BC Premier Gordon Campbell saluted the right-wing Fraser Institute think tank last night as it celebrated its 35th Anniversary - by serving as Honourary Chairman of the event - which also honoured Canaccord Capital chairman Peter Brown.
Tickets to the event at the Hyatt Regency included "premium tables" at $7000 each and "premier tickets" at $500 each, plus standard $5000 tables and $350 individual tickets.
Among those attending along with Campbell, according to Urban Mixer, were former Ontario Conservative Premier Mike Harris, mega-millionaire Frank Giustra, and surprisingly even Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu.
Sponsors of the event included Canaccord Capital, Bayview Residences of Victoria, Teck Corporation, Haywood Capital Markets and Business In Vancouver newspaper.
Brown and Canaccord Capital are longtime financial and political supporters of Campbell and his BC Liberals - in the 2009 election Canaccord donated $36,000 to the party and $139,890 in the 2005 election year.
And Brown was on the private jet with Campbell that was hired by the late Jack Poole, chair of the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee to fly to the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
Brown sits on the Fraser Institute's Board of Directors, which is chaired by former Future Shop owner Hassan Khosrowshahi and includes other right-wing corporate leaders like Brandt Louie - CEO of London Drugs, Gwyn Morgan - former CEO of Encana,
Brown received the T. Patrick Boyle Founder's Award - Boyle being a former MacMillan Bloedel Vice-President who helped fund the Fraser Institute's beginnings during the term of the Dave Barrett BC NDP provincial government.
The Fraser Institute has a long and controversial history since it was first established in BC by Michael Walker, its first executive director, as a free market and near libertarian think tank that has cleverly used its influence to move political discourse to the right.
Its "Tax Freedom Day" uses faulty logic to argue that a day around the middle of the year is when taxpayers stop "paying the government and start paying themselves." Many media dutifully report this "news" year after year without examining the research behind it or noting that taxes pay for roads, education, medical services etc.
Recently Campbell has been criticized mildly by the Fraser Institute for not cutting corporate taxes enough and failing to eliminate the Agricultural Land Reserve that protects farmland from housing developments.
The Fraser Institute wants more "balanced" labour laws - i.e. balanced for employers, does not believe in global climate change or taking action to stop it, among other controversial positions.
But none of that discouraged Campbell from being Honourary Chair of the big event.