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HomeMiscellanyBC Liberal reunions at non-union construction gabfest and PR consultancy

BC Liberal reunions at non-union construction gabfest and PR consultancy

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Bob Mackin

It may have been the biggest gathering of BC Liberals under one roof since the opposition party’s leadership convention last February. 

The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association hosted its 2018 industry outlook on May 16 at the Hotel Vancouver, featuring ex-Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall, Condo King Bob Rennie and Fox News host Chris Wallace.  

Ex-Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall (ICBA)

A source told theBreaker that the guest list included outgoing BC Liberal president Sharon White, Christy Clark’s last chief of staff Mike McDonald, and ex-Clark aide Jordan McPhee. BC Liberal MLAs Rich Coleman, John Rustad, Greg Kyllo and Ellis Ross made their way over from Victoria, to support the non-union construction lobby, whose spokesman is Jordan Bateman. 

Pace Group CEO Norman Stowe was joined by Pace Group VP and NPA Coun. Hector Bremner and his wife, ex-Clark receptionist Virginia. Also at the event were Bremner-for-mayor campaign managers Mike Wilson and Mark Marissen, Marissen’s ex-brother-in-law Bruce Clark and Bremner’s best-friend on city council, Melissa De Genova. 

Also spotted: Ex-NPA board member and Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers advisor Natasha Westover, TD Bank VP Bill Cunningham, TransCanada Pipelines lobbyist Trevor Halford, FortisBC lobbyist Gord Schoberg, Christian Labour Association of Canada lobbyist Ryan Bruce, Earnscliffe lobbyist Carling Dick, Clark Wilson lawyer Lyall Knott, ResourceWorks director and Steelhead LNG director Geoff Plant, Global Container Terminals’ Marko Dekovic, Global Public Affairs’ lobbyists Thoren Hudyma and Kim Haakstad, Response Adveritsing president Jatinder Rai, Business Council of B.C. CEO Greg D’Avignon, and Conservative Party of Canada president Scott Lamb.  

theBreaker’s eyes and ears at the event reported that many of the BC Liberals didn’t stay for the entirety of Wall’s speech.

Meanwhile, on a day-to-day basis, key figures from the former Office of the Premier have reunited at Kirk and Co., the BC Liberal-aligned consultancy that received several lucrative patronage contracts during the BC Liberal dynasty. 

Sweeney (far left) finished the 2017 Sun Run in 58-minutes, 56-seconds. Clark dropped out early. (Twitter)

Mike McDonald helped Kirk score a gig with TransLink after the 2013 re-election and returned briefly to be Clark’s post-2017 election chief of staff. He is now chief strategy officer and partner at Kirk. The vice-president of client services is Clark’s former press secretary, Sam Oliphant. Oliphant was paid more than $7,400 last June for “writing services.” It is unclear what Oliphant actually delivered, because no prose was disclosed from the freedom of information office and Oliphant did not respond for comment. 

Kirk and Co. recently spawned a new division called Kirk Environmental, which is headed by former Clark deputy minister Neil Sweeney. The ex-beer marketer left government with a $413,631.51 severance after six years of working with Clark. Kirk Environmental’s website gives no hint about clients, but states that the Kirk and Co. subsidiary is in the bussiness of providing “strategic advice and environmental services to avoid delays and achieve environmental certification in a timely and cost-effective way.”

Sweeney’s director of client services is Katherine Laurence, who spent a dozen years in the BC Liberal government, first as Premier Gordon Campbell’s events director and then in Government Communications and Public Engagement during the Clark years. 

Sweeney did not respond to theBreaker’s interview request. 

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