Tyeenews

Guide to Tyee Election Reporting

You gave. We reported. A round-up of our coverage so far.

By David Beers, 9 May 2009, TheTyee.ca

Funding Graph

Just over a month ago, we asked you to help fund the Tyee's election reporting. Your response was amazing, almost $25,000 in donations!

This article is meant to show you the results to date, providing a guide to our election reporting. Since early April, we have run 60 Tyee features and more than 200 items on our political news blog, The Hook -- all of it original reporting aimed to shed light, especially, on issues you told us mattered most to you.

Along the way our reporters have delivered major scoops. Examples:

Ballooning payments to privatizers: The BC Liberals bragged that privatizing health record keeping would save money, but Andrew MacLeod discovered government payments to contractor Maximus have ballooned over 50 per cent, and neither the company or the government will give the specifics why.

BC Rail trust fund hiding its losses: BC Liberals created a $185 million trust fund to help northern BC with some proceeds from the BC rail sale, but shifted the funds to riskier investments that likely lost $25 million and, as Will McMartin reported, trustees are breaking the law by not revealing that information before the election. A professor of business ethics agrees it looks bad and the results should be released immediately.

Massive C02 emitter no one else noticed: As the parties battled over climate change policy, Geoff Dembicki discovered a massive gas plant slated for BC's northeast had quietly changed its pledge to sequester its C02 emissions, and now planned to vent enough gas to raise the province's entire emissions by three per cent. The BC Liberals offered no comment.

BC Liberals welfare to jobs story a myth: Premier Campbell campaigned on the slogan that the best social program is a job, but Andrew MacLeod pried loose the government's own report showing the BC Liberals' revamped welfare-to-work program hasn't delivered.

How NDP got 'flaring' wrong: A central claim in the NDP's climate change platform was the pledge to eliminate flaring -- the burning off of carbon gasses during extraction and production -- which supposedly would cut of 13 per cent in emissions. Garrett Zehr got to the bottom of the issue, surfacing the report the NDP used, what they misread, and what the report author really said: Total burned off or leaked 'fugitive gasses' add up to 13 per cent, while flaring alone likely accounts for around three per cent. The NDP backpedalled and clarified its position accordingly. Glad to bring a bit of light to a burning question.

We invested much of your generous funding in explaining as well as investigating. This was an election certainly in need of very much explaining.

While the economy ranked high the general public's concerns in polls, our own readers placed the environment, privatization and poverty and homelessness far higher – an early indication of how the issues would really play out. In this campaign the environment, the economy, and who bears the burden of adapting to inevitable change were fused into a general thread of argument and anxiety throughout. That's the way it's likely to be in future elections not just in B.C. but nationally and globally, now that climate change has made it impossible to separate economy from ecology.

Colleen Kimmett flagged very early the resulting divisions in the environmental community with her story BC's Clashing Shades of Green. Her theme was more than borne out as B.C.'s enviro groups boldly entered the political fray, siding with one party or another. We pulled the curtain back to show that Suzuki Foundation's chairman is a proud Liberal and that when high profile activist Tzeporah Berman declared she was quitting the NDP she wasn't actually a member. As enviro groups continued to tear at each other, we invited UVic's Michael M'Gonigle, a founder of Greenpeace International, to put it all in perspective. His two essays on "powering down" instead of revving up river energy projects and looking "beyond the carbon tax" received huge traffic and viralled all over the province and beyond.

We sought innovative ways to put into perspective issues that might seem familiar, but are nevertheless critical. Take the debate over raising the minimum wage. Rob Annandale found another place it is raging -- Haiti. He reported from that island nation as well as B.C. on the issue of livable wages vs. threat of job losses. (And no, you didn't pay to send Rob to Haiti!)

At the outset of the campaign, we sought to lay out the electoral battleground and its key ridings. Monte Paulsen's three part series pointed to swing ridings in the suburbs where green-minded voters hold sway out of proportion to their numbers. And yesterday veteran political analyst Will McMartin zeroed in on the 14 ridings (all in B.C.'s North or North Fraser) that will decide the election.

With those road maps in hand, we've endeavoured to bring alive the issues you told us you care deeply about by putting reporters on the ground in ridings where they were ballot box issues. Our datelines have ranged from the Okanagan to Vancouver's West End and its suburbs, from wild East Kootenay to Tsawwassen, "the angriest riding in B.C."

The campaign has a few more days to run, and we're not done publishing our reporting yet. Below, however, please find a guide to the best of our election-related journalism, presented in the order of the funding amounts you provided. I hope you are pleased with what we have been able accomplish thanks to your support. Without it, we couldn't have done a fraction of this.

PRIVATIZATION

When Gov't Cut Red Tape, Life Got Sticky for Many (Reported Feature) Libs proud of loosened regs for private colleges, other industries. Costs too high, say critics. By Andrew MacLeod

The Big 'Railgate' Question Looming Still (Reported Feature) For a second election, we still don't know: Was BC Rail deal tainted by 'consolation prize' offer? By Bill Tieleman

Libs' River Power Push: Dangers, but Little Data (Reported Feature) Experts, local officials want brakes put on big Bute Inlet run of river project. By Colleen Kimmett

Gov't Payments to Maximus Balloon (Reported Feature) Up 60 per cent since province outsourced health records to contractor in 2004. By Andrew MacLeod

Liberals, Liquor and Who's Really Getting Soaked (Reported Feature) Well-connected private stores make big margins while rural agency stores lose money on every bottle. By Charles Campbell

Tapping Our Wild Rivers Can't Fix Climate Change. By Michael M'Gonigle

Germs Winning in BC's Hospitals (Reported Feature) Nasty infections are up steeply. Health workers, NDP blame Liberals. By Crawford Kilian

BC Ferries refused Tyee access to public records (on The Hook)

Secrecy on big gov't contracts breeds distrust: watchdog (on The Hook)

BC Libs zapped regs for private power, doc shows (on The Hook)

NDP promises to buy Vancouver Island land, return public control (on The Hook)

Plutonic Power CEO denies donating to Libs, then changes story (on The Hook)

NDP wants control of BC Ferries back, but not its debt (on The Hook)

ENVIRONMENT

Libs' River Power Push: Dangers, but Little Data (Reported Feature) Experts, local officials want brakes put on big Bute Inlet run of river project. By Colleen Kimmett

Hanging out with Greens in Suits (Reported Feature) Candidate Kettlewell's pitch to a rising class of young, urban, sustainability-techies. By Colleen Kimmett

Huge Fort Nelson Gas Plant Would Spike BC's Carbon Emissions (Reported Feature) As planned for 2011, EnCana project is 'irresponsible': Pembina. By Geoff Dembicki

The Health Hazard Report the Premier Never Read (Reported Feature) Oil and gas study urged safety actions 16 months ago -- a surprise to campaigning Campbell. By Greg Amos

Which Party Is More Green? Grades Aren't Posted (Reported Feature) Sierra Club, Suzuki, others haven't issued platform report cards, so we asked. By Colleen Kimmett

Tapping Our Wild Rivers Can't Fix Climate Change (Essay) Veteran enviro says no to Tzeporah Berman's 'PowerUp' logic. By Michael M'Gonigle

Greens' Sterk 'Quite Optimistic' The party's leader on her ideas, her chances, facing 'hostility' and more.

Beyond the Carbon Tax (Essay) Two enviros argue it's 'fluff' and 'blackmail' and no real fix for climate change. By Michael M’Gonigle and Blake Anderson

Global Warming Debate Lost in Carbon Tax Fog (Reported Feature) 'Partisan scrabbling' ruining chance to educate voters: VTACC's Washbrook. By Tom Barrett

Furious Rebuke to Suzuki, Berman (Essay) Salmon advocate Alexandra Morton enraged at support for BC Libs. By Bill Tieleman

BC's Clashing Shades of Green (Reported Feature) How 'run of river' and global warming are splitting enviros this election. By Colleen Kimmett

BC Libs zapped regs for private power, document shows (on The Hook)

Campbell 'treating us like criminals': Morton (on The Hook)

Two top ecologists to vote NDP (on The Hook)

Debate: Climate plans fuzzy around edges (on The Hook)

NDP promises to buy Vancouver Island land, return public control (on The Hook)

Wilderness Committee calls for Penner's resignation (on The Hook)

Premier has rosy view of BC's carbon targets, experts say (on The Hook)

Conservation voters endorse 'Anybody but Carole' (on The Hook)

BC Liberals planned 'frontal attack' to split green vote in 2007: Marining (on The Hook)

Greens would raise carbon tax (on The Hook)

Campbell to Metro mayors: Hands off the carbon tax (on The Hook)

Mayors seek carbon-tax revenue for public transit (on The Hook)

Steelworkers dump PowerUp: 'We're pulling our support' (on The Hook)

Suzuki attacks NDP plan to axe carbon tax: Globe (on The Hook)

BC's carbon tax kerfuffle goes global (on The Hook)

Activist who 'quit' NDP was no longer a member (on The Hook)

Activist Berman quits NDP over 'Axe the Tax' stance (on The Hook)

Campbell defends carbon tax in wake of national report (on The Hook)

BC Liberal climate plan falls short: Pembina, Suzuki (on The Hook)

'I'm a Liberal supporter': Suzuki Foundation chairman (on The Hook)

Job loss expected from NDP climate plan: study (on The Hook)

Green Party promises local renewable energy (on The Hook)

Plutonic Power CEO denies donating to Libs, then changes story (on The Hook)

Oil spills 'inevitable' if Gateway proceeds (on The Hook)

CLEAN GOVERNMENT

The Big 'Railgate' Question Looming Still (Reported Feature) For a second election, we still don't know: Was BC Rail deal tainted by 'consolation prize' offer? By Bill Tieleman

BC Gov't 'Spin Machine' Costs Us (Reported Feature) How much? Seven times the budget for filling FOIs. By Sean Holman

A New BC Rail Cover-Up? (Reported Feature) The Campbell government put money from its BC Rail sale into a trust, but a shift to riskier investing likely lost $25 million. We can't know for sure, because trust directors are breaking the law by not posting statements. By Will McMartin

BC Rail Trust Fund: Timing of Financial Blackout Questioned (Reported Feature) Libs look like they're hiding info until election ends: ethics expert. By Andrew MacLeod

Northern Development fund released report afternoon before election (on the Hook)

No Sleaze, Please (Essay) Campbell set the bar so low, no wonder his team stoops. By Rafe Mair

Liberals, Liquor and Who's Really Getting Soaked (Reported Feature) Well-connected private stores make big margins while rural agency stores lose money on every bottle. By Charles Campbell

Huge Pay Raises, the Silent Issue (Essay) Libs gave selves big pay hikes, zero to minimum wage earners. But NDP can't complain. By Will McMartin

Mair's View: Campbell's Hypocrisy Habit (Essay) Libs' top cop has license yanked, stays in race. Too typical. By Rafe Mair

'Ducking' BC Rail Questions Doesn't Fly with Experts (Reported Feature) No law keeps Campbell and Oppal from commenting: Addario, Gabelmann. By Geoff Dembicki

'Running Against the System' (Reported Feature) Some serious independent candidates explain why they've rejected BC's party politics. By Crawford Kilian

Pity the Naked Candidate (Reported Feature) If you want to run for office, get ready for heavy vetting. By Andrew MacLeod

Province withholds welfare statistics on election eve (on The Hook)

BC Ferries refused Tyee access to public records (on The Hook)

BC government FOI record should worry public: report (on The Hook)

Unions gave over $520,000 to NDP this year (on The Hook)

Charged drug company official recently worked for BC government (on The Hook)

Big Four pay big money to BC Liberals (on The Hook)

Province refused to release report on welfare leavers (on The Hook)

Plutonic Power CEO denies donating to Libs, then changes story (on The Hook)

VOTING REFORM

Striving to remain impartial and informative on the STV referendum, The Tyee arranged a five-round debate between the yes and no camps. Read it here. The last round runs Monday.

Will electoral reform survive if STV fails? (on the Hook)

STV quite popular outside of politics (on the Hook)

UVic's Pilon to NoSTV's Schreck: Stop misquoting me (on the Hook)

NDP candidates state personal support for STV (on the Hook)

STV seeks 'someone who can make me feel real' (on the Hook)

STV supporters testing messages in poll (on the Hook)

Clip and save: The STV voting system, explained (on the Hook)

HOMELESSNESS / POVERTY

In Haiti, like BC, Business Fights Rise in Minimum Wage (Reported Feature) In both places, a living wage vs. threats of job losses. By Rob Annandale

Campbell's Claim that Jobs Lifted Many out of Poverty Proves a Myth (Reported Feature) Delayed government report shows no real gains. By Andrew MacLeod

Candidate Fronted a Jobs Program Slammed by Auditors (Reported Feature) BC Libs' Robin Adair is running in Saanich South. By Andrew MacLeod

BC's Badly Broken Welfare System (Reported Feature) BC Libs created 'overly complex' maze that kept needy off rolls: ombudsman. By Andrew MacLeod

Province's New Counting Makes Homeless Disappear, Say Critics (Reported Feature) Numbers just for internal use says ministry. By Tom Sandborn

Province withholds welfare statistics on election eve (on The Hook)

Promised housing remains unfunded in Kelowna(on The Hook)

Province refused to release report on welfare leavers (on The Hook)

Jobless BC welfare recipents climb 42 percent in a year (on The Hook)

Coleman promises funding for homelessness prevention in Surrey (on The Hook)

Coleman promises funding for homelessness prevention in Surrey (on The Hook)

EDUCATION

Kids, the Issue that Never Played (Reported Feature) No party hurried to make a bold stand on childcare. But stakes are high. By Charles Campbell

BC's Education Budget Faces 'Structural Shortfall' (Reported Feature) School trustees, administrators sound alarms. By Crawford Kilian

When Gov't Cut Red Tape, Life Got Sticky for Many (Reported Feature) Libs proud of loosened regs for private colleges, other industries. Costs too high, say critics. By Andrew MacLeod

BC's new universities 'struggling': NDP candidate Clark (on The Hook)

NDP promises tuition reduction when economy recovers (on The Hook)

Students grade Liberals an F, NDP a C+ (on The Hook)

Mixed reaction for NDP post-secondary promises (on The Hook)

HEALTH CARE

How Many Seniors' Beds? Probing Parties' Conflicting Claims (Reported Feature) James accuses Libs of badly missing targets. True? By Garrett Zehr

Germs Winning in BC's Hospitals (Reported Feature) Nasty infections are up steeply. Health workers, NDP blame Liberals. By Crawford Kilian

In BC, Being a Nurse Can Be Hell (Reported Feature) Assaults, abuse blamed on workplace climate, cuts and staff shortages. By Andrew MacLeod

West End candidates square off over rental act, hospital (on The Hook)

Debate: Leaders agree! Health care to stay public (on The Hook)

RCMP block protesting paramedics from Campbell rally (on The Hook)

Doctors press province to reduce paperwork or pay for it (on The Hook)

James targets Campbell's 'broken promises' (on The Hook)

Promised seniors' beds not delivered: CCPA (on The Hook)

HOUSING

BC's Youngest MLA Goes for Two (Reported Feature) Spencer Herbert seeks re-election in a redrawn riding where 'renovictions' and gay rights are issues. By Garrett Zehr

Builders, real estate firms gave big to BC Liberals (on The Hook)

Promised housing remains unfunded in Kelowna (on The Hook)

West End candidates square off over rental act, hospital (on The Hook)

Premier's house 'sold' to protest Little Mountain development (on The Hook)

Market catches up to long-term tenants; rents to rise 38 percent (on The Hook)

'Renters need to wake up' says blogger fighting 'renovictions' (on The Hook)

Premier promises 1000 new rental units for BC seniors (on The Hook)

ECONOMY

How Campbell Tied His Own Hands as Economy Plummeted (Essay) Libs quietly cut programs, laws for protecting BC jobs. By Ellen Gould

Joining the Jobless in Mackenzie (Reported Feature) I chose not to work in the mills with my friends. I became a reporter. Now we're all in the same leaky boat. By Joe Fries

James, Campbell Make Their Pitches to Trade Union Members (Reported Feature) The leaders on public works, job safety, training, the minimum wage and more. By Tom Sandborn

Province's Economy Much Worse than We Were Told (Reported Feature) New StatsCan numbers likely mean bigger budget deficit or spending cuts: experts. By Andrew MacLeod

BC's Economy: Whose Was Best? (Essay) Socreds. NDP. Libs. Who oversaw the strongest economy? (Hint, not Gordon Campbell). By Will McMartin

BC Libs' Platform Bets on Economy (Reported Feature) 'Not a huge change in direction,' Campbell tells voters. By Geoff Dembicki

Campbell Era Economy Nothing to Brag About (Essay) NDP saw higher growth. Now BC jobs are crashing. By Bill Tieleman

NDP Would Add $3 Billion to BC Debt (Reported Feature) James proposes business tax cuts to stimulate economic recovery. By Andrew MacLeod

BC had large increase in EI recipients, number tripled in Williams Lake (on The Hook)

Jobless BC welfare recipients climb 42 percent in a year (on The Hook)

Bond rating agency cautious about BC budget, economy (on The Hook)

OLYMPICS

Pricey Olympics a Wedge Issue (Reported Feature) While Campbell touts spin-offs, timber towns feel deprived. By Geoff Dembicki

NDP slams Liberals over BC Place labour woes (on The Hook)

Over-budget convention centre an ‘economic powerhouse’: Premier (on The Hook)

2010 Games social promises ‘not measurable’: IOC official (on The Hook)

CRIME

Shootings Spook Voters (Reported Feature) How the parties are politicking on the issue of public safety. By Irwin Loy

Libs' Fibs on Crime Voting (Essay) Claims that New Dems opposed police spending are false. By Will McMartin

KEY RIDINGS AND THEIR ISSUES

Coming Monday: Campbell River, Edge of BC's Biggest Private Run-of-River Project (Reported Feature)

Where this Election Will Be Won (Essay). Fourteen ridings in BC's North and Fraser North will decide it. By Will McMartin

Hanging out with Greens in Suits (Reported Feature) Candidate Kettlewell's pitch to a rising class of young, urban, sustainability-techies. By Colleen Kimmett

Bill Bennett's Last Stand? (Reported Feature) As charges of dirty tricks and racism fly, East Kootenay is a wild one, and too close to call. By Christopher Pollon

The Angriest Riding in BC (Reported Feature & photo essay) In Tsawwassen, massive power lines have sparked voter rage. By Geoff Demibick. Photos by Christopher Grabowski

BC's Youngest MLA Goes for Two (Reported Feature) Spencer Herbert seeks re-election in a redrawn riding where 'renovictions' and gay rights are issues. By Garrett Zehr

BC's Battleground 'Burbs: Dispatches from the Trenches (Reported Feature) On the ground in suburban swing ridings that may decide the election. By Irwin Loy

Greens' Sterk 'Quite Optimistic' (Reported Feature) The party's leader on her ideas, her chances, facing 'hostility' and more.

The Revenge of Joe Cardoso (Reported Feature) Turfed BC Liberal running strong as a Conservative in the Okanagan. By Adrian Nieoczym

FREE SPEECH, MEDIA AND POLLING

Pollsters in High Stakes Race, Too (Reported Feature) The numbers are all over the place. Who will get to brag about being right? By Tom Barrett

Polling that Obsesses BC's Campaign Strategists (Reported Feature) Economy and crime seem to obliterate other issues for BC voters. It's not that simple. By Tom Barrett

Print a Leaflet, Go to Jail! (Essay) It could be you. BC's Election Act doesn't just throttle the big spenders. By Vincent Gogolek

Gag Law Gone, But No Spending Binge (Reported Feature) Bill 42 struck down too late to change most third parties' ad strategies. By Morgan Modjeski

GENDER AND POLITICS

Educating Gordon (Essay) Why a pat on the head can be worse than a pat on the bum. By Vanessa Richmond

BC's Surge of Female Candidates (Reported Feature) 'We're behind Iraq and Afghanistan in elected women': NDP's McNabb. By Colleen Kimmett

Why the NDP Has a Shot (Reported Feature) BC Liberals hold more safe seats, but 'green suburban swingers' could lift New Dems into power. By Monte Paulsen

...and the rest of Paulsen's 'Breaking down the BC Election' series

OTHER ARTICLES OF NOTE

Corky Evans Unplugged (Reported Feature) The retiring NDP maverick on the populist voter, Gordon Campbell, spitting out teeth and much, much more. By Charles Campbell

Greens' Sterk 'Quite Optimistic' (Reported Feature) The party's leader on her ideas, her chances, facing 'hostility' and more. By Andrew MacLeod

Who Is Gordon Campbell 3.0? (Reported Feature) Chatting with the polished puzzle who seeks a third term as BC's premier. By Monte Paulsen

NDP Has History on Its Side, But Not Smart Messaging (Essay) In BC races, diving economies usually turf governments. By Will McMartin

Campbell's Challenge from the Right: The BC Conservative Party (Reported Feature) Leader Wilf Hanni says he plans to run up to 30 candidates, and win races. By Bill Tieleman  [Tyee]

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:

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  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
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