94 comments,502 Facebook shares and thousands of visitors to the last blog post show that the interest in a public inquiry is there: https://lailayuile.com/2019/01/05/the-enemy-is-corruption-period/
The comments alone hit home with some highly knowledgeable and savvy readers sharing their relevent knowledge. There is a strong desire among many in law enforcement and justice to see this kind of inquiry that will firmly shine a light on the depth of corruption in BC…and not just in casinos.
So where are we now? Eby is once again disturbed to find out that the extent of money laundering is far higher than the German report estimated. What is he going to do about it, aside from being disturbed? Your guess is as good as mine.
I’ve got to say, I don’t put much stock into the German report for two reasons…and this is one: https://www.google.ca/amp/s/globalnews.ca/news/4391856/exclusive-peter-german-denies-conflict-in-b-c-casino-probe-despite-sitting-on-board-with-casino-executive/amp/
Critics have repeatedly pointed out that these two points alone mean the entire report was compromised and that the report may have minimized the role certain parties played in money laundering.
Certainly the report *and* German-who is an expert – vastly underestimated the amount of money being laundered…was anything else underestimated? And why was it underestimated? https://www.ctvnews.ca/mobile/canada/b-c-minister-fears-money-laundering-involves-billions-of-dollars-cites-reports-1.4258951
Eby and the BC government now appear to have been left completely out of the loop by the RCMP, and complicating things even more is the BC Liberals refusal to share their documentation on money laundering with Eby in a confidential manner. https://globalnews.ca/news/4447653/bc-liberals-wont-waive-cabinet-confidentiality-on-documents-related-to-money-laundering/
( This is where I should remind you of the investment tour presentation Mike DeJong flogged out of country during the height of the affordability crisis, and during the time when money laundering via real estate and casinos was first really becoming a hot issue again: https://lailayuile.com/2016/07/16/affordability-crisis-what-affordability-crisis-or-why-the-bc-government-stood-by-while-rome-burned/ )
There are still unanswered questions surrounding Rich Coleman and his disbanding of the gaming enforcement team I dissected here. The video is a *must watch*. Why did he disband this team AFTER they reported organized crime had infiltrated casinos? I don’t buy his answers here nor should you. https://www.google.ca/amp/s/lailayuile.com/2018/06/27/money-and-corruption-are-ruining-the-land-2/amp/
His closeness with individuals in the gaming industry has not gone unnoticed by some either…
Sigh…..all this and so much more, and yet still all talk and no action from Horgan or Eby on a long overdue, Charbonneau style public inquiry. Why is that?
Does it have to do with the fact that after decrying Clark’s move to issue Panda and Dim Sum bonds in China as potentially fueling the real estate frenzy here in BC, the new ndp government quickly got over those concerns and reissued a new round of bonds, in mainland China?
A bit more here from the China Daily :
This three-year Panda Bond, which matures in November 2020, is priced at a coupon rate of 4.8 percent. Bank of China and HSBC Holdings Ltd are the two joint-lead underwriters of the offering.
The bond has been almost twice-oversubscribed by both domestic and foreign investors, indicating market confidence in the province’s economy and the further internationalization of China’s bond market, the world’s third-largest, Jim Hopkins, assistant deputy minister of the British Columbia Provincial Treasury, Ministry of Finance in Canada, said on Thursday in Beijing.
Raising capital in the Chinese market helps to strengthen our international trade and financial profile,” said British Columbia Finance Minister Carole James.
Well ok then Carole. But I suspect it’s a now a big reason complicating why the current government won’t do anything that might rock that lucrative cash cow bond boat coming due November 2020…and a public inquiry will absolutely look at the flow of $$$ and drugs from China. I don’t think it’s the only reason but I do think it’s a influencing factor. I’ve been calling for a charbonneau type inquiry since 2010, and there was no help to be found in any elected politician. I seriously think they don’t want to start digging because of where it might lead and what it reveals.
So, we’ve gone full circle and once again let’s ask you…what’s scarier? The clear and overwhelming need for a corruption inquiry in BC…or the number of politicians who are so scared to call one?
Here is a link to find and call your mla. They log and document your calls. Please take a few minutes of your day and call to register your demand for a public inquiry. You cannot possibly endorse any other remedy, or this lawlessness will prevail.
2019 came in like a lamb in comparison to the way it left, following the great storm of 2018…and recent storms have left most of us sodden if not downright flooded.
It’s not the stormy weather that brings me here though, even as I watch the dark day outside get darker. It’s a comment I saw online recently calling any Green party supporter the enemy. It was all in regards to the Nanaimo election, but it kind of shed a bit of light as to how extreme the rhetoric still is….and how misguided.
The ‘enemy’ is not limited to a political party…the ‘enemy’ of the people is corruption.
And that ‘enemy’ did not disappear just because the Liberals are in opposition. Why?
Because corruption doesn’t begin or end with a political party. The kind of corruption we have in BC-like Quebec- relies on a large and insidious network of people who make it possible. For all this money laundering and drug activity to occur at the level demonstrated by the likes of Sam Cooper, Sean Holman and others like Dermod Travis, people in high positions of influence had to be involved or informed. It could not occur without staff paid off to open doors, exchange goods or cash and turn a blind eye. It’s simply ludicrous to think that one or two or even a half dozen prosecutions would stop it or even make a dent. ( I remind you now of two recent cases that ended with charges stayed)
For every fall guy who takes a rap, there are an endless supply to take his place. This is a lucrative underground industry. And oddly enough in the midst of all these casino money laundering stories, the province expanded gaming with the BCLC approval of a new casino in Ladner…go figure, it’s another Gateway operation.
This is why I can’t fathom Horgans hesitance to call a public inquiry, as detailed in this excellent piece below.
And as has been pointed out here for nearly a decade, there is ample reason to expand an inquiry to the public sector and government. BC Lottery Corporation is a government institution. Gaming revenue in the province has been tainted by dirty blood money. A portion of gaming revenue goes to community and non profit grants. Nothing is left untouched by this…nothing.
Horgan is dead wrong about what the public wants. I believe every single family touched by the seemingly unstoppable flow of drugs and cash into BC wants one. I believe everyone who believes in justice wants one. And it will be the only way to get all the answers as to how and why it has been allowed to flourish.
To accept anything less than a full Charbonneau style inquiry in BC, is to become complicit in the very corruption we need to stamp out. In fact you might as well send out written invitations to every other crime syndicate….because that’s the message it sends
** a comment from Tyr in the discussion below hits exactly what I was trying to convey here, but in a far more concise manner. Adding it here so it does not get lost.
” You have replaced the driver of the bus with another driver. The direction of the bus and the stops it still doesn’t make, are the same.
Valid points of corruption are lost in the din of chastising a specific party and calling it out for actions that continue with the new regime. By the same yardstick, those valid points are lost when party affiliation is stronger than common sense.
The best route is to expose the facets of the system that foster corruption, greed, nepotism, and chicanery, and demand that they be changed. Some blame the police, some blame the govt, some blame the laws when in fact they are all intertwined and dependent on each other. The police may not be corrupt, however starving them of funds and resources to investigate what should be investigated results in the same issue, non investigation/prosecution.
Reducing corruption to political threads and bickering is in fact feeding the corruption by not exposing the problems and demanding action. In the past in some countries, major inquiries have changed processes for the better. There is however a few caveats that must be adhered to. You have to have a completely independent staffing of such an inquiry. It must be free of ethical paucity and mental infirmity. The inquiry must have the power to subpoena witnesses, documents, and evidence. It must have the power to find contempt. It must have the legislated power to enact regulations.
Time for the public to focus.”
It has been a crazy onset to winter with that epic storm, and I hope all of you are safe and warm if you dont have power.
It does feel like a family here…we may not be bonded by blood, but we are bonded by a common bond. Over the years, you found me or perhaps I found you because we shared either a distaste for corruption and bad governance… or a desire to simply do what’s right…not just what is desired by left or right.
I do miss the good people this all brought to my life. You know who you are 😉
Tonight isn’t about politics though. It’s about wishing you the best, now and through this season that is often hard for many. My email is always open via my contact page. 🙂
Merry Christmas my friends. 💜 Be kind. Love freely. Be present in every moment 🙂
If you haven’t followed the latest #bcpoli scandal, there is quite a story brewing in Victoria….and I thought it might be a good time to look back at how the legislature has been operating for nearly a decade, and what they have done to fix it.
This week, the story broke that two top BC Legislature officials were placed on paid administrative leave, following an investigation and subsequent request by RCMP for a special prosecutor. https://www.straight.com/news/1166786/top-legislature-officials-craig-james-and-gary-lenz-placed-administrative-leave-wake
But wait. It gets more interesting as time goes on. The National Post has since reported that sources indicated to them, the two were being investigated for possible fraud and theft, and that public taxpayers were the victims. https://nationalpost.com/news/politics/two-senior-officials-suspended-from-b-c-legislature-being-investigated-for-possible-fraud-and-theft-sources
An earlier report indicated this had nothing to do with expenses, that remains to be determined. What was interesting in all this, was that the investigation was initially undertaken by Daryll Plecas’ special advisor, Alan Mullen. Who is Alan Mullen and why does Plecas have a special advisor? This recent story sheds some light on this: https://www.bclocalnews.com/news/ive-seen-a-lot-of-joy-and-a-lot-of-crying-life-as-a-politicians-assistant-can-be-eye-opening/
Few constituency offices have seen quite so much change as that of Abbotsford South MLA Darryl Plecas, who became Speaker of the Legislature and left the BC Liberal party in one fell swoop.
As speaker, Plecas must be seen to be impartial. At the same time, though, he remains his constituent’s elected representative. So, in addition to his long-time CA, Amber Born, Plecas now employs Alan Mullen as a “special adviser.”
Mullen had previously volunteered on political campaigns, first on behalf of the NDP, then for Plecas after he decided to run in 2013.
The pair had come to know each other while Plecas was a prison judge and Mullen worked as a corrections manager at Kent Institution. So when Plecas decided to accept an offer from the NDP to become Speaker of the Legislature – a job in which he can’t directly advocate for policies – he tapped Mullen to perform some of the functions he could no longer do.
That includes things like meeting with groups and organizations seeking funding, and taking those requests to decision-makers in Victoria. And Mullen gushed at the results so far, saying he was surprised with the ability to be able to sit down with ministers – although he said Plecas’s decision to take the speakership wasn’t the reason for that accommodation.
Reports now indicate that Mullen conducted this initial investigation for nearly 7 months before handing over everything to the RCMP early this fall. That alone, has raised eyebrows, however today BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson and Mary Polak came forward with an affidavit, now saying that in a meeting with Plecas, he had asked for Mullen to given the position of acting Sergent at Arms. Polak and those in attendence said it was inappropriate and that was the end of it.
However, in the context of asking Mullen to fill this position temporarily, Plecas is the chair of the LMA committee and his duties as speaker are listed at the end of this post. Part of those duties is provision of security, something many reporters seem to have missed. The issue here, if any, is the perception of conflict because Mullen is also a personal friend aside from working for Plecas as a ‘special advisor’.
(An initial thought that occurred to me after hearing of this position, was curiosity as to whether Linda Reid had a similar advisor, or is this unique to Plecas? I have yet to see any reporter ask this question. )
But lets move on, because I suspect this story will be occupying #bcpoli for some time. Let’s go back to the past to understand a bit more about how our Legislative Assemblys financial affairs have been handled for years… and how BC mla’s ignored warnings for years that conditions for … gasp.. fraud and theft were ripe in our most respected institution, before finally acting to fix things.
In 2012, Craig James made the news for his lavish expenses, that Dermod Travis of Integrity BC discovered via FOI:
It was following that debacle that it was revealed by a scathing 2012 Auditor Generals audit, that legislative affairs were a mess. Lack of bank reconciliations. No receipts. Expenses from one year classed into another. The full details are here: https://lailayuile.com/2012/07/27/politics-without-principle-makes-hypocrisy-a-governing-force-in-the-legislative-assembly/
And ironically, this wasn’t a new thing – the Auditor Generals office had
recommended way back in 2007, that the Legislature provide publicly available audited financial reports, and improve internal controls to prevent fraud and misappropriation of public funds…. and it never happened. For 5 years after that, BC MLA’s did nothing to fix their own financial affairs. So, one would think the 2012 stories would have created change, yes?
No.Two years later, in 2014, news broke that then speaker Linda Reid’s expenses were a bit like Imelda Marcos: Lavish expensed trips, excessive legislative spending.. you get the gist. And it wasn’t just Linda Reid…Raj Chouhan expensed a lavish trip as well, which he paid back. Full details on that,here: https://lailayuile.com/2014/03/26/politics-without-principle-2-0-just-because-you-candoesnt-mean-you-should/
Finally, following more than a decade of amateurish accounting practices, the BC Legislature and MLA’s within it had been embarrassed enough to move towards proper accounting practices and transparency, and published their first expense reports in 2015: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Legislature+releases+detailed+expenses/10926667/story.html
It’s now 2018 and the most recent LAMC Accountability report is available online to show you how and where the legislature spends its money and keeps track of it. Seems timely to show you: https://www.leg.bc.ca/content/CommitteeDocuments/41st-parliament/LAMC/LAMC_AccountabilityReport_2016-17.pdf
I can’t determine what safeguards they have in place now to prevent misappropriation of funds, but it’s clear that little attention has been paid to this in the past.
Darryl Plecas, in addition to speaker, is also chair of the Legislative Assembly Management Committee, which would give him access to and insight into financial matters of the legislature, and certainly affords him a unique position to see things others may not…particularly with his background in criminology.
Incidentally, he is hated by most BC Liberals…and this post I wrote explains why: https://lailayuile.com/2017/09/10/educating-ryan/ Plecas was the only person to call out Clark when she tried to pass off the NDP platform as the Lib platform in a last ditch attempt to fool voters prior to the last election. And Randy Hawes said it so well. There isn’t a Liberal in that house who doesn’t want to see Plecas gone…and to see him removed as Speaker which would make it possible to try and topple the current government. Frankly this aspect alone, their contempt for Plecas, taints the situation greatly.
The BC Liberals will make much noise over Mullen and Plecas, to distract #bcpoli watchers from the REAL story: what Plecas found, what evidence was handed to the RCMP and why it merited two special prosecutors. That is the story here…not Mullen. What exactly prompted this investigation in the first place?
A snapshot of current and past members of this committee are as follows:
Other info that might be helpful to understand context of duties, during this evolving story , from the link above:
Finance and Audit Committee
The Finance and Audit Committee is an advisory sub-committee reporting to the Legislative Assembly Management Committee on financial and administrative matters. It is comprised of the Speaker, the government and opposition Caucus Chairs, the Third Party House Leader, and the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly.
Speaker of the Legislative Assembly ( Darryl Plecas)
The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly is elected by its Members to serve as the Presiding Officer and Chair of the Legislative Assembly Management Committee. Under the Committee’s direction, the Speaker is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the Assembly, the provision of security within the Legislative Precinct, and the management of the use of the Legislative Precinct.
( note: Plecas has a strong background in criminology- from his mla website: “Plecas was the RCMP Senior University Research Chair and Director for the Centre for Public Safety and Criminal Justice Research at the University of the Fraser Valley, where he worked for 34 years. He holds two degrees in criminology from Simon Fraser University and a doctorate in higher education from the University of British Columbia. He is the author or co-author of more than 200 books, international journal articles, and research reports addressing a broad range of public safety issues. His most recent book, which he co-authored in his current role as professor emeritus at the University of the Fraser Valley, focuses on how government professionals can make better decisions.”
Clerk of the Legislative Assembly ( Craig James)
The Clerk of the Legislative Assembly is the senior permanent officer and procedural advisor to the Speaker and all Members. The Clerk manages the provision of professional and procedural advice and support to the Legislative Assembly Management Committee and the Finance and Audit Committee, and is responsible for the Assembly’s administrative and financial operations.
And this link explains when and why special prosecutors are brought in. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/justice/criminal-justice/bc-prosecution-service/about/special-prosecutors
So there you have it… and this is why people like Dermod Travis of Integrity BC and Bob Mackin matter so much. I would say both have been instrumental in bringing the legislature into a state of professionalism with respect to accounting, and transparency. I will post updates to this story as they develop, in the comments below.