Friday, July 23, 2010

Patrick Kinsella: The B.C. Liberals GoodFella

Lobbyist and Liberal loyalist/opportunist Patrick Kinsella: one of B.C.'s most controversial and influential political figures.
Minister of booze and gambling Rich Coleman (above centre) dined with booze and gambling lobbyist Patrick Kinsella on July 21 at a Keg in Surrey. Strictly a personal affair, says a Coleman staffer.

Guess who's back in the news?

Just in time for a good ol' gambling scandal, none other than Patrick Kinsella.

Kinsella (top) ran the B.C. Liberals' campaigns in 2001 and 2005, donated $76,864 to the party between 2005 and 2009, and was intricately involved in the BC Rail privatization scandal, which is also known as Regina vs. Basi, Basi and Virk.

Expect Kinsella to be on the witness stand to answer questions about the appearance that he worked for both Crown corporation BC Rail and its successful suitor Canadian National Railway. Expect defence lawyer Michael Bolton to ask Kinsella about his activities over the last decade.

According to the blog of political commentator Alexis G. Tsakumis, Kinsella was spotted dining July 21 at a Keg restaurant in South Surrey with none other than Rich Coleman, B.C.'s minister of housing and social development who is also in charge of gambling and liquor. That's the same Coleman (pictured above at a podium) who skipped out of a July 15 press conference early because he apparently found something else to do to avoid the probing questions of reporters at the launch of

Yes, that's the same "North America first" government-run online casino called PlayNow that was shut down after six hours because of a privacy breach. What were the odds of that happening?

A Coleman staffer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said "the minister has advised this was a personal dinner." As for Kinsella, he did not respond to a phone message I left with his receptionist.

Kinsella runs a "government relations" (read: lobbying) company called the Progressive Group. After years of denying he was a lobbyist (and evading a lobbying-related RCMP investigation because of a legal loophole), he finally signed-up when a new law came into effect April 1, 2010. Lo-and-behold, the Progressive registration shows that he was lobbying during those years that he said he wasn't.

Kinsella's clients include Great Canadian Gaming, Pacific Western Brewing, Mark Anthony Group and Exel Logistics. For those keeping score at home, the respective entities are in the business of gambling, drinking, drinking and industrial delivery. His Lobbyist Registry entries list Coleman as the "target contact" for three of the four companies above and the intended outcomes are either "Development, establishment, amendment or termination of any program, policy or decision" or "Awarding, amendment or termination of a contract, grant or financial benefit."

Oh, it's certainly possible that Kinsella didn't mutter a word about his clients or their goals with Coleman when they broke bread at the Keg. Maybe they spent a few hours mulling the merits of the Keg's Lobster Summer special menu, which expires Aug. 22?

So why, you ask, does Kinsella deserve to be on a blog about the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics?

Kinsella lobbied the B.C. government on behalf of the State of Washington's Olympic office. The contract documents, obtained by Public Eye's Sean Holman, show Progressive pledged to arrange meetings between government decision-makers and businesspeople in Washington and senior officials in the B.C. government and Vancouver Olympic organizing committee.

Kinsella and his sidekick Mark Jiles even told Washington that:

"Progressive Group is located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, while at the same time has a presence in the Provincial capital of Victoria and a foot into the Vancouver 2010 Organizing Committee (VANOC). The Progressive Group is the only public affairs, Olympic affairs and sports marketing firm in B.C." 

Progressive client Orca Creative Group of Woodinville, Wash. scored lucrative gigs through the B.C. Olympic Games Secretariat to design the B.C. Canada Pavilion in Beijing in 2008 and the B.C. Showcase at Robson Square and Four Host First Nations pavilion in 2010.

Great Canadian Gaming was the beneficiary of a controversial VANOC contract to upgrade the power supply at Hastings Park. The project was awarded Oct. 5, 2007 and Wespac got the gig.

The work was necessary for lights and TV cameras at figure skating and short-track speedskating at the Pacific Coliseum. Great Canadian had the money and a plan to overhaul the antiquated Hastings Racecourse electrical system for several years. Then an offer it couldn't refuse came along in 2007 from VANOC. The two parties split the $1.24 million bill.

The Multiparty Agreement of 2002's Annex L listed the competition, training and support facilities that would receive taxpayers' funds. Only the Pacific Coliseum and a then-envisioned temporary arena would get funding. The race track was closed at Games-time and should not have qualified for a dime from VANOC.

Kinsella is a longtime insider with Great Canadian, whose board of directors includes Sen. Larry Campbell. Campbell was Vancouver's populist left-wing mayor when city council approved a casino in 2004 for Hastings Racecourse, despite strong opposition from neighbours.

Kinsella was the co-winner of the 2009 B.C. Horse Racing Industry Top Owner award with stable partner Glen Todd, another well-known friend of the Liberal Party. Todd donated $105,052 between 2005 and 2009.

Todd has an off-track betting parlour called The Derby Bar and Grill connected to the headquarters of his Pacific Customs Brokers on the South Surrey side of the 49th parallel. PCB scored the lucrative VANOC contract for customs clearance and freight forwarding. There were 82 nations entered in the Vancouver Games and PCB was there to ensure the equipment and supplies of athletes, officials and sponsors got in and out of Canada. VANOC never published the value of the contract.

Page 93 of the 2003-published Vancouver 2010 Bid Book listed "freight forwarding and customs brokering" as a tier III category that needed filling. German giant DB Schenker was the official freight and customs sponsor of Athens 2004, Turin 2006 and Beijing 2008. Schenker clients for Vancouver 2010 included NBC and the German Olympic team. For some reason never fully or properly explained, VANOC didn't do a sponsorship deal with Schenker or any of its global competitors. It paid PCB to do the work in a contract dated July 7, 2008.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

IOC liberates VANOC ticket numbers from virtual wait room

Premier Gordon Campbell and his red-ink mittens on NBC's Today Show at Grouse Mountain.

We know that Simon Ammann of Switzerland won the first gold medal of the Games Feb. 13 in ski jumping on the normal hill with a top distance of 108 metres.

We know that Canada's Sidney Crosby scored the winning 3-2 goal 7:40 into sudden-death overtime to beat the United States, end the Olympic competition and give the host nation a record 14th gold medal on Feb. 28.

We know the United States had the most medals overall with 37. We know Norwegian cross-country skier Marit Bjorgen's three gold, one silver and one bronze was the biggest individual medal haul of Vancouver 2010.

Now we're beginning to know more about the financial state of VANOC, the Games organizing committee which incorrectly assumed in its own business plan that a recession would not happen through the Games.

Until now, VANOC has kept secret how many tickets were sold and for how much. For those of us seeking that information, it's been like an extended stay in the dreaded VANOC/ virtual waiting room.

The International Olympic Committee's Vancouver 2010 marketing report was quietly published July 6 and it revealed 1.49 million of 1.54 million available tickets were sold for a total $257 million. That's about $3.4 million shy of the VANOC forecast, but not including tickets for the Paralympics or Cultural Olympiad.

Even on the last day of the Games, VANOC claimed "1.6 million tickets available for the 2010 Winter Games."

VANOC chief financial officer John McLaughlin denied he knew ticket sales information when he was interviewed July 9 (about the British Columbia government's $50 million direct bailout), but he reluctantly agreed July 20 that the IOC numbers are accurate.

VANOC is operating under what amounts to a financial information blackout. Its last financial report release was Dec. 21, 2009 and it decided -- without telling the media -- that it would not release another until late fall 2010 after the audit of its results for the year ending July 31, 2010.

Because of that, VANOC is violating the agreement that defined the responsibilities of the organizing committee and funding governments before the bid was won. The 2002 Multiparty Agreement's sections 4.4 and 26 said the organizing committee would issue reports after each quarter. No exceptions.

Interesting that the pact was made in 2002. That was also the year of the Salt Lake Games. In June 2002 -- just three months after the Olympic flame was extinguished in Utah -- the Salt Lake Organizing Committee's financial information was published in the IOC's own Marketing Matters newsletter.

SLOC earned US$183 million when it sold 1,525,118 of the 1,605,524 tickets available to the Games.

Where Vancouver beat Salt Lake clearly was in the category of potential TV audience. In 2002 it was 2.1 billion. Even Turin 2006 estimated 3.1 billion people had access to television coverage of the Games. By 2010, it ballooned to 3.8 billion. During the Games, IOC marketing director Timo Lumme said: "From a global perspective we would expect that around 3.5 billion people -- over half the population of the world -- will have watched some coverage of the Games."

That 3.5 billion figure has since been constantly quoted by Premier Gordon Campbell -- the one with the red mittens. The Vancouver 2010 Marketing Report discloses a more modest 1.8 billion actual viewership.

The key word is actual.

By comparison, the Beijing 2008 Summer Games had a potential reach of 4.3 billion with an actual audience estimated at 3.5 billion, according to IOC spokesman Benjamin Seeley.

"The measurement (estimation) of actual audience reach has been adopted since Beijing 2008, while previously it was measured (estimated) as Cumulative Global Audience (in billions) and cumulative global viewing hours (in billions)," Seeley said. "The reason being we think it is a more realistic and informative approach to measure actual audience with average minute rating (AMR).

"These figures are TV only, as currently we aren't able to measure Internet and television separately on a global basis."

Monday, July 19, 2010

Let the wine and cheese begin!

Canada's Minister of State for Sport Gary Lunn (left) and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Feb. 12, 2010 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.
The most exclusive party in Canada during the 2010 Winter Olympics may have been the one at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver before the Feb. 12 opening ceremony. The bill for the bash was $32,161.50.

It cost $14,000 to rent and set-up the Pacific Ballroom, $8,500 for food, $2,500 for the host bar and wines, $100 for a children's buffet, $1,750 for "reception food - placed - media," $900 for coffee break refreshments, plus service charges and applicable taxes.

The event was an opportunity for Canadian politicians to grip and grin with people more famous than them. A photographer paid $25,000 was at the ready to snap shots like the one above, which features lil' Gary Lunn, Canada's Minister of State for Sport and action movie star and former steroid-using bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Republican governor of California. Of course, it was all about international diplomacy and strengthening trade ties.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was among the guests. Guests put down their wine glasses and cheese plates briefly for a moment of silence for Nodar Kumaritashvili, the 21-year-old luger who died earlier on the opening day of the 21st Winter Olympics while training at the Whistler Sliding Centre.

So, while we wait for Lunn, Canadian Heritage minister James Moore or even Treasury Board president Stockwell Day to tell us exactly how much Ottawa spent on the Olympics, do enjoy reading the menu, agenda and guest list for the Governor General and Prime Minister's shindig.

Canadian Reception
Pacific Ballroom
Feb. 12, 2010

Passed Canapes:

Hot smoked wild Fraser River salmon on bannock bread
Salt Spring Island goat cheese en croute
Beet cured Queen Charlotte Halibut, organic Barnston Island micro green
Phillo basquet with roasted organic vegetables

Petit Quebec tourtière
Howe Sound dungeness crab cake
Nova Scotia lobster tartelette
Chinatown crispy wonton prawn, sweet chili dipping sauce

Food Stations (very small offering)
Wild mushroom risotto (vegetarian) with Chiliwack (sic) free range pheasant
Gulf Island lamb 'lollipop' with a mustard and honey crust
Albeta beef tenderloin on a brioche
Digby scallop, citrus beurre blanc

Cheeses Station
Selection of Canadian cheeses
La "Corbeille du Boulanger"

Sweet station
Mini Nanaimo bars
Petit four
Assorted macaroons
Chocolate dipped strawberries


15:15 ARRIVAL of Canadian dignitaries.

15:35 ARRIVAL of Official Party (Governor General and Prime Minister).

15:45 ARRIVAL of international dignitaries.

16:05 INTRODUCTION of the media by the Master of Ceremonies.

16:10 FORMAL REMARKS by the Master of Ceremonies.

16:11 INTRODCUTION of the official party to the stage by the Master of Ceremonies.

16:12 INTRODUCTION of the Prime Minister by the Master of Ceremonies.

16:13 REMARKS made by the Prime Minister.

16:16 THANKING of the first speaker and introduction of the Governor General by the Master of Ceremonies.

16:17 REMARKS made by the Governor General.

16:20 CONCLUSION of formal portion of reception by the Master of Ceremonies.

17:15 ANNOUNCEMENT by the Master of Ceremonies regarding departures for B.C Place for the Opening Ceremony.

Reception on the occasion of the Opening of the XXI Olympic Games
Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Vancouver, Canada
February 12, 2009



Leurs Excellences la très honorable Michaëlle Jean, C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D.
Gouverneure générale du Canada
et monsieur Jean-Daniel Lafond

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada
and Mrs. Laureen Harper


His Excellency Jan Fischer
Prime Minister of the Czech Republic
and Mrs. Daniela Fischerová

His Excellency Toomas Hendrik Ilves
President of the Republic of Estonia
and Mrs. Evelin Ilves

His Excellency Mikheil Saakashvili
President of Georgia
and Mr. Levan Vashalomidze

His Excellency Valdis Zatlers
President of the Republic of Latvia
and Mrs. Lilita Zatlere

His Serene Highness Prince Albert II
Principality of Monaco
and Ms. Charlene Wittstock

Mr. Jan Peter Balkenende
Prime Minister of the Netherlands
and Mr. Henk M. Brons

His Excellency Alexander Zhukov
Deputy Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation
and Ms. Ekaterina Zhukova

Her Excellency Doris Leuthard
President of the Swiss Confederation (Switzerland)
and Madame Sandra Läuchli

The Honourable Joe Biden
Vice President of the United States of America
and Dr. Jill Biden


His Royal Highness
Crown Prince of Denmark, Count of Monpezat
(HRH Crown Prince Frederik)
and HRH Crown Princess Mary

His Royal Highness
Prince of the Netherlands, Prince of Oranje
(HRH Prince Willem-Alexander)
and HRH Princess Máxima

His Royal Highnesses
The Crown Prince of Norway
(HRH Crown Prince Haakon)

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal

The Honourable William McKeeva Bush
Premier of the Cayman Islands
and Ms. Kerry Bush

Monsieur Pascal Couchepin
Grand Témoin de la Francophonie
et Monsieur Alexandre Fasel

Son Excellence monsieur Abdou Diouf
Secrétaire général de la Francophonie
et Son Excellence Ousmane Pave

The Honorable Arnold Schwarzenegger
Governor of the State of California
and Ms. Maria Shriver
(+ Christopher Schwarzenegger will be in an adjoining room with other children)

The Honorable Chris Gregoire
Governor of the State of Washington
and Mr. Mike Gregoire

International Olympic Committee - IOC

Comte Jacques Rogge
Président du COI - IOC President
et Madame Anne Rogge

Mr. Richard W. Pound, O.C., O.Q.
Canadian IOC Member
and Ms. Julie Keith

Ms. Rebecca Scott (TBC)
Canadian IOC Member
and Mr. Justin Wadsworth (TBC)

Canadian Olympic Committee

Mr. Michael Chambers
Canadian Olympic Committee President
and Ms. Joan Chambers

Monsieur Marcel Aubut
Président du Comité olympique canadien / Canadian Olympic Committee President


Mr. John Furlong
and Mrs. Darlene Poole

Mr. Ruston E.T. (Rusty) Goepel
and Ms. Lindy Goepel

Monsieur Jacques Gauthier
et madame Manon Girardin


The Honourable Chuck Strahl, P.C., M.P.
and Ms. Deb Strahl

The Honourable Stockwell Day, P.C., M.P.
and Mrs. Valorie Day

The Honourable James Moore, P.C., M.P.
and Dr. James Moore

The Honourable Gary Lunn, P.C., M.P.

The Honourable Peter G. MacKay, P.C., M.P.
and Ms. Jana Juginovic (fiancée)

The Honourable Rona Ambrose, P.C., M.P.
and Ms. Colleen Chapchuk (mother)

The Honourable Peter Van Loan, P.C., M.P.
and Ms. Cheryl Carson

The Honourable Jim Prentice, P.C., M.P.
and Mrs. Karen Prentice

Mr. Michael Ignatieff
Leader of the Official Opposition
and Ms. Zsuzsanna Zsohar

Ms. Alice Wong, M.P. 
(M.P. for Richmond)

Mr. John Weston, M.P. 
(MP West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country)
and Mrs. Donna Weston

His Honour the Honourable Steven L. Point, O.B.C.
Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia
and Her Honour Mrs. Gwendolyn Point

L'honorable Jean Charest
Premier ministre du Québec
et madame Michèle Dionne

The Honourable Darrell Dexter
Premier of Nova Scotia

The Honourable Gordon Campbell, M.L.A.
Premier of British Columbia
and Mrs. Nancy Campbell

The Honourable Robert Ghiz
Premier of Prince Edward Island
and Dr. Kate Ellis Ghiz

The Honourable Ed Stelmach
Premier of Alberta
and Mrs. Marie Stelmach

The Honourable Floyd Roland
Premier of the Northwest Territories

The Honourable Dennis Fentie
Premier of the Yukon

The Honourable Eva Aariak
Premier of Nunavut

His Worship Gregor Robertson
Mayor of Vancouver
and Mrs. Amy Robertson
(+ Tara, Satchel and Jinagh Robertson - will be in an adjoining room with other children)

His Worship Ken Melamed
Mayor of Whistler
and Ms. Uschi Scherer

His Worship Malcolm Brodie
Mayor of Richmond
and Mrs. Christine A. Brodie

Chief Leonard Andrew (TBC)
Chief of Lil'wat Nation
and Mrs. Florence Andrew

Chief Ernest Campell (TBC)
Chief of the Musqueam Nation
and guest

Chief Bill Williams
Chief of the Squamish Nation
and Ms. Julie Baker

Chief Justin George
Chief of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation
and Mrs. Heidi George

Chief Shawn Atleo
National Chief of the Assembly of the First Nations
and Mrs. Nancy Atleo

National Chief Betty Ann Lavallée, C.D., Q.J. (Ret'd)
National Chief, Congress of Aboriginal Peoples
and Ms. Jessica Bolduc

Ms. Mary Simon
National Inuit Leader and President of ITK 
and Mr. Whit Fraser

Mr. Clément Chartier
Métis National Council President

Ms. Jeannette Corbiere Lavell
President, Native Women's Association of Canada 
and Ms. Merle Greene

The Honourable Nancy Greene Raine, Senator
Canada's Olympic Ambassador for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games
and Mr. Alan E. Raine

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