Monday, June 23, 2008

RailGate Revisited - Hansard's Revenge, The Prequel



Teensy-Tiny Corrective Update At Bottom Of Post

As we mentioned yesterday, and as the mainstream pro-media have probably forgotten by now because it happened three days ago, a third member of Erik Bornmann's RailGate Six, Mr. Rick Thorpe, has announced that he is quitting Gordon Campbell's cabinet.

And just what, exactly is this "RailGate Six", you might be asking?

Well, it is the six high level members of the B.C. Liberal goverment (ie. five cabinet ministers and a premier) that Mr. Bornmann said he contacted to lobby on behalf of the American RailCo "OmniTRAX" during the run-up to the sale of B.C. Rail in 2003.

Except, here's something weird.

Mr. Thorpe told Joy McPhail, when questioned in the Legislature in way back in March of 2004 (ie. a few months AFTER the Ledge Raids but a few months BEFORE the search warrants were unsealed) , that he had 'no knowledge' or 'recollection' of meeting with Mr. Bornmann.

And no one had to file an FOI request to get that information because Hansard recorded it, in it's entirety, for posterity:

J. MacPhail: Has the minister ever been involved in a meeting with Mr. Bornman? I think his first name is Frank. I'm sorry. I've just had one of those moments. Is it Frank?

.....(A Voice: Erik.).....

J. MacPhail: Erik. I'm sorry — Erik Bornman, the lobbyist that until recently was with Pilothouse. Has the minister ever attended a meeting in his capacity as minister where Mr. Bornman was present or where that meeting was arranged by Pilothouse?

Hon. R. Thorpe: Not to my knowledge.

J. MacPhail: I'm asking it about the minister personally, so I assume that he would either be able to answer yes or no. I don't think he has menopausal moments. I may be wrong.

.....(A Voice: Don't be so sure.).....

J. MacPhail: Yeah. I can't imagine why a minister would say, "Not to my knowledge," when that's the case. Can the minister say whether his staff, either in his previous portfolio or the current portfolio, met with any lobbyists or any people with interest in the B.C. Rail deal?

Hon. R. Thorpe: I have no recollection or no knowledge of that.

But here's an even stranger thing.

Mr. Thorpe did recall meeting with Mr. Bornmann's partner in OmniTRAXian lobbying, co-'Pilothous' principal Mr. Brian Kieran:

Hon. R. Thorpe: I believe I have met with Brian Kieran, both in opposition and as a member of the government.

J. MacPhail: Can the minister remember the nature of the meeting when he was a cabinet minister?

Hon. R. Thorpe: No, I can't remember the details, but I can assure this House that I never met Pilothouse consulting with respect to the B.C. Rail partnership.

J. MacPhail: How is it that the member so assured on one point but not any other?

Hon. R. Thorpe: They have many customers.

Hmmmmmm......and just who might some of those many customers be?

Well, here too, Mr. Thorpe fills us in:

J. MacPhail: No, no. I know that. You should see the lobbyists' registration. They — Pilothouse — are claiming a lot of success. But I'm asking the minister how it is that he's so assured. He can't remember what he met Pilothouse on or Brian Kieran, but he's so assured that it wasn't about B.C. Rail. Can he remember what it could have been about?

Hon. R. Thorpe: You know, over the years, I've met Mr. Kieran on other issues. I can't remember if it had to do with auto dealers. I can't remember if it had to do with the breweries. I can't recollect the details of that, but I do know that I did not meet with them with respect to the B.C. Rail partnership.

So, there you have it.

Car dealers and brewers maybe, but B.C. Rail most definitely NOT.

Only one small problem with that.

Mr. Kieran also had a "RailGate Club" of his very own.

And five of the members were EXACTLY the same as Mr. Bornmann's including, you guessed it, Minister Thorpe (click image below to enlarge).

Looks like somebody has some 'xplainin' to do.


Many, many, many thanks to lynx, who is one of the regulars and most insightful commenters over at Mary's place, for pointing us towards the right drawer over at the Hansard library.
Speaking of which, those little gems that Joy MacPhail left behind for us in the farthest corners of the HLib are worth their weight in way more than gold. I hope she has been sufficiently thanked for all the work she did, so much of which was thanklessness personified at the time (especially given that she was working pretty much sans staffers thanks to the actions of the gold key member of Mr. Bornmann's RailGate SixClub that was left OFF of Mr. Kieran's).
Teeny-Tiny Corrective Update: In the original iteration of this post I put up an official BC Govt lobbyist affiliation page for Mr. Kieran that indicated a RailGate Six that was exactly the same as Mr. Bornmann's. This was not quite correct because, while that equivalent group of six was also, apparently, lobbied by Mr. Kieran on behalf of OmniTRAX, the actual 'subject' in that case was the Fort Nelson Line (hmmmmm.....pretty sure Gary E. might have something to say about that). Instead, for OmniTRAX's interest in the 'BC Rail Evolution' Mr. Kieran's RailGate group was only five (ie. the same five cabinet ministers as Mr. Bornmann, including Mr. Thorpe, but no premier). Apologies for any confusion this may have caused.


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