BC Liberals stock-up on spinners for advanced education

How labour-intensive are TransLink's Yes campaign telephone town halls?

Vanessa Schneider
Vanessa Schneider

Some names in the news and behind the news…

British Columbia’s Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson has a new communications quartet at his disposal. Three of the newcomers are former media workers and the fourth a veteran aide airlifted in from the Conservative cabinet in Ottawa.

Danielle Bell (ex of the Ottawa Sun and Nanaimo Daily News), Craig Sorochan (ex of CKNW) and Ragnar Haagan (ex of Castanet) were appointed Public Affairs Officers in an April 16 cabinet order.

New communications director Vanessa Schneider’s pedigree is most interesting. After 12 years at the Fraser Institute, she worked in communications and strategic planning for junior sport minister Gary Lunn and transport and infrastructure minister Denis Lebel. Her name appears as a media contact in a news release from 2011 that quoted James Moore, the top Tory in B.C., about the Compass Card.

Meanwhile, joining Premier Christy Clark’s office is Ina Gjoka as Executive Assistant. She’s a “Proud British Columbian and Liberal. Victoria based, fashion obsessed business student who left her heart in Paris,” according to her Instagram account. Paris? We are told that Clark was once a French student at the Sorbonne in the City of Lights. Riley Whitelock is joining Clark’s office as a clerk. He’s a veteran of the BC Liberals’ summer internship program.

The board of the Industry Training Authority was reappointed by cabinet, including its chair, Gwyn Morgan. Remember how the government news release that announced his appointment in 2014 omitted his time as SNC-Lavalin chair? Yes, the same scandal-plagued SNC-Lavalin that operates the Canada Line, is building the Evergreen Line and wants the Broadway subway contract.

How many people does it take to screw-in a lightbulb at a TransLink Mayors’ Council telephone town hall meeting?

Can’t tell you that, but I can tell you it takes a soccer team or more to pull-off one of these highly scripted Yes campaign events.

According to records released under Freedom of Information about the March 3 telephone town hall, former CKNW talker Bill Good hosted Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart, Vancouver Board of Trade CEO Iain Black and David Suzuki Foundation director Peter Ladner.

They were joined by Marnie McGregor, a Vancouver city hall spinner seconded to the Mayors’ Council, Justinne Ramirez, a former Richmond city hall spinner, former stand-up comedian Jo-anne Pringle (ex of Hoggan PR and Concert Properties), Kirk and Company’s Kai-Lani Rutland, Port Metro Vancouver lobbyist and Better Transit and Transportation Coalition strategist Marko Dekovic, Vancouver Board of Trade policy analyst Rob MacKay-Dunn and Owen Cameron of Candidate Cloud. The 410-744 West Hastings St. site of the telephone town hall has been connected to a dizzying array of penny stock companies, such as Archean Star Resources, Bayhorse Silver and Rockgate Capital Corp.

On March 4, Good hosted New Westminster Mayor Jonathan X. Cote and Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore. Cote was joined by New Westminster community projects coordinator Ruby Campbell. Moore brought executive assistant Jane Williams. Mayors’ Council executive director Mike Buda was assisted by Mayors’ Council contractor/Vision Vancouver campaign communications director Marcella Munro, Ramirez, Pringle and Rutland. Representing Strategic Communications, the Vision Vancouver polling and robocall agency, were Norm Gludovatz, Nikki Takkar, Jonathan Bleackley and CEO Bob Penner.

2 thoughts on “BC Liberals stock-up on spinners for advanced education

  1. Ara Hepburn

    Thank you for the Time and Money you spend bringing things to light. We are very angry at all of our money used against us… to get us to say yes to more over-taxation.
    SNC Lavalin should not be getting any contracts, any taxpayer monies. Easy online to find out how shoddy their work is and the endless problems their projects have. All the Lieberals care about is constant electioneering and rewarding their donor and cronies with OUR money.
    Great blog post.

  2. JT

    Yep, thanks Bob for working so hard in the public interest. Covering Cabinet Orders seems to have become a lost art yet they are still full of poli fodder. /jt


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