Thursday, February 21, 2013

#RoofLeaks wonders: is Coleman's future friendly?

Deputy Preem
Once in a while, a meeting listed in the agenda of a certain cabinet minister or senior bureaucrat is particularly intriguing.

The one that Deputy Premier Rich Coleman (aka Emir of Energy, Majordomo of Mines, Nabob of Natural Gas, Lord of Lotteries, Boss of Booze, Highness of Housing and Poobah of PavCo ) held on Oct. 5, 2012 would be at the top of the heap. 

At a location not disclosed, Coleman sat down with Peter Brown and Darren Entwistle for a half-hour. 
Bagman Brown 

Brown is an Order of British Columbia member and diehard BC Liberal bagman. Brown is best-known as the founder of the Canaccord investment house. He is perhaps B.C.’s best-known capitalist, the chairman of the Fraser Institute, no less, with a bull and a bear painted on the gates of his Point Grey mansion. During the summer of 2012, Brown wrote an alarmist letter to the B.C. Conservatives, warning them that splitting the free enterprise vote would ensure an NDP victory and could bring European-style economic chaos and social unrest to B.C.

Entwistle is the CEO of Telus, the biggest private corporation in B.C., which was given a controversial 10-year, $1 billion contract to supply the government, Crown corporations and health authorities with telecommunications goods and services. Competitors Bell, Rogers and Shaw claimed the process was unfair.

Together, Brown and Entwistle represent $740,000 of donations to the BC Liberals since 2005, according to Elections BC figures ($378,777.35 from Telus and $360,630 from Canaccord). 
NDP leader Dix (left) and Telus boss Entwistle

Brown quit the board of B.C. Pavilion Corporation in spectacular fashion on Feb. 13, 2012, with a pointed resignation letter (see below) to chairman David Podmore, which was copied to Finance Minister Kevin Falcon and Pat Bell, the minister responsible for PavCo until the Sept. 5, 2012 cabinet shuffle. Brown was angry about the government’s decision to cancel the 20-year, $40 million deal to sell B.C. Place naming rights to Telus. 

Just over two weeks later, Entwistle mugged for cameras at the end of a March 2, 2012 Telus news conference outlining the company's B.C. job and investment activities. 

Premier Christy Clark wasn’t there, only ex-Finance Minister Colin Hansen. But it was NDP leader Adrian Dix who was called to the stage for the photo op with the telecom titan. 

Telus's B.C. Family Day-themed ad

The Liberals and Telus kissed and made-up. Entwistle was joined by Clark for the late June groundbreaking of a new data centre in Kamloops. The government eventually paid in August 2012 to Telus a sum that it doesn’t want to disclose to you. The government and Telus have since restarted talks about the Telus Park naming rights. Could the $2.7 million taxpayer-supported bid for the 2014 Grey Cup be connected? 

Neither Telus nor Coleman nor Brown would disclose the contents or the outcome of the meeting. 

Rich Coleman's Oct. 5, 2012 agenda:

Peter Brown's Feb. 13, 2012 resignation letter to PavCo

Elections BC reports on donations from Canaccord and Telus to the BC Liberals

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