Tuesday, June 3, 2014

BC Politics

Blue Plate Special  

John Les' private $5000 a plate Liberal dinner raises questions

Released by Dermod Travis, Integrity BC


wenty-one individuals paid $5,000 each to attend a private B.C. Liberal party fundraising dinner with Premier Christy Clark, organized last October by former Liberal MLA John Les. Ten of those attendees had their tickets paid for by corporations or organizations.


The dinner, held in Abbotsford on October 22, was billed as an “Evening with the Premier.” According to the B.C. Liberal party's 2013 annual report (page 676), it raised $105,000 and netted the party $98,572.

In an email, obtained by IntegrityBC, Les promised invitees that "There will be a generous opportunity to meet and speak personally with the Premier, followed by dinner, remarks from the Premier and your questions to her. Several MLAs will also be in attendance."

IntegrityBC is calling on the B.C. Liberal party to disclose the list of attendees, whether any are registered lobbyists or retain registered lobbyists, and whether any of the attendees or their employers have files before cabinet.

"When 900 individuals attend a $1,000 a plate B.C. Liberal fundraising dinner in Victoria, it's a safe bet that substantive dinner time conversations with the premier are not on the menu," said IntegrityBC executive director Dermod Travis. "But when 21 individuals pay $5,000 each to have what John Les called a 'generous opportunity' to speak with the premier,  it's only natural to wonder what was discussed over dinner and by whom."

Clark appointed Les as chair of the Farm Industry Review Board one week after the dinner, a post that has a three-year term and pays the retired MLA a maximum of $60,000 annually. Les was later appointed chair of a provincial earthquake preparedness review, a position that was to pay him an additional $140,000. The appointment was rescinded by the premier shortly after it was announced by Attorney General Suzanne Anton.

IntegrityBC was unable to find any media coverage of the October dinner before or after it was held.



Dermod Travis is the executive director of IntegrityBC. www.integritybc.ca



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