Saturday, June 28, 2008

 

Hansard March 3, 2004, final excerpt

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J. MacPhail: What lessons were learned from the B.C. Rail privatization that are being applied by Partnerships B.C.?

Hon. G. Collins: I just spent a bit of time this afternoon explaining to the member why the B.C. Rail transaction was outside of Partnerships B.C. Partnerships B.C. was not involved in the transaction because it was not the type of transaction that would be good for Partnerships B.C. to be involved in.

J. MacPhail: I'm not sure what that had to do with my question.

Partnerships B.C., according to their own annual report, are about partnerships between the private and public sector. Let me just see some of the big files they've got right now. They've got the Abbotsford regional hospital. That's a $300 million project.

Let me ask this: are there any lessons to be learned from the B.C. Rail sell-off and the Abbotsford hospital?

Hon. G. Collins: The final conclusion of the B.C. Rail transaction has not occurred yet. When it does, it may well be that Mr. Trumpy and his team want to advise other people in government what they've learned. They're certainly free to do that. And if they have any valuable advice, I hope they give it.

J. MacPhail: But the minister doesn't know when the deal's going to be completed. He can't answer that for me. He has no idea what the competition bureau is doing here. He's just such a hands-off guy. I think it'll come as a real shock to British Columbians that this minister lacks such influence across government. Of course, he wouldn't be claiming that if he weren't in this hot water around the raid on his office at the Legislature. I'm sure he'd be claiming success at every turn.

Well then, I'll ask very specific questions about the various deals that are underway by Partnerships B.C. How many proponents are left in the bidding for the Abbotsford hospital?

Hon. G. Collins: I think it's been publicly stated that it's one.

J. MacPhail: What happened to the other bidders?

Hon. G. Collins: They dropped out over time.

J. MacPhail: Why?

Hon. G. Collins: Because it wasn't a transaction that they felt they could complete.

J. MacPhail: Did they file any formal withdrawal letters about why they couldn't complete the project?

Hon. G. Collins: I'm told yes.

J. MacPhail: What did those letters say? How many bids were there initially? Maybe the minister could read the letters into the record, please.

Hon. G. Collins: I don't have them with me, but under the normal procedures, I'll try and get them to the member if she's requesting them.

J. MacPhail: I'm sorry. Why are they not here? I assume this would be part of the debate around Partnerships B.C. How long will it take? I would like the letters. It's always awkward not to have this information available in estimates. How long will it take?

Hon. G. Collins: I'm certainly prepared to talk about the general content of the letters and the reasons behind it if I can. Correspondence like that is subject to freedom of information and protection of privacy. The individuals who wrote those letters have business issues they may want to deal with, and they'd need to be consulted. That's the act she put into place and voted in favour of.

J. MacPhail: Oh, balderdash. Why is it that this government, this minister in particular, always says: "Use FOI." What happened to the promise of openness and accountability? What happened to the Premier's statement that openness beats hiddenness any day? What happened to that?

I would like the letters. There is no provision under the act that allows the minister to prevent releasing those letters to me. In the meantime, I will take him up on his offer right now to give me a summary — per bid, please.

[1605]

Hon. G. Collins: There actually is something in the act. It's third-party confidence, and it needs to be respected. We just don't release that kind of stuff without the advice….

J. MacPhail: They've withdrawn.

The Chair: The minister has the floor.

J. MacPhail: There is no competition.

The Chair: The minister has the floor.

Hon. G. Collins: I have no knowledge whether there are items in those particular letters that may be prejudicial to future bids that those companies might make or be making presently in other parts of the world. I've no knowledge of that. The member might like to have everything at her fingertips, but unfortunately for her, the law she helped put in place and voted in favour of and continues to support, I think, requires that we respect the rights of those third parties. It's not just freedom of information; it's also protection of privacy. The member is aware of that.

J. MacPhail: Can I have a summary of the contents, please?

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Final excerpt for March 3, 2004. Special thanks to "Lynx" for this research.

P.S. Anyone who knows Joy MacPhail, please tell her that she is needed again in the B.C. Legislature.

- BC Mary.

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Comments:
Joy MacPhail's current address
 
mailto:info@shavickentertainment.com
 
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Maybe WE are "Damn Lucky" to have YOU, Damn Lucky.

Many thanks indeed.

Now let's get a letter-writing campaign going.

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