Thursday, March 13, 2008

 

Campbell & Co. pay a political price in two court cases, says Vancouver Sun

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Shachi Kurl
Special to the Sun - Thursday, March 13, 2008

[Following a bare-knuckles review of the Ken Dobell case, Vancouver Sun's editorial continued with the Basi-Virk/BCRail Case, as follows - BC Mary] ... The second blow came Tuesday, with more explosive allegations out of the court hearing from the continuing legal drama that is the BC Rail case.

After ripping apart the RCMP's conduct in the investigation into whether a couple of ministerial aides profited from the government's sale of the then-publicly owned company, the defence team's legal bulldogs are closing out a year (a year!) of pre-trial motions by sharpening their claws on the government.

And they're going straight to the top, alleging the premier personally interfered with the process of disclosing key evidence that defence lawyers say puts their clients innocence at stake, and could serve to acquit them.

To that end, they are asking the judge to make an order to compel Campbell to testify during pre-trial motions about what he may or may not have done, a request government lawyers will move vigorously to block.

Now, admittedly, there is a certain fatigue factor here, a saturation point at which the eyes of all but the most diehard political and legal junkies are certain to glaze over. Process is not usually known for its sexiness.

But, this government has reason to be worried about the machinations playing out in Courtroom 54 of B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. {Snip} ...

Every time you think this case has fragmented into oblivion with a tangle of applications and challenges, it reforms long enough to shed some unflattering light on the political and administrative inner workings of government.

Today, the Campbell government finds itself just over a year from election, muted by its own standard line, that "the case is before the courts," unable and unwilling to respond to growing pile of allegations at its feet.

Grumbling in some corners suggest the defence is on a revenge mission, throwing up frivolous legal red herrings out of political spite.

This would have some traction save for the fact that the judge in this case, Justice Elizabeth Bennett, has backed the defence lawyers in their disclosure applications, allowing them to step a little farther down the path they seek to go.

And the defence team knows it has to skate carefully or risk being called offside at any moment. It's one of the reasons defence lawyer Kevin McCullough avoids talking to reporters outside court as he chomps cigars and guzzles Coke during court breaks.

If this government won't respond explicitly and publicly in word to accusations of a lack of transparency and accountability, perhaps it will respond in deed by offering no further delay in providing whatever relevant evidence the defence is seeking.

After all, B.C. taxpayers may recover nearly $7,000 from Dobell, fees he collected while illegally lobbying, fees he's promised to repay.

But they will never see a penny of the millions already spent on the BC Rail case, more than four years after the raid on the legislature, and months before a single word of testimony is to be uttered at trial.

http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/editorial/story.html?id=807e2cff-129c-49e4-b3bc-7dba04095975

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Is Premier Campbell worried? From Times Colonist March 13, 2008:

DOBELL GETS ABSOLUTE DISCHARGE

Canwest News Services - March 13, 2008

VANCOUVER - Ken Dobell, a former deputy minister and senior adviser to Premier Gordon Campbell, has received an absolute discharge for what the judge termed a trivial breach of a regulation.

The 39-year public servant pleaded guilty to violating the Lobbyists Registration Act for failing to register for work he did representing the City of Vancouver. Fines under the act can range up to $25,000.

Defence lawyer George Macintosh asked the judge Wednesday to give Dobell an absolute discharge because what occurred was "an honest but mistaken belief" that he didn't need to be registered. {Snip} ...

The special prosecutor in the case previously said there was sufficient evidence to charge Dobell with influence-peddling as a result of his work for Vancouver lobbying the province on social housing. However, he said laying such a criminal charge was not in the public interest.

Prosecutor Terrence Robertson said Dobell's relationship with the premier helped him land a contract with the City of Vancouver, which expected him to use his influence with the province to secure "government contributions" for social housing.

Dobell served as deputy minister to Campbell from 2001 until he retired in 2005. He returned after retirement as a special adviser to the premier and subsequently took on lobbying work.

His successor as deputy minister to the premier, Jessica McDonald, cleared him of conflicts, most recently in an April 27, 2007, letter to Campbell.

"I remain satisfied that Mr. Dobell fulfilled his obligations with respect to managing potential conflict of interest, and that the discussion he and I had and the procedure we agree to effectively safeguarded the province's interest," McDonald wrote.

The NDP has called for the dismissal of McDonald, whom they said failed to protect the public interest.

"When you take a look at the facts: Twice she cleared Ken Dobell," said NDP leader Carole James. "She signed off on contracts that the special prosecutor says are enough evidence for influence-peddling. ... It shows a lack of due diligence and she's not doing her job."

Campbell also said he agreed with the way McDonald handled the Dobell affair.

"I am satisfied with not only the way she's handled that, but the way she's handled other issues in government,'' he said. "She's a woman who's acted with nothing but integrity and the highest ethical standards."

Dobell remains a registered lobbyist to the B.C. government on housing for Vancouver and transportation for Cubic Transportation Systems Inc., which deals in transit gates and fast passes.

He remains a provincial appointee to the board of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Organizing Committee, but that position is voluntary with only reasonable expenses and travel paid.

Dobell also chairs the Vanoc finance committee and is a member of the strategic communications committee.

He is also a volunteer board member for Legacies Now, a non-profit society that is partially funded by provincial tax dollars.

James said Dobell should be dropped from the Vancouver 2010 and Legacies Now boards and removed as a lobbyist to government in the meantime.

"There's no question in my mind that the government needs to stop dealing with him,'' James said.

jrud@tc.canwest.com
lkines@tc.canwest.com

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Comments:
Hi Mary

I e-mailed Carol James last night and bet the farm that when the judge in Dobells' case hands down his decision it would be an absolute discharge. One reason I did this was because in the legislature Wally seems to know something in advance when he keeps saying they "follow the rule of law". Which to me says that if the judge hands down a absolute discharge then the government can say there is no case and no comment.
The other reason I did this is because if the BC Rail case gets dropped they will use the same tactic. And that fact alone set off my tirade the other day when I realized that this could happen. That's why I called for a mass rally.
 
I'd be interested to know how many visitors you've had of late signed on from a BC Systems machine Mary.

The rumours I've heard indicate there's a great deal of 'interest' in the recent outing of Ken Dobell and Jessica Macdonald for the bosom buddies they so obviously are.

Real professional civil servants are, and have been, aghast at the kinds of things OIC-appointment Campbell “servants” have been up to all over government.

I know there's sustained interest in the Basi Boyz too - and not just out of curiosity regarding their fate.

Remember those secret witnesses?

Lotta people over here have some thoughts about who, exactly, they are.

And, to harken back to another 'old' story...when is it that little Erik Bornmann goes cap in hand to the LSUC again?

serenity now.
 
Good piece! I wonder how the government will respond.... oh I forgot, the matter is before the courts.
 
Express Collision Shop Said,

PLAGIARY-ONE WHO TAKES THE WRITINGS OF OTHERS AND GIVES THEM OUT AS HIS OWN. PLAGIARISM-THE ACT OR PRACTICE OF PLAGIARIZING.

WOW!!! What a morning. I recieved a phone call yesterday from a collision shop up north. This salt of the earth kind of guy said "The big newspapers are stealing their stuff almost word for word from Mary's site". I thought about it for a bit and reread some of the last few days newspaper articles. Then I reread some of the past five days comments and "Holy Dr. Lobby" salt of the earth is spot on. Bloggers from this site have been concerned about these lobbyist's since day one. Check out some of the exact,unique words/ism's in the last few days comments and newspaper articles on the lobbying fiasco. Hat's off to Mary!!!

The sad part of some of this coverage is that everyone seems to believe Dr. Lobby that this very intelligent man did not realize he was lobbying. Even after he was outed by the bloggers and media and a few days before court, this man really did not think he was lobbying or so he says.

I read somewhere(in the many articles) that Jessica McDonald had higher ups ok Dr. Lobbys shenanigans. I would like to know who those higher ups were. I am not holding my breath to wait for any apologies from CONTROL-FREAK-IN-CHIEF. (Palmerism)
 
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Good luck with that mass protest, gary E.

Serenity Now: I've asked our #1 (and unique) Techie if he can sort out that question. Would sure like to know if The Legislature is listening!!

Collision Guy: hey, what an amazing extension of our efforts! Thanks a million for telling us.

And HELLO, UP NORTH! Did you know that it's YOU on my mind, when I start up asking for TV Cameras in the BCRail Trial courtroom -- broadcasting over the government channel -- so you and everybody can follow the details??

I understand that the request must come from the lawyers involved -- and be addressed to Judge Bennett, who would decide YES or NO -- but I have a feeling that we could make our wishes known, to good effect, right now.

And thanks again, Collision Guy.

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OK.

The Dobranos case is no longer before the courts.

Thus, am now very much looking forward to the punditry hounding Messrs Campbell, Oppal, deJong et al., to the ends of the Ledge demanding answers to those questions they backed out of earlier in the week.

And am very sure/absolutely certain that those answers will be splashed all over the papers and the 'lectronic media by tomorrow morning....

Sure am.

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One prediction down one to go. Let's just see how Stonewally reacts this afternoon in question period. He'll probably just mimic the judge.
 
"The special prosecutor in the case previously said there was sufficient evidence to charge Dobell with influence-peddling as a result of his work for Vancouver lobbying the province on social housing. However, he said laying such a criminal charge was not in the public interest."

Really . . .Ridiculous? Of course. Don't even try to struggle with it, my friends. It is what it is . . . but the last thing this IS . . . is a decision made in the publics best interests; Nothing IS now in British Columbia.

"Not in the public interest" . . . incredulous, that a S.P. would have the questionable intelligence/perceived disdain/seriously compromised ethics to say that in his role on behalf of British Columbians that are being bilked by this circle of bandits for their own best interests. Not good enough, sir . . . just who are your 'masters'?

Just another blatant sick symptom of the circle that is controlling British Columbia; that ensures that one of their own is placed in positions to yank their leash to get the 'right' outocme for THEIR best interests.

Alas, people, this was a totally predictable outcome for those of us who know that the justice system has been totally corrupted by key string pullers to "dismiss" & cleanse all wrongdoing of those linkages in the 'circle". Don't want any messy scandals do we . . .? This lack of diligence with the truth is an all too familiar pattern in the justice system where political agendas are threatened that live outside of the best interests of British Columbians.

One only has to review the circumstances over the past few years, where "Special" prosecutors are appointed to sensitive political files; there is a tainted pattern to this game. The term "special" seems to mean other than what we all believed it meant in different times - when there was honour in the justice system.

The solution lies outside of the justice system. The solution lies with the people saying: "Enough - we deserve better."

If there was "sufficient evidence" sir - where are your ethics? Where is your backbone? You are NOT serving the publics best interests. You, sir, are serving the wishes of the 'circle'.

And we expect justice in the Raid in the Leg . . . NOT.
 
I have just read the Hansard "Blues". My prediction was 100% correct. The Government side is saying because of an absolute discharge there is no case. No one is accountable. No one has done anything wrong.

Mr. Campbell, you're fired.
 
Express Collision Shop Said,

Earseyeswideopen I have to agree with you except on the "circle" tag. A correct name may be "cartel". I noticed a QC cleared Dr. Lobby of his work.(hansard today)more on this later.
 
Reading question period would be bad enough. some of us actually watched it all on TV.Wally finally handed over to Mad Dog Mike who really did some raving. But as a poster reported , Hell it's nothing and the Opposition are mad because he got a conditional discharge. Jenny Qwan was quite sharp and asked about the"others that might well have done the same as Dobell" Is the Ag's staff checking to see who they are if they are too breaking the law. High Drama? No just a bit of a farce, and now two weeks off so it will cool off. DL
 
In the choice of the word "trivial", the justice system reveals itself - and it is not a pretty sight.

Express Collision Shop: I found that QC statement clearing Dr. Lobby "interesting" as well.
 
.....Still waiting for those questions to be answered....

What's that?

They've all left?

For two weeks?

Oh.

Never mind.

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Regarding 'all those other guys' that Mr. Dobell noticed....perhaps he could tell us all about them, and maybe even name some names, in a second essay (written entirely to serve the public interest, of course).
 
(the actual, non-fake)earseyeswideopen sez:

"Alas, people, this was a totally predictable outcome for those of us who know that the justice system has been totally corrupted by key string pullers to "dismiss" & cleanse all wrongdoing of those linkages in the 'circle". (or as Body Shop guy correctly points out "cartel" - I prefer "cabal.")

This all reminds me of a time long ago when the phone line burned between Herb Doman on the Coast and Bill Bennett up at the family "Duchy" near Kelowna, one morning. Then by sheer coincidence zillions of Doman shares flooded the VSX and TSX just before they (Doman shares) took a dive to value levels comparable to BRIC shares.

(As a probably unanticipated bonus result, the BC Teacher's Federation Retirement Fund wound up with bags of virtually worthless paper as they were buying that day. It appears they hadn't had the good fortune to know the proposed merger involving Doman was toast.)

That time the BC Justice System set speed records in getting the "boys" before its court - before the nasty courts in Ontario, where they actually have insider trading laws with teeth, could take a shot at them. It doesn't really seem to change except for the degree and arrogance of the offenders. Once they had their wrist slapped in BC, Ontario couldn't touch them, thanks protection against double jeopardy.
 
koot--

You mean that wasn't a conference call?

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You guys are good. Woo Hoo.

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This link doesn't seem to be working.
Did it work previously
Or did Canwest pull the plug?

Is it possible to find another URL for this article?
 
I would like to add that through the court's astounding choice of the word "trivial" - the justice system, in essence, trivializes itself.
 
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