Tuesday, January 01, 2008

 

Dangerous friendships

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I've been trying to figure out how to tell this story. It may sound like nothing. Or readers may feel, as I do, that it's a significant story about British Columbia and the spreading cancer of organized crime.


So if you'll bear with me, I'll tell you about a treasured friendship which crashed a few years ago. We've all had a friendship go wrong but we usually know the reason why. In the case I want to tell you about, I didn't know why. Couldn't relate it to anything. The thunderbolt had just come out of the blue and I couldn't it figure out.


We had been friends and for years. He'd drop by for morning coffee or we'd go to his place for dinner. We took the world apart and stitched it back together to suit ourselves, week after week. We'd been through some sad times, tough times, good times together. Our friendship was tried and true. When he and his wife moved to a far-off new home, we kept email contact. All was well between us.


Until one day when all that changed. He turned cold, vengeful, hurtful. I was angry as much as distressed and ended our final brief battle by calling him an A**hole. He was way too smart to have stumbled into that situation but he seemed determined to do so. He seemed to want to cut off that friendship but for the life of me, I couldn't figure why. We were living in homes so far apart, I wouldn't even have known he was angry, if he had just kept quiet. That was the thing. He needed to say those harmful things, to have the bonds broken.


If this is all that happened in this story, it wouldn't be anything I'd want to tell you about. The astonishing part begins now.


Last week, all unexpected, in one blinding flash, the illumination came from another direction and a different friend. It centered upon the Port of Vancouver.

To protect his privacy, I can't tell you what my old friend did for a living before retirement except that it was a very responsible job with the Port of Vancouver about which he was absolutely tight-lipped. Sometimes, as we took the world apart, I'd ask him about cargo, port police, corruption. He would've known about these things, if anybody did. But not a word did he reveal. OK, I thought. Professional secrets. I thought no more about it than if a doctor had remained silent when asked about a patient. Goes with the territory, right? I knew he had resigned that position very abruptly but never imagined that it played such a big part -- or any part -- in his life afterward.

But all that time, it had never quite left my thoughts, either, that I had lost this old friend for no visible reason.

It took, last week, about a nanosecond to put 2+2 together. Someone told me he had known certain directors of Port of Vancouver, knew some longshoremen, knew the rumoured Hells Angels connection, knew some of their exploits, but "for health reasons" he said, he rarely mentioned any of this. Bingo!

So that was it. Losing that treasured friend had nothing to do with me. It was about BC Mary. The Legislature Raids. Organized crime. The Port of Vancouver. This web-site either was -- or could forseeably be -- getting too close to some very uncomfortable Vancouver truths. And suddenly BC Mary was a dangerous friend for certain persons to have. Good grief.

My old friend reads this web-site. So, I'd like him to know that it's been confirmed: he really is an A**hole. Why? For renouncing a friend instead of helping to uncover the rot which is eating at British Columbia like a cancer ... rot which arrived in Canada right under his nose where he used to work. Rot about which he could have done something. Rot which even now he could probably explain by telling what he had seen.

Is this significant? Yes! because, in my view, it's the story of every lousy sell-out that allows crime to take over, smoothing the way for organized criminals wearing 3-piece Armani suits to go swaggering down the corridors of banks, businesses, parliaments and the Law Courts. Oh yes, I do remember he always said "I refuse to vote. There's no point." Sure isn't, not with people looking the other way or burying their heads in the sand.

This is happening over and over, in homes, factories and offices throughout B.C.

That's a sick society. That's significant.

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For those of us who can't recall hearing anything about the possible merger of three Vancouver ports or even which ports were being considered for merging (much less why), here are some answers to our questions. Special thanks to Anonymous 3:06 who left an important clue (see Comments) linking this development to the delays in the B.C. Rail Case. - BC Mary.
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Former Port Authority chairwoman elected to head board of directors

Vancouver Sun - January 02, 2008

The newly merged Vancouver Fraser Port Authority has elected Sarah Morgan-Silvester as chair of its 11-member board of directors and Peter Podovinikoff as vice-chairman.

Morgan-Silvester was formerly chairwoman of the Vancouver Port Authority. She is also chairwoman of BC Women's Hospital Health & Health Centre Foundation, the Blue Ribbon Council on Vancouver's Business Climate, as well as a director of the CD Howe Institute and a former executive vice-president with HSBC Bank Canada.

Podovinikoff was the most recent chairman of the Fraser River Port Authority, and was formerly president of Envision Credit Union in Langley.

Capt. Gordon Houston, former president and CEO of the Vancouver Port Authority, will continue as president and CEO of the merged port authority.

Other board members are Doug Butterworth, Andrew Johnston, Ken Matchett, Jack Matthews, Bob Wilds, John Willcox, Trevor Klassen, Kazuko Komatsu and Helen Sparkes.

The Fraser River, North Fraser and Vancouver port authorities merged to become the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority on Jan. 1.

http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/business/story.html?id=d552a71a-65e3-48fc-80ce-98fd3368a4e8

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Comments:
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To the person who wrote about "counter-revolutionary cliques" etc.,

could you please chill out a bit and write again so I can post your comment in plain view

without scaring the children?


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When I was at the BC Rail trial a while back, I had a conversation had a certain lawyer who was involved with the trial, who told me the reason things were taken so long was that there was a parallel investigation still going on and that the crown didn't want to jeopardize that investigation by revealing too much too soon by going ahead with the BCRail trial. Given what has happened at the ports, perhaps, puts this in perspective.
 
Strange, isn't it Mary? How there are so many people out there that will bury their heads in the sand. I too have lost friends for very similar reasons. But in the end I thought "were they really friends?" True friends stick with you in the worst times as well as the best. So I don't lose any sleep over them.In this case of yours its a double loss. But think of this. I have just made a couple of friends who just may be able to help me understand this BC Rail case. I certainly hope so. Although my friends are not high level, I was thinking there may be others out there who have friends that are as peed off with the Rail Sale as you and I. Maybe....just maybe.
 
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The thing is, gary e, the break-up was not about me.

It was about the man's knowledge of things in Vancouver.

It was about this web-site probing into those things.

It could've happened to anybody who asks too many questions.

It probably IS happening, as we speak, in hundreds of examples around B.C.

That's the significance. It's about organized crime. OK?

And yes, he really was a true friend. Probably still is, at some level where major-fear can't reach.

I just wish I had understood this much earlier.

Thanks for your comment, gary e. And Happy New Year.


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Why did the order come from Chretien's office to get rid of the Port Police?
Why are city of Vancouver taxpayers paying the bill for the extra VPD, RCMP and FBI at VanPort?
The Port should be paying for this.Why is there only 1 cop at Deltaort? To see who runs this country read www.thetyee.ca Sept. 12 The Grand Ayatollah. Cheers.
 
Speaking of friendships and birds of a feather...is anyone up on the most recent appointments to the Board of CN?

Just a hunch.
 
Mary,

Did you see the Norman Spector piece earlier this week?
 
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Hi, pg:

What Norman Spector piece??

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Mary - I do believe that he is taking a cheap shot at your hard work.



No conspiracy here, just a badly managed justice system

The Globe and Mail

31 December 2007

Page S1

From time to time – and there have been more of these times lately – I run into people who are convinced that the charges against Dave Basi and Bobby Virk, the two ministerial aides targeted in the 2003 raid on the legislature, will never come to trial.

Though that show – er, scene – that featured boxes being carted away from the seat of B.C.'s democracy, took place four years ago last Friday, no doubt you remember it. How fortuitous it was for cameramen to have been standing in the right place at the right time outside the Parliament Buildings that year, during what traditionally are the lazy days between Christmas and New Year's.

I'm not sure whether the Victoria police official who tipped the local television station at which I was working of the coming action was among the swarm we've repeatedly seen on our television screens. But it was left to another force, the RCMP – an organization then still held in high esteem by most Canadians – to speak darkly about the “cancer” of organized crime and drug money having infested our political system.

Mercifully, that kind of talk has all but disappeared from the arena.

Unfortunately, though it's rarely stated as boldly, it has been replaced by dark hints of a plot to protect Gordon Campbell's government by ensuring that Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk never have to testify in open court.

In the main, this overheated talk circulates on the Internet among people whose minds incline them to believe in conspiracies. Sadly, however, some of the speculation is fuelled by New Democrats and their allies in the media, who see the Basi-Virk trial and its links to the BC Rail privatization as their big chance – okay, their only chance – to win the 2009 election.

This is not to say that repeated delays in setting a trial date are not a source of legitimate concern. However, there's no conspiracy here: British Columbians are simply witnessing for themselves how badly the justice system is managed. We're also seeing how that system can be played by anyone who can afford a good lawyer, or can find a way to have taxpayers pay for one – assuming that person isn't in any particular hurry to clear his name.

If you want to see a system that does accord special treatment to the politically powerful, you need only look to Ottawa. There, too, the allegations swirling about Brian Mulroney are related to lobbyists and money.

Here in B.C., however, the judge presiding in the Basi-Virk case is fully independent and has tenure. She has left no doubt of her intent to bring the matter to trial and, when that happens, it will be governed by the same rules that apply to any Canadian.

In Ottawa, by contrast, Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed David Johnston, who once reported directly to Mr. Mulroney, to determine the terms of reference for a public inquiry. And, though it is not within Mr. Johnston's mandate, Mr. Harper in year-end interviews essentially invited him to recommend against holding a public inquiry, now that Mr. Mulroney no longer wants one.

In British Columbia, an independent special prosecutor was appointed to investigate and recommend the laying of charges. In Ottawa, the RCMP completely shut down its investigation – an exceptionally rare occurrence – a few months before the matter of the cash payments to Mr. Mulroney became public in 2003.

The role of the media points to another contrast. The National Post had learned about the cash payments to Mr. Mulroney two years earlier, but the paper refused to publish the story. Reporter Phil Mathias wrote in protest to the owners, to no avail, and ultimately retired. In comparison, there's been considerable coverage by B.C. journalists of the Basi-Virk pretrial manoeuvring – including in The Post's sister CanWest papers, which underplayed the Mulroney story until recently. That story, too, featured a long secret trial to deal with the matter of a confidential police informant; yet I cannot recall a single article hinting at the possibility of a conspiracy to aid Mr. Mulroney, as was the case in B.C. at the first news of a similar issue cropping up in the Basi-Virk affair.

Interestingly, 24 Hours, the Vancouver paper that has been leading the coverage, as well as the hints of conspiracy in B.C., is part of the Sun Media chain. Owned by a company that Mr. Mulroney chairs, its papers have distinguished themselves over the years by their light to non-existent coverage of the allegations against the former prime minister.

nspector@globeandmail.com
 
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Oh boy. Who woulda thought that Basi-Virk, too, would be all the NDP's fault!

Guess I have to drop Normie a line. I hope others will too.

I'm going to ask what he thinks of the complete media silence (east, west, everywhere) when the office of a working journalist was broken into and trashed.

Figment of Bill Tieleman's imagination?

I don't recall any attempt at a conspiracy theory. West Coast media has always been this way. Fact o'life. Discouraging, too.

How you explain Norman Spector, though, is a challenge.

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So is Spector saying that in the Mulroney cover up there was a conspiracy but with the BC Rail trial there isn't one?

I guess that when Spector writes "this overheated talk circulates on the Internet among people whose minds incline them to believe in conspiracies" he may be refering to himself.
 
PG,

Many thanks for sending us this column -- although it's discouraging stuff to read. Maybe there's a standing order at The Globe and Mail each Basi Virk anniversary for somebody to write up a "There's nothing to these charges ... it's all the fault of ..."

* the RCMP
* the NDP
* overheated talk
* people don't understand
* fill in the blanks

And here I was beginning to think that Norman Spector was becoming more rational these days. Sigh.

I'm just in the middle of writing to him. It isn't easy to keep the message SHORT so I hope you and others will write too, PG.

And thanks again.


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Interestingly enough Mary, I heard Norman Spector debate Norman Ruff (UVic Poli Sci Prof) on Vaughn Palmer's little cable show before Christmas....Norman Ruff made, I thought convincingly, the case that there was plenty of grist for the mill - including Basi's record as the go-to guy for Campbell dirty tricks (with the apparently full knowledge of the boss)...and Spector said not a word about the obvious parallel he's trying to draw here between the media surge over the Glen Clark deck and the (rather minimal) coverage of the raid itself.

Norman has a hard time with any story he can't write himself into. His take on the BASI-VIRK events and their political connections is facile at best.

Norman sees himself as such a fine person of course and he soon switches gears to an area where he's more comfortable - Mulroney and Schreiber....which he blames upon the lack of vigilance of Brian's Chief of Staff at the time who had replaced his own good self in that position sometime before the end of Mulroney's term as PM....Norman says that a proper chief of staff would have kept the poltroons like Karlheinz off Brian’s front stoop and saved him harmless.


As for his claim to 'considerable' coverage of the Raid and the trial...well, we know what that's all about. And you have the correspondence from at least two editors of major metro dailies to prove it too.

Norman wrote a chapter about Mulroney and Schrieber in a book by William Kaplan http://mqup.mcgill.ca/book.php?bookid=1759 that sank without notice and he's chuffed that it didn't get more coverage...hence his claim that the National Post spiked the story...which may or may not be true. Kenneth Whyte apparently spiked Philip Mathias’ story about Mulroney and the bags of cash – which Mathias had in 2001 – at least that’s the story Kaplan tells in his book and Spector agrees with him… but, I believe Whyte himself has a different account of those events.

Norm has NO credibility on this issue. As far as arguing with him. It's a zero sum game and not worth the effort.
 
'pg' asked--

"So is Spector saying that in the Mulroney cover up there was a conspiracy but with the BC Rail trial there isn't one?"

Not sure about that.

However, it does appear, based on his own words, that Mr. Spector is suggesting that 24hrs/SunMedia is being irresponsible and/or inflammatory because they are actually covering the BC Rail proceedings in some depth.

What I find more disturbing, however, is something else that Mr. Spector left unsaid, but a reasonable reader might conclude he was insinuating, in his column.

Which is the insinuation that the 24hrs reporter who has done the most to get the facts on the record in the BC Rail proceedings, and who remains unnamed in Mr. Spector's column, is both an ally of the NDP and a dupe of Brian Mulroney.

Now, while irrelevant based on the actual reporting that has been done, the first insinuation may have some merit based on the historical record. But the second insinuation, I would humbly suggest, is laughable in the extreme.

Which leads one to ask - why?

Why, given his reasoned and reasonable conclusion that there are considerable merits to B.C.'s use of independent special prosecutors, would Mr. Spector make such a bizarre and laughable insinuation?

Well, based on his most recent columns and comments it would appear that Mr. Spector has had a change of heart regarding, as he terms it, the 'Mulroney story'.

However, there is something else which, I believe, is also worth considering here.....

Not so long ago there was an exchange between Mr. Spector and the same (unnamed) 24Hrs reporter who has consistently covered the BC Rail proceedings on the radio. This exhange involved the word 'bitch' and a certain female MP from Ontario who crossed the floor and also broke up with her then boyfriend, who happens to be a cabinet minister. In that radio exchange the same (unnamed) 24 Hrs reporter was steadfast in making the case that Mr. Spector's continued use, and defense of that use, of the word 'bitch' to describe the MP from Ontario was unacceptable.

Now, given that bit of history, one can only wonder if, perphas there might have been a certain degree of 'payback' at play here with respect to the second insinuation described above.

Alternatively, one could also consider another possibility, which is that this is all nothing more than the "overheated talk (that) circulates on the Internet among people whose minds incline them to believe in conspiracies."

Or some such thing.

OK?

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An interesting observation Ross - and one, which, if you know the background, wouldn't be untypical of Norman's behavior with respect to another female.

A woman who just happens to be a reporter and someone who got into Norman's soup when she was covering the media for the Toronto Star.

Mr Spector likes to think he's an authority on certain things...and he loves to call people names...

What he clearly 'doesn't' know about the details of the Basi/Virk/Campbell case would fill volumes.

Don't let him worry you Mary. A lot of people have very fine memories when it comes to Norman and his 'opinions'.
 
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Yeah, GW. Good points. And while we shouldn't worry about Spector, I do think we should try to talk to him about these things. Otherwise, they start to believe their own propaganda.

I'd really like to ask Spector's professional opinion of a non-event in the news yesterday. Ask him if he thinks it's a conspiracy or just plain incompetence.

Headlines said Victoria Police Chief Paul Battershill had announced that further charges had been laid against a Boy Scout leader. What?

Paul Battershill? Has he been re-instated, I wondered.

But nowhere is there any announcement of his return to duty or the findings of the review of the Police Chief's personnel problems.

Then, this morning, the same announcement appears in Vancouver Sun only the name of Paul Battershill has been dropped. Same announcement, no Battershill.

Now ... I certainly didn't say or even suggest that there's a conspiracy afoot here. But dammit, I gotta right to ASK how Paul Battershill can be spokesman for Victoria P.D. if he hasn't been re-instated ... and if so, when was he re-instated etc??

I even have a right to ask Normie if it's significant that Paul Battershill is such a straight-shooter (pardon the expression) that the NDP once tried to recruit him. He declined. But you get my point.

Normie, who used to own Jerusalem Post, would know these things. Like, how could a Police Chief be suspended from his job at the same time as he's arresting somebody. How do other newspapers pick this kind of crackpot news up and repeat it? How could they all forget to say the Chief had been re-instated? Especially if he wasn't?

Especially: is it a conspiracy? or is it sheer stupidity?

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Have a look at the Victoria Police website Mary:
http://www.victoriapolice.org/chief/chiefs.asp

Now it just may be that they never bothered to change the info there...but, given how big a story his suspension was, it's hard to believe no one noticed!
 
Normie walked away with the Gyro on the very last day of eligibility. Jeez, does the Goober and Malware have a lock on the Gyro forever. At least Normie didn't take us to bed with Dave and Manjit or whomever.

BTW, has Normie ever looked out at the real world as opposed to the imaginary world he writes about?

More to come with the immanently approaching Leaden Gyro Presentations at the House of Infamy. Join us on the puke infested carpet as we interview a disappointed Keith Baldry and Vaughn Palmer while Norm the Spectre walks off with the Leaden Gyro (maybe to eat, but we can only hope). If the Gyro's had a fiction category, all the entries would be in it, there doesn't seem to be any non-spun, non-fiction written about this affair, except maybe at BC Mary's and Bill T.'s.

Where's your office Normie, has it been broken into, or are you saying all the Right Stuff?

Once again with feeling, JEEEEEEEZ!!!
 
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Koot,

Are you reading my mind? Here's what I wrote to Norman Spector yesterday:



Hello Norman, Happy New Year,

Is there a standing order at The Globe and Mail for anybody who can put together a Basi Virk anniversary story saying "There's nothing to these charges"? I really thought better of you.

When Canada's 3rd largest railway can slide from public ownership into private hands under an agreement which the public has never been allowed to see, you ask too much to expect everyone to sit quietly, hands folded, waiting for divine intervention to tell us "Everything's all right, folks. Just keep movin' along ..."

You surely must know that weeks and months pass without mention of BCRail or Basi Virk Basi in any West Coast daily. It's an abuse to suggest otherwise.

As one telling example: I'm wondering if you know that a well-known Vancouver journalist had his office broken into on Dec. 3, nothing stolen but contents trashed, and a clue left to indicate its connection with the Basi Virk case. Quite a co-incidence that it happened while Bill Tieleman was in court at a Basi Virk pre-trial hearing. The Vancouver newspapers were absolutely silent on this story, turning a blind eye as "one of their own" was subjected to this intimidation. The press silence, in my view, was reprehensible; but for you to shrug it all off as the NDP's "imagination" is very poor stuff indeed. My gosh, they practically had to drag old Leonard Krog into court to observe a total of 2 days' hearings.

If this topic had been given the intelligent press coverage it deserved, I (and two other web-sites) wouldn't have spent the past 2 years trying to fill in the gaps for people looking for BC Rail information. Consider, too, how $7Billion p.a. in cash can be wafting through the B.C. economy and then decide whether or not that might have caused some corruption in government. It's not superficial for people to look to the courts for accurate answers to such questions.

BC Mary
The Legislature Raids
http://bctrialofbasi-virk.blogspot.com/


But Koot, I think your presentation is much more pointed. Well done. I'm now heading over to House of Infamy to see the grand presentation of your annual Gyro.

Thanks, too, for your always-interesting help when I can't get a photo transferred ... it's a special kindness that you'll be posting a view of Pender Island today. Happy New Year!


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Hi mary,i would also add that mr. spector said on the same show with vaughn that the lengthy delays stem from the defence going on a witch hunt.But i was pleased to hear vaughn corect him directly after and say that it is was the prosecution's problems that were holding up the movement of the trial,at least in the begining(?) and that the judge had given the prosecution heck for the delays.I just about fell off my chair when norm said this and just about fell again when vaughn corrected him.Campbell is going to be vaughn's guest tonight,maybe vaughn will ask some pointed questions,maybe campbell's thoughts on how the trial is progessing so far or if he would like to reasure the public he's doing all he can to assist the prosecution to bring the bad guy's to justice.
 
Hi mary,i noticed that norm did not bring up the unusual way the rcmp conducted the investigation or the personal they chose to conduct this unusual investigation.
 
Hi, Anon 10:12,

Is it possible that Norm doesn't really know a lot about the Basi Virk Basi BCRail investigation?

My guess is that some people strive to maintain the position which the premier first voiced at the time of the police raids as "I know nothing!" echoed immediately by Prime Minister Paul Martin saying "I know nothing, too!"


And Anon 6:35,

If Norm accused the Basi Virk defence of going on a "witch hunt", it's such a lame attempt to appear wise, it doesn't disguise that he knows very little. He's too smart not to realize that.

I understand that Vaughn Palmer also thinks the Basi Virk trial is getting plenty of press from "others". (Who? I dunno.)

I hope you'll give us a run-down of the Palmer-Campbell interview this evening ... do you really think the premier will try to (hahaha) assure us that he's doing all he can to assist the prosecution?

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This is just an excerpt from hansard (Tuesday, February 27, 2007) with NDP MLA Guy Gentner asking some really good questions about this port merger. (It is worthwhile reading his whole commentary at:
http://www.leg.bc.ca/Hansard/38th3rd/h70227p.htm#5596

Guy Gentner:

"When you look the globalization, it all starts at one place. All things start at the port. We hear all the accolades about the Pacific gateway and the provincial gateway and how the wonderful trade is going to enhance our lives. Well, trade is not a commodity. We are very vulnerable in the global community. If you read the Bloomberg report, Canadian stocks fell the most they have in eight weeks after a huge overnight slump in the Canadian stock market. That has raised concern that demand for commodities may slow in the world's fastest-growing major economy — the Chinese economy, which is driving the Gateway program.

Companies and financial experts are saying: "Don't panic. Don't move your assets into bonds yet. Let's give it a day or two." Hot off the press: "Chinese stocks tumble the most in ten years after the government approved a special task force to clamp down on illegal share offerings. The index dropped 9.2 percent, wiping out $100 billion from a stock market that doubled in the past year."

That's how vulnerable we are. We can put all your money into these assets to build this infrastructure, to bring on the trade, but when you're dealing with globalized trade, it can change in a flicker.

The government has been sort of mute on the point that there's going to be a merging of the ports, something that the throne speech talked about briefly — about gateway and the same with that of the global economy, the Asia-Pacific. The merging of ports, of course, is a derivative of the globalized approach of this government. The merging of the ports, however, doesn't address at all the local interests of communities that are wondering what type of influence they're going to have when you have this consolidation of interests on one megaport. That's lost.

We know why the port is being merged — namely, because the Vancouver Port Authority is looking for more land from the Fraser Port Authority. Of course, one of the big reasons given is the need for efficiencies. But if there were efficiencies put together and we were able to put those ports together and make it work…. I don't necessarily believe you have to put $1.3 billion in a South Fraser perimeter road if you're going to make sure those ports work.


What is being suggested through this budget is something that is not sustainable, because what it's going to do is wipe out the farmland in the lower mainland. It's going to wipe out Burns Bog, contrary to what members opposite say — that it won't. It's going to impact the Fraser River, the most important salmon-bearing river in North America if not the world. Close your eyes for a moment and think for a second that all that we have fought for when it comes to land, land use planning, will be wiped out by the avaricious nature of the government opposite."

Gentner can be found in hansard again asking more questions in this regard to Falcon on March 28, 2007, afternoon sitting.
 
One of the things we know for sure is Norman Spector is one of your frequent visitors, and very likely B.T's, etc. But, we must remember what Mr.S. is noted for. He is a spin Doctor,perhaps now in the employ of the Premier. So, it would be his job to try to divert attention in any way he can, ie blame the NDP, which is a Trade mark of the Government and all its' MLA's thus my thoughts he is "employed". As has been said already Spectors personal integrity leaves a lot to be desired. But we should never forget, he is mean and will use any means he can to discredit. A happy, healthy New Year to all - "Joey"
 
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An interesting bit of conversation developed over at Bill T's place about the old, old bribery charges against W.A.C. Bennett's Minister of Forests in the 1950s.

Anyone with an hour to spare, Google "Robert Sommers + bribery + Timber Sale Licences"

It was Gordon Gibson Sr., M.L.A., known as the "Bull o'the Woods" because he was a genuine old (rich) Forest Company guy who blew the whistle on Sommers in a way that couldn't be denied any longer.

But up until that time, WAC had staunchly defended his Minister, denied all wrongdoing, etc. But after Gibson came right out with it, Bennett cut Sommers loose ... and left him to sink or swim on his own. Sommers was found guilty, went to jail, and didn't seem to have a good view of politics thereafter.

There's an old book, too, about Gordon Gibson Sr., titled "Bull of the Woods" with this episode described.

That Robert Sommers story has an added poignancy if you read it during these tense days of waiting for the BCRail bribery trial.

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Good grief. One of today's items in Vancouver Sun makes Robert Sommers look like a child of kindergarten innocence. Take a look ...


Brookfield to spin off timber asset
Profitable Island Timberlands to become part of Bermuda-based partnership

Gordon Hamilton
Vancouver Sun - Friday, January 04, 2008

Brookfield Asset Management, which owns 50 per cent of one of Vancouver Island's largest forest companies, Island Timberlands, is spinning off its timber and power assets into a Bermuda-based partnership to create an offshore investment vehicle.

Toronto-based Brookfield intends to issue 60 per cent of the new firm, called Brookfield Infrastructure Partners LP, as a special dividend to its existing shareholders. Brookfield will retain the remaining 40 per cent.

Brookfield Infrastructure Partners will initially own five electricity and timber operations in North America, Brazil and Chile. It is to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange Jan. 31.

Being based in Bermuda, the new company will have an international board of directors and is expected to be exempt from certain Canadian taxes and the enforcement of Canadian civil judgments.

In its prospectus, Brookfield Infrastructure Partners lays out the purpose of the spinoff as a strategy to create a global pure-play public issuer "that should be well positioned to pursue an infrastructure and acquisition growth strategy."

It defines infrastructure as "long-life, physical assets that are the backbone for the provision of essential products or services for the global economy." The partnership will be the primary vehicle for future large-scale infrastructure acquisitions by Brookfield, which has $90 billion in assets worldwide.

Island Timberlands is one of its more profitable assets, the prospectus reveals.

Brookfield, along with two Canadian institutional partners, created Island Timberlands in 2005 from Weyerhaeuser Co.'s private lands after purchasing Weyerhaeuser's coastal assets. Weyerhaeuser's sawmills and Crown timberlands were later merged into Western Forest Products.

Island Timberlands owns 258,000 hectares of land on Vancouver Island, the largest chunks being in the regions of Courtenay, Port Alberni, Nanaimo and Duncan. There are 58 million cubic metres of timber on the properties, mostly high-value Douglas fir, cedar and hemlock. Island Timberlands harvests 1.8 million cubic metres a year, which is mostly exported to markets in the U.S. Pacific Northwest and Asia.

The prospectus provides a rare glimpse into privately held Island Timberlands, revealing it to be one of the most, if not the most profitable forest company in the province based on net income.

{Snip} ...

n Real Estate: Island Timberlands has 14,000 hectares of Vancouver Island identified as "higher and better-use" properties that could be developed or sold for conservation purposes. It values those lands at $104 million. In the nine months ending Sept. 30, 2007, it sold $14 million of those properties for a net gain of $7 million. Two other forest companies, TimberWest Forest, and Western Forest Products, have attracted broad public concern on the Island for selling off parcels of their own timberlands.

ghamilton@png.canwest.com

http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/business/story.html?id=08c58048-2ed1-401c-8328-1cfc9da20219

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Heck, I'm going to post this article on the main page. It all ties in ...

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Happy New Year, BC Mary & to all of your many readers & regulars that frequent your insightful blog! All the best to carry you forward & continue to ensure justice is restored for all British Columbians.

Your quote:

My old friend reads this web-site. So, I'd like him to know that it's been confirmed: he really is an A**hole. Why? For renouncing a friend instead of helping to uncover the rot which is eating at British Columbia like a cancer ... rot which arrived in Canada right under his nose where he used to work. Rot about which he could have done something. Rot which even now he could probably explain by telling what he had seen.

Is this significant? Yes! because, in my view, it's the story of every lousy sell-out that allows crime to take over, smoothing the way for organized criminals wearing 3-piece Armani suits to go swaggering down the corridors of banks, businesses, parliaments and the Law Courts. Oh yes, I do remember he always said "I refuse to vote. There's no point." Sure isn't, not with people looking the other way or burying their heads in the sand.

This is happening over and over, in homes, factories and offices throughout B.C.

That's a sick society. That's significant.


. . . . You bet it all ties in to the putrid big picture in British Columbia that has been allowed to fester by power brokers & their minions, who are benefitting personally from the rancid rot: the 'Circle'. I include the pathetic MSM in that. ( . . . & just for the record - it's high time the journalists found their backbone & started standing up to their orders from HQ - not good enough all round - they know who they are.)

Once again, you have amplified the reason why so many people (growing by the day) respect your perspective when you shared your 'ah huh' flash. You have a backbone made of integrity & courage unlike the spaghetti spine your 'friend' suffers from.

Of course it has everything to do with his lack of courage in the face of corruption & guilt in front of you; ultimately, knowing YOU would not condone his inability to speak up & simply do the right thing in light of what you have exposed on your site here. You must have made him squirm & wet his panties.

Whether his 'stick his head in the sand' syndrome, so prevelant with people who SHOULD know better, is based in fear or vested interest for his own perceived promotion in life . . . is irrelevant & there is no excuse. As you point out, it is the reason why BC & so many other countries have fallen into such a sick state.

His actions are unethical & he betrayed not only your friendship, but his own SELF. The man in the mirror never goes away.

I am sorry that you suffered this disappointment but better you KNOW the source of problem & you GET IT!

There are other people that have suffered from friends with feet of clay - I have. That is why what you wrote . . . resonated like an earthquake within me.

It is a repungnant feeling in one's soul, isn't it? . . . when we watch people that we have trusted & are in positions to make a difference to clean up garbage, roll over, stay mute & choose a lower road, instead of finding their voice & energy to move forward to do the right thing for society at large.

I am slowly understanding that it is their karma that will catch up to them, as they must walk through life looking over their shoulder. Sometimes it happens in unexpected ways.

Like you, I have learned to channel that anger into concrete action. The old saying: One voice becomes the voice of many especially when it is based in fact & truth.

Eventually if we all persist along that higher highway of truth - coverups get uncovered - decency is demanded by the people & TRUTH WINS THE DAY.

To all of those spinmasters, journalists, that have lost their way . . . go take a good hard look in that mirror.

Thanks for your patience in reading my flow of consciousness above.

Thanks, Mary for setting the powerful tone of intention for this year
 
HI mary I would like to make a correction,campbell on vaughn's show was a repeat from a earlier show.
 
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