Friday, July 18, 2008

Another Liberal Bites the Dust? Maybe Two?

Quite simply, Rich Coleman must resign from the BC Liberal Cabinet and from the BC government. There are no ifs, ands or buts about this. BC cannot afford to have Coleman having this level of responsibility over our resources and assets. He has terribly bungled every file he has been on, which costs the taxpayers of BC.

From Andrew MacLeod’s article in the Tyee:

'Growth Is Coming': Developer Floats Plan for Jordan River

“The land in question was managed for forestry under the Tree Farm Licence system until Forest Minister Rich Coleman allowed Western Forest Products Inc. to remove it in January 2007.

And another one:

Forest Minister's Brother High in Firm Granted Tree Farm Deal

“Forest and Range Minister Rich Coleman has said repeatedly that releasing 28,000 hectares of Western Forest Products Inc.'s private land from management under British Columbia's Tree Farm Licence system was done to help a company that was suffering financially.

While Coleman's decision has received much scrutiny in the media and Auditor General John Doyle is investigating, here's one detail that has so far been largely overlooked: Coleman's older brother Stan is Western Forest Products manager of strategic planning.

Stan Coleman joined WFP in May 2006, when the company acquired the short-lived Cascadia Forest Products Inc. Cascadia was created in 2005 when Weyerhaeuser sold its B.C. assets to Brascan, which later became Brookfield Asset Management Inc. Brookfield also now owns a majority interest in WFP.

The minister's brother worked for Weyerhaeuser in 2004 when the company benefited from another release of private land from management under TFLs. In that case, then forest minister Mike de Jong released the land against the recommendation of ministry staff.

Checking the Lobbyist Registry this is what we’ve come up with for WFP, nothing for
Ender Ilkay, the real estate developers who cashed in on the Jordan River land that was removed from from Crown land:

Gary Ley is registered as a lobbyist for the following companies, wonder how they made out with whatever they were lobbying the government for:

Western Forest Products (Forestry)– Start: 2007-JAN-01; End: 2007-DEC-31
TimberWest Forest Corp (Forestry)– – Start: 2002-SEP-01; End: 2003-DEC-31
647680 BC Ltd. (Mining) – Start: 2003-JUL-03; End: 2004-JUL-03
Lignum Ltd. (Forestry) – Start: 2003-JAN-09; End: 2004-DEC-31

Weyerhauser has had quite a few different lobbyists over the years.


BC Liberal MLA Pat Bell, current Minister of Forests should go too.

“Bell followed up by slamming Doyle in a media scrum, calling the report unprofessional and lacking in integrity.”

To attack the Auditor General and his report in this way is so appalling and such a demonstration of unprofessional viciousness that he should no longer be allowed to “represent” the public’s interest anymore. We would be embarrassed if he was our MLA.

But, one thing Bell’s attack demonstrates to taxpayers: you know how when you have to deal with the public service and things don’t make sense, or you experience rude managers etc. That is just a brief taste of what it is like to work in the public service, because people like Bell and Coleman are your boss and set the tone for everything that happens and who gets promoted and it’s one of the reasons people are leaving in droves.
Talk about a lack of integrity.

“Auditor general John Doyle says in his years of performing accountability audits, he has "never, ever seen anything" like Forests Minister Pat Bell's outburst Wednesday over his forest-land report.”

Before accepting the job, Doyle was assured he would have independence and support from both sides of the house and he does not expect recent tensions to affect that."I will continue to operate in a fearless way," he said.

Pat Bell was appointed Minister of Agriculture and Lands on June 16, 2005. He previously served as Minister of State for Mining (January 26, 2004 - June 18, 2005).

Also a special investigator should be assigned to investigate whether Coleman, any of his employees or any employees of Western Forest Product received any little “envelopes of encouragement” to remove the Crown land and then hand it over to real estate developers. You cannot even hope to convince us there is no money trail somewhere and we’re willing to bet that there are people out there who know where that trail is.

From Coleman’s biography:

Before his election to the Legislative Assembly, Mr. Coleman ran a real estate management and consulting company. He is also a former member of the RCMP and a security specialist.
From 2001 to 2005 he served as Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.
(This would be the Coleman who tried to stop an inquiry into Frank Paul’s death so the spectre of racism toward Aboriginal citizens wouldn’t be raised about his beloved police forces?)
Rich Coleman was appointed Minister of Forests and Range and Minister Responsible for Housing on June 16, 2005. As the Forest Minister, he was integral to the negotiations of the Softwood Lumber deal, established the Coast Action Plan and has brought quicker, more practical decision making processes.

One might also wonder whether Mr. Bell’s history and involvement as the owner of logging company and any real estate deals, or Tree Farm Licenses his company has been awarded might also be scrutinized? His reaction is best described as “the best defense is an offense.”

We cannot have Coleman in cabinet anymore, especially on such an important file.
And quite frankly, maybe there needs to be some scrutiny into all of these buildings the BC government has been buying under his leadership. It becomes more and more clear, many members of the Liberals and some of their inner circle gang don’t get up the morning within being paid for the pleasure on our dime. We think the public deserves to know much more about that and I think John Doyle, our credible new Auditor General is the one to help us find some of this out. The rest is for the police. And the folks from Division “E” better know the public is watching your conduct. You’re in up to your necks in the BC Rail/Raid on the Legislature and more and more of us are getting it. And you aren’t immune to accountability either.


We also came across this today too, we have to agree and think the public deserves to know the full details of the compensation packages and incentives Mr. Coleman, Mr. Bell and their senior underlings get from the taxpayers.

BC Association of Social Workers
July 18, 2008

BC government rewards public service executives’ ‘performance’ – while children and families languish on waitlists. Is this how our $2.9 billion surplus should be spent?

The BC Association of Social Workers commends the provincial government for moving toward more transparency and openness with the full disclosure of the detailed compensation packages afforded to senior executives in the BC government, health authorities, education sector, Crown corporations and agencies.

We see that the combined salaries of the five executives of Community Living BC (CLBC) surpassed $900,000 in 2007/08. We note with alarm that four out of five senior executives received incentive bonuses. We would like to know exactly what work these executives have done to earn these “incentives” in light of the serious and chronic crisis in service provision that confronts children, youth and families dealing with developmental challenges, an issue that has been well documented in the media and by community living and child welfare communities. We believe it is in the public’s interest and those of the thousands of children, youth and families who have been refused services by CLBC to publicly report on what they have done to earn these incentives, since they are tied to performance of these executives.

Further to this, we consider it highly inappropriate for senior executives in the social service sector and direct government to be rewarded with bonuses when this money would be much better utilized in funding adequate staffing levels of social workers and other frontline workers who provide crucial services to the public.

We now call on the BC government to continue their commitment to transparency, accountability and openness by disclosing the complete and detailed compensation packages offered to BC government Cabinet Ministers, Assistant Deputy Ministers and top senior executives in each Ministry. We look forward to learning what compensation our elected leaders and senior executives in the BC government make in the course of their service to the public and citizens of British Columbia.

Since the BC government has a healthy budget surplus of $2.5 billion, we respectfully suggest that the Province use some of these funds to provide housing to the thousands of individuals who have found themselves homeless and disqualified from accessing income assistance over the past seven years. They should also immediately provide additional funding to BC’s child welfare system so that it will not continue to experience the kind of severe crisis it has over the same period of time.

BC leads the country in child poverty for the fifth year in a row. With a surplus of that magnitude, the BC government can immediately improve the lives and wellbeing of BC's children, youth and families. If we have the money to pay high salaries and perks for senior executives of the public sector, shouldn't we have the money for our children? A society and a government's commitment to caring for its most vulnerable citizens is the strongest indicator of who is valued and who is not. The BCASW believes that all individuals and families, and all social service professional and community sector workers are of value and deserve much better treatment from government.

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