In April 2008, executives of Exel Logistics, DHL Express, DHL Global Forwarding and since-sold ETS huddled for a corporate strategy workshop and decided that they would “leverage the capabilities” of Deutsche Post DHL companies. One of the strategies to achieve that goal was to import beverage alcohol goods into Canada, according to the Oct. 6, 2009, “Project Last Spike” internal memo:
Expanding the LDB mandate to offer importing and consolidation services for products destined to other provinces in Canada is a major step in executing this strategy. It combines the service offerings of DHL Global Forwarding, Exel and ETS.
The Last Spike memo, written by Exel vice-president Scott Lyons, includes two key pages on the Pursuit Plan and Owners. It is, essentially, a shopping list of things to do and a timeline. There are 11 references to “Rich Coleman” and “Rich,” who was then and is now the BC Liberals’ minister responsible for liquor. Key members of the Pursuit Team include Lyons and Mark Jiles, who is Kinsella’s right-hand man in the Progressive Group lobbying firm. Read about the Pursuit Team here and see the two-page Pursuit Plan and Owners below.
Ultimately, Exel wanted to start the new fiscal year on April 1, 2010, with a 10-year contract to privatize the Liquor Distribution Branch‘s warehousing and distribution. For reasons not yet clear, the government of Premier Gordon Campbell did not go ahead with the LDB privatization as proposed, promoted and desired by Exel.
That changed when Christy Clark became premier in February 2011 and Coleman regained the liquor portfolio in February 2012. Clark’s successful leadership campaign was backed by Exel lobbyist Patrick Kinsella, who was all smiles at the new premier’s March 14, 2011 swearing-in ceremony. Kinsella de-registered on March 30, 2012 — exactly a month before the Distribution of Liquor Project negotiated request for proposals was issued.
The government has published no business case or cost/benefit analysis for this privatization. Only two heavily censored Cabinet documents, obtained via Freedom of Information, that include a diagram oddly similar to one in the Exel memo.
News and views on Vancouver 2010 (and beyond) from Bob Mackin.