Kevin Falcon is a popular man among property developers, managers and builders. So popular, in fact, that the provincial Liberal transportation minister's financial agent collected at least $61,500 from the industry immediately prior to and during the 2005 election campaign. And he received a further $18,500 from transportation interests, according to an analysis conducted by Public Eye.
When asked whether about the appropriateness of receiving donations from two sectors that could be impacted by the decisions he makes, Minister Falcon replied, "I think the fact I do receive and proudly receive lots of support from the development industry is no great surprise given that that's my background. That's where I came from," having been vice-president of Northwest Investment Properties Inc.
"And I think you'd find, even before I was transportation minister, that I had support" from the industry in the 2001 election. And as for donations from the transportation industry? "I don't remember (those contributions) being a factor at all."
Transportation critic David Chudnovsky wouldn't weight in on whether he thought those donations were inappropriate, saying "I'm not going to make a particular comment about a particular minister or situation. What I'm going to say is that people have a right to look for campaign finance reform. That's what (the New Democrats) are putting before them. And we think it's legitimate for them to ask questions about who's funding politicians."
Among the more notable companies handing over money the minister's financial agent were Emerson Real Estate Group, Kingswood Holdings Ltd. and Progressive Construction Ltd., which once employed cabinet minister Olga Ilich as its executive vice-president. Those companies have partnered to develop the controversial Campbell Heights business park. The park has been under fire from environmentalists who say the construction work is damaging one of the few remaining fish habitat areas in the Lower Mainland. Combined, those firms wrote cheques totaling $21,000.
Also of interest: Canadian Road Builders Inc. executives Gilbert Brulotte and Glenn Thamer ($3,000), as well as Southern Railway of British Columbia Ltd. president John van der Burch ($2,000). Much of the money was raised during a series of fundraisers at Gotham Steakhouse and Cocktail Bar. A version of this article was originally published in today's edition of 24 hours.
Donations from the transportation industry
Canadian Road Builders Inc. president Gilbert Brulotte ($2,000)
Canadian Road Builders Inc. vice-president Glenn Thamer ($1,000)
D.G. Trucking ($2,000)
Euro Asia Transload Inc. ($500)
B&B Contracting Ltd. ($2,000)
Mainland Sand and Gravel Ltd. ($2,000)
RS Gill Express Ltd. ($3,000)
SAP Canada Inc. ($2,000)
Siemens Canada Ltd. ($2,000)
Southern Railway of British Columbia Ltd. president John van der Burch ($2,000)
Donations from the property development, management and construction industries
Anthem Properties Group Ltd. ($2,000)
Amacon Construction Ltd. ($2,000)
B&B Truss Ltd. ($1,000)
The Beedie Group president Ryan Beedie ($2,000)
Benchmark Properties Ltd. ($2,000)
Bill's Development Ltd. ($1,000)
Britco Factory Built Buildings ($500)
Campbell Heights Limited Partnership ($15,000)
CB Richard Ellis Ltd. ($2,000)
Concord Pacific Group Inc. ($4,000)
Elegant Development Inc. ($500)
Emerson Real Estate Group Inc. ($2,000)
Foundation Properties Ltd. ($2,000)
Isle of Mann Construction Ltd. ($1,000)
J. Cote & Son Excavating Ltd. ($2,500)
Kingswood Holdings Ltd. ($2,000)
Langley Concrete & Tile Ltd. ($2,500)
Marathon Homes Cloverdale Ltd. ($1,000)
Mosaic Homes Ltd. partner Robert McCarthy ($2,000)
Norman McKay Excavating Ltd. ($500)
Onni Property Management Services ($2,000)
ParkLane Homes Ltd. ($2,000)
PCB Properties Ltd. ($2,000)
Polygon Homes Ltd. ($2,000)
Popular Group Investments Ltd. ($1,000)
Progressive Construction Ltd. ($2,000)
Re/Max Real Estate Services realtor Ranjit Sigh Katkar ($1,000)
Sandhill Development Ltd. ($1,000)
Tass Homes Ltd. ($1,000)