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'I'm a Liberal supporter': Suzuki Foundation chairman

The NDP should've seen it coming.

On Monday, the eve of the the provincial election campaign, the David Suzuki Foundation, Pembina Institute and ForestEthics publicly shamed NDP leader Carole James for pledging to axe the carbon tax.

Not only did Suzuki praise the Liberal tax on gas at a March 30 Vancouver news conference, but Elections B.C. records show foundation chairman and communications advisor James Hoggan is a frequent Liberal donor.

The B.C. Liberal Party received six donations totaling $8,943 from James Hoggan and Associates from 2005 to 2008. Hoggan’s company was paid $353,855 by the B.C. government from 2005-2006 to 2007-2008, according to Public Accounts. Contracts included the Sea-to-Sky Highway expansion project and Canada Line.

“I don’t think it’s any secret that I’m a Liberal supporter,” Hoggan told 24 hours.

"I'm not doing this on behalf of the Suzuki foundation and I'm not working on the campaign." Hoggan denied involvement in the Monday news conference, but said: “the carbon tax is good public policy and opposing it is a big mistake."

According to the client page of Hoggan’s website: “Hoggan has been working with the David Suzuki Foundation since its inception in 1990 and offers strategic advice on various communications issues as well as media training and ongoing public relations support. Our counsel on public education and communications strategies has helped DSF to raise its profile and build bridges to the corporate community, thereby increasing its influence over public policy."

When asked about Hoggan’s donations to the B.C. Liberals, Ian Bruce of the David Suzuki Foundation said, "I am unaware of that and I can’t speak for Jim.”

Bruce, a climate change specialist who has described the foundation as non-partisan, said, "Our staff has independence when it comes to working on our projects."

Bob Mackin reports for Vancouver's 24 hours. Tyee reporter Garrett Zehr contributed to this report.

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