When Sean Holman of PublicEye Online published a story a couple of days ago about all the secret contracts for Info-Dom Ops AND 'logistic' assistance to the HST panel and information office, the Finance Ministry's chief communications officer, Mr. Matt Gordon, told Holman that everything was done in secret, without going out for competitive bids because there were matters of privilege as well as information and strategies that had to be hidden from the 'other side':
...Finance ministry communications director Matt Gordon said that justification (for circumventing competitive bid guidelines) was used because the "information, strategies and discussions" disclosed during such a competition would have been of a "privileged" nature. The government was also worried anti-HST forces could gum up a bidding process and delay the start of those contracts..."
That 'other side' has now called for an inquiry into this super secret affair given that it appears that a number of the very fine folks involved were connected to both the Finance Ministry and/or the offices of much beloved former Premier Gordon Campbell that foisted the HST on the people of British Columbia in the immediate aftermath of the last provincial election.
In other words, some of the finest of the fine folks that received these secret contracts were political staff who worked to implement the HST BEFORE the much beloved former Premier was forced to resign and BEFORE the HST panel or information office were even figments of FORMER Finance Minster Colin Hansen's finely-tuned imagination.
And what is response for the Finance Minister's chief spokesthingy now?
Well, apparently none of the secrets he talked about on Tuesday secretive privilege, information or strategies matter anymore because, according to him, everything is on the up and up:
"...government spokesperson Matt Gordon said an inquiry would be "completely unfounded and would be a waste of taxpayer money." Mr. Gordon earlier said that politics played no role in the awarding of the contracts that paid Backbone Technology Inc. to develop an HST website and Campaign Research Inc. to conduct telephone town-hall meetings on the tax..."
But here's the thing....
Because Mr. Gordon made it abundantly clear that everything was IN FACT done in privileged and strategic secret we, the public, have no idea (or dare I suggest it, confidence) that anything whatsoever is on the up and up.
Furthermore, if I were to dare to get really suggestive, which I am based on the minimal facts at hand (which are so minimal because of all the secrets - ha!), I would posit that the politics of ramming the HST down our throats has been an overriding factor a great many of the things that are driving us crazy about, for example the mechanics of the HST referendum itself, including the fact that you need a goldarned advanced degree in origami to get everything into the right bloody envelopes before you mail it off.
And if you go and read both of Mr. Holman's posts, in full (the first is here, and the second is here), as well as Kady O'Malley's expose on some of the Pub ReCo's involved, you will have a hard time, if you have really been paying attention, not wondering if this mess is ALL political.
And, finally, couldn't figure out why I'd had only one PAB-Bot gnat stop by today when normally there is a small swarm...Then I realized they probably had all hands on deck working the Refs to make sure they chased this 'big' story this morning as maximum deflector spin against the Zalm's call for an inquiry....Meanwhile, does Mr. Tieleman have ice wine running in his veins, or what?