Friday, April 11, 2008


Some interesting questions for the new Solicitor General of B.C.

2008 Legislative Session - Fourth Session, 38th Parliament

Thursday April 3, 2008 afternoon sitting


H. Lali: My question is to the Solicitor General. Was Mr. Paul Taylor paid a performance bonus last year? If yes, how much?

Hon. J. van Dongen: First of all, I thank the member for his question.

I want to preface my comments by restating that this situation is unacceptable. In considering this matter in the last 48 hours, I want to state for the record my expectations of ICBC, both in dealing with this issue and in the conduct of all of their operations. I expect integrity, I expect competency, and I expect service from the organization. That is what I am asking for from the board of directors and the whole of the organization.

I am continuing to do my due diligence on this situation. I have made a second phone call to the chairman of the board of directors and asked for a meeting with the board of directors in the near future.

Mr. Speaker: Member has a supplemental.

H. Lali: My question was really about Mr. Paul Taylor.

Well, let me remind the minister opposite. Here's Mr. Paul Taylor's record: (1) a Liberal B.C. Rail corruption scandal, (2) a Liberal convention centre scandal, (3) a Liberal ICBC corruption scandal.

Paul Taylor must have known that there was some rot that was taking place at the ICBC facility. Paul Taylor ran the Automobile Dealers Association before he became the Premier's hand-picked Deputy Finance Minister and then moved to ICBC. As a former Automobile Dealers Association chief, Paul Taylor — more than anyone else — knows that not telling the truth about accident records is an offence.

Again, to the new Solicitor General — now that the old Solicitor General is gone, and also in the interests of public accountability: will he now appropriately hold Mr. Paul Taylor, the CEO of ICBC, responsible for the Liberals' ICBC fraud scandal?

Hon. J. van Dongen: In answering the question, I want to reaffirm with the House that the board of directors of ICBC reports to me as minister and that the CEO, the chief executive officer, of ICBC reports to the board of directors.

I will say further, in answer to the member's question, that matters of personnel are matters that have to be dealt with appropriately within the law and with due respect to all of the legislation and common law around that, including issues of personal privacy.


Mr. Speaker: Members.


H. Bains: According to ICBC spokesperson Doug McClelland, there was an internal investigation last year following a complaint about disposal of cars from this repair centre.

Can the Solicitor General tell this House why nothing was done six months ago when the senior management at ICBC first learned of this complaint? Can he assure this House that the Pricewaterhouse investigation has powers to find out why ICBC failed to rectify that problem when it was brought to their attention more than six months ago?

Hon. J. van Dongen: I thank the member for his question. As I said, I am continuing to do my due diligence on this issue. Further to that, that is why I've asked for a meeting with the board of directors and will be discussing with them a range of issues that I have reviewed. I will include all of the issues that I think are relevant in that meeting.

Mr. Speaker: Member has a supplemental.

H. Bains: You know, the public is looking for more than just a friendly phone call to a chair of that organization. They are asking this minister…. They're looking up to this minister to do some proactive duties that he ought to do, so that he could ensure that the confidence and trust of the public, which has been broken through this scandal, is restored. It's your job. You haven't been doing it so far.

My question is this. How can he assure the public that Pricewaterhouse has the powers that they need to get to the bottom of this scandal if we don't know what they have been asked to investigate? Will the Solicitor General release the terms of reference so the public can be assured that they have the power needed and a scope wide enough that we can get to the bottom of this scandal?

Hon. J. van Dongen: I want to assure the member, the public and the members of this House that all of my actions will be predicated on doing what I believe I need to do to restore public confidence in ICBC.

Secondly, I want to confirm for the member that I have read the terms of reference, and those issues that are within the terms of reference will form part of my discussion with the board of directors.

Further to that, I want to confirm that my expectation of PricewaterhouseCoopers as an independent, reputable, external auditing firm includes that their investigation and report includes all of the matters that they consider relevant to this issue.


L. Krog: We are learning more each day about the business activities of the former Solicitor General and his friends. It is alleged they were skirting the ALR rules. It is the Minister of Agriculture who is responsible for the policies of the ALR. So to the minister, very simply: what is he actually doing to protect the ALR lands from being subdivided into two-acre estates?

Hon. M. de Jong: The member, as critic, knows that this is a matter that is being investigated. He knows full well what the advice from the criminal justice branch has been about the appropriateness of commenting during that period.

Mr. Speaker: The member has a supplemental.

L. Krog: Perhaps the minister wasn't listening to the question — not an unusual occurrence in this House.

This is about people skirting the rules. You don't even have to get this land excluded from the ALR. The minister has the public trust for a cherished B.C. institution. So what steps is he taking to stop the avoidance of the ALR rules?

Hon. M. de Jong: I'll again refer the member to the statement from the criminal justice branch dated March 28, 2008, and quote the final paragraph…


Mr. Speaker: Members.


Hon. M. de Jong: …referring to the subject matter of the release: "As this matter is currently with the special prosecutor, it would not be appropriate to comment any further at this time."

Additional information on Chop Shops and V.I.N.s:

[which is often connected to Organized Crime]
The Vancouver Sun - April 14, 2008

Update 17 April 2008:

RCMP to Launch Full Investigation of ICBC Scam

250 News - April 17, 2008

Vancouver, B.C. - There will be a full RCMP investigation into the recent ICBC scandal which saw nearly 100 damaged vehicles repaired and later resold without proper disclosure and documentation.

ICBC handed over all the information it had on the matter, to the RCMP for review.

The RCMP Commercial Crime Section has conducted a review of the information package provided, and as a result has determined that a police investigation is warranted. The aim of this investigation is to ascertain whether or not any offences have been committed.

Meantime, ICBC has implemented changes as a result of the scandal. The changes include requiring all employees and managers to immediately refer any allegations regarding employee behaviour concerning fraud or theft to the employee relations department. [Well, duh ... BC Mary]


Pathetic, irresponsible avoidance, as usual. How did these losers get so much power? What is wrong with British Columbians that they could have voted them in TWICE?

Your comment has been rejected because it accuses certain people of illegal activities, while also speculating on further criminal practices they might undertake.

I hope you will re-write your comment in a way that protects this web-site as well as yourself.

In other words: free speech demands a certain level of fairness in whatever we say about others. OK?

In the Vancouver Sun this fine morning, was the second installment of a collection of stories written by one V. Palmer about one P. Taylor. No hint of scandal here, just a guy with really good timing.

Forgive my indelicacies, but in the business, we call what V. Palmer did a blowjob.
"Forgive my indelicacies, but in the business, we call what V. Palmer did a blowjob."

You are obviously laboring under the mis-understanding that Mr. Palmer is a reporter/journalist or even a pundit. The correct name for what Mr. Palmer does (though fellatio is an appropriate word here) is Public Relations (for the Campbell Gang). Repeat to yourself slowly twenty times, "VP is the PR guy for the BC Liars Party." Once you accept this simple truth the cognitive dissonance will all go away, and Mr. Palmer's "jobs" will make sense much more easily.
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