Oppal: if there's a "huge public interest...we'd think about holding a public inquiry."

Attorney General Wally Oppal told reporters today he'd "think about holding a public inquiry" into allegations provincial Liberal campaign co-chair Patrick Kinsella violated the Lobbyists Registration Act - but only "if someone can show me there's a huge public interest involved."

Attorney General Oppal made those comments after refusing to respond to New Democrat questions about scheduled meetings between Mr. Kinsella and government officials. Speaking in the legislature, the Vancouer-Fraserview legislator said, "If there has been a violation of the lobbyist act or any other act or statute, then there is an obligation on the part of these members to take that to the appropriate authorities and report the violations."

But, during a scrum with reporters, Attorney General Oppal seemed to acknowledge neither lobbyists registrar David Loukidelis or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police can investigate those allegations - which Mr. Kinsella has denied.

That leaves the possibility of a public inquiry. But Attorney General Oppal said, "Public inquiries take on a life of their own. And I'm not in favour of calling for a public inquiry unless there's a very compelling reason in policy or there's a public interest (that) demands it."

And, according to Attorney General Oppal, "I don't think this is a serious enough issue - at least from what I've been told - that it warrants a public inquiry. There's a lot of curiosity here. If someone can show me there's a huge public interest involved here then, obviously, we'd think about holding a public inquiry."

The following is a recording of that scrum.

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