Exercise question for law faculty class: Company A and B donate big money to political party L, expecting to influence market protection in return. Company C donates more money to party L, and C's president attends a fundraiser for L with PR gifts. Political party L's minister grants company C increased-production tax relief. Is there any malfeasance?
It looks like Big Beer thought $327,000 in donations in the past decade should be plenty to persuade liquor policy minister and deputy premier Rich Coleman to protect their market status.
With the two big breweries in BC, donating generously to the BC Liberals in the past five years - Molsons $60,308 and Labatts $65,666 - the politicians may have been expected to offer complementary reciprocation.
The medium-sized Pacific Western from Prince George have been slipping the Liberals $134,033 since 2005.
Coleman's decision [Beer tax rates spark controversy, Nov. 29, Langley Advance] benefits the company with serious money.
This would all have gone unnoticed, except Pacific Western president Kazuko Komatsu attended Rich Coleman's Nov. 8 political fundraiser with complimentary Cariboo brand beer, and donated an auction prize of two tickets to a Bahamas Resort, worth $27,000.
Coleman, embarrassed at accepting the gift, says he returned it, and should have checked that party donations were not solicited from those doing current business with his ministry.
Apparently, he didn't know he was doing business with Pacific Western Brewery when he was working on changes to the law that would accommodate them.
Big Beer was contacting other Liberal MLAs, trying to get Coleman's decision favourable to Pacific Western reversed.
Hey, they put their trust in the Liberal politicians_ so now they know how the rest of us overtaxed, debt-inflicted victims feel.
This is why there is much to be said about the federal electoral system, in which corporations and unions are not allowed to make political donations.
Roland Seguin, Langley
@ Copyright 2013