Lawyers, guns and money… and the Vancouver Sun

The Vancouver Sun.  Ah the Sun.

I hope, dear readers, that you know I read the Sun so you don’t have to.  Meaning in particular that I read the editorial pages so you don’t have to read them and get so mad you kick the dog.

One of my editorial page bete noires – where are those accents when you want them, French keyboard? – is how the Sun identifies it’s contributors.  Or to be straight up about it, how the Sun obscures the identity of it’s contributors when it’s in their interest to.


Take today for example, or Tuesday for another.

Brian Abraham

Gracing those pages are two lengthy articles by Vancouver lawyers Brad Armstrong (today) and Brian Abraham (Tuesday).  Both lawyers – excellent ones I might add – argue that environmental review processes as recently amended by various governments are just dandy.

In Tuesday’s op-ed Abraham concluded that “approvals of major projects in this province are the result of an extended, open process designed to make an informed decision based on the balancing of the often disparate interests present in B.C.”

Brad Armstrong

Today Armstrong provided Abraham with an echo chamber concluding that Federal changes will have no real deleterious effects.  “Projects located in British Columbia,” Armstrong claims, “will continue to undergo a robust and public environmental assessment process before they are permitted to proceed.”

There are a lot of arguments to be made against those conclusions.  But the first one is ‘consider the source’.

What the Sun doesn’t tell you is that both these lawyers charge very big bucks to represent corporate clients like Taseko Mining in environmental review processes.

Here’s a list of some of Armstrong’s cases from his company’s website:

  • Represented a major diamond mining company in environmental assessment and project approval in the Northwest Territories
  • Represented a major industrial company in an extensive public environmental review of a hydroelectric project
  • Represented a mining company in Federal Court proceedings respecting federal environmental assessment compliance
  • Represented various industrial corporations in defending charges under environmental laws and regulations
  • Represented a mining company in environmental assessment and project approval in Nunavut
  • Represented various resource and industrial companies, and governments, in litigation involving First Nations, aboriginal law, treaty law and constitutional law
  • Represented various natural resource companies in obtaining injunctions to prohibit interference with project development and activities.
Abraham’s list reads much the same.
The Sun didn’t disclose Abraham or Armstrong’s interests.  They just ran the op eds as if a couple of disinterested lawyers happened to drop them on Fazil Mihlar’s desk.
Which leaves me with this question:  If the Vancouver Sun can’t even tell us which side their writers represent, why should anyone trust anything they say?


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6 Responses to Lawyers, guns and money… and the Vancouver Sun

  1. kootcoot says:

    I would imagine this is the Sun’s idea of providing balance, to balance out the ninety percent of commentators that are members of the Fraser Stinkstitute.

    A couple summers ago when a public hearing over the AXOR Glacier/Howser Rape of the Rivers Project unavoidably violated the fire regulations and an over capacity crowd 99% opposed to the project crammed the Kaslo School Gym one of the many who questioned the proponents and EAO representatives asked the EAO stooges outright if they could name a project that they had refused to allow to go ahead………crickets, silence and finally they were forced to admit that they couldn’t name a single one. We call it the Environmental Abuse Optimizers.

    For now thankfully the project is dead in the water, but Jumbo Resort, in the same area, has of course come back to life like a vampire.

  2. Ole Nielson says:

    Apparently these two have not heard about the Environmental Assessment Equivalency Agreement signed between the NEB and BC’s Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) on June 21st, 2010. Or if they had heard of it they certainly wouldn’t want to publicize the agreement.
    Robyn Allyn’s blog states:
    “Essentially the agreement states that the EAO will accept the NEB’s environmental assessment for four proposed projects, including the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project, which would otherwise have to be reviewed under BC’s Environmental Assessment Act. The NEB’s review would be treated as an equivalent assessment.”
    So the province of BC no longer has any say in what public assets can be plundered – the feds do.
    And Harper’s omnibus budget bill contains sections on environmental protection that will be retroactive. Does this mean that once the bill is passed Harper can shut down the NEB’s hearings presently underway?

  3. Norm Farrell says:

    “…why should anyone trust anything they say?”

    For the most part, we should not.

  4. that project is over now.

  5. islandpapa says:


  6. e.a.f. says:

    50 yrs ago my Mother told me not to trust what the Vancouver Sun said in their editorials. She told me their interests weren’t our interests. There were a couple of columnists which did a good job but the rest were just doing as they were told.

    Nothing much as changed in the past 50 yrs. They have just gotten “sneaker” about how they put the stuff out. In a free & democratic society the press has a duty to the public to let their readers know who is writing their “opinion” pieces.

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