Thursday, April 23, 2009

BC Liberal Reward Plan: It Pay$$$ to be Friends with Liberals

Of course Patrick Kinsella is all the rage to talk about, what with his prosperous earnings as a consultant in the sale of BC Rail. As I'm sure Mr. K. could teach us, consulting is a lucrative business and he's done very, very well at it.

"In B.C., the public hasn't a hope of knowing whether decisions by elected officials are being made in an atmosphere free of any apparent conflict of interest. In fact, under the Liberals the business of government is conducted amid some of the lowest standards of conduct and ethics anywhere in the country."

- Gary Mason - Globe & Mail. April 18, 2009.
BC Rail case shows why lobbying rules must be tougher

Someone else who's done quite well is Robin Adair, Super Slick. Good friend of Campbell, who is now running for the BC Liberals' in Saanich South. We wrote a blog on just how friendly and helpful his work has been in greasing the wheels of business between the BC government and various corporate interests over the years in this report:

Monday, September 01, 2008
More BC Liberal Friends & Insiders: Tired of this Yet?

Tom Sandborn offered up a good story on the BC Liberals yanking job placement contracts for income assistance clients from WCG.


These are comments I posted to Public Eye Online, which published a story about Mr. Adair:

Adair: "I was no longer doing government relations but was doing communications."
April 23 2009.
What's quite ironic is that not all of Adair's consulting paid off too well for WCG. Here he states:

"But I wasn't part of the meetings. And I didn't have anything to do with the operations of the company. And anything that happened - good or bad with that company - it was just up to me to be the face for it."

In August 2008 WCG lost a $8 million contract for an employment program which was cancelled and awarded elsewhere (GT Hiring Solutions) by the BC government, which had no comment. Mr. Adair was the media contact for Jobwave at the time. WCG had been bought out by Providence Service Corporation, an American corporation, which specialized in providing privatized/outsourced social services for governments.

Interesting thing about GTI, Frank Bourree and other principals from CAPSERVCO LIMITED PARTNERSHIP donated $42,500 to the BC Liberal party from March 2005 to December 31st 2008. WCG only contributed $24,464.45 from October 2005 to May 2007. Maybe WCG should have sweetened the pot? Should we feel flattered the privatization of our public services is going to the highest contributors to the BC Liberals?

Then of course, there's the icing on the cake:

Candidate Fronted a Jobs Program Slammed by Auditors
BC Libs' Robin Adair is running in Saanich South.
By Andrew MacLeod Published: April 22, 2009.

Auditors figured the provincial government overpaid private contractors by at least $1 million and as much as $6.5 million during the second phase of the Job Placement Program. The government made the overpayments even after earlier phases of the program had similar problems.

The majority of the overpayment -- at least $627,000 -- went to the JobWave program, whose former lobbyist and spokesperson Robin Adair is a B.C. Liberal Party candidate in the May 12 election.

With a legal opinion from the Ministry of Attorney General in hand, the auditors wrote that the government should be able to get the $1 million back from the contractors. It is unclear from the document, which has details of legal opinions severed under FOI act provisions, why the government did not pursue the other $5.5 million ministry officials figured was overpaid.

Ministry staff doing compliance checks raised concerns about contractors billing the government for services it never provided, charging more than once when it did provide services and adding an administration fee of as much as $18 to distribute a $6.40 bus ticket.

Kudos to Andrew MacLeod, hardest working writer in BC getting the stories out about the decimation of the welfare system and the impact on the people of BC.

Other Welfare Related Stories to see how things have been faring for our most vulnerable citizens:

The Tyee:

BC's Badly Broken Welfare System

BC Libs created 'overly complex' maze that kept needy off rolls: ombudsman
By Andrew MacLeod
Published: April 13, 2009.
The good news is the provincial government is promising to fix the welfare system. The bad news is they broke it really, really badly and much damage is already done.
The problems go back to the period after Premier Gordon Campbell's BC Liberal Party first formed government. As the Tyee reported in a 2004 series, Campbell's reforms led to a huge drop in the welfare caseload. While the government claimed the drop was from people going back to work, much of it with the help of private job placement companies, there was plenty of evidence the new rules were being used to rule ineligible people who would previously have gotten help.
How BC Trimmed 107,000 People from Welfare Rolls
Some got jobs. Red tape, death likely knocked out far more.
Andrew MacLeod. Published: August 18, 2005.
Between June 2002 and January 2005, a period of 32 months, 6,065 people on welfare died.

(To put that in perspective, in 2003, the latest for which statistics are available, 443 people reportedly died in traffic accidents in the province.)

For comparison, during that period, 37,404 people left welfare by Campbell's preferred route, because they obtained employment. Put another way, for roughly every six people on welfare who got a job, one died.

Libs' Welfare-to-Jobs Program a Bust, Reveals Delayed Report

Loses $13 million, high failure rate and neediest not served.

By Andrew MacLeod Published: August 11, 2005
'Welfare to Work' Didn't Work
BC Libs sat on own report showing no real gains.

Welfare's New Era: Survival of the Fittest
The provincial government's tough rules have spawned fear, pain, a little black comedy, and very real tragedy. TYEE SPECIAL REPORT: PART 1

Welfare Reform's Public-Private Partnerships

Leaders must commit to social housing: Vancouver mayor

The Hook.

“We have several social housing sites ready for construction, and we’re prepared to take unprecedented steps to get people off the street,” said Robertson. “But we can’t do it alone - we need the next provincial government to provide the necessary funding.”

According to the city, the government has only committed to six of the sites, even though all 14 are ready and only awaiting provincial funding.

This appears to contradict comments by Premier Gordon Campbell last month and the B.C. Liberal Party platform, which says some of the sites are still waiting for the city’s approval.

The platform says:

We will build on these and other initiatives by further investing more than $172 million in housing projects on six sites in Vancouver, with another six sites ready to go when the city gives them appropriate approvals.

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