Friday, October 16, 2009

 

What hideous mischief is this?

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Yesterday's front page of the Victoria Times Colonist was plastered with another surge of talk about former Chief Constable Paul Battershill of the Victoria Police Department. At first glance, a reader might think this Battershill guy had done something terrible ... and I suggest that this is precisely what we're expected to think.

But a second, closer look reveals something quite different. CanWest may be on the brink of bankruptcy, but they found enough loose cash in their budget to send a reporter to Cache Creek territory with nothing but this question: "Did you KNOW about Chief Battershill's reputation BEFORE he came to Loon Lake?" It's the world's oldest game of black propaganda.

Anybody looking for mischief could ask around anywhere, anytime, about anybody, and leave behind a cloud of suspicion.

For example: "Did you KNOW about BC Mary's reputation BEFORE she started up The Legislature Raids blog?" ... with a meaningful pause ... and the natural response will be: silence ... a worried face ... then: "Oh my God, No, I DIDN'T know ... (gasp!) ... what did she do? tell me about it!"

This is what unfolded at Cache Creek and Loon Lake, B.C., at the hands of a CanWest journalist. Why would the Editor-in-Chief of the Victoria Times Colonist play around with such a hideous game of mischief? Against a good cop? And this wasn't just mere dabbling, it was featured on the TC's front page, above the fold. Top exposure, visible even to traffic passing by the news boxes. Here's how it unfolded ...

First, the newz article by Rob Shaw:

Battershill saga: Victoria's ex-top cop commands Loon Lake

BY ROB SHAW
TIMES COLONIST - OCTOBER 14, 2009


Paul Battershill resigned as Victoria police chief on Aug. 13, 2008.

In Victoria, he was top cop. But former police chief Paul Battershill, who left this city amid scandal, is now chief of a much smaller organization in a remote corner of B.C. -- the Loon Lake Volunteer Fire Department.

Battershill lives in the Cariboo region, where he commands a 20-person volunteer fire force in a small resort destination northeast of Cache Creek.

Battershill could not be reached for comment.

However, his deputy chief, Ted Crawford, confirmed Battershill has been chief for about a year. The department only handles calls along a 30 kilometre-long rural road, called Loon Lake Road, he said.

As Victoria's police chief, Battershill had more than 200 officers under his command and, for a time, was city manager.

Many Loon Lake locals appear aware of Battershill's past as Victoria police chief, although it's not clear if details of his affair with a police board lawyer, and his subsequent resignation from the force after the board lost confidence in his leadership, have filtered north. "He's retired as far as I'm concerned," said Crawford ... {Snip} ...

Battershill's one-year tenure has been so low-profile that even the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, which technically has authority over the fire force because it's in a rural area, was unaware Battershill was now heading one of its fire departments.

"Maybe we haven't been notified yet," said Terry Kress, manager of emergency services for the regional district.

Regardless of who was or wasn't notified, Kress said he's unfamiliar with Battershill's past.

"That name rings a bell about something I heard on the news," he said.

rfshaw@tc.canwest.com
________________________________________________________________

Yellow journalism: no interviews, no news at all. Anyone who respects the profession of journalism would've done what I did: I wrote to the guy whose by-line is on that article:


Rob Shaw,

I have seen the message that you sent to Sharon Lawrence. It reminded me what a small town Victoria is, crowded with people who hold "the absolute opposite point of view" to those of us not in the employ of the B.C. government. So I'd like to talk about Paul Battershill.

[Rob's letter isn't posted here, and the reason for that is Lucinda Chodan's angry letter when I posted something SHE, as TC Editor-in-Chief, had said to me in an e.mail. That story is in the archives of this web-site dated April 11, 2007 WHEN THERE IS NEWS, WE PLAN TO REPORT IT. But I can say that Rob Shaw in replying to Sharon was generally outraged by her gentle letter asking him to write about more appropriate topics. "Priorities are subjective," Rob wrote, and "yours appear to place the stories you listed far above the fate of a our former police chief and the scandal that consumed watercooler talk around the city." And what scandal was that, you may well ask ... and that's what I'd like to know, too. So that's why I wrote to Rob Shaw, too.] To continue with what I said to him, as the Times Colonist reporter:

The way the small community of Loon Lake was portrayed in your story, for starts, was a slag -- as if Battershill should be ashamed to be there. I've lived in small communities and know that Fire Chiefs are very special people: the best of the best, who are elected by their colleagues on the basis of knowledge, experience, all-around competence, ability to train volunteers in a dangerous business, able to blend into the community in good times as well as in crises. They rank right up there with the local doctor. Battershill chose something which, in my view, embodies his apparent notion of public service and which would provide him with a healing environment after the Victoria bruising. I think you violated that environment.

During the uproar about Battershill as Victoria's Chief Constable, research on his career turned up projects and campaigns he had either spearheaded or worked on -- all of them farsighted and progressive. At the top of the list is the raid on the BC Legislature. And haven't you always wondered at the calibre of cop who while chasing Mr Big (Jasmohan Singh Bains), didn't flinch when the trail led them into the Ministries of Finance and Transportation? And wasn't it remarkable, that they nailed Bains (plus 8 others), and all but one of whom were arrested, charged, convicted, sentenced. (But of course, nobody knew about that. Strange, eh?)

Luckily, in December 2008, I received a tip straight from the Basi Virk courtroom that Bains had been sentenced to 9 years. I absolutely couldn't believe it, because not a word had been published on Bains even though police figured him as being Mr Big on the West Coast. I had been watching for his trial for 6 years and knew there was nothing published. So ...

I took the time to verify the details. Got the Reasons for Judgement even, and it was true! So in Dec. 2008 I broke the story on my blog, The Legislature Raids. I set up the headline so that Google would catch the gist clearly. I figured the story would spread. No damn way. Silly me.

Nothing happened until February 2009 when I mentioned Bains to Ian Mulgrew. He then wrote the one and only CanWest story on Bains: DRUG DEALER LINKED TO LEGISLATURE RAID IMPRISONED. RCMP oddly silent about key victory against cocaine ring. By Ian Mulgrew (with credit to me) Vancouver Sun - Feb. 17, 2009.

So that's how CanWest newsrooms treated a very significant, convicted, drug-dealing big crook. And while Bains was protected by silence, the good cop who went after him continues to be regularly slagged as if ... "as if" Paul Battershill was the one who had done something wrong. Can you explain that?

I received messages on my blog from many people, too, including members of Victoria Police Department thanking me for NOT slagging their chief. Some of those letters demonstrated a heartwrenching loyalty ... revealing a Chief who seemed to be everything we look for in a good cop. Like intelligence and social awareness, and courage mixed with kindness. I absolutely don't get it why you're so dead-set against Paul Battershill. [And off the record, I quoted one heartbreaking letter to my blog which began "He was a good boss ..."]

It's difficult to listen to any more of these so-called news stories about you asking citizens "Did you KNOW about Battershill's BACKGROUND before he came to Loon Lake?" I mean, you could do this in any community, about anybody, and citizens would be justified in saying, "No ... what did he do? Tell us everything!" It's unfounded innuendo and a rotten thing to do in a civil society. But I think that's what CanWest is trying to do to a good cop. Like Sharon Lawrence, I don't like seeing journalism used as a weapon of black propaganda.

One last question: why is it intolerable to the water-cooler crowd that Battershill and Rusen had a brief affair ... but it's OK that the premier keeps Lara Dauphinee at his side, night and day, in his office or while traveling, at enormous public cost for salary & expenses, year after year? Put Battershill's $12. lunches at John's Noodle Cafe on Fort Street into context.

BC Mary
The Legislature Raids
http://bctrialofbasi-virk.blogspot.com/
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And what I didn't know at the time ... because it was buried in the back pages amongst Letters-to-the-Editor ... is that Times Colonist also had this message from Brenda Battershill, wife of Paul Battershill.


Battershills enjoying retirement in the Cariboo

TIMES COLONIST - OCTOBER 15, 2009


Regarding Rob Shaw's articles from yesterday, some context might make them a little bit more accurate.

Yes, Paul Battershill is the chief of the Loon Lake Volunteer Fire Department. We have been seasonal Cariboo residents for 35 years and fully retired here and to Kelowna in 2008.

Retirement has been just great. We've been able to travel and catch up with family and friends. We have also been active with volunteer organizations in the Cariboo, such as the fire department.

Regarding Mr. Shaw's article on the Loon Lake Volunteer Fire Department's number being out of service, the reason is actually quite simple. We have 9-1-1 here and didn't want people, particularly seniors, to mistakenly call an empty fire hall in an emergency. With no full-time staff at the fire department, 9-1-1 is the method of dispatching help.

We are also pleased that Chief Jamie Graham is heading the police organization and hope that he receives genuine support from the senior managers under him. He has a lot to offer from his experiences in the national force and in a large metropolitan area.

In the meantime, we sincerely thank all of the people and police officers who have been so supportive of Paul and I. We are fortunate to have so many good friends.

Brenda Battershill

Loon Lake
________________________________________________________________

Well ... a tip o'the tuque to a very classy lady. Mrs Battershill's restraint is impressive, especially at a time when people have reason to be angry that a good cop was being pursued and harrassed as if it's some sort of bizzaro amusement park.
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Norman Farrell at Northern Insights wrote to Rob Shaw too:

I regularly scan press reports that touch on BC public affairs - particularly police and justice issues. Your article about the former Victoria Police Chief's involvement in a rural volunteer fire department struck me as odd. More than odd, it was a p.o.s. yellow journalism without news value, apparently intended to ridicule Battershill for some reason that I assume is important to you personally.

Considering how many important and current policing issues need wide public discussion, your October 14 contribution was shameful.

Norman Farrell
North Vancouver, BC Canada V7J 2J7

Northern Insights
_________________________________________________________

If others have written to Rob Shaw and/or Times Colonist about what TC Drama Queens call "The Batterhill Saga", I'd be pleased to include copies of their letters here ... just send them as a COMMENT. And yes, this does connect to the topic of BC Rail; we must not forget that, ever.

- BC Mary.


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G West has left a new comment on your post "What hideous mischief is this?":

Norman and Mary,

I couldn't agree more heartily. It certainly 'was' yellow journalism...I would be very interested to hear anything from Rob Shaw exactly 'how' he justified a front page 'story' about nothing...

There was a story (on page 3, in the same paper) which dealt with the resolution of another loose end in this sordid saga...it provided thumbnail sketches and some art of the other principals in the matter - had Shaw and his editors any real journalistic integrity that was the place for a note about Battershill's retirement activities.

But no, not the Times-Colonist, instead we get a noxious blast of pure unadulterated bullshit....the Battershill fire department story was FRONT PAGE on the paper edition and there is no fucking way it belonged on the front page...not the front page of a REAL PAPER.

Pardon my language Mary - but I'm steamed about this. The only minor grace note in their favour was the pusillanimous publication of Mrs. Battershill's polite and very appropriate letter to the editor in today's paper.

Not much, but something. And it was a LONG WAY from the front page!

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And this wonderful addition from Victoria Police Dept.:

Hi Mary.
A lot of officers have gone to see the Chief and his wife either at their lake house or in Kelowna. They are doing really well and are completely enjoying retirement. They are both missed around here but we know they are happy, that will always be really important to those of us who remain. Mr. Shaw reflects the views of a very small group at VicPD who haven't been able to completely take over but who are still trying, we hope they fail.

_______________________________________________________________

Very best wishes guys & ladies in blue. Someone asked me, a while ago, to suggest a way the public could show support (this was when things were really nasty, against the Chief). He wondered about a salute (or even a cheery wave) when a police car went by. Then we got tangled up in thinking maybe it would look like we were making hand signals. Never got that figured out. Any suggestions? Looks like the support is still solidly there. - BC Mary.

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Comments:
Norman and Mary,

I couldn't agree more heartily. It certainly 'was' yellow journalism...I would be very interested to hear anything from Rob Shaw exactly 'how' he justified a front page 'story' about nothing...

There was a story (on page 3, in the same paper) which dealt with the resolution of another loose end in this sordid saga...it provided thumbnail sketches and some art of the other principals in the matter - had Shaw and his editors any real journalistic integrity that was the place for a note about Battershill's retirement activities.

But no, not the Times-Colonist, instead we get a noxious blast of pure unadulterated bullshit....the Battershill fire department story was FRONT PAGE on the paper edition and there is no fucking way it belonged on the front page...not the front page of a REAL PAPER.

Pardon my language Mary - but I'm steamed about this. The only minor grace note in their favour was the pusillanimous publication of Mrs. Battershill's polite and very appropriate letter to the editor in today's paper.



Not much, but something. And it was a LONG WAY from the front page!
 
Great work putting that all together Mary,do you expect any less from Canwest?

On a side note,Gordon Campbell is not an honourable man, I have no proof but I wouldn`t be surprised if this lynching was nothing but orchestrated revenge,revenge for raiding the legislature,that old saying comes to mind...

"Revenge is a dish best served cold"

As for the comment from G West...I don`t know how that man does it,hold his temper to the extent that he does, I have been banned like 20 times from the Tyee.

My hat`s off to G West and to you too Mary....I owe both of you lots, I learn something new everyday from both of you.Patience and controlling my temper,well....

I`m still working on those.

Cheers-Eyes Wide Open
 
G. West sez:

"But no, not the Times-Colonist, instead we get a noxious blast of pure unadulterated bullshit....the Battershill fire department story was FRONT PAGE on the paper edition and there is no fucking way it belonged on the front page...not the front page of a REAL PAPER."

The last line says it all, the T-C or any of the other Canned Waste rags ARE NOT real papers, indeed they have turned into pure unadulterated propaganda sheets for whatever the Asspersons choose to promote be it Israel or the Campbell Crime Family excuse for government. Kudus to Norm and Mary for pointing out to Mr. Shaw things he should have learned in journalism school.

BTW, Mary, I know you are often impatient with acronyms or nick-names - so, if you need an explanation about the term "p.o.s." in Norm's message to Mr. Shaw, let me know and I will be happy to explain (translate).
 
This is my letter to the TC Editor that they wouldn't publish as of yesterday Oct 15th . "What right does Rob Shaw have to write a harassing article against a person who resides in our community (since 1974) and who we hold in high regard & value his knowledge as our Loon Lake Fire Chief. Paul & Brenda do not live in Victoria, so what happened in that city is not a concern to us & we do not apppreciate negative comments about our Commmunity.
We are disgusted with a paper that would allow such negative reporting
FROM A CONCERNED LOON LAKE RESIDENT!!"
 
This is my letter to the TC Editor that they wouldn't publish as of yesterday Oct 15th . "What right does Rob Shaw have to write a harassing article against a person who resides in our community (since 1974) and who we hold in high regard & value his knowledge as our Loon Lake Fire Chief. Paul & Brenda do not live in Victoria, so what happened in that city is not a concern to us & we do not apppreciate negative comments about our Commmunity.
We are disgusted with a paper that would allow such negative reporting
FROM A CONCERNED LOON LAKE RESIDENT!!"
 
This is my letter to the TC Editor that they wouldn't publish as of yesterday Oct 15th . "What right does Rob Shaw have to write a harassing article against a person who resides in our community (since 1974) and who we hold in high regard & value his knowledge as our Loon Lake Fire Chief. Paul & Brenda do not live in Victoria, so what happened in that city is not a concern to us & we do not apppreciate negative comments about our Commmunity.
We are disgusted with a paper that would allow such negative reporting
FROM A CONCERNED LOON LAKE RESIDENT!!"
 
"even the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, which technically has authority over the fire force because it's in a rural area, was unaware Battershill was now heading one of its fire departments."
This paper not only sent someone to Loon Lake but they either sent or called the bureaucracy that employs him. You can't get any lower than that.
It is my understanding that the Chiefs in Volunteer fire departments are paid. If this is the case and some liberal leaning bureaucrat wants to, he could be removed. I for one would like to know if this ever happens.
What gives these yellow journalists the right to smear a person this way. Boycott the company and its sponsors.
 
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Thank you immensely, Concerned Loon Lake Resident!

It's wonderful to hear from you ... especially wonderful to know that a good cop and his lady have found a warm and welcoming home in Loon Lake.

Please do me a huge favour and pass on my good wishes? Many thanks!

As for CanWest, we'll do our best to smooth their rough edges ...

Gotta thank you one more time, for making our day so much brighter.
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Hello Mary, I just read the article, it really is nasty toward our volunteer fire departments. The majority of our communities in BC are protected by these community volunteers and to imply they are somehow lesser is very tasteless. There must be an underlying agenda here that is personal or political in some way.
 
Hi Mary.
A lot of officers have gone to see the Chief and his wife either at their lake house or in Kelowna. They are doing really well and are completely enjoying retirement. They are both missed around here but we know they are happy, that will always be really important to those of us who remain. Mr. Shaw reflects the views of a very small group at VicPD who haven't been able to completely take over but who are still trying, we hope they fail.
 
Let's start a "Times Colonist Saga". We could detail office romances producing children out of wedlock, illicit affairs between senior staff and reporters over the years, etc.. Does anybody have any such info ???
 
Community Slagging!!
How dare your think Loon Lake cares about this issue in Victoria, Loon Lake residents are down home people who come together as a community. The members here are really happy with the changes to the Fire Dept over the past year. We have seen better training and equipment and the membership has increased to over 20 people.
Volunteer Fire Departments are hugely important in rural communities and we appreciate their contribution to our community immensely. This is VOLUNTEER, so there is no pay! The only thing is a free T-Shirt and Ball Cap!!
The Loon Lake Fire Dept. was instrumental in putting out a fire on July 31st 2009 that threatened our community. We are really happy with our fire department and the community fully supports its leadership.
Please don't phone up here and try to hurt people we respect. Your problems in Victoria are yours, please keep them that way.

From Another Angry Loon Lake Resident who is very concerned about their long time neighbour & friends.

PS: Paul Battershill is the Best Fire Chief we have ever had!
 
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Dear Anonymous at 8:44,

It's wonderful -- truly wonderful -- to hear of your strong support for a good man, Paul Battershill.

My only concern is that perhaps you think I did the slagging at this web-site. I assure you, I did not -- never have done so.

So I hope you sent your comment to the Victoria Times Colonist which plastered the story across their front page, and to Rob Shaw who is the CanWest reporter who wrote that story.

At this web-site, we've been working very hard on the issues surrounding the unpopular sale of BC Rail. Paul Battershill played an important part in the investigation of that event. So I hope you'll drop in, now and then, and share that struggle with us. BC Rail was important to the province, from top to bottom (bottom being Victoria, ha ha).

Very best wishes to everyone at Loon Lake, and especially to Paul & Brenda Battershill.

Thanks for writing.
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Sorry BC Mary,
We didn't mean YOU, it was the TC Reporter Rob Shaw that we were concerned about him slagging our Loon Lake community.
Thank you for all your support.
 
Anonymous 9:21 from Loon Lake,

you really light up my day. Thanks for putting me straight on that point.

I hope you'll be pleased to know that I forwarded your comment to Rob Shaw (who wrote that awful article) and to the Editor-in-Chief, Lucinda Chodan who, I'm thinking, may have had something to do with placing the non-story on the front page with that snarky headline.

And so we soldier on ... with more smiles now. Thanks again.

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Times Colonist writer Rob Shaw responded to my email with this:

Hi Norman,

Thanks for your email. Part of the problem when reading stories online and not in our paper is that you don’t see the way the stories are packaged in actual print. If you had, you’d realize the Battershill story was linked to a story about the conclusion of a Law Society of B.C. investigation into Marli Rusen, the lawyer he had an affair with. That investigation, now done, marks the end of investigations into the Batttershill saga in this city. We used the opportunity to update people on where the major players are now, including former mayor Alan Lowe, former police complant commissioner Dirk Rynveld, etc. It doesn’t sound like you saw any of that before you jumped to your conclusions about the purpose behind the story.

I think it’s fair to find out where everybody is now that this high-profile saga has concluded. I’ve known Battershill was chief of the loon lake fire department for some time now, but the purpose was not to humiliate him as you suggest, and so I only wrote it as part of the ‘where are they now’ package that went with the conclusion of the law society investigation.

I think that’s fair. And I’ll let the reader decide what they think of the story.

Rob

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Actually, I first read the story about the Law Society taking no action against Rusen except for a bit of counseling to remind her that work and play should be separate. I thought the Law Society story was simply not newsworthy so I read on, assuming there was real news in an associated story. Nope.

The only conclusion was that the TC was working some other angle and humiliation of the former chief serves someone's purpose. Perhaps the police board needs to justify why they hired a replacement with a record of contempt for police accountability.

Norm
 
It strikes me as something more than simply yellow journalism -it strikes me as incitement, an attempt to rile residents of the South Cariboo to shun and gossip, to raise trouble or at least discomfort for the Battershills in their chosen retirement home. Even though the RCMP are not directly involved here, Peter Montague's infamous line "we specialize in smear campaigns" comes to mind, and it's interesting (though only coincidental) that Gustafson Lake, the events at which prompted Montague's remark, is only about an hour away from Loon Lake. I wouldn't be surprised, knowing the culture of the area, if locals were busier now talking about the slick reporter from Victoria who came in asking importune and obviously ill-intended questions about someone respected enough locally to become volunteer fire chief (35 years in an area like that isa credential in its own right). Robin Skelton's book This is Cariboo! comments that Caribooers prefer nothing so much as being left alone. A corollary to that is that shirt-disturbers and gossip-mongers are looked down upon....if anything Shaw's nonsense has caused Loon Lakers and others in that region to rally behind Battershill rather than start looking for reasons to persecute him. I wonder if the local papers in Clinton and Cache Creek-Ashcroft have picked up this story, and I suspect if they do their editors are going to lambaste the Shaw and the editor of the T-C for their unseemly muck-raking.....

How out-of-touch Shaw is with that are is evident in a couple of phrases in the article. Loon Lake is not a "resort destination", it's a retirement community, and a very nice one at that....not my own taste, no mountain scenery nearby, but a stunning lake tucked in rolling plateau and hills with a mix of rustic and modern digs. No golf course, no mega-chalets, no over-priced gourmet restaurants or condo complexes with garages packed with luxury vehicles, not a destination resort by any stretch of the imagination. Maybe Shaw ws disappointed to not have somewhere to spend his expense account at, and had to settle for the Chinese smorg at the Sands in Cache Creek.....

So maybe that's what he meant by "a remote part of BC". NO luxury amenities and good gawd he had to drive a whole five hours from Tsawwassen to get there. Loon Lake is only about twenty minutes off Highway 97, and only an hours drive or so from Kamloops, it's scarcely "remote". "Remote" in Interior terms doesn't really refer to anywhere south of Highway 16; the Cariboo in particular is well-settled and there's more people living around there than you'd ever imagine just driving around on its dusty roads (maybe in Shaw's city-slicker mind having to drive on gravel was what made it "remote"). It's not like Battershill was holed up in Atlin or Stewart or Fort Ware......

The imputation that he must be up to no good, or hiding out from something really bad and shameful, is all over Shaw's article. But the urban chauvinism about Loon Lake being "remote" is totally laughable

Shaw should take a visit to the remote parts of West Point Grey and start asking the neighbours "do you know what Lara Dauphinee was doing before she shacked up with the Premier" and "don't you think it's odd the Premier's wife never comes home for dinner?"
 
I hadn't read all the comments above before I wrote my previous post, but those from people in Loon Lake demonstrate what I was talking about; the mores and politics of the big cities are not welcome and people in such places will rally behind fellow locals, rather than participate in witch hunts. It doesn't surprise me at all that Shaw couldn't find anyone to talk to about Battershill, except for people who said "no I haven't heard about that" but who really didn't care and didn't want to hear).

Score: Battershill/Loon Lakers 10, Shaw/TC Muckrakers zero.
 
Right on, Skookum1 ... on every point,

but I laughed when I saw your Scoreboard, because I had just told somebody privately that I thought it was:

Loon Lake 20, CanWest zero.

And so (in my mind) we begin to see the outlines again, of that Beautiful British Columbia we knew and loved so well.

I googled "Loon Lake" last evening and enjoyed its scenes of tranquil beauty, just as you described it.
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Interesting now to see Rob Shaw's 'rationale' for his story...and the facile claim that somehow it would 'look' better in the actual paper - y'know the one that's printed on cut-down trees!

Shaw writes this to Norman:
"Part of the problem when reading stories online and not in our paper is that you don’t see the way the stories are packaged in actual print..."

Which is, as I commented above here, as much unadulterated bullshit as the story itself - which I 'read' in the paper edition. In fact, the character of the slander is even more clearly illustrated on the fishwrap version.

There was absolutely no journalistic reason to slap that piece of garbage on the front page above the fold except to pander to the officers and thugs in the Victoria Police Department who used lies, innuendo and backroom politics to slander the chief and ruin his career.


If Shaw wanted to update his readers on the current whereabouts of the characters in this sordid drama he'd have put the whole non-story on page 3 with the Marli Rusen article.

Furthermore, he digs himself even further into the mire with the revelation that he's known about Battershill's volunteer position in Loon Lake for 'some time now'.

In fact, if it were real news he'd have reported it when he learned about it and not held the 'facts' to use in one more pathetic attempt to slag the reputation of the one man who actually tried to straighten out the 'bent' atmosphere in that shiny new building on Caledonia Street.

Shaw ought to move to the Sports pages - he knows nothing whatever about being a 'real' reporter.

Perhaps he could cover the fights on the ice whenever the Salmon Kings play better than he does the brutal and immoral nature of city/real estate politics in the provincial capital.
 
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Thanks again, G. West.

As I often say, in history it's difficult to analyse the story -- or parts of a story -- which AREN'T recorded ...

and nowhere in Rob Shaw's article does he mention the word RETIREMENT, much less show any genuine interest in the facts brought out by Brenda Battershill.

It would have changed the entire "newz" report, if that story had mentioned the 35-year history of Mr & Mrs Battershill with the Loon Lake community.

Am I wrong ... was I the only person who read that front-page CanWest story as a big revelation by an intrepid CanWest reporter who had just discovered a disgraced public servant hiding away in a "remote" location where he (the aforementioned disgraced public servant) was trying to maintain his cover against said intrepid investigative journalist employed by that wonderful CanWest (which thinks only of the public interest)?

And did I get this right? Our intrepid investigative journalist didn't leave Victoria, but merely phoned around to Loon Lake, Cache Creek, and the Regional District Hq? asking that loaded question: "Did you KNOW about Paul Battershill's background ... ?"
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And did I get this right? Our intrepid investigative journalist didn't leave Victoria, but merely phoned around to Loon Lake, Cache Creek, and the Regional District Hq? asking that loaded question: "Did you KNOW about Paul Battershill's background ... ?"

If that's the case, then all the more reason that "defamation" and "incitement" - otherwise known as shit-disturbing - are issues here. I suspect that Mr. Battershill has more restraint, but for many people a front page article about them that does nothing but impute impropriety, without even asking for it but hoping to stir up suspicion of it....that's grounds for a big civil suit against the T-C and CanWest and Shaw for damages and harrassment....

Maybe there's a good lawyer living in Loon Lake. Who knows, maybe there's even one in the Volunteer Fire Department.......
 
Just an afterthought on my last comment, and maybe it's something that has occurred to others as well.

Doesn't it seem like the government and laws of the province are being fought over by lawyers, and in courtrooms, rather than by politicians in the Legislature?

Maybe it's because nobody in the Legislature dare comment on the law, and on the nature of government in BC, because "it's before the courts". And being overbilled and paid for by the taxpayer all the while.

And what is the nature of government in BC these days but the decay of democracy, and of course colonialism with its attendant corruption and cronyism?
 
As alluded to by anon 8:16: perhaps it is time the public began following CanWest journalists and editors around. Perhaps we can catch some of them drinking and driving, having affairs, smoking pot or snorting cocaine. Perhaps we can publish these pictures and events online with some good citizen journalism. Certainly, journalists seek personal celebrity, so their actions are as worthy of being reported upon as the people they report upon and denigrate.

I also agree with Skookem that the Laura Dauphanie/Gordon Campbell relationship should be explored - on the front page of CanWest papers as well as being a lead story on Global news! Where is the parity in all of this. What a crock! I believe it is time for all CanWest reporters with a shred of self-decency to band together as one voice to demand that truths about The Premier, his cabinet and BC Rail be printed with the same alacrity that one would find were he of the NDP.
 
IN light of the NWT replacing their (Independent) Premier because of an extra-marital affair, I believe it is only proper that BC investigate the actions of its own Premier.

http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/Extra+marital+affair+could+topple+premier/2097735/story.html

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/north/story/2009/10/09/nwt-premier-hearings.html
 
Remember the words of RCMP spokesperson Sgt. John Ward who said, organized crime has stretched into every corner of B.C.

With out a doubt, I would think that the Media has also to be included in his remark.
Now, how about the RCMP looking into the Highway maintenance bidding contracts?
 
Our family has visited Loon Lake for long weekends for years. It had got to be one of the most beautiful places we've ever seen. The only thing we've noticed the past few years is an awful lot of Whistler type houses and 100K wakeboats around. Its close to the North Okanagan and Vancouver so obviously the $$$ are flowing in, anybody who's been there 35 years went there for the outdoor beauty.
 
Anon 5:23,

Many thanks for your message. Loon Lake really is a lovely spot. I've looked up Loon Lake on Google and soon found myself checking the cottage rentals and "Vacancy" signs ...

35 years ago, it was probably even lovelier so all the more cherished by those who found it and stayed with it.

I hope you enjoy it for many long weekends to come.
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I've just read Commissionaire Rynveld's report. He leaves of lot of insinuations about camps, private agendas, unproven allegations, only perceptions of conflict and not actual conflict with very minor consequences and also persons of influence with unfortunate allegations. I wonder if Mr. Shaw ever bothered to read it. "Battershill travesty" might be a better descriptor than "Battershill saga". I might be wrong but it sounds like the Law Society thought it was very very minor.
 
Now, how about the RCMP looking into the Highway maintenance bidding contracts?

Well, the funny part about that is, back in '79, I was on a highways survey crew assigned to chart the Loon Lake Road for straightening (we were doing a lot of that, on Highway 12 - now 99 - and Road 40 to Gold Bridge etc) and one of my crew bosses told me about the paving job and why and who it was for; it was to end at the driveway of the then-Minister of Highways. "Not an inch further", he commented.

It's also worth noting that Silverdale, the BC homestead of the Gaglardis (before Kamloops) was the first rural community in the Fraser Valley to get pavement on side roads.....

Not the same as contract fudging; but that's so old news in BC, really, that it would be hard to go back in history and find one where there wasn't some fudgery going on (and that includes the Cariboo Road, Old Yale Road, the Dewdney Trail.... you name it
 
The reporter of TC says this has all been a misunderstanding because Norman didn't read the newspaper, in other words, there's more content in the hard copy than the net copy.

Doesn't that then mean that what the public sees on the internet from the mass media, have a ring of hollowness to it?
 
Anon 6:57,

G West made it very clear that there was no misreading or misunderstanding on the basis of how Times Colonist presented their story. Which, I agree, certainly had the ring of hollowness as well as the stench of something rotten.


.
 
Absolutely, Shaw's excuse, as emailed to Norman Farrell, is utterly dishonest.

Just like the story and the placement thereof itself.
 
The lack of coverage of the drug sentence is quite stunning, that has to be one of the biggest drug trials in Victoria history yet not a word until Mary covered it, smells very funny, just like the rest of all this. The Legislature Raids are going to go down in history very very slowly...
 
I withheld a response to Rob Shaw, waiting to see how the Times Colonist would react to defend themselves or even share the criticism with readers. With the exception of the polite letter from Mrs. Battershill, they blocked other comments, as far as I can tell.

Here is today's email to Shaw:

My reading and my knowledge of this story may be somewhat greater than you assume. I'm certainly aware that numerous people were offended by the Times Colonist Battershill coverage and I know the paper received letters-to-the-editor about it. You mention fairness in the message to me but it hardly seems fair to refuse publication of critical letters. When you block reasonable public criticism of your content, you do a major disservice to readers. The lesson of what Ira Basin calls "News 2.0" is that you need to be accountable and transparent to your readers. Information such as this is not suppressed, it circulates in the informal media. I know from readership at my own blog, this is not insignificant.

Your defense of the news treatment is not strong. I read through documentation available and noted the RCMP found no criminal wrongdoing, only a personal relationship that, while improper, is not unlike one carried on by the highest political actor in BC - without comment or implications by Times Colonist writers. I can accept that the outcome was appropriate for the former Chief, given information on the public record. However, you were piling-on. This was not a mere update of involved principals, the discussion of Battershill comes across as a front page, over-the-top effort to humiliate the man and his spouse.

You are not the first journalist to become a tool of police insiders, targeting a senior colleague. The names Kash Heed (West Van), Bruce Chambers (VPD) and Kim Rossmo (VPD) come to mind.
 
The police community has found this whole business really offensive all along. They put together dozens of allegations and dumped them very conveniently just as he boarded a flight out of the province. There was a strange involvement of outsiders whose role no one has ever figured out. The break in at the lawyer's office was very very odd, and cops don't believe in coincidence. After thousands of hours and $ of investigation it was all found to be unfounded/false except for one personal allegation the RCMP said was at best a reprimand. One of our bosses said "if they'd investigated the Pope as thoroughly they'd have come up with more". We all know that there are charges coming forward for the media manipulation that was done, but no one knows how many people are involved or which reporters. Shaw would be a good guess but nobody's sure of that. It still really bothers a lot of people for the underhandedness and sneakiness.
 
Well put Norman. As it happens, I had a similar exchange of emails with journalist Shaw about this matter although he did not share his 'rationale' in his response to my comments.

In fact, since I made it very clear to him that I had read the story in the paper (I live in Victoria)- and not online - I suppose he realized in advance the explanation he gave you would not fly in the case of my own complaint.

Nevertheless, the only defence he mustered was this:

I’ve already addressed the rationale behind doing the story, and I’m sure you’ve already read it in other emails.


Having since read your correspondence with Shaw, I assume that's the 'rationale' he's talking about.

He did not respond to my second letter...I wonder if your subsequent email will fare any better.

J King (Victoria)
 
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Anon 3:18,

Good to hear from you.

Where you said: "We all know that there are charges coming forward for the media manipulation that was done ..."

I've been thinking a lot about that, too.

It's almost impossible to look at that latest CanWest pile-on without thinking -- at very least -- that there's not a shred of kindness, sympathy, or appreciation for Paul Battershill or his family shown there.

For example: CanWest never mentioned the word RETIREMENT. Never mentioned that the Battershills had been part of the Loon Lake community for THIRTY-FIVE YEARS.

No, CanWest's non-story left a quite different impression and, if you ask me, it's not only Paul Battershill who deserves better ... the public deserves better, too.

.
 
J. King left a few nuggets for Rob Shaw to think about, as well ...

as did Norman Farrell. This is all to the good ... and overdue, in fact, for CanWest to begin hearing directly from the public.

Cutting off access is further evidence of a newspaper which has no intention of even trying to be open-minded about this very public issue.
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Mr. Shaw;

From Websters Online Dictionary:

Journalism:

Writing characterized by a direct presentation of facts or description of events without an attempt at interpretation or writing designed to appeal to current popular taste or public interest. [emphasis mine]

Regarding your October 14th story: Battershill saga: Victoria's ex-top cop commands Loon Lake

The Pillars Of Good Journalism: Thoroughness, Accuracy, Fairness And Transparency

http://www.masternewmedia.org/news/2005/01/29/the_pillars_of_good_journalism.htm

1. Thoroughness (FAIL – you only have one side of the story.)

- Today, thoroughness means more than asking questions of the people in our Rolodexes (circular or virtual).
- It means, whenever possible, asking our readers for their input.

2. Accuracy (FAIL – you only have one side of the story, and you failed to mention that the Battershill's are RETIRED to Loon Lake where they have been residents for 35 years!)

- Get your facts straight.
- Say what you don't know, not just what you do. (If the reader/listener/viewer does know what you don't, you've just invited him/her to fill you in.)

3. Fairness (FAIL – you only have one side of the story.)

- Fairness means, among other things, listening to different viewpoints, and incorporating them into the journalism.
- Fairness is also about letting people respond when they believe you are wrong. This is much easier online than in a print publication, much less a broadcast.
- The first rule of having a conversation is to listen -- and I know I learn more from people who think I'm wrong than from those who agree with me.

4. Transparency (FAIL - What was the reason for writing this “article” at this particular point in time? Want to share that with us? Slow news day? I've read the articles you've written prior to this one, Rusen's meeting with the Law Society for instance...the "where are they now" that followed...yet for some reason, this article stands out as something above and beyond. This article read (to me) as something along the lines of stirring the pot.)

- Journalists need to disclose certain things, such as financial conflicts of interest. But to what extent? Should journalists of all kinds be expected to make their lives open books? How open?
- Personal biases, even unconscious ones, affect the journalism as well. I need to be aware of the things I take for granted, and to periodically challenge some of them, as I do my work.
- Another way to be transparent is in the way we present a story. We should link to source material as much as possible, bolstering what we tell people with close-to-the-ground facts and data. (Maybe this is part of accuracy or thoroughness, but it seems to fit here, too.)


Mr. Shaw, these are pillars for online journalism, they also serve print media. Though print media has one added pillar: OBJECTIVITY. In my opinion, this article fails on every test of good journalism. The tone of your “article” has me picturing a bully, tormenting a young boy…”na -na -na -na -we -we, look who’s crying now-ow.”

I sincerely hope that once ALL the dirt of the Basi, Virk and Basi trial is visible to the public, Mr. Battershill will be free to say exactly what he thinks, to whomever he will. Or is that part of the issue? If he can be discredited beforehand, his testimony will mean nothing?

One can hope that once all the back-stabbing, and buck passing is done – we’ll see an article somewhere showing what real journalism is. No innuendo, no unsubstantiated allegations, no excuses for bad behavior, no slagging one public official for personal conduct whilst allowing others to walk…, and no excuses due to personal status, bias, or politics. Is the print media in BC capable of reporting something like that? Do we have journalists capable of writing it? I’m seriously beginning to wonder.
 
Rob Shaw is a reporter at the Victoria Times Colonist. He's been writing and reporting on the Capital Regional District's plans for sewage treatment since 2005.

http://communities.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/members/Rob-Shaw/default.aspx




Reporting on Victoria District sewage treatment since 2005!?

Fits in perfectly with Gordon Campbell.
 
Leah!!

Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!
 
Snip....OmniTrax was not the successful bidder for the Crown-owned railway. Snip.....

http://www.freedominion.com.pa/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=28465

We've all read this, many times, but seeing as how the guy who was hired to gain insider information from the aides was working for OminTrax, and they were never considered to be a winner in the "bidding" process.... could all of this fuss, this delay of justice.... be OminTrax's way of getting even with CN Rail and the BC Liberals for their not following their own rules of being an Open and Transparent goverment?
 
One question to Mr.Shaw.
Why are you OUT to get Paul Battershill and his family? Especially since they have moved on and left all this nasty false media coverage behind. Very soon the real story will come out!!!
 
We could let this matter go if the Times colonist gave a convincing defense of their reporting or at least acknowledged the disputes by publishing letters or comments about the Battershill related stories. I invite others to give opinions to the editor, Lucinda Chodan. Tell her this illustrates why we don't need them anymore.

This is the letter I sent after the last one to reporter Rob Shaw was not acknowledged:

Attention: Lucinda Chodan

After the Battershill and Rusen coverage by the Times Colonist, I better understand why your publishing empire is in decline, like much of the traditional newspaper industry. You have relied upon monopoly to dominate markets and that is now gone. However, as if it continues to exist, you act with double standards and indifference to unfairness and agenda driven bias in your publication.

Many people have written comments about shoddy reporting apparently aimed at humiliating Victoria's retired police chief. Reporter Rob Shaw privately offered unconvincing defense of his work but the newspaper has not even acknowledged a controversy or disagreement. Your readers, if not otherwise knowledgeable, have been misinformed because your articles shame with implications of wrong doing beyond a not uncommon imprudence. After official investigation, it was formally determined that Battershill's indiscretion was limited to a single relationship issue. Various anonymous accusations of impropriety were unfounded. Your coverage seems instead to describe an individual who fled Victoria in ignominy, seeking respite in a remote rural location.

To exacerbate that lack of professionalism in reporting, you hide this controversy from your readers by refusing to publish critical comments by letter to the editor or comments on your website. A.J. Liebling once wrote "freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one." Happily in a new era of news distribution, everyone is a press owner.
 
I remember hearing years ago that a Times Colonist Publisher had to leave over an affair with a young reporter in the mid 1990's. Not at all interested in the names as they should be treated respectfully (unlike the way the TC treats people) but just wondered if it was true. Maybe their obsession is because of some strange organizational guilt.
 
We skied with Paul and Brenda at at Big White last winter. They looked happy and healthy and enjoying retirement. Quite a few members saw them at the -remote- lake(there's a joke)as well, same thing. It was a sad time for VicPD but they've moved on, only the nutcases are keeping it going although we think the underhanded stuff has to be dealt with or the dept can't recover. Some of the players will never be credible in policing again. Hopefully the Chief will deal with it firmly and take control.
 
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Nice to know this, Anon 7:24.

You say "some of the players will never be credible in policing again."

Same could be said for Times Colonist's quality of journalism, I think.

Thanks for adding the positive elements to this sad story.
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Our Sergeant who is charged with the media offences has taken off for an extended trip to Europe with one of the deputy Chiefs. The first police act trial is in December. There isn't much official information from management right now but its common knowledge they found the e mails.
 
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