Premier Gordon Campbell's former deputy minister and special adviser said he will continue to lobby the province on behalf of the City of Vancouver and a transportation company despite his plans to plead guilty today to a charge stemming from his work.
"I have a continuing job at this point that is actually likely to terminate soon in the normal course of events, and I may do other things. ... [And]the city work is continuing, certainly," Ken Dobell told The Globe and Mail in an interview yesterday.
The first contract is with Cubic Transportation Systems Inc., a company that is seeking to sell a turnstile system to TransLink. He declined to specify when that contract expires. "That really depends on the circumstances, but probably relatively shortly," he said.
Mr. Dobell is set to appear in a Vancouver courtroom this morning to enter his guilty plea for failing to register as a lobbyist to the provincial government. He was charged under the Lobbyists Registration Act, legislation brought in by the Liberal government while he served as the deputy minister to the Premier.
Meanwhile yesterday, opposition parties called for the resignation of Jessica McDonald, Mr. Dobell's successor as the Premier's deputy.
Last April, Ms. McDonald investigated the issue of any possible conflicts of interest in Mr. Dobell's situation and declared him conflict free before the matter went to a special prosecutor.
"Jessica McDonald, the Premier's own deputy, brushed off those concerns and personally approved an arrangement that the special prosecutor has said is influence peddling," NDP Leader Carole James said in the legislature debate yesterday afternoon.
"Given that Jessica McDonald and the Premier set up this scheme, will the government do the right thing, remove Jessica McDonald from her position as deputy minister to the Premier, and actually do something about integrity for this government?"
Ken Hardie, a spokesman for TransLink, said Mr. Dobell visited the transit authority in December with an associate.
"[They]were here to talk to us about Cubic to give us some background with respect to their capabilities with a fare-gate system that was cable of handling smart cards," he said. "There have been no discussions since, certainly no contracts issued to anybody at this point."
Mr. Dobell said yesterday that he did not formally register as a lobbyist because, as far as he knew, both the city and the province knew of his lobbying.
"In my terms, as the special prosecutor noted, and certainly from my perspective, I've done everything that I thought at the time appropriately, so it should not have any impact [on public confidence in the system] ... There's no question that everybody did know," he said.
"I don't have any comment on this proceeding at this point other than to say I'm pleased the matter is finally coming to a conclusion. I very much regret the nuisance ... that the government has had to put up with as a result of my not anticipating this properly."
In response to calls by the opposition parties for the government to cease all dealings with him, Mr. Dobell replied, "The opposition will do what the opposition has always done and that is whatever they feel like."