Freedom of information requests filed by Public Eye and The Tyee's Andrew Macleod show Mark Jiles attended and arranged scheduled meetings with provincial public office holders on behalf of the New Car Dealers Association of B.C. Those interactions happened prior to The Progressive Group president registering as a lobbyist for the association. And, according to association business manager Tina Coleman, they also happened before Progressive was hired by the car dealers in late 2007. So what's going on? Well, yesterday, we asked former car dealers' president and chief executive officer Glen Ringdal - who was scheduled to attend those meetings - about the matter. His response, in part: "I usually didn't need someone to set up my meetings for me. I know my way around there pretty good."
That being said, when asked about the specifics of Mr. Jiles and Progressive's relationship with the association, Mr. Ringdal said, "I can't remember. My head is so far gone away from that stuff, I just can't remember it...Honestly, I just don't want to say something because if I say it it will become a fact. And I honestly just don't remember."
In a written statement issued five months ago, Progressive stressed it was "confident it has consistently and correctly followed the requirements" of the Lobbyists Registration Act. Under the act, consultant lobbyists are required to sign-up if they, for pay, communicate with an office holder in an attempt to influence government - although there are some exceptions to that rule. But consultants must always register if they, for pay, arrange a meeting with an office holder and another "person."