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Bob Mackin

What if your life depended on Eagle Ridge Hospital?

A Hollywood film production company that set-up in the Port Moody hospital for 10 days was billed less than $20,000. Meanwhile, the emergency ward was overflowing and patients languished in hallways. 

theBreaker obtained a copy of the TCF Vancouver Productions Ltd. contract with Fraser Health Authority, which called for payments of $2,500 per filming day and $1,250 per prep and wrap day.

Scenes for 20th Century Fox’s “The Mountain Between Us” were shot between Jan. 31 and Feb. 9 in two unused wards. The disaster-romance stars Idris Elba as a surgeon and Kate Winslet as a journalist who survive a plane crash. It is scheduled for an October release.

A spreadsheet released under the freedom of information law says Fraser Health received a cheque for $19,787.39 for net fees and a ceiling tile. TCF incurred a $27,333.71 charge, but received an $8,488.58 discount. Shared Services B.C., an arm of the Ministry of Technology and Citizens Services, picked up the miscellaneous fees and film liaison fees.

On Feb. 6, Fraser Health set March 21 as the deadline for disclosure of documents sought by theBreaker. Fraser Health invoked two delays, beyond the May 9 provincial election, before it finally sent the documents on June 8. 

B.C. spent nearly $500 million on tax credits in the 2015-2016 fiscal year. Film and TV producers are eligible for a basic production services tax credit of 28%. Unlike California, the B.C. government refuses to tell the public the dollar figures of tax breaks given to individual productions. 

“For every $100 spent by a production company on eligible labour, government subsidies return between $33 and $71 to that company,” according to a May 2, 2016 B.C. government news release.

In January, Global TV reported on a former neuropsychologist who spent 36 hours waiting for treatment in the hallway at Eagle Ridge Hospital, under a plaque recognizing her donations to the hospital 

Two weeks before the election campaign officially kicked off, the BC Liberals announced $22.6 million in taxpayer-funding toward a $27.6 million emergency ward expansion at Eagle Ridge. Construction won’t begin until summer 2018 at the earliest. 

That didn’t help Port Moody-Coquitlam incumbent Linda Reimer get re-elected. Port Moody city councillor Rick Glumac of the NDP won the seat on May 9. 

Fraser Health FOI 1-928 by BobMackin on Scribd

Bob Mackin What if your life depended

Bob Mackin

theBreaker was first to report that Laura Miller has left the BC Liberal Party and this time it appears to be for good. 

The once-hyperactive Twitter account of the controversial executive director of Premier Christy Clark’s party disappeared June 13 after a month of being dormant. A source told theBreaker that Miller agreed to her termination. 

Party president Sharon White did not respond immediately to queries from theBreaker.

At 1:39 p.m. on June 13, Miller’s Twitter account reappeared, and she confirmed her departure. “After 3 years+ with BC Liberals and 2 historic elections, I am moving on professionally and geographically at the end of the month. I am deeply grateful to the BC Liberals team led by Sharon White and Christy Clark for the incredible opportunity and experience.” 

By email, Miller’s lawyer, Scott Hutchison, told theBreaker: “It has always been Laura’s intention to return to Ontario after the election in British Columbia. She is proud of her involvement in two historic election wins for Premier Christy Clark and looks forward to upcoming opportunities.” 

Miller testifying at the Ontario Legislature in 2013.

Miller came west to work on the party’s surprise 2013 election win as production director and was promoted to executive director later that year. 

Under Miller, the party lost two by-elections in 2016 and lost six seats — and its 16-year majority status — in the May 9 provincial election. That, despite raising record sums of money through unregulated cash for access fundraisers, which led to an RCMP investigation over donations by lobbyists who did not disclose who their clients were. 

The Liberals may be defeated by a Green-supported NDP minority in a confidence vote after the Legislature returns June 22.

Miller originally announced Dec. 17, 2015 that she would immediately leave the party to defend herself against criminal charges at home in Ontario, but, as this reporter revealed, she really didn’t go far

Miller was charged by Ontario Provincial Police with breach of trust, mischief, mischief in relation to data and misuse of a computer system to commit mischief from her time as deputy chief of staff to Ontario Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty. The charges relate to efforts to delete damning evidence about the politically motivated cancellation of gas-fired power plants in 2011. She is scheduled to be on trial in Ontario beginning Sept. 11. 

An online campaign by her mother since late 2015 to raise $100,000 for her defense fund has raised $79,311. White was among several Liberal insiders who donated. 

Miller did not actually leave the BC Liberals in 2015. While the party said publicly that Evan Southern was Miller’s replacement, she continued to be an integral part of campaign planning committee meetings. Both her email and voice mail remained active well into February 2016. Finally, in mid-March 2016, the party announced she had resumed her duties as executive director. 

This time, Miller’s email address is no longer in operation. 

On the way out the door, did she use a Winnie the Pooh reference to throw shade at a rival? 

The last of Miller’s four farewell Tweets started “Remember always it’s better to be Tigger than Eeyore…” 

In a March 31, 2017 Globe and Mail story about polling, 2013 campaign director Mike McDonald revealed that his nickname is Eeyore. McDonald is back in Clark’s office as her chief of staff. 

UPDATE: The same source that tipped-off theBreaker about Miller’s departure said June 14 that the party’s new executive director will be Michele Cadario, Clark’s deputy chief of staff.  

The former deputy chief of staff to Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin was part of Clark’s leadership campaign in 2011, acted as a senior party fundraiser and was rewarded after the 2013 election, when she got a pay raise from $144,000 to $230,000.

At party headquarters, Cadario will be reunited with Evan Southern, the party operations director. Southern left Clark’s office after the damning Information and Privacy Commissioner’s October 2015 investigation into triple-deleting. In the “Access Denied” report,Southern was blasted for keeping track of FOI requests to the Office of the Premier on Post-It notes. Commissioner Elizabeth Denham found that Cadario continuously purged her email box.  


Bob Mackin theBreaker was first to report that Laura Miller

BCLC VP Tweeted pic of Trudeau at 2017 convention.

Bob Mackin

Canada’s first First Lady to become First Mother is cashing-in on the public speaking circuit.

Documents obtained by theBreaker under freedom of information show B.C. Lottery Corporation agreed to pay $12,500 plus expenses for Margaret Trudeau to deliver her 60-to-90 minute “Changing My Mind” keynote speech on Feb. 21 at BCLC’s annual New Horizons on Responsible Gambling convention. 

Speakers’ Spotlight, the agent for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s mother, touts her as a “celebrated Canadian, mental health advocate.”

“From becoming [Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s] wife at a young age, to the loss of both her son and her former husband, to living with bi-polar disorder, Margaret tirelessly shares her personal stories to remind others of the importance of nurturing the body, mind, and spirit,” says Trudeau’s bio.

The contract with BCLC called for Margaret Trudeau to attend the convention’s dinner the night before, to participate in one radio interview before the event and a five to 10 minute media scrum after her speech. Margaret Trudeau’s $12,500 speaking fee is less than the $20,000 that Justin Trudeau was charging charities for his speaking engagements before he became Prime Minister. 

The Vancouver Convention Centre-hosted New Horizons attracts many of the world’s top gambling historians, academics and researchers. It is part of BCLC’s public relations strategy, to counter media coverage of gambling addiction and money laundering at B.C. casinos. The Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation found that the 2016 edition lost $208,642. The 2017 edition was projected to lose $140,000.

BCLC reported a $1.3 billion profit (mainly money that gamblers lost on lotteries and at casinos) for the year-ended March 31, 2016. Its next financial report is expected in September. An estimated 159,000 British Columbians are classified as problem gamblers — that is enough to fill every seat at B.C. Place Stadium for almost three events.

BCLC CEO Jim Lightbody hinted near the end of the 2017 confernece that the 2018 New Horizons venue would be the new Parq casino/hotel complex under construction beside B.C. Place Stadium. 

17-003 Record Trudeau BCLC by BobMackin on Scribd

[caption id="attachment_4610" align="alignright" width="515"] BCLC VP Tweeted

Bob Mackin

Remember BC Hydro’s Jan. 20-announced proposal to build new electric substations under a park and a school on the downtown peninsula? 

It was branded “seed” (with a lower-case s) and it got kiboshed less than two months later. 

BC Hydro’s costly seed campaign included CEO McDonald walking her dog in a park.

The Crown corporation wanted to build substations under Emery Barnes Park (by 2025) and Nelson School (by 2041). It used the underground substation at Cathedral Square as the model for the proposal. BC Hydro maintained that it would have been cheaper to dig under civic  land, build and cover than buying expensive land from a private owner and building a substation on top. BC Hydro set a March 31 deadline, but eventually cancelled it on March 9.  

CEO Jessica McDonald blamed city hall for foot-dragging and greed. City council pointed the finger at BC Hydro, saying it needed until early August to make a decision because of limited public consultation and a lack of information about financial and environmental impacts. Neither side had agreed on how much the land was worth. 

By the time McDonald pulled the plug on March 9 (two months before provincial election day), the power monopoly had spent nearly $290,000 on communications and public relations. Nearly all of the money was spent with a longtime, BC Liberal-connected firm that has a family connection to BC Hydro’s chairman.

Kirk & Co. billed $156,522.50 for its services plus $121,510.12 in expenses, according to a June 8 response to theBreaker from the BC Hydro freedom of information office. Kent Kallberg Studios billed $10,000 for photography.

BC Hydro claimed in an April 19 letter that it needed to consult a third-party, so it delayed the original April 21 disclosure deadline to June 7. April 21, coincidentally, was during the second week of the election campaign. BC Hydro finally responded on June 8 with a letter dated June 6. 

Kirk & Co. is headed by Judy Kirk, who was chief of staff and caucus executive director from 1994 to 1996 when the Gordon Campbell-led BC Liberals were the opposition party. Kirk’s firm was where McDonald’s ex-husband, Liberal campaign director Mike McDonald, hung his hat until early June when he returned to the premier’s office as Christy Clark’s chief of staff. Clark’s ex-press secretary, Sam Oliphant, joined Kirk in early 2016.

Kirk & Co. manager of client services, Carmen Bennett, is the daughter of BC Hydro chair Brad Bennett. 

During seven fiscal years through March 31, 2016, Kirk billed Hydro ratepayers $6,667,637, according to the Crown corporation’s annual list of supplier payments. Among the Kirk projects was communications, consultation and community relations on the controversial, $9 billion Site C dam project. 

“Kirk & Co. coordinated and facilitated 139 stakeholder meetings and 29 open houses from December 2007 to December 2012,” the company’s website says. “Kirk & Co. continues to assist in the management of community relations and maintains a public-enquiry line and project email address.”

During the same seven-year period, public accounts show that Kirk billed taxpayers $8,710,960 through the central government. 

Add it up and British Columbians have paid Kirk $15,368,597 during the seven-year period.

Kirk billed $10,877,755 of that since Clark became premier just before the end of the 2010-2011 fiscal year. And there is more to come. The 2016-2017 public accounts are expected in July and BC Hydro’s financial information act return for the same period is expected in September. 

Judy Kirk is attached to $22,036 in donations to the Liberals, according to the Elections BC database.

2017-194_Final Response (Sent 08 June 2017) by BobMackin on Scribd

Bob Mackin Remember BC Hydro’s Jan. 20-announced proposal

Bob Mackin

A change in the upper ranks of the Ministry of Education, before a new government is sworn-in. 

George Farkas

theBreaker has learned that Assistant Deputy Minister George Farkas was terminated June 5. 

Deputy Education Minister Dave Byng did not respond to a query from theBreaker. Ministry spokesman Brett Lowther refused to comment. 

Reached by phone late afternoon on June 7, Farkas only said: “There was an announcement that I’m no longer with the public service, and I’ll leave it at that.”

Farkas was paid $184,650 for the year-ended March 31, 2016, according to public accounts. He was named ADM of Community, Sport and Cultural Development in December 2011 and later transferred to treasury board, where he was deputy secretary and ADM. In February 2016, he became ADM of Education in charge of resource management and corporate services. 

Last year, the ministry was preoccupied with the situation at the Vancouver School Board, where the Green-supported, Vision Vancouver trustees were accused of bullying staff amid a budget dispute with Victoria. Minister Mike Bernier fired all elected officials last October and installed Dianne Turner as the trustee. 

While Byng and his wife Cheryl were away on a business trip to Colombia in the latter half of March (Byng claims it was a person trip on which he elected to represent the province at various meetings), Farkas was involved in several high-level meetings with: school board chairs for a budget update (March 24), Bernier, to prepare for his meeting with Turner (March 27), and the meeting between Bernier, Turner and VSB Superintendent Scott Robinson (March 28). 

Lindsay Kislock

Also on June 5, Robinson announced he would resign from VSB effective the end of this week. It is not known whether there is any connection to Farkas’s departure. 

UPDATE: The Tyee’s Andrew MacLeod reported June 20 that another ADM is gone. Lindsay Kislock resigned her post in the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in early June. Kislock was the ADM in the Ministry of Health as the health firings scandal unfolded in 2012. She became the Mining Association of B.C.’s new vice-president of corporate affairs. 

Bob Mackin A change in the upper ranks

Bob Mackin

A real estate lawyer active in the wealthy BC Liberal Party says he donated $20,000 because two Burnaby candidates needed more money for their campaigns. 

Garth Evans’ donation, dated May 30, was the biggest from an individual in the party’s June 2-published, weekly unaudited report. He told theBreaker that he delivered the payment to the BC Liberal Party the week before the May 9 election.

Burnaby Liberal Garth Evans (Team Burnaby)

“This is a personal donation from me, not on behalf of anyone else, any client, any company, or anything,” Evans, a partner in the Vancouver law firm Barbeau Evans, said in a phone interview. “It’s because of my very strong desire to keep the BC Liberal Party in power. I’m obviously pretty disappointed in the outcome of the election and we’ll do better next time.”

Evans is the president of four-term incumbent Richard Lee’s Burnaby North riding association and he chaired the campaign committee for Burnaby-Deer Lake rookie Karen Wang. Both Lee and Wang lost to NDP candidates on May 9.

“They needed more money,” Evans said. “The funding is divided between head office and each separate riding. I can assure you the candidates in Burnaby, the ones I was actively supporting, and presumably the others as well, needed additional funding for the campaign.”

The BC Liberals raised $13.1 million in 2016, according to Elections BC returns that also showed Lee received $14,295.39 in transfers from party headquarters last year and Wang $23,707.73. Official financial returns for the April 11 to May 9 election campaign — which would show additional funds for candidates from party headquarters — must be filed with Elections BC by early August. 

The party’s unaudited 2017 disclosures indicate it raised another $8.2 million. The report that includes the donation from Evans totals $450,360.22. 

Pressed further about why such a rich party would have not adequately supported its local campaigns, Evans said: “Please don’t put words in my mouth.”

Candidate Karen Wang

Wang told theBreaker that she had “no clear idea” how much her campaign should get from the party. 

“What I heard from my campaign manager is probably we don’t have enough money in the account, so we need someone to donate to us,” Wang said.

B.C. has no legal limits to the size or source of political donations, but parties and individual candidates did have election-time spending limits: $4,882,404.95 per party and $77,674.82 per candidate. 

In 2013, Lee’s campaign reported to Elections BC that it received $104,912.11 in transfers from BC Liberal headquarters and only $795.50 in local donations. The 2013 Burnaby-Deer Lake candidate, Shian Gu, raised $25,090 in donations and $57,214.82 in transfers. 

In the May 9 election, Clark’s incumbent BC Liberals won 43 seats in the upcoming 87-seat Legislature. They had 49 after the 2013 election. The three-seat, Andrew Weaver-led BC Greens have agreed to an alliance with the 41-seat NDP for a non-confidence vote that would end 16 years of Liberal rule and make NDP leader John Horgan the next premier.

Burnaby team

Evans was a one-term, Burnaby city councillor from 2005 to 2008 on the BC Liberal-allied Team Burnaby slate. He finished third in Burnaby-New Westminster for the federal Liberals during the 2011 election. In 2015, Evans was among 39 lawyers named by the BC Liberal cabinet to the annual Queen’s Counsel list. He is a former BC Liberal-appointed Royal B.C. Museum director. Evans was among several BC Liberal operatives that Burnaby-Coquitlam MLA Harry Bloy gave Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medals in 2012.

Liberal Lee (right) with party donor Shenglin Xian. (Flickr)

For the $20,000 donation, Evans would be eligible to claim a maximum $500 tax credit, the same as if he had donated $1,150.

He would not have received a tax break for the $1,000 he gave in late 2015 to the online Laura Miller Defense Fund.

Miller is the BC Liberal executive director who is scheduled to be tried in Ontario beginning Sept. 11. The former deputy chief of staff to Ontario Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty was charged in late 2015 with criminal breach of trust and mischief in relation to data and misuse of a computer system. 

Evans gave the BC Liberals $1,878 in 10 donations last year and ponied-up another $1,875 by early April of this year. 

His law firm partner, Paul Barbeau, has donated $4,935 since 2013. Barbeau was president of the BC Liberals’ Vancouver Quilchena riding association from September 2013 to November 2015. Barbeau quit the civic NPA presidency in early 2006, before Millennium Development — a company related to his client Armeco Construction — was picked by the NPA majority city council to build the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Village.

Barbeau is a director and corporate secretary for KLC Holdings Ltd., the Yakima, Wash.-based parent of the Kwik Lok plastic bag clip closure manufacturer. He did not answer theBreaker’s fact-checking question about whether the Washington company is related, beyond its name, with a British Virgin Islands-registerered, Singaporean investment and development company that is listed in the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ Offshore Leaks database. 

Paul Barbeau (LinkedIn)

theBreaker also asked Barbeau whether his firm has ever represented Premier Christy Clark, her family or her political associates. “The Law Society rules, as you probably also appreciate, do not allow us to confirm or deny who we do or do not act for,” he said. 

theBreaker consulted the B.C. Law Society Professional Conduct Handbook. Chapter 5, “Confidential Information,” states: “A lawyer shall not disclose the fact of having been consulted or retained by a person unless the nature of the matter requires such disclosure.” 

In a voice mail message while theBreaker was interviewing Barbeau, Evans said: “We don’t act for Christy Clark or anybody related to her or anybody related to the BC Liberal Party.” 

Barbeau listened to theBreaker’s later interview with Evans on a speakerphone. He was asked, based on the actual Law Society rule, whether he would deny representing Clark and others. “I entirely stand behind my earlier statement to you, it’s valid in good practice and appropriate in circumstances and have nothing to add,” he said. 

Bob Mackin A real estate lawyer active in

Bob Mackin

Pemberton Music Festival may be remembered more for being a money pit than for its mosh pit.

The owner of a temporary power company owed $55,000 from the bankrupt festival said he is afraid the taxman will be the only one paid. 

“I think there will be nothing left, there is no assets to cover the liability,” said Production Power’s Lewis Neilson after a meeting of creditors on June 6. “They owe about $13 million, they have potentially $3 million, there is a $10 million hole that just won’t be filled. I expect that none of the unsecrured credtiors will get any money, [Canada Revenue Agency] will get most of the money.”

At the Robson Square meeting, Ernst and Young vice-president Kevin Brennan delivered a sobering report on the festival’s financial woes. The two secured creditors, owed $3.5 million, agreed to waive their claims, after helping fund almost $50 million in losses over three years before tickets went on sale for the cancelled 2017 version. 

Site of Pemby Fest creditors meeting (Mackin)

Neilson said those who spent a combined $8.2 million on tickets for the cancelled July 13-16 festival should really be first in line, because they paid in good faith and don’t deserve to be victims of others’ mismanagement. He said New Orleans-based promoter Huka perennially overpaid for imported labour and equipment and would take until the February following the mid-July festival to pay invoices to local suppliers.

“We assumed they were taking the further year’s ticket sales to pay off the prior year’s debt, so eventually it just has to catch up with you,” Neilson told reporters. “It’s a pyramid scheme.”

The Ernst and Young report blamed the festival’s demise on four factors: sluggish 2017 ticket sales, the weakened Canadian dollar, failure to find additional funding, and increased difficulty in sourcing talent in 2017. 

Live Nation staged the original Pemberton Music Festival once in 2008. In late 2013, Huka and a local investment group, Janspec Holdings, agreed to resurrect the festival for 2014, with Huka originally forecasting a US$2.4 million profit. Janspec’s holdings include the festival venue, Sunstone Ranch, and directors include Langley’s Amanda Girling and White Rock’s Jeremy Turner. They are heirs to the fortune of their late father, Clifford Turner, a co-founder of the British-based Linpac packaging empire. 

Slow ticket sales forced a forecast revision by the end of May 2014 to a US$6.9 million loss. The festival, headlined by Nine Inch Nails, Deadmau5 and Soundgarden, drew 17,700 per day, and eventually lost C$16.9 million. 

“The Canadian investors notified Huka of their dissatisfaction and demanded significant changes to the PMF oversight and its ownership structure,” said the report.

The 2015 festival initially estimated a US$4 million loss. The month before, Huka told the Canadian investors they needed an additional US$4.5 million and C$2 million; they advanced US$3 million and C$2 million. The festival, headlined by Kendrick Lamar, Black Keys and Missy Elliot, drew 25,151 per day and lost C$16.8 million.

“With continued losses funded exclusively by the Canadian investors, their further involvement with the PMF was uncertain,” the report said. “On Oct. 29, 2015, Huka assured the Canadian investors that the PMF brand was growing, that the 2016 PMF would, at minimum, break-even financially and that Huka was making progress in discussions with other potential investors.” 

In March 2016, the Canadian investors loaned US$3.1 million to Huka. Before mid-April, 25,000 tickets were sold, but sales of camping passes were halted because Huka failed to gain government permits. Pass sales finally resumed in June. The Canadian investors loaned another C$1 million to Huka in early July and were faced with Huka’s threat to cancel the festival at the 11th hour. 

“Only July 13, 2016, the day prior to the 2016 PMF and, with approximately 20,000 campers already on festival grounds, the Canadina investors were informed by Huka that the 2016 PMF would have to be cancelled if an additional US$3.6 million was not immediately paid to cover cost overruns.”

Janspec agreed to the loan demand in exchange for promissory notes. The Pearl Jam, Snoop Dogg and Killers-headlined festival lost C$14 million. The Canadian investors loaned Huka another C$2 million after the festival to pay outstanding invoices. 

Losses mounted, changes demanded

Janspec sought advice from a Canadian producer, who was not identified, in October 2016. They met with “two highly recognized producers” about reorganizing the 2017 festival, but neither would participate if Huka and its principals remained involved. 

In early 2017, Huka balked at Janspec’s offer to buy out Huka’s interest in the festival. Two offers to buy interest in Huka and the festival were withdrawn. 

At the end of March, Huka budgeted C$28 million to produce the 2017 festival, based on 40,000 attendees per day. The producer consulting with the Canadian investors submitted a C$23 million budget, based on 45,000 attendees. 

Ticket presales began Feb. 23, but Janspec told Huka, in writing, that they would not continue if Huka was to continue its role and alleged that Huka breached the land licensing deal. The parties went into mediation for three weeks in April, which led to a Huka subsidiary, Twisted Tree, being replaced by a numbered company, 1115666 B.C. Ltd., as the general partner. 

Girling, Burnaby mining company executive Jim Dales and Huka representative Stephane Lescure were the three directors. 

Between April 19 and 28, C$4.1 million was released by TicketFly Inc. to Huka, to pay $3.2 million in deposits for performers, vendors and producer fees. Public ticket sales resumed May 2. 

The Canadian investors told the trustee that Huka made unfulfilled promises to bring in a new investor, and that Huka made US$3.45 million in producer fees, but “the Canadian investors had received no funds in return on their investment.” 

Janspec’s Wilcox (Mackin)

The B.C. numbered company’s directors voted for bankruptcy on the evening of May 16. In the morning of May 18, Ernst and Young filed with the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy. 

Dales attended the meeting, but did not answer any creditors’ questions or stop to speak with reporters outside. Likewise for Janspec vice-president Nyal Wilcox, who left with a “no comment.” After the meeting, theBreaker visited the Janspec office on the seventh floor of John Robson Place on Robson Street. Girling was seen in the office by a reporter, but she did not respond to a question about the money owed to ticketholders. Wilcox blocked theBreaker’s camera, asked a reporter to leave immediately and locked the door.

theBreaker’s phone calls to Huka founder A.J. Niland and CEO Evan Harrison were not returned. 

Brennan’s report said there is interest in reviving the festival, but “there are a myriad of complex issues to hosting an event such as the PMF, including the required governmetnal and other approvals.

“The trustee cautions the public and ticketholders that, nothwithstanding media reports that parties are seeking to host the previously cancelled festival, the likelihood of a successful event for 2017 is highly unlikely,” the report said.

Joseph Spears, a Horseshoe Bay businessman with 2 Narrows Productions, is putting together a group aiming to salvage the festival this summer. He wants to make it a charity event under the Canada 150 banner. Spears said he hopes it can happen on the festival site in Pemberton on the original July 13-16 dates, but he said alternate dates and venues are being considered. Spears’ group includes Neilson and Los Angeles-based James Thomas Productions. He said he is in touch with representatives of the trustee and Janspec, but declined to discuss details because of a confidentiality agreement.

“I’m pretty confident that we can sort all of this out and move forward,” Spears said. “As you clean up the past, we’re looking forward, we’re not looking behind. We’re looking onto the horizon, seeing Mount Currie rise and so will the festival.” 

Bob Mackin Pemberton Music Festival may be remembered more

Bob Mackin 

BC Hydro appears to have one set of books about the $9 billion Site C dam project for the B.C. Utilities Commission and another set of books for the Crown corporation’s directors and executives.  

Just before last Christmas, the public-owned utility released its first annual report to the BCUC, claiming it had spent $1.3 billion on the project by Sept. 30, 2016.

But, BC Hydro censored all budget and expenditure figures, names of contractors and amounts paid to First Nations from documents that it sent four months late to theBreaker

The BC Liberal cabinet intentionally diverted the megaproject from BCUC review. A Green-supported NDP minority government pledges to send Site C to BCUC for review. Such a move could stop the controversial megaproject that is costing taxpayers more than the entire estimated cost of building and operating the 2010 Winter Olympics. 

theBreaker applied, under the freedom of information laws, on Dec. 14, 2016 for all agendas, minutes and PowerPoint or like presentations for Site C project board meetings since Oct. 26, 2016. BC Hydro was supposed to respond by Jan. 30, but did not release the documents until May 31 — more than three weeks since the provincial election.

The documents — censored by BC Hydro for fear of financial harm to the Crown corporation and its contractors — include the agenda and a report to the Nov. 14, 2016 project board meeting. Attendees included BC Hydro chair Brad Bennett and ex-BC Hydro executive Susan Yurkovich. Bennett campaigned with Premier Christy Clark during the election. Yurkovich is now the head of the Council of Forest Industries, but remains a Site C “board advisor.” 

The presentation to the board said year one early works were completed within budget, but environmental compliance continued to be challenging. The overall schedule milestones were on track to meet the 2019 river diversion, but the schedule was censored.  

The report said 900 hectares had been cleared cleared and 2.4 million cubic metres of material excavated. Challenges included geotechnical conditions, the Rocky Mountain Fort protest and weather. 

BC Hydro had acted on only one of the 10 recommendations from Ernst and Young. The presentation showed the project was on track for the June awarding of the Cache Creek roads contract and July awarding of the generating station and spillways civil contract.

See the documents below. 


BCH 2017-167_Final Response (Sent 31 May 2017) by BobMackin on Scribd

Bob Mackin  BC Hydro appears to have one

Bob Mackin

Just because Premier Christy Clark’s speaking notes contained the word “Humble” in big letters at a May 30 news conference does not mean she will actually be humble in June. 

Expect the opposite. She knows no other way. 

Remember that when the Legislature returns and a throne speech is delivered. 

The transition from BC Liberal rule to a Green-supported NDP minority government will not be quick. It may not happen at all. 

Clark on May 30.

Lame duck Clark has too many reasons to drag this on through summer and beyond, especially when the likes of Kevin Falcon, Andrew Wilkinson and Sam Sullivan are exploring leadership bids. 

Too many corporate donors who paid into the Liberal war chest ($21.3 million raised since the start of 2016!) will want to see returns on their “investments.” There are contracts to award and megaprojects to continue, such as the $3.5 billion (plus $8 billion interest) Massey tunnel bridge replacement and the $9 billion Site C dam. More paycheques to write for patronage appointees and Liberal-leaning mandarins. There are hard drives the Clark Clique will want to erase and paper to shred, for fear of political foes and the public learning how naughty they’ve been since 2001.

You see, after the throne speech, there is traditionally the debate on the throne speech. It will not be a one-day exercise. 

Ask yourself these questions. Would you easily allow for your demotion? Would you agree to have your pay and perks cut, only to see your adversary across the aisle suddenly become richer than you? 

The Duchess of Dunbar will naturally resist and she will be anything but humble.

Clark and the 42 others in her caucus will use as much time as they can to pontificate. They’ll remind the NDP and Greens that more British Columbians voted Liberal, even if it was by just over 1,500. Oh, they’ll certainly miss the three Liberal cabinet ministers that were defeated (four, if you count junior minister Naomi Yamamoto), but that won’t stop career politicians Rich Coleman and Mike de Jong from their usual antics. 

NDP and Green members will reciprocate with their critical takes on Liberal corruption and cronyism. They will no doubt remind the Liberals that 60% of voters wanted change and chose parties other than the Liberals. And on it will go. 

The last three throne speeches under a Clark Liberal majority featured between 33 and 37 MLAs standing up and bloviating over several weeks. 

A filibuster of epic proportions will happen when the Legislature resumes.

The Liberals will ultimately control when the confidence vote is called and you just know they’ll use every trick in the book to have one more member on their side in the chamber than their Green and NDP opponents. B.C. could be stuck with the Clark Clique for months to come. If you’re a Green or NDP supporter, get your protest signs and marching shoes ready. 

Good thing that the Legislature advertised in February for contractors to upgrade the air conditioning system. Expect a long, hot summer in the capital. 

Of course, all the above would be a moot point if Clark simply adheres to her new year’s resolution to “be there more for her son,” Hamish, and cedes power to a Premier John Horgan.

Bob Mackin Just because Premier Christy Clark’s

Bob Mackin 

A West Vancouver businessman who is a veteran of salvaging sunken ships and mopping-up oil spills wants to resurrect the Pemberton Music Festival and make it a celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary. 

Joseph Spears of Horseshoe Bay Marine Group and 2 Narrows Productions says he has financial backers, sponsors and a U.S. concert producer ready to go. In a Monday interview with theBreaker, Spears said after the Victoria Day weekend, he contacted the Pemberton land owner  — a company owned by a former director of the bankrupt festival — to seek an urgent meeting. But he is puzzled why there is no rush to sit down and discuss his proposal. 

Joseph Spears (Mackin)

“I just can’t believe they’re not making any efforts,” Spears said. 

On May 18, the July 11-16, Huka Entertainment-produced festival was cancelled and declared bankrupt after selling $8.225 million in tickets. The rising cost of U.S. performers and the low loonie were blamed. A meeting of creditors is scheduled for June 6 at Robson Square in Vancouver. 

“We can still work to that July 11 date, if we get some response by the next two or three days,” Spears said.

Trustee Ernst and Young says $13.17 million is owed to unsecured creditors, mostly ticketholders. The two secured creditors, 1644609 Alberta Ltd. and Janspec Holdings Ltd., claim a combined $3.7 million. The festival had $6.6 million in assets, including $2.9 million cash.  

Spears has hired Vancouver insolvency lawyer David Lunny, a co-owner of Drumkeeran House in Pemberton, to represent him. Spears said his group could buy or lease the land so that the concert could proceed. He once assisted a consortium proposing a private school for the Sunstone Ridge Developments-owned land. Under Spears’ plan, tickets bought through May 18 would be honoured. 

Amanda Girling, a director of both Janspec and Sunstone, and two others quit the board of the festival’s general partner, 1115666 B.C. Ltd., the week before the cancellation. Sunstone’s 273 acres in Pemberton, which includes the festival site, are advertised for sale at $16.8 million. 

Amanda Girling

“This is basically a blight on B.C., tourism is affected by this, community is affected by this, the [ticket holders] are going to lose the funds that were advanced, the suppliers, all those small business people, I thought that was wrong, so let’s make this happen and rock on,” Spears said.

Girling has not responded to messages from theBreaker. Her lawyer, William Skelly, said by email that he expected to speak with Spears’ lawyer on Monday night. “We have had some difficulty connecting with Mr. Spears lawyer.”

Girling and her brother Jeremy Turner are directors of both Janspec and Sunstone, companies they founded in 2009 with their father Clifford Turner. Clifford Turner, a co-founder of British packaging giant Linpac, died in 2015 before his 95th birthday.

Spears has a message for Skelly and Girling. 

“I’d say reconsider your position, there is a whole lot of people out there, well over 18,000 people, that are going to create a lot of friction. So let’s move forward, let’s work together, all bankruptcies are unfortunate,” Spears said. “Let’s get through this and make this Canada 150 reboot concert a reality in 2017.”

Bob Mackin  A West Vancouver businessman who is