Saturday, May 11, 2013

BC Liberals received big donations before liquor law changes

The BC Liberal Party raised more than $300,000 from liquor businesses in a single day in 2010

Rich Coleman, BC Liberal Liquor Minister - TV screen shot
By Bill Tieleman and Jeremy Nuttall

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The BC Liberal Party raised more than $300,000 from liquor businesses in a single day in 2010 just weeks before the provincial government introduced substantial changes to the LiquorControl and Licensing Act, a 24 Hours Vancouver investigation has found

The changes included a section that “allows inducements for the sale of liquor subject to regulations or a direction of the general manager” by liquor manufacturers to liquor licensees, according to notes explaining the legislation.

Elections BC financial disclosure records show that on March 24, 2010, the BC Liberal Party received at least 12 liquor business donations of $15,000 each, plus a $25,000 contribution from the Alliance of Beverage Licensees of BC.

Independent liquor industry sources told 24 Hours the BC Liberal Party held an event March 24, 2010, at which liquor industry officials each paid $15,000 to meet with then-premier Gordon Campbell and Rich Coleman, the minister responsible for liquor distribution, over lunch at Gotham Steakhouse in Vancouver to discuss industry liquor issues.

Former Premier Gordon Campbell 

The records also show dozens of smaller liquor business donations, for a total of $302,500 on that day.

ABLE BC’s executive director at that time was Kim Haakstad, who later became Premier Christy Clark’s deputy chief of staff before resigning over the ethnic outreach memo scandal.

Three current ABLE BC directors, Dave Crown, Mariana Fiddler and Roger Gibson, are listed as officers in the 2010 donor list.

The fundraising event occurred five days before the government reached a new contract with the BC Government and Service Employees Union, which represents public liquor story workers.

BCGEU spokesperson David Vipond told 24 Hours Thursday that government liquor store hours were reduced and new stores were not opened as planned between 2010 and 2012.

“This reduction of hours was to the benefit of private stores,” Vipond said, adding liquor industry contributions are “of concern” to the BCGEU, which supports banning corporate and union political donations.

In the B.C. Legislature on June 1, 2010, independent MLA Vicki Huntington questioned liquor legislation amendments she said were “curious” because they allowed "inducements for the sale of liquor subject to regulations."

Coleman responded on June 1, 2010, that: "This is really removing something that is somewhat arcane in our ability to enforce and manage the operation of liquor in British Columbia … The historical reasons for the policy are no longer very applicable.”

Neither the BC Liberals or ABLE answered questions about the donations by deadline Thursday.




DPL said...

Money talks and BC liberals listen and of course reward the big time donators.Takes an awful lot of little people to raise even a small amount.

Anonymous said...

What about money coming from Big Labour to the NDP.

That's certainly something to cheer with the beer..

Piker said...

I am not sure the point of this article.

There are many curious (and arguably connsumer friendly) changes to the Liquor Act beneficial to private distributors and businesses(eg: caterers able to get liquor licences, able to sell liquor in hospitals and care homes, allow for licencees to sponsors local events)

However, the changes to Section 45 of the Liquor Act appear, on the surface, to be eliminating corruption.

Licensee not to give or accept gifts
45 Subject to the regulations, the general manager may specify that a licensee must not offer or give, agree to offer or give, demand, accept or receive, or agree to accept or receive, money, gifts, reward or remuneration, directly or indirectly, for promoting, inducing or furthering the sale of liquor.

In this case the, explanatory note describing the change does not match the intent of the legislation.

Unknown said...

You are not going to dare to publish my comment because you socialists hate freedom of expression. Prove me wrong.

Just wanted to say that the people of BC are too smart to vote for the NDP. You have underestimated how we dislike the leeching public unions that you adore, and how we dislike your voodoo economics which wants to make all equally poor.

Time for you to do some soul searching and discover why we detest socialism.

Alvaro said...

This is cool!