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Kinsella scheduled repeated meetings with then minister Les

Former provincial Liberal campaign chair Patrick Kinsella was scheduled to repeatedly meet with then solicitor general John Les between 2005 and 2007.

Kinsella – who chairs a government relations firm – is currently under review by the lobbyist registrar for alleged violations of the Lobbyists Registration Act, along with firm president Mark Jiles.

Under that legislation, consultant lobbyists are required to sign-up if they receive payment to communicate with a public office holder in an attempt to influence government or arrange a meeting with an office holder and another “person.”

In the past, Kinsella has said he never registered because he has never lobbied the government on behalf of a client.

And, in a written statement issued in June, Jiles – Premier Gordon Campbell’s former constituency campaign manager – said the Progressive Group is “confident it has consistently and correctly followed the requirements of the Act.”

However, new records obtained exclusively by 24 hours via a freedom of information request, show several scheduled meetings between Kinsella and Solicitor General John Les on a variety of public policy issues.

On Feb. 9, 2006, Kinsella was scheduled to meet with Les to discuss “the absence of effective public/private sector partnerships,” “continuing contract uncertainty – terms and conditions” and “unrealized potential for Government and the Private Sector.” The names of the other parties attending that meeting – held at the Vancouver Club – were edited out.

On April 11, 2007, Kinsella and another party were scheduled to meet with Les and the solicitor general’s then senior aide Brian Sims in the Premier’s Vancouver Office “re: polling info on ICBC.” The name of that other party was also edited out.

On May 2, 2007, Kinsella was scheduled to meet with Les. The record of that meeting includes the notation “Payday lenders.”

On Feb. 1, 2006, Kinsella and two parties, whose names were edited out, were scheduled to meet with Les and the solicitor general’s then junior aide Don Smukowich at the Globe@YVR restaurant.

The records don’t indicate whether Kinsella was acting on behalf of any clients – which have, according to records separately obtained by 24 hours from the State of Washington, included powerful foreign and corporate interests.

Kinsella didn’t respond to repeated phone calls placed to his office. But, in a 2004 interview, he said, “I don’t consider myself a lobbyist. I hold myself up as a communications consultant. I don’t do any lobbying. They don’t need me to pick up a phone and talk to the provincial government or any members of the provincial government. I make it very clear to my clients that I don’t do that.”

The solicitor general's ministry refused to release the names of the other parties attending Les’s meetings because they were deemed outside the scope of 24 hours’ freedom of information request.

In an interview, New Democrat attorney general critic Leonard Krog said the new information obtained by 24 hours “raises obvious concerns about the activities of people who are not registered as lobbyists.”

And he said it necessitates an independent inquiry into “the Lobbyists Registration Act and the activities of people who say they are not lobbyists.”

The records also show seven other scheduled breakfast, coffee and dinner meetings between Kinsella and Les.

Jiles was scheduled attended some of those meetings.

The Tyee has reported on Patrick Kinsella’s past controversies, and his firm’s work on behalf of foreign corporate clients seeking business related to B.C.’s 2010 Olympics.

Sean Holman is legislative reporter for 24 hours Vancouver and publishes and edits the BC politics blog Public Eye Online.

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