Monday, January 29, 2007

 

Former President of B.C. Liberal Party subpoenaed 3 months before resigning

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Former Liberal president to testify

By BILL TIELEMAN, 24 HOURS
29 January 2007

The president of the Liberal Party of Canada's B.C. branch was under subpoena for over three months to testify in the upcoming breach of trust
trial of former provincial government aides David Basi and Bob Virk before resigning his position in January.

Lobbyist Jamie Elmhirst quit as president Jan. 15 but was subpoenaed by police Oct. 4, 2006 to testify. His letter of resignation to the party makes no mention of the subpoena, instead stating he was leaving to concentrate on his business and upcoming wedding.

Elmhirst, a former aide to B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell and former federal Liberal cabinet minister David Anderson, was a business partner of Erik Bornmann and Brian Kieran in the now-defunct Victoria lobby firm
Pilothouse Public Affairs.

Both Bornmann and Kieran will testify as crown witnesses against Basi, Virk and B.C. Liberal government communications aide Aneal Basi in the trial starting April 2.

On Dec. 28, 2003, the same day police searched the B.C. Legislature and other locations, a search warrant was executed on Pilothouse offices.

The charges allege that David Basi and Virk were bribed to provide confidential information on the $1-billion privatization of BC Rail to Bornmann, who was a lobbyist for OmniTRAX, one of the bidders. Aneal Basi is accused of money laundering.

Information obtained by 24 hours shows police served Elmhirst and Kieran with subpoenas Oct. 4, 2006. Bornmann was subpoenaed on Sept. 28, 2006.

In an interview with 24 hours Elmhirst denied the subpoena had anything to do with his resignation as president.

"My reasons for resigning are contained in my letter," he said.

When asked if he informed the Liberal Party of Canada that he had been subpoenaed to testify in the Basi-Virk trial, Elmhirst said: "I don't have any comment on that."

But a national citizens' watchdog group says federal Liberal Party members should have been told about Elmhirst's upcoming role as a witness in the trial.

"The members of the party certainly have a right to know," Duff Conacher, coordinator of Democracy Watch, told 24 hours from Ottawa. "It's not something in that type of leadership position that should be kept from party members."

Elmhirst served as LPCBC president for two years.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Elmhirst took over as senior partner from Kieran on April 1, 2006 after Pilothouse was renamed K&E Public Affairs.

A variety of clients paid Elmhirst to lobby the provincial government in 2006 according to the Lobby Registry, including the New Car Dealers of BC, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, the British Columbia Association of Optometrists and the BC Dental Hygienists Association.

Elmhirst joined Mark Marissen, Paul Martin's former top BC supporter, in endorsing Stephane Dion for leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. Marissen was Dion's National Campaign Director for the campaign and is now co-chair of the Liberal Party's National Election Readiness Committee.
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Sincere thanks to Bill Tieleman for sharing this around on the morning it's published. Bill's blog is at http://billtieleman.blogspot.com/ and he's also at "24 Hours" as well as CKNW. - BC Mary.
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Comments:
This incipient shyness and reticence when confronted with opportunities to step up and get it on with the media must be very troubling conditions for people like Elmhirst, Marissen and Bornman(n). It is such a fundamental change in character. In fact, they've become so shy they want to expunge their past record too - going so far as to 'encourage' a rewrite of history at Wikipedia. Very strange for fellas who, heretofore, never met a reporter they wouldn’t try to smooze. Even Christy Clark, when she hosted Michael Smyth’s show on CKNW before the leadership convention, didn’t step up and acknowledge her role as a member of the Dion “team”. Very Strange.
 
After over 60 years of hearing what crooks politicians are I can't help but wonder who the real jerks are, the elected or the electorate.
 
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