Liberal candidate and former British Columbia Medical Association president Margaret MacDiarmid may or may not unseat incumbent New Democrat legislator Jenn McGinn during the upcoming election. But, if she does lose, it won't be because Dr. MacDiarmid didn't have help from government relations professionals advising some of the province's most powerful corporate interests.
In an email addressed to at least eight such professionals Telus Corp. government relations director Kim Logan announced $250 tickets are now on sale for an evening fundraising reception featuring Dr. MacDiarmid and Finance Minister Colin Hansen. Ms. Logan - who is a member of the constituency's riding association executive - advised those interested in purchasing tickets to contact National Public Relations Ltd. associate Erin Hochstein.
In an interview with Public Eye, Dr. MacDiarmid confirmed many of those who received that email serve with Ms. Logan on the riding association executive. Asked about the optics of having so many lobbyists supporting her, Dr. MacDiarmid said, "Certainly, a fair number of them have been associated with Vancouver-Fairview before my time. And, if not with Vancouver-Fairview, they've been active supporters of the B.C. Liberal Party for, again, longer than I have. So they're helping me get elected."
But, that being said, Dr. MacDiarmid added, "I've got a lot of other volunteers too from many walks of life. I've got senior citizens and stay-at-home moms and university students, a nurse or two, some physicians and somebody who's a retired community college career counsellor."
Still, Dr. MacDiarmid agreed some people might think she'll owe those government relations professionals if she gets elected. "I do understand the concerns that are raised. I've read about it. I've heard about it. And, if I am elected, I will certainly be very careful to always make sure interests are declared. And I'll be very careful to abide by what the rules and regulations are - I can assure you of that."
The following is a list of the government relations professionals cited in that email, as well as a complete copy of Ms. Logan's message. Dr. MacDiarmid also said David Hall, Nathan Slee, Shiera Stuart and Ms. Hochstein aren't members of the riding association executive.
Kim Haakstad, Alliance of Beverage Licensees of British Columbia executive director
David Hall, Angiotech Pharmacueticals Inc. chief compliance officer and senior government and community relations vice-president
Adam Johnson, Earnscliffe Strategy Group Inc. British Columbia principal
Max Logan, Retail Council of Canada British Columbia government relations and membership services director
Forrest Parlee, Burrard Communications Inc. principal
Don Stickney, Fleishman-Hillard Canada senior consultant
Shiera Stuart, Bayer Inc. government affairs and public policy manager
Steve Vander Wal, Hill and Knowlton Canada Ltd. health and pharma account director
From: Kim Logan
Sent: Thursday, February 19, 2009 9:54 AM
To: Max Logan; Adam Johnson; Kristin.McAllister@CIBC.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Don.Stickney@fleishman.ca; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; David Hall; Nathan Slee
Cc: Shiera Stuart; Erin Hochstein
Subject: Vancouver Fairview Fundraising Events
We are now selling tickets to a reception for Dr. Margaret MacDiarmid, featuring Finance Minister Colin Hansen. This will take place on Friday, Mar. 6 at the Plaza 500 Hotel, from 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm. Tickets are $250 each. Attached are the event invitation and payment details for you to send to all of your contacts. RSVPs can go to Erin Hochstein at firstname.lastname@example.org
FYI, we are also in the process of booking the Arbutus Club for our Riding Association Dinner for Thu March 26. We will have further details to send to you about this dinner in the coming weeks.
Director of Government Relations for BC