Government miscommunicates probe into Clark's departed chief of staff “incident of concern”

Christy Clark's chief of staff Ken Boessenkool had no meetings with the head of B.C.'s Public Service Agency, Lynda Tarras, in the days prior to ...

Christy Clark's chief of staff Ken Boessenkool had no meetings with the head of B.C.'s Public Service Agency, Lynda Tarras, in the days prior to his resignation over an alleged misconduct – despite Clark saying the investigation was being handle by Tarras.

According to Boessenkool's agenda for September, obtained by Business in Vancouver via Freedom of Information, he had a five-minute phone call with Premier Clark on September 19 followed by an hour-long meeting with Deputy Minister John Dyble. Boessenkool tendered his resignation September 23 and Clark announced BC Hydro chairman Dan Doyle as the replacement on September 24.

Though Boessenkool's agenda shows the meeting with Dyble, it does not mention any meeting with Tarras. The Premier has not mentioned that Dyble was involved in this investigation. Neither Tarras nor Dyble responded to a BIV interview requests.

September 20 appears to be Boessenkool's last full day of work. The agenda includes a 45-minute phone call with Clark before he checked in for an afternoon Harbour Air flight from Victoria to Vancouver. The last day shown is September 21 and the only entries are for a daily conference call and a regular meeting of ministerial and executive assistants.

Boessenkool returned to his family in Calgary after resigning over what Clark called an "incident of concern." Global TV reported that Boessenkool attended a September 7 golf day at Metchosin for the government caucus and media and an evening gathering at the Bard and Banker pub in downtown Victoria. A female government worker complained about Boessenkool's behaviour at the pub, but Boessenkool was not suspended.

Clark claimed the Public Service Agency conducted an investigation, but no documents were released via Freedom of Information. The government claimed the probe was all-verbal.

Boessenkool's September 7 agenda shows he flew Harbour Air from Vancouver to Victoria and had no appointments listed after 10:45 a.m.

He flew to Vancouver the next morning and had phone calls booked with assistant deputy minister of strategic planning and public engagement John Paul Fraser and Doug Horne, Clark's parliamentary secretary. Boessenkool took an Air Canada flight to Hong Kong, where Clark began a four-day trade mission on September 9. Clark's highlights included tea with tycoon Li Ka-shing in Hong Kong, a panel appearance at the World Economic Forum in Tianjin and a photo opportunity on the Great Wall of China at the Mutianyu section. Boessenkool's agenda shows a meeting with Tulsi Tanti, chairman of Indian wind turbine supplier Suzlon Energy, in Tianjin and a Beijing meeting with China Huadian Corp., a state-owned power generator.

Boessenkool, Clark and her assistant Gabe Garfinkel flew back to Vancouver on Sept. 12 via Air Canada in first class seats 5A, 1K and 1F, respectively.

Upon return, Boessenkool met with Ministers Rich Coleman, Terry Lake and Mike de Jong, and had three meetings with Clark communications advisor Don Millar. Millar was Clark's BC Liberal leadership campaign communications chairman.

Boessenkool also had a phone call with Mike Magee, who is chief of staff for Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.

Boessenkool is a former policy advisor to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and a lobbyist for companies like Enbridge, Taser International and GlaxoSmithKline. When he became chief of staff, he agreed not to a standard code of conduct that forbids lobbying the B.C. government during the first year of separation.

BMackin@biv.com

@bobmackin

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