Sunday, January 18, 2009

When Campbell's Lips are Moving

We know what that means...

Gordon Campbell on the Olympic Village
CBC Newsworld

Premier Backtracks on Olympic Village Comments


Premier Gordon Campbell is apologizing for telling a national TV audience there has been no cost over-run on the billion-dollar Olympic Village project.

Campbell made the statement during an interview on CBC Newsworld, "Number one, there's not cost overruns in the Olympic Village. What there is is there are some challenges in terms of one of the opportunities to finance it, there are not cost overruns."

In fact, the City of Vancouver made it clear to reporters just hours earlier there have been cost overruns of up to $125 million.

Campbell later tried to clarify his comments, "What I was saying was there are no cost overruns for the Olympics. Sorry if it came out the wrong way, I apologize for that."

Campbell says he's not up to date on all the details of the Olympic Village, which will be the lone subject of Saturday's special sitting of the BC Legislature.

Meanwhile, NDP leader Carole James doesn't buy Campbell's backtracking and says it fits in with his overall denial about rising Olympic costs, "When you don't tell the truth, when you're not up front with the public, then you have difficulty keeping your stories straight, and that's pretty clear. The premier was talking about the Olympic Village. He said it was on budget, which simply isn't true."

James says it's time for the government to admit BC will pay a lot more than $600 million for the Olympics.


Gordon Campbell Convention Centre Boondoggle


Olympic Village Boondoggle: Who Didn't We Hear From Yesterday On The CBC?

Olympic Village Boondoggle: Just How Much Cash Money Is In That Endowment Anyway?

Gazetteer: Because you can't find a neandercon in a haystack without the proper coordinates.....

Hansard Legislative Debate on Olympic Village (& Olympics)
January 17, 2009.

House Video Part 1 (1200 to 2400 hrs)

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived and dishonest -- but the myth -- persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."----John F. Kennedy

Saturday, January 03, 2009

2008 BC Liberal Suck Year in Review: Get Rich Quick Scheme: Become a BC Liberal Appointee

ICBC scandal

2008 saw the imploding of one of the worst kept secrets – the “chop shop” sales of written off vehicles with no disclosures to BC buyers and rigged auctions to ICBC staff.

As the scandal broke, Paul Taylor, BC Liberal appointee high-tailed it out of his cushy CEO job, but not before he was able to collect a sweet $524,759 in salary from BC taxpayers.

At one point, there were no less than five different investigations ongoing, including a RCMP investigation. We've yet to hear about any charges, or wrongdoing.

KPMG, the BC Liberal audit investigator ofchoice, found no wrongdoing on Taylor’s part about disclosing information during a fishing trip, while he was a Liberal Finance Deputy Minister. Unfortunately BC taxpayers never got to see the full report, as Campbell’s government refused to release it publically.

More on Paul Taylor’s “Special” friendship with the BC Liberals:

Paul Taylor, BC Liberal insider was appointed by Campbell’s government to become president and CEO, Insurance Corp. of B.C. after serving as a Deputy Finance Minister.

He first contributed to BC Liberal coffers with donations from the New Car Dealers Association, where he was chair. In 2003, NCDA donated $54,967.

In the first ten months of 2004, NCDA contributed $57,303 to the BC Liberals and what a pay off! On October 1st 2004, Taylor (was appointed by the Campbell Liberal government to become CEO and President of ICBC. In his last year as CEO of ICBC, he pulled in a sweet $524,759.

In 2005, a whopping $153,074 was donated to the BC Liberals. In 2006, a tiny $4400. In 2007, a modest $10,600.

BC Liberal Donations from 2005 to 2007

In June 2005 Paul Taylor, signing officer of Alberta-based, Transalta Corporation also donated $5000 to the BC Liberals.

Approved and Ordered March 8, 2002
Statutory Authority: Public Service ; Financial Administration

Effective April 1, 2002:
Paul Taylor is appointed Deputy Minister (DM), Ministry of Finance, and Secretary to Treasury Board.

Approved and Ordered July 29, 2004
Statutory Authority: Public Service; Financial Administration
Effective August 3, 2004:
The appointment of Paul Taylor as Deputy Minister, Ministry of Finance continues.

ICBC appoints new chief executive
Business Edge. Published: 09/30/2004 - Vol. 1, No. 20.

The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) has a new chief executive officer. Paul Taylor takes up his duties on Oct. 1. [2004]. Taylor is currently deputy minister of finance in the provincial government.

He joined the Government of British Columbia in 2001 from the BC Automobile Dealers Association where he was president and CEO. [With a name change, that became the New Car Dealers Association].

THURSDAY, APRIL 3, 2008. Afternoon Sitting: Volume 29, Number 7.

Oral questions: ICBC performance bonuses to Paul Taylor 10888-9
H. Lali: My question was really about Mr. Paul Taylor. Well, let me remind the minister opposite. Here's Mr. Paul Taylor's record:
1)a Liberal B.C. Rail corruption scandal,
2)a Liberal convention centre scandal,
3)a Liberal ICBC corruption scandal.

CBC stories:

Claims costs slash ICBC's 2005 profit by 47%

Review finds no misconduct by former BC deputy minister

"We found no evidence in the work we performed that Mr. Taylor used confidential information received through his employment with the government to further his private interests or make personal gains," the letter said.

Head of ICBC quits amid car sale scandal

The CEO of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia has resigned amid a scandal involving close to 100 cars repaired at the Crown corporation's Burnaby facility that were sold without proper disclosure of their accident history.

Getting Rich @ the Expense of the People:
Pay Raises to Liberal Deputy Ministers & Senior government bureaucrats

While BC was distracted by the opening of the Beijing Olympics, Campbell’s government announced that they were giving salary increases to the “top 100 bureaucrats,” retroactive to August 1st. Increases could be as high as 43%, costing taxpayers somewhere in the area of $4 million for approximately 20 deputy ministers (from $221,760 to $299,215) and 80 assistant deputy ministers(from $160,000 to $195,000).

Campbell's Liberal insider and deputy minister, Jessica McDonald was in line
for a 43 per cent increase, bringing her salary from $243,936 to a possible
$348,600. All of this, with little in the way of evidence of any substantial
work she’s managed to do at her lower salary. Think that’s harsh, have a look
at the Corporate Human Resource Plan she is so proud of. Not a single way to
measure if she's done anything as the head of the entire BC public service.

Being the Best 2006/07 - 2008/09

Most of _US_ first off have to be qualified to get our jobs, then we have to
receive employee appraisals to get modest pay raises. Don’t you wonder what
criteria Campbell’s appointees have to meet to earn these grossly inflated
increases, other than being friends and insiders, of course? I sure do, especially when you look at the mess some of the Ministries are in, often because some people were never qualified to be appointed in the first place.

This debacle can’t be seen as anything but contemptuous to regular citizens in
light of Campbell’s chronic refusal to raise the minimum wage to at least $10,
tie it to cost of living increases and scrap the $6 training wage. Or, to raise income assistance and disability rates, or how about a child care system? And
let’s not forget homelessness has become an epidemic under the Campbell government. It is being fueled, in part, by the barriers the Liberals created to prevent citizens from accessing income assistance and disability.

Remind me again: who is worthy and who isn’t? The Campbell BC Liberal government is pretty clear about that.

Raise the Rates

Public Sector Salary Database – Vancouver Sun

BC Government Salaries – Top Executives

B.C. bureaucrats get huge pay raise

B.C. government says no to increase in minimum wage

List of highest-paid B.C. public servants in 2007

Getting ahead of themselves?
Sean Holman, Public Eye Online.

Ms. McDonald, who is married to former caucus communications director Mike McDonald, will continue to have overall responsibility for the government's resource and environmental ministries.
But she'll now be one of three deputy ministers reporting directly to the premier, along with Ken Dobell, the head of the public service, and Brenda Eaton. Bureaucrats have long stood in slack-jawed, drool-mouthed awe at the talented and respected Ms. McDonald's rapid career advancement.

In a class by herself
Sean Holman, Public Eye Online.

After all, when Ms. McDonald was first appointed as the premier's deputy minister in June 2005, The Province Michael Smyth reported she was "believed to be in her late 30s." So there's little chance she'll be retiring on or before 2018. Moreover, prior to being hired in November 2003 as the special projects deputy minister in the premier's office, Ms. McDonald had been a land programs manager at the ministry of environment, lands and parks and a public land management consultant. Arguably, neither of those jobs would have qualified her to become the head of a provincial civil service. So, if the Liberals are having trouble retaining her, it's at least partially because of the opportunities Gordon Campbell has afforded to Ms. McDonald.

Comment by Martin C:
As head of the BC Public Service Jessica MacDonald created a Human Resource plan in October 2006. This plan contained no measurements or quantifiable goals, but lots of glossy pictures of happy smiling civil servants and plenty of rah rah statements.

Being the Best 2006/07 - 2008/09


C. James: Earlier today Ken Dobell, the Premier's closest adviser and friend, pled guilty to violating B.C.'s lobbyist laws, but the Premier refuses to hold anyone accountable. The Premier and his office have been tainted by this very serious ethical breach — an ethical breach that the Premier himself condoned. What is the Premier's response? To bury his head in the sand and pretend that nothing is wrong.

My question is to the Deputy Premier. Will she denounce Ken Dobell's actions, cut all ties with him and fire the Premier's deputy minister who signed off on a scheme that the special prosecutor called influence-peddling?

C. James: I'd like to remind the Attorney General that Ken Dobell, the Premier's closest friend and adviser, just pled guilty. He pled guilty today. … The question isn't how this happened. We know that already. Ken Dobell ignored the law. The Premier's Deputy Minister Jessica McDonald signed off on a scheme that the special prosecutor is calling influence-peddling. The real question is why the Premier won't hold anyone accountable.

Mr. Dobell isn't the only one to blame. It was the Premier that actually approved this scheme. My question, again, to the Deputy Premier: will she today fire the Premier's deputy minister and finally restore integrity to the tainted office of the Premier?

Afternoon Sitting, Volume 28, Number 7

TaxPayer Gouging Elevated to an Art Form: Rent-to-Own

The salary of the head of Partnerships B.C. is $503,424, equivalent to the earnings of 29 individuals or families on the minimum wage. Twenty-nine. Simply not fair.

“Gordon Campbell’s Deputy Minister Jessica McDonald takes home the equivalent of 15 of these families. Clear evidence that the Liberal government is working hard to widen the gap between the highest wage earners and the lowest.

“This kind of social injustice cannot be tolerated. The Liberals must be held to account.”
- John Dressler (letter to the Williams Lake Tribune), Dec. 11, 2008

BC Lottery Corporation

Vic Poleschuk, president and CEO of the B.C. Lottery Corp. was canned in June 2007 (can you say scapegoat, the favourite game of deflection by BC Liberals) after the generally useless Ombudsman’s office actually investigated something and found out the Liberal lottery system was ripe for fraud and abuse and that lottery “officials” had failed to protect the public.

But, don’t feel bad to Poleschuk, he made out like he won the lottery – earning close to a million taxpayer bucks, $929,027, with only $275,000 in salary, and the rest in bonuses and severance. Geeze, great job if you can get it, eh?

Most of us when we’re canned can’t even get on EI, but all good things come to Liberal loyalists, that's how things work in Gordon Campbell's Beautiful BC.

Other CBC stories:

Fired B.C. lottery boss wins top pay in public service
Fired B.C. Lottery chief was paid performance bonus
Former B.C. Lottery chief gets $600,000 in severance
B.C. lottery boss terminated

For more on Liberal insiders, appointees & shenanigans, see Railgate, A to Z Bill Tieleman’s encyclopedia of the Sale of BC Rail/Raid on the Legislature/Basi-Virk Trials