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Campbell calls not in public interest: Deputy AG

Deputy attorney general Allan Seckel has decided a freedom of information request to determine if Premier Gordon Campbell or members of his office placed any calls to Patrick Kinsella isn’t in the public interest. This, despite the fact that questions about Kinsella's interactions with the Campbell administration have repeatedly been raised on the campaign trail and in the legislature.

Public Eye Online filed a request for the office’s telephone records on December 15, 2008 – which, according to the government, would cost $450 to locate and retrieve. Under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, a fee waiver can be request if the release of those records is in the public interest.

In a letter dated April 14, 2009, the government advised, "The Office of the Premier has considered your request (for a waiver) and determined that it is not appropriate to grant a fee waiver in this instance."

But that decision was actually delegated by Campbell to Seckel. Government hasn’t responded to repeated inquiries into why the deputy attorney general determined the request wasn’t in the public interest or the reason for that delegation.

A June 6, 2008 request filed by The Tyee's Andrew Macleod turned up no documentation of any "contacts" between Campbell, members of his office and Kinsella since June 2001. In his request, MacLeod specifically asked for access to calendar entries, e-mails and... phone records.

Kinsella, the Liberals’ 2001 and 2005 campaign co-chair, has been in the headlines since it was revealed British Columbia Railway Co. paid his companies $297,567 between 2002 and 2005 to assist the company "in understanding and interpreting the Core Review Process."

He has also been accused by the New Democrats of lobbying the government in or before 2007 without registering – allegations Kinsella has denied.

Kinsella has refused to “consent to any investigation or reporting” into those allegations by the lobbyists’ registrar. And the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have said they can’t investigate because proceedings could only be brought against Kinsella within six months of the alleged offences taking place.

Under the Lobbyists Registration Act, consultant lobbyists are required to sign-up if they, for pay, communicate with a public office holder in an attempt to influence government - although there are some exceptions to that rule. But consultants must always register if they, for pay, arrange a meeting with an office holder and another "person."

Sean Holman reports for Public Eye Online.

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