Recent Posts
Connect with:
Saturday / June 25.
  • No products in the cart.
HomeStandard Blog Whole Post

Bob Mackin

The Simon Fraser University student from Pakistan who leads an environmental protest group that blocks bridges and highways appeared at the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada on June 23.

But reporters were shut out of the hearing.

Muhammad Zain Ul-Haq, a Pakistani national outside the North Fraser Pretrial Centre (Save Old Growth)

Muhammad Zain Ul-Haq is a director of Eco-Mobilization Canada, the federally incorporated not-for-profit that is better known as the Save Old Growth protest group and funded by the U.S.-based Climate Emergency Foundation.

Haq, 21, surrendered to Canada Border Services Agency on June 21 and is being held at its facility in Surrey. Haq is a candidate for deportation, after CBSA issued a warrant for alleged violation of his student visa due to numerous charges of criminal mischief and at least one conviction for contempt of court. 

IRB hearings are, by default, open to the public. But, adjudicator Ian Pillai opened Haq’s 48-hour detention review hearing by suggesting that a section of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to close the hearing may apply due to certain, unspecified information. 

Haq’s lawyer, Randall Cohn, agreed with Pillai. 

Pillai closed the hearing to hear submissions by lawyers for both sides, returned to hear a reporter’s constitutional arguments in favour of an open hearing, took a break and returned to give his reasons why it would continue in secret. 

Pillai ruled that Haq’s hearing would be closed because the benefits of security, life and liberty outweigh the negative effect of limiting freedom of expression. 

“There is some information that’s already in the public sphere. However, there may be information that can come out at this hearing that could seriously impact Mr. Haq,” Pillai said. “So I do find that it is necessary to prevent the serious risks that potentially could come up.”

Haq formed the Extinction Rebellion splinter group in January and began a new wave of blockades on June 13 aimed at convincing the NDP government to ban old growth logging. It is part of an international network of radical activist groups that aim to cause widespread economic upheaval by stopping innocent motorists — including public transit drivers and passengers and emergency services workers — from using public motorways.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick

Haq spent nine days in jail in February after a 14-day sentence for contempt in B.C. Supreme Court on Feb. 15. He had blocked a Trans Mountain Pipeline construction site last September under his capacity as the national action and strategy coordinator for Extinction Rebellion. 

Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick acknowledged Haq said members of Extinction Rebellion are non-violent, but she said aspects relating to Haq were “concerning,” including comments he made to the Vancouver Sun about the potential for violence stemming from the pipeline. 

“He refers to ‘forcing government change’. He refers to the government actions as being ‘treason’. These are very troubling comments, in my view,” Fitzpatrick said. 

In an Instagram video shot outside the North Fraser Pretrial Centre, Haq joked about spending his time watching Seinfeld reruns in jail.

Court records about Haq’s mischief charges show that he is scheduled to fix a date for trial on June 27 in Richmond, a pretrial conference in Vancouver on June 29, another hearing on July 6, trial on Nov. 15 in Vancouver and a pretrial conference on Feb. 16 in Vancouver. In several of those matters, he is represented by lawyer Abdul Abdulmalik. 

Support theBreaker.news for as low as $2 a month on Patreon. Find out how. Click here.

Bob Mackin The Simon Fraser University student from

For the week of June 19, 2022: 

British Columbia’s money laundering public inquiry ended June 15 with the release of an 1,800-page report containing 101 recommendations.

Christy Clark testified April 20 at the Cullen Commission (Cullen Commission)

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Austin Cullen sat as the one-man commissioner since 2019.  He wasn’t convinced BC Liberal politicians were corrupt. They just failed to do their jobs to keep dirty money out of casinos. 

While he didn’t conclude money laundering or foreign money was the root of B.C.’s sky-high real estate prices, he didn’t ignore how Chinese high roller gamblers bought luxury houses. 

Cullen said the B.C. government needs to hire an anti-money laundering commissioner and establish a money laundering intelligence and investigation squad. 

On this edition of theBreaker.news Podcast, hear the reaction of guests Peter German and Kash Heed. 

German, the former head of the RCMP in Western Canada, authored the 2018 and 2019 Dirty Money reports that triggered the Cullen Commission. Former Solicitor General and police chief Heed was, like German, a witness during the hearings. 

Also, a commentary and headlines from the Pacific Rim and Pacific Northwest. 

CLICK BELOW to listen or go to TuneIn or Apple Podcasts.

Now on Google Podcasts!

Have you missed an edition of theBreaker.news Podcast? Go to the archive.

Support theBreaker.news for as low as $2 a month on Patreon. Find out how. Click here.

theBreaker.news Podcast
theBreaker.news Podcast
theBreaker.news Podcast: Was the Cullen Commission worth it?
/

For the week of June 19, 2022:  British

Bob Mackin

The judge in the fraud cause of a former Squamish Nation council member adjourned sentencing June 15 and ordered a psychiatric report. 

Krisandra Jacobs, 57, was convicted last November of fraud over $5,000 for cashing more than 400 cheques worth almost $1 million between April 2011 and May 2014 from the band’s emergency accounts.

Former Squamish Nation councillor Krisandra Jacobs

In North Vancouver Provincial Court last month, Judge Lyndsay Smith heard Crown lawyer Jim Bird wants Jacobs to pay back $856,695.23 and serve a four-year sentence in prison, while her defence lawyer asked for a two-year sentence.

At the May 4 hearing, Jacobs’s lawyer John Turner said the root of his client’s trouble was depression from a marriage breakup and gambling addition. 

On June 15, however, Smith adjourned sentencing until the end of August, because she said she needed more facts about Jacobs. 

Jacobs did not testify in her own defence at the trial, but witnesses for the Crown testified they heard rumours of Jacobs gambling. That was deemed hearsay and not admissible. 

Smith said cheques were drawn from financial institutions and an expert said Jacobs had no drug or alcohol addictions, though she did suffer depression at times. 

But, Smith said, a 17-page spreadsheet of Jacobs’s bank machine transactions from 2011 to 2014 showed dozens of withdrawals at or near a casino in Burnaby, Hastings Racecourse in Vancouver, and one near the Squamish Chances casino. 

“Sentencing is an individualized process, a judge must craft the appropriate sentence for the offender before them taking all relevant characteristics and factors into account,” Smith said.

The judge cited a section of the Criminal Code that, after hearing prosecution and defence arguments, requires the production of evidence to assist in determining the appropriate sentence.

She ordered a psychiatric assessment to be “prepared with particular focus on whether it was Jacobs had a medically recognized [gambling] disorder and, if so, whether that disorder caused or contributed to the commission of the offence.”

“I am aware of the attendant delay and the inevitable stress that it will create, but on balance, concluded that it is the right thing to do.”

Support theBreaker.news for as low as $2 a month on Patreon. Find out how. Click here.

Bob Mackin The judge in the fraud cause

Bob Mackin

The Canadian Olympic Committee’s proposal for another Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2030 contains no cost estimate and officials say wait until the middle of summer for details.

Vancouver 2030 proposed venues map (COC)

“It’s quite a complex calculation, and so we’ll just provide a briefing on that in July,” said Mary Conibear, managing director of Games operations for Vancouver 2010. She is part of the team behind the 26-page, Games Engagement draft hosting concept released June 14 at the Squamish-Lil’wat Cultural Centre. 

July is when the COC and leaders of the Four Host First Nations (FHFN) want City of Vancouver and Resort Municipality of Whistler councils to support crafting a formal proposal to the International Olympic Committee. Salt Lake City, the 2002 host, and Sapporo, Japan, the 1972 host are also pondering bids. The IOC wants to choose the 2030 host by the time it meets in Mumbai at the end of May 2023. 

The COC, the de facto bid committee, has discouraged all six parties from holding a referendum this year, for fear it would ruin the chance for “targeted dialogue” negotiations with the IOC. 

“We still haven’t seen the books from 2010,” said Coun. Colleen Hardwick, the mayoral candidate for TEAM for a Liveable Vancouver. “Most concerning is the democratic deficit, despite the desire to have a vote that the city will press ahead.”

In April, Hardwick unsuccessfully proposed adding a yes or no question on the 2030 bid to the Oct. 15 civic election ballot, noting that 64% of voters passed a 2003 plebiscite before the IOC chose Vancouver to host the 2010 Olympics and Paralympics. 

No one else on city council seconded her motion. Hardwick is also concerned because board minutes and financial ledgers from the Vancouver 2010 organizing committee (VANOC) are locked from public view until October 2025.

Vancouver 2030 bid logo

“We do not move forward without one another,” said feasibility team member Tewanee Joseph, who was the FHFN executive director in 2010. “That’s what’s important when we talk about indigenous values and processes.”

One of the councillors who did not support Hardwick’s motion was COPE Coun. Jean Swanson. The Downtown Eastside anti-poverty activist who organized protests against the 2010 Games is now having second thoughts. 

“The Host Nations still need to discuss with their folks and we need more details on [costs],” Swanson said. “I am torn on this one cause want to support [Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh first nations], but also am aware of issues with past Olympics such as land cost escalation, massive expenditure on things with no lasting value like security, police activity in DTES.”

The 2030 bid does not have support from the provincial government, which recently announced the $1 billion Royal B.C. Museum project for 2030 and is hoping FIFA chooses Vancouver on June 16 to host up to five matches in the 2026 World Cup. That could cost $260 million. 

Should the councils continue with the bid, the COC plans to make formal proposals to the federal Liberal and B.C. NDP treasury boards this fall.

Last December, Vancouver, Whistler and the reunited FHFN agreed to explore a bid. In February, the COC began the feasibility study. The concept plan said the 2030 Olympics would run Feb. 8-24, 2030 and the Paralympics from March 8-17, 2030. 

In May, theBreaker.news revealed the proposed venues. Most 2010 venues would reprise their roles, except snowboarding and freestyle skiing would go to Sun Peaks near Kamloops, curling at the Agrodome, and the new big air skiing and snowboarding events on a temporary ramp at Hastings Racecourse. The latter would be the biggest sporting venue of the Games, by spectator capacity, with room for 20,000 people. 

Whereas False Creek was the focal point in 2010, it would be Hastings Park in 2030 with nightly medal awards concerts at the PNE Amphitheatre, the official merchandise superstore, a daytime live site, cultural village and sponsor pavilions.  

Canadian Olympic Committee president Tricia Smith (left) and Four Host First Nations executive director Tewanee Joseph (second from left) at the Dec. 10 bid exploration announcement (Twitter/Tewanee Joseph)

Tim Gayda, the vice-president of sport for VANOC, said it would be the “place to go even if you don’t have a ticket to go into see an event.”

“We really see Hastings Park as a real centrepiece for our games,” said Gayda, the 2030 feasibility team’s master planner.

A new Vancouver Olympic Village would be built at either the Jericho Lands or Heather Lands, both co-owned by MST Development.

West Vancouver’s Cypress turned into a weather nightmare for organizers in 2010, so they’re looking 400 kilometres away to Sun Peaks. Gayda said all six courses for freestyle skiing and snowboarding would fit in two stadiums at the resort near Kamloops, which boasts a north-facing slope. 

“It was one of those mountains that we were able to find everything that we wanted,” Gayda said. 

The bid’s Indigenous-led strategy has not been fully defined to the satisfaction of staff at the two municipal governments involved. Joseph, who chairs the Squamish Nation’s Nch’kay, the Squamish Nation’s economic development agency, called the 2030 bid model “co-leadership” and said it would involve governance, planning and hosting policies that correspond with recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 

The Games Engagement document also talks of 2030 being the first Games to be “climate positive,” but it does not detail how that can achieved when the Olympics always rely on international air travel and inter-city buses to shuttle athletes, media, workers and spectators around the region. The document does not include any long-range forecast for inventory of electric vehicles or supply of lesser-polluting jet fuel.

Support theBreaker.news for as low as $2 a month on Patreon. Find out how. Click here.

Bob Mackin The Canadian Olympic Committee’s proposal

Bob Mackin

The Canadian Olympic Committee has privately warned partners exploring the Vancouver 2030 Winter Olympics bid that the International Olympic Committee will walk away if any of them hold a referendum before next January. 

The COC released its 2030 Games concept plan in Whistler on June 14. City of Vancouver, Resort Municipality of Whistler and the Four Host First Nations are expected to each decide whether to proceed with the bid in July.

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart on Dec. 10 (City of Vancouver)

But sources say that a referendum is heavily discouraged because the COC, which is acting as the de facto bid committee, told the six councils that it would ruin the COC’s potential negotiations with the IOC under the new “targeted dialogue” method of awarding the Games.

In April, Coun. Colleen Hardwick unsuccessfully proposed a yes or no question about the 2030 bid for Vancouver’s Oct. 15 civic election ballot. No one else on city council seconded the motion.

Neither the IOC nor COC have responded for comment. The 2002 host, Salt Lake City, and the 1972 host, Sapporo, Japan, are preparing formal bids. Summer 1992 host Barcelona is also considering. The 2030 host city is expected to be announced when the IOC meets in Mumbai next May.

A Portland, Ore. political science professor and author of several books on the politics and economics of the Olympics said the IOC suffers a “democracy deficit.”

“The International Olympic Committee likes to tell the prospective cities for the Olympics, that the Olympics are going to be this really big deal when you get them,” said Jules Boykoff of Pacific University. “And yet, they’re apparently not big enough of a deal to let everyday people in the Olympic city or the Olympic province get a chance to actually vote and have their say.”

In 2019, the IOC studied whether cities should hold a referendum before they become official hosting candidates, but stopped short of making it a requirement. 

“So it’s a total U-turn from that position,” Boykoff said. “Of course, at that time, what we were seeing was this spate of cities staying ‘no thank-you’ to the Olympics, some dozen or so cities between 2013 and 2018.”

Jules Boykoff (Brian Lee)

One of those was Calgary, which gave up on a 2026 bid after more than 56% of voters in the 1988 host city said no in a plebiscite. 

When COPE’s Larry Campbell won the Vancouver mayoralty in 2002, he promised to hold a plebiscite on Vancouver’s 2010 bid. It passed with support of 64% of voters in February 2003. Four months later, the IOC chose Vancouver as the 2010 host.  

Many questions remain about the 2010 Games, which may have cost up to $8 billion including necessary transportation infrastructure. The biggest item was the RCMP-led security operation at nearly $1 billion. The Vancouver 2010 organizing committee (VANOC) never held a public meeting and said in 2014, when it wound down two years late, that it broke-even on a $1.9 billion operating budget. B.C.’s auditor general did not conduct a post-Games audit, VANOC was incorporated beyond reach of the freedom of information law and its files were transferred to the City of Vancouver Archives with restrictions. The public is not allowed to see the board minutes and financials until fall 2025. 

Boykoff said the IOC’s resistance to a 2030 referendum has a lot to do with Vancouverites being more sophisticated than they were in 2003 and because of the many post-Games social, economic and environmental challenges. 

“I view what happened before, during and even after the Vancouver Olympics of 2010 as part of this crucial pivot point, where the general population of the world is becoming more informed about some of those downsides of the Olympics, the negative externalities, the opportunity cost,” Boykoff said. 

The COC’s 2030 Games concept will include its proposed venues list, which Glacier already revealed in May. Most 2010 venues would reprise their roles, except snowboarding and freestyle skiing is proposed for Sun Peaks near Kamloops (instead of Cypress Mountain), curling would be at the Agrodome (instead of Hillcrest Community Centre), the new big air skiing and snowboarding events on a temporary ramp at Hastings Racecourse and nightly medals awards concerts at the PNE Amphitheatre (instead of B.C. Place Stadium). A new Olympic Village would be built at either the Jericho Lands or Heather Lands, both co-owned by three of the four host first nations, the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh.

Though the bid has been touted as “Indigneous-led,” sources say that has not actually been defined. Every first nation and municipality involved would need to go one step beyond a memorandum of understanding with a legally-binding multiparty agreement that spells-out details of hosting rights and responsibilities. The number of signatories could be as high as 17 and could take the rest of the year to negotiate.

Snowboarding at Sun Peaks near Kamloops (Sun Peaks Resort)

The B.C. NDP government said in May that it has not agreed to support the bid, leaving the municipalities and first nations on their own for now. If the bid proceeds after July, sources say the COC plans to make formal proposals this fall to treasury boards in Victoria and Ottawa. Federal policy says it will fund up to 35% of a major event, but it is up to the host province to be the guarantor. For 2010, the B.C. government also diverted resources from healthcare and education budgets and made BC Hydro, B.C. Lottery Corporation and ICBC sponsors, suppliers and even providers of free labour.

The NDP has expressed its two major tourism and event priorities so far: The $1 billion rebuild of the Royal B.C. Museum by 2030 and the 2026 FIFA World Cup. 

On June 16, Vancouver is expected to be named as host of up to five World Cup matches, along with Toronto. The total cost to taxpayers could be $550 million. 

Staff at 12th and Cambie already have a busy major event schedule. Vancouver’s Formula E race was scheduled for July 2, but cancelled due to lack of permits. It could happen in 2023. Meanwhile, Vancouver is expected to host the Grey Cup in 2024, before Prince Harry’s Invictus Games for wounded military veterans in early 2025. 

Support theBreaker.news for as low as $2 a month on Patreon. Find out how. Click here.

Bob Mackin The Canadian Olympic Committee has

Bob Mackin

The BC Liberal Party says Kevin Falcon’s late disclosure that his winning leadership campaign overspent by almost $500,000 didn’t break the rules. 

On June 9, Elections BC released Falcon’s campaign finance report that showed it cost $1.078 million to win the race on Feb. 5. Falcon’s biggest line item was $519,396.40 for professional services, followed by $282,002.27 for staff expenses, GST, bad debt and net Liberal Party expenditures and $106,866.38 for social functions. The report does not name suppliers.

Kevin Falcon and BC Liberal leadership candidates except Val Litwin (BC Liberals/Facebook)

The Leadership Election Organizing Committee (LEOC) February 2021 rules included a $600,000 limit on contestant expenses and requirements to meet both party and Elections BC deadlines for campaign financing reports. The party threatened fines of up to $50,000 or disqualification for non-compliance.  

In a prepared statement on June 10, the party’s communications director, David Wasyluk, said Falcon missed the original May 5 deadline because his financial agent was out of the country. Elections BC fined him $500 and granted an extension to June 6.

“The Falcon campaign has provided the party with a detailed breakdown of its expenses, and those expenses have been thoroughly reviewed and audited by party staff,” Wasyluk said. “The BC Liberal Party is confident that the Falcon campaign followed all appropriate guidelines and that their spending did not violate the leadership election rules.”

The statement said various costs are not considered expenses subject to the party’s limit, but are still required to be reported, such as fundraising costs, legal or accounting required to comply with the Election Act, personal expenses and fees related to the leadership contest. 

Wasyluk did not provide a breakdown of Falcon costs that the party considers to be compliant with the leadership contest rules. 

Falcon’s report did not show any cost of fundraising functions on the Elections BC summary of leadership contestant expenses page, but it showed accounting and audit cost $16,424.71 and Falcon’s personal expenses were $26,288.75. The $519,396.40 professional services sum does not indicate how much went to legal fees. 

The summary of expenses shows a crossed-out total $3,234,660.96 below the figure of $1,078,220.32. Falcon’s independent auditor, David Pel, blamed a software glitch. “Every time we made a change and posted the change, it doubled up on the number,” Pel said.

Falcon did not respond to interview requests. Neither did outgoing party president Cameron Stolz or LEOC co-chairs Colin Hansen and Roxanne Helme. 

Falcon’s campaign took in $923,576.18, including $816,796.18 in direct donations and the rest in transfers from the central party. As of Feb. 15, Falcon’s leadership campaign owed $100,000 in loans to RBC at a 2.95% interest rate. 

Kevin Falcon enters the Wall Centre ballroom on Feb. 5 (BC Liberals/Facebook)

He won the Feb. 5 phone and online election on the fifth ballot with 52.19% of weighted votes over runner-up Ellis Ross, the Skeena MLA who had 33.65%. 

The race was held under a cloud of controversy as Falcon’s six opponents complained about thousands of fraudulent memberships sold by Falcon’s team. A B.C. Supreme Court judge rejected a party member’s petition that aimed to delay the release of results by 15 days in order to investigate the allegations.

North Vancouver-resident Falcon handily won an April 30 by-election in Vancouver-Quilchena to fill the seat vacated by ex-leader Andrew Wilkinson. Falcon was sworn-in and took his seat in the Legislature on May 16.

The highlight of the party’s Penticton convention last weekend was the decision to study a complete renaming and rebranding of the party before the 2024 provincial election.

Support theBreaker.news for as low as $2 a month on Patreon. Find out how. Click here.

Bob Mackin The BC Liberal Party says

Bob Mackin

Lawyers for two organizers of a protest group that resumed blockading B.C. highways and bridges on June 13 say their clients are not guilty of mischief from an October protest in Richmond and want to stand trial.

Muhammad Zain Ul Haq (left) and Timothy Christopher Brazier of Eco Mobilization Canada, dba Save Old Growth (SOG/YouTube)

Muhammad Zain Ul Haq and Timothy Christopher Brazier were among 18 people arrested Oct. 25, 2021 when Extinction Rebellion members filled an intersection near Vancouver International Airport.

During the pre-trial hearing on June 10 at Richmond Provincial Court, a lawyer for a third protester, Kathleen Elisabeth Higgins, said she would present novel arguments at trial that her client is not guilty on constitutional grounds. 

A trial date is to be determined, but the court heard that the Crown case is expected to last five days. As many as 14 police officers could be called to testify and there are four hours of video evidence. 

Lawyers for two other protesters, Shy-Anne Gunville and Patti Lula Hirschberg, also appeared, but their clients have not decided their next steps. 

Earlier this year, Haq, a student from Pakistan, and Brazier, a website and clothing designer from England, formed the Extinction Rebellion splinter group Save Old Growth that demands the NDP government ban all old-growth logging. 

Federal records show Haq and Brazier federally incorporated a not-for-profit company called Eco-Mobilization Canada on Jan. 27 with fellow protesters Ian Shigeaki Weber, Hannah Campbell and Olivia Mary Howe. They finance their activities by crowdfunding and grants from the U.S.-based Climate Emergency Fund (CEF), which has doled-out $1.7 million to 23 groups in 2022. CEF co-founder Trevor Neilson of Beverly Hills, Calif. is the chair and CEO of Wasteful, which converts trash and agricultural waste to fuel. The board includes documentary filmmaker Rory Kennedy, daughter of Robert Kennedy, and Aileen Getty, daughter of oil baron Jean Paul Getty II.

Save Old Growth’s highway and bridge blockade tactics, that are intended to disrupt the economy, have angered commuters throughout the Lower Mainland and Southern Vancouver Island and led to numerous arrests and mischief charges. The group has also been involved in hunger strikes, threatened a citizen’s arrest of NDP Forests Minister Katrine Conroy, dumped manure at Premier John Horgan’s Langford riding office and sent a topless protester to attach herself to a goalpost at B.C. Place Stadium during Canada’s men’s soccer match with Curaçao. 

The group predicts environmental breakdown will occur in March 2025.

A member of an associated campaign in Ontario, Stop the Project, recently threw buckets of paint on the exterior of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office in Ottawa. 

On Feb. 15 in B.C. Supreme Court, Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick sentenced Haq to 14 days in jail for contempt after his September 2021 arrest for blocking tree-clearing for the construction of the Trans Mountain Pipeline. 

Fitzpatrick acknowledged Haq said members of Extinction Rebellion are non-violent, but she said aspects relating to Haq were “concerning,” including comments he made to the Vancouver Sun about the potential for violence stemming from the pipeline. 

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick

“He refers to ‘forcing government change’. He refers to the government actions as being ‘treason’. These are very troubling comments, in my view,” Fitzpatrick said. 

Haq was released after nine days from the North Fraser Pretrial Centre and joked in an Instagram video outside the facility about spending his time watching Seinfeld reruns in jail.

Meanwhile, a campaign backed by the pro-development Resource Works Society is urging British Columbians affected by Save Old Growth roadblocks to gather evidence and join a proposed class-action lawsuit. 

Tamara Meggitt of Clear the Road cited the successful court action by Ottawa residents against the so-called freedom convoy trucker blockades earlier this year. 

“Freedom of expression is protected by Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but expressing a point of view about an issue does not confer the right to commit criminal acts,” Meggitt said in a news release. 

Support theBreaker.news for as low as $2 a month on Patreon. Find out how. Click here.

 

Bob Mackin Lawyers for two organizers of a

For the week of June 12, 2022:

The long-awaited report from the B.C. Coroners Service, released June 7, said 619 people died due to excessive heat from June 25 to July 1, 2021. 

The heat dome was the worst natural disaster in Canadian history. But it didn’t have to be.

Meteorologist David Jones

A legacy of the deadly July 2009 heat wave was a new, two-step system to warn British Columbians developed in 2012 by David Jones. He was the coastal warning preparedness meteorologist at Environment Canada’s Pacific storm prediction centre until he retired in 2017. 

“Meteorologists actually have an opportunity to prevent death,” Jones told theBreaker.news Podcast host Bob Mackin. 

Late afternoon June 23, 2021 came and the weather office forecast a dangerous, long-lasting heat wave. Provincial health and public safety officials did nothing to warn the public or muster resources on June 24. 

“It would’ve been the perfect time to launch that deadly heat alert,” Jones said. 

It was too little, too late, when the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health authorities issued their extreme heat warning before supper hour on June 25. 

Hear more from Jones on the report by the Coroner and the B.C. government’s response. 

Also, a commentary on how the NDP government buried a report recommending changes to the freedom of information laws, and headlines from the Pacific Rim and Pacific Northwest. 

CLICK BELOW to listen or go to TuneIn or Apple Podcasts.

Now on Google Podcasts!

Have you missed an edition of theBreaker.news Podcast? Go to the archive.

Support theBreaker.news for as low as $2 a month on Patreon. Find out how. Click here.

theBreaker.news Podcast
theBreaker.news Podcast
theBreaker.news Podcast: Heat dome warning was too little, too late
/

For the week of June 12, 2022: The

Bob Mackin

Site C had the highest rate of management and professional resignations in BC Hydro during the last fiscal year, according to a management briefing note.

Site C dam under construction (BC Hydro)

A Feb. 15 briefing note that studying pay increase guidelines, obtained via freedom of information, said there had been 101 resignations out of 2,896 active employees, a 3.5% average across nine business groups that reported resignations. The reasons for leaving the Crown utility corporation were not disclosed in the briefing note. 

At Site C, the $16 billion megaproject, there had been 23 resignations out of 256 active management and professional employees, a 9% rate. That includes 10 leaving the 101-strong engineering group, seven quitting from the 61-person project controls, risks and services, and three exiting the 19-employee division that includes regulatory and communications workers — a rate of 15.8%. 

BC Hydro’s operations department had the lowest resignation rate, at 0.6% (three workers out of 465), followed by safety and compliance’s 2.5% (3/122) and customer and corporate affairs’ 2.9% (8/77). 

The briefing note said the executive team’s Jan. 25 meeting included discussion on how to use the management and professional salary increase budget that was awaiting approval at the people and culture committee the following week. 

There were four options, three of which censored. The briefing note recommended higher common guidelines for all employees and hiking pay for specific jobs that are further behind market rates and/or experiencing more attraction and retention challenges.

BC Hydro headquarters (BC Hydro)

“This option provides higher salary increase guidelines that would be equally applied to all jobs and employees,” the briefing note said. “Salary increase guidelines are shared with employees and managers. A two-tiered salary increase model would generate a negative reaction from employees in the “have not” group.”

The data charts were censored, though one included a preamble that said BC Hydro sought labour market advice from Willis Towers Watson and Morneau Shepell (now LifeWorks).

The briefing note said the pay increases were forecast to reduce the gap between male and female salaries from 2.2% to 1.9%. 

According to the December 2021 annual gender pay report, which only looked at management and professional salaries, there was no difference for unionized workers represented by MoveUp and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers due to fixed wage rates in collective agreements. 

“As there were no salary increases in 2021, we were not able to reduce this gap further compared to the previous year,” the briefing note said.

The briefing note said BC Hydro is committed to equal pay for equal work and its pay structures are set-up as gender neutral. In its annual monitoring report, females in BC Hydro management and professional jobs averaged one year younger than male counterparts and had six months less service.  

“This accounts for part of the pay difference. However, a primary factor continues to be the underrepresentation of females in higher paying jobs, such as in engineering and operations,” the document said. “Until such time that the gender representation is more balanced in these groups or jobs are paid similar salaries, a salary gap will persist when comparing overall average salaries.”

According to Glassdoor.ca, which ranks corporate and government salaries, BC Hydro ranges from $96,678 to $183,559. “When factoring in bonuses and additional compensation, a manager at BC Hydro can expect to make an average total pay of $130,624 per year.”

BC Hydro’s 2021 statement of financial information, said it paid out $781.6 million in remuneration. 

Support theBreaker.news for as low as $2 a month on Patreon. Find out how. Click here.

Bob Mackin Site C had the highest rate

Bob Mackin

Not only did B.C. opposition leader Kevin Falcon miss the deadline to file his leadership campaign financing report, but he blew way past the BC Liberal Party’s $600,000 spending limit. 

Falcon spent $1.078 million to become leader on Feb. 5, according to the Elections BC returns released June 8.

Kevin Falcon and BC Liberal leadership candidates except Val Litwin (BC Liberals/Facebook)

Elections BC fined Falcon and fellow contestants Val Litwin and Renee Merrifield $500 each for missing the May 6 deadline and gave them until June 6 to comply. Stan Sipos was also granted an extension, but not fined, due to unspecified extenuating circumstances. 

Falcon’s biggest line item was $519,396.40 for professional services, followed by $282,002.27 for staff expenses, GST, bad debt and net Liberal Party expenditures, and $106,866.38 for social functions. The report does not name suppliers. 

The $1,078,220.32 figure for total contestant expenses appears above a crossed-out total of $3,234.66.96. Falcon did not respond for comment. 

Advertising, normally one of the biggest expenses for a political campaign, came in at $28,226.71, slightly more than the $26,288.75 Falcon reported for personal expenses. 

Falcon’s team claims it spent only $12,000 on research and data, including polling.

As of Feb. 15, Falcon’s leadership campaign owed $100,000 in loans to RBC at a 2.95% interest rate.  

The campaign took in $923,576.18, including $816,796.18 in direct donations and the rest in transfers from the central party. 

Prominent donors included Falcon’s boss at Anthem Properties Eric Carlson ($1,200), developer Rick Ilich ($1,268.07), White Spot and Shato Holdings owner Peter Toigo ($1,268.07), real estate agent Karim Virani ($1,000), political strategist and lobbyist Patrick Kinsella ($1,250) and former B.C. government deputy ministers John Dyble ($1,268.07) and Dan Doyle ($1,268).

Falcon returned $13,669.99 in illegal donations. The largest was $3,804 from Golden Top Financial Services, which bills itself as a non-bank financial institution that focuses on providing home mortgage services for overseas Chinese.

Only individuals are allowed to donate to political campaigns in B.C. 

There were also 43 prohibited individual donations $31.83 each over the individual limit and 10 $31.93 over the limit. All of which were dated at the start of May, but returned at the end of the month. Though the Elections BC donation limit for 2022 is $1,309.09, the BC Liberal leadership race was called in 2021 when the maximum was $1,268.07. 

In total, the seven candidates raised $2.28 million. 

Gavin Dew, Michael Lee and runner-up Ellis Ross filed on time, but the reports released May 11 showed that Lee exceeded the party-imposed $600,000 spending limit by $42,000. 

On Feb. 5, Falcon won the phone and online contest on the fifth ballot with 52.19% of weighted votes (4,541.35 points) to Ross’s 33.65% (2,928.33). Lee was third with 14.14% (1,230.31).

The race was held under a cloud of controversy as Falcon opponents complained about fraudulent memberships. With hours to go in voting on Feb. 5, a BC Supreme judge rejected a petition from BC Liberal member Vikram Bajwa that aimed to delay the release of results by 15 days in order to investigate the allegations.

Kevin Falcon enters the Wall Centre ballroom on Feb. 5 (BC Liberals/Facebook)

In early January, managers for five of the candidates wrote party brass seeking an audit of party membership sales. An internal party audit found more than 32,000 new memberships were sold B.C.-wide, with much of the growth concentrated in Surrey and Abbotsford riding associations.

Lee’s campaign manager, Diamond Isinger, complained in a Jan. 31 email to the party that contractor Votem did not have basic safeguards to limit the use of multiple IP addresses and virtual private networks, nor was the party allowing real-time scrutineers.

When Lee confronted Falcon at the Jan. 18 candidates’ debate, Falcon dismissed the allegations and accused Lee of “creating a cloud of distrust.”

North Vancouver-resident Falcon handily won an April 30 by-election in Vancouver-Quilchena to fill the seat vacated by ex-leader Andrew Wilkinson. Falcon was sworn-in on May 16, three days after Premier John Horgan announced the controversial $1 billion Royal B.C. Museum replacement. 

The runner-up in the 2011 leadership race to Christy Clark quit politics in 2012 after 11 years in multiple cabinet portfolios and became executive vice-president at developer Anthem Properties.

Support theBreaker.news for as low as $2 a month on Patreon. Find out how. Click here.

Bob Mackin Not only did B.C. opposition leader