A few weeks ago I took the Vancouver Sun to task for hiding the fact that one of its op-ed writers was a paid lobbyist on the issue he was writing about. To their credit they published parts of my letter noting Mr. Enemark’s real interests in the matter at hand (handing rural businesses another big tax break).
You learn from your mistakes, right? Not so much when it comes to the Vancouver Sun. Like any ordinary serial offender they were back at it Saturday with a column attacking Vision Vancouver and Mayor Robertson. The column was written by those two ordinary Joes, Mike Klassen and Daniel Fontaine, who according to the Sun “write about city politics at CityCaucus.com”.
Except for those who know of them, Mike and Danny “write about politics at CityCaucus” much in the same way as Sarah Palin speaks about politics to teapartiers, or Rahim Jaffer pitches to politicians or Colin Hansen disassembles about politics to anyone who will still listen… With a fair bit of arguably important backstory.
Here’s Mike and Danny’s backstory. Mike Klassen, campaign manager for Colin Hansen, was a key member of Sam Sullivan’s campaign team and was rewarded by the NPA council with a plum patronage position on the Vancouver Planning Commission. Daniel Fontaine, came from the ranks of BC Liberal ministerial assistants to be Sullivan’s chief of staff. In other words, they work for the other side.
Now I think it’s okay that the other side gets to write an op-ed in the Sun. That’s what op-eds are for. Although in the case of the Sun, it’s also what their news section is for. But at least in this case we got a clever headline that was way above the usual talent displayed on those pages. But tell us it’s the other side. That’s what op-ed editors are for.
Or treat both sides the same. Here are some suggestions for future op-ed bylines, free of charge – we all know the Sun is in receivership – Jim Sinclair, another guy from Burnaby; Carole James, Victoria working mom; Rafe Mair, mad flyfisher. And then there’s me. Here’s how I’d like my byline to appear in those hallowed pages – Ian Reid, Renaissance man, never heard of the NDP.