange between the ministry of forests and the auditor-general, there were some telling comments this week from the forest company at the centre of the controversy.
Chief executive officer Reynold Hert from Western Forest Products was responding to a critical report on a government land-use decision that benefited his company.
But it should be noted that Hert did not attempt to challenge many of the key findings by Auditor-General John Doyle.
Rather, he raised concerns that others have aired as well, namely Doyle's propensity for raising matters that were beside the point at best, spurious at worst.
He went on to provide half a dozen examples of what he regarded as "incomplete and inaccurate statements" and "inappropriate opinions."
I've quoted Hert at some length to illustrate that it is possible to debate the auditor-general without joining Forests Minister Pat Bell in questioning his competence, integrity and professionalism.
I would also underscore that, in taking on the auditor-general, Western produced no evidence to challenge his most important findings from a public policy point of view.
Those being that Coleman and the Liberals made the decision to remove those lands from the provincial forest base without proper consultation, thorough analysis or due consideration of the public interest.
Mind, it may just be that those matters no longer concern Western, the company having gotten what it wanted from the Liberals.
"The auditor-general does not have the authority to reverse the decision" wrote Hert, "nor does he recommend that the decision be reversed."
Case closed, as far as the company is concerned. But far from the end of the story in the political realm.
I found this to be a very balanced piece with comments on various things mentioned in the column that were left out by WFP, the government, (Minister Bell in particular) and some other journalists. I didn't see any spin and my actual personal belief is that Vaughn was trying to show us that there is a rational way to discuss matters. If the rest of the Mainstream Media could catch on to this, we may be able to get to the bottom of all the (bad) things going on here in this Province. Full Balanced reporting is what is needed.
Wouldn't it be nice to see the BC Rail case discussed in this way (fully)in the MSM. I say this because I see recently that the Media seems to be pulling away ever so slowly from biased reporting. No more blaming the NDP for this governments failures. No more "but the NDP did that" .
Who knows, maybe balanced journalism would put some of us bloggers out of business?
Wouldn't it be nice if we could have the Legislature Raid case reported like this?
As an addendum here I am calling for the resignation of Minister Bell from his ministry as well as an MLA in the Province of BC with a full public apology to the Auditor General for his behavior unbecoming of an elected official in the province of British Columbia.
Minister Bells way of acting as a public official is "not the way we do business in Canada".