Kinsella's mystery meetings with lottery corp.

The provincial Liberals' powerful former campaign co-chair was repeatedly scheduled to meet with British Columbia Lottery Corp.'s president and chief executive officer between 2005 and 2007. Patrick Kinsella, a public affairs consultant who has been accused by the provincial New Democrats of lobbying the government without registering, has long been connected with the province's gaming industry. But the subject of those meetings - which occasionally included the corporation's chairs - remains a mystery. Mr. Kinsella, who has previously denied ever lobbying the government he was instrumental in electing, didn't return phone calls from Public Eye.

And the corporation's then president and chief executive officer, Vic Poleschuk, declined to comment on what he discussed with the Liberals' former campaign co-chair. Nor would Mr. Poleschuk comment on an email Mr. Kinsella sent to him on Sept. 7, 2005, requesting a meeting to "chat about issues of mutual interest and concern."

"The best way to get that information - given that I am obviously out of the public sector - is to deal with the lottery (corporation) directly," he said from his home in Kamloops.

But corporation public relations manager Robin Cook stated, "We are not able to speculate on the content" of scheduled meetings between Messrs. Poleschuk and Kinsella on February 27 and November 29, 2006 and April 24, 2007. "Only those individuals would be able to provide information on the meetings."

Nor, according to Mr. Cook, is the corporation "aware of the content" of scheduled meetings between Messrs. Poleschuk, Kinsella and then chair Rick Turner on October 7 and November 1, 2005.

Mr. Turner, who is now the Insurance Corp. of British Columbia's chair, has "no recollection" of those meetings. But his successor, John McLernon, did remember a meeting between himself and Messrs. Poleschuk and Kinsella on August 31, 2006.

"He advises the meeting was in fact a tour" of Great Canadian Gaming Corp.'s River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond, stated Cook. "Mr. McLernon recalls engaging in a brief conversation with Mr. Kinsella and Mr. Poleschuk. Mr. McLernon then toured the facility but does not recall if Mr. Kinsella participated."

In an interview, Great Canadian spokesman Howard Blank said, "We don't recall any tour. I wouldn't keep records of that."

Mr. Blank also said he couldn't "comment on whether people work with us or don't work with us" - when asked about the company's relationship with Mr. Kinsella. "That's a privacy issue obviously."

Under the Lobbyists Registration 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.

In a written statement issued in June, Mr. Kinsella's company The Progressive Group stressed it is "confident it has consistently and correctly followed the requirements" of the act.

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