|Clark and Wilson: debt free? (Facebook)|
Gordon Wilson was the man who drove the BC Liberals from zero to 17 seats in the 1991 election, lost the 1993 leadership vote to Gordon Campbell (in the wake of his affair with Liberal house leader/future wife Judi Tyabji), formed the Progressive Democratic Alliance with Tyabji in 1995, sailed into a 1999 cabinet post with the NDP and took over the Fast Ferries file.
Yes, there’s more! He ran for the NDP leadership in 2000, but Ujjal Dosanjh was the eventual winner who led the NDP to oblivion in the following year’s election against Campbell and the Liberals.
Now, a dozen years later, Wilson is back in the BC Liberals’ fold. This time supporting Premier Christy Clark and her “vote for me and we’ll be debt-free in 15 years” campaign leading to the May 14 election. Clark’s “Debt-Free B.C.” slogan has been attacked by the NDP as the “fact-free” campaign, for errantly claiming that bond rating agencies called the Liberal budget balanced. The 2013-2014 pre-election budget proposes increasing the debt by $6 billion and forecasts a $69 billion debt in three years. That doesn’t include the list of $96 billion-plus in long-term, contractual obligations.
What is Wilson’s true motivation for urging disaffected Liberals to “come home”?
Wilson is known by the nickname “Flip” for all his party changes. But he’s not wilfully flipping his house on the aptly named Random Road in Powell River. That is also the address listed for his Duddles’ Lair waterfront sheep farm.
The property is offered for $842,900, according to the Realtor.ca listing below. A B.C. Supreme Court judge in Powell River ordered the immediate sale on Jan. 7. A summary of the case and the court’s foreclosure order are both below.
On his blog, Wilson lists himself as the chairman of the board of Tugboat Enterprises Ltd., which owns Selkie Software data recovery and migration software. But the link from Wilson’s blog to Tugboat Ventures goes to a website that is “down for maintenance.” A toll-free phone number is listed, but the operator was unable to connect me to Wilson. A phone number on the Tugboat website registration is not in service.
Tyabji and Tugboat are listed as defendants in the long-running defamation lawsuit by former West Vancouver Liberal Member of Parliament Blair Wilson, who is unrelated. Another defendant is Mark Marissen, the ex-husband of Clark who remains a BC Liberal campaign strategist. Blair Wilson sued in fall 2008, after he switched to the Green Party. I have other documents that indicate this legal battle has not been kind to the wallets of Tyabji and Tugboat.
I reached out to Tyabji and Gordon Wilson late Monday afternoon via email and on Twitter, appealing for them to contact me. I have not had a response. I must assume that they can offer me a reasonable explanation about the legal and financial challenges they have faced. A home foreclosure cannot be a pleasant experience. I sincerely want to hear their side of the story and hope they will contact me as soon as possible.
UPDATE: The Wilsons’ legal and financial woes are connected to a lawsuit involving Premier Christy Clark’s ex-husband Mark Marissen (who remains a Liberal strategist) and an apparent failed attempt to sell Tugboat. Read the details here in Business in Vancouver.
News and views on Vancouver 2010 (and beyond) from Bob Mackin.