Friday, August 01, 2008

How About Some Facts?

I know Barbara Yaffe is a columnist and is therefore expected to give us her opinion, but doesn't there a time when even this segment of media must be required to use facts accurately to make their points?

In her column today, she more or less justifies the Conservatives deplorable attack on Elections Canada. She's entitled to her opinion of course, but she's not entitled to her own set of facts.

Conservatives are stepping forward to criticize Elections Canada for behavior unbecoming an independent, non-partisan agency. This is not good.

Unfortunately, the organization charged with administering Canada's election laws has left itself vulnerable to such an attack because of the differing postures it has adopted with respect to the two main political parties.

Really? How exactly are they treating the two parties differently?

Election Canada's leniency with the Liberals is in stark contrast to the strong stand it has taken on Conservative advertising election spending during the 2006 election.

She, like Poilievre conflates two completely different issues.

Well instead of comparing apples and grapefruits, how about something a little more analogous? Like say, Conservatives missing campaign debt repayment deadlines.

The law governing political loans to election candidates is almost identical to that which applies to leadership contenders. The only difference is that election candidates have only four months in which to pay off their debts while leadership candidates have 18 months.

In both cases, candidates are legally entitled to seek extensions.

According to a chart compiled by Elections Canada, 426 candidates - including 121 Conservatives - sought extensions to pay off loans after the 2004 election.

As well, 401 candidates - including 125 Conservatives - sought extensions to clear unpaid bills.

Then, in spite of yesterday's clarification in La Presse (referred to here by Douglas Ferguson), of Dion's outstanding balance, she says this:

Mayrand has yet to rule on an extension request from Stephane Dion, who reportedly still owes some $560,000.

And finally, she drops this little nugget:

An RCMP raid last April on Conservative headquarters -- to which TV cameras were tipped beforehand -- further exacerbated tension between Elections Canada and the party.

TV outlets had been tipped? If you are going to write a column on a subject, don't you think you'd know a little something about it? No one was tipped off and if she'd watched the committee hearings she'd know that the cameras showed up 2 1/2 hrs. after the raid had commenced.

In spite of contributing to the undermining of EC, she points out how this is not a good thing.

Tension between the governing party and Elections Canada also creates discomfort. Elections Canada needs to maintain its reputation as a fair-minded and impartial body among both taxpayers and all political parties.


It's one thing to opine like this fawning Harper worshipper, but it's quite another to misstate facts. Barbara Yaffe may not believe the facts, in which case she should explain why, but even opinion writers shouldn't be allowed to ignore them.


RuralSandi said...

She works for the Sun doesn't she? Hmmm....need I say more - Conservative bias rears its ugly head again.

knb said...

True, but it was my understanding that the Vancouver Sun was somewhat different than the Sun chain.

That aside though, I really don't think opinion writers should be able to mislead by stating something as a fact, when it's not.

They have all the freedom in the world to spin and mislead by disputing the facts and gawd knows they do, she just stepped over the line in my view and I'm calling them on it when I see it.

The columnists are less of a concern to me than journalists, but still.

Koby said...

She works for Canwest. The paper were most of her columns appear is the Vancouver Sun. Yaffe is terrible columnist. She is uninformed, her colunms are not well argued and she is Harper apologist.

ottlib said...

Ms. Yaffe is usually rather balanced in her assessment of things.

I have seen her strip a piece off of both the Liberals and the Conservatives.

As well, she usually can back her opinions up with something more than talking points.

So, I was quite disappointed this morning when I read this piece. It is not up to her usual adequate standards.

ottlib said...

Oh, and Mr. MacDonald gives me the impression of trying to take a largely Liberal town like Montreal and single-handedly turn it into a Conservative one.

Good luck.

knb said...

koby, I have seen her argue against the Con's too. She seems to have a dual personality.

That said, I do agree that she doesn't always do her homework and that is what I was trying to point out.

knb said...

ottlib, MacDonald gives me the creeps, seriously.

Have you ever seen him on Duffy? If a good Con poll comes out, he grins in a way that he almos looks high. It's quite bizarre.

To your point though, indeed. He's dreaming in techni-colour.

Did you see Legault's column column today? I may go through that tomorrow, but she nails Harper, which is unusual.

ottlib said...

I just read Ms. Legault's piece. She is rather scathing is she not?

As an aside I fired off a quick letter to the Vancouver Sun this evening regarding Ms. Yaffe's piece.

"Barbara Yaffe, in her latest column, states that the media was tipped off about the RCMP raid on Conservative Party Headquarters.

Considering the media did not show up until 2-and-a-half hours after the RCMP knocked on the Conservatives' door it must not have been a very good tip."

I doubt they will publish it but sometimes you cannot let things go.

penlan said...

Who is Ms. Legault?

knb said...

Here you go penlan.

She's not Liberal friendly, but she speaks her mind.

Anonymous said...

She's not Liberal friendly, but she speaks her mind.
She was a writer at LeDevoir and quite the little Separatiste. She supports the PQ.

While she does write for the Gazette, it was started do give Francophones a voice in the newspaper and evolved from there.

Her views are rather tainted and will let her goals of separation come in the way of fair and balanced views.

MacDonald is a cocksucker - and yes rather an idiot when he comes on the radio.

Koby said...

Yaffe pumps out more columns than any Vancouver Sun columnist. This is really unfortunate. She is the worst columnist they have.

Now granted she is not dinosaur or a social conservative. You will not find her ranting about the ills of gay marriage, the dangers of immigration, or questioning the reality of global warming. What Yaffe does do is consistently make Conservative policies sound a lot more reasonable and well thought out then they really are. I do not know what motivates her, but consistently does it. Take her column on Conservative immigration “reforms”.

>>>>> Yaffe: At present the country has a backlog of 925,900 permanent-residence applications. If unaddressed, the backlog is set to grow to 1.5 million by 2012, which would force newcomers to endure a decade-long wait.

There are is not one massive line, but many lines as there are embassies and consulates. How long someone takes to get processed does not depend upon how many people are applying to immigrant to Canada world wide but among other things how many are applying at a particular location. It may take someone in Warsaw 1.8 years to be processed, but someone in Bogotá over 16 years.

Another thing is that Canada puts a quota on the number of people taken in at each local. In other words, to present the problem as if Canada were processing people as fast as they could but we lack the right number of tellers is wrong. Those bottlenecks that do exist, exist because the government wants them to exist.

>>>>>> Yaffe: The current system requires applications to be handled on a first-come, first-served basis.

This is not true and Finley is either lying or ignorant when she says otherwise. As Guidy Mamann of the immigration law firm Mamann & Associates notes the immigration minister is not required by law to process applications as they come in.

“Our current legislation states that the federal cabinet “may make any regulation ... relating to classes of permanent residents or foreign nationals” including “selection criteria, the weight, if any to be given to all or some of those criteria, the procedures to be followed in evaluating all or some of those criteria… the number of applications to be processed or approved in a year” etc. In fact, in the case of Vaziri v. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, the Federal Court held in September 2006 that our current legislation “authorize[s] the Minister to set target levels and to prioritize certain classes of PR applicants” without even a
regulation being passed. Accordingly, Finley has more than enough power under our current legislation to make virtually any changes that she wants subject to the Charter.”

>>>>> Yaffe: Why on earth would the federal government not pick and choose, based on the economic needs of Canada , those it allows to enter Canada ? It's essential that those chosen possess skills to contribute to Canada 's wealth in no small part because Charter rights are accorded to newcomers the moment they make landfall. They're given immediate rights to avail themselves of taxpayer-funded social programs.

The Conservatives have talk a good game about the need to bring in doctors and PhDs, but this is all really just a smokescreen for allowing the provinces to bring guest workers --- many if not most of them far from skilled. Indeed, since the Conservatives have taken power there has been a massive increase in the number of temporary workers headed to Alberta. There were 37,257 temporary foreign workers in Alberta as of December 1, 2007, compared with 22,105 in 2006, as compared to 15,836 in 2005. So what kind of people is Alberta looking for? Well Currently Alberta is hopping to fill the following positions through immigration: Front desk clerk, short order cook, baker, maid, assembly line worker, server, buser, bellhop, valet, and cafeteria worker, laundry attendant, pet groomer, general labourer, and hair dresser. All that is required of such would be immigrants is that they score 4 or 24 on the language assessment. In other words, they can still be functionally illiterate and still get it in. Never mind the fact that in many cases such demands amount to little more than a request from business that government assist them in quashing growing labour unrest, e.g., in the oil sands, such thinking is short sighted in extreme. Just look at Europe. There is ample evidence that armies of disenfranchised workers, whether they be illegal or guest, are a recipe for disaster. It is great way to, create an underclass, suppress wages, encourage black marketing, increase xenophobia and racism. Of course, great swaths of guest workers turn out to be anything but and as soon as the economy experiences a downturn they are trampled under foot and to add insult to injury are generally resented for being so unfortunate. Again look at Europe. A European like backlash is possible and this would make all but politically impossible to increase the number of economic immigrants coming to Canada at a time when it is imperative that we do so.

penlan said...


Thanks for the link!!!

I have to use Firefox right now to access your blog. IE won't open it & a problem message pops up. You aren't the only blog this is happening to either.

Something, somewhere is totally messed up with the blogger system for more than 24 hrs. from what I understand.

knb said...

Thanks for the background on her CWTF.

I wasn't quite sure where she fit in.

knb said...

Thanks koby. I think you nailed it when you said she makes the Con agenda sound reasonable. That seems to be an ailment of much of our media these days.

knb said...

Your welcome penlan.

I'm having trouble accessing some blogs too and wondered what was going on.

No trouble accessing my own though, ;).

Hopefully it's a temporary problem.

Anonymous said...

Barbara Yaffe's a hack. No one should bother reading her.