BC Liberal response:
Paul Barbeau gave this statement yesterday:
“My only contact with Craig James was to discuss reproductions of coastal BC paintings to be hung in the BC Legislature. I represent the heirs of the artist, and they ultimately agreed that digital rights to some reproductions of paintings could be provided to the Legislature at no charge. I did not participate in any meeting with Geoff Plant.”
Paul is an estate lawyer, not Andrew’s “right hand man” and he was representing his client who is a British Columbian artist.
THE Plecas Report has revealed a number of connections between Clerk Craig James and senior BC Liberals, says the NDP. Among those was a meeting with Geoff Plant as well as BC Liberal executive member Paul Barbeau on June 20, 2018. (Exhibit 12, page 77)
Barbeau has been a trusted organizer for BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson since he first ran for elected office:
- In 2012, Barbeau backed Wilkinson for the BC Liberal nomination in Vancouver-Quilchena (Georgia Straight)
- Following Wilkinson’s election as MLA in 2013, Barbeau became the President of Wilkinson’s riding association, a position held until late 2015 (Barbeau’s CV)
- When Wilkinson became leader, he selected Barbeau in March 2018 to be the “Leader’s Representative to the Party Executive of the BC Liberal Party” (Barbeau’s website)
- In November 2018, Barbeau was acclaimed President of the BC Liberal Party.
NDP’s Selina Robinson wants to know what the June 20 meeting between Barbeau and the Clerk was about.
According to Deputy Clerk Kate Ryan-Lloyd, the purpose of that meeting was to determine how to “rein in Gary [Lenz] and ensure he wouldn’t be conducting any investigations in the future.” (Report, page 16)
This information adds to the growing list of serious questions for Wilkinson:
- Did Wilkinson have any discussions with Barbeau about this meeting? Has Wilkinson asked Barbeau about it since the release of the report?
- Does Wilkinson believe it’s appropriate for his representative to meet with and/or be legal counsel for the supposedly non-partisan clerk?
- Who did the Clerk meet with at “Liberal Offices Vancouver” on Jan 31, three days before the Liberal Leadership vote? What was discussed?
- Has Wilkinson asked Linda Reid why she ignored a 2014 memo which warned the Clerk had received a $258,000 payment for which he may not have been eligible? (Background)
Robinson said: “It’s troubling that the Clerk met with so many senior BC Liberals, including such a close associate of Andrew Wilkinson. The list of questions for Andrew Wilkinson continues to grow. It’s time for him to tell British Columbians everything he knows about these meetings.”