Sunday, April 20, 2008

 

That $1Billion for BCRail, where is it?







You remember the colourfully decorated stage set up in the North Vancouver BCR station. Rumbling in the background was a BCRail diesel engine ready to travel. The assembled dignitaries had only to perform the ceremonial transfer of one billion dollars, then they'd be on their inaugural train journey through the British Columbia heartlands. Premier Campbell, his hair freshly silvered and a new Armani suit, smiled broadly as he stood waiting for the big boss of Canadian National to hand over that $1Billion cheque.


You remember that, don't you? No? Well, me either. I don't think it happened. I think there was no presentation, no ceremony, and who knows, maybe no cheque for $1Billion either. Would Gordon Campbell let such a milestone pass without turning it into a photo op?

So ... did the Province of British Columbia ever actually receive $1Billion? If so, how? When? I've been all weekend trying to sort that out. Here's some of the items found:

NEWS RELEASE - NOVEMBER 25, 2003
Office of the Premier
Ministry of Transportation

VICTORIA - The Province announced it has selected CN as the successful proponent for a new BC Rail Investment Partnership that will generate $1 billion in investment for B.C., help to revitalize the BC Rail system and create opportunities for economic development and job creation in the North ..."

Are those weasel words? Did BC get paid or not? Maybe that means something else altogether?


NEWS RELEASE
Ministry of Transportation
2003 - 4th Quarter News Releases

PRINCE GEORGE BC, Nov. 25, 2003 ... CN will pay the B.C. government $1 billion in cash to acquire the outstanding shares of BCRail Ltd., along with the right to operate over BCRail's roadbed under a longterm lease, with CN assuming responsibility for all B.C. operations north of Lilloet and west of Dawson Creek rail transportation and infrastructure maintenance. Prince George will become a key administrative and maintenance centre ... www.gov.bc.ca

OK, here's a thought: maybe that secret agreement specifies that CN pays $1 Million a year for the duration of the 999-year lease; $999Million; or: almost $1Billion. Is that it??

Well, not surprisingly, an Opposition member in B.C. Legislature debates asked on 28 February 2007 for "a public inquiry to determine what happened with the sale of BCRail. " Leonard Krog, MLA for Nanaimo, said " ... this government ... should have nothing to fear whatsoever. This government would have an opportunity to justify ... its sale of B.C. Rail ... [and] to brag, if you will, in a public way ... as to its able handling of the sale of B.C. Rail ... that it was right and wise and correct in the sale of B.C. Rail ... Instead, I hear resistance. "Are they afraid that the public will discover that the government got snookered; that maybe we sold an asset for far less than its value; that maybe the timing of the sale was absolutely inappropriate; that maybe the wisdom of some of those old Socreds no longer with us was in fact sound, was in fact in the best interests of the people of British Columbia, that W.A.C. Bennett was a true visionary; that those great public enterprises -- like BC Ferries, BC Rail, BC Hydro ... all built during that generation of expansion ... were in fact good ideas ... So I say to the members: if it was good enough for W.A.C. Bennett, if it was good enough for two generations of British Columbians, what went wrong? What changed that made it in the public interest ... to give away an opportunity to generate economic development,especially in the north, and to assist in the growth of public revenues ...?"

With help from Anon-Y-mice, I looked up the CN Consolidated Statement of Cash Flow and saw that "Acquisition of BC Rail" was included in their "Investing activities to December 31, 2004: 984 million." Perhaps others can advise on this, as the fact is: I can't see where $1Billion arrived in government coffers.

True, Premier Campbell had announced "the $1 Billion BCRail Investment Partnership to revitalize rail services, create jobs and economic opportunities". But he didn't say "Look, I have a cheque for $1Billion in my hand, made out to Province of B.C.!"

Furthermore, the new Minister of Transportation, Kevin Falcon, seemed to waffle in 2004 -- after the deal was signed -- when he said "The government entered into a partnership for BCRail that is expected to bring $1Billion to BC, eliminating the railway's debt and supporting new job growth." Expected to bring?
http://www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2004/sp/trans/trans_minister.htm

[I must say this "supporting new job growth" is a bit hard to swallow since the facts show that severe financial hardship was placed upon BCRail. The annual subsidy had been abruptly cut off, the Transportation Minister (Judith Reid) knowing full well that as a Crown corporation BCR couldn't go to the banks and borrow operating funds. In the last 2 years before the CN deal was signed, BCRail could no longer meet the demands of people in the north and continue to operate without subsidy. Their only recourse during the first 2 years of the Campbell regime was to downsize, so 600 railway workers had to be laid off, with a further 400 expected. The Campbell government referred to this as "job losses", blamed BCRail and vowed to seek out people who "knew how to run a railway". In addition, developers eyeing BCRail lands in communities they serviced, complained that BCR "tied up land" so some municipalities pushed until full taxation was imposed on railway lands. (W. Cobb, Hansard Nov 27/03) These two decisions suggest that BCRail stood little chance of survival under the current government. By contrast, when the Campbell government privatized BC Ferries Services Inc., they agreed to exempt the now-private company from paying $3.5 million taxes -- "a direct subsidy" said Jenny Kwan during Legislature Debates, "unlike the treatment of BCRail.]

And yet "more than a dozen local governments along the BCRail line passed motions opposing the sale of BCRail citing safety concerns ... See: http://www.bcfed.ca/node.1085

But if the new Transportation Minister in 2004 says that the $1Billion is only "expected" ... and the Premier refers only to an investment in B.C., what gives? "Not one $ will be used to balance the budget," said one M.L.A. during debate on Bill 89, the BCRail (Revitalization) Amendment Act, 2003.

On February 28, 2007, in the B.C. Legislature, the following questions are recorded in Hansard:

CALL FOR PUBLIC INQUIRY INTO SALE OF B.C. RAIL

L. Krog: Yesterday the Attorney General refused to answer questions about the role his government played in the B.C. Rail scandal investigation. We know that there were leaks of confidential commercial information. We know that the Roberts Bank spur line deal was canceled and taxpayer dollars were wasted. We know that criminal charges have been laid against B.C. Liberal political staffers. We know that the B.C. Liberals took massive political donations from CN. We know that several cabinet ministers sat on the committee charged with overseeing negotiations, but now none of those cabinet ministers will talk about their role and what they knew.

Will the Attorney General commit today to hold a public inquiry into the sell-off of B.C. Rail as soon as the criminal proceedings conclude so that B.C. taxpayers can finally get the answers they deserve?

Hon. W. Oppal: I'll reiterate the advice given to us by the special prosecutor through the Deputy Attorney General, and that is: it is not appropriate to comment publicly on any allegations made in this case that is before the court.

As a former judge of the Supreme Court, I can tell you, the members of this House, that there is a very grave danger of prejudice to a fair trial by continually discussing this issue, and the member there well knows that. The member who asked that question is a member of the bar, and he should know better than to ask that question.

L. Krog: Yes, thank you, hon. Speaker. I won't ask the question directly, but I will say, through you to the Attorney General, that this is a situation that cries out for a public inquiry. The taxpayers of British Columbia deserve a public inquiry, and I am again asking the Attorney General to commit to this House that as soon as the criminal proceedings are concluded, there will be a public inquiry held so that B.C. taxpayers get the answers they deserve about this matter.

Hon. W. Oppal: It would be totally inappropriate for me to comment and speculate as to what may take place in the future after a trial.

Mr. Speaker: Member for Vancouver–Mount Pleasant. Is this a new line of questioning?

J. Kwan: It's a question for the Premier.

Mr. Speaker: Continue.

J. Kwan: I am sorry to hear that the Attorney General doesn't understand that a public inquiry into this matter is essential for everyone in British Columbia.

Mr. Speaker: Member, we have to be very careful where we're going here. I think, with the advice of the Attorney General, that we have to be very, very careful, and I'm advising you once again.

Continue.

J. Kwan: I fully understand that. My question is not about the court case. My question to the Premier is: will the Premier not ... not commit to a full public inquiry after the court case into the B.C. Rail scandal? Or does the issue or the principle of double standard apply, and that trumps public interest?

Mr. Speaker: Member, this is the same line of questioning. I think we have to take a certain amount of advice from the Attorney General, in the fact that he was a Supreme Court judge and in the fact of where we're going. We can't go down the same line of questioning, because we are in an area that I think is going to cause some grief, as the Attorney General has said.

Does the member have something different that doesn't infer anything to do with the court case?

M. Farnworth: To the Premier: will he call a public inquiry, once all court cases and proceedings are over, into this matter?

Mr. Speaker: Next question.


So the issue of what happened to BCRail isn't clear in the BC Legislature either. The weekend is almost over and I still haven't found any trace of the actual Billion dollars. But I did find these items:

* Under the BC Rail sale agreement, the government is entitled to force improved performance from CN Rail. Violations can trigger a series of sanctions up to and including cancellation of the Agreement." For example, if trainmen are killed when CN engine brakes fail, or if sufficient rail cars aren't bought and maintained, BC can either force improvements or take back the railway. See: http://www.bcfed.ca/node/1085.

* That BCRail, despite all obstacles, reported an annual income from freight in 2003: $299,059,000.

* And that RAIL spelled backwards is ...

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Comments are especially welcome on this heavy-duty topic. What started us thinking about it was when someone asked what had been done with the $1Billion. - BC Mary.

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Special treat for hard-working Anon-Y-mice and all who remember BCRail ... 9 colourful minutes ... BCR horns echoing off canyon walls ... iron wheels squealing on the curves ... forests ... rivers ... horns again hooting "Outa my way, I got work to do ..." Watch the loaded railcars clicking past at the crossing ... see things as they once were ... things as they might be again:

BCRail, loaded and heading south: The Final Lap on the Squamish Sub.


or paste into address bar:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPc85XO5UKQ&feature=related


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Very special thanks to Kootcoot for installing BCRail photos and links here.

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December 3, 2003 in the BC Legislature

Leader of the 2-person Opposition grills the Minister of Transportation, Judith Reid, on BC Rail agreement. Finds there are two agreements under various names. Finds various completion dates. Asks what did CN get and what did CN give? You decide.

Have a look:
http://www.leg.bc.ca/hansard/37th4th/h31202a.htm ...

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In conclusion, a commentor finds:


Election BC records (Annual Financial Records) have Canadian National Railway boss, David McLean..... donating $62,500 to the BC Liberal Party, after his company "won" the right to take over BC Rail for 990 years.

doesn't seem right to me.

100111009.pdf page 81 of 239

http://142.36.252.26/cgi-bin/bcgifpdf/?_14078+100111009.pdf

# posted by Anonymous Anonymous

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Comments:
Excellant Mary

I'm sure these questions have entered others minds as well.

On the Premier: "the $1 BillionBC Rail investment partnership to revitalizerail services, create jobs and economic opportunities".
Wht is it that North of Lillooet we see people being laid off every day, companies going bankrupt, and a steady diminishing of railcars?

This is not what was promised. To renege on a promise in my humble opinion is to LIE. They can't on the one hand say the economy is booming and have all this happening in the Interior.

By the way I refuse to use the liberals "heartlands". We are the interior. Or the Cariboo, or the Chilcotin, or Northern BC. Always have been.
 
Mary, your site needs to come with a health warning...Caution, contents may raise your blood pressure.

Just when you think it can't get worse, the Campbell gang manage to make it so.
 
Some interesting facts from
Judith Reid's Ministry of Transportation
May 15, 2003

BC Rail: A vital part of our economic engine


BC Rail is Canada’s third-largest railway as measured by revenue and continuous track network. It operates exclusively within British Columbia and has interline connections to all rail-served points within North America.

The BC Rail network consists of 2,315 route-kilometres and 740 kilometres of industrial, yard and track sidings throughout the province.

The rail network consists of a 1,577-kilometre main line from North Vancouver to Fort Nelson, plus branch lines to Mackenzie, Dawson Creek, Tumbler Ridge, Fort St. James and Takla.

BC Rail’s fleet currently includes approximately 120 locomotives and 9,000 rail cars.

Approximately 73 per cent of BC Rail’s total revenue is generated by the transport of forest products, including lumber, pulp, woodchips, logs, oriented strand-board, plywood and veneer.
 
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Treason-commentor:

Sorry to delete your comment but too many words and no point.

Please re-write so that readers may see what you're getting at.

.
 
Hi Mary,
This could be the reason why you have not, and maybe, will never see that giant billion-dollar cheque.




Official Report of
DEBATES OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
(Hansard)

MONDAY, APRIL 26, 2004
Afternoon Sitting
Volume 24, Number 4


Proceedings in the Douglas Fir Room

Committee of Supply 10468
Estimates: Ministry of Transportation
Hon. K. Falcon
J. MacPhail
PROCEEDINGS IN THE
DOUGLAS FIR ROOM
Committee of Supply
The House in Committee of Supply A; L. Stephens in the chair.
The committee met at 2:53 p.m.
ESTIMATES: MINISTRY OF
TRANSPORTATION
J. MacPhail: I'm going to start with questions on B.C. Rail, and I'll make an opening statement about B.C. Rail.
I noted with the minister's…. He's using a message box line that clearly every single B.C. Liberal has been told to use. That's: "Under the leadership of our Premier." I notice he said that, and I notice in question period that they're all supposed to say: "Under the leadership of our Premier." Well, I'm going to describe what happened under the leadership of this B.C. Liberal Premier.
The Liberals campaigned on a new-era commitment to not sell or privatize B.C. Rail. They were elected by constituents who took them at their word. I'm sure there'll be Liberal MLAs standing up and saying to the minister: "Hey, we said we weren't going to sell B.C. Rail." So how's that going? The Minister of Transportation and the Premier claim that they have not sold or privatized B.C. Rail. It was interesting to hear what the CEO of CN, Hunter Harrison said when he told an analyst upon the conclusion of the deal. He said CN paid "$750 million to buy the business."
The Liberals have said repeatedly that they'll release the B.C. Rail sale deal to the public. I'm going to be comparing exactly what the then Minister of Transportation said when the bill was debated to what this minister has or has not committed. I'll be doing that throughout estimates. Everybody in the Liberal government has said: "Oh, we'll release the deal." It's months later — five months since the announcement of the sale — and still no sign of the deal.
So much has happened to make it famous. First of all, the infamy starts with a police investigation, a police raid on the Legislature. Its infamy continues with more than a dozen mayors and councillors on the B.C. Rail line, from Squamish to Fort St. James, asking for the deal to be opened and made public. The Premier has ignored their collective concern.
The Premier is ignoring it because, along with those mayors and councillors signing the letter, Jim Sinclair from the B.C. Federation of Labour also signed the letter. That's reason enough for this government to ignore everybody else. Their partisan ideology runs so deep that they risk the support of communities and politicians that actually supported them in their election because of this government's partisanship. However, these councillors and mayors asked the Premier in a letter "to suspend the sale of B.C. Rail until matters related to the raid on the Legislature have been fully investigated by the police."
If the B.C. Liberal government is interested in pursuing any level of accountability, the deal should be opened for scrutiny. It's not enough for the Premier to say he's willing to campaign on this in the next election. What's he going to campaign on? Open up the deal now.
Actually, here's why the government probably doesn't want to release the deal. Here's what we know already, taking a closer look. There are supposedly $1 billion of benefits for British Columbians. Wrong — $250 million of that is at risk.
It's not even guaranteed in terms of tax credits. We've had no ruling from the Canada Revenue Agency about whether CN is going to be able to use those tax credits to write down its own payment of taxes to Canada, so the taxpayers could be left on the hook for that $250 million if the Canada Revenue Agency doesn't agree with the Premier on the tax credits. It's the British Columbia taxpayers that will be on the hook for that.
Let's be clear. Even the $1 billion isn't $1 billion. CN is going to pay $250 million less in taxes than it would have prior to this deal because of this deal. How is that good news for Canadians or British Columbians that a
[ Page 10470 ]
private, publicly held corporation is going to be paying a quarter of a billion dollars less in taxes?
 
Mary, perhaps you should just ask Carole Taylor. She's got enough nerve to give you an answer. Did you notice how last week she announced that all the Crown Corp and other biggies who earn more than $125,000 per year will have to post their salaries, benefits, retirement deals, annual bonuses etc. Premier may be getting nervous. I sent him an e-message on Wed. last week, got a response
on Fri. Complained about trucks on Highways 17 and 99 and Fri. @ 5:30
a Greg Gilles (Director Community Vehicle Safety Branch Min. of Trans.) at 250-953-4024 said anyone who see a truck behaving badly should call him. Think everyone should program his number into their cell phones or Black berries and let him have it.
 
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Anon 2:34,

Great idea ... and I'm proud to say that one of our terrific Anon-Y-mice has already written to Carole Taylor, politely asking for verification of that $1Billion payment.

As for trucks ... I'm all for Citizen Participation in civic duty ... but surely the Vehicle Safety Branch of the Ministry of Transportation has all the tools and watchdogs they could possibly need?

Must Citizens do everything?

.
 
Mary sez:

"Must Citizens do everything?"

Well, duh!!!

The citizens also have to feed, water and otherwise provide for a forest of fence-posts with hair (well not all of them Ding Dong Sr.) that infrequently can be found hiding in a stone structure in James Bay on Southern Vancouver Island. If one goes there at the right (or wrong) time, one can hear them nattering about, spewing absurd childish insults back and forth and pretending to be engaged in constructive activity.

But don't be fooled, all the real biz and decisions take place behind a certain door between Gordo, Ken, Martyn and a select few who "matter." Meanwhile they send out StoneWally and the brace of Ding Dongs to provide cover and build walls of stone to obscure the truth from the unsuspecting public, who only matter slightly and briefly every four years (American style, by royal request of Emperor Gord).
 
Mary, Yes. In this province it's time we citizens took charge. Cheers.
 
You're asking an excellent question, BC Mary.

I think a lot of things seemed to be booked against the BC Rail deal, including that 250 million dollars anonymous 12:10 mentions above.

This is from hansard, Oct. 6, 2004. Note that Kevin Falcon is speaking in the past sense when it comes to payment of the billion - but where's the cheque? "Show us the Money", Mr. Falcon!"

"Hon. K. Falcon: Mr. Speaker, less than three months ago, Premier Gordon Campbell announced that this government had finalized a historic billion-dollar investment into our province through the B.C. Rail–CN investment partnership. While the public continues to own the railway's railbeds, rights-of-way and tracks, CN has paid the province $1 billion for the rights to act as the long-term operator."

As BC Mary aptly notes, it so unlike the premier to overlook a major photo-op like the presentation of a billion dollar cheque. Wonder why?
 
BC Mary,

I am not 100%, but this is what I can recall as far as the numbers side of things went:

BCR Shares: $1,000,000,000
Tax incentives: ($250,000,000)
NBV Assets received: ($800,000,000)
Total cost: $0

I beleive that the CNs financial statements reflect the numbers above. I am sure that CN will be able to depreciate the value of the assets above as well. I would love to know what their annual lease payments are for our land. If you look at the 2007 CN Financials, there is no mention of any significant operating or capital leases relating to the BC Rail properties.

I also noted that one excerpts in your letter stated that CN would be running north of Lilloet. If that is the case, who the hell is running trains between Squamish and North Van...
 
Hi mary,

here is some info on the lease agreement,it's not a solid answer but it's a start.



Official Report of
DEBATES OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
(Hansard)


TUESDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2003

Morning Sitting

Volume 19, Number 6
Official Report of
DEBATES OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
(Hansard)


MacPhail: Government also said they weren't going to sell B.C. Rail. How much did they pay? How much did CN pay for B.C. Rail Ltd. and B.C. Rail Investment Partnership? How much did CN pay to buy those two Crown corporations?

Hon. J. Reid: CN has not paid anything yet. They will pay when the deal closes. When the deal closes, they will be paying $1 billion for those shares and units.

J. MacPhail: That's $1 billion for the two — for the shares of B.C. Rail and B.C. Rail Partnership?

Hon. J. Reid: Yes.

J. MacPhail: Well, then how much are they paying for lease costs?

Hon. J. Reid: That's included as an upfront lease payment.

[1135]

J. MacPhail: Okay. Did CN pay $850 million to buy B.C. Rail Ltd. and B.C. Rail Partnership?

Hon. J. Reid: The lease will be between BCRC and B.C. Rail Ltd. The lease sits with B.C. Rail Ltd., and that lease is part of the assets of B.C. Rail Ltd. That's why it's part of the overall $1 billion cash payment.

J. MacPhail: How much did CN pay for the shares and the shares alone?

Hon. J. Reid: One billion.

J. MacPhail: Well, I hate to do this, but…. Then we received wrong information.

So the shares that CN paid for those two companies is $1 billion, and out of that the minister is saying the lease payment will be made. To whom? I'm telling you, Mr. Chair, I need the minister to give me the very specific details on this, because it contradicts information we received.

Hon. J. Reid: As I stated, the lease agreement is between BCRC and B.C. Rail Ltd., so that is embedded as the operations and the operational side of the railway. Those operational assets are separated off from the land, and that lease is with B.C. Rail Ltd. That is all one, so that is included in the $1 billion. In the accounting treatment of that, as we work through this — and this is worked through with the B.C. Rail accountants, it's worked through with the comptroller general, and

[ Page 8355 ]

it's worked through eventually with the auditor general obviously taking a look at this — the accounting value could be approximately $150 million.

[1140]

J. MacPhail: The accounting value of the lease is $150 million — is that correct? — and therefore the accounting value of what CN is paying to buy those two companies is $850 million. I don't know why the minister is so reluctant to reveal these details of which her government is so proud. I mean, these are eventually going to come out. Now, has the auditor general signed off on this deal?
 
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Anon 8:04, many thanks ...

Anon 12:07, big thanks too. I followed up on that debate and recommend reading it all. The Hansard link is shown at the end of the post.

.
 
Hi Mary,

Mary, this is off topic but I thing rather interesting.

Keith Baldrey was the guest host of the voice of BC last week; this program was to inform British Columbians on the new realities of energy in BC. The panel included Baldrey, Scott Simpson-V.sun, David Austin-lawyer. To be fair, right off the top, there were some very good questions raised TO the panel, but ultimately, the obvious questions were either disagreed with by the panel, down played or weaseled away. The panel did not come across with a very strong argument, in fact, rather weak. And the way in which Baldrey phrased the questions was very obvious and should have been noticed by most.

The panel’s message is that, “independent power producers” are not the bogyman, and that the public is always scared of change, SITE C is BAD and IPP run-of-the-river and wind power projects are GOOD. The question of why BC Hydro is not building the new projects? …. get this………… because BC Hydro is busy enough all ready!!

Keep in mind this was a one hour program.

# of times we were given dire warnings of Hydro rates going up: 4

# of times the panel disagreed with any part of Campbell’s energy polices: 1
(Scott Simpson thought that it might be a good idea to do the environmental
assessments first as apposed to last.)

# of times the discussion of outrageously high power rates we will have to
pay to the IPP’s was raised: 0

# of times the fact that these high energy prices will make
Campbell’s friend’s very rich: 0

# of times the 90’s and the NDP were brought up: 3

Being able to recognise this program for what it was, and call “BS” on this blatantly bias Gordon Campbell PR
exercise………………………………………………………………………..priceless!
 
Those Anon-O-Mice....

They really are something...

Thanks!

.
 
.
Anon 2:16,

Sure wish you'd send this message to Keith Baldrey too ... perhaps it never occurs to them that their viewers are getting the message, all right ... the real message.

Great line there, about "Being able to recognise this problem for what it was ... priceless!"

.
 
This question may be somewhat off topic, but yesterday I attended the Vancity Credit Union AGM. There we were introduced to Vancity's new AGM, Tamara Vrooman, who had previously been Deputy Finance Minister in the BC governmnt. As Ms. Vrooman was involved in the BC govenment for over a decade, has her name ever come up in connection with the BC Rail affair?
 
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You're so right, Gazetteer: I am nothin' without those mice. Serious.


Anon 4:27, a quick search on a balky computer and the only place I can see where Tamara Vrooman's path crosses anywhere close to BCRail issues is when she replaced Paul Taylor at Treasury Board when P.T. left it to take up the CEO poition at ICBC.

But she was in the public service for 10 years and according to Hansard she sang Campbell's praises mightily ... so she must have done some work on the BCRail Case ... worth a further search. Google "Tamara Vrooman + BC Rail" and you'll be surprised what turns up.

Thanks for your comment. Tell us more!

.
 
Election BC records (Annual Financial Records) have Canadian National Railway boss, David McLean..... donating $62,500 to the BC Liberal Party, after his company "won" the right to take over BC Rail for 990 years.

doesn't seem right to me.

100111009.pdf page 81 of 239

http://142.36.252.26/cgi-bin/bcgifpdf/?_14078+100111009.pdf
 
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Anon 6:18,

Thanks! I'm with you, on this one: it sure doesn't jibe.

Can people and/or corporations still make political donations as large as this?

Nope, it sure doesn't seem right.

.
 
The real question should be "Why are companies who have no vote, permitted to donate to political parties?
***************************************************
On a side issue, you be the judge, but in the case of John Les being investigated by the RCMP, Vancouver Sun reporters have suggested a link to three Christian Schools, all having obtained access to expand onto the Agriculture Land Commission designated properties without officials knowing of it.

Chilliwack Council doesn't care where the property comes from, their only interest is in zoning.

However, if I were a parent in one of these three lucky schools, would I feel....... obligated to reward the politicians who arranged for my being able to send my children to a .. private school, rather than public schools?

Would I be contributing to the public school being forced to close their doors because of a dramatic drop in enrollment?

Would the land upon which the public schools sit, inside city limits, be sold.... to land developers to make way for more housing?
 
Express Collision Shop Said,

Speaking of John Les. ALR, RCMP and THE COMPETITION BUREAU ?

The Competition Bureau of Canada has been asking questions around the ICBC mess along with the RCMP. These two bodies have been asking about a trade association or two. A very good rumour has it that the RCMP raided a collision shop and house in Langley yesterday and found all sorts of interesting tools and equipment that we all paid for. A very good rumour has it that the owner used to work for a large crown corporation.

A few ICBC employee's have been turning in some pretty nice cars a month or so ago. A few of these cars were allegedly turned in by the Special Investigations Unit. These officers of the law have special designation as peace officers under guess who.......... yes, the Solicitor General. Good thing ICBC stripped this bodies authority a month ago.

Interesting to note the delay(almost two weeks) before ICBC's director's told the Solicitor General of this scandal. Also of interest is a recent document on ICBC's website called "Shareholder's Letter of Expectations" signed in the past few weeks. So the rumours were true that there were three complaints and one investigation in the past two years regarding this mess. I find it hard to believe that three complaints and a major internal investigation was done at ICBC and this info was not conveyed to the executive committee or CEO ?

Good work Mary on this mess. The ledge trial jigsaw puzzle keeps unfolding with all sorts of greedy characters. You might want to bring up that original search warrant list of names with 17 or so persons of interest and one or two names may jump out to concerned bloggers.
 
re: Vancity

At Tuesday's AGM it was revealed that Vancity's net earnings dropped from $159,149,000 in 2006 to 73,981,000 in 2007. Vrooman blamed this shortfall on the subprime mortgage/asset backed paper debacle which took place in August 2007,one month before she became Vancity CEO. I can't help but wonder if the income trust fiasco of 2006 may have had something to do with the decline. Perhaps these two financial disasters had something todo with the previous CEO leaving and Vrooman being brought in to wield the ax to make up for the 2007 profits shortfall.
 
Federal agency to probe ICBC car auctions - Mon Apr. 21 2008 15:44:20 ctvbc.ca

Annual Report 2002 - Preventing Anti-Competitive Activity - Competition Bureau

"In December 2001, the Bureau reached an agreement with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) about allegations of anti-competitive conduct. The Bureau identified competition concerns arising from a number of ICBC's actions or threats of action allegedly targeting brokers selling insurance from ICBC competitors. The Bureau initiated discussions with ICBC to resolve the concerns. During the course of those discussions, the provincial government undertook a core review of ICBC's status, business and future. It is expected that this review will result in changes to the automobile insurance industry in the province that will promote competition. In this changing context, the Bureau has accepted ICBC's assurances that it has discontinued its alleged anti-competitive conduct."


And from Chilliwack's Jolly Green Giant came the shout .... Ho, Ho, HO!
 
I would crawl to the coast on my hands and knees for the opportunity to watch Gordo and his cronies being "perp-walked" out of the Rattenbury Palace (the Legislature in James Bay for those not up on who designed it).

Of course I would make a video.....................I would even be willing to interview the cuffed miscreants (I would trust the cuffs to keep their hands out of my pockets), but they probably would have nothing to say! Stonewally probably provides training, to all of them, in how to say nothing in how ever many words it takes .
 
Here's an added twisting investigation tool and is about to be raised with the John Les scandal. The new homes (and swimming pools) built upon farmland are sujbect to:

Removal of soil or placement of fill on land in the ALR

The kicker is coming about because of the RCMP being interested in MLA John Les's disclosure statement whereby he declared rental revenue earned on houses that occupy the same ALC property that his current home exists on.

The extra houses were there for the previous owner's family who worked together to operate a fully functioning farm.

According to ALC regulations ADDITIONAL RESIDENCES FOR FARM USE


REFERENCE:

Agricultural Land Commission Act, 2002, Section 18 18: Unless permitted by this Act, the regulations or the terms imposed in an order of the commission,
(a) a local government, or an authority, a board or another agency established by it or a person or an agency that enters into an agreement under the Local Services Act may not
(ii) approve more than one residence on a parcel of land unless the additional residences are necessary for farm use

 
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