Friday, August 15, 2008

Premier Gordon Campbell flew on private jet chartered personally by VANOC Chair Jack Poole to Beijing Olympics; Peter Brown reported on board too

Campbell on private jet


By BILL TIELEMAN, 24 HOURS


B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell flew by private jet to the Beijing Olympic Games, 24 hours has exclusively learned.

Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic Games Chair Jack Poole chartered the jet personally and invited Campbell and his wife, Nancy, to accompany him, Doug Brown, Campbell's senior communications co-ordinator confirmed late yesterday after several days of inquiries by 24 hours.

"Jack Poole paid for a charter flight out of his own pocket," Brown said. "Premier Campbell checked with the Conflict of Interest Commissioner to make sure it was okay and it was."

Brown could not say how much Campbell's share of the flight would cost or if Campbell was returning to Vancouver by the same private jet today.

Also reported to be on the private flight to Beijing was Canaccord Capital chairman Peter Brown, a VANOC board member who has together with his firm donated hundreds of thousands to the B.C. Liberal Party.

Canaccord spokesperson Scott Davidson told 24 hours that Canaccord does not own and did not charter the jet but couldn't say if Brown was on board.

Poole is chair of Concert Properties, a development firm owned by union pension funds and previously owned his own development company.


UPDATE 3:45 p.m.

NDP demands answers of Premier over private jet flight, calls behaviour "arrogant and out of touch"

New Democratic Party MLA Bruce Ralston is demanding Premier Gordon Campbell answer key questions about his flight to the Beijing Olympics on a private jet chartered by VANOC Chair Jack Poole.

"This is characteristic of the premier - arrogant and out of touch," Ralston said in an interview. "Not only is he in Beijing dodging responsibility for giving senior bureaucrats huge pay increases but he flies there on a private jet."

Ralston said the NDP has today sent a letter to Conflict of Interest Commissioner Paul Fraser asking him to release a written copy of his opinion regarding Campbell's flight to Beijing and how it does not apparently violate conflict guidelines.

Ralston said the trip with Poole raises other questions.

"Where's the leadership from the premier on environmental concerns? It's completely hypocritical," said Ralston, MLA for Surrey-Whalley. "And what's wrong with a scheduled airline? They are laying off Air Canada workers in Richmond and the premier is flying a private jet."

Ralston also said Campbell should answer questions about reportedly flying with Canaccord Capital chair Peter Brown - a longtime political and financial supporter of Campbell - on the private jet.

"Peter Brown is a not only well-known supporter of the premier but his compnay has major regulatory issues with the government around securities governance," Ralston said, referring to a debate over whether Canada should have a single national securities regulator instead of the current situation where each province has its own regulator.

MORE INFORMATION NOT PUBLISHED IN 24 HOURS

24 hours first called the premier's office starting Monday and each day afterwards but did not receive confirmation about Campbell's travel until Thursday evening at 6:20 p.m.

VANOC CEO John Furlong did not take the private jet trip, a spokesperson for VANOC said.

"John Furlong flies Air Canada only," Jason Young said.

And federal Foreign Affairs Minister David Emerson, who is attending the games as Canada's top political representative, was not on the private flight either, a spokesperson said.

Both Jack Poole and Peter Brown are close confidants and key political and financial supporters of Gordon Campbell.

BC billionaire Jimmy Pattison told the National Post in 2001 that: "If Gordon Campbell is king, then Peter Brown is emperor."

Canaccord Capital has contributed over $195,000 to the BC Liberal Party since 2004 and Brown has personally given over $25,000 in that period.

The BC legislation governing gifts to MLAs is clear that any gift of signficant value must be disclosed:

Members' Conflict of Interest Act

Accepting extra benefits

7 (1) A member must not accept a fee, gift or personal benefit, except compensation authorized by law, that is connected directly or indirectly with the performance of his or her duties of office.
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a gift or personal benefit that is received as an incident of the protocol or social obligations that normally accompany the responsibilities of office.

(3) If a gift or personal benefit referred to in subsection (2) exceeds $250 in value, or if the total value received directly or indirectly from one source in any 12 month period exceeds $250, the member must immediately file with the commissioner a disclosure statement, in the form prescribed by the regulations, indicating

(a) the nature of the gift or benefit,

(b) its source, and

(c) the circumstances under which it was given and accepted.

40 comments:

G West said...

Bill, the CEO premier doesn't care.

He'll have a ready excuse - or phone Jessica McDonald collect for one - never fear.

Let's just let him keep it up - the sleepy masses are beginning to notice the vast chasm between what the autocrat says and the autocrat does.

Keep up the good work. The man is making a laughing stock of both himself and our province. He thinks it's his - Province that is - It is nearly time to tell him where to go.

Anonymous said...

...not to mention that intercontinental travel by private jet is about as un-green as you can get.

What a hypocrite!

DPL said...

My God. King Gordo better have a few company boards waiting to snap him up when the taxpayers in BC finally wise up to his rich life style. He won't such a valuable commodity then, and the sooner the better. We hopefully will have parts of the province left that he hasn't given away. Money talks for the guy they used to call "the kid" when he lucked onto City Council in Vancouver way back when

Anonymous said...

This Premier is morally bankrupt and cares nothing if he takes a benefit from a private party. Sadly, the Premier shows the sad state of BC politics, where MLA's are bought and sold like cattle.

Trouble is no one and I repeat no one will clean up the mess and the result is simply the public believe that the BC way of doing things is receiving backhand deals and under the counter gifts.

When one sees the rampant drug dealing, petty crimes, etc. in the province, it is the petty criminals taking a cue from the more experienced lot sitting as government; Federally, Provincially, and Municipally.

The rule of law in BC is so distorted, it has now little or no meaning, except if one is poor and is deemed expendable.

Anonymous said...

There was plenty of HAPPY JUICE on this flight,they had to make sure the (glug glug glug premier was at ease)
Bill is Campbell coming straight back to BC or is he going for a well deserved vacation in Maui(insert laughter here)
I wonder how many Jessica Mcdonald blouses have been put on ice for safe keeping(insert shocked and appalled expression here)
Have a good weekend all--cheers

Anonymous said...

The optics of this benefit just don't look good.

Anonymous said...

And this is not a conflict? Give me a break. If the flight itself is not in conflict, then how about the opportunity for 'cosy little arrangements.' Is this man TRYING to get the boot?

Anonymous said...

Has anybody contacted the rcmp?? Sure seems like a benefit to me!

What do you think Bill?

Anonymous said...

Terrific sleuthing, Bill! You've got a tiger by the tail here.

Concern Properties? Bill, isn't it called: Concert Properties? Perhaps a Freudian slip?

Granted - BCers DO have a lot to be concerned about!!

Isn't this the same co. originally called VLC then Greystone Properties now Concert Properties controlling VANOC with the Campbell BC Lib Govt.?

Wasn't Ken Dobell on the board of VLC originally when it was set up by Mayor Campbell and Jack Poole with union pension funds?

Isn't this the same co. that Ken Georgetti is involved in re: the flow of union pension funds?

You wrote: "Both Jack Poole and Peter Brown are close confidants and key political and financial supporters of Gordon Campbell."

Has Concert Properties donated to the BC Libs and/or the NDP?

Is this why the NDP tred carefully surrounding Concert Properties activities surrounding VANOC?

I'm confused and somewhat dizzy with the political/corporate vested interests here . . . Strange bedfellows don't you think?

Martin said...

This air travel business is a mere trifle compared to the systemic failing of the liberals to behave ethically and with integrity.

Corruption in politics fascinates me. BC is the most obviously corrupt province in Canada only because the chuckleheads in power have never been taught how to finesse the system without showing their hands. Quebec and a few maritime provinces are likely worse, but they are better at under the table dealings.

This is why the rest of the country views BC as a big joke. Always has, always will - unless a real leader comes along and does some SERIOUS house cleaning in both the party and the civil service.

The only other jurisdiction in North America that even comes close for corruption is New Orleans.

I wonder if they also call themselves the Best Place on Earth?

Bill Tieleman said...

Thanks for the many comments so far and kind words for my work.

Concert Properties is the correct name, not "Concern" as I incorrectly typed in a hurry.

I absolutely do not believe there is anything illegal about this trip by the premier and as his spokesperson said, it has been cleared by the Conflict of Interest Commissioner.

But the optics of the flight are terrible on multiple grounds - the cozy relationship with political and financial supporters, the total lack of concern on the environmental front - private jets are about as ungreen as you can get - and this on top of last week's enormous pay raises for Campbell's senior bureaucrats.

Lastly, I am waiting for a response from the NDP opposition.

Anonymous said...

So much for lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Will Gordon Campbell be buying some carbon offsets? This trip smacks of do as I say, not as I do.

Martin said...

Yeah so? Gordon Campbell can do what ever he likes.

Riddle me this: Who can stop him? The electorate? The opposition? Who? Is there any body or group that is capable of holding these politicians to account for their actions?

As they say in the armed forces BOHICA (Bend over, here it comes again.)

Martin said...

NDP web sites new on-line petition:

http://www.rollbacktheraise.bcndp.ca/

Kinda feeble. I'd like to see some mass protests organized for labour day throughout the province for the recent actions of these thugs.

Martin said...

Dear Anon,

Could you post a warning at the beginning of a reply that contains the names 'Jack Poole' and 'Ken Dobell' in it? I need to steel myself before I can read those names without wanting to spew my cookies.

BC Mary said...

.
Good grief, Bill.

Like, you mean the NDP didn't know? And/or hasn't figured out what they want to say about a premier who privately jets across the globe?


.

DPL said...

Hi Bill
Remember the days when the BC government owned their own small fleet of aicraft, which ran scheduled flight back and forth between Victoria and Vancouver. It moved government employees along with MLA's. Then Bill Vanderzam got high ideas and got a bigger one for the odd Ottawa trip? The government had a hard time flogging it off the provicial payroll.

When I flew on martime sorties, now and again we would hear one heading south with Flying Phil the highways minister and assorted family members as well. On business? Get real the destination was usually some resort.

Once a socred always a socred even when called a Liberal. Too bad for King Gordo but folks when upset with their bosses sometimes drops a few words in the right places. Used to be called brown envelopes over the transom. With electronics much easier to pass the word.

Can anyone shame Gordo? I doubt it, but the best way is to knock him out of office, now that would really upset him as he wants to be the big shot come 2010.

Anonymous said...

Who cares?

Instead of playing "gotcha" journalism, why not focus on something important like ... housing the homeless or fixing the health care system or ensuring our children receive a first class education.

Those are real issues, this is not.

Anonymous said...

anon 5:26 pm . . . I suspect many people care - big time! This undercover operation team are the reason why BC is in the horrible state of disrepair we see in every HIDDEN nook and cranny.

WARNING, WARNING, Martin re:

"Could you post a warning at the beginning of a reply that contains the names 'Jack Poole' and 'Ken Dobell' in it? I need to steel myself before I can read those names without wanting to spew my cookies." . . . I don't want to upset your innards LOL!

"Poole is chair of Concert Properties, a development firm owned by union pension funds and previously owned his own development company." . . . Mr. T.

"owned his own developemnt company" . . . Right but what you left out Bill was that Poole's former development company, Daon, went belly up, didn't it????

What happened to his shareholders or did he fair better than them?

I've heard Bay Street was not impressed with the record.

Isn't that when he was 'plucked' by Campbell and Georgetti to run the Union pension fund development 'tool' receiving free land from the then Mayor Campbell, while Ken Dobell was his City Manager?

Isn't that when that free land was supposed to be used for low cost housing but somehow incarnated into 'for profit' housing for VLC? Didn't Jeff Lee (Vancouver Sun) write all about this chapter a few yrs. ago?

. . . . and the public is trusting this Campbell crew with billions of taxpayers' dollars under the guise of VANOC?

Anonymous said...

For those interested: VLC properties aka Concert Properties. - Vancouver Sun

"Poole notes the city opted out of a pledge to provide more vacant land for the rental housing program. Ultimately all VLC built was about 1,800 units on properties under long-term lease from the city.
"


AND on page 111 of Isla Carmichael's book Pension Power: Unions, Pension Funds, and Social Investment in Canada. (University of Toronto Press, 2005)

"Its Our jobs; Its Our Money"

*******************************

"..... Canadian pension fund assets are second in size only to the combined financial assets of the major banks and have become a critical source of capital for national and international markets. Given their tax-exempt status,..."

Anonymous said...

It's too bad that the New Democratic Party MLA Bruce Ralston has not decided to travel to Beijing on a bycicle.

It would be so in-line with the NDP policies and sooo environmentally friendly.

For us regular folks, it would keeps him out of sight for a few years with the bonus that he would never reach his destination, and, even better, he'd never make it back.

North Van's Grumps said...

Its unfortunate to hear that the Chair of VANOC has gone to the Beijing Summer Olympics via chartered private jet, even if its true that he paid for it personally.

What's even more so unfortunate is that senior communications co-ordinator Doug Brown, for the BC Liberals Government, has revealed that its the Premier, not citizen Gordon Campbell who will be reimbursing Jack Poole for his share of the flight costs for Nancy Campbell and himself.

Last year on April 5, 2007, Air Canada became an official sponsor for the 2010 Winter Olympics, and the 2008 Summer Olympics, whereby they are recognized by VANOC as being the:

Official Airline of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games;

Official Transportation Provider for the Canadian Olympic Teams to Beijing 2008, Vancouver 2010 and London 2012;

To Donate Over $600,000 to Canadian Paralympic Committee




"The Olympic and Paralympic Spirit Flies High With Air Canada"



Another broken contract? ....oh dear.


I guess the Board of VANOC will have to sit down and rewrite this paragraph:

"VANOC's marketing program is focused on securing mutually rewarding partnerships with shared values to generate sufficient revenue to host successful Winter Games in 2010 and to leave a financial legacy for sport."

Anonymous said...

LOL. I saw him on the Today Show on NBC yesterday.

DeepThroat said...

Bill:

It is my understanding that this is not the first time that Gordon Campbell has taken a private company jet.

Which company do you think I have in mind?

And yes, once again, this is a rhetorical question.

Anonymous said...

If he saved the province money by taking a private jet that was going there anyways and not buying a commercial ticket then good on him.

Bill you and your minions will whine at anything. I am not a big fan of GC but get on with it buddy.

Deep Throat said...

Bill:

I though your readers might find this article from Psychology Today instructive!

"Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Definition

An individual with narcissistic personality disorder exhibits extreme self-importance, inability to empathize with others and heightened sensitivity to criticism. Self-involvement and lack of empathy characterize this personality disorder.
People with narcissistic personality disorder are frequently perfectionists and need to be the center of attention, receiving affection and admiration, and controlling the situation. To get the attention he craves, he may try to create crises that return the focus to him. Like patients with antisocial personality disorder, this person places entitlement issues at the fore. He feels that the world owes him, regardless of whether he makes a contribution.

Alcohol and other drugs (AOD) can induce states that mimic a personality disorder, but if an AOD-using person with a personality disorder abstains, only the symptoms of the personality disorder will still be evident. AOD use may trigger or aggravate a personality disorder. The course and severity of personality disorders can also be made worse if other psychiatric problems, such as mood, anxiety and psychotic disorders are present.

A patient with a personality disorder frequently uses AODs to relieve her symptoms: to raise self-esteem, decrease feelings of guilt and amplify feelings of diminished individuality.

Narcissistic personality disorder often leads to use of drugs, particularly stimulants. As a disinhibitor, alcohol may help lower anxiety and alleviate depression. A shy person with narcissistic personality disorder may depend on marijuana to relieve her social anxiety, while others use steroids to boost confidence in physical perfection. Without AODs, a person with narcissistic personality disorder may believe that others are overly critical or do not adequately appreciate her good qualities. In a crisis, she may become severely depressed.

Symptoms

• Overreacts to criticism, becoming angry or humiliated
• Uses others to reach goals
• Exaggerates own importance
• Entertains unrealistic fantasies about achievements, power, beauty, intelligence or romance
• Has unreasonable expectation of favorable treatment
• Needs constant attention and positive reinforcement from others
• Is easily jealous

Causes

The exact cause is not known. Although onset of the disorder is usually early adulthood, it is likely to be in response to childhood experiences. A psychological evaluation may be performed.

Source: Psychology Today

Anonymous said...

Lighten up Bill!, Its just a small training expense so that King Gordo could get a birds-eye view of how to run the Olympics -- totalitarian style!

Rounded up into torture camps: the 'undesirables' China doesn't want you to see

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1045764/Rounded-torture-camps-undesirables-China-doesnt-want-see.html


by Andrew Malone
Last updated at 2:28 AM on 16th August 2008

Paul said...

Funny isn't, if your a pisser, its ok to fly for free on your buddy's jet, but, if your a regular Joe, and your buddy helps you build your sun deck, your tared and feathered. Ethics and the law, are a joke here in B.C.... Sh!t is coming here big time.

Ryan said...

I hope he bought carbon credits!

Anonymous said...

One thing is clear here, with the newer strict changes that China has implemented over the past year, Premier Campbell's Visa to China was done quickly under the banner of his being a "foreign government official".

He didn't go as a tourist, or on business, he went as a Diplomat.

Why did he and his wife fly as a guest of a business person(s)?

(10) Diplomatic or Service Visa

Diplomatic and Service Visas are issued to foreign government officials, diplomats and consuls who will conduct official business or hold a position in China. Diplomatic and official passport holders should first get contact with the Canadian Passport office.

Igetit said...

Deep throat, you have put your finger on the underlying 'ailment' as to why British Columbia is sick and under seige: otherwise known as "Snakes in Suits" (the profile of a sociopath by UBC Prof and Pyscholgist, Dr. Hare)

Little wonder the symptoms are slowly seeping to the surface as the members of the Campbell Gang slowly show their hand.

There is much more behind this incestuous, arrogant behaviour - yet to surface - but it will.

Sociopaths are not in touch with their own selves or reality because they lack a normal social conscience.

Eventually they trip themselves up but not before they leave a trail of damage in their wake.

An antidote is the strong voice of the majority of British Columbians standing up unified saying: "Enough is enough".

Thank you, Bill, for your courage - for being one of those voices.

DPL said...

1:37 AM Anon , is of the opinion that King Gordo going there on a private jet saved the province money. No way is it cheaper than a scheduled flight even if he has to take along some security folks. Gordo does such things because in his mind he can do what he wants and besides a private jet, in his mnd makes him look like a big idustry wheel not a MLA. Its time to give him a free ride out of office. It would crush him to not be the big shot in the 2010 circus.

Anonymous said...

Carbon tax for you, p jet ride for me.With a fill up in hawaii/maui both ways probably.Receiving a benefit/conflict of interest.?

Anonymous said...

"Receiving a benefit/conflict of interest?" you ask Anon 5:04 am . . . . kind of blatant, don't you think??

Bill, I listened this morning on NW and you mentioned that Jack Poole's Concert Properties has a 'lobbyist' on the payroll. Can you, Bill, or anyone else answer the following:

1. Why does Concert Properties/Jack Poole need a 'lobbyist' given the obvious tight friendships 'on board' to grease the skids?

2. Who is that lobbyist? What are their connections to the BC Libs etc./Vanoc/the Federal Govt.?

3. Was that lobbyist/consultant on the jet to Beijing with the rest of the Campbell Club insiders?

P.S. Isn't it strange that the Producer of the Bill Good show never seemed to get any questions on this scandal - hmmmmm political, selective screening by chance?

North Van's Grumps said...

May we assume that the Premier is still in Beijing, and if so, could he, or we, or you (Bill) give us a count from the turnstiles at BC Pavilion of how many visitor have toured our facility since opening?

On August 9, 2008 (a Saturday) Doug Brown, Senior Communications Co-ordinator posted this Press Release from the Premier's Office indicating that it would be leaving the BC Pavilion Arches in China.

"The British Columbia Canada Pavilion is a high-profile multimedia meeting place located near Tiananmen Square, and is open through September as a unique marketing and exhibition space.

Each week, the pavilion will feature a variety of different themes, including research and innovation, green design, Northern B.C., forest products, and film and TV.
"

In an article written by Derrick Penner of the Vancouver Sun on January 28, 2008 titled $11 million bet on B.C. Pavilion
Province seeking corporate sponsors to help cover the $14.7-million cost; hopes Beijing pavilion will outdraw that at Turin


At the Turin Olympic Winter Games, the BC Rustic cabin had 100,000 visitors. I can only guess that there was an assumption made that because the population of China is 1.3 Billion the thought of the BC Liberal Cabinet was that the chances of drawing four times as many (400,000) to the BC Pavilion would be achieved without a hitch.... until they were Bocogged by BOCOG (Beijing Organizing Committee).

There was a fee that needed to be collected.... equivalent to four Canadian Dollars.

Could we have Doug Brown produce a Press Release indicating:

1)How many visitors there has been thus far?;
2)How much money has been collected?;
3)Did Premier Gordon Campbell pay for himself and his wife Nancy or was the tab picked up by someone else...not including BC Taxpayers?
4)What is the Province of British Columbia going to do with the fees collected?

Bill Tieleman said...

In response to Anonymous 12:24, this blog article has the Concert Properties lobbyist listed - Michael Bailey. You can see on the Lobbyist Registry public reports what his lobbying is for.

For others regarding "benefits" if you look at this posting it is clear that in all likelihood the only thing Campbell must do is declare the benefit, as it can be argued, I suspect, that it was received in connection with his job as premier - i.e. attending the Olympics.

It's the optics that are terrible.

Martin said...

This is what you get when you elect a dictator, not once, but twice.

The people of BC should hang their heads in shame over giving this man any power.

Martin said...

This is good!:

"Ralston said the NDP has today sent a letter to Conflict of Interest Commissioner Paul Fraser asking him to release a written copy of his opinion regarding Campbell's flight to Beijing and how it does not apparently violate conflict guidelines."

I would LOVE to know who decided this wasn't a conflict of interest and why. I'd also like to know if this person is the recipients of the recent HUGE increases in public serpents wages.

Maybe we should ALL start asking this question of the conflict of interest commissioner. I mean... the government IS accountable to the public right? Right?

Paul D.K. Fraser
Office of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner Victoria 250 356-9283
conflictofinterest@gov.bc.ca

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your reply to question #2 re: lobbyists connected to Concert Properties:

"In response to Anonymous 12:24, this blog article has the Concert Properties lobbyist listed - Michael Bailey. You can see on the Lobbyist Registry public reports what his lobbying is for."

Interesting . . . a person that dates back to the Bill Bennett days that morphed into the same group around the VanderZalm days that morphored into the Campbell reign. Same old gang . . . but perhaps that is not the whole story . . .

The real question is:

Are there lobbyist/"Club" members working for Concert Properties/Vanoc and/or Jack Poole such as Kinsella and Dobell that have recently been found NOT to be on the Lobbyist Registry?

I'd be further interested if anyone had answers to question #1 or #3 in my post above.

Again, Bill . . . first rate investigative reporting on your part.

Anonymous said...

Michael Smyth writes in The Province on Wednesday, August 27, 2008: Operations at Beijing's airport -- the largest in the world -- were as smooth as silk, impressing Campbell.

"I was processed in minutes. It was fantastic."


Chutzpah!