Thursday, March 5, 2009

Now I Didn't Say That...

I think Valerie had an opportunity to say "I'm sorry... I made a mistake" and a lot of people could have accepted that and moved on... but unfortunatly here's what she said... "I'm sorry"... and then went on with a bunch of excuses and then declared... "we've learned a lot of lessons" but did she really? At some point during the questioning yesterday she was asked a question and she responded with the following... "And at that time, arrangements were made between Conference and Events Management and Summerset (owned by Christian). What happened? I have no idea,” Docherty said... and that ladies and gentlemen might be what sums it all up... and I didn't say that...
Tourism minister grilled on losses from show
The Guardian
Tourism Minister Valerie Docherty took centre stage at public accounts Wednesday to answer to her department’s $400,000 losses on the failed Alanis Morissette concert last September — but it was Opposition member Mike Currie who tried to steal this show. Currie had pages filled with questions for Docherty and the session became something of an interrogation of the minister by Currie. His questions strongly implied the losses to her department were far greater than $400,000 and that the Tourism Department itself took over as promoter after the initial promoter, David Christian, backed out just days before the concert. Docherty denied this, maintaining the only money forwarded to the concert was a $100,000 grant and a $400,000 loan, $100,000 of which was paid back. She further stated her department never acted as promoter, but that when Christian backed out, her staff approached Conference and Events Management — which had already been working on organizing the concert — to take over as promoter. Christian walked away because five days before the concert he came and asked for more money, Docherty said. “We said no. And at that time, arrangements were made between Conference and Events Management and Summerset (owned by Christian). What happened? I have no idea,” Docherty said. “It was a legal agreement between those two companies.” Currie jumped on this contradiction of her previous statement that it was the department who asked Conference and Events Management to take over. He pushed Docherty to discuss this company more, but she was highly reluctant to engage in this line of questioning or even to name the owner of the company, Myrtle Jenkins-Smith. Currie said he thinks Docherty was uncomfortable with these questions because he believes Christian is being used as a scapegoat for the losses. “Their department spearheaded this concert and went ahead with it no matter what the cost,” Currie said afterwards. He pushed to have Christian’s business plan for the concert made public to prove his point. And although Docherty said previously she would release it, she told the committee Wednesday her department’s lawyers have since advised her not to do so. “It’s confidential information and it’s not something that we’re allowed to present to you.” Currie said her staff doesn’t want this document made public because it would prove the expenses and losses of this concert were greater than are being reported. “I think they’re trying to soften the numbers and they’re embarrassed by the situation,” Currie said. Docherty admitted the concert was a commercial loss, but said she feels no shame in putting provincial money into the concert. Risks are necessary in order to succeed in the concert business, she said. “We took a chance. We took a risk. I’m sorry that it didn’t come to what it was supposed to, but at the end of the day we learned our lessons.” Alanis Morissette attracted approximately 3,100 concertgoers to Alexandra last September — less than a third of the expected crowd. Many of those in attendance received complimentary tickets.

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