Wednesday, November 14, 2007

 

Remember Geoff Plant?

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Geoff Plant was British Columbia's attorney-general when police raided the Legislature. Actually Plant was told by his staff 4 weeks earlier, on 1 Dec 2003 that a case required the appointment of a special prosecutor and may involve a search of the Legislature.

Enter Bill Berardino, appointed almost immediately (11 Dec 03)
[Stop! An astute reader advises that Bill Berardino was the THIRD Special Prosecutor. Josiah Wood and then Len Doust were appointed before Berardino and both resigned due to conflicts. - BC Mary] ... in the usual way: from a list administered through the Attorney General's office, and undoubtedly chosen by the Deputy Attorney General, the Assistant Deputy Attorney General, and the Treasurer of the B.C. Law Society, with the final choice being made by the Deputy Attorney General.

This process ensures that political loyalties won't taint or influence the Special Prosecutor. Because the Special Prosecutor is supposed to be just that:
special. Beyond reproach, special. Some people are recommending this B.C. initiative be used for the politically-charged Pubic Inquiry into the Brian Mulroney - Karlheinz Schreiber affair. That's how special. That's how impervious it is supposed to be, to taint or political bias.

And so 4 years ago, Bill Berardino took charge of the Basi Virk Basi / BC Rail case.

But the Attorney General, Geoff Plant, and the Special Prosecutor, Bill Berardino, had been law partners at Van Fasken (Russell duMoulin). Does this meet the test of political independence? Beyond reproach independence?

This week, Geoff and Bill are in the news again: Geoff for taking a lambasting from Vancouver City Council, and Bill for taking an expected lambasting at another Basi Virk Basi / B.C. Rail pre-trial hearing in B.C. Supreme Court on Friday, Nov. 16. - BC Mary.

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CIVIL CITY PROJECT, PLANT, GRILLED

$300,000 study slammed as redundant

Jennifer Saltman
The Province
Wednesday, November 14, 2007

One year after the introduction of Vancouver's Project Civil City, commissioner Geoff Plant's progress report was subject to some less-than-civil debate yesterday.

At an afternoon meeting, four councillors challenged the relevance of the $300,000 program, and the former attorney-general's job description, while taking the occasional shot at Mayor Sam Sullivan.

"I really don't think you're necessary, and I'm sorry to say that," Coun. Tim Stevenson said to Plant. "I think that we have lots of city staff who have been doing an enormous amount of work over a very long period of time . . . I see this as a political appointment."

In December 2006, Sullivan and Coun. Kim Capri introduced the program, which set the following goals: eliminate homelessness, eliminate Vancouver's open drug market, eliminate aggressive panhandling and increase the level of public satisfaction with the city's nuisance and annoyance complaints.

The immediate task is to show a 50-per-cent improvement by 2010.

Outside the meeting, Plant said he expects to see significant progress by 2010, but fell short of saying the 50-per-cent goal would be achieved.

Plant, who was appointed commissioner in May, said he has spent the past six months learning and trying to establish benchmarks for the city's four goals.

According to his report, only one benchmark has been set: There are 2,000 people without homes or living in shelters and 21,276 units of social housing, 1,812 units of support housing and 709 shelter beds.

The other three benchmarks have not been determined.

Coun. Raymond Louie said council was promised a comprehensive action plan by February 2007.

"A year later we haven't seen any concrete action -- that's where our concern lies," he said. "So far, I've been disappointed that we haven't been taking early action. We don't need another Mr. Plant to come before us and tell us what's broken."

Louie said the report encapsulates work already done and plans future studies, but said he doesn't understand the need for future studies.

"Rather than studying further, shouldn't we be actually putting the resources necessary to the initiatives that are under way currently, [that] have been identified through previous reports and actually enable those programs to have some success?" he asked. {Snip} ...

Kim Kerr, executive director of the Downtown Eastside Residents Association, said the plan wages "war on the poor."

"I just think putting a law-and-order guy in charge of this and giving him $300,000 for six months' work only to come up with a report that simply reiterates what countless other reports say is a waste of money," he said.

Council voted to receive the report and endorse it as a framework for future initiatives. They also voted to expand the Downtown Ambassador program by the end of the year.

Plant will return before council in six months with another progress report.

jensaltman@png.canwest.com

http://www.canada.com/theprovince/news/story.html?id=4e49bd3f-2c0c-473f-9cff-058fcb4d4364&k=14451

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Comments:
Bill Berardino was the THIRD Special Prosecutor.

Josiah Wood and then Len Doust were appointed before Berardino and both resigned due to conflicts.

I believe that there is a news story on this.
 
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Thank you sincerely, Anon 9:46.

Maybe it's me, but I found it very difficult to nail down this story so as to confirm the question. I even began thinking that there's some evil troll who weeds out Google listings.

So my text should've read "Almost immediately, Josiah Wood was appointed ..."? If Berardino was appointed on Dec. 11, the AG was moving at warp speed to have hauled in and discarded 2 other candidates before that but after Dec. 1.

Accuracy is important, so thanks again.

If you come across that old news story, I'd certainly appreciate it if you'd post it here.

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