Monday, December 10, 2007

 

RailGate Revisited - The Crux of the Matter

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With thanks to Pacific Gazetteer:

RailGate Revisited - The Crux Of The Matter

TheWheelsOfJustice
SlowlyGrindingVille



No byline on this CP story, but we would be willing to take very short odds that it is from our old favorite, Camille Bains. [Bill Tieleman confirms: it's Camille Bains' story. - BC Mary]

Regardless, the piece gets right to the crux of the matter.

First, the defense has come out swinging by naming the name of the former minister who bailed faster than DB Cooper jumped out the belly of that 727 back in 1972:

VANCOUVER - Lawyers for two former government aides want access to documents police seized from their clients' legislature offices, saying important information involving former finance minister Gary Collins's involvement in the sale of B.C. Rail is needed to mount a defence.

Michael Bolton, who represents Dave Basi, told B.C. Supreme Court on Monday that crucial information about Collins approving a consolation prize for American company OmniTRAX to stay in the bidding process is relevant to the case.

Police raided Basi's and Virk's offices on Dec. 28, 2003, about a month after the provincial government completed the $1-billion privatization sale of Crown-owned B.C. Rail, which was bought by CN Rail.

Basi was then an aide to Collins and his co-accused, Bobby Virk, worked for then-transportation minister Judith Reid.

Bolton said the boxes of documents police carted away contain information pertaining to numerous phone calls on Nov. 17, 2003, in which Basi confirmed to Virk that Collins had dangled future opportunities for OmniTRAX to do business with the B.C. government if the company stayed in the bidding process.

"It's not just Mr. Basi talking but there was a high level of awareness and acknowledgment of this consolation prize issue," Bolton said.


Why is this 'consolation prize' business important.

Because that would be the potential 'quid pro quo' in which Omni Trax may have been offered up the spoils (ie. the Roberts Bank Spur Line ) in return for giving faux-competitive cover to the mainline deal involving CN after CP dropped out screaming (that the fix was in).

This 'quid pro quo' business something that we RailGate obsessives, and even Vaughn Palmer, have fussed about before.

And if it's for real it demonstrates the true rot of the situation and it would strongly suggest that at least two of the accused, Mr. Basi and Mr Virk, may not have been acting alone and in fact may have, as Mr. Palmer has suggested, been acting to protect (B.C.) Liberal interests.

And what does the government (ie. the B.C. Liberals) for whom the long-gone Minister once worked have to say about all of this?

Well, of course, they say that all of this stuff must be kept ultra-super- secret because, well, just because:

George Copley, a lawyer for the executive branch of the government, said the documents seized by police are protected by solicitor-client privilege and can't be released to defence lawyers.

He said they include advice from lawyers and bankers on the sale of B.C. Rail and are therefore confidential.


As for the long-gone Minister himself?

Well, he's sticking to that the Pavel Bure defense:

(former Minister Gary) Collins has denied any wrongdoing in the railway deal.


To which we can only answer that it will be we, the people of British Columbia, who will be the judge of that AFTER we see all the evidence, evidence that belongs to us, not Mr. George Copley.

And why do we believe that the evidence belongs to us?

Because they were our, and not Mr. George Copleys' (or the people he works for), assets that were sold to CN in the first place.

In other words, so-called confidential 'advice from lawyers and bankers' means nothing to us, because we never, ever gave the B.C. Liberal government our consent to conduct business such as this, business that is vital to the public's interest, under a cloak of double-secret-probation, cone-of-silence, super-dooper-ultra secrecy.


OK?


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All in all, an excellent piece from the CP. It has all the important stuff in it that was missing from the piece we fussed about last Friday.
Oh, and just a reminder for those of you who are still wondering why there has been so little local coverage of this story recently. Apparently, if you were to believe very fine media folk like Mr. Keith Baldrey, it is all because the long-goners are so long-gone that nobody cares. Sheesh.
And once again, thanks once more has to go to B.C. Mary for all the work she's done keeping this thing alive and archiving the stories like Mr. Palmer's cited above.

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Comments:
That's a wonderful report - with links and comments and all - as good as a multi-layered Christmas cake Mary.

SO Copley did appear again and he IS trying to hang onto to Government documents.

This is beginning to look like endgame moves... Let's hope the judge has the necessary strength to push this thing through for the sake of the province, the future and the truth.
 
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Agree, g ... Gazetteer saw right into those courtroom maneuvers and seems to have got to the Crux of the Matter.

Now, as you say, we're depending upon the judge to seize all these loose ends, insist on co-operation from the government, and get this trial moving forward.

Easy to say. Not so easy for Justice Bennett. But I'm sure that's what we're all hoping.

Bill Tieleman wasn't able to get to court today. Probably tomorrow.

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Monday, December 10, 2007
Basi-Virk: BC government claiming solicitor-client privilege over BC Rail documents - fight for access resumes in BC Supreme Court Tuesday
Bill posted this article so I pass it along to you. 7PM
 
More on the implications of the 'consolation prize' (ie. possible quid pro quo) issue and implications over at my place.

This, I think, is really getting to the crux of the matter.


RossK
 
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And many thanks for letting us borrow your analysis, RossK.

It's amazing isn't it, how solicitor-client privilege can stretch and stretch and stretch until it covers darn near everything.

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Yup.

But riddle me this Mary - How, exactly does advice from 'bankers' fit under that cone of silence exactly.

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gw--

You think that trying to suppress the involvement of, say, a long-gone Minister is going to stand-up under the rubrick of the Section 37 petition?

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dl--

Thanks for the Tieleman update.

It's amazing - even when he can't be there Mr. T. has something to add. Specifically, he reminds us of the previously reported 'dinner' that then Minister Collins (and Mr. D. Basi's boss) apparently had with OmniTrax BEFORE the deal went down.

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I'm taking a guess here, but there could be a connection between omni-trax, and the 'every which way' investigation!?
 
What is/was the'consolation prize'?
 
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