Sunday, July 1, 2018

1999: Gordon Campbell's, Christy Clark's take, not monetary, no under the table donations, on Casinos

 BC Liberals were on the Opposition benches in 1999 and after storming to the Government side of the Legislature they promised to make sure there wouldn't be a problem with the Casino files.  

Minister Rich Coleman was the front man and he did his very best to assist in dismantling the IIGET up to 2017.

 BC Legislature Search Criteria: Casino 
ps   bcleg search engine???? a licensed Model T would be faster




MONDAY, APRIL 19, 1999


Volume 14, Number 8

Oral Questions


G. Campbell: By now it should be clear to the minister responsible for gambling that the public has no confidence whatsoever in his secret casino approval process. The North Burnaby Inn is a glaring example of how his policy of secrecy has failed. Will the minister agree today to open up all licence applications for gambling and to make sure that the public has all the information and that all decisions are made in public in the future?

Hon. M. Farnworth: Recently, in the past month, there was a 30-day extension to the White Paper on gaming issues in the province of British Columbia. One of the things that I said that I think we need to do is look at how future licensing of casino applications should take place. During that time, we received over 150 different applications that deal with all the issues related to gaming, including the casino approval application. So right now we are taking the necessary time to review those presentations, and shortly we will come in with a response to the White Paper. That will deal with the casino licensing issue.

The Speaker: First supplementary, Leader of the Official Opposition.
G. Campbell: Washington, Indiana and even Nevada require that all casino applications, all discussions, all approval-making processes for gambling licences are done in public. You know, hon. Speaker, there is absolutely no way that a public process would ever have allowed a group that's been involved with Internet sex, with strip clubs and with illegal gaming in the past -- and been convicted of illegal gaming in the past -- to have been granted an approval-in-principle. So my question, again, to the minister is: why won't he announce today that all gaming licence applications -- all those decisions, all the information behind them -- will be made public and that the decision-making will be public in the future so that people can see exactly what happens?

Hon. M. Farnworth: As I said to the hon. member just a moment ago, we've undergone an extensive process of consultation that has resulted in over 150 submissions in terms of how gaming policy should take place in the province of British Columbia, and that includes many submissions on how a licensing process should take place. That will be forthcoming shortly.
What I find really disturbing is that the hon. member stands up in the House and asks these questions. Yet did he at one point avail himself of an opportunity to make a submission that could provide constructive and positive suggestions? No. Did, at one point, any member on that side of the House make one constructive, positive submission into a White Paper for discussion on future gaming policy?
The Speaker: Thank you, minister.
Hon. M. Farnworth: Not once, hon. Speaker.
The Speaker: Thank you, minister.
Second supplementary, Leader of the Official Opposition.
The Speaker: Come to order. Members will come to order.
Member, continue.
G. Campbell: I have a positive and constructive suggestion for the minister responsible for gambling: stop the expansion of gambling today. There is only one plausible reason why this minister will not make public to the people of British Columbia every single bit of information that has led to his approvals-in-principle for gaming. There is only one possible reason, and that's because he knows it won't stand the acid test of public scrutiny. My question, again, to the minister: why doesn't he take his cue from other jurisdictions on the continent? Why doesn't he listen to the public of British Columbia and open up all of his decisions today and forever with regard to gaming?
Hon. M. Farnworth: The only acid, hon. Speaker, is the acid that comes from that hon. member's tongue. The only thing he needs to do is go and talk to the members of his caucus who came and talked to me and lobbied me about having casinos in their own ridings. Has he even spoken to those members? They come into my office to talk about casino applications.
The Speaker: Finish your comments.
Hon. M. Farnworth: We have a White Paper that was under discussion. We've received 150 submissions.
The Speaker: Minister, finish your comments.
Hon. M. Farnworth: From those will come forward the changes that need to take place for gaming to continue in a sound legal framework in this province.
S. Hawkins: The NDP's process in awarding casino licences has been shrouded in secrecy and rightly called into question, given the events of the past few months. In fact, this government didn't hold one single public hearing on the casino applications. My question is to the gambling minister: given the widespread public fears and concerns about the NDP's choices for casinos, will he stand up today and commit to a public review of every casino that received an approval-in-principle by his government?
Hon. M. Farnworth: Just wait, hon. member. We had a great deal of public input -- over 150 submissions. We've heard from the UBCM, the charities, the industry and communities right across the province. We heard from Jacques Carpentier, who said the White Paper was moving in the right direction. The question I find interesting is that the member is saying that the process is secretive and should be opened up to public scrutiny, while she stood in estimates last year and lobbied on behalf of a casino in Kamloops.
Interjections. The Speaker: Order, members.
I recognize, on a first supplementary, the member for Okanagan West.
S. Hawkins: The minister can keep on throwing stones over here, but it's not going to stick. Produce the paper.
The Speaker: Members will come to order.
Continue, member.
S. Hawkins: Virtually every jurisdiction in North America uses a public process in granting licences to casinos. They do that to shine the light on casino applicants, their backgrounds and their plans. You know what? As soon as an application is granted, they hold a public hearing, so that the public can see for themselves who's applying and then have an opportunity to raise their concerns.
I ask the gambling minister again: given what other jurisdictions do -- almost every jurisdiction across North America uses a public process -- why is this minister still supporting a secret process by his government?
Hon. M. Farnworth: I find it really interesting that this member is now suddenly concerned about the process regarding casino applications, because that is the same member who stood up in estimates and said to me: "Is there an investigation going on around a casino application. . .to move in Kelowna?" I said yes, there was. Well, she said to me: "Look, there's a solution. Why don't you implement it before the investigation is complete? We don't have to go through that." Those were her exact words. If she doesn't like it, she can go back and refresh herself by reading Hansard.
The Speaker: Members, come to order.
G. Plant: In response to a question that I asked the gambling minister last Thursday, the minister stated: "There has been no change in the casino approval process in any way, shape or form." Oops! Unfortunately, the minister's answer is directly contrary to the facts. The casino RFP in fact said explicitly that cabinet would select the successful proposals. Won't the minister responsible for gambling stand up and admit that the responsible thing to do is open up the entire process to public scrutiny right here, right now?
Hon. M. Farnworth: The casino applications were scored by the same group of people. They were scored by representatives of the gaming audit and investigation office, by the Gaming Commission, by outside consultants. They were scored by a wide cross-section of people -- 12 people in all. It was done through the same criteria, applied to each and every application. The hon. member knows that if he has information that somehow there were changes Why not present them to the conflict-of-interest commissioner? Every single application was scored in the same process. The decisions were made by the same criteria.
The Speaker: First supplementary, member for Richmond-Steveston.
G. Plant: Only this minister in this government could design a process that would award conditional approval-in-something-like-principle for a gaming licence to a group of people associated with Internet porn sites, strip joints and illegal gambling convictions.  Let's pursue this little bit of openness here, because I think there are lots of questions that the people of British Columbia still need answers to. We know about the cabinet decision on July 29. Can the minister tell us: who did he talk to about changing the approval process? When did he have those conversations?
Hon. M. Farnworth: I guess it's the same answers I gave him last week. The fact of the matter is that there is an investigation underway. There is a lot of information that I want to release. I can't release it at this time, but in the fullness of time it will be released. He will see that every application was treated in exactly the same way as every other application.
The real question is the change in attitude on that side of the House -- how all of a sudden he is so concerned about a secretive process. Yet the member from Kelowna is quite happy to skirt the process when it suits her needs, hon. Speaker.
The Speaker: I recognize the member. . . .
The Speaker: Members, come to order, please.
I recognize the member for Port Moody-Burnaby Mountain.
C. Clark: Thank you, hon. Speaker.
The Speaker: Members, members.
C. Clark: Apparently every New Democrat in Burnaby knew that the North Burnaby Inn hosted illegal gaming. If there had been a public process, maybe the federal New Democrat MP could have come and told them what he knew about illegal gambling at the North Burnaby Inn. Given what has happened in this process in Burnaby, surely it is time for the minister to agree that we've got to drag this process out of the NDP's smoky back rooms and let the light of public scrutiny shine in.
Hon. M. Farnworth: You know, hon. Speaker, once again we see one statement in one section of the province by the Liberal opposition, and then there are other statements in other parts of the Liberal opposition when it suits their needs. They're asking these questions because of statements I made that are obviously in today's Vancouver Sun -- that is, there are changes coming to the way that gaming is regulated in this province. A key part of that is how licences are granted.   One of the things is that there is a White Paper with 150 submissions made. And guess what: as I said before, not one of them made one positive suggestion. Not one of them made one positive suggestion on changing the way that gaming is conducted in this province.
The Speaker: First supplementary, the member for Port Moody-Burnaby Mountain.
C. Clark: There have been nine approvals-in-principle granted by this government for casinos, and already four of them have collapsed for reasons including criminal allegations. If this process is clean, if it is honest, why is the minister so scared to expose it to the full light of public scrutiny?
Hon. M. Farnworth: The only thing that they seem to be exposing to public scrutiny is what they would do on this side of the House if they ever got here. They don't want to talk about how much they'd cut; they don't want to say which services they'd cut. They don't even want to talk about how they would deal with gaming. They were given the opportunity during the White Paper discussion, and not one of them made one constructive suggestion.
The Speaker: The bell ends question period. Members will come to order.
. . . .

Mike De Jong, Finance Minister's take on Casinos

C. James: A few weeks ago, when the minister made the announcement he just spoke of, he said that over the course of 12 months, $119 million in suspicious cash transactions went through B.C.’s casinos. This is despite the B.C. Lottery Corporation’s pledge to use an expensive IT system that was supposed to be in place to catch all of those transactions.

While I appreciate that the minister will get back to me on the specifics around exactly how much that computer system costs, I would like to ask the minister: is the computer system up and running?

Hon. M. de Jong: I’ll confirm that for the member as well. I do, though, want to….

Madame Speaker: Members.
Hon. M. de Jong: I do want to, though, in quoting the figures that she has, make the distinction for the member and the House that the reporting of suspicious transactions can’t be taken as confirmation that a transaction…. I think the member knows that. There is a strict threshold and guideline around which the Lottery Corporation, the gaming agencies, service providers and casinos are obliged to operate, and they are being very diligent about reporting what are construed as suspicious transactions.

1 comment:

Danneau said...

Like reading Alice in Wonderland and a perfect example of doing something far removed from what was implied in opposition discourse or campaign promises. It will be interesting to see how AMLO fares in the deep South.