Earlier, we exclusively reported the province's blacktop lobby was organizing an Astroturf movement to "sway public and political opinion in support of the government's transportation programs." But. according to B.C. Road Builders and Heavy Construction Industry Association president Jack Davidson, his group is "trying to do it for no money" or, at the most, $10,000. But that's not nearly enough funding, says former British Columbia Construction Association president and chief executive officer Michael Geoghegan. Explained Mr. Geoghegan, "There's this history and tradition within the construction sector of not having money for lobbying. But we certainly have money for industry conferences in Hawaii or Las Vegas or Cancun, etc. So what we have is an industry where boondoggles are a priority. And yet, somehow, incurring expenses associated with lobbying government or getting actual results for the membership has all too often taken a backseat."
"What they have to do is understand that, if you want to get results out of government you have to do the things that get results. And that means either hiring or contracting people who have access to government at a bureaucratic or political level who can put the case to government. And it also means, when you're creating third party advocacy organizations, making sure they're adequately funded. And you know what, having conferences in Hawaii and other assorted boondoogles - that's got to take second place priority." Mr. Geoghegan also said the only industry member who seems to understand that is Phil Hochstein, president of the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of British Columbia.