Saturday, October 10, 2009


When I wrote in this space yesterday about the eHealth money scandal, I hadn't read the front page story in the Vancouver Sun.

What I missed was quite a lot.

The headline alone gets the blood going:

Man at centre of health scandal was under house arrest when hired

He got job overseeing $9-million budget while prohibited from handling other people's money

Jim Taylor was hired as director of communications systems at the Fraser Valley health region in April 2000 -- a month after he was sentenced to two years less a day for defrauding the White Rock Sea Festival Society, which went bankrupt.

Kevin Falcon said he wasn't sure why Taylor was hired by Fraser Health when he had a fraud conviction.

Taylor is accused of fraud and breach of trust, former assistant deputy health minister Ron Danderfer of breach of trust and Dr. Jonathan Burns (foto above) of fraud and influence pedaling.

Danderfer oversaw the multi-million dollar electronic health initiatives.

Guess what?

His wife was a senior official at the Ministry of Children and Families and both his son and daughter are government employees.

Danderfer and his wife were both suspended two years ago.

Their salaries are all paid by your taxes.

Could this be any more corrupt?

All of those Board of Traders are convinced that the Campbell regime is so competent at minding the store.


This is an old story of government contracts awarded to friends, paybacks and kickbacks, jobs for family members, billing irregularities and over-billing.

This is what is happening in an almost identical scandal in Ontario.

This is what happens when governments and bureaucrats have access to unlimited public funds and very checks and balances around them.

This is tax money.


The provincial government wants to come into your home and property to tear down any sign it may not like.

All in the name of the Olympics.

If you are not already offended by this, you should be.

Introduced this week, the proposed legislation would temporarily allow officials in Vancouver, Whistler and Richmond to enter a property with 24 hours notice to take down an improper sign or graffiti, a change from the current process, which officials say can take weeks.

The new powers to quickly remove signs would be in effect only during the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, officials said.

Suppose I put up a sign in front of my house or in my apartment window that said, "Let's face it, the Premier is an old poop."

Suddenly, the jack boots are breaking down my front door?

What gulag have we become all in the name of snowboarding?

City Councillor Geoff Meggs thinks all of this is benign.

“We don’t believe any of [the changes] will impact the right to freedom of expression or political expression at all,” he said.

“They will help us to uphold our obligation to stop ambush marketing and inappropriate commercial expression.”

How quickly they forget.

What if you put out a sign that says, "I don't like the Games."

Will that bring on the storm troopers? Will they be armed with tasers or staplers?

That is the question.


The folks at the Nobel committee must have a rule of some sort that prizes must be awarded each year.

I thought that, on occasion, if they didn't find a particularly worthy recipient, they simply passed.

Maybe I am wrong.

The other morning they awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to President Barack Obama.

He was gracious as always in accepting this honour with humility and, it seemed, a little confusion.

I am a huge Barack Obama fan.

I understand the award and its signal for a more hopeful world.

But I think the award was precipitous...uh, a little early for a fellow but nine months into his term.

It's hardly the worst thing that ever happened, but it is peculiar.

Carry on...


There's an article in today's Globe about a woman named Danielle Smith.

She is an Alberta politician.

She may or may not be wonderful. I have no idea. I don't care.

The photo above is not quite as good as the one in the print edition.

In both, she is on her Blackberry.

In the print edition, the caption reads, "Never without her Blackberry...etc."

I think most Blackberry people are demented.

I think they are deranged aliens from a far away galaxy.

I'm hoping they'll go home soon.