Friday, March 02, 2007
Members of the Press: your cue cards are ready!
It's true, there have been fumbles and stumbles on The Legislature Raids web-site recently, as BC Mary tries to sort out one thing or another, such as whether or not a court appearance was made by all lawyers for the Crown and the Defence for Basi, Virk, and Basi on the appointed date of 26 February.
It did happen -- not a pre-trial conference but "a filing" -- only we never found out where it happened until a day too late.
We found out as well, that a 32-page document titled "Notice of Application for Disclosure" was filed with Justice Bennett of the B.C. Supreme Court by the defence on that day. More about that later.
Next consider how surprising it was, to discover that an appearance was made either in Vancouver or Victoria (we can't figure out which, as yet) by the Defence team for Basi, Virk and Basi on 1 March. What's this all about? Who knew it was happening?
The March 1 appearance apparently was listed in the publicly accessible Court Services OnLine but removed early. Besides, who knew to even check there, on a day never mentioned as a possible court appearance? The date mentioned to the public was March 7.
There's always been a sense of chaos and confusion about the B.C. Rail case because so little has been in the news. So it caught everyone off-guard when journalism virtually exploded on 27 February 2007 -- the day after that hefty document was distributed to all and sundry except Robin Mathews.
I mean, consider the long painful 3-year media silence where nothing much was published about the B.C. Rail affair, no journalist was following it the way Kim Bolan followed Air India. Nothing. Not even when these weird little pre-trial conferences took place. As the Times Colonist Editor-in-Chief had clearly told us, "When there is news, we plan to publish it." You'd think the BC Rail fiasco had never happened.
So it's against that background of official indifference that we should consider the almost explosive event when that 32-page document was not only filed with Justice Bennett of B.C. Supreme Court but was distributed by the armful to all and sundry ... that is, if you knew where to show up, and who to ask for it. For all others, a lock-out. How very unusual was that!
Next: consider that BC Mary actually didn't believe the first report that came in from Feb. 26 in Supreme Court, so colourful it was, so laden with names, dates, places and crimes that it was actionable if not true. So I held it back, awaiting confirmation.
Well ... that first report was convincingly validated by the deluge of reports from all the old hands who had been silent for so long. A miracle!
Or was it.
How come it took the defence team for Basi, Virk and Basi to write up the story for them?
How come the story was only now coming forth about the alleged and dastardly failings of the RCMP, of Justice Ehrcke, Justice Dohm, of Bornmann, Kieran, Elmhirst, the B.C. and Federal Liberal parties, of Gary Collins as to "problems regarding unhappy bidders and unhappy Liberal Government MLAs ... [re] how the sale of B.C. Rail would be viewed both politically and publicly", and much, much more.
You have to see this document to believe that it was written by lawyers for courtroom purposes and not as the outline for major stories for the 6:00 o'clock news, for TV or the silver screen. What's going on here?
This 32-page Notice of Application for Disclosure is too much like that pot-boiler in The Globe and Mail on Christmas Eve titled "There is nothing to these charges" by Gary Mason. The thing I called "a paid political announcement."
If the issue of the tainted sale of a valuable resource like B.C. Rail is going to be tossed into the garbage can, as far too many powerful characters seem to want, it's cold comfort to know that we've watched the moves -- one after another -- moving inexorably in that direction.
British Columbians must not lose this last chance to salvage something from that tainted sale. Something doesn't feel right. Something doesn't smell right. Something doesn't even look right.