The article you just read was brought to you by a few thousand dedicated readers. Will you join them?

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past year, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
Before you click away, we have something to ask you…

Do you value independent journalism that focuses on the issues that matter? Do you think Canada needs more in-depth, fact-based reporting? So do we. If you’d like to be part of the solution, we’d love it if you joined us in working on it.

The Tyee is an independent, paywall-free, reader-funded publication. While many other newsrooms are getting smaller or shutting down altogether, we’re bucking the trend and growing, while still keeping our articles free and open for everyone to read.

The reason why we’re able to grow and do more, and focus on quality reporting, is because our readers support us in doing that. Over 5,000 Tyee readers chip in to fund our newsroom on a monthly basis, and that supports our rockstar team of dedicated journalists.

Join a community of people who are helping to build a better journalism ecosystem. You pick the amount you’d like to contribute on a monthly basis, and you can cancel any time.

Help us make Canadian media better by joining Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
We're reader supported.
Get our newsletter free.
Help pay for our reporting.
Life

The Lightning Rod Who Was a Pit Bull

New Dem Moe Sihota kept the press hopping. Latest in our 'Some Honourable Members' series.

By Tom Hawthorn 7 May 2013 | TheTyee.ca

Tom Hawthorn is writing about B.C. political history for The Tyee. Find his previous stories here.

image atom
Illustration by Jessie Donaldson.

[Editor's note: This is the sixteenth in our "Some Honourable Members" series, depicting the more dubious moments in B.C.'s political history, brought to you by veteran muckrakers Tom Barrett and Tom Hawthorn, one a day until election day.]

Every political dynasty in British Columbia boasts a grandstanding politician who serves as a headline-generating gaffe machine.

The W.A.C. Bennett Socreds had Phil Gaglardi. The Bill Bennett Socreds had Bill Vander Zalm. The Bill Vander Zalm Socreds had Bill Vander Zalm.

And the NDP had Moe Sihota.

Sihota was a pit bull in Opposition, a lightning rod for controversy in government.

In Opposition, he released transcripts of nine secretly recorded private telephone conversations involving the attorney general, who resigned. The tapes revealed Bud Smith making comments seeking to discredit a lawyer hired by the NDP. (The lawyer later sued for defamation, winning an out-of-court settlement.) The tapes also included pillow talk between Smith, who was married, and a television reporter, who wound up quitting her job. The tawdry scandal sullied all involved, including Sihota.

After the NDP formed government, Sihota twice resigned from cabinet posts only to be reinstated following conflict-of-interest allegations.

The first case followed an admission of professional misconduct. Sihota's father had died suddenly, leaving a large debt. Sihota, a lawyer, invested the funds of two clients in one of his family's businesses, a high-risk venture. Sihota erred in not advising them to seek independent legal advice. The Law Society of B.C. fined him $2,000 and suspended his licence to practice law for 18 months.

The second case involved his aggressive lobbying on behalf of a limousine company owned by a cousin and by Herb Dhaliwal, a friend and political ally. He resigned from cabinet, got a wrist slap from Premier Glen Clark, and returned to cabinet.

Oh, and somewhere in the middle of all this he lost cabinet responsibilities for the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia after his lead-footed driving practices became known. He had been ticketed seven times for speeding and accrued many demerit points since being given the public auto-insurance file.

After the NDP were decimated in the 2001 election, Sihota became a television host and pundit, while also pursuing business interests. He returned to politics four years ago when elected president of the party. A year later, it was revealed he was earning a salary as president paid for by some trade unions, a controversial arrangement.

Once, in the legislature, a member hissed at Sihota, calling him, "Sleazy Moe," an insult recorded by Hansard. The indecorous member? Premier Vander Zalm.  [Tyee]

Read more: BC Politics

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free

LATEST STORIES

The Barometer

Tyee Poll: What Coverage Would You Like to See More of This Year?

Take this week's poll