Earlier, we exclusively reported the premier and cabinet minister Stan Hagen allegedly tried to influence bureaucrats to hurry the sale of Crown land sought by developer and hockey legend Geoff Courtnall. This, according to internal government emails obtained by Shawnigan Lake Watershed Watch via a freedom of information request. Minister Hagen wasn't available for comment on Friday. But, when we caught up with him at the Rockpile today, he said he didn't think there was a problem with that kind of politicking. And, when it comes to Mr. Courtnall's specific file, he added "I don't think there was political involvement. I don't know whether I phoned" the government agency responsible for Crown land sales "or just had a staff member contact them to move the process along. I don't think that's inappropriate at all." He also stated "if somebody was interested in purchasing a piece of Crown land or leasing a piece of Crown land then you'd want to make sure that the process was moving ahead." In fact, insiders say the same thing happened when the New Democrats were in power. The sale of the land in question did not proceed.
March 20, 2006