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Bob Mackin

It was B.C.’s Auditor General versus the Provincial Health Officer in a battle for media and public attention on Aug. 26.

Adrian Dix (right) and Dr. Bonnie Henry (BC Gov)

The winner was obvious. Dr. Bonnie Henry, Health Minister Adrian Dix and vaccine rollout czar/Vancouver Coastal Health chair Penny Ballem announced the schedule for third doses of the coronavirus vaccine at 1:30 p.m. They also held a 12:15 p.m. embargoed briefing for media. 

Auditor General Michael Pickup’s presser began at 2 p.m. and finished around 15 minutes later, while Henry et al continued with their presentation. Reporters from theBreaker.news and Canadian Press were the only two asking Pickup questions. 

It is standard operating procedure for the Office of the Premier and Government Communications and Public Engagement to avoid scheduling conflicts. 

Pickup was diplomatic when theBreaker.news asked whether he was disappointed that his important work wouldn’t get the maximum audience.

“My focus is on those who we are reporting to, what happens as a result, reasonably getting the message out and then other things that happen, happen,” he said.

Judging by what Pickup had released earlier in the day, this clock clash was no coincidence.

Michael Pickup, B.C.’s new auditor general (Nova Scotia)

For the 10th year in a row, the Office of the Auditor General disagreed with the way the government keeps its books, and said the government had under-reported revenue by $6 billion. Pickup’s staff found $550 million in errors in the financial statements.

Pickup also reported the government spent $10.8 billion on responding to COVID-19 in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021. Once again, the Provincial Health Services Authority came under the microscope.

PHSA, responsible for buying $2 billion-a-year of medical goods, wrote-off $66 million in masks, gloves, goggles and other pandemic gear. Instead of specialized inventory management software to track goods between warehouses, PHSA used Google Spreadsheets.

“PHSA has two electronic inventory management systems: one to track the monetary value and quantity of inventory, and the other to track the movement of inventory between warehouses,” the report said. “The new third-party warehouses and PHSA owned warehouses that were commissioned in fiscal year 2020/21 did not use either system.”

Warehouse staff did not complete inventory reconciliations on time and even had to re-count $100 million worth of inventory at one warehouse due to errors.

Ex-PHSA CEO Benoit Morin (PHSA/Facebook)

Wrote Pickup: “COVID-19 revealed the dangers and challenges the health sector faces when buying PPE in a globally competitive environment, and how important it is to have strong procurement controls in place and to obtain expert advice when purchasing specialty products.”

theBreaker.news asked PHSA for comment, but it said it could not provide anything by deadline. 

It is not PHSA’s first PPE problem. CEO Benoit Morin was fired last February after it was revealed PHSA wrote-off $7 million in defective N95 masks from a Montreal company.

Morin never publicly commented on the panic buy so soon after he was hired. theBreaker.news revealed in July 2020 that a PHSA briefing note showed almost two-thirds of British Columbia’s pandemic supplies were never replenished before the novel coronavirus hit the West Coast. 

A February 2020 memo obtained under the freedom of information law warned that B.C.’s low supplies were not enough to meet requirements if a widespread pandemic occurred.

A widespread pandemic was declared the next month. B.C.’s supplies were so low, that Premier John Horgan’s deputy minister issued an urgent call for bureaucrats to search under their desks. 

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Bob Mackin It was B.C.’s Auditor General versus

For the week of Oct. 24, 2021:

With so many health, environment and economic challenges facing Premier John Horgan, the NDP chose to attack the public’s right to know.

Just in time for the anniversary of his pandemic election victory.

Major amendments to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act in Bill 22 propose charging fees to access public records and excluding the Office of the Premier from disclosing any documents. 

On this edition, hear former NDP Attorney General Colin Gabelmann, the “father” of B.C.’s FOI law, and veteran investigative reporter Salim Jiwa. They both say Horgan is making a big mistake.

Plus commentary and Pacific Rim and Pacific Northwest headlines.

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

Now on Google Podcasts!

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

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

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theBreaker.news Podcast: Horgan's cynical ploy to take away your right to know
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For the week of Oct. 24, 2021: With

Bob Mackin

This is the story of how Freedom of Information-hating Premier John Horgan rode my coattails to power.

Premier John Horgan and his cabinet swearing-in, July 2017 (BC Gov/Flickr)

Since the NDP enacted the transparency law in 1993, there has been no application fee; citizens are entitled to three hours free service per file. In 2021, Horgan wants to change the law so that government ministries, Crown corporations, agencies and municipalities can charge $25 per request, on par with Alberta. There was no hint of this in last year’s election platform.

Under the NDP’s watch, government debt and preventable deaths from a communicable disease, drug overdoses and heat reached all-time highs in B.C.

Horgan’s solution? Make FOIs cost-prohibitive, so that fewer citizens (and reporters) can follow the money and/or find out who knew what and when.

Not only did the NDP have a love affair with FOI while in opposition for 16 years, but, to my surprise, they adapted the result of my digging about a Christy Clark scandal into a 58-second attack ad that contributed to the end of the BC Liberal dynasty in 2017. 

NDP 2017 campaign ad skewered Christy Clark’s taxpayer-funded private jet trips (BC NDP)

My quest started in 2011, when I began to notice in Clark’s calendar a preference to travel on private jets. So I kept track, by using the FOI law to obtain flight manifests and invoices. I tried asking Clark herself about it in the hallways of CKNW where I was producing radio documentaries in 2012. She ignored me and walked into an elevator.

After the 2013 election, Clark lost her Vancouver-Point Grey seat and became the long-distance MLA for a Kelowna riding. That is when her spending really took off.

I was threatened with a fee invoice once for about $100, but the amiable clerk suggested a solution that worked for both government and me, to split the file in two. I eventually got what I wanted. 

As I chronicled for The Tyee, the cost to taxpayers for Clark’s jet set lifestyle hit $335,000 in 2014, then $500,000 early in 2016. That’s when the major media and NDP opposition noticed.

The BC Liberals went into damage control mode. Clark even made a feeble attempt herself, Tweeting a photo from an Air Canada flight to Penticton in July 2016. She sat among the common people! 

During the campaign, on April 24, 2017, I received the NDP news release, along with everyone else, about the Air Christy Clark ad.

“The BC NDP released an online animated advertisement to show the difference between Christy Clark’s B.C and the reality for everyone else,” it said.

“In the ad, a woman is travelling in cramped economy seats on Air Christy Clark, where services are terrible and you have to pay for just about everything. Meanwhile in first class, Christy Clark sips champagne with rich BC Liberal donors and high-flying lobbyists.”

NDP news release about the Air Christy campaign ad (BC NDP)

It wasn’t the only ad in the NDP campaign mix, but it was the one that best-illustrated how the BC Liberals had become greedy and out of touch.

FOI is a quasi-constitutional right for all citizens to use, so we can keep the institutions we own accountable. Government records are public records and we need to access them so we can curb corruption and wasteful spending, and to keep our communities safe and healthy.

An FOI application fee is, as NDP cabinet minister and FOI expert Murray Rankin once said, a “tollgate” on the public’s right to know. 

An exorbitant fee wouldn’t just throw a curveball at a certain reporter who is starting to notice Horgan’s own charter jet spending.

It would hurt all British Columbians, especially students, seniors and the working poor that the NDP claim to represent.

So I am doing whatever I can to draw attention to Horgan’s most-awkward way of celebrating the first anniversary of his pandemic power grab election win.

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Bob Mackin This is the story of how

Bob Mackin

Vancouver City Manager Paul Mochrie announced a vaccine mandate for civic workers on Oct. 18.

They must be fully vaccinated by Dec. 6 or they won’t be permitted in the workplace.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart’s first dose in May 2021 (Twitter/Kennedy Stewart)

The detailed policy is under development, but Mochrie’s announcement said those that require an exemption will be accommodated.

The vaccine mandate does not apply to the Mayor and 10 councillors.

Nonetheless, on Oct. 19, they issued a joint statement headlined: “City Council confirms all members are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.”

Following yesterday’s announcement that the City of Vancouver will require all City staff be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by December 6, 2021, the members of Vancouver City Council are confirming they are all already fully vaccinated.

As elected officials are not subject to the same employment terms as City employees, the new staff policy does not apply to members of Council. Notwithstanding, all members of Council want to assure members of the public that they are voluntarily following the intent of the policy, as well as advice from public health.

theBreaker.news wanted to know whether that is true. All council members were contacted by email with two questions:

  • Where and when did you receive the vaccination? (Dates and places, please). 
  • Will you provide me your proof of vaccination? (Subject to reasonable redaction to protect personal information). 

Three councillors did not reply. But five showed proof of full vaccination. Mayor Kennedy Stewart’s spokesman only provided proof of partial vaccination.

Got the shot

Four Vancouver city councillors provided proof of vaccination (submitted)

Coun. Colleen Hardwick (TEAM for a Livable Vancouver) and Jean Swanson (COPE) were the only two to show theBreaker.news copies of the Immunize BC cards provided to them at the vaccine clinics.

Hardwick’s shots were April 22 and June 30, Swanson’s April 1 and June 23.

Coun. Melissa De Genova (NPA) said she received hers at VCC East May 10 and July 25, and provided a copy of the BC Vaccine Card obtained Oct. 20.

Coun. Lisa Dominato (Ind.) said she received hers May 12 and July 9 at the Vancouver Community College, and provided a copy of the BC Vaccine Card, obtained Sept. 12.

Coun. Pete Fry (Green) said he had his May 11 and June 14 in Vancouver, and showed a Sept. 7-issued BC Vaccine Card.

Stewart’s spokesman Alvin Singh provided a May 14 Tweet showing Stewart getting the jab at the Vancouver Convention Centre East. But he did not provide information about a second dose.

She said, she said

Coun. Rebecca Bligh (Ind.) said she received her doses in May and the end of June.

Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung (Ind.) said she received hers in May at Killarney and July at Vancouver Tech.

No reply

Green Councillors Adriane Carr and Michael Wiebe and OneCity Coun. Christine Boyle did not reply.

Question: Are all members of Vancouver city council fully vaccinated?
Fact Check Status: Unproven

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Bob Mackin Vancouver City Manager Paul Mochrie announced

Bob Mackin

The virtual public inquiry into money laundering in British Columbia is now over.

Commissioner Austin Cullen (Cullen Commission)

Justice Austin Cullen signed-off for the last time on Oct. 19, after replies from lawyers for the Governments of Canada and British Columbia, and the B.C. Lottery Corporation. Even Greg DelBigio, the lawyer for accused loan shark Paul King Jin, the poster boy for the inquiry, had one last chance to defend his client.

But it’s not over until it’s over.

“There is still much to be done for the commission and myself,” Cullen said.

Now we wait. Cullen has until Dec. 15 to write his final report and recommendations and deliver it to the NDP government for release on a day to be announced.

“What I hope will be a success that will bring some reason and rationale to the issues that confront us,” Cullen said.

How it started

David Eby (left), John Horgan and Carole James, May 15 in Victoria (Mackin)

Premier John Horgan, Attorney General David Eby and then-Finance Minister Carole James bowed to public pressure and announced the public inquiry on May 15, 2019, with a final report deadline of May 2021.

That was supposed to be six months before the next provincial election.

Testimony began Feb. 24, 2020, as the coronavirus was spreading.

When it reconvened in late May 2020, it was via webconference, due to the pandemic. And it would stay that way to the end.

The fall 2020 sessions were delayed two weeks, until after the snap election Horgan called. No surprise, there was an extension granted March 19, 2021, but a hard deadline for Cullen of Dec. 15, 2021.

Horgan was initially reluctant. He had expressed reservations that the inquiry would cost a lot, make lawyers rich and end up with a final report that sits on a shelf and gathers dust.

A little known-fact: Before he ran for public office in 2005, Horgan was a lobbyist in Vancouver for the Plaza of Nations casino and for the controversial installation of slot machines at Hastings Racecourse. 

By the numbers

Cullen heard 198 witnesses over 138 days.

Another 23 gave evidence by affidavit.

There were 1,063 exhibits, more than 70,000 pages of documents and he made 36 procedural rulings.

Highlights

Peter German (April 12-13, 2021)

The former head of the RCMP in Western Canada whose two Dirty Money reports set the table for the inquiry. German painted the picture for how B.C. became a money laundering mecca.

Peter German’s Dirty Money report was released June 27 (Mackin)

“We are in many ways an Asian-looking city. We look to Asia, our commerce is to Asia as well as to the United States. Everybody in the Lower Mainland lives within probably an hour of the US border. There’s a lot of north/south movement and including to Mexico these days with visa access being what it is. And all of this is COVID aside, if you get my drift. So you’ve got a large port, you’ve got a large airport, among the largest on the western seaboard of North America. We are a high-tech location here in Vancouver and British Columbia. We have excellent financial systems. We have excellent communication systems. We’re really well situated and we’re — it’s a prosperous  economy. We also have a really ethnically diverse province and city, which is really, I think, one of the things that makes it so appealing to live here in terms of culture, ethnicity and everything else. We are quite unique.

“On the flip side of this, organized crime sees all these reasons as well.

“All of those issues that make this a great place to live also make it quite attractive, in my opinion, to organized crime.”

I could go over each of those again, but you can sort of put it together. It’s the easy access in terms of ports, airports, United States, Asia. We’re very well situated. Add to that the fact that we have a very fair and, I would say, small L liberal criminal justice system. We don’t lock people up and throw the key away. I spent four years as a Deputy Commissioner of federal corrections. I’m quite familiar with our penitentiary system, and we have a parole system that is top class in terms of the world. But for organized crime, the downside isn’t all that great if you end up going to jail. You’re probably not going to go for long, and that’s a reality. We’ve also made it very difficult in recent years — and this isn’t the work of any one person but through a collection of circumstances — very difficult to investigate financial crime in this country. It’s not easy, and I’m happy to go into that in some detail.

“So you put that together and then add to it that we have a fairly, again, small L liberal culture when it comes to drug use. A lot of drugs are consumed in this part of the country, not to say that they aren’t consumed elsewhere as well, but it just makes us very attractive to organized crime.

“And where you have organized crime, you have money laundering.”

Ross Alderson (Sept. 9-10, 2021)

The former B.C. Lottery Corporation anti-money laundering manager blew the whistle. Without him, there probably would not have been an inquiry.

He was one of the last to testify. He explained why he risked his job.

Whistleblower Ross Alderson featured on CTV’s W5 (CTV)

“I saw nothing being done. Nothing being done. And the more I got involved, I joined — I became on the board of directors of the certified anti-money laundering group in Vancouver, and I saw how many of these patrons were linked into real estate transactions, into other transactions that these were people with criminal links, and I was getting information from police, and not only that, some very concerning links to the Chinese Communist Party, and I felt that a lot what was being undermined — I mean, I lived in Amsterdam when I was 22 years old. It was the first time and I was a country boy from New Zealand who really had my eyes opened about drug problems.

“But when I came to Vancouver and I would drive from Vancouver head office to the downtown area to go to my meetings, I would drive through Hastings and Main, and what I saw down there, you know, you know, it just — you don’t see too many places in the world. It’s disgusting. And I — I just — the whole thing to me was distasteful, and I felt that I was in a position that I had the information that this needed to be out in the public forum and that was my frustration.”

Walter Soo (Feb. 9, 2021)

The former vice-president of Great Canadian Gaming was key in attracting Asian high roller junkets to River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond, the epicentre of B.C. casino money laundering.

Ex-Great Canadian Gaming VP Walter Soo with Mike Tyson

“But in another twist of fate what happened was SARS happened in 2002. The people of Macau, the people of Hong Kong, Hong Kong particularly, blamed the Chinese government for covering that up and that SARS was hitting southern China and affecting them.

“The Chinese government as part of the damage control allowed the borders to be open from China to Macau, China to Hong Kong to repair any damages done by that period. And when that border opened the Chinese people gushed into Macau. And again, the Chinese people immigrated to Vancouver, now ready, stocked and prepared to play, and for years overlapping from 2005 to 2012, these people just kept flowing in. They just — it may sound crude, but they just washed up onshore.”

Christy Clark (April 20, 2021)

The former Premier, under whose watch casino crime and real estate prices ballooned. Her BC Liberal Party held many fundraisers at casinos and took donations from casino companies. (If the commission lawyers had fact-checked her testimony, they could’ve investigated her for perjury.)

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

“Well, government, you know, political parties still to this day take donations from organizations and businesses across the province that we regulate. So forestry companies donate to political parties. That’s a regulated business. Mining as well. Liquor companies, also regulated. I mean, you could go right across — pharmaceutical companies, also regulated. So, I mean, there’s a lot of — that exists right across government, so, you know, it’s not unique to gaming by any stretch of the imagination. And, you know, but, again, most donors give money to all the political parties they’re allowed to. For the most part they weren’t allowed to give it to the BC Liberal Party.”

Shortfall

The inquiry was supposed to probe money laundering in all its forms, from casinos to real estate to cars to currency and stock trading… who knew what and when. But in the end, it became a probe of casinos.

The Cullen Commission was patterned after Quebec’s Charbonneau Commission, the public inquiry into construction industry corruption. That was a four-year quest for truth that led to the resignation and conviction of two mayors. It exposed secrets about Montreal’s mafia and SNC-Lavalin. 

Who didn’t testify

Former BC Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell

Former Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson

Robertson’s chief of staff Mike Magee

Joan Elangovan (second from left) in Beijing in 2017 with Mayor Gregor Robertson.

Former Vancouver City Managers Penny Ballem and Sadhu Johnston

Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie

Former Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan

Former Burnaby Coun. Richard Chang

Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer

Former Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu 

BC Liberal campaign manager and casino lobbyist Patrick Kinsella

Great Canadian Gaming ex-CEO Rod Baker

Real estate tycoon Peter Wall

Real estate tycoon Ian Gillespie

Real estate marketer Bob Rennie

BC Liberal fundraiser, former BCLC chair and Paragon Gaming director Richard Turner

Accused money launderer Paul King Jin

Gambler and People’s Liberation Army veteran Rongxiang “Tiger” Yuan

Online gambling pioneer and cryptocurrency magnate Calvin Ayre

Liberal Senator Larry Campbell

Trudeau-appointed Senator Yuen Pau Woo

Former Liberal MP and real estate lawyer Joe Peschisolido

Investor/stock fraudster Paul Oei

Real estate and immigration lawyer and former China state council lawyer Hong Guo

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Bob Mackin The virtual public inquiry into money

For the week of Oct. 17, 2021:

Many countries still struggle with the coronavirus pandemic and don’t have enough vaccine to go around.

In other countries, mass vaccination programs have lifted economies out of the doldrums. Stocks are hitting highs and demand for goods is increasing. The Christmas buying season is around the corner.

But there is a perfect storm wreaking havoc: a global shortage of energy, labour and transport. 

On this week’s edition, host Bob Mackin welcomes Glenn Ross, a global supply chain consultant with ACC Global and publisher of an illuminating weekly newsletter on the industry.

Ross breaks down what it means to Main Street and Wall Street, and how the related microchip shortage has geopolitical ramifications around the Pacific Rim.

Bottom line: get used to higher prices and empty spaces on store shelves for the next year or two. 

Plus commentary and Pacific Rim and Pacific Northwest headlines.

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

Now on Google Podcasts!

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

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

theBreaker.news Podcast
theBreaker.news Podcast
theBreaker.news Podcast: Global cargo chaos threatens to sink your wallet
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For the week of Oct. 17, 2021: Many

Bob Mackin

B.C. Place Stadium is looking for a new general manager, after Patricia Jelinski resigned to care for an ill family member.

theBreaker.news has confirmed Jelinski moved in July 2020 to Kingston, Ont. to be with her family. She also joined Queen’s University’s faculty of arts and science as executive director of communications and marketing.

Outgoing BC Place GM Patricia Jelinski (PavCo)

Neither Jelinski nor B.C. Pavilion Corp. CEO Ken Cretney responded to an interview request.

According to a statement provided to theBreaker.news, PavCo and Jelinski agreed to a remote work arrangement in July 2020 with reduced hours and compensation, while the stadium was closed to spectator events due to the pandemic.

“During that time there was important business that required attention, including preparation for the reopening of the stadium and its first post-pandemic events,” said the PavCo statement. “In July 2021, PavCo began a number of steps to prepare for transition, including filling a newly created interim assistant general manager position at the stadium.”

The stadium reopened for limited capacity B.C. Lions and Vancouver Whitecaps games in August. 

PavCo said Jelinski has “completed her relationship” with the stadium and is now working through the succession process.

“PavCo wishes Patricia and her family the very best,” the statement ended.

Inside B.C. Place Stadium (Mackin)

Jelinski joined B.C. Place in May 2018 after four years as head of the United Way Greater Victoria. She is a former senior executive with the Edmonton Oilers, Washington Capitals, New York Rangers, and the DDB Canada advertising agency.

PavCo’s compensation report showed Jelinski was paid $196,600 in 2018-2019, $243,022 in 2019-2020 and $180,321 for the year ended March 31, 2021.

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Bob Mackin B.C. Place Stadium is looking for

Bob Mackin

We may never know who bought the lucky Lotto 6/49 winning ticket at the Westwood Plateau IGA supermarket more than three years ago.

In a decision handed down Oct. 13, a B.C. Information and Privacy Commission adjudicator ruled that the man who won $30,531,740.40 on April 25, 2018 can stay anonymous.

IGA store in Coquitlam’s Westwood sold a Lotto 6/49 winning ticket in 2018 (Westwood)

theBreaker.news had applied under the freedom of information law to learn the name and hometown of the winner, after the Crown corporation took the unusual step of hiding the winner’s identity.

theBreaker.news unsuccessfully argued in a written inquiry that transparency is vital to guard the integrity of lottery games and cited the Ombudsperson’s 2007 report on suspicious prize payouts to lottery ticket retailers. Erosion of public trust could reduce lottery revenue and ultimately harm the community arts and sports groups that rely on grants from annual BCLC profits.

Submissions from a lawyer with the Hunter Litigation firm hired by BCLC said BCLC does not pay major prize claims until an investigation to inspect and authenticate the winning ticket, and interview the ticket holder. In some cases, BCLC reviews surveillance camera footage from the ticket vendor.

Major lottery winner’s affidavit.

In this case, before the investigation, the third party wrote to BCLC asking to remain anonymous.

“The third party was concerned that, if they were publicly identified as the winner of the prize, members of their family would be at risk of kidnapping, extortion or other crimes designed to exact a ransom from the third party,” Jay Fedorak wrote. “The third party is an immigrant with extended family remaining in their country of origin. They asserted that it was common in that country for people of wealth to be subject to kidnapping or other forms of extortion or ransom.”

The winner, who was represented by lawyer George Cadman, claimed it was common in his country of origin for wealthy people to be subject to kidnapping or other forms of extortion or ransom. The country of origin and other personal details were censored from the copy of his affidavit provided to theBreaker.news. The affidavit says the winner is now retired. 

Fedorak ruled anonymity would prevail because disclosure of the winner’s name would be harmful to individual safety and be an unreasonable invasion of personal privacy.

“Transparency and accountability require the public to see when the public bodies are following policy, procedures and law, as well as when they are not. For example, the public cannot be sure that the total number of cases of fraud correspond to only those cases that the public body has publicized, unless it has access to information about the other cases,” he wrote.

“That there might be good reasons to keep the information confidential in this case does not invalidate the argument that disclosure would be desirable for purposes of accountability. Both considerations can apply in the same case. The issue then becomes to determine which consideration carries more weight.”

Ultimately, Fedorak gave more weight to the jackpot winner and the lottery corporation.

He relied on affidavits from BCLC investigator Kris Gade and retired 32-year RCMP veteran Calvin Chrustie, who is now a security consultant.

BCLC hired Chrustie to provide a general security risk and threat assessment, but his report did not include an assessment of the winner himself. theBreaker.news argued that the lack of polygraph test or independent investigation of the jackpot winner’s business and personal life in Canada or his previous country were major omissions. 

The inquiry came after Chrustie’s March 29 testimony at the Cullen Commission on money laundering in B.C. Chrustie described how Chinese triads, Mexican drug cartels and Middle Eastern terrorists moved drugs and cash through Vancouver. He testified that he is a friend of BCLC chief operating officer Brad Desmarais, a former Mountie.

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Bob Mackin We may never know who bought

Bob Mackin

Coronavirus pandemic. Overdose crisis. Heat dome. Wildfires state of emergency.

(SeaBus memes/Instagram)

British Columbia was Canada’s death and destruction capital in summer 2021.

No wonder Premier John Horgan’s vacation drew the ire of many.

Just four years earlier, when he led the NDP to power, Horgan was fond of saying “help is on the way.”

In August 2021, social media was abuzz when it was learned that he’d gotten away — to the Maritimes.

Staff in the Office of the Premier claimed Horgan was still takin’ care of business when they issued a prepared statement on Aug. 16.

“While spending time with his family away from the office, Premier Horgan has been briefed daily – sometimes several times a day – on the important issues and crises facing British Columbians. He will be back [Aug. 19].” the statement read.

“During this time, the Premier has been providing direction to his ministers and the public service in order to keep people safe. Today, he was briefed by Ministers Farnworth and Conroy on the increased wildfire activity over the weekend.”

To that end, theBreaker.news filed a freedom of information request for “all proof that he was briefed on a daily basis about issues in B.C., including, but not limited to, the pandemic and wildfires.”

Text of FOI request to the Premier’s office.

The Office of the Premier delivered just three pages, Government Communications one.

Horgan was directly involved in two briefings, on two separate days:

  • Aug. 10: scheduled 60-minute call from Horgan to Deputy Chief of Staff Amber Hockin at 9 a.m.
  • Aug. 11: Health briefing on vaccinations for healthcare workers
  • Aug. 13: scheduled 30-minute call from Horgan to Hockin
  • Aug. 16: 30-minute briefing on wildfires for top officials.
Claim: Premier John Horgan was “briefed daily, sometimes several times a day” during his summer vacation.
Fact Check Status: False

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Fact-checking Horgan’s Summer Holiday by Bob Mackin on Scribd

Bob Mackin Coronavirus pandemic. Overdose crisis. Heat dome.

For the week of Oct. 10, 2021:

A year after they were in the middle of an unnecessary pandemic election, Premier John Horgan and his NDP government were in the B.C. Legislature, facing tough questions about the deadly summer of 2021.

On this edition of theBreaker.news Podcast, hear the highlights of the first week of the fall session. The opposition BC Liberals prosecuted the worsening overdose crisis, the mass-deaths from the late June heat dome and the aftermath of the wildfire that destroyed the town of Lytton.

As the saying goes, the worst day in government is better than the best day in opposition. But never before has a government in B.C. faced the size and scope of health and environmental challenges that are dogging Horgan, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth.

Plus Pacific Rim and Pacific Northwest headlines.

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

Now on Google Podcasts!

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

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

theBreaker.news Podcast
theBreaker.news Podcast
theBreaker.news Podcast: Horgan on the hot seat over health, environmental carnage
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For the week of Oct. 10, 2021: