Monday, April 02, 2007
Dammit, do you realize who you're (not) speaking to?
I'm trying hard not to become angry. But I expect citizens of this great land to be treated with respect. That means: when it's announced that there will be a pre-trial hearing on 2 April 2007, that there actually will be a pre-trial hearing on 02 April, which is today.
What's more, when I go to a government web-site called
VANCOUVER LAW COURTS
PUBLIC ACCESS SUPREME COURT CRIMINAL LIST
I expect the listings to be reasonably accurate and that Basi, Virk, Basi or their lawyers will be in Supreme Court to-day because of the 7 detailed pages of Basi Virk Basi issues listed there.
Well ... cue the maniacal laughter. Ain't nuthin' of the sort.
Thanks to Bill Tieleman who was kind enough to say: "I was just about to email you to let you know the Basi Virk hearing has been postponed to April 10 and that there is NO notice of the hearing on the docket at BC Supreme Court!
I'm told by defence counsel that Berardino may file an appearance to note the postponement.
I presume you were looking at the online court docket?
West Star Communications"
And so the citizens of B.C. are left standing on the sidewalk (so to speak), all slit-eyed and mean-mouthed, hands on hips, tapping the foot, and wanting to yell at the whole cock-eyed B.C. judicial system: "Dammit, do you know who you're speaking to?"
Only, of course, the judicial system is not speaking to the citizens. Neither is the government. As for our man, Ol' Bill Berardino the Special Prosecutor, he apparently hasn't got a hope of providing the evidence being demanded by the Defence. Is there anybody left standing who doesn't see through this?
Time to break the log-jam. Time for Bill Berardino to announce publicly that he can't do his job without the co-operation of those who are withholding important documents. If he doesn't cite the evaders for contempt of court, then Madam Justice Bennett must. Let's get this show on the road.
From the business pages of the Globe and Mail, under the category of breaking news...
Fund seeks to link CN safety, compensation
Monday, April 02, 2007
A West Coast mutual fund is questioning the pay of Canadian National Railway Co.'s chief executive officer amid concerns over high-profile derailments.
Ethical Funds Inc. has submitted a shareholder proposal to compel CN to explain why Hunter Harrison's bonus in 2005 totalled $3.85-million (U.S.), almost three times higher than his base salary of $1.37-million.
The Vancouver-based mutual fund wants CN directors who belong to the compensation committee to examine the link between executive pay and safety performance at Canada's largest railway.
“CN experienced declining safety performance, as illustrated by several high-profile derailments in 2005, including an environmentally destructive spill at Lake Wabamun” in Alberta, according to the proposal submitted by Ethical.
Other notable CN derailments in 2005 occurred on former BC Rail tracks, including one that spilled corrosive sodium hydroxide into the Cheakamus River in British Columbia, said Inhance Canadian Equity Fund, which is backing Ethical's push for greater accountability from CN.
Vancouver-based Inhance has also filed its own shareholder proposal to force CN to “conduct a track safety audit on policies, procedures and technical practices on the BC Rail line.”
In 2004, Montreal-based CN acquired BC Rail's freight operations from the B.C. government.
Jennifer Coulson, Ethical's manager of sustainability, said that outside of Canada, two CN freight trains collided in Mississippi in 2005, killing four employees.
“2005 was a very poor year for CN's safety performance — it was disastrous,” she said.
Ethical's proposal states that it wants CN to “link executive compensation to environmental, social and governance success.”
Ethical owns about 500,000 CN shares while Inhance holds 12,000 CN shares.
CN directors are urging shareholders to vote against the mutual funds' proposals at the railway's annual meeting on April 24 in Moncton.
CN argues that its compensation committee has already scrutinized Mr. Harrison's pay for both 2005 and 2006. The committee has deemed that his pay packets properly reflect the company's strong financial footing — CN posted a profit of almost $1.6-billion (Canadian) in 2005 and a record $2.1-billion profit in 2006.
CN also stresses that in 2006, it spent $1.5-billion, or nearly one-fifth of its annual revenue, on capital programs that helped maintain rail safety. CN's capital spending budget this year will rise to $1.6-billion.
The railway acted swiftly after the spike in derailments in 2005, well before the mutual funds raised concerns, CN spokesman Mark Hallman said. “The proof is in the pudding in 2006,” he said, noting that the number of CN main-track derailments last year in Canada fell by 26 per cent to 76.
“Without losing sight of the derailments, CN was amongst the safest railways on the continent,” according to CN's rebuttal in its latest management information circular.
The freight carrier added that it's closely monitoring track safety in British Columbia.
“A detailed plan of action to improve the safety and maintenance of the BC Rail line and to decrease the number of accidents has thus already been put in place,” CN said in its circular. “Safety is a core value at CN.”
Inhance pointed out that two CN employees died after a train derailed off a cliff near Lillooet, B.C., in June, 2006. Dermot Foley, Inhance's vice-president of strategic analysis, said he's worried that CN is operating B.C. trains that are too long and running them too fast.
“They have to do a better job of keeping the trains on the tracks,” he said from Vancouver.
In the past, CN has tried to buy Ontario Northland Rail from the Ontario government, but Queen's Park rejected offers for the provincial Crown corporation. Last Friday, sulphuric acid spilled into the Blanche River in Northern Ontario after an Ontario Northland train derailed.
Mr. Harrison's compensation totalled $7.3-million (U.S.) in 2006, according to CN's circular. His remuneration last year included a $1.5-million salary and $4.2-million bonus, but he didn't cash in any options. In 2005, Mr. Harrison's pay packet totalled $46.4-million, including a $3.85-million bonus, $22.5-million in option gains and $17.3-million in long-term incentive plan payouts.
“For the years 2005 and 2006, 70 per cent of the bonus was linked to a balanced set of goals that contribute to the company's financial growth and profitability in the market place,” the circular said. “Additionally, 30 per cent of the bonus was based on the achievement of personal goals linked to financial, operating, safety, customer service, as well as leadership development.”
British Columbia Freedom of Information and Privacy Act.
Division 4-Public Interest Paramount.
Information must be disclosed if in the public interest.
25(1)whether or not a request for access is made, the head of a public body must, without delay, disclose to the public,to an affected group of people, or to an applicant, information,
(a) about a risk of significant harm to the environment, or to the health or safety of the public, or any group of people, or
(b) the disclosure of which is, for any other reason,clearly in the public interest.
(2) Subsection (1) applies despite any other provision of this act.
(3) Before disclosing information under subsection (1) the head of a public body must, if practible notify,
(a)any third party to whom the information relates, and
(b) the commissioner
(4)If it is not practicable to comply with subsection (3) the head of the public body must mail a notice of disclosure in the prescribed form
(a)to the last known adress of the third party
(b)to the commissioner
Madam Justice Bennett has said in her court that the public interest is paramount
I think this information deserves to go up front on the main page, don't you?
Thanks again, immensely.