Thursday, June 08, 2006
Basi the highest-profile ministerial assistant
B.C. premier urged to explain aides' departure
Dec. 31 2003 Canadian Press
... Campbell needs to give the public more information, Norman Ruff, a political scientist at the University of Victoria, said Tuesday.
"The firing of [Minister of Finance, Gary] Collins' assistant seems to suggest that they know more in the premier's office than what the public does," said Ruff, who taught Basi when he was working towards a bachelor of arts in political science in the early 1990s.
"The bottom line is the premier said he is committed to openness and transparency . . . (and) the kind of speculation that is rife right now is not healthy."
Ruff's colleague Michael Prince agreed.
"At this stage, I think (Solicitor General Rich) Coleman has it in control," said Prince.
But Prince said if there was any reason for Campbell to return home [from Hawaii] immediately, it would be to explain the departures of Virk and Basi.
"They are not charged with anything."
Even though police have stressed the investigation is not aimed at any elected officials, Ruff said public perception still will damage the Liberal government.
"There's a police raid on the legislative building and that casts aspersions on the business that's being conducted," he said.
And because Virk and Basi were well-connected Liberals, federally and provincially, Ruff said that could cause damage to the federal Liberals.
"The B.C. wing of the federal Liberal party could well be the first casualty of this," he said. "They have great hopes of making inroads in B.C."
Ruff said Basi is well-known among the Young Liberals and was a "born networker when I knew him and he obviously fine-tuned those skills."
Basi joined the legislative internship program after graduation, eventually working for the Liberal caucus while it was in Opposition. He became Collins's ministerial assistant when the Liberals formed government.
"He was the eyes and ears of Collins, and Collins is the most powerful minister and Basi has to be the highest-profile ministerial assistant," said Ruff.
[Full story www.ctv/ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20031231/campbell_arrests_031231/canada?s_name= ]