Tuesday, February 27, 2007


RCMP spied on B.C. Minister of Finance

RCMP spied on B.C. finance minister, papers show
Jonathan Fowlie, Vancouver sun
Published: Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The RCMP conducted a "massive" surveillance operation to spy on a meeting involving former finance minister Gary Collins as part of the investigation that led to the 2003 raid on the B.C. Legislature, according to court documents filed Monday.

An application for disclosure by the defence in the case says the RCMP engaged in a "massive surveillance operation" to document a Dec. 12, 2003, meeting involving Collins and executives from OmniTRAX, a company that had been bidding in the sale of BC Rail but did not win. {snip}

The application asks for everything from a complete witness list to police notes to witness statements to surveillance tapes, including those of the Collins meeting on Dec. 12, 2003.

That meeting, at the Villa Del Lupo restaurant in Vancouver, involved Collins and OmniTRAX executives Pat Broe and Dwight Johnson, the document says.

After its unsuccessful bid for BC Rail, Colorado-based OmniTRAX then got involved in bidding for another BC Rail asset, the spur line serving the Roberts Bank superport.

The sale was cancelled in early 2004 after police advised the government that confidential information regarding the spur line had ended up in the wrong hands, possibly compromising the bidding.

In the documents filed Monday, lawyers suggest: "the RCMP had implemented a detailed and comprehensive surveillance plan with respect to the actions of Minister Collins in relation to his approval of the Consolation Prize for OmniTRAX.

"Obviously if it were the case that Minister Collins did approve the Consolation Prize, this would materially affect how the RCMP were assessing and treating the conduct of the Ministerial Assistants Messrs. Basi and Virk."

Collins left politics in Dec. 2004 to become president and CEO of Harmony Airways. Earlier this month he announced he will be the new senior vice-president of Vancouver-based Belkorp Industries Inc., a job he is scheduled to start on April 1.


Read more: http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=10ac20bd-759f-4752-8f6f-7ff1f25ee0e9&k=72595

I wouldn't read too much into this story at the moment. The defense strategy now seems to be to put the Government on notice that it will be drawn into the affair if this is pursued.

I like the "following orders" claim. Pushing the blame on to Collins serves a few purposes.
"the Government on notice that it will be drawn into the affair if this is pursued."
Shouldn't it be, isn't this what the trial should really be about, not two lowly aides? I've always felt that while B/V/B may have committed illegal acts the people who actually have "influence" to sell are the bigger criminals. B//V/B were at most conduits to the capos IMHO.
I can't help but read plenty into this article. Early December 2003 Collins has a meeting with Omnitrac. Late december 2003 RCMP raid the legislature. December 2004 Collins "retires".
The timing begs the questions: How involved in this affair is Collins?
Did he quit to distance himself to save the governments face? Are the delays (on both sides) being done to widen the distance between the government, Basi, Verk, Basi, Collins.
Things sure as hell went a lot faster than this when They raided Glen Clarks' home with cameras running full tilt boogie.
"full tilt boogie," classic phrasing, perfect way to put it
I am not trying to defend Collins so we can avoid that arguement.

Normally documents obtained during the discovery process are confidential. Council for Basi then filed the documents with the court knowing that the media would pick up on it and therefore make them public.

Apparently Basi wasn't even at the dinner in question so one could argue that the fact that Collins met with Omni really has nothing directly to do with the case against Basi and Virk and is simply presented to try and inflame the situation and quite frankly it worked.

I understand that some people have an axe to grind with Collins or the Liberals and I understand the desire to have them brought into the mix as well. For those simply seeking that justice be served to Basi and Virk then I would suggest that all this is doing is delaying and further complicating the process.
Anon 28 Feb., you raise the same point as I did, in my comment to Jeff Miller.

I just didn't see how the defence lawyers' documents filed in Supreme Court could be freely available to court spectators. I thought that even the media would NOT get their hands on these documents.

That's why I held Jeff's colourful comments back, until it was obvious that everybody had a field day, with even the B.C. Opposition handing out copies before the day ended.

On just that point alone, how do you explain those 32 pages or more, being in the public domain?

One other point: Collins said in a Kelowna Courier article which I will post as soon as I can beat the Blogger system into submission ... Collins said that Dave Basi was supposed to be at that dinner meeting but didn't show up. Another little mystery.
You have to remember this is NOT a jury trial. It makes a big difference as to what the public can see. None of this stuff is going to foul the jury pool (as it would have in the Picton case). Madame Justice Bennett will have to rule on all this stuff as to its admissibility - when that's done, and only when that's done - will things really get interesting, or if all the wiretaps are thrown out - well you get the picture.

From that point of view at least, the talk of an inquiry, while perhaps a bit premature - is not idle chat by any means. There may be several ways to skin a goose.
anonymous above: why are you yelling at me? I never said that Basi, Virk, and Basi had chosen a jury trial -- they chose to be tried by judge alone.

Who said anything about fouling the jury pool?

If you think I'm calling for a public inquiry, I'm not. Another anon made the suggestion and I asked what he meant. That's all.

Clarify your position, please. I'm tired and you're making my head spin.
I think you misunderstood me Mary. I (anon just above you here) was reacting to the other anon's post further up the commentary where he/she wrote:
"Normally documents obtained during the discovery process are confidential. Council for Basi then filed the documents with the court knowing that the media would pick up on it and therefore make them public."
I assumed, perhaps wrongly that this was a reference to letting information into the public realm which didn't belong there.

Nothing at all untoward in what's gone on so far.

Just didn't want to think I was criticizing you. I was just replying to you as the proprietor..
AnonOmous ... I'm making a solemn vow never to respond to anybody or anything after 10:00 PM when I'm tired and grouchy. [Hangs head, scuffs toe.]

I'm going to have to hang on tight, from now on, as facts and figures and fussing and fuming pile in upon this issue. Did you see what Grumpy said about why B.C. Rail was sold?? That in itself is a downright crime, if you ask me. And it's not even 10:00 PM yet, either.
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