Patrick Kinsella is a big fish in the provincial Liberal pond. As the party's campaign co-chair in 2001 and 2005 he was instrumental in bringing the Liberals to power - and keeping them there. But this week, he got a big hook stuck in his mouth. The New Democrats, trolling through the legislative library, learned British Columbia Railway Co. paid Mr. Kinsella's firms almost $300,000 between 2002 and 2005.
At first, the railway company didn't respond to questions about why those payments were made. But, on Thursday, it distributed a news release stating Mr. Kinsella was hired to "provide strategic advice" to its president, board of directors and chair. According to British Columbia Railway, that advice was "specific" to government's core review process. And, thanks to the New Democrats, we'll have to take the company at its word. So why's that, you may ask?
Because when the New Democrats were in government, they exempted British Columbia Railway from the freedom of information and protection of privacy act. The reason: according to then attorney general Colin Gabelmann, "The fastest way to ensure that B.C. Rail goes bankrupt is to require them to give out all their competitive information." But that also means British Columbians can now only find out what the Crown corporations wants us to find out about the work Mr. Kinsella's firms did for the company. The following is a complete copy of the aforementioned news release.
BRITISH COLUMBIA RAILWAY COMPANY
March 12, 2009
I can confirm that Patrick Kinsella's company was retained by BC Rail for a 49 month period between August 2001 and September 2005 to provide strategic advice to our new President, Board of Directors and Chair.
The counsel provided was specific to the Core Review process which Government was undertaking during that period, and general business communication advice.
The value of the contract was $6000.00 per month for 49 months.