Monday, October 22, 2012


Dismembering Canada

by Robin Mathews



Dismembering Canada. 

To Save It From Stephen Harper Fascism

The Stephen Harper forces are putting the torch to Canada, to the rule of law in Canada, to Canadian freedom of expression, to Canadian electoral integrity, to Parliamentary legitimacy … and more … every day.  Their Mein Kampf-style plans become clearer with every hour. Having won majority power by what appears more and more to be major election fraud, their imposition of “junta rule” in Canada grows. 

The Opposition parties flail into the increasingly fiery air, refusing to undertake direct, personal, constituency-by-constituency, on-the-ground appeal and organization of people in Canada to reject the Harper program.  The Opposition parties appear to fear the task of directly organizing the Canadian people more than they fear the increasingly fascist moves of the Harper forces.  Perhaps the Opposition parties are simply confused…. 

Maybe.  But an increasingly large number of Canadians are not confused.

One of the latest, gross invasions of Canadian democracy by the Stephen Harper forces is a treaty with China, called The Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPPA).  To put the matter briefly: “the Canada-China treaty effectively concedes legislative and judicial elements of our sovereignty…” to, in fact, Chinese agencies. (quoted from Gus Van Harten, Osgoode Law Professor, letter to Stephen Harper).

The implications of the treaty for the destruction of Canadian democracy and independence are enormous.  The treaty was never formally considered by the representatives of Canadians in the House of Commons.  It was never discussed in presentation to Parliament.  There was not a moment of debate about its intent, its construction, its implications, its effect - in the House of Commons or any of the provincial legislatures.  The treaty was created by the Harper Junta, in secrecy and in private with Chinese agencies working in the same way.

Only one of the aspects of the treaty destroys democratic rule in British Columbia. If British Columbia’s government acts against the imposition of the Gateway Pipeline, the results are almost unbelievable.  The Chinese interests may act against British Columbia in secret (laughable) courts (or arbitration panels), not recognized by Canadians, outside of Canada, which may – in fact – overrule the government elected by Canadians in British Columbia.

The “arbitrators under the Canada-China treaty operate outside of the authority of the Canadian legal system and Canadian courts [and so] the treaty appears to contravene the judicature provisions of the Constitution concerning the role of the superior courts.” “Notably, the arbitrators may make non–monetary orders against states as well as issue damages awards for potentially massive amounts.”  [Gus Van Harten, letter to Stephen Harper.]

That kind of behaviour applies to any economic activity in British Columbia (and the rest of Canada) owned by Chinese interests or in which Chinese interests have only a very small part.

We remember Stephen Harper undertaking another violation of democracy in relation to British Columbia.   Almost certainly in concert with Gordon Campbell (who Harper paid off with the position of Canadian High Commissioner in London) the two appear to have arranged a surprise imposition of the infamous HST in B.C. Gordon Campbell (in collusion with Stephen Harper, we may be sure) declared he would not impose the HST in British Columbia.  A few weeks after re-winning election, he did so … to Stephen Harper’s delight. It was a minor coup, but only child’s play compared to The Canada-China Foreign Investment and Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPPA).

But the HST coup, you will remember, lasted a very short time.

And it did so because British Columbians rose up and forced the Gordon Campbell/Christy Clark Harperites, by referendum, to withdraw the HST.  Democracy prevailed despite a Harper/Campbell attempt at Junta Rule and at an anti-democratic coup.

At the time of the victory celebration Chris Delaney, referendum activist said “we know the referendum works, we know it has a legitimate place in our society, our democracy now.  The people have endorsed it overwhelmingly.”

There is nothing to stop British Columbians using referendum again in this hugely more vicious and destructive attack on democracy in Canada and in the province of British Columbia – an attack undertaken by the Stephen Harper government in collusion with the government of China and its corporations.

[Gus Van Harten suggests the treaty with China may violate Canada’s Constitution.  A constitutional challenge to the treaty, therefore, might be undertaken. But that cannot be the only route of challenge, because of the time it takes – and especially since the Harper Junta is undermining the rule of law in Canada every day, the police forces, and the courts. Even (after a long passage of time) a win in the Supreme Court of Canada wouldn’t stop the Harper Junta from signing just such a treaty again (and even during Supreme Court hearings) and working on many other ways to destroy democracy in British Columbia and the rest of Canada.]

The wording of such a British Columbia referendum, therefore,  would have to be narrow, direct, and clear.  It could not, effectively, request or demand anything from the federal government.  The B.C. referendum process has no power outside of British Columbia.  Stephen Harper could simply laugh at a referendum - even overwhelmingly carried –  asking him to change Junta law and policy. Nothing British Columbians could do to sway the Harper Junta could work – through referendum.

And so the people of British Columbia are driven to a simple question, within their own powers to ask and then to act upon. It must be a question that erases the power of the Stephen Harper Junta to impose fascist, oppressive, democracy-destroying laws upon British Columbians (and other Canadians).

The question must ask British Columbians if they wish to leave Confederation, to separate from Canada, and to set up (in whatever sovereignty-association status they wish to have in relation to the federal government), a democracy that cannot be forced by Ottawa to erase itself and accept totalitarian domination by Ottawa, by any foreign power, or by any combination of the two.

[Such a referendum could be sponsored or supported by the B.C. government – or like the referendum against the HST could be conducted legitimately against the wishes of the presiding provincial government. Government can refuse to act on the outcome of a referendum in most provinces … but a referendum with this kind of question would be hard to refuse if a strong percentage vote supported it.]

The situation in Canada is dire and the threat to democracy in British Columbia and Canada is real as a result of the nefarious actions of the Stephen Harper forces and especially of the Stephen Harper Junta/Canada-China Foreign Investment and Promotion Agreement (FIPPA). I suggest British Columbians begin, now, to create a referendum organization.  It must begin removing British Columbia from the reach of the corrupt and rapacious hands of Stephen Harper and his global corporate companions in thievery. 

[Referendum legislation exists in most other provinces in Canada.  People in those provinces should be urged to move immediately, also, to set up referendum organizations with the same purpose in mind. Later they might “re-Confederate” in a Canada that couldn’t rob them of democracy in the service of global thieves and looters.]


What is the Council of Canadians?

A little over a week ago I received the following essay by Robin Mathews after I had been away from the keyboard and the intertoobz for a couple days. By the time I found this in my e-mail it had already been posted at Grant G's Straight Goods for a day or two, so I just kept a copy on my hard drive. This morning I received another good piece from Robin concerning the "Harper Junta" and the damage they are inflicting on Canada and Canadians, apparently to a great extent to satisfy his Chinese masters, which I will be posting here shortly. I thought it would be appropriate to put this here also now, for archival purposes and because it does relate to the upcoming post Dismembering Canada. (kootcoot)

What is the Council of Canadians?  (COC)

  by Robin Mathews

The Council of Canadians – whatever else it may be – is a living and breathing declaration of the failure of the parliamentary system in Canada, and, especially, the failure of Canadian political parties in that system.

Let us say at the beginning that Maude Barlow, voluntary chair of the Council of Canadians, is an upstanding, excellent, principled, competent, dedicated, and devoted servant of the organization.  Let us say, too, that the organization does work of genuine importance in Canadian life and society.  Let us say – Canadian things being in the parlous state they are – that we are far better off having the Council of Canadians than not having it.

The Council of Canadians is holding a major conference in Nanaimo, B.C. from October 26 to 28, 2012, called “Making Waves: Sinking the Harper Agenda”.  Clearly the purpose is a political one.  Clearly the event is intended to be an occasion of Political Opposition. 

The questions that follow have to be ones like: “Where is the parliamentary political opposition?” “Where is it – whether in Ottawa or in the capitals of the provinces?” “Why isn’t it holding such events?” “Why aren’t the political Opposition parties in Canada acting among and with the people of Canada in open public spheres to educate, to inform, to act, to lead, to concentrate attention on the sell-out of the country?”  “Why is a political non-party necessary in Canada?” “Where has this Council of Canadians come from?”

Begin there – answering the last question – and much is answered. 

The fact is that the Council of Canadians is the bastard child of several forces which were coming to realize (a) the Canadian parliamentary system was collapsing, and (b) the “Party System” in Canada was betraying both Parliament and Canadians.

Strangely, the beginning happened within a Party.  In 1969, a group of (mostly young) progressives were convinced that the New Democratic Party was going to the Right, was forsaking its roots, was becoming a collaborator with the sell-out forces in Canada, and that the NDP was betraying Canadians in its parliamentary role. Those (mostly) young people created a left rump in the NDP which came to be known as “the Waffle movement in the NDP” with a slogan “Independence and Socialism”.

The Waffle had very high profile for a few years until driven out of the Party by the Lewis family, the U.S. unions, and their allies. Its importance (to this discussion) was that it focused attention on many independence issues that were not being addressed by the parliamentary Parties. It gathered real sympathy in the NDP and in both the Liberal and Progressive Conservative Parties of the time.

A few scholars have claimed that because of the Waffle’s effectiveness certain progressive Liberals felt left out, and they believed the Liberal government of the day, as well, was not addressing key political questions, was betraying Canadians in its parliamentary role.  And so what might be called “the Walter Gordon group” – the nationalist wing of the Liberal Party (with some sympathetic Progressive Conservatives) - created in 1970 an “independent” organization called The Committee for an Independent Canada.  It was not (as the Waffle was inside the NDP) inside the Liberal Party or any other. 

That allowed people who believed in its work to be members – people who had membership in any party, or none.  The fact is that the Waffle attracted people of the Left and the Committee for an Independent Canada mostly attracted Liberals and Progressive Conservatives, though there was cross-over.

That was the next step toward the Council of Canadians – making a political group that was not attached to a Party but which had, primarily, a political role – to bring about legislation, to affect political thought, and to press for various kinds of change.

All the developments were indications that our parliamentary democracy operating through political parties was failing.

The Waffle Movement in the NDP angered “the Lewis family” – David Lewis, Stephen Lewis, and their allies. In 1972 in the Orange Hall in Orillia, the great vote was held to decide if the “Waffle” could stay a part of the NDP.  At the time, about 51 per cent of constituencies wanted the Waffle in.  Into the Orange Hall paraded the non-elected, appointed delegates from U.S. Unions in Canada – and they provided the majority necessary to the Lewis family and their allies to drive the Waffle out of the NDP. 

The Waffle slowly died.  As an independent Party it couldn’t muster the force to remain afloat. 

The Committee for an Independent Canada went on working.  Its publicity is that it influenced major legislation, and I believe it did so. I believe the principal people in the CIC grew tired of the work.  In 1981 they dissolved the Committee for an Independent Canada saying it had done the work it set out to do – which was simply not true.

The connection and the continuity of concern from then to now is dramatic.  Today, resistance forces outside the House of Commons and legislatures across the country are fighting the Harper intention to sell ownership of Canadian raw (fossil fuel) resources to China (CNOOC’s  $15 billion bid for Nexen Oil).  They are up in arms about the secretly concluded Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Act which gives China, in fact, legislating power in Canada and greater power than Canadian legislatures in the exploitation of Canadian resource wealth.

One of the major battles of the Waffle and the Committee for an Independent Canada was the battle about foreign ownership of the Canadian economy.  Major leader of the Waffle Movement in the NDP, Mel Watkins, cut his teeth as head of the first government appointed major Task Force on foreign ownership.  From 1967 to 1972 three major Reports were issued on the subject – the Watkins Report, The Wahn Report, and the Gray Report.
Chief founder and organizer of the Committee for an Independent Canada was Liberal ex-finance minister Walter Gordon who spent his years in parliament tenaciously fighting foreign takeover.  

With the arrival of Brian Mulroney as prime minister in 1984, all knew the slight advances made to preserve Canadian independence would be scuttled. And they were….

It is no accident that a year after Brian Mulroney became prime minister of Canada, a meeting was held in Toronto in 1985 of many, many of the activists involved in the struggle for Canadian independence – meeting to revive a non-political-party resistance.  Mel Hurtig was one of the chief organizers of the meeting which was addressed by Walter Gordon who rose from his sick bed to speak to and encourage the group.  All of the people at the meeting were aware that Canadian independence was being destroyed with the assistance of the parliamentary parties … and that something needed to be done. The Council of Canadians was formed.

Mel Hurtig led the Council of Canadians in the beginning.  At that time, the Council held a national meeting of members every two years who acclaimed the Chair or voted in another.  With time, apparently, that practice seemed too cumbersome and elections of the Chair ended.  Search as I might, I can’t find a simple history of the foundation and early years of the Council of Canadians.  Having been at the founding Toronto meeting, having been on the first National Board, I see gaping holes in “the story”.

Observing with dismay after 1975 that opposition to sell-out by the politicians in the federal and provincial legislatures was weakening, two National Party of Canada parties were formed, one after the other.  The first was formed in 1979 in hopes of bringing together the divided forces –  old Waffle Movement people and other independentist groups – to concentrate on the real political needs in the country.  That National Party lasted about five years, ran a few candidates in two federal elections, in Ontario only (though it was a national Party wanting to offer candidates nationally), and then it faded. It couldn’t manage to bring the real opposition forces into alliance.

In the early 1990s Mel Hurtig (chief founder of the second National Party of Canada) phoned the leader of the former Party of that name to ask if the Party being newly created could have the name.  The former leader of the first National Party of Canada gave the name and his blessing to the Hurtig challenge.  That Party ran in the 1993 election with considerable success, and had the real possibility of becoming a force in Canadian politics.

But a fierce battle over financial accounts in the second National Party of Canada burst into view and was loudly conducted for a few years. Case after case was taken to court, and the Party was split into fragments; and finally was de-listed by Elections Canada. As an observer, I still cannot decide if the wrecking of the second National Party of Canada came about because of its obvious success and potential future or because there were real, demonstrable failures of accountability in the Party.

Clearly, the founders of the first National Party of Canada and the founders of the second one believed Canada needed a political force as a political party in Parliament to address the needs of Canadians.  The first National Party of Canada was winding down as the Council of Canadians was being formed.  The second National Party of Canada came into existence eight years after the formation of the Council of Canadians, believing, obviously, in the need for a political party in parliament to do the kind of work the Council was trying to do outside of the political structures of the country.

The failure of the parties forming the political opposition in Canada’s national parliament and in provincial legislatures to shape the kind of work the Council of Canadians does is a disgrace.  Those opposition parties fail to hold major democratic conferences, public rallies, and public actions, They fail nationally and from constituency to constituency to resist sell-out and to inform and educate Canadians.  Their failure condemns them to all the disapproval that Canadians can muster. 

The opposition parties act as silent partners of sell-out.  The work of the Council of Canadians throws into highlight the huge failure of the political opposition parties in Canada, both in provincial legislatures and in the national Parliament … and outside of them.

Wise observers have stated, over and over, that no “movement” organization, like the Council of Canadians, can ever transform itself into a political party.  The reasons are very many … and they are very convincing.

One can only hope, however, that the example of the Council of Canadians inspires Canadians – young and old – to reject all the Mainstream Parties as they present themselves today. One can only hope that Canadians, young and old, found a new party to save Canada from the exploiters holding political power in Canada today, and from the fat parasites, called the Opposition parties, doing very little for Canada and living off the almost totally corrupted system.  We think of that system as The Guardian of Canadian Freedom – our parliamentary system based upon conflicting and competing political parties possessing different visions of the best ways to serve the Canadian people.

To the degree that the Council of Canadians fills the need of Canadians to feel that a meaningful resistance to the destruction of Canada exists – to that degree the Council of Canadians is a negative force. For it can never become more than a movement looking in at the forces shaping Canada’s future – the forces we call the political parties in the national Parliament and in the legislatures of the provinces of Canada.

To the degree that the Council of Canadians alerts Canadians to the terrible failure of political parties in Canada and shows the desperate need for a new, people-empowered, responsible, and responsive Party – and helps to have such a new Party come about – to that degree the Council of Canadians is and will be a heroic part of Canadian history.

The Council of Canadians is, strangely, a living statement that real concern for the future of Canada is forbidden in the national Parliament and in the provincial legislatures of the country.  It must also be the forerunner of new, militant, dedicated groups who form the Party or Parties required to overthrow the corrupt Parties of the day, to rebuild a destroyed Parliament, and to replace the old, cynical, time-serving, morally corrupt, self-indulgent Parties with a Party or Parties determined to serve Canada and Canadians and to save the future of the country for the generations to follow us.

If that doesn’t happen, then the chances for the formation of what may be called “revolutionary resistance” groups will grow.  What shape they will take cannot be guessed at now.  But real, in the streets, physical resistance to the destruction of Canadian democracy seems almost fated unless a new kind of democratic political party appears determined that Canada will be independent and will survive as a democracy.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Little Moral Moments
in the Corrupt Swamp of B.C. Politics?
......... Don’t Believe It.

submitted by: Robin Mathews

The June 26 photo is of B.C. premier Christy Clark looking, as usual, surprised and obstructionist.  The Vancouver Metro newspaper story by Daniel Palmer is about Clark and the B.C. Rail Scandal: “Questions remain for premier in BC Rail scandal”.  Clark has much to be obstructionist about. Obstructionism marks all the members of her cabinet. Shirley Bond smiles and smiles and obstructs Auditor General John Doyle who is seeking reasonable information about the $6 million court costs paid for men who admitted being guilty of crimes.

Rich Coleman, the always spinning and spinning Energy and Mines minister, never looks anything else than obstructionist. The Gordon Campbell/Christy Clark cabinet members have, sadly, almost every reason to look obstructionist - and to be obstructionist.

To survive, they have to obstruct almost every question asked about the BC Rail Scandal, the Magnificent Fraud of the BC Ferries, the Barbarous Demolition of BC Hydro, the desecration and sell-out of B.C. river energy, and the devilishly arcane and improper contracting of major infrastructure ventures in B.C.  – to name only a few major matters.

No wonder Christy Clark wants to limit the conversation to families!

The half-told Vancouver Metro newspaper story stirs all the usual insanities, improbabilities, contradictions, and denials that hang on anything of importance to do with the Gordon Campbell/Christy Clark Liberals.

In brief, a Conservative blogger has revealed (allegedly) a key document written by Dave Basi in 2003.  Basi is one of the two men who accepted guilt (2010) in the BC Rail Scandal case held in B.C. Supreme Court.  Their admission of guilt cut off cross-examination of some of the most powerful people in B.C. who might have told the court and the public enough to force a re-direction of charges more widely … and upwards.

Dave Basi is believed by some to have been paid off by the $6 million the Campbell/Christy Clark governments spent to absorb his court costs and those of Bobby Virk.

The third accused, Aneal Basi, faced charges of money laundering for something like six years – charges trumpetted over and over by the Mainstream Media.  Then – almost on the last day of trial – Aneal Basi had all charges against him dropped.  His costs were paid, I believe, by Legal Aid – and the public has never been told what those costs were.  Mainstream Media have never asked, apparently.  Mainstream Media never asks questions that might embarrass … power.

Since all charges against him were wiped, the public may assume Aneal Basi was massively slandered and libeled for years and years.  The public might expect to hear about a gigantic libel case against all accusers and prosecutors, a libel case for millions of dollars. But all the public hears is …  silence.

The fresh, new, startling revelation alleged is that Christy Clark (then deputy premier) was at the time of the bidding for BC Rail (2003-2004) breaking cabinet confidentiality and leaking all kinds of information to one set of bidders.

Except … as early as 2003 Search Warrants related to the events included Christy Clark and her doings. Allegations are that (then) Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm of the B.C. Supreme Court (in effect) protected Christy Clark.  Her brother, however, was found with confidential cabinet documents. He was never charged. Of course.

Then – in an astounding piece of Napoleonism – Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm sealed the normally public Search Warrants for months … in fact forever.  Because when he finally did release them, eighty per cent of the key information in them was blacked out.  Associate Chief Justice Dohm gave the first indication that some members of the B.C. Supreme Court were willing to act outrageously, for unexplained reasons, in relation to the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to the CNR.

His behaviour was paralleled by that of the Chief Justice, the Associate Chief Justice, and the judge on the Basi, Virk, and Basi case.  When those eminent jurists were informed that the Special Prosecutor on the case had been appointed illegitimately by violation of the legislation governing his appointment, thereby making the whole action he engaged in illegitimate, the eminent judges refused to act – but would not deny the truth of the information. Their significant behaviour seemed to point to the fact that they would distort the administration of justice in any way necessary to protect Gordon Campbell and his associates from justice.

The Special Prosecutor, William Berardino, was paid $10.7 millions for his work on the BC Rail Scandal. The Mainstream Press and Media (including TYEE) wouldn’t touch that part of the Scandal.

From almost the outset of pre-trial hearings in the Basi, Virk, and Basi case Defence counsel suggested investigation might well show Christy Clark involved in leaks attributed only to the accused.  The RCMP – to this day – has refused all requests to conduct criminal investigation of the Gordon Campbell group that worked the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to the CNR.  The refusal by the RCMP to investigate, I allege, may explain the new twenty-year contract it recently received to “police” the province.

The RCMP has failed completely in the BC Rail Scandal case. One of its major investigators was revealed to be brother-in-law of a top Liberal Party officer who was in frequent contact with Gordon Campbell during critical years.  RCMP should have openly and publicly investigated all allegations connected to the relationship and all hints of impropriety.

The RCMP did nothing.  It was apparently too busy protecting RCMP officers accused of violence (and even murder) to undertake investigation of alleged major corporate and government crime.

Back to the Vancouver Metro newspaper story.

The Conservative blogger who leaked the Basi document is famous for disliking Christy Clark.  He may be seen by some as adding fuel to the flame-thrower used by Conservative MLA John van Dongen to burn out the truth about the $6 million paid (against all honest practice) for the legal costs of government employees found guilty of crime.

As the president of UBC Stephen J. Toope (formerly Dean of  Law at McGill University) wrote to Attorney General Shirley Bond (at her request), NO GOVERNMENT should pay the costs of criminally guilty employees.  Governments, Toope pointed out, don’t hire employees to do criminal things.

Careful observers in British Columbia might disagree with Stephen J. Toope. Whatever, Christy Clark and Shirley Bond are doing everything they can to prevent the Auditor General and British Columbians from knowing HOW the Gordon Campbell/Christy Clark governments paid the $6 million and covered their tracks. In addition, what did they pay, through Legal Aid, for the defence of Aneal Basi against whom all charges were dropped?  Shouldn’t the public know that as well?

Astute observers might say there can be no accident in the fact that both the blogger revealing the document and John van Dongen are Conservatives.  Mr. van Dongen has taken up the leaked document with energy. He has already gained intervener status to support the attempt of the Auditor General to force (through Supreme Court order) release of evidence relating to the $6 million pay-out.  Shirley Bond and Christy Clark are doing all they can to stop the Auditor General.

Mr. van Dongen was for a long time a Liberal Party member and MLA and cabinet member from the Fraser Valley Bible Belt. He only recently, apparently, became a convert to Stephen Harper evangelical Conservatism.  As a Liberal he seems to have lived in sin quite comfortably.  One can understand how he might – at the saintly feet of Stephen Harper – suffer a dramatic rebirth into keen morality.  From 2001 until 2009 he was a cabinet minister in the Gordon Campbell Liberal government.

Showing conventional cabinet solidarity, he was present for the sham privatization of BC Ferries.  He was present for every step of the fraud and larceny involving BC Rail.  He had to witness the disembowelling of BC Hydro which some believe involved criminal breach of trust … at least. Through all those things John van Dongen didn’t sigh a whisper of complaint. Indeed, he was Solicitor General in 2008-2009 when the RCMP was under constant fire in the BC Rail Scandal hearings in the B.C. Supreme Court.  The Honourable John van Dongen did … nothing on that matter.

We have come to know that the saintly morality of people like Stephen Harper is often directly connected to desire for power, position, personal advantage, as well as to ideological tunnel-vision, mendacity, and a desire for revenge.

Neo-liberals in B.C. (the Liberal and Conservative parties) are terrified of the 2013 election year.  Will the NDP win as a result of a Liberal/Conservative split vote?  Can the Conservatives destroy the Christy Clark Liberals before 2013? And then can they run alone against the NDP with heavy Stephen Harper support?  A long shot … but ….

If Christy Clark can be entirely besmirched, maybe the Liberals can be destroyed as a B.C. provincial party. 

The sudden, saintly concerns of Mr. van Dongen must move the hearts of all British Columbians.  “It’s an issue of ethics”, he is quoted as saying.   Apparently unable to see almost any very major issue of ethics for fifteen years, Mr. van Dongen has suddenly seen the Light!!

The Mainstream Press and Media (owned and run by neo-liberals) may also be seeing the light: keeping the NDP from power may take special effort.  Like helping to destroy Christy Clark.

Mainstream Press and Media never questioned the case-destroying, illegitimate appointment of the Special Prosecutor in the BC Rail Scandal. It never questioned judicial disasters that happened during the years of pre-trial and trial. It never asked about the dangerous role of the RCMP in the BC Rail Scandal. It never asked for criminal investigation of major actors in the drama. It never did anything but tacitly (to this observer) support lawlessness and fraud at the top. Now for the purest of reasons the Mainstream Press and Media (like John van Dongen)  may suddenly have discovered morality and ethics – and may have begun to see the Light.

Don’t believe it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Psychopaths in Power.
The Fight for Democracy in Canada.

by Robin Mathews

It may not be ‘poetic license’ or science fiction to say the core group in the Stephen Harper cabinet is made up of psychopaths.

Lisa Raitt can argue with passion that destroying the democratic bargaining rights of employees in Canada is an act of virtue. She seems to have convinced herself that by making it possible for twenty-year olds to fly to a Florida beach in Spring Break she is up-holding the most basic freedom of Canadians – which must come before all else. She seems to be showing us, also, that the lies of psychopaths know no limits.

And she is showing, as well, that the Harper Conservatives will appeal to the sleaziest self-interest of Canadians in order to erode the rule of law in the country ... and move it towards the condition of a police state.

Whatever else, we must realize the total strategy of the Harper government is a strategy of lies ... as I shall attempt to show. Members of cabinet don’t just use a lie here and there to cover a blunder here and there. Rather, the goals sought are governed by an over-arching policy of lies – planned, prepared, and executed. Policy is followed to invalidate Canadian freedom, to see it as obstructive of efficiency, and, ultimately, to repress any Canadian resistance to what is in fact a growing fascist state. Such a state unites private corporations and a governing elite into a ruling class supported by police and military forces ready and eager to erase violently any public resistance to elite policy.

Increasingly that kind of structure is multi-national. The sell-out of the democracy of Canadians is pursued on behalf of so-called “global” interests. The Harper forces assist in the destruction of Canadian industrial operations like Stelco and Electro Motive Diesel to serve U.S. masters. And the Conservative Party employs – more and more – U.S. masters of deceit to assist in its determination to win elections by any kind of dishonesty, fraud, or malpractice.

The Conservative Party strategy of lies is supported with depressing consistency by the Mainstream Press and Media which actively supports it or overlooks it as a silly fault of a government trying to do its best for Canadians.

Conservative policy is not confined, by any means, to the inner cabinet. There is a democracy-destroying culture of the government (illegitimately) in power, a strategy of lies. In a recent conversation with an aide to a Conservative senator on the Energy and Environment committee, I witnessed that fact. We had a spirited conversation about the attack on environmental organizations by the Harper government. Did I know, she asked, that (charitable status organization) Tides Canada has many, many more employees than (charitable status organization) the Fraser Institute? (She gave me the exact numbers.)

I replied that Tides Canada lists all its donors. I reported to her that I have written to the Fraser Institute and asked for a list of its financial donors. The Fraser Institute refuses to reveal who pays for its operation – but the federal government continues to grant it charitable status. The aide with whom I was speaking expressed sudden surprise to hear my news. She can tell me the exact number of people employed by the Fraser Institute. But she doesn’t know it keeps a tight lid on the names of its financial supporters, refusing to reveal to the public who donates. Quite simply, I didn’t believe her.

The two poster boys for Psychopaths in Power are Stephen Harper and Peter MacKay – the two ends of the spectrum, one might say. They both have a basic characteristic of the psychopath. Truth, for them, is a tactic to be used sparingly. Lies usually sound better. Both men will say anything to cover embarrassing truth … at the drop of a hat, as we say.

Peter Mackay is the Mulroney’esque end of the spectrum. He’s expansive. He likes luxury. He’s important (?). He deserves the best (he thinks). He will say anything – whether he’s explaining his luxurious hotel accommodations, his rich use of the Royal Canadian Air Force as a taxi service, his commandeering of a search and rescue helicopter to deliver him from a fishing vacation, or the endlessly elastic costs of the non-existent F-35 warplane. On that subject he’ll use anybody’s figures he deems useful at the time. He’s a “fibber” who runs off at the mouth. But he’s “fun”. He’s “likeable”. So was ‘Lyin Brian’ Mulroney.

His siamese twin is Stephen Harper. He, too, appears to believe lies sound better than the truth. So he avoids the truth when he can … which is frequently. But he is not “fun”. Many believe the depths of his will to deceive are almost bottomless.

Karlheinz Schreiber, lobbyist, arms-dealer, (now a convict in Germany) and much more, who was tangled with Brian Mulroney’s destiny over decades, filed an affidavit in Ontario Supreme Court in the week of November 5, 2007. In it he made allegations which involved his relations with Mulroney as prime minister. And he claimed he had written to Stephen Harper about extradition attempts and that he had asked Mulroney to intercede with Harper on his behalf.

Schreiber was alleged, in the words of Wikipedia, (relating to the purchase of Airbus planes for Air Canada) “to have arranged secret commissions to be paid to Brian Mulroney…. There has never been any evidence produced to substantiate the allegation”.

Very clearly, the Schreiber allegations of 2007 focussed the relation of Brian Mulroney and Stephen Harper. Closer examination might prove embarrassing. Stephen Harper quickly announced a Public Inquiry into the relation of Brian Mulroney and Karlheinz Schreiber. Harper chose Conservative university president David Johnston to set the terms of the Inquiry. Johnston, in effect, ruled out any serious approach to the subject of the purchase of Airbus planes for Air Canada. Johnston was appointed Governor General of Canada shortly after.

Mr. Justice Jeffrey Oliphant, appointed Inquirer, observed the limits of the Inquiry, judged the testimony of Brian Mulroney not believable, and was unable (as he saw the matter) to investigate the most serious allegations in the whole long and expensive affair. By deft manipulation – which some Canadians might believe desecrated Canadian justice and fairness – Stephen Harper disposed of the Karlheinz Schreiber/Brian Mulroney/Stephen Harper problem without ever permitting the key allegations against Brian Mulroney to be fully and fairly examined.

On the election-spending fraud of the 2006 election, Stephen Harper knew nothing (?). Funds flowed through 68 Conservative constituency offices, and he knew nothing about it. Though the Conservative Party admitted guilt and paid a fine for enormous fraud in the democratic process, the leader of the Conservative Party knew nothing about the fraud. The Robocall Scandal of the 2011 election – which was nationwide, planned, organized, all-out – happened without his knowledge. He went so far as to state publicly that it had nothing to do with Conservative Party headquarters. How did he know? If the Robocall Scandal happened without his knowledge, how does he know Conservative Party Headquarters knew nothing about it?

On the matter of the F-35 warplane anticipated purchase, he had to know the difference between the estimates of all government-related authorities in the matter of the F-35 and what he told Canadians in the 2011 campaign, giving a different figure that was flatly untrue. Those who allege he purposefully lied to Canadians during that campaign cannot be convincingly contradicted.

He juxtaposes his “truths” in ways which are often offensive. Relations with China and the Harper government get closer and closer. China is a despotism. Its industrial capacity is supported by near slave-labour conditions. China’s response to dissent is jail without trial when it isn’t outright violence and slaughter. The decent mind boggles when it thinks of the ordinary lives of tens of millions of Chinese people. To Stephen Harper, China is fine.

But “Socialist” Cuba must be ostracized, cast out, kept from the Summit of the Americas even though all countries but the U.S. want Cuba included. Cuba offends Stephen Harper’s democratic principles, according to Harper himself. Democratic principles? No. As with the Kyoto Accord and almost every other policy of importance, Harper’s Cuba policy is made in Washington and in the offices of Goldman Sachs. The only time in recent history that Cuba could be placed in the same category as present China on the matter of human rights was in the period of Cuban despotism and terror fully supported by the U.S.A. before the arrival of the Castro government.
Stephen Harper’s apparent lying process is very different from that of Peter MacKay. Stephen Harper gives every indication of preparing lies. He appears to many to know he is uttering them. They don’t flood from him the way Peter MacKay’s lies do. That is why Harper is an “um” speaker. He ‘ums’, it may be argued, to pretend he doesn’t know what he is going to say next. Harper pushes an “um” along his sentences. He doesn’t want his lies, an analyst might say, to sound glib. He wants them to sound thoughtful, shaped as he goes, and so he “ums’ and “ums” his way through sentences.

He might be said by experts to be the other end of the psychopath spectrum from Peter MacKay. He wants to look solid, dependable, measured. He wants to use his power effectively in his service of the big corporations. He wants the lie to become the truth – because he speaks it. He wants to look kind as he removes human rights and democratic protections from Canadians. But his long term lying is beginning to be evident.

Consider CBC. Consider the attack on environmental safety and groups advocating preservation of the environment.

James Moore, Heritage Minister, led what I believe is a long trajectory of lying about the CBC. If true, his behaviour supports the idea that lying is a significant strategy in long-term Harperite policy. Mr. Moore first showed great enthusiasm for the CBC, suggesting it would not face a cut in budget. Immediately after the (illegitimate) election of 2011 he remarked that the government “would maintain or increase support for the CBC”. Then, months later, he admitted that in the overall 5% cut in the federal budget the CBC would have to carry its share of cost. Months later when the budget was finally presented – and examined, cuts to the CBC came, superficially, to more than 10%, and, arguably, when all losses are figured in, to nearly 20%. The Harper private corporate forces want to destroy public broadcasting in Canada. The process has long been worked out I believe, and a trail of lying – already begun - will lead to achievement of the goal.

The greatest pattern of lies and denials of fact by Harper and his brood relate to the environment. They are completely complicit with what might be called the Goldman Sachs/large corporation denial of climate change, of Fukashima dangers, and of present ravages by industrial and military pollution of the environment.

From the time when the Liberals were in majority power, the Harper Conservatives have carried the torch for what is – despite cosmetic policies of “sustainability” - a general, North American, wealthy elite denial of present and future dangers to human life on the planet. The lying that has been unrelieved is now united with an open attack upon democratic freedoms and legal behaviour.

The slander against environmental groups with charitable status and the millions of dollars to be spent to investigate whether those organizations have been violating the ‘no political action’ clause is a hoax. For the Harper government is not consistent enough to attack reactionary organizations with charitable status. There has been no mention of investigation of the Fraser Institute, Preston Manning’s organization, or others of the kind that visibly advocate on behalf of Conservative government policies and philosophy.

The same may be said for the new environmental review legislation. Huge corporations involved in the activities – whether in direct exploitation of the environment or in “sustainability” and community concern groups – are treated as solemn, objective, publicly responsible organizations faced with rabid, undemocratic, secretly financed, near terrorist organizations called environmental concern groups.

The lies about the status of participants in the argument over environmental protection are not only supported by the Harper government but created and circulated by it. The lies are intended to create a long-term Orwellian false reality. As the public comes to accept it, military and police forces can be used to destroy violently any attempt at democratic expression.

And where are the Mainstream Press and Media editorial writers and columnists in all this sordid history? (A) Saying nothing. (B) Avoiding the subject. (C) Occasionally slightly perturbed – but almost never doing in-depth coverage in order to inform Canadians of the truth. (D) Or … as is the case with Globe and Mail columnist Gary Mason, they reveal what seems to be a parroting of the arguments made by the Harper Reactionaries and their corporate friends. Doing the job? Covering up as directed? Producing more media sleaze to bamboozle readers?

In his Globe column (April 19, 2012, A17) – “A burden lifted but opposition remains”, Gary Mason wakens the questions about himself that were asked by Marc Garneau of Peter MacKay. Can Gary Mason read? Can he understand the world he is in? Approving of the new, narrowed Harper environmental review policy that cuts out the provinces, Mason pretends that the people of the provinces may not have distinctly different concerns than the Harper government in Ottawa and may want a provincial platform to express them.

Democracy demands the participation of people concerned with policy measures taken on their behalf. In a democracy, governments must balance the power of large private corporations with wide open space for members of the population to be heard. Mason believes that “dozens and dozens of environmental groups … making essentially the same point …. Merely drags out the process….”

But dragging out the process is an important democratic activity. It happens in Parliament all the time in order to focus the attention of the population. It is a democratic political activity intended to inform a large public. It must be protected. Gary Mason opts for fascist efficiency – which is not efficiency at all but destructive policy to serve wealthy interests over the needs of the democratic population.

Since the reviews (in Mason’s mind) are undertaken merely to find if environmental damage, narrowly defined, may happen, Mason cheer-leads for Stephen Harper. There is no reason “why so many projects need to go though a two-step procedure”, Mason avers. That is a way of saying there is no reason why democracy should be in place to serve the population when destroying democracy would be much more efficient for private, wealth- gathering corporations.

Cutting out environmental groups unless “they can prove they are directly affected … isn’t entirely evil”, Mason instructs us. But a tanker accident near Alaska can affect the lives of Ontarians. A pipeline accident harming rivers may affect fish and the fishing industry in a huge area. Environmental disasters in one place can affect the whole world – which may be why Gary Mason never mentions the Fukashima disaster and its growing threat. If he did, he could never again talk the nonsense he does about those “directly affected”. To suggest that environmental reviews are only concerned with those “directly affected”, those living near proposed activity, is simply fraudulent. Gary Mason pushes the fraudulent claim. It is the new Orwellian position of the Harper government, cheered and urged on by Gary Mason in “Canada’s national newspaper”. God help us.

To read columns like the Mason column in the Globe and Mail is to invite feelings of nausea and revulsion … and anger.

Those must be the feelings of as many Canadians as possible. They must find a way to organize and to confront, effectively – and to turn back – the long-term policy of the Harper government – “the lying policy” – the policy that is intended to make lies the truth in Canada.

cross-posted at House of Infamy

Thursday, April 05, 2012


Mea Culpa....Part Deux!

Apparently I still haven't managed to properly reset the notification process for comments. Mary had things set up so that all comments, except those which google determined to be spam - generally pretty accurately - generated an email notification to her, which she could then decide to publish or not. In the past when she was away, or unable to manage the Ledge Raids due to treatment, I would switch, or add, notification so that I too would be notified and able to release/publish appropriate comments promptly. It used to work just fine, but Google, like most IT outfits, has a habit of changing stuff, often for no discernible reason and definitely not an improvement. I'm more old school, if it ain't broke, don't fix it (or move the Start Button or put Word Wrap on a different menu)!

When I first realized I wasn't being notified (Mea Culpa previous) I checked out the comments folder, and spam folder and wound up releasing about 30-40 comments. Then after resetting the comments notification I started getting at least two notifications for each comment. Then I re-adjusted the settings and now again I've been getting no notifications. I checked the folder today and have just released almost twenty recent comments, so if you commented in the last week or two and wondered why it wasn't published, check now and it will likely be there. If you need to contact the blog e-mail me at:

To the commenter who was asking about the future of this site, to wit:

Is this now a dormant site? If not, perhaps someone should make a statement about its status.

If there aren't regular BC Rail updates here you'll lose your the audience, and the valuable archive that Mary left us will be relegated to the dusty shelves.

The postings don't all have to be lengthy tomes, in fact, better that most of them aren't. Is anyone able to carry on the research that Mary used to do on this subject? i.e. not turn it into a general blog on any subject

Hoping the site will carry on, through whomever, if possible. Even if nothing more than a permanently available archive blog. She brought the best investigative stuff to the surface, way more than Alex Tsakumis (she just didn't have the insider's contacts that he does).

2 April, 2012 1:29 PM

The site will carry on, however there is no one on the horizon to carry on the level of constant research that Mary was so good at doing. I don't have the time to carry on my own stuff and replace Mary. However, I did always provide a certain degree of tech support for her and was involved with TLR and will continue to keep it running. Recently I have published three appropriate pieces by Robin Mathews and I am willing to publish anything submitted by anyone that is appropriate, in other words has bearing on BC Rail and the crooks that stole it. Also it will remain available as an archive, and anyone with access to the visitor logs would be amazed at the volume of traffic that TLR still attracts. Much of the traffic is the result of search engine referrals when web surfers use key words that relate to the subject matter of the more than 2000 posts that Mary published since 2006.

I am also in the process of backing up the entire blog onto other media, so that even if the internet ceased to exist, the work that Mary did on behalf of everyone that cares about British Columbia will live on, even if it has to be chiseled in stone or applied to papyrus scrolls.

Also, RossK of the Pacific Gazette, will likely, if he chooses, be back as a contributor. We've been having a problem with his posts to his own site somehow overwriting the entries on third party blogrolls and then that would create a link that led to an error page if someone tried to link to The Legislature Raids. Under the circumstances, I was afraid that might cause some folks to think the blog had been cancelled/deleted. That issue and the inconsequential Map_key issue both have yet to be resolved. The key issue though is easy for now, just click on Okay, on the pop-up error message and carry on, everything works on the front end and the back end (excepting the comment notification, which is most likely my bad). I may just eliminate the comment approval prior to publication, at least as a trial. Google Blogger does a good job sorting out the genuine spam and in general if it is the matter of a comment in poor taste, I've always felt that reflected entirely on the commenter, rather than the host. Either way, I will get into the habit of checking the comment folder more often, at least until I either free the process up, or straighten out the notification process.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012


Law And The New Fascism
............. In Canada

submitted by - Robin Mathews

Many people in Canada have never heard of Shirley Bond, B.C.’s Solicitor General, Minister of Public Safety, and Attorney General of the province. Nevertheless, she fits snugly into the new role of legislators – to block any acts of responsibility to the electorate, to cover up violations of trust by government, to sham the relation between large corporations and the legislators “owned” by the corporations.

She is presently insisting that her attempt to block the Auditor General from investigating all the circumstances of the “unconventional” $6 million pay-out to Defence Counsel in the Basi, Virk, and Basi (BC Rail Scandal) case is a demonstration of her full and willing cooperation with the Auditor General. Ms. Bond was Deputy Premier when the “deal” was made to chop the (unfinished) trial in order to prevent cross-examination of top politicos and corporate actors … and to pay the costs of the convicted men – Dave Basi and Bobby Virk.

The Gordon Campbell/Christy Clark/Shirley Bond Liberal government will never get to the 2013 provincial election if the full story of the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to the CNR is told. Thus (I believe), we see Ms. Bond’s game of smoke and mirrors with law and with the integrity of the Ministry of the Attorney General.

The move in Canada – and globally, to destroy the rule of law, to assail rights of collective bargaining, to kidnap ownership of nationally-owned resources by multi-national elites, to turn police forces into “palace armies”, to debase the democratic election process, to hand governing to private interests, and to sell off and ship out the sources of worthwhile employment (the industrial base) – has a number of names.

After the March 29th federal budget the Globe and Mail chose to call the move in Canada: “Harper’s modest revolution”. If the matter wasn’t so serious, the Globe’s characterization would be laughable. The Harper government (Air Canada, Postal Workers) has set about wrecking collective bargaining in Canada. The Harper forces admitted guilt to an attempted rig of the 2006 election (which should have caused major criminal charges, and has not).

The Harper government has been a party to the highly dubious sell-off of STELCO to U.S. interests, and the closing down of ELECTRO-MOTIVE DIESEL by recently new owner CATERPILLAR – after insulting the employees by offering them a 50% wage cut. And shortly before sale, a $5 million tax grant went to the Corporation from the Harper government. [With what behind-the-scenes agreements??] Expect more of the same under the Harper regime.

In the calculated and highly organized (alleged) Harper Party attempt to wreck the 2011 election through Robocall electronic tactics, another major attack was made upon the legitimacy of the election process in Canada. All indications point to the Conservative Party and its supporters as the major, overwhelmingly involved force engaged in election-wrecking. That must be said repeatedly. The bully-boy tactics of the people with organizations involved and by spokespeople for the Harper force in Parliament are intended, I believe, to stop Canadians from saying just that: every indication points to the Conservative Party and its supporters as creators of the latest attack upon the legitimacy of the election process in Canada.

In addition, using its proxy power in the Enbridge Corporation, the Harper forces are attacking freedom of assembly in Canada. In the North yesterday, the Northern Gateway hearing was closed down because, apparently, Enbridge representatives were offended by a school teacher and pupils showing signs opposed to the Gateway development. Enbridge was trying to say that they will not engage with the population democratically. They want militarized agreement with their corporate decisions.

Proof that the Harper government was in on the mini-blow against democracy is given by its complete silence in the face of the Enbridge action.

That is not nearly all. With this column, I am sending information that has come to me from Kelly Marie Richard. In short, she was (as she and I believe firmly) corruptly prevented from carrying out an action for Dental Malpractice by CGI (Information Technology firm with other widening interests), the RCMP, some of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench judiciary, and others. Her allegation (extending from that experience) in what is attached with this column is, in short, that Stephen Harper is cutting budget and employees at Department of National Defense and Public Safety and is replacing with employees from CGI. Privatizing, secretly, operations of federal government.

Kelly Marie Richard has investigated CGI for some years and has recorded hundreds of CGI employees in Federal Government Departments and Crown Corporations WORKING FOR CGI.

We should not fail to recognize that since the taking of government in B.C. by what is fairly called the Gordon Campbell/Christy Clark forces (2001) ALL of the same kinds of moves have been visible in British Columbia – except, so far, proof of election rigging.

The breaches of trust, the violations of the rule of law, the contracts entered into (at least partly) in secrecy, the sell-out of wealth owned by the people of the province, the dirty cronyism, the cover-up of (perhaps) criminal activity within government, and much, much, much more are too vast and extensive to deal with here.

Here, I will deal with a centre devoted to the wreckage of the rule of law in British Columbia – by which I mean the Ministry of the Attorney General. Since the arrival of the Gordon Campbell/Christy Clark government it may be said that NOT ONE Attorney General has served without at least one (discovered) ugly, unprincipled action destroying the credibility of the Office. How many other violations of trust the Attorneys General have engaged in may come out in future investigations.

It has been said that the Attorney General preceding Shirley Bond resigned because he was pushed (apparently to act politically) by premier Christy Clark, and – perhaps – because he could read the writing on the wall … that the Liberals have no chance in the next election (2013). That may be so. But before going, he was charged with fiddling and delaying the HST referendum. And there is more ….

Not one … not one Attorney General since the arrival of the Gordon Campbell/Christy Clark government, I allege, has conducted himself or herself without reason on the part of the electorate strongly to suspect his/her actions.

Since Attorneys General hold a special and important place in relation to the rule of law, their unbroken failure since 2001 in B.C. is a symbol of the betrayal of democratic process in the country. Attorneys General have a key role. They are responsible for the courts and justice, and they are responsible for advising the cabinet on all matters of law in relation to any cabinet action. They sit both as cabinet members and – at the same time - must have the integrity to insist upon fully lawful practice by cabinet.

It is a tough role that calls for integrity, principle, and calm.

Let us look at the record.

In 2003, Geoff Plant, Attorney General (2001-2005), and Allan Seckel, Deputy Attorney General, flagrantly violated the legislation governing the appointment of Special Prosecutors and appointed to the BC Rail Scandal Basi, Virk, and Basi case a man with whom they had both been partners and colleagues for years. As a result, nothing William Berardino did as Special (Crown) Prosecutor can be accepted. Any British Columbian who believes Mr. Berardino worked for the political ends of the Gordon Campbell/Christy Clark governments may fairly hold that belief.

Geoff Plant’s successor, Wally Oppal (2005-09), besmirched his reputation and position in at least two major ways. He did everything he could as Attorney General in the legislature and outside of it under questioning to insist every matter concerning the BC Rail Scandal was “sub judice” – that is to say in active consideration by the Courts. That was simply not true.

But as telling, in an attempt to get an action in process against the alleged Bountiful bigamists, he also violated the procedure to appoint Special (Crown) Prosecutors. He went “Special Prosecutor shopping”, which means he was determined to start a case whether experts believed a case was legitimate or not.

The first two “distinguished” lawyers he approached said no case could be taken until a higher court ruled whether religious bigamy was permissible under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Mr. Oppal should have followed the advice of the first Special Prosecutor appointed. Instead, he went from Special Prosecutor to Special Prosecutor until he could get what he wanted – a trial (I believe, for purely political reasons).

When Mr. Oppal’s game was exposed in the first hours of the trial, the Supreme court judge stopped the action, then and there and, in effect, threw it out. A case conducted by the accused against Wally Oppal upheld the action to throw the case out of court and the decision that he had acted wrongfully.

As a result Wally Oppal was appointed to the lucrative post as Commissioner to head the Inquiry into the matters concerning the Vancouver Downtown Eastside women murdered at the Pickton Farm. Many believe it is a sham procedure in which Mr. Oppal prevents questions being asked about matters that would be embarrassing to police or government.

When Wally Oppal was defeated at the polls, he was succeeded as Attorney General by Michael de Jong (2009-10).

Clearly, people inside government were becoming aware that the British Columbia public were concerned the Special
Crown Prosecutor process was being used for political ends by the Gordon Campbell government.

Related - as suspected corruption - but not as a link to the BC Rail Scandal, the new Solicitor General Kash Heed was alleged to have been involved in election irregularities. The Special Prosecutor appointed to look into his actions – Terrence Robertson - was found to be in conflict of interest and was replaced by Special Prosecutor Peter Wilson.

Attorney General Michael de Jong decided to conduct a review of the Special Prosecutor appointment process. To do so, he went to a vice president of UBC. That was imprudent, since UBC is in a master/servant relation with the B.C. government which can – at any time – do harm to the operations of the university. A reviewer of government behaviour from UBC can be suspected of prejudice in his/her work. Stephen Owen’s Report did nothing to allay that suspicion.

Michael de Jong appointed Stephen Owen to do the review in May of 2010. Mr. Owen is a vice president in charge of relations with governments – a role that might well restrain him from making a judgement against the B.C. government.

I wrote Mr. Owen a formal letter on the matter of the wrongful appointment of William Berardino as Special Prosecutor in the Basi, Virk, and Basi case. Mr. Owen did not acknowledge my letter. He did not mention the Berardino matter in his review. He interviewed, however, Janet Winteringham who was a part of the Berardino prosecution team. And he interviewed Michael de Jong.

His report in July of 2010 recorded that “there is pride and confidence in the special prosecutor system”. He said the process of appointment is appropriate. And he reported that “the special prosecutor system in British Columbia works well in the public interest”.

When Michael de Jong left the Attorney General position, it was filled by Barry Penner from 2010 to 2011. News stories and commentary on the short time Barry Penner was Attorney General give the impression he was pushed by premier Christy Clark to act politically in the position. Mr. Penner is said to have pushed back, and then to have resigned from the legislature.

Nevertheless, seeking an opinion on the money paid for legal costs to employees of government who are convicted or who plead guilty to crimes, Attorney General Penner sought expert advice on that non-question. A school child could answer it.

He should not have sought a review from the President and Vice Chancellor of the University of British Columbia for the same reason Michael de Jong should not have sought advice from a Vice President of UBC. UBC is supported by the ever-changing budget of governments in power. UBC agents may be accused of conflict of interest when they provide advice to B.C. government. They may be accused of toadying and seeking favour.

President and Vice Chancellor Stephen Toope should - for the same reason – have refused. He should have told Attorney General Penner that there are nearly 11,000 lawyers at work in B.C., thousands of whom have no connection whatever to B.C. government. President Toope should have said ‘ “use one of those lawyers”. He didn’t. He accepted the request. His acceptance, as I see it, was uneasy. For he wrote at the beginning of his report that he was “Professor Stephen Toope”, and he wrote that he was responding “in my personal capacity” – which he probably knew was so much rhetorical nonsense. He could not – at will – cease to be the President and Vice Chancellor of UBC. Period.

He appears to me to have done in his review more gently what Stephen Owen did in his – that is, okay government behaviour. Observe what he writes:

“the Ministry of Attorney General officials have worked diligently to respond to requests for indemnification that require the exercise of discretion. Using firmly established common law method, the officials charged with exercising discretion have justified their decisions by drawing out principles present in existing cases and analogizing those principles to new circumstances. [My capital letters.] AS FAR AS I CAN TELL FROM THE DOCUMENTS TO WHICH I HAVE HAD ACCESS, THE RESULTS TO DATE HAVE BEEN PRINCIPLED….” (p. 29)

A wise Attorney General would have accepted that document and been very content with it. But Barry Penner had resigned. Shirley Bond had become the new Attorney General and received the report from President and Vice Chancellor of UBC, Stephen Toope. She decided to push the matter a little further, not content with the victory won.

She wrote a letter to Stephen Toope after receiving the Report. And she asked him a question which he publishes. President Toope should have included the whole letter from Shirley Bond, but he only included the question.

Her question, in short, asked if government employees are convicted or plead guilty, should government require that the employees pay back, (the term used is to provide “reimbursement” of) the money paid for their costs during the case?

President and Vice Chancellor Stephen Toope replies in no uncertain terms: the convicted should pay back. In his letter to Attorney General Shirley Bond on November 8, 2010 he writes the following:

“…my view is that for criminal indemnities, conviction (including the case of a guilty plea) should trigger a claim for full reimbursement. Guilt in a criminal case necessarily means that a public servant was not acting in the scope of his or her duties or in the course of employment. No BC government employment duty can require the commission of a criminal offence. No valid purpose articulated in any report would be served by allowing indemnification in such cases, because there is no public interest in protecting the public servant from the full consequences (including financial consequences) of criminal liability.

It follows that the requirement of reimbursement in the case of criminal conviction should be mandatory and not the subject of the exercise of discretion.”

That has placed Attorney General Shirley Bond in a tough position, for her government has decided to engage in “the exercise of discretion” and to pay the $6 million costs of the two men who pled guilty to criminal offences. The statements of the President and Vice Chancellor of UBC, in addition, add power to the requests of the Auditor General of B.C. for all information leading to the payment of that sum.

But Shirley Bond knows, I think, that the payment – as it stands – cannot be defended, for it was, in effect – many, many British Columbians believe – a payment of hush money, a payment to get the accused out of the courtroom, and the trial ended, before other, higher placed government and corporate officials became involved in charges of wrongdoing. The “exercise of discretion” in that case was used to protect the powerful wrongdoers in the BC Rail Scandal. It was undertaken to block and prevent the fair administration of justice. And so Shirley Bond, under the protestation of giving every help possible to the Auditor General, appears to be blocking every access to information about the process of agreeing to the payment.

She is the last (and the present) Attorney General since 2001. And she appears to be hip-deep in abuse of the powers of the Ministry of the Attorney General. She is keeping the foul reputation of the Gordon Campbell/Christy Clark Ministry of the Attorney General alive … and flourishing.

Since the beginning of the Gordon Campbell/Christy Clark Liberal government in B.C., it has been perfectly in accord with the ideology and practice of the Stephen Harper neoliberals in Ottawa. That is why Gordon Campbell was made Canadian High Commissioner in London after he was forced out of the premiership in B.C.

That is why Christy Clark has hired Harper aides to be her closest advisors and why she exults in photo-ops with Stephen Harper.

The soiled and disgraceful history of the Ministry of the Attorney General of B.C. since 2001 is a faithful representation of the assault on the rule of law and on the integrity of democratic government in Canada in the first 12 years of the century. Unless the direction is reversed, the country may expect deeply troubled times marked by violence and increasing class conflict.

Friday, March 30, 2012


Musical Chairs in
...Corrupt British Columbia.
................Interesting Times.

by - Robin Mathews

The phrase “like rats leaving a sinking ship” can’t help coming to mind with the switch of MLA John van Dongen from his role as seventeen-year Liberal loyalist to a new, shiny incarnation in the Conservative Party of B.C.

Mr. Van Dongen crossed the B.C. House this week, (March 26, 2012) joining a Party he didn’t represent to get elected. He hasn’t signified that he’ll resign and run as a Conservative to validate his seat. And he was welcomed by John Cummins, B.C. Conservative leader, happy to have him – in fact unelected – sitting in the legislature as a Conservative (the only).

One journalist reminded Cummins that his position when in federal politics was that “House Crossers” should resign and re-run. Cummins, it seems, had forgotten….

British Columbia’s governing alliance – at least since the Second World War – has frequently been formed of all things Right of the CCF/NDP. (Keep the raging Socialists from getting their hands on political power!)

Except the B.C. NDP is, now, far from Socialist, let alone “raging”, as corporate lap-dog Adrian Dix makes clear on almost every public appearance. He will take power in 2013 … and British Columbians will hardly notice the change.

Embattled Boadicea, Liberal premier Christy Clark, said van Dongen’s move will only help the NDP. True. But not for any reasons she wants to offer. Mainstream Media voices say there will be no more defections. We’ll see. Even van Dongen’s leaving lets the NDP say that any rotten apple that falls from the Liberal tree is grabbed up and hugged to John Cummin’s bosom. The more they fall and are hugged into the Conservative Party, the more the NDP can say “Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Try to tell them apart.”

If there is one thing British Columbians are growing certain of, it’s that the Liberal Caucus, one and all, have to go. Cummins and Co. know that. But if the leaving Conservatives-playing-Liberal try to tuck themselves into the John Cummins creation, that Party will lose, too. Tough choices for John Cummins. Where do the hard rock Conservatives who are in the Gordon Campbell/Christy Clark party go…? Today Kevin Falcon [present Liberal finance minister and a natural for the Conservative Party] says he is thinking of stepping aside in 2013, the dailies tell us.

The Party that wants to hold power for 25 years will begin with criminal investigations into BC Rail, BC Hydro, BC Ferries, Public Private Partnership Infrastructure deals, River Energy contracts … to start. That will reveal the heaving, corrupt, steamy stew that is B.C. A Party that sets about – really – to clean will stay and stay in power.

But sell-out, greed, fear, and love of power will probably prevent that from happening.

Which brings us back to John van Dongen. He has crossed the House in search of purity. A known Fraser Valley Christian, he knows his New Testament (Matthew 7:7, Luke 11:9).

“Seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”

The Liberal leader, Christy Clark, he has said – in and out of the legislature – has not faced the need for change, has not been a good administrator, has not been honest about the BC Rail Scandal, has not been transparent about the outrageous payment of “$6 million in legal fees [paid to Defence], completely contrary to government policy”. Those are legal costs paid for convicted Dave Basi and Bob Virk by government, with cabinet approval, to slam shut the BC Rail trial and – many believe – save the skins of (a) major cabinet operatives, (b) private corporate dealers in on the scam (c) the BC Liberal government and Party.

Van Dongen does not, of course, mention the $10.7 million paid to the Special (Crown) Prosecutor whose illegitimate appointment invalidates ALL the Crown’s work in the Basi, Virk, and Basi matter. No one, so far, will touch that burning brand.

So deeply is John van Dongen moved by the spirit of purity, so beset is his conscience by moral perturbation that he has hired North Vancouver lawyer Roger McConchie to review BC Rail matters involving Basi, Virk, and Basi and then to advise him.

That might be called “Gilbert and Sullivan in Hell”.

Regulars in the nearly four year Basi, Virk, and Basi pre-trial/trial grew familiar with Roger McConchie. He appeared whenever the Globe and Mail (and like others) wanted to contest publication bans and other kinds of restrictions on information. He spoke always for what we name “the Mainstream Press and Media”. I have no remembrance of him speaking meaningfully and directly on behalf of British Columbians, the public, you and me … insisting on our right to see all documents on public record. I may be wrong.

At the end of the trial, as has been pointed out, Mr. McConchie reviewed ‘thousands’ of Prosecution documents with the Globe and Mail in order to get release of the material “to the public”. Why the release was set up … and made … is hotly contested. It was not a release of all materials, by any means. And it was not a release to the public.

Some say, and I believe them, that the release “to the public” was a complete sham, a piece of theatre, “smoke and mirrors”. It was, in fact, a release of selected material to a chosen few, dependable, insider, tamed Mainstream journalists.

It was made, I believe, to smear the two convicted men (who seemed to be getting off very, very lightly), Dave Basi and Bob Virk. And it was made, I believe, to throw up a smokescreen in front of the major wrongdoers in cabinet and in corporate boardrooms.

Those are strong allegations. They have a history. Observe:

Out of the corrupt fog called “the administration of justice” in British Columbia, the B.C. Supreme Court has set up (and maintains) a completely (in my judgement) fraudulent process. It is called “the journalist accreditation process”.

Under the eye of a Supreme Court judge a committee of Mainstream journalists ”serves” the Court, to vet anyone wanting journalist status in B.C. Supreme court trials. “Approved journalists” may take recorders into the court and may examine all materials placed “on public record”.

(1) All Canadians should be able to do both things in our “democratic”, “Open Court” system. They are denied their citizenship by corrupt courts, as I see it.

(2) The Mainstream Media committee members are servants of the Court and so contaminated. They both work for the Court and are – as representatives of “a free press and media” - supposed to criticize the Court and judges freely when they deem such action necessary. They live in conflict of interest.

In the nearly four years I attended the Basi, Virk, and Basi process, not one Mainstream Press and Media journalist EVER criticized a judge, though occasions inviting legitimate criticism were frequent.

(3) The fraudulent process permits the Mainstream Journalist committee to pick off their rivals. For nearly three years I reported things the Mainstream Press and Media journalists wouldn’t touch or were ordered by their bosses not to touch. When I applied (because I was forced to do so) for “accreditation” as a journalist after three years of steady reporting of the pre-trial, I was denied accreditation by journalists I had been showing up for three years as failing to do their job.

(4) My application to Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie (who was handling the case) was ignored. Instead, a court officer informed me I could – in fact – appeal a judgement made by court non-persons (journalists) acting on behalf of the court. I could apply, pay money, go through what is, in fact, an appeal process – without any certainty of being approved. I refused to have anything to do with such galloping Banana Republic fraud.

(5) The effect of the process is that the relation of court, judges, and Mainstream Press and Media is too close. One may feel – watching sensitive events in court – that each is “looking after” the other.

To my knowledge, Roger McConchie, the Law Society of B.C., the Canadian Bar Association, as well as the Canadian Judicial Council all are completely content with that “system”. It is plainly an affront to democratic freedom and the rule of law. Not one of them has spoken out publicly against it.

John van Dongen is employing Roger McConchie to advise him on matters involving the Basi, Virk, and Basi case, the payment by government of their Defence costs, and – who knows? – the possibility of involvement by premier Christy Clark in the shady and nefarious dealings that led to the accusations against the three accused. Defence counsel hinted at such a possibility in pre-trial hearings years ago.

Such is the passion for virtuous government felt by former cabinet minister and present MLA John van Dongen that he has hired Roger McConchie at his own expense!

Let us look back at John van Dongen’s seventeen years of loyalty to the B.C. Liberal Party.

He was there when co-chair and fund-raiser David McLean worked on Gordon Campbell’s 1996 campaign – and was major fund-raiser later, it is said. That is the David McLean who was president of CNR when BC Rail was “delivered” to CN in 2003-04. Mr. van Dongen didn’t seem, then, to have a moral qualm.

Mr. van Dongen was in cabinet while BC Hydro was being ripped apart. The Auditor General of B.C. hasn’t approved B.C. Hydro accounting practices for ten years! Mr. van Dongen – to my knowledge – never has asked a question on the matter.

He was there when a relation of Gordon Campbell was embroiled in a scandal in the ministry of Children and Families, was removed, was covered for, was whisked to trial in Prince George on a completely different charge – while something like $400,000.00 was “written off” by the ministry. Mr. van Dongen said nothing … asked (as far as I know) no questions of anyone.

He was there when BC Ferries was looted as a cash cow, transformed, and stripped of any responsibility to British Columbians. He was there when David Hahn, U.S.-sourced BC Ferries president, was revealed to have an annual salary of one million dollars a year! Not a word from Mr. van Dongen that I remember.

Mr. van Dongen was there in cabinet when – it is alleged – Gordon Campbell and his team went consciously to work to dessicate BC Rail, to destroy its profitability, and to make it look, falsely, a losing operation. He was in cabinet when those actions – which I believe constitute criminal breach of trust – were being carried out.
Mr. van Dongen didn’t – it seems – suffer even a slight moral twinge.

He was in cabinet in the first years of staggering revelations and allegations of high-level corruption made by Defence counsel in the Basi, Virk, and Basi BC Rail Scandal pre-trial hearings. He was an MLA for the full trial and its outrageous conclusion, a conclusion blessed by the illegitimately appointed Special Prosecutor and the sitting judge, Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie.

Through all those years and those highly dubious events … and more … John van Dongen remained silent. Silent.


Now he is no longer silent. Now he wants to find answers. Now? Why? The $6 million paid to Defence counsel of Dave Basi and Bob Virk was approved of by the Gordon Campbell cabinet. Does Mr. van Dongen want to pull Gordon Campbell down, now, from his eminence as Canadian High Commissioner in London? After nearly two decades of van Dongen faithful, silent loyalty?

Does Mr. van Dongen want to find ways to implicate Christy Clark in the lower levels of alleged BC Rail Scandal bribery, BC Rail information leaking, and related actions? If he could do so, that would wipe the B.C. Liberals in 2013 … for certain.

We are in murky depths here. Much more is happening than meets the eye.

Conservative voices in British Columbia are making themselves heard, are revealing that beneath their Liberal hides Conservative hearts are beating, and that they despise Liberal premier Christy Clark … that they want to get her.

Like gays ‘in the closet’ for twenty years, these Conservatives want to go on a huge Conservative PRIDE parade. They are mad, too. Christy is in the embrace of Stephen Harper – their ideal Conservative. They want to be in his embrace. They want to be able to reveal their real selves, their real neo-liberal, (neo-fascist?), public servant-hating, robocalling selves, standing in Stephen Harper’s shadow. Christy has taken Stephen’s aides and agents into her circle. Christy, the dumb Liberal, (they think) is playing Conservative, is schmoozing (in photo ops) with Stephen Harper. Liberal Gordon Campbell shouldn’t be Canadian High Commissioner to the Court of St. James! A Conservative should be in that post!

How can B.C. Conservatives break the unholy alliance between the Christy Clark Liberals and the Stephen Harper Conservatives? How can they get a British Columbia which is more Conservative than the ruling party in the House of Commons? By making Christy Clark too hot for Stephen Harper to handle. Even, perhaps, by making Gordon Campbell too hot to keep in London.

These are dark and murky depths, but they are the place where real struggles for power go on. John van Dongen has just announced that the Liberal/Conservative struggle for power on the Right has begun in British Columbia. All the media and pundit talk about John van Dongen’s virtuous desire for a cleansed political landscape is wonderful, refreshing, heady, Springtime intoxication. He may really want a cleansed political landscape … after all power on it is possessed by Stephen Harper-style British Columbia Conservatives.

We – who are not B.C. Conservatives – can only watch (and cover our backs). The Chinese curse is upon us: we live in interesting times.