Tuesday, September 14, 2010

BC Rail director roasted by defence over $550,000 fees, corporate donations to BC Liberals in Basi-Virk trial

- photo by Sean Lamb


BC Rail director gets testy in testimony over his $550,000 fees, political donations

By Bill Tieleman, 24 hours columnist

A B.C. Rail director during its $1 billion sale got testy giving testimony about his own $550,000 in fees from two Crown corporations and political donations his companies made to the B.C. Liberal Party, under tough cross-examination in B.C. Supreme Court Tuesday.

Brian Kenning bristled repeatedly under questioning from defence lawyer Kevin McCullough in the Basi-Virk political corruption trial.

McCullough, representing former B.C. government ministerial aide Bob Virk, had Kenning confirm he was paid $550,000 in directors fees on the B.C. Rail and B.C. Ferries boards since the B.C. Liberals were elected in 2001, an average of $62,000 a year.

“I would point out one little thing. I make more sitting on the MacDonald-Dettwiler board alone,” Kenning replied, referring to his role at the giant information company.

Retorted McCullough: “Just a pittance?”

Kenning: “No, it’s not a pittance.”

McCullough: “Do you know the average wage in B.C.?”

Kenning: “No.”

In fact, MacDonald-Dettwiler corporate reports show Kenning was paid $98,519 for sitting on its board last year - $68,500 in fees and $30,019 in "share-based awards". He owns $294,536 worth of MacDonald-Dettwiler common shares and deferred share units.

The average annual salary in B.C. last year was $41,600.

McCullough also pointed out that Kenning was involved in firms that gave the B.C. Liberal Party hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“And that is absolutely irrelevant,” Kenning responded.

McCullough questioned Kenning closely on his personal connections to a number of key figures in the political and corporate world, including CN Rail chair David McLean, B.C. Liberal Party insider Patrick Kinsella, former B.C. Liberal Finance Minister Gary Collins, B.C. Rail chair John McLernan, Alan Wallace of CIBC World Markets - which handled the sale of B.C. Rail, and former B.C. Rail CEO Bob Phillips.

Former B.C. Liberal ministerial aides David Basi and Bob Virk are charged with breach of trust and fraud for allegedly providing lobbyists for a bidder with internal government information about B.C. Rail. Former government staffer Aneal Basi faces money laundering charges related to those allegations.

A version of this story will be published in 24 hours newspaper Wednesday September 15



Ron said...

Thanks for the report on Mr. Kennings rewards.

His firm had donated about $50 thousand to the BC Fiberals from 1999 to 2003. A substantial return on investment me'thinks.

The fiberal elite appear shameless.

Anonymous said...

Better yet thanks for the picture of the BC Rail electric locomotive.

Those were used on the North East Coal line from Prince George to Tumbler Ridge.

Pictured at the North Vancouver shop I figure.

SharingIsGood said...

Just imagine the front page headlines in the MSM if this had been the NDP 12 years ago! Just imagine the venom our very own Premier Gordon Campbell would have been spewing!


Helomech said...

The Electric Loco is pictured @ CEECO in Tacoma WA, where 6 of the seven units were dismantled and scrapped. Unit # 6001 was preserved and is on display @ the railway and forestry museum in Prince George, B.C. It is doubtful the Electrics ever ventured as far south as North Van, as BC Rail's Locomotive rebuild center was in Squamish, B.C.