Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Must RCMP raid BC Legislature again?
Why should the trial of Her Majesty the Queen vs Udhe Basi, Bobby Virk, and Aneal Basi be stalled in Vancouver Supreme Court, torturing everyone concerned, costing millions of dollars, because of BC government documents stubbornly undisclosed?
Maybe Ottawa provided the answer today. It's not so complicated, really. Consider how Ottawa handled it ...
Elections Canada and the Conservative party have been engaged in a protracted legal battle over alleged campaign spending irregularities from the 2006 election. 2006? Only 2 years? Call that "protracted"?? Phhhhtt. Come to British Columbia. B.C. has been waiting 4 years + 3.5 months for disclosure of certain government documents. We've been waiting to find out exactly how BC Rail slid from public ownership into private ownership. We, the people of B.C. who used to own this railway, haven't even seen the agreement by which CN took BC Rail away from us! Would Ottawa put up with that? I think not.
Maybe the Ottawa formula would work in the West, too. Here's how they got disclosure today.
Somewhat like us, Elections Canada had a non-disclosure problem with the Conservative Party. So Elections Canada asked the RCMP to help them execute a search warrant. Imagine. Simple, really.
Soon -- just like that -- Andre Thouin, an elections official, was walking out of the Conservative Party Headquarters of Canada in Ottawa today carrying precisely the documents required to complete their investigation. At least, I hope that's what he had.
Also, two police officers entered the office, and later rolled a cart full of boxes and bags out of the 12th floor downtown Ottawa office and into a mail room.
"It's unclear why Elections Canada undertook this action today," the prime minister said. Just as the premier of B.C. would probably say, if Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett orders up a Search Warrant authorizing the Special Prosecutor, with RCMP, to drop in on the Executive Offices of the B.C. government -- to fetch the documents needed for the defence of Basi, Virk, and Basi.
Today, April 15, 2008, in Ottawa, federal Opposition members appeared flabbergasted. Just as the B.C. Opposition probably would appear flabbergasted if such a miracle happened here.
"How did it get to this -- an RCMP squad raiding the offices of the Conservative Party," asked Liberal Deputy Leader Michael Ignatieff. "Why did (the RCMP) have to pry information from this government's clenched fist ... This is what you get when you play fast and loose with election law. This is what you get when you stonewall Elections Canada ... This is what you get with this prime minister. He sets the tone. Will he finally admit (that) this is about his character?"
While party officials maintain they didn't break any campaign spending rules, Elections Canada disagrees. Opposition parties have also accused the Tories of fraud.
John Enright, a spokesperson for Elections Canada told The Canadian Press the RCMP's assistance was requested by elections commissioner William Corbett to help carry out a search warrant.
RCMP Cpl. Jean Hainey said the RCMP was only assisting. "It is not an RCMP investigation. We're there to assist, but that's it."
Well, it makes a British Columbian think. Suddenly, I asked myself: why couldn't we do something like that in Victoria? Long ago, Madam Justice Bennett ordered full disclosure of documents. The lawyers defending Basi, Virk, Basi have asked, asked, and asked again for documents. In the past month, the defence lawyers say nothing whatever has been given to them. Nothing.
So why don't they -- like Ottawa did -- request a Search Warrant and an RCMP escort to go down to the Legislature and pick up the documents which could finally, after 51 months of torture, get the BCRail trial under way? Why not?
- BC Mary.
From: Canadian Press
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
I have been wondering something for a long time now, why aren’t the authorities in the United States involved in this BC rail scandal?
Seems like someone in the U.S. would be interested in the fact that two companies based out of their country (CN, omniTRAX) were involved in what many believe to be a billion dollar fraudulent deal (subtract taxes of course). Considering this is a international deal and I remember reading on your blog that the Vancouver based FBI had given the OK for the RCMP to go to Hawaii and interview top ranking B.C. Liberal government officials, which means that they are presumably fully aware of the situation.
You would think that there would be a separate investigation ongoing by U.S. authorities into possible wrong doing by companies involved in this case. Not suggesting that the companies themselves were knowingly in the wrong, but rather that they may have been caught up in the scandal and could assist in finding out what actually had taken place in the deal that they were involve in. There must be some red flags the U.S. can see in this scandal. The defence in the trial, I’m sure, would like to ask some hard questions of these companies when/if it comes about.
This whole scandal seems so much bigger then Gordon Campbell and his enablers, and even bigger then the obvious manipulation going on by just about everyone with authority that comes in contact with this case. One would hope that an outside entity could not be slanted one way or another and would force Campbell to release all the information needed to clear this up. It boggles the mind that they just might get away with a tainted sale of are railroad without explanation.
Mary, I’m wondering if you have heard anything involving the U.S justice branch or maybe stock exchange authorities or anything outside our province? It’s unclear if our authorities even went down this path.
If not, I’m wondering what your thoughts are, and others on this part of the story?
I'll ask around.
The thought occurs, however, that if U.S. interests saw no problem with the way things turned out, they would not have been eager to ask any awkward questions.
Where is Omnitrax's angst over this raw deal for them? Unless the angst was "assuaged" somehow?
Anonymous's question also fits in with the way that American kayaker was "returned"
to the US - never a word said - and no mention of what has transpired since.
So yes, good question: Why is there no international aspect pursued to some of the international implications of this case?
Anonymous 1:24 poses some very good questions.
I think, months, perhaps years ago there was someone who suggested that if the fraud had taken place in the US that it might have triggered American scrutiny...but since the events in question took place in Canada it didn't have any bearing on the US.
I suspect that's the case - remember that the only thing that caught Conrad was the fact he'd got caught under Delaware and Illinois law because one(or another) of his companies was registered there.
I don't think OmniTRAX was sorry to drop out of the bidding - remember, they were the object of the 'consolation prize' that was supposedly offered to them to stay in and make the deal with CN look like an arm's length transaction.
If the Port deal had gone through (consolation prize) and OmniTRAX had been given some unearned benefit - then, I suspect, the US would have been interested.
As far as CN is concerned I think the registered head office is still in Canada even though ownership is no longer Canadian.
Other than that, it's still a good question.
Solid reasoning, as always.
Maybe I'm becoming twisted and bent from 4+ years of trying to figure these issues out ... but I've always had a feeling that OmniTRAX lingers in the shadows and that the new, improved, expanded Roberts Bank / Deltaport facility is still pretty much "on the table".
These guys never forget a choice property for long. And it seems that everything -- EVERYTHING in B.C. -- is up for grabs. Yesterday (April 15, 2008) in Legislature Debates, there was mention of 8,200 "private power sites" (our creeks and rivers) covering 1.2 million hectares of B.C., are "on the table" which, to my mind, means every river, creek, ditch, swamp and puddle in the province.
So would that nice profitable ready-made Roberts Bank and Deltaport with its nice profitable ready-made Gateway prospects be forgotten? I don't think so.
How much was it that they paid for the Port of Churchill?
THE RCMP SHOULD RAID ICBC
ICBC Concerns Never Reached The Top? Today Victoria Times Colonist
Hey, have we not heard of this scandal being reported last year? Yes, we read it right here on this website many times.
Ecs, I couldn't agree more.
I was reading that Times Colonist story with disbelief when your comment came in. Are the journalists sending subliminal signals? Because readers could drive a truck through several of the loopholes in the management plan described here. The news item starts off:
ICBC CONCERNS NEVER REACHED THE TOP: report
Management unaware of repaired vehicles sold without disclosing history
By Jeff Rud and Lindsay Kines
Times Colonist - Thursday, April 17, 2008
Concerns about activities at an ICBC research and training facility in Burnaby were raised as far back as 2006 but never reached the company's CEO or senior management, according to a document tabled yesterday in the legislature.
An investigation that began this January revealed that the shop turned out nearly 100 repaired or rebuilt vehicles that were sold without disclosing their crash history.
A number of the vehicles were purchased by ICBC staff, and the corporation has admitted some employees won auctions of such vehicles with information that allowed them to enter a bid slightly more than the highest one ...
But nobody knew.
We should keep an eye on Hansard or the Legislature debates today, eh?
So, the senior suits at ICBC release a document at the legislature stating that the senior suits new nothing about these crimes.
Wow! Never seen that coming.
Call me old-fashioned, but I thought that the top guys ALWAYS took responsibility for what happened to the organizations they were leading.
That was true, whether they knew about wrongdoing or not. Because for heaven sake, it was their job TO KNOW. And if they didn't know every detail, they weren't doing their jobs.
I thought it was part of what they were paid the big bucks for.
I even thought CEOs were honour-bound to stick around and help sort out any problems.
Sheesh, it's newz to me that you can just write a letter or dictate a message to the press and leave town on the wings of "I know nothing!"
Who can believe such a statement?
People who read the Province, Sun or Times-Colonist and/or watch Global at Six and believe that they are getting the news, will most likely believe almost anything. One fifth of Americans think the earth circles the Sun daily, is it likely people in BC are all that much smarter?
I only manage to sleep at night because I know that Dick Cheney is helping Stephen Harper protect me while I'm sleeping! Remember that hynotists use "shiny objects" to lull their subjects.