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'Backroom Liberal' Kinsella pulled into BC Rail case

For the third day in a row the NDP raised questions in the legislature about Patrick Kinsella's work for B.C. Rail at the time it was being sold to the Canadian National Railway in a $1 billion deal.

“What did Mr. Kinsella do for $300,000?” asked Leonard Krog, the MLA for Nanaimo.

According to a report from the Vancouver Sun, that same question came up in B.C. Supreme Court this morning where pretrial hearings in the B.C. Rail case continued.

"Why are we paying this guy?" asked a 2004 email sent during an internal audit to Kevin Mahoney, who was then a B.C. Rail vice-president, according to the Sun. “The response is that Kinsella is a 'backroom Liberal.'”

Kinsella was the co-chair of the B.C. Liberals 2001 election campaign and the chair of an advisory committee that oversaw the Liberals 2005 campaign. He has been at the centre of a controversy over his failure to register as a lobbyist.

On Tuesday the NDP first raised questions about $297,567 B.C. Rail paid between 2002 and 2005 to three companies associated with Kinsella: Progressive Group, The Progressive Group and Progressive Holdings.

Attorney General Wally Oppal has refused to answer all questions about the matter as they relate to something that is before the courts.

Oppal strengthened the impression that Kinsella is somehow implicated in the BC Rail case when on March 11 he answered a question about Kinsella and the $300,000 by saying, “I'm sure that and other questions will be answered at the trial.”

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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