Monday, October 22, 2012

#LiquorLeaks and the Exel six-pack

Exel, the BC Liberal-connected company thirsty to take over the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch, sent a six-pack of its big guns to the Vancouver head office and booze warehouse on Aug. 29, according to an LDB sign-in sheet obtained via Freedom of Information.

They were: vice-president Greg Foreman, director of operations Robert MacLellan, business development manager Stephen Dougans, director of human resources Mark Osborne, operations director Dave Martin and a sixth person, whose name I cannot read (reader tips are gladly appreciated).

Despite what it says, they were not guests of Pele. Sorry folks, the Brazilian soccer great that thrilled us all for a moment during the London Olympics closing ceremony (it was better in person, believe me) doesn't work at LDB. Whoever signed them in at the security office meant to sign "Pelle," as in Pelle Agerup, the B.C. government's senior director of procurement.

South African-born Foreman, a part-time poet, is based in California, but shuttles to Alberta whenever needed by Connect Logistics. That's the Exel-owned company that has the Alberta liquor logistics monopoly. Exel wanted to expand across the Rockies and take over the B.C. LDB. Foreman, according to the "Project Last Spike" internal memo, was to become the new head of the B.C. LDB's non-retail operations if Exel's seven-year quest to win the business succeeded.

Aug. 29 was the last Wednesday before Labour Day weekend. Less than a month later, on Sept. 28, the government put a cork in the privatization of the LDB when it announced a new, two-year deal with the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union.

Did a sudden, favourable labour deal with the biggest provincial public sector union really kibosh the most-controversial privatization in years? Or was there something else lurking behind the scenes that scared the cash-strapped B.C. Liberals into sobriety on this file?

Exel visits LDB

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