Monday, October 25, 2010

Gordon Campbell Chief of Staff Martyn Brown takes the fall for premier's dive; cabinet shuffled but same old deck

Premier Gordon Campbell's long-time Chief of Staff Martyn Brown has taken the fall today for his leader's endless dive in the polls, being replaced by former Finance Deputy Minister Paul Taylor.

Brown had filled the job since the 2001 election and before that had worked for Campbell in opposition. Brown was originally research director for the BC Social Credit Party and later top staff aide to BC Reform Party leader Jack Weisgerber, leaving after the 1996 election when Campbell lost to NDP Premier Glen Clark.

Brown also served as Executive Director of the Citizens’ Voice on Native Land Claims, a short-lived privately-funded effort to defeat the N'isgaa First Nation treaty.

Taylor, who was also CEO of the Insurance Corporation of BC in the past and most recently CEO of Naikun Wind Energy Group until June, was recruited to BC from Alberta before the 2001 provincial election. The New Car Dealers Association - major donors to the BC Liberal Party - hired Taylor the year before that election.

Taylor got himself into some controversy during the lengthy BC Legislature Raid corruption case when it was revealed in 2007 that he was friends with Brian Kieran - a Pilothouse Public Affairs lobbyist whose office were raided by police in December 2003.

Kieran and business partner Erik Bornmann became Crown witnesses and were never charged despite admitting providing bribes to former BC Liberal ministerial aides David Basi and Bob Virk in exchange for confidential government information about the privatization of BC Rail. Bornmann and Kieran worked for losing bidder OmniTRAX.

While an email between Bornmann, Kieran and third Pilothouse partner Jamie Elmhirst suggested that Taylor would be helpful to them, a KPMG review initiated by the provincial government cleared Taylor of any wrongdoing.

I obtained that email through a source in March 2007 and interviewed Taylor and Kieran but did not publish a story on it due to my concerns and those of 24 hours newspaper's legal counsel that the information leaked to me was part of the evidence planned to be presented in court.

However subsequently a story was published by Globe and Mail columnist Gary Mason on the same email. At that point I was contacted by RCMP and informed an investigation was underway to determine the source of the email leaked to me - I declined to disclose that source, citing journalistic principles of protecting confidentiality. No further action was taken by the RCMP.

Brown was the first witness in the ill-fated Basi-Virk trial, testifying repeatedly that he "did not recall" or could not remember many details of the $1 billion sale of BC Rail in tough questioning by defence lawyers.

Brown is likely the longest person to have held the job of chief of staff to any premier in recent political history.

But despite the BC Liberals complaining vigorously while in opposition that the then-NDP government had "politicized" the senior public service, the entirely political Martyn Brown moves on to become Deputy Minister of Tourism, Trade and Investment.



Anonymous said...

We never did get answers in relation to ICBC Chop shop & the People involved ?

From: Steve Dockeray
Sent: Monday, October 25, 2010 11:01 AM
To: b bill ; ; nw ws ; nwnews ; programming com
Subject: Paul Taylor was the head of ICBC when the chop shop scandal went down

Paul Taylor was the head of ICBC when the chop shop scandal went down -- he left icbc & went to Nikon wind & now he has another Gov job etc...

steve dockeray
milner bc

Ron said...

Useful background information, Bill.

Will Lara Dauphinee continue to work under Campbell?

Paul said...

Legislative Assembly of British Columbia
3rd Session, 38th Parliament (2007)
Debates of the Legislative Assembly


Afternoon Sitting
Volume 25, Number 1

Oral Questions

KPMG report on actions of Paul Taylor

L. Krog: Over a month ago the government released only a summary reporting letter from KPMG into the activities of Mr. Paul Taylor and the B.C. Automobile Dealers Association.

Hon. C. Taylor: As has been said in this House, when the proper FOI process has been completed, information will be released.

Mr. Speaker: The member has a supplemental.

L. Krog: It's very clear that that process appears to be more of a delaying tactic than a process.

The opposition has received a further relevant e-mail dated January 27, 2003, from Mr. Kieran to Mr. Bornman, part of which reads: "Just got a call from Paul Taylor's wife. She is his message bearer. He suggests we get Omnitrax together with Larry Blain, the new CEO of Partnerships B.C., the P3 agency that Paul engineered. Larry is on holiday at the moment. Paul says all partnerships with government including BCR will be funded by Partnerships. We'll put this together next week."

This clearly shows that the real issue is the relationship between Mr. Taylor and Pilothouse, which KPMG was not instructed to investigate. This e-mail shows that Mr. Taylor was providing Pilothouse with a range of information dealing with the most sensitive and confidential government matters.

Read the Afternoon Sitting HERE!

Anonymous said...

"same old deck".

Worn out phrase. So what was it when the NDP changed their cabinet?

When Chretien and Harper changed their cabinets?

Anonymous said...

I noticed the info on Jack Weisgerber on wikipedia is dated. Mr. Weisgerber left the BC Treaty Commission and the BC Hydro Board both a few years back and heads BC Hydro's first nations "engagement" with respect to building the Site C damn. Interestingly, his former fellow commissioner and friend at the BC Treaty Commission is Jody Wilson-Raybould, currently serving as Provincial Chief for BC for the Assembly of First Nations. This organization has recently stepped in front of the local first nations in the region opposed to Site C issuing a press release on behalf of them calling for consultation and accomodation of their interests. It appears Mrs. Wilson-Raymbould may be positioning herself and her organization to "broker" the deal between Hydro and local first nations.

They are not the only former BC treaty negotiators to move to working the deal on Site C. I understand there are many, most joining the Hydro team, including Campbell friend and recently retired BC Chief Negotiator Trevor Proverbs.

I realize this is a little off topic but interesting none the less.

arf said...

Don't feel too sorry for the Forgetful Mr. Brown as he does get parachuted into what.....a couple hundred a year job for....well you know...doing a good job for the boss. Forget that he is actually supposed to be working for the people and should be immediately terminated for what I witnessed as avoiding answering questions while on the stand. Can we do a recall campaign on civil servants too!!!!
Now we get to have master of rigged auctions etc of ICBC fame Mr. Taylor. And don't for get that his old buddies in Calgary at the natural gas club probably pulled some strings hoping for more know.
HMMM. Pat Pimm as someone important in natural gas. How does that work. Get barely elected in May 09 and by Sept 10 you are cabinet material. Doesn't take much when one Campbell is in control and Pat has proven he is a Yes Man to the highest degree. And a complete recall candidate too!!

Norm Farrell said...

Paul Taylor is an excellent choice to work with the Premier. With his approval rating under 10%, Gordo needs to improve communications. Who better than the man known to lobbyists as the "blabby deputy minister?"

Bill Tieleman said...

Folks - I will have to reject posts that suggest criminal activity on the part of anyone and will also reject posts that are of a personal and potentially libelous nature - you two know who you are.

Ed Seedhouse said...

I suspect that what's happening here are strategic moves to shore up support from the caucus.

Make a list of the names of those who got promotions and I think you may be looking at a list of those whose support the Premier is most worried about losing.

Anonymous said...

Geez, I guess Executive Assistant/Chief of Staff Lara Dauphinee must be overwhelmed to keep her job...

Anonymous said...

"Geez, I guess Executive Assistant/Chief of Staff Lara Dauphinee must be overwhelmed to keep her job..."

and someone is obviously overwhelmed by spending too much time on a trival subject.

SB said...

["Geez, I guess Executive Assistant/Chief of Staff Lara Dauphinee must be overwhelmed to keep her job..."

and someone is obviously overwhelmed by spending too much time on a trival subject.]

well she must say yes enough to what he asks and brown well what can we say hes not able to remeber much but hes Gordies buddy hmm.