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The unelected head of Partnerships BC, Larry Blain, earned $499,000 in 2004-05. Blain’s base salary was $329,000 with a bonus of $170,000. That’s his reward for selling off the public services and assets of British Columbia.

Blain oversees a staff of 37 who make an average salary of $132,049 each. By 2008-09, the average will be $171,319. More disturbing are Blain’s connections to the private sector and the B.C. Liberals and how taxpayer’s money is used to destroy the very services and assets it is supposed to support.

Blain is a former banker who ran RBC Capital Markets, the investment arm of the Royal Bank of Canada. Between 1998 and 2001, he donated $12,750 to the B.C. Liberal party. RBC Capital Markets also gave $82,487 to the party between 1996 and 2001, while the Royal Bank gave $46,812 between 1996 and 2002.

One of Partnership BC’s projects is the Vancouver General Hospital’s Academic Ambulatory Care Centre. It’s being built at a cost of $95 million by a private consortium that includes the non-unionized PCL Constructors Westcoast, a firm that has donated $56,356 to the B.C. Liberals since 2003.

The consortium and Partnerships BC say P3s are saving taxpayers significant amounts of money. But if we look at the background on a P3 Abbotsford hospital, which also involved PCL, the final cost belies Partnerships BC’s claim. Independent auditor Ron Parks found that the cost estimate increased 94 per cent to $1.4 billion from $720 million. This took place under Blain’s watch.

The man, the salary and the deals: it all adds up to one big loss for the public in B.C.

-with notes from the Georgia Straight