Thursday, March 30, 2017

This Day In Clarkland...Big Rich's Billion Dollar Hangover.


The Auditor General has spoken on Rich Coleman's fantasy social housing program.

And what it is going to cost you, me and our children, if not their children.

Jen St Denis of MetroNews was one of the first out of the gate with the kicker.

Here is her lede:

B.C.’s Auditor General found that the provincial government has sold off social housing buildings to non-profit organizations without demonstrating that those sales will result in better outcomes for social housing and those who live in that housing.

Carol Bellringer examined the asset sale program in a report released Thursday. In 2013, the B.C. government began the Non-Profit Asset Transfer Program, which was supposed to generate $300 million that the government would then re-invest into social housing and rent assistance programs.

But, Bellringer notes, under the program the government is still on the hook for $30 million a year in mortgage payments over the next 35 years...

Sound like, perhaps,  Ms. St. Denis was being a touch hyperbolic?

Well, how about we go directly to the AG's press release:

Of course, especially in the pay-to-play world that is Clarkland, the next question to ask is...

Who benefits?

More on the no-biddish-type question, above, later. 


Sunday, March 26, 2017

This Sunday In Lotusland...A Great City Deserves A Great Newspaper.


If that's just not possible, some great pamphleteers...

Norm Farrell explains why our town's no longer even remotely great newspapers refuse to tell their readers what is really happening at BC Hydro:

...It should be a scandal this once proud enterprise is spending massive amounts without public purpose, particularly while disabled people live in abject poverty and elementary schools rely on donated paper. Clearly though, large businesses and investors gain from BC Hydro’s spending and they want it to continue, even if provincial debt and obligations already burden every household in BC with almost $90,000.

Newspapers beholden to special interests are unwilling to report how sponsoring elites profit by abusing the wallets of taxpaying citizens. What debased media will report is anything that advances the positions of their masters...


North Van's Grumps asks...Are the BC Liberals regularly pulling reverse Fassbenders? 


Dermod Travis of Integrity BC goes flying right past the $93,000 in the BC Liberal Party's clerical errors in fundraising without even trying:

...Here's the thing. If you take the four lobbyists whose names have already been linked to this scheme in the media – plus one more who has confirmed their participation to IntegrityBC – and knock off all their personal donations under $1,000 (on the presumption they're more likely to be genuinely personal), their total donations come to $116,177 (2005 to 2016).

And that's before checking the donations of even a single other lobbyist or senior staff person. Nice try, guys...


Bob Mackin reveals....How the sheep farmer keeps walking away with bags of our money, also without even trying.


Laila Yuile illustrates...The push behind the polling - especially when it comes to matters Site C.


Grant G. thinks...There really is something rotten in the state of Lotuslandian Real Estate. 


And, finally, Mr. Beer 'N Hockey makes like Mike Royko while simultaneously taking down MAGA down at the sawmill:

Had a crew meeting with the f*cking boss in the lunch room today. I took notes so you would not miss anything.

Firstly, as in all such meetings, there was a lot of talk about doom.

Secondly, another management favourite topic, gloom.

Thirdly, there was some talk about making the f*cking sawmill great again.

All us workers thought the meeting was over once that went over our head but there was one more thing on the boss' mind.

"We have been having trouble with the toilets getting all bunged up this winter. Been happening so much someone must be bunging them up on purpose. We hope we are going to get to the bottom of it before the f*cking plumber's fees forces us to close down this mill like the one in Merritt."

We were barely out the lunchroom door before somebody dubbed our overflowing toilet situation Sh*ttergate.

And on that sheepherder hardly workin' to take our money piece by Mr. Mackin...Ms. T's response is worth laughing at and/or ridiculing because...BC Liberal entitlement...Or some such thing.
And, on an extra special musical note...Some of you may recall (but probably don't) my boosterism for all things Aaron Lee Tasjan awhile back (PW - he was the opener for the Felice Brothers last fall)...Well, anyway, to see the evolution blues of Mr. Tasjan's guitar work unleashed, see...This (be sure and stay through the 4 minute mark - especially you Beer, what with your tributes to freedom and St Louis and duckwalking and all that).


Friday, March 24, 2017

Two Advisors In Clarkland With Exactly The Same Middle Name.



Please see update at the bottom of the post

According to Rob Shaw, Mr. Steven Carr is a former Deputy Minister who had become Premier Clark's 'special advisor' and de-facto chief of staff by January of 2016 when the Vancouver Sun published Mr. Shaw's piece titled "Meet the 5 Powerful People Behind The Premier":

"The LNG Boss" Special adviser

The top staffer in the premier's office is a former 27-year civil servant who helped the premier kickstart her most important file: liquefied natural gas.

An economist by training, Steve Carr spent years as deputy minister of LNG, growing what's become the core of the premier's jobs plan. He created the new LNG tax regime and led negotiations with large LNG companies (though none have made final investment decisions). The importance of the file led to close work with Clark, both within B.C. and on overseas trade trips. When Carr, 56, announced his intent to retire last year (i.e. 2015), Clark asked him to instead lead her staff. Don't let his title of special adviser fool you. Carr has all the powers of her chief of staff, overseeing political employees in the building and making sure virtually every file of importance to government is aligned with the premier's priorities. It's the second time Clark has turned to an experienced, non-partisan civil servant to take on the hyper-partisan role of running her office. Carr's predecessor, Dan Doyle, spent 50 years working for the government and was known for his calm demeanour and problem-solving skills. Carr appears a similar choice...

As you might expect, it turns out that the good Mr. Carr was compensated well for his work, presumably in his role as Deputy Minister in fiscal 2015/16 (see pg 11 of the document; pg 10 of the pdf file):

Now, the level of compensation for Mr. Carr is not the item I would like you to focus on here.

Instead, please note the good Mr. Carr's middle name, which is 'James'.

This is something I will return to later in the post.


So, moving on....

Also in fiscal 2015/16...

A numbered company called '1048216 B.C. LTD' was awarded a no bid contract worth $228,000 to provide 'Strategic and Personnel Advice' to the Premier's office beginning on February 01, 2016.

As a result, this particular numbered company received $57,394 compensation from the province of British Columbia in fiscal year 2015/16 (i.e. between February 1 and April 30, 2016 when the fiscal year's accounting for such contracts ended; see pg 385 of the document; pg 383 of the pdf):

Interestingly, this particular numbered company later received a second no bid contract for $190,000 to provide the same 'Strategic and Personnel Advice' to the Premier's office between Oct 01, 2016 and April 10, 2017.

We noted the details of these contracts, worth a total of $418,000 over a period of approximately 14 months, yesterday. 

Also yesterday, we noted that up until December of  2015  '1048216 B.C. LTD' was instead known as 'STEVECARR CONSULTANTS INC.'


Yesterday, I was willing to concede that this might all be a coincidence.

After all, there are likely numerous folks named Steve Carr living across the depth and breadth of British Columbia and there might even be a few Steve Carrs among that group that have the skill set to provide 'Strategic and Personnel Advice' to the office of the Premier of the province.

But then the following turned up in my Email inbox:


Mr. Carr the 'Consultant' is also named Steven James Carr and he also lives in Victoria British Columbia?


Armed with this new information I can't help but conclude that the 'special advisor' to the Premier of British Columbia and the president of '1048216 B.C. LTD' are the very, very, very likely the very one and the same person.

Which begs the question...

Is the Premier's special advisor receiving $418,000 worth of advice from himself?


Is the consultant also the advisor who, at least according to Mr. Shaw of the VSun as noted above, also:

...has all the powers of her (i.e. Ms. Clark's) chief of staff, overseeing political employees in the building and making sure virtually every file of importance to government is aligned with the premier's priorities...


Post-script: To be clear, there is no evidence that Mr. Carr, the special advisor to the Premier, is not being compensated entirely through the no-bid contracts. Regardless, why the numbered company cloak?...Furthermore, as was pointed out in the original post, the details of the contracts themselves are not publicly available due to matters of 'confidentiality'...Finally, someone in the 'media' has submitted freedom of information request for the details of the numbered companies actions and expenditures in carrying out the original contract. Apparently, this request is currently under 'legislative review'.


Special thanks to reader Lew for digging up the public accounts records (and the specific pages!) that detail the compensation to Mr. Carr and Mr. Carr's company in fiscal 2015/16
Also special thanks to  A. Reader for sending the corporate director info on '1048216 B.C. LTD' my way. I cannot link to it because it is behind a paywall at public can get access but you have to subscribe for a hundred bucks....I was willing to pay but I was not willing to wait for them to do the paperwork on my application...Which is great because now I can send the $100 to a much more worthwhile endeavour.
Finally, please note that... I removed the street address for Mr. Carr from the corporate directory document, above and have not listed the second principal in the company...
And extra-special finally...Those of you who like to stop by here occasionally who may have noticed that I've been trying like heckfire to get out of the hard-core BCPoli Blogging game...But I know my good friend BCMary would, if she could, very likely smack me up the side of the head if I really did so before election day... 
Update, late Friday:  In the original version of this post it could have been assumed that I was indicating that Mr. Carr was receiving additional compensation separate from the contracts themselves. There is no evidence of that. Thus, I have edited the post to make sure that is clear and I have added the post-script.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Are We The Only Ones That Have Taken An Interest In A Certain Numbered Company?


Well, well, well, whaddy'a know...

Turns out that someone in the 'media' has an FOI request in on 1048216 B.C. Ltd. as it pertains to a certain no bid contract out of the Premier's office (careful, link is to an .xls file):

And it's under 'Legislative Review'...

Imagine that!

What's it all about this time Alfie?....See previous post...Here.
And see follow-up post....Here.


This Contract In Clarkland...Sometimes A Numbered Company Is Just A Number...

...And Sometimes It Used To Have A Name.


Thursday 6:00pm....First update...Here
Friday 9:00pm....Second update (and it's a big one)...Here

For reasons likely best left unexplained, I sometimes like to poke around inside publicly available government databases just for the heck of it.


Last weekend I decided to have a look at recent BC government 'contracts'.

And the following is one that caught my eye:

Now, first of all, let's talk about the 'Procurement Process' that was used to by the Premier's Office to grant a $190,000 six month contract to a numbered company to provide said office with "strategic and personnel advice." from October 1st of last year until (surprise!) April 10th of this year.

According to the appropriate BC Government webpage this type of deal allows:

"...ministries to direct award purchase orders and contracts for goods, services or construction without competition under specific circumstances..."

In other words, this is a contract that was not put out for bids but instead was awarded directly to '1048216 B.C. LTD.' by the BC Liberal government.

And the rationale for that particular 'Direct Award'?

Why, 'Confidentiality', of course, which, according to government rules, means:


This must be super-important, super-secret stuff that this super-secret numbered company is doing, eh?

And it must have been just as super-important super-secret stuff that this same super-secret numbered company was doing for the Office of the Premier earlier last year as well, at least according to a recent government FOI release: (further link)
(further link)


With all that super-secret, super-important stuff going down, I decided to take a shot and look up the numbered company that the Office of our Premier has given more than $400,000 to in the last year or so on the off chance that maybe it hadn't always been so super-secret with respect to, say, its name.



We are not entirely sure exactly what 'Steve Carr Consultants Inc.' was and/or what it did exactly before it became '1048216 B.C. LTD.' in the fall of 2015 and then went to work for the Office of the Premier on super-important super-secret stuff beginning in February of 2016.

However, I am pretty sure they were not a 'VIP Phone System' company in Australia that won't take web traffic from an IP address in British Columbia.

But I could be entirely wrong about that.

As for the following:

Well, I'm sure the identity of the two names is entirely a coincidence and the Premier's paid advisor (scroll down) has nothing whatsoever to do with a numbered company that is being paid by the Premier to give her office super-important super-secret strategic and personnel advice.

Friday Mar24/17 @ 9:00pm....Please see 2nd update to this post (and it's a big one that has changed the conclusion significantly)...Here
On the 'flip' side....At least we know, for sure, that it is Gordon Wilson himself, apparently un-numbered, who received the an Order-In-Council sinecure that makes it possible for him to tell us that it our moral duty to ship LNG to the far east at $600 dollars a day, whether he 'works' or not.
And, thanks, to reader Lew (see the comments) who corrected me on the specific nature of the good Mr. Wilson's 'appointment'...Initially I said it was a contract...I got it wrong and apologize.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

This Week In Clarkland...My, How Have The Conflicty Have Fallen.


From a recent BC Government FOI release in response to a 'media' inquiry:


What's this one all about Alfie?

Well, as you might expect, it's...

Sparkle Pony Karaoke!

All of which is clearly much more important, and requires all kinds of time, effort and multiple back-and-forths with the friendlies compared to, say, the flat-out rejection of an unfriendly who might actually ask real questions like, say, Andrew McLeod:

...“I have the unfortunate duty to be the bearer of bad news,” (Premier) Clark’s press secretary Stephen Smart informed me by email Thursday. “I’m very sorry but I’ve tried to make the schedule work this way, that way and the other and I am just not able to fit you in for a year-end interview tomorrow.”

“I completely fall on my sword here in that I should have pushed for a longer chunk of time for these,” wrote Smart, a former CBC reporter and press gallery colleague who went to work in Clark’s office in February. “I’d be happy to try and line you up with a senior minister instead if that might be helpful or something else in lieu of the premier. Just let me know if there is anything.”...

Personally, I have come to the conclusion that it is our fine premier, based on actual evidence and events that have occurred, repeatedly, over the last 13 years (more to come!) rather than bafflegab  lapped up, unquestioned, by the local PostMedia  friendlies, who is the local political party leader who is most lacking in an ossified vertebral column.

Conflicty?....Well....As the BC Liberals are so fond of telling we, the peons..It's all in the past so...Why worry!
Tip 'O The Toque to Grant G. for a heads-up on the Twittmachine.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Why Did Premier Miss Yet More Time In The Legislature?


First, the following, from Bob Mackin:


What kinds of things was our fine Premier up to that kept her from dealing with the people's business?

Well, according to Vancouver Metro's David Ball at least, she spent some of her non-Ledge time running away the press, but not through tunnels as first suggestively reported.

Or some such thing:

...Metro and other journalists waiting outside (the BC Tech Summit at the Vancouver Convention Ctr) hoped to ask Clark about the growing scandal that’s dominated the news cycle just two months ahead of a pivotal provincial election. But Clark did not make herself available to the media...


...Editor's note: After this story ran, the premier's press secretary contacted Metro to state that the premier entered and exited the building through the front entrance (i.e. not through an underground tunnel). The story has been changed to reflect that.

(stuff in brackets, above, mine)

No word, however, from the Premier's office on whether or not her pants were still on fire when she did so.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

This Just In! BC Liberal Wizard Says Premier Actually...

....Believes In Something.

Meanwhile, Ms. Huntington, who has actually demonstrated, for real, that she believes in more than expediency, had the following to say to the Globe's Justine Hunter:

...“Isn’t it a masterful piece of deflection?” said Ms. Huntington, whose (own) proposed bill would cap individual donations, ban union and corporate donations, and add a residency requirement for donors...


Ms. Huntington's bill sure does sound a lot like Ms. Notley's in Alberta, not to mention Mr. Horgan's right here at home.

Of course, in a demonstration of the quislingfication of Mr. Weaver, there was a non-government bill that Ms. Clark was happy to support this week.

Which has some wondering if a last minute Sterk-like ad campaign, a la 2013, has already been bought and paid for for the good Mr. Weaver?

After all, it's not like the BC Liberal wizards don't have the cash for it.

Cue Mr. Jackson....Again (cause they can sell us anything!).
And, just in case you missed it....Liar! Liar! Pants On.....You guessed it!


Saturday, March 11, 2017

This Day Clarkland...The Dean Writes (Yet) Another Column About The Ombudsperson's Investigation.


The good Mr. Palmer has written yet another column about the Ombudsperson's (non-public) inquiry into the health care worker firings at the hands of the Clarklandians in which he (i.e. the Dean) kinda/sorta calls for the good Mr. Chalke to get his report on the matter into the public's hands before the election despite the following:

...(T)here’s no obvious precedent for the speaker to act on a report once the house has been dissolved and all the seats vacated for an election. That happens April 11, with the issuance of the writ for the May 9 vote.

So in practical terms Chalke has about a month to wrap up the investigation, settle any concerns about his findings and deliver the report to Speaker Linda Reid, lest it be at risk of languishing in her inbox pending the outcome of the campaign...



But, even if Mr. Chalke's report is released by the question period-quashing Ms. Reid before May 9th, what, exactly, will it contain?



Before you consider the answer to the question above, not to mention the whole release date thing, just remember the following...

The Dean had a whole lot of personal skin in this public inquiry-killing game before the game even began.

Case in point, here is what the good Mr. Palmer wrote back in June of 2015, almost two years (yes, years!) ago when he told us how having Mr. Chalke investigate, public inquiry-free, was the way to go:

...The ombudsman, as noted here Thursday, has all the powers needed to get to the bottom things: summon witnesses, take testimony under oath, seek documents and so forth. The office is independent of government and reports directly to the legislature. And if past practice is any guide, an independent officer of the legislature can get the answers in a matter of months if not weeks, unlike public inquiries, which can drag on for years...

Of course, none of the above was mentioned in yesterday's column by Mr. Palmer.

And fine folks like Ron Obvious keep insisting that it is all the public's fault for just not 'getting it'.


Tip O' The Toque to an Anon-O-Mouse for sending me back into the archives for the link above based on their comment in the thread to the last post...It's the kind of thing that  BC Mary would have been most happy to see...
SubHeader?....Weird how posts about the shortcomings of the local puffed-up punditry invariably lead to references to old Joe Jackson tunes.


Thursday, March 09, 2017

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Last Night In Pay-To-Playland....The Hand Inside The Glove Pivots.



Look what turned up, back-to-back, on the #bcpoli Twittmachine feed last night...


First, I think it is now pretty clear who is the hand and who is the glove here, right?

And, second, who could have possibly imagined that the wizards of Clarklandia would figure out a way to pivot this whole 'pay-to-play' thingy to their advantage?


The more Mr. Weaver wins the more things will stay the same around here through 2021.

I, for one, sure do hope that Mr. Keithley of North Burnaby has thought, hard, about that.


Tuesday, March 07, 2017

This Day In Pay-To-Playland...Will The Really Big Grift Get Lost In The Shuffle?


Allowing the foot soldiers in the griftiness game to pad the individual donor stats and cloak the true palsy-walsy players of the paything* is not good.

However, the bigger story, in which the palsiest of the palsys are enticed to make sizable 'investments' that pay-out massive returns that screw the rest of us over, but good, is not one of 'Both sides do it.'

Because only one side has been the government for sixteen years.



Meanwhile, Norm Farrell notes that the Dean has confirmed that he, himself, has officially checked out for the duration....

As for the Keef?


And Mikey-Mike?....Well he's making some squawking noises while pretends to be outraged about the smaller stories without going after, or anywhere near, the big one.
And, finally....Oh, heckfire....We'll get back to Mr. Obvious later.
Update: Why wasn't John Horgan all over this yesterday?...Because he's being careful and not just 'Saying Anything' as per the current premier of this province as was clear from his interview with Jon McComb this morning.
*Updatier Update: See insightful comments by Anon-O-Mice in the attached thread for ideas about how the small time end of the grift may/likely really works, in detail...Originally, I had noted that their may be tax implications to the smalltime grift...That is not clear, and may not, in fact, be the case in any significant way...Thus, I have revised the post and removed that.
Updatiest....Dermod Travis hypothesizes on the possible 'motivation' for the small time grift.


Sunday, March 05, 2017

This Weekend In Pay-To-Playland...The Globe's Slap And Tickle.


On Saturday the Globe published a piece under Kathy Tomlinson's byline about all that pay-to-play/evils-of-insider-access going on in Clarkland that we, the idiots in the Bloggodome (and anyone else who has actually been paying attention, including those nutbars from the NYTimes) have been saying for sometime now.

And that thing we have been saying has nothing to with this 'Wild West' in the land of the 'Iron Snowbird' nonsense.


Instead, we're talking about all pervasive straight-up, out-front, corporate-backed influence peddling on a grand Potemkin scale:

...Lobbyists and other power brokers are routinely buying their way into British Columbia’s political inner circles by donating generously to the party in power several times a year, a practice industry insiders consider the cost of doing business in a province with an entrenched pay-to-play culture.

A Globe and Mail review of public records found dozens of people who get paid to promote special interests also give tens of thousands of dollars every year – under their own names, not those of the interests they represent – to help B.C.’s governing politicians pay for their campaigns.

Many are registered lobbyists, whose job is trying to influence those politicians to make decisions that will benefit their clients...



After dangling a toe over Christy's Grand Griftyness Canyon on Saturday what did the Globe do on Sunday?

Why it published a scramble-back piece by Justine Hunter that started like this:

It was more than 20 years ago that the B.C. Liberal Party, then in opposition, attacked the NDP government of the day for bestowing special favour upon its “friends and insiders.” After 16 years in power, however, the Liberals are entrenched in defending a political fundraising system that sells access and influence to its own friends and insiders...

And it goes downhill from there.

Because, according to Ms. Hunter's piece the story of import now is all about legislative and campaign jousting that will soon come our way courtesy Ms. Clark and her minions that will be designed to win the battle for PR-flagged hearts and proMedia minds.

And as for what all that systemic and longterm  BC Liberalized graft has done and is doing  to this province and its citizenry that Ms. Tomlinson briefly brought to light on Saturday?


All gone!

One thing that did bug me about Ms. Tomlinson's piece was this 'both sides do it' mantra without once mentioning the Dippers' repeated efforts to try and get the BC Liberals to legislate an end to this...
Bizarrely, as Norm Farrell has pointed out, the good Ms. Hunter was apparently flabbergasted to learn that, thanks in large part to the silence of proMedia lambs like her, the people of British Columbia  'suddenly' owe $100 billion in contract obligations to the cronies who have been paid handsome returns on their pay-to-play 'investments' over the last decade-and-a-half....Seriously.
Update, Late Sunday...Ms. Tomlinson's follow-up says Elections BC is 'investigating', but don't hold your breath for charges anytime soon because, in the words of deputy chief Nola Western...'We've got a lot of work to do'.....Gosh, you think?


Thursday, March 02, 2017

This Day In Clarkland...When In Doubt, Privilege Up!



Bob Mackin has been trying, for some time now, to get our fine provincial government to explain the nuts and bolts of our cave-in....errrrr....concessions on the Woodfiber Sparkle Pony deal, including why we did this:

...The new eDrive rate is a $30 discount off the original $83.02 per megawatt-hour power rate the government had set for LNG plants. Eoin Finn of Woodfibre LNG foe My Sea to Sky estimated the eDrive rate would result in a $34 million-a-year subsidy to the plant, worth $860 million over 25 years.

Woodfibre LNG donated $79,500 to the BC Liberals from 2014 to 2016, including $5,000 just 11 days after the eDrive announcement. (Local Lotuslandian VP Byng) Giraud gave $48,964.36 since 2006. Two of Giraud’s 2016 Liberal donations ($10,225, Sept. 30 and $3,050, Nov. 30) bookended the period that included Coleman’s meeting with Tanoto and the eDrive decision. Natural gas supplier FortisBC and its predecessor, Terasen, donated $327,487.79 between 2005 and 2016...

Unfortunately, everything Mr. Mackin has received back in response to FOI applications is heavily censored.


Well, based on one bit that slipped out it might have something to do with the kind of lawyers that Warren Zevon likely never used when he got in a little trouble:

....On Oct. 13, Coleman and Bill Bennett, the energy minister responsible for BC Hydro, spoke to the Cabinet Working Group on Woodfibre LNG. What they said is a secret. A footnote on their speaking notes says it is “protected by solicitor client privilege.” The government is the client and has the power to waive privilege. But it didn’t...

Solicitor-Client Privilege, invoked to shirk any need (or pressure to?) waive cabinet privilege?


Where have we heard that gambit before?


We Railgate cultists remember well when it was pulled by the good Mr. Campbell back in the days of yore:

Hon. G. Campbell: I do want the Leader of the Opposition to understand what I've done here. In terms of the (privileged) screening of (Railgate-associated) cabinet documents, all those documents will be available to the Deputy Attorney General. He will make the decision vis-à-vis CABINET confidentiality or any of those issues in consultation with the special prosecutor. He will make the decision without any further consultation with me or anyone in the Premier's office.

Do you see what the good Mr. Campbell did there re: pretending who was NOT the boss in that thing there?


It's pay-to-play all the way baby....And why wouldn't the cronies do it when the return on investment is in the thousands of multiples....Yes, thousands....And if we, the Rubes, errrrr....citizens have to pay premium prices to produce all that 'new' power to sell cheap to the new cronies-in-waiting, well....So be it! 
And, finally....Mr. Zevon?....You bet.