Hump Day humdingers

False Creek fright, fancy Annecy and dilbit tidbits

A new, irregular Wednesdays-only feature called, get ready for it, Hump Day Humdingers.

Developing stories not yet ready for a full post.

The midday June 10 shooting of Yaletown bike shopkeeper Paul Dragan shocked Vancouver. He is recovering in hospital, as is the suspect.

A source told me that the climax could have been deadly for both a Vancouver Police officer and the suspect.

The shooter aimed his gun at the head of a female officer through the window of an unmarked car beside Science World. Cops on bicycles arrived just in time and shot the suspect to injure, not to kill. Even after he was wounded, the suspect kept firing at the cops.

Gerald Mark Battersby was charged with six counts of attempted murder, unauthorized possession of a firearm, possession and use of a restricted or prohibited firearm and unlawfully discharging a firearm.

From the “if you can’t go to Paris in May, why not go to Annecy in June?” file. 

Vancouver Economic Commission director of marketing and research Tania Parisella and manager of digital entertainment and interactive Nancy Mott went to the Annecy International Animated Film Festival June 7-12, along with representatives of eight Vancouver cartoons-and-more studios: Atomic Cartoons, Bardel Entertainment, Eaglecliff Entertainment, Global Mechanic, Rainmaker Entertainment, Titmouse Animation, DHX and Sony Pictures Animation.

Parisella said VEC was covering staff flights and accommodation at a Best Western, the fee to host the Vancouver Focus panel session, a pre-screening business-to-business session for Global Mechanic’s “Impromptu” film, staff conference passes and promotional material about Vancouver animation studios.

Vancouver joined Russia, South Africa, and a joint Brazil/Chile pitch at international marketing events during the June 9-14 festival.

So how much is VEC spending? The civic agency received $4.01 million from City of Vancouver last year.

“In terms of budget, it is still being finalized,” Parisella told me just three days before her departure. “Please feel free to check in with us after the trip and we’ll be happy to provide you with the final number.”

Yes, folks, that’s the Vancouver Economic Commission which, evidently, doesn’t finalize travel budgets before it sends staff on trips. Nice work if you can get it.

How did the BC Liberals mark the anniversary of their post-election swearing-in?

With Premier Christy Clark’s awkward announcement that she would avoid talk and votes about oil refineries after her former husband Mark Marissen hooked up with Pacific Future Energy Corp. as an executive vice-president. She said she consulted with Conflict of Interest Commissioner Paul Fraser. Fraser’s office has yet to respond to my query for details.

That’s nice that Clark wants to take the high road and avoid the appearance of conflict of interest. But it would be nicer if the public could actually get a peek at the cabinet and caucus minutes for proof. Nineteenth century cabinet secrecy still reigns in 21st century Victoria.

Pacific Future Energy is the second company to propose a north coast oil refinery that would connect to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline and turn Alberta tarsands bitumen into oil ready for export to Asia. That is, if Enbridge gets federal approval and opponents don’t beat it in court or physically block its construction.

Like David Black’s Kitimat Clean, which was unveiled in August 2012, Pacific Future Energy is lacking a heavy hitting oil expert on its roster. It also needs billions of dollars of financing, let alone regulatory approvals.

Pacific Future Energy’s executive chair is Samer Salameh, who is CEO of Mexican-owned telecom Azteca. Pacific Future Energy’s chief of staff Roop Virk registered in April to lobby Clark and Technology Minister Andrew Wilkinson on behalf of Azteca.

A name that is neither on the Jan. 16-incorporated company’s one-man board or its executive roster is Bruce Clark, the Premier’s brother and close adviser. He is worth mentioning, only for the sake of trivia.

Remember Dave Basi and Bob Virk, the ministerial aides who pleaded guilty in October 2010 over the bribery-tainted sale of BC Rail (and had their $6 million legal bills paid by taxpayers, contrary to policy)?

In transcripts of police wiretaps, Basi and Virk referred to Bruce Clark by the nickname “The Mexican.”

Lobbyist watch

Steve Kukucha, the “ku” in Wazuku Strategy Group, registered Feb. 24 to lobby for Enbridge. He is effectively the replacement for Chuck Strahl who was lobbying for the Northern Gateway Pipeline proponent while acting as chair of the watchdog for CSIS.

Clark (left) and Kukucha on the 2013 campaign.
Clark (left) and Kukucha on the 2013 campaign.

Kukucha’s registration lists 13 target contacts, including Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett, Deputy Premier and Natural Gas Development Minister Rich Coleman, Environment Minister Mary Polak, and Aboriginal Relations Minister John Rustad.

One important person was not on Kukucha’s Feb. 24 list. Premier Christy Clark.

Kukucha, who was a senior aide to former federal Liberal environment minister David Anderson, was Clark’s so called “wagon master” on the 2013 election campaign plane and bus.

Instead of Clark, Kukucha names three people on her inner-circle: chief of staff Dan Doyle, deputy chief of staff Michele Cadario and deputy minister Neil Sweeney as Enbridge lobbying targets in the Office of the Premier. There is no requirement under B.C.’s lobbying law for lobbyists or public officials to report when or if they meet.

Kukucha’s newest client is GDF Suez Canada, the regional arm of the French energy giant. He registered June 5 on behalf of GDF, and listed on its form the desire to talk to politicians about the “awarding of contracts for IPP (run-of-river) power projects.”

The GDF target contacts include Bennett and Coleman, but not Clark. Instead of the Premier, Kukucha named Cadario, Sweeney and communications director Ben Chin.

UPDATE (June 17): Kukucha’s registration was amended on June 16 — the eve of the federal government’s decision on the Enbridge Northern Gateway proposal — and now names every member of the BC Liberal caucus as a target contact. Even Clark, the Westside-Kelowna MLA. But not Clark, the Premier.

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