One of British Columbia's leading tourism operators picked up Tourism, Sports and the Arts Minister Stan Hagen's bill at a weekend arts festival earlier this month, Public Eye has learned. In an interview, Minister Hagen confirmed the cost of his attendance at Painters at Painter's Celebration of Art - which included overnight accommodations but excluded meals - was picked up by Oak Bay Marine Group Ltd. The company runs the annual celebration out of Painter's Lodge in Campbell River and April Point Resort and Spa on Quadra Island - two of Oak Bay Marine's seven British Columbia-based resorts.
Minister Hagen, who has disclosed the gift in a filing with conflict of interest commissioner H.A.D. Oliver, estimated its value at about $280. He said he didn't have any concerns about accepting the gift, explaining "I can't imagine that (Oak Bay Marine president Bob Wright) would ever ask me for anything." In addition to its resorts, the company owns the Oak Bay, Pender Bay, North Saanich, April Point and Ladysmith Marinas, four Vancouver Island restaurants and the Pacific Undersea Gardens in Victoria.