Saturday, September 16, 2006

 

Basi my landlord close to Ottawa Liberals

Here's somebody speaking from personal knowledge about Dave Basi ... on the blog Illahie (iconoclastic comments on life, politics from BC) 29 August '06:

Dave Basi
(by Bernard Schulmann)

As many of you know, Dave Basi is my landlord and has been so since July 1 2004. I have known him since the mid 1990s. We do not agree politically - I am western populist, he is a classic Canadian Liberal. Whereas the BC Liberals were a total home for him, for me it has been an awkward fit at times. I remain very uncomfortable with the simple fact that many BC Liberals are so close to the Ottawa Liberals.

Dave and I have been friendly for years and cooperated politically, though I never took him up on his offer to become a federal Liberal. Given that at the time I was living in rural riding in BC that had almost no federal Liberals, I was courted by all the leadership camps in the late 1990s so Dave's request was only one of about a half dozen overtures made to me at the time. I will admit to supporting Keith Martin for the leadership, but that was for the Canadian Alliance and before he decamped to the federal Liberals.

On many levels I trust Dave completely. This trust comes because we are not insync politically on many issues, I spent many years wary of him but over the years a trust was built. In over 10 years of knowing him I have never known Dave Basi not be a man of his word.

Political success comes from being smart, charming and having access to the information you need. Dave is smart. Dave is a master of playing political nuances for the information he needed. And Dave is one of the most outgoing and charming people I have ever met.

From 2001 to the end of 2003 Dave and I traded information back and for[th] that would help each one of us have a better success in what we were doing. All of it above board and quite acceptable to be talking about. As an example, I warned him when actions of government were going to cause problems politically in the interior, or Dave would help me get the meetings I needed with MLAs. This relationship allowed Dave to serve his minister and government better and in my case ensuring that the interests of rural communities and First Nations were considered in the government.

And then his offices were raided and he has been since charged with taking a bribe. The whole case seems odd to me for a number of reasons:

Why are the people claiming to have bribed him not charged with anything? No one can explain to me why not charging them would make any sense. If the crime is that they offered him a bribe, did they not instigate the alleged crime?

How did they manage to continue working in the government relations field after the investigation started?

Dave is smart, it just does not strike me as credible that if what he did accept a bribe that he would have left evidence of it.

In reading the search warrant details, I am left with a "Is that it?" feeling

Why is it taking so long for the Crown to get into court? Based on what the search warrants seem to be about, I am wondering why they could not be in court much faster? It makes me wonder if they have enough evidence to forward, or is there some other shoe to drop?

What ever happened to the orginal drug case that stumbled onto this case?

The crux of the issue seems to be that one company was being offered information in the BC Rail bidding process so that they could be successful. What information would have helped them? Given the stage the bids were at, how would Dave Basi have had access to useful information? As far as I can tell, someone else must have provided it to him when they should not have - and Bob Virk does not seem to me someone that would have had the information.

Finally, on this new ALR thing - OK this is one that I do not get at all. How could it have been beneficial for someone to pay Dave to get land out of the ALR? This is close to my day to day working world and I have offered clients advice on ALR issues. It would have never have occurred to me to think that the MA to the Minister Finance could influence any ALR decisions. This strikes as making as much sense as briding the Archbishop of Cantebury to get an annulment for a Catholic marriage - it just does not work.

How much power does an MA have? At the end of the day very little. They are the political aides of the Minister and have real control over a budget that is smaller than what my business deals with. The MA is there to give partisan political advice to the minister. They are, as Frank Magazine called them, fartcatchers.

posted by Bernard Schulmann @ 11:33 AM  0 comments links to this post
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And here's another bit ... also puzzlingly intriguing, because "Public Eye On-Line" is one of my favourite news sources.

Return to the airwaves
Illahee (by Bernard Schulmann)
6 Feb 2006


Back in the 1980s I worked at CFUV. Then in the late 1990s I helped start CHLS in Lillooet BC.

I love radio, unfortunately there is no money in it. But I am making a small comeback in the Victoria area. On February 26th I will be guest hosting Sean Holman's program Public Eye on CFAX AM 1070 from 6 pm to 9 pm. Sean will be off celebrating his birthday.

I will [be] looking to focus on the issues that I think are crucial and core to BC. The things that effect the 95% of the province that produces most of our wealth, the places where trees and mountains define the land.

posted by Bernard Schulmann @ 10:59 PM  0 comments links to this post
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Comments:
possible q to mr.schulmann's a:

1. in the bc rail case it looks like they struck a deal to testify in return for not being prosecuted. the guys paying the bribe in the alr matter were charged

2. did they? aren't they gone?

3. smart? mixing drug cultivation/money laundering and service to the provincial government doesn't sound too smart to me

4. the case is taking so long because fraud cases are tough to prove, the defense is employing delaying tactics and big cases (like pickton) always take a long time to get to court

5. good question, what did happen?

6. government flunky doesn't have access to government information? give me a break

7. an MA speaks for the Minister inside government. i imagine that if basi wanted something to happen in another department he could find a way to make it happen, esp if he was getting $50K in return
 
Basi held a lot of power while he was working for Collins. Any DM or back-bencher who wanted something done in the Ministry had to deal with David. He also had and still has a very high profile in the local indo-Canadian community with lots of contacts.

Tony Young and his partner have few friends in Victoria and I don't think that they would have needed too much prompting to believe that David could have helped them out.
 
Great things to think about ... thanks, Anon.

There must be so much good info and understanding in people's minds, which IMO would be helpful and healthful to talk through. It's the ghastly silence that seems so ominously unreal.

Mind you, I think Ross, Koot, Lynn and others are right, it isn't easy to work through the "Comments" section of this blogspot. I'm sorry about that.

I don't even want the damn thing to hold back the comments for ajudication, but it does. So I mustn't start thinking that CanWest has put a hex on it. Will try again to sort it out myself, Ms Clever Geek-Boots that I am. Not.

BTW, I'm working on a blazing editorial for Monday but until then, Missy Lucinda's cryptic comments should be fully savoured for what they are.
 
Anonymous 2 ... many thanks.

I often wonder what a hard-working, ambitious young guy like Dave Basi has been doing for the past 2-2/3 years since his career was so abruptly interrupted.

Any idea?


[P.S. I think the "Comments" glitches have been fixed.]
 
David lives in Cordova Bay. In his area there are a number of Indo-Canadian families who are involved in construction and real estate development. Members of his community are reluctant to talk about David simply because most people who ask are not doing so because of their interest in his welfare.

I understand that David is working in development and construction and his doing well for himself.

I saw David a few months ago at a local pub and he had a dozen or so associates with him. He seemed happy and charismatic as usual. Money didn't seem to be in short supply.
 
Thanks for the glimpse into the current life of the Unsinkable Dave Basi ... it's startling in a way. Amazing. Most people would be worried sick.
 
Well I imagine that David was quite concerned initially as anyone would be. I am sure that there were a number of restless nights. It has been nearly 3 years since the raids and a lot of time has passed. People tend to move on with their lives and over time get a better understanding of what is really at stake.

I would imagine that his lawyer has told him that the worst case scenario is that David will face a suspended sentence or probation. In all likelihood the case will never see the inside of a courtroom with the crown reaching some sort of settlement with David and the others before trial.
 
Dear Anon #4, you're talking platitudes here, the LCD for any run-of-the-mill Uppity Joe Blows who get caught using a clients' trust funds, over-padding their expense accounts, or a bit of insider trading. That's far removed from a situation of this magnitude where a government insider has an enormous impact on the public good.

In the case of Joe Blow, who got hurt? One client. In the case of Basi, Virk, Basi, if proven guilty, who got hurt? Every British Columbian and more, into Ottawa. Big difference.

Agreed, there's a faction which would like us to forget. I think we dare not slack off. Right now, people of British Columbia have it in our hands to insist that the trial of Basi, Virk, and Basi be taken seriously ... and dealt with seriously.

We have only to keep asking the questions, as Ms Chohan's note reminded us yesterday. I'm a tad unnerved by your complacency. When did you last see a police raid on an elected house of parliament in Canada?

Suspended sentence? Probation? I should think there would be rioting in the streets, if our passivity made such an outrageous event possible.

Just curious, though: is it your considered opinion that the almost-3 years of virtual silence have been fully intentional as a means of dampening down the public outrage?

And maybe more to the point: how do you explain the RCMP making that historic raid in the first place?
 
Let me start by saying that I’m a different Anon :), though I’m responding to BC Mary. The police have stated that a key reason for raiding the legislature was to see if Basi had any information on an alleged drug money laundering scheme stashed away in his office. They've also indicated that they now know he didn't. Though it appears Basi was selling information to whomever he could get money from and, if proven guilty, should be punished for that, his crime, though highly deplorable, was not a serious crime. Let us be clear, serious crimes are crimes of violence or significant property damage/theft. Here some benefited unfairly (and if found guilty should be punished), but the public has not been victimized beyond a ridiculously long and costly court process. This isn’t Enron where thousands of Americans lost their hard earned pensions. I'm no Basi fan, but let us call a spade a spade. No matter what sentence is handed to Basi, it will pale in comparison to the shame that has been heaped on him and all others involved in this case. Joe Blow, who BC Mary refers to, does not have their life so intrusively and publicly disrupted as Basi has had here. We send too many people to prison in this country and it is incumbent on intelligent human beings to realize when a mistake has been paid for in full. In my humble opinion all involved have been more than adequately punished for what looks like, at the end of the day, petty graft schemes.
 
Hi, Different Anon:

Can you provide the source for your idea that the police raiding the Legislature were only looking for evidence of a drug money laundering scheme? and 2) that the police have said they now know he (Basi) didn't have any?

I wonder why Basi was instantly fired, then.

As for your opinion that his crimes, if proven, are not serious crimes ... that's a bit far out, even for a loyal friend. Remember Sgt John Ward's warning about organized crime? He wasn't whistlin' Dixie. He was talking about the Legislature raids.

Are you entirely sure that British Columbians haven't lost millions? After all, the charges involve: " ... money-laundering, bribery surrounding a privatization deal worth more than $1 billion, and allegations of breach of trust and fraud ... on the part of top provincial government officials who have extensive connections with the federal Liberal party and the campaign to make Paul Martin leader and prime minister." Positions of trust, which carry an extra burden of honour.

Whatever they did, appears to be entwined with our electoral process. Not such a petty scheme, all told.

Then there's the Sooke A.L.R. problem.

Sorry, Different Anon, this unhappy situation involves the public good first and foremost, which trumps any pity factor.

I pin my hopes on one thing: that when the trial begins and evidence is given under oath, we will begin to understand a lot of things about our government structure, both provincial and federal, which have mystified many of us.

If Basi & Virk & Basi come through this smelling like roses, that's fine by me ... as long as we know what the heck has been going on. It'd help a lot if they'd tell the whole story, don't you think?

I surely do agree with you, however, that the length of time it's taking to bring this issue to trial is a cruel burden on all concerned.
 
Back to original anon!

I am no friend of David Basi either although I have met him a few times.

I agree with the points made by the "other anon". I obviously don't condone the actions David is accused of but the justice system has bigger fish to fry. Couple this with the fact that the Indo-Canadian community to a large extent thinks David is the victim here and you get a political hot potato as well.

The Government fired David because he was a liability and had a profile in the Ministry. That doesn't mean though that Government employees were lined up to tell the RCMP what they knew (if anything). There is a culture of secrecy and "keeping your head down" in the Government and it would have been very tough to get evidence even if others knew something was going one. The RCMP has jurisdication on these matter which is why they were the ones that did the raid.

The sad reality is the even if taxpayers are out "millions of dollars" as you suggest, look at Ian Thou. The guy is accused of bilking people out of $32 Million and he is still living the life in Seattle.

As far as the ALR is concerned I again agree that it could be a serious issue especially if the claims are correct. How many others "deals" like this may have been made. The problem here however is that Tony Young is no wet behind the ears youngster and he has lots of money and a very good legal team. I wouldn't count on his case going to far either.

I hope that everyone involved in this fiasco is held accountable and pays their debt if so entitled. Unfortunately years of experience leaves me pessimistic.
 
Anons, you're scaring me.

I can almost see the bumper stickers: "Who do I have to bribe to get justice?"
 
"Couple this with the fact that the Indo-Canadian community to a large extent thinks David is the victim here and you get a political hot potato as well."

This comment keeps coming back to me. May I ask the commentor: "The victim of what?" Please explain.

I think Dave Basi has been treated with kid gloves. Nobody has intruded on his personal life, or said mean things about him ... quite the reverse, in fact.

So what's this about, anyway? Victim of what?
 
When it comes to David being the victim there are two (or more) sets of opinions so you can mix and match as you see fit.

The first is that the RCMP and Government has/have a bias against Indo-Canadians and David is being unfairly targeted for the sins of others.

The second is that David is/was a very successful political organizer and that he influenced the outcomes of several riding association elections with his "Basi boyz". Therefore the targeting of David is a result of his political competitors settling a score.
 
Dear Anon (could you please choose a blogger ID ... like Trapper Anon or something??):

Clever soul, you set a nice trap ... so why don't I just step into it and see what happens.

The Indo-Canadian community is tightly-knit, as you undoubtedly know. At its best, it provides solidarity; unfortunately, it also provides easy opportunities for exploitation.

So tell me, please: if the person exploiting them is also Indo-Canadian, who is the victim here? I say it's the Indo-Canadian community being victimized. You?

People being targeted by political foes aren't victims, either, for gosh sakes, they're politicians. Check out Sheila Copps, Herb Dhaliwal, Gordon Wilson, an army of such people.

Or stated another way: for every action there's an equal and opposite reaction (First law of physics). Nothing to do with Indo-Canadians as such. You've heard of a guy called Gandhi, eh? Revered by most of us.

Where you say that Basi is being "unfairly targeted for the sins of others" however ... that's interesting. That's where I hope that skeletons will begin to fall out of closets when evidence is given under oath. That's why it's important for these issues to go to trial. No out-of-court settlement; no cozy secret deals; no squeezing the voting public out of the loop. We've waited. Yes, we've suffered. We have every right to hear the whole story now.

I never did believe that Basi, Virk, or Basi acted alone in whatever they did. Never. I believe that the case from Day One, sounded like an issue of widespread corruption and that Basi et al (guilty or innocent) could unlock the doors to that illicit underground network.

Finding out, cleaning up, getting honest ... that, in my opinion, is why the trial of Basi, Virk, Basi is so important.

Let's not search for reasons to shrug off the Legislature Raids. Taking the laissez-faire view is too much like the Stockholm Syndrome, a danger sign in itself that we've given up on the big issue of who we are.
 
Different Anon again. David Basi is no victim. He is, if found guilty of the crimes for which he is now charged, a criminal. Further, it appears that he has been involved in far more than he has been charged with, but unless the police proceed with charges these activities cannot be the subject of the present trial (by law). Nevertheless, I don't believe that Basi should be sent to jail. The shame he has suffered is enough. It is fundamentally un-Canadian for us to take a US style hang-em-high attitude just because this petty crook happened to be involved in in dispicable rightwing government. I don't care for the BC Libs, I care even less for the decision to privatise BC Rail, and I think that the ALR is an important provincial institution. Basi's actions were unacceptable and deserve to be punished, but, as I've argued before, justice has been for the most part already been done. Basi is not a violent criminal and I haven't been able to figure out what person or group of persons suffered significant damage to thier property on account of his actions. I'm satisfied with the level embarassment he's been subjected to. Questions surrounding this matter in 2003 & 2004 have for the most part been answered by the RCMP though the court ordered disclosures earlier this year and I'd be shocked if any of the accused testify at trial. I could be wrong, but let us wait and see and in the meantime dispense with the hangem high rhetoric. As for CanWest, I feel your pain BC Mary.
 
Anon, Anon, dear Anon ... you have never seen me speak of punishment for Basi, Virk or Basi. Never. Not once. Not a syllable. That's not my task.

And it went through me like a knife, when you said "let us ... dispense with the hangem high rhetoric." You've never seen or heard words like that, from me. Never, never. Jeez, that gives me the willies.

Let me say it again: my goal is to hear the facts of this situation given at trial, under oath, with cross-examination ... and "at trial" is the only way we're going to hear the truth of that situation.

I've said that Basi & Virk are the door-openers. I've said that they could do British Columbia an enormous favour if they tell us what went wrong, so we can fix it up, clean it up. I've said that I've never believed they acted alone, no matter what they did. And I've said over and over that it's the network of corruption which needs to let the sun shine in.

Further, I've deplored the torture Basi & Virk must have suffered as a result of this 3-year delay. I profoundly disagree with the commentor (was it you?) who said that they have come to terms with the disgrace. Only the trial will allow them that relief.

It's worrying that you can leap to such heavy conclusions as to find them guilty of other crimes as well, and yet you've already decided on a light sentence for them. A former Socred B.C. Minister of Forests went to jail for bribery; his wife had to work in a sawmill to support their family while he was incarcerated. You've decided that a Ministerial Aide deserves better treatment?

"Let us wait and see ..." you say. Are you sure? Do ya really think we can fold our hands, watch the sunsets, whistle a happy tune and justice will be done on our behalf?

If nothing else, the Editor-in-Chief lady demonstrated that the powerful don't even know that there is such a thing as "the public interest" ... they don't even know that we, the public, should be informed of basic facts of provincial affairs.

I'm going to stop now ... and not because I have nothing more to say ... hell no, but because I need to go and kick a wall or something. I can't believe you said all that stuff.
 
Didn't mean to upset you.
 
Throughout my life, I've heard men say that to women. If a guy states the case (as he sees it) strongly, that's a good thing; we assume he has reached a valid conclusion.

If a woman states the case (as she sees it) strongly ... and [forgive me] ... if the guy has no adequate response ... well, the attack switches gears ... discussion stops ... because (he says) she is "upset".

Passionate, yes. Upset, no.

I'm no more upset now, than I was almost 3 years ago when 32 policemen laid seige to the premises of our elected officials.

I think every Canadian should be upset to realize that Mr Dithers and/or the Campbell government may possibly have been foisted upon us by means other than natural voting selection.

We all should be upset that Organized Crime may be freely strolling the corridors of the B.C. Legislature, making decisions, offering bribes, or worse.

We should be upset if the day comes when we can't get anything done without paying a bribe.

We should be upset when the honour and ethics of the public service may possibly be bent to suit the underground agenda.

We should all be upset to consider that precious public assets may possibly be sold off at low, low prices, to suit this underground agenda.

How can you so sure this -- and more -- isn't happening?

Or do you believe that Basi & Virk provide a useful diversion -- perhaps even a cover -- so that these delicious sources of uncontrolled power and privilege may continue for those in the know? It'd be easy to suggest that if we punish Basi, Virk & Basi, that's all there is to the story. That isn't true, though, is it.

E.g., where exactly do you think that $6 BILLION cash is going, each year, from the sale of BC Bud alone? Who decides to reduce the police budget while gang crime is expanding? Why aren't the increasing casino crimes being investigated?

Please don't clam up on me. This discussion is one of vital interest to us all. The worst thing that can happen now -- and appears to have begun to happen -- is if the CanWest/Campbell policy of withholding information creates such a vacuum in BC lives, that some of us will unthinkingly be sucked into the black hole and begin to take sides with the perps.

Please write again. I'm up for it, thanks.
 
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