Cars, cameras, action!

More information has surfaced suggesting the premier's former constituency campaign manager may have lobbied government without registering as a lobbyist. On March 8, 2007, Mark Jiles sent a letter "regarding the provincial film tax credit" to then finance minister Carole Taylor, Public Eye has exclusively learned.

At the time, Mr. Jiles was working as a government relations consultant for the Motion Picture Production Industry Association of B.C. This, according to an earlier interview with association chair Peter Leitch. But he didn't register as a lobbyist for the association until Dec. 1, 2007 - nine months after the letter was sent.

Under the Lobbyists Registration Act, consultant lobbyists are required to sign-up if they, for pay, communicate with a public 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."

Mr. Jiles, who is president of The Progressive Group, didn't respond to a request for comment. But, in an earlier written statement, he said his company registers "each and every" time Progressive lobbies government. The finance ministry has decline to release a copy of the letter, which was sent in Mr. Jiles's role as the president of Bluestone Ltd., his personal sports marketing company.

Other records obtained by Public Eye via freedom of information requests show Mr. Jiles attempting to arrange a meeting "on behalf of Glen Ringdal, Moray Keith and Henning Brasso of the New Car Dealers Association" with then Forests and Range Minister Rich Coleman.

In an email sent on November 16, 2006 to Minister Coleman's ministerial assistant Tobie Myers, Mr. Jiles writes, "The purpose of this meeting is to develop a stronger relationship with Minister Coleman and discuss the elimination of the 2% Luxury Tax on the sale price of new pickup trucks that sell for over $55,000.00..."

The response: "OK to meet," according to a note handwritten above the email.

In an interview on August 1, New Car Dealers Association of B.C. business manager Tina Coleman said Progressive was "absolutely not" employed by the association at the time that email was written. "He definitely wouldn't have even been around until sometime in late 2007."

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