Saturday, March 21, 2015

Should It Matter If The Auditor Of The Auditor Is Not Really An Auditor?



More specifically.

Does it matter if they really are a political appointee?


According to the ever hedging Dean of the Legislative Press Gallery at least, it almost kinda/sorta matters.

But not really:

...(George) Abbott didn’t sound all that bitter when I spoke to him, other than over how they (i.e. the BC Liberal Government) “kept me on the hook for six months” before unceremoniously dumping him.

His immediate intention is to get back to work on the doctorate in political science he is pursuing at the University of Victoria...

{snippety doo-dah}

...He’s also reactivating the consulting business that he shares with former deputy minister of finance Chris Trumpy.

Coincidentally, Trumpy was also in the news Thursday, having been appointed by the overseer audit council to review the troubled auditor general for local government.

Blasting the appointment and refusing to cooperate was the auditor herself, Basia Ruta. Among her grounds was the fanciful notion that Trumpy (who served as deputy finance minister to three NDP premiers and one Liberal) was somehow too close to the Liberals because of his association with Abbott.

“She just lost her main argument,” laughed Abbott when I filled him in. “I’m not that close to them anymore, clearly.”



The good Mr. Trumpy worked for the Dippers AND the Liberals?

Guess that means he's not really connected to the latter, so why worry.


After all, it's not like the uber-good Mr. Trumpy was not involved in helping to take care of the mother of all BCL Campbell/Clark/Clark/Collins whoppers from days gone by.

Although, how could we possibly know stuff like that given that we have neither standards nor credibility?


Turns out we have both a memory and the still invaluable archives of Sean Holman's PublicEye.

The following comes from a 2004 media scrum that occurred the day the Railgate search warrants were first unsealed:

(BCL Gov't Finance) Minister (Gary) Collins: Government is not doing an investigation. That's not our role. The investigators are doing their investigation. So we're not out there looking into any allegations that might be contained in there. There are people who do that. That's their job. They're doing that now. And when they're finished doing their job we'll all now about it.

Media: Don't you think government has responsibility to take a look into these things to make sure processes that are currently in place...?

Minister Collins: But we did many things. The B.C. Rail file - we assigned one of our most senior and respected civil servants to lead that: Chris Trumpy. You all know who he is and his reputation is held in the highest regard by everyone. He was the one working on that...

Nuff said?

The real question, not being asked by the Dean and his ilk, of course, is...Why are the Clarklandians running around appointing all these auditors of auditors and counter auditors of auditors when they themselves are in trouble over their own appointment of faux auditors?...Well...In my opinion, to even begin to answer such a question you have to think not like someone who is trying to govern but rather like someone who is always spinning...When you do that, and when you realize that, especially when it comes to 'deflector spike spin', the goal is to befuddle and bamboozle just enough such that 6 months down the road you will be able to call yourself the champion of all auditors who fixed a problem (rather than being called out by a toothless local proMedia as the ones who caused the problem in the first place) I think it just might make at least a little nonsensical senselessness sense. 
To be absolutely fair, Bob Mackin mentioned Mr. Trumpy's  Finance Ministry/BCRail connection in a tweet or three....Which has us wondering...Just where are Uncle Bob's standards (and/or Club membership) these days anyway?
And was not the good Mr. Trumpy, together with the fine Mr. Collins, a member of that illustrious of that Railgate Top 40 that never took the stand when the trial suddenly ended because of that little bitty six million dollar deal thingy.



North Van's Grumps said...

Chris Trumpy et al like .... team player Gary Mason (Journalist)

Lew said...

It’s all a matter of trust, isn’t it? It seems that everything built and everybody appointed by the BC Liberals needs a chaperone. Auditors auditing auditors, Pattison watching Translink, a conflict commissioner temporarily brought in from afar because the conflict commissioner was conflicted himself, on and on. I heard an ad on the radio yesterday where the BC government is bragging about reforms to the truck drivers’ situation on the docks. The ad proudly declared there would be an “independent” commissioner to see that the agreed rates would be paid. Just in case we can’t trust who, exactly?

Looks like Trumpy needed a new gig after somebody took Norm Farrell’s advice and disbanded the operation he was chairing:

RossK said...

NVG and Lew--


I mean, is it not apparent to anyone who has been paying attention just how much the good Mr. Palmer left out of his analysis after he stirred the 'three NDP premiers' triple shot into his drink?


Hugh said...

Pacific carbon thing is still there under a new name in the Ministry of Environment.

Still scalping $millions from the BC Public Sector I guess.

Norm Farrell said...

Lew reminds us of the Pacific Carbon Trust where Trump served as Chair.

The quote from Auditor General Doyle shown at the linked article reveals one important reason Liberals decided to send him down the road. He was too forthright and he didn't play the gentleman's game of couching criticism in soft language.

G West said...

I've never quite known 'what' to make of Trumpy. In fact, I knew him peripherally while he was working in the finance ministry and I found him to be professional...I'm not sure what he would have said if, and that's a big it, he'd ever been called to testify in the Basi/Virk thing.
Was he doing anything other than his job when Campbell was in the early throws of setting up the 'due dilligence' process for qualified bidders for BCRail?
Can't answer that - although I do think he would have had something interesting to say....
What really does trouble me, in the end, is the fact that guys like Trumpy - career long civil servants who are drawing a superb pension (which he's earned) are the ones getting these plum appointments while younger people (equally well qualified but not as connected) can't get decent full time work at all.
Trumpy and his ilk should stand down...

G West said...

That should be 'if' and not 'it' in sentence no 2. Sorry Ross.

cfvua said...

Maybe Ms Ruta is correct. After all being a strong enough member of the team to earn a cushy appointment she probably knows enough to know that Trumpy did what he was told to do on BCRail and Basi/Virk that he will do exactly as instructed on this file, which may be to arrange have her run over by a Translink B Line. Somebody will have to wear the goat horns and it won't likely be the Premier, although the whole thing was her idea. Now with all the auditing fling on will the local governments decide to get together and perhaps throw some audit effort towards the provincial government where the real waste and inefficiency lies? Just nominate a committee and appoint an auditor. What could go wrong??

RossK said...


Not meaning to imply that Mr. Trumpy did anything wrong when he had to recuse himself from the Spur Line thingy (that later went so, so bad, at least according to the Horsemen).

My point here is that...

For Mr. Palmer to imply that Mr. Trumpy's only connection to the BCLiberals is his business arrangement with Mr. Abbott is, in my opinion at least, obfuscatory in the extreme.

(And bonus points for those readers that can recall why the good Mr. Trumpy had to do that wee bit of recusing back in the Railgate day....hint....It has something to do with one of Norm Farrell's favourite underachievers)


G West said...

I have a vague recollection that Trumpy was involved early on (before the spur line business) and had dealings with Charles River Associates - who were, as you know, the 'fairness' commissioners...As you and I know, there were a lot of things about that whole 'tendering' process and the various (interim and final) reports of the Chas River guys that left a pretty bad taste in our mouths...and raised a lot of questions about the whole deal long before the 'raids' brought the whole thing into sharp focus.

In short, I'm not sure what to make of Trumpy.

Bill said...

Vaughn 'Scoop' Palmer not telling the full story - leaving out key connect the dots facts is not too suprising, actually to be expected given the track record. Just more soft deflection and reporting 'lite' by the Dean.

What to me what is more telling in this Liberal back room knifing is how ruthless the Christy Gang can be even to 'family'. Another episode highlighting just how self interested they always act. Damn the consequences, the cost to BC citizens... not good leadership, not good government.

Anonymous said...

There is no doubt that Mr. Trumpy is beyond reproach and completely credible. After all, Keith Baldry has stated he has known him for years and can vouch for him. We can all sleep at night now, secure in the knowledge of Mr. Trumpy's integrity based on Mr.Baldry's endorsement.

Anonymous said...

long term tax breaks bc

Anonymous said...

Ross: As a government employee, I knew people who had worked with Chris Trumpy and all had a good opinion of him. However, he was in a different Ministry than I was.

I can tell you for sure that in my Ministry there were at least 5 people (some long term and some with very short term seniority and at various levels of the pay scale in both Union and Management ranks)that I knew of who spent the last 2 years of the NDP government
working for the Campbell's Liberal Caucus. They were all richly rewarded after the BC Liebs were elected.

My point is, just because I might have been a long term respected government employee, it does not always follow that I might not be open to those wondrous offers that come my way to those who play the game.

RossK said...


Well now I feel better. After all, the Keef gave a big thumbs up to the very established and credible Mr. Hahn back in the day.


Thanks very much the insight on the 'keepin-on-keepin' on' aspect of staying in the regime's good books Anon-Directly-Above.


And here's another hint to the question posed above...Just which quasi gov't agency was responsible for managing a portfolio that contained a whole whack of a certain company's shares when the big deal (i.e. sale-not-sale) first went down?


G West said...

This piece from the LATimes may give a hint about what we're talking least notionally - something the article calls 'regulatory capture' - certainly not something we're unfamiliar with in BC I suspect....

Lew said...

RossK, surely you aren’t saying that Mr. Trumpy couldn’t conduct an investigation for the government into the BC Rail file while sitting as the chair of the British Columbia Investment Corporation, which had a bit more than a passing interest in the anointed purchaser (forgive me, I meant to say lessee of course) of BC Rail??

RossK said...



...I am.


G West said...

Actually, that just increases the number of questions I have about Trumpy and why, given his age and his available retirement income, he'd put himself back into the cross-hairs again as a 'consultant' for the self-same bunch. Does he do it because he's bored with life? It can't be for the money so curious people wonder exactly why - quid pro quo?