Thursday, November 22, 2007

 

Krog drops bombshell in BC Legislature, CanWest doesn't notice. But Bill Tieleman and Sean Holman have reports.

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After Friday Nov. 16's Basi-Virk hearing, there was virtually nothing in the CanWest newspapers. I can't explain that. I doubt that anybody can explain that satisfactorily.

It was thanks to an astute reader that we first learned of the bombshell that was dropped in the B.C. Legislature yesterday, 21 November, about BC Rail. And Leonard Krog was the Opposition bombardier! Such a rarity! This could've been a "Man bites dog!" kind of news headline. But apparently not in B.C.

CanWest seems to be sticking to its view that "nothing happened. When it does happen, we'll report it." But apparently not if it involves B.C. Rail.

Luckily for the people of B.C., Bill Tieleman has a good report up on his web-site: "More questions raised in Legislature on relationship between ex-Deputy Minister of Finance, Paul Taylor, and Pilothouse lobbyists Erik Bornmann, Brian Kieran."
[See http://billtieleman.blogspot.com/]


Also, Sean Holman, from Public Eye Online, wrote this:

LOBBYIST E-MAIL RAISES QUESTIONS
By SEAN HOLMAN, 24 HOURS - November 22, 2007

The New Democrats are raising questions about top provincial bureaucrat Paul Taylor's relationship with former lobbyist Brian Kieran.

In the legislature yesterday, attorney general critic Leonard Krog released a 2003 e-mail between Kieran and his then business partner Erik Bornman. {Snip} ...

At the time the e-mail was written, Taylor was the deputy finance minister and Kieran and Bornman were representing OmniTRAX - one of the firms that made an unsuccessful bid for BC Rail.

Taylor is now head of the Insurance Corp. of B.C.

ICBC senior media relations manager Doug McClelland said Taylor was "not available for comment" on the e-mail.

Meanwhile, for his part, Kieran stated, "First, I must assume that this e-mail is part and parcel of matters before the court. And I find it somewhat alarming it has been trotted out by the NDP four months before the trial is set to begin."

"Second," he continued. "I have no recollection of the context around which this e-mail was written. It was almost four years ago. That said, my reading of it indicates the content was of routine government information."

And "third, throughout the disposal of BC Rail, when I was on the file for OmniTRAX I never directly lobbied anyone in finance at the deputy level or above. With respect to Paul Taylor, he did not have the BC Rail file. That job had fallen to Chris Trumpy."

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Lest anybody imagine that Leonard Krog's bombshell passed unnoticed in the B.C. Legislature, here's a report from another astute observer who we know as eyesearswideopen:

eyesearswideopen said...

I happened to be watching Question Period today, as Mr. Krog brought forward this little gem in the Leg; as usual, you are on the mark with your up to minute news, Mary.

My ears detected the deafening silence coming from the Campbell Crew as this 'new evidence' contained in a little email, was dropped like stealth bomb vs the usual inane comments hurled at the Opposition on most days.

Seems the cat got their tongues on this one.

Body language spoke volumes: my eyes spied the sullen down turned mouths on Min. Les & Christianson seated directly behind the Finance Minister who was clearly at a loss, on hearing this nugget of truth land in the Leg . . . an omen perhaps of of the tangled web unraveling.

Bring it on Judge Bennett.

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Tomorrow morning (Friday November 23 at 9:00 AM), Madam Justice Bennett will be back in Vancouver Supreme Court to listen to lawyers continue arguing the procedures (or lack of procedures) in the Basi-Virk-Basi-BCRail Case. Anyone who can be there, please send us your views. - BC Mary.

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Comments:
maybe paul taylor's wife has requested the publication ban on her testimony as clearly she is another key witness!
 
Mary,

The Premier answered questions about Paul Taylor today. I hope he is prepared to answer questions in court!

Check out Hansard online. The Official Opposition needs to keep asking questions about the relationship with the lobbyist and other people within government.

HANSARD BLUES DRAFT TRANSCRIPT

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2007

Afternoon Sitting


CALL FOR INVESTIGATION INTO
ACTIONS OF PAUL TAYLOR

L. Krog: Yesterday the opposition released an e-mail that suggests Deputy Minister of Finance Paul Taylor was providing Pilothouse Public Affairs with sensitive and confidential government information. But Mr. Taylor's relationship with Pilothouse wasn't even touched on in the KPMG report released over a month ago. Because KPMG was given only limited powers of investigation, they were unable to consider important information.

British Columbians deserve answers. Will the Premier commit today to hold an independent investigation with full powers of subpoena into Paul Taylor's relationship with Pilothouse?

Hon. G. Campbell: Hon. Speaker, yesterday was the first we heard of the member's so-called additional information. We asked that he forward it to the office. He has done so. My deputy minister will review the new correspondence released by the opposition yesterday to determine the nature of any issues that may be raised.

I think it's important to understand what actually has taken place. This government has taken this matter very seriously from the outset. I should be clear that if the opposition has information, they should make that available. When that information is made available, we deal with it.

KPMG has reviewed in full the issues that were raised in the spring, and they have said quite completely that they found there was nothing make that available. When that information is made available, we deal with it.

KPMG has reviewed in full the issues that were raised in the spring, and they have said quite completely that they found there was nothing done wrong by Mr. Taylor. Let me underline that. Nothing was done wrong by Mr. Taylor.

Mr. Taylor's only offence is evidently that he served in the government. He served with respect. He served with integrity. Frankly, Mr. Speaker, he's respected throughout the community because of the service he's made.

For this member to continue with this kind of diatribe requires him to go out in the halls and say if he thinks Mr. Taylor has done something wrong. It's been very clear from KPMG that Mr. Taylor did nothing wrong.

Interjections.

Mr. Speaker: Members.
Member has a supplemental.

L. Krog: Well, if the Premier had asked the tough questions in the spring, there wouldn't be any questions this fall. That's the whole problem with the KPMG report. The terms of reference were so narrow that it would be impossible to get to the bottom of any story, and that's the issue.

The Premier doesn't seem to begin to understand that — that these are important and serious allegations, and they're worthy of a proper and full investigation by a fully empowered inquiry commissioner.

Yesterday the Minister of Finance essentially said: "Over to you, Mr. Premier." So I say to the Premier today: instead of a weak-kneed whitewash approach of an investigation, will he commit to a full and independent investigation with full subpoena powers, with terms of reference that actually make sense and don't limit the investigation so we'll get another whitewash report in this matter?

Hon. G. Campbell: You know, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Taylor is highly regarded in the community. KPMG is highly regarded in the community. This particular member has continually called down both of those groups, KMPG and Mr. Taylor.

Let me be clear. This government took this seriously from the outset. We will continue to take this seriously. We said there would be a review done. A review has been done. We said we would make that review public as soon as it had gone through freedom of information and protection of privacy.

Interjections.

Mr. Speaker: Members.

Hon. G. Campbell: Only the members opposite would think they were standing up for someone when they're actually advocating that we break the law, Mr. Speaker.

The fact of the matter is we are going to put it through that screen. When that freedom-of-information and protection-of-privacy commission report is done, it will be made public. It is in everyone's interest to make it public within the law, within the framework of the law.
 
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Many thanks indeed, Anonymous 4:20.

For those who respect the written or spoken word, these two statements by Premier Campbell are well worth study.

He wasn't answering Krog's question. What he's doing is attempting to shift responsibility off his government and onto the Opposition. Quite a task.

The Premier says that the Opposition is "actually advocating that [government] break the law." What law is that?

Then he talks about "going to put it through that screen." What screen?

Doesn't the premier notice the implications of Paul Taylor's interaction with the Crown witness in a criminal trial -- a man who allegedly bribed a Ministerial Aide in Campbell's own Ministry of Finance?

From the moment of the police raid on 28 Dec. 2003, I think most British Columbians would have welcomed a premier speaking directly to us, joining with us, and saying "I am shocked and I know we are all shocked. Leave it with me, and I can assure you that my government will look into this and report back to you. We'll do everything in our power to restore your confidence in your Legislature."

But what we got was a shrug and "I know nothing."

And 4 years later, it's still going on ... like as if the people of B.C. are the big problem in his life.

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Canwest will print news of wrongdoing as long as it is written in the least damaging way. They are an integral part of this corrupt government.

We all saw Gordon Campbell smiling on his Mug Shot. He knows that the well connected and well lawyered are above the law, as long as their status hasn't changed.
 
Hon. G. Campbell:

"Hon. Speaker, yesterday was the first we heard of the member's so-called additional information. We asked that he forward it to the office. He has done so. My deputy minister will review the new correspondence released by the opposition yesterday to determine the nature of any issues that may be raised."

Mary you wrote:

"Doesn't the premier notice the implications of Paul Taylor's interaction with the Crown witness in a criminal trial -- a man who allegedly bribed a Ministerial Aide in Campbell's own Ministry of Finance?"

Arrogance practiced over years aided by little minions sweeping the dirt under the rug tends to breed arrogance - what da ya think? I agree with your take exactly!! Inherent in your questions are the answers - high fives.

All I can say, is that it is good thing that Mr. Krog brought this itsy bitsy email bombshell into the Leg or the Prem's "screen" would have deep sixed it into oblivion & Mr. Krog's health might have been an issue - LOL - sort of . . .
 
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