Tuesday, October 30, 2007

 

$91,000. over 4 years = $22,750. a year.

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Perhaps it needs repeating: BC Mary is not a supporter of any political party which is not on people's side ... and that includes just about all political parties, all the time. I post the following story only because I feel as if there's something amiss - not with Victoria Police Chief Battershill - but with the way he is being treated and reported this past month.

Look twice and it's the headline (below) that's alarming. It's saying: the Police Chief at the site of a historic, delicate policing situation where close liaison might be extremely important is adopting a different way of holding those meetings: over a meal, in a pointedly public place.

Compare Paul Battershill with Blair Wilson, MP for West Vancouver, who resigned from the Liberal Caucus yesterday. Wilson, the Revenue Critic for the federal Liberals, was an accountant who left a trail of debt and controversy through his careers as a businessman, restaurateur and politician, and who allegedly ran a campaign - even paying staff - using cash [cash?!] and did not report all his spending. Quite a different track record from Paul Battershill who is now the subject of headlines for what? for business meetings held over lunch or dinner in public restaurants for which he was up-front with his presentation of receipts. I'm uneasy about the sly divulging of information while Battershill is left isolated.

It's offensive the way CanWest rhymes off every violation listed under the B.C. Police Act code-of-professional-conduct regulations, not quite -- but almost -- suggesting that Chief Battershill stands accused of them all. Not fair play, CanWest. Not serving the public good.

The key issue here, in my opinion, is that Paul Battershill was co-leader of the Legislature Raids -- so important to this province -- but clearly presenting a threat to others. Can we rule out the possibility that it may simply be convenient to try to discredit the Victoria Police Chief at this point in B.C. history? - BC Mary.


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Victoria police chief charged more than $91,000 since 2004

Vancouver Sun
Published: Monday, October 29, 2007

Victoria Police Chief Paul Battershill's credit card transactions since Jan. 1, 2004, total more than $91,000 on restaurants, hotels, travel, books, even Kleenex, documents released today show.

The figures were made public by the Victoria Police in response to Freedom of Information requests by lawyer David Mulroney, acting for an unnamed client. They do not show any obvious link to allegations of misconduct against Battershill, who is being investigated by the RCMP at the request of Police Complaint Commissioner Dirk Ryneveld.

Victoria Mayor Alan Lowe has described the allegations as a "personnel issue." But according to Public Bodies Information reports, Battershill's employment-related expenses for that time period total $59,385 - a total of $11,748 in 2004, $18,000 in 2005 and $20,637 for 2006.

The incomplete expenses for 2007 are close to $9,000. Some credit card charges were assigned to other accounts and small personal transactions were reimbursed by the chief. Mulroney had asked for information on such matters as the chief's expenses, severance payments and the cost of external investigations.

Costs related to the latter were released today, but Victoria Police said information about severance payments could not be released without the consent of the people involved. More information could be available by mid-December.

Battershill was placed on administrative leave by the Victoria police board Oct. 11. He is also the subject of the Police Act investigation ordered by Ryneveld. Under the B.C. Police Act code-of-professional-conduct regulations, these violations include abuse of authority, discreditable conduct, neglect of duty, deceit, corrupt practice and improper disclosure of information.

Some of the expenses revealed today relate to work Battershill was asked to do by Ryneveld. Close to $3,000 is related to his investigation of Const. Lisa Alford of the West Vancouver Police Department, which will be reimbursed by that department. Other expenses relate to Battershill's involvement in the Victoria police department's review of the Taser.

Of the $40,000 in expenses, $16,000 has been reimbursed by the province. The documents show that Battershill conducts business meetings with Victoria police officers over meals and uses the credit card to pay for those meals. The chief has often had two meals in different Victoria restaurants for himself and for his guests in the same day. His guests also include Lowe, chairman of the police board and members of the police board, who approve his expenses.

Most often, his guests include senior officers from the department, but he's picked up the tab for a number of rank and file officers. Group meetings have been held at Fifth Street Bar and Grill, the Malahat Mountain Inn and Swan's.

In 2005, the last time police were included in public bodies information reports, Saanich police chief Derek Egan's expenses totalled $11,769. Retired Oak Bay Police Chief Ben Andersen's expenses were $7,487.

Victoria police financial controller Scott Sievewright and Freedom of Information officer Debra Taylor could not be reached for comment on expenses incurred by police employees.

Victoria's assistant city manager Mike McCliggott said it is an exception to the city policy to reimburse elected officials and employees for dining out expenditures unless traveling out of town on city business.

However it is recognized that elected officials and certain employees, as representatives of the City of Victoria, will occasionally be expected or required to expense dining out as part of their official duties and functions.

http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=e322721b-cf4c-4472-961b-e912564ab2de&k=99261

and

Liberal party awaits probe after MP leaves caucus
Elections Canada investigates West Vancouver's Blair Wilson


http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/story.html?id=950fb44a-468c-4cd4-be69-14f95281dfc3&k=87706


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And this curve-ball, for future reference:


In the buzz about the fuzz, where's the beef against the chief?

And if Battershill regains Victoria's top police job after all this turmoil, will the department be too torn by dissension to lay down the law?

Jack Knox
CanWest News Service - Tuesday, October 30, 2007


So, here is the big question still hanging out there: What exactly are the allegations against Victoria police Chief Paul Battershill?

And if this has turned into a palace coup, the chief dealing with dissent within his own department, how can everyone go back to working together if and when he returns to the job? {Snip} ...


[David] Mulroney [failed B.C. Liberal candidate for Saanich-Gulf Islands] hasn't said who his client is. Victoria developer Gerald Hartwig doggedly refuses to either confirm or deny that he is behind it all.

Hartwig is not, however, reticent to talk about the issues he believes are behind the FOI requests (you know, the ones that may or may not be his). In a nutshell, he contends that the department is wasting money that could be devoted to policing downtown.

Hartwig is tight with many people within the Victoria police. He attends the department's annual Christmas get-together to which politicians, media and others are invited, and has even been known to join cops on their coffee breaks at Paul's Motor Inn in the wee hours of the morning.

So is Hartwig, if he is the Mystery Client, being backed by his buddies in the department? No, he says, adding that if the cops have bones to pick with Battershill, they differ from his own.

Which brings us to the closed-door session involving the senior officers and the police board. What was said isn't being divulged. Nor is it clear whether the officers drove the process or were merely sucked into it. But since it ended in Battershill being parked on the shelf, the assumption is that any subsequent working relationship would be sorely tested.

It has been a pretty dramatic reversal of fortunes for Battershill, who arrived in Victoria from the Vancouver police in June 1999 with a reputation as an able administrator with both political moxie and street cred. (He had served on the emergency-response team in Vancouver -- had, in fact, seen his friend Sgt. Larry Young shot dead by a drug dealer who, having been listening to a police scanner, was waiting with an assault rifle when they burst into his basement suite in 1987.) If a bit of turmoil followed Battershill's arrival in Victoria, with five senior officers departing within his first 18 months, it was argued that the department needed a shakeup.

He was also frequently rumoured to be on the fast track for bigger and better things. Last year, when Victoria needed a temporary city manager, it was Battershill who got the tap on the shoulder from Mayor Alan Lowe. In 2005, he came close to heading the Edmonton police force, while earlier, persistent rumours linked his name to the chief's job back in Vancouver.

In the early 1990s, he worked closely with Judge Wally Oppal on a report -- Closing The Gap -- that became the bible of policing across Canada; when Oppal became a cabinet minister, many thought Battershill would end up as his right-hand man. In 2003, Battershill said he was approached about running for the leadership of the New Democratic Party in B.C. There was also speculation that if the Liberals ever did force the amalgamation of Greater Victoria's police departments, he would become chief of the new regional force.

Instead, the question now is whether he will ever return to the department as it exists, and, if he does, how it will function?

jknox@tc.canwest.com

http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/story.html?id=5310ddc9-afcd-4eba-861a-b57429c7eda6

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From Times Colonist story today 31 Oct 07:

" ... Reached yesterday in Thailand, [Mayor Alan] Lowe defended Battershill's expenses.

"The nature of expenses have not been an issue with the police board as the chief's expenses are a matter of public information. Paul had numerous breakfast and lunch meetings which he paid for on his expense account. This is appropriate as he was conducting VPD business during those occasions," he wrote in an e-mail.

He added "these kinds of expenses are not defined in any contract, but you use common sense to determine if they are appropriate."

Meanwhile, police board vice-chairman Chris Clement said the board doesn't normally see the chief's detailed expense accounts, although the board approves the police department's budget. Clement said there is no clear policy on expenses, but said it is something the board should consider.


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So why are we discussing every little item on the front page of Victoria Times Colonist in such detail? Just asking. - BC Mary

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My personal favourite:
Times Colonist Letter-to-the-Editor, 31 October 2007

PLEASE, GIVE THE CHIEF A BREAK


Re: "Chief's credit card bill tops $91,000 since '04," Oct. 30.

The Halloween witch hunt certainly started early this year. I am referring, of course, to the overblown tempest in a teapot over Victoria police Chief Paul Battershill's credit-card use and all the other mud being thrown. Your headline is one example of how this all seems so petty. Broken down by year, the expenses become insignificant for someone in such a position.

So what's the big deal? This man is being paid a pittance, $147,000 a year plus some minor expenses. Nowhere did your article mention if these credit-card expenses also cover the period where he acted as temporary city manager in 2006, when his expenses were some $20,000, the highest of any year. If you accept that Chief Battershill is a professional police chief representing a major city then an appropriate salary with an equally appropriate expense account is part of the package.

Victoria prides itself on being an internationally recognized city, but this whole incident reveals how small-minded and provincial it really is.

Chief Battershill, I am sorry you are being subjected to such nitpicking. It is unworthy of the position you have attained. Maybe Victoria really needs the Sheriff of Mayberry if they can't rise above that level.

Pamela Jackson,

Victoria.

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John's Noodle Village & BC Mary tip our toques to you, Pamela.

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Comments:
Oh MY GOD! The Fifth Street Bar and Grill and Swan's - been to both those place but never to the Malahat Mountain whoozis. Pretty ordinary nosh at both those places - and perfectly appropriate for a business lunch with colleagues - although probably a little downscale for the mayor.

If that's all they have on Battershill this is bloody nonsense and if the police board didn't like these accounts, why were they approved?

This is sounding more and more like a witch hunt. Who wants the chief shut up and why?
 
Anon 9.07 - my guess is Bubbles Campbell through Hartwig - What is Hartwigs connection to the Premier?
I totally agree, it really looks like a witch hunt, and good foder for the Basi clan defence, should the chief be called as a witness. Joey
 
If there is nothing to the expenses then why did Battershill hire a law firm atb taxpayer expense to try and prevent the documents from being released?
 
The chief has his house up for sale. Could this be a sign, he will turn evidence? Rich Coleman smells like a dirty dog!
 
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Anonymous 9:18,

Only guessing, of course. But when I saw that the new house which the Battershills had built is now up for sale, here's what I thought ...

I thought, "Damn right. No matter how this turns out, Paul Battershill must surely feel this is a rotten way to thank somebody for years of sterling service."

I'd want to put Victoria behind me, too, in a situation like that.

I repeat again: I could be wrong about the Victoria Chief of Police. But from what I've read, Paul Battershill is Dudley Do-Right personified. I just don't like the look or smell of what's going on.

Btw, what did you mean by "turn evidence" ... it's not a term I'm familiar with.

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NO DONUTS FOR THIS GUY-HOWEVER I RECOMMEND A CHOLESTEROL CHECK!!!

Check out the chiefs expense account on the Victoria Times Colonist website. Holy cow,these guys eat well. The chief could have a great career as a food critic. I know he has a busy schedule, however he really needs to bring a bagged lunch once in a while. I have nothing but respect for police officers and the tough job they do,however the chief has to remember who's paying the bill for all those Chateau Victoria lunch's. I did notice there were a couple of lunchs with Dirk Ryneveld in 2005. I would really like to know who all the edited out persons lunching with the chief are.

From a bagged lunch guy
 
A few extra lunches and tanks of gas are not going to get anyone suspended or put on administrative leave.

Trying to tie this back to Coleman or Basi would be the same stretch as trying to link it to his relationship with Ian Thow. Perhaps, but unlikely.

The mayor is back in town in a few days and he will have to deal with the issue then.
 
To the Media Monitor masquerading as Anonymous 10:27:

I just plodded through the 49 pages of the Victoria Police Chief's expense account. Had to laugh. John's Noodle Village did a roaring trade at $10.10 per meal. Rising to (gasp!) $11.92 as the years rolled by.

Chateau Victoria, my god! $15.00, $12.18, $17.02, $12.02 ... how did the Chief of Police do that?

Chief Battershill frequented most of my favourite watering holes and how he got away with a $10. lunch fit for the Mayor at the Blue Fox, I can't imagine.

The ritziest place on the list is Delta's Ocean Pointe but even there: $30.72 each sounds like the bottom of the food barrel. There's no hint of what the occasion was. But I'd say these costs are in no way out of line with the man's duties as the chief of police in the capital city even if it was only a meet-and-greet-and-chat event. If these were the costs of harmonizing the play and the players, we should count ourselves lucky.

Victoria was delicate terrain for a lot of worried citizens, nervous crooks and/or politicians during those years after the raids on the legislature.

Like you, though, I'd sure like to know who his blacked-out guests were. Whoever they were, they all got the same el cheapo fare.

And did you note, I hope, that The Chief's order was the same price (or less) as everybody else's? A small point, perhaps, but worth noting in view of your suggestion that he was wallowing in rich sauces at outrageous public expense.

You got me thinking, though. I too would love to see a similar list of expenses for Premier Campbell, Kevin Falcon, all those guys. Wouldn't you? (Just kidding. I'm pretty sure you wouldn't.)

So fearless media-monitoring detectives labouring under contracts to serve the public, you can see the whole story of John's Noodle Village etc.

It is only a click away, on the FRONT PAGE of the Victoria Times Colonist. (And you don't think this might be a piling-on, bring-the-man-down kind of story ... ?)

To quote the Dalai Lama: "Heh heh heh ..."

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"So fearless media-monitoring detectives labouring under contracts to serve the public, you can see the whole story of John's Noodle Village etc.
"


Can I too get paid to surf the web? I mean apparently I missed my opportunity to buy a creek or two to generate power to sell to AridZoner, so can I, can I.... huh, pleeeeeez....pretty pleeeeeeeze?

I mean can't I play in the Free Enterprise playpen too, or do I not contribute to the correct/reich/right causes/parties? What if I sign a binding "kickback" agreement....notarized, would that help (oh, probably don't want a paper trail....sorry?

feeling left behind, in the hurtland..........

They did used to be partly my creeks, my ferries, my hydro company, MY Railroad, etc. But I guess that was in the day of that well known "socialist" W.A.C. Bennett - the Creds and the creds in disguise have been taking it all back, ever since.
 
BAGGED LUNCH GUY SAYS "RELAX"-DO LOOK AT THOSE PLACES WHERE THE CHIEF DID HAVE ALL THOSE LUNCHS

I have nothing against the chief-I just thought it was funny where he had fairly important police meetings including tazer and board meetings etc. If you look close,you will even see a few names connected very close with the leg. raid trial. OK you got me on the media monitoring one. I am in the collision industry and I along with many members of the collision and glass industry are very concerned that this trial sees the light of day. I am off today with a bad cold and out of sheer boredom I plugged in to the Victoria T.C. looking for any news on the LEG trial. I read the piece on the chief and had a good chuckle around the unfair donut humour. You have to admit there are a lot of lunchs at some pretty nice unusual lunch spots?

In my media monitoring today,I did find some pretty cool stuff. I just found those warrants re. Basi and that trip he and friends took to go see a monday night football game in Denver way back when. It seems he(Basi) told Gary Collins at a later date that the trip was personal and was paid for by himself. Basi and friends were guests of no other than one of the bidders,OmniTrax'Broe. Hmmmm Denver? You think this would have raised some serious red flags to the former finance minister. It may be old news,but new news for myself. I noticed even Tieleman? is having some Basi/Virk/Basi memory problems regarding the complexity of this case. Good thing for concerned bloggers.
 
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So it was a Hallowe'en thought, Glass-Collision Guy.

Does that mean you and your collision & glass friends have a particular interest in the Paul Taylor - Pilothouse factor?

Sorry about the bad cold. But while you're confined indoors, maybe you could figure out the answer to this recurring question:

Do you think all the Persons of Interest in the BC Rail / Basi-Virk-Basi Case have been sitting quietly, the past 4 years, with hands folded, angelic smiles, and eyes cast heavenward? Just sweetly waiting for the moment when they are able to testify under oath and reveal the truth?

Or ... ?

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HAVE YOU HEARD FROM GARY COLLINS ?

The last I heard was his lawyer demanding the release of those Villa Del Lupo tapes. Then after more pretrial drama in May-complete silence. All is I know for sure is, all the top notch lawyers in this province are booked. I sure hope we hear from all these characters over the next year or so. The hands are folded alright-praying for Justice Bennett to throw this case out. Bring on this trial!
 
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Anonymous 11:13,

You wrote: "Trying to tie this back to Coleman or Basi would be the same stretch as trying to link it to his relationship with Ian Thow. Perhaps, but unlikely."

Nobody needs to work very hard to "tie this [Battershill] back to Basi." Paul Battershill was co-leader of the raid on the B.C. Legislature which had everything to do with Basi. Wouldn't you expect to see both raid-leaders giving testimony when the trial begins?

Coleman is fairly easy to tie in, too, as he was part of the team asked to sign off on the search.

But Ian Thow? Now you're just being silly.

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Mary,

The TC reported several times that the chief had at least a couple of flights in one of Ian Thow's jets. It was also widely reported that the chief and Ian worked together on a couple of police charity events.

Finally, Ian Thow served as the President of Victoria Crimestoppers.

Lots to tie the chief back to Ian Thow, far more than Basi or Coleman.
 
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Anonymous 9:24,

Interesting. Thanks for the info.

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"Wouldn't you expect to see both raid-leaders giving testimony when the trial begins?"

Assuming, of course, that a trial begins in our lifetime........

Then the $64,000,000,0000,000 question is: Does a trial really even matter when the government has shown clearly that they don't really believe the law has anything to do with them or that they have to actually respond to its decisions - court judgments are for the little people.

I'm referring to their ongoing disregard for any decisions in their dispute with the Crown Prosecutors, their willingness to willy-nilly tear up legal signed contracts when it is their whim (health workers and other subversions of due process in labor relations) and of course the complete disregard for "due process" regarding removing land from the ALR and/or TFLs.

For some reason I would expect a different response to ignoring the breaking of a contract under TILMA or NAFTA - but then maybe I'm just a paranoid old fart. Obviously local control is a "quaint" and outdated concept to our current overlords who know what's best for us all. Well, I'm pretty sure they know what's best for themselves, anyway!

The Law is a tool to attempt to control me and thee, but some people are more important than the law, apparently. Or maybe I just haven't learned to accept the apparent truth that the Law is whatever works for them!

Sounds kinda like the Kings and Queens of olde to me - I guess we could call it the "Divine Right of BC LIEberals."
 
Obviously the chiefs expenses are not the focal point. There IS a large network of rouge authorities in BC! The sooner the truth gets re-discovered, the better/safer and happier we will all be! There will be no justice, if we all don't stay the course...Remember, Paul Martin said during his last election, 'Harper wants to put the military in our streets'!
 
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Anonymous 9:35,

Well, I don't fully understand what you're saying.

What the heck is "a large network of rouge authorities in B.C."???

... stay what course?



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Way Way Way long ago, I seriously considered being a police officer. I went along with the police for a few nights and days to see what the job was like -- all aspects of it, from a high-speed chase of a stolen motorcycle to the tedium of the paperwork.

On one occassion we went to lunch. Everybody paid for their own lunch. I asked about this thing about cops getting lunch for free. The watch commander said "Nope. That would not be legal. Nobdoy whose clean does that sort of thing. Maybe you might get a cup of coffee but even then you run the risk of being accused of wrong doing".

This was in Port Alberni.
This was 20 years ago.
Maybe things have changed.
Somehow I doubt it.
 
In case people are wondering about my last statement. It seems like Battershill paid his own way. Clean Cop. He expensed his stuff... but he kept a record of it. Seems like a witch-hunt to me.
 
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Disclosure: I had never heard of Ian Thow until about a week ago. Had to Google him etc. But this Seattle Post-Intelligencer probably has the clearest outline of Thow's time in Victoria and before:


Thow fired from Seattle job

Victoria Times Colonist - November 02, 2007

Ian Thow, the disgraced financial adviser who fled B.C. owing clients more than $32 million two years ago, has lost his job in Seattle.

According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the former Berkshire investment adviser was fired earlier this week from Flagstar Home Lending, the mortgage broker division of Flagstar Bancorp, the largest publicly held savings bank in the United States, with 158 banking centres in Michigan, Indiana and Georgia and 151 loan centres in 29 states.

Thow, who was born in the U.S. and holds a U.S. passport, had spent some time selling cars after he landed in Seattle in the summer of 2005 after fleeing Victoria. Former clients and creditors say Thow owes them in excess of $32 million.

Thow had also been working at First Magnus Financial until August when that company filed for bankruptcy, citing the collapse of the secondary mortgage market in the U.S.

Brad Ellis, the Flagstar branch manager in Bellevue, told the Post-Intelligencer he wasn't sure how Thow's history "slipped past" the hiring process. Thow had been hired by Flagstar along with a group of loan officers from First Magnus.

Ellis told the paper that since Thow had not originated any loans for Flagstar, he was fired earlier this week.

On Oct. 17, the B.C. Securities Commission ruled that Thow had perpetrated one of the most callous and audacious frauds in B.C. history when he took money his clients gave him to invest and instead spent it on a luxurious lifestyle. In spite of that scathing conclusion, Larry Feinstein, Thow's bankruptcy lawyer, told the Post-Intelligencer that Thow denies any wrongdoing.

"He was an investment broker. Investments go bad," Feinstein told the newspaper, adding his client was voluntarily co-operating with the bankruptcy proceedings. "We don't have the money."

The securities commission expects the parties involved to file written submissions on sanctions by Nov. 23 with a final decision due Dec. 24. It is expected Thow will be fined the maximum penalty of $250,000 and banned for life from trading securities in B.C.

The RCMP have completed a criminal investigation into Thow's affairs and passed the file to Crown counsel, which is in the process of determining whether charges will be laid against Thow.


Does anybody seriously suggest that Victoria Police Chief Paul Battersill, who was obliged to work on police charities with city-appointed persons, wouldn't have known enough about Ian Thow to avoid closer contact?


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Looks like the suggestion that this was an attack on Mayor Lowe was correct.

After what was printed in the TC this morning, no way Lowe keeps his job.

Probably the worst failure of leadership that this city has ever seen.
 
Early-bird 6:47,

Thanks for the tip-off ... but my gosh, that illustrated front-page Times Colonist story, what an outrageous piece of media bullying!

So the Chief asked people if they wanted to resign. People apparently said yes. It then went to the Police Board who negotiated the terms of departure. That's it. Oh my heavens, the horror!!

If Paul Battershill comes through this nasty campaign with his good reputation intact, it looks to me as if he might have grounds for suing the sox off CanWest.

If only CanWest would put 1/10th of this much effort into finding information on the Basi Virk B.C. Rail Case ...


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"If only CanWest would put 1/10th of this much effort into finding information on the Basi Virk B.C. Rail Case ... "

What a concept - (have you been smoking anything or eating strange brownies or anything, have you Mary?
Your idea seems so well....unimaginable...

(Though entirely reasonable - Just joking about the smoke and treats, of course.) Even 1/10 of One Percent would be an improvement on the BBV Front. I like your vision of the Chief suing the Aspers et. al. It would be nice to see them spend money on something other than acquiring more media outlets.
 
Alan Lowe also met with Gerald Hartwig just prior to D, Mulroney's
FOI request that was leaked to A Channel just as Chief Battershill got on a plane to the East. Coinsidence?
I think not. His Worship, Mayor Lowe, has alot of explaining to do.

Justice denied.
 
The buzz around the station is that the RCMP pretty much cleared Battershill and if they found anything it was pretty minor. Makes you wonder why or how this all got going. He'll never come back after the way he's been treated. Victoria couldn't attract a good outside chief now. Lots of good people from the department are quitting or getting ready to. Pretty sad for the public.
 
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