CUPE Local 1004, the City of Vancouver’s outside workers union, met Nov. 12 for the first time since the infamous Oct. 14 monthly meeting where it hosted four Vision Vancouver candidates. That is the meeting from which I was leaked audio that formed the basis for the Oct. 16 Vancouver Courier story “Vision Vancouver wins union campaign funding.”
Vision Vancouver’s Geoff Meggs, Niki Sharma, Trevor Loke and Raymond Louie spoke to the 40 or so members on Oct. 14. Meggs mentioned his party intended to not contract out if it was victorious on Nov. 15 and would give the public employees more work. A $34,000 donation, which would be matched by provincial and national headquarters, was approved unanimously later in the meeting.
Supporters of big labour have adopted a “nothing to see here, move along” stance and falsely accused me of bias. I report in the public interest and they know that I have reported vigorously and critically on issues of workplace safety and privatization in recent years. The issue here is big money influencing local politics and the CUPE Local 1004 leak story is as relevant to Vancouver as the story out of Calgary where a deep-pocketed developer was caught on camera strategizing on how to oust Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
A source informed me union officials told members Nov. 12 that it instructed its lawyer to get the audio deleted from YouTube.
That happened during the evening of Nov. 13 when two files were removed and I received the notifications below. I have appealed to YouTube for the files to be restored forthwith as the contents are in the public interest to all citizens in Vancouver. (I do have copies of the files, should any accredited broadcaster be interested.) UPDATE (Nov. 14): I am receiving reports that the YouTube files can be viewed from other countries and that the ban, which I am contesting, is for Canada only. Also, the two files are combined into one and can be heard at this Vimeo link.
Erstwhile the two clips were online for three weeks, with just two days before the Nov. 15 civic election, CUPE apparently decided it didn’t want you to hear them anymore. And given they were not obtained in an untoward manner and no notice was given to the poster of their issue, one has to believe that their notice does not hold legal grounds of being challenged. Thus, a challenge has been forwarded to have them reposted.
Coincidentally, late this evening, I was temporarily denied access to my own blog. The account had been suspended without notice. A review of this suspension is currently being reviewed for potential frivolous claims. UPDATE (Nov. 14): In an email at 3:52 a.m., a WordPress representative said my site was “Mistakenly flagged by our automated spam filters. You should not have received this warning.” The warning was removed from my account. This has never happened to me before. I find the timing odd, to say the least.
Censorship of the media should not be tolerated, especially during an election. Public information should be presented to the voting public such that they can be informed and make a decision based on fact rather than fictitious advertisements and propaganda. This is Canada and we are governed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication.”
Rewind to Nov. 6 when Mayor Gregor Robertson and Meggs filed a defamation lawsuit against NPA mayoral candidate Kirk LaPointe. The Vision Vancouver leader and his labour-friendly lieutenant sued LaPointe over his Oct. 20 commentary in The Province, which remains online. So does the video from the Oct. 27 debate where LaPointe challenged Robertson on the alleged cash-for-votes deal with CUPE that resulted in the $102,000 donation to the party.
According to the B.C. Supreme Court filings, the words in the so-called Province defamation meant and were understood to mean that the plaintiffs:
Are corrupt, given to dishonest practices, lack integrity, have breached their fiduciary duty to the citizens of Vancouver by giving advantage to CUPE in a manner inconsistent with their official duties, are dishonest and cannot be trusted, put their self interest in being elected ahead of the city’s interest for political expediency, sold out the city’s interest for political expediency.
Of course, Robertson and Meggs claim they are none of the above and say neither they, nor their party, have done wrong.
LaPointe responded defiantly to the lawsuit at a Nov. 7 news conference in which he vowed not to back down and accused Vision Vancouver of bullying. As of Nov. 13, a statement of defence had not been filed.
Also Nov. 13, Alex Tsakumis reported on his blog that two citizens have filed formal complaints against Robertson and Meggs to the Vancouver Police, alleging the words spoken on the recordings constitute a breach of the Municipal Corruption section of the Canadian Criminal Code.
The election is almost over. But this story is not.