Friday, September 28, 2007


Even 'B.C. Bud' hit by rising Canadian dollar

Noted in passing, in Vancouver Sun, 28 Sept. 2007 (Reuters)



More LPCBC connections

Normally the following comment would be too partisan for this web-site. But there comes a point, in the B.C. Rail Case, where the political issues must be considered. In the spirit of exploration, therefore, the following information is presented for study. Thank you, Anonymous. - BC Mary.

Anonymous has left a new comment on "Jamie Elmhirst re-visited":


You might want to start a separate entry for this as it concerns mainly George MacIntosh and his law firm Farris, Vaughn, Wills and Murphy.

First let me begin by correcting two statements anonymous 10:55 made. Firstly the name of the law partner of George MacIntosh at Farris, Vaughn, Wills and Murphy is James Hatton, not Hattan.

Hatton is listed on the firm's website as a specialist in technological law. He served as secretary on the Liberal Party of Canada in BC executive along with Erik Bornmann and Bruce Clark from 2002 to 2004 and then with Jamie Elmhirst and Bruce Clark from 2004 to 2007. On April 1 2005 he was appointed to a governance position with the National Research Council by the Paul Martin government.

Second, Hatton was not the only person associated with Farris, Vaughn, Wills and Murphy who served with Jamie Elmhirst on the lpcbc executive. Shannon Salter succeeded Erik Bornmann as communications director, serving in that position from 2004 to 2007. When she started in this position she was a UBC law student. Then in 2005 she articled with Farris, Vaughn, Wills and Murphy. Then in March 2007 she joined Farris, Vaughn, Wills and Murphy as an associate, working in their commercial litigation group headed up by George MacIntosh.

MacIntosh who is regarded as one of the leading experts in commercial litigation law, has been with Farris Vaughn, Wills and Murphy since 1974. There is no mention of either MacIntosh or his firm ever having any involvement with criminal law.

This raises the question, why did George MacIntosh agree to represent Erik Bornmann as a client when:(a)MacIntosh's expertise lay in litigation law NOT criminal law and this was a criminal case.(b)there was a potential case of conflict of interest with MacIntosh's partner James Hatton serving on the same lpcbc executive as Eric Bornmann and Bruce Clark, a man Bornmann accused in his statements to police of being involved in the Basi affair.

As it turned out, Erik Bornmann did not get very good representation from George MacIntosh. What kind of a lawyer negotiates an immunity deal for his client without putting it in writing? Perhaps a lawyer who specializes in commercial litigation but is lacking in experience when it comes to criminal law!

For the record, Hatton and Salter both supported Gerard Kennedy in the Liberal leadership race whilst Elmhirst and Clark supported Stephane Dion.


For the record, Anonymous, your information is very much appreciated. - BC Mary.


Thursday, September 27, 2007


It's Right To Know Week! Yes! We've had a Right to Know for 4 days and didn't know it! Good one, eh? Oh. But check Lucinda's editorial at end.

I've just read it in the Vancouver Sun: this is Right To Know Week. [Cue the hysterical laughter!] It's almost over -- and this is the Sun's first mention of it -- but what the hey. Here's part of an editorial from today's [27 Sept '07] Vancouver Sun whose Managing Editor promised us on 22 Aug 2007 a Basi Virk Basi story "in 2 or 3 days". Today's Sun editorial might have been written by Kirk LaPointe himself. It is to roll on the floor laughing, as the editorial concludes:

Secretive governments should take a refresher course in democracy. [Vancouver Sun editorial - 27 Sept '07]

... Earlier this year, B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell amended the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act through an order-in-council to exclude a cabinet committee on climate change from its provisions. Climate change has become one of the top public concerns. How is the public interest served by secrecy on this issue?

This is Right to Know Week, an annual celebration of freedom of information. It would be an ideal time for politicians to recommit themselves to it. Citizens requesting access to information are not a nuisance, but are exercising one of their fundamental rights in a democracy. Governments refusing to recognize that should bone up on democracy.

It would be an ideal time for Mr LaPointe to publish that Basi Virk / BC Rail story he promised his readers. It would be a perfect time for a group of his best journalists to dig into the history of the trial and put together a general understanding of the players, the background, the charges -- as we on The Legislature Raids have tried to do this week -- even without knowing it was officially the (cough, choke) Right to Know Week. So come on, Kirk. This is Right to Know Week, eh?
- BC Mary.


Friday 28 September 2007: If we overlook the fact that Right To Know Week is just about finished for this year, we can take comfort from the editorial appearing in Lucinda Chodan's newspaper today. It goes like this:

Editorial: Protect your right to know

Times Colonist
Published: Friday, September 28, 2007

It's a simple principle. Unless the public knows what government is doing, our democracy can't function. Citizens denied information on government spending or decision-making are also being denied the right to hold those in power to account. [Yaayyy! - BC Mary]

The provinces and the federal government all have freedom-of-information legislation, supposedly to protect the principle that the public -- as citizens, taxpayers and consumers -- have a right to information.

But too often, politicians and bureaucrats undermine that principle, either directly by failing to pass effective legislation or indirectly through delay and obstruction. [Yaayyyyy!]

The Canadian Newspaper Association has been trying to fight one significant attack on the public's right to information since 2005.

That's when it presented evidence to the federal Office of the Information Commissioner that indicated media freedom-of-information requests were being flagged as sensitive, resulting in illegitimate delays and high rates of refusal.

The principle is important. There are legitimate limits on the right to information, to protect privacy or commercial interests. But access is not supposed to be limited based on who is making the request or the potential for political embarrassment.

Sadly, the commissioner has not conducted the needed full investigation to assess the extent of the problem. The effort to ensure openness has, so far, failed.

The B.C. government, unfortunately, takes a similar approach. Requests for information from reporters and political parties are routinely flagged as sensitive. They also routinely take longer to be processed and are more likely to be deemed denied because the government has failed to respond in the required period.

It might seem that this is a dispute between the media and government. But it's really an issue that affects you. Governments are reluctant to share information, particularly information that raises questions about their performance. Freedom-of-information laws let news media get the information that politicians and bureaucrats don't want made public.

The Times Colonist, for example, was forced to rely on the freedom-of-information process to uncover major problems with the child-death review process in B.C. We were able to report on ocean pollution, cleanliness in seniors' care homes and the risks of police chases only by using the legislation. All those issues were of public interest.

This is Right to Know Week, an annual celebration of the importance of freedom of information.

But the right to know is under constant attack, by governments of every political stripe. The public must demand openness and access to information. The alternative is a steady erosion of one of the foundations of a functioning democracy.


Damn right, Lucinda! [Stomps feet, claps hands, shrieks Woooooo!] And because I want to trust your good intentions in this matter, I have posted the entire TC editorial here so that others may enjoy every word you've said and benefit from it. I'll be sending you a belated request for permission. Is that OK by you? And thanks very much indeed for the thoughts expressed in this editorial. One big virtual bouquet to you! - BC Mary.

Footnote: Before the sun went down, a reply came in from the Times Colonist editorial offices. The Editor-in-Chief is away so my request for permission was handed to our old friend, Paul Willcocks, who said TC is delighted to share their editorial with us. In fact, they were very pleased we liked it. Nice, eh? Like, sorta civilized. - M.



Order in Council 558: earliest appointments of the Campbell government

Click on Image to Read
The wee little list to the left will enlarge
and become readable if you click on the image itself.

Then use your back button to return to TLR, if necessary. (kc)

Monday, September 24, 2007


CNdeRail has another little incident in Prince George today. Northerners are getting restless

Go to 250NEWS to read up on today's derailment of 4 CN grain cars right in downtown Prince George. Citizens report strange goings-on about CN deRail pulling up and selling old B.C. Rail tracks ... is there no end to the outrageous behaviour surrounding the transfer of Canada's 3rd largest railway into private ownership? Here's one story from 250NEWS but there's more. - BC Mary.


By 250 News
Prince George BC
Monday, September 24, 2007

Four grain cars left the CN tracks today in what is being described as a minor mishap by CN officials.

The four cars contained grain heading for the Port of Prince Rupert.

Two of the cars spilled product when they fell on their sides during the mishap, which happened behind the Bottle Depot on 1st.

No one was injured and train traffic in and out of the city was not delayed. The mishap took place just after 2.30 this afternoon.

Can't help wondering if the train was being operated robotically again? - BC Mary.



Jamie Elmhirst re-visited

Sometimes a comment is too informative to be left half-hidden on the sidelines. This comment concerns Jamie Elmhirst who is expected to be one of the key witnesses for the prosecution when the trial of Basi Virk Basi comes to court:

Anon wrote, at 9:32am this morning:

I'll work on that information for you. I do know he [Jamie Elmhirst] was first appointed, by Order in Council, on June 5, 2001.
The relevant OIC is No 558 (effective June 5, 2001). Elmhirst was appointed at that time as a Ministerial Assistant in the Ministry of Water, Land and Air protection. He was, therefore, with the Campbell government from its earliest days after the 2001 election.

There will be a revoking OIC that rescinded that appointment - which, for the moment - I haven't been able to track down.

# posted by Anonymous : September 25, 2007 7:27 AM

These information about Jamie Elmhirst is very interesting when you consider the following:

1. David Basi has been accused of accepting $50,000 in payments from developers Jim Duncan and Anthony Young between Jan 1 2002 and Sep 1 2003 for his role in getting a parcel of land released from the Agricultural Land Reserve

2. The developers first applied to have this parcel of forestry land released from the Agricultural Land Reserve in Oct 2001. Their application was rejected in Feb 2002. They applied again in March 2002 and were rejected May 2002. They applied again in Jun 2002 and were finally accepted in summer 2003

3. Basi was working in the Ministry of Finance during this time period and would have no direct influence over decisions made by the Agricultural Land Commission.

4. Jamie Elmhirst was working in the Ministry of Land Protection at this time and may have been in a position to influence decisions by the Agricultural Land Commission

5. Basi would have had a line of communication to Elmhirst through Erik Bornmann

6. Elmhirst left the Ministry of Land Protection around the same time as Basi allegedly received his last payment from the developers, i.e. late summer 2003

7. Elmhirst was subsequently, put on the payroll of Pilothouse.
# posted by Anonymous : September 25, 2007 11:55 AM

You might, however, be interested in this:

This is a summary of his activities as a 'registered' lobbyist.

I'll try to get back here and post the information with regard to the other OIC when I have it.

# posted by Anonymous: September 24, 2007 -- who came back a few hours later with the following contribution:

Jamie Elmhirst is sometimes the forgotten man in this scandal but let's review some facts.

Business partners with Kieran and Bornmann who have been subpoenaed to testify at the trial.

Has continued to do lobbying work despite being a witness for the prosecution. Was dumped by a client after news reports surfaced that he did not disclose the fact he is a witness in the Basi Virk trial. See Tieleman's work on this.

A formal complaint has been launched with lobbyist registrar by the NDP and the government has hired KPMG to conduct a thorough investigation into emails where Kieran, Bornmann, and Elmhirst were bragging about a cozy relationship with the former Deputy Minister of Finance, Paul Taylor. We are still waiting for that report.

# posted by Anonymous : September 24, 2007 4:28 PM

Psssst, Anon: KPMG is also a curious Google topic, not to be overlooked. Many thanks for your sharp eyes and contributions here. - BC Mary.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Jamie Elmhirst re-visited":

Sorry to have taken so long - I've looked high up and low down and there does not appear to be an OIC specifically rescinding Elmhirst's appointment under OIC 558.This is not unheard of, sometimes OIC appointees just quit and a replacement is quietly appointed. However, the timing is interesting. Elmhirst WAS still on the government payroll in fiscal 2003/04. In the Public Accounts - Consolidated Revenue Fund Detailed Schedules of Payments For the Fiscal Year EndedMarch 31, 2004 his name appears at page 12 as follows: Elmhirst, Jamie 33,695.On Page 11 of the same record we find the following: Basi, Aneal $50,727; Basi, David $62,824. I'd have to look back at the record for 2002 - 2003 to determine what Elmhirst's salary was for the previous year. Extrapolating one should be able to determine, more or less, how long Elmhirst worked as a ministerial assistant during the 03/04 period.

Elmhirst's salary in 2002/03 was

ELMHIRST, J $63,361(salary); $ 3,863 (travel)

So, he was probably on the government payroll for about 1/2 of 03/04....Which would mean April through September of 2003 - in all liklihood ... and his appointment must have ended about the time the whole BC Rail thing was getting hot and heavy. [To be continued.] Now, in conclusion:

So, in summary: Jamie Elmhirst was, and is, a very interesting part of this whole story and one, as anon 4:28 pm has noted above, who has been kind of 'forgotten' in this whole story. A member of the Campbell 'team' from the start of the regime; appointed at the same time and in the self-same OIC with Basi and Virk; moving from government over to Pilothouse where he worked with another key player in the BCRail 'bribery' and pay-off scandal. And now an ethically 'questionable' lobbyist and witness for the prosecution?

I can only wonder why the working press hasn't been pulling some of these same strings and asking questions about all this...

Thanks and a large bouquet to Anonymous for this good work. Indeed, where are the Big Name Journalists from Big Media on this matter? - BC Mary.

And this:

Jamie Elmhirst's activities after the legislature raids are equally intriguing. On Nov 14 2004 he was elected president of the BC wing of the federal liberal party. To do this he defeated Patrick Malony, the son of a supreme court judge and longtime friend of Paul Martin's family.

Patrick had a longstanding reputation for being a straight arrow man of integrity and was the type of person one would expect the Martin Liberal team in BC to want as party president.

Instead they backed Jamie Elmhirst who was 20 years younger, was recently out of college and whose limited work experience involved a lobbying firm that was under investigation.

Joining Elmhirst on the Liberal Party Executive was Bruce Clark, the man to whom the BC Rail documents were allegedly delivered.

Also on that executive was James Hattan, a law partner of George MacIntosh, Erik Bornmann's lawyer who negotiated the non-existent immunity deal for Bornmann. Bornmann, himself a member of the previous executive declined to run for re election.

A month after Elmhirst became Liberal party president in B.C., charges were laid against Basi, Virk and Basi. No charges were laid against Bornmann, Clark, Kierans or Elmhirst in regards to their involvement.

Elmhirst would remain party president and would not be subpoenaed until Paul Martin was replaced by Stephane Dion.

Though a supporter of Dion in the leadership race, Elmhirst would resign his position as party president one month after Dion became party leader. None of the other members of Elmhirst's Liberal Party executive would stand for re-election at the party's April 22 2007 B.C. convention.

#posted by Anonymous : September 26, 2007 10:55 AM


Sunday, September 23, 2007


Reconciling the demand for trials to be held within a reasonable time

Noted in passing ...

As Mr. Justice Sopinka wrote for the majority of the Supreme Court of Canada in P. v. Morin (1992), C.C.C. (3d) 1 at page 19:

How are we to reconcile the demand that trials are to be held within a reasonable time in the imperfect world of scarce resources?

While account must be taken of the fact that the state does not have unlimited funds and other government programs compete for the available resources, this consideration cannot be used to render section 11(b) meaningless.

The court cannot simply accede to the government's allocation of resources and tailor the period of permissible delay accordingly. The weight to be given to resource limitations must be assessed in light of the fact that the government has a constitutional obligation to commit sufficient resources to prevent unreasonable delay which distinguishes this obligation from many others that compete for funds with the administration of justice.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007


The Bennett Letter to Robin Mathews

By G. West
September 19, 2007

Although not much of anything happened in court this week, something positive actually did transpire ‘outside’ the halls of justice.

The single most glaring omission in this case, from the very beginning, has been the public interest. Although the trial judge has, from time to time, appeared almost ready, if not anxious, to present an active and comprehensive appeal to the single most egregious offender against the principle of timely and open proceedings, she has always managed to catch herself in the act. Whether this reluctance to push the special prosecutor to actually facilitate the undertakings he and his staff have repeatedly made, (and then promptly forgotten), is accidental or purposeful is impossible to say.

Not only was Mr Berardino missing in action for months this year; the interested observer can hardly be blamed for wondering exactly what motivates a man who accepts such an important assignment and then proceeds to behave as if he couldn’t care less how long it takes to actually bring these accused to trial. Why disclosure in this case was not completed before the end of 2006 is a good question.

A better one is why, since the hearings and further promises of early this year, no more progress has actually been made.

The reluctance of the working press to do much more than ‘actively ignore’ this case and its implications has put interested and concerned members of the public in a bind. Such observers would like to know:
a) How the case is proceeding and why it is not moving any faster; and
b) In the absence of comprehensive investigative reports (and not idle speculation), exactly what (admittedly little) has actually been disclosed and discussed at the intermittent court appearances before the judge.

Their curiosity is also piqued by the knowledge (during the period that the case was being heard while the Legislature was in session) that the Campbell Government hired their own reporter to make twice daily reports to the Government and/or the BCLiberal Party about events transpiring before the judge.

During the past year and a half, other individuals have also done their best to try and prize away from the court and its officers some of the public information and documentary evidence presented in this trial. The public interest in knowing about the disposal of important public assets and the role which may have been played by elected members of the government – perhaps legally, perhaps not, is paramount.

And yet, contrary to the very grounding principles of justice and democracy, the court has not – until just recently – even deigned to acknowledge that this is a legitimate and necessary function of the system. It should not be exceptional that a member of the public should have as much and as free access to the documents and the proceedings of this case before the bar as a member of either the defence or prosecution team, or, for that matter, a member of the working press.

As regular readers of 'The Legislature Raids’ will know, much of the time the public will have been able to access and read court documents, press clippings and analysis - among other things - here at BC Mary’s blog is because of the dedication and hard work of a retired Simon Fraser University professor.

Now, after a series of polite but firm letters – most of which have been published here from time to time – Robin Mathews has finally received the first direct acknowledgment from the Court that he, and through him, we (the public) do have a fundamental and democratic right to view, listen to and access, the PUBLIC RECORD of this trial and the steps leading up to it.

Is this the last hurdle in getting information to the public about how, or how badly, the government has been discharging its fiduciary duty to the citizens? Of course not, but it is a beginning. And the credit must go to the man who has, more or less on his own, and dressed impeccably too I might add, taken this issue forward to the point where an officer of the court wrote the following words to him:

With respect to your request for access to the court record, Madam Justice Bennett advises that you may attend at Court Registry in Vancouver to listen to the audio recording of the pre-trial conference which took place on August 21, 2007. As it was a pre-trial conference, no documents were filed. If you wish, you may also obtain a transcript of the August 21 pre-trial conference; however, you will be responsible for any fees charged in relation to the preparation of a transcript. Finally, if clerk's notes from the August 21, 2007 pre-trial conference were prepared, you may look at them.

A definite round of applause is in order. Whether this is the last battle in a long war, or merely a first victory on the way to a greater one remains to be seen, of course. It definitely feels like progress to me.



B.C. Rail trial delayed until after the 2009 provincial election? asks Vaughn Palmer


Vaughn Palmer
Vancouver Sun - Wednesday, September 19, 2007

VICTORIA - The much-delayed court trial arising from the raid on the legislature was delayed again this week, with implications for the political calendar.

Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett put off the start of the trial phase of the lengthy proceedings until March 2008 at the earliest.

That would be more than four years after the dramatic police raid on the provincial legislature buildings. And even that late date is iffy. {Snip} ...

Recall that the accused in this case were political aides in B.C. Liberal government. They are accused of several offences in connection with the sale of government-owned BC Rail.

Their defence will be to say that anything they did was undertaken with the knowledge of their political masters.

To build their case, they are seeking documents, reports, briefing notes, e-mails and other records regarding the BC Rail deal from a variety of government sources, including the premier's office and key political staffers.

The defence has also tried to gain access to that material through applications under the provincial freedom of information law. To date, they've not gotten anywhere.

Premier Gordon Campbell has vowed to cooperate in the investigation. But the government may try to exclude some records sought by the defence on grounds of cabinet confidentiality.

If so, the court hearing in December could mean some political fallout -- accusations of cover-up and withholding evidence -- for the premier and his ministers. {Snip} ...

Presuming all disclosure issues are sorted out by the end of the year -- and I wouldn't bet on it --the next date on the court calendar is March 17. {Snip} ...

The best guess from the pretrial phase was that it would take perhaps six months for hear all the evidence and witnesses from both sides.

So it is not difficult to imagine this case stretching into the fall of 2008 or even (after another procedural delay or two) into the spring 2009 election season.

All this presumes -- a word that arises frequently in discussions of the legislature raid -- no procedural collapse or abandonment of the case for other reasons.

There's been no hint of that possibility from the court, the police or the prosecution.

But given the many procedural hurdles still to be cleared, it remains an open question whether this matter will ever make it to trial.


There are many, many "open questions" on this B.C. Rail affair, Vaughn. Here's one: if you foresee a collapse of the case against Basi, Virk, Basi, wouldn't it be a good idea to begin talking about a Public Inquiry taking place immediately afterward? - BC Mary


Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Basi Virk / BC Rail hearing will sit for 3 weeks in December

CanWest cancelled its affiliation with Canadian Press in 2006. Yes, pulled out of the venerable Canadian Press news co-operative apparently to save $4.6 million in annual dues. The savings, said CanWest, would be used to bolster its own news service. Yeah, right.

And remember Bill Tieleman telling us that a CP journalist attended every Basi Virk / BC Rail courtroom hearing? Whereas CanWest considers Basi Virk / BC Rail pre-trial hearings to be non-news? Well, as Kirk would say, "Bear with me."

This morning, I checked the big CanWest newspapers in B.C., as usual. I mean, it's all we have as Big Media. And because Kirk, the Managing Editor, had foretold a Vancouver Sun story on Basi Virk / B.C. Rail, I truly thought there might be one. But what did I find, the day after a Basi Virk Hearing? The day after another CN derailment?

I found that the front page of the flagship Vancouver Sun featured a large colour photo of a beetle; The Province: a black bear; Victoria Times Colonist: a bunny rabbit.

Meantime, goddamit, Google alerted me to the following Canadian Press item containing two pieces of new information on the B.C. Rail Trial! And CP shows some concern for "the public"... you know ... that's us! Sheesh ...

21 hours ago

VANCOUVER (CP) — The B.C. Supreme Court judge presiding over the legislature raid case says the public has waited far too long for a trial to start.

Dave Basi and Bobby Virk were charged in connection with the sale of B.C. Rail.

On Oct. 26, Crown and defence lawyers will return to court to exchange more documents in the case that has produced thousands of pages of evidence.

The case will sit for three weeks in December before the trial begins.


Three weeks, eh? Starting Monday, 3 December + 21 days = Christmas Eve. Impressive! By gosh, they must be determined to get something done. - BC Mary.



Vancouver Sun has a wee Basi Virk BC Rail story for us ... one day after Robin Mathews has already told us all about it!

If you have the Online Vancouver Sun, this Basi Virk Basi / BC Rail piece isn't under the main news. No, it's tucked away as the last item under West Coast News, like as if the accused were never involved in Ottawa politics, and nobody outside B.C. needs to stop for a closer look. This may be a good time to quote one of Kootcoot's comments on his House of Infamy: So ... if a major legal matter is dealt with in BC Supreme Court and GlowBall, the Victoria T-C, the Province and the Stun all don't mention it, did anything really happen?


Neal Hall
Vancouver Sun - Published: Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The trial of two former B.C. government aides won't begin until next March, but the trial judge said Monday once the trial gets going, there won't be any more adjournments.

A police investigation of former government aides Dave Basi and Bob Virk led to a raid on the legislature almost four years ago -- on Dec. 28, 2003.

The March trial date is the sixth since legal proceedings began, defence lawyer Michael Bolton said Monday. {Snip} ...

The court will reconvene Oct. 26 to discuss pre-trial motions that will be heard starting Dec. 3. {Snip} ...

Basi's cousin, Anneal Basi, a former government communications officer, is also accused of two counts of money laundering.

Victoria Times Colonist has the same story, also tucked away under Capital & Island News.

Monday, September 17, 2007


Major CN derailment today near Terrace

Another Citizen Journalist caught the news in Terrace Online, that 29 CN grain cars went off the tracks beside the Skeena River near Terrace today. The grain was on its way to Prince Rupert, which officially opened its new container-port only a few days ago. The container-port is a key link in the development of a transportation corridor through Edmonton to the U.S. distribution centres of Chicago and Memphis, Tenn., via CN Rail's network. Prince Rupert is 30 hours closer to Asia than other North American West Coast ports, they say. But approaching trains which keep falling off the rails or smashing into one another -- not good news.

And the Vancouver Sun story:

Further recent news about CN:

Businesses push for rail reform
Long delays and labour disputes are costing money, chamber says

Scott Simpson
vancouver sun - Thursday, September 20, 2007

A growing sense of frustration among local port terminal operators about "poor and inconsistent service" is prompting North Vancouver's chamber of commerce to lead a new national call for railway system reforms. {Snip} ...

... it is calling on the federal government, which is in the process of reviewing railway service provisions of the Canada Transportation Act, to compel railways to eliminate delays that arise from labour agreements and from movement of freight on rail lines owned by one railway but required by another seeking access to a port.

In one instance, a 1953 agreement between CN Rail and the Vancouver Port Authority guarantees CN exclusive access to North Shore terminals -- which means CP Rail and other CN rivals have to hand over their trains to CN crews in order to get their customers' goods into those terminals.

The transfer often takes place at Boston Bar in the Fraser Canyon and the North Vancouver chamber notes that the trains "may sit for long periods" before a CN crew becomes available -- with terminals sitting idle while the switchover is completed.

The chamber says CN is doing "an admirable job" of controlling its labour expenses -- to the detriment of the terminal operators.

"Because of the ownership rights (railway monopolies) that exist, terminal operators feel that there is little they can do to influence better coordination and reliability between railways," says a North Vancouver chamber policy statement endorsed this week by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. {Snip} ...

The chamber wants the federal government to amend the transportation act so that labour issues -- notably the lack of coordination on crew transfers between CP and CN do not continue to be an issue for terminal operators.

"Capital investments are not being made in our port terminals," Yamamoto said. "If we can't get the product to the terminal it doesn't matter how much more efficient the terminals become.

"I've become afraid we will lose $100 million worth of infrastructure that a company may want to put into a terminal -- and it will go somewhere else.

"I can tell you terminal operators on the North Shore are some of our biggest taxpayers in the city and it will affect everybody if their operations are not deemed profitable."

Officials with CN did not respond by press time to The Vancouver Sun's request for a comment on the situation.

In a news release, North Vancouver chamber board chair Mike Watson said railroad service to Lower Mainland ports has "deteriorated in recent years." {Snip} ...



Robin Mathews: Notes from the Courtroom today

Notes from Courtroom 74: the corrupt sale of B.C. Rail - court actions.

Proceedings began at nine a.m. - on a soft, sun-touched Vancouver autumn morning. Assembled for the deliberations on the lofty seventh floor were, in the court, eight lawyers, a clerk, and Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett. In the gallery were probably four people (and a bulky sheriff, probably there to protect us all - but not, obviously, from Gordon Campbell). Such has been the success of "non-reporting, non-coverage, and failure to place the enormously important issues before the British Columbia people by the private corporate press and media of Canada" the gathering was smaller than a country tea party. More about that farther on....

The short session dealt with an update of information about the process of narrowing the needs of Defence for materials and pursuing search through the famous drug investigation cabinets ("We're at drawer 6 of 7 drawers" a voice reported electronically from a cybernetic box on the table, "and we should have the review complete in ten days"). The lawyer in charge of extracting materials from the legislature actors, Mr Copley, always unctuous, always deferential, reported categories of privilege and work going ahead...slowly.

Mr. Berardino, Special Crown Prosecutor, surprised the assembly by announcing that material he had expected to have available was taking longer to assemble than he had at first believed....

Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett entered the courtroom newly coiffed, looking younger than last time, and relaxed. She affirmed at a point in the deliberations - dealing with scheduling - that this case has to proceed! Some of us vaguely remember her saying that in 2006...or was it 2005?

Scheduling occupied some time. Racing to conclusion, the next gathering will be October 26. After that the parties will assemble again on December 3. Beginning on March 17 of next year, some time will be taken up hearing the Charter Challenge by the Defence, alleging wire-tapping that infringed the Charter rights of its clients, and other such invasions of fundamental freedoms. When that is over, the trial (if any basis for trial remains) will proceed at a date as yet not announced.

We have, some of us, berated Kirk LaPointe, managing editor of the Vancouver Sun, for writing to BCMary that the Sun wasn't covering (last session) because there was no news and it was summer and ...and...and. The Sun (and CanWest publications in general) have done a shoddy job, short-changing the B.C. public on the issue while stuffing pages with every brainless, salacious, non-news item possible. But perhaps we should be more humane. Followers of the stock market world will have observed that shares in the CanWest Propaganda Chain have been tumbling, and tumbling ... and tumbling - probably an indication of the high quality and integrity of the operation. One might imagine (in the famously staff-cutting CanWest operation) Kirk LaPointe sitting, alone, in a tiny cubicle, anxiously scanning the Semiamoo Sun and the Lion's Bay Chronicle for news to stuff into the British Columbia's Leading Newspaper, and too afraid of reality to venture out to Vancouver's Law Courts.

Indeed, absence from reality seems to mark the Basi, Virk, and Basi matter. If the functionaries in the courtroom are not complacent, they are so occupied with the limited scope of their own part in the intricately constructed world built to prevent justice being done that they increasingly forget where reality is. Reality is the corrupt sale of an invaluable asset owned by all British Columbians in a secret, clandestine, and possibly criminal way. Reality is a shadowy circle of actors who may be criminally involved in matters relating to that sale (and to other matters), and who are never mentioned, and who have not (of course) been charged. Reality is a judge who has never (in my memory) placed a deadline date on a demand for disclosure information, and who repeats the mantra that "this case has to proceed" rather like a character out of Alice in Wonderland.

On this soft, sun-touched Vancouver morning, I couldn't help thinking of 1905, St. Petersburg in Russia, and the Winter Palace. The Czar heard mutterings about a need for justice. The legal community and the judges continued in their comfortable suffocating way, believing nothing need change in this best of all possible worlds - in which they were - were they not? - delivering justice. Outside their offices many thousands marched to the Winter Palace to ask for justice. They were mowed down in hundreds. And what we know now as the move to the Russian Revolution began to take shape.

Justice delayed, they say, is justice denied. Does anything more need to be said?


Many, many thanks, Robin. At first, I didn't know whether to laugh or weep. Well, OK, at first, I did laugh as you described these speedy, meticulous proceedings. But then, omg, the sadness of it struck. The tragedy, really. So much is at risk here. Don't they understand? So, as you say, racing right along:

The next gathering in Supreme Court: 26 October 2007
The parties re-assemble: 3 Decembr 2007
The Charter Challenge: 17 March 2008
And as for the trial date, well, it's T.B.A. Let's hope.

- BC Mary.



Confirmed: Case 23299 in B.C. Supreme Court today (Sept 17) beginning 9:00 AM

Today's Supreme Court listings include 7-1/2 pages on Case 23299 (the B.C. Rail case), which is Her Majesty the Queen vs Udhe (Dave) Basi, Bobby S. Virk, and Aneal Basi.

At least, it begins that way. Then, it changes to HMTQ vs Limited Access as it lists the disclosure applications.

Finally at the bottom of page 5, the charges change to Limited Access & Others vs HMTQ on the same issues.

Click on the links in the left column of The Legislature Raids, to see the full 18-page listing of today's Supreme Court sessions in Vancouver.

Bill Tieleman hopes to attend. Robin Mathews hopes to attend. All other reports are very welcome here, too.
- BC Mary.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


Is this the piece?

Is this the piece promised by the managing editor of Vancouver Sun? It's 8 pages of gang-related information in today's Sun about B.C.'s drugs trade. It doesn't mention Basi, Virk, Basi, or B.C. Rail. Please click on the link and share your opinions of the full story. Here are a few excerpts:

Solicitor-general urges tougher sentences for thugs who open fire in public

Full story:

Neal Hall and Kim Bolan
Vancouver Sun -- Saturday, September 15, 2007

* ... too many gang members are packing guns for protection and are prepared to use them to settle personal scores and "business" disputes -- police estimate 90 per cent of gangs are linked to the illegal drug trade, especially B.C.-grown marijuana, which is being shipped across the U.S. border in exchange for cash, cocaine and firearms.

* Like everyone else, [B.C. Solicitor-General] Les said he was shocked by the public displays of gunfire this week, particularly the Langley one near two schools as students were arriving.

"The one we had this week with a shooting going on amongst kids on the way to school is a particularly disgusting manifestation of this kind of unacceptable behaviour," Les said.

While there is some risk to the public, he said, people should remember that most of those involved are criminals. [Duh?]

"The thing I notice, and I hope the public notices as well, whenever we see these gang-like shootings, is that invariably it seems that both the victim and the perpetrators are known to police, and secondly, known to one another," he said.

"So I guess the bottom line is, if you are a law-abiding citizen and your people are law-abiding people, there is actually very, very little to be concerned about. [Holy Keerist ... ! Just move along, folks, nuthin' to worry about here ... just move along ... - BC Mary]

* The gang problem appears to be growing -- the number of gangs in B.C. increased for the third year in a row, said 2007 police intelligence figures released to The Sun this week.

* RCMP Insp. Dennis Fiorido said the number of crime groups continues to rise in B.C., according to the most recent statistics for the fiscal year that ended last spring.

"The law enforcement community in B.C. has identified 129 organized crime groups operating in the province, up from 124 reported on in 2006," he said. And up from 108 identified in 2005.

Despite a net increase of just five, there were actually 42 new criminal organizations identified while 10 groups were broken up by police and therefore removed from the list, and another 27 became inactive and are defunct, Fiorido said.

Within the groups on the list, the police have struck blows against individual members through criminal charges, though the organizations still thrive "as a credible threat to our communities," he said.

* Outlaw motorcycle gangs top the list after so-called independent crime groups, followed by Indo-Canadian and Asian gangs, each with roughly the same number of organizations in the province.

The rest of the list consists of a mixture of Eastern European, Hispanic, Middle-Eastern, and traditional Italian crime groups.

Supt. John Robin heads the three-year-old Integrated Gang Task Force, which now has 60 officers from the RCMP and participating municipalities tackling gang violence.

* ... the rise of Indo-Canadian gangs after the 1998 hit on notorious cocaine trafficker Bindy Johal, whose high media profile may have glamorized the criminal life for a new generation of youth.

Groups like the Independent Soldiers began using a title and wearing patches a couple of years ago in Vancouver and have now expanded to Kamloops, Kelowna, Prince George, Calgary, and Toronto.

* Police tend to focus on the bigger criminal picture when the violent behaviour of gangsters should be tackled at earlier stages, he said.

"Look at their behaviour and deal with the behaviour, so you are not always waiting for the end-all and be-all charge against them. Get them for whatever activity they are involved in, regardless of whether it it intimidation, drug trafficking, a driving infraction, domestic violence. You go after that and you deal with that individual."

Chu said he believes Vancouver's 560,000 taxpayers are shouldering too much of the burden of the region, policing gang problems that arise because the city attracts gang members to downtown nightclubs and sporting events.

* ... there are 900 more police officers across the province today than there were six years ago.

"I know that we have got a lot more resources on it today than we did four or five years ago. The police tell me that this approach is working well and that they are getting results," Les said. "We have had some pretty good beefing up of resources."

But Rob Gordon, director of the criminology department at Simon Fraser University, said an integrated gang squad helps, but it's not enough.

"We desperately need regional police services," he said. "John Les and others don't get it. They think integrated [police] teams is the answer, but it isn't."

He said RCMP and other police forces know of more than 100 organized crime groups, but many don't even get investigated because there isn't a coordinated regional approach.

* "They are not able to fully engage organized crime in B.C.," Gordon said. "There needs to be a regional strategy to deal with this problem -- and it is a problem."

He said public gang violence is a loud display of internal conflict resolution. "It's a demonstration of power to inflict punishment," he said. "It acts as a deterrent to others."

But such public displays undermine the confidence in the justice system because they are demonstrations that they are resolving conflicts above and beyond the law, Gordon said.

An issue that rarely gets discussed about the illegal drug industry, he said, is that there are huge, largely tax-free profits, which have the potential to be used to infiltrate the police [and every level of society, OK? - BC Mary] through payoffs for information.

"We had a Montreal detective who was found to be in the pay of an organized crime group," Gordon said.

One solution to avoid corruption and decrease policing costs is to legalize drugs such as marijuana -- he suggested growing B.C-grown pot was the third-largest industry in B.C. -- and use the revenue for more addiction treatment and other services.

He added: "It's not going to happen... because the Americans would never stand for it." But it's the most obvious solution, he said.

* Phil Moriarity, a former Vancouver police intelligence officer who now heads a private security firm, InterGlobe Investigations Services, says armed, violent criminals have been getting away with too much for too long, undermining public confidence in the justice system.

In B.C. this year, 129 organized crime groups have been identified, up from 124 in 2006 and 108 identified in 2005.

Police say each member of a gang usually has a "crew" of trusted underlings who distribute drugs across Canada and sell to street-level dealers. Most gangs don't have names, but some are groupings of criminals with similar ethnic backgrounds, although some are multi-ethic, having members who are Caucasian, Italian, Vietnamese and Chinese.



One of the new gangs that arose in the last five years was the Independent Soldiers, which has about 25 members in B.C. Initially formed in South Vancouver, the gang has expanded to Kelowna, Kamloops, Prince George, Calgary and Toronto. Specializes in trafficking marijuana and cocaine, especially transporting across Canada over the U.S. border.

Police estimate there are up to 200 Indo-Canadians involved in organized crime activity. Most are well armed and violent, responsible for dozens of unsolved murders and drive-by shootings in the region.

One multi-ethic gang that has been recently on police radar is the UN gang, which was first seen in Abbotsford and Chilliwack. Involved in drug trafficking and violence as an enforcement tool.


Police say this gang is the most visible in B.C., mainly because members wear their "colours" -- the trademark winged death's head -- on their backs. Membership is estimated at 200 in B.C. A recent trial of a Vancouver Hells Angels member heard testimony of how a biker paid a "cook" to make meth amphetamine (crystal meth), which was then distributed to dealers to be sold on the street.

Police allege Hells Angels members are involved in marijuana growing operations and exchange B.C. bud for cocaine across the U.S. border. The value of the marijuana trade has been estimated at $7 billion a year in B.C. Police say growing operations are being used by all crime groups to fund criminal activity.


Involved in smuggling heroin from Asia, computer banking fraud, including identity theft and cloning credit cards. Also involved in people-smuggling into Canada and the U.S., theft of exotic cars and SUVs for shipment to Asia, loansharking, gun dealing and contract murders. Police provide no estimate on the number of members.

Full, 8-page story at:


Thursday, September 13, 2007


Next Basi Virk Basi pre-trial hearing: Monday 17 September at 9:00 AM. To be confirmed.


The unprecedented Dec. 28, 2003 raid on the provincial parliament sent shock waves through the B.C. and federal political establishments because those involved were powerful, longtime Liberals.

This is a major scandal in which the main accusation is that the controversial railway privatization process was either rigged or run by yokels.

- Ian Mulgrew, Vancouver Sun.

The next pre-trial Hearing in B.C. Supreme Court, Vancouver, is expected to be on Monday morning 17 September 2007 at 9:00 AM. Click on B.C. Criminal Court links in left column for information. - BC Mary.


Friday 14 Sept. 2007: No mention of the Basi Virk Basi / B.C. Rail hearing in any of the 3 B.C. CanWest newspapers today. Wouldn't you think a wee summary of the charges and progress so far, would be useful? Ridiculously, Vancouver Sun has major front-page coverage of the polygamy trial. No mention of BVB in B.C. Supreme Court listings for today either, of course, but it's expected to be there on Monday morning early -- only 72 hours away. - BC Mary


Sunday, September 09, 2007


Vancouver Sun's managing editor said they were working on a piece about Basi, Virk, B.C. Rail. That was 3 weeks ago. This isn't it.

But when B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett brings Courtroom 54 to order next week, on 17 September, we might begin to hear some answers to the questions raised (below) in Vancouver Sun 4 months ago:

Neal Hall
Vancouver Sun - May 11, 2007

VANCOUVER - Defence lawyers representing three former government aides accused of corruption want to get access to hundreds of reports concerning 11 confidential informants who provided information to police during a drug investigation.

The Vancouver Island drug investigation, codenamed Project Everywhichway, targeted a criminal organization shipping kilograms of cocaine to the Toronto area and sent back cash by courier.

Police learned during a wiretap operation that the alleged drug ringleader was repeatedly calling Dave Basi in the summer of 2003.

At the time, Basi was the ministerial assistant to then-finance minister Gary Collins. The man calling Basi was his cousin, court was told earlier.

One of the confidential informants told police Basi was allegedly laundering drug money for his cousin and was trying to get him a government job.

Janet Winteringham, a member of the legal team prosecuting Basi and co-accused Bob Virk, told the court Thursday there were 448 briefing reports stemming from the 11 informants in the drug investigation.

"It was three of those informants who provided information about Mr. Basi," she explained.

The Crown has already disclosed to the defence 21 of the reports that included information from the three informants, Winteringham said. {Snip ... snip ... snip)

... and from Victoria Times Colonist, 4 months ago:

Phone calls from suspected dealer led to raid, prosecutor says
CanWest News Service - May 08, 2007

VANCOUVER -- A former B.C. government aide from Victoria, probed by police for his involvement in the B.C. Rail sale, appeared to have links to the illicit drug trade, a prosecutor said yesterday.

Police became aware of Dave Basi when calls were made to his cellphone from his cousin, Jasmohan Singh Bains of Victoria, prosecutor Janet Winteringham said in B.C. Supreme Court. {Snip} ...

Winteringham said police heard that Bains was head of a Victoria-based criminal organization that was shipping kilograms of cocaine to the Toronto area and shipping cash back by Federal Express. Bains is still facing trial, set for 2008.

The Victoria drug investigation began in May 2002 after the arrest in the U.S. of Cirilo Lopez, which resulted in "word on the street" indicating Bains was going to take over Lopez's drug operations, Winteringham said.

Tips from an informant suggested Basi was laundering money for Bains by purchasing real estate, Winteringham said.

After a wiretap operation was in place for the drug case, police overheard Basi discussing B.C. Rail matters.

At the time, Basi was an aide to Gary Collins, then B.C.'s finance minister. Virk, Basi's brother-in-law, was an aide to Judith Reid, then B.C.'s transportation minister. The province was in the midst of trying to sell B.C. Rail.

Prosecutors haven't decided whether to pursue the drug allegations against Basi. {Snip} ...

Questions, questions, questions ... questions which must be asked -- and answered -- if society is to continue as an open democracy. Why hasn't Bains been put on trial yet? Wouldn't it free up evidence in the Basi Virk trial? Or have crime and commerce become so entwined, it's hard to know where to begin? See what you think of the following story by Jonathan Manthorpe in today's (10 Sept 2007) edition of Vancouver Sun. Strange to say, this shocking story was in the Business Section. - BC Mary.


Jonathan Manthorpe
Vancouver Sun - September 10, 2007

... Dawood Ibrahim [is an] extraordinary character, an Indian national about 52 years old, is an entrepreneur with a mind-boggling portfolio of enterprises.

Ibrahim is don of Mumbai's major organized crime syndicate, the fabled D-Company, beside which the Mafia seems like a corner store operation.

Much of the D-Company's street cred stems from movies glamourizing Ibrahim and his gangsters as folk heroes, produced just down the road from Mumbai in Bollywood and financed, of course, by Ibrahim. As much as anyone, Ibrahim symbolizes that grey area between India's movie industry and the underworld, and which has seen several Bollywood stars as famous for their courtroom performances as their on-camera action.

Ibrahim is also a fervent Muslim. And it is this that has catapulted him into the world of al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden, international drug dealing, money laundering, and a star spot on the U.S. government's list of global terrorists.

It's not only Washington that wants Ibrahim dead or alive -- so does the Indian government. New Delhi believes the Pakistani government, and especially the military's Inter-Service Intelligence agency (ISI), is sheltering him.

Ibrahim and his financial empire are seen as essential ingredients in the survival of al-Qaida and the Taliban insurgents whom Canadian, British and Dutch forces are battling in southern Afghanistan. [Remember Rich Coleman speaking as Solicitor General when he described B.C. Bud (marijuana) being traded off in the U.S. for guns which were then exported to places like Afghanistan where Canadian soldiers are engaged in battle? - BC Mary]

Opium grown in Afghanistan and trafficked through Taliban networks is believed to be transported to Europe, where it is processed into heroin before being sold locally or moved on to North America. All of this travels through Ibrahim's courier systems in Central Asia.

Recent reports say Afghanistan now produces 95 per cent of the world's illegal heroin, and is the major source of financing for the Taliban insurgency.

At the same time, Ibrahim is believed by Indian police to control much of the "hawala" system in Pakistan and India. Hawala is an ancient but still very popular invisible method of transferring money from country to country by use of credit guarantees. Washington has often railed that the system is tailor-made for financing terrorist operations.

That Ibrahim is still at the centre of a spiderweb of criminal enterprises is in itself a testament to the man's perverted genius. His empire should have crumbled in 1993, but instead he seems to have rocketed ever upwards.

In December 1992, extremist Hindu nationalists attacked and demolished the Babri Muslim Mosque at Ayodhya in northern India.

Ibrahim, it seems, was incensed by this outpouring of anti-Muslim violence, although there are also strong suspicions that he already had links to Pakistan's intelligence agency, ISI, which persuaded him to seek vengeance.

Using his D-Company network and scores of unemployed Muslim street youths, Ibrahim launched a massive terrorist attack on Mumbai. Thirteen bombs exploded in the city on March 12, 1993, killing at least 250 people and injuring another 700. {Snip} ...

As the U.S. assessed the al-Qaida network after the 2001 terrorist attacks, Ibrahim came into view. In 2003, Washington designated him a terrorist and ordered financial sanctions imposed on anyone doing business with him.

This does not seem to have cramped Ibrahim's style.

Pakistan does not have a film industry offering Ibrahim stars and starlets with whom to consort. In Pakistan, the megastars are cricket players, and Ibrahim's daughter is married to Javed Miandad, Pakistan's greatest batsman and one of the great cricket players of all time.

The Indian police are not allowing Ibrahim to live in peace, however. In November of last year, Mumbai police managed to get 10 of Ibrahim's gang members extradited from the United Arab Emirates. {Snip}


Tuesday, September 04, 2007


I asked for Basi Virk BC Rail news coverage. He said the Sun was working on it. I posted this good news. Now he's angry.

The managing editor of the biggest daily newspaper west of Toronto has said that he never writes anything he wouldn't want seen anywhere. Then this clever man goes all angry with BC Mary for publishing what he said.

On 22 August, Kirk Lapointe told me that the Vancouver Sun was at work on a piece that "will move in the next two or three days". He asked us to bear with him. I'm sure he meant "us" here at The Legislature Raids because I signed my e.mail: BC Mary, The Legislature Raids, just so he'd know.

BC Mary (that would be me) thought that Kirk's newsy reply was extremely welcome news which reflected well on CanWest so I posted it exactly as given. I wanted readers to see what looked like 100% reliable information coming straight from the Managing Editor of B.C.'s newspaper of record. I saw it as reassurance.

Well ... "2 or 3 days" passed without a Vancouver Sun "piece" on Basi, Virk, or B.C. Rail. Others began asking BC Mary: "Have you seen that article? Has anybody seen the story?" Nobody had seen it. I hated to think we were back in CanWest's twilight zone again, where tall weeds in city parks, belly fat, and Pepsi vs Coke at UBC get coverage when a pre-trial hearing on Canada's 3rd largest railway allegedly given to private ownership by corrupt means is ignored.

I watched and waited 2 days ... then 3 ... 5 ... 8 ... 10 ... 12 days expecting to see the Managing Editor's promise fulfilled. But there was nothing about Basi Virk or BC Rail to be seen in Vancouver Sun. How could this be? Hadn't the man said -- directly and specifically -- that they were working on a "piece" which would have been ready a week or more ago?

On the 12th day I dropped a very brief note to the Sun again. Knowing these guys work under pressure and are always swamped with words, I got right to ... uh, er, well, you know ... LaPointe:

From: BC Mary
Date: Sun Sep 2, 2007
To: "LaPointe, Kirk \(VAN_Exchange\)"
Subject: Report the trial process

Thanks, Kirk.

I've been looking forward to that Basi Virk Basi piece -- did I miss it?

BC Mary.

Then, bang! Although it was Sunday afternoon, Kirk's response came back faster than a speeding bullet. I wish I could share it with you. But although he does claim to write only things which could be seen in public print, he's very angry with me for posting his previous complete comments so let's not go there again. I'll risk this much: "There is nothing further to discuss," he concluded.

I've thought about this. It seems astonishing to me that Mr Big CanWest could be in such a huff about Ms BC Mary's exact report on what he himself had said about his own publication. Where's the harm in that? Isn't this all about NEWS? So I tried again, as follows (I gave myself permission):

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Mon 9/3/2007 9:21 AM
To: LaPointe, Kirk (VAN_Exchange)
Subject: Report the Basi Virk trial process


I am wondering if you actually saw what I posted. I placed you in a favourable light and described myself as "a bit ratty" and then posted both messages because yours I took to be a direct message to my readers: that your newspaper was preparing a Basi Virk piece in "2 or 3 days" for which you asked "bear with us". Such an article, I knew, would be welcome and extremely important to my readers. What I presented was a direct promo for Vancouver Sun -- a newspaper which had disappointed us time after time, year after year, on the Basi Virk-BC Rail issue.

My posting was headlined as follows:

Breaking News: There will be news of Basi Virk Basi trial in Vancouver Sun soon!
[The Legislature Raids posting in its entirety was pasted here. - Mary]

If you find any part of my online news effort objectionable, I am truly sorry. Please consider this a belated, well-intended request for permission to quote your comments.

BC Mary
The Legislature Raids

Well, another speeding bullet has convinced me that Kirk doesn't care two hoots and that we won't be dining together at Vila del Lupa anytime soon. His considerable skills are reduced to stretching an outdated point of etiquette to cover Vancouver Sun's continuing failure to mention Basi Virk or B.C. Rail. He tells me what an impolite, worthless person I must be (not true, Kirk). He tells me he's never going to help me again in future. (Does that imply that he knowingly helped me in the past, such as with advance notice of a Sun story -- as I thought?)

The managing editor's silly huff tells me something he doesn't want to say too plainly: that CanWest is king in these parts. That CanWest can print balderdash anytime it wants to. (Check out today's Sun for the forest fire that's 5% contained! Balderdash! It's 95% out of control.) Implicitly, he's telling us that CanWest can decide not to print substantial information geared to the public interest, if it pleases them to keep it hidden. I gather that's OK. I can see that it probably gratifies some advertisers, or some power groups. But Kirk: it doesn't serve the public.

So here's the thing: can somebody help me figure out why the managing editor of B.C.'s newspaper of record is saying that now -- all of a sudden -- there is honour and etiquette involved in the West Coast newspaper business? Especially etiquette. And that BC Mary absolutely must not be allowed to trip over an out-dated point of etiquette lest it bring civilization as we know it, down on our heads.

Come on ... !

The way I see it, Kirk LaPointe is saying that the facts are irrelevant about B.C. Rail; that the facts are irrelevant about the part Basi Virk Basi and others played in its allegedly tainted sale. But wait. That can't be true. He's no fool. He can't help knowing that the B.C. Rail case is the most important trial ever seen in British Columbia.

We'll know more about Kirk and CanWest -- when, and if -- that "piece" ever appears in print in Vancouver Sun. Me, I'm wondering if somebody killed that story before it got a chance to appear in print. Somebody who read about it right here on The Legislature Raids.

Meantime, the familiar mantra: "OK folks, nuthin' to see here ... just move along quietly please ... nuthin' to see here ... CN trains keep falling off the tracks, former power-persons may receive threats, but there's no need to be alarmed folks ... just keep movin' along ... trust us, we're taking care of everything."

The clock ticks and the case builds for a Charter Challenge because Basi, Virk and Basi have been forced to wait too long for justice. If the B.C. Rail case is dismissed and nobody cares, that in my opinion will be the fault of a media which failed determinedly to do its job of informing society.

5 Sept. It's 14 days after Kirk's promise but today's Vancouver Sun has nothing about Basi Virk or B.C. Rail. Wanna bet Vancouver Sun will clam right up now? Should make things interesting in Courtroom 54 on Sept. 17, eh. - BC Mary.