Friday, April 20, 2007
GOVERNMENT AIDE ON TRIAL USED PHONY NAME
April 20, 2007
A former Liberal government aide, now on trial charged with accepting bribes, used a phony name when he called a Victoria radio station in 2003 to ask Premier Gordon Campbell a "softball" question about BC Rail, a defence lawyer revealed today.
While Campbell was appearing on CFAX radio Nov. 27, 2003, Dave Basi called to praise the government's controversial $1-billion privatization sale of BC Rail to Canadian National Railway, defence lawyer Kevin McCullough told the criminal trial of Basi and Bob Virk.
"Basi calls CFAX, disguises his voice and said his name was Don from East Saanich and puts a question to Mr. Campbell," the defence lawyer told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett, who is sitting without a jury.
"It was a call from Mr. Basi lobbing a softball for the premier to hit out of the park," the lawyer said.
He also pointed out that before asking his question, Basi told the radio show host: "I think the BC Rail deal is the best thing you could have done for the province."
Basi, the lawyer added, then asked Campbell: "I just want to know, as far as Prince Rupert is concerned, if you could maybe let me know when those projects are going to start there?"
Two days before the call, on Nov. 25, 2003, the government had announced that CN would buy BC Rail.
McCullough told the judge the RCMP were aware of the phony call to the radio station because police had a wiretap operation in place and were secretly listening to Basi's telephone calls, which included numerous conversations with top B.C. Liberal party officials.
The trial is scheduled to continue Monday at Vancouver Law Courts.
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