[Editor's Note: The QC Sentinel is pleased to announce that it will be carrying John Twigg's new column, "The Daily Twigg". John has been an active analyst of B.C.'s political landscape for some time now. The QC Sentinel has put out notice since its inception for local writers and columnists to join its publication and contribute local content but to date the invitation has proven to be rather sparse. That offer still stands.]
BCIMC's costly burn in Sino-Forest stock crash shows pension funds better kept close to home
By John Twigg
Dec. 18, 2011
I was shocked to see the story in Saturday's Globe and Mail (Dec. 17) to the gist that the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCIMC) was the largest shareholder among more than a few who got burned for multi millions or even billions of dollars when ostensibly some evil rival short-sellers allegedly in June used false information to drive the Sino-Forest share value down to about zero from a mkt cap max of $5 billion - BCIMC had owned 6.5 million shares (price and value unknown) but is now down to "only" about 1.5 million shares and has a class-action lawsuit pending while the OSC froze the stock and the RCMP are investigating possible fraud. The story mentions that BCIMC withheld its votes at AGMs in 2007, 2008 and 2010 reportedly to protest the poor attendance of some Sino-Forest directors.
[Editor's Note: The following letter was received from Coun. Sushil Thapar of the City of Quesnel. Mr. Thapar has been in the local news lately in Quesnel because of his position on city council as finance chair. Being in that portfolio Coun. Thapar is naturally privy to the financial goings on of council and found himself in the unenviable position of having to scrutinize the spending habits of some council members who appear to be going over their alloted budgets as well as living high on the hog when out of the city on council business.
Such revelations have not gone unnoticed by the Mayor, Mary Sjostrom as well as other council members associated with this current tempest who have been named in other media outlets in Quesnel. The repercussions of Coun. Thapar's transparency have been volatile to say the least with allegations flying back and forth like ping pong balls. Thapar's latest letter is a vindication of the many accusations made by Coun. Roodenburg in her letter to the Quesnel Cariboo Observer of July 15, 2011.
Re: Travel budget has no bearing on censure, Observer Feedback section, July 15, 2011.
Further clarification is required concerning the many comments of Councillor Roodenburg, some misleading and others I believe are simply false.
Contrary to Roodenburg statements I was censured for asking questions publicly and it started with Roodenburg’s over-budget travel expense account.
I simply asked acting administrator, Jack Marsh why it was approved. I also asked a question of Ken Coombs regarding West Fraser Timber Park and the $18,000 as I could not recall what it was approved for.
My last concern was the Freedom of Information bill of $262 I received from the city, which I brought up at a regular council meeting. Roodenburg has a travel budget of $4,000 which she is supposed to manage and live within. It is her responsibility to decide which functions are important and to prioritize how her allotted budget is spent.
Clearly council members cannot attend every function. Her travel expenses for 2010 were actually $5639.91 (these figures were taken from cheque listings and VISA statements.)
City of Quesnel Threatens Sentinel Publisher with Defamation Suit
[Editor's Note: On June 9th, 2011 in response to comments made in the Quesnel Cariboo Observer concerning the actions of City of Quesnel finance chair Coun. Sushil Thapar I sent a letter to the Observer which was later published in the newspaper on June 21, 2011 under the heading, "Tough questions need to be asked."
On June 23, 2011 the Observer published a response to my letter from Mayor Mary Sjostrom wherein she denied comments that I had made concerning the hiring of City Manager John Stecyk. That same day I received an email from the City of Quesnel's law firm in Vancouver, Murdy & McAllister, which contained a pdf letter that stated I had made "defamatory" statements concerning Steyck and that I was requested to "forthwith retract your defamatory comments and issue an apology for same, failing which legal action against you may be pursued." A cc copy of this letter was also sent to Autumn Macdonald, Editor of the Quesnel Cariboo Observer.