Skin cream, military gun shell casing and $90 necktie among ‘gifts’ to Vancouver council – Vancouver Is Awesome

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I’ve never seen a 105-millimetre M14 shell casing.

Had I known one was on display in Mayor Kennedy Stewart’s “ceremonial boardroom” when I did my year-end interview with him in December, I would have taken a look at the big brass cartridge.

Not because I’m a military buff, but because it was one of the “gifts” Stewart declared last year in filing a “statement of gift disclosure,” which is a requirement under the city’s code of conduct policy.

The mayor and councillors must fill out a form when they receive a “gift or personal benefit” worth $50 or more. Stewart didn’t give a dollar value for the casing, which I believe came out of one of those big guns you see soldiers fire in salutes on Remembrance Day.

The casing was given to him by the 15th Field Artillery Regiment RCA, which is based at the Bessborough Armoury on West 11th Avenue. The regiment presented it to Stewart in gratitude for the “freedom of the city” honour in October 2021.

So what else did he get? And what about the rest of council?

Sulwhasoo essential skin care set

Good questions and ones I posed to the city’s communications department, which packaged up the past two years of disclosures and emailed them to me, which was very much appreciated; I used to have to go up to city hall, flip through a binder and then photocopy each form.

Before I get to the councillors, wanted to let you know the mayor also received a Sulwhasoo “essential skin care set” worth $350. The Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Vancouver gave it to Stewart in September 2020 in recognition of the consulate’s 50th anniversary in the city.

The mayor forwarded it to the city clerk’s office.

Not sure what happened after that, although the city clerk has the following options when forwarded a gift from an elected official: to return it to the donor, display it in individual offices, general offices, or in the public areas of city hall, dispose of it by donation, sale or auction, with any proceeds credited to the city’s general revenues, or to the direct or indirect support of a charitable organization.

Vancouver Canucks alumni luncheon

Now to the councillors…

• Lisa Dominato declared: a $79 ticket received from Fortis BC for a board of trade event in Surrey in February 2020; a registration fee worth $400 from the Pooni Group to attend a Vancouver Canucks Alumni luncheon at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver in November 2021; a registration fee worth $89.25 from the Urban Development Institute to attend its holiday reception in December 2021; a registration fee worth $103.95 from Air Canada (sat at the airline’s table) to attend the mayor’s “state of the city” address in November 2021.

• Jean Swanson declared: $79.95 worth of beauty/toiletry products from Lush, which was given to her from the Aboriginal Front Door Society in April 2020; Swanson donated the goods to “a community group.”

Swanson also received a registration fee worth $245 from the BC Non-profit Housing Corporation in October 2020 for the BC Housing Central Conference in December of that year.

• Christine Boyle declared the same $245 fee for the housing event and accepted five tickets worth $200 in October 2021 from Paquin Entertainment to attend the Imagine Van Gogh Immersive Exhibition at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

• Pete Fry declared four Christmas gifts in December 2020: one bottle of wine worth $35 from Hollyburn Properties; a necktie worth $90 from the Royal Thai Consulate General in Vancouver; a bottle of wine worth $30 from the Turkish Consulate in Vancouver; an Ikebana calendar worth $30 from Consulate General of Japan Office.

• Rebecca Bligh declared: five complimentary tickets worth $225 from the Paquin Entertainment Group to the Imagine Picasso exhibit at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

• Michael Wiebe declared: four tickets to Imagine Picasso worth $39.99 each from Paquin Entertainment Group.

You’ll note that not every member of council declared gifts of personal benefits for the past two years, which means Adriane Carr, Melissa De Genova, Colleen Hardwick and Sarah Kirby-Yung either didn’t have anything to report, or they haven’t filed yet.

The code of conduct says all gifts or personal benefits worth more than $50 must be filed with the city clerk “as soon as practicable.” Kirby-Yung told me Monday that she had nothing to declare.

There was a time when council was given more than skin cream, art show tickets and wine, as I reported way back in 2008. That’s when the Sam Sullivan-led council went on yacht rides to watch the fireworks in English Bay, went to Cirque de Soleil shows and attended Canucks games and a Bruce Springsteen concert in private boxes.

Concord Pacific, one of the city’s biggest developers and biggest donors at the time to the campaigns of the NPA and Vision Vancouver, picked up the tab for all of it.

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