Controversial Victoria developer and former National Hockey League player Len Barrie had a $10,000 per plate fundraiser for the provincial Liberals at his residence on April 29, Public Eye has exclusively learned. The fundraiser, attended by Premier Gordon Campbell, has raised the ire of activists who have been protesting the environmental impact of Mr. Barrie's Bear Mountain Resort - which they say is contributing to urban sprawl. In an interview, Order of Canada recipient Vicky Husband, a former Sierra Club of Canada director, said she's "deeply concerned by the apparently close relationship between the premier of this province with Len Barrie and Bear Mountain" - especially given the Campbell administration's apparent commitment to championing environmental concerns.
The premier's office didn't respond to a request for comment. And Bear Mountain declined to address concerns about their relationship with the Liberals. In an interview with Public Eye, spokesperson Trisha Lees, stated, "You're right. There was a party. It was last Tuesday night. And that's the right amount per plate. Although, I think, for some people it was a couple for $10,000."
But, that being said, Ms. Lees added, "It was a group of local business folks that organized the fundraising event for the provincial Liberals and Len provided his home as the venue. So it wasn't Len himself hosting the event." And, therefore, "it was not related to Bear Mountain itself."
Meanwhile, Liberal communications director Chad Pederson refused to provide details about the fundraiser, except to state, "What I can say is, yes, we did hold an event on (Vancouver Island) last week. But any events and contributions that we receive are declared in our year-end filings - and that is where they'll appear." And publican Matt MacNeil, who helped organize the fundraiser, also declined comment.