Earlier, we exclusively reported the premier's former special advisor Ken Dobell had registered as a lobbyist for Cubic Transportation Systems Inc. And now the provincial New Democrats are raising concerns about those activites. In an news release issued earlier today, the opposition called on "the Campbell government to refrain from meeting with Dobell while he is under investigation by a special prosecutor" for an alleged technical violation of the Lobbyists Registration Act.
Asked for comment, attorney general communications director Shawn Robbins said, "The decision to hire Mr. Dobell is the right of the company. It isn't a decision of the government, as he does not work for government. And he is not privy to any confidential information. I can confirm he is registered with the lobbyist registry for these purposes. And Mr. Dobell, while currently having allegations reviewed, has not been charged with any wrongdoing. Legally, there's nothing to preclude Mr. Dobell from undertaking such activities." Mr. Robbins added the Campbell administration will continue to meet with Mr. Dobell "if the government so chooses." The following is a complete copy of that release.
For Immediate Release
Jan. 17, 2008
CAMPBELL GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT MEET DOBELL OVER TURNSTILES WHILE HE IS UNDER INVESTIGATION, SAYS NDP
VICTORIA - Following revelations that Gordon Campbell's former special advisor Ken Dobell has started lobbying for an electronic turnstiles company, the New Democrats are calling on the Campbell government to refrain from meeting with Dobell while he is under investigation by a special prosecutor.
"That the Campbell government would continue to meet with Ken Dobell while he is under investigation is completely unacceptable," said Maurine Karagianis, the New Democrat Transportation Critic and MLA for Esquimalt-Metchosin.
"As Attorney General, Wally Oppal must step up to the plate and make sure no one in his government meets with Ken Dobell about privatised turnstiles until we hear back from the special prosecutor."
Ken Dobell registered to lobby the B.C. Liberal government on behalf of electronic turnstile manufacturer Cubic Transportation Systems on November 23, a couple of weeks after Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon announced that privatized turnstiles would be coming to SkyTrain.
Dobell has confirmed he has spoken with provincial government officials on behalf of Cubic.
"If the Campbell government were serious about transparency and accountability, they wouldn't let someone who is under investigation for breaking the lobbyist law continue to lobby the government," said Karagianis.
Karagianis has written to Attorney General Wally Oppal requesting that his government refrain from dealing with Ken Dobell until the investigation into his alleged non-compliance with the Lobbyist Registration Act is concluded.
"One of the most glaring deficiencies in the Lobbyists Registration Act is its failure to suspend the lobbying activities of an individual under investigation for non-compliance with the Act," Karagianis said in the letter.
"Mr. Dobell is currently the subject of a police report under review by a special prosecutor for violation of the Lobbyists Registration Act."
Dobell is under investigation for failing to register after beginning lobbying work for the city of Vancouver, in contravention of the Lobbyist Registration Act. A special prosecutor was appointed to the case last October.
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A copy of Karagianis' letter to Oppal is available upon request.