Wednesday, March 12, 2008


As the Tide Turns?

My computer has gone nuts and this may be why:
Did you ever imagine a story like this in The Vancouver Sun?
Woo hoo, Mulgrew!

No effective checks and balances on government insiders

Ian Mulgrew, Vancouver Sun
Published: Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Once the second-most powerful man in B.C., Ken Dobell today will ignominiously plead guilty to violating the provincial lobbyist law.

The Bluto-like former Vancouver city manager smugly pooh-poohed the whole affair Tuesday as having little more than "nuisance value."

I think he's wrong.

Dobell's misconduct is an example of the same problem unearthed by the investigation that led to the December 2003 raid on the legislature.

B.C. laws and current political ethos do not appear to offer effective or meaningful checks on government insiders seeking to profit from their connections and privileged knowledge.


In Dobell's case, the prosecutors didn't think it worth pursuing influence-peddling charges given that he has agreed to plead guilty to violating the Lobbyist Registration Act and to repay some $7,000 he received from the City of Vancouver.

It would have been a bad rap.

Dobell wasn't doing anything nefarious.

He didn't think he was doing anything wrong.

He was simply ignoring the rules we lesser mortals live by because he didn't think they applied to him.

Other people "lobbied;" Dobell did something special.


The problem, however, is that Dobell began working privately for the City of Vancouver in April 2006 but didn't register as a Victoria lobbyist until October. He should have registered 10 days after accepting the city contract.

When confronted with his error, Dobell brazenly told his detractors to essentially take a hike.

That's why we need to do something more to address what has happened.

Powerful people such as this obviously need to be reminded they are not above the law.

It's important to remember Basi and Virk remain innocent until proven guilty. And, though Dobell faces a shameful experience, his error was a mistake of ego rather than venality.

Still, I think we need a public inquiry to set the bar and make everyone aware of the standards demanded of public servants and politicians in terms of the knowledge they glean in government.

This should not be a partisan issue.

Lobbyist laws are supposed to ensure transparency, accountability and equal access to government.

They don't work if no one pays attention to them and they are not enforced with vigour.

Dobell did not pay enough deference to those values and his remarks indicate he remains unimpressed by them.

His flippant comments in the wake of Monday's announcement by the special prosecutor show he still doesn't understand the reason for the controversy.

(It's the optics, Ken, the optics!)

That the premier's office cleared Dobell and the government continues to defend him means they don't get it, either.

If the Liberals really cared, they would call an inquiry into the disquieting relationship that seems to have developed in Victoria between lobbyists and senior civil servants.

If nothing else, it would establish that the rules matter and ethical behaviour is mandated. Then smart guys like Dobell will know the law applies to them as well.

The current situation is a bad way to run a railroad.


Believe it or not ... Vaughn Palmer is on the same wave length as Ian Mulgrew! What's going on, at The Vancouver Sun? Is this Kirk LaPointe's promise coming true??

Liberals shift ground (and personnel)
......several times over Dobell affair

Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun
Published: Wednesday, March 12, 2008

VICTORIA - Opposition leader Carole James led off question period Tuesday by listing the controversies arising from the Ken Dobell scandal.

The premier's long-time adviser pleading guilty to violating the Lobbyist Registration Act.

A special prosecutor saying Dobell could likely have been convicted of influence peddling as well.

The premier's office not willing to explain why it approved the contracts that embroiled Dobell.

No one in government willing to even discuss the possibility of severing all ties with him.

"If that's not a cloud, what is?" cracked James, riffing on Attorney-General Wally Oppal's initial comment on the Dobell affair: "Who said he's under a cloud?"

James's accusation-disguised-as-a-question brought Oppal to his feet in the legislature. The Liberals have decided he should field all questions with a boilerplate refusal to answer.

"Mr. Dobell is scheduled to appear in the court tomorrow. I assume he'll either enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. So why don't we wait to see what happens?"

Nothing to say about Dobell? Very well then, James would take aim at his successor as deputy minister to the premier, Jessica McDonald.

For hadn't McDonald personally approved the contracts that were the focus of the scandal?

Hadn't McDonald herself asked the question "Does this matter bring the B.C. public service in to disrepute?" and cleared Dobell with a resounding "No"?

James: "Will the government do the right thing and remove Jessica McDonald from her position?"

Direct attacks on a senior public servant -- as opposed to politicians and political staffers -- are relatively rare in the legislature.

But no Liberal stepped forward to defend McDonald. The premier was absent and the script called for Oppal to answer everything by saying the matter was before the courts.

Mind, that was a bit of a stretch, when the questions involved McDonald.

Oppal: "I find it unfortunate that . . . she makes statements concerning other people who are not involved in the issue that will be before the court."

First James couldn't ask questions about the person who is before the courts. Now she isn't supposed to ask about a person who isn't before the court. Make up your mind, Wally.


Finally the New Democrats fired back with a reference to another matter that is before the courts -- the proceedings arising out of the raid on the legislature.

But when police raided the buildings in 2003, the Liberals lost no time cutting ties with the two aides who were implicated.

New Democrat Diane Thorne: "The judge hasn't rendered any decision in [their case] either. We're talking about the same thing here and getting different answers . . . . Maybe the only reason is because Mr. Dobell is such a close friend of the premier and [the two aides] are not."

Suddenly the Liberals weren't so sure about letting the A-G handle it. The affable Oppal prefers not to be drawn too deeply into partisan scraps, so the government sent in someone who has no hesitation about mixing it up, house leader Mike de Jong.

"I have never seen such a despicable attack as what I see from this Opposition today," he began.

Well, not since his time on the Opposition benches, anyway. In one of his first appearances back in 1994, de Jong called the attorney-general of the day a "liar," then tried to excuse the comment on the grounds that somebody else had said it, then refused to withdraw, and was ejected for the day.

Warming to the role of minister of defence Tuesday, De Jong threw out a challenge to the New Democrats:

If they wanted to accuse the premier's deputy, they should do so outside the chamber, "free from the kind of immunity that exists in here."

James promptly did so.

"I think Jessica McDonald should be fired," the Opposition leader told reporters in a scrum just after question period ended. "She signed off on contracts that the special prosecutor says are enough evidence for influence peddling. That seems to be a real problem, it shows a lack of due diligence, and she's not doing her job."

The Liberals didn't respond for several hours. Then, in late afternoon, the premier called the press gallery to defend his beleaguered deputy.

McDonald has "my complete confidence" he told reporters. She is filled with "integrity." And he professed outrage ("reprehensible") that the Opposition would attack a public servant who was only doing her job.

Heck, he might say the same thing about Ken Dobell. But, of course, right now, that matter is before the courts.

The tides can wash up amazing things,
.........even on the beaches of Victoria these days!

My computer won't allow any cuts {Snip} or added text, so I'll try my apologies here ...

This computer has worked hard, the past couple of years, and has been showing a lot of quirkiness in recent days. So this final situation isn't too surprising. But it sure is a prime example of Murphy's Law -- that things tend to go wrong at the worst possible time -- because Ian Mulgrew's story is such a change for the better, it might become a trend!


Woo Hoo, Ian Mulgrew!!!


Campbedll is arrogant, his cabinet are sheep, and supports this guy. Laws are simply for other people as far as our government is concerned so its business as usual in Lotus land. Wake up taxpayers, you are being taken to the cleaners. His contract to sit in Gordo's office was up to 2200.000 a year God only knows how much he makes in other jobs with perks. DL
Express Collision Shop Said,


The other day that is what I wrote regarding the way our government works with lobbyists. Mulgrew said it a little more politicaly correct, I like it either way. I thought I was dreaming when I read this article. Credit where credit is due. The p scribes have done a good job on this slimy affair lately.

The lobbying in this province is a disgrace. Mr. Campbell and the liberals have a few friends behind the scenes that pass off lobbying to lobbyist's that do the surface crap to make it look good. The entire mess needs a overhaul. The arrogance of Dobell and friends is shocking. Lets see if the judge agrees.

Mary, this whole trial started with a few lobbyist's. I think it might be valueable to go over some of the lobbying (nuisances) problems regarding this trial and lobbying closely connected. They do have a common theme and I believe your readers will be shocked regarding how close these characters are.
What impressed me more than Palmers' column,(which I found exhilerating) was the fact that Carol James took the suggestion of the pompous house leader and went into the halls to repeat herself. Something that the opposition should have been doing in a lot of other cases.

A Premier in denial does not sit in the best interest of a province.
What's going on?

I think a number of pundits have been unleashed by two words in the special prosecutor's report, which are

'substantial likelihood'.

As in there is a 'substantial likelihood' that influence peddling took place in the offices of the City of Vancouver and the Premier of British Columbia.

There is a link to the report in my latest 'Dobranos' post.

And Paul Willcocks brings this up as well.

All of which makes one wonder......what would it actually take (ie. the likelihood of influence peddling occuring in two of the highest public offices in the land is apparently not enough) to prod the prosecutor into proceeding in the public's interest?

I certainly hope that this is a question that Messr's Mulgrew and Palmer et al. will put most forcefully to AG Oppal after Mr. Dobell's pleaing in court is done today.

Vision Vancouver are trying to get rid of Dobbel as a lobyists for the city. who knows if or when that will happen Dl
Express Collision Shop Said,


As noted here yesterday.

Sean Holeman-Good Work on the Dobell Fiasco. I just read that Mr. Dobell "offered to step down" with the Law Society of British Columbia. The law society accepted his offer. No kidding, bad optics. The timing looks a little suspect. Holeman had to wait quite awhile for the society's phone call. Giddy up Public eye!!!

A HUGE HUG FOR YOU TOO MARY. The Times and Les had a good one on Dobell today also. I wonder how many other law breakers get to write an essay on their ignorance of the law. Bring it on Judge.

A big thank you to Gazetteer for your work on Dr. Lobby this past year.

Is it just me or are there a ----load of liberal friends in court these days? I keep hearing Wally and DeYoung in stereo constantly repeating "IT'S BEFORE THE COURTS, WE CAN'T TALK ABOUT IT" IT'S BEFORE THE COURTS, WE CAN'T TALK ABOUT IT" "IT'S BEFORE THE COURTS, WE CAN'T TALK ABOUT IT".
There seems to be a disconnect between these various court cases. In the "Queen of the North" sinking, crew members were fired before the Dept. of Transport report came down. In the Leg. Raids, some ministry assistants were fired. In the lobbying scandal, no one is fired even though Dobell is found guilty and Jessica McDonald keeps her job even her "report" was flawed. It is obvious that some people who work for us, the citizens of this province are treated differently by the gov't of BC.

If one of Mary's Anon-O-Mice were to rob a bank (hypothetically speaking of course)......

What would it take for them to get off pretty much scot-free?

Not so hypothetical answer at my place.

It is very obvious, there is a very distinct difference in how our laws are enforced. I have to ask, would Robertson have told any of you, "you are likely to be convicted of "influence peddling" BUT if you wish to plead guilty to this minor offence, I will not prosecute you for the more serious crime". Would any of you like to speculate on how many of us "lowly citizens" would have been given this choice? Great work Mr Robertson, you will go a long way in Bubbles company.

But it wasn't just the 'plea bargain', it was also the essay!

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