Thursday, March 10, 2011

Federal Liberal Party to Christy Clark's rescue! Premier-Designate applies LP-osuction to BC government

Paul Martin approves Christy Clark's federal Liberalization of Victoria!  - Photo by Remy Steinegger

Former federal Liberal leader Stephane Dion in the old days - like when he used to visit Christy & Mark's house - meaduva photo
Well that didn't take long!

Premier-Designate Christy Clark has begun the process of Federal Liberalizing her new government at all levels.

Notwithstanding the use of arch-Conservative Gwyn Morgan on her Transition Team to premier for at least optics, Clark is already stacking the deck with federal Liberal operatives.

Her campaign featured a host of Paul Martin-ite and Stephane Dion-ite operatives, including  FD Element's Don Millar, federal Liberal Party spokesman Brad Zubyk, an ex-Harcourt NDP government aide, and of course Campaign Manager and now Chief of Staff Mike McDonald, who backed ex-NDP Ontario Premier Bob Rae in the 2006 federal Liberal leadership race.

And of course hidden in the backroom was her brother Bruce Clark - a longtime federal Liberal bagman and LPC BC executive member best known for the December 2003 police search of his home to find confidential BC government documents on BC Rail given to him by convicted fraudsters David Basi and Bob Virk.  That would be the BC Legislature Raid case of course.

But now the more serious work begins - transforming government into a more palatable federal Liberal look - call it LP-osuction - removing the undesirable BC Liberal & federal Conservative love handles and replacing them with more attractive Grits.

First step - make the Premier's Deputy Minister non-Seckelular - by whacking Allan Seckel, who clearly did not want to go willingly - and replacing him with Kevin Falcon's ex-DM John Dyble.  [Dyble and Seckel are, of course, public servants and not partisan, but the deck must be cleared.]

However, another public servant with a decidedly past partisan Liberal bent is involved.

Now we learn exclusively from Public Eye's Sean Holman that John Bethel, a former federal Liberal candidate and ex-Alberta LPC VP who backed the Paul Martin takeover from Jean Chretien that Clark's ex-husband and recent leadership campaign strategist Mark Marissen was engineering in BC, is also on the Transition Team.

Bethel is BC's health services assistant deputy minister and backed Liberal MP Scott Brison's failed 2006 leadership bid against Dion.

Today also we discover that Ron Norman has been fired by Clark as head of the Public Affairs Bureau - and rumours abound that federal Liberal Michele Cardario - now at Canuck Place Children's Hospice but formerly Deputy Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Paul Martin - will take over that job.  Cadario also was involved in BC for the LPC in 2006 doing contract work.

Could a Paul Martin Liberal be in charge of the vaunted PAB propaganda machine?  And I wonder if federal Conservatives are starting to get the message!

UPDATE - Michele Cardario will NOT be taking over PAB, the Suns TV/24 hour's Jehnifer Benoit reports.  Will Cardario show up somewhere else?

UPDATE 2 - The Vancouver Sun's Vaughn Palmer says rumours have a third senior Gordon Campbell bureaucrat - Deputy Minister of Finance Graham Whitmarsh - headed for the plank.

Whitmarsh could take the fall for the bad news - for Clark - that the alleged $1 billion "wiggle room" Finance Minister Colin Hansen claimed the new premier would have last month in the budget has actually disappeared, as The Globe and Mail's Justine Hunter reports.

Ron Norman's firing is being met with widespread disbelief amongst Victoria press gallery members, with both Palmer calling it a "bad decision" and Global TV's Keith Baldrey calling it a "big mistake" on Twitter Thursday.

Was Norman held responsible for the most disastrous public relations campaign in BC history?  That would be for the hated Harmonized Sales Tax - but the only person who was really to blame was Premier Gordon Campbell.

Monday's cabinet appointment day is shaping up to look more like regime change than a shuffle!



Tom Richardson said...

Bill, the same Brad Zubyk, Don Millar, and Greg Wilson that worked on Vision Vancouver's campaign team - the same campaign and candidates that you personally endorsed.

How do we square that circle?

Anonymous said...

Being new here, what is PAB?


cherylb said...

Umm Christy? Please stop dismissing senior government officals. I know that you prefer to surround yourself with your own people, as opposed to Gordo's, but we taxpayers are the ones paying for those very hefty severance bills when you let these people go without cause. In case you haven't noticed - WE CAN'T AFFORD IT!

Please make do the best you can, as we do in our own homes within our own budgets. Lead by example please.

Bill Tieleman said...

PAB is Public Affairs Bureau.

Tom - municipal politics is definitely different and I can get along with many folks of alternative political stripes, depending on what the issue is - see my work with Bill Vander Zalm and Chris Delaney on the Fight HST campaign or Bud Smith on NO STV.

But throughout the BC Liberal leadership it was made clear that the federal Conservative-federal Liberal coalition that makes up the BC Liberal Party would be at risk if Christy Clark won the race.

Key federal Tory John Reynolds said so days before the vote.

I'm just pointing out that Reynolds and friends might not be too happy.

And I wouldn't count on Vision having the same team next time out - we'll see.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget about Athana Metzenopoulos who is rumoured to be the next PAB head.

Anonymous said...

Newbies may need a bit more than that explanation Bill.

PAB is the propaganda arm of the Provincial Government - funded and staffed to a level undreamed of in any of the newsrooms in the province.

outsourced again said...

Bill, maybe a tangent, but Palmer wrote today in the Van. Sun (which I won't buy any more) that Christy will have to allow an inquiry into the $6 million paid to stop the Basi and Virk trial or face more serious questions about the whole deal. At least that's the way I read the piece as a warning shot across the bow. Maybe a few other so-called investigative reporters might now feel the courage swelling up in them to start asking questions and finding some disturbing facts. I thought Collin Hansen's remarks about the Basi/Virk tapes should have been enough for a few headlines across the country. Maybe this will begin to open the flood gates - sorry BC Rail Gate.

By the way cherylb, I thought the point of the firings without cause was to immediately get rid of those who were involved in the 6 million heist of public funds.

Anonymous said...

To 3:04 pm. PAB was created by the NDP.

Anonymous said...

Let's get this straight:

1. Christy Clark is a hard-right Gwyn Morgan Conservative.


2. Christy Clark is a hard-centre Paul Martin Liberal


3. Christy Clark is a left-wing Brad Zubyk New Democrat.

...or ...

4. Christy Clark is a centre-left Gregor Robertson Visionite?

Maybe she just draws support from many quarters?

Glen said...

Huh, read the article and all I could think of was this question.

Uh, so what?

I see by your comment that you have an implied point, so let me rephrase my question.

Who cares?

Let them have their power struggle, maybe they will beat each other up for a while instead of picking on ordinary folk.

Anonymous said...

To 3:04 pm. PAB was created by the NDP.

....and totally abused by the Libs. They added the rat to PABrat.

Skookum1 said...

Hmmm.....Christy's legacy seems to be the re-creation of the BC Conservative Party, which is where all these fed-Grit appointments is gonna lead.....very soon, too.

Anonymous said...

What did Colin Hansen say about the tapes?

Anonymous said...

This should please The Great Satan, who was profoundly under his own admission, supportive of the Trudeau Liberals.

Some people just wait for opportunity and here it is.

Anonymous said...

"Monday's cabinet appointment day is shaping up to look more like regime change than a shuffle!"

We1l gee Bill, you finally got somethng 100% right. This is exactly what happens when there is a change.

It is hardly new. The same thing happened with your idiot friend The Zalm when he won his party's leadership.

Some of the bloggers insist that Campbell will still have a say on what happens in government before the next election.

Not going to happen.
Campbell will be out as an MLA well before then.

Joe from Sannich said...

We can all agree that if Michele Cadario and John Bethel had any talent or competence, Paul Martin would still be Prime Minister.

Giving these two clowns any access to the levers of power would be a fatal mistake.

Anonymous said...

Whitmarsh is taking the fall for the $6Million payoff to Basi and Virk.

Outsourced again said...

You should write a piece on "Bill Good, Palmer and Baldrey to Christy Clark's rescue." The three mousekateers agreed today on CKNW that there needs to be a review of the decision to payoff Basi/Virk 6 million. (Not their words, of course.) However, Palmer completely dismissed any evidence that Christie had a role, or part, in BC Rail Gate. For Palmer there's no evidence of anything. Its all insane speculation, yada yada yada.

Someone needs to do a short paper summarizing the evidence that links Clark to the BC Rail scandal and publish it to refute the mousekateers. Of course the tied seems to be turning and any inquiry even into the narrow question of the 6 million payoff itself might raise other more general issues and that must be why Clark is so adamant about about not allowing it. The mousekateers, however, know that if the narrow question is addressed, they can shut up the opposition -- as long as nothing bigger surfaces during the inquiry. Since they don't believe there is evidence of anything further, they are advising Clark to take the high road (or track) and call an inquiry into the pay off.

However, the other problem for Clark is the timing. Does she want an inquiry when she needs to run for office and when she needs to call a provincial election and how close all this might come to the HST referendum.

Timing is everything.... Let's hope the opposition will get more media attention on BC RAil Gate.

Anonymous said...

Bill, there's no mention anywhere of what happened to Paul mention of a severance payment to Paul Taylor when Mike McDonald replaced him in the Premier's Office. As the severance bill is being tallied up by others, is it likely that Taylor (UGH) is being kept around in another Deputy portfolio? That'd be the last straw in my books...I really don't trust that man.

Anonymous said...

And in reply to CherylB who felt we can't affor the severance payments for dismissed bureaucrats, my view is that we can't afford the bureaucrats. Its cheap to pay them to go away rather than give them a ministry, give them a budget to play with, give them secretaries and assistants and minions to oversee, give them unending access to helijet flights to Vancouver to swan around being important... The PAB guy was a nice fellow, but it isn't unexpected that a new Premier would replace her senior staff.

DPL said...

Now that the Martin Liberals are getting involved, one wonders just how long it will take till Basi Basi and Verk start lurking in the underbrush?

islandpapa said...

a pig is a pig
a trough is a trough
some get to feed
others get to wallow
then others get the "chop"

cherylb said...

@ Anonymous 2:36 - You're right. We can't afford the bureaucrats. But Christy is not doing away with them; she's just replacing them. We cannot afford to continue to replace bureaucrats for no other reason than the new leader's vanity and preference. Holy Moly! We're at more than a million already! What a waste of frickin' money!

Anonymous said...

PAB was not created by the NDP. It was set up by the Socreds. The NDP under Harcourt revamped it as the Government Communications Office (GCO) and then revamped it again under Glen Clark as the Cabinet Policy and Communications Secretariat (CPCS).
In 2001, the Liberals brought back PAB. However, the biggest difference was that the Liberals pulled in every communications person in government from across all ministries and made them employees of PAB. The Liberals then went one step further and politicized all PAB personnel by making them OIC appointments. As a result, as opposed to being appointed under the public service act, which the vast majority of government employees serve under, the Liberals ensured that each PAB employee served as an OIC at the discretion of the cabinet.
This made PAB into the political communications arm of government, leading to the problems that ensue today. PAB's job is not to communicate policy but to serve as a vehicle for damage control for the governing party. One can debate how well they perform that task, but there is no debate regarding the fact that the Liberals are using taxpayer dollars and bureaucratic personnel for partisan political purposes, which, regardless of one’s political affiliation, does not serve the public interest.

Anonymous said...

If the NDP chooses the popular and respected Mike Farnworth, I predict that he can build a broad coalition of NDP voters and disaffected Liberals and win the election. He's a nice guy who can effectively take on the Liberals. The media won't find a scary socialist in Farnworth.

Anonymous said...

Seckel's loyalties were to the litigation-industry. Prior to public service, Seckel wrote a comprehensive book on estate law, yet, when Stonewally allowed him to write the supreme court rules, he retained the status quo in that sector. Estate resolution takes twice as long in BC as in Ontario. I would expect that Seckel will get a benefit from his over-litigation scheme.

Anonymous said...

to Anonymous 9:06

Thank you for the background information about PAB.

It's actions like you've described that have discredited and reduced our Provincial government under the BC Liberals and Gordon Campbell.

May we get better service in the future.

DPL said...

anon 10:55. The media wouldn't like any NDP Candidate even if her or his name was Jesus Christ. The big time Media knows who pays big time for their advertising and dumping on the NDP sells papers and radio and TV time

John's Aghast said...

And I suppose all these deposed Civil Servants get their fat pensions on top of their lucrative severence pay, unused sick days etc.
Good thing too, as that's all that's left to support the economy.

Oh? They all migrate to some warm climate and spend their pensions there?

Anonymous said...

"And I suppose all these deposed Civil Servants get their fat pensions on top of their lucrative severence pay, unused sick days etc.
Good thing too, as that's all that's left to support the economy.

Oh? They all migrate to some warm climate and spend their pensions there?"

Exactly what happened when the NDP changed leaders, and when they got defeated. This isn't new.