Plutonic chief executive advised by Kinsella

Add the province's most prominent independent power producer to the list of corporate interests advised by Patrick Kinsella, the provincial Liberals' powerful former campaign co-chair.
In an email to Public Eye, a Plutonic Power Corporation Inc. spokesperson confirmed Mr. Kinsella provides the company's vice-chairman and chief executive officer Donald McInnes with "high level strategic advice on public policy."

According to Plutonic communications director Elisha McCallum, "Patrick's relationship with Donald stretches more than a decade to pre-Plutonic days." Although Mr. Kinsella, "does not meet with anyone on (Mr. McInnes's) behalf."

In fact, even though a government record shows Mr. Kinsella was scheduled to attend a May 23, 2007 meeting with Environment Minister Barry Penner, Ms. McCallum says Mr. Kinsella wasn't at that event. And ministry communications director Matt Gordon agrees.

But Cindy Burton, who has been registered as a lobbyist for Plutonic since September 1, 2004, did attend that meeting - which was setup to discuss the company's flagship East Toba River and Montrose Creek 196-megawatt hydroelectric project.

In emails sent to the environment minister's office on behalf of other interests, Ms. Burton variously identified herself as a "senior vice-president" or "partner" with The Progressive Group - the strategic communications firm chaired by Kinsella.

But Ms. McCallum states Plutonic works with Ms. Burton as an "individual" rather than as a member of that company. Ms. Burton's entry in the lobbyist registry identifies her consulting firm as being Burton Enterprises Inc. doing business as The Progressive Group.

As British Columbia's most prominent independent power producer, Plutonic and its projects have come under scrutiny by environmentalists who say the company's run of the river projects will damage wilderness areas. And public-power advocates - upset at the government's first-term decision to promote private-power production - have also targeted Plutonic.

In July 2006, BC Hydro Corp. offered the company an energy purchase agreement for its East Toba River and Montrose Creek project. Ms. Burton met with Penner after the government awarded the project an environmental assessment certificate - a decision that was announced on April 25, 2007.

Ms. McCallum states the meeting was "a short follow-up post Plutonic completing the environmental assessment process."

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