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BC government corruption

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Re: BC government corruption

Postby John500 » Jan 14th, 2013, 11:25 am

Only one answer, toss them out of office. The sooner the better.
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Re: BC government corruption

Postby A_Britishcolumbian » Jan 14th, 2013, 2:34 pm

i wouldn't think 'tossing them out of office' would be a solution, but i am assuming you mean the Liberal party.
there are members of other parties in the government as well.
it is my belief that the body/structure of governmnet is flawed, as well as some if not all the political parties.
the solution to end the corruption would be abandonment of the entire flawed system. delete the legaslative assembly, create a new system, simpler and more conscise.
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Re: BC government corruption

Postby maple leaf » Jan 15th, 2013, 2:16 pm

More on the seemingly corruption surrounding the BC place roof.


BC Place Audit: A new and better reason for the Auditor General to investigate
Posted on January 14, 2013 by Ian

Paragon’s BC Place/Casino proposal

The BCNDP has made a formal complaint to the Auditor General regarding the BC Place redevelopment project. Bob Mackin is the only reporter covering the story over at the Tyee:

“Spencer Chandra Herbert, the Opposition critic for B.C. Pavilion Corporation, made a formal written complaint on Jan. 11 to John Doyle, seeking a value for money audit of the budgetary decisions throughout the process of rebuilding B.C. Place.”

(A note: I provided Herbert with PavCo documents obtained through FOI, amongst which was the one that lead to his complaint).

Herbert’s complaint centers around the escalation of the cost from $100 million to $500 million plus without a business plan for the project.

That’s not the only issue that should concern the Auditor.

Another is whether the procurement process for the developer of the adjacent site was fair and above board: In other words, was the selection corrupted?

It’s a significant question not the least because the casino dependent proposal selected by the BC Pavillion Corporation was to pay for cost of the renovation. The collapse of the Casino proposal when PavCo presented the final plan at public hearing left British Columbians on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars.

Documents recently released to me through a lengthy and delayed FOI process cast significant doubt on the fairness of the RFP process.

Not only did PavCo meet repeatedly with only one potential proponent – Paragon – well before the procurement process, PavCo used the planning process to accommodate Paragon’s specific design and floor space needs far in advance of the RFP.

The RFP selection was made de facto, at least eight months prior to the RFP’s public release.

***

As I disclosed in a prior post, PavCo began meeting with Paragon Gaming – the RFP winner – almost as soon as the planning process began in the Spring of 2008. The RFP process for selecting that proponent began a year later in the Spring of 2009.

It has to be said that it is not unusual with a project the size of the BC Place renewal to suss out possible proponents.

It is unusual and raises questions of fairness to suss out only one possible proponent among many. And that’s what PavCo did, focusing it’s attention on Paragon Gaming.

If PavCo felt a casino was critical to the development there are many better qualified for the development of casino, entertainment and hotel complexes.

In fact, Paragon has no experience with that kind of development with it’s record of running small “Indian” casinos in one or two locations in the US. Lack of experience was behind its failure to qualify for a similar project in Missouri just prior to the PavCo bid.

Regardless, PavCo confined its outreach to Paragon, meeting with their Vice President of Planning amongst others throughout the Spring of 2008, a year before the RFP.


Paragon Gaming VP Planning John Cahill with President Scott Menke at Vancouver City Hall

But PavCo went much further than meeting with officers of Paragon. PavCo used the city planning process to further Paragon’s design needs nine months before there was an RFP and a year before Paragon was selected.

That raises the question: was PavCo’s RFP for the half a billion dollar project a sham?

***

As spring turned into summer in 2008, the City and PavCo were meeting once a week to go over the planning elements that would result in development guidelines and supporting amendments to the City’s by-laws.

The committee was determined to complete it’s task, come hell or high water, before November when a new council would be elected.

A number of issues were raised and dealt with – pedestrian access, parking, built form etc… – but one kept raising it’s ugly unresolvable head – streetcar setback.

Now what does streetcar setback have to do with a casino?

For a while the city of Vancouver wanted to run a streetcar parallel to Pacific Boulevard and had set aside a six meter right of way for the future streetcar.

PavCo wanted the setback reduced. Why? To accommodate an extra-large casino.

Here’s the minute from the Planning Committee minutes of July 17th 2008:

“Streetcar Setback – The City is requesting a 6m ROW (right of way) along Pacific Boulevard within 80m of Smithe Street to allow for streetcar requirements that are still in flux. PAVCO has significant concerns about the amount of the setback as the podium would need to be reduced to accommodate the ROW and may seriously affect the floor plate requirements of a future casino tenant.”

In other words the Casino wanted a bigger floor plate than the city felt it could accommodate without sacrificing it’s streetcar plans. And PavCo argued on the Casino’s behalf.

But why would PAVCO be arguing on behalf of a future casino tenant when the RFP that would select the future casino tenant was at least 8 months in the future and the winner wouldn’t be known for a year? Or rather, how did PavCo know what the future would bring?

It appears that the work that should have been done after a proponent had been selected was done prior, making the RFP redundant. The proponent, it seems, was already in place and calling the shots during the planning process.

That sounds an awful lot like a very suspicious RFP and one that the Auditor General should be interested in looking at very closely.

***

BTW, PavCo and Paragon got their way in the planning process. The City more or less caved and said build what you want. We’ll see what comes of it.

Representing the City in the debate was Ken Dobell, former deputy to the Premier of BC. Dobell was hired by his former underling Judy Rogers. Rogers now chairs BC Housing.

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Re: BC government corruption

Postby ScottSA » Jan 16th, 2013, 7:25 am

Press Release: "Come clean, Mr. Foster" BC Conservatives urge embattled MLA

BC Liberal insider bought future constituency office just four days before 2009 election
WireService.ca Press Release - Jan 15, 2012 - The BC Conservatives today demanded that Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster "tell the whole truth" and explain why in 2009 he transferred his constituency office to premises recently-purchased by his assistant's husband - who in turn is a veteran BC Liberal donor and patronage appointee.

The demand came after it was learned that the property and building in question was acquired by a company owned by Ravinder 'Sid' Sidhu - husband of Min Sidhu, Foster's constituency assistant - and his father, mere days before voters went to the polls in British Columbia's 39th general election.

The property, apparently desperately in need of renovation, was bought by the Sidhus' company, Kalview Park Investments, in a cash transaction dated May 8, 2009.

Four days after that purchase, on May 12, 2009, Foster won election as BC Liberal MLA for Vernon-Monashee.

Foster soon announced to the local news media that the Vernon-Monashee constituency office was being transferred from the Sun Valley Mall to a different, undisclosed site.

"It (would be) a little more accessible to people," Foster was quoted on June 5, 2009 by Vernon radio station 107.5 FM. "That's the only reason."

Coincidentally, the location Foster chose for his new constituency office was the same building bought 29 days earlier by Min Sidhu's husband, Ravinder, his father, Ajit, and their company, Kalview Park Investments.

Foster selected the premises - a former sushi restaurant - despite its dire need of renovations.

As British Columbians recently and belatedly have learned, Foster quickly ordered tens of thousands of dollars in office renovations, and then submitted to the Legislative Assembly a $78,000 bill unaccompanied by invoices or any other evidence of the renovator's actual work

After the office of John Doyle, B.C.'s Auditor General, flagged the bill for irregularities, Bill Barisoff, the BC Liberal Speaker, reportedly authorized the expenditure of $67,000 in taxpayer funds to pay for Foster's office renovations.

In early January, a legislative committee dominated by BC Liberals and chaired by Eric Foster refused to extend a second term to Doyle as Auditor General.

-30-

------------------------------------

BC CONSERVATIVE CANDIDATE SCOTT ANDERSON WANTS FULL DISCLOSURE OF MLA ERIC FOSTER'S RENOVATION EXPENSES

VERNON-Scott Anderson, British Columbia Conservative Party candidate for Vernon-Monashee, calls on MLA Eric Foster to make public all documentation surrounding his constituency office renovations.

The BC Conservatives have discovered that Mr. Foster's landlord, a prominent Liberal donor, patronage appointee, and husband of Mr. Foster's executive assistant, bought the long-vacant property in a cash transaction four days before the 2009 election. Mr. Foster immediately picked it as his new office location in spite of the fact that it needed massive renovations.

"This transaction caught the attention of the Auditor General not once but twice, and people are asking serious questions about where their taxes went," said Anderson. "I call on Mr. Foster to immediately make all records, receipts and correspondence surrounding this transaction public and available for scrutiny."

"Mr. Foster claims these questions constitute 'character assassination' and 'mud flinging,'" said Anderson. "I find accusations of mud-flinging to be an odd response to a legitimate request for greater government transparency and disclosure."

-30-
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Re: BC government corruption

Postby NAB » Jan 16th, 2013, 10:13 am

So let's see, a Liberal insider, whose wife happened to work for the local Liberal candidate/MLA (i.e the taxpayers), purchases a vacant property "badly in need of renovations", and gets them renovated and rented/leased out to the local MLA at taxpayer expense. The MLA "then submitted to the Legislative Assembly a $78,000 bill unsupported by invoices or any other evidence of the renovator's actual work". We don't appear to even know who did the work or who the money was paid to?

MLA Bill Barisoff, another Okanagan Liberal MLA and the speaker of the Legislature (who's own performance in that job has come under serious question and apparently has chosen not to run for re-election), authorized on that basis the payment of $67,000.00 taxpayer dollars (no one seems to have pressed so far the for exact reason the payment was $11,000.00 less than the amount claimed). And he did that even in the face of B/C's Auditor General raising questions of irregularities.

The local MLA in question got appointed to chair the Liberal dominated committee charged with deciding whether the people's watchdog the Auditor General should be re-appointed for a second term or not, .....and decided "not".

Is that about it? Looks like Liberal coalition "business as usual" to me. And the local MLA involved seemingly cannot understand why anyone would even question the matter, and terms such questions attempts at character assassination????

Gawd. Looks to me like yet another situation where the Liberal/Socred coalition should be looking for a different candidate to run in that riding too in the next election. The necessary Liberal Party housecleaning is obviously no where near complete yet.

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Re: BC government corruption

Postby maple leaf » Jan 16th, 2013, 1:02 pm

NAB wrote:MLA Bill Barisoff, another Okanagan Liberal MLA and the speaker of the Legislature (who's own performance in that job has come under serious question and apparently has chosen not to run for re-election), authorized on that basis the payment of $67,000.00 taxpayer dollars (no one seems to have pressed so far the for exact reason the payment was $11,000.00 less than the amount claimed). And he did that even in the face of B/C's Auditor General raising questions of irregularities.


As far as I understand Foster is claiming he didn't know anything about the Auditors enquiries at the time of the decision not to re-appoint Mr Doyle.Sounds pretty far fetched to me. He needs to do some explaining.And once again our non elected Premier is in hiding ,yup business as usual for the Liberals.Guess they are waiting for the next bungled controversy, then media and most people forget about this one and it gets forgotten .
Keep on them Scott.
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Re: BC government corruption

Postby NAB » Jan 16th, 2013, 1:20 pm

As I posted in the political arena, apparently Christy is tuned in enough to have this morning asked the committee to extend Doyle's appointment by two years. I guess she has concluded that what the committee has done is not at all popular with the electorate and will cost the Liberal re-election chances a few more downgrades. Hopefully she gets fully briefed on Fosters constituency office diddle and sends her candidate selection committee hounds out to sniff that out in depth too.

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Re: BC government corruption

Postby NAB » Jan 16th, 2013, 5:19 pm

Whine about "character assassination" and who leaked the information all you want Mr. Foster, but you get no sympathy from me - or even from the Finance Minister LOL. I just hope the electors of Vernon-Monashee feel similarly come election time. Of course you could save yourself (and the Liberal Party) much embarrassment by simply resigning. And it really doesn't go over very well when your attitude appears to be that details of your constituency spending should be kept secret from your constituents. It makes people wonder what else may be being hidden.

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Faced with questions about an embarrassing audit of his constituency spending, B.C. Liberal MLA Eric Foster is demanding an investigation into how the information came to light.

Mr. Foster said Wednesday he was not aware that B.C. Auditor-General John Doyle had raised concerns about inadequate financial controls over a $78,000 renovation carried out to his constituency office. Mr. Foster happens to chair the legislature committee that recently refused to extend Mr. Doyle’s appointment as auditor.

But the MLA for Vernon-Monashee insisted the money was well spent, and said he will ask the Speaker of the House to probe how details of the auditor’s concerns were obtained by the Victoria Times Colonist newspaper this week.

He declined to release a copy of the audit, which was handled by the secretive Legislative Assembly Management Committee.

“It’s privileged information, it’s not to be published. Whoever leaked it to the Times Colonist was breaking the law,” Mr. Foster told reporters.

But Finance Minister Mike de Jong offered his caucus colleague little sympathy, saying the public should have access to details of how MLAs spend public money.


http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/bri ... le7155178/
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Re: BC government corruption

Postby flamingfingers » Jan 16th, 2013, 5:28 pm

If they did things "openly, transparently and were accountable" there would be no 'leaks'..
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Re: BC government corruption

Postby maple leaf » Jan 16th, 2013, 7:49 pm

I see that this committee to decide over Mr Doyles fate had a meeting today ,but I have not heard if Eric Foster is going to recuse himself from the committee .He is now out of excuses and is now clearly in conflict of interest here.
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Re: BC government corruption

Postby maple leaf » Jan 19th, 2013, 11:48 am

Wonder if next weeks meeting will keep John Doyle now that he has taken the NDP up on investigating the corruption surrounding the replacement of the BC place roof.



Saturday, January 19, 2013
Another (Really Important) Reason Why Mr. Doyle Must Stay!
MayTheMint400NeverRunDownPacificBlvd
AndBurrardIsNotBarstowVille


Downtown Vancouver really is not Vegas.

But it darn sure as heckfire almost was.

And it is my opinion, based on the evidence unearthed so far, that the five or six hundred million (or maybe a billion when all is said and done and the greasy cables and failing patches of magic carpet are finally fixed, not to mention all the lawsuits finally completed/settled?) we are paying for that bloody BC Place renovation when Toronto built itself a brand spanking new soccer stadium for $72 million was actually done, at the very least, to make group of finest of the fine folks from Vegas and their Gordinator the Firstian advanceman happy from the very beginning.

But never mind all that for the moment.

Because what we spent on that new roof for the old marshmallow is a huge pile of our money that we no longer have that cannot be used for things that actually matter.

So I want to know who took that money from us and how they did it.

Why?

Because I want to make sure that they cannot do it again.

Ever.

No matter how many hats they wear, or how many 'legacies' they are be posted to.

Which is why I'm very, very happy to learn that, based in large part on a letter unearthed by FOI, a process was kickstarted that has resulted in the following, as reported by a red mittenless Bob Mackin in BIV.

Here's Mr. Mackin's lede (but go read it all):

B.C. Auditor General John Doyle will take a closer look at the costs of the controversial BC Place Stadium renovation, it was revealed today.

NDP critic Spencer Chandra Herbert appealed to the government's spending watchdog in a January 11 letter for a value-for-money audit after Business in Vancouver revealed a five-year-old confidential letter from the chairman of BC Pavilion Corp. to Vancouver's city manager. That January 22, 2008, letter by David Podmore said the project would be "in the order of $100 million," including replacement of the air-supported roof.

Last August, the BC Liberal government claimed the final cost was $514 million, which included a German-engineered, spoke-and-wheel retractable roof.

"What was the original business case for this project, and why did the Liberals feel it was the best use of B.C. tax dollars?" asked Chandra Herbert in his letter. "How will the BC Liberal government recover its half-billion-dollar investment in B.C. Place, and how did this project stray so far from its original budget?"

Doyle responded in a January 16 letter, that said: "As a result of your request, we will be performing a fact-finding exercise. In the event that a satisfactory explanation is not readily forthcoming, the Auditor General may choose to do further work."...
http://pacificgazette.blogspot.ca
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Re: BC government corruption

Postby flamingfingers » Jan 19th, 2013, 4:14 pm

Guaranteed that Mr. Doyle will find 'grease' in more places than the fabric roof!!!!
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Re: BC government corruption

Postby Alvis » Jan 19th, 2013, 4:57 pm

flamingfingers wrote:If they did things "openly, transparently and were accountable" there would be no 'leaks'..

...which is what they promised back in 2001 and have yet to deliver.
I hear the BC Conservatives will be open, transparent and accountable, especially the ex-BC Liberals turned BC Conservative members.
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Re: BC government corruption

Postby ScottSA » Jan 21st, 2013, 10:04 am

"Fostergate"

Four days before the 2009 election, when a BC Liberal victory was all but certain, a prominent Liberal supporter, patronage appointee, and long-time Foster friend - also married to Foster's Executive Assistant - bought a long-vacant, run-down building in dire need of renovations.

Almost immediately upon election, Mr. Foster announced a move out of the reasonably-priced, wheelchair accessible premises his predecessor occupied in Sun Valley Mall to his friend's newly-purchased building, in spite of the fact that it was run-down and in need of substantial renovation. Foster immediately commissioned $78,000 worth of renovations and THEN commenced four years of lease payments that were almost twice as much as the lease his predecessor was paying.

Four years later, after sinking well over $250,000 in taxpayer funds into a building that originally cost only $189,000 to buy, Mr. Foster's political crony now owns, free and clear, a substantially upgraded building entirely bought and paid for by BC taxpayers.
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Re: BC government corruption

Postby maple leaf » Jan 23rd, 2013, 8:29 pm

Here is one story to watch as it develops .It looks like another in a long list of Liberal corruption.


Time for Minister Rich Coleman to step down – calls to Surrey Councillors absolute political interference in process.
Posted on January 23, 2013 4:39 pm by Laila
There is more to come on Coleman and the Gateway story - it’s huge and is still developing on several angles, but Alex Browne of the Peace Arch News scooped a hint of it with this story just out:

“BC Liberal MLA Gordon Hogg says he is “surprised” and “disappointed” to learn that B.C.’s minister responsible for gaming made personal calls to Surrey councillors during last week’s public-hearing process on the Gateway casino-entertainment complex.

“I’m planning to have further discussion with my colleagues on this,” the Surrey-White Rock MLA said Tuesday.

Hogg said it’s a matter of concern for him that his BC Liberal colleague, Rich Coleman, was talking to council members between two public hearings on the South Surrey project.

Hogg said such conversation was open to interpretations that it was an attempt to influence the decision.

Repeated attempts by Peace Arch News to reach Coleman since Monday morning have been unsuccessful.

Couns. Tom Gill and Bruce Hayne confirmed to PAN independently Tuesday that they had both received calls from Coleman between the first public-hearing session Jan. 14 and a second session Jan. 18. Both councillors said Coleman advised them that if the project didn’t pass, Surrey would not receive any other applications through BC Lottery Corporation.”

This is not only unregistered lobbying, this is political interference from a Minister who should, by position, remain exempt from comment or influence in any manner. As a former RCMP member, Coleman more than anyone, should know this.

I would hope Coleman would do the right thing and step down immediately, but failing that, Christy Clark needs to do the right thing and ask him to stand down pending a full investigation into this proposal from beginning to end. Well done to Alex Browne of the Peace Arch News for this!!!!

*** A little bit of connection here…. Senator Larry Campbell has a seat on the board of directors of Great Canadian Casino…. perhaps Coleman was/is gunning for a seat on the board of Gateway Casinos ? http://www.gatewaycasinos.com/board-of-directors.html
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