Sunday, July 15, 2007

NDP MLA Leonard Krog files complaint on lobbying against Basi-Virk witness Jamie Elmhirst; Elmhirst calls it "baseless"

NDP asks for investigation by Lobby Registry boss David Loukidelis into whether lobbyist Jamie Elmhirst had registered as required

Nanaimo NDP MLA Leonard Krog is asking for an investigation into the lobbying activities of Jamie Elmhirst, who is a subpoenaed witness in the breach of trust and fraud trial of former provincial government aides David Basi and Bob Virk.

Elmhirst is also the former partner of key Crown witnesses Erik Bornmann and Brian Kieran at the defunct Pilothouse Public Affairs. Bornmann and Kieran are alleged in police documents to have bribed Basi and Virk to get confidential government information about the $1 billion privatization of BC Rail while Pilothouse represented OmniTRAX, a bidder.

But Elmhirst told 24 hours reporter Dharm Makwana that the NDP complaint is "baseless".

Krog's complaint, based on a story first reported in 24 hours and this blog on Wednesday July 11, alleges that Elmhirst, did not register provinciallywithin 10 days of beginning to work for Aquaterra Inc., owners of Canadian Springs bottled water company.

Elmhirst told Makwana that he registered as a lobbyist months after beginning work for Aquaterra, but that his role with the group before that was strictly municipal.

“As far as I understand the rules, it’s appropriate because if you’re lobbying provincialofficials you register and if you’re not, the work that I did at the municipal level is not covered by the lobbyists’ registry,” Elmhirst said.

But Krog maintains that the Lobbyist Registration Act may have been violated and is asking Information and Privacy Commissioner Loukidelis, who is responsible for the Lobby Registry, to investigate.

“The act is very explicit,” Krog said in an NDP news release. “A consultant lobbyist must register within 10 days of entering into a contract to lobby on behalf of a client. We know from comments made by Mr. Gara Hay, Vice-President of Operations for Canadian Springs, that Mr. Elmhirst undertook to lobby the Campbell government on behalf of that company more than three months ago, yet Mr. Elmhirst only registered his lobbying activity commencing July 1st.”

Elmhirst is a former President of the Liberal Party of Canada (BC) and was Ministerial Assistant to Water, Air and Land Protection Minister Joyce Murray in the Gordon Campbell government before becoming a partner at Pilothouse with Kieran and Bornmann. Pilothouse's offices were searched by police at the same time of the December 28, 2003 search of the BC Legislature.

“Mr. Elmhirst has a long history of working with the people inside the Campbell government, and I can appreciate that his knowledge might be important to those seeking to capture the government’s attention,” said Krog. “But the public has every right to expect that lobbying, whether on behalf of a corporation or any other interest, be conducted in a transparent way.”

Krog says that New Democrat Leader Carole James has introduced a motion to compel government to amend the Lobbyist Registration Act to ensure greater accountability in the industry, including a code of conduct that would hold lobbyists to specific standards and protect the public interest from abuse.

“I’m asking the Commissioner to review Mr. Elmhirst’s activity specifically on behalf of Canadian Springs as well as any other lobbying he may be conducting on behalf of other clients that he has yet to register for,” said Krog.

Krog says that in May, Loukidelis found that the premier’s advisor, Ken Dobell, had not filed lobbying activities within the deadline set by the Act


Anonymous said...

Will this be the "Dobell" defence or the "Stonewally (before the courts)" excuse.

Can we start a betting line or will BCLC take legal action against unlicensed gambling and claim a percentage?

Anonymous said...

When this whole mess gets underway and folks signed in to tell the truth, hopefully a lot of the BS will stop. This has been going on way too long. I wonder how the Ontario Law society will handle Spiderman? Or for that matter the attempt to qualify south of the border? dl

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 4:27, it makes you wonder who is really behind this thing dragging on. Who has the most to lose, who is trying to hide stuff, why weren't the documents disclosed, so many why's and so few answers.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1:50,

We know the answer: all of the above.

Seems to me, the ordinary citizens of B.C. are the only ones who really want to see the B.C. Rail affair brought into the open and the evidence provided under oath.

Every last one of those in court -- possibly excepting the presiding judge -- devoutly wish that this whole issue would just go away.

Why else would there be so many tidbits laid before Judge Bennett which could make it so easy for her to declare a mistrial.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree with you anonymous 9:07. The defence lawyers have gone to court twice now demanding information from the rcmp and the crown. You don't demand information if you are trying to have this thrown out. You drag your feet and don't provide the information if your end game is to have the judge get fed up and throw this out. Its game set match point, time for ol berardino and his band of misfits a.k.a. the rcmp to either put up or shut up. From what I have seen to date they don't look to good in this affair. If they have nothing to hide why don't they give the defence lawyers and the public what we want so we can get on with the trial.

Anonymous said...

When, exactly, did Jamie Elmirst leave the Campbell government environment ministry and join Pilothouse? Can anyone provide an exact date?