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MP requests investigation into Victoria marina lobbying

Victoria member of parliament Denise Savoie has asked the federal commissioner of lobbying to investigate allegations about the involvement of political insiders in the Victoria International Marina proposal.

“It is my view that they warrant investigation by your office so that the public can be reassured that this important development is being evaluated appropriately,” the New Democratic Party MP wrote in a Jan. 29 letter to commissioner Karen Shepherd. “Many of my constituents have also contacted me with their concerns about these allegations.”

The Tyee reported in October on the provincial lobbying efforts for WAM Development Ltd.'s proposal to build a mega-yacht marina on public water lots in Victoria's inner harbour. The Environmental Law Centre at the University of Victoria had obtained the documents through freedom of information requests.

Victoria's Monday Magazine reported in December that the proponents received support from federal international trade minister Stockwell Day, who wrote to his cabinet colleague transportation minister John Baird about the project.

“What precisely Day hopes Baird can accomplish is unclear, as the project is supposed to be undergoing impartial environmental and harbour traffic reviews to determine its suitability for the location,” the paper noted.

In her letter to Shepherd, Savoie wrote, “Citizens need to have confidence that their government is conducting itself to the highest standards and these allegations are eroding that confidence.”

Monday also recently reported that lawyer Bruce Hallsor has registered to lobby the provincial government on behalf of WAM.

That registration was made Oct. 29, according to the provincial registry, two weeks after Hallsor told the Tyee he and a colleague in his firm did not believe his activities on WAM's behalf met the provincial definition of “lobbying”. It was also more than 32 months after Hallsor met with then cabinet minister Stan Hagen about the project.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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