Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Michael Smyth goes NDP. Almost.

Who knows how close to the premier's office it will lead

Michael Smyth
The Province - June 05, 2007

If anything's rising faster than the Fraser River these days it's the pools of sweat over at B.C. Liberal Party headquarters as officials nervously monitor the Basi-Virk corruption trial.

And now that Justice Elizabeth Bennett has ordered the disclosure of every last scrap of information in the bombshell political case, the Libs must be sandbagging faster than the folks up in Smithers.

Who knows what kind of dirty laundry will be strung on the line now that the judge has pried the lid off the hamper? The Libs must be sweating buckets.

Two former senior government aides -- Dave Basi and Bob Virk -- face corruption charges in the sale of B.C. Rail, specifically that they accepted payments in return for inside information.

The Libs have tried to dismiss the pair as a couple of rogue agents, but their lawyers have mounted the classic Nuremberg defence that they were just following orders from their superiors.

The defence team has already spilled a tonne of embarrassing dirt on the Liberals, including tales of political dirty tricks that gave the NDP Opposition a question-period field day during the recent legislative session (though the Libs refused to answer every question).

How much worse could it get for the governing party? A lot, especially if any sleazy behaviour can be traced all the way to top of the pyramid.

Premier Gordon Campbell's name has already come up in the proceedings when court heard allegations of Basi stacking fake phone calls to open-line radio shows.

Campbell allegedly told a government caucus meeting that "one of Dave's callers" did a good job lobbing him softball questions on an open-line show.

And Campbell's press secretary, Mike Morton, allegedly e-mailed Basi to say he would let Campbell know "your team is in place" when the premier appeared on CKNW.

How many other skeletons are rattling around the Liberals' closet, just waiting to tumble out? The judge herself wants to know, noting that Liberal Party executive-director Kelly Reichert was apparently quite chatty about the case with the premier.

"There are police notes indicating that Mr. Reichert was going to brief Premier Campbell on certain events," the judge said. "This is not a remote relationship with little relevance to the investigation. I must infer that some notes exist."

And won't they be juicy reading if they come out!

Ironically, the Liberals are secretly rooting for the defence lawyers to achieve their ultimate goal of having the whole case thrown out of court. But a lot of deeply buried slime could come bubbling to the surface in the process.

The New Democrats are loving it. And after all their complaining that the government had a paid observer at the trial, the NDP had an MLA and two staffers at yesterday's events.

While the Liberals are sweating, the NDPers are drooling in anticipation. Keep those sandbags handy -- the political waters only get deeper from here.



Has Mr. Smythe been reading my mail?
Sweating? I'm sure that Campbell has his briefcase packed and ready to go offshore. Don't worry about him, he takes care of himself, as always.
Hi anonymous 10:21 ... not to worry. I know that Kootcoot has been worrying a lot about his friend, The Soup Nazi, but he's been talking through his pain on House of Infamy.

So he'll be OK (Koot will, I dunno about the premier so much).

"Sweating? I'm sure that Campbell has his briefcase packed and ready to go offshore."

At least he wouldn't be in the province anymore. Ideally he would go offshore just far enough to be unable to swim back. Now if only he will take his pet ferret, Ring-Ding-Dong deJong, Colin "the semi-human sneer" Hansen, StoneWally and the rest of the gang with him, BC can get back to being the "Best Place on Earth."

Did you notice that Ring-a-ding Dong Dong de Jong ... if you say it 3 times quickly ... gets you doing a River Dance routine before you know it.


Especially when I really don't feel like dancing after hearing of the lengthy adjournment of the Basi Virk Basi case.

Of course, it's logical that the defence needs time to plough through all those documents. But isn't time a factor in the fairness of the proceedings?

Or maybe the delay makes a no big difference when it's the defence itself asking for the extra time.


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