Saturday, June 24, 2006
The Collins-Basi friendship dates back to early 1990s; Basi was the only aide hired directly by a B.C. Liberal cabinet minister
David Basi became ministerial assistant to Gary Collins shortly after the May 2001 provincial election, a job that paid $66,800 in 2003.
Basi had applied and was rejected for a B.C. Liberal Caucus staff job after the 1996 election, thwarted after a check of his references and other due diligence. The then-Opposition house leader Gary Collins was reportedly unhappy with the decision to reject Basi, with whom he had formed a friendship when Basi served as an intern with the Liberal Opposition in the early 1990s.
After the 2001 election, Basi was the only ministerial aide hired directly by a cabinet minister, when Gary Collins became the newly elected Minister of Finance, and Dave Basi became his top-level Ministerial Aide. Basi was the only exception. All other MAs were appointed by Martyn Brown, Premier Gordon Campbell's chief of staff.
Basi was a strong Paul Martin supporter, working on the Martin leadership campaign as a key Vancouver Island membership organizer and helping win control of several federal ridings. Former Liberal cabinet minister Herb Dhaliwal blamed Basi after Martin forces took over his Vancouver SouthBurnaby constituency.
When EsquimaltJuan de Fuca Conservative MP Keith Martin decided to become a federal Liberal, he met Basi days before the raids.
Basi, his wife Inderjit, a provincial government employee, and his mother, Sukhbir, a chambermaid, own four Victoria-area houses valued at $1.2 million.
In late December, police raided a marijuana grow operation in a house near Victoria purchased by Basi in March 2003. Neighbours told media no one had been living there. Basi's lawyer, Chris Considine, said Basi was unaware of the illegal activity.
Basi is a federal Liberal Party donor, contributing $3,730 between 1998 and 2001, according to Elections Canada. A Sukhbir Basi donated $2,752 in 1997 and 1998.
Another Basi political connection is to Mandeep Sandhu. Basi orchestrated the election of Sandhu to the executive of the federal Liberal riding association in EsquimaltJuan de Fuca on December 7, but Sandhu was disallowed because he wasn't a party member. Two days later, police arrested Sandhu and searched his Saanich house in connection with the drug investigation. They released Sandhu without charges.
Sandhu is a cousin of suspended Victoria police officer Ravinder Dosanjh, with whom he jointly owns a Victoria rental property. Sandhu is also related to Amar Bajwa, another Martin leadership organizer. Bajwa is membership chair in the Vancouver SouthBurnaby riding of which Herb Dhaliwal lost control, and he has defended Basi publicly in the media.
On two occasions, in 1999 and 2001, Gary Collins introduced Bajwa in the B.C. legislature.
From: "Police raids and BC Rail" by Bill Tieleman
Also: "Basi Hirings, Firings Intrigue" by Bill Tieleman
As we wait well into the 3rd year for the Legislature Raids trials to begin, we revisit some background information. The Basi, Virk, and Basi affair is not a difficult or complex issue except for its interlocking cast of characters and their various motives. So, as with a Russian novel, it helps if we can refer to who did what, who said something else, and what happened next. Your input is decidedly welcome.