Monday, November 5, 2012

Exclusive: The Last Days of Ken Boessenkool

On Nov. 2 in Business in Vancouver, I revealed details of Ken Boessenkool's last days as chief of staff to B.C. Premier Christy Clark.

In a nutshell: The former aide to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Hill + Knowlton lobbyist returned to his family in Calgary after resigning Sept. 23. He was involved in what Clark would only call an "incident of concern." What really went on Sept. 7 at the Bard and Banker Pub in Victoria remains a mystery, but Global TV reported it involved a female subordinate. Here is Jas Johal's Sept. 24 report.

Despite the Premier declaring that the government's human resources procedures were followed "to the letter," the government claimed on Oct. 29 that the Public Service Agency's investigation was all verbal. The government claims it has not a single record about the investigation or about the Sept. 7 golf tournament that preceded the pub party.

Well, it did document Boessenkool's agenda and here it is below.

Before you read it, you need to know a few things.

The redactions were done by government for fear of harm to law enforcement (sec. 15 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act), fear of harm to the financial or economic interests of a public body (sec. 17), and fear of harm to personal privacy (sec. 22). We don't know how legitimate the censorship is. Sometimes government errs on the side of secrecy when it should be doing the opposite.

You will see that the day after the Sept. 7 "incident of concern," Boessenkool flew off to Hong Kong for the start of Clark's trip that also included stops in Shenzhen, Tianjin and Beijing. (The times for the Hong Kong/China trip in Boessenkool's agenda were not adjusted.)

Boessenkool had an unusual amount of private time while on a trip paid for by the taxpayer. Notice the sec. 22 (personal privacy) redactions of 100 minutes under Sept. 9, 95 minutes under Sept. 10 and four hours and 45 minutes under Sept. 11. What was Boessenkool doing, why is it hidden from you and me and does the Premier even know where he was and what he was doing?

Nowhere on the agenda does it indicate Boessenkool met or spoke with Lynda Tarras, the head of the Public Service Agency. Clark said she was the one investigating Boessenkool. It does, however, show an hour-long meeting on Sept. 18 with John Dyble, Clark's Deputy Minister in charge of the public service. That happened after a brief five-minute chat with Clark. (Neither Tarras nor Dyble responded to my interview requests.)

Clark and Boessenkool spoke again, but for 45 minutes on Sept. 20. That appeared to be his last, full day on the job. The FOI disclosure ends with a whimper with only two minor appointments on Sept. 21. Nothing was disclosed for either Sept. 22 or 23, the day he apparently wrote the resignation letter.

What really went on Sept. 7 and was there really an investigation into Boessenkool's behaviour? Or did the Premier only jump into action when Global's Johal started asking questions?

Will the Premier, a champion of the anti-bullying movement, ever tell us what happened about the alleged case of workplace harassment that cost her chief of staff his job?

The Last Days of Ken Boessenkool


Unknown said...

Wish I had a job with so little to do and such good pay!

Unknown said...

I just found your blog and want to say thank you! What an enjoyable time looking through so many sites.It is really nice post thanks for sharing and just keep up the good work

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