Elections BC, allegedly a non-partisan agency, is run by Keith Archer, a statutory Officer of the Legislature. His predecessor, Craig James, was a controversial interim CEO and now is Clerk of the Legislature, a position I’ve called the plumiest of government plums.
Among other things, Elections BC (EBC) maintains official records of political contributions. Its database can only be accessed with an ineffective search engine that was long ago outdated. By example, here are two very different results, returned at the same time:
Spot the difference in search criteria? It is a single “.” However, the results are considerably different.
The search engine accessed by the box at top of this article is more powerful than what EBC provides. So are nearly all search facilities throughout the Internet. Why has Elections BC not updated its capability?
Because it is not in the business of providing convenient access to information, particularly when that information might cast a bad light on an incumbent government.
Such as when Corporate Mapping Project wants to examine who’s paying big money to the BC Liberal Government:
The charted information is interesting but it is not close to complete. We’ve seen that organizations make political contributions directly and through lobbyists. We know they use subsidiaries, affiliates and nominees but EBC makes little effort to report connections.
Note above that Teck Resources seems to have contributed $1.5 million. However, a more complete report would provide a much larger number:
By the way, Teck gave $55,000 to the NDP a few weeks before the 2013 election,when polls indicated the opposition party would win. It was Teck’s late effort to gain favour, not continued after Liberals were reelected.
You can be certain a complete listing of contributors associated with the Keevil family’s Teck Group of companies would be even larger. It is important to know the benefits flowing from Teck to the Liberal Party but we must keep in mind the benefits flowing to Teck.
That company is reportedly responsible for $743 million of a $1.2 billion unfunded liability for mine cleanups.
BC Mines Minister Kootenay Bill Bennett incredulously claimed he had no knowledge of the magnitude. I suppose the subject never came up at any of the fundraising dinners attended by mining executive and hosted by Liberal cabinet ministers.