Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists looking at Bill Belsey timeline

The Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists of British Columbia, confirmed today that they are in the process of conducting an investigation into the timeline of Bill Belsey's work as a lobbyist in Victoria.

Mary Carlson, the deputy registrar of lobbyists confirmed for Canadian Press today, that her office was "actively investigating whether Mr. Belsey was lobbying and if he was lobbying whether he was registered as required."

Red flags apparently were raised late last year after emails regarding the Watson Island situation  were obtained by the Globe and Mail.

At the time, the Globe was looking further into the ongoing legal proceedings between the City of Prince Rupert and Sun Wave Resources surrounding Watson Island, Mr. Belsey has been representing the Sun Wave interests of businessman Ritao Ni, on the site over the last few years.

The emails became a minor sensation last month, when it was reported that information was shared between members of the Liberal Cabinet and the Sun Wave representative. Though the media interest in the story seemed to wane as the holidays arrived.

Vancouver Sun-- Pesky leaks reveal B. C. Liberals' sneaky way of doing business
CBC News-- B. C. Cabinet minister under fire for release of email
Victoria Times Colonist-- NDP questions Bell's email to insider, lobbyist
Globe and Mail-- B. C. Jobs Minister must be investigated after e-mail shared, NDP critic says
Monday Liberals show they still don't get it
Vancouver Sun-- Optics of Bell's email stink: NDP B. C. minister forwarded cabinet email to lobbyist: NDP

However, the one month gap in time certainly didn't slow down the work of the ORL which now looks into the timeline of the events that led to the current investigation.

The question of note it seems, is if Mr. Belsey was acting in the role of a lobbyist for Sun Wave prior to his registration as a lobbyist for the company, a registration which is reported to have been made on or around December 10th. (see item 5 from ORL website page)

The former Liberal MLA for the North Coast and current Vice President of the Liberal party did register as a lobbyist on November 20th, when according to ORL records he registered as a lobbyist for the Gitxaala Nation. (see item six from ORL website page)

One year prior to November of 2012, The Gtxaala Nation had previously requested an injunction against the proposed sale of Watson Island. Taking on the services of Mr. Belsey in 2012 would suggest that they still hold an active interest in developments regarding the Watson Island site.

Northern View-- Kitkatla drops request for injunction against Watson Island sale, but seeks new declaration
CFTK-- Kitkatla, Prince Rupert at odds over Watson Island's Future

As for the investigation itself, there was no timeline provided by the Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists as to how long the investigation will take, or in what form it will take.

Upon completion of the investigation, the findings will be posted to the ORL website, listed in their compliance investigations section.

Globe and Mail-- BC LIberal VP probed for alleged violation of lobbying rules...
Vancouver Province-- B. C. Liberal VP investigated for failing to register as lobbyist

Northern View -- Sun Wave's Belsey now under investigation (Feb 13 e edition pages 1 and 2)

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