Tuesday, October 30, 2007

BC Premier Gordon Campbell has lots of problems as political roof caves in - lobbying, convention centre, party boosterism, Basi-Virk

Gordo's people in deep trouble


A week is a long time in politics.

- former British PM Harold Wilson

Premier Gordon Campbell is reportedly deeply opposed to Prime Minister Stephen Harper's legislation to force voters to remove burkhas or veils before casting a ballot so they can be identified.

That's because after the past week, Campbell may not want to show his face in the next provincial election.

Until recently the B.C. Liberal leader has been on cruise control, enjoying a buoyant economy and a 10-point lead over the B.C. NDP. Then the political roof caved in:

- Campbell's top advisor, Ken Dobell, is under investigation by a special prosecutor over allegations he violated the Lobbyist Registration Act by lobbying the provincial government without registering.

- Campbell's former labour minister, Graham Bruce, is also alleged to have violated those rules by lobbying for the Cowichan Tribes. And Bruce was allegedly conducting paid lobbying before a two-year "cooling off" period expired when ex-ministers are to avoid influencing government, which may violate the Conflict of Interest Act.

- Despite earlier Campbell claims, the new Vancouver Convention Centre expansion would be built on budget, that price has nearly doubled to $883 million - $388 million extra - and last week, Auditor-General Errol Price said costs may go even higher. This is one time when the Price is right. And Dobell chaired the Convention Centre project board until April.

- Linda Reid, Minister of State for Child Care, got caught in an incredibly foolish decision to distribute thousands of child booster seats for low-income parents - but only through B.C. Liberal MLA constituency offices - "boosting" only her party.

- A pre-trial hearing in the breach of trust case against former government ministerial aides Dave Basi and Bob Virk was told Friday by a defence lawyer that 25,000 new pages of evidence may "impact certain cabinet ministers" in Campbell's government. More disclosure applications will be heard in December, with the trial to start in March 2008.

Unfortunately for Campbell, most of these problems lead back to the premier's office.

Dobell was his senior deputy minister for years and continues to be a highly paid private advisor to Campbell, though he has now taken a leave.

The allegations against Bruce include claims he met twice with Campbell about funding for the Cowichan Tribes to hold the North American Indigenous Games in 2008. The Cowichan and Bruce deny any wrongdoing.

And at the Convention Centre launch on Nov. 8, 2004, Campbell made this confident boast: "There are contingencies built into the project, and it's going to be run professionally. This will be built on time and on budget ... Count on it."

The only thing Campbell can now count on is deep trouble.


Anonymous said...

I'd still like to know about the alleged affidavit sworn by former AG Geoff Plant during the lead up to the suit the Provincial CROWN COUNSEL Association was prosecuting against the Government in relation to this little number from Hansard (March 1, 2005 - please note who is asking this question):
P. Nettleton: Crown counsel have been prosecuting criminal matters in our court system without the benefit of a contract since April 2003. In its latest assault on contractual rights this government has rejected the Taylor arbitration of 2004 and, more recently, the Jones arbitration of 2005.

My question is to the Premier: how can the public have any confidence in a government that continues to treat those men and women responsible for the prosecution of the law with such contempt and in bad faith?

And this, indicating something of the attitude of the current government:


And here's the writ of summons:

It wouldn't be too surprising that the former AG, if he had advised Cabinet not to pursue a certain course of action, would want to have his opinion on the record. Or at least such has been rumoured in certain circles…

And the rumours continue to circulate about the “alleged” affidavit...which of course has 'disappeared' since the case was dropped.

I can't understand why some members of the media haven't pursued this with the former AG...can you?

It would tell us so much about the way things are done within the Campbell cabinet itself, now wouldn't it?

Budd Campbell said...

Is Gordon Campbell really in trouble? As an NDP supporter, I would love to believe it, but public opinion polling shows nothing of the sort.

The NDP has been trailing badly among male voters. This may be simply a hostile male response to the NDP feminist leadership in a philosophical sense and to Carole James as leader. If so, the party needs to address this gap in a constructive fashion.

Carole James recent remarks that twinning the Port Mann bridge and widening Hwy 1 were dumb and dumber, a statement she and others in the NDP have tried to withdraw without too much success, fits into a pattern for male manual and trades workers.

The statement drew a hostile reply from a member of the Teamsters union. It basically says that transit for white and pink collar workers is a sound expenditure, but roads expansion for industrial and truck transport, the industries in which these men work, is of no value.

Here is a party that once drew its largest support from men in unionized primary, manufacturing and construction industries, but which has now turned towards teachers, public sector employees, and other para-professionals, and which is culturally disdainful of the "average BC guy", drinking a beer and watching the game on TV in a sports bar. If in addition this man is seen to be driving a four-wheel drive pickup, and hunting is one of his hobbies, ... then the NDP Women's Rights Committee will tell you without a hint of a smile that they know for a fact that he violently abuses his wife, there is nothing to prove, it's totally obvious.

Now Bill, ... what was that you were saying about Graham Bruce getting some income going? Pretty sexy stuff, alright!

Anonymous said...

Corruption and payola vs inexperience and a serious case of foot in mouth: Now that's a Hobson's Choice all right.

At least the leader of the Opposition has the 'potential' to change and improve; the Premier...not so much.

I think more and more so-called ‘ordinary’ British Columbians are getting ready for change Budd and they’re getting very sick of Campbell.

Bad as she is and I agree she's bad, James is a damn site better than Gordo.

Anonymous said...

Question pewriod today was interesting. My God the speaker got so upset he was hitting on Bob Simpson the forest critic. Good old Stan was as inept as usual. Hedck its only around 400 million over budget and Stan starts reading which unions have booked the place for conventions.
But who reads Hansard? Give the folks a ten dollar a year tax cut and most will be on your team. Sad but hey "Hope springs eternal" and maybe the citizens might catch on just who is shafting whom. dl

Anonymous said...

The trade and convention centre expansion has been forefront since the '90s. For ...... sake, even Harcourt acknowledged that the expansion was needed.

Throughout 2007 it was apparent, through media reports, that the cost over-run went from ~$500 M to ~ $900 M (incrementally... not trying to be facetious), albeit the auditor-general provided a good insight into problems thereto... including the apparent problematic board of directors, failure to properly disclose information, construction cost escalation, not having a final design in place for proper initial cost estimates, etc.

Nevertheless, after almost 20 years, it has almost been universally agreed that the TCC expansion has been necessary and, accordingly, the final structure should be built *right*, that is a landmark structure.

Having previous media knowledge of the piling problems underneath the tidewater, as well as inflationary construction costs, I look at it this way...

Initial estimated costs: ~$500 M
Construction Inflation: $200 M
Piling Costs Unforeseen: $50 M
LEED and Vancouver Requests: $50
Additional Bells and Whistles...

In any event, the auditor general is right in pointing out many deficiencies...

1. Not having proper construction expertise on board of directors;

2. Not having complete design in place before providing proper *initial* cost estimates;

3. Failing to disclose, in a timely manner, construction cost increases;

I guess the question for many remains... should it have been built at all?

Anonymous said...

The Gordonator's best friend is Carole James.

A. G. Tsakumis said...

Budd's off his meds again...

If you think that men will stay away from Carole James because she's a woman, you're nuttier than sackful of almonds.

Carole James is unpalatable because she's useless and has had about two good weeks in the entire time she's saddled the NDP with her attempts at being leader.

Synchronously, she is Gordon's greatest asset.

Even with Tieleman's accurate list of issues swirling around the Premier, he still beats her hands down...for now. But if any of those balloons, particularly the trial or a slam-dunk on Dobell, coupled with the insanity of the current treaties and bullshit carbon-credit programs which don't work and you may actually get what you want Budd...

Premier Carole James.

God help us.

Budd Campbell said...

Dear Mister Tsakumis,

Thank you for your kind interest in my health and medication. However, even if I do forget to take my blood pressure and cholesterol pills for a day or two it doesn't affect my reasoning, ... though I guess it might impact my temper after a while! (BTW, ... what's your own bloody excuse for talking total rubbish, Alex?)

Women politicians have not fared as well in Canada as they have in Europe or even the US. I know of one academic paper by a Canadian political scientist that clearly states that the federal Tory and NDP disasters in the 1990s may be at least partly attributable to their female leaders, Audrey MacLaughlin, Kim Campbell and Alexa McDonough, losing support among males, though Alexa actually did quite satisfactorily with men in Atlantic Canada.

Our next door neighbor, Washington State, to pick just one example, now has its second female Governor, Christine Gregoire, and had its first female Governor as early as the late 1970s, Dixie Lee Ray.

In Canada no woman has actually been elected Premier of any of the larger provinces, though PEI did elect Catherine Callbeck. now a Senator, to a term as Premier in 1993. Ontario came close in 1995 as the provincial Liberals under Lynn MacLeod were leading in the polls for a couple of years, ... until Mike "Bomber" Harris flew his Tories in at tree-top height, murderously strafing welfare recipients and water utility consumers with equal gusto.

The NDP needs to ask, and so do you Mr Tsakumis, why the big gender gap in the polling data, with the NDP very close to the Liberals among women, but trailing by a whopping twenty points among men. That's a primie facia case of a party being rejected by male voters. I suppose one could say that somehow or another the BC Liberals are just way more attractive to male voters, but that's just putting the same question in a positive voice rather than a negative one.

And I think most experienced political observers know that any party's greatest "attractions" are fundamentally negative, ... their rivals!

And a final thought for you, Alex. Isn't it a bit off your standard right wing game to utter politically correct platitudes, instead of just letting it rip and telling it like it is, warts and all?

Anonymous said...

Another day of watching the Opposition thump the Liberals First on the subject of child care. The Libs thought they were pretty smart giving out a FOI but whitening out all the parts they didn't like. They got caught at it when the Newspaper got a complete copy. Then did their usual rant about the NDP in the 90's.
Never even brought up the fast ferries ghost.
Minimum wages seem to be just great according to the Labour Minister who went on to tell us who watch or read the stuff that BC is in great shape but never quite got around to give any reason for not raisng the minimum wage. James is not a heavy hitter in the house however she has a pretty strong group who catch the government in a lot of their deals. Seems now the softwood deabte will be back as the Liberals are taking a extra charge for raw logs. Simpson stated the province would have problems , almost getting himself flung out for stating the obvious.Two bad days in a row for the guys who were going to do things diffrently.

This was even before the US jumped in.So back to court no doubt. I wonder what Coleman has been smoking with his "I decided and that's the way it is". Maybe the NDP flounder now and again but the government is not looking too swift in much of anything right now. Gordo of course is travelling to get his picture taken close to folks who arn't voting here one way or the other. DL

A. G. Tsakumis said...

Thanks for the invite Buddly, but I ain't bitin'!

You proved your own argument wrong anyway...Kimbo the Bimbo, Alexa and Audrey were dreadful, that's why they went with the Do-Do bird.

A twenty point gap is easy to explain. Elect a good woman and she gets the votes.

I could careless what plumbing a particular candidate has.

The two best public servants in the Province are Carole Taylor and Dianne Watts.

I don't look at someone's gender.

Men are more discriminating, period.

Women have been fed the fucking bullshit for years, by other militant women (and chaps like you):

1) women's lib
2) affirmative action
3) men are not as sensitive

Bullshit, etc., etc.....

The hard left coasters like you are hilarious.

Yawn. Take care Budd. I won't be checking back. Have to take the kids out for All Hallow's Eve...

Say, you wouldn't happen to be available to help out tonight?

Speaking of scary outfits...

My son's going dressed as Dick Cheney on a hunting trip...mind standing in as his friend...???

See ya!

Anonymous said...

Old adage, governments lose elections - oppositions don't win. In other words, it's Gordo's to lose, not James' to win.

To date, the MSM has been able to ignore or downplay Gordo's foibles. Even the MSM and males may not be able to ignore the "perfect storm" that appears may be building. Methinks, Basi/Virk is that straw the camel wishes to avoid at all costs, but we'll see....

Anonymous said...

Yep! When Vaughnie the P starts to sniff death in the air things are beginning to change. James is the one who should be getting herself thrown out of the Ledge....Campbell is in trouble - and since he runs the whole affair off the side of his desk - bring him down and the whole affair crumbles.

James also needs to get deJong angry more often - when Campbell's attack dog loses it (and he's close to doing that every day in the House) people begin to see what these characters are REALLY all about...it ain't pretty and it sure ain't rational.

Budd Campbell said...

"Men are more discriminating, period.

Women have been fed the fucking bullshit for years, by other militant women (and chaps like you):

1) women's lib
2) affirmative action
3) men are not as sensitive"


Mister Tsakumis, who can argue? And who would suggest that you aren't sensitive, or discriminating? I was just wondering if your son dressed up as a Dick picked up any cigars or whiskey in his bag for the old man to chew on while preparing his next political analysis?

Anonymous said...

Why the folks on this stroy stray into personal arguments bother me somewhat. The legislature question period gets more active each day. the FOI guy is now investigating the actions of the Minister of Children and Families over hiding items on abuse of children and who knows what will be the flaovore of today.In the middle of a discusion on Cambpell having lots of problems we hear two guys arguing about halloween and even more insulting, who is off their medication.Each are trying to outinsult the other but their stuff has little to do with the article Bill has written. Looks more like a middle school debate. At least that's the way I see it. DL

Anonymous said...

Campbell and cronies have gotten away with so much, I would truly be surprised if they significantly suffered politically. Part of the reason is that the NDP has been so inept as an opposition. They take far too long to come up with a position. When James announces one, there are MLAs quick off the mark to contradict her (i.e. Gateway to Global Warming). If the NDP were actually the ones in government right now, pulling the garbage the Libs are, they would be ripped to shreds! Of course it doesn't help that CanWest is a propaganda arm of the Liberals.

As long as people have jobs and are fed juicy infotainment, they will be sufficiently distracted.