Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Some people had millions of reasons to say "congrats Christy"

After winning the May 14 provincial election by surprise, Premier Christy Clark's email box runneth over. There were those unhappy with the result. And there were those who were ecstatic. Read the whole bunch here

Many of those wishing Clark well had millions of reasons to do so. They had either done business with the government or had benefitted from millions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies. 
Jain (left) and Clark at TOIFA

Jain's diction:

A May 17 letter from Vineet Jain, the managing director of the Times of India Group is an ideal example of the latter.

Jain sat beside Clark at B.C. Place Stadium during the Times of India Film Awards on April 6. He was smiling ear to ear for good reason. Clark gave his company a $9.5 million no-bid contract to produce the Bollywood awards extravaganza.

Jain wrote: "TOIFA was a rewarding, enriching and memorable experience for everyone involved -- celebrities, dignitaries, guests and the people of British Columbia and I commend your vision and conviction in making this possible." 

BC Liberals called it a trade promotion; the rest of us called it a re-election ploy. It would be nice to know where all our money went and who in Canada and India benefitted. Despite Freedom of Information requests, the Liberals aren't in a rush to show us. Maybe the auditor general or another agency will step in to try and extract the answers. 

Flag on the field: 

B.C. Lions president Dennis Skulsky's email starts: "Good morning Premier Clark, Wow it sounds good and feels good to say that." Then he deserves a 10-yard penalty for misspelling the Premier's first name ("Christie"). Skulsky, Lions' owner David Braley and others from the CFL club were donors to the Liberal campaign. The government earmarked $2.7 million through B.C. Pavilion Corporation for the Lions to buy the rights to the 2014 Grey Cup. 

Blacktop politics:

Repeat after me: Roads and bridges and tunnels. Promise them and build them. Even if your predecessor did the promising, make sure you show up and look good at the ribbon-cutting. B.C.'s tradition of blacktop politics to win voters' hearts with their own pocketbooks is a surefire formula and allows B.C. Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association president Jack Davidson to keep his members happy. On Sept. 20, Clark announced the Massey Tunnel would be replaced with a bridge... but she didn't tell us how much it would cost or how it would be financed. 

Ni hao:

China's Consul General Liu Fei offered greetings from the Chinese government, including Gov. Zhu Xiaodan of Guangdong Province. 


Pacific Western Brewing owner Kazuko Komatsu sent her congratulations. Her company's products include Pacific Pilsner, Cariboo and Scandal Ale. The Prince George company is a well-known donor to the BC Liberals (and wrote some cheques to the NDP, too) and even got a huge tax break that ruffled big and small brewers. 

You can't be sure:

Shell Canada president Lorraine Mitchelmore's congratulations letter was gutted by government censors. "Not responsive," says most of the letter. 

Mr. Sincerity: 

Then there is this letter from B.C. Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair. Close your eyes and imagine a grown man at a computer keyboard, with a tear running down his cheek, landing in his moustache. 

Sinclair and the BC Fed were with Adrian Dix and the NDP every step of the way and helped fill the party coffers. Then it all went wrong on May 14 and he had to write a face-saving, pride-swallowing letter on behalf of his members (who didn't all vote NDP). 

"On behalf of the B.C. Federation of Labour, I would like to congratulate you on your successful campaign to be elected to a second term as the Premier of British Columbia," wrote Sinclair. 

Well, it really is her first term. Clark was chosen by her party in February 2011 to serve the remainder of Gordon Campbell's 2009-won third term.

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