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“The incestuous relationship between government and big business thrives in the dark.” ~Jack Anderson

  From the Fraser Surrey Docks press release:

Fraser Surrey Docks was a fitting background for the official launch of the South Fraser Perimeter Road (SFPR)project on Monday, January 12th 2009, which was attended by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Premier Gordon Campbell along with the provincial Minister of Transportation & Investment, Kevin Falcon, and federal International Trade Minister Stockwell Day.

The governments’ decision to hold the launch at Fraser Surrey Docks clearly demonstrates the importance of our terminal to the Vancouver Gateway, particularly our role in facilitating international trade and commerce, and in creating new economic opportunities for the region.

~snip~

As a new, reliable and efficient transportation corridor, we expect the SFPR to benefit Fraser Surrey Docks and our surrounding communities; to improve travel time for many of our employees; and to enhance our value proposition to customers. The SFPR will also allow cargo to reach its destination more quickly and thus lowering overall transportation costs. In addition, it aids in connecting Fraser Surrey Docks to several industrial hubs including the USA, the Interior of BC and the province of Alberta.

Yes, very fitting indeed, to hold the launch at a facility owned by Macquarie Infrastructure, part of the worldwide conglomerate, the Macquarie Group - a company the BC Liberals have assisted in establishing a solid presence in British Columbia.

By March of 2007, Macquarie Infrastructure Partners had closed on the purchase of 100% of Fraser Surrey Docks, a strategic move on their part to add to the Macquarie group's growing holdings and investment in ports worldwide. Among Macquarie  port and shipping holdings?

Halterm in Halifax, Canada, DCT Gdansk in Poland, Changshu Xinghua Port in China, and a joint venture with Hanjin Shipping with operations in Japan, Taiwan and the United States.

In 2008, Macquarie hired Mark Jiles to lobby the government with the sole purpose of promoting P3′s and the Gateway Project. He registered as active with the Lobbyist registry from September 2008 to January 2010, and contacted Partnerships BC in addition to then transportation minister Kevin Falcon, as well as Ian Black, Ida Chong, Mike De Jong,Rich Coleman, Kevin Kruegar and ex finance minister Carole Taylor.

Of course, we know Macquarie tried to but did not succeed in getting the money together for the Port Mann P3 model, however they were kept on as ” advisors”, the details behind this arrangement never made public, on orders of Kevin Falcon, then transportation minister.

As part of the Gateway project, the SFPR will be a vital link for Macquarie as owner of the Fraser Surrey Docks, as well as shipping lines and port terminals in China, and Japan, both targets in the Asia-Pacific market Kevin Falcon still speaks so fondly of.

Mark Jiles certainly must have done his job well…

To be sure, it might be argued that Macquarie stands to profit most from the SFPR, maybe even more than  Deltaport, and more than the stealthy developers who have gobbled up land left,right and centre along the route -  BC Rail Properties among them.

Making money on both ends and during shipping is a profitable venture not often imagined by any corporation, and certainly the BC liberals have been kind to the Macquarie group in many ways- the Sea to Sky highway, the Port Mann, Duke Point Power Project, Hluey Lakes, Sechelt Creek are but a few examples of their increasing investments in British Columbia. ( I am sure there is more- stay tuned as I delve further into these relationships in a future post)

However, it was none of this that actually struck me as funny when researching the extent to which Macquarie has become comfortable with the BC Liberal Party. In fact it was a message board on the internet that grabbed my attention immediately, because it showed David Bassett as the dinner chairman for a Liberal dinner fundraiser.

I am pleased to bring to your attention our first major election campaignfund raiser, the BC Liberals Fall Dinner on Thursday, November 20, at theExecutive Plaza Hotel and featuring Minister Black as our Keynote Speaker. Wedo expect a sellout, and would be delighted to include you in the evening in a supportive manner.I have attached the order form and invitation for your consideration. Should
you have any questions or wish to know about some of the sponsorship and
auction donation opportunities, please do not hesitate to contact me by e-mail
at falldinner@iainblack.bc.ca, or by calling me at 604-640-0322.

Thank you in advance for your support.

Yours truly,

David Bassett, Dinner Chairman

The 2008 BC Liberals Fall Dinner
In Support of Re-Electing Hon. Iain Black, MLA
November 20, 2008, The Executive Plaza Hotel (Coquitlam)
Hosts: The Port Moody-Coquitlam Riding Association
Contact: Dave Bassett, Dinner Chairman, 604-640-0322

 May mean nothing to you, but that contact number? It belongs to Macquarie Private Wealth, where Dave Bassett is an investment advisor.

Certainly, we are all entitled to our political leanings…but…the relationship is notable. A BC Liberal supporter, fundraiser, working for a Macquarie subsiduary dealing with wealth management…

As is this one… Matt Ilich, an investment associate with Macquarie Private Wealth who worked as a constituency assistant for soon departed premier, Gordon Campbell…

Macquarie has strategically placed itself in many sectors at risk for privatisation if the BC Liberals continue to govern this province – highways, hydro and other energy resources as the IPP projects on the coast.

The Liberals have repetitively shown us (Kevin Falcon and Christy Clark included), that the relationship between government and big business does indeed thrive in the dark. On the eve of a new premier being selected for British Columbia in a way already riddled with contentious allegations, what will it take for the people of British Columbia to say enough is enough and turn the light on, once and for all ?

This column originally appeared in I'm Laila Yuile and This is How I See It. Reprinted with Ms. Yuile's kind permission.