The Vancouver Scrum

On the move!

Agh! You’re still here? My new site and weblog, is now up and running; new posts are building up over there, never to be mirrored here. Go! What are you waiting for? All the stuff worth keeping has been migrated over to the new server, and I don’t anticipate making any more posts here.

Bloggers and webmasters: Update your links! Simply replace with in your blogrolls or bookmarks to point to the new site. Old posts will remain on this server for as long as the people at Blogger/Google allow them to remain; unfortunately, I’m not going to bother to come up with any way of converting permalinks on this blog to their corresponding posts on the new site. Yes, I plead laziness. I also realize the irony of switching away from Blogger just it starts to add features that the demanding blog nerds insist upon.

Thanks for reading and linking, and see you over at!

—Ian King, December 13, 2004

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Free the Press Gallery Prisoners!

(Okay, they're out of jail, but they're still barred from the "ledge")

B.C.'s Speaker of the Legislature, Claude Richmond, has decided that it is he, and he alone, who shall decide who may report on the proceedings of the Legislative Assemble.

Rickmond ordered Terminal City weekly publisher Darren Atwater and columnist Brian Salmi arrested and detained on Monday following the pair's second unsuccessful attempt in two weeks to get accrediation for the Legislative Press Gallery. Richmond has questioned the pair's, especiall Salmi's, attire, and he has requested that Salmi write reports that are "respectful of parliament."

Well, what if Parliament (in this case the Assembly) and its members aren't conducting themselves in a respectful manner? SHould journalists not be able to write hinestly about how trhings work in government?

And please don't give me any of that crap about journalists being fair and objective. Yes, you might want that in your reporters (well, some papers, anyway; others might prefer even their humble reporters to act as press secretaries for one party or another), but opinion-mongers like Mike Smyth or Vaughn Palmer aren't denied access to the Legislature becuase they write what are presumably theirt own opinions... What this gets down to is that Salmi takes no prisoners, and is a thorn in the side of every politician, and treats them all with contempt. Claude Richmond, a notorious control freak (just like his boss, premier Gordon Campbell) wants to make sure that the Legislative press gallery stays demure and docile, and that no-one takes it too seriously to task.

Well, fuck him.

If the Legislature is so fragile that it needs to be protected from the likes of Brian Salmi, what the hell does that say about it? I don't think that that's the case. If it's not the case, then why is the Legislature, and its Speaker, so damn worried about a Vancouver gadfly coming down and covering its proceedings> Simple: The legislature,a nd those who really control it (Claude Richmond, but more importantly Premier Campbell) are petty about who they will alow the privilege of press accreditation. If they don't like you, or your media organization, for whatever reason, they'll tell you to cover the Legislature by flipping on Channel 68 and watching the proceedings on television.

Pissed off about it? I am. What if yours truly wants to report from Victoria, either as a freelancer, or with one of the publications that I write for occasionally? Or what if it's you who wants to cover the provincial government in action? Should the only ones allowed to cover the Legislature be those dressed in shirts and ties, and drawing a regular paycheque from a large-cireculation publication, or a broadcaster with a large audience? Or should the legislature be open to anyopne who produces reports to be distributed to a wider audience, whether that's a few thousand or a few hundred thousand?

I side with the latter. If you want to give Speaker Claude Richmond a piece of your mind, write to him!

Telephone: (250) 387-3952
Fax: (250) 387-2813
Toll free number: 1-866-387-3952
Office of the Speaker
Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC V8V 1X4.
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