Thursday, April 19, 2007

Squaring The Lobbyists' Circle J


If you've been moving around Lotusland's Bloggodome today you may have noticed that there has been quite an outbreak of 'Everybody-Does-It-Is' going 'round.

I'm talking specifically about this business of 'media-monitoring' contracts (ie. everybody does it, so who cares) and the associated 'cosy' relationships between lobbyists and political insiders (ie. everybody does that too, so who could ever possibly care).

Well. I'll tell you one thing.

I care.

......For example, I care that the former(?) lobbyists Kieran, Elmhirst and Bornman, the very same former(?) lobbyists who allegedly were involved in the bribing of David Basi in the B.C. RailGate case, were also making strange with a deputy minister, Paul Taylor, in the very same finance ministry at about the very same time:

From today's Les Leyne column in the Times-Colonist:

Kieran, Elmhirst and Erik Bornman -- a colleague of theirs then who is expected to be a star witness in the Basi-Virk trial -- were e-mailing one another (in 2003) about a potential new client. This was months before the raid on the legislature and has nothing to do with B.C. Rail.

And if the e-mails are to be believed, then-deputy minister of finance Paul Taylor was only too happy to be of service in facilitating the new business relationship.

At the time Taylor and Kieran were friends and neighbours on Pender Island.

After a day fishing with Taylor, Kieran e-mailed his partners with news that Taylor had given him a detailed outline of how to go about securing a consulting contract with the B.C. Automobile Dealers Association, an outfit that employed Taylor prior to his move to government.

Wrote Kieran: "Paul told Glen (an association executive) he needed GR (government relations) on the ground ... needed us."

Elmhirst responded with a flippant: "I could come with this kind of great intel too if I lived next door to a blabby deputy minister."

.....I also care that Mr. Taylor is now the patronage-appointed CEO of ICBC which currently appears to be slouching towards privatization (and the lobbying bonanza that goes with it).

......I also care about this, again, from Mr. Leyne's column:

The reason the Opposition was keen to explore the exchange is because they set a trap a few months ago. They had written Premier Gordon Campbell asking if he knew whether Taylor was directing work to Kieran.

And the premier responded last December with a categorical "no."

.....I also care about the fact that Mr. Taylor is:

also on the board of the Vancouver convention centre expansion project and was re-installed there when that board was rejigged last week.

........And finally, I also care about the fact that Ken Dobell, the Premier's former right-hand man who has recently become such a superfly-fine lobbyist that he now actually appears to be capable of lobbying himself, is:

on the same convention centre board as Paul Taylor and had his moment in the legislature spotlight earlier in the week when the project's massive cost overrun was discussed in the house.

So, why do I care about all of this?

Because no matter who's doing it it, this is the kind of codswallopsistic behavior that sucks the lifeblood right out of the public trust.



No comments: