Defence alleges Premier Campbell a "micromanager" - Chief of Staff Martyn Brown calls his actions "an appropriate response"
By Bill Tieleman, 24 hours columnist
Is Premier Gordon Campbell a “micromanager” who gets so involved in the details of government decisions that he had to sign off his approval on the design and colour of B.C. highway signs?
That was the unusual allegation Monday at the trial of three former B.C. Liberal government aides facing corruption charges connected to the $1 billion sale of B.C. Rail in 2003.
Kevin McCullough, representing ex-aide Bob Virk, was questioning Martyn Brown – Campbell’s chief of staff.
“Are you aware that Mr. Campbell approved each highway sign?” McCullough asked.
“I don’t recall…but I would hazard a guess he would see them and approve them,” Brown replied. “We obviously wouldn’t want a sign that the premier found objectionable,”
McCullough: “I’m going to suggest that Premier Campbell is a micromanager.”
Brown: “Some media have commented on that ….I don’t know that it’s micromanaging – that’s an appropriate response for a person in his position.”
At other points in Brown's cross examination he had repeated difficulty remembering meetings and conversations McCullough wanted to question him on.
McCullough: "Do you recall a draft of the Roberts Bank RFP [Request For Proposals] being placed on a government website?"
McCullough: "The Roberts Bank draft RFP - was it put on a website, then they realized it was a draft, took it down and the real RFP was put up?"
Brown: "No, I don't recall. Sometimes the wrong information is posted on government websites."
McCullough also got into Brown's media monitoring habits, asking if it was important to him when Province newspaper columnist Michael Smyth was criticizing the government.
Brown: "I think he criticizes more often than not."
McCullough: "Were you aware that Mr. Smyth also had a nightly radio show on CKNW?"
Brown: "I'm not sure exaclty when it was on - Nightline - but I was aware of it. I didn't follow that at all. There were times someone told me what he said. I did not follow his radio show closely."
Just before the lunch break Brown summed up the challeges he faces with McCullough's detailed cross examination.
Brown: "You're asking me about conversations and comms that I had mostly six or seven years ago - some of many, many, many, many conversations."
Brown is expected to continue his testimony Tuesday.