Published in 24 Hours Vancouver | April 10, 2014 | Circulation: 280,000+
Premier Christy Clark’s ties to the private sector before re-entering politics are once against under the spotlight, after a leaked document said she was listed as “founding chair” of a private firm’s subsidiary that she has extensively promoted on trade missions since taking office.
B.C. NDP Leader Adrian Dix took umbrage with the premier’s explanation that the RCI Capital Group project never panned out or paid her, calling her statements “manifestly not true” in the legislature on Thursday.
The firm has channelled at least $7 billion in foreign investments, according to its website. The company also hired Clark’s ex-husband Mark Marissen in 2007, according to the province’s lobbyist registry, as well as Andrew Wilkinson, B.C.’s current minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services.
“The premier has done significant business promoting this company since becoming premier,” Dix said in the Legislature. “She was a director of this company as she was premier. Can the premier explain why she didn’t disclose this matter, when she became premier of British Columbia, to the public of British Columbia?”
The revelations come within weeks of documents listing her as a full “partner” in Marissen’s Burrard Communications, which saw other partners registered to lobby for Enbridge and TransLink. Clark herself worked on the latter file, but insisted she did no lobbying and was unpaid.
“I never did any work for the company,” Clark replied to Dix’s questions about RCI. “I wasn’t paid by the company.”
Dermod Travis of government watchdog IntegrityBC welcomed Clark approaching B.C.’s conflict of interest commissioner Thursday, but said politicians must “go beyond what the law says.”
“The obligation fell on her to ensure when she left the company that all her ties were broken to it,” he said.
According to corporate registry documents, Clark maintained her director position at the firm until the same month she regained a seat in the legislature in 2011, when the company was dissolved.