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HomeMiscellanyBob vs. TED: BC Liberal government helps keep celebrity convention contract secret

Bob vs. TED: BC Liberal government helps keep celebrity convention contract secret

Bob Mackin

By now, theBreaker had hoped to show you how much — if anything — the annual TED Conference pays to rent the Vancouver Convention Centre. 

The formerly California-based celebrity gab-fest is in Vancouver for the fourth straight year, through April 28. 

It is only open to those who pay the hefty $8,500 fee to get in. Sponsors include IBM, Toyota, Rolex and Delta Airlines. TED’s owner is the New York City-based Sapling Foundation. In 2013, it reported $45.3 million in assets and almost $50 million in revenue.

Organizers told theBreaker that they only have 25 media passes, which were already spoken for. The proceedings are webcast live.

On Dec. 22, 2016, adjudicator Celia Francis of B.C.’s Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner ruled that the 2014 contract must be released. B.C. Pavilion Corporation’s fears of harm to financial interests and harm to third-party business interests were unfounded. 

Francis ordered the release of the full, uncensored contract by Feb. 7. 

PavCo went to B.C. Supreme Court on Feb. 6, and filed for a judicial review. It wants a judge to overturn the OIPC order. For now, censorship stands.

There is a certain irony that a conference about dialogue around technology, education and design — which hosted a remote speech from famed, Russia-based whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2014 — is working in cahoots with the secretive B.C. Liberal government to keep the public from understanding who really benefits financially.   

Time and time again, public bodies have been ordered by OIPC and the courts to release their entire negotiated contracts with private entities, because the public has a right to know how its money and assets are managed. PavCo is a terminal money-loser and the 2009-opened Vancouver Convention Centre cost $883 million, when it was originally envisioned at $495 million. 

Four years ago, during the previous provincial election, PavCo, under Minister Rich Coleman, blacklisted this reporter’s FOI requests under a rarely used section of the law. Coleman simply wanted less scrutiny about the Liberals’ performance as government. With less than two weeks to go before the election, PavCo withdrew its application, thus restoring this reporter’s right to know about how it does business. By then it was too late for PavCo to disclose records before the election. 

PavCo is also withholding the latest contract with the Vancouver Whitecaps, the Delaware-registered Major League Soccer team owned by Liberal leader Christy Clark’s close friend, Greg Kerfoot. theBreaker has appealed to the OIPC. 

This reporter has succeeded in bringing to daylight copies of the B.C. Lions’ B.C. Place contract and the City of Vancouver’s sale contract of the Vancouver Olympic Village. In the case of Bob vs. TED, this reporter is confident that the result will be the same: public disclosure will prevail. 

Bcpc – 359 – Oipc – f14-56082 -Scbc – Filed Affidavit – James Scott Myers 2017-02-06 by BobMackin on Scribd