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Sun Run also sponsored by B.C. Liberal donor and Big Energy shill

June 10, 2015


There is growing and passionate opposition to the planned 7-hour closure of the Burrard Street Bridge for a mass yoga event on June 21. Critics of many different stripes have raised their voices to say that it’s the wrong thing to do. Several reasons are given, with the three most common being:

  • It’s wrong to close one of Vancouver’s three bridges over False Creek to traffic.
  • It’s even worse that one of the corporate sponsors, AltaGas, is an energy sector company.
  • And worst of all, two of the corporate sponsors have donated money to the B.C. Liberal party.

According to the Province, AltaGas has given the B.C. Liberals $26,785 since 2009 and yoga-wear retailer Lululemon donated $10,000 to the B.C. Liberals in 2013.

Does this mean that we should we also object to the venerable Sun Run, which annually closes the Burrard Street Bridge and which is named after and sponsored by a newspaper owned by PostMedia, a corporation that has both donated money to the B.C. Liberal Party and has closer-than-close ties to the Canadian petroleum-slash-energy industry?

If it’s the principle that counts…

The Vancouver Sun Run s a 10 km road running event which has closed parts of downtown Vancouver, including the Burrard Street Bridge, to motor vehicle traffic, each year on a Sunday in April since 1985. The popular event is sponsored by The Vancouver Sun newspaper, which has been owned since 1996 by PostMedia Network.

The Toronto-based PostMedia donated $10,000 to the B.C. Liberal party in 2013, according to the watchdog group IntegrityBC, which gleaned the info by combing through annual reports filed April 2014 by B.C.’s registered political parties.

And since 2013, PostMedia has maintained an especially close ongoing relationship with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), in the form of the “CAPP | FP Energy Channel“.

A web-based PowerPoint-style Prezi presentation, entitled “Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers Postmedia 2013 Energy Channel Sponsorship”, outlines Postmedia’s willingness to arguably slant its editorial  in order to promote the interests of Canadian energy producers:

“Postmedia will undertake to leverage all means editorially, technically and creatively  — through the Financial Post, Postmedia market newspapers and affiliated media partners to further this critical conversation”.

Unfortunately the Prezi presentation has been since trimmed of all the provocative images of pipelines which originally made it really sing back in 2013 but most of the text is still there, showing the lengths that Postmedia was (and is) willing to go to promote western Canadian energy interests.

All to attract advertisers to its newspapers and magazines, I should add.

Postmedia isn’t a natural gas producer, it’s essentially a newspaper chain; one that has, since 2013, been advertising its willingness to sell it’s services as a public relations influencer to the Canadian energy industry. That makes it potentially much worse than any one energy company could be.

Last month Postmedia gained regulatory approval for its purchase of 173 Sun Media publications, making it by far the largest owner of publishing properties in Canada and giving it control of well over 200 newspapers and other publications across the country.

In the Vancouver market, Postmedia owns the two main daily newspapers: The Province and The Vancouver Sun, as well as the free 24 Hours daily.

Not only does Postmedia have the ability to be heard above most other voices by virtue of it near monopoly on Canadian newspapers but it also donates money to political parties. In 2013, as I say, it donated $10,000 to the governing B.C. Liberal party — the same year and the same amount that Lululemon donated to the B.C. Liberals.

So, it seems to me, that the three most common objections to the mass yoga event closing off the Burrard Street Bridge also more-or-less apply to the Sun Run. As do the alternatives.

just as the yogis could use a nearby park, so as to not inconvenience the regular flow of vehicular traffic, so to the 10 km Sun Run could surely use some portion of Vancouver’s 28 km Seaside Greenway, aka the Seawall.

Fair is fair, right? We wouldn’t want to be hypocritical about this, would we? Click the image to enlarge it.

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