Conflict of Interest

Conflict, was ist das?

bcIn British Columbia, legislation restricts reappointment of the Auditor General and the Representative for Children and Youth but not the Conflict of Interest Commissioner. The Liberals found a reliable one and both Government and the Commissioner enjoy a fine relationship. The liaison continues despite the Commissioner being accused of conflict by having a son who is a deputy minister in the BC government as well as a long-time associate of Premier Clark.

Fraser the Elder might be a costly associate but he is very, very busy. He’s been called on to investigate Christy Clark, Bill Bennett and Pat Pimm in the last two years. They were accused of conflicts and Mr. Fraser had to issue formal written opinions absolving each.

All of these duties take up so much time that Mr. Fraser is forced to ignore all questions submitted by freelance journalist Bob Mackin. In an email that accidentally found its way into Mackin’s possession, Fraser wrote:

Let’s continue to ignore all of his requests.

Of course, Fraser has only a handful of staff members to assist him so communicating with inquiring reporters is nigh impossible. When one man has only a single Executive Co-ordinator,  one Executive Administrative Assistant, one Legal Officer and a single research assistant and faces one, two, even three formal opinions to be issued each year, some time saving moves are required.

These numbers are from BC Public Accounts:

fraser pay

15 replies »

  1. It’s very troubling when the Conflict Commissioner is, himself, embroiled in a glaring conflict. Today’s BC Liberal Party’s incestuous relationships with its Socred sisters, conservative cousins, business brothers, and extended famalia rivals that of the Hapsburgs. Fingers crossed the old adage “history repeats itself” proves accurate and British Columbians witness the collapse of the consanquineous BC Liberal dyNASTY on the ninth day of May in the year of our lord, two thousand seventeen.


  2. $132,728 for travel??? Considering Frasers dubious clientele all convene at the same address in Victory from time to time, why would he need to travel???


    • One must travel to attractive places to consult with other people with similar interests who are also travelling from other places to consult with other people. It requires one to dine in fine places, golf at superior courses and stay in the best hotels. Life is not easy when you’re spending someone else’s money.


  3. What do they DO all day — or is it actually a part-time, on-call job?

    Another example, I see that 12 years after the transfer to CN, BC Rail still has staff and a board of directors.


    • If a governing political party expects to get large contributions from important people and large corporation, it must have a way to reward the contributors. Not everyone needs a half price parcel of developable public lands, million dollar Hydro deferrals, taxpayer paid pollution cleanups or a reduction in royalties. Some contributors just want a the prestige and payment of sitting on a board of directors, even if there is nothing to direct.

      Patronage is multi-headed beast with varied tastes so it must be fed in many different ways. Most of them are invisible to poor schmucks like us who just get to pay.


  4. Darn auto-incorrect!

    $132,728 for travel??? Considering Fraser’s dubious clientele all convene at the same address in Victoria from time to time, why would he need to travel???


  5. Ah, Norman. We must always oroceed with care, cautiously, step by step, .

    Learning our lessons is critical! Remember when the one and only Mental Health Advocate, the late Nancy Hall, was in office? Why she, with virtually no staff answered everything, regularly reported to the public through the media including the Rafe Mair Show on CKNW, with every question and issue dealt with?

    She made a huge mistake! She ferretted out problems, discovered the mentally ill and forced the Health Ministry to act.

    It was shocking! No government, much less a Christy Clark government, could tolerate that sort of foolishness and when her term expired she was effectively fired, the position eradicated, and the government’s problems went away!

    Paul Fraser QC is a smart lawyer with sharp eyes and a keen eye for comfortable survival. It is still the Christy Clark government.

    Norm, you just have to learn to go with the flow, man!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I remember conversations on the Rafe Mair show talking about mental health issues. The objective was to lessen stigma and improve understanding and I’m certain many people were encouraged to seek treatment for themselves or to offer assistance and empathy to other people in need.

      Rafe’s work covered many subjects. It involved far more than politics. Like travel, history and fly fishing. I’ll bet he still has a collection of fly rods, lures and waders.


  6. The travel payments might relate to the location of Mr. Fraser’s principal residence. Does he live in Vancouver and commute to Victoria when required?

    The Conflict Commissioner’s Office is just one of the previously respected independent offices and institutions of government tainted by BC Liberal sleaze.

    Frequent recommendations over the years by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Commissioner were essentially ignored. When the Commissioner issued a damning report reaching right into the Premier’s office after complaints by a whistleblower, the BC Liberals contracted with a past Information Commissioner (who had previously engineered the illegal Basi/Virk payoff in the BC Rail trial) to review her report. That was a message of disrespect for the Office.

    The Office of the Ombudsperson is currently mired in an investigation into government malfeasance in the health ministry firings that the Ombudsperson accepted reluctantly with great reservations. No matter what his findings, very public political repercussions are certain to follow and cling to the Office.

    The Public Service Agency will wear the reputation of conducting a comprehensive two-week investigation into serious impropriety of the Premier’s Chief of Staff without one written word of documentation, the despicable health ministry firings, and a report conducted on the ethnic outreach “quick wins” scandal by the Head of the Public Service that failed to identify some critical information that wasn’t released until after the 2013 election and resulted in criminal charges still winding through the courts.

    The Attorney General’s Ministry will forever wear the stench of the illegal Basi/Virk payoff in the BC Rail trial.

    BC’s Chief Mines Inspector was directed by the BC Liberal government to ignore his lawful obligations, and when he wouldn’t, was replaced by someone who would. The resulting lawsuit cost taxpayers $30 million. It is still unclear why, when multiple sources, including the government’s own consultant estimated the likely court awarded damages would be less than half the amount, the government settled out of court for $30 million.

    The BC Liberal government has routinely disrespected the Office of the Auditor General of British Columbia, and its treatment of former Auditor General Doyle is a prime example. The Acting Auditor General after Mr. Doyle’s departure issued a report into special indemnities that focused on whitewashing the Basi/Virk payoff and showed obvious signs of government (Ministry of Attorney General) influence. The committee of the Legislature looking into the audit was thwarted in its investigation by the BC Liberals’ refusal to allow the appearance of key witnesses.

    I could go on (there are many more examples) but suspect I have already overstayed my welcome, and will just say that restoring trust in our public institutions will be a very difficult task when they are eventually torn from the grasp of the current miscreants.


    • Lew is correct. He could have gone on and he would have been accurate. He always is because he is informed and writes with care. He reminds us of information one might expect to read in columns written by “pundits” who’ve spent decades observing government in Victoria.

      However, holding people in power accountable is not good business if you’re an after-meal speaker on the entertainment circuit. Groups getting benefits from government don’t invite people who make life difficult for their benefactors. Even the lesser stars of the Press Gallery appreciate the small perquisites: the meals, the free golf, even a parking space at the legislature where a certain clerk might offer a private briefing.


  7. I don’t know how many times I’ve suggested to people to read your articles Norm. But you do have competition. I noticed the Sun has a front page (internet) story about Bears.

    Guy in Victoria


    • Did ya see SEE the one where the guy had a Go-Pro camera attached to THE SPEAR that he killed the bear with . . . . !! Whooah . . . that was AWESOME!!


      • Ray, tonight CTV had a gripping piece about a cat scratching a pit-bull on the six o’clock “news”. Luckily nothing on a special prosecutor being appointed to handle the arrest and possible charges in MLA Pat Pimm’s mysterious case. The human mind can only take so much after all, and CTV no doubt considers it in our best interests not to be burdened with the details.


        • I have not watched CTV “news” for 20 years. I now watch CBC “news” . . . . . . . why? . . . no idea . . . same shit, different channel. Thank dog for Norm Farrell !!


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