Monday, June 08, 2009

BC Rail FOI requests turn up National Public Relations as advising BC Rail during privatization

Defence lawyers in the BC Legislature raid case are seeking information about the role National Public Relations played in the $1 billion privatization of BC Rail.

Michael Bolton, counsel for David Basi - one of two former BC Liberal government ministerial aides facing corruption charges - said in BC Supreme Court today that the defence is seeking information about the role played at BC Rail by BC Liberal Party insider Patrick Kinsella and his firms, and also by National Public Relations and Randy Wood, a partner at National.

"The defence has sought records related to Randy Wood acting as a consultant to BC Rail," Bolton said outside court. "Wood was communicating with BC Rail and the government during the bidding process."

Wood said in a telephone interview that he didn't want to say much because the issue is "in the realm of the courts."

But Wood confirmed that National was hired by BC Rail.

"National has worked for BC Rail for a long time, going back to the NDP era," Wood said. "We were providing communications counsel related to how decisions were communicated. There was a lot of detail to the deal."

National Public Relations has been a significant donor to the BC Liberal Party, contributing just under $30,000 from 2001 through 2008. National's Managing Partner Marcia Smith has been a registered provincial lobbyist and senior BC Liberal advisor for several elections. She currently represents mining giant Teck as a lobbyist.

Wood was a lobbyist for Accenture during the 2002-03 privatization of part of BC Hydro but is not registered as a lobbyist for any other clients.

Defence lawyer Kevin McCullough, representing former ministerial assistant Bob Virk, told Justice Elizabeth Bennett that an agreement was reached with BC Rail's counsel, Robert Deane, to voluntarily produce information sought by FOI regarding Kinsella and Wood.

That agreement meant an early end to what was anticipated to be two full court days.

Bennett adjourned the court until June 16 after hearing about the agreement.



Anonymous said...

Money, Hype and Corruption in BC politics??!!

Next will have international DUI, illegal-substance abusing and womanizing BC politicians who play the guitar.

I'm shocked . . . there is no Santa Claus !


paul said...

You are the third person I know to have unpleasant/insulting/arrogant experiences with this guy.