One of B.C's most beloved political bloggers has passed away after a long battle with cancer.
Merv Adey created BCVeritas, which shone a spotlight on corruption, media, and range of public policy issues.
Merv had a sharp intellect, which was evident in his posts. His writing also demonstrated enormous compassion for the underprivileged.
This was recognized by fellow political bloggers.
In a tribute to Merv, Laila Yuile pointed out that he was "exceptionally engaged even before writing about issues that troubled and concerned him".
"His natural curiosity and sense of outrage for a clear lack of integrity displayed and fostered by the Clark government led to keen observations," she wrote. "Yet at the heart of it...and what called to me in his writing...was a heartfelt desire to see goodness done, to make this province a better place for everyone, and to hopefully fill a void lacking in public commentary."
Another blogger, Norm Farrell, tweeted that Merv struggled in a long fight against a tough disease.
"He also fought with words for a better BC always with passion and dignity," Farrell stated over Twitter.
Premier John Horgan also expressed his condolences over Twitter to Merv's friends and family, noting that he will be missed.
Merv was a tournament director with the American Contract Bridge League and used to own a bridge club in Victoria, which is where he grew up.
I come from a family of bridge players, some of whom were very close to Merv. I never heard them say a disparaging word about him.
He worked alongside one of my brothers and directed many times when another brother was playing. One of my sisters, who knew Merv well, told me that he married his long-time partner Sandra. All three of these siblings held Merv in the highest regard.
Five months after the honeymoon, Merv was diagnosed with cancer.
In July, he sent me a note saying he was taking a break from blogging but he didn't intend for this to last more than two months.
Not long afterward, he announced what he hoped was a "temporary retirement" from blogging.
"Wow, what an election!" Merv wrote in his final post. "I’m thrilled that I was in the end, wrong about Andrew Weaver. He made the only sane decision reaching agreement with John Horgan and the NDP on supply and confidence. I won’t pretend to know what was in mind as he flirted with the BCLiberals who oppose everything he and the Greens stand for."
At the same time, Merv expressed regret because he sensed that there weren't going to be any corruption inquiries into real estate, mining, the Site C dam, construction contracts, and the "wrecking of BCHydro".
"My one hope is that the BCUC review of Site C proves once and for all to those outside the choir what a bad idea spending $9-12 Billion or more on an unneeded source of energy is," Merv added.
He then slammed some in the press gallery for their willingness to gloss over and excuse the Clark government's service to the corporate interest over the public interest. That was Merv.
He also pointed out that this had real-life consequences.
"These are seen in homeless counts, in the opioid crisis, in the decline of revenue to government from extraction industries who ship more value over time while sustaining us less….and many other places."
I can't say I was close to Merv in adulthood, unlike my siblings, because I didn't live in the same area and only knew him through his writings.
But I grew up in the same neighbourhood as Merv and knew him in childhood. Back then he was a gentle and kind soul, highly intelligent and sensitive to the world around him.
It's pretty clear from what my sister said about him this summer that he kept these qualities to the end.
Sometimes people end up working in the media because of good luck. I'm one of those.
As a young man, I heard an ad on the radio about a broadcast journalism program. I applied and was accepted, was later recommended for a radio job by a classmate, and went on from there.
I was invited to work at CBC Radio one summer by another former classmate, likely because others were on holidays. And I found my way to the Georgia Straight after writing a freelance article for the paper.
Merv chose another path in life. But I have no doubt that had he been given the breaks that I received, he would have reached a much larger audience than he ever did on his blog. Not that this ever bothered him.
I only tell this story as a reminder to mainstream media journalists out there to respect bloggers like Merv, Laila Yuile, and Norm Farrell, even when they're scorching your work.
Just because someone has a comfy position in the press gallery or hosts a talk show or edits a newspaper or has a column doesn't necessarily mean they're more talented, have deeper insights, or they're a better writer or superior researcher than a blogger like Merv.
It might only mean that they got lucky when they were young because someone offered them a job when these types of jobs were far more available.
Merv often demonstrated a great deal of humility in his writing. Let that stand as an example to the rest of us.