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Bob Mackin

Meet Ed Coleman, Quesnel city councillor and former school teacher. 

Since 2014, he has worked as the CEO of the Barkerville Heritage Trust, which operates the Barkerville historic gold rush town, one of B.C.’s top, non-Vancouver tourist draws. BHT relies on millions of dollars of provincial subsidies in order to keep the 1862-established Barkerville from becoming a ghost town. 

Rich Coleman’s brother Ed (Quesnel)

Coleman also has a famous brother, BC Liberal campaign co-chair and B.C.’s Deputy Premier, natural gas and housing minister Rich Coleman. 

On March 19, with the 2017 election fast-approaching, the B.C. government announced it was extending BHT’s contract through 2025. It was scheduled to expire in 2020, the year before another election. 

Ed Coleman’s name was omitted from the news release. British Columbians know how to use Google. 

Some of them found a letter that Coleman wrote to the Langley Times in March 2013, before that year’s election, in which he called Rich “an excellent MLA” and “amazing brother.” 

It is not known whether his last name helped open government doors or provincial purse strings, but Forests Minister Steve Thomson decided to continue to pay $2.4 million-a-year to BHT and not look for a better deal for B.C. taxpayers.  

A Feb. 21 decision note for Thomson recommended the extension and said no other parties had expressed interest in managing the historic town site, though the government had not put anything to public tender. It listed two options: to extend to 2025 or seek proposals for tenure in 2019. 

About the latter, the document said “it would open the door to new thinking about the use of the lands.”

Over the last 18 months, the BHT had been moving away from the curatorial approach of the last 15 years “toward a more entrepreneurial approach” for year-round activities. BHT also sought to amalgamate the Cottonwood House Historic Site. 

“An extension would, however, be perceived by the trust and the region as a government commitment to continue operating assistance at the current level of $2.4M per annum until 2025.”

The $2.4 million for the 2016-2017 fiscal year was a substantial increase from the $1.98 million paid the previous year. The additional five years mean at least $12 million more public funds for Barkerville. There do not appear to be any financial information documents on the Barkerville website and Ed Coleman did not respond immediately to a query from theBreaker

A business case for 2015 to 2025 that was tabled last September at a Cariboo Regional District meeting said that BHT projected a balanced budget of almost $3.042 million for 2016-2017. In 2014-2015, the most recent completed year available, BHT fell one dollar short of balancing. It counted $2.16 million in provincial operating funds and only $604,383 in earned revenues. Prices for the two-day pass are $14.50 for adults, $13.50 for seniors, $9.50 for teens, $4.75 for children. A family pass is $35. 

After May 9, at least one Coleman will continue to cash cheques from the provincial treasury. And maybe beyond the next election, too. 

FNR-2017-71128 71130 Barkerville by BobMackin on Scribd

Bob Mackin Meet Ed Coleman, Quesnel city

David Berner is a longtime Vancouver media figure who has hosted radio and TV talkshows. He also has a background in operating residential treatment facilities to help drug and alcohol addicts turn around their lives. 

Dear Editor,

David Berner

In B.C., we are witnessing two asteroids on a collision course. 

The first is the Provincial election.

The second is the current opioid/fentanyl crisis.

You and I and those running for office might profit by have some acquaintance with the real issues at stake. Having candidates blathering shallow promises and spewing accepted wisdoms that don’t work is not helpful.

Our Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Perry Kendall, has a ready answer for the dreadful spike in drug deaths in recent months. Legalize everything! Lovely.

And not one candidate has been recorded demanding treatment for addicts. As if a steady supply of free drugs will change something.

Ask yourself this. Better or worse? Better or worse? Since Harm Reduction (Insite, free needles, free heroin, and replacement narcotics) has been in vogue as the preferred public policy, things have only become starkly worse. Many millions of public dollars spent and many more addicts and deaths in many more neighbourhoods. Quite a nice little industry.

Ask your candidate if he or she is prepared to invest in recovery and give addicts the real opportunity for sobriety, hope, dignity, and a place in the human community.

David Berner, Executive Director

Drug Prevention Network of Canada

David Berner is a longtime Vancouver media

Bob Mackin 

The Kelowna Liberal MLA that stepped aside so that Premier Christy Clark could win a seat in the Legislature has become a lobbyist for a company proposing two Vancouver Island liquefied natural gas plants.

Clark lost to NDP challenger David Eby in Vancouver-Point Grey the night her party won a surprise victory. Five months after Ben Stewart was re-elected and stepped aside — and Vancouverite Clark won a by-election — Clark rewarded him with a $150,000-a-year post as B.C.’s trade envoy to Asia, based in Beijing.

After three years, Stewart quit last December. 

On Feb. 27, he registered as a lobbyist for Steelhead LNG. His registration lasts until April 17, 2018. The registration says Stewart intends to introduce Steelhead’s government relations manager Jack Middleton and business affairs vice-president Ryan Patryluk “for a better understanding of progress to date with first nations to Government’s Chief of Staffs.”

During his post in China, Ben Stewart posed with a panda. (BC Gov)

He listed the aides of LNG minister Rich Coleman, aboriginal affairs minister John Rustad and advanced education minister Andrew Wilkinson as target contacts. Rustad is the only minister on Stewart’s target list. Under B.C.’s lobbyist law, actual meetings between lobbyists, politicians and other public officials are not reported. 

B.C. senior bureaucrats generally have a one-year, post-employment ban on lobbying the office to which they once worked. No such ban exists for politicians or their aides. 

Steelhead is proposing plants in partnership with first nations near Bamfield and Bamberton. Steelhead LNG donated $37,200 to the Liberals between 2014 and 2016. 

Stewart’s registration lists the four different cabinet posts he held between 2009 and 2013, but did not mention his job as the Asia trade envoy. The Stewart family owns the Quails’ Gate Winery, which is run by Stewart’s brother Tony. 

The cost of Stewart’s post in Beijing came under scrutiny in research by Andrew Johns. He published a February report, based on publicly available documents, that showed taxpayers shelled out $3 million a year for Stewart, the office in Beijing Kerry Plaza and a contract with the Ho Hing Consultancy. Stewart’s assignment included five weeks paid vacation and a medical and benefits plan through Pacific Blue Cross. 

Six months after Stewart’s departure, the province hasn’t replaced him.

Stewart did not immediately return theBreaker‘s phone call.

 

Bob Mackin  The Kelowna Liberal MLA that stepped

Bob Mackin

What’s in Christy Clark’s Elections BC public disclosure file in Kelowna West? 

The statutory disclosure form shows that Clark reported interest in real property near Vancouver city hall and on Galiano Island. 

The form does not say what theBreaker has reported: Clark is living in a house in Dunbar owned by a party donor. A real estate agent close to the BC Liberal Party sold it for $3.7 million in April 2016. Clark disclosed no debts.

Clark’s residential address was obscured for the purpose of the public disclosure file. The BC Liberal office phone number was originally listed. 

She reported unspecified income as “Premier and MLA.” In January she said she stopped receiving a $50,000-a-year leader’s allowance from the party, but would instead be reimbursed for expenses. theBreaker, however, reported in April what Clark has not disclosed, that her 2016 Buick Enclave SUV from Dueck GM is paid for by the party. 

The first page is a letter from Conflict of Interest Commissioner Paul Fraser to Clark, one of several MLAs whose investments are in a “hold mail” account. While she is allowed to know the balance, she is not permitted to know the contents of the portfolio.

The Fraser letter was addressed to Clark, in care of her lawyer John Esson. Bill Tieleman’s A-to-Z of the Basi-Virk/BC Rail trial says that Esson was acting on Clark’s behalf beginning in August 2009 regarding disclosure of BC Liberal MLAs’ email. 

In December 2013, the Clark administration announced Esson was among 32 lawyers honoured with a Queen’s Counsel designation. 

His bio was the shortest in the Dec. 11, 2013 news release: “John Robert Esson practises predominantly in the area of criminal law, both as defence and crown counsel. A respected practitioner, Mr. Esson has also coached, taught and mentored students.”

Esson has an intriguing connection to a friend of Clark who is a donor to the party that has benefitted from BC Liberal rule.

Esson is listed in the Federal Corporation Information registry as one of three directors of Inspirit Group, which was incorporated under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act. 

The other two directors? Lisa Kerfoot and her husband, Greg Kerfoot, the owner of the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Clark lives in the aforementioned Dunbar house registered to Greg Kerfoot’s business associate, Nevin Sangha. Both Kerfoot and Sangha have donated to the party. Sangha gave a modest $1,250 in 2010. Greg Kerfoot donated $15,000 from the Inspirit Group in 2010 and 2011. His donations have totalled almost $80,000, including $7,500 from Carrera Management Corp. Kerfoot is listed as Carrera’s only principal officer for Elections BC purposes, but Sangha is the sole director on Carrera’s company registry.

After the leaders’ debate, Clark walked away from questions from theBreaker about who really pays for her house

UPDATE, May 4: Bob Mackin spoke briefly with Clark’s lawyer, John Esson, on May 1 after sending him a detailed request by email to see Clark’s tenancy contract, cancelled rent cheques and annual conflict of interest disclosure submission. Esson did not respond to several follow-up email and phone messages. 

Meanwhile, Clark’s nominators included Forests minister Steve Thomson, ex-Conservative MP Dan Albas, West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater, West Kelowna Coun. Rick de Jong (younger brother of Clark finance minister Mike de Jong), Liberal youth organizer Mellisa Morphy and Liberal regional organizer Ashley Spilak. Spilak’s resume website includes an endorsement from Global BC press gallery reporter Keith Baldrey

Christy Clark’s Elections BC Disclosure by BobMackin on Scribd

Bob Mackin What’s in Christy Clark’s Elections BC

Bob Mackin

Teresa Wat is the BC Liberals’ international trade woman of mystery. 

The rookie Richmond Centre MLA is running for re-election in the new Richmond North Centre riding. She doesn’t live in Richmond, but instead resides in Burnaby and owns a condo in a Wall Financial building near the Olympic Village. Last August, Wat went missing from her constituents and didn’t reappear in B.C. until the party’s annual Westin Bayshore convention in early November. 

Wat Tweeted an Aug. 16 photograph from the Hong Kong Trade Development Council Food Expo. Sometime around Aug. 23, she suffered a hip injury in a Mainland Chinese city near Hong Kong. Her annual Aug. 28 riding barbecue went on without her and a local Chinese newspaper, Sing Tao Daily, noticed she wasn’t there. It reported Aug. 30 that she “fell down and got hurt” in Zhuhai, China.

Wat and Clark with cash for access donors, including realtor Layla Yang and online banker Shenglin Xian (Yang)

When this reporter learned about Wat’s absence in late October and started asking questions, Wat didn’t respond but her assistant did, with only scant information. 

Was it a bad luck fall or did something else happen? Why was her absence not communicated proactively by her, to her constituents? 

On Aug. 23, Wat emailed her riding and ministerial colleagues from caucus, advising them that she had suffered an injury. 

“I fell during my visit in Zhuhai, China [censored for personal reasons]. I am hospitalized, stabilized and on way to recovery. Please note that so far, my official line is as follows: ‘I fell during my visit in China and am hospitalized, but on way to recovery.’ Trust things are well at the office. I hope you all have a great summer.”

Wat was in touch with Canadian Consul General Rachael Bedlington in an Aug. 27 email. 

“The medical team here at the Zhuhuai People’s Hospital assures me of a speedy recovery without after effect. I hope to walk out of the hospital in about a month.”

“I am able to use my government email for my work.”

A week later, her Aug. 30 email on her iPad to aides Jay Denney and Angela Jones said the hospital did not have wifi, “but they have made special arrangements to have a wifi box for me. But still the reception is not ideal.”

On Sept. 9, she wrote that she was “getting better day by day and am fully confident that I will be back at action soon. See you all in October.” 

A Sept. 18 email said she was using the wifi service at the hospital, but alluded to difficulties because of China’s Internet censorship. 

“Unfortunately, the wifi arrangement here does not allow me to access any internet/web sites in Canada or even YouTube videos on [Premier Christy Clark] announcements. So I have no access to what is going on back home, except the daily media summary.” 

Several meetings and briefings were understandably cancelled. 

Liberal Speaker Linda Reid, who represents the Richmond East riding, asked on Sept. 20: “Are you in China or Burnaby?” 

Roll out red carpets

Citizens Services minister Amrik Virk subbed for Wat when a group of billionaires known as the China Entrepreneur Club made a Vancouver stop on its Canada-wide tour Oct. 22 at the Telus headquarters in downtown Vancouver. The Oct. 21 briefing email mentioned that 49 members of the largest private sector companies in China would be on the trip. “Peter Wang, one member, lives here in B.C.” One of the attendees was Telus lobbyist and BC Liberal candidate Kim Chan Logan. 

Wat’s ministry was not, and did not, issue a news release. Photographs were published on the government’s Flickr page. 

Three topics were to be discussed with simultaneous interpretation with headsets: ICT digital media; consumer products, e-commerce; and clean tech. Attendees posed for a group photo, but the meeting was held under “Chatham House rules (ie not for attribution) meant to be a closed door dialogue.” 

Yes, you read that correctly. A B.C. cabinet minister and his aides went to the headquarters of a major Liberal party donor and government telecommunications contractor to meet with tycoons from China behind closed doors.

Wat’s recovery took several weeks longer than expected. There was even the odd prospect of B.C. government business being conducted virtually in China. 

On Nov. 2, Jones asked her “are you able to see and sign-off OICs [cabinet orders] on your iPad for tomorrow’s cabinet?” 

Wat responded: “I really doubt as I am out of the hospital most of the day and will have no access to wifi and I will be extremely busy packing up.”

Before she returned, Wat appeared with a B.C. delegation at the Zhuhai Airshow. She was photographed on the convention floor and that photograph was published Nov. 1.

Wat’s first known public appearance back in B.C. was the Nov. 4 kickoff of the BC Liberal convention in Vancouver. The event was the only time last fall that the BC Liberal caucus was together at the same venue as the media. Clark cancelled the last fall sitting of the Legislature before the 2017 election.

Meanwhile, when Wat returned to duty, she was not only meeting with an arm of giant state-owned conglomerate China Poly Group — the controversial spinoff of the People’s Liberation Army — but also China’s biggest payment company. 

But, first, a cash for access fundraiser at a Richmond casino that is a magnet for Chinese tourists. She hosted the Richmond Centre fundraiser Nov. 28 at the River Rock Casino Resort, with special guest Clark. The Elections BC filing shows 205 individuals and 157 corporations bought tickets for $388 or $500. The event grossed $169,800 and netted $124,450.42. More than enough to fund Wat’s re-election campaign.

Clark and Wat with Communist Hu Chunhua (BC Gov)

Before she was elected in 2013, Wat was president of CHMB radio, which broadcast Chinese state-approved programming from China Radio International. An affiliate of CRI donated to the BC Liberals. B.C. has no laws about the size or source of political donations. 

Two days later, a meeting with Union Mobile Pay (China) CEO and co-founder Bin Zhang and two others from the company was scuttled at the last minute, but rescheduled for Jan. 25, 2017. There are 5.5 billion UnionPay debit and credit cards issued in in 40 countries — more than Visa and MasterCard combined, according to Nilson Report. High withdrawal limit UnionPay ATMs are in some B.C. casinos. 

The big deal of the week was the opening of Poly Culture’s downtown gallery on West Pender Street in downtown Vancouver and a celebratory concert at the Chan Centre with the China Philharmonic. Poly Culture’s CEO Jiang Yingchun told this reporter that the real estate division of the conglomerate had its sights set on B.C. 

Despite the gallery being in downtown Vancouver, Poly Culture maintains an office in Richmond, on the very same floor of the office building where Wat’s riding office is located. HQ Vancouver, subsidized to the tune of $3.3 million by Wat’s ministry, helped lure Poly Culture to B.C. Jiang was evasive when asked why the company didn’t open in Los Angeles or San Francisco instead. Media reports indicate China Poly Group is on the radar of U.S. authorities.

The May 9 election coincides with the anniversary of Clark and Wat meeting in Vancouver with Hu Chunhua, the top Chinese Communist Party official in Guangdong province and a member of the Central Committee’s Politburo. Hu’s resume includes vice chairman of the Beijing-installed government in Tibet, where he kept the independence movement on a short leash.

The Liberal election ad campaign has pressed the “heavy up” button on TV spots that position Clark as the only party leader that will stand up to Donald Trump. 

But in an election where relations with China are conspicuously absent from the discourse, does Clark have what it takes to stand up to Xi Jinping? 

Or has she already kowtowed and sold B.C. out? 

 

MIT 2017 70049 Wat Zhuhai by BobMackin on Scribd

Bob Mackin Teresa Wat is the BC Liberals’

Bob Mackin

If BC Liberal Mathew Wilson gets elected May 9 in Powell River-Sunshine Coast, it could be a while before he gets to work for constituents.

That is because the son of former Liberal leader Gordon Wilson is scheduled to face his estranged wife in B.C. Supreme Court for a 10-day divorce trial beginning May 29 in Vancouver. A pre-trial conference is scheduled just two days after the election. 

Mathew Wilson, a Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs lawyer, is representing himself in the proceedings that were initiated by Kimberly Wilson, a Sunshine Coast Community Services employee who filed for divorce last October. The Wilsons married in May 2002, but separated in December 2015. Mathew Wilson finally moved out of the family home in May 2016.

Mathew Wilson’s biography on the NewsLine360 website says he is “divorced (legally separated),” but, according to an April 7 Trial Brief that theBreaker has seen, Kimberly Wilson is asking for a court-ordered divorce and costs. She wants to continue joint guardianship of their two children, but with wants a judge to give her final decision making authority and primary custody.

She also seeks child and spousal support and the right to purchase Mathew Wilson’s interest in the former family home in Roberts Creek. The document claims Mathew Wilson “has failed to adequately disclose all relevant or producible documents and information throughout these proceedings in a timely manner, or at all. If the respondent does not produce the relevant documents and information, the claimant’s position is that an adverse inference must be drawn.”

Candidate Wilson’s Statement of Disclosure, filed with Elections BC, says he has no assets or liabilities, but has an unspecified interest in the Roberts Creek.

Reached on his mobile phone, Mathew Wilson referred theBreaker to his campaign office, after theBreaker had already called his campaign office to leave a message for him.

Kimberly Wilson also refused to comment.

Mathew Wilson is aiming to unseat incumbent NDP MLA Nicholas Simons. The Green Party’s Kim Darwin is the other major party candidate in the race. Gordon Wilson represented the same riding from 1991 to 2001 for the BC Liberals, Progressive Democratic Alliance and NDP, in that order.

The elder Wilson propelled the BC Liberals from political wilderness into official opposition in 1991, but his caucus-splitting affair with Okanagan East MLA Judi Tyabji led to his downfall. Gordon Campbell replaced him as leader in 1993. The couple eventually married and live in Powell River.

During the 2013 election, Gordon Wilson famously “came home” to the Liberals and endorsed Christy Clark. Clark rewarded him in November of that year with a $150,000-a-year job to promote her vision for a liquefied natural gas industry, that hasn’t materialized. The appointment is scheduled to last until February 2018, unless the Liberals lose and a new government decides to discontinue Wilson’s cabinet appointment.

Mathew Wilson’s birth mother, Elizabeth Kool, was a former Sunshine Coast school board member. Clark biographer Tyabji is Mathew Wilson’s step-mother and campaign manager. Tyabji’s son from a previous marriage, Kaz, faces a trial in Calgary this September for allegedly importing fentanyl from China in 2015. He denies the charges.

Bob Mackin If BC Liberal Mathew Wilson gets

Bob Mackin 

The body of a British Columbia Ministry of Health IT worker was found April 30 off McNeill Bay. 

Ronald Merner, 56, was acting director of informatics and data provisioning since December, according to his LinkedIn page. Cause of death has not been released, but Oak Bay Police say no foul play is suspected.

Merner (LinkedIn)

Merner was last seen alive at 8 p.m. on April 20 at his home. It is believed that he had gone to McNeill Bay and the Oak Bay Police news release called it “uncharacteristic behaviour for Mr. Merner and is cause for concern.” 

Merner’s body was found off the beach in McNeill Bay around 5:45 p.m. April 30. On May 1, police confirmed that it was Merner.

The 1984 University of Victoria computer science graduate had worked in the Ministry of Health since 2001. He was team lead, data acquisition and development services, from 2011 to 2016.

In 2012, eight researchers in the pharmaceuticals services division were wrongly fired over data breach allegations and the BC Liberal government claimed there was an RCMP investigation when there really wasn’t. It is not immediately known how the scandal affected Merner or if he was among the 130 people interviewed for Ombudsperson Jay Chalke’s April 6-released report, which detailed rampant bullying. Chalke only named senior officials.

One of the eight wrongly fired researchers, Roderick MacIsaac, died of suicide after he was fired in 2012. Chalke found ministry staff never contacted MacIsaac after re-evaluating their earlier, incorrect belief that he had taken data. On April 11, the day the election was called, MacIsaac’s sister, Linda Kayfish, publicly demanded Christy Clark look her in the eyes, apologize personally and take responsibility. Clark apologized at a Government House news conference, but has not apologized in-person to Kayfish or taken responsibility for the health firings or MacIsaac’s suicide.

UPDATE (June 22, 2018): The May 16, 2018 report by Coroner Courtney Cote said Merner died April 21, 2017 of drowning by means of “restrained hands and feet with zip ties and entered ocean.” Cote classified the death as suicide. 

Need help? There are many crisis centres available 24 hours a day to talk to you. Click here.

Bob Mackin  The body of a British Columbia

Bob Mackin

Betcha didn’t know theBreaker has spies at Hy’s. 

One of them spotted 20 local Tories chowing down at the posh steakhouse with visiting Alberta Progressive Conservative leader Jason Kenney on April 27. Proceeds from the $500-a-plate event went to the Vancouver Centre federal Conservative riding association. 

The former multiculturalism and defence minister, who hopes to beat Rachel Notley’s NDP in 2019, supped with Clark Wilson lawyer Lyall Knott, Trigate Properties  boss Alex G. Tsakumis, Kiewit business development director Glen Arthur, outgoing Vancouver Langara Liberal MLA Moira Stilwell, Kenney’s mentor and former cabinet mate Stockwell Day, and Felicity Webb, the mother of late Stephen Harper aide Shaun Webb. Reached by phone, Tsakumis refused to comment or even confirm he was at the event. 

Jason Kenney

Curious ears heard Kenney reveal that Alberta may officially unite the right as soon as this weekend. The merger with the Brian Jean-led Wildrose Party is that close. 

Kenney was shedding no tears for the departure of reality TV star Kevin O’Leary from the federal leadership race. Like Donald Trump, Kenney said, O’Leary is not a true, blue conservative. Acknowledging the prospect of a B.C. NDP win on May 9, Kenney urged all to get behind the BC Liberal party, despite many in the room being no fans of dyed-in-the-wool federal Liberal Christy Clark. 

He suggested that a BC Liberal re-election, coupled with a PC comeback in Alberta, could form a “firewall” in Western Canada with Brad Wall’s Saskatchewan Party.

Alas, Kenney had another engagement. His driver for the evening, Dunbar Theatre owner and Andrew Scheer campaign volunteer Ken Charko, whisked Kenney to Surrey for an Indian dinner. 

Because, the Calgarian will always be the Minister of Curry in a Hurry. 

Bob Mackin Betcha didn’t know theBreaker has spies

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? 

China. 

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