$200 thousand pre-election government grant to B.C. Liberal insiders raises serious questions

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Ravi Kahlon

Victoria: While the B.C. Liberal government claimed before the election they had no money to help the province’s most vulnerable people, they magically found $200,000 to give to two B.C. Liberal insiders for an organization they registered only a few days earlier. New Democrat MLA for Delta North said the more he has looked into the grant, the more extraordinary it looks, and the more serious questions are raised.

“There are some very questionable things when it comes to this B.C. Liberal government grant to their friends,” said Ravi Kahlon. “The grant came from a contingency fund just a month before the 2017 election to known B.C. Liberal insiders. They registered an organization on March 1, and by March 17, just 16 days later, they received a $200,000 grant from the B.C. Liberal government.

“I’ve never heard of a case where an organization gets a massive government grant 16 days after existence.”

Kahlon added, “I’ve also never heard of an instance where the B.C. Liberal government gave out a $200,000 grant just before an election and didn’t hold an event to draw attention to it. I haven’t even been able to find a press release. That alone is extraordinary.”

Radio stations in Metro Vancouver had documented ongoing rifts developing between B.C. Liberal insider Satnam Johal and the B.C. Liberal leadership as the election approached, primarily due to reports that Johal was kept out of the nomination process in at least one constituency. Johal and his close colleague Rajmohan Singh formed New Horizons Village Society on March 1, 2017. The Treasury Board approved a $200,000 grant for them 16 days later, to be funded from contingencies.

“So far, I haven’t been able to find much in the way of a business case or paper trail leading up to the grant,” said Kahlon. “I’ve seen a letter to Rich Coleman just before they formed the society, officially requesting the money. Mr. Coleman must have advanced the request at that point, despite the organization not even officially existing yet.”

Kahlon noted that even today, the website for the organization only has a phone number on it and “Site and Development Coming Soon” placeholder text.

“It’s like an empty shell of an organization. This grant doesn’t pass the smell test, and I plan to look into it more,” said Kahlon.