Tubthumping

The premier's former special advisor and top bureaucrat has been talking to the Campbell administration on behalf of Cubic Transportation Systems Inc., an American company that "designs, manufactures and integrates automatic fare collection systems for public transit projects throughout the world." This, according to the provincial government's lobbyist registry. Ken Dobell registered as a lobbyist for the San Diego firm on November 23, declaring an intent to contact transportation minister Kevin Falcon and Partnerships British Columbia regarding "transit system gates and smart cards."

In an interview with Public Eye, Mr. Dobell explained his work with Cubic relates Minister Falcon's plan to reduce fare cheating and improve security on Vancouver's transit system by installing electronic turnstiles at every SkyTrain and Canada Line station by 2010. Under that plan, passengers will also be able to pay their transit fees by touching a so-called smart card to an electronic reader.

"So I'm ending up providing (Cubic) with some advice. It's not a huge deal Sean. It's simply that in the event I ended up talking to provincial officials - which I have done - I thought it should be registered," he said.

Mr. Dobell started working for Cubic a month after assistant deputy attorney general Robert Gillen appointed a special prosecutor to look into possible charges against the retired bureaucrat.

At issue is Mr. Dobell's failure to not promptly register as a lobbyist for the city of Vancouver - a technical violation of British Columbia's Lobbyists Registration Act, according to a report by information and privacy commissioner David Loukidelis. But that same report also found "there was no intention" by Mr. Dobell to "hide" his consulting work with the city.

In the past, Mr. Dobell has said he didn't think he had to register because he wasn't acting as a lobbyist but rather a "content consultant." Asked whether he had notified Cubic about the appointment of the special prosecutor, Mr. Dobell responded, "I didn't. In fact, I think they knew. Certainly they knew the lobbyist issue generally."

Cubic, which hasn't yet returned a call from Public Eye, has, in the past, been awarded contracts by both TransLink and British Columbia Ferry Services Inc.

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