Again on the Old Massett $150K grant ..new information,


First and foremost I have to thank Ian Jessop for covering this story today. Here’s a link via Norm Farrell’s piece (which is well worth reading), to the CFAX radio commentator calling out not only the contradictions on the “grant” to the Old Massett school, but also the media for failing to question stories told by the players which contradict each other and the evidence. Read Norm, and have a listen to Ian’s editorial.

Why has this story been ignored?

New information has come to my attention via Laila and Lew.

After all these shenanigans over a partnership between Province and Feds to fund a rebuild at the Chief Matthews Elementary School, it turns out the Feds arranged a different partnership with Old Massett to share the cost with the First Nation itself, 50/50. The link from the Government of Canada website is here: https://t.co/X3MTeo8688 There’s no mention of any BC involvement or financial commitment .

Of course it’s possible that the First Nation is counting on something from the Province of BC to help with its share, but if that’s the case….

  1. Why would a feasibility study be commissioned (initially to be completed right about now, May or June 2016, months after the Feds have already committed to the build.?
  2. Why is the feasibility study not on the BC Bid website? Has it been awarded? Has it been completed? Has it been dropped?
  3. Why would Chief Ken Rea be full of denials in the Haida Gwaii Observer story of May 27th here ? :   https://t.co/0HvCA6fMmY
  4. Why would our photo-op addicted Premier not be self-promoting this innovative Federal Provincial partnership? She seemed proud of a new way of doing things when questioned by John Horgan in the legislature….Seems to me BC got left by the wayside in all this.

Chief Ken Rea’s story in December (Globe and Mail) was only that he spoke to someone in the Education Ministry whose phone number was kindly provided by Bruce Clark – Christy’s brother.

Chief Ken Rea’s story now is that he invited Clark personally to visit Haida Gwaii with $150 K to pressure the Feds (who had been in office for 37 days) to commit to the school rebuild….If the Province showed dollars, the Feds would feel pressure to match.

Fine, except why did Ken Rea fail to mention the personal contact with the Premier when first questioned in early December? Why did the Premier’s office skip that bit? Why did Ken Rea not mention the Federal announcement from February when asked about it in May? (Let’s be truthful, we all should have noticed it, but Ottawa’s a long way from our minds out here since the bad man went away – ht Rona A).

And for goodness sake, why does the federal announcement in February 2016 not mention anything about Provincial funding? I noted in my last post that it didn’t appear that the Feds and the Province were really talking about this..

Too many changing stories. Too many contradictions. Thanks to Ian Jessop and CFAX for breaking radio silence.

6 thoughts on “Again on the Old Massett $150K grant ..new information,”

  1. Keep up the questioning Merv.

    With this latest questionable payola we need as always to connect all the dots and follow the money and all the usual suspects – in this case her brother, her Ex, her staff and spokes persons. Like the BC Rail scandal it should be no surprise that we have many of the same Christy players, same brazen scamming playbook, same deflection and delay.

    Christy, her 1% Liberal family sponsors escape the consequences aided by their captured media looking the other way and deflecting, all to again fleece us their flock of sheep.

    There is always influence and advantage for ‘the family’ at the center of there actions and serial ‘indiscretions’. The same characters keep pirating – using the same basic modus operandi.

    The BC Liberal’s are now a very long in the tooth Ponzi scheme, historically compromised, massively leveraged in deception, corruption, incompetence, now totally broken and on the brink of collapse.

  2. There are two versions of a briefing note for the education minister in the FOI documents, both dated November 12th. I believe the final version to be the one that names Vancouver as the venue for the All Chiefs meeting, since that is the correct location, not Chilliwack.

    Some changes seem to be editorial housekeeping (the Village of Masset rather than Masset Village, etc.) Others may be more significant. Note the change from who met the minister and where in September 2015 to request project funding. The earlier version said it was representatives of the Old Massett First Nations (OMFN) in Chilliwack. The latter version said it was Chief Ken Rae of the Old Masset Band Council (OMBC) in Vancouver. Why did the minister have to be briefed on who he met and where if it had taken place just a few weeks before?

    The differentiation between the Old Massett First Nations representatives and the Old Masset Band Council may be significant in that in the earlier version the School District was reported to have said it had very limited local discussion with Old Massett First Nations, was uncertain if the proposed improvements would be utilized, but would be willing to participate in a feasibility study. In the final version the School District was reported to have been unaware of public engagement that may have been undertaken to date, but willing to engage in dialogue with the Old Masset Band Council, with no mention of inclusion in the feasibility study. Also, the terms of reference for the feasibility study RFP initially said, “completed and posted”, but was changed to “completed in consultation with the OMBC and posted”.

    Regarding the feasibility study, the briefing note said, “The Ministry has yet to consult with the OMBC on the proposed project timeline and may require more time once consultation has occurred.” Note the lack of a timeline in the press release. It’s now over six months and counting and no study RFP yet. As we know, subsequent events seem to preclude a study in any case.

    It’s also interesting to note that the description of the legal opinion requested was changed from “the authority of the Ministry to expend capital funds on-reserve” to “the authority of the Ministry to expend provincial funds to construct on-reserve infrastructure.” Why the discrepancy if the opinion had already been requested?

    This has all the earmarks of a very rushed exercise. Why the hurry? Could it be that the goal all along was not the study, but the announcement? Especially the timing of said announcement?

    1. Thanks Bill and Lew..

      As you say Lew, the whole thing reeks of a rush job. Normally a briefing note in the Ministry of Education would have a stated educational goal right up in the big print. This has no such parameter set. What’s it for?

      1. Reading through the documents, and the original news article, there’s some stuff that doesn’t match up. The briefing notes refer to the Ministry of Education letting an RFP for the $150K study, while the G&M article refers to a $150K “grant” and the government press release refers to an “investment” for a study to be carried out by a “community-based partnership”. It’s all very murky, and hard to know if the $150K has even been spent yet. By the Ministry? By the “community-based partnership”? By the band itself?

        Regardless, the real carrot, and the real purpose of the trip, was clearly to dangle in front of the people of Old Masset the possibility of the Province ponying up $2M to match the Federal $2M to expand the on-reserve school and consolidate all the Masset students (native and non, on reserve and off) into one on-reserve school. The $150K was just a pretext. And the there the timing, in front of the band election, was critical.

        Also interesting is that in the 2014 brief, the local school district has basically no interest in the idea of merging into one on-reserve school, but by 2015 they (or at least the Ministry) are willing to study it. What changed?

        The whole thing has just enough surface credibility to slip by, and the truly scandalous bit, whether the timing of the announcement was arranged to precede the band election, whether $150K was procured just to gild a press release, is probably unknowable without a whistle-blower.

        To draw a parallel, we knew government e-mail deleting was routine based on evidence of absence and we knew it for years, but it took Tim Duncan’s first-hand account to raise it to the level of scandal. As long as the rule of omerta holds, this story will probably languish.

        1. You’re absolutely right. The whole affair stinks, but without a whistleblower?? It continues to smell bad but proceeds no further legally. On this and any other issue readers are invited to submit private information or comments marked “not for publication”.

          1. That said, what bugs me still , is that our big media treated this as a non-story before it started. When something smells this bad, I count on a release of the journalistic hounds. Much (not all) of our press is the least curious bunch of people I’ve ever observed in such a profession.

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