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Jeff Silvester is the chief operating officer of the Victoria company involved in the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal. He appeared on his own May 16 at the United Kingdom Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee hearing, to testify about AggregateIQ’s links to the sophisticated political data mining operation and AIQ’s work on the 2016 referendum to leave the European Union. 

The hearing in London was decidedly more subdued than one last month in Ottawa. Members of the Liberals, Conservatives and NDP gave Silvester and CEO Zack Massingham a rough ride. 

The Canadian MPs even suggested the duo had been dishonest. That hearing was the focus of edition 27 of theBreaker.news Podcast.

Nonetheless, chair Damian Collins helped make the most of the three-hour hearing. He challenged Silvester to come clean on AIQ’s lack of cooperation with the Information Commissioner’s investigation. 

Silvester wouldn’t disclose any client names and kept information on his company’s revenue and structure close to his vest. He did say that there were two minority owners, but did not give any hint about their identities. 

Listen to highlights from the hearing on this edition of theBreaker.news Podcast. 

Plus host Bob Mackin’s commentaries and a scan of Pacific Rim and Pacific Northwest headlines.

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theBreaker.news Podcast
theBreaker.news Podcast
theBreaker.news Podcast: AggregateIQ co-founder testifies to U.K. MPs on the Cambridge Analytica scandal
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Jeff Silvester is the chief operating officer

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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Bob Mackin It may have been the

Bob Mackin

On the campaign trail in 2016, Donald Trump promised he would donate his salary to charity if he made it to the White House. 

The billionaire became U.S. president and has donated his salary. Agencies like the National Park Service and Education Department have benefitted from his $100,000 quarterly cheques, although they are not really charities.

Bremner made a Trump-like promise on the campaign trail. Did he follow through?

During his campaign for last October’s Vancouver city council by-election, Non-Partisan Association newcomer Hector Bremner vowed to do the same as Trump. Albeit, on a very modest scale.

Bremner already had a day job that evidently paid well, as vice-president at the Pace Group lobbying and public relations firm. (He may now regret the decision to wear two hats, after the NPA rejected his application for the mayoral nomination in the wake of conflict of interest complaints to city hall.)

During the campaign, Mike Howell of the Vancouver Courier quoted Bremner saying that he would donate his councillor salary to “whatever worthy cause.” 

After he won the Oct. 14, 2017 by-election, Bremner appeared to take a step back from the noble campaign promise. “We’re still trying to figure this all out, but I do plan on trying to make as much of a contribution as possible,” he told Howell.

Bremner’s gross pay is $6,800 a month. City hall spokesman Jag Sandhu told theBreaker that Bremner’s net pay so far is $36,262.

theBreaker called and emailed Bremner this week to find out whether he had donated any of his councillor salary to a worthy cause or whether he returned any of it to the civic treasury.  

Bremner did not respond. 

In fact, Bremner has not responded to numerous requests for comment from theBreaker since he hung up the phone during an interview before by-election weekend. 

The uncomfortable line of questioning that triggered Bremner?

His lobbying and his job at the Pace Group.  

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Bob Mackin On the campaign trail in 2016,

Bob Mackin

Toronto-area police have issued a Canada-wide warrant for the arrest of a third man suspected of beating an autistic man at a bus station in March. 

Jaspaul Uppal: wanted by Peel Regional Police

Peel Regional Police were called to the bus terminal near the Square One Mall in Mississauga late March 13 after a man putting on rollerblades was seriously injured from the kicks and punches of three men. The brief, but violent, attack was captured on surveillance video. 

Police arrested 21-year-old Parmvir Singh Chahil from Abbotsford and 25-year-old Ronjot Singh Dhami from Surrey on aggravated assault charges before the end of March.

A third man has not been identified, until now.

On May 16, police released the name and mugshot of Jaspaul Singh Uppal, 21, of no fixed address.

Anyone knowing Uppal’s whereabouts is asked to call local police or Peel Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

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Bob Mackin Toronto-area police have issued a

Bob Mackin

The Alberta government says its pro-Kinder Morgan ads were on Squamish Nation-owned billboards for nine days before the First Nation ordered they be removed. 

The Keep Canada Working campaign that broke April 30 was on rotation at the Squamish Nation’s digital billboards near the Lions Gate Bridge, Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Bridge and Burrard Bridge. The band is challenging the Trans Mountain Pipeline’s approval in the Federal Court of Appeal and several members, including councillor Khelsilem (aka Dustin Rivers), are part of the growing protest camp near the Burnaby Mountain tank farm.

Alberta’s pro-Kinder Morgan ad on a Squamish Nation billboard near the Lions Gate Bridge (Mackin)

“Trans Mountain Pipeline means more money for roads, schools and hospitals” says one of the bright, red ads, which features the campaign website and a doodle of buildings and flowers. The ad is part of a taxpayer-funded campaign worth almost $1.3 million. Much of it is targeted to B.C. where Premier John Horgan’s NDP government is opposed to the project to transport tar sands oil to the B.C. coast.

Cheryl Oates, spokeswoman for Alberta NDP Premier Rachel Notley, told theBreaker that $20,630 was spent before the ads were switched May 8 to billboards on Highway 99 near Beach Road in White Rock, Highway 1 near Whatcom Road in Abbotsford and Robson and Granville in downtown Vancouver. 

“They were not paid in advanced and we only paid for the duration that they were up (nothing was refunded),” Oates said. The locations were chosen because they are high profile locations with high volumes of vehicle traffic going to and from downtown Vancouver. 

Khelsilem said the ads were removed on May 10. “There was no policy or approval process. We just made a kind request to the company that runs the billboards and they obliged.”

The three-metre by nine-metre LED billboards were erected before the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. They are managed by Allvision Canada Co. and operated by Bell-owned Astral Media. A 2010 news release quoted Squamish Nation chief Bill Williams saying the billboards would generate $50 million for the tribe. 

On April 8, Kinder Morgan announced suspension of federally approved work to expand the pipeline. It blamed continued opposition from the B.C. government, which is unlikely to meet the company’s May 31 deadline to change course. On April 26, Horgan formally asked the B.C. Court of Appeal to rule whether B.C. has jurisdiction to regulate the environmental and economic impacts of oil transported in the province. On May 16, federal finance minister Bill Morneau offered to bailout Kinder Morgan for any losses related to politically motivated construction delays. 

Also on May 16, Attorney General David Eby threatened to sue Alberta should it follow through on Notley’s threat to restrict the supply of Alberta oil to B.C. 

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Bob Mackin The Alberta government says its pro-Kinder

Bob Mackin

A labour-sponsored investment fund with historical ties to the NDP will finally hold its annual general meeting next month, after two significant delays. 

The AGM for the Working Opportunity Fund (WOF) is traditionally in December. Late last October, however, it received an extension from the Registrar of Companies to delay 2017’s meeting until the first quarter of 2018. On May 3, it issued notice that it would finally happen on June 27, three days shy of the end of the second quarter. 

In an interview, David Levi, executive vice-president of WOF-manager GrowthWorks Capital, hinted to some changes on the horizon. 

“The board is doing some work on a variety of different options and they wanted more time in order to be able to do that, so that if they choose to make some changes that they would be able to do that at an annual meeting and they weren’t going to be ready in the early spring,” Levi said. “They recognized that and that’s why they delayed it.”

Levi, son of former B.C. NDP cabinet minister Norm Levi, was CEO from WOF’s 1992 inception until October 2016. The former chair of VanCity Credit Union founded GrowthWorks in 1998 and it became WOF’s manager a year later. GrowthWorks’ latest five-year management contract with WOF expires at the end of 2018. 

WOF has invested more than $600 million in over 130 companies during the last 26 years, but froze redemptions for unit holders of one of its two investment pools in 2013 over liquidity concerns. 

Five years ago, GrowthWorks admitted that a B.C. Securities Commission audit found deficiencies in its compliance procedures and internal controls. GrowthWorks disagreed, but said it would cooperate. 

Levi was asked whether the annual general meeting delay could be related to internal discussions aimed at converting units to publicly traded shares for listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange. He declined to comment, citing disclosure regulations around WOF’s quasi-public company status. 

WOF has two investment pools, the venture series and commercialization series, which count 17,200 and 2,500 shareholders respectively. The venture series held investments in 16 private companies last year, but suffered a nearly $29 million depreciation. It did not generate sufficient liquidity, so there was no dividend for venture shareholders. 

WOF board has representation from the B.C. Federation of Labour and four big unions.

The annual report said “certain portfolio companies did not meet expectations for revenue growth, profitability or technical milestones during the year.”

One of those companies, BuildDirect.com Technologies, was written down to nil value after it failed to complete equity financing last October. On Oct. 31, 2017, the home improvement e-tailer received creditor protection. It reorganized and exited creditor protection on March 26. 

The WOF commercialization series had a net asset value of $28.9 million as of last Dec. 31, which included investments in eight portfolio companies and $8.1 million of net asset value in liquid assets.

“Commercialization is still open for redemption and operating normally,” Levi said. “The venture pool ceased redemption about three, maybe four, years ago. The board did a full review and decided the best way to pay everybody out was as we sold off the companies that we’d return it to people in the form of dividends, that was voted on by shareholders.”

Levi said the difficulty in the venture pool is that WOF is a minor investor without controlling interest in the companies. 

“The companies we invest in we can’t sell until all the shareholders agree to do so. A number of our companies are doing well in the portfolio, and so people are the other shareholders saying they want to wait until we can maximize the value.”

Levi said the process for WOF renewing with manager GrowthWorks is underway. He said WOF has enough cash on hand to operate for 18 to 24 months, “by which time we will no doubt have sold one or two other companies. We’re a fairly minor expense of the overall contextually, we have cash on hand which would be sufficient for 18 months to two years.”

In the latest annual report, $868,470 was spent by WOF on management and administration for the commercialization pool and $3,708,764 for venture. 

Could WOF be traded on a Toronto exchange?

WOF’s board includes senior executives from the B.C. Federation of Labour, Canadian Union of Public Employees, United Steelworkers, MoveUP and UNITE HERE.

As of March 28, 2018, Levi had 49% of shares in GrowthWorks Capital’s parent company, GrowthWorks Ltd. The other 51% was held by Working Enterprises Ltd., a private entity owned equally by BC Fed, B.C. Government and Service Employees Union, CUPE, Health Sciences Association, International Longshore and Warehouse Union, MoveUP and USW. 

Elections BC’s database shows that Working Enterprises companies have donated $21,890 to the NDP since 2005. 

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Bob Mackin A labour-sponsored investment fund with historical

Bob Mackin

The B.C. Legislature sits until May 31 and then breaks for four months. 

Will Rich Coleman be back in the fall? 

A source tells theBreaker that polling has been underway in Surrey and Langley, testing the waters for Coleman’s name as a potential candidate for mayor and potential candidate for the federal Conservatives. 

Rich Coleman (right) and Woodfibre LNG owner Sukanto Tanoto, holding documents the B.C. government refuses to release.

Coleman was interim BC Liberal leader after Christy Clark quit last summer. When he broke from tradition and endorsed Mike de Jong for leader early this year, his fate was sealed. New leader Andrew Wilkinson relegated both Coleman and de Jong to non-critic roles in the BC Liberal opposition caucus. Runner-up Dianne Watts was prepared to do the same to Coleman, had she won. 

The ex-deputy premier is 62 and has enjoyed six election victories in Langley ridings that earned him several cabinet posts during the 16-year BC Liberal dynasty. He is also a master fundraiser, but the rules have changed. No more six-figure donations from tycoons, like the Walls and the Redekops, are allowed. With the NDP/Green alliance looking like it could hold until 2021, now is the time for new career challenges, as they say. 

There are municipal elections this October and the federal election in October 2019. 

Neither Langley City Mayor Ted Schaffer nor Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner are running this fall. Speculation is that Coleman’s best-bet would be to snag the federal Tory nomination for Cloverdale-Langley City to challenge Liberal John Aldag. 

Coleman’s time in office since 1996 means he is eligible for an annual provincial pension of approximately $83,000.

Ex-Robertson aide to seek Vision nod? 

When Geoff Meggs quit as a Vision Vancouver city councillor to join Premier John Horgan’s office as chief of staff, he brought Mira Oreck with him.

Oreck was the 2015 federal election runner-up to Liberal Jody Wilson-Raybould in Vancouver-Granville. She took the $120,000-a-year job last July as Horgan’s director of stakeholder relations, but she hasn’t lost the itch to run for public office. A source told theBreaker that she is interested in the $169,000-a-year job as Mayor of Vancouver and was exploring a run for the nomination with Vision Vancouver. She did not respond for comment.

Oreck and Vdovine (Twitter)

Mayor Gregor Robertson is bowing out after three terms in office. Oreck was originally Robertson’s aide when he was an NDP MLA from 2005 to 2008 and later a key member of his mayoral campaign backroom. She also took detours to the Ottawa-based Broadbent Institute and a New York political action committee’s pro-Obama campaign aimed at Jewish voters.

Oreck’s husband is ex-Vision  executive director Stepan Vdovine. In February, Vdovine joined the De Cotiis famiglia’s Amacon development company as director of business development. 

Chez Chow 

Minister of State for Trade George Chow finds himself between a rock and a hard place. 

The Vancouver-Fraserview NDP MLA didn’t respond to theBreaker’s request for comment about how he is dealing with the NDP government’s additional school tax. 

Horgan (left) and Chow.

Chow’s name is on the deed for his residence in the Vancouver-Fairview riding. Last year, it was assessed at $5.085 million. That means his property is more than $2 million above the threshold for the controversial tax that the BC Liberals call a wealth tax. Former NDP Premier Mike Harcourt calls it a “tax on a tax,” and suggested to theBreaker that Horgan would be wise to take a second look at the levy.

Chow’s 2017 property tax bill was $14,451.66, which included $5,065 for schools. 

By theBreaker’s calculation, the new tax means that Chow will owe another $6,340. Unless he defers payment.

In his disclosure statement last August, Chow reported receiving not only his MLA and ministerial salary, but income from the BC Hydro pension plan and Canada Pension Plan. 

Chow had a 30-year career as an engineer with the electric company before sitting on city council for Vision Vancouver from 2005 to 2011. His 2017 political comeback ended BC Liberal Attorney General Suzanne Anton’s term in the South Vancouver riding. 

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Bob Mackin The B.C. Legislature sits until May

A whirlwind week in Vancouver politics, with 22 weeks until the civic election.

While lame duck Mayor Gregor Robertson was on yet another junket to a globalist conference (in New York, again), there was disruption on the right and on the left.

To start the week: NPA Coun. Hector Bremner’s application to run in the party’s May 29 mayoral primary was rejected by the party board of directors. Bremner, a lobbyist, is under investigation by city hall over conflict of interest allegations. Bremner and his supporters — mainly BC Liberals from Christy Clark’s campaigns — lashed out at the board, which includes supporters of rival Glen Chernen. Bremner even played the race card. NPA president Gregory Baker called that false and defamatory.

To end the week: Burnaby NDP MP Kennedy Stewart threw his hat in the ring, but as an independent, just days after Vancouver labour unions held meetings in a bid to unite the left. In early April, ex-Vision Vancouver director Shauna Sylvester began her independent campaign.

Vision has decided to nominate a mayoral candidate after all, but is the brand too hot to handle? Housing and affordability remain the top two issues that could motivate an angry electorate to line-up at the polls on Oct. 20 to wipe-out the remnants of Vision.

theBreaker.news Podcast host Bob Mackin sat down with pollster Mario Canseco of Research Co. at Mahony and Sons False Creek to discuss the results of his latest survey. Canseco found Coun. Adriane Carr of the Green Party is seen by 35% of respondents as a “good choice” for mayor. Vision Coun. Raymond Louie was next at 19%.

Canseco analyzes the trends and offers his predictions for the weeks to come in what is beginning to be an intriguing race on several fronts.

Plus commentaries and a scan of Pacific Rim and Pacific Northwest headlines.

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theBreaker.news Podcast
theBreaker.news Podcast: Splitting on the left, friction on the right in Vancouver politics
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A whirlwind week in Vancouver politics, with

Bob Mackin

First she lost majority rule in the provincial election a year ago this week.

Then she lost power at the end of June, the week after the “Clone Speech” calamity.

A month later, Christy Clark lost unanimous caucus support and she quit politics.

Now the ex-premier of British Columbia is trying to promote herself as a motivational speaker-for-hire, with presentation titles like “Leadership lessons from a former Premier,” “Life as a woman in politics,” “It’s the economy, stupid,” and “Canada’s future.”

ChristyClark.ca used to redirect to her Facebook page. Now it is its own website, which includes photos from the campaign trail and refers to her as “The Honourable” Christy Clark.

But is she really “The Honourable”?

Her critics, who can’t forget the litany of Clark Clique scandals, will say she never really was.

She officially used to be. But she is not anymore. The NDP’s John Horgan became “The Honourable” when he succeeded Clark as premier on July 18, 2017.

“As indicated on the Canadian Heritage website, the title ‘Honourable’ is used for the premier of a province while she or he is in office,” Canadian Heritage spokesman Tim Warmington wrote in an email to theBreaker. “If the premier is also a member of the Privy Council, he or she could retain the title ‘Honourable’ for life. The Department of Canadian Heritage is not responsible for reviewing the use of titles by individual citizens.”

The Privy Council is a largely symbolic, exclusive federal “club” for current and former cabinet ministers, former chief judges, speakers and governors general to advise the Queen on important matters. Membership is for life. 

It “almost never meets,” according to the website. Only ministers and a handful of non-ministers gather for special events, such as the proclamation of a new monarch or a royal wedding.

The last formal gathering was 1981, when the Privy Council was asked to give consent to Prince Charles’s wedding to Lady Diana. There was an informal Privy Council gathering in 1982 when Queen Elizabeth II signed the new Constitution in Ottawa. 

The most-recent roster of the Privy Council includes just one ex-B.C. premier: Ujjal Dosanjh. Dosanjh received the title not for his stint leading the NDP government in Victoria, but for being a Liberal Health Minister.

Said Stéphane Shank, manager of media relations in the Privy Council Office: “Ms. Christy Clark is not a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada.”

Shank reiterated the rule: “Members of the Executive Councils of the Provinces and Territories to be styled ‘Honourable’ while in office.”

theBreaker emailed Clark through the form on her website. Clark has not replied, neither has her agent.

We will be honoured to let you know if and when she does respond.

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Bob Mackin First she lost majority rule in

Bob Mackin 

“Let’s Fix Housing” is the slogan for Vancouver city councillor Hector Bremner, whose bid to be the Non-Partisan Association mayoral nominee was rejected May 7 by the party board.

But, six years ago, Bremner and his wife Virginia Grespan were in a housing fix of their own. 

On May 1, 2012, B.C. Supreme Court Master Ian Caldwell issued a foreclosure notice against the couple for $523,406.85 owing to CIBC Mortgages Inc. They had defaulted in February 2012 on $2,700 a month loan payments for their four-bedroom house in New Westminster’s West End. 

Bremner and Grespan (far left) at a BC Liberal event in New Westminster with Rich Coleman (upper right).

Bremner did not respond to interview requests from theBreaker

The court file includes a March 16, 2012 letter to CIBC and its Kamloops law firm, Fulton and Co., signed by the couple. Bremner and Grespan pleaded for more time while they tried to sell the house, cut costs and generate more income. 

Their letter blamed their misfortune on a “sudden and severe drop in income from a personally owned business of Hector Bremner and the related expanse of maintaining the company.” Bremner operated a consultancy at the time called Touch Marketing. 

The house was listed for sale before Christmas 2011 at $649,900, but reduced in the first week of March 2012 to $599,900, according to an accompanying letter from their real estate agent. Bremner and Grespan’s letter said they accepted a $599,000 offer and Bremner was on the cusp of a new, higher-paying job with a company that was not named. 

“As of the date of this letter, Mr. Bremner has been notified to expect to receive a final draft employment contract, whose terms have been already negotiated and agreed upon, as a sales and marketing manager by an employer no later than [March 27].”

The letter said Bremner’s new job was to pay $5,000 monthly plus commission. “Monthly income is expected to range from $7,000 to $10,000.” 

“There has been a lot of frustration, dashed hopes and disappointment over the last three months which as been extraordinarily difficult,” they wrote. “When something appeared to finalize with respect to employment or the sale of the property, there was another delay and then another.” 

It is not known whether that job ever materialized in 2012. Bremner’s online resume shows that he operated Touch Marketing from 2007 until 2013, when he ran unsuccessfully for the BC Liberals in the NDP stronghold of New Westminster. 

After the BC Liberal government was re-elected, Grespan, who had been a nurse, became a receptionist in Premier Christy Clark’s office and Bremner worked as an aide for International Trade minister Teresa Wat. He later became Natural Gas and Housing minister Rich Coleman’s aide. In 2014-2015, their first full fiscal year of government employment, Bremner was paid $46,077 and Grespan $46,793. Grespan received $36,164 in severance when the NDP replaced the BC Liberals last July. 

Since February 2015, Bremner has worked as a vice-president with the BC Liberal-aligned Pace Group lobbying and public relations firm. 

Bremner was elected under the NPA banner in last October’s by-election after Vision Vancouver’s Geoff Meggs quit to become Premier John Horgan’s chief of staff. Bremner rode low turnout and left-wing vote-splitting to victory. 

NPA president Gregory Baker told theBreaker on May 10 that the party was aware of the foreclosure case, but he did not say whether it was a factor in the board’s decision to reject Bremner. The NPA’s 51-page candidate application, obtained by theBreaker, included probing questions about past legal and financial problems, such as “have you ever had a judgment made against you in any legal proceeding?” 

Bremner’s January-filed statutory disclosure form to city hall lists liabilities of undisclosed amounts with Royal Bank of Canada and Capital One MasterCard, but no assets or real property. 

Rejected NPA mayoral hopefuls Steeves (upper left) and Bremner (lower right). Either Coupar (lower left), Chernen or Sim will get the nod May 29.

Bremner is under investigation for two complaints under the city hall code of conduct alleging conflict of interest stemming from his job with the Pace Group. The company’s clients include major developers like Aquilini Investment Group and Concert Properties. 

Contrary to what Bremner and his campaign manager, Mark Marissen, have said publicly since the May 7 board rejection, Baker said Bremner was not approved by the so-called “green light committee.” The committee did, however, express serious reservations to the board about Bremner’s application and interview.

“[The green light committee] was an advisory board, it reviewed the applications and looked at the criminal record check and all of these details,” Baker said. “The board’s job was to make the decision. It was never the green light committee’s job to make the decision.” 

Engineer George Steeves was the other prospective candidate rejected. Accountability activist Glen Chernen, former Park Board chair John Coupar and franchising entrepreneur Ken Sim were approved to run for the May 29 party vote. The election is Oct. 20. Sam Sullivan was the last NPA mayor, from 2005 to 2008. Vision Vancouver’s Gregor Robertson will not run for a fourth term.

Baker said NPA candidate applications are treated as confidential, between the candidate and the board. He said the party is consulting a lawyer about making the reasons for Bremner’s rejection public. 

Baker called Bremner’s allegations in a Vancouver Sun story of racism playing a part in the NPA board decision “completely untrue” and “offensive.” 

Asked if Bremner could be kicked-out of the NPA’s city council caucus for his conduct since the board decision, Baker said: “We’re considering all our options right now.”

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Bob Mackin  “Let’s Fix Housing” is the slogan