Sunday, March 04, 2007
Part III - Notice of Application for Disclosure
Third Report on the Notice of Application for Disclosure
Another day and a few more paragraphs to wade through.
Before we get started, I'd like to raise a point I touched on yesterday. This is a defence document and, if I've left out some of the emphasis the defence is placing on the admissibility of evidence obtained through wiretaps that may have infringed the doctrine of Parliamentary privilege, it was not my intent to do so.
The privileges enjoyed by the House of Commons in the London (and which we have inherited here in Canada) came about as a result of threats from both the King and the House of Lords. Historically, as that 'physical threat' diminished the general tendency has been to more carefully define the rights and immunities of elected members much more narrowly; this is a consequence of the fact that the privilege comes from the electorate itself. Such conventions make it possible for Parliament to work and for individual elected members of the House to exercise and fulfill 'the functions for which they were elected.'
Needless to say, that does not include the freedom to exercise functions that are criminal in intent and/or execution.
Parliamentary privilege exists - when speaking in the Legislature members are more or less free to say whatever they like without restraint or hindrance. As to the ability of 'anyone' employed in a legislative precinct to behave in an illegal and criminal matter and then hide behind that same doctrine - well, that's a concept which is open to interpretation and judicial judgment. As I said, I'm not a lawyer and I'm not in any way privy to anything but the words of this document - I think I can say with little fear of contradiction that there will be persuasive submissions from the other side on this.
This question is not one that doesn't have echoes in British Columbia: Echoes that go back to the years of Bennett the elder, Robert Sommers and Bob Bonner. Political ethics and criminality are often opposite sides of the same coin. In any case, it would be wise to withhold any final judgment on this, or any of these questions, until the other shoe has dropped.
Now, let's move on to the documentary evidence.
We stopped at ¶ 29 yesterday and, because of the nature of the material in the next 12 paragraphs, I think it is a good idea to transcribe these verbatim. They are mostly descriptive; as already mentioned they are part of the defence version of events and personalities. I don't want to be accused of being unfair to the persons named, and I can see little need to comment - other than saying that I wish the writer who created these materials could have found an abbreviation for the phrase “learned through a series of intercepted communications.”
¶ 30. Mr. Bornmann was heavily involved in Federal Liberal politics as the Director of Communications for the Paul Martin Leadership Campaign at this time.
¶ 31. Mr. Elmhirst was an active member of the B. C. Federal Liberal Party at this time.
¶ 32. Through intercepted communications, the RCMP learned that Mr. Basi was making representations on behalf of Minister Collins to dissuade OmniTRAX from dropping out of the BC Rail bidding process.
¶ 33. Through a series of intercepted communications in November 2003, the RCMP learned that OmniTrax was seeking a “consolation prize” from the Government to stay in the BC Rail bidding process, if in fact they were not the successful bidder.
¶ 34. At this time, the British Columbia Government was not only selling B.C.Rail, but also separately putting out to bid Robert's Bank. The Request for Proposals for Robert's Bank was put out for bid on November 6, 2003.
¶ 35. In early November 2003, OmniTRAX was considering whether they would drop out of the bidding process, and wanted to meet personally with Minister Collins.
¶ 36. The RCMP became aware through intercepted communications that Bobby Singh Virk (hereinafter “Mr. Virk”) was also a Ministerial Assistant who was working with Mr. Basi on the sale of B.C.Rail.
¶ 37. Through intercepted communications, the RCMP learned that Mr. Virk had spoken to Minister Collins regarding the problems with unhappy bidders and unhappy Liberal Government MLAs, the effect this would have on the bidding process, and how the sale of B.C.Rail would be viewed both politically and publicly.
¶ 38. On November 17, 2003, the RCMP learned through a series of intercepted communications that Mr. Basi advised OmniTRAX that Minister Collins had authorized a consolation prize for OmniTRAX in exchange for them staying in the bidding process (hereinafter the “Consolation Prize”).
¶ 39. Critically, on November 17, 2003, the RCMP learned through an intercepted call between Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk, that Mr. Basi told Mr. Virk that Minister Collins had approved the Consolation Prize.
¶ 40. At that time, the RCMP were aware that Mr. Virk was dealing directly with both Mr. Basi and Minister Collins on the sale of B.C. Rail.
¶ 41. On November 25, 2003, the government announced that CN Rail was the winning bidder in respect of B.C. Rail.
I think that's enough for today, after all, it's a Sunday.
Thank you, Anonymouse.
Understated but accurate. I particularly liked:
"Such conventions make it possible for Parliament to work and for
individual elected members of the House to exercise and fulfill
'the functions for which they were elected.'
Needless to say, that does not include the freedom to exercise
functions that are criminal in intent and/or execution."
These days between privilege and "national security" politicians
feel like they are exempt from any sort of oversight or accountability. Then with the
media both backing the 'official" position and distracting the
public with missing blond women and Anna Nichol, most people hardly
notice what's really happening.
........You know there's something happening here, but you don't
know what it is,
Do you? Mr. Jones..............
These accidents happened two days apart, yet the Alberta incident has already been dealt with, including criminal charges. Of course I wonder if there is a Justice System in BC at all, or just a kabuki dance that pretends to be.
I would like to remind everyone though that damages assessed to corporations aren't always what they seem. For example Exxon has still not paid any of the billions they were sued for over the Exxon Valdez, as the matter is still under appeal and has every sign of remaining so until Exxon goes out of the oil business due to lack of oil.
CN sure knows how to run a railroad, run it off the track that is.