Monday, October 15, 2007

Get Moving BC - A Partisan Political Trojan Horse?

Today's 'Get Moving BC' slick press release got some unqualified national (Bourque Newswatch - NEW STUDY SHOWS BC BRIDGES INADEQUATE FOR TRAFFIC FLOW) and local media coverage with their clearly partisan one sided comparative report about the existing Portland and Vancouver's bridge lanes. Their press release cover letter was aimed directly against the lower mainland organizations that say no to the Government's Gateway projects and specifically no to the doubling of the Port Mann bridge capacity. This so-called Get Moving BC study got this Editor thinking about some important questions that naturally arise surrounding Get Moving BC,

  • Who is Get Moving BC?
  • Who started it up?
  • Who finances it & WHY?
Langley Free Press can't easily find the real answers to these questions but has easily ferreted out some basic partial pieces of the Get Moving BC puzzle. We will leave it up to others to determine the real final puzzle picture. Get Moving BC's slick website provides some partial leads towards the questions we asked posted on their very own website;

'Get Moving BC was formed to provide a voice for the majority of Greater Vancouver residents who support improving our roads, our bridges and our transit systems and is dedicated to holding governments accountable for a balanced transportation system."
Dialing their posted telephone number, 604-678-5567, provides no answer nor any recorded message at all. The telephone listing search states that it is not a published listing (essentially an unlisted private number). The Get Moving BC domain name web site is registered and listed under domainsbyproxy.com who sell their premium confidential web hosting services under their marketing banner;

"Your IDENTITY is nobody's business but ours"
This web hosting service assures those that registered their website that their anonymity will be held secret! One has to wonder why Get Moving BC sees this as necessary? Why is it nobody's business especially if they are asking for financial donations and volunteers?

The Get Moving BC website's opening statement gives a dramatic clue to what it's secret host or hosts' support, the provincial Liberals transportation policies and the Gateway project! Specifically the front page opening website comment is;

"Enough is Enough! - The provincial government is doing something positive about traffic gridlock in the Lower Mainland,".
So if you were a Provincial Liberal the above statement alone should warm the cockles of your heart because this initially faceless website lavishes praise and comfort on the BC's government's transportation/transit plans! Most specifically the Gateway strategy! Hmm.. wonder if they know about it?

So what faces or names if any are associated with Get Moving BC? Their website has an open ended 'advisory board' of unknowns among which only one is well known to us especially in Langley Township, Councillor Jordan Bateman. Bateman has so many websites on different topics going that this in itself could be the gist of another column if this Editor had the time to ferret out his multiple and diverse hosted web and blog sites.

So who is Jordan Bateman besides being a Langley Township Councillor, former local rural newspaper reporter, self proclaimed media relations expert and an up and coming politico? One of his multiple websites states that he is a long time very actively involved Provincial Liberal, specifically;

" the Vice President of BC Forests and Range Minister Rich Coleman’s Fort Langley-Aldergrove BC Liberal riding association, and acted as communications director during his 2005 re-election campaign."
Curiously Bateman also hosts another transportation website called Langley2020.com! Get Moving BC also gives it's web readers an opportunity to win an Ipod and transit passes if the readers register with the website giving personal contact information that will hopefully lead to supporters willing to distribute their brochures and also additional propaganda by suggesting that readers write in their support for Gateway to the media which is also very conveniently provided! So sign up with Get Moving BC for a chance to get an Ipod or a green transit pass! Naturally they also solicit donations and have a petition that once again blatantly supports the Provincial Liberal government Gateway project. The petition says;

"The provincial government is doing something positive about traffic gridlock in the Lower Mainland, and within the next five years things can get better on Greater Vancouver’s roads and transit systems.

But the long-awaited, desperately-needed transportation system improvements being planned by the provincial government are being put at risk by ill-informed anti-progress, anti-transportation groups springing up across the Lower Mainland.

These groups would rather leave people idling in their cars and trucks for hours and see the cost of our goods and services increase because of gridlock. They would rather keep you stuck in traffic for hours every day than see something being done about the problem of traffic congestion! They’re vocal, they’re holding rallies and they’re lobbying the governments.

By adding your name to our online petition you are helping to stop these groups and showing your support for improved roads and bridges in addition to more transit. You’re saying that it’s not a situation of “more roads and bridges” versus “more transit.” You’re saying you want a balanced transportation system and that we need improved roads and bridges and transit all at the same time!Act now so your voice will be heard!

Act now by signing our petition."

This petition wording goes much further though because it also now loosely labels with a very broad stroke (without mentioning any specific organizations) the many real volunteer transportation and environmental anti Gateway project advocacy groups as 'ill-informed anti-progress, anti-transportation groups springing up across the Lower Mainland.' !
The Get Moving BC website press release section has the majority of their 7 press releases directly and indirectly hitting on the Liberal's political Gateway opponents with 3 essentially targeting the left leaning Burnaby City's opposition to the Port Mann bridge expansion and 1 that hits on NDP leader Carole James opposition to it as well! Get Moving BC even apparently commissioned a Burnaby residents professional poll that they say proves that 67% of those polled in Burnaby support the Port Mann twinning! Pretty focused on Burnaby I'd say. Why? Recently it even makes a bizarre comment about this past weekend's tragic motorcycle accident that caused two deaths on the Port Mann bridge ; " A twinned Port Mann Bridge would allow traffic to continue flowing even during a serious accident like that which occurred this afternoon." ! All about priorities I guess.

What is particularily curious about these press releases is that none of them have a real contact person. They direct the recipient to their website which also has no real contact person. The advisory board members are listed but not as contacts. Most community groups I know have real contact people especially in their press releases. So why is this one different?

The Get Moving BC website blog section has many blog comments ALL of which are posted, hosted and moderated by a Get Moving BC advisory board member, Jordan Bateman, who as mentioned before is the same Vice President of Minister Rich Coleman’s Fort Langley-Aldergrove BC Liberal riding association, and who was his same communications director during his last re-election campaign!

The opening questions remain, Who is Get Moving BC? Who started it up? Who finances it & WHY? There is some other commentary out there that perhaps the companies and the organizations that build bridges and roads in BC are also somehow behind Get Moving BC, at least financially. I don't know if this is true or not. It could just be an unsubstantiated rumour but it is somehow being financed. After all bus passes may be cheap but Ipods, slick custom flashy websites and especially polls are not cheap at all!

At minimum is it possible that Get Moving BC perhaps is really just a surreptitious partisan political Greek Trojan Horse? It certainly tries to present itself as a valid mainstream caring community focused transportation organization. But they are clearly targeting and countering head on the very vocal and ever growing many Metro Vancouver and south of the Fraser river organizations that have mobilized in favour of light rail transit expansion NOW and strongly rally against the Gateway project. Why?

Think about it and you decide based on the evidence accumulated what the real truth to the opening questions posed are. Whether you agree or disagree with Gateway, at least these community organizations for LRT NOW and against Gateway are open, honest, transparent and are not using any proxy Trojan horse facade! The bottom line is that it would appear to this Editor that highly regarded media even nationally now are obviously printing and resourcing press releases without looking closely at their true sources and biases not to mention credibility.
This is STORY Part 1 of 3. See Part 2 of 3 here. See Part 3 of 3 here.
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