Thursday, May 05, 2016

Is There A Potential For A Perceived Conflict Of Interest Involving The Conflict Commissioner?



After this latest report of a provincial government leak, this time apparently involving the Conflict Commissioner's report (scroll down) on Ms. Christy Clark's secret large dollar fundraising activities, there is something I fee compelled to revisit as a citizen of British Columbia...


The following is from a post I wrote in back in 2014 when the matter of Ms. Christy Clark's having been associated with a lobbying shop run by her former husband prior to her becoming the premier arose in the public prints:

Remember what our fine Premier, Ms. Christy Clark, told the proMedia, and anyone else who would listen after Matthew Millar's third story broke in the NaPo, about her demonstrable pre-premier connections to a subsidiary company of RCI, which itself is a company that our fine Premier has done her best to pump while in office?

I mean, it was only a couple of weeks ago, right?


For the record, here is what Ms. Clark told the VSun's Rob Shaw:

...“I never did any work for the company, I wasn’t paid by the company, I never attending any meetings at the request of the company, and as far as I know the company never really got off the ground,” she said at the legislature...
Which is a pretty emphatic statement, no?



As we have already pointed out, there is documentary evidence which suggests that something quite different may have gone down with said 'company' given their letter-based overture to the University of New Brunswick a number of months after their incorporation. In addition, this letter was dated a full two months after Ms. Clark's first monetary compensation was due to arrive based on the company's original invitation/contract to her.
An invitation/contract, by the way, that Ms. Clark herself signed off on.

And last week Bob Mackin unearthed more paper involving additional overtures to (gasp!) Ms. Clark's old alma mater, Simon Fraser University.

And while very few of the proMedia herd have followed up on such documentary evidence, have no fear because the good Premier offered a 'don't worry, be happy' - type solution that seems to have satisfied said herd:
...(Ms. Clark) said she’d be happy to forward the matter to B.C.’s Conflict of Interest Commissioner for review...


With all of the above as pre-amble...

Please recall that the Conflict of Interest Commissioner that Ms. Clark was referring to is a very fine public servant by the name of Mr. Paul Fraser who was originally appointed by Ms. Clark's former boss, then Premier Gordon Campbell.

And please also recall that Mr. Fraser was forced to recuse himself from John van Dongen's recent complaint that revolved around Ms. Clark's actions in the run-up up to the sale/not sale (i.e. 990 year lease) of BC Rail by Mr. Gordon Campbell and friends, one of whom Ms. Clark likes to give bundles of our cash so that she can fly on private jets to exotic and hard to reach (by commercial airline route) locales like Edmonton and Regina.

And with that we finally arrive at a number of matters that get to the real heart of the matter here....

First, this, from Matt Millar's original VanObserver piece about how Ms. Clark once worked for Burrard Communications in her pre-Premier days just before the fine folks from BurrardComm went to work flack-hacking for Enbridge:

Which is how we know that BurrardComm, whose founder is Ms. Clark's former husband Mr. Mark Marissen, did such flack-hacking.


Just who is this John Paul Fraser fellow named in the federal lobbying documents anyway?

And why does J.P. have a monicker that is so similar to that very fine conflict commissioner that we discussed above, but only because Ms. Clark herself indicated that he should make a ruling on the appropriateness of her not having disclosed her association with Burrard, Translink and a subsidiary of RCI, which itself had a business relationship with BurrardComm.

Well, as you may have already surmised, Mr. J.P. Fraser is the son of Mr. P. Fraser who is the above-mentioned conflict commissioner.


And what, you may be asking yourself,  is the point of this revisiting of history given that the fact that it has recently been noted that Mr. Fraser's son works for the Premier's government at the Premier's pleasure?


Firstly, please don't assume that I am in any way impugning anyone for their past business or personal associations.

However, in my opinion at least, the history of the past associations noted above further indicates that the potential for a perception of a conflict of interest for the Conflict Commissioner is very real where investigations into the deeds and actions of Ms. Christy Clark as Premier of British Columbia are concerned.

Not as leader of the Opposition with no decision-making, spending, legislative or contract-writing powers that may, or may not, involve the myriad of big money donors to her political party that has been using said donations, at least in part, to pay her approximately $300,000 over the last six years.

But as Premier.


And another thing....It looks like some proMedia folks from East of the Rockies are starting to sniff around at this thing...It is my sincere hope that they actually shame the local puffed-up punditry to actually do something....Or, at the very least, just shame them generally.



Anonymous said...

O0opz... the commish forgot this is already covered:

Anonymous said...

It has been decided. There is no conflict.
At least that's what the conflict commissioner says.

Anonymous said...

And apparently Fraser's report was leaked to the Liberals before being made public or available to those that initiated the investigation.

Okay Linda' your turn to accuse Fraser of contempt of Parliament..... or let it slide for members of the Liberal family.

Guy in Victoria

Anonymous said...

On another note... the Liberal family continues to grow. Jas Johal now appointed to Fraser Health Authority.
Not enough money as an LNG spokesperson... or is it rewarding the troops with more cash to stay owing to the Liberal family ?

Guy in Victoria

Anonymous said...

SH @ Guy in Victoria:

Johal's appointment suggests to me, that LNG is deadish.

Anonymous said...

Fifty thousand dollars a year "top up" is no longer considered a personal gain. At least in the mind of conflict commissioner or those who reside in his world. Please, Christy Clark and Mr.Fraser, tell that to a single mother trying to raise her kids on minimum wage. Shades of the Mike Duffy file. No law existed so none could be broken, but when it comes to any form of morality, quite another story!!!

Anonymous said...

Nothing to worry about just put on a smile Christy and be happy.

Christy and her Liberal serial scandals... Brazil North.

But still the captured media cheer her on.

Chuckstraight said...

At 50,000 , that is 20% of Christy`s salary. So she works 20% of the time for the Liberal Party of BC.
I wonder if she realized the position of Premier is a full time job?

Anyhow, I suppose we should now be ok with the concept that the Conflict Commissioner is the son of a Lobbyist for Enbridge, where a chunk of Christy`s money comes from?


Lew said...

The BC Members’ Conflict of Interest Act provides in part:

“19 (1) A member who has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that another member is in contravention of this Act or of section 25 of the Constitution Act may, by application in writing setting out the grounds for the belief and the nature of the contravention alleged, request that the commissioner give an opinion respecting the compliance of the other member with the provisions of this Act.”

“21 (3) If the request for an opinion is made under section 19 (1), the commissioner must report his or her opinion to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly who must cause the report to be laid before the Legislative Assembly if it is in session or, if not in session, to the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly who must send a copy of it to all members of the Legislative Assembly.”

The Conflict Commissioner apparently leaked his report on MLA Eby’s request to the BC Liberals, and released it publicly at about 7PM on May 04, 2016.

On May 02, 2016 the Speaker of the House Linda Reid issued a letter of rebuke to the BC Representative for Children and Youth including this statement:

“As an Officer of the Legislature, your decision to proceed with a premature disclosure of this report prior to a formal tabling in the Legislative Assembly was an egregious action, disrespectful and inconsistent with your position’s statutory reporting relationship with the Legislature and a contempt of Parliament.”

Where is Linda Reid’s letter of rebuke to the Conflict Commissioner?

RossK said...


And/or the threats to hold said Commissioner in contempt...


Anonymous said...

So it's noon the day after this conflict decision is released (at 7 PM) and lo and behold, the story isn't listed when you bring up the Vancouver Sun's so much easier to be "Big Brother" in the digital age, isn't it? Burying stuff back-page is so yesterday...

Warren White
Gordon Head, Victoria

North Van's Grumps said...

If the BC Liberal fire$ide chat$ are attended by the Premier, and not the Leader, under which hat is she hiding the money?

Lew said...

David Eby has written to Speaker Linda Reid informing him that the Commissioner told him last night he found the suggestion he had leaked the report offensive, and that he had forwarded it to the Speaker and no one else. Mr. Eby is asking for an investigation of how then the Premier’s professional head of issues management appeared to know when the report would be tabled, and have details of the report before he did.

Also, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has written Linda Reid demanding a retraction of her statements describing her conduct as egregious, disrespectful and contempt of Parliament.

Ms. Reid will be busy for a couple of days.

Anonymous said...

Here's the "opinion" from Paul D.K. Fraser, B.C. Conflict of Interest Commissioner

.PDF - 26 pages


[68] The threshold question that I must answer is whether the Premier’s private interest was engaged at any point by her participation in the impugned fundraising events, or whether she received an inappropriate gift or personal benefit.

For the reasons outlined herein, it is my opinion that the Premier was not in an apparent conflict of interest as alleged by Mr. David Eby, nor in receipt of a gift or personal benefit as alleged by Mr. Duff Conacher, by virtue of participating in “exclusive” fundraising events for the BC Liberal Party or by receiving a Leader’s Allowance from the BC Liberal Party.

Anonymous said...

Lawyers, fathers, sons, brothers, sisters and conflicts... here's another couple of families that are not conflicted.

Anonymous said...

i am a representative of the bc government.

What ,not a representative of the people of bc.?

guess who alegedly said this.

Alison said...

I'm guessing this is what happens when you hit Reply by mistake instead of Forward :

Alison said...

Re above, in case that link goes down

So a journalist asks B.C.'s conflict of interest commissioner for comment and this is what happens.
From Paul Fraser :
"Let's continue to ignore all of his requests."

Anonymous said...

Let's get biblical.

Can CC4BC serve 2 masters.
Can she be both Premier of BC and employed by the BC Liberals? The obvious answer is an emphatic NO.

Christy Clark needs to give up either the premiership, or her position with the BC Liberals - the money is secondary issue spawned from the primary conflict.

Anonymous said...

Let's continue to ignore all of the publics requests.

Scotty on Denman said...

So, treading water in the sea of conflict is "only a perception" that buddy's boat got a hole in it?

Anonymous said...

Follow up article to the info Alison brought forward above:

Conflict Commish Vows to Ignore 'All' of Reporter's Requests
Paul Fraser's response to freelancer Bob Mackin's questions 'troubling,' prof says.

- by Andrew MacLeod,

Anonymous said...

Bob Mackin has now published his own take on the Konflicted Konnissioner Paul Fraser

"Let's continue to ignore all of his requests."
This column is about eight simple words. It requires some context to get there.

Anonymous said...

And then there's this Marvin Storrow letter that's included in a post
Cue the mass distraction… The Speaker’s in Trouble

Who the heck is Marvin Storrow?