Thursday, July 24, 2008

 

Why Crown Corporations (like ICBC) must be fully accountable to government and the public

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North Van's Grumps, one of our outstanding commentors, brings three significant documents to our attention. He writes:

As much as Gordon Campbell has done everything within his power to ensure that the public doesn't get to see what the BC Ferry bosses are cooking with the books... along with BC Rail finances, I wondered if you have ever seen this little document:

"The Select Standing Committee on Crown Corporations in British Columbia " -- Jack Kempf.

At the time this article was published Jack Kempf was a member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly. He was Chairman of the Standing Committee on Crown Corporations in 1979.The Committee on Crown Corporations was established by a statute of the British Columbia Legislature in 1977. This article describes the innovative approach, possibly unique in the parliamentary system, which this Committee brings to the direction, control and accountability of Crown-owned companies in British Columbia.

Crown corporations fulfil a special role in British Columbia in administering and providing many essential services to the public. As public policy has developed, government has expanded the number, size and complexity of Crown-owned companies, thereby increasing their impact on residents and the economy. These companies affect all British Columbians, by providing services to government; electric power; natural gas; ferry, rail and transit services; auto and general insurance; and real property and business development.

The pervasiveness of Crown corporations requires that they be fully accountable to government and the public. As instruments of public policy, Crown corporations must respond to the priorities of the executive branch, often being required to undertake uneconomic activities without compensation while maintaining a businesslike appearance. To the extent that actions of Crown companies draw on the financial resources of the province, the Legislative Assembly must be informed of and approve the commitment and expenditure of public funds.

Finally, disclosure to the Legislature and public through annual reports and reviews by legislative committees enables periodic assessments of Crown corporation performance to be made.........."

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Which led N.V.G. to research the

SELECT STANDING COMMITTEE ON CROWN CORPORATIONS REPORT and its Crown corporation and agencies:British Columbia Assessment Authority (CC) British Columbia Assets and Land Corporation (CC) British Columbia Buildings Corporation (CC) British Columbia Enterprise Corporation* (CC) British Columbia Ferry Corporation (CC) B.C. Community Financial Services Corporation (CC) British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority (CC) B.C. Pavilion Corporation (CC) BC Transportation Financing Authority* (CC) British Columbia Lottery Corporation (CC) British Columbia Railway Company (CC) British Columbia Trade Development Corporation* (CC) British Columbia Transit (CC) Columbia Basin Trust (CC) Columbia Power Corporation (CC) Discovery Enterprises Inc* (CC) Duke Point Development Limited* (CC) Fisheries Renewal BC* (CC) Forest Renewal BC* (CC) Homeowner Protection Office (CC) Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (CC) Okanagan Valley Tree Fruit Authority (CC) Pacific National Exhibition (CC) Provincial Capital Commission (CC) Provincial Rental Housing Corporation (CC) Rapid Transit Project 2000 Ltd (CC) Tourism British Columbia (CC) Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre Authority* (CC) Victoria Line Ltd* (CC) Other Agencies:552513 British Columbia Ltd1 577315 BC Ltd2 580440 BC Ltd3* B.C. Festival of the Arts Society B.C. Games Society B.C. Health Care Risk Management Society BCIF Management Ltd British Columbia Arts Council British Columbia Health Research Foundation* British Columbia Heritage Trust British Columbia Housing Management Commission British Columbia Immigrant Investment Fund Ltd. British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch British Columbia Securities Commission Canadian Blood Services Creston Valley Wildlife Management Authority Trust Fund First Peoples' Heritage, Language and Culture Council Forensic Psychiatric Services Commission Industry Training and Apprenticeship Commission Legal Services Society Oil and Gas Commission Organized Crime Agency of British Columbia Society Private Post Secondary Education Commission Science Council of British Columbia

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Which then took N.V.G. to:

Crown Agencies Exempt for the Balanced Budget of 2008 where, he continues, "I've had to copy both lists into my spreadsheet program to see just how many Crown Corporations are open and Transparent....552513 British Columbia Ltd., 577315 British Columbia Ltd., 580440 B.C. Ltd. , BC Buildings Corporation, B.C. Community Financial Services Corporation, British Columbia Enterprise Corporation, British Columbia Ferry Corporation, B.C. Festival of the Arts Society, BC Health Care Risk Management Society, British Columbia Health Research Foundation, British Columbia Heritage Trust, British Columbia Trade Development Corporation, BC Transportation Financing Authority, BCIF Management Ltd., Canadian Blood Services, Creston Valley Wildlife Management Authority, Discovery Enterprises Inc., Fisheries Renewal BC, Forensic Psychiatric Services Commission, Forest Renewal BC, Industry Training and Apprenticeship Commission, Land and Water British Columbia Inc., Nechako-Kitimaat Development Fund Society, Okanagan Valley Tree Fruit Authority, Organized Crime Agency of British Columbia, Pacific National Exhibition, Private Post Secondary Education Commission, Provincial Rental Housing Corporation, Rapid Transit Project 2000 Ltd, Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre Authority, Victoria Line Ltd. , and the answer is four: BC Buildings Corporation, BC Health Care Risk Management Society, Land and Water British Columbia Inc. , Nechako-Kitimaat Development Fund Society."

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North Van's Grumps stops his search there, asking: What ever happened to the requirement that the BC Liberal government abide by The Select Standing Committee on Crown Corporations in British Columbia - Jack Kempf to keep us informed of how they spend our taxes?

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Then a P.S.:

Oh, did I forget to mention this: It's 2008 and these three companies are still on the books:

552513 British Columbia Ltd 1
577315 BC Ltd 2
580440 BC Ltd 3*

1 This company owns shares in Skeena Cellulose Inc.
2 The investments in Western Star Trucks Holdings Ltd. have been sold and the province no longer has any interest in that company.
3 This company provides funding to the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre Authority that, in turn, constructs the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre.

* Winding down or inactive

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NVP concludes: Just why does the Convention centre have to have a numbered account and be exempt from reporting its finances to the public? Or is it being done so that the final price tag stays at $800 million?

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Very special thanks to N.V.P. for this survey. - BC Mary.

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One more of North Van's Grumps' findings belongs here:

The Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre is being completed by BC Pavilion Corporation (PavCo). PavCo is a wholly-owned Crown Corporation of the Province of British Columbia that was formed by the April 1, 2008 amalgamation of BC Pavilion Corporation and Vancouver Convention Centre Expansion Project Ltd."

Not one peep about 580440 B.C. Ltd. (1999) created "to provide financing to the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre Authority for the expansion of the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre."

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N.V.G., if I knew who you are or where you are, I'd be tempted to send a big bouquet of appreciation to your doorstep. There's a lot of work behind your sendings, and a lot more work that many of us can do in following up these pieces of information. So please accept a virtual bouquet of best wishes. And just think: there are still some editorials which refer to the public as "apathetic". - BC Mary.

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Comments:
North Van Grumps, I join BC Mary in telling you how impressed I am with your awesome research connecting more big dots to the tangled web that has developed since the days of the Honourable Jack Kempf Mary wrote about a few days ago.

The resurfacing of Jack Kempf's name was like a jolt reminding us all of how far our system has drifted from the people's control.

Let us not forget that Jack Kempf was one of the few MLA's/Cabinet Ministers that found his voice of integrity and courage in the chaotic dismantling of due proces in the VanderZalm era as he fought loudly against a cancer that has grown since - & paid dearly.

I remember Jack Kempf had the guts to cross the floor and become a lone voice for British Columbians together, with the opposition NDP.
I for one, thank you Mr. Kempf. Where were his fellow Socreds then, some of whom sit Campbell's Govt now?

Shame on the BC Lib Caucus while our province continues along this corrupt path

NVGrumps is right on the $$$$$ having zeroed in on those ubiquitous mysterious. numbered companies & key Crown Corporations secretly operating asking:

"What ever happened to the requirement that the BC Liberal government abide by The Select Standing Committee on Crown Corporations in British Columbia - Jack Kempf to keep us informed of how they spend our taxes?"

My mind is burning with other questions. The dots are rapidly connecting to other items posted by Mary linked to the present ugly/corrupt picture coming into focus under the BC Libs regime - many of the same dots/"players" connecting back the the days of the Zalm. After I refresh some of the detail I will share my thoughts.

It is time that British Columbians demand justice and take back British Columbians from the band of thieves at the helm today.

All of us MUST find our voices as NVGrumps, Mary and a few others have done. Again Kudos to Mary and Grumps. Get with it BCers - find YOUR voices!
 
Isn't it interesting that when Ken Dobell was relieved of one of one his many 'fingers in pies', the 'sinking in red ink' Trade and Convention Centre . . . he was replaced by David Podmore?

The PavCo website reads:

"CHAIR

David R. Podmore
David Podmore has more than 33 years experience in the real estate development and construction industry and is President and Chief Executive Officer of Concert Properties Ltd.. . . "


Is it a coincidence that Peter Brown also sits on the Board of PavCo according to the PavCo website? Isn't Mr. Brown one of the chief 'baggy boys' for Premier Gord?

Is it a coincidence that Concert Properties was/is at the helm of the 2010 Olympic Bid Corp and Vanoc in concert with the BC Govt. with Dobell still sitting on the Finance Committee, Legacies Now and any number of other Govt. initiatives while he continues to lobby his pals; that Podmore was in charge of all 2010 Venues for the Bid stage with Concert Properties actually trying to bid on building some of these venues, e.g. the Vancouver Athletes Village?

Belonging to the 'Cabal' certainly has its rewards doesn't it; where "accountability" extends only between members?

Anyone else see rampant conflicts of interests where billions of British Columbia's taxpayers' money is being shoveled into crown corporations and committees all connected with Cabal members at the helm . . . all directly connected to the Prem's office?

No wonder, as Mary posted below that National Post journalist Bruce Hutchinson wrote on July 17/08:

"The real source of stink is Gordon Campbell's B.C. government, now seven years old and showing serious signs of rot.".

Congratulations to Hutchinson and Editors for ssying it like it is.

What else has this "Cabal" manipulated to their own advantage as we the public take responsibility to excavate the source of the stench?
 
Here are some other stories that involve the players, particularly Concert Properties:

Concert Properties was formed by Jack Poole from the Vancouver Land Corporation, which is oddly akin to the Vancouver Improvement Company, when then-mayor Gordon Campbell granted access to $48 million worth of public land, in exchange for the construction of 2,000 units of 'affordable housing' each year. But they only ever built 1,143 units, total. Will Offley points out, "the P3 and Liberal convergences don't end there. Jack Poole, David Podmore, Ken Georgetti and Tony Tennessy were all members of the Vancouver/Whistler 2010 Olympic Bid Committee." Tony Tennessy has served on both the Concert board as well as the aforementioned Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships, of which the winning bidder SNC Lavalin is a member. The Straight reported that Jack Poole wrote a letter to then Prime Minister Jean Chretien and B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell claiming that the proposed transit link "has always been viewed as a valuable tool in the campaign to win the right to host the 2010 Winter Games." Although written on 2010 stationary, it could have easily been written on a Concert Properties letterhead, as they had initially joined with Borealis Capital Corp. in a bid to develop the RAV project.

http://www.beyondrobson.com/city/2006/04/we_built_this_city_on_boosterism/

This article is a good example of how the labour movement has been coopted and neutered. Other than the odd comment by Krog, where has the NDP been on all of this, or any of the other big unions, or BC Fed?

It's a meat grinder
Years of defeats have generated a union movement ripping itself apart over the little scraps left

"The meeting ended late with three outstanding resolutions, which will be carried forward to the next meeting in June. Two of the three resolutions criticize union leadership. One criticizes a labour-controlled property developer, Concert Properties, on whose board 12 current or past labour officials sit, and which donated $16,665 to Gordon Campbell's Liberal party in the last election campaign. The other criticizes what it perceives as the BC Fed's lack of support for the HEU in their recent struggle."

http://www.republic-news.org/archive/89-repub/89_eurchuk.htm

How to squelch Olympic opposition
The ostensible critics of The Bid have actually been deeply involved in promoting it

Concert Properties President Dennis Podmore led the Yes 2010 side. Concert Properties, a local development company owned by a number of pension funds, including union pension funds, has close ties with the labour movement. In 2004, Charlie Smith reported in The Georgia Straight that, at that time, 12 of the company’s 17 directors, among them Canadian Labour Congress President Ken Georgetti, currently or previously had worked full-time for the trade union movement.

http://www.republic-news.org/archive/134-repub/134_eurchuk.htm

I guess it's the old, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. It explains the rather rapid death of unions in BC.

Concert Properties:

Board of Director
Management

http://www.concertproperties.com/management/index.html
 
Anonymous 5:59 pm . . .thank you for posting this insightful info;

"Concert Properties President Dennis" (David) "Podmore "led the Yes 2010 side. Concert Properties, a local development company owned by a number of pension funds, including union pension funds, has close ties with the labour movement. In 2004, Charlie Smith reported in The Georgia Straight that, at that time, 12 of the company’s 17 directors, among them Canadian Labour Congress President Ken Georgetti, currently or previously had worked full-time for the trade union movement.". . .

"Although written on 2010 stationary, it could have easily been written on a Concert Properties letterhead, as they had initially joined with Borealis Capital Corp. in a bid to develop the RAV project." . . .

"One criticizes a labour-controlled property developer, Concert Properties, on whose board 12 current or past labour officials sit, and which donated $16,665 to Gordon Campbell's Liberal party in the last election campaign.


. . . kind of says it all why the NDP skirt around and refuse to tackle the real scandals surrounding big taxpayer ticket projects run by Vanoc (i.e. Concert Properties) and the BC Libs and corporate vested interests have muddied the waters. Would the NDP dare to criticize actions of the Campbell cronies that Concert Properties are involved with? Dream on.

How can the NDP do an real job of Opposition for British Columbians when one of the most powerful Union bosses of the country is 'in bed' with Campbell and his club????

It all sifts down to the "Cabal's"/"Club's" balance sheets, doesn't it?

Sick, sick, sick incestuous linkages; the public is not being served well under these circumstances.
 
A little background to Concert Properties:

Concert Properties shareholders

"Exclusively Owned by Canadians"


"All company shareholders are union and management pension funds, representing Canadian workers. They are the strength behind Concert's success and take great pride in our achievements.

Because of our shareholders' commitment to Concert, we have been able to create more than 15.3 million person hours of on-site employment for members of the BC & Yukon Building Trades and the Federation of Labour, and contributed more than $66.8 million back to affiliated pension, health and welfare plans."

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There is another source, how about ""Worker Capitalism" or class collabration" from June 2004

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Myself, I prefer the monies that my small union is still collecting today from a limited $540,000 investment in VLC aka Greystone Properites aka Concert Properties back in 1986. With the Federal legislation that was in place then, as it is now, we couldn't put all of our eggs in one basket.

Trustees of pension plans, appointed by the their Union, MUST always put aside their union perferences of backing up their demands with a threat of a strike to earn wage increase and benefits from the company, and instead work to ensure that the "Participants" they represent on their Plans see their assets growing to the point that pensioners cheques are coming out of the interest earned, rather than from the Contributions being made today by current workers.

Concert Properties is one such entity that was a wise investment for the Unions (read Participants, read Memberhip if you must)
 
NV Grumps, with all due respect and beyond your union's investment . . . . aren't you bothered by the ubiquitous, incestuous 'players' linked to Concert, that cross party lines where a small group of pals control almost every massive taxpayer venue, including the Trade and Convention Centre and all Olympic Venues connected to VANOC, which Poole heads up along with many of his associates?

What vested interests are benefiting on the backs of the taxpayer?

As you point out, Concert Properties used to be VLC that received a large chunk of free Vancouver City real estate while Campbell and Dobell (as City Manager) occupied the Mayor's Office. Instead of completing the 'low cost social housing intent, the 'Club's' magic want transformed the development into for profit for VLC? Is this ethical?

Wasn't Campbell part of the original crew that established VLC?

The focus of your tremendous research on Govt. Crown Corporations and 'Numbered Companies' was "accountability". The same applies to the relationship of Concert and the Campbell Libs dealings, don't you think????

What is else is going behind closed doors with the Club?

It is all the same pattern as with the stealing of British Columbia's BC Rail that the Hon. WAC Bennett built for the people - not Campbell's Club.
 
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