Is it getting cold in here?

Yesterday, the premier's special advisor Ken Dobell said he hadn't made any decision about taking legal action against those who have accused him on being in a conflict of interest. But he did say the "continuous repitition" of those allegations - which relate to his registertration as a lobbyist for the City of Vancouver - is "highly inappropriate" and puts "people's reputations at risk." And Mr. Dobell - who says he doesn't consider his work for the city lobbying, having registered to "simply deal with any question of compliance and to be completely open and transpparent" - isn't the only one who sounded like lawyers' letters could be a possibility.

When New Democrat leader Carole James once again raised questions in the legislature about Mr. Dobell's work, Liberal House Leader Mike de Jong said "If the member has an allegation she wants to make, then she should make it in here. We'll answer it. And she should make it out there, where others can" - a reference to the fact statements made by MLAs outside legislature aren't protected by parliamentary privilege and, therefore, are actionable.

Of course, this isn't the first time the Campbell administration has made such suggestions. It's simply the most recent. Asked about the matter, Minister de Jong said, "I think that if one is going to make allegations that go to the heart of an individual's reputation, to simply do so within the confines of chamber where there is protection afforded falls short of a standard we'd expect from elected people."

But don't such threats risk limiting discussion of issues, such as the appropriateness of Mr. Dobell's competing contracts? "These are not questions. These are assertions that people are making. And it's easy to make those kinds of very harmful assertions when you don't have to answer for them," responded Minister de Jong, adding that "it seems to me somewhat cowardly to make those assertions in a place where you don't have to be held accountable for them."

11 Comments

Lawyers letters are just busy work for paralegal secretaries.

Mr Dobell keeps making reference to being "completely open and transparent" Would he like to comment then, as one so mindful of the public's perception, why he accepted a city contract which had not been "put out" for public tender. Are we really to believe that he did he not suspect that this "acceptance" may have a negative impact on the "integrity, honesty and transparancy" that he talks so eloquently about.

I think that the public perception of potential conflict of interest has not been resolved. I would question Mt. Dobell's cultural experience. Having been a City Manager does not make him an expert in Culture.

"I would question Mt. Dobell's cultural experience. Having been a City Manager does not make him an expert in Culture, Trade, Tourism etc. "

That is a good point. Turning back to Virk, he had no experience (educationally or occupationally) in transporation, but was appointed anyway.

But one's background in a subject of interest seems to have no value in those kinds of appointments.

Dobell isn't in a specific conflict of interest, but the number and stature of his appointments raises questions. He's been given too much obviously, and there are others who could have done the same tasks that were most likely more deserving given their work in the community.

There has to be a limit as in

"You're already there at a good salary, why do you want this other one"?

Seems the polished finish of "Gordon Campbell and The BC Liberals" is starting to lose its lustre.

Mr. Dobell has recently said that he has recent legal advice, as this concerns the accusations that he didn't properly register as a lobbyist and may be in a perceived confict of interest. Why would he need recent legal advice? He had to have known all of the legal ramifications with respect to the law, and specifically to the law relating to lobbying in BC, long ago. He might even have had a hand in crafting the law when it was introduced. He certainly could not have been naive to ALL of the subtleties and nuances of the original law when it was before the BC Legislature.

Jim Van Rassel/Glen P Robbins

"Mr. Dobell - who says he doesn't consider his work for the city lobbying, having registered to "simply deal with any question of compliance and to be completely open and transpparent"

Well then, that clears it up, doesn't it? I mean, if Dobell says it's not lobbying then it must not be lobbying.

If Dobell is not lobbying for the City, or using his cozyness with the Premier, then the City should have gone to tender for contract.

In fact, I believe, he is perfectly ill-qualified to consult on homelessness as it increased greatly under his watch as Deputy to the Premier. He was there when the Liberals eliminated the provincial housing program which has helped more people call the street their home.

I am shedding no tears for dobell or his cohorts in the premier's office. this apears to be more "do what I say, not what I do" from Campbell and his buddies.

and zvev is right on; as someone deeply engaged in the world of "culture", dobell has no credibility.

the whole sorry mess is shameful and it was marvellous to see news about it on the front page of the newspaper today - it was far beyond time that the "free press" demonstrated that it is, indeed, free.

This Doebell mess leads me to think that we have double-dipping where someone collects from two sources and then we have Doebell-dipping where the same person collects from a seemingly endless number of sources.
Nice work if you can get it!

This fellow sounds like someone who feels pretty certain others will protect him should the wheels actually start falling off this latest bluff.

At the very least, Dobell must have seen the potential for the perception of a conflict of interest (why register otherwise?).

This man certainly isn't a rookie around the political block and if he hasn't got through Ethics 101 by now, well, let's just call him an old dog.

...so we taxpayersare must spend $250 an hour for the benefit of a consultant's experience, and if anyone dares question whether we're getting value for money, they risk being taken to the cleaners for defamation of character?

Nice one! I think I'll try it on my clients.

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