Thursday, October 25, 2007

Tonight On The Dobranos.....

......The Tubes Come Through



Earlier today we read the following:

BC’s criminal justice branch has appointed a special prosecutor to review a report by crown counsel into the lobbying activities of Ken Dobell.

Which led us to go hunting high and low through the tubes in search of the 'minutes' of a March 17th, 2005 meeting held by the Vancouver Civic Theaters Board (warning pdf).

1. QET (Queen Elizabeth Theatre) Redevelopment Update

Art Jones advised that within the last ten days two corporate financial gifts have been

Responses have been received from both Provincial and Federal representatives. Stephen
Owen, Federal Minister of Western Economic Diversification, replied that the Canada-British Columbia Infrastructure Program is now fully subscribed. Negotiations of the new Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (MRIF) are currently underway and are expected to conclude shortly. Depending on the terms and conditions of the MRIF in BC, there may be an opportunity to consider this request under the new program.

John Les, Provincial Minister of Small Business and Economic Development, responded the
Municipal Infrastructure Fund is capped at $2 million for cultural and other projects, except for sewer/road-type projects. The Federal Government will then only contribute what the Province has committed. The Fund Raising Committee is seeking another meeting with the Mayor to urge Government officials to provide the requested financial support towards this project.

In a meeting with Ken Dobell, Provincial Deputy Minister, he suggested funds may be available
from budget surplus between January and March.

OK, now go back and read that last sentence again and realize again that this meeting was held on Mar 17, 2005.

Next, check out the following timeline, courtesy of a column by Vaughn Palmer, that was written in April, 2007:

Act 1, March 2005: Dobell, in his capacity as deputy minister to the premier, visits Vancouver's civic theatres board. In response to concerns about cultural funding, he advises that money may be available in the coming year from the provincial budget surplus.

Act 2, March 2006: Dobell has moved from the deputy post to serve as special adviser to the premier. And the province does indeed deliver $5 million in funding for Vancouver's "cultural precincts."

Act 3, April 2006: Dobell is hired by Vancouver to lobby the province. The city will later disclose that his contract was funded out of the province's cultural precincts grant.

Did you catch that?

In March 2005, while working as a Deputy Minister in Gordon Campbell's provincial government, Mr. Dobell apparently told the Vancouver Civic Theatres Board that there would be money coming from the province to redevelop the Queen Elizabeth Theatre (which would subsequently be known as one of the proposed 'cultural precincts'*).

Then, a year later, in Mar 2006, Mr. Dobell goes to work for the City of Vancouver and his compensation comes from a 'Cultural Precincts' grant that his former employer Mr. Campbell, who has retained him as a 'special advisor' , gave to the City of Vancouver that just hired him as a 'content consultant'.

Thus, the real issue that the media should focus on is not whether Mr. Dobell 'registered' to consult/lobby but instead whether he should have been lobbying/consulting at all given the apparent conflict involved.

Got it now?

*Link is to HTML version of the original pdf, which can be obtained here (and along with the other pdf referenced above, is now on my computer, my back-up hard drive and a CD which is hidden in a box of fig newtons hidden under my desk if anybody should ever have a need to find it).


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