Tuesday, April 24, 2007

 

24 April 2007 - Collected press clippings

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PREMIER ALLEGED TO KNOW OF PAID MEDIA SCAM
Don't miss this barn-burner by Bill Tieleman, writing about yesterday's scene in Vancouver Supreme Courtroom 54:

... It was at times as if the roof had been lifted off the giant ant farm that is the BC legislature, letting all in the courtroom have a sneak peak at what just might have been going on there in 2003.
But there were more details than ever before as well.

In the highly controversial allegation related to the $1 billion privatization of B.C. Rail, McCullough said B.C. Liberal Party Executive Director Kelly Reichert was taped by police in a call to Basi on Oct. 28, 2003, discussing a situation where Premier Campbell's Press Secretary Mike Morton sat with OmniTRAX, one of the companies bidding for the rail company, along with their lobbyists from Pilothouse Public Affairs, at a Liberal fundraising dinner.

"Reichert says he gave Gord a three-page memo on Saturday. Gord was yelling at Reichert because Mike Morton had fucked up. There was a dinner where Mike Morton is positioned with OmniTRAX -- he's at the Pilothouse table," McCullough said.

Of course we now know that two of Pilothouse's partners, Erik Bornmann and Brian Kieran, are key witnesses for the Crown against Basi and Virk, while the third, former Liberal Party of Canada B.C. president Jamie Elmhirst, has been subpoenaed to testify in the trial.

Read the full story on The Tyee.ca:
http://thetyee.ca/News?2007?04/24/MediaScam

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DEFENCE SEEKING GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS IN CORRUPTION CASE
Neal Hall
Vancouver Sun - April 24, 2007

The defence announced today at the corruption trial of three former provincial government aides that a new application will be made to seek government documents regarding the controversial sale of BC Rail in 2003.

Some of the documents sought would involve the provincial cabinet, including Premier Gordon Campbell, defence lawyer Michael Bolton explained outside court. {Snip} ...

"Clearly there are overtones and undertones of very significant political involvement in this case," said Bolton, who is representing Dave Basi, former ministerial assistant to then-finance minister Gary Collins when the government announced in November, 2003, the privatization sale of BC Rail operations for $1 billion to CN Rail. {Snip} ...

nhall@png.canwest.com
Read the full story at:
http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/story.html?id=044bc77e-3f85-4b58-8ddc-dbf994e53eff&k=60780


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DEFENCE IN BC RAIL CASE TO SEEK CABINET DOCUMENTS
MARK HUME
Globe and Mail - April 24, 2007

VANCOUVER — ... Outside court, Michael Bolton, one of several lawyers for three former government employees, said the defence doesn't believe the RCMP got all the relevant material when it searched the legislature offices of Dave Basi and Bobby Virk ...

“It's our belief that because of the involvement of the Solicitor General and the cabinet in the BC Rail deal that there must be additional documents that the RCMP never sought with respect to the bidders, the bidding process and the possibility that there were considerations [offered] to some of the bidders who stayed in the process,” said Mr. Bolton. {Snip}... The defence contends, however, that Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk were “political operatives” who at all times were following government directions.

Asked if the defence would specifically ask for material from Premier Gordon Campbell's office, Mr. Bolton replied: “That is probably premature to say that, but we'll be asking for materials that certainly one would expect the premier would have had access to.” {Snip} ...

Read the full story at:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070424.wbcvirk0425/BNStory/National/home

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"STONEWALLING" ALLEGED BY DEFENCE IN SUPREME COURT AND NDP OPPOSITION IN LEGISLATURE IN BASI-VIRK CASE
Bill Tieleman - 24 April 2007

"Stonewalling." That's what defence lawyer Kevin McCullough alleged Tuesday in BC Supreme Court that Special Prosecutor Bill Berardino has been doing in response to repeated requests for details of a deal lobbyist Erik Bornmann cut for immunity from prosecution for testifying against three ex-government aides.

Across the water in Victoria, the New Democrat opposition were saying Premier Gordon Campbell was "stonewalling" too - refusing to answer their repeated question about earlier defence allegations that Campbell's top staff had been involved in a "dirty tricks" operation involving paid media manipulation and fake protesters.

Read Bill's full column at:
http://www.billtieleman.blogspot.com/

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