Saturday, March 31, 2012

This Just In...


...Prime Minister Harper announces massive cuts to all funding for anything remotely associated with amateur boxing.

(also outlaws use of word 'Katimavik' on the TeeVee, punishable by 5 to 10 in the Kingston Pen)

Although, under bilateral Sly-Arnold agreements with the US American Republican Tea Guzzlers and Hummer Drivers, there is absolutely no truth to the rumour that Burgess Meredith's ghost has been permanently denied entry to Canada.


Saturday Night's Alright For (Uke) Cover Fighting!


First, the Original, which will be a flock of dive bombing hummingbirds in your ear holes for at least a week...

And now, the Uke Cover, which will do your heart, as well well as your auditory canals, a whole lotta good...

It's 'The Night of the Barely Still Tweeners' at our house these evening...littler e's 13th birthday party...Ten kids...A million directions all at once...Three movie choices...Scott Pilgrim, Napoleon Dynamite, or School of Rock...Any of those is just fine with me...Although we might get a call or two from Westside Moms if they pick the first one....Selah.
As always, the Uke Peg Head image at the top of the post is courtesy of Los Angelino Photo-Maven Ellen Bloom.


Our Morning Ride.


littler e. and me went for a ride today.

The weather was not good.

But it was fun anyway.


e. had to go to the Vice-Principals' offices.

But that is only because she really, really likes owls.

It's true.

(and yes, there is no grammar in bike riding)


Really Listening To Mulcair For The First Time...


Thomas Mulcair was on the long wave with Evan Solomon this morning.

I, for one, was impressed.

No wishying....

No washying...

As he chopped a number of Republican/Conservative frames to bits.



I realize that there may be issues of real politick that could wear a little thin over the longterm here.

But I truly believe, at least for the moment, that we do need someone to draw a deep, definitive line in the sand so that people can see where we are going if we stay on the Conservative Party of Canada's side of the oil-soaked and completely unregulated beach where there will be no lifeguards, but there will be corporations renting towels and selling time shares for swimming rights.


And I even liked the way Mulcair turned Solomon's crap closer about the penny into a serious statement about something that matters (and, in addition, gave credit where credit was due).


Friday, March 30, 2012

Sometimes A Cover Is Just A Cover...


....And Sometimes It Is Something More.

Way more.

In late 2009 Hansard and Irglova unveiled a 'new song' while they were on tour, a tour the E's and I saw piece of, that presaged a lot of what was to come.

And then, just a couple of weeks later this guy in his basement, Tom Meny, located somewhere in Texas, covered the thing, very nicely.


Apparently, Mr. Hansard noticed.

Because when he was playing South-by-Southwest in Austin recently he brought the very same Mr. Meny up on stage.

And together they conjured up a fusion of the Original and the Cover.

And something magical happened, on a whole lotta levels....

One level of the magic, only half-realized even by the conjurers themselves here I reckon, has to be the one wherein one of Hansard's musical heroes helped give him his mojo back when he was unknown a long time ago...
Originally, I was going to title this post 'Increasing His Draw Here There And Everywhere' given that Hansard had just played Carnegie Hall doing his double-shot medley-in-same-key schtick (which, don't get me wrong, is a schtick I dig to my very core) before heading down to Austin to do his Irish schtick from his core (which I also dig, and have also Clancy Brothers -covered myself, here)...Got all that?
Sheesh...Somehow, I'm not sure this kind of stuff translates properly in linear text...I might have to do it as a pod...Or maybe I should just get out my guitar....
Oh, and by the way, if you listen to the link above where Hansard tells of meeting, and learning from his hero, I've almost got the cha-ching of the rhythm down...How?...By watching watching the 317 versions of the following about a thousand times each, that's how...


The Six Million Dollar BC Rail Deal...The 'Understanding' Was Not Created By...



Unless, of course, you believe in the paranormal.

Which neither I, nor Ian Reid, do.

Believe in, I mean.

You can read Ian's follow-up to all this here....

(I'll be back to comment in more depth later)


The Six Million Dollar BC Rail Deal....Mr. Plant Answers My Question.


It's noon on Friday, and the former BC Liberal Party government Attorney General, Mr. Geoff Plant, has been gracious enough to answer my question regarding his interpretation of the propriety of the 'Six Million Dollar Deal' that, in my opinion, effectively ended the BC Rail Trial of Mess'rs Basi, Basi and Virk with much haste.


A few days ago Mr. Plant wrote a 'Dear John' blog post in which he asked Mr. van Dongen what he would have done differently with regards to the 'deal' itself.

Prior to actually asking that question of Mr. van Dongen, Mr. Plant also wrote a number of things as a preamble.

And one passage in particular led me to leave a question for Mr. Plant in the comments as follows:

Mr. Plant first you state the following:
"The defendants pleaded guilty. What is clear is that there was no legally binding deal. There couldn’t be. The waiver of recovery of fees was not and could not be an inducement to plead guilty. As a matter of law they were not connected. But that was of course the outcome. It was done very, very carefully, to make sure the rules were followed."

Then, in the next sentence you state:
" But it was understood that with guilty pleas, the claim to fee recovery would be waived."


Based on those continguous statements, perhaps you could help me 'understand' the following:

If it was 'understood' that guilty pleas would subsequently lead to the waiver being granted, does it not logically follow that there was, for all intents and purposes, a prior 'inducement' regardless how 'carefully' things were done to make sure 'the rules were followed'?


I then wrote my own blog-post about this, here, if you would like more background and exposition.


Importantly, Mr. Plant has taken the time to respond to my question, also in the comments over at his place:

Ross K,

There was no "prior inducement". The offer of pleas was made first and entirely independently. The discussion about the fee waiver happened afterwards, and involved government, not the special prosecutor.

Paul Willcocks, who has been following this also, responded to Mr. Plant's response thusly:

  1. Sorry, but the hairs are being split too finely. If there were genuine guilty pleas arranged in negotiations with the special prosecutor in place, then there was no need to break the policy on indemnities. The guilty pleas would have been secured, the trial ended and the taxpayers could have recovered at least some of the $6 million.

    If they weren't in place, then the $6 million was indeed a prior inducement because it came before the guilty pleas were actually secured.
And while I too sincerely appreciate Mr. Plant's efforts to explain the situation more fully, I still do not understand his position based on how he laid things out in the original post, which is explained by my response to both his own response and Paul's:

  1. Thanks very much for the clarification of your position Mr. Plant.

    However, I am still in complete agreement with Mr. Willcocks' point of view on the matter.

    More specifically, in my opinion a 'chronological' separation of the formal agreements does not, in and of itself, indicate a lack of prior inducement if, as you say, the accused 'understood' (your term, not mine) that the official waiver agreements would follow the official guilty plea agreements.*

And with that, it's over to you all....

I sure would like to hear other folks' opinions on this matter, especially from folks with a legal background, as I am speaking purely as a layperson in that regard here.

Thanks all - and thanks to Mr. Plant and Mr. Willcock's too. This kind of discussion is most helpful on myriad levels.

*In my lunch hour haste there were a couple of typos in my original comment which I've cleaned-up here....And now...back to work!....Look forward to any comments you might have later in the day....


The Idleness Of The Madness Of The (not) Premier's March...


Bob Mackin has the story.

And the day-by-day blow-by-blow of Ms. Clark's horrible month of March.

My favourite is the coda to March 26th, the day Mr. John 'Ain't No Lead In These Feet Now' van Dongen fled the premises...

"....Clark's whereabouts are publicly unknown...."

Sound like a relentless war campaigner to you?


That's what I thought also.


The Assumption In Justine Hunter's Suggestion To The (not) Premier.


Justine Harper, in The Globe & (no longer Empire) Mail has a suggestion for Christy Clark today that she reckons might just make it possible for the (not)Premier to save her tattered political party's free enterprise 'brand'.

Which is to go for broke, and actually do something real (and maybe even really progressive), on the Families, Education and Forestry fronts.

Which is all well and good, as far as it goes.

But here's the thing......

Ms. Hunter is assuming that Ms. Clark is actually free to do so.

Do her own thing, I mean.

If you get my drift.

Regardless, is it not bizarre in the extreme that the proMedia is doing it's darndest to ignore John van Dongen's call to look into the BC Rail matter and offer the (not)Premier advice to try and save her while they, and especially The Dean, jump all over Mr. Dix for keeping his parking...errr...farecard ticket a 'secret'....Heckfire...I'm almost sorta/kinda surprised the Transit Police didn't show up at Mr. Dix' door with at TeeVee crew in tow with a made-up search warrant that would allow them turn his living room upside down looking for that missing Day Pass.
Speaking of BC Rail....Yesterday, Ian Reid demolished the flaws in Geoff Plant's so-called 'logic' about the $6 million dollar deal (i.e. he went at Mr. Plant much harder than I did....Today, something tells me Mr. Reid is going to tell us a little bit more...And I have a feeling it is something that might be heard by ALL parties that participated in the making of the deal...And maybe even some that didn't participate....At least not directly....So keep an eye out for a new post from Ian today...


My Morning (Bus) Ride.


A little under the weather this morning.

And the weather still a little lousy.

So I left the bike behind and caught the bus.


As I was was sitting there scratchy-throated amongst all the school kids, I could only hope that....

I wasn't infecting anybody.


The Six Million Dollar BC Rail Deal....My Question For Geoff Plant



Update, Friday Mar 30th, Noonish: Mr. Plant has responded to my question....Details are here.

Former BC Liberal government Attorney General Geoff Plant, who is now a civilian, has a blog.

And yesterday he had a question for John van Dongen about the Six Million Dollar Deal, which was the following:

"...What would you have done?..."

Now, one of the interesting things about Mr. Plant's post was the fact there was a whole lot of preamble that came between the 'Dear John' at the beginning of the thing and the question above that he finally got to near the very end.

And part of that preamble went like this:

"The defendants pleaded guilty. What is clear is that there was no legally binding deal. There couldn’t be. The waiver of recovery of fees was not and could not be an inducement to plead guilty. As a matter of law they were not connected. But that was of course the outcome. It was done very, very carefully, to make sure the rules were followed."


Have you got that?

Mr. Plant makes it very clear that, the way he understands the way things went down, there was no inducement to plead guilty on the basis of a prior deal/agreement regarding the fee waiver.

However, Mr. Plant, in the very next sentence of his preamble, then wrote the following:

" But it was understood that with guilty pleas, the claim to fee recovery would be waived."

Which, to be absolutely honest here, made my lay person/non-lawyer-type jaw drop almost to the floor.

Thus, I felt compelled to ask Mr. Plant the following over at his place:

...(Mr. Plant) perhaps you could help me 'understand' the following....

If it was 'understood' that guilty pleas would subsequently lead to the waiver being granted, does it not logically follow that there was, for all intents and purposes, a prior 'inducement' regardless how 'carefully' things were done to make sure 'the rules were followed'?


It will be interesting to see if I receive an answer from the good Mr. Plant.

And to be fair to him, I have noticed that he has been pretty good at giving answers to most comers.

So fair play to him on that score, because many others who have dipped their toes into the bloggodome have not been so straight up with readers.

Please note: Paul Willcocks had a similar problem with Mr. Plant's logic. The point he makes is at the top of the comment thread to the post in question...
Meanwhile, Mark Hume and Justine Hunter in the The Globe let us know that the auditor general is taking the government to court because it won't release deal docs to him....


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ain't No Fog On This Mountain Breakin' Down...


The banjo king, Earl Scruggs, is dead.

His music will live on forever.

Interestingly, Mr. Scruggs wife Louise was his, and his partner guitarist Lester Flatt's, business manager beginning in 1955.

At the time Ms. Scruggs was only in her mid-twenties, which is amazing to consider, considering the times (eg. it was also the time of Col. Tom Parker and Sam Phillips).

And she was no slouch, often described as the first 'professional' manager in Country Music who was later officially heralded as such when she was inducted into the CMusic Hall of Fame.

Her only almost misstep occured in the early '60's when she thought it would be a bad idea for Scruggs and Flatt to record the Beverly Hillbillies theme because she took umbrage to the stereotyping of folks from the American south as, well, 'hillbillies'.


How did they meet?

Well, Earl was playing with Bill Monroe at the Grand 'Ole Opry in 1948.

And Louise just happened to be in the audience.


The three finger-pickin' must have been especially fine that particular evening.


Is A Karmic Wind Blowing Through The Tree Stumps...


...At Rocky Mountaineer's False Creek Flats Train Station?

Why do I ask?

Well, if it hadn't been for a wee little provincial 'statute' change awhile back, it might still be possible for the current (not)Premier to declare passenger rail service in British Columbia essential so that she and hers could then immediately enact legislation to force locked-out Rocky Mountaineer Railtour workers back to work, like, yesterday.

That way the parent company, and it's owner, the good Mr. Peter Armstrong, wouldn't have to hire replacement workers (a.k.a. 'scabs') again this season.

What am I talkin' 'bout this time Willis?


First, here is Bob Mackin, nailin' another one down that nobody else in the proMedia is paying attention to in the pages of the Vancouver Courier:

"The upscale tourist railway that sells rides through what it calls unspoiled scenery is pledging to compensate the City of Vancouver after trees outside its False Creek Flats station were illegally cut.

"Rocky Mountaineer spokesman Ian Robertson denied the chopped limbs had any connection with the ongoing lockout of the company’s on-board attendants, who are part of the Teamsters union. The seven trees on Cottrell Street outside the Rocky Mountaineer Station were frequently used by the Local 31 members to hang their picket signs...

"The city’s Protection of Trees Bylaw carries fines of $500 to $10,000 per offence for unlawful damage or removal of a tree. Locked out workers noticed the trees had been denuded when they arrived at the Station for their March 5 protest rally..."


Next up is Norm Farrell's state of wonderment about whether or not those branches just might have acted as convenient picket sign hangers for the folks that were locked out and thus, well, you know....

Norm's even got 'before' and 'after' pictures. One thing we know for darned sure. There will be many fewer blossoms in the flats this year.


And finally, from our archives - a description of the changing of the 90 year-old provincial statute that made it possible for Mr. Peter Armstrong to set up his luxury hotel on wheels on very, very select chunks of former BC Rail track now 'leased' by, well....You know that too, right?....

RailGate Miscellanea....How Much Is That Statute Worth?


Way, way, way back in 1912 the Rail Companies that later became BC Rail were bound by statute to provide a passenger rail service on their lines.

All that changed abruptly, ninety years later, in the Fall of 2002 when the Government of Gordon Campbell and Martyn Brown et. al. inserted a one sentence change to the law under the deceptively innocuous header of
'Miscellaneous Statutes':

.....(N)one of the company, any subsidiary or any person under the control of the company or of any subsidiary is required to provide passenger service over all or any part of its line or lines of railway in British Columbia......


Who benefitted?


Did they who did, perchance, contribute any money of significance to the B.C. Liberal Party of Gordon Campbell and Martyn Brown?

Update: Answer to question posed directly above is here....


The key consideration here?

In the old days, when the 'statute' was still in place anybody running a passenger rail service would have had to go to more places, some of them considerably more remote, than just Banff and Whistler.

Which would make it just a wee bit more essential for the people of British Columbia.

But it would also make it a quite a bit less profitable for anyone who wanted to run rolling hotels over select railbeds to even more select resort destinations, I reckon.



From Mr. Mayrand's Mouth...To Ms. O'Malley's Thumbs... To Your Eyes..."200!"


Yes that's right.


As in 200 ridings.

Whoa: According to Mayrand, those 800 (election misdirection) complaints cover *200* ridings. That's -- somewhat staggering, actually. I would've guessed maybe 100 ridings max. Doesn't mean all the allegations are accurate, of course, but still...

All bets are now, officially....


Thanks to our good friend G.A.B. for keeping us abreast by Email while we were indisposed in the science-geek bunker this morning.


My Morning Ride.


The blossoms are out.

And they are white down Arbutus Valley way.


With the wind up, will it be a blizzard on the way home?

Might have to listen to the traffic report before I leave the lab tonight.


FABula Calls The (not) Premier...

....A Relentless 'War' Campaigner.

Skirmishes, maybe.

But has she been in and/or actually won any real campaign 'wars'?

PoMo 1996?

Pt. Grey 2011?

Vancouver 2005?

SFU 1988?

Helijet Pad 2003?


And, now, without further ado....Billy Bragg!...Cause he knows we 'don't need no war campaigners 'round here....Oh, wait,...What was I thinking of...That's 'peace' campaigners, which is maybe what Ms. Clark really needs to be in her caucus, or she may never get to an election....
The real story behind Ms. Bula's actual story?...Well, awhile back she couldn't get near the (not)Premier...And now....Full access!..What's next in all the desperation....A two hour toe-to-toe with Alex Tsakumis!?


Robocalls On Parade....Elections Canada Comin'!.


Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs
Meeting No. 30
Thursday, March 29, 2012
11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Allegations of Wrong-Doing during the 41st General Election


Elections Canada
1) Marc Mayrand, Chief Electoral Officer

2) Rennie Molnar, Deputy Chief Electoral Officer

3) St├ęphane Perrault, Senior General Counsel


You think anything big will happen today?


Do not forget - this is NOT the group that is actually doing the actual investigating.


I suggest that, if you want to find out what really happens before the pooh-poohing and expectation lowering (that you can bet has already been cued up with talking points pre-shipped) begins in earnest, you may wish to pay attention to what Ms. O'Malley's thumbs have to say....



Wednesday, March 28, 2012

For The Turnstiles...



Suddenly we must deal with Translink fare evasion again.

Right now!

Either by stringing up every kid without a ticket that hops on the 99 B-Line through the back door.


By reverse engineering every single Skytrain station, bus stop and public washroom with turnstiles.


But honestly.

Haven't we heard all this outrage at the outrage before? (and I'm lookin' at you too, Dippers, for joining faux-populist CTF-inspired prop-brigade on this one)

And if we did put turnstiles every which way but loose, who would really benefit in the end?

For the record....Our motto 'round here is that 'No prop is ever good prop' because, in the end, it will come back to bite you, no matter how useful it seemed at the time.


A Coda Worth Quoting....


Last weekend Dave sent a whole lot of us off on a chase to find Christy Clark's FedConOp #1.

And it turned out that that person, who was part of the Three Amigos from Harper Land, was hired just three days after the BC Liberal Party selected the current (not)Premier.

Anyway, in a coda I almost missed because he updated the original post, twice!, Dave had this to say, which I think gets right to the heart of the matter:

...Keep in mind, despite the fact that this may be the most accidental post I've ever done, that the significance of this Harper infiltration is profound. This is an endeavour to Americanize not the just politics, but the way politics is done in this country. This is the Reform movement at work. From the Ontario PCs, to the Toronto mayor's office, to the Alberta Wild Rose Party, to the BC Liberals, this is an attempt at a Reform power grab...


I think that rings true.

But I also think that there is another side to this story.

And that is the side occupied by those who made the politically expedient decision to let the Reformists do the grabbing.


*And just who does does this Dave fellow think he is with all these updates anyway?....Sheesh!


My Morning Ride.


Came out of the woods by the daycares this morning.

As I waited to cross the street while the German SUV's dropped off the highschool kids who live 600 yards away I noticed one of the young guys I work with.

He was carrying his little girl, a toddler now, on his shoulders.

No big deal.

But then I remembered that I used to be that guy carrying my little girl into Chuva.

So near, and so far away now.

Time really does fly.


You Want The Real Dope On Van Dongen's Bounce Off The Ropes?


...Go Read Mr. Beer N' Hockey.


His screed starts like this:

I live way the f*ck out here with John Van Dongen. He could be my MLA for all I know...

...Van Dongen, as everybody who lives in my once heavily treed province knows, jumped from one conservative political ship to another yesterday. He was much interviewed about the jump, his dirty rat whiskers twitching a mile a minute....

Then there's a bunch of good stuff in the middle....

Finally, it ends like this:

...there is still time for the conservative party Van Dongen jumped to to pull in f*cking near all the supporters of the now totally discredited conservative party he just jumped from. That would mean yet another political defeat for the NDP ....

...Few people screw themselves as hard or as often as the people of B.C. do. Let's see what happens now...

Go read all of it.

You also might learn a thing or three by reading the Yang to Beer's Yin over at Mr. Willcocks' place....


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

'Cause This Is What You've Waited For?

In a word......

(stay with it through to the last verse)

And in case you are new here and don't know what Mr. Hansard and his lot have done to me and mine...Well, you could start, maybe, I dunno...How about....Here?


Christy's First HarperCon-Op...Credit Where Credit Is Due...


On the weekend, following up on a post by Dave at the Galloping Beaver, NVG and I identified a HarperCon Operative who went to work Christy much earlier than the newly-arrived Glimmer Twins (ie. Mr. Boessenkool & Ms. McIntyre)....

But, it turns out that a former Director of Communications for Stephen Harper's PMO, Ms. Nina Chiarelli, who started working for the BC Liberal Government in July of 2011 was not the first to arrive.

Instead, that distinction may belong to very fine fellow named Dmitri Pantazopoulos as Alison made clear over at Creekside early Monday morning:

...Dimitri Pantazopoulos became Christie Clark's principal secretary on April 4, 2011, in charge of "Long-term policy and priorities and Intergovernmental Relations" after doing polling and voter tracking for her BC Liberal leadership race.

A former Reform Party policy advisor, he was introduced to Clark four months earlier by another Reform Party policy advisor and Harper strategist Ken Boessenkool, who quit as Clark's campaign manager after Steve asked senior members from the national Con campaign team to "refrain from taking formal positions in the B.C. leadership race".

Boessenkool, a former
Enbridge lobbyist, eventually joined Clark's team as her chief of staff last month (in February of 2012)...

Apr 4th, 2011.

Pretty amazing when you think about it.

Because that was just three weeks after Ms. Clark was sworn in as the (not)Premier and more than a full month BEFORE she (barely) won the Pt. Grey by-election.

Which certainly does nothing to dispel our hypothesis that a deal was made by the fine folks riding the (not)Premier and other assorted sundry horses to go all in with the HarperCons from the very beginning....


To get back to that 'giving of credit-where-credit-is-due' business...

It turns out that one Lotuslandian proMedia reporter had this one nailed to the wall way back in the day.

And its a guy's who's name we have been calling a lot lately, Mr. Jonathan Fowlie of the VSun, who also noted some other of the good Mr. Pantazopoulos longstanding, and extremely reform-minded, uber-conservative bonafides, one of which appears to have been garnered outside this particular country:

...Premier Christy Clark has bolstered the Conservative credentials of her innermost circle, hiring a veteran Tory strategist and pollster to help direct her government's long-term vision, and ready it for an election...

Ottawa native Dimitri Pantazopoulos has been a pollster of record for both the Conservative and Canadian Alliance parties, has worked for a well-connected polling firm in Washington, D.C., and, in the early 1990s, helped prepare policies for the Reform Party alongside Stephen Harper and Preston Manning...

As of April 4, Pantazopoulos will become Clark's principal secretary -a senior post reporting directly to the chief of staff -working out of her office in Victoria...


And the date under Mr. Fowlie's byline for that particular piece?

Mar. 17th, 2011.

Just three DAYS after Ms. Clark was sworn-in as (not)Premier.


Of course, Sean Holman had the goods on the good Mr. P's contract just a little while later....
So...If an 'all-in' with the HarperCons was made, say, in late 2010...Who would have brokered it?....Don't know for sure, but the Anon-O-Mice sure are chattering...What's that they're saying?....What?...Rhymes with 'javelin'?....Field events?...Not my cup of tea...Unless, of course it comes en...errrrr....'in' a can....


Van Dongen's Most Interesting 'W'.


The 5 W's of John van Dongen's floor crossing...

The Who?
Well, ya, he clearly took aim at the (not)Premier....But do not forget the following.... Because while I unequivocally agree that a public inquiry is fully warranted, the $6 million thing was most definitely NOT hatched on her watch...So...Don't you love just the smell of political expediency on the floor of the Ledge?

The What?
Well, that's pretty obvious...

The Where?
On the gas pedal with a lead brick?

The Why?
Hints at the possibility of being shunted off to Poughkeepsie because of a personal relationship....
Who cares.... Had already been Buffaloed anyhow

The When?

(When were those by-elections finally announced again?....So....What will all the puffed-up punditry be talking about for the rest of the week?...Timing really is everything in newscycle jamming....And don't forget, it is the bye-bye out in the Valley that really, really matters.)

And as for the punditry?....Who cares about that too...I mean does anybody really care what is truly motivating the likes of the good, and true, and always, according to him at least, selfless Mr. van Dongen?....Instead, I just want to know what fellow Sliverville resident, Mr. Beer 'N Hockey thinks....


Monday, March 26, 2012

Why Did A FedCon-Aligned PR Firm Work For George Abbott...

...During the BC Liberal Party Leadership Campaign That Christy Clark Won?

Yesterday, North Van's Grumps and I worked together to follow up on a post by Dave at the Galloping Beaver in which he dug deep into the ties between a couple of FedCon-associated PR firms that have worked with the BC Liberal Party and have also received once secret contracts to push the HST for the provincial government of that party.

In so doing I said I would return to comment on the following passage, from Sean Holman posted in July of last year, that Dave linked to:

"....Campaign Research Inc., which worked on cabinet minister George Abbott's unsuccessful campaign for the (BC) Liberal (Party) leadership, got the biggest (originally secret) contract - receiving $167,800 for conducting the government's telephone town-hall meetings on the HST..."


Where's the beef?

After all, as I wrote yesterday:

Some of you may be saying...'Hold on a second here, the very fine (FedCon-aligned) Campaign Research Inc. worked on George Abbott's BC Liberal Party Leadership campaign?....And Abbott lost, so....So what?'


'Beef' may have been the wrong term to use, because the better way to think of this thing may be to conjure up images of 'horses' rather than 'cows'.

Why 'horses'?

Well, it has very little to do with Patti Smith.

But, in my considered opinion at least, it may have a lot to do with winning races and hedging bets at the same time.


Here's the thing I've been wondering about most recently....

If you were committed to winning not just the Party Leadership, but also the next General Election, would you look further afield and make a deal with the Big Boys back East, especially if you had to make sure you could both 'hedge' and take out a birdman charging, hard, on your rightside named Falcon?

Not sure of the answer yourself?

Well, feel free to read the following, from our archives, and then decide for yourself....

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How Many Horses Can One Ownership Group Ride?


Historically, Mr. Patrick Kinsella mostly backs winners.

"...Patrick Kinsella has become a member of the esquestrian classes. According to our operatives, Mr. Kinsella (who runs acommunications firm) claimed a horse - C J Come Home - this past weekend at Hastings Racecourse. And he also co-owns another thoroughbred, Miss Rainier with Glen Todd of Empty Wallet Stables. Miss Rainier has been entered in a number of races at Hastings, including The British Columbia Breeders' Cup Oaks, The BC Cup Stallion Stakes and The Nanaimo...."

And at the BC political corral, as Charlie Smith noted not so long ago.....

....Kinsella has been around politics in B.C. since the early 1980s when then-premierBill Bennett imported him from Ontario. Kinsella was a key member of the Ontario Big Blue Machine, which helped the Conservative premier of the day, Bill Davis, win provincial elections.

Bennett, a Socred, nearly lost the 1979 election, and he needed someone who could create a more modern political marketing machine.

Kinsella portrayed Bennett as a tough guy, according to a very good book of the same name by Allen Garr, which helped Bennett's reelection campaign in 1983.

However, Kinsella's reputation took a beating 10 years later when former Bennett advisor Kim Campbell was trounced in her attempt to get elected as prime minister. Kinsella was the major campaign operative.

In recent years, Kinsella has kept a low profile even as he quarterbacked Gordon Campbell's two successful campaigns to become premier..."

Luckily for all British Columbians, the magnanimous Mr. Kinsella also likes to offer up pearls of wisdom and 'strategic advice' to all manner of fine folks, groups and corporations (crown or otherwise) to help make our province run like an elegant swiss clock that might or might not be perched proudly on his mantel.

And, because he is so generous with his time, sometimes Mr. Kinsella is even willing to keep gifting us with his advice, at our expense of course, for years and years...


March 12, 2009

I can confirm that Patrick Kinsella's company was retained by BC Rail for a 49 month period between August 2001 and September 2005 to provide strategic advice to our new President, Board of Directors and Chair.

The counsel provided was specific to the Core Review process which Government was undertaking during that period, and general business communication advice.

The value of the contract was $6000.00 per month for 49 months.

John Lusney


There are even times when Mr. Kinsella, sometimes together with his most Progressive of associates such as Mr. Mark Jiles, will make like a good neighbour and offer up his services.....errrr....strategic gifts (not to mention his political horses) to the very finest of fine folks in foreign lands.

This is a story that was also unearthed by Mr. Holman....

Patrick Kinsella, an architect of the provincial Liberals' election success, has apparently been reaping the benefits of his close relationship with the Campbell administration. His firm, The Progressive Group, has helped win major government contracts and benefits for powerful corporate and foreign interests over the past five years - although Mr. Kinsella has never personally registered as a lobbyist for any of those clients.

According to records exclusively obtained by Public Eye via an access to information request with Washington State, a May 2006 contract between Mr. Kinsella's company and Washington State boasted the firm has strong relationships with Campbell administration cabinet ministers Kevin Falcon, Colin Hansen and Olga Ilich.

Those relationships extended to BC Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games secretariat president and chief executive officerAnnette Antoniak and then deputy tourism, sport and the arts minister Virginia Greene.

When asked in 2004 whether he ever talks about his clients with cabinet ministers and their staffers, Mr. Kinsella said, "Absolutely not. That's an understanding that I have...I suspect there's no one in government who would say they've ever been lobbied by me."

But, as part of the company's work for Washington State, Progressive's president, Mark Jiles, promised to "facilitate opportunities for Washington State to develop important relationships" with Ministers Falcon, Hansen and Ilich, as well as Mses. Antoniak and Greene. And, if that wasn t enough, the firm stated, it was "able to engage" other "ministers."...


So, given all the above noted largesse we were not the least bit surprised to learn that Mr. Kinsella and Mr. Jiles went out of their way to back more than one horse in the recent BC Liberal Party Leadership stakes race.

Mr. Kinsella chose Horse 1, Ms. Christy Clark, who charged hard out of the gate but who now appears to be fading badly in the backstretch....

"Lobbyist Patrick Kinsella's company Progressive Strategies Ltd. has made a major contribution to Christy Clark's bid to succeed Gordon Campbell. According to a donation list released by her campaign today, Progressive kicked in $20,000 toward that effort. Pacific Customs Brokers Ltd. also contributed $10,000. The chief executive officer of that company, Glen Todd, co-owns a number of horses with Mr. Kinsella..."

Luckily for all those Progressive and Tobias Funke Bluestoneman Group fans out there however, Mr. Jiles chose Horse 1A, Mr. George Abbott....

Lobbyist Mark Jiles has confirmed he's among those supporting Education Minister George Abbott's bid for the provincial Liberal leadership - which will announcedtomorrow morning at 11:00. In an interview with Public Eye, Mr. Jiles stated, "I like George Abbott. I don't really have a defined role on his campaign. But I've definitely been helping him out...I think he's a good leader and a great guy and provides a balance approach."....

And, guess what?...... According to a well-placed and fortuitously timed announcement by veteran horse race caller, Mr. Vaughn Palmer, we have now been told that the 1A horse is starting to pick up a little steam at the clubhouse turn.


But here's the really real thing...

Despite the timely shilling for Mr. Abbott, all involved can no longer be certain that the BC Liberal stables, and all of the horses locked up in them, are not doomed.

And, given that, we would not be flummoxed if it were to turn out that Mr. Kinsella and friends were looking to buy a stake in that other consortium that rides their charges with crops held high in left hands.

And, surprise!.....A horse caller of a very different kind, Mr. Bill Tieleman, has just printed something that most certainly does not refute the possibility that such a potentially crazy, mixed-up exercise in maximum longview, lobbshop-purposed bet-hedging just might be in its embryonic planning stages....

The B.C. New Democratic Party convention last weekend was a public display intended to show voters it's ready to govern moderately and wisely, but another earlier event was actually the more important signal.

That took place Nov. 9, when 650 people attend a $395 per person dinner at the Hotel Vancouver -- making it the party's most successful fundraiser ever.

{snippety doo-dah}

...Among those spotted: Mark Jiles, business partner of B.C. Liberal top operative Patrick Kinsella at the Progressive Group; Mark Reder, a senior vice president at Fleishman-Hillard Canada and a former B.C. Liberal constituency president; and Byng Giraud, Imperial Metals vice president and part of B.C. Liberal Education Minister George Abbott's past leadership campaign....

Imagine that!

All snark aside, despite the fact that he has stepped away from the daily grind, Sean Holman's Public Eye archives are filled to bursting with important, relevant and topical information that is just waiting to leap out onto other proPundits pages if they will just do a little dot-connecting and then tell us what they actually know (or even think they know if they will offer it up as real opinion, possible loss of insider access passes be damned).