Money meets mouth?

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.

5 Comments

Phill Hochstein has been a supporter of the government since the dog days of opposition. It takes time and money to develop the relationships he has with senior members of Campbell's government.

The main point really is that the squeaky wheel certainly gets the grease with this government.

Buying public support can't come cheap, especially if you've got to overcome the stigma of being an industry front vs. a legitimate public interest group. But then again, perhaps buying the politicians directly might be a better investment?

I wonder what Phil's advice on that might be?

I think it's worth remembering that Mike Geoghegan got his start in BC politics as a NDP Ministerial Asst in the offices of Agric Min Bill Barlee.

After Barlee lost in 1996, he and Geoghegan immediately switched to the Liberals, both provincially and federally, because of their intense personal hostility towards Premier Glen Clark. They did not, however, announce this move at that time. Instead they lobbied in 1999, alongside Darlene Marzarri of course, as "disenchanted New Democrats" pleading for the forcible removal of Premier Clark, and for the installation of their future fellow Liberal Ujjal Dosanjh.

They also established the usual government relations or lobbying business, first called Barlee Geoghegan and Associates, and including PublicEyeOnline's Lillooet correspondent Bernard von Shulman. The company is now simply Mike Geoghegan all by himself.

A couple of years ago Geoghegan was the President of the BC Construction Assn, until he made sexist and ethnocentric remarks about NDP MLA Jenny Kwan on a Victoria radio show. The Association, which includes Hochstein, realized they had to sack Geoghegan for the good of the ship.

Why the Association would now take advice from Geoghegan on how to succeed in the lobbying business is beyond me. Perhaps Geoghegan should team up with some of the Eastern Liberal bloggers like Warren Kinsella and Derek Raymaker so that he can learn how the pros do business.

I can think of about 90 million reasons the construction industry takes Mike Geoghegan's advice. That's the size of the apprenticeship training tax break he helped them secure in this year's provincial budget....


Budd,

Friends, enemies, and by-standers were against Glen Clark... hence why the NDP went down to two (2) seats... its history now. Fighting old battles over lost wars leads to the results of the past and nothing new. Time to move on and build something better. The NDP has a new leader... so think new. The Province has moved on from Glen Clark's government... that's over.

Eugene

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