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Former MLA failed to register as lobbyist before contacting ministers: records

The B.C. Liberal party's vice-president is being investigated for failing to register as a lobbyist before contacting several provincial ministers on behalf of his Chinese-investor client.

Records from the Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists in B.C. show Bill Belsey was in contact with Jobs Minister Pat Bell, Environment Minister Terry Lake and Forests Minister Steve Thomson on Dec. 5.

However, he did not register as a lobbyist until Dec. 10 for businessman Ritao Ni, who owns Sun Wave Investments Inc.

Deputy registrar of lobbyists Mary Carlson says she is trying to determine whether Belsey was a registered lobbyist for the real estate investor who bought the former Skeena Cellulose pulp mill in Prince Rupert.

Carlson says penalties of up to $25,000 can be levied against anyone who violates the law by failing to register before lobbying the government.

In November, Jobs Minister Pat Bell was at the centre of controversy for sending Belsey an internal email involving the property in Prince Rupert while the city is embroiled in a dispute with Ni.

*RELATED STORY: Lobbyists registry lacks record for BC Liberal Party vice president, The Hook, Nov. 7, 2012.

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