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HST point man Hansen is Olympic minister again

Guess who is British Columbia's Olympic minister again?

Premier Gordon Campbell quietly handed Finance Minister Colin Hansen the Olympic Games Secretariat portfolio via order-in-council on June 30, the eve of the controversial Harmonized Sales Tax.

Hansen was unavailable for comment Wednesday, according to ministry spokeswoman Sarah Harrison. In an emailed statement, she said the Ministry of Finance "will oversee the conclusion of the Province's investments for staging and hosting the 2010 Games with VANOC and partners. The Ministry of Finance will also assist VANOC with its orderly wind up."

Less than a month after the Liberals won the 2009 election, Hansen ceded his Olympic responsibility to rookie Vancouver MLA Mary McNeil. Hansen and Campbell announced the HST on July 23, 2009.

McNeil became citizens' services minister last month in a cabinet shuffle triggered by Energy Minister Blair Lekstrom's anti-HST resignation.

VANOC is in violation of the 2002 Multi-Party Agreement because it hasn't issued a quarterly financial report since last December. Its final report is expected in October or November. Provincial taxpayers are liable if the recession-rocked Games' organizer loses money.

-A 24 Hours Vancouver exclusive by Bob Mackin.

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