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Public Eye Online closes

November 2, 2011, POSTED BY Rob Shaw

Independent investigative journalist Sean Holman announced Tuesday he was ending daily reporting on his online political website Public Eye Online.

Tyee legislative bureau chief Andrew MacLeod took a good look at what Holman's departure means for online journalism in the province. Many others, including myself, have paid tribute to him on Twitter.

It's worth noting, as Sean moves on to a new phase of his career, that it was not long ago he won a Webster award - the highest journalism honour in B.C. - while working as a columnist at the Times Colonist. We tend to forget such things, as new award recipients come and go every year, but Sean's investigative story turned into a full-blown scandal that forced a cabinet minister to resign.

I'm posting some of the stories from that award-winning package below, pulled from the TC archives.  Lindsay Kines, Les Leyne, Judy Lavoie, Jody Paterson and Jeff Rud were also part of the award-winning package. The stories are worth revisiting as we bid Sean a goodbye from daily reporting and hope he's able to continue his investigative work in some other fashion in the province.



Special prosecutor to probe B.C. case: Head of government agency questioned over firm's dealings

Times Colonist (Victoria)

Sat Jan 17 2004

Page: A1 / FRONT

Section: News

Byline: Sean Holman

Source: Special to Times Colonist


A special prosecutor has been named to look into an RCMP report concerning business practices at a car dealership once run by the head of a B.C. government agency.

Geoffrey Gaul, spokesman for the criminal justice branch of the Attorney General's Ministry, said that Vancouver lawyer Josiah Wood was appointed last week as a result of enquiries by the Times Colonist.

Wood will act as a special prosecutor to work with the RCMP regarding activities at the Prince George dealership previously owned by Douglas Walls, acting CEO of the province's interim authority for community living.

Walls, a former president of a B.C. Liberal riding association and relative by marriage of Premier Gordon Campbell, has denied any wrongdoing by himself or the company.

He was quietly appointed to his current position six months after the office of Children and Family Development Minister Gordon Hogg was notified that allegations of fraud had been made against Walls by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

Walls denies those accusations, which arose while he managed the auto dealership as a family business in Prince George. Neither the Mounties nor Gaul would confirm whether the CIBC allegations are included in the report. But a bank official said CIBC handed its evidence to the RCMP.

RCMP spokesman Const. Mike Caira said in an interview that the force's commercial crime unit has submitted a report to Crown counsel recommending charges against "former employees and management" of the dealership, Fred Walls & Sons Ltd.

Cpl. Sandy Smith, who works with the RCMP's commercial crimes unit, confirmed that is the report being looked at by Wood. The Mounties would not say whether Walls is among those facing potential charges.

Walls also received thousands of dollars in untendered government contracts through a grant given by the Ministry of Children and Family Development to the B.C. Association for Community Living. The way those contracts were awarded raised concerns among some officials connected with the issue. However, Walls maintained that favouritism played no role.

Walls received the contracts as part of a provincial government initiative to move responsibility for the care of the developmentally disabled from the ministry to a new independent authority that is expected to take over this role in June.

Last January, the executive committee of the interim authority that is overseeing the transition decided to make Walls its acting chief executive officer.

In a letter to Deputy Minister Chris Haynes that was obtained by the Times Colonist, David Driscoll, co-chairman of the interim authority, wrote of Walls: "His official title within the organization will remain 'Senior Consultant, Planning and Development,' but for the purposes of the Interim Authority's bylaws and for purposes of all Ministry-related activity and involvement, he has been designated as the CEO."

The appointment was not formally announced. When Hogg was asked in the legislature two months later who was heading the association, he did not mention Walls's name. Hogg said only that "they will be going through a selection process at some time in the next number of months."

Driscoll, who was a board member of the B.C. Association for Community Living at the same time Walls was president, said in an interview he was not aware of the allegations concerning Walls, but would have looked into them had he known about them.

In 2002, Walls received $63,823 in untendered contracts over a six-month period to work on the transition project. The money came from a grant of $450,000 that the ministry provided to the Association for Community Living. According to government procurement policies, contracts of more than $25,000 must be put out to tender.

The money that went to Walls, however, came from seven separate contracts so that none individually exceeded the $25,000 limit. Walls said in an interview the contracts were awarded without competition because the fund it came from was "an unconditional grant," so normal government procurement rules did not apply.

However, Hogg and Driscoll said the transition committee was expected to follow the rules in obtaining goods and services.

The untendered contracts upset at least two members of the committee overseeing the transition -- and one of them made sure that Hogg knew about her concerns.

Alanna Hendren, executive director of the Developmental Disabilities Association, faxed Hogg on July 8, 2002. She said Walls had "contracted with government through the (transition committee) for a great deal of money but there was no competitive process for those contracts and certainly no review of his qualifications at the project support and admin level. This raises a great number of concerns for me and others."

Hogg said he passed those concerns to Haynes. The minister said his understanding was that Haynes had requested a review by the office of the auditor general, but Eroll Price, a senior official at the auditor general's office, said no review was conducted. Haynes did not return phone calls.

Ten days after sending the fax, Hendren e-mailed Hogg's executive assistant, Ed Masters, again questioning the contracts given to Walls. She attached copies of the allegations made by CIBC.

"I don't think I need to point out that all this information is publicly available," she wrote, "and, in my opinion does not help the minister, nor this government look very good, particularly as Doug Walls had told many people that he is related to the premier and has a major 'in' with the minister."

Hendren did not explain that "in" in her e-mail. However, Walls's wife, Sharon, is a cousin of the premier's wife Nancy. Walls is also a former president of the Prince George-Omenica Liberal riding association, and has a longstanding professional relationship with Haynes.

The two met in Prince George when Haynes was a regional manager for the ministry there and Walls was president of the Prince George Association for Community Living. The father of a disabled daughter, the 51-year-old Walls has been active in the community living movement for some 20 years.

Hogg acknowledged he knew about Walls's business problems, even before receiving Hendren's e-mail -- although he was not aware of the details. However, he said in an interview, those problems did not concern him because Walls had an enthusiastic endorsement from Advanced Education Minister Shirley Bond.

Hogg said Bond told him that Walls "had exceptional skills. And she had great confidence in him and his integrity. She said he had some issues in the Prince George area that needed to be dealt with, but she had confidence he could carry out the work."

Those "issues" stem from Walls's time running Fred Walls & Sons, a car dealership his father founded in 1946. Under Doug Walls's leadership, the business was successful at first but fell on hard times in the depressed markets of 1997 and 1998. It went bankrupt in 1998.

According to a B.C. Supreme Court judgment, the troubles got worse in March 1998 when an official from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce discovered a "kiting" of cheques between the dealership's account there and accounts of two numbered companies set up by Fred Walls & Sons at a Prince George credit union.

("Kiting" occurs when someone writes a cheque knowing the account has insufficient funds to cover its value. It is possible because banks will often make funds available from a deposited cheque before verifying whether there is money available to cover the cheque. Kiting can carry a penalty of up to 10 years in jail.)

Supreme Court Justice Ian Meiklem noted Walls admitted to bank officials "that between the CIBC and the Spruce Credit Union one or the other would be 'out about $1 million.' "

On the basis of that evidence, CIBC requested a summary judgment for damages against Walls and his business partner Mike Millard. But during the court case, Walls said CIBC officials "knew and acquiesced in the way the accounts were being operated."

Those differing stories meant the issue would have to be resolved through a full trial -- something that Walls's lawyer, Jan Christiansen, said his client wanted. Instead, CIBC communications director Rob McLeod says the bank turned its evidence over to police.

After an investigation, which began in May 1998, the RCMP's commercial crime unit submitted a report recommending criminal charges against "former employees and management" of Fred Walls & Sons.

That report, which includes court documents from a recent civil case, is being looked at by special prosecutor Wood.

Sean Holman is editorial director of Public Eye magazine. This article was prepared with the assistance of freelance journalist Barbara McLintock.



• Photo: Children and Family Development Minister Gordon Hogg, left, with Douglas Walls, acting CEO of the province's interim authority for community living.



How to find the right man for the job: In government, sometimes friends have to ask a few awkward questions

Times Colonist (Victoria)

Tue Jan 20 2004

Page: A10

Section: Comment

Byline: Les Leyne

Column: Les Leyne

Source: Times Colonist


It's a long winding road from running a Prince George car dealership to being the de facto chief executive of a major provincial agency.

Doug Walls made the journey almost intact, but resigned suddenly on the weekend after a long investigative piece in the Times Colonist by writer Sean Holman about the failure of his dealership, and his subsequent career in government.

Walls made the right move in resigning and should be congratulated for trying to protect the agency -- an interim authority that's trying to set up a new framework for the care of the developmentally disabled -- from embarrassment. But his interesting career after his Ford dealership went bankrupt raises some questions about patronage and, as the B.C. Liberals once put it during an election campaign, "special deals for friends and insiders."

Walls has certain expertise and acknowledged credentials in the community living field. But over the last couple of chaotic years in the restructuring of the system to care for disabled people, it looks as if his career track was accelerated by his links to the government and the Liberals.

Bankruptcy is certainly not a crime. But running a major car dealership into bankruptcy might be seen as a little warning signal on a person's personnel record. The B.C. government chose to overlook the contentious bankruptcy, which left the bank and various suppliers and employees out of pocket. It also overlooked the unresolved court actions related to the bankruptcy. It also turned a blind eye to the police investigation into the even more serious allegations about cheque-kiting related to the bankruptcy.

The question is: Did Children and Family Development Minister Gordon Hogg overlook all that because Walls is so desperately right for the job? Or because Walls is a former B.C. Liberal riding association president, a former colleague of Shirley Bond who has that minister's endorsement and a distant relative by marriage to Premier Gordon Campbell?

His credentials deserve some respect. He's been active in lobbying and working with developmentally disabled people for 20 years, arising from the fact his daughter is disabled.

Walls was the head of the local community living association in Prince George, and also head of the provincial body for a time, and active with various coalitions and related groups. Minutes of meetings that he has attended in one capacity or another show him to be an active participant who dominated the agenda at times.

He was also active in local politics. He served on the school board while living in Prince George, at a time when it was chaired by Shirley Bond. After the bankruptcy of the dealership, he moved to White Rock in the middle of his board term in 2001. But he stayed on for a few months in order to time his resignation with that of Bond, who was quitting to run for the Liberals in the upcoming election.

They worked together on party activities as well, since he headed one of the riding associations in the community. The family link to Campbell is pretty remote. The criminal justice branch cited it as one of the reasons they lifted the case from the Crown counsel's office and gave it to a special prosecutor.

But ask yourself how close you are to your spouse's cousins. The relationship could be tenuous, although there have been reports that Walls traded on it for more than it was worth.

Perhaps more important than all the above: He became close to Chris Haynes during his time in Prince George. Haynes was a regional manager there who is now the deputy minister of child and family development.

And when Haynes and Hogg set out to remake the entire delivery system for the developmentally disabled, Doug Walls quickly became a part of the new team that was being put together.

The apparent fudging of the contracts they used to employ him -- by the time-honored system of signing multiple small ones to avoid the tender limit one big one would trigger -- is a measure of how badly they wanted him. So is the conscious decision to ignore the looming problems arising from the bankruptcy and the police investigation.

They ignored those even knowing that a political adversary was aware of the information and prepared to make use of it.

Alanna Hendren, who runs an agency with a lot to lose in the restructuring that is underway, complained twice about Walls and his contracts and his background a year and a half ago. The whole sphere is considered "incendiary" because there is so much at stake, but the ministry ignored the complaints -- probably because it was too far down the track to change horses by that point.

Whatever the special prosecutor decides, Doug Walls' career track in the last few years has been instructive. With an unresolved cloud hanging over his resume, he managed to secure a senior consultancy and acting executive position in an important government agency.

Competence and credentials played a part in getting him the jobs. But it looks as if friendships with a deputy and a cabinet minister helped keep him there long after a time-out to resolve past difficulties would have been in order.




Hogg quits in scandal: Deputy fired as 'cloud cast' over ministry's relationship with Douglas Walls

Times Colonist (Victoria)

Sat Jan 24 2004

Page: A1 / FRONT

Section: News

Byline: Lindsay Kines

Source: Times Colonist


Children and Family Development Minister Gordon Hogg resigned and his deputy was fired Friday amid questions about the B.C. government's relationship with consultant Douglas Walls.

Hogg said he stepped down because senior government officials have appointed an independent auditor to review the role of Walls in working for the province.

One issue in the probe appears to be a decision made by someone in government to write off a $400,000 debt involving groups linked to Walls. The debt was forgiven without the necessary cabinet approval.

Hogg said the independent auditor will complete and expand upon an earlier internal audit that identified "matters relating to Mr. Walls." He said he has not seen the results of the internal audit, nor has he been briefed on its findings.

"I do know that because we're moving on to a further investigation with an auditor, it must contain something substantive," he said. "I think that casts a cloud over the ministry, and that's a cloud which I think I have to step back from, and I have to take some responsibility for that cloud."

Hogg's deputy, Chris Haynes, was fired Friday morning and replaced by Alison MacPhail, a former deputy minister to the solicitor general. Premier Gordon Campbell's office said Haynes will continue to be paid until the details of his firing are final.

Walls resigned Jan. 17 as acting chief executive officer of the interim authority for Community Living B.C., a provincial agency that offers help to adults with developmental disabilities and children with special needs.

A special prosecutor has been appointed as a result of inquiries by the Times Colonist to review a police report about business dealings at Walls' former car dealership in Prince George.

Walls is a former president of the Prince George-Omineca Liberal riding association and his wife is a cousin of the premier's wife. He has denied any wrongdoing.

NDP Leader Carole James said the latest developments, hard on the heels of last month's raid on the B.C. legislature, reveal a government in chaos.

"I don't see how anyone could look at British Columbia right now and not feel that we have a government in crisis," she said. "Scandal after scandal. It's hard to keep track of the investigations going on right now."

But the premier said the government has acted with due diligence in each case and assured the independence of the various investigations.

"No one wants any of this to ever be taking place," he said. "The issue, of course, when it does take place, is to make sure that it's done in a way that protects the public interest."

Campbell praised Hogg for stepping down to protect the integrity of both his ministry and the independent audit. "It speaks volumes about the quality of him as an individual and his character."

Hogg said a first audit at his department began last month after he had a conversation on Dec. 5 with Sean Holman, a reporter who reported on Walls' business dealings for the Times Colonist.

"(He) suggested to me that the ministry had written off some $400,000 in debt -- I believe back in 2001 -- shortly after we formed government," said Hogg.

Hogg asked his assistant deputy minister to investigate, and the ministry later brought in Auditor General Arn van Iersel and the premier's deputy, Ken Dobell, to conduct an internal audit that began Dec. 9.

The debt partly involves CareNet Technology Society, Hogg said.

CareNet was supposed to provide computer-related services to non-profit groups around B.C. It ended up owing money to the provincial government.

Someone in government forgave that debt.

Hogg said it's up to cabinet to make decisions on forgiving debt. "And that did not occur, so that was my concern, that cabinet did not see that."

A Vancouver Sun report says Walls worked with CareNet.

Bill Stelmaschuk, who operates a number of government community service contracts, said CareNet convinced several non-profit service groups to join a plan to use one central software system for interactions with government.

"Collectively we all put in about $1 million," Stelmaschuk said. "But we never got anything. CareNet collapsed, went into bankruptcy, and we didn't receive anything for our money. The directors all scattered."

Stelmaschuk, who is also a personal friend of Hogg and employs his son Blair in a car leasing company, said the province in part underwrote the software development. But a number of non-profit service providers, including one he runs, also chipped in. He invested about $30,000 in the software but never received anything.

"The money just started adding up and adding up and adding up, and it's kind of like, what do we get for it? Nothing. Zero."

Hogg said he received a three-ring binder from Stelmaschuk in December. Stelmaschuk had concerns about Walls, CareNet and the ministry, Hogg said.

"He said, 'I've done some research. I'm giving you this binder, because I think it will help in any investigations that take place'," Hogg recalled.

Hogg said he never looked at the binder, but passed it along to the ministry and believes it is now in the hands of the auditors.

Stelmaschuk said that he contacted Hogg to raise concerns about the collapse of CareNet, and provide him with information.

"I said, 'Here's something I think is very troubling."

Hogg denied Friday that his resignation was linked to claims by NDP house leader Joy MacPhail earlier this week that he had misled the legislature about Walls' appointment to the interim authority.

MacPhail called on Hogg to step down at least until special prosecutor Josiah Wood finishes reviewing a police report on dealings at Walls' former car dealership in Prince George.

But Hogg said he answered MacPhail's question in the house truthfully and to the best of his knowledge.

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has accused Walls of fraud. Walls denies those accusations, which arose while he managed the auto dealership as a family business.

RCMP spokesman Const. Mike Caira has said the force's commercial crime unit submitted a report to Crown counsel recommending charges against "former employees and management" of the dealership, Fred Walls & Sons Ltd.

The RCMP would not say whether Douglas Walls is among those facing potential charges, nor would the force say whether the CIBC allegations are part of the police report to the Crown.

Walls has denied any wrongdoing by either him or the car dealership.



It all started with a $400,000 question: The province was owed a lot of money -- but the minister had no answer

Times Colonist (Victoria)

Sat Jan 24 2004

Page: A14

Section: Comment

Byline: Sean Holman

Column: Sean Holman

Source: Special to Times Colonist


What happened to an outstanding $400,000 bill that was owed to the provincial government by a non-profit society managed by Doug Walls, a friend and relative by marriage to the premier?

That's the question I asked Children and Families Minister Gordon Hogg when I interviewed him back in December. At the time, he didn't have an answer. But I did. And that answer would eventually result in his resignation.

But that wasn't what I thought would happen when I started my investigation into the Ministry of Children and Family Development more than five months ago.

Back then, Hogg was being pilloried in the press for his plans to regionalize children and family services, which were over-budget and way past their deadline. So I decided to take a closer look into why those plans had gone sideways.

Perhaps it wasn't the minister's fault. After all, Hogg is reportedly a pretty nice guy and has a lot of experience working in the social services sector. But as I phoned more and more people, almost 40 by the time I was done, I uncovered serious evidence of mismanagement within the provincial government.

I got my first indication something was amiss after a number of sources told me an enormous amount of money was flowing into and out of the community living side of the Ministry of Children and Family Development, which provides services to developmentally disabled British Columbians.

That money was funding large contracts which were being awarded without competition. And the biggest recipient was Doug Walls, who received at least $63,823 from the provincial government's community living transition steering committee. Under government procurement rules, contracts above $25,000 must be put to tender.

Further sleuthing uncovered an e-mail which Alanna Hendren, executive director of the Developmental Disabilities Association of B.C., had sent to Hogg's executive assistant on July 18, 2002.

Attached were court records discussing a serious accusation of fraud made against Walls by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

Those accusations, which Walls denies, arose while he was managing his family's Prince George car dealership during the late 1990s. Six months after Hogg's office received Hendren's e-mail, Walls was appointed acting CEO of the interim authority for community living, putting him in charge of a $3-million budget which is expected to balloon to $500 million later this year.

Walls resigned from that position last week after finding out a special prosecutor was appointed to look into business transactions at his now-bankrupt car dealership in Prince George.

Hendren's e-mail also mentions concerns about previous relationships between the provincial government and organizations associated with Walls. One of those organizations was CareNet, a non-profit society which used to provide information technology support for social service agencies in return for an annual fee.

In an interview last month, Walls denied having any long-standing relationship with CareNet. But society news releases dating back to 2000 show him to be the media contact for the society, and its project manager.

At the same time he was working in that position, Walls was vice-president of finance for WestPro NGO Web Technologies Ltd. -- a position he stepped into after his car dealership went bankrupt.

WestPro, which is headquartered in the same building as Hogg's White Rock constituency office, was contracted to provide the bulk of CareNet's information technology support services.

As a result, most of the money from CareNet's membership fees flowed into WestPro's coffers -- $392,390 over a two-year period.

But information technology support services aren't the only thing CareNet offered.

In the fall of 2000, the society inked a deal with the government whereby CareNet members would get access to the Internet via the province's super-secure connection called SPAN/BC -- a huge selling point for agencies needing to transmit extremely sensitive information.

That deal, which was signed under the New Democrat government's watch by Theresa Kerin, then assistant deputy minister of children and family services, required CareNet to pay for that access.

But a senior government source says that a year later, after the Liberals were elected, Walls was refusing to pay the society's $400,000 bill. The Ministry of Children and Family Development eventually agreed to write off that debt for CareNet, the source says.

Hogg confirms that it is this outstanding bill, and other concerns about Walls, that prompted his resignation Friday as well as deputy minister Chris Haynes's removal from office and an independent audit by the office of the comptroller general.

Sean Holman is editorial director of Public Eye magazine, a newsmagazine covering provincial politics.




Walls was architect of major changes: Former car dealer fought for individualized funding for the disabled

Times Colonist (Victoria)

Sun Jan 25 2004

Page: D2

Section: Monitor/Comment

Byline: Sean Holman

Column: Sean Holman

Source: Special to Times Colonist


Douglas Walls, the man whose dealings with the Ministry of Children and Family Development has resulted in the resignation of minister Gordon Hogg, was not just acting CEO of the interim authority for community living. Walls, a friend and relative by marriage of Premier Gordon Campbell, was also the principal architect behind the government's plan to change the way services for developmentally disabled people are delivered in B.C.

In June 2001, one month after the Liberals took office, Walls had an hour-long meeting with Ken Dobell, the premier's senior deputy minister. Also in attendance was David Driscoll, future chairman of the interim authority for community living, along with four others.

According to minutes taken for a separate meeting, Walls said the purpose of his conversation with Dobell was to "push the agenda for individualized funding as quickly as possible."

Under such a system, those with developmental disabilities would receive money from the province rather than direct services.

Walls also reported that Dobell said if the ministry put forward an individualized funding proposal, "it would be well received in the premier's office. He subsequently contacted the (ministry) and expressed his support for an individualized funding approach."

A month after meeting with Dobell, Walls and Driscoll became founding members of the Individualized Funding Family Coalition.

The coalition, whose logo is a raised fistful of dollars, was established to "develop a policy on (individualized funding) as an option for families and to incorporate it within any new governance structure," according to its Web site.

By November, that coalition joined with the B.C. Association of Community Living to form the Coalition for Community Living. The new group lobbied Liberal backbenchers and ministers to support an individualized funding system to be managed by an independent authority. Its campaign culminated in a meeting with Hogg in White Rock on Nov. 30, 2001.

Two weeks later, Walls told a coalition meeting their proposal went to cabinet on Dec. 12, and "a governance model based on the coalition proposal was approved by cabinet."

That decision was made six days before the Ministry of Children and Family Development completed its core services review consultation process. The idea was to give community living service providers a say in the ministry's future direction.

When asked why cabinet approved the coalition's proposal before the review was finished, Hogg said, "That's a detail beyond me ... I don't know the answer."

In April 2002, the provincial government put together a transition steering committee to put the coalition's proposal into practice. A majority of its members were coalition nominees, and Driscoll was named co-chair.

Most of its consultants were either coalition members or friends and past associates of Walls or Chris Haynes, Hogg's deputy minister.

Walls himself was the committee's senior consultant, receiving $63,823 in untendered contracts -- the largest single payout from its $450,000 budget.

That influence continued when the interim authority for community living was set up to continue the transition steering committee's work. The authority's executive committee appointed Walls their acting CEO. Eighteen of the authority's 25 directors were chosen by the coalition.

And once again, friends and associates of Haynes and Walls were appointed as the authority's principal consultants.

The authority is independent and is offering an individualized funding alternative for developmentally disabled British Columbians. That's what Walls had been lobbying for from the beginning.

Sean Holman is editorial director of Public Eye magazine, a newsmagazine covering provincial politics.





TC reporters win Webster Award

Times Colonist (Victoria)

Thu Oct 28 2004

Page: A2

Section: News

Source: Times Colonist


A government scandal, the resignation of a B.C. cabinet minister and some old-fashioned digging paved the way for a great story and a prestigious award for a team of Times Colonist reporters.

In Vancouver Wednesday night, the team received the Jack Webster Award for best print news story of the year in B.C. at the annual dinner named after the famed broadcaster.

Freelance writer Sean Holman and Times Colonist staffers Lindsay Kines, Judith Lavoie, Les Leyne, Jody Paterson and Jeff Rud, won the 2004 award for their coverage of what became known as the "Doug Walls Affair." Holman is editor of Public Eye Online, an Internet magazine about B.C. politics, and is a columnist for the Times Colonist.

The Times Colonist broke the story about the financial relationship between Walls, a consultant and B.C. Liberal insider, and the Ministry of Children and Family Development. It led to the resignation of both Walls and Gordon Hogg, then minister of children and family development.

News of the award was especially gratifying for editor-in-chief Andrew Phillips, who leaves Friday to take a similar post at the Montreal Gazette after three years at the Times Colonist.

"It's the No. 1 (newspaper) award in the province and I have tremendous respect for this team of reporters," he said. "We are very proud of them."

Kines, who worked at the Vancouver Sun before joining the Times Colonist last year, was a double winner.

He was nominated in the news category for another story as well as in the feature category, for which he won his second Webster of the night. He wrote both those entries while at the Sun. The feature award was for the success story of Harvard professor Brian Little, who grew up in Victoria.

The Webster awards are the leading awards for journalism in B.C.


Radio news: CKOV, Kelowna

TV news: Terry Milewski, CBC

Community reporting: Trudy Beyak, Abbotsford News

Science: Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun

Chinese media: Cissy Yee, Fairchild

Radio feature: Bill Good Show, CKNW

TV feature: Anna Gebauer, Global B.C.

Business: Myles Murchison, B.C. Business Magazine

Legal: Harvey Oberfeld, Global B.C.

Commentator: Barbara Yaffe, Vancouver Sun

Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement: Tony Parsons, Global B.C.




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