Saturday, February 03, 2007


"Gary Collins was one of B.C.'s most disastrous finance ministers, leaving an accumulated deficit of nearly $6 billion."

The 31 January 2007 edition of The illuminates some of the interlocking duties of key appointees of the government. Of special interest to readers of The Legislature Raids is the following:

In December 2004, B.C. Liberal finance minister Gary Collins surprised many by quitting politics. Collins was one B.C.'s most disastrous finance ministers -- under his watch, and largely because of his policies, the province's accumulated deficit skyrocketed in just four years from a few hundred million dollars to nearly $6 billion -- and his private-sector experience consisted of working in a restaurant and being a flight instructor.

Still, Purchase, Johnstone and other directors at Norske Skog Canada evidently thought that Collins would be a valuable addition to their company. In April 2005, six months after he quit politics, Collins was appointed to Norske Skog Canada's board of directors. (The company later changed its name to Catalyst Paper Corporation.)

As a corporate director, Collins is paid a retainer of $25,000 per year, with another $1,500 for each board meeting attended. He also gets $6,000 annually as a member of two board committees, plus $1,200 for every committee meeting he attends. In total, his annual Norske Skog Canada-Catalyst Paper compensation must be in the range of $40,000-$50,000.

(Collins and other company directors may take part of their salary in the company's "Deferred Share Units" rather than cash. The value of those units has declined significantly in recent years, however, and proved a bargain for Third Avenue Management, a New York investment firm, which in recent months has acquired a sizeable equity position in Catalyst.)

Susan Yurkovich, one of Collins's dearest political pals, was also an early government appointee to the Vancouver Coastal board alongside Purchase and Johnstone. Yurkovich worked as a staffer with Brian Mulroney's Progressive Conservative government in the early 1990s before joining Canfor Corp., where she worked closely with CEO David Emerson.

Emerson and Yurkovich both left the forest company after its 2004 merger with Slocan Forest Products. Emerson won election to the House of Commons as a Liberal in Vancouver-Kingsway in 2004, and was re-elected with that party in 2006 (defecting days later to Stephen Harper's Conservative government). Yurkovich was a senior strategist with Campbell's B.C. Liberals prior to and during the 2005 general election.

From: "Cosy Business Ties Exposed by Health Budget Turmoil." By Will McMartin. The Tyee, 31 January 2007.
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about the finances of the provicne before and after Collins arrived on the job. The Liberals inherited a pretty large surplus in fact the last two NPD budgets were surplus and the auditor General checked. Campbell needed to convince folks how bad those other guys were. He dropped the taxes and numerous other htings which badly impacted on the average family.Yu might recall the phrase" structural defecit" It really was smoke and mirrors
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