McArthur to Meggs & Louie: "this is not what I ever imagined we might do"
As part of the ongoing series of posts here at CityCaucus.com that challenge our assumptions about media bias, we draw your attention to an email received via a freedom of information request made by us. Exhibit A is an email (see pages one, two) from Doug McArthur, an SFU public policy professor and former Deputy Minister to NDP Premier Glen Clark. McArthur appears regularly on local media, in particular CTV News broadcasts, as a regular commentator on the political affairs of the day. Never introduced as a partisan, McArthur’s views are sought because he’s considered "an expert." More likely he’s just in a producer’s Rolodex.
In an email dated May 4, 2009 to Mayor Geoff Meggs and the ambitious Councillor Raymond Louie, McArthur pleas with his political allies on the matter of an aboriginal land claim issue facing Vancouver City Council (emphasis ours):
Subject: GVRD Vote on Musquem (sic) Lands – URGENT
Geoff and Raymond
Below is a letter I intend to send to City Council this afternoon. I wanted to give you a heads up before I do so…
…I know Vision has changed, but this is not what I ever imagined we might do. We can’t become a party that fights aboriginal people…
This exchange sounds terribly chummy for a reason. McArthur and Meggs are both acolytes of Glen Clark, working with him in Victoria. Louie, Meggs & McArthur are charter members of the so-called Kingsway NDP Mafia, a handle provided by Georgia Straight editor Charlie Smith to describe a group of brass knuckle political operatives who surrounded the former Premier.
In reference to McArthur, Smith states:
He played a role in the backrooms when Vision Vancouver was created. I’ll grant him an honourary membership in the Kingsway NDP Mafia, even though he doesn’t live near Kingsway.
I also include the COPE campaign manager in the 2002 election, Neil Monckton, in the Kingsway NDP Mafia. Monckton worked in Clark’s office for a while. He managed Louie’s mayoral campaign, and has at times been close to Meggs and Green.
As we pointed out before, Neil Monckton provided his email list to promote his political ally Raymond Louie, without the permission of the subscribers on the list. McArthur writes editorials for Monckton’s ThinkCity website.
McArthur also provides editorial commentary to the Vancouver Sun, labeled as a "professor of public policy." Victoria’s crack political journalist Sean Holman pointed out that McArthur’s title missed key details about his past:
it might have been helpful if the Sun had told readers that Prof. McArthur – who was the deputy minister to two New Democrat premiers – has been working as a treaty negotiation advisor for the Tsawassen First Nation
Curiously, in the editorial Holman makes reference to, McArthur takes a swipe at political consultant Bill Tieleman, whom he describes as an "extremist columnist" (a charge which Tieleman defends himself against). Like McArthur, Tieleman has worked closely with the fledgling Vision Vancouver organization behind the scenes.
McArthur is linked close enough to Vision Vancouver to have been considered a potential candidate for City Manager by some. His connections to the Federal NDP are much clearer, given that he’s a member of the Vancouver-Centre NDP riding executive.
In his blog McArthur claims to eschew ideology, but that doesn’t exclude him from indulging in some old-fashioned partisanship. His bio may not make reference to political connections, but that shouldn’t prevent Vancouver’s media from first doing a little due dilegence on who they’re getting to speak. That is, if they want us to believe them.