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Bob Mackin

theBreaker wanted to know what went on behind the scenes at the University of British Columbia for the hiring, firing and re-hiring of ex-Vancouver 2010 Winer Olympics CEO John Furlong as keynote speaker for its annual athletics fundraising breakfast. 

Furlong had been scheduled to speak at the Millennium Scholarship Breakfast on Feb. 28, the seventh anniversary of the 2010 Games closing ceremony. Shortly after it was announced, he was replaced by UBC President Santa Ono. 

UBC students protesting the Feb. 28 John Furlong speech (Mackin)

In a nutshell, Furlong had concealed his initial entry to Canada — in 1969, as a lay, Catholic missionary from Ireland, teaching gym class to aboriginal elementary students in Burns Lake. Journalist Laura Robinson revealed that, and numerous allegations that he had abused his students, in a September 2012 Georgia Straight expose. Furlong sued Robinson and the newspaper, but later dropped his actions. Robinson unsuccessfully sued Furlong for defamation. Contrary to many media reports, the allegations against Furlong have never been tested in court. The judge in Robinson’s defamation case against Furlong did not allow the accusers to testify and Furlong has never sued the accusers. 

The RCMP did not recommend charging Furlong and three civil lawsuits did not get to trial. The Mounties are taking a second look at what some believe was a flawed investigation. Several of Furlong’s former students have filed a federal Human Rights Complaint against the RCMP and Trudeau government. They ultimately want Furlong fired from chairman of Olympic athlete funding agency Own the Podium.

So theBreaker filed five Freedom of Information requests for various aspects of the event. Documents should have been released between Jan. 30 and Feb. 22. UBC ignored each and every one of the deadlines, so a complaint was filed April 4 with the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner. 

UBC decided to release them on April 24 to theBreaker. The very next day, by some strange coincidence, Douglas Quan of the National Post did a story on the 916-page document dump. 

What are some of the highlights? 

Page 449: Aug. 25 email, when athletics department staff were considering retired NBA star Steve Nash and Hockey Night in Canada host Ron McLean, but their cost and availability were obstacles. Toronto Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro couldn’t fit it into his schedule. 

Page 452: Sept. 5 email from Marty Zlotnik of sponsor ZLC Financial’s email to Shantal Cashman on Sept. 5. 

Page 453: Furlong’s Sept. 23 Speaking Engagement Contract, which called for $11,000 to be paid to Furlong, plus one table at the event in his name, and reimbursement of expenses, such as ground transportation. 

Page 472: A Dec. 20 email to athletic director Gilles Lepine and vice-president Louise Cowin mentioned that Linc Kesler [Director First Nations House of Learning and senior advisor Ono on Aboriginal Affairs) “has raised concern regarding the keynote choice for the Millennium Breakfast with Prof. Ono.”

Page 475: Dec. 22 cancellation letter to Andrea Shaw from Shantal Cashman in UBC Athletics.

“As per the contract terms, this notice has been given within the 2-6 month advance period, and we acknowledge that we forfeit our 50% deposit.” 

Page 490: Dec. 30 complaint email – “I am furious that you have cancelled John Furlong as key note speaker… I am not paying $200 to hear the new president speak.”

Page 670: Jan. 5 complaint email – “I do not know Mr. Furlong, except through various news media stories. He strikes me as being a thoroughly decent man, one who has done much for his community and country. My wife… and I were giving serious consideration to making a six figure financial bequest to UBC. Because of the Furlong affair, that is now much less likely to happen.”

Page 709: Dec. 28 complaint email – “I took the opportunity to go to the UBC website and to give a gift of $0.01 in recognition of this cowardly decision. Hopefully the cost of processing that will far exceed any benefit and it is the last penny I will ever give willingly to UBC, including funding any further tuition for my children and their grandchildren. If I had the ability to eliminate every dollar of my tax money that ends up in the UBC coffers, I would go out of my way to make this happen.” 

Pages 351 and 833: References to prominent UBC donors David McLean, Brenda McLean and Sacha McLean. The former email, on Jan. 9 and CC’d to Brenda and Sacha McLean, said: “I am so very proud of you and this decision, you have corrected a terrible wrong. “

Pages 720, 752 and 817: Letters from Robinson to Financial Post’s Christie Blatchford, citing various inaccuracies in one of her columns on the controversy, UBC anti-harassment activist Glynnis Kirchmeier’s statement to Ono with evidence from alleged Furlong victims, and links to media coverage about the allegations of abuse.

Page 292: Ono’s Jan. 7 re-invitation email to Furlong and Furlong’s reply. 

Page 444: Jan. 19 email from Kathryn Harrison, Acting Dean of Faculty of Arts, reporting a “threatening letter received in my mailbox.”

16-324 17-005 006 019 020 – UBC Furlong document dump by BobMackin on Scribd

Bob Mackin theBreaker wanted to know what went

Clark and Hu Chunhua, Chinese Communist Party Politburo member, in May 2016. (BC Gov)

Bob Mackin

What is the real elephant in the room in the British Columbia election of 2017? 


U.S. President Donald Trump’s 20% tariff on Canadian lumber became an issue this week and it figured in the April 26 leaders’ debate. But neither of the two debates featured any substantial discussion about emerging superpower China, the second-most important foreign country to Canada’s only Pacific province. 

You’ve seen this movie before. Remember the Munk debate on foreign policy during the 2015 federal election? China was not one of the topics on the agenda for Stephen Harper, Tom Mulcair or Justin Trudeau. 

China matters to B.C. and Canada for obvious trade, tourism and immigration reasons. The unprecedented and overwhelming migration of Mainland Chinese wealth has fuelled the real estate and construction boom in Vancouver. The consequences have included empty houses, displaced residents, and students and housewives claiming to own mansions. When Christy Clark calls the economy strong, it is because of the flood of Chinese money into the luxury housing and luxury car markets in the Lower Mainland. One of her donors, Paul Oei, is facing a B.C. Securities Commission fraud hearing that started the day before the election was formally called.

Here is the irony. 

The same night that three leaders omitted China from their debate in the CBC studio, the Chinese government targeted five people that it believes are corrupt fugitives now living in British Columbia.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection published a rogues gallery of 22 people wanted for criminal prosecution in China, and encouraged overseas Chinese to report their whereabouts. 

Michael Ching: wanted in China

We already know one of them: developer Michael Ching. Also known as Cheng Muyang, he was accused of embezzlement and named in a previous rogues’ gallery two years ago. He is the son of Cheng Wei Gao, the former Communist Party boss in Hebei province expelled from the party in 2003 for corruption.

Ching is well-known for his ties to the federal Liberal Party and support of Justin Trudeau. He is described by the Chinese government as former chairman of Hong Kong Jiadali Investment Co. Ltd. and former manager of the Beijing subsidiary of Beifang International Advertisement Company.  

Who are the others? 

Xiao Bin, former general manager of Qiqihar Credit Guarantee Co. Ltd. of Heilongjiang Province. Accused of embezzlement. Fled to Canada in January 2011, possibly living on Ackroyd Road in Richmond. 

Li Wenge, former vice-chairman of Trade Union of the State Taxation Bureau of Panlong District of Kunming City. Fled to Canada in August 2013, possibly living on Barnard Drive in Richmond. Accused of contract fraud and fundraising fraud. 

Wang Qingwei, former financial staff member of Qingqi Group Hong Kong Co., Ltd. Accused of letter of credit fraud. Fled to Canada in April 2005, possibly living on Hope River Road in Chilliwack. 

He Jian, former president of Fang Da Housing Development Co. Ltd. at Qihuangdao Port. Accused of embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds. Fled to Canada in September 2010, possibly living on Dover Road in Nanaimo. 

This is the latest step in President Xi Jinping’s much-publicized anti-corruption campaign. In a 2015 interview, Ching’s lawyer, David Matas of Winnipeg, described it as a “political pawn game,” intended more to shore-up Xi’s power than to actually clean-up government. Matas pointed out that evidence against Ching was gained via torture of witnesses. 

“The Communist Party controls the country, it does it behind closed doors. The issue of choice around which the power struggle revolves is corruption,” Matas said. “There is no system of law, there are courts and there is legislation, but the party controls the courts and the legislature, and the courts don’t control the party. There is no way, other than this power struggle, of dealing with corruption issues.”

Matas was lawyer for fugitive Lai Changxing, who was deported in 2011 from Vancouver to China where he was jailed for a multi-billion dollar smuggling scheme. Canada has no extradition treaty with China, but the Chinese government agreed not to execute Lai. 

In 2007, during Christy Clark’s hiatus from politics, she became chair of the education division of RCI Capital. The Vancouver investment firm is involved in a controversial Quebec immigration scheme aimed at attracting Chinese investors seeking expedited Canadian citizenship. Instead of settling in Quebec, most participants came to B.C. 


[caption id="attachment_4472" align="alignright" width="456"] Clark and Hu

Bob Mackin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bob Mackin By now, theBreaker had hoped to

Bob Mackin

February 6 was one of thef most-bizarre and pitiful days in British Columbia political history. 

And there have been many. 

B.C.’s Representative for Children and Youth, Bernard Richard, released his first major report, into the September 2015 suicide of Alex Gervais, at 10:14 a.m. 

The 18-year-old in provincial care jumped out of a motel window to his death in Abbotsford. He had been in 17 different foster homes, under 23 social workers and caregivers. The government, through a delgated aboriginal agency, was paying $8,000 a month to an abentee caregiver. It was yet another damning report from the childcare watchdog’s office, slamming mismanagement and incompetence under Liberal rule.

The same day, at 12:35 p.m., BC Liberal communications director Emile Scheffel started a series of Tweets that claimed the party’s website had been hacked. Liberal fingers were pointing at the NDP. 

Premier Christy Clark amplified those allegations the next day, but started to walk back from them in mid-week. She had no evidence. She later feebly claimed she had jumped to conclusions.

NDP leader John Horgan threatened legal action. By the end of the week, Clark issued a reluctant apology. She said she left Horgan a voice mail, before she spoke to reporters by speakerphone. Clark loves cameras and enjoys making selfie videos, but on Feb. 10, the terminal campaigner didn’t want to be seen making an apology. 

Province columnist Michael Smyth revealed that independent Delta MLA Vicki Huntington’s aide had found a spreadsheet with contact information for 100 Vancouver Island respondents to a Liberal survey. 

The document was hiding in plain view on the Liberal website.

So there was no hack and the NDP wasn’t involved at all. 

What did the public say? 

theBreaker filed a freedom of information request for correspondence to the Office of the Premier, which censored the names of the writers.

Many of those writers said they were Liberal supporters at the end of their rope, with both the mistreatment of children in provincial care and the false hacking allegations. 

Here are the excerpts. 

Feb. 7, 6:18 a.m.

I follow the issues of youth and children in care and what you have done is wrong, cruel and borderline criminal. 

Throughout Gordon [Campbell’s] and your government we have had just lies, lies and lies regarding this issue. 

On top of it you tried to make Mary Ellen Turpel Lafond look bad. We the public know better. You will be out of the premier’s office and Ms. Cadieux will be gone (thank God), however the next premier will have to deal with many permanent crisis created by your heartless decisions and narrow minded actions. 

“As a member of this society I am short of words to express myself. Upon reading about this young man’s death I could not help but cry. I asked myself: how could a mother like Christy Clark not do something vital and proper to help children and youth in care? Why she allows people on disability just 900 dollars a month? How come welfare rates are so low? Why she didn’t place money on affordable housing before the election campaign? Why B.C. has the highest child poverty rate among all the provinces? 

You are both heartless people and your mandarins are too. 

I have no respect for a government and a bureaucracy that steps on the weakest of our communities. 

As a mother, grandmother and great grandmother I am ashamed for you all.

Feb. 6, 3:29 p.m. 

Please fire Stephanie Cadieux – she does not have the ability to do the job.

Feb. 6, 2:39 p.m. 

Due to this very damning report, I am calling for the resignation of Stephanie Cadieux.

The lack of action by this government is appalling. Something must be done immediately and it must start with a new minister of MCFD and an apology from government to the families who are affected by this tragedy and the others that have occurred in the law few years must happen. 

Feb. 8, 7:48 a.m.

I was stunned to see and hear you on television yesterday defending keeping Stephanie Cadieux in her position. This is not the first time Stephanie has been in in the news and not for good work either! Stephanie’s Ministry of Children is a disaster…

Feb. 7, 6:33 p.m.

Care givers should be screened but the one you people had looking after Alex Gervais wasn’t. And to say it’s not perfect, really is that it? 

You could’ve come up with something better?

But I guess this is to be expected from someone who eats off a $5,000 plate.  

Feb. 8, 9:43 a.m.

Whatever happened to families first? 

Why can’t our province concentrate on intense, quality help for troubled children to prevent them from ending up in care and eventually addicted to drugs instead of slapping band aids on the epidemic drug problems and pretending that that’s really making a fundamental difference? 

Feb. 9, 9:50 a.m. 

You need to apologize to the NDP and B.C. citizens immediately or have a formal police investigation. Your record of truth distortion has already cost someone his life. If this is yet another lie — good luck with that garbage election time. B.C. citizens aren’t Trump fans and we’re fed up with liars. We know this was an arrogant attempt to divert attention from the Alex Gervais issue. Say his name Premier Clark, Alex Gervais. Another dead youth in care under your government. Apologize today. Show some class. 

Feb. 9, 11:03 a.m.

You lied about NDP hacking and then proceeded to conduct your own investigation which is illegal. 

This was just icing on the cake for you this week, we haven’t forgotten that you rolled back the foreign home buyers tax and that your corrupt government is responsible for the death of Alex Gervais. We will not forget the multiple children who have died because of YOUR incompetence and greed. 

You’re a disgraced premier, we demand your resignation. 

Feb. 6, 6:34 p.m. 

It is time for a new minister who will show compassion and dedication to one of the most important ministries. Children are our most important responsibility.

Feb. 7, 8:29 a.m. 

…things like this would never, ever, ever have happened when Grace McCarthy was minister. 

So many retired social workers have said the same to me over the years. 

Feb. 6, 12:23 p.m. 

As a Liberal supporter and voter, I’m so disappointed in the report that was released today about the you 18 year old that committed suicide in 2015. 

If you’re minister Stephanie Cadieux doesn’t step down immediately or isn’t fired. I can slo longer vote Liberal moving forward. 

If Stephanie is still in the same role when voting day arrives, my vote will go to NDP. 

Feb. 7, 10:50 a.m. 

I do think that your party has done more good for this province than bad. However, if you do not fire or get Minister Stephanie Cadieux to resign, my wife and I for the first time ever will vote NDP just to send a message. She should actually be sentenced for murder. Don’t you see that? 

Feb. 8, 8:17 p.m.

The assertion in front of the TV cameras, with no corroboration, marks the lengths to which this government will go to discredit others with fake news. 

Feb. 8, 4:32 p.m. 

Liberal hack? There is a well known saying that goes something like this: engage your brain before putting your mouth in gear. 

Feb 9, 6:50 a.m. 

I am so shocked that the dirty tricks of the Trump administration are now being employed here in Canada — seemingly by you. 

Feb. 8, 10:05 p.m. 

It is really cold out there right now. Ask Linda Reid if that bun warmer she has going is noice and warm. I see street people trying their best to stay warm and get a meal. Reminds me a lot of Dr. Zhivago. 

People in the streets freezing cold and the fat cats in government warm, dry and eating caviar. 

Feb. 8, 5:29 p.m. 

Some of the most conservative, even libertarian, young people I know are vowing to not vote for you over the decisions your goverment has made…

Furthermore, the cash for access fundraising is very offensive. 

Now today we hear you on the radio going the Trump route of making allegations without providing evidence when asked for it. 

Feb. 9, 10:34 a.m.

You say British Columbians aren’t concerned about this I am am! You’re a liar. I’ve always voted Liberal I will not this time around you don’t deserve the seat you’re sitting in. 

Feb. 9, 7:53 a.m. 

To start suggesting it’s going to be dirty politics this election is on all you and while I have supported Liberals in the past, your behaviour and arrogance has run thin. 

Feb. 9, 10:36 a.m. 

Clean up your actions. 

Feb. 9, 9:50 a.m. 

You need to apologize to the NDP and B.C. citiziens immediately or have a formal police investigation… 

Feb. 9, 11:03 a.m.

We will not forget the multiple children who have died because of your incompetence and greed. You’re a disgraced Premier, we demand your resignation. 

Feb. 9, 7:38 a.m.

Too bad you have to resort to Trump like tactics, with your unfounded hacking accusations. Just shows what a lying piece of crap you are. 

Feb. 8, 3:37 p.m. 

I have never voted NDP in my life and I support the Kinder Morgan pipeline. But I will be voting NDP in the election because I cannot stand the arrogance and stupidity of Christy Clark and her government. 

Feb. 9, 12:23 p.m. 

This proves you are not able to run the province and you cannot even run a server —  should we start calling you Hillary or Nasty Woman? 

Feb. 9, 8:15 a.m. 

Keep it up Christy and soon no one will believe you, not just those of us who grew tired of your lies long before now. 

Feb. 9, 12:33 p.m.

Your job is not to jump to conclusions. 

You as the premier must set the example for taking the moral high road. 

Feb. 9, 12:19 p.m. 

Lying about the hacking of a document on your website and blaming the NDP for committing a crime is about your lack of ethics. 

You are an endless embarrassment to B.C. 

Feb. 8, 7:13 p.m. 

I am offended that you think I don’t care whether the premier of my province thinks its ok to accuse without evidence. 

Feb. 9, 2:53 p.m. 

Please stop trying to distract the public from the deplorable report on the Ministry of Children and Family Development. The government has balanced the budget over the last dozen years on the backs of children (education) and the vulnerable (MCFD) of this province. A deplorable record. 

Feb. 9, 3:13 p.m. 

Stealing bullshit from the Trump administration. You are a disgrace to Canada. 

Feb. 9, 5:16 p.m 

Is this the kind of election that we can expect with your millions of dollars of donations from real estate agents and other millionaires? I scrape by to pay my medical premium while you get your expenses paid. I hope that this is just one more nail in the coffin of the Liberal Party of B.C. when it comes to the election in the spring.

Feb. 9, 5:33 p.m 

Your reckless remarks do not dignify the office to which you hold. 

Feb. 9, 5:39 p.m 

I am not an NDP voter but if you don’t work this one out to my satisfaction you will certainly not get my vote in the upcoming election and I am afraid that many voters may respond in a similar way. 

Feb. 9, 5:43 pm.

We will not stand for politicians gas lighting and throwing out unsubstantiated accusations. I want proof or a public apology. 

Feb. 9, 7:42 p.m. 

It is abhorrent enough to see the decline in civility and truth sough of the border. DO not bring this ugliness to B.C. 

Feb. 10, 7:55 a.m. 

You are being called out by almost everyone, is it because you are just getting sloppy or are people finally getting on to you and your tricks, shades of you university days??

Feb. 10, 8:26 a.m. 

I’m ashamed to say I voted for your party in the last election. 

Feb. 10, 9:22 a.m. 

British Columbians are fed up with your arrogant behaviour. You need to resign now. 

Feb. 10, 11:21 a.m. 

British Columbia does not need a Trump-lite premier. 

We are not a fan of the NDP but it is time for a change of government in this province. It is time to clean house – the Liberals have been in power too long as seen in your behaviour over the hacking to cover up the deep problems in social services, etc. 

Feb. 10, 4:30 p.m. 

More pitiful examples of how you are inappropriate to be B.C.’s premier. 

Feb. 10, 5:06 p.m. 

Behaviour unbecoming a premier. 

As a long time supporter, including my vote for you during the leadership campaign, I am very upset at your actions over the past few days. 

Feb. 10, 5:33 p.m. 

My parents said to me more years ago than I care to remember that telling part of the truth is nearly as bad and sometimes as bad as lying. You just proved my point. 

Feb. 10, 7:59 p.m. 


OOP-2017-70699 copy by BobMackin on Scribd

Bob Mackin February 6 was one of thef

Bob Mackin

Nobody had a bigger smile in the drizzle that muddied Hastings Racecourse on the opening day of 2017’s meet than developer Peter Redekop. 

Distinctiv Passion, the seven-year-old that the B.C. Horse Racing Hall of Famer claimed at Santa Anita in March, went wire-to-wire in race number 7 on April 23 under jockey Enrique Gonzalez. They handily won the $50,000 Swift Thoroughbreds Inaugural stakes.

After celebrating the triumphant number 7 horse with trainer Phil Hall and Gonzalez, the white-haired, black-suited Redekop emerged from the winner’s enclosure, with an armload of flowers. He then faced questions from a reporter about a high stakes horse race of a different sort. 

Peter Redekop’s Distinctiv Passion went wire-to-wire April 23 (Mackin)

Redekop is one of the biggest individual donors to the incumbent BC Liberal Party. The $250,000 he gave in 2016 increased his total since 2005 to $719,800. All under his own name, except $25,000 through his Richmond-headquartered Redekop Kroeker Developments Inc. Redekop is the driving force behind the Mennonite Heritage Museum in Abbotsford. When it opened in January 2016, Premier Christy Clark joined him for the ribbon-cutting. 

“I was born in the Ukraine, we know all the Communists and all that, we don’t want the lefties, sorry we don’t want the lefties,” Redekop, 84, told theBreaker. “We had enough when I was a young fellow, my dad was in prison for nine months for no reason, whatsoever. 

“We’re very proud of the free enterprise party and that’s why we’re supporting it.”

David Eby, the NDP’s housing and gambling critic, said it is hard to see how his party’s promised $10-a-day childcare or affordable housing would threaten someone’s rights and freedoms.

“I’ve heard a lot of bizarre things in politics and that suggestion that you need to make six-figure donations to the BC Liberals to avoid being imprisoned by the NDP ranks up there as one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever heard,” Eby said. “As someone who is half-Mennonite by descent myself, I find the idea preposterous, at best.” 

British Columbia has no legal limits to the size or source of donations to political parties and candidates. The NDP and Greens have both promised to ban corporate and union donations if they win the May 9 election. The Liberals have vowed only to appoint a non-binding advisory panel to consider reforms with no deadline for implementation. Whatever happens, Redekop said he would follow the law, “no problem.”

For now, he uses words like “garbage” and “nonsense” to describe the controversy over campaign financing that is dominating the election discourse.

“This is a free country, I could support whoever I wish. That is what I’m doing and that’s why so many others are doing that,” he said. “And that’s why we expect and we hope that [BC Liberals will] win.” 

And they’re off

Peter Redekop congratulates Distinctiv Passion jockey Enrique Gonzalez (Mackin)

The Elections BC database shows Feb. 26 as the date of Redekop’s first $100,000 donation of 2016. His brother, John Redekop, made a $200,000 donation on the same day. Likewise, for cousin Peter Wall and his nephew Bruno, who made donations from their development companies totalling $400,000.

Those donations contributed to the party’s $1.65 million take, the biggest single-day windfall of the year. The Liberals told Elections BC they grossed $13.1 million in donations for the entire year, of which $6.9 million came from 143 cash for access events. 

A source told theBreaker that the lion’s share of the Feb. 26 donations was connected to a private Feb. 23 dinner organized by Liberal power broker and horse racing aficionado Patrick Kinsella, with appearances by Clark and Deputy Premier and Housing Minister Rich Coleman. 

Redekop said he didn’t attend a fundraising event, but “just sent them a cheque.”

Asked if he knew why so many big donations happened at the same time, he said: “I know [Clark] of course and I just sent them a cheque. Hey, we want them to win. Obviously, we don’t want the lefties to win, because they will destroy our province.”

The week after the flurry of donations, Bruno Wall sold a Chinatown lot to BC Housing for just under $7 million. It was a major milestone in Wall Financial Corporation’s $39.5 million, non-tendered, private-public partnership with the Coleman-controlled Crown corporation to build an 11-storey tower with 104 social housing units and 68 market rentals at East Hastings and Gore.

Back in 2004, Peter Wall partnered with Great Canadian Gaming to buy the track’s operating company, Hastings Entertainment Inc., from Toronto’s Woodbine Entertainment. After the COPE majority city council voted to allow 600 slot machines, Wall sold his 40% stake for a reported $17 million.

Redekop said he doesn’t get much in return from the Liberals, “except being a good government.” 

But the province’s real estate industry benefitted immensely from self-regulation under the Liberals as money poured in from China with minimal few checks and balances. Thoroughbred horse owners continue to benefit from government support, which has kept struggling tracks open amid a generational shift to other spectator sports and forms of gambling.

In 2015-2016, the B.C. government moved $10.3 million of B.C. Lottery Corporation profits into horse racing purse enhancements. That is money that could have gone instead to non-profit arts, environment, sport or social services groups. The sum was $3 million less than what the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch got for the year and nearly double the $5.9 million budgeted for responsible gambling starategies. 

Equibase statistics from 2000 to 2017 show that Peter Redekop B.C. Ltd.-owned horses have earned $10,321,598 at Hastings and tracks across North America. Redekop boasts an impressive record of a combined 703 wins, places and shows in 1,267 starts.

In 2014, he became the first owner to win the B.C. Derby three consecutive times. 

Bob Mackin Nobody had a bigger smile in

Bob Mackin

BC Liberal leader Christy Clark dropped out of the race. But not the one her opponents wish she would. 

Clark showed-up for the 33rd annual Vancouver Sun Run on April 23, wearing a bright yellow jacket and bib number 757. She was surrounded by various campaign workers, staff from the premier’s office and a plainclothed RCMP officer in start line photographs published on social media.

She did not finish the 10-kilometre course and the reason has not been disclosed. 

Not only did Clark drop out, but so did party liaison Pamela Martin, executive assistant Adam McPhee, spokesmen Stephen Smart and Ben Chin and party special assistant and former Trinity Wester University track and field team member Dylan Kelso. They were not among the 39,769 runners, walkers or wheelers who crossed the B.C. Place Stadium finish line, according to the Sun Run’s official database. 

CBC reporter Jesse Johnston, who did a running interview with Clark and finished in just under an hour, Tweeted that “some of them ducked away at about the 5 k mark.” A Canadian Press wire service story said Clark was heckled at the start line

The Sun Run database showed Liberal finishers included Shane Mills, of “Truth Truck” fame, (45 minutes and 49 seconds for 1,307th place), Vancouver Fairview candidate Gabe Garfinkel (58:40 for 8,785th), and Vancouver Hastings candidate Jane Spitz (1:44.29 for 28,094th).

None of them, however, were officially counted on #TeamBC2017 in the team results

WorkSafeBC won the government team category. BC Hydro and Metro Vancouver rounded out the top three. #TeamBC2017 finished 17th in the category, right behind Environment and Climate Change Canada. 

Neither Mills, Smart nor party spokesman Emile Scheffel have responded to theBreaker

The same database shows that Clark, when she was an opposition MLA, ran the 2000 Golden Spike Days 5 km in Port Moody, in 26:08. Last time Clark ran for re-election, she came 14,533rd overall in the 38,889-person field at the April 21, 2013 Sun Run. She ran 5,257th out of 21,378 females, in 1 hour, 1 minute and 39 seconds.

Were you a 2017 Sun Run observer, volunteer or participant? Did you witness or — better yet — photograph Clark and her co-runners leave the course? If so, please contact theBreaker

Bob Mackin BC Liberal leader Christy Clark dropped

Bob Mackin

Pardon those British Columbians who felt shortchanged by the Rogers-produced B.C. leaders debate on April 20

The parent company of host webcaster News1130 and telecaster City has plenty of experience producing political debates. See the 2014 Toronto mayoral debate, featuring the late Rob Ford and eventual winner, John Tory. 

Was it the morning time slot that caused News1130 and City to use an anchor desk for a group sit-down? Liberal Christy Clark, in the middle, wearing clothes that coincidentally matched the lit backdrop, framed by the NDP’s John Horgan on the left of the screen and the Greens’ Andrew Weaver on the right.  

April 20 B.C. leaders’ debate (Rogers Media)

Clark’s premeditated touch of Horgan and “calm down, John” comment was celebrated on social media by various paid Liberal twits. Oh, you just know that they would have lit their hair on fire with righteous indignation had the roles been reversed! 

The same party flaks and lobbyists also seized upon Horgan’s complaint that he wasn’t getting enough time and gleefully took it out of context. The full quote was as follows: “I think we should focus on the issue, Bill, and I think I should have as much time as the premier to answer those questions, I’ll leave it up to you. But [turning to Clark] If you want to keep doing your thing for a while, I’ll watch you for a while, I know you like that.”

Horgan didn’t really mean he wanted to “watch” Clark; it was a sarcastic quip about her penchant for being the centre of attention and campaigning more than governing. You might know her as Premier Photo Op. I call her Premier Amor de Camera. 

Ontario Liberal Warren Kinsella, who proudly donated to the Laura Miller defense fund, emerged from his hyperbolic chamber and compared Horgan to Donald Trump. That comment was as asinine as comparing Kinsella’s own SFH punk band to the Clash. 

Two politicians and two bands. That’s where the similarities begin and end. 

City’s Toronto 2014 mayoral debate (Rogers Media)

Moderator Bill Good was more aggressive at times than he ever was on his long running CKNW morning talk show (which preceded the afternoon one that Clark hosted for three years), but he was not the traffic cop or umpire that the role demanded.

Not all of that was his fault. The furniture was all wrong. The debaters should have been separated by more than an arm’s length, at their own podiums. The director should have cut-off the microphones of those who did not have the floor, and only left all microphones open when it was time for a free-for-all. There should have been a timekeeper and a buzzer or bell. 

The biggest distraction? The most-seasoned political veteran actually looked like the least-prepared. Clark came with a thick binder full of talking points that she flipped through and the microphone caught every fwip-fwip-fwip of her pages. The former talkshow host should’ve known better, and so should her cadre of handlers. The sound of russling papers was distracting for the viewer and probably for the other leaders.

The problem for Clark and the Liberals is she is vulnerable. Horgan and Weaver can score major points in the second and final debate, if they bring questions and comments that she is not prepared for. The problem they have is whittling it down to three or five. But, armed with the right question, they will silence the smiling wonder or elicit an answer that they can fashion a campaign attack ad around. She is, after all, Say Anything Christy

You see, Clark quit her three-year radio gig on CKNW in 2010, became premier in 2011 and led the party to a surprise victory in 2013. Ever since, she has done fewer and fewer open line radio shows. When she has done live interviews, they have been short and controlled. She, or her army of handlers, choose the forums, such as ethnic radio stations and FM rock radio stations. She has appeared on national news programs, but the time slots were limited and the topics focused. A campaign debate that lasts 90 minutes, without commercials, is a different animal altogether. In 2013, she faced NDP’s Adrian Dix, Green Jane Sterk and Conservative John Cummins, three opponents she could topple. Not so easy in 2017.

She has forgotten how to improvise. She needs a binder full of notes to guide her, as she exhibited on April 20. This is a problem that the Liberal campaign cannot fix over a weekend. The leader could be the party’s biggest liability. 

By contrast, Weaver had a notebook and Horgan a very small stack of papers. Clark is a career politician who should really know her files better. 

That next debate, April 26, will be in prime time on all of B.C’s major channels. If it’s like the 2013 prime time debate, it will be more structured. And you can expect there will be podiums.

Maybe it’s time for B.C. to follow Washington State’s lead and strike a permanent debate organization. The Seattle City Club hosts the Washington State Debate Coalition, which organizes election year debates between candidates for governor and senator. Part of the coalition’s mandate is to improve production values and presentation standards so that the voters who tune in live or watch the archive get to know the issues. 

It’s too late for 2017, but B.C. media companies, service clubs, colleges and universities should come together and begin planning for the 2018 local government elections. 

Who’s coming to Vaisakhi?

The next big event of the campaign is Saturday’s Vaisakhi Parade in Surrey, the biggest Sikh celebration outside India. 

A source involved in the Surrey Vaisakhi organization told theBreaker that Ontario NDP provincial lawmaker Jagmeet Singh is expected to attend. Singh did not respond for comment. He spearheaded a controversial bill to recognize the 1984 Golden Temple massacre and anti-Sikh riots that killed more than 3,000 as a genocide. The wave of violence happened after India’s Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards. 

Singh’s bill failed, but Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal party passed a genocide recognition bill earlier this month. 

Article 2 of the United Nations’ Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948) defines genocide as killing members of a national, ethnical, racial or religious group. Yet, Wynne’s move has raised eyebrows in Canada and India. Not everyone agrees with the genocide desgination for the Golden Temple massacre and related atrocities, despite it being a heinous, bloody tragedy.  Canada’s government has recognized the Holocaust (1933-1945), Armenia (1915), Ukraine’s Holodomor (1932-1933), Rwanda (1994) and Bosnia (1995) as genocides. 

Speculation is that Clark could promise to enact a similar genocide recognition decree in B.C. when she addresses parade participants in Surrey, a battleground where nine ridings are up for grabs. If she does, will Horgan do the same?

Members of the South Asian community were hoping that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would also drop by. He will instead be in Mississauga, Ont. for the annual Harry Jerome Awards. Trudeau visited Vancouver for this year’s Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade and has not been timid when it comes to visiting jurisdictions where Liberals are actively running for provincial office. Liberal Sport Minister and Delta MP Carla Qualtrough is expected to be the senior federal Liberal at the event. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan is on a mission to India and Surrey-Newton MP Sukh Dhaliwal is not seeing eye-to-eye with Trudeau for leaving him out of his cabinet. 

Sign of shame

The first week of the campaign ended with shocking images of spray-painted swastikas on campaign signs for North Vancouver-Lonsdale Liberal Naomi Yamamoto and NDP challenger Bowinn Ma.

The incident was widely condemned, but who did it? 

RCMP media relations officer Cpl. Richard De Jong told theBreaker that police “investigated two different political signs that were spray painted with a red swastika. Signs that were side by each were removed — no witness, no suspects — documented by police.”

De Jong said a concerned citizen, driving by on Highway 1, Eastbound near the Main Street on ramp, reported the vandalized signs to police. 

Neither Yamamoto nor Ma responded to theBreaker about why they Tweeted photos, but didn’t file a hate crime report to police.

North Vancouver RCMP’s non-emergency line is 604-985-1311. If you see a sign vandal in action, call 9-1-1.

Bob Mackin Pardon those British Columbians who felt

Bob Mackin 

Taxis figure heavily in the BC Liberals election platform. But it’s a delicate balancing act for the party. 

The Liberals want to seem hip to millennials, who are demanding to get around by Uber. Vancouver is the last major city where the leading ride hailing app is banned. Prominent Liberal backroom strategist Dimitri Pantazopoulos was registered, until April 4, to lobby the Liberal cabinet on behalf of Uber. 

But the Liberals don’t want to alienate voters from the South Asian community, the source of many of B.C.’s taxi drivers.

It took until March 7 for Transport Minister Todd Stone and Taxis and Transit Minister Peter Fassbender to announce their long-awaited, “made in B.C.” scheme to allow ridesharing in B.C. 

Report that the Liberals relied on is mostly secret.

If re-elected, the BC Liberals say they will let Uber and Lyft operate as soon as this Christmastime.

In the meantime, they plan to spend $1 million of taxpayers’ money on an app for taxis (even though the big companies already have one, called eCab) and $3.5 million for crash prevention/detection technology (which will be standard anyway in upcoming Toyota models).

A month after the announcement, Stone heralded the Passenger Transportation Board’s surprise granting of 175 new taxi licences to the five-company cartel in City of Vancouver. Twenty-six of the licences will be for wheelchair accessible vehicles.

Sources tell theBreaker that taxi owners are worried competition will devalue their licences, so they are lobbying the Liberals for a buy-back program to soften the blow. 

The issue is politically sensitive in key ridings in South Vancouver, Abbotsford and Surrey. The election may be won or lost South of the Fraser.

Fassbender won his seat in Fleetwood by just 200 votes in 2013, to give the Liberals a 5-3 advantage in Surrey. With redrawn boundaries, Surrey will have nine ridings in the May 9 election. Fassbender is worried about defeat, so he was the first to open a campaign office last September. The party’s Elections BC returns for 2016 show that headquarters transferred a whopping $69,142.21 into Fassbender’s campaign account. Only failed by-election candidates Joan Isaacs and Gavin Dew got more. 

While the Liberals were hoping to set it up as a wedge issue, NDP leader John Horgan wasn’t biting. He told CKNW on March 10 that it’s “All politics all the time for Christy Clark. I tabled a bill three years ago to make sure if new entrants were coming to the marketplace, let’s make sure it’s done in a way where it balances the needs of the public as well as the existing business that have operated here.”

theBreaker asked Fassbender’s ministry, under the freedom of information law, for a copy of the business case and cost-benefit analysis behind the March 7 announcement. 

On April 20, the government sent a heavily censored copy of a KPMG report called B.C. Taxi Licenses and Potential Implications of Ride Sourcing. The 31-page, Oct. 6, 2016 report was billed as a “review of initial desktop research.” The government is clearly afraid for voters to know how the policy samosa was made.

The government speculates that disclosure would harm government finances and intergovernmental relations. It also claims the KPMG report contains protected recommendations and advice — even though the law states that the government cannot withhold a feasibility study or a report on field research used to formulate a policy.

theBreaker will appeal to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

KPMG has donated $361,844 to the Liberals between 2005 and 2016. The firm studied the industry in five Canadian cities, three in the U.S. and Australia’s State of Victoria. Only the page about Quebec’s one-year Uber pilot program was substantially visible. 

KPMG had previously studied the taxi and limousine industry for the City of Ottawa in 2015. Unlike the secretive B.C. government, Ottawa city hall published its report. 

The national capital report included a section on the Uber-outlawed, Vancouver market. Unlicensed drivers are subject to $1,500 to $5,000 fines. The market has 3,077 taxi drivers using 588 standard permits and another 99 for Fridays and Saturdays only. 

CSC-2017-70915 by BobMackin on Scribd

Bob Mackin  Taxis figure heavily in the BC

Bob Mackin

Premier Christy Clark originally dinged taxpayers for her charter flight to a mysterious Lower Mainland party fundraiser last July. 

Clark posed for photos with transgender equality advocates outside the Legislature on July 25, 2016, but later snubbed them when she skipped the vote that added gender identity or expression to the Human Rights Code. Her spokesman, Ben Chin, admitted to the Vancouver Sun that Clark attended a BC Liberal fundraising event in Vancouver, but no details were released at the time.

Documents obtained by theBreaker under the freedom of information law show that Clark and her aide, Adam McPhee, traveled on the 5 p.m. Island Express Air flight from Victoria to Boundary Bay Airport in Delta.

Clark left her seat empty July 25 to attend a party fundraiser (Hansard TV)

Clark’s office paid $1,160.54 for the flight. An undated, handwritten note on the July 20 invoice says the flight was “inadvertently charged to credit card on file.” The charge was later used as a credit for an Aug. 12 Island Express Air itinerary to Tofino for a Medal of Good Citizenship photo op attended by Clark and four others. The Tofino trip cost $3,709.48, before the $1,160.54 credit was applied.

The government claims it has no copies of internal or external correspondence about the Boundary Bay flight. It was mentioned in Clark’s agenda. Past FOI releases about Clark’s charter flights have shown correspondence between her staff and charter airline staff is the norm.

Clark and McPhee returned to Victoria the next morning by Helijet from downtown Vancouver. 

As for the fundraiser itself, the location and the donors of money remain a secret. But theBreaker found a clue in the party’s annual report to Elections BC.

A form describes a July 25, 2016 event only as “E2016-120-100 Vancouver Fundraiser.” On the form, it says unidentified organizations bought nine tickets for $5,000 each. Two unidentifed individuals also bought tickets for the same price. A $1,785 donation was reported for unspecified goods and services. The same amount was counted as the cost of the function, which netted $55,000 for party coffers. 

Mysterious Vancouver Liberal event.

The Elections BC database shows the only donation of $1,785 on July 25, 2016 came from the Monark Group, a Surrey company that boasts e-commerce, real estate and entertainment investments.

Last year, Monark launched an Uber-inspired driver-sharing app called Kater. In 2013, Monark marketed tickets for the Liberal government’s controversial $11 million Times of India Film Awards. From 2014 to 2016, Monark donated $63,685 to the Liberals.

The party told Elections BC that it received only two donations of $5,000 each on July 25, 2016. 

W.I. Woodtone Industries CEO Kevin Young told theBreaker that his company has generally donated to the Liberals in a “random way” and he was not aware of any event that day. LifeLabs representative Brenna Birkin did not respond. 

Liberal spokesman Emile Scheffel did not respond to queries from theBreaker about the name or address of the fundraising venue or the names of those who attended. 

Monark president Monty Sikka also did respond. 

July 25, 2016 would be the day that two of Clark’s biggest recent scandals intersected. 

Half of the $13.1 million the party grossed in donations last year came from cash for access events. Some of the events were held in private homes for small groups of donors who paid thousands of dollars to rub shoulders with Clark. 

B.C. has no laws limiting either the size or source of donations to provincial or municipal

Monark’s Sikka

parties or candidates. The Liberals have resisted calls for reform from the NDP, Greens and independent Vicki Huntington. Clark made a vague promise to strike a non-binding advisory committee, should the Liberals be re-elected on May 9.

Through last spring, Clark had spent more than $600,000 over five years on charter jet flights to photo ops with her entourage. Many of those trips were single-day round-trips between Vancouver and her riding in Kelowna. She broke a 2013 by-election campaign promise to buy a house in the Okanagan city.


#AirChristy to party fundraiser by BobMackin on Scribd

Bob Mackin Premier Christy Clark originally dinged taxpayers

Bob Mackin

Part of the BC Liberal campaign rhetoric is the suite of positive opinions from the world’s major credit ratings agencies. 

They are paid handsomely to evaluate a borrower’s ability to pay interest and repay principal.

The ratings agencies are a necessary evil. Not necessarily evil. But they are far from infallible.

B.C.’s total debt, in the February budget (tabled but not passed before the election), is estimated to hit almost $70 billion by the end of next March. The debt was $45.2 billion when Christy Clark took over the premiership from Gordon Campbell in March 2011.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong likes to trumpet the high marks given by credit ratings agencies, but he is keeping a secret.

Career politician de Jong

For three years, between 2012-2013 and 2014-2015, the government paid nearly $1.2 million in fees to three of the ratings houses: Standard and Poor’s, Moody’s and DBRS. Fitch is the only ratings agency that is not paid.

The government signed sole-source contracts to pay fees through March 31, 2017 with S&P ($210,000) and Moody’s ($242,900). The justification form said S&P was “the only credit agency to offer Standard & Poor’s credit rating.” Likewise for Moody’s.

S&P was also paid $207,112,50 for the previous fiscal year. In its contract, the small print reminded the B.C. government that credit ratings are “statements of opinion and not statements of fact.”

The reliability of opinions from credit ratings agencies has come under world media scrutiny since the 2008 Great Recession.

In a 2012 story by the Guardian, headlined “How credit ratings agencies rule the world,”  Patrick Kingsley wrote:

Part of the problem is that ratings agencies are funded by the very companies they rate. If you want to be rated, you must pay an agency between $1,500 and $2,500,000 for the privilege, depending on the size of your company. In theory, this creates a conflict of interest, because it gives the agency an incentive to give the companies the rating they want. It could explain why, for much of the past decade, agencies seemed happy not to question either the risks banks were taking, or the accuracy of their accounts.

In 2014, under the headline “Big three credit rating agencies under fire,” the Financial Times reported:

The three main rating agencies, Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch, have been seen as at least partially culpable for elements of the financial crisis, from the fiasco of subprime mortgage securitization to tipping Greece into disaster when its sovereign credit rating was downgraded.

Their actual ratings have also come under attack, with academic papers and bank economists analyzing them to find evidence of home bias, subjective error and over-lenient analysis.

One prominent example of a rating gone wrong? In 2009, Moody’s famously reported that investor fears over Greece’s liquidity were “misplaced.”

The European Union stepped in and gave the Greeks tens of billions of dollars in bailouts, to keep the birthplace of the Olympics from collapsing.

Clark’s misleading 2013 “Debt-Free B.C.” campaign bus.

In January, Moody’s raised a red flag about BC Hydro, which had

an $8.1 billion debt in 2008 that has ballooned to $18.1 billion. The Crown corporation building the controversial Site C dam’s finances are “among the weakest of Canadian provincial utilities.”

“The anticipated increase in debt continues to pressure the province’s rating since it raises the contingent liability of British Columbia,” Moody’s reported.

In a 2011 report about BC Hydro, then-auditor general John Doyle accused the biggest Crown corporation of creative accounting. He famously wrote:

“Expenses that would ordinarily be counted in calculating net income have been deferred to future years (allowed under rate-regulated accounting). While this practice is currently acceptable under Canadian generally accepted accounting standards (GAAP), it creates the appearance of profitability where none actually exists.”

Brad Bennett, the Liberal back roomer that Clark-appointed chair of BC Hydro, is part of the premier’s traveling campaign entourage.

Just like he was in 2013, when Clark’s bus included the ironic slogan “Debt-Free B.C.”

Response Package FIN 2016 63633 by BobMackin on Scribd

Bob Mackin Part of the BC Liberal campaign