Appreciation for nothing

This morning, brother muckraker Russ Francis reported in The Province that, "In disclosures about gifts received last year, Solicitor-General Rich Coleman lists a $400 crystal rendition of two horses (he received) from the Horsemen's Protective and Benevolent Association and Thoroughbred Related Associations." After doing a bit of digging, Public Eye has learned those "Thoroughbred Related Associations" include the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society (British Columbia division) and (drumroll please) Hastings Entertainment Inc. The three organizations split the cost of the Swarovski crystal horses, which were actually valued at closer to $500. So what did the solicitor general do to deserve such a fine gift?

Well, according to thoroughbred horse society president Dixie Jacobson, the statuette (which she purchased) was presented to the minister during the organization's industry awards ceremony held on April 10 at the Westin Bayshore Resort and Marina. She says it was a token of appreciation, for "supporting the (horseracing industry)."

When Public Eye asked Ms. Jacobson how the minister has supported that industry, she told us, "No racing jurisdiction in Canada has been successful unless they've had slot machines at the track to compete with the other industries in their area." And, under Solicitor General Coleman's watch, 600 of those machines were approved for installation at Hastings Racecourse. That racecourse is operated by Hasting Entertainment, which is owned by Great Canadian Casinos Inc.

Solicitor General Coleman, the minister responsible for gaming, previously told the legislature the British Columbia Lottery Corp. "now has the responsibility of the conduct and management of gaming in British Columbia, arm's length from any political influence."

Ms. Jacobson also added, "because (Solicitor General Coleman's hometown of) Langley is the horse capital of B.C., he knows many people have horses and how much trickle down effect the racing industry has - not only in Langley but province-wide. And he's probably the best minister (the Liberals) could have put in charge of gaming because he's aware of that fact...And I've never been that political but I'm very political now because Rich Coleman is just a terrific guy as far as I'm concerned. He's been good for everybody."

Vancouver Mayor Larry Campbell received a similarly-valued token on appreciation at the April ceremony. Solicitor General Coleman is on vacation and was unreachable for comment.

15 Comments

Can you spell conflict of interest? Hidden agenda? What a nice guy that Rich Coleman is.There are as many implications if not more regarding an appearance of a conflict as did the famous hunting knife. Shares in fish farms, donations by those who stand to gain by liberal influence in promoting gambling. My My , the rot is deep and smelly. Maybe Mr. Basi will talk lika a canary.

Perhaps SB would like to disclose as to whether his RRSP has any George Weston stock in it - the thing that is fishy here is now that we are less than six months away from an election everyone is closely looking at the contents of the Premier's financial holdings which have been a matter of public record since he was elected. Will Carole James allow a public review of her financial holdings before the election so the public can have a clear understanding of any possible conflicts of interest before casting a vote for her or her party.?

Nooooooo!!!! Could this be a case of gov't working with business instead of against it? What's the matter sb? Does it upset you that maybe, just maybe, Coleman actually understands the issues of the industry and is acting in its' and BC's best interest, instead of your union's?

As far as I can see there is no issue here.

It was a token of appreciation, which other political figures received. I doubt that a) Coleman did it for the big kickback of a crystal horse to put on his mantle or b) there is an evil consortium of politicians plotting to install slots everywhere, and reap some sweet Swarovski in the process.

Those types of awards are given all the time, in every industry, as well as politics. Don't hold the Horseman's good taste against them. It could have been a T-shirt that said "I got lucky with 3 Hastings' bars".

It is a matter of ethics which you obviously do not understand as you are obviously a die hard Liberal. If you own fish farm stocks, you are in a conflict of interest if you are part of an agenda to promote this unhealthy and ecologically disastrous industrial practice as the preier of the province. And if you are the Minister who is involved in plannig gaming expansion in the province than you need to have a distance and neutrality.Gambling appears to be the largest growth industry with great revenue potential for your liberal politicians.However lest you forget they denounced this industry before they were elected. How did the big enlightment happen? By the way these were required year end disclosures by government politicians. Inconvenient when you have agendas to hide but necessary to at least have a semblance that there are checks and balances for our institutions and our government. But I guess anything that gets in the way of self interest and making money is a bad thing And by the way, business is not a black and white all is good with business. There are incompetent business people and unethical business practices , just as there are progressive unions and also regressive and corrupt unions.Unions serve a valuable role in our society and also have to adhere to checks and balances through labour law.
And by the way you obviously did not induce the connection between the good taste of the horseman and the associations involved in expanding gambling. Of course they think Richie Rich is great. Look what he has done for them.
Corruption is corruption my friend, no matter who practices it. The liberals should not have special privileges to practice corruption.Garry collins would have had to resign if he had stayed on due to the seriousness of the charges against his administrative asssistant. If you dot understand this talk to your parents who hopefully attempted to instill values and ethics in your upbringing.if they did not it is not too late to learn though it may change you and change your political otlook.
Hey about that Mary Polak and her fabricated quote? I guess that is okay with you too!

Good for you sb! You are "right on". Ethics has everything and nothing to do with politics.

So sb,

The thesis of your longwinded email is that instituting policies that benefit the horseracing industry in BC is corrupt? Or do you believe that Coleman and the rest of government was influenced to institute these policies by the gift of a crystal horse?

That's pretty think gruel. How about Coleman and the rest of government (not to mention Larry Campbell and most of Vancouver Council) did some things to save a historic and important industry that provides jobs for people in rural areas.

Sounds like the epitomy of evil to me (rolls eyes)

Yes corruption may sneak in but a glass horse seems a token when gazillions are involved.Watch for pure private plays in the future like private booze sellers,or liquor stores.You know the drill, graft is only graft when in office.The quid pro quo can happen when out of office? Would it be crime for a benefit to occur after the libs leave office, say getting hired as consultant for a large chunk of change, or perhaps one speech for a million dollars.
Canada is rife with backhands ,always has been, perhaps "sb" is starry eyed but are most Canadians?I 'd like to think not.

Hey sb, were you foaming at the mouth when you wrote that? That's hilarious. I understand ethics just fine thanks. My point is that just because he received a token of appreciation doesn't mean this is corrupt! There is no evidence of any wrong doing, and there is nothing wrong with the presentation of an award by an industry to a gov't that has helped that industry.

It baffles me why you lefties have such a big problem with gov't working WITH business. I know the NDP method is to try to drive business away, but trying to link this to corruption is just totally stupid.

Get over it and accept the fact this gov't is working to get industry and business to be the leaders in the economy and not public sector unions.

Poindexter: Why is it that you think every one who speaks out agains this govt is in a union? I am a successful entrepeneur and I loathe the way this govt has treated its people. I have been quiet since 2001 but the obvious corruption with the sale of BC Rail was the straw that broke the camels back for me. I voted Liberal last time and I cannot do it again. How can you support a govt that is trying to sweep a bombshell revelation in the sale of a billion dollar provincial asset? Does that mean nothing to you from the most open anc accountable governement in history? I could care less about Coleman getting a crystal horse. Coleman is the one who made the most hilarious quote I have ever heard when pressed on the expansion of gambling: "The definition of expansion of gaming is the definition that one chooses to hear". Ok Rich, thanks.

Lastly Poindexter: Corruption will always be in every level of government to a certain degree. What I find appalling about the Liberals is that they try to brainwash the masses through media, and instead of tackling the obvious corruption head on - they run from it. If the NDP were in power, this BC Rail thing would be front page and Gordon would be stading on his chair in the leg insisting on jail time for all in power. The hypocrisy and arrogance of the Liberals have lost my vote. Not sure who I will vote for but I will take incompetence of corruption any day.

There is a difference between government working with business and government working for business my friends.Liberals work for business and business only. Roll your eyes John as this may be difficult for you to comprehend.MLa's shares in fast food restaurants involved in passing legislation to provide lower training wages, fish farm enhancement and forgiving of fines and it just goes on and on.Who protects the public interest?This is a positioning that every party has to look at and has to practicce in terms of accountability and transparency.Is this idealistic or do we just assume this is a way of life and part of our culture. It really inspires confidence in politicians and institutions of government to accept uethical government and uethical governance.Campbell and Vancouver council also have to be accountable.However when people are so partisan as many of us are we also take responsibility for corrupt practice of our beloved parties. Liberals like corporations are only interested in making money for their friends and families and supporting their self interests and that is why the NDP has made a comeback.People want better government. That is why it stinks when Richie Rich accepts awards of the self interest monetary groups he is assisting instead of living up to his preelection platform.And how about that Mary Polak?

Hey sb do you know anyone that can build a deck on my cabin or maybee build some really cheap fast ferries. Liberals are only interested in making money for friends and families - give me a break - they are the best thing that has happened to this provine in so many years. Where were you for the past ten??

So let me get this straight sb. First we tell politicians that they shouldn't get an MLA pension. Now we go after them based on obscure political connections in their own private RRSPs?

And these obscure connections, this - in your mind - constitutes corruption!?!

I have RRSPs. If you put a gun to my head and asked me to name every comapny that my mutual fund owns stck in, I couldn't tell you. The portfolio shifts based on market conditions.

If this is the (goofy) standard that politicians are going to be held to, then no wonder no one wants to run for political office.

I do not mind if people who have achieved financial success in their lives decide they want to hold public office. In fact, I find it sort of comforting given the fact that I turn over half my income to them every year and would like to see it spent wisely if possible.

SB has been so busy denouncing corruption and showing his support for the NDP that he has yet to answer my simple question - does he have any Weston stock in his RRSP portfolio and does he agree that Carole James should disclose her holdings before the election.
Awaiting your response.
SB - did CUPE oppose the casino at Hastings Park?
SB - isn't the final say on the casino issue up to local municipal governments and if you are so opposed and live in Vancouver who are you going to support for Mayor and Council in November.

so rk, you're a successful entrepreneur and you are going to vote for the NDP? Good luck buddy, you and Gregor can tough it out in this province if the NDP get back in because you'll be the only two 'businessmen' left here.

I also own a successful business, and I also remember the 1990's. The Liberals may not be perfect but the NDP had ten years to show what they could do, and they drove this province into the ground. And guess what? It's the same players trying to get back in. What does that have to do with the unions? Well I think it's pretty obvious that the NDP is controlled by the BC Fed, and they are just looking out for the big unions.

BS is right - the Liberals are the best thing to happen to this province in a long time, and as a business owner I know that the NDP will mean the death of all the economic progress and positive direction we've seen this province take in the past few years.

Where have all the social crediters gone ,long time passing or did they change to liberal spots?
Possible that since the largest groups of interest or affinity groups are being addressed by the campbell gov't- the seniors per example, the property owners. But as you can see the fervor over the Coleman gift has slipped away.
No one has to answer to the press if the press is in on it , as no newspaper wants to be excluded from releases etc. or have ad revenue drop.
Now i can see why the province buys those feelgood ads space ,it seems apparent now, one can think of it as the "give it - take it away"gambit.
possibly the campbell gov't could develop the Meager creek geothermal resource and swing the huge green urban interest vote to theirselves.
That way a legacy could accure to the voters that lasts , well as long as the big dam.

Leave a comment

Copyright © 2004 - Public Eye Mediaworks. Reproductions of any portion of this Website are permitted only with the expressed permission of Public Eye Mediaworks.
Canadian Web Hosting graciously provided by dotcanuck Web Services. Layout and graphics courtesy of Art Department Design.