The British Columbia Chicken Marketing Board - an industry-funded organization whose board of directors includes three provincial government appointees - has donated $3,400 to the provincial Liberals since 2005. In an interview with Public Eye, marketing board general manager Bill Vanderspek explained, "They weren't actually donations per se. What they were was purchasing tables at fundraising tables for a couple of our local MLAs - John Van Dongen and Rich Coleman. So yes, the board members would have made the decision to attend these dinners. But that's what they were dinners - not direct contributions to any one of the parties."
Asked about the optics of government-appointee directors being in a position to donate marketing board money to the Liberals, Mr. Vanderspek replied, "These are local farmers in most cases. And they like to keep in contact with their local politicians. And I don't remember a case when they've ever been approached by an opposition party to do the same thing. So I'm not sure what would have happened (if such an approach had been made). John Van Dongen, of course, was the ag minister for quite a number of years and supported our growers fairly significantly during the whole (Avian Influenza) thing in 2004 - not so much financially but more for morale support. And our board thought turn around is fair play sort of thing."