“Christy Clark would do well to remember that Canada is a free nation…”

Late last week I was contacted by a new member of a local community association here in Surrey, who expressed great concern over this Tyee blog post: http://thetyee.ca/Blogs/TheHook/2014/09/29/Non-Profit-Attack-Petition/

Her concern of course,is that the potential for these proposed changes to be used to silence any group expressing concerns or opposition to, well, anything,  is very real.

In the nick of time, Sandy Garossino has posted excellent commentary that really gets to the ominous heart of the matter:

“B.C.’s Christy Clark government is proposing to overhaul the Societies Act, and they’ve distributed a snoozer of a White Paper to let you know all about it.

If you’ve dozed off already, WAKE UP, because there’s a massive zinger quietly planted deep inside. You can do something about it — more on that at the end of this post. But unmentioned in any preamble or executive summary, Section 99 allows any person (including corporations) to take any registered society to court that they believe is acting contrary to the public interest — whatever that is.

Here it is:

Complaints by public

99 (1) A person whom the court considers to be an appropriate person to make an
application under this section may apply to the court for an order under this
section on the grounds that a society

(b) is carrying on activities that are detrimental to the public interest.

In other words, environmental non-profit groups better watch their step because they’re in the cross-hairs. Premier Clark is handing the legal hammer to Enbridge, Kinder Morgan, ExxonMobil, Koch, Encana, Chevron, Sinopec, Suncor and the entire B.C. LNG sector to tie non-profits up in court for years.

Section 99 looks like Clark’s close advisor Gwyn Morgan drafted it up during half-time at last year’s Grey Cup. Not a single competent lawyer within the Ministry of Justice could say with a straight face that it’s constitutional. The clear intent is to silence and intimidate Canadian conservation and environmental non-profits with the threat of litigation. And if mere threat doesn’t work, this legislation enables the corporate sector to bludgeon them into lawsuit bankruptcy.

This proposal is one of the most ill-conceived and draconian initiatives to see the light of day in a modern democracy, and reveals the extent of Clark’s captivity by the oil and gas lobby. (And one more reason B.C. political leaders should be prevented from funding their election campaigns at the Petroleum Club in Calgary).

But as policy, it’s also breathtakingly stupid. As if B.C. doesn’t already have the mother of all court backlogs to cope with, the Clark government now proposes to fill up the system with disgruntled parents taking out their beefs in court against a minor hockey association or local elementary school PAC (parent advisory council). It will be open season on abortion clinics, LGBTQ organizations, and mosques. Don’t think for a minute that won’t happen.

The real backdrop, of course, is that the Harper government has been on a tear against environmentalists for years, muzzling our scientists and attempting to discredit Canadian environmental NGOs…”

Read the rest of this post here: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/sandy-garossino/bc-societies-act-christy-clark_b_5973568.html

Then fire off your email comments on what you think of this draconian proposal right away, because the public consultation period on this ends Wednesday October 15th. Yes, that’s right,it’s been open for comment since August.

Here is the link:  http://www.fin.gov.bc.ca/pld/fcsp/society_act_discussion.htm

Wake up and smell the coffee my friends.

** and if you still have the stomach for it after that, Sean Holman has an excellent read to follow up with this morning. http://seanholman.com/2014/10/13/scientists-arent-the-only-ones-silenced/

SNC Lavalin takes further ( damage control ?) action, replaces Gwyn Morgan and 3 directors.

Stunning news this morning in the business world.

Gwyn Morgan, chairman of the board of SNC Lavalin, will be stepping down following the 2013 AGM in May : http://www.snclavalin.com/news.php?lang=en&id=2055&action=press_release_details

In addition, three more directors will be replaced : David Goldman, Pierre H. Lessard and Edythe A. Marcoux.

This comes following  recent revelations and allegations during Quebec’s anti-corruption Charbonneau Commission that SNC Lavalin executives financed political parties and activities in exchange for contracts.

Gwyn Morgan has maintained a long relationship with the BC Liberal government via his positions with EnCana and SNC Lavalin.

A history touched on in this older article from the Financial Post:

 Back in the fall of 2003, Gwyn Morgan was the chief executive of Encana Corp. when he phoned the Liberal premier of British Columbia with news that a big cheque was on its way.

The government of Gordon Campbell had just implemented major reforms to encourage oil and gas investment, providing Calgary-based Encana with the right political foundation to make a huge bet on Cutbank Ridge, the natural gas shale play that eventually grew into one of North America’s largest.

“Mr. Premier, you are going to have some $400-million more in your treasury tomorrow than yesterday,” the founder of Encana recalls telling the politician after the company revealed itself as the main buyer in one of the richest oil and gas rights auctions in the province’s history.

“You and your government can take this as an endorsement of your policies,” Mr. Morgan said.

And of course, billions more slid in after that.


Mr. Morgan is just as committed to nurturing a pro-business environment in the province.

That’s one of the reasons he said he got involved in B.C. politics, supporting Christy Clark’s bid to succeed Mr. Campbell as the province’s premier, which she won in February. An expert on business, finance and energy, Mr. Morgan then served on Ms. Clark’s transition team and remains engaged, although he said his role is not official at this point.


The point is that we see the damage that was done by the NDP for so long, and you can spend decades building wonderful structure of some sort, but you could tear it down very quickly. The province is still recovering from those things, even though it’s 10 years later. So, first and foremost, I felt that Christy had the best chance of keeping the province from going socialist in the next election.”

The relationship with Ms. Clark allowed Mr. Morgan to continue to help shape public policy at a time the province has never been so crucial to the Canadian energy sector, which needs to build new infrastructure through B.C. to reach new customers in Asia.

Read the rest of this insightful article here: http://business.financialpost.com/2011/04/25/capitalist-among-socialists/?__lsa=875d-ac35

First, in my opinion, Gwyn Morgan has had no business assisting in shaping or influencing public policy in BC at all, nor advising our premier in any form while having active contracts and pursuing new ones via SNC Lavalin or EnCana.

As a keen observer of the Charbonneau Commission, which one can watch live if you can speak French, it is my opinion this latest move is designed to deflect any further examination of the companies activities beyond the jurisdiction of Quebec, as it has already been stated that the Commission can not act outside the province.

While corporate and personal donations of large amounts to political parties are not illegal in BC – they should be in my opinion- it is not unreasonable to ask if the same ‘favours’ are expected from those donors here, as were expected in Quebec.

In Quebec’s commission, it was revealed that not only executives were donating, but also spouses in order to fly under the radar of laws limiting political contributions.  ie, ‘We fund you, you give us preferred contracts.’

As I have chronicled on this site many times,most recently in this post when EnCana’s name popped up yet again with relation to the Pacific Carbon Trust, the relationship of Gwyn Morgan with the BC liberals is via EnCana and SNC Lavalin, is one worthy of examination – and I have examined it well, here : http://lailayuile.com/2013/03/27/auditor-generals-long-awaited-report-on-pacific-carbon-trust-finally-released-and-surprise-surprise-there-are-big-problems-all-around/

And here, the continuing relationship of Gwyn Morgan, SNC Lavalin and the new premier, Christy Clark : http://lailayuile.com/2013/02/11/friends-helping-friends-the-story-of-how-the-bc-liberal-snclavalin-connection-persists-with-christy-clark/

And even here, examining the activities of SNC Lavalin, and the persistent denials of any unethical activities by their company by former SNC head Pierre Duhaime, who has now been formally charged with fraud.

Interestingly enough,it was in that last post that former SNC head Pierre Duhaime revealed his hand for the world to see:

 Last year, in what I considered an odd reaction, the head of SNC, Pierre Duhaime, reacted publicly to a report on corruption and organized crime in Quebec’s construction industry, even stating that while the allegations were troubling, they did not warrant a public inquiry…

“Duhaime didn’t want to question the author’s credibility, but said most of the information came from anonymous sources.He said the measures taken by the Quebec government were sufficient to counter corruption.

He insisted the system of collusion described in the report does not affect SNC-Lavalin (TSX:SNC) which has “zero tolerance” for ethical misdeeds. Duhaime acknowledged, however, that SNC-Lavalin is currently investigating allegations of corruption concerning a project in Bangladesh. The RCMP recently conducted a search of SNC offices in Ontario in connection with this matter.”

A clear cut case of  ‘He doth protest too much.’  Considering the allegations from Quebec in recent weeks, it is no wonder he didn’t want a public inquiry.

The question now is, will the departure of Gwyn Morgan and the three directors quell further examination of the companies vested interests in projects across Canada?

Or will it prompt more, particularly here in British Columbia where Morgan is on the record of being involved in both shaping and influencing pubic policy,and financially supporting the Liberal government and Christy Clark personally to further achieve the business environment both SNC Lavalin and EnCana profit from.

Time again to re-visit the top post of 2012 here on LailaYuile.com, which contains a copy of the Public Safety report on Corruption in Construction that also examinations  the likelihood of corruption within the BC’s construction and infrastructure industry….

Read it again if you need a reminder, and ask yourself why so few people questioned and contacted in BC wanted to talk about the issue at all :

“Money and corruption are ruining the land…”

Auditor Generals long awaited report on Pacific Carbon Trust finally released and surprise surprise….there are big problems all around.

This is an excerpt from a two-part post I wrote back in June of 2010, all about the Pacific Carbon Trust and their friends Offsetters Clean Technology :

“I agree, few people in this province will deny the need for industry and commercial business to cut harmful emissions. But after a closer examination of the people and the projects initiated by our premier, it’s clear things are not what they appear to be. There are no strict guidelines and far too many loose ends to ensure that this tax money it being well spent, and in the end, how much has any of it impacted how the majority of industry in BC does business?

It might make good copy, and even better PR for the companies touting their ‘carbon neutrality’, but I’m guessing the only thing Gordon Campbell’s Green Dream has done, is lined the pockets of more than a few industrious businessmen in BC – and no one  has been the wiser. Sure, buying some carbon offsets might contribute to some great new clean energy or some amazing new industrial mechanism that isn’t firing out some black toxic smoke, but remember this.

Those same carbon offsets are doing nothing to stop the current and ongoing, real-life every day emissions that are happening right now as we speak. On that one point alone, I question all of it. This program is doing nothing to  stop, or even really change the way big, powerful polluters are doing business at this very second.

But hey, at least some CEO can say: ” We manage to minimize our tremendous environmental damage by purchasing carbon offsets….”  Maybe, just maybe he or she really believes it’s doing some good, but I doubt it. More likely they  view offsets as a free pass to commit environmental treachery, sanctioned by the government.

I say, time to call for full and comprehensive, PUBLIC review of all the entire program to see if it has come close to living up to the dream- Campbell’s Green Dream.”

I suggest you read the entire post in full here: http://lailayuile.com/2010/06/18/part-ii-jesus-turned-water-to-wine-but-james-tansey-has-turned-hot-air-into/

And the first post in that duo: http://lailayuile.com/2010/06/17/all-the-same-names-in-all-the-right-places-part-i/

This is an excerpt the long awaited report from Auditor John Doyle, that the Liberal government did not want the public to see, which was finally released today:

Auditor General finds lack of credibility in carbon offset purchases

VICTORIA—According to Auditor General John Doyle’s latest report, titled

 An Audit of Carbon Neutral Government, the majority of offsets purchased to meet government’s carbon neutral goal in 2010 were not credible. The audit examined two projects which accounted for nearly 70 percent of the offsets purchased by government to achieve their claim of carbon neutrality: the Darkwoods Forest Carbon project in southeastern B.C. and the Encana Underbalanced Drilling project near Fort Nelson.

“Offsets can only be credible in British Columbia if, among other things, the revenue from their sale is the tipping point in moving forward on a project. It must be an incentive, not a subsidy, for the reduction of GHGs,” said Doyle. “However, neither project was able to demonstrate that the sale of offsets was needed for the project to be implemented.”

Encana’s project was projected to be more financially beneficial to the company than its previous practices, regardless of offset revenue, while the Darkwoods property was acquired without offsets being a critical factor in the decision”

You can read that entire report here in PDF form. http://www.bcauditor.com/pubs/2013/report14/audit-carbon-neutral-government

Now. I don’t often tell you, I told you so… but, I did.

I would even suggest a full forensic audit of this entity.

And we won’t even talk about the fact that Encana’s name pops up yet again….


$647,670.00 in contributions since 2005 to the BC Liberals.

And we certainly won’t mention the former CEO of Encana, Gwyn Morgan, who has been an ardent supporter of the Liberals, and most recently, Christy Clark. http://lailayuile.com/2013/02/11/friends-helping-friends-the-story-of-how-the-bc-liberal-snclavalin-connection-persists-with-christy-clark/

Hmmmm. And I didn’t even get into the political interference involved with the creation and release of this report. Heads should roll. Many of them.

And when people ask me why I want the BC Liberals to go, or what made me create that soon to be updated list of way more than 100 Reasons the BC Liberals should go….

I send them links like this one.

Fraser Transportation Group chosen as preferred bidder for South Fraser Perimeter Road, surprising many.

The  Ministry of Transportation  issued a long-awaited press release Friday- late,late Friday –  surprising many industry insiders by announcing  that the Fraser Transportation Group  has been chosen as the preferred bidder and will proceed to the final stage of the procurement process for the South Fraser Perimeter Road project. 

I say surprising because many industry insiders thought SNC Lavelin of the Riverway Partnership were shoe-ins following the Port Mann bidding debacle that awarded that project to Kiewit-Flatiron, despite their failure to secure financing as required. Had the MOT deferred to the next best bid when that occurred, SNC would have been building the Port Mann right now, instead of Kiewit.  Rumour also had it that SNC had been considering legal recourse because of this, but decided against such action so as not to be blacklisted by the province on other projects- ( See Tercon vs. MOT/Province of BC, to find out what happens to contractors who complain too loudly) 

However, there was something else very surprising that I notice in the  SFPR Press Release

VICTORIA – Fraser Transportation Group has been selected to proceed to the next stage of procurement as the preferred proponent for delivery of the next phase of the South Fraser Perimeter Road project. This stage involves detailed negotiations for finalizing a contract. 

 Fraser Transportation Group includes ACS Infrastructure Canada Inc. and Ledcor Industrial/Mining Group Ltd. as equity partners, and Dragados Canada, Inc, Ledcor CMI Ltd., Belpacific Excavating and Shoring Limited Partnership and Vancouver Pile Driving Ltd. as the members of the design-build contractor. 

There appears to have been a significant change in the make-up of the proponents in the group itself, because in the announcement of the three qualified short-listed bidders,   The Fraser Transportation Group looked like this: 

Fraser Transportation Group –  includes Iridium Concesiones de Infraestructuras, S.A. of Spain and Zachry American Infrastructure of Texas as equity partners and Dragados S.A. as the lead design build contractor. 

Wow. So… Am I right to ask the question : What the heck happened to that pre-qualified bidding group? Iridium( From Spain) and Zachry ( of Texas) are now gone as the equity partners, replaced by ACS infrastructure Canada, and Ledcor Industrial /Mining Group Ltd.  That is a complete change from the “Pre-qualified bidders” listed in the original announcement. 

Not only that, Dragados Canada  were listed as the lead design/build contractor in the original announcement, which now lists Ledcor CMI Ltd., Belpacific Excavating and Shoring Limited Partnership and Vancouver Pile Driving Ltd. as part of the design-build team. 

What happened to the original bidding team? Why the complete change in equity partners? No money? Companies backed out?  Call me a cynic, but I would say that Jane Shackell, the ” fairness  reviewer”  appointed to oversee and monitor the procurement process, has her hands full on this one. One of the most popular blog series I’ve ever written covered the near decade long Tercon vs. BC/MOT lawsuit, in which  a change to the makeup of a ” pre-qualified” bidder during the procurement process, ultimately led to a supreme court win for the contractor. In Tercon vs. the MOT/Province of BC, an unqualified contractor was added  on as a concealed partner with an already qualified bidder, and  this change was subsequently concealed by MOT staff  at many different levels to avoid complaints from  the other qualified bidders who may have been rightly awarded the MOT job. Full details are in this post, which contains links to the other two parts of the series. http://lailayuile.wordpress.com/2010/02/17/tercon-contracters-ltd-vs-british-columbia-the-rest-of-the-story/ 

One would certainly hope the province has not overstepped in this case, because this seems to be a significant change to the makeup of the preferred bidder. (Not that I mind seeing smaller local companies doing work, rather than Kiewit and SNC Lavelin- so long as the bidding process was fair, transparent and honest ) 

 Also of extreme importance in this press release is the notation that the SFPR is now slated for completion in 2013,  which is a full year behind the original completion date 2012. I stand by my source that the project has been scaled back with significant scope changes and that can only mean one thing. Money. money. money… ( out of interest, click HERE to see political donations by LEDCOR)

While I am on the subject of money, it certainly would seem that Kiewit, the main contractors on the Sea to Sky highway and of course, the Port Mann bridge…. have a hell of a lot of extra money to toss around on campaign contributions -and the timing of them is  certainly interesting, to say the least. 

S-A1-A – Your Search Criteria
Contributor Name Date From Date To Party
kiewit      (ALL)
  S-A1-A – Your Search Results
  Total Contribution For This Search: $81,575.00 
Records 1-13 of 13 
Contributor Name Date Amount Party Class Principal Officer 1 Principal Officer 2
PETER KIEWIT SONS CO LTD. 2008/12/03 $1,875.00 BC LIBERAL PARTY 2    
PETER KIEWIT SONS CO LTD. 2006/09/29 $3,000.00 BC LIBERAL PARTY 2    
PETER KIEWIT SONS CO LTD. 2007/04/24 $1,000.00 BC LIBERAL PARTY 2    
PETER KIEWIT 2009/04/02 $2,000.00 BC LIBERAL PARTY 1

Note the rather obese contribution to the BC Liberals mere days after the last election….and in the rest of 2009. Now, call me speculative, but if I were a  contractor who had just been chosen to build the Port Mann Bridge, even after my financing fell through,( see link above on Kiewit)  and the province went to a great extent to give me that contract, even changing the project from a P3 to a taxpayers fully funded one to do so….. well, I think I would be really appreciative too.  Not sure those contributions paid off for the SFPR bid though…lol. 

It brings me back full circle to the topic of campaign contributions and conflict of interest which we have been talking about on and off over the past bit. Lets even toss in  how they relate to collusion and corruption. 

 While it is certainly not illegal for any one person,  or any company to donate to one political party or another, I find it remarkable that anybody could say these donations, especially such sizable ones such as Kiewit’s, have no bearing or influence, nor do they represent any conflicts in the various situations that invariably pop up along the way. 

Poppycock.  Do you honestly think a $50 grand donation from Kiewit doesn’t help to grease the wheels along the way? Keep them at the top of the Special Donors list? Of course it does. To think anything else is to be as naive as a new-born babe. 

Just for fun, because yeah, I’m kind of geeky that way, I did a bit of an update to a previous list of large donors to the BC Liberals, from their 2007 reported ones. Donors that also seem to get the lucrative government contracts along the way, donors who have boards of directors padded with ex-MLA’s and political movers and shakers. 

Donors that know how business works in BC. 

* 2009 donation amounts listed only- click on provided link to see past donation history. 

Teck Cominco and subsiduaries:  $150,800.00 

Goldcorp: $88,500.00 

Encana : $118,000.00 

Telus : $68,123.52 

Aquilini Group : $ 80,700.00 

Brookfield Asset Management/ Brookfield Timber Management : $ 60, 000.00 ( note Richard Legault and Barry Blattman, whose names seem to come up in everything Liberal related. 

Timberwest: $ 60,988 

West Fraser: $ 108,089 

Catalyst: $ 24, 500.00  ( guess they couldn’t have been doing too poorly if they could still afford donations to the Liberals…  

Jim Pattison Group and Great Pacific Investments: $10,500.oo ( down from previous years)   

Well, that’s all folks. If you are an average person like me, this all stinks to high heaven. Smaller companies who can’t , or won’t play the game are getting left out in the cold time and time again.  Clearly, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know -and how much you donate to them. Think about that next time you are driving over the Port Mann bridge…

Brookfield Asset Management, Gordon Campbell and British Columbia’s Best Assets

 I recently  authored a post that is again receiving considerable attention, due in part it appears, to a comment left by ‘RickW’, below the Tyee’s front page column today: http://thetyee.ca/Views/2009/04/29/PayRaises/

Thank you, RickW –  my hope is to inform as many people as possible about this sell-off, and see if we can’t get some answers as to why this is happening considering the election campaign in full swing.

If you’ve been following the election coverage on http://pacificgazette.blogspot.com/, you’ll get it when I say that the east ( and west) coast of Vancouver island is yet another place you WILL NOT be finding Gordon Campbell making a campaign appearance…..

Read it all on my original post, dated April 21st, 2009 :


( Patrick Kinsella post was originally slated for this morning’s blog, but  since I’m in a world of pain this morning from a tooth extraction yesterday, just check back tomorrow am)