The Vancouver Scrum

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Thanks for reading and linking, and see you over at ianking.ca!

—Ian King, December 13, 2004

Saturday, June 26, 2004

 

White on the Warpath

... Not Randy, either. This time, it's incumbent North Vancouver MP Ted White.

White alleges that the North Shore News's coverage during the election is biased against him to the extent that it violates the Canada Elections Act for printing untruthful information about a candidate. In an email to senior editor Anna-Marie D'Angelo, White cited the News's failure to publish his rebuttal to a letter to the editor critical of White, claiming that he had the right to reply to critical letters at any time, but especially during an election.

White was also not pleased that the News refused to publish his original response to the News's candidates' survey asking candidates to list their accomplishments.

White's submitted answer, directing readers to a future campaign leaflet, was rejected. The News's position was that the survey was a way for readers to find out about the candidates, not a service to refer voters to the candidates' propaganda; they put White's answer down as "did not respond." After the results of the News's candidates' survey went to press, White took action against the News. A concerned citizen has forwarded the correspondence between White's office and the North Shore News to the Vancouver Scrum.

The Scrum tracked White down at Saturday evening's Conservative campaign rally in Surrey. When asked about his complaints against the North Shore News, White went cold.

"I will not discuss the issue here; I have a complaint with the North Shore News and will handle it through other means than with you."

White refused to answer any further questions and promptly ignored this scribe, refusing even to acknowledge a friendly "Thanks for your time."

Before White began playing dumb, he did respond to a recently leaked Liberal internal poll that shows him in a statistical tie with Liberal challenger Don Bell.

White called the poll "an absolute load of rubbish" and called into question the survey's factuality and methodology; he "could not understand" how public opinion research firm Synovate found him ahead of Bell by only 1.7% of the popular vote.

"Perhaps they've extracted regional numbers form a larger survey. That's a very dangerous way of conducting a poll."

He went on to claim that his own polling showed him well ahead of Bell, and pointed to his riding's history. "North Vancouver has not gone Liberal since 1974 [when BCTV newsman Marke Raines took the seat] and that was because Burnaby was part of the riding... I predict that I will do as well as I did in 2000, with 51% of the vote."

Now, on to the main show! All typographical errors have been preserved for posterity.

White sent this message out to his supporters about his tiff with the News.

Message from Ted White re North Shore News Editorial Policy
June 20, 2004

Good Afternoon Everyone,

Attached to this message you will find a copy of a letter I have sent today to the North Shore News. It is in pdf format, which I hope everyone can open, but if you have difficulty just get back to us and we will try to send it to you in word format.

Generally speaking I have learned to put up with criticism from the Liberal oriented media, but I have really felt that the North Shore News has been going out of its way to be extremely biassed against us as a group, and against me as your MP, during the election campaign.

In the letter you will see that I have drawn the Editor's attention to what I consider to be three serious lapses in professionalism, to say the least, and I am hoping that things will improve a little as a result of the letter.

I just wanted to keep you in the loop.

Best Regards
Ted White


This is the text of Ted White's letter of complaint to the North Shore News, dated June 20, 2004. It was sent on MP letterhead.

Dear Anna Marie,

It is abundantly clear that you have been taking an anti-Ted White stand in the North Shore News for some time now, but I believe that you have taken your newspaper well outside the normal bounds of decency during the election campaign. The latest example, your decision to state on page 3 of the June 20th edition that I had not provided an answer to one of your candidate profile questions, is the straw which breaks the camel's back. Our exchange of email messages on June 9,2004 is absolute proof that I DID provide you with an answer to Question 9b. The fact that you did not like the answer does not give you the right to publicly state that I did not provide an answer, and in making such a statement you could well be in violation of Section 91 of the Canada Elections Act, which states:

"No person shall, with the intention of affecting the results of an election, knowingly make or publish any false statement of fact in relation to the personal character or conduct of a candidate of prospective candidate".

The June 20th example is just one of what I consider to be three serious breaches of protocol and/or decency during the term of this campaign. Here are the other two examples:

l . On June 4, 2004 you published a letter from retired Judge Paradis in which he criticized both me as the Member of Parliament, and a brochure which I had dropped to all homes in the Riding. On that very same day I sent you a letter of rebuttal with the reasonable expectation that it would be published because (a) It is normal newspaper protocol, even outside of an election campaign, to permit a public figure to rebut charges made against him or her in a letter to the Editor, and (b) During an election campaign any reasonable person would expect a newspaper to strive to show fairness in presenting both sides of a particular issue. In this case you made the decision to prevent me from setting the record straight, even though you must have known that making that decision was biased and would perpetuate amongst your readers a one sided perspective on an important election issue.

2. On June 16, 2004 you published an article by Jane Seyd which incorrectly reported the circumstances surrounding a question posed at the all-candidates meeting sponsored by the North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce on June 14, 2004.It is my opinion that an attempt was made by Jane to distort the information so that the impression was left with readers that I had made a "racist" statement in the House of Commons when, in fact, this was completely untrue. The questioner quoted from material extracted from the Hansard records of Parliament which had been posted on a website based in Toronto. However, that material was incomplete in that the operator of the site had allowed the removal of a critical sentence in order to misrepresent the message. It is a matter of record that the site operator has since publicly apologized for the posting and has posted the correct version of the speech on the site. The real story then, which should have been reported by your newspaper, was that political opponents had tried to label me as a racist by posting false information on a website but I was actually representing views provided to me by immigrants of Iranian extraction in my Riding. The correct quote included the sentence "I cannot say how many times that comment has been made to me by the decent Iranian immigrants in my riding who came in using the proper system.

I believe that any reasonable person looking at the above evidence would come to the conclusion that your newspaper, for which you must take responsibility, has acted in an irresponsible, biassed, and unprofessional manner with respect to its treatment of the incumbent Member of Parliament during this election campaign. As a public figure I am accustomed to being questioned about my positions on important issues, and I am also accustomed to receiving criticism for time to time, but I have never come across such a deliberate campaign of exclusion by a newspaper which is clearly determined not to allow me to set and keep the record straight.

As I mentioned in my opening paragraph, the publication of a false statement about my response to your candidate profile questionnaire was the last straw. I am therefore requesting that you publish a repeat of my profile published on June 20, 2004, in a position of at least equal prominence, and at least equivalent in size, which clearly shows my response to your question 9(b). In case you do not have a record of our correspondence on the matter, copies of the emails follow below:

Email Message 0910612004 llz43z04 AM Pacific Daylight Time
June 9/04
Good Morning Anna Marie
Here are my responses to your questions. A recent photograph is attached.
Ted White, MP
Name: Ted White
Age: 55
Occupation: Member of Parliament
Family Status: Married
Budget: All candidates have the same maximum budget set by provisions in the Elections Act. The most recent figure supplied to us is $79,513.35 and while we have enough funds to spend this amount we do not feel we will need to spend more than $72,000 to conduct the campaign. Health Care: The new Conservative Party will implement the 2003 Health Accord signed by the provinces and all but ignored by the Liberals. The Accord ensures federal funding increases of $36.8 billion over 5 years from existing budget surpluses, plus catastrophic drug coverage, but requires accountability from the provinces for timely access' Party Leader Strengths: Stephen Harper is a well educated, very smart young economist, absolutely committed to providing us with ethical and accountable government.

Party Leader Weaknesses: He has been unable until now to implement our programs because the Liberals have been in power.

Accomplishments: An extensive list of my accomplishments over the past ten years appears in my election brochure number three which is available from my Campaign Office at 1247 Ross Rd, or by calling 604-980{300. It will also be delivered to every home in the Riding beginning on June 21st.
Regards
Ted White, MP

Email Message 0910612004 11:56:30 AM Pacific Daylight Time
thank you Ted

Regarding the response you have given to the last question, we have provided you space for the answer, and the purpose of the candidate grid questions are to provide information for our readers, not to have them look for the information elsewhere
Regards
Anna Marie D'Angelo
Senior Editor

Email Message 0910612004 l2:llz41 PM Pacific Daylight Time
Jun 9/04

Good Afternoon Anna Marie
Unfortunately my list of accomplishments over the past decade on behalf of my constituents is WAY too long to fit in 50 words, which is why my team has produced a special brochure dealing with the subject. That brochure will be delivered to EVERY HOME in the Riding beginning on June 21st so nobody will have to look for the information elsewhere. However, my answer to the question in your survey will make it easy for constituents to access additional copies of the information if they so wish.
Regards
Ted White, MP

I await your prompt and incurnbent response to the above expressed concems and my request for correction of the record. I consider your newspaper's above-mentioned failure to allow me to defend my reputation and integnty, and its biased reporting, to be a serious matter, but I am hopeful that we can resolve our differences without the need to involve any outside organization.

Yours truly,

One longtime Conservative wasn't much impressed by White's complaint; he's siding with the News. This missive comes from one Wayne Hunter of North Vancouver, himself a former Progressive Conservative legislative and minsterial assistant. Hunter lays it on the line: in his wiew, White is whingeing for additional, favourable coverage on his own terms. In other words, yet another politician telling the press how to do their job. (Shurely not the first time we've heard that, wot?)
Dear Anna Marie

As discussed, I'm forwarding to you a copy of an email message which I received from Mr. Ted White yesterday afternoon. The email contains an attachment which outlines threatened legal action against the NS News based on what I consider to be a convoluted interpretation of the Elections Act and a bullying demand for additional coverage.

Firstly, I wish to acknowledge that I've been a member of the Conservative Party for many years. My family ancestors who arrived in Canada over 180 years ago, were also Conservatives. And for a brief time in the late 70's I actually worked in the House of Commons for a Conservative Member of Parliament and later a Minister.

The attached letter only served to remind me of my growing disaffection for our incumbent Member of Parliament. For some time now, it's been my strong belief that Mr. White's election was never so much a measure of his distinction, or his yet unproven ability to represent this riding, as it was a reflection on us, as a constituency which elected him. How did this happen? For example, when did we advocate for a 'Star Chamber' process where all Federal initiatives within our riding would be scrutinized by unelected and personally appointed representatives of Mr. White? Who are these people that would deny this riding's federally mandated share of community investments including Film Industry Tax Credits, youth job training and other life skills investment, for example?

When is the last time Mr. White ever visited a local Community Centre? I've been involved in many aspects of our community over the last several years, and have constantly had to deal with the 'White Manifesto' of denying any support for public investment in our community....of having to live with the "Scarlet Letter" branding of representing a dreaded 'Special Interest Group'. That our community has achieved so much in the last 10 years is a testament to the will and ingenuity of the hundreds of other community volunteers who continue to prevail despite the lack of any meaningful support from Mr. White.

As a neo Conservative Mr. White denies the historical Canadian legacy of community engagement, irregardless of the constitutional responsibility In the preparation of your usual election 'Profile Grid' you were absolutely correct in your notation that the incumbent did not respond to the question about achievements. His claim that he directed your attention to an existing or upcoming pamphlet was wrong and a lame attempt to either (a) overcome a dumb decision caused by laziness, or (b) an irrational and arrogant response from an incumbent MP with the most pedestrian, lackluster and insignificant achievements to show for a 10 year member of Parliament representing this constituency.

Just as he now defiantly declares that you have presented him with the 'straw that broke the camel's back', I too have come to a turning point. As a long time Conservative I no longer respect his constant denial of involvement in our local affairs, because of jurisdictional 'boundaries'. Using Mr. White's logic, the Provinces would be the sole players in the delivery of health care in Canada. I no longer respect Mr. White's obsession with his own variant of 'direct democracy', supported by tele-votes and unaccountable and unscrutinized polls, where majority rules dominate and Charter minority rights and freedoms become indefensible. Is this really how we want our fellow citizens across the country to know us? How can anyone forget his use of the 'Liberal biased North Shore News' when it came to his paranoia of losing his own nomination to members of the Iranian community, who he claimed had 'hijacked' the nomination process.

No, Mr. White has lost more than my respect. He's lost my vote. He claims that elections are simple sales campaigns......a competition of marketing ideas selling political 'products'. If this is the case consider me 'unsold', and I consider his banal analogies of our electoral process insulting. Being a Member of Parliament should be about leadership and humility. it should be about what you stand FOR.....not what you're constantly against. Trying to bully the North Shore News to do his bidding in the late stages of a campaign is nonsense. And on election day, this Tory will be voting for Mr. Don Bell.

Regards

Wayne Hunter
Comments:
Can't stand Ted White... I hope he loses (although the Grits couldn't tek him down before so why now...)
 
More than a few of his copartsans hope for the same, but this is Doug Collins Country. Doug might be dead, but most of his fans aren't.
 
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