Why does everything have to be so political?

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.

12 Comments

Gee Sean, did you yell, "Stop the presses," when you found this one. Give me a break. Oh my goodness, a politician told some bureaucrats to process an application in an expedient manner. The horror, the horror.

Unless said politician told the bureaucrats to approve an application that had no right to be approved, you have no story. I can't believe 24 ran this as a story.

How about you use the journalist skills you have and get back to work finding real news. I'm begging you. It's getting depressing to see the gossip you try to pass off as news. Bring back Sean Holman the cutting edge reporter. You might remember him, he did a great deal of investigative journalism and forced the resignation of a Cabinet Minister.

Nice head: almost smells like Spirit of the West lyrics. Keep up the raking, Sean.

At the very least, it is very inappropriate for the Premier and for Minister Hagen to intrude into the specific business affairs of Land & Water BC Inc. and for civil servants to heed their intrusion.

If the issue was that the Crown was slow in processing applications to purchase land then the Premier and Minister Hagen have a obligation to fix the problem but they have no right to allow their friends to "jump the cue".

Wait a minute, is this the same Geoff Courtnall that was involved with the pillage of half of the mountainside surrounding Egmont? to, oh ya, build a resort for less fortunate children? come to think of it that resort is taking a long time eh?

So Courtnall is willing to invest millions into British Columbia and Government tries to put up the 'open for business' sign by speeding up the wheels of the bureaucracy and this is somehow bad according to the NDP? Yes those 90's were so prosperous. It's all about commodity prices right.

It may be 'open for business' but tell it to the kids, more of whom are living in poverty right here in Lotusland than anywhere else in the country. 'Open for business'is just a catchphrase for the wealthy lining their pockets while the poor, the sick and the elderly suffer. It's all about health care when and where you need it, right.

Back to Government School 101 for all you apologists! Explain to us dummies exactly what is the point of establishing a Crown if it's not to prevent exactly this kind of blatant political interference?

That Stan and Gord and their apologists see no problem in this at all only makes it far worse (although I'd be far likelier to buy that one if we all didn't know that they'd be leaping on their desks if they'd caught the NDP doing that!

Kevin, I am afraid your interventions are becoming too lame for words. It is all about commmodity prices and interest rates, as you well know. And in fact, as you also know, despite those factors there is still no major real investment going on in BC's manufacturing sectors, nor anything much in the primary sectors outside oil and gas. What manufacturing investments are occuring are mostly responses to the US softwood tariff, mill consolidations, or temporary plant to process the extra pine beetle allocations.

As for this episode it is truly incredibe that a Minister and a First Minister are involved in hustling the public service, which is supposed to process applications in a professional, objective and politically neutral fashion. These Emails may not show any outright corruption but they certainly show a situation that "sucks the big one". Insiders get one standard of treatment when applying to purchase Crown assets, the rest get whatever.

Holman makes the point that similar things happened under the NDP, which is kind of surprising since the average NDP hack is not often in a position to be buying large tracts of Crown Land. It would be nice to hear of a couple of examples, ... maybe there are more millionaire socialists in BC with an interest in land developments than just Bob Williams!

And BTW, Kevin, weren't you among the people who were insisting that it be Louise Burgart or Bust in so far as the redistricting panel is concerned? Well, ... what's the song now?

I agree with popinoff. Where's the story here? The minister's office ensured a file was moving forward - so what? Did they intervene to order a fire sale? Doesn't look like it. Did they order the bureaucrats at Land and Water BC to overturn a decision or violate policy? Apparently not. This thing is beyond "inside the Beltway". It's complete nonsense. There's no story. Surely there are real stories to chase around that stately Victorian rockpile. If the media thinks chalk and cheese stories like this have legs, then god help us.

Hmmm, er, well, maybe now that mcfd is being run out of the premier's office, minister hagen has nothing to do?

I guess that is why the Courtnalls campaigned so heavily for the Linos in the last election.I wonder how much they contributed to the Linos.Help your friends and they will help you.Ask the FOI on how much it costs to get info on polluters in the province who contributed to the linos financially.It is so blatanlty crooked only the Larsens could, without shame, try and twist corruption around to a fine practice. As gomer pyle said, Shame, shame, shame Kevin!

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