Tom Fletcher, Norm Farrell, tax cuts for the rich, and Harperism

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      It's hard not to smile when you look at a growing chasm between the Victoria press gallery and some in the blogosphere.

      On some days, Global TV's Keith Baldrey can elicit a torrent of negative comments with a single tweet.

      Stephen Smart also used to take a fair share of criticism when he worked as the CBC bureau chief and his wife was employed as deputy press secretary to Premier Christy Clark.

      The Gazetteer is one of those blogs that routinely condemns conventional wisdom being dished out by scribes in the press gallery bubble.

      Another blogger quick to pounce is Norm Farrell, who's behind the Northern Insight site.

      In a post yesterday entitled "Agenda Journalism", Farrell tears a strip off of Black Press political reporter  and press gallery president Tom Fletcher, noting that his wife is a public-affairs officer for the B.C. Liberal government.

      Most of these posts appear to have little effect on the journos in Victoria. It creates a parallel universe between what we see and hear on newscasts from the provincial capital and what's being passed around over the Internet.

      As an example, Fletcher wrote a column today justifying why the B.C. Liberal government removed a surtax on personal incomes over $150,000. It was as if Farrell's sting from the day before didn't even register.

      The tax cut will result in more than $200 million in lost revenue to the provincial treasury. 

      "Ending the surtax not only kept a promise," Fletcher explained to his readers, "it kept B.C. competitive with Alberta on personal income taxes."

      Fletcher went on to quote economist Philip Cross, who said that the top 20 percent of earners pay a bigger portion of taxes than they did many years ago. Finance Minister Mike de Jong will no doubt repeat this line in the future. 

      Cross is from the Macdonald-Laurier Institute. That's one of those Hayekian public-policy institutes exposed in SFU professor emeritus Donald Gutstein's recent book Harperism: How Stephen Harper and His Think Tank Colleagues Have Transformed Canada.

      Harperism is one of the most important books of the year because of its deep insights into how second-hand dealers in the media (like Fletcher) regurgitate Hayekian nostrums to the masses.

      Yet within the mainstream media, Harperism has largely been ignored.

      Go figure.



      Tom Fletcher

      Feb 24, 2015 at 7:00pm

      You're a bit to anxious to jump on that one, Charlie.
      Farrell misrepresents a column I wrote in April 2011, in which I made exactly the same point he makes. That is the BC Liberals' "dismal decade" routine is not supported by the facts.
      Here is my original column, written during the NDP leadership campaign of that year. See for yourself.

      uh, tom

      Feb 24, 2015 at 7:26pm

      Your wife still work for the Liberals?

      Peter Sake

      Feb 24, 2015 at 7:55pm

      "Fletcher went on to quote economist Philip Cross, who said that the top 20 percent of earners pay a bigger portion of taxes than they did many years ago."

      Yes, but what Fletcher... who has never really done anything with his missing is the reason that this happens is because the poor aren't making enough to be taxed the way lower earners used to be.

      Any simple conversation with an economist will tell you this. Here's an idea. FOI how many times Fletcher has filed an FOI. How much digging has he ever done? How much anything. He's a smug, lazy never was.

      The sooner him and guys like Baldrey and Smart are gone, the better.

      Merv Unger

      Feb 24, 2015 at 9:55pm

      Tom's wife works for the B.C. government, not the Liberal party. Accuracy, please.


      Feb 25, 2015 at 1:25am

      the article clearly said BC Liberal Government, not party

      Sandy Macdougall

      Feb 25, 2015 at 4:34am

      There are many blogs posted nowadays by self-appointed journalistic experts on everything from the economy and politics to personal hate-based treatises on public figures and anyone with whom they disagree. Most of these pathetic folks are unable to secure employment with any major news media so they use the internet to spread their venomous outpourings. And , please, don't tell me that the Georgia Strait or Courier are major anything. Being profitable doesn't make them credible major mainstream media. They are the National Enquirer of the political world.


      Feb 25, 2015 at 12:54pm

      I think we can solve this. Fletcher, Baldrey, Smith, Macdougall....get all your charts and any backup information sources you may need to have by your side....Farrell, the folks from The Gazeteer and maybe even Charlie Smith will do the forum on YouTube with questions from the audience to follow. Maybe even YouTube interviews of government supporters interspersed with interviews of regular folk who follow the "blogosphere". Maybe a few more "bloggers". Let the viewing audience determine who is presenting facts and not spin, who shows integrity, and who is looking out for the good of the entire province instead of a select few. This is far from a left or right thing, this is about an open, honest, competent government. I would advocate the same no matter the party in charge. As a side note, personally I did much better for myself in the 90's than now....speaking as a regular working stiff, out there adding value to goods.


      Feb 25, 2015 at 1:22pm

      I note that Sandy Macdougall's profile page at Black Press' Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows The News (where Tom Fletcher had been editor) describes her as a columnist. However, the "key stories" listing is blank.

      Is she one of those pathetic folks unable to secure employment with any major news media and even unable to find contribute key stories to minor news media, so she comes here to use the internet to celebrate venomous outpourings?

      Chuck Straight

      Feb 25, 2015 at 3:16pm

      Have read Tom`s chearleading shite over the years-hard to read his stuff without a bucket around.
      As a poter above asked- does your wife still work for the BC Liberals Tom?