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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 18, Number 3, November/December 2005

Government upset with interview

John McComb, news commentator, CKNW responds to a BC government missive.

"In the last hour, we had the labour minister of British Columbia Mike de Jong, on the air along with BCTF leader Jinny Sims, and we interviewed both of them at the same time, although they didn’t speak to each other directly.

"This has prompted a response from the government, calling that interview inexcusable, and demanding that it not happen again. And in the meantime, the government of British Columbia has decided, that it will not make available any cabinet ministers, to this radio station.

"Calling the interview inexcusable, demanding that it not happen again, and demanding an explanation for why, I put Jinny Sims on the air and Mike de Jong on the air, and asked questions of the two of them, questions back and forth.

"That is the response, of the province of British Columbia, of the government of British Columbia, to allowing a free and open debate about a strike that has kept 600,000 kids out of school for the last two weeks.

"The spin doctors, and the communications people, are in a knot over this, and I can tell you that personally and professionally, I could care less.

"If the province of British Columbia has decided that an issue like this does not allow for a complete and full public airing of the issues, to the extent that the labour minister is somehow inconvenienced, or blindsided, or upset where he was put in a position that he didn’t have his spin doctors to speak for him–tough.

"The interview was an attempt to allow this audience to hear both sides, and to cut through the rhetoric, and to cut through the nonsense. And for that, the government has decided that no one from the government will speak on CKNW for the next couple of days at least.

"So there you have it. I’ll leave that for you to digest."

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