Wednesday, November 29, 2006

 

Connect a few dots: Who hired Basi & Virk? Have they been investigated?

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Premier Tied To Hires
Charlie Smith
Georgia Straight, 2003-12-31

Premier Gordon Campbell's chief of staff, Martyn Brown, was responsible for hiring two political assistants, David Basi and Robert Virk, whose legislature offices were raided by the RCMP on December 28.

On June 25, 2001, Campbell wrote a letter to all cabinet ministers telling them that Brown would arrange the "structuring and staffing" of their offices. Campbell also instructed ministers not to act like the chief executive officer of their ministries, adding that this role should be performed by their deputies, who would also be selected by the premier's office.

Veteran political journalist Jim Hume wrote a column for the Canoe News Web site [www.canoe.ca] on July 7, 2001, saying veteran cabinet ministers from previous B.C. administrations "expressed indignation" over the language in Campbell's letter. Hume added that cabinet ministers traditionally recommended deputy ministers to the premier, usually resulting in a simple endorsement from the premier.

"Only on extremely rare occasions, however, has the premier of the day interfered with decisions on a minister's personal office staff, let alone granting the authority to one of his own appointees, a non-elected staffer, to dictate to a minister of the crown," Hume wrote.

Meanwhile, the RCMP's December 29 news release announcing the police raids at the legislature used the term organized crime eight different times. Basi, who was fired as ministerial assistant to Finance Minister Gary Collins, issued a news release later that day denying wrongdoing. Virk, who worked for Transportation and Highways Minister Judith Reid, was suspended with pay.

Robert Gillen, assistant deputy attorney general, appointed special prosecutor William Berardino, who was once a partner of Attorney General Geoff Plant at Russell & DuMoulin (now Fasken Martineau DuMoulin).
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Thanks to Lynx again for remembering these important factors.

Comments:
Didn't Collins hire Basi directly?
 
JM: Here's what Bill Tieleman said at the time:


David Basi--the fired ministerial assistant to former B.C. Finance Minister Gary Collins who has been charged with breach of trust, fraud, and accepting bribes in connection with the $1 billion B.C. Rail privatization--applied and was rejected for a staff job with the B.C. Liberal caucus after the 1996 provincial election, the Georgia Straight has learned.

Basi, who was an employee of the provincial government at the time, was later hired directly by Collins after the Liberals won the May 2001 election.

But Basi's earlier attempt to find work with the then-Opposition caucus was thwarted after a check of his references and other due diligence led to a decision not to hire him, according to a B.C. Liberal source. Basi was also charged in September 2004 with drug-trafficking in connection with an alleged marijuana grow-op ......

... One unanswered question is why the B.C. Liberal caucus refused to hire David Basi after the 1996 election loss to the NDP. According to the source, 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. All other MAs were appointed by Martyn Brown, Premier Gordon Campbell's chief of staff.
 
Collins said , after the Cops showed up he hardly knew the guy. The guy was seen often wandering down the hallways right next to Collins. Just one small lie
 
The questions remain:

1. why did Basi get fired and Virk only suspended?

2. why was Basi deemed unworthy for employment by the Lib caucus after the 1996 election?

3. why did Collins specially hire Basi outside the normal hiring process after the 2001 election?
 
Basi wasn't the only aide hired directly by a cabinet minister, the AG Plant hired his MA Joan Dick.
 
That's a new one, tim. Thanks!
 
 
I think it was the lead item on the "Westcoast" section of the Sun today: a judge has ruled that faxed warrants are not acceptable, and that they must be filed in person.

This is upsetting the hard-working, door-kicking-in Surrey RCMP, because now they have to spend time/gas (i.e. public money) in order to drive to Burnaby to submit their applications in person. 

All this is in reference to a particular drug case, but a precedent is a precedent I would think, and this might have application to the issue of the faxed warrants re the wiretaps that got around the privilege shield around Gordo and Colin....interesting, no?

Skookum1
 
Roaming around in Hansard looking for a report on Monday's all-night sitting of the B.C. Legislature, I noticed that on 5 June 2001, Jamie Elmhirst was appointed Ministerial Assistant to the Minister of Water, Land, and Air Protection.

Also that there were TWO Ministerial Aides appointed to the Minister of Finance: Robert Pauliszyn and Dave Basi.

While Bob Virk was the M.A. to the Minister of Transportation.
 
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