Tuesday, February 26, 2008

 

BC Opposition makes a point. CanWest goes into action!

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Dear Les Leyne:

If I were your mother, god forbid, I would insist that you quit your job before irrevocable damage is done to your mental health. Today in Times Colonist you have written one of the worst Basi-Virk columns I have ever seen.

You even include the term "somewhat bogus" when referring to proper objections made by the gentle, do-nothing BC Opposition. Is your salary calculated on a pay-per-insult basis?


What really assaults a reader is your twisting, dodging, and manipulating the real news. I mean, how swiftly you skip over this significant nugget:

" ... Dragged into the fray, Seckel said Monday the protocol was set up soon after the raid because the B.C. Rail deal was still actively under consideration by cabinet. It hadn't been decided yet ..."


You're telling us that the BCRail deal had NOT been finalized at the time of the raid on the Legislature? That it could have been stopped, just as Roberts Bank was stopped?
And that the privileged documents will explain to the public why -- under such a cloud of extreme suspicion -- the Campbell Cabinet chose to push it through?

Call your mother, Les.


- BC Mary.



STILL SPARRING OVER THE BASI-VIRK CASE

Les Leyne Times Colonist - Tuesday, February 26, 2008

There's one sidelight to the epic Basi-Virk corruption case that's almost as compelling as the main event. [Blah blah blah] {Snip} ...


Dragged into the fray, Seckel [
Allan Seckel, deputy attorney-general] said Monday the protocol was set up soon after the raid because the B.C. Rail deal was still actively under consideration by cabinet. It hadn't been decided yet.

Read Les Leyne's full column at:
http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/comment/story.html?id=d0a7866a-686a-4053-bf86-db57be586a4e&p=2 """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""
Les: Your poor Mom might also point out a much better example ...


PREMIER MISLED HOUSE, NEW DEMOCRATS CLAIM

MARK HUME
The Globe and Mail - February 26, 2008

VANCOUVER -- B.C.'s Opposition wants the Premier to apologize "for misleading the House" about documents involved in a political corruption case.

Leonard Krog, NDP critic of the Attorney-General's ministry, sent a letter to Speaker Bill Barisoff questioning the way the government handled access to the confidential documents.

Mr. Krog also filed a notice of motion yesterday asking that Premier Gordon Campbell be directed to apologize over the matter. {Snip} ...

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20080226.BCBASI26/TPStory/National

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But Les, if you decide to keep trying to be a real journalist, your Mom might talk to you about the way Michael Smyth has turned himself around, as follows:


SENIOR STAFF RULED ON CABINET PRIVILEGE
Authority later transferred

Michael Smyth, Special to The Province, February 26, 2008

The 2003 police raid on the B.C. legislature was one of those only-in-B.C. moments that seem exclusive to our crazy political culture.

I thought I'd seen everything the day the cops raided Glen Clark's house with a TV camera crew filming through his kitchen window. Then the police go and bust the legislature and haul away dozens of boxes of evidence and computer hard drives! (Yup, the cameras were on hand there, too.)

But while TV viewers were treated to yet another B.C. spectacle, a circus of a different sort was unfolding behind the scenes: An internal struggle over evidence and whether some documents should be kept out of court because of parliamentary secrecy.

The legislature raid was the climax of a long police investigation into possible corruption in the government's sale of B.C. Rail. Three former senior government insiders now stand accused of accepting bribes, influence-peddling and money-laundering in a case set to go to trial later this year.

In a column last week, I told you how the Gordon Campbell government has fought to keep some evidence in the case secret, citing lawyer-client privilege or rarely invoked cabinet privilege.

Who in government makes the call on which evidence is kept under wraps? Amazingly, for more than three years, this responsibility was given to senior bureaucrats close to Campbell's office: Joy Illington and, later, Elizabeth MacMillan, both of whom served as deputy secretaries of the cabinet.

Can you see the problem here? It is absolutely reckless for the premier's office to be even remotely connected to any decisions that could amount to suppression of evidence.

Campbell himself decided to fix this. Last year, he transferred authority for review of the government papers to deputy attorney-general Allan Seckel.

Seckel explained it to me this way: "At first it was a very clinical thing -- the police asking to see documents as part of their investigation. That responsibility would traditionally fall on the cabinet secretary or their deputy.

"But then the defence started to raise allegations which had suggestions of political interference . . . Suddenly it went from clinical thing . . . [to a] concern that someone might be politically interfering in the decision as to which documents get disclosed.

"There was a concern that, as this appeared to be getting a political life to it, that it would be prudent to not have the premier's office involved."

Here's the flaw in this logic: This case had a "political life to it" from the moment cops marched into the legislature with a search warrant on Dec. 28, 2003.

All of this hit the fan at the legislature yesterday, when NDP justice critic Leonard Krog raised a formal motion calling on Campbell to apologize for misleading the assembly.

That's because Campbell told the legislature last May that Seckel has sole authority to review any documents in the trial with no interference from anyone else, especially politicians. What Campbell didn't mention was that he had personally given Seckel this responsibility only weeks earlier, over concerns that the whole process was getting too close to the premier's office.

msmyth@direct.ca

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PS. Michael, I hope you'll forgive me for posting your entire column. It's a good one. It helps us understand what's going on, in the Basi-Virk affair. So I didn't want to leave any of it out. It isn't often I get to say such a thing about a CanWest news item. Thanks!
- BC Mary.

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A very important point has been added in Comments by "PG", as follows:

Mary,

You have missed the key point in the Seckel spin. How can the Deputy Attorney General explain why George Copley stated in court that "... the Premier has not got that quite right."

You may remember that Copley quoted the Premier's exchange from May 2007 into the court record during the December 2007 hearing for the disclosure of government emails and records.

Reading the Hansard exchange into the court record was described by Bill Tieleman as a "suprising move". Mr. T is too kind.

If the MSM had been more diligent in covering this trial, the government and the Special Prosecutor would not be dragging their feet on providing evidence that the Supreme Court determined involves "innocence at stake".

Les Leyne and others from the MSM should attend court to fully understand what is transpiring here.

February 26, 2008 8:57 AM

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Comments:
Mary,

You have missed the key point in the Seckel spin. How can the Deputy Attorney General explain why George Copley stated in court that "... the Premier has not got that quite right."

You may remember that Copley quoted the Premier's exchange from May 2007 into the court record during the December 2007 hearing for the disclosure of government emails and records.

Reading the Hansard exchange into the court record was described by Bill Tieleman as a "suprising move". Mr. T is too kind.

If the MSM had been more diligent in covering this trial, the government and the Special Prosecutor would not be dragging their feet on providing evidence that the Supreme Court determined involves "innocence at stake".

Les Leyne and others from the MSM should attend court to fully understand what is transpiring here.
 
Hi Mary,

It must be very hard for Campbell to keep all his lies straight. Hopefully we are about to see the unravelling of the Gordon Campbell government.
 
.
PG,

if you say that BC Mary needs help, I agree 100% ... where would I be without the commentors?

So if you don't mind, I'm going to add your comment to the main posting for today. You've added a lot.

Many, many thanks.

.
 
So, let's see if we can figure the logic out on this one....

Which part of the deal was still in play when the Ledge Raids happened in Dec 2003?

Was it the Big Mainline Deal?

No - that deal was already done - announced in Nov 2003 (with the much ballyhooed 'Fairness Advisors' report already in the can, at least in interim form, to back it up).

But what about the smaller deal - the one for the Roberts Bank Spur line?

Well, that deal was most definitely still in play at the time of the Raid.

So, with that said I'm going to get hypothetical here for a moment.....



Hypothetically speaking, what company, allegedly, had a bid in on the Spur with, perhaps, an even more alleged potential Quid Pro Quo arrangement backing it?

And who was doing the lobbying for said company?

And, hypothetically again, which lobbyists allegedly bribed Ministerial officials to allegedly provide inside information to that company?

And which alleged deal for the Spur was suspended in early 2004 (ie. after the Ledge Raid)?

So, if someone really wanted to play this out to the end they could even argue, hypothetically of course, that the 'protocol' mentioned by Mr. Seckel, and the 'Solicitor-Client' privilege that underpins it, could be invoked until the cows come home because, it could be argued that the Spur line deal is still under some sort of bizarro-world/suspended-animation consideration (ie. the deal was never done therefore S-C privilege need never end*).

OK?

____

(*and thus, in addition, there is,hypothetically, no need to retain 'Cabinet' privilege)

.
 
Nice to see Mike back to his insightful journalistic talents - Kudos, to you Mr. Smyth! Thanks for the heads up, BC Mary.

Mike puts the light where it belongs when he zeroes in on the following:

"Who in government makes the call on which evidence is kept under wraps?" . . .YES!

"Can you see the problem here? It is absolutely reckless for the premier's office to be even remotely connected to any decisions that could amount to suppression of evidence."

What a zinger, Mike - How many times has this fancy foot work happened with political scandals involving the Prem's Office????? I smell an bad odor . . .

"Campbell himself decided to fix this. Last year, he transferred authority for review of the government papers to deputy attorney-general Allan Seckel.". . .

". . . . What Campbell didn't mention was that he had personally given Seckel this responsibility only weeks earlier, over concerns that the whole process was getting too close to the premier's office."

Well laudy dah . . . Campbell "fixed" it alright choosing very carefully just WHO he bestows the honour on! Pray tell, what other hot little hints did the Prem give Uncle Al re: guidelines on how to sort the steaming 'Hot Docs' connected to the Raid on the Leg, never mind after his cozy bureaucrats connected to the Prem's office had done their 'thing' for the previous 3 yrs. on the files.

Are the Deputy AG's immune to political sweet talk by the Prem?

Here's a handy dandy association:

Could it be that Uncle Al also had someone whispering in his ear at the all too political BC Law Society Bencher meetings, where none other than Campbell's kissing cousin & partner in crime, Ken Dobell resides as a Lay Bencher (appointed in 2006) beside Uncle Al?

But wait . . . isn't that the same Ken Dobell that has a Special Prosecutor appointed as we speak re: his naughty actions surrounding lobbying while not registered as a lobbyist . . . & to this day, continues to lobby with his finger in all of Campbell's concoctions, including all things Olympic?

It all comes back to the political tainting of the systems that that used to exist for the protection of the people but have become cancerous sores, that serve a few club members as they wheal & deal behind secretive closed doors.

Professor Robin Mathews so perfectly paints the ugly picture his recent Editorial on your site, Mary, linking all of these systems working seamlesslessly passing the ball to the club members in the BC Supreme courts, the BC Govt. & the police - at the highest levels; playing a dangerous 'game' that is ANYTHING BUT in the best interests of British Columbians.

It's a cesspool that needs to be drained with linkages cut.

Here's a stench; there's a stench; everywhere a stench, stench . . . where does it end, folks?

There are pressing questions that demand answers.

Again, thank you Mary, Robin, Mr. T & today I will add, Mike Smyth for continuing to expose the truth in the public arena
 
Mary, it wasn't the trial, but the sale of BC Rail came up in the legislature again today. Lumber mills in the Cariboo can't get rail cars because of CN's shoddy service, and the redoubtable Kevin Falcon calls that good news.

Hansard has the debate here:
http://leg.bc.ca/hansard/38th4th/H80226y.htm

And the NDP press release is here:
http://bcndpcaucus.ca/en/campbells_broken_bc_rail_promise_threatening_mill_jobs_wyse
 
As a poster predicted or tipped us to on this site awhile back, good ol' George got his award for service.

Province's public service innovators honoured

Jeff Rud
Times Colonist


Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Dr. Richard Bennett received the Gold Premier's Award for Excellence and Innovation during last night's public service awards for the Vancouver Island region.

Bennett was honoured for 30 years of work in air quality management. He is recognized as an international expert in the field.

A nine-member team from the Ministry of the Environment also received the Gold Award for their part in the Vancouver Island Marmot Recovery Program.

There were 67 Island nominations. Other winners:

Silver Awards: George Copley, Ministry of Attorney General, for "an exceptional and lasting contribution to the public service and the province's legal system.

Office to Combat Human Trafficking, involving the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General and the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

Bronze Awards: Andrew Wharton, Ministry of Employment and Income Assistance.

"Under his leadership, government actions have come together through B.C.'s Disability Strategy to produce a concerted focus for change."

Alan Markwart, Ministry of Children and Family Development. For more than 30 years, "Markwart has continually led and inspired change."

First Voices Capacity Building Project, Ministry of Labour and Citizens' Services, and the First Peoples' Heritage, Language and Culture Council.

"A synergistic project designed to achieve language preservation and revitalization while building community capacity."

Pacific Rim Bear Smart Program in Ucluelet and Port Alberni.

"A community-based group that has partnered with the Ministry of Environment, national parks, local government, and other non-profit environmental groups to reduce conflict between humans and bears."

jrud@tc.canwest.com

© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2008
 
Hi Mary,

M.de jong seems to be doing a lot of bobbing and weaving but does not make the case.

That’s the way I see it, but it’s not always easy to follow politicians.

This is from feb.26,2008-hansard blue draft transcript-www.leg.bc.ca


Point of Privilege
(continued)

Hon. M. de Jong: I rise to provide a response to the member for Nanaimo's regrettable and, in my view, ill-conceived motion of privilege. In short, I want to, and do, submit to you that at no time did the Premier ever mislead the House. I would further submit that the member knows that. It's unfortunate but sadly predictable that the member chose not to read or reference the full transcript of Hansard from May 28, 2007, which proves the point that his allegation is utterly without foundation. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
During that debate, the opposition leader repeatedly asked if the Premier would commit to releasing the documents in question without invoking privilege. The member for Nanaimo has also made that same demand. It's interesting, because essentially what they were and are demanding is that the Premier personally intervene and politically interfere on the application of privilege to the documents at issue. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
[1815]
In the estimates debate, the Premier repeatedly responded that he would do no such thing. He said: "My goal and the objective of the government throughout has been to proceed with an unfettered and, frankly, independent process." With respect to issues of cabinet confidentiality and decisions about privilege and the release of documents, he went on to note: "There's a special prosecutor in place, and I will not be involved in those discussions. That has been delegated to the Deputy Attorney General, and he will make those decisions as he sees fit." [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
The Leader of the Opposition then responded by noting that "the Premier said that that now is with the Deputy Attorney General, and they will make the decisions." She asked: "Is the Premier's office, then, not withholding any documents but handing them all over to the Deputy Attorney General so that the special prosecutor has all the documents to make the decisions?" [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
To which the Premier responded: "In terms of the screening of cabinet documents, all of those documents will be made available to the Deputy Attorney General. He will make the decision vis-à-vis cabinet confidentiality." [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
He said again: "I have delegated the responsibility for screening of cabinet documents in this particular case to the Deputy Attorney General. He will make all of those decisions. He will work directly with the special prosecutor and make those decisions without consulting me." [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
Over and over again the Premier explained that process about how documents would be released. Every word he said was correct then, and it's true today. That has now been borne out by the Deputy Attorney General in a letter responding to the critic, which I will table here for your consideration. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
In that letter, Mr. Seckel says this: "I believe that what the Premier said to describe my role in his estimates debate in May of 2007 is completely accurate. I was given the power to decide cabinet privilege without further consultation with the Premier or anyone in the Premier's office. I have done that." [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
Mr. Seckel goes on to note: "As a result of the exercise of my responsibility, I am satisfied that as of the date of this letter there are no documents that have not been disclosed based on any assertion of cabinet privilege. Indeed, at no time has any document ruled by the court to be relevant to this case been withheld on the basis of cabinet privilege. Further, at no time has cabinet been consulted on whether a document should not be provided or not." [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
I would further observe that if the member wants to play cute with the Premier's words with regard to the process he accurately described, he should look at his own leader's words. In that same debate she said: "I certainly would expect that the Premier's office will be involved in deciding documents to go forward and not go forward." She was obviously talking about how the process should operate going forward, which the Premier accurately said had been put in the hands of the Deputy Attorney General. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
The real point is this. No matter how the opposition tries to twist or misconstrue the Premier's answers in estimates, their allegation is groundless and utterly untrue. Indeed, in my view it is the member who should apologize for abusing this House and its processes. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Interjections. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Mr. Speaker: Members. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
Continue. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. M. de Jong: It is the member who should consider apologizing to the Deputy Attorney General for indirectly impugning his reputation in these political attacks and indirectly impugning the conduct of longtime, non-partisan public servants like Joy Illington. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
Most importantly, as Mr. Seckel says in his letter, the real point is whether he, not the Premier, has "made decisions on the disclosure of government documents independent of political input." To which Mr. Seckel answers: "There has been no attempt by anyone to influence my decisions. I have been left entirely to my own judgment to decide these questions, and I have not consulted with anyone other than receiving legal advice from Mr. Copley. I take my independence on these and any justice issues very seriously and feel aggrieved when that independence is questioned." [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
[1820]
By trying to score some cheap political points through this baseless motion of privilege, that, I fear, is what exactly has happened. There is no evidence that the House has been misled, because the House has not been misled. In these circumstances, it is not, in my view, necessary for you to even turn your mind to the second element, which is wilfulness, for which I might add that the member provided absolutely no evidence. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
If anyone should apologize, it is the member for Nanaimo, not the Premier or anyone in this government. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Mr. Speaker: Members, I'll take this under advisement. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. M. de Jong: Mr. Speaker, I'll table the letter that I referred to in the submission. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
 
. . . Mr. Seckel answers: "There has been no attempt by anyone to influence my decisions. I have been left entirely to my own judgment to decide these questions, and I have not consulted with anyone other than receiving legal advice from Mr. Copley. I take my independence on these and any justice issues very seriously and feel aggrieved when that independence is questioned."

Dep. AG Seckel's words give pause for thought:

Is this the same Mr. Allan Seckel that represented the Eron Mortgage stakeholders in the biggest fraud case in Canada or did I get misinformation?

If so, is it true that lawyer Seckel agreed with one of the lawyers for the Defendants, one of the Slobogians, without permission of his clients, to agree to pay the lawyers in this case from the trust fund held with one of the Defendant's lawyer's firm?

Is it true that when the stakeholders found out and were livid about this 'behind the scenes' agreement between lawyers, the BC Supreme Court Ordered (just as Judge Bennett has made 'Court Orders' in the Raid trial) the monies be returned to the Eron Mortgage Trust Fund?

Is it true that the monies were never paid back into the trust fund?

Didn't the stakeholders lose all of their investments/life savings in the massive fraud case?

Is it true that the the Judge never 'Cited' the Defendant's lawyer (just as Judge Bennett has chosen NOT to 'Cite' persons refusing to follow up on her orders, as Robin has noted) when he failed to return the monies to the Eron Mortgage Trust Fund?

Did this other lawyer (sadly who committed suicide in 2005 apparently from long term mental illness as published in the BC Law Society Mag) whose firm held the Eron Trust Fund ever act as a Special Prosecutor on any other political cases before the BC Supreme Court when the Court Order was in effect?

Can the people of British Columbia REALLY trust Mr. Seckel's "own judgment" to act in the best interest of British Columbians, as he is handed 'tasks' by the Premier, personally, re: the Raid on the Leg while "receiving legal advice from Mr. Copley" the lawyer acting for the Premier & Executive Council?

There seems to be a pattern to all of this tangled web of conflicts of interests that does NOT bode well, if this info is correct.

Is anyone able to confirm the accuracy or enlarge on the information above?

Perhaps, Mr. Seckel could help us all out.
 
By the way, George Copley did get an award from the Premier this week.

I wonder if the Premier had a 60 second conversation with him as well??
 
"
If so, is it true that lawyer Seckel agreed with one of the lawyers for the Defendants, one of the Slobogians, without permission of his clients, to agree to pay the lawyers in this case from the trust fund held with one of the Defendant's lawyer's firm?

Is it true that when the stakeholders found out and were livid about this 'behind the scenes' agreement between lawyers, the BC Supreme Court Ordered (just as Judge Bennett has made 'Court Orders' in the Raid trial) the monies be returned to the Eron Mortgage Trust Fund?

Is it true that the monies were never paid back into the trust fund?"


Could this be a case of "Justice First and Foremost," especially for the poor underpaid lawyers. Of course they should be paid before the ripped off victims in the case, after all who is justice for and what's it all about. People who lose their life savings seem like barely an afterthought in our justice system.
 
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