Saturday, April 18, 2009


BC Rail case shows why lobbying rules must be tougher: says The Globe and Mail's Gary Mason

Gary Mason
Globe and Mail - April 18, 2009

Of all of the promises that have been made in the early stages of B.C.'s election campaign, none may be as important as the New Democratic Party's pledge to toughen the province's lobbyist legislation.

If nothing else, the scandal around the sale of BC Rail five years ago has illustrated just how woefully inadequate is the current legislation governing the activities of lobbyists in British Columbia.

Friends of government, friends of the Premier, people who have played pivotal behind-the-scenes roles with the governing Liberal party can do all manner of lobbyist-like work and not have to tell a soul.

{Snip} ...

In B.C., the public hasn't a hope of knowing whether decisions by elected officials are being made in an atmosphere free of any apparent conflict of interest. In fact, under the Liberals the business of government is conducted amid some of the lowest standards of conduct and ethics anywhere in the country.

This appears to be one area where the policy difference between the Liberals and the NDP couldn't be clearer. That could be something to consider come election day.

Tip o'the tuque to The Globe and Mail and to Gary Mason. It's good to see their new interest, more and better press coverage in British Columbia. Smart move, if you ask me. - BC Mary.


Ignatieff could score a lot of political points in BC by speaking out about corruption and wheeler-dealing by the BC Liberal Party and calling for reforms. Of course, then he'd have to get busy at reforming how the same system works nationally. But somebody has to do it, i.e. nationally. You'd think a Tory would jump at the opportunity to attack Liberal sleaze in BC - if they weren't doing it themselves nationally, and in other provinces too. Our whole system is built around bagmen and lobbyist, and ultimately THEY are the decision-making process, and Parliament is no longer really involved except as a place for all the cat-calling to go down.

We will never be a real democracy until reforms against these abuses are finally brought in. Every time I hear one of the establishment rave on about what a great system our parliamentary tradition is, I know I'm hearing a p.r. shill for the ratsnest, i.e. somebody who's profited by its inefficacies and inadequaices and inbuilt mechanisms of corruption....or else they're just guilty of cupidity.
Hi Skook,

The awful thing is that even in British Columbia, folks can barely detect where the Liberals are (certainly they're not in the BC Liberal Party, would you say??) and where the old Progressive Conservative Party is (not entirely in the BC Liberal Party) ...

As far as I can gather, the current so-called BC Liberal Party relies heavily upon the Reform Party ... with a few Socreds.

Isn't it a wonderful system? No openly discussed idea who they are.

And if B.C. is not confused enough, we have the 223-members of the Public Affairs Bureau telling us what a wonderful Golden Era this is.

Where is "Double Exposure" these days, when we really need the laughs.

I sure was happy to get in my inbox today April 20th,2009 from the NDP

"NDP calls on RCMP to launch criminal investigation of Kinsella, CN in BC Rail corruption scandal
From the steps of the BC Law Courts building, NDP MLA Leonard Krog today called on the RCMP to launch a criminal investigation into the BC Rail corruption scandal surrounding the Campbell Liberals.
Krog, a lawyer, made the request in a letter sent today to Gary Bass, the RCMP's deputy commissioner for the Pacific Region.

They then give link to Krogs letter to Gary Bass April 20th.

Additional documents referenced in court strongly suggest that through this period Mr.
Kinsella was also under contract with CN Rail, representing their interests with
government. Reference was made in court to meetings arranged by Mr. Kinsella
involving the Premier and David McLean, the chairman of CN Rail.

More importantly an e-mail exchange between Mr. Mahoney and Mr. Chris Trumpy, the
lead deputy minister for the government on the sale, describes Mr. Kinsella working on
behalf of CN Rail. The e-mail says “Patrick Kinsella received a call from David McLean
who in essence told him the deal was at risk anything they could do would be
appreciated and in CN's view needed now. Kinsella talking to Martyn for immediate support.” In media reports CN has refused to deny Mr. Kinsella was under contract.

As noted above, Mr. Kinsella in his work on behalf of CN sought the intervention of the
Premier’s office to save the CN bid in the spring of 2004. At issue at the time was the
valuation of a tax advantage related to the agreement as well as a related issue
regarding the term of the contract. It is obvious that the public interest may be different
than the private interest at stake in the resolution of a matter like this. Section 121 (1)
(C) and (B) are meant to ensure such conflicts do not impact key public decisions, such
as the privatization of a significant public enterprise like BC Rail.

For these reasons I request an immediate investigation into the activities of Mr. Kinsella
and CN Rail in these matters.

Yipee Eva M
The Official Opposition web site has a copy of MLA Krog's letter to the RCMP boss in BC formally asking for a look into the BC Rail mess.
Copy of the letter in this post on my site :
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