Friday, May 08, 2009
It can't be easy for Lara Dauphinee. But what about the rest of B.C.?
Lara Dauphinee has two cranky bosses. She has two offices: Victoria, Vancouver. She has two homes - a penthouse condo in Vancouver, the other in Victoria. When she's not traveling, that is. And then there's all that other stuff.
Martyn Brown, the Chief of Staff, cannot be easy for Lara as a Deputy Chief. Rumour has it that the two have had serious disagreements.
Martyn was one of the diehards of the defunct Social Credit party. Then he tried to make the BC Reform party work. Next he naturally took up with Gordo's LINO team (Liberal In Name Only) after it was whupped in 1996. The following 4-year period 1996-2001 steamed with Gordo leading the BC Opposition into a super-aggressive mode until, with a few dirty tricks, the LINO party achieved a massive victory in 2001.
And so Gordo's first term as premier with 77 seats to 2, burst upon the province like the Wild West revisited. Ambitions were running wild. Stealth legislation was enacted. Tainted deals were signed. Christmas 2002 was marred by a BC premier lying drunk in a Hawaiian jail. Christmas 2003 was marred by the only police raid on a provincial Legislature in Canadian history.
As Gordo's Chief of Staff, Martyn Brown had got off to a roaring start. Charlie Smith worded it like this in a Straight article ( January 1, 2004):
Premier Gordon Campbell's chief of staff, Martyn Brown, was responsible for hiring two political assistants, David Basi and Robert Virk, whose legislature offices were raided by the RCMP on December 28. On June 25, 2001, Campbell wrote a letter to all cabinet ministers telling them that Brown would arrange the "structuring and staffing" of their offices. Campbell also instructed ministers not to act like the chief executive officer of their ministries, adding that this role should be performed by their deputies, who would also be selected by the premier's office.'
Veteran political journalist Jim Hume wrote a column for the Canoe News Web site on July 7, 2001, saying veteran cabinet ministers from previous B.C. administrations "expressed indignation" over the language in Campbell's letter. Hume added that cabinet ministers traditionally recommended deputy ministers to the premier, usually resulting in a simple endorsement from the premier. "Only on extremely rare occasions, however, has the premier of the day interfered with decisions on a minister's personal office staff, let alone granting the authority to one of his own appointees, a non-elected staffer, to dictate to a minister of the crown," Hume wrote.
He seemed to enjoy cracking the whip over dozens of caucus staff and quarterbacking a lot of policy development. His intense outlook contributed to the Liberals' relish for sticking it to what was left of the New Democrats whenever the chance arises. He's involved in just about everything else on the Liberal agenda. He was informed of the pending police raid on the legislature, and was the person who fired Dave Basi so promptly after the raid. Martyn Brown is one prickly pear.
Gordo, we know a bit about. But more later.
About Lara, there is very little.
Gordo in blue satin, Lara with white purse over her shoulder, speaking to him. We purchased this photo, plus 1 other, with thanks, from Patrick Tam/Flunging Pictures. The crowd scene shown above may seem like a poor choice until it's known that it is one of only 5 photos I and my sleuths were able to find of Gordo and Lara together. I have published the only allowable three photos with this series. Two other photos were found on Fred Lee's Chinese celebration of SUCCESS for Chinese New Year. The 2nd from top is Lara, 3rd from top is Gordo & Mrs Nancy Campbell posing with Stonewally Oppal. Gordo is in Satin again (brown, this time), Mrs Campbell is in purple, Lara is in black. Or am I reading too much into their colour choices? I requested permission to reprint; but permission was refused by Vancouver Courier (a CanWest paper). On the topic of available photos, however, there are uncounted bazillions of Flickr photos of Gordo. But I repeat, only 5 where his "assistant" or "his counterpart" is shown, although she is said to be "never far from his side". Only once is she named. I had to ask former associates to make the positive identifications.
And as one of my informants tells me, "All the resources of government are employed to keep it that way." She came from Ontario to join Gordo's constituency office in 1996 and has been at his side ever since. She's a graduate of the University of Western Ontario in International Politics. She belonged to a sorority: Kappa Alpha Theta and was active on the Student Council.
In the B.C. government, she's more important than even her two titles imply, as she is the main gatekeeper in charge of access to Campbell. A fierce defender of the premier's time, Dauphinee deflects many requests on to appropriate ministers, or just refuses them outright. A decider.
She served with distinction as tour director during the Liberals' smooth-as-silk election campaign in 2001. She was appointed by Order in Council #560 on June 5, 2001 to the public service of B.C. She had her pick of jobs after the election victory, and opted to basically stay where she was, at the premier's side. Make of it what you will. The rumours have been abundant and non-stop. I have found that there are people who will tell you what they know, what they have seen, but almost all of them fear the consequences of clear statements of fact.
It was while researching the BC Rail tragedy that my path crossed with Paul Nettleton's, former BC Liberal MLA for Prince George-Omineca who had battled hard to save BC Rail. With tact and sensitivity, he told me of his longstanding concerns about Gordo and Lara Dauphinee. I have permission to quote from our correspondence as follows:
For BC Mary's Blog. From Len Olsen [Research Assistant] on behalf of Paul Nettleton (April 2009)
While Paul Nettleton ... was on the government side of the House (prior to becoming an Independent), many in caucus, especially those in the Cabinet, were aware of a moral issue with the Premier, one that was causing considerable consternation and creating a possible conflict of interest.
As early as 1997, Rich Coleman ... began raising questions with various members regarding Mr Campbell's relationship to his assistant, Lara Dauphanee[sic]. The premier himself then added fuel to the fire by gathering the whole caucus together, Paul included, and telling them in no uncertain terms that his private life was his business, and essentially, for those who were raising the issue to butt out. Paul noted that Mr Campbell became very emotional, even tearing up during his defense of Ms Dauphanee, saying that he wanted her to be left alone.
From early on, Paul had developed something of a relationship with Gordon Campbell, the then leader of the opposition, on spiritual matters. One of his earliest encounters was when they shared a room at a Manning Park Retreat ... after the 1996 election. As Paul lay on his bed reading his Bible, as is his daily custom, he asked [Campbell] if he could read a chapter on King David from the Old Testament. Gordon said yes. After reading, Paul shared with him the challenges that David faced as a man, as a King, and some of his moral failings. It was reported back to Paul the next day that as the caucus relaxed over beers that evening, Campbell remarked openly to them about enjoying his exchange with Paul on the subject. This was to be only the first of several exchanges of this nature between Paul Nettleton and Gordon Campbell.
In spring of 2002 Paul and I felt it was time to confront Premier Campbell directly with this 'relationship issue'. We composed a letter, of an allegorical nature, comparing him to the king in the book of Daniel who saw 'the handwriting on the wall' but did nothing to correct the situation. The letter was dated April 11, 2002, to be delivered by Paul just before the Easter Break. However, on the 10th, at 5:00 PM, an opportunity came up for him to deliver it during an informal moment during session on the House floor. Paul walked over and handed the letter to the Premier ... I witnessed this transaction from the gallery ...
Back up in our office, in the Liberal caucus, it was as though a bomb had gone off, there was such a flurry of activity. The staff around us were whisked away to be interrogated, to determine whether they had any knowledge of what Paul had done or had written. Of course, they did not. The Premier was still in panic mode when he phoned Paul ... the premier said he wanted to talk it over, face to face ... in his Victoria Legislative Office. Staff were asked to leave the room and Campbell, looking rather ashen and shaken, asked Paul to elaborate on his letter. Paul talked briefly about Daniel and the wicked King and indicated to Campbell that the letter "spoke for itself" in terms of the implications for the premier. Campbell ended the meeting by pointing to one section of the letter in which Daniel had spoken to an earlier King, in which that King was encouraged to turn from his ill treatment of his impoverished subjects in order to continue reigning in prosperity. He suggested there was hope for he and Paul to continue working together.
After the Easter break, the Premier involved Cabinet members, who had been protecting him from the rumours before the media and others, to engage in dialogue with Paul, appearing friendly, but with the not so subtle intent of preventing him from taking the matter further.
[I withold one paragraph as names are named for their "roles within the Campbell administration with their propensity for character assassination and dirty tricks" - BC Mary]
When the one-year anniversary of the 'letter to the Premier' came around, on Easter 2003, realizing that the media were gun shy of the Campbell/Dauphanee issue, I asked Paul if I could try to hook any of the legislative press gallery to run an open letter to the Premier, dealing with the 'relationship' in a way that only insiders, the Premier and Lara would understand.
Paul agreed, and what we came up with was another Easter letter to the Premier, delivered to his office, with copies sent to the members of the press gallery. Here is the short letter in its entirety. Note the reference to "loved one" ... April 7, 2003
Premier Gordon Campbell
Victoria, Bc V8V 1X4
A Letter to Premier Gordon Campbell
Easter is a time for reflection, restoration and renewal, Mr Premier.
For some Christians, such as myself, Easter is more important than is Christmas, or even the start of a new year.
When you leave here on April 11th, at Easter Break, to go with your loved one, I hope you reflect on your legacy of the past year, or even the two years since taking office in this position of sacred trust, an honour afforded you by the people of this province.
So far, you have certainly done it your way, Mr Premier. Would you want the epitaph of your endeavours as Premier to read: "I did it my way" or "I did it the right way"?
Perhaps you really do believe that you[r] way is the only and right way!
If that is the case, I can only say let history be the judge, and at the end of the day, in reflection, you can ask of yourself: "has it been worth it, and has it been good for the people of British Columbia".
Paul Nettleton, MLA
Prince George - Omineca
I will copy Vaughn Palmer's column next, as it shows the CanWest media at work. Vaughn busies himself demeaning Nettleton, casting aspersions, and then ... praise be! ... gets hung by his own petard. Palmer's column has disappeared from the archives but Paul's Research Assistant provided this copy:
In Victoria, some letters stranger than others
Vancouver Sun - Friday, April 11, 2003
VICTORIA - Gordon Campbell may have received stranger letters this week than the one I am about to quote. But not many, I'm thinking.
"Easter is a time for reflection, restoration and renewal, Mr Premier," it began. "For some Christians, such as myself, Easter is more important than is Christmas or even the start of a new year."
And with legislators preparing to depart the capital for a two-week recess, the letter had some seasonal advice for the premier.
"When you leave at Easter Break to go with your loved ones [sic], I hope you reflect on your legacy since taking office in this position of sacred trust ...
"You have certainly done it your way ..." The letter continues, as shown above. But Palmer isn't done yet. Palmer now puts the obligatory, semi-official Stamp of Disapproval on the letter:
The self-declared Christian and author of this preachy missive -- all that was missing was an "amen" as the exit line --was Paul Nettleton, member of the legislature for Prince George - Omineca.
He was ousted from the B.C Liberal caucus last fall after accusing his colleagues of hiding their plans to privatize B.C. Hydro. He arrived in Victoria this year vowing "the government-issued duct tape has been peeled from my mouth."
The Easter letter, which circulated this week, tended to confirm the Opposition's worst fears, that their putative ally in holding the government to account has turned out to be a flake.
OK. Palmer is done now. But note that Palmer admits to actually knowing the truth of the Lara situation in the reported conversations, as follows. This is Len's report continuing:
Paul and I discussed the column in his legislative office on the morning of the 11th, and he decided to phone Vaughn and let him know what we had just got past his and his editors' scrutiny and into publication.
[Palmer] was shocked, because he had convinced his editors that the "loved one" had to be a typo, and was not about the long-rumoured relationship between the Premier and Lara because, he said, there was another typo below it ... so the editors allowed him to change it to 'your loved ones'. We had to phone him twice to clarify it, and assert it was meant to read 'loved one'.
Poor Vaughn had egg on his face, as he couldn't resist going for it, while all the rest of the press gallery chose to avoid it like the plague.
And the Premier never said boo.
Following the phone calls, we left the legislature for the Easter break, taking the back way out, past the coffee and snack stand to the parking lot, where we crossed paths with Vaughn Palmer, looking somewhat subdued, proceeding thoughtfully to his car. We said hi, exchanged some pleasantries, and continued on.
And so should we. Because part of this "affair" is both private and personal. But the facts are undeniable that this is a public issue of governance. Lara is a government employee. Her activities are not trivial. The risks are serious. Anyone in public office should realize that there are aspects of government business involved every step of the way; and the risk is multiplied in having a government employee sharing so much, so close to you.
We'd like to forget it, and carry on, except for nagging questions like this:
Gordo, do you often explain Lara's presence at your side in foreign lands by introducing her as your "Chief of Staff", a falsification here (and here) such as appeared in the newspapers of India?
Gordo, what do you do when Mr Big in Organized Crime takes you aside and says, "I want all these [fill in the blank] in Metro Vancouver and I want 'em fast ... or (nudge nudge, wink wink) I can make life very uncomfortable for you, if you get my drift ... "
- BC Mary
I can imagine the kind of reaction you may get to the fact that Paul Nettleton is a Christian - some people, like the sophisticated and worldly Vaughn Palmer might even call him a flake.
But you know, and I'm pretty much of a secular humanist, the man whose affairs and behavior ought to be the subject of discussion is not Paul Nettleton - it's the Premier of this province.
It's time to come clean Mr Campbell - and not just on this file - but on the whole sleazy record of your one man government.
Come May 12 I hope the people of British Columbia are going to call this man to account.
No one, not even Bill Bennett Jr has done a worse job serving the public trust than this man.
Gordon Campbell - it's time to go.
By the way, I hope everyone sees the video of Charlie Smith’s interview with this guy – especially the point where his public affairs ‘handler’ steps in and tries to pull Campbell’s chestnuts from the fire….
We the people need to have the facts - it is our right to hold all of the truth. Most decent citizens have had enough of corruption and deception in the BC Legislature controlled by Premier Campbell's Office.
Little wonder BC is in a sick state of corruption with Gordon at the helm.
Here is the dark reality of why having heavy baggage in Public Office is a danger:
"Gordo, what do you do when Mr Big in Organized Crime takes you aside and says, "I want all these [fill in the blank] in Metro Vancouver and I want 'em fast ... or (nudge nudge, wink wink) I can make life very uncomfortable for you, if you get my drift ... "
How can he possibly take decisive action in the best interests of us citizens when he can be leveraged so easily by others who only have their own power/vested interests/'WANTS' uppermost?
I include dictator Martyn Brown in that core group along with the unregistered lobbyists and the bagmen all who date back the VanderZalm era. To strip the Cabinet Ministers of all their power with Brown's minions calling all the shots is a danger.
The demise of all of the BC Campbell MLAs is likely - because they all sat on their hands and allowed this situation to continue.
As the British Columbians elected representatives, they all held a TRUST TO THE PEOPLE THAT THEY HAVE LIKE 'GROUP THINK' - BETRAYED.
Yes, G West - it is time for Gordon and Lara to fade off into the sunset with all their taxpayers loot.
The general public cannot begin to imagine the kind of mayhem, chaos and abuse of their trust that has occurred. The BC public service is essentially a hollowed out shell right now. Ministry after Ministry are at the breaking point and the most worrisome ones are the ones most important to serving, supporting and supervising the most vulnerable and sometimes most dangerous amongst us.
Take a wander down to your local Probation office, child protection office, welfare office. Most are operating at far less staff than they require for public and child safety. When this vile character goes on TV saying his government is going to get tough on crime - it is a complete and total lie. When sex offenders and dangerous criminals are getting bounced through court and out onto the street and not even assigned to have any oversight by probation that proves this government lies.
When the mentally ill routinely get thrown out of hospitals without any meaningful care, this shows their failures of the public good.
This government, in fact,has created profound public disorder by it's mismanagement, incompetence, by slashing jobs and funds. When you don't protect children & youth who need safety and their government to give a crap about them, this government has created the next generation of criminals and they will be much, much more savage than the ones who came before them. Look around, we already see it.
ABC on May 12th - we need BC to stay in our hands.
It has long been my contention that the BC liaR party is the biggest organized criminal organization in British Columbia, and the most dangerous.
I do care about the rank hypocrisy of a man who stuck Gordon Wilson with so many knives over the same misdeed and about a press corps who consistently sets a standard for one group or side and another standard for everyone else.
At first glance, very few people get past the SEX part to realize that the Lara story is about governance.
People inform me about Monica Lewinski but I say: Monica wasn't driving public policy for her country; Monica wasn't hiring people like Basi & Virk, supervising an anti-democratic bureaucracy like the Public Affairs Bureau, arranging meetings between Gordo and OmniTRAX for the sale of BC Rail "so as not to offend Mr Broe" ... and stuff we don't even know about ...
... because Lara is unelected, therefore unaccountable.
There is also the blackmail factor which every politician should understand, namely, that secret activities make every politician vulnerable to blackmail.
Well Done, Mary!
It widens the scope of Campbell's Lara problem.
If all of this Lara stuff could have gone viral in the Fraser Valley, BC's Bible Belt, our Premier's Christian support base might not be voting for Campbell and his bootlicks. I don't know how Christian fundamentalism and the notion of sharing and protecting the meek and weak have gotten separated. The NDP believes in caring for the most vulnerable among us. The Liberals are all about the wealthy. Somehow, the North American uber-right has been able to instill a belief that looking after one's fellow beings is to come through church-affilliated activity and it is best not delivered by the state.
Frequently, I have heard Christians quote, "The poor will always be among us," using those words to deny civic responsibility to improve the plight of those in need. Many seem to have a belief that if they give to the church and church affiliated charities/activities, they don't believe that a nonreligious organisation - the state - should tax them to take care of people they may have missed - or who may not wish their charity. We have a substantial Sikh community as well, and from my perspective (as a professional who has donated much time and energy to my community), it seems to be the same with that group.
To those Christians and Sikhs reading the above, I am not attempting to offend or denigrate any person or group. This has merely been my observation through my imperfect myopic lens.
Happy Sunday, and warm thoughts to all mothers.
How’s it going?
This election a few tiny bits of information have surfaced about Lara Ann Dauphinee, the preemee’s BFF.
I wouldn’t have known anything about this stuff except for the coincidence that I know someone who owns in the same building in Point Grey where they live. Unfortunately this person is Libbish and I doubt would be interested in giving me more info.
Thanks so much you guys for letting the rest of us find out. Long ago I started to realise that even pacifists have to play dirty sometimes! Lol! Otherwise you’ll be knocked down by dirt yourself and have no chance of getting your message out. In this case the message is, “There is a lot rotten in the province of BC!” Though I have to say, saying what we know in public places isn't exactly dirty.
Canadians seem to have an innate desire to separate church and state, personal and private. The fact is, if we paid attention we would often notice that we’ve put ourselves in a conflict of interest situation. Some of us deal with it and some of us hide it. Don’t make a mistake in thinking that the preemie shouldn’t be held to the same standards.
If I choose to raise a child without marriage, live with my partner without marriage, or anything else that society considers sketchy there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it, but if I make it a big secret, the consequences will be much more dramatic.
“GORGON” has chosen to be a hypocrite in every way I can think of. Rather than just outing himself and letting the public know that his immediate family has changed, he decided to keep it a secret, which is just fine. However, keeping it a secret and putting the secret on the taxpayer’s payroll is not fine!
Thanks again for putting this stuff out. I totally agree with you about the difference between Lara and Monica. (Lara’s getting a huge kickback from this.) I’m angry about the way Gorgon slams women then apparently lets one run him and his government. One thing that really gets me is his displaying one of his grandsons on YouTube and then saying nothing about his own third son.
The hypocrisy just keeps on reverberating. Against single parents, against both poor and working women, against affordable daycare or housing, against women who leave their kids with nannies, against women period - and that Lara would pander to that attitude against her own gender! Then again, that’s typical of the women we’ve seen in the Fiberal gov.
Sometimes I like the idea that the politician show their immediate family like they do in the states. Other times I'm glad we don't have that crazy “first family” drama here. To allow this to stay hidden and unconsidered is going to prove a huge mistake.
As I sat I watched Campell & his 'wife' Nancy do the baby thing for the cameras, I kept thinking:
1. Is one of those babies his?
2. Where is Lara spending Mother's Day?
3. How could Nancy sit there for this usual smoke and mirrors facade spun by Cambpell and his his machine? Did they make it all worth her while?
4. How many times over the 8 yrs. has the public paid a HUGE price to prop up this LIE, unbeknownst to them, as Campbell has worked overtime to hide the TRUTH OF his private life?
Campbell's behaviour both in private and in the BC LEGISLATURE assisted by a circle of operatives - have left BC in CHAOS.
If tomorrow, British Columbians don't VOTE for big CHANGE - there will be no turning back from the road of destruction that CAMPBELL has charted for BC. Our Province has become DESTABILIZED with a cancer of corruption.
I am ashamed of our MSM that has assisted in sanitizing the truth from the people. In desperation, some of their headlines in the last few days have been transparently tainted in bias towards Campbell's BC Libs.
There is no question that Carole James while begin to rebuild BC with a steady hand at the helm. I truly believe that she will be a POPULACE PREMIER not unlike the Hon. WAC BENNETT.
I can see WAC smiling:
Carole vows to launch an Inquiry into the BC Rail BETRAYAL by Campbell to the People and WAC's LEGACY TO BC.
Party 'names/labels have little meaning any more. I'll vote for DECENCY & DUE PROCESS. That defines Carole James.
I like your prediction on another thread here or over at the Pacific Gazette also, the one about 40 NDP, 38 liaR's and 7 too close to call - or something close to that. I hope you are right and that at least 4 out of the seven go to ABC (Anybody But Campbell)!
I think it is just deplorable that the most powerful unelected person in BC got there in part by kicking at the most vulnerable in BC. The anti-aboriginal organizations that were set up in the 1990s in BC such as Brown's Citizens Voice on Native Claims took their racist rhetoric straight from the KKK - eg. "one law for all".
I think it is very important that social justice activists in BC are aware of the influential politicos in BC who explicitly act as anti-aboriginal activists and to expose them.