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Olympic ambassador defends his federal paycheque



Raymond Chan, 2010 Olympic Ambassador, believes his behind-the scenes lobbying may have helped Vancouver and Whistler win the Winter Olympic Games.

"I think I got at least five to 10 votes," said Chan who is currently focusing on bringing B.C.’s high school system to China.

"It was not the majority but a strong minority, otherwise we would have lost. It was critical."

The International Olympic Committee voting is confidential.

But some are wondering what Chan actually did for the $745 to $880 he earned per diem, since his June 5, 2002 appointment by the Heritage Ministry.

"I certainly hope taxpayers received good value for money," said Joe Peschisolido, Liberal MP for Richmond.

"I am not aware of any specific initiatives or events or participation that Mr. Chan did to secure the Olympic Games other than picking up a cheque for $110,000 to $120,000."

Chan rigorously defended himself saying the intelligence he gathered and the glad-handing he did was pivotal.

And he said he billed the government for $90,000.

Chan argued his role was not a high profile one. Rather his job was to work quietly with the contacts he had made in Asia and the Pacific over the seven years he was Canada’s Secretary of State for the region.

"The nature of the job took me to Asia to the movers and shakers," said Chan.

"It was not to be high profile at home."

"I was and still am a member of the Olympic Opportunities Task Force in Richmond. I helped them to explore Olympic opportunities. Behind the scenes I am very active. I do my share and I work hard."

Former Liberal MP Chan puts the attack down to political sour grapes.

"It is the dark side of politics," he said of Peschisolido’s comments.

Peschisolido is embroiled in a battle to keep his seat in Richmond. After his election in 2000 as a Canadian Alliance MP Peschisolido jumped ship and became a Liberal.

Now Liberal supporters are divided with many working to get Chan, an electrical engineer by profession, to run again. Chan said he has not yet declared his intentions.

Peschisolido denies he is playing dirty politics and said his comments were made only in response to questions from the media.

Because Chan was appointed by an order in council of the Privy Council in Ottawa his expense account is not open to the media.

Chan was appointed along with Jacques Roy, most recently Canada’s ambassador to the French Republic. Roy’s salary range as Olympic ambassador was $149,999 to $176,000.

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