250 News - Your News, Your Views, Now

October 27, 2017 7:21 pm

Money Makes the World Go Round

Saturday, January 14, 2017 @ 6:45 AM

by Dermod Travis

After 15 months on the job, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is embarking on a cross-Canada tour, ostensibly to reconnect with Canadians or at least those that can’t afford $1,525 to bend his ear in private.

It seems Trudeau – and other federal cabinet ministers – have a fondness for political fundraising events held behind closed doors, far away from prying eyes.

In political slang better known as cash-for-access, not to be confused with its kissing cousin pay-to-play.

When news of Trudeau’s private dinners broke in November – first reported on by The Tyee – the prime minister assured Canadians that nothing untoward was taking place.

Little more than dumpling making demonstrations, as Trudeau is seen doing in a number of photos from a Toronto dinner last May.

Everything was peachy-keen as far as the prime minister was concerned, until one host spilled the beans.

In November, when Trudeau was in the Lower Mainland to announce his five-year, $1.5 billion ocean protection plan, there was a $1,525 cash-for-access event on his private itinerary.

Unpublicized at the time, Trudeau broke bread at the home of Miaofei Pan, a Vancouver property developer.

Shock of all shocks, some of the 80 guests saw the dinner as an opportunity to talk shop with the prime minister.

Up for discussion that night was the proposed acquisition of Vancouver-based Retirement Concepts, a chain of retirement homes believed to be worth more than $1 billion, by China’s Anbang Insurance Group.

If Anbang’s bid is approved by the federal government it would become a major service provider to B.C.’s health ministry.

It wasn’t long before calls for an investigation by federal ethics commissioner Mary Dawson – who had already called cash-for-access “not very savoury” – started flying across Ottawa.

Last month – still labouring under the mistaken impression that everything is on the up-and-up with these fundraisers – Trudeau told the Vancouver Sun editorial board that one just had to use Google to find a list of names of those in attendance.

Not so. Both The Tyee and Globe and Mail have requested the names from the prime minister’s office and the Liberal party of Canada without success.

Paradoxically, the federal Liberal party returned donations from the Cannabis Friendly Business Association after representatives of the group attended a reception last spring with Trudeau’s point person on pot, Bill Blair.

All to avoid any misconceptions that the event violated the government’s own ethics guidelines that advise cabinet ministers and parliamentary secretaries to avoid an “appearance of preferential access.”

But then it is easier to refund a handful of $150 tickets, than it is to return $1,525 to each of 80 ticket holders.

Lost in the federal kerfuffle are some upcoming cash-for-access events in B.C. with Premier Christy Clark.

At three times his going rate of $1,525, the prime minister would still be a bargain compared to Clark.

In December Agriculture minister Norm Letnick sent out a private email to what he called “leaders such as yourself,” offering 21 individuals “an outstanding dinner experience” with Clark on January 26 for all of $5,000 a plate.

Too rich for your blood? Letnick had another “outstanding dinner experience” to offer with backbench MLA Linda Larson for a mere $2,500.

One frequent participant at these exclusive dinners is Toronto-based Borealis Infrastructure, a subsidiary of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System.

At least they’re upfront about their motivation in buying tickets, noting in their official policy that “Participation in the political process may be directly relevant to minimizing risk and achieving (our) investment objectives.”

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan isn’t immune to intimate evenings with well-heeled donors either.

In November, the party charged up to $10,000 a head at its resource industry dinner.

Only B.C. Green party leader Andrew Weaver refuses to attend or host cash-for-access events.

The B.C. Liberal party held 142 fundraising events in 2015, the NDP 46 and the Greens one.

But there’s a far cry between the Green party’s $10 film screening in Kelowna, the NDP’s $50 belt it our for equality karaoke night and the $10,000 that 10 guests paid to share dinner with Clark at the home of Simon Fraser University chancellor Anne Giardini.

Dermod Travis is the executive director of IntegrityBC.


Or could be Andrew Weaver realises no one’s even going to pay the price of a Big Mac and a side of fries to stake him to a free meal and bend his ear while the car’s idling through the takeout.

“B.C. NDP leader John Horgan isn’t immune to intimate evenings with well-heeled donors either.

In November, the party charged up to $10,000 a head at its resource industry dinner.”

10k per capita? I wonder how many paid that kind of money!

I don’t agree with “cash for access” at all, where only the rich get to meet with, and influence, our political leaders!

I find this practice particularly disgusting in BC where political parties can host $10,000 per plate dinners while a record number of British Columbians are standing in food bank lines! There is something dreadfully wrong with all this, yet no one seems to care!

ht tp://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/food-bank-use-in-b-c-at-an-all-time-high-1.3851098

Last election didn’t Rich Coleman have a fundraiser in Calgary put on by the oil companies?

    More than just one fundraiser my2bits, the “BC Liberal Party has received millions from Alberta-based oil and gas companies over the last 10 years, significantly more than the industry’s donations to the Alberta PCs.”

    ht tp://www.vancouverobserver.com/news/alberta-oil-and-gas-millions-fuel-bc-liberal-machine

    In my opinion, Christy Clark’s recent decision to approve the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project was bought and paid for by Alberta-based oil and gas companies. Isn’t it nice to know oil and gas companies in Alberta can grease and lube the BC Liberal Party’s political wheels with millions of dollars, and then have Christy bend over for them so they can lay their pipe?

      Didn’t Trudeau approve that?
      Clark had conditions that were met?

Forget BC politics being the laughing stock of Canada, let’s go for North America!!! Yup Christy Clark and her BC Liberals just made the NY Times yesterday, and you won’t believe what they had to say about this joke of a government! “Much of what is considered business as usual in British Columbia is illegal elsewhere in Canada.” Their news coverage of Christy and her Liberals was scathing, and when that kind of criticism comes from south of the border, you know it has to be pretty bad up here.

ht tps://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/13/world/canada/british-columbia-christy-clark.html

Socred, dirt man, BH, PG et al need to go to timmies and have a dub dub. Or get out from behind the computer and enjoy the rest of their days left. No matter what’s discussed in this forum none of you will ever change your opinions. Just cranky old people with cranky attitudes barfing complacency.
If your opinions will never change and you aren’t open to new ideas why engage in a forum? Like 5 people yelling on 5 soap boxes but nobody listening here. Always eager to fact check or want proof or citing BS articles. You can’t see air…must not exist?
Or how about: all cats are animals, all dogs are animals….all cats are dogs!!!
The logical fallacies in your conversations run deep. I’m actually ashamed of myself for even engaging in these closed minded discussions. All you want to do is discredit others opinions without educating yourself on the issue being discussed. Rather than engage in productive conversation you ignore the holes in your argument and attempt to pierce holes in your opponents. In every forum on every topic there is people like you (sometimes it’s actually you!) Who have an “educated” opinion on everything!!!
Anyways good luck folks. Happy flagging (hall monitors!)

    This is not about changing the other person’s mind when we engage in debate on here. For me it is an opportunity to present to the many people who read our comments but do not post comments on this news blog site. I research the facts that support my assertions, it would be up to the readers to decide what is fiction and what is fact.

    In the end, it is my hope the readers will become more informed, and thereby make a more informed vote come May 9th. At any rate, we do have lives outside of this news blog site, I am finishing up dinner, I will head to the liquor store to pickup a bottle of wine, and then later, it will be a night out with my girls. :-)

      The story mentions that Trudeau – and other federal cabinet ministers – has a fondness for political fundraising events held behind closed doors, far away from prying eyes.

      It mentions Christy Clark at $5,000.00 a plate!

      It mentions MLA Linda Larson for a mere $2,500.00 a plate!

      It mentions NDP Leader John Horgan at $10,000.00 a plate!

      Lots and lots of our politicians doing the “pay to play” shuffle!

      And so, good ol’ BH chooses to go on and on and ON about Christy Clark!

      Why not Justin, Horgan, etc??

      If you truly want to inform the readers, please let them know why you are so focused on just Christy Clark! Did she rebuff your advances? Turn you down for a blind date? Wouldn’t dance with you at your high school prom? What is it that has triggered your obsessive focus on all things Christy Clark?

      In the interests of “Facts and Truths”, please Peeps, tell us what happened!

And any of us would read your comments and say, why would your comments be the truth of what is? There is a lot of intellect, intelligence, common sense, sound judgement in what these folks say. Who are you to judge?

Comments for this article are closed.