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HomeMiscellanySiblings on opposite sides of Trans-Rockies NDP trade tiff

Siblings on opposite sides of Trans-Rockies NDP trade tiff

Bob Mackin

Not only has the Trans-Rockies tarsands vs. tannin trade tiff pitted one province’s NDP government against another, but siblings are on opposing sides of the dispute. 

Alberta pro-pipeline Premier Rachel Notley’s executive assistant Parm Kahlon is the sister of rookie Delta North NDP MLA Ravi Kahlon, who became Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism and Sport under B.C. anti-pipeline Premier John Horgan last July.

Ravi (right) and Parm Kahlon (Twitter)

Parm Kahlon was a constituency assistant for NDP MLAs Spencer Chandra Herbert, Judy Darcy and Sue Hammell until 2015 when she moved to Edmonton to join the “Notley Crue.” 

By email, she told theBreaker it’s not the first time that she has disagreed with Ravi, but it’s not personal. She still loves and respects him.

“We have a very understanding family and everything is fine at home,” Parm Kahlon wrote.

In an interview, Ravi Kahlon said: “She’s a strong independent-minded person and I love her for it. For me, we disagree on various issues along the way, this is just another one. When we’re together it’s not something we contentiously debate. We try to spend time when we’re together not talking about politics, but other things.”

Meanwhile, the B.C. Finance Ministry told theBreaker that the B.C. government spent “under $40,000” on a B.C. Family Day weekend ad campaign promoting B.C. wine to counter Notley’s order to end B.C. wine imports. Last year, B.C. exported $70 million of wine to the Wild Rose province.  

Ad agency Grey Vancouver created the “Together, let’s support B.C. wine” print ad that depicts three standing corkscrews — which appear similar to Ikea’s Idealisk model — crossing levers, as if they’re holding hands.  

“This weekend, buy some B.C. wine and raise a glass to protecting B.C.’s coast,” said the copy at bottom of the full-page Vancouver Sun ad on Feb. 10. 

Grey Vancouver was among 15 advertising and polling companies that were prequalified late last year by the B.C. government for advertising contracts. 

theBreaker had asked for two days for the name of the contractor and the budget for the campaign, but the Finance Ministry’s communications office didn’t respond until 6:18 p.m. on Feb. 14. Coincidentally, there were less than two hours left until the closing of the polls in the “wine country” by-election. Quails’ Gate winery’s Ben Stewart, the former BC Liberal MLA and Beijing trade envoy, was seeking a comeback in the Kelowna West seat vacated by ex-premier Christy Clark last summer.  

Meanwhile, Notley upped the ante in her bid to thwart Horgan’s bid to foil the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion. Her staff launched a “Keep Canada Working” social media campaign. and she heads a 19-person “Market Access Task Force” that includes her chief of staff, Nathan Rotman, three cabinet ministers and six deputy ministers. Among the six-pack is her climate change deputy, Eric Denhoff, who was a mandarin during NDP Premier Mike Harcourt’s administration in the 1990s. Denhoff was appointed to head B.C. Transit and later chaired SNC-Lavalin’s B.C. division. His LinkedIn profile omits mention of his work with scandal-plagued SNC-Lavalin and his later work with TransCanada Pipelines.

Other bigwigs on Notley’s board are: ex-New Brunswick Premier Frank McKenna, ex-Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan, Suncor lobbyist Ginny Flood, and Janet Annesley, vice-president of Li Ka-shing’s Husky.

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