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Bob Mackin

It was the autumn of ’99 when the “Summer of ’69” singer made a bold career move.

Rocker Bryan Adams added photographer to his resume with the publication of Made in Canada, a book of portraits of 89 Canadian women. In late October 1999, during a hiatus from recording and touring, Adams launched Made in Canada at Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum. Adams-photographed Margaret Trudeau and astronaut Roberta Bondar were among the attendees. I was there to cover it, for the North Shore News.

West Vancouver painter and poet Jane Clark, the mother of Bryan Adams, at the Ferry Building Gallery on Sept. 15, 2019 (Mackin)

After my story hit doorsteps across North and West Vancouver, a handwritten note arrived at the newsroom. A proud local mother was absolutely delighted that her local newspaper had profiled her son’s new creative endeavour. The letter was from Jane Clark of West Vancouver. A painter and poet. The mother of Bryan Adams.

Fast forward to the last Sunday of the summer of ’19. It was the final day of Clark’s Changing Landscape of B.C. exhibit at the Ferry Building Gallery near Ambleside Beach.

I sat down with her to learn about her art and her travels to Northern British Columbia. The centrepiece of the exhibit was a pair of paintings done a generation apart of the Great Glacier. Clark, 91, chronicled stark evidence of climate change.

“I don’t think it lost any of its beauty, it has its own beauty, so from the point of view of an artist it’s still beautiful,” Clark said. “If you went there and haven’t been there 25 years ago, you’d still say it’s an absolutely stunning area to see. But having been there 25 years ago, I know that it’s a sad sight in many ways.”

Like her son Bryan did in 1999, Clark wants to take her work to Toronto.

“The people in Ontario have very little concept of what it is like here, and yet it is quite powerful what we have here,” she said. “We are the other side of the Rockies, if you like, so they don’t think of looking to us. But from our perspective they should look at it, because we are on the edge and we are going to feel the movement and the changes rapidly, probably more than they will in Ontario. They will get it later.”

On this week’s edition of theBreaker.news Podcast, listen to the interview with Jane Clark, in which she also discusses her relationship with sons Bryan and biochemical engineer brother Bruce.

Plus commentaries and headlines. 

Click below to listen or go to Apple Podcasts and subscribe. 

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theBreaker.news Podcast: Artist Jane Clark, mother of Bryan Adams, shines a light on B.C.'s changing landscape
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Bob Mackin It was the autumn of ’99

Bob Mackin

The British Columbia Supreme Court judge heading the public inquiry into money laundering in the province issued his first ruling on media access to documents, after an application by theBreaker.news.

Justice Austin Cullen (Mackin)

theBreaker.news sought copies of the applications for participant status by B.C. Lottery Corporation CEO Jim Lightbody and Fred Pinnock, the retired RCMP officer and whistleblower. Commissioner Austin Cullen decided Oct. 25 to grant Lightbody full standing, so that his lawyer could cross-examine other witnesses. Pinnock did not qualify, but he still may be called as a witness when hearings begin in spring 2020.

On Nov. 8, Cullen ruled in favour of the release of Lightbody’s submissions to theBreaker.news. But not Pinnock’s.

Lightbody’s lawyer, Robin McFee, consented to the release of his client’s documents, while Pinnock’s lawyer, Paul Jaffe, opposed the application. Commission rules call for applications for standing to be available to the public, but Cullen later directed that they be only be summarized in his findings. He cited a concern that premature disclosure might compromise the commission’s ability to pursue investigations into events detailed by applicants.

Cullen was satisfied that release of Lightbody’s material would not compromise the commission or result in unfairness to any third party not represented at the hearing. As for Pinnock’s supplementary materials, Cullen wrote that they contain serious allegations against specific named individuals.

“In his materials, Mr. Pinnock acknowledges he has no documents, emails or notes in support of any assertions made in his materials and “[a]ny corroboration in hard copy of what I have to say must come from other witnesses, or documents obtained through the [freedom of information] process,” Cullen wrote.

BCLC CEO Jim Lightbody

As such, Cullen ruled it would be inappropriate to release Pinnock’s material (except for email from September) at this time because premature disclosure of information could taint or influence the evidence of potential witnesses or lead to the destruction of documentary or electronic evidence.

“It is apparent that the allegations in Mr. Pinnock’s materials rest entirely on the reliability of third parties who spoke to Mr. Pinnock 12-14 years ago, about what they either observed or believed about the conduct of others,” Cullen wrote. “In other words, Commission counsel will need to obtain and review documents and interview a significant number of witnesses to determine whether and to what extent Mr. Pinnock’s materials reveal a viable body of evidence for the Commission’s attention and consideration.”

Cullen did, however, reveal the lengthy title of Pinnock’s undated supplementary submission, which was provided to the commission counsel on Oct. 17: “Summary of Observations, Recollections and Conclusions of Retired RCMP S/Sgt Fred Pinnock, relative to the performance of persons within the BC Liberal Party, BC Civil Service, “E” Division RCMP and the [Solicitor General ministry’s] Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch relative to legal gambling environments within British Columbia.” 

Lightbody’s supplementary submissions stated that he has “faced criticism in the media” and it specifically cited a story published by theBreaker.news last March under the headline: “It’s brutal: BCLC CEO calls spin doctors for help amid casino money laundering scandal.”

“Mr. Lightbody faces the possibility of further adverse comment or criticism during the course of the Commission that could affect his reputational, privacy and/or legal interests,” said Lightbody’s submission. “Standing is therefore necessary, as full participatory rights in the Commission will ensure that Mr. Lightbody’s counsel has the ability to properly safeguard his interests.”

Lightbody is on leave from BCLC to battle cancer. His temporary substitute is former Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore.

Pinnock was commander of the RCMP’s Integrated Illegal Gaming Enforcement Team from 2005 to 2008. He had warned the BC Liberal government that casinos were becoming a haven for organized crime, but Solicitor-General Rich Coleman disbanded Pinnock’s team anyway in 2009. At an Oct. 18 hearing before Cullen, Jaffe described difficulties in obtaining documents from the BCLC freedom of information office and suggested Cullen could “fast-track the FOI process and make an order.” One of the duties of the BCLC CEO is to decide which documents are released to FOI applicants.

Cullen decided last month that Pinnock did not meet criteria for participant status because the thrust of his submission was that “he was attempting to overcome the apathy of those charged with the relevant responsibility; not that he was a part of it.”

The last of the commission’s five scheduled public meetings is Nov. 14 in Prince George’s Ramada Plaza. 

Ex-BCLC VP Rob Kroeker’s lawyer Marie Henein (HHLLP.ca)

Lawyer for Ghomeshi and Norman retained by ex-BCLC exec

Meanwhile, theBreaker.news has learned that former BCLC head of security and compliance Rob Kroeker has retained one of Canada’s most-prominent defence lawyers.

Marie Henein confirmed to theBreaker.news that she is representing Kroeker, who suddenly departed BCLC on July 2.

Brad Desmarais, the vice-president of casinos, assumed Kroeker’s responsibilities on an interim basis.

Kroeker was the first individual granted standing by the inquiry. Sixteen others are corporations, associations, societies, unions and government agencies. Desmarais is also applying for standing in the inquiry.

Henein, of Toronto-based “litigation boutique” Henein Hutchinson LLP, defended former CBC host Jian Ghomeshi, who was acquitted of sexual assault charges in 2016. She was also the lawyer for Vice Admiral Mark Norman, Canada’s former vice chief of defence staff. Prosecutors stayed a breach of trust charge against Norman last May.

Henein’s law firm partner Scott Hutchinson successfully defended former BC Liberal Party executive director Laura Miller. Miller was found not guilty by an Ontario judge in early 2018 of attempted mischief to data and illegal use of a computer charges relating to her mass-deletion of documents while working in the office of Ontario Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty.

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019 James Lightbody Application for Standing Dated September 5, 2019 by Bob Mackin on Scribd

002 Lightbody Supplemental Submissions – Application for Standing on Behalf of James (Jim) Lightbody by Bob Mackin on Scribd

Bob Mackin The British Columbia Supreme Court judge

Bob Mackin

An SNC-Lavalin company is suing a consortium of major insurers after suffering almost $29 million in losses from the sinkholes and tunnel boring machine stoppages that delayed opening of the Evergreen Line SkyTrain extension.

The $1.43 billion-budgeted, 11-kilometre Millennium Line extension in the Tri-Cities opened six months late in December 2016 and includes a 2 km bored tunnel between Burquitlam and Port Moody.

Additional Evergreen Line work to fix sinkholes by Seaview in Port Moody in October 2015. (Mackin)

Evergreen Rapid Transit Holdings Inc. filed a statement of claim on Nov. 1 in B.C. Supreme Court. The filing names divisions of Liberty Mutual, Lloyd’s, Zurich, Axa, Sun Alliance and AIG Canada. They underwrote the project and issued a builders all risk insurance policy from December 2010 to December 2016. The court document says the policy insures against all risks of direct physical loss or damage to property insured. SNC-Lavalin’s EGRT Construction consortium is the first named insured; SNC-Lavalin and others are additional insureds.

The first of three major sinkholes that delayed the project happened in late 2014 during scheduled maintenance work under Chateau Place. Two other sinkholes occurred in April 2015 and June 2015. There was also damage in March 2015 to the tunnel boring machine, which was nicknamed Alice, for Canada’s first female geologist Alice Wilson.

In August 2015, SNC-Lavalin disclosed to investors that it had experienced a $27 million engineering and construction division loss. The company blamed “challenging soil conditions relating to the tunnel portion of a mass transit project.” In early 2016, SNC-Lavalin and the Ministry of Transportation were in mediation about construction costs.

When SNC-Lavalin was contracted by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in 2012, it agreed to take the geotechnical risk under the $889 million fixed-price contract. A report by Golder Associates in 2011 warned of variable soil conditions, clay, minerals, boulders and groundwater on the tunnel route. 

Evergreen Line’s Alice the tunnel boring machine on the Nov. 27, 2015 breakthrough day (Mackin)

EGRT notified the insurers of the claims in July 2015. The lawsuit says meetings and correspondence between the parties happened periodically through the end of October 2019, but the company could not convince the insurers to pay under the policy. The insurers, the court filing said, deemed the company eligible for partial coverage on the tunnel boring machine damage, but they denied coverage for the sinkholes.

The statement of claim, filed by lawyer David Miachika of Borden Ladner Gervais, said: “EGRT provided prompt notice of the TBM damage and excavation face failures, delivered interim proofs of loss requesting coverage for its losses, submitted all requested and supporting documents, and met with the adjuster and its consultants on several occasions to explain the claims under the policy for the insured loss. The insurers have acknowledged there is coverage for the TBM damage and for portion fo the insured loss; however, to date, the insurers have not made any payments or interim payments to EGRT.”

EGRT is claiming $28.6 million in damages. It also wants a judge to declare it is entitled to coverage under the insurance policy, without having to pay the deductible. 

None of the claims has been proven in court and the insurers have yet to file their response.

SNC-Lavalin, which is facing a corruption and bribery trial in Quebec, withdrew in July from bidding on the $2.83 billion Broadway Subway. 

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Bob Mackin An SNC-Lavalin company is suing a

Bob Mackin

Squamish Nation members will vote Dec. 10 on whether to let Westbank Corp. build a massive, multi-tower development around the south end of the Burrard Bridge that could generate as much as $12.7 billion in cashflow.

Architect’s rendering of the proposed Westbank development on Squamish Nation land near the Burrard Bridge (Senakw.com)

Last April, theBreaker.news was first to report that the North Vancouver-headquartered band inked a 50-50 partnership with Ian Gillespie’s company, which is famous for building luxury downtown towers, like the Shaw Tower, Fairmont Pacific Rim, Shangri-La and Telus Garden, and marketing condos in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Back then, the Squamish Nation said Westbank was proposing 3,000 units on the 11-acre Senakw reserve, which it regained in a 2002 court settlement. But the new plan foresees up to 6,000 units in as many as 11 buildings. By comparison, Westbank’s redevelopment of Oakridge mall is for 2,600 units in 10 buildings.

Squamish Nation has positioned the marquee development as a rental play, but an Oct. 24 information document provided to Squamish Nation members, and obtained by theBreaker.news, says up to 30% of the condos (or 1,800 units) could be for sale. (READ THE INFORMATION DOCUMENT BELOW.)

Squamish Nation reserve on both sides of the Burrard Bridge’s south end (Senakw.com)

That information document foresees 15 to 20 years of construction in phases. No start date is mentioned, but it is expected that the first construction phase will begin when all legal agreements are signed and site servicing and financing are in place. Construction of the second phase may begin while the first is underway. Subsequent phases would be subject to Westbank meeting benchmarks.

“While the nation will not receive fair market rent for the Senakw land, it is expected that the nation and the nation partner will receive, over the course of the project, significant profits and other benefits, as described in this information document, that will exceed the value of fair market rent,” the document states.

Westbank is required to pay a $60 per square foot nation amenity agreement, worth up to $180 million, that could be used for Squamish Nation community services, housing or infrastructure purposes. If they agree to build below market cost housing, the amenity charge would be discounted.

Westbank’s Ian Gillespie with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2015 (Westbank)

Officially, the Dec. 10 vote is under the Indian Act and Indian Referendum Regulations because the Squamish Nation does not have a self-government treaty. The vote would designate three lots on Reserve No. 6, also known as Senakw, up for development and authorize business terms between the Squamish Nation and Westbank. The vote will also decide a nominal rent structure and maximum lease term up to 120 years. After the 120 years are up, the Nation would regain full use and possession of all of Senakw and all the buildings and infrastructure.

Squamish Nation hired Burgess Cawley Sullivan and Associates for a land appraisal and Ernst and Young for a financial assessment. For a 3 million square feet gross floor area, BCS estimated the fair market value of Senakw at $318.4 million (based on 100% rental) to $581.7 million (70% rental/30% strata). The Ernst and Young report estimated cashflow to range from $556.45 million to $12.7 billion, depending on the development formula. Ernst and Young was previously hired by the Squamish Nation to vet potential developers and concluded that Westbank could  “generate highest and best use leasing opportunities at Senakw.” (READ THE ERNST AND YOUNG REPORT BELOW.)

Document obtained by theBreaker.news (Squamish Nation)

“It is expected that the nation through its nation partner, will receive a greater return through the business terms proposal than if the nation were to lease Senakw for fair market rent,” said the information for band members.

Westbank would be paid a project management fee equal to 3.5% of the approved hard and soft costs of each phase. All major decisions must be approved jointly by Westbank and representatives of the Nation, a Nation entity or a Nation partner.

Squamish Nation has launched a password-protected website, Senakw.com and scheduled members’ information sessions in: North Vancouver (Nov. 12, 14, 20 and 28), Tukwila, Wash. (Nov. 16); Squamish (Nov. 21 and 27); Duncan (Nov. 25); and a livestream on the Squamish Nation Facebook page (Nov. 29). The development does not require City of Vancouver approval.

This is not the first attempt to develop the land. Squamish Nation politicians said in 2010 they wanted to build a tower on the west side of the bridge and mid-rise office buildings on the east side. In recent years, the band council shifted its attention to partnering with the Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam, with major backing from the Aquilini family, to acquire a portfolio of federal and provincial properties in Burnaby, Vancouver and West Vancouver. Projects on the former RCMP land and in Jericho are in the drawing board stage.

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Information Document Business Terms Final Oct 24 2019 by Bob Mackin on Scribd

Schedule C to Designation Terms Executive Summary of EY Report by Bob Mackin on Scribd

Information Document Designation Terms Final Oct 24 2019 by Bob Mackin on Scribd

Bob Mackin Squamish Nation members will vote Dec.

Bob Mackin

Vancouver city hall is looking for a partner to redevelop the Pacific National Exhibition’s Amphitheatre into a destination outdoor live music venue.

Artist’s rendering of the new PNE Amphitheatre (City of Vancouver)

The Nov. 1 request for expressions of interest has a Dec. 12 deadline for bidders and seeks “potential successful, innovative, and forward-thinking commercial or non-profit partners with expertise in event venue partnership arrangements for the proposed redevelopment of the PNE Amphitheatre.”

The current 7,000-capacity amphitheatre, which hosts nightly concerts during the annual PNE Fair and a handful of shows at other times, was built in 1966. It is failing to “meet the market’s requirements for accessibility and guest amenities.”

“This, coupled with an identified gap in the supply of venue space in Vancouver and an increase in market demand for events, has triggered consideration to redevelop the Amphitheatre venue,” the tendering document says.

Besides the PNE Amphitheatre, Vancouver’s only outdoor venue for touring shows during summer months is the 2,000-capacity Malkin Bowl at Stanley Park. Many touring shows that play outdoor venues in other markets during summer months end up inside at Rogers Arena.

Artist’s renderings of the new PNE Amphitheatre show covered seating, similar to what once existed at the Plaza of Nations on the old Expo 86 site. Vancouver’s only dedicated outdoor concert venue was the Expo Theatre, which was demolished three years after the world’s fair. Concord Pacific turned down four proposals for a buyer, including one from concert promoter Perryscope, which wanted to take it down and reassemble it at Surrey’s Tynehead Regional Park. The Plaza of Nations was a frequent concert venue after Expo 86, but landlord Canadian Metropolitan Properties let the complex fall into disrepair. The distinctive canopy and half the buildings were demolished in 2007. 

Expo Theatre, which was demolished three years after the fair (Expo 86)

The PNE foresees the new amphitheatre holding as much as 9,820, including a mix of floor seats, bleachers and VIP seating in lounges and suites. It would have three permanent structures for washrooms, concessions, offices, dressing rooms, lounges and suites and flex meeting space. There would be a covering for the floor and bleachers, and a stage with sound that would minimize the impact on neighbours.

PNE wants to increase year-round programming and revenue, with allowance for not-for-profit programming and First Nations while continuing PNE Fair exclusive access during the Fair period every summer. It also aims to boost the local music industry and honour all-site-wide union contracts.

Ideally, city hall wants bidders who can book successful programming, secure and manage venue naming rights, balance commercial and public goals within the public site, finance and build with public sector partners, and maintain facilities that meet safety and guest requirements while allowing access to diverse groups.

Not only does the PNE want to make it more accessible, with pedestrian and bicycle connections to New Brighton Park and the waterfront, but it wants the amphitheatre to form a new “Heart of the Park” with the neighbouring festival plaza and livestock building. 

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Bob Mackin Vancouver city hall is looking for

The ripple effects of Auditor General Carol Bellringer’s late-September resignation were still being felt when suspended Sergeant-at-Arms Gary Lenz’s retirement was announced Oct. 1.

Lenz did not wait for the release of Doug LePard’s damning Police Act investigation.

So began another eventful month in the ongoing corruption scandal at the B.C. Legislature.

Alan Mullen, special advisor to Speaker Darryl Plecas, with the damning report on the suspended officials (Mackin)

Almost a year ago, on Nov. 20, 2018, Lenz and Clerk Craig James were suddenly suspended and the public was shocked to learn they were under an RCMP probe with two special prosecutors had been appointed. Speaker Darryl Plecas and his chief of staff, Alan Mullen, had called in the RCMP, who continue to investigate.

James resigned in disgrace in May, after retired Supreme Court chief justice Beverley McLachlin found he committed misconduct. She cleared Lenz of wrongdoing, but Lepard, the former Vancouver Police deputy chief, found that she did not have all the facts because Lenz lied to her.

LePard wanted to know what ex-Speaker Linda Reid knew and when she knew it, but she refused to sit down for an interview. Reid, a Richmond BC Liberal MLA since 1991, eventually announced she would not seek another term.

“These folks that represent the general public should be at the highest level,” Mullen told theBreaker.news Podcast host Bob Mackin. “Even the leader of the opposition, Andrew Wilkinson has said, and I agree with him, anybody who is asked to participate in an investigation should do so without any strings attached.”

 Listen to the full interview with Mullen, recounting the October that was and the conclusions of the LePard Report.

Plus commentaries and headlines. 

Click below to listen or go to Apple Podcasts and subscribe. 

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theBreaker.news Podcast: Recounting a stormy October at the B.C. Legislature
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The ripple effects of Auditor General Carol

Bob Mackin

Lawyers and Members of Parliament are not entitled to have cases affecting them heard by summary trial, ruled a judge who dismissed defeated Trudeau Liberal MP Joe Peschisolido’s bid to quash a fraud victim’s lawsuit.

Joe Peschisolido (left) and Paul Oei (Facebook)

Peschisolido lost his Steveston-Richmond East seat in the Oct. 21 federal election to Conservative Kenny Chiu by more than 2,700 votes. On Sept. 12, his lawyer asked the B.C. Supreme Court to throw out Yicheng Jiang’s case against him, claiming that Jiang had not advanced his case for almost four years. Jiang lost US$3.7 million invested in the compost and fertilizer scheme run by securities fraudster Paul Oei, who had retained a lawyer at Peschisolido’s Richmond firm.

Peschisolido argued there was no evidence he was negligent or knowingly assisted in a breach of trust and that Jiang’s delay in prosecuting the case prejudiced his re-election campaign and damaged his reputation.

“Mr. Peschisolido moved to have this summary trial after the trial was adjourned, and on the first day of the election period,” wrote Justice Sharon Matthews in her Oct. 30 verdict. “As is apparent from the timing of the release of these reasons, the election period was insufficient time for a decision to be considered and delivered before the election concluded in any event.”

Matthews found no authority to fast-track cases for someone like Peschisolido. The complexity of the overlapping claims and conflicting evidence means the case is not suitable for summary trial.

In November 2015, Jiang sued Oei and his wife Loretta Lai, their companies Canadian Manu Immigration and Financial Services and Cascade Renewable Organics, Peschisolido, his law firm and Oei and Lai’s lawyer Yvonne Hsu. Jiang alleged that Peschisolido’s law firm received US$15 million in funds from Oei and Lai’s investors and structured the fraudulent investment scheme.

Peschisolido hugging a supporter at his campaign office opening in September, where pro-China protester Eileen Chen (right) said she was helping the Liberal incumbent with Chinese community events.

Document discovery did not begin until early 2018. Some of the delay was also blamed on arguments over whether some documents were privileged and whether Oei and Lai would waive their privilege. Jiang also suffered health and financial setbacks.

“The delay [Jiang] has caused is not so long or undue that it would be appropriate to proceed with a summary trial notwithstanding the conflicting evidence and the interrelation between the case against Mr. Peschisolido, Ms. Hsu and Peschisolido Law Corporation,” Matthews ruled.

In August 2018, B.C. Securities Commission found Oei and his companies committed fraud against more than 50 investors including Jiang. In August of this year, the Law Society of B.C. found Hsu committed professional misconduct related to the fraudulent investment scheme. Peschisolido turned in his law licence and the B.C. Law Society appointed a custodian last spring to wind-up his law firm.

Jiang deposed that he traveled to B.C. in December 2009 and February 2010 and dined with Oei and Lai at a Richmond restaurant with potential investors, where he was introduced by Oei to Peschisolido as “a former member of Parliament and a socialite.”

Jiang said he was told, via translation by Lai, that Peschisolido would receive and handle the investment money, “and that Mr. Jiang could be 100% sure that the investment money would be safe because it was going to be deposited into Mr. Peschisolido’s trust account.”

Jiang claimed Peschisolido shook his hand and gave him a business card with a handwritten email address on it. Peschisolido, however, deposed that he did not recall ever meeting Jiang and that the handwritten email address did not exist until after 2012.

“While Mr. Peschisolido asserts that he was not supervising Ms. Hsu and had no familiarity with her work for Mr. Oei and Ms. Lai and their companies, he was clearly involved to some extent including disbursement of a significant amount of Mr. Jiang’s funds on two occasions, totalling over $1 million. Mr. Jiang argues there were red flags that Mr. Peschisolido and Peschisolido Law Corporation should have identified and acted on. He points to evidence at the Law Society hearing that Ms. Hsu was over her head to argue that she was not properly supervised by Mr. Peschisolido.”

In a July statement, Peschisolido said: “In all my duties, I have always conducted myself with utmost integrity and professionalism.”

theBreaker.news exclusively reported that a protester from a mid-August Vancouver rally in support of China’s Communist Party regime was working inside Peschisolido’s campaign office when it opened in September. Eileen Chen said she was a volunteer on Peschisolido’s re-election campaign. Video evidence contradicted the denial from a spokesman for Peschisolido, who did not respond to interview requests.

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Bob Mackin Lawyers and Members of Parliament are

Bob Mackin (Updated Nov. 1)

In the climax of a four-part social media video series, BC Hydro’s bearded, cardigan-wearing spokesman Dave Mix boasts that he drove from Tofino to the Alberta border in an electric car with “no emissions and it cost me about 30 bucks.”

A BC Hydro ad campaign claimed it cost only $30 to travel by electric car from Tofino to the Alberta border. In fact, the ad campaign cost more than $200,000 and included air travel. (BC Hydro)

The Dave’s Clean Getaway ad campaign, which dovetails with the NDP government’s CleanBC program, cost almost $220,000 and included airplane travel for the star and two others.

That, says an expert, broke “rule number one” of green marketing.

“If you’re going to send out that green message, what’s the bottom line message? Be very damn clear everything related to it is green,” said Lindsay Meredith, Simon Fraser University professor emeritus of marketing.

The production schedule, released under the freedom of information law, shows arrival in Tofino from Vancouver on Pacific Coastal Airlines and a flight out of Nanaimo back to Vancouver at the end of the third day of production. The Vancouver to Kamloops leg ended with a flight from Fulton Field Airport back to YVR. For the Kamloops-Revelstoke-Yoho National Park leg, the crew flew from Vancouver International Airport to Kamloops and picked up a rental vehicle at Budget before retrieving the electric car at a BC Hydro office.

BC Hydro spokesman Dave Mix surfing at Tofino (BC Hydro)

BC Hydro spokeswoman Susie Rieder said by email that the Vancouver Island leg was shot April 28-30; Vancouver to Kamloops May 6-8; and Kamloops-Revelstoke-Yoho May 13-17.

“Because the trip was broken up into different legs, short breaks were taken for pre-production,” Rieder said. “Some crew members flew back to the city then on to different locations in order to prepare for the next leg of the trip. That being said, the car did make the whole trip from Tofino to Yoho National Park.” 

It took another three days for Rieder to respond to followup questions about how many crew members traveled by plane and how many flights Dave took.

Rieder said Dave drove the entire trip in the electric vehicle, leg-by-leg, but she admitted that he flew back to Vancouver with two other crew members “so that they could get back to the office as quickly as possible and conduct other work.”

BC Hydro’s most-recent statement of financial information showed that Mix, whose official title is recovery manager, was paid $133,742 last year and billed $8,733 for expenses.

One of the trio’s flights was from Nanaimo to Vancouver. Rieder said they flew rather than sailing on BC Ferries to save a combined three to four hours productive work time. 

theBreaker.news wanted to know the make and model of the vehicle the crew rented in Kamloops, but Rieder would only say it was a “small sedan.” A Budget customer service representative told theBreaker.news that the location does not have an electric or hybrid vehicle in the fleet.

Meredith said the choice to use air travel does not totally negate the power of the message, but it does damage BC Hydro’s credibility.

The climax of the Dave’s Clean Getaway campaign at the B.C./Alberta border. (BC Hydro)

“To produce this production, which is all about let’s go green, we lose track of how many hundreds of gallons of jet fuel got consumed moving these people back and forth,” Meredith said. “That, in the end, is going to wind up being a trap.”

Documents provided to theBreaker.news show BC Hydro contracted Basetwo Media for video and post-production; Smak for production, logistics and coordination; Quietly Media for ad buying; and Rival for market research. BC Hydro research claims the videos were viewed 768,850 times on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. 

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Bob Mackin (Updated Nov. 1) In the climax

Bob Mackin

The Olympic flame’s journey to Vancouver began Oct. 22, 2009 in the midday sun at Ancient Olympia in Greece, the home of the original Olympics. Then, the next day, tragedy back home. Vancouver Olympics organizing committee chair Jack Poole had succumbed to a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 76.

The VANOC delegation returned to Vancouver for his Oct. 27 funeral and then flew back to Greece, to retrieve the Olympic flame for the Oct. 30, 2009 launch of the domestic torch relay outside the Parliament Buildings in Victoria. The plaza beside the expanded Vancouver Convention Centre, where the Olympic cauldron was lit on the Feb. 12, 2010 opening day, was eventually named in Poole’s honour.

Here is an excerpt from the chapter about the beginning of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay’s Canadian leg, from my e-book, Red Mittens & Red Ink: The Vancouver Olympics, available via Smashwords and other online e-tailers.

The Canadian Forces CC-150 Polaris Airbus 15001 departed Athens, briefly stopped at Scotland’s Glasgow-Prestwick Airport and touched-down to change crews at Keflavik, Iceland. Capt. Garrett Lawless took control for the last leg to Victoria.

Premier Gordon Campbell and Prime Minister Stephen Harper at Victoria International Airport on Oct. 30, 2009 (Bob Mackin)

The commander at Trenton, Ontario, where both Lawless and the plane were based, was Col. Russell Williams. Williams welcomed the relay to the country’s biggest air force installation on December 15, but was sensationally arrested less than two months later for the sadistic murder of two women. He was convicted and sentenced to two 25-year life terms in jail, prompting the Canadian Forces to eject him from the service and burn his uniform. The case drew international media attention, not just because of Williams’s high-profile job, but for his self-portraits in women’s lingerie from a spree of residential break-ins.

The flight arrived an hour late at 8:45 a.m. on October 30 at Victoria International Airport. Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson emerged from the Airbus and strolled down the stairs to the tarmac where he set the miner’s lamp containing the flame. It was passed from politician to politician inside the 443 Maritime Patrol Squadron’s Sea King helicopter hangar under the watchful eye of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The 443’s hornet badge contained the motto “our sting is death.”

The most complex and circuitous delivery from Victoria to Vancouver (just 69 kilometres away) was devised in 2008 by the Greater Victoria Spirit Committee which lobbied Victoria-area resident and VANOC executive vice-president Dan Doyle to make the capital of the Olympic province the start of the national relay.

The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics torch route (VANOC)

A police-escorted motorcade whisked the flickering flame in the miner’s lamp to downtown Victoria on the windy, rainy Friday where it was put aboard a traditional 13.5-metre, hand-carved red cedar canoe and paddled across the Inner Harbour by chiefs of the Squamish, Lil’wat, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam tribes from the Lower Mainland. Counterparts from Victoria’s Songhees and Esquimalt tribes greeted them at the dock, before the flame was carried to the Parliament Buildings.

Darlene Poole battled gusts of wind to ignite a cauldron on a temporary stage. Two-time Olympic speedskating champion Catriona Le May Doan and Sydney 2000 triathlon champion Simon Whitfield were the first of the 12,000 torchbearers on the 106-day, 1,030-community, 45,000 kilometre tour.

“I felt such a responsibility to everybody to do it properly and to do it with such pride,” said Whitfield, who also won silver at Beijing 2008.

Whitfield and Le May Doan transferred the flame to diver Alexandre Despatie of Laval, Quebec and retired Victoria rower Silken Laumann outside the landmark Fairmont Empress Hotel. The traveling production crew of 200 mustered the previous day for the $36 million tour and got H1N1 vaccination shots to protect them from the feared flu virus.

Jack Poole’s widow Darlene at the Olympic torch relay ceremony on the Legislature lawn, Oct. 30, 2009 (VANOC/Vancouver Archives)

The flame itself would be transported overnight between most communities by car, ferry or plane. The British Columbia government and municipalities paid for traffic, policing and community concerts to welcome the flame.

Onward it went to the Esquimalt naval base and around Victoria’s suburbs. At Elk Lake it was rowed by members of Canada’s Beijing 2008 gold medal-winning crew.

Darkness came early the day before Hallowe’en and 300 costumed and masked anti-Olympic protesters celebrated the occasion with a Zombie March from Centennial Square outside Victoria city hall. Police from Victoria and Vancouver Island in bright yellow jackets escorted the group. Even the Vancouver Police mounted squad showed up near Bastion Square.

The Vancouver 2010 Ford minivan, with the B.C. vanity licence plate Flame 8, was filled with torchbearers and waiting at Cook and Richardson streets with its lights turned out. Suddenly the van turned right and sped past people who had been waiting for hours to see the relay.

Protest leaders used mobile phones and text messaging to force a last-minute diversion near Government House, the mansion where Lt. Gov. Steven Point lived. A group of 10 torchbearers didn’t get their chance to run, but they did pass the flame from torch to torch in the presence of Point.

The flame finally came to the Parliamentary precinct where Victoria broadcaster Mel Cooper passed it to Jeneece Edroff, a teenage charity fundraiser who overcame a genetic spinal deformity. She re-lit the cauldron sparked earlier by Darlene Poole as fireworks lit up the Victoria sky.

Canada’s national rowing team with the Olympic flame on Elk Lake, Oct. 30, 2009 (VANOC/Vancouver Archives)

The protesters returned, with their own oversized, papier mache torch. As the rain-soaked concert attendees left on the rainy night, Campbell paced in his office at the Legislature’s west annex.

Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit chief Bud Mercer was comfortably on a BC Ferry back to the mainland before Edroff’s torch was even lit. He monitored reports of the diversion via his BlackBerry smartphone. The night was in the hands of Victoria Police Department and its controversial chief Jamie Graham, who came to Vancouver and told his torch stories on November 1 to an audience of his peers.

Graham appeared at the 12th Vancouver International Security Conference. He believed the protesters were “probably going to be violent,” so uniformed police infiltrated the crowd.

“The relationships individual field officers have with protesters and so on just kills these kinds of disturbances and it worked extremely well,” Graham said in the Marriott Pinnacle ballroom.

The $220,000 bill was “well beyond” budget, but worth it. “Police departments from all over the country have taken our game plan, our operational plan and adopted it as their own,” Graham boasted.

The day was not without incident. Graham said two ferry passengers were arrested for dumping water on an undercover security person, while two motorcycle cops wiped out on slippery pavement. “One of them was hurt quite badly, but has since recovered,” he said.

Meanwhile, a secondary security vehicle “got T-boned by an old guy who ran a red light.”

Graham’s biggest revelation was that an undercover cop watched Lower Mainland anti-Olympic torch relay protesters in the rear-view mirror.

“You knew that the protesters weren’t that organized when on the ferry on the way over they all rented a bus, they all came over on a bus, and there was a cop driving the bus!” Graham said.

Hundreds of people protested the Victoria launch of the Olympic torch relay on Oct. 30, 2009. (TheDominionPaper.ca)

The story got national attention. Victoria photographer Bruce Dean complained to the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner that Graham had violated police confidentiality. Dean was still angry after he was arrested and some of his photographs deleted in 2007 when he happened to come upon an undercover police operation in downtown Victoria.

Burnaby RCMP Chief Supt. Rick Taylor recommended in his report to the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner that Graham be found in discreditable conduct. Graham claimed he was joking about the driver being a spook, but Taylor felt Graham “did cause concern amongst senior police personnel engaged in planning and security operations” for both the torch relay and 2010 Winter Olympics.

Graham was slapped with a similar penalty in 2007 for not cooperating with an investigation into Vancouver Police conduct on the Downtown Eastside during his tenure as Vancouver’s chief. He also made headlines in 2006 for leaving a used, autographed shooting range target on the desk of city manager and VANOC director Judy Rogers. “A bad day at the range is better than the best day at work,” he wrote to Rogers.

  • Bob Mackin is author of the e-book Red Mittens & Red Ink: The Vancouver Olympics, the only independent history book about the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. It is available from Smashwords and other online e-tailers. 

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(Bonus content below: the passenger manifest from the Canadian Forces jet that carried the Olympic flame from Greece to Canada and a video from the dress rehearsal for the Olympic flame lighting in Olympia.)

Passenger manifest for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics torch flight by Bob Mackin on Scribd

Bob Mackin The Olympic flame's journey to

Bob Mackin

The City of Vancouver manager in charge of patios denies any special treatment was afforded the well-known proprietor of a Yaletown restaurant that violated its permit.

Elisa Steakhouse patio in January 2019 (City of Vancouver)

The Aquilini family, which owns the Vancouver Canucks and Rogers Arena, turned the former Milestones at 1109 Hamilton St. in Yaletown into the 200-seat Elisa Steakhouse, named for the matriarch who died in 2015. In August 2018, the city granted Elisa a large sidewalk patio permit on the historic Yaletown loading docks, an opportunity to earn more food and drink revenue. But theBreaker.news has exclusively learned that the Aquilinis’ high-end restaurants division violated the permit when it built a structure over the patio.

Aquilini real estate vice-president Bill Aujla intervened, just seven months after he joined the company from his previous job as city hall’s director of real estate and facilities. In a May email, obtained under freedom of information, Scott Edwards, the engineering department’s manager of street use, allowed the Aquilinis’ Toptable Group to continue operating the patio under an interim large patio permit through Oct. 31. The city has not used its power to order removal and restoration. In an Oct. 28 interview, Edwards said a short extension is possible after the permit expires this week.

“I’m treating them like any other business,” Edwards said.

The perception is otherwise, said governance watchdog Dermod Travis of IntegrityBC.

“Any individual that has a City of Vancouver inspector come around, and something comparable, now has something to hold up and say ‘I demand to be treated just like the Aquilinis’,”  Travis said. “That’s the biggest trap they dug for themselves.”

The new permit for a 58.6-square metre sidewalk patio was issued Nov. 14, 2018. But, by the end of November, an illegal structure was discovered by the city’s large sidewalk patio coordinator who threatened to revoke Elisa’s patio permit.

Elisa Steakhouse patio in October 2018 (City of Vancouver)

“I happened to be in Yaletown and saw the patio,” Anthony Hoang wrote Nov. 30 to Jim Johnston, director of development and construction for Aquilini. “The patio does not look like what we approved. Definitely we did not approve the deck and awning with support beams from the patio. I need you to stop work on the patio. And you cannot use the patio until we decide what further actions are required. If not complied, your patio permit will be revoked.”

Despite Hoang’s warning, more unapproved construction was photographed in January.

Aujla sent an email to senior heritage planner Zlatan Jankovic on Feb. 11, mentioning that he had been referred by city engineer Jerry Dobrovolny and deputy planning director Susan Haid. Jankovic told Aujla on Feb. 19 that the patio was “unsupportable.”

“The patio floor modification and all related patio work were done without a permit. The current condition should be reversed to the status before the intervention (before any of the work was done without a permit),” Jankovic wrote. “Just to remind, permits must be obtained prior to any changes to the exterior of the building, the patio surface, the patio use, the canopy or associated signs… please initiate steps to rectify the situation as soon as possible.”

Roberto (left), Luigi, Francesco and Paolo Aquilini and Michael Doyle at the November 2018 opening of Elisa Steakhouse (Elisa/Facebook)

In a message later that day to Edwards, Jankovic said that Aujla did not dispute the wrongdoing. “He is only interested in moving forward by reversing the damage, redoing the patio appropriately etc…whatever it takes (as he said) to get this properly processed and approved.”

In a March 8 email to Aujla, and copied to Jankovic, Aquilini Live Entertainment and Hospitality president Michael Doyle downplayed the dispute. He called it a temporary patio like others in Yaletown that can be removed in 24 hours, if required.

Edwards emailed Aujla and Doyle on May 17 after a meeting at the restaurant. Despite the company building a structure that “encloses and privatizes this public space,” Edwards granted interim approval through the end of October. “This would allow the Elisa restaurant to support its first year of operation which, as you pointed out, is often the most challenging period.”

Revolving door 

When asked why the city did not order the Elisa patio restored to the permitted condition, Edwards said: “We’re interested in working with them to be able to resolve this.”

“If it was an imminent life safety concern, we would have treated this with a much more furied pace,” said Edwards.

“Businesses are definitely interested in getting a longer season out of patios. What perhaps was once envisioned as a summertime patio, given our mild climate, people are trying to make them comfortable year-round.”

Aujla declined an interview request. He said by email that he assisted Doyle because he is familiar with city requirements and those who are responsible for permitting. All applications and subsequent requirements were taken by Doyle or his staff, he said.

Scott Edwards of City of Vancouver (Linkedin)

Asked if it was awkward to deal with a former senior manager from city hall, Edwards called it “not unusual.”

“There’s many people that change jobs and it’s an easy way to be able to contact them and have some background with them perhaps, but it doesn’t change how we’re managing this process.”

In late July 2018, Aujla immediately left city hall to join the Aquilinis as their vice-president of real estate. Aujla’s 13-year career at city hall included overseeing the completion of the Olympic Village, which went into receivership after the 2010 Winter Olympics. In April 2014, the Aquilinis bought the remaining 67 condos in a $91 million deal that retired the city’s debt from the $1.1 billion complex.

Travis said Aujla’s involvement highlighted the need for a year-long cooling-off period, like the one that exists provincially.

“One of the biggest dangers about this revolving door that goes on between individuals going back and forth between the public sectors and private sectors is regulatory capture,” he said.

Bill Aujla (City of Vancouver)

Aujla is the second top official from City of Vancouver to join the family-owned real estate, entertainment, hospitality and farming conglomerate. In 2015, Vancouver Police Department chief Jim Chu retired and joined Aquilini as the vice-president of special projects and partnerships.

During his successful campaign for the mayoralty, Kennedy Stewart proposed a civic lobbying registry and a ban for key staff members from lobbying for 12 months after leaving their civic positions.

“Right now, lobbyists have unchecked access to decision-makers and the city’s conflict of interest rules are out-of-date and toothless,” Stewart said during the campaign.

After taking office last November, Stewart and city council asked the provincial government to amend and expand the Lobbyist Registration Act. Travis said Stewart should have proposed a temporary made-in-Vancouver solution while waiting for the province to act.

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Elisa Steakhouse Patio by Bob Mackin on Scribd

Bob Mackin The City of Vancouver manager in