Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Guest blogger Marie Renaud Martin on Rick Hansen


It was hard to even read the Vancouver Sun's article. We live in a country where young hockey players make more than some small countries. Yes, Rick Hansen's fund raising goal was huge and he fell short. The man went around the WORLD in a wheelchair. It makes sense that he thinks big. He made a mistake. So what?

If Rick Hansen makes hundreds of thousands, I am happy he does. He has given his adult life to raising awareness. In Alberta, our government pays volunteer appointed board members hundreds of thousands of dollars in honorariums and we don't even flinch. All about perspective. So Mr. ex-Sun writer, good for you, you can read a financial statement, point out mistakes and manipulate words. How have you positively impacted our world?


Poll: What do you think of Rick Hansen Foundation story in the Vancouver Sun

 There have been many comments about the Vancouver Sun story on the weekend where columnist David Baines questions the management of the Rick Hansen Foundation. Baines, who took a recent buy-out from the Sun, took 4,100 words to examine the foundation, specifically the 25th anniversary celebration. In his story, Baines also looks at Hansen’s compensation.

Hansen declined to be interviewed for the story. In an earlier blog I said — and I still believe — he needs to publicly respond. Many of the comments I have heard say Hansen really hasn’t done anything wrong. Perhaps Chris Minchau summed it up on Facebook best:

"I glanced through the article and my mind soon glazed over. I once had a college instructor, who said "Figures lie - and liars figure". The reporter throws out a lot of numbers, and implies wrong-doing without directly naming names. Looks like a straight up hatchet job to me, a final farewell from a mean spirited reporter, who apparently just announced his retirement. I figure when the reporter has raised even 1 percent of what the Rick Hansen Foundation has over the past 25 years, then he gets to complain!”

What do you think? Is the piece justified? Do you think Hansen is hiding from something? Or is the story so out in left field and unfair? We really want to know!


We are going to close voting Thursday. So please have your say.


Rick Hansen's legacy hanging in the balance; he needs to address it ASAP

It has been five days now since the Vancouver Sun ran an investigative story on the Rick Hansen Foundation. (I have a link to it at the end of the post.) I feel I should write something … that I should have an opinion of what has been said. Because I consider him a friend: we met in 1979 when he was playing wheelchair basketball and I was a rookie reporter, and then I covered the Man in Motion World Tour for a total of three months for the Edmonton Journal.  Still, I don’t know what to say.
Hansen in Edmonton last March // PHOTO: Bruce Edwards, Edmonton Journal

Hansen is a Canadian hero. His tour, which began on a shoestring budget in 1985, created a multi-million dollar corporation. And that’s where the story is. Vancouver Sun reporter David Baines is known for his investigative work. Some say he’s the best investigative reporter in Vancouver. So for him to take on Hansen in a 4,100 word piece is, by itself, a statement. Haines allegations are quite alarming — even to me.

David Baines,  Vancouver Sun

I have always known Hansen as a man who faces challenges head on. It’s surprising to me he declined to be interviewed for the story. There was an e-mail exchange but, according to Haines answers were not short, or not answered at all. I cannot even begin to wonder why that is. But I know this: he has to respond to the story. And, soon. Because if he doesn’t, public perception will run rampant and the assumptions will start. Hansen’s legacy is in peril right now. Only he can change that. I guess a hero’s work is never done.