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BC Liberal fundraisers called into question 0

Jeremy Nuttall

By Jeremy Nuttall, 24 hours Vancouver

A watchdog group is questioning a fundraiser attended by Minister of Environment Mary Polak.
(FILE PHOTO/24 HOURS)

A watchdog group is questioning a fundraiser attended by Minister of Environment Mary Polak. (FILE PHOTO/24 HOURS)

A provincial watchdog is questioning the relationship between the BC Liberal party and two companies that held fundraisers for the political organization. Belkorp Environmental currently owns a landfill near Cache Creek, which could be threatened by a proposed Metro Vancouver garbage incinerator plan that it opposes.

Minister of Environment Mary Polak has a say in approving the project under provincial regulations.

Belkorp hosted fundraisers in 2013 for the BC Liberals, including an appreciation dinner for former Liberal MLA John Les. But Dermod Travis of IntegrityBC said he doesn't feel good about the relationships.

Travis said according to the seating chart, Les, Polak and two Belkorp representatives sat at the head table and Les was hired by the company months later as a lobbyist.

"We're obviously concerned about what may have been discussed at that dinner," he said. "Belkorp Environmental Services has a very clear position corporately on that proposed incinerator."

Travis was also concerned about the other sponsor of one of the events, Capital Power, which has lobbyists registered in Victoria. He said such arrangements are creating separate classes of people in the province when it comes to political access.

"We don't see John Les or Christy Clark going out to meet with single mothers facing clawback on their child support," he said.

"If you are a company, with another company, and you put $8,000 together you can sponsor a dinner."

BC Liberal Party spokesman Emile Scheffel said the party has not acted outside of regulations.

"B.C. has clear rules around political donations, and we follow them disclosing all contributions to Elections BC for the public to see," Scheffel said in an email.

 

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