Saturday, May 31, 2008


Like Vancouver 15 years ago


Jack Knox
Times Colonist - published 29 Jan 2005

Battershill Likens Emerging Culture Of Gangs To Vancouver 15 Years Ago

They're young, vicious, armed to the teeth, quickly getting rich moving cocaine by the kilo -- and they're giving the cops the willies.

Mid-level organized crime is growing stronger in the capital, said Victoria Police Chief Paul Battershill, reminding him of what Vancouver looked like 15 years ago at the blossoming of the gang culture and nightclub shootings that now plague the Lower Mainland.

The same signs, he said, are emerging here. "We're turning up more and more guns that are loaded and ready to go."

Three or four Victoria-area murders in the past year or so are believed to be drug-related hits. Violence in bars, some of them controlled by organized crime, is getting nasty. "If we don't get a grip on that in the next few years, we're going to have the same problems as Vancouver," Battershill said Friday.

He's not talking about street-level dealers selling flaps to kids on the corner. Nor is he referring to the high-up, low-profile criminals raking in fortunes in the international drug trade.

Battershill is concerned about the ones in the middle. There are probably fewer than a score of them in Victoria, an ethnic mix of whites, Indo-Canadians and Asians in their twenties, doing business with a handful of B.C.'s organized-crime gangs.

"The mid-level gang activity is emerging," said the chief. "It's characterized by some degree of organization, firearms and violence."

The men deal in crystal meth and heroin, but mostly in cocaine, anywhere from an ounce to five kilograms at a time.

A kilo of cocaine costs $22,000 to $25,000, earning maybe four times that after being sold by the ounce to street-level dealers.

That leaves the men with a lot of cash, which they like to flash around the bars in which they gather. Just like the guys Battershill remembers from his days with the Vancouver police -- and unlike more disciplined gang members who tend to shy away from anything that puts them in the spotlight - -- they enjoy violence that has no business purpose.

Police warn that one of them will intentionally harass a woman with the goal of picking a fight with her boyfriend, who will suddenly find himself set upon by four or five men.

"They're dangerous," said Battershill. And they're well-armed, eschewing low-end pistols in favour of 9-millimetre and 40-calibre Glocks, Berettas and Walthers, freshly bought in Las Vegas. "When you start to see the semi-automatics, that's another sign that you're into the gang-coke stuff."

The chief is saying all this just days before going to city council to argue for more police officers, but he maintains the timing is irrelevant.

"It's going to seem like this is contrived, but it's not," he said. "We've known for a year or two now that this stuff is starting to grab us."

Police haven't been inactive. This December, as part of a sting in which cocaine and ecstasy was bought from people in five downtown clubs, police negotiated the purchase of a kilogram of cocaine. And the December 2003 legislature raids grew indirectly from a Victoria police investigation aimed at mid-level Indo-Canadian cocaine traffickers. [Emphasis added. - BC Mary.]

Battershill's concern is that he has seen this movie before. Over the last decade or so, the Lower Mainland has seen scores of gang-related murders, often the product of drug rip-offs, territorial disputes among dealers, or old-fashioned machismo.

Gang activity there has spread, drawing in more young men seduced by what they see as a glamorous lifestyle. Lots of money. Lots of babes. Nice cars. Drugs. Action.

"In some respects they become Antichrist-as-role-models," said Battershill.

Not that they last in the life too long. Battershill, who used to lead the team that did take-downs of armed gang members in Vancouver, said many of the criminals he dealt with in the early 1990s are now dead or paralyzed from gunshot wounds.

But Victoria isn't Vancouver yet, he said.

"That's what we want to avoid."


And they get rid of the Police Chief ... over a "personnel issue". - BC Mary.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Organized Crime: Tempest in a D-Cup

'Sexy scandal' cover greets Harper in Italy
David Akin
Canwest News Service - May 28, 2008

Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi shakes hands with his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper at Chigi Palace in Rome.

ROME - The "sexy Canadian scandal" made the front page of a major Italian daily newspaper here, just in time for Prime Minister Stephen Harper's arrival to meet Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

The newspaper La Stampa features a half-page colour photo of Julie Couillard, the ex-girlfriend of former foreign affairs minister Maxime Bernier, on its front page Wednesday. There are more photos and a story inside the paper, although the paper made an error and did not print a picture of Bernier himself, though a cutline identified a man in the photo as Bernier.

La Stampa described Couillard as the "model with the fascinating eyes" and wrote that "anyone who loves her gets in trouble."

Bernier resigned from cabinet Monday after admitting he left classified government documents at Couillard's residence while they were dating.

Couillard, whose former husband and ex-lovers have ties to organized crime in Quebec, told her side of the story in a television interview on Monday night.

That interview, on Quebec network TVA, was picked up and broadcast around the world, including on American all-news channel CNN. Many major newspapers, including the prestigious Financial Times, also ran stories about the trouble with Canada's foreign affairs minister.

According to Montreal-based media watchdog Influence Communication stories about Bernier and Couillard ran in 575 media outlets in 44 countries around the world during the first 48 hours.


By Robin Mathews

We love Maxime Bernier
and the lady, Couillard -
as we love hens and roosters
in our chicken yard.

One of her men, we are told, was biker Giguere
(and no man on earth was ever more fair).
He was murdered, they say, just as a "sign".
And they say it was done
by Organized Crime.

One biker, Pepin, she married, they say -
who got very mixed up with goods gone astray.
His suicide came at a very hot time.
Some insist it was heated
by Organized Crime.

Then it was Big Max who came up the stairs
bringing the 'cachet' of "Foreign" affairs.
She "came out" (they say) in the big world of Push,
and even (they say) met George W. Bush.

(No one has ever hinted or said of that time
that she really, at last,
had met Organized Crime.)

But, then, (we are told) in a dallying way
Big Max let some papers get badly astray,
leaving classified docs at dear Julie's place
without even thinking to put on a "trace".

Enter Stephen, the slit-eye, to cover it up,
assuring us all there is nothing corrupt.
The story, he says, is not worth a dime,
has nothing that's bad or splattered with slime.

As he says it (and, of course, looks to the side),
Eyes slitting more (as if there's something to hide),
shouldn't someone decide it's just about time
to ask Steve what he knows
about Organized Crime?

~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~

People tell me everything's OK in B.C., and I say no. But how do we know when things have gone too far and little bits of hanky-panky here and there add up to a corrupted society? This news report dated June 10, 2008 reflects many serious symptoms of irreversible damage in everyday life in B.C.:



He led the investigation, too.

Re-visited while searching for federal links ...

... Victoria Police Chief Paul Battershill confirmed several other locations were also raided by police officers over the weekend. They included the homes of some of those involved, an accounting firm, and a government relations firm later identified as Pilothouse Public Affairs. The company was begun by former Vancouver Province columnist Brian Kieran, but two of its key officials - Erik Bornman and Jamie Elmhirst -- also have strong ties to the [former Prime Minister Paul] Martin camp.

Also visited by investigating officers, although not formally raided, was Mark Marissen, of Burrard Communications, who was director of the Martin campaign in B.C. - and who's also the husband of Deputy Premier Christy Clark.

Just how all these pieces of the puzzle fit together (if indeed they all do) will have to await the final police report, and charges and trial if any.

Began with police corruption investigation

Battershill said the potential involvement of those in the legislature came relatively late in the investigation as officers from his department and the RCMP followed where the evidence was leading them. It began with the drug information first received more than 18 months ago, he said, and as officers developed the file, they soon realized it could involve an organized criminal operation. The RCMP's experts in organized crime were brought in, as was the provincial Organized Crime Agency. Fairly soon after the file moved to a stage where it was being investigated more actively, the officers realized it also involved the possible corruption of a single police officer, a member of Battershill's own force.

Two weeks before Christmas, Battershill announced that Const. Rob Dosanjh, a 13-year veteran of the department, had been suspended with pay, as required by the Police Act. An investigation involving Const. Dosanjh, 37, was ongoing, he said, involving allegations of obstruction of justice and breach of trust. He provided no details at that time, but has now confirmed that the Dosanjh file and the raids at the legislature are linked. However, he described the relationship between Dosanjh and any of those targeted in the search warrants as "indirect."

As the investigation proceeded, the chief said, the evidence that was being uncovered led officers to want to involve the Commercial Crime Section of the RCMP in a different tentacle of the probe. It was the Commercial Crime portion of the investigation that led to the legislative raids, he said.

How we forget! It was explained here, on The Legislature Raids all the time, that Victoria's Chief Constable had led not only the historic Legislature raids but also the investigation! It's easy to read between the lines, to see how important Chief Battershill's testimony will be at the trial of Basi Virk Basi. The rest of Barbara McLintock's excellent article, dated December 30, 2004, is at

Anytime, on any aspect of BC Rail or The Legislature Raids, type a word or phrase into the Search Box (upper left on this page) and it will automatically find what's been posted on this web-site about it. - BC Mary.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Paul Battershill - no date set


A date has still not been set for a disciplinary hearing for suspended Victoria police chief Paul Battershill.
Victoria News - May 27, 2008

Mayor Alan Lowe said earlier this month he expected to set a hearing date within 30 days after handing Battershill a summary of findings from an RCMP investigation into an unspecified public trust complaint against him May 8.

Lowe said Monday the hearing has been delayed because Battershill has asked the Office of the Police Complaint Commssioner for information not contained in the summary. As chair of the police board, Lowe is required to serve as discipline authority for complaints involving the chief.

Deputy police complaint commissioner Bruce Brown said there is no deadline for the hearing to be scheduled. But Battershill's information request should not cause a delay.

"I guess you could say it's still in process right now," said Brown.

The discipline hearing will not be public. Only Lowe, Battershill and his counsel and a representative from the OPCC will be permitted.

"We're not required to attend but we often do attend disciplinary proceeding just to observe or monitor the process," said Brown.

If either Battershill or the OPCC disagrees with the outcome, a public hearing would then be convened.

Battershill has been suspended with pay since October 2007. Lowe has only said the complaint, which is not criminal in nature, relates to a "personnel matter."

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Battershill has an amazing resume when you do searches on him. A famous SWAT commando and on the other hand a strong advocate for the homeless, drug addicted and prostitutes. Then a national union leader and on the other hand a management leader. Then on a royal commission. They've sure damaged his reputation but this guy isn't going to have any trouble working anywhere in the world.

May 27, 2008


Chief Constable Paul Battershill

Chief Battershill joined the Vancouver Police Department in 1977
following completion of a B.Sc. in Clinical Biochemistry at UBC.

During a 22 year career in Vancouver, Paul worked in a variety
of operational roles including patrol, traffic, investigations,
surveillance and emergency response.

In the 1980’s Paul served as the elected president of police
labor organizations at a municipal, provincial and national level.

During the late 1980’s and early 1990’s Chief Battershill was the
leader of the Vancouver Regional Emergency Response Teams.

In 1993 Paul served as a member of the Justice Oppal Royal Commission of Inquiry into Policing in British Columbia.

In 1996 AND 1997 Paul was one of the founding Directors of the E-COMM Corporation which
established a multi-jurisdictional dispatch centre for police, fire and ambulance.

In 1999 Chief Battershill was appointed as Chief Constable of the City of Victoria.
In 2002 and 2003 Paul was elected as Chair of the RCMP Forensic Laboratory Services Advisory. Group tasked largely with implementing DNA technology at a national level.

In 2004 Paul was appointed as the Chief Investigator for the study of the use of TASERS in
British Columbia.


Sunday, May 25, 2008


Big day ... June 2nd

So you thought June 2, 2008 would be the big significant day in British Columbia because of the Basi Virk / BC Rail hearings getting under way again? Well, yes, there's that. A week from Monday, at Vancouver Supreme Court, 9:30 AM.

But perhaps even more significantly, June 2, 2008 is the big day for Premier Gordon Campbell's Invitational Golf Tournament at the Golden Eagle Golf Club at Maple Ridge. You won't believe the invitees unless you see the list with your own eyes. Go to Public Eye Online for May 23 and read about it under the heading Golden Golfing, by Sean Holman. Top o'the list: Alliance of Beverage Licensees of B.C. Big day gets under way at 8:30 AM and runs until 8:00 PM, with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and the $1 million shoot-out provided. I swear I am not making this up.

Thanks to Anon-Y-mouse for the tip-off. - BC Mary.


Thursday, May 22, 2008


Any news about Paul Battershill?

... former Chief of Police Battershill does get to see the findings. He got them May 8 and is given 10 business days in which to respond, or to request a public inquiry. So May 8 + 10 business days means that by May 21, we may hear the first reported words from Paul Battershill since this disturbing affair began.

That's what I wrote a few days ago.

The deadline has passed. It passed yesterday, according to my reckoning.

Has anybody seen Paul Battershill?

Has anybody heard from him? Does anybody know what he'll do next??

I did scan all BC's CanWest dailies and saw nothing about VicPD-gate. Although ... how surprising is that.

Tips will be much appreciated.

- BC Mary

Many thanks to Anonymous 9:51 for the following welcome tip:
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We heard he was in Vancouver last week. They gave him an award for bravery from a shooting he was in.

May 22, 2008

And I said I'd post anything that Google could tell me. So I typed in "Paul Battershill + bravery award" and oddly enough, there were only 13 hits. The first three had nothing about Battershill's award. I know, I know -- maybe the search engine picked up "award" or maybe they just picked up every Paul or every award, just not the right ones.

So I wasn't too concerned until I came to this hit. Tell me, if you can, what in blazes this has to do with Paul Battershill. The first 12 words do not appear in the Times Colonist story. The first 12 words could easily be viewed as a smear on the Chief's reputation. So those words seem to have been added in the process of filing the story with Google. Now who would do a thing like that? It even has a grammar error. Have a look ... this is exactly the hit, as it appears in Google:

Tethered teen gets $60000 in lawsuit

Look at the suspended Chief Battershill, facing discipline and still get his ..... The award was for excessive use of force after the teen was detained and ... news/story.html?id=d9ab89d4-711c-4518-9053-5711ec258ab7

And here's exactly the same URL which will take you to the original story in Times Colonist. news/story.html?id=d9ab89d4-711c-4518-9053-5711ec258ab7

Suddenly I do have the feeling that somebody with a poor grasp of the language has mischief in mind and I don't like it.

But I did like the ONE item I found dated 2004 about Chief Constable Paul Battershill of Victoria Police Department who "recognized the value" of a 4-day "Youth Combating Intolerance Camp" and brought in 4 other police, 7 teachers, 5 Vancouver Island School Districts, and 77 young teens about the same age as Reena Virk who was murdered nearby. The kids heard from speakers such as the mother of Reena Virk and from other perspectives. Kids then went back to their schools to develop action plans to improve tolerance levels in their own communities.

About 2 hours later, here's that same story again with a new phony lead-in:

Tethered teen gets $60000 in lawsuit

She stood up for all the victims of Police brutality. Look at the suspended Chief Battershill, facing discipline and still get [same grammar error. - BC Mary] his fat salary since November. ... news/story.html?id=d9ab89d4-711c-4518-9053-5711ec258ab7

Please tell me what you think of this? Who could do this? And why would they do it?

- BC Mary.

Later there was a 3rd revision to that false lead-in. Each time it carried a stronger denunciation of Victoria's former Chief of Police. The article it introduced had nothing to do with the former Chief of Police. The false lead-in still contains a grammar error plus insults which, at very least, make it obvious that it wasn't written by a professional journalist. So how did it happen?

Could this be the answer?

Anonymous wrote:

I don't think this is a change. It has been there for some time. What I am suggesting is what you read didn't really exist except as a coding error. If you read some of the Google new releases they have a part from what is under a picture, part from what is the start of the story and parts from other things that are on the page.

Their bot doesn't read a page the way we read a page. If you were to post you pages using code instead of the blog system that is already set up you could see these differences. I tried and am still trying Dreamweaver but it is a lot harder to use than something like frontpage where I can ignore the code part of the page. If the google bot is reading the code then it's going to go to line (words) that the code tells it to.

For all we know the kid sending in the comment knew enough to put the coding words at the front of his comment so it would be kicked up to the top of the page.

BC Mary said: So ... may I ask, at this point ... do you think Paul Battershill is getting fair treatment this time around??

I don't think he is being treated any different than Jamie Graham the ex-VPD chief who got in a fight with the police commission or the West Van Chief that was let go because some cops were drinking while in uniform. Letting a police chief go always seems like it is far more political than anything else, and most likely it is, but at a City Hall level.

Which is not to say I would trust the Government of BC on anything.

That he is being paid while on leave is a nice thing that a couple of police chiefs have not gotten but had to sue to get. I think the Edmonton one and the West Van had to sue. Every Chief understands that when he becomes Chief he is far less a cop than a political punching bag that will most likely be fired when the honeymoon is over. That's why most other police departments and security groups don't worry too much about hiring a fired police Chief.

It always comes down to what did he do that caused everybody to react. Messing about or leaving a shooting target on a police commissioner's desk aren't up there too high as things to worry about. Taking the pension fund or putting other cops at risk are.

Thank you, Anonymous. You've given us a lot to think about. - BC Mary.

May 26,
Anonymous has left a new comment on "Any news about Paul Battershill?":

Most of the police community knows that the RCMP report was favourable to him and they didn't find much to be concerned about. He'll move on and do other things, he's already moved to Kelowna we hear. The sad part is why did it happen and how it was handled. If there was politics behind it that is really bad.

Very likely, CanWest newspapers in B.C. will be silent on the subject of why Victoria's Chief Constable was put out of office. Victoria's Mayor Alan Lowe has said all along that the RCMP report will not be made public unless Paul Battershill chooses to have a public inquiry. So far as we know, he has not made that request. But there must be many other people in B.C., like myself, who will not forget this. Comments, tips, questions, thoughts are very much appreciated. - BC Mary.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Inquiry, courts fail accountability tests

By Les Leyne
Times Colonist - May 21, 2008

Somewhere along the way, Frank Paul's quiet, pathetic death on a Vancouver street turned from tragedy to farce.

In the whole sad story, there's one fact to keep in mind. It took nine and a half years -- almost a decade -- before there was an independent investigation of his death.

And even the inquiry -- largely a historic exercise -- finished up last week with big holes in the story. The case veered off into an argument about whether Crown prosecutors can be compelled to testify, an issue that could add another year to the story.

The only thing to be learned is that there is very little to be learned when you wait more than nine years to look into something.

It's something to keep in mind as the B.C. Rail corruption scandal wends its fitful way through the courts. Four and a half years after the police raid on the legislature, we're still waiting for some resolution to the case. Waiting, in fact, for the case to start.

The stories are two of the worst examples of how inadequate our official processes can be when it comes to investigating problems.

Or more to the point, how easily they can be stalled when it suits certain people's interests.

{Snipetty-doo-dah!} ...

Meanwhile, that other glacier known as the B.C. Rail corruption scandal continues to inch along.

The police barged into the legislature in December 2003 looking for evidence related to possible breach of trust by ministerial aides involved in the complex B.C. Rail deal. Corruption charges were eventually laid.

But in May 2008, we still await the start of the trial. The timeline on this case is absurd. The Nuremburg War Trials took less time.

The pile of documents that various parties involved have been pushing back and forth is now said to rival the size of the Air India exhibits.

There have been long arguments about disclosure and about protocols for handling documents. They went back and forth for months about what's relevant and what's not.

The Liberals have governed for seven years and more than half the time has been spent under a huge unresolved question mark about criminal allegations related to public business.

The case now might start June 2, although there are still some side issues to argue through.

However it concludes, it's a remarkable lesson -- as is the Paul case -- in how the public's right to prompt outcomes from official inquiries can get subverted by process, process, process.

Read the full column at:

Good work, Les! Thank you.

CBC's Terry Melewski was being interviewed on Newsworld today (Wed., May 21, 2008) about the gambling casinos' way of money-laundering the proceeds of crime. He said he had obtained the information from the government under a Freedom of Information request. And that it took 4 years to get that info. - BC Mary.


Monday, May 19, 2008


BC Rail Scandal. Robin Mathews asks: Who is "political"? Who has "violated"?

The RCMP investigation now requested by Leonard Krog MLA into alleged violation of the first protocol, for testing if cabinet materials are "privileged" (in effect, denied to the court).

Robin Mathews

Leonard Krog has published the letters of October and November of 2004 which appear to reveal that George Copley, counsel for the cabinet, and Ken Dobell, deputy minister to the premier, were, in fact, violating the terms of the carefully worked out protocol to preserve the confidentiality and integrity of materials sought, and investigative procedures to be undertaken, by the RCMP. Krog has written a letter to RCMP Deputy Commissioner Bass asking for investigation of the alleged violation.

Tracing the change from the old protocol that worked for nearly four years to the sudden and unilaterally imposed protocol by Gordon Campbell opens important questions. Did it happen because Defence was asking for documents revealing pressure on the Campbell government over the BC Rail sale? That is a fair question - as many others would be, since no one in cabinet will explain why a new protocol was put in place unilaterally by the chief political agent of the government, the premier.

I have said that the appointment of deputy attorney general Allan Seckel was political and that Seckel can make no move in the Basi, Virk, and Basi matter that is not political, having been a political appointment erasing a protocol constructed to prevent political interference in the court process.

But a question now arises about George Copley. He worked within the established protocol for the nearly four years. In February and March 2007, he gives evidence (in the released documents asked for by Krog) of working with the established protocol without difficulty. Then in May 2007 Gordon Campbell unilaterally changed the protocol, placing Allan Seckel, deputy attorney general, in a position to screen and decide whether cabinet documents will be privileged materials.

Without apparently batting an eye, and - as far as we can see - without asking a single question, George Copley accepted the new system. On June 5, 2007, dealing with an application by the Defence for disclosure by the Provincial Government, Copley reported to cabinet secretary Elizabeth MacMillan that he was "presently seeking instruction from the Deputy Attorney General on what position to take at [the] appearance before the court".

Who gave George Copley instructions to abandon the old protocol and follow the new one? What reasons were given to Copley for the change? Did he consider the change better? Did he consider it a brazen political move? Perhaps it would be appropriate for the Defence to request the right to cross-examine Copley as someone who may not only be a party to violation of the original protocol but a willing actor under the new (dubious) one.

As they say in detective stories the plot thickens. Consider. When I read the two letters published by Leonard Krog, I was surprised. I was sure I had never seen them before. But when Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett released the documents requested by Krog, she stated that they were released generally, to the public. I went to the Criminal Registry desk and asked to have copies. I was told there were many pages and I could read them there and order copies of what I wanted at one dollar per page.

Reading them there meant standing at the counter the whole time because neither Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett nor people in Criminal Registry would think to offer a concerned Canadian a seat at a desk to examine the some 300 pages of material. Nonetheless, I persevered, going through the whole gathering. Not being able to afford the whole batch at one dollar per page, I selected. Anything that mentioned Judith Reid or Gary Collins or questions to be asked about documents found by RCMP was the kind of thing I wanted and would order.

As a reasonable Canadian, I would say that the letters Leonard Krog published were not included in the materials I went through at the Criminal Registry desk. Of course, as they say in detective stories, I couldn't swear in a court of law that they were not in the gathering of documents I went through. But if the letters Krog published were not in the gathering I went through, the integrity of Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett is in question. I cannot swear they were not there, as I say.

Perhaps my doubts make a serious point. Charging a dollar a page for the documents was an insult. Making readers stand at the counter to examine the whole gathering was an insult. If I had been allowed the whole gathering for a decent price, there would be no question about whether Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett chose to keep some of the more significant pages out of public hands. That the doubt exists, ironically, is her own fault for making public access so difficult.


Sunday, May 18, 2008


A public lynching ... posse unknown


I don't know. I repeat: I don't know ... I'm just asking: what if we're watching a good person being lynched right before our eyes? What if his "personnel issue" is that he might have become a thorn in Gordon Campbell's side? Like I say: I don't know. But I am impressed and aggrieved by the comments coming in to The Legislature Raids from people who apparently do know more of the facts surrounding former Chief of Police Paul Battershill. This comment (below) in particular, responding to ideas put forward at Victoria Police Department since Battershill got his time-out last October, tells us:

Anonymous wrote on May 18 ...

You can increase street arrests just by making some easy drug arrests, it means nothing. Our union is upset because he was a decent chief and they were hoping he'd go into government and we'd finally have somebody in there who understood the issues. Everybody knew he was getting ready to go in a year, that's the sick part.

Well ... I didn't know that either. But if it's true that Paul Battershill intended to retire from Victoria Police in a year ... and if he could have been persuaded to be a candidate in the next election ... then:

* why attack someone in the final months of his service? It obviously wasn't a constructive complaint about police service. It was something else.

* was he "taken out" because he might be a sure winner in the 2009 race for the next B.C. government?

* was this attack on his integrity connected to his role as co-leader of the police raid on the B.C. Legislature? Was this public challenge over "a personnel issue" a covert attempt to discredit him before he might be called to testify at the Basi-Virk / BC Rail corruption trial?

* was this one of the so-called "dirty tricks" political attacks as discussed in evidence at the Basi-Virk / BC Rail trial? Although more intense, it seems very similar to attacks which have been reported against Paul Nettleton, former Liberal M.L.A. for Prince George who resisted Premier Campbell's privatization of BC Hydro and BCRail; against the Mayor of North Vancouver who resisted BC Rail privatization; against Jim Sinclair and the BCFederation of Labour -- also opponents of BCRail privatization; and against Carole James, Leader of the Opposition.

If any of these questions can be answered with "Yes", then B.C. has been hit hard. If excellence in public service is declared suspect, then a threat reverberates throughout the civil service. Also: the electoral process itself is corrupted if candidates can be dive-bombed even before the voting begins. If "Yes", then the Battershill issue is a sly, politically-motivated, modern-day lynching taking place right before our eyes.

Then the findings of the RCMP's report to the Victoria Police Board will be secret. Of course.

But former Chief of Police Battershill does get to see the findings. He got them May 8 and is given 10 business days in which to respond, or to request a public inquiry. So May 8 + 10 business days means that by May 21, we may hear the first reported words from Paul Battershill since this disturbing affair began.

If those "findings" claim that Paul Battershill did anything short of scraping the gilt off the cupola of the Parliament Building, I hope the former Chief insists upon a public inquiry.

Let this former Chief of Police for B.C.'s capital city have his say. Let the people hear anything he needs to explain, anything his tormentors want to explain. Let the people of Victoria and the rest of B.C. ask all the questions currently tumbling around in our heads.

Let it be Paul Battershill's first public speech of his 2009 electoral campaign.

- BC Mary


Other comments about this "personnel issue":

Anonymous said on May 16:
The scuttlebut in the Policing World is that Chief Battershill will be exonerated........lets face it the truth WILL come out and we will see who was behind this coup............

What goes round.....comes around!

Anonymous said on May 17:
Did they ever find out who broke in to [Paul Battershill's] lawyer's office or in to Tieleman's office?

Anonymous said on May 17:
This is the biggest recent travesty in policing in BC. Absolutely shameful.


Friday, May 16, 2008


Television in the Courtroom: where "the citizens, collectively, exercise the function of sovereign by ruling themselves"

Judge considers request to tape B.C. trial
from CBC News

In what would be a first for the province, a B.C. Supreme Court judge might allow tape recorders and TV cameras into a courtroom in Victoria ...

I wish that judge could be Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett. I wish the B.C. trial could be the Basi Virk Basi / BC Rail trial. And who knows, it might happen. But the quote above is dated July 5, 2000 and concerns the trial of nine Koreans charged with smuggling 131 Chinese migrants into Canada. Nevertheless, a precedent is a precedent and the common law is built upon precedents. That trial did happen in B.C. and it was indeed televised.

Many of us are hoping that Madam Justice Bennett will also rule in favour of allowing British Columbians to observe the unfolding evidence in the Basi Virk Basi / BC Rail trial.

To find the general terms of the Supreme Court of British Columbia Policy on Television in the Courtroom (adopted March 9, 2001) we must go to: and scroll down through some dead-boring legal talk until we get to Part II: Summary of common arguments for and against television in the courtroom.


* Television opens trials to public scrutiny ...

* enhances fairness of the trial and the appearance of fairness that is essential to public confidence in the system by exposing the participants to public view and criticism

* does not distort – merely "watches" and shows accurately

* knowledge that trial will be televised will cause lawyers to prepare more thoroughly to avoid looking foolish, and will thus produce more effective advocacy and an improvement in the administration of justice

* the courts are public institutions, not the private preserve of judges, and the public has a right to have public proceedings televised

* Television educates the public

* increased public understanding of the system enhances the quality of justice and engenders respect and confidence – will allay the current widespread cynicism

* most people have no direct access to courtrooms and receive their information through television

* an informed public can work to ensure that laws and procedures are fairly and lawfully implemented

* television provides more accurate, balanced, and complete reports of court proceedings than conventional media reports

* tapes of televised trials will be valuable educational tools, particularly for law students


* Television affects the trial participants

* witnesses may be reluctant to testify when faced with the glare of publicity

* witnesses may look and act differently than they would if they did not know they were being televised, thus affecting an assessment of their credibility (The U.S. Federal Judicial Conference evaluation noted that 64% of participating judges reported that, at least to some extent, cameras make witnesses more nervous and 41% found that, at least to some extent, cameras distract witnesses)

* a witness’s testimony may be affected by what he or she sees during televised proceedings before testifying

* witnesses may embellish their testimony to attract media attention to themselves – their "15 minutes of fame"

* television puts unnecessary pressure on jurors and could affect their judgment

* lawyers will be tempted to "grandstand" (e.g., O.J. Simpson)

* television may affect counsel’s conduct of the case ...

These arguments are fully developed in two particularly useful papers. First, arguments in favour of televised trials are developed in a paper by Daniel J. Henry, house counsel for the C.B.C., entitled "Electronic Public Access to Court – An Idea Whose Time Has Come", which can be found at: . Second, arguments against television of trials are set out in an article by M. David Lepofsky, counsel in the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, who was Crown counsel in R. v. Squires in both the District Court and the Court of Appeal. His paper is entitled "Cameras in the Courtroom – Not Without My Consent", and is published at 6 National Journal of Constitutional Law 161.


From The Canadian Encyclopedia: Cameras in the Court, another view Pro and Con

Canadian courts are open to any member of the public if there is the space, if the court is near enough to them and if they can find the time to attend. For years Canadian media have argued for television camera access to court proceedings. There has been some televised coverage of Canadian courts [such as the 9 Koreans cited above. - BC Mary] though it is not routine.

The Supreme Court of Canada first allowed a camera in its court in 1981 to broadcast its decision in the Patriation Reference case. Since 2 March 1993 it has permitted the televising of 3 cases - involving the tax deductibility of nanny expenses to a professional (Symes), the right to assisted suicide (Rodriguez) and the tax deductibility of spousal support payments (Thibaudeau). It now records all arguments before it for its own use and for occasional teaching purposes. [My emphasis added. - BC Mary.]

Camera access to courts is not novel. While it has been allowed from time to time in Australia, China, France, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Singapore, Spain and the European Court of Human Rights, the greatest experience outside Canada is in the United States. Cameras are allowed in the courts of 47 states and were permitted for 3 years in selected civil proceedings of the US Federal Court.

Fundamental Freedoms

In Canada, there are 2 additional elements to the debate. The CANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS provides under s2(b) that a fundamental freedom is "freedom of expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication." Unlike the United States, where a constitutional right of camera access to court has not yet been established, judicial decisions in Canada make it clear that the Charter right in s2(b) includes the process of filming generally, and includes, as well, general public access to court.

From the point of view of policy, it is clear the Canadians are now deluged with American justice on television. Advocates argue that television camera access to Canadian courts holds the promise that Canadians could see and hear how their own unique system of justice works.


Proponents argue that television is simply another method of making public proceedings public. Electronic reports are more accurate and provide more people with first-hand information. The placement of a single camera and microphone in court at the side of the public gallery without additional light does not affect the proceedings, and the dignity and decorum of the proceedings are preserved. Witnesses who testify are more likely to tell the truth, knowing that viewers are monitoring their testimony. As for certain vulnerable witnesses, such as sexual assault complainants, there are in Canada bans on the publication of any information which would identify them, and these bans apply to all forms of coverage, including television. Lawyers, for their part, are more likely to prepare and present their cases well if they are televised.

If there are concerns about juror anonymity, rules can be developed to ensure that jurors are not the focus of television coverage. Proponents point to a number of studies supporting them. One of the more recent scientific studies, published in 1990, showed that the camera in court did not impair a witness's ability to recall accurately details of a crime or to communicate effectively, and did not adversely affect juror perceptions of the quality of witness testimony.


Opponents to camera access maintain that there is a greater tendency to grandstand, and they focus on the use of "misleading" and "sensationalist" clips by the media. They maintain that the media are not interested in educating the public, but rather, exploiting for commercial gain the private tragedies of individuals who are forced to come to court to obtain or participate in justice. Fair trial is inevitably affected by prejudicial publicity. Victims will hesitate to report crime, for fear of having to appear on television. Justice will not be served.

Most agree that televising appellate proceedings is not problematic. Concerns surround the television of the testimony of witnesses at trials. The issue following from that is whether televising should then be permitted with the consent of the parties in the case and the witness concerned. Proponents of greater camera access to court argue that a consent rule, such as that which exists in Ontario, means that there is little or no television coverage of courts, in fact. They suggest that while the position of the participants can be taken into account, the judge should decide whether television should be permitted on the basis of the open court principle, constitutional rights and the public interest.


Continued from Supreme Court of B.C. policy on Television in the Courtroom:

C) The Interests in the Balance

a. The Principle of Open Courtrooms

16. The presumption in favour of open courtrooms is grounded in the fundamental concept of democracy that the citizens, collectively, exercise the function of sovereign by ruling themselves. This ideal requires citizens to retain the ability to observe, deliberate on, and call into account both elected and unelected representatives of the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of government ...

The freedom of individuals to discuss information about the institutions of government, their policies and practices, is crucial to any notion of democratic rule. The liberty to criticize and express dissenting views has long been thought to be a safeguard against state tyranny and corruption.

Canadian Broadcasting Corp. v. New Brunswick (Attorney General), [1996] 3 S.C.R. 480 (S.C.C.) at 494; Appellant's Brief of Authorities, Vol.I, Tab 2

17. The interest of the democratic citizenry that underlies the principle of open courtrooms is elevated to constitutional status by section 2(b) of the Charter. As noted by La Forest, J. in CBC v. New Brunswick:

The principle of open courts is tied inextricably to the rights guaranteed by s.2(b). Openness permits public access to information about the courts, which in turn permits the public to discuss and put forward opinions and criticisms of court practices and proceedings.... The full and fair discussion of public institutions, which is vital to any democracy, is the raison d'etre of the s.2(b) guarantees.

Canadian Broadcasting Corp. v. New Brunswick (Attorney General), [1996] 3 S.C.R. 480 at para.23; Appellant's Brief of Authorities, Vol.I, Tab 2

18. In Edmonton Journal, Cory, J. expressed the preeminent importance free expression in securing the democratic accountability of institutions:

It is difficult to imagine a guaranteed right more important to a democratic society that freedom of expression. Indeed a democracy cannot exist without that freedom to express new ideas and to put forward opinions about the functioning of public institutions. The concept of free and uninhibited speech permeates all truly democratic societies and institutions. The vital importance of the concept cannot be overemphasized.


Coming soon: Why the Basi Virk Basi / BC Rail trial should be televised,

How to initiate a request to Madam Justice Bennett to rule in favour of TV.

- BC Mary.


Thursday, May 15, 2008


Ken Dobell went through cabinet files before police

Premier's top adviser had access to key evidence
Ken Dobell went through cabinet files before police

Michael Smyth
The Province - May 15, 2008

The shocking 2003 raid on the legislature created a bizarre and unprecedented situation for the police, prosecutors, politicians and parliamentarians.

Bashing down the door of a crack house or grow-op is one thing. But this was the legislature, the centre of our democracy, the people's house.

The legislative "precincts," as they're known, operate under their own ancient rules and privileges. At the beginning of every session, MLAs approve a bill called "An Act to Ensure the Supremacy of Parliament" to drive the point home: This is the seat of power in B.C.

So what happens when the cops show up with a search warrant and start hauling away the contents of filing cabinets and computer hard drives? Can any flatfoot flash his badge and start rummaging through the cabinet laundry hamper?

Hardly. The cabinet operates in the strictest secrecy. Cabinet ministers swear an oath to ensure its secrets are preserved.

In a system where parliament is supreme, a special process had to be worked out to ensure the evidence collected in the raid was preserved and the investigation allowed to proceed, all while the supremacy of parliament was respected.

That's why the B.C. Supreme Court set up the evidence-vetting protocol I described in Tuesday's column: All the evidence was sealed in a locked room and only four people, who signed a secrecy agreement, were allowed to look at it.

Thus, it could be decided which documents could be turned over to police and which would remain secret due to cabinet "privilege."

Ken Dobell knew about this protocol. Premier Gordon Campbell's deputy minister and closest adviser was kept in the loop during the protocol's development, according to a government e-mail trail.

Dobell also knew the seriousness of the situation: Three former senior government insiders are charged with accepting bribes, influence-peddling and money-laundering in the government's $1-billion sale of B.C. Rail to CN Rail.

The revelation that Dobell reviewed several of the most crucial cabinet documents in the case before releasing them to the police is mind-boggling. He was not covered by the Supreme Court protocol. He did not sign the undertaking not to discuss the evidence.

"This could jeopardize the trial," NDP justice critic Leonard Krog, who revealed Dobell's involvement, told me yesterday.

Now Krog has written to the deputy commissioner of the RCMP asking for a separate investigation into the Dobell bombshell.

The documents that Dobell reviewed were to be used by the police to conduct interviews with former cabinet ministers Gary Collins and Judith Reid and three senior bureaucrats, Krog notes.

"Mr. Dobell . . . at no time swore an undertaking not to disclose information about those documents and the use the RCMP intended to make of them," Krog wrote yesterday to RCMP Deputy Commissioner Gary Bass.

"Mr. Dobell, due to his unique position in the government, had greater day-to-day access to all the parties to the RCMP interviews than almost anyone in government.

"Given the gravity of the implications of these facts, I ask that the RCMP begin a separate criminal investigation immediately." {Snip} ...

See also (remember this?):


The Legislature Raids - January 16, 2008

Before police raided the B.C. Legislature, there was time to destroy evidence.
By Three Concerned Canadians

During the month of December 2003, key people in the B.C. legislature knew that an unprecedented police raid was coming. The public ever since has been asked to assume that the Campbell government and staff sat meekly for 28 days, doing nothing to protect themselves. We question that assumption ...

This full editorial is in the archives of The Legislature Raids. Find it by scrolling down to January 16; or by typing "time to destroy evidence" in the search box (top of this page, left side).

- BC Mary


Wednesday, May 14, 2008


To RCMP: "I ask you to begin a separate criminal investigation immediately."

In a 3-page letter dated May 14, 2008 Leonard Krog, Official Opposition Critic for the Ministry of the Attorney General, has described the problems which he believes have compromised the RCMP investigation; and he asks R.C.M.P. Deputy Commissioner Gary Bass "to begin a separate criminal investigation immediately", relating to key officials of the Campbell Government who "may have compromised the RCMP investigation" of the BC Rail Privatization deal which led to the charges against Basi, Virk, and Basi.

Readers will want to see that letter ... but it's in a pdf file which means I cannot cut-and-paste it here and it's way too much (16 pages, with copies of the relevant documents) for me to re-type for you. But here's what you do. Some kind person has put my name on the Opposition's list to receive, by e.mail, copies of things like this, which are very informative.

So if you really want to see a copy of Leonard Krog's letter to the RCMP, and other stuff such as "Protocol regarding Documents removed from the Legislature", send an e.mail to the address given below and ask to be put on their mailing list for documents relating to the BCRail / Basi-Virk-Basi Case.
(604) 317-4450 Cell

Today in that 16 pages, I also received copies of those 3 vitally important documents including the one which I think is the "Innocence at stake" letter. Plus a copy of today's Hansard in which the Opposition tries to obtain answers directly from the premier (no luck) and the Attorney-General (no luck). - BC Mary.



About Paul Battershill ... with updates added

This anonymous comment came in today, and may be seen following the story on this web-site of Paul Battershill, Chief of Police for Victoria B.C., co-leader of the raids on the B.C. Legislature. [The story is titled $91,000 over 4 years = $22,750 a year. Its date is October 30, 2007.]

The updating comment received today tends to confirms my own hunch right from the start of the Battershill issue. I thought you might like to see it ... so I am posting it up front. This is important. But there are other items added at the end, showing how this news is being reported by CanWest, which are also disturbing.

Anonymous wrote:

The buzz around the station is that the RCMP pretty much cleared Battershill and if they found anything it was pretty minor.

Makes you wonder why or how this all got going. He'll never come back after the way he's been treated.

Victoria couldn't attract a good outside chief now. Lots of good people from the department are quitting or getting ready to.

Pretty sad for the public.

# posted by Anonymous: May 14, 2008


From today's Times Colonist:


Rob Shaw,
Times Colonist - May 14, 2008

It could be another month before the public receives answers about why Victoria police Chief Paul Battershill has been suspended and what, if any, of the allegations against him were substantiated.

Victoria Mayor Alan Lowe said he won't explain the case until it goes through a disciplinary hearing. "I'm hoping it can take place within the next 30 days," Lowe said. "Until the situation has concluded, I will not be able to tell the public very much."

At the hearing, Lowe will decide upon what he called a "range of disciplinary options" facing the chief. He would not say what that range includes or whether one option could be no discipline against Battershill because the allegations were unproven.

Lowe said he is obligated to consider a range of discipline according to the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner and Police Act legislation, which governs the case.

Battershill has been suspended with pay since November, but the allegations against him have not been made public. Lowe has described them only as a "personnel issue."

The RCMP investigated the case on behalf of Victoria police, under the oversight of the police complaint office. A team of four officers interviewed dozens of people.

Under provincial legislation, Police Act investigations are not public. The full report on Battershill is not expected to be released. Lowe said he would release whatever information his lawyers said he could.

Battershill received a summary of the report last Thursday. It included a factual account of the incidents, a brief account of the investigative steps and a summary of the conclusions, said Bruce Brown, deputy complaint commissioner.

Battershill has 10 days to request any additional information. Lowe then schedules the disciplinary hearing.

Battershill is able to request a public hearing if he is not satisfied with the conclusion. The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner may also call a public hearing or order another investigation if it has any concerns about the case, Brown said.

Meanwhile, Victoria's police board is looking for another police chief. Battershill's contract expires at the end of the year, and Bill Naughton has been serving as interim police chief.

This is too embarrassing to post. Students of elementary witchcraft might study it:

Over and over, CanWest newspapers speculate on what shoulda, coulda, mighta, or maybe will happen to former Victoria Police Chief, Paul Battershill. I cannot believe that the RCMP's deputy complaints commissioner would lightly make statements like the ones shown below ... when other reports continue to complain that the RCMP are too quick to close ranks and protect their own. Look at this, from today's Vancouver Province:

TOP COP'S HEARING SET [No, it isn't. That hearing is expected within 30 days, date unknown. - BC Mary]

The Province; News Services
Published: Thursday, May 15, 2008

A disciplinary hearing for suspended Victoria police chief Paul Battershill will be set in the next 30 days, says Victoria Mayor Alan Lowe.

And that likely means investigators have found something against the chief, says Bruce Brown, B.C.'s deputy police complaint commissioner.

"From a common-sense point of view, you wouldn't hold [a disciplinary hearing] if you were of the view nothing was substantiated," Brown said yesterday.

Battershill has been suspended with pay since November. Lowe has said only that allegations against the chief are "personnel" issues. The RCMP investigated the case on behalf of the Victoria police, under the oversight of the police complaint office.

And Times Colonists chimes in with


which, I dunno, pretty much announces that Paul Battershill is guilty, doesn't it?

And is that correct? Is that fair? Is that decent journalism?

Read the CanWest version of the Battershill story at:

Oh, wow: A makeover for Victoria Police Department

The force -- now to be called "VicPD" -- gets a new look, and sets targets for crime reduction.

The story is at:



Question for BC Auditor General + a reply



John Doyle, Auditor General of British Columbia,
Cheryl Wenezenki Yolland, Comptroller General,


In the matter of B.C. Rail, I ask your assistance with the following question:

One of my readers is asking how the Auditor General of B.C. could have classified the BCR lease as operating.

He informs me that there are criteria that must be met in order to classify a lease this way. One of the criteria, a "bargain purchase" option, is where -- at the end of the lease -- there is no amount that is paid to purchase the asset (or in this case renew the lease).

When a lease is classified as operating, there is no need to disclose the total value of the lease.

But if the lease is capital, a liability must be set up in the financial statements in the amount of the total lease payments.

Your clarification (by email, please) of this question would be very much appreciated.

BC Mary, on behalf of:
The Legislature Raids

From: "Sullivan, Doreen"
Date: Fri May 16, 2008 6:20:46 PM Canada/Eastern
To: bcmary
Subject: [Bulk] FW: BC Rail lease classification

Email sent on behalf of Mr. Errol Price, Deputy Auditor General

Dear [BC Mary],

Thank-you for your note enquiring about British Columbia Rail Company
accounting policies.

Unfortunately I am not in a position to answer your question.

First of all, KPMG is the auditor of BC Rail. Further, the choice of
accounting treatment for any individual item within a set of financial
statements is the responsibility of an organization's management, not
its auditors. Management and auditors thoroughly discuss all
significant accounting decisions, and in the case of government
organizations, with the Auditor General. However, because
responsibility for making these decisions rests with management, I
believe your question concerning the details of BC Rail lease accounting
are better put to the company.


Errol Price, CA, CMC
Deputy Auditor General

I never imagined that it was BC Rail -- not the government of B.C. -- which entered into this lease agreement with CN. I thought that BCRail would be like "the car" when I leased a car from Toyota and Toyota wrote up the covering lease. Maybe I didn't understand the original question. Would the esteemed Anon-y-mouse who sent me this question, please respond? - BC Mary.



Premier's aide should not have had access to evidence ...


The Globe and Mail - May 13, 2008

VANCOUVER -- An RCMP political corruption case may have been tainted when a senior B.C. government official got access to confidential documents without first swearing to keep the material secret, the NDP charged yesterday.

Leonard Krog, opposition critic for the Ministry of the Attorney-General, said that when a key official in Premier Gordon Campbell's office was consulted about the highly classified material, it left the police investigation open to compromise.

For several days in the House, Mr. Krog has been asking about the issue.

"This is not an ordinary criminal case, it involves the government of British Columbia and its integrity," Mr. Krog said, explaining why he has been pounding away at the topic even though the matter is before the B.C. Supreme Court.

Mr. Krog said the questions are of urgent public importance.

But Attorney-General Wally Oppal told Mr. Krog in the House that he is going to have to wait for the courts to provide answers, because the government doesn't want to interfere with the course of justice.

"We have made it clear throughout we will not comment on anything that's before the Supreme Court, because it's improper to do so," Mr. Oppal said.

Mr. Krog said outside the House the government is stonewalling - but sooner or later it will have to respond. "The government's going to answer in the court, or in the House, but they are going to answer," he said.

{Snip} ...


Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Michael Smyth: Dobell's prints now all over a very sticky pie

Will premier's right hand cause case to collapse?

Michael Smyth
The Province - May 13, 2008

Ken Dobell, Premier Gordon Campbell's right-hand man and most trusted adviser, has become legendary for his attitude toward the rules of public conduct. {Snip} ...

Now we discover Dobell was dipping his busy little fingers in the stickiest political pie of them all -- the B.C. Rail corruption case.

Three former senior government insiders are charged with accepting bribes, influence-peddling and money-laundering in the Campbell government's $1-billion sale of B.C. Rail to CN Rail. The trial, postponed many times, is finally set for later this year. [I have asked Michael to confirm this. - BC Mary]

Why has the case taken so long? The main reason is the legal wrangling over evidence seized by the police in their famous 2003 legislature raid.

That day, the cops hauled away dozens of boxes of evidence and computer hard drives, including many cabinet documents about the B.C. Rail deal. Cabinet documents are held in strict secrecy, known as "cabinet privilege."

To protect the integrity of the evidence and the police investigation, the courts set up a special protocol to review the documents for cabinet-privilege concerns.

All the evidence was sealed in a locked room and only four people were allowed to look at it. All four had to sign an agreement to secrecy.

Last week, the NDP Opposition released new records in the case showing that (guess who?!) Ken Dobell stuck his nose into the process back in 2004 and reviewed three crucial cabinet documents in the case.

The government is shrugging this off because Dobell waived any cabinet privilege over the documents, which were then released to police.

But that's not the point. The point is Dobell was not covered by the original evidence-vetting protocol. He did not sign an agreement not to talk about the evidence with others.

Ken Dobell should not have been anywhere near the evidence in this case and you can bet defence lawyers will now jump all over this and say the investigation is tainted and the case should be thrown out.

This is an extremely troubling development for anyone who wants to see the truth finally emerge. That should include everyone in this province. [Yes, Michael, WooHoo!! - BC Mary in the peanut gallery]

The three documents Dobell got involved with go to the heart of the B.C. Rail scandal. The police wanted to use the documents to interview former cabinet ministers Gary Collins and Judith Reid.

Curiously, within weeks of Dobell seeing these secret documents and knowing why the police wanted to talk to Collins about them, Collins announced he was quitting politics. You think the defence won't be raising that little coincidence? Think again.

Sadly, I'm sure there are people in the government secretly happy about all this. They would like to see the case collapse rather than have dirty laundry strung on the line before the next election.

I only hope Justice Elizabeth Bennett can work through the government's bungled handling of the evidence and ensure the case goes forward. The public deserves the truth.

Say what you like about CanWest's general performance, this particular column is a good piece of journalism. Sure it's a bit late. Sure the media should've been the ones to get those court transcripts long ago, but at least Michael doesn't insult the NDP Opposition (which did get the transcripts, sorted and grouped them, then made them available to the public online). So, in the crazy world we inhabit these days, Michael Smyth deserves many bouquets for coming through with a fair analysis like this. - BC Mary.


Monday, May 12, 2008


"This partnership is a $1Billion investment." What does that mean?

Does this sound right?

This is Premier Gordon Campbell's announcement at the time the deal was signed with Canadian National Railway. At this time, I would much appreciate if people would re-read it carefully and tell me if you believe that BCRail was sold and, if so, for how much and on what terms. What exactly is an "Investment Partnership" anyway? What does it mean, that it "moves forward"? - BC Mary.

For Immediate Release


Nov. 25, 2003

[From] 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.

“This partnership is a $1-billion investment in the future of B.C.,” said Premier Gordon Campbell. “It will provide lower rates, faster service, new transportation infrastructure, new jobs and new resources for economic development in the North.

“Northern communities, shippers, and resource industries have made clear that BC Rail is failing them. This partnership directly addresses the needs that mayors and shippers told us must be met. By providing better service, an expanded Port of Prince Rupert and significant new community investments for Prince George and the North, the partnership will be a major new source of economic development for our entire province.”

Investing in the BC Rail System:

The addition of 600 new rail cars to the fleet, an average rate reduction of seven per cent for interline shippers, and 30 per cent faster transit times from Prince George to Vancouver will all benefit shippers. The partnership will provide access to a seamless, integrated North American rail network, including the introduction of a “Chicago Express” in the first quarter of 2004 that will transport freight from Prince George to Chicago two days faster. This will reduce costs for shippers, improve their competitiveness, generate stronger demand for B.C. products, and foster more secure jobs in the forest sector.


For balance, here's an editorial from Prince George Free Press 15 months later:

Discussing rail sale 'betrayal'

By Sage Birchwater
Prince George Free Press - Apr 08 2005

Northern media commentator Ben Meisner, and Prince George businessman Ron East are kicking off a series of town hall meetings to discuss the sale of BC Rail and its impact on communities in the BC Interior. Their first stop is in Williams Lake, Monday, April 11, at 7 p.m. in the city hall council chambers.

East, a founding member and spokesperson of the Committee to Save BC Rail, has been a long time critic of the BC Liberals' "broken promise" to not privatize BC Rail.

"The sale of BC Rail was a betrayal of rail dependent communities," he says. "The provincial government ignored the interests of 30,000 northerners who signed a petition against the sale, over 100 small business owners who publicly opposed the sale, and the 13 city councils who called on the Campbell government to keep its promise."

Meisner says local communities have been abandoned. "We've been left with no passenger rail service and today industrial shippers and our local economy are suffering."

Since the sale of BC Rail to CN Rail, Interior shippers are left with fewer rail cars to export manufactured goods, primarily pulp and lumber.

In an interview with the Tribune this week, Meisner said the sale of BC Rail is akin to selling the house to pay for the paving of the driveway. And he's hopping mad.

"It's important for people to know what happened. We got sold a bill of goods. I think it's a travesty." Meisner says the purpose for the town hall meetings is to create political pressure.

"I was the guy who launched the fight against Kemano II, and I was right. Now nobody has jobs in Kitimat. There's going to be a repeat performance with CN."

Meisner predicts that once the railbed is paved between Vancouver and Whistler for the 2010 Olympics, the rail line will never get reopened. "Everything in the Cariboo will get hauled north to Prince George."

He says if the rail link is ever built to Alaska, it will follow the Alaskan Highway to Fort St. John, then head south through Alberta.

"It won't come through Williams Lake. Politically we need to make people aware of that. People were hoodwinked. The B.C. government didn't hold CN's feet to the fire."
Meisner insists there may still be some options for the province to get out of the lease with CN, which he says has no guarantee for the people of Williams Lake.

"You got $15 million out of the deal. What's that worth? You've already lost one of your trains that used to pass through the city. It's been diverted through Tete Jaune down the CN line to Vancouver." He says if the people don't squeal, the provincial government will continue to roll over communities and sell off our assets.

Asked if he and East are just a couple of disgruntled NDP hacks, Meisner says, "Heck no." He says he was asked to run for the Liberals in the last election and East was the campaign manager for Prince George MLA Pat Bell, the Minister of State for Mining.

Meisner wanted to know if the MLAs representing the Cariboo supported the sale of BC Rail.

"The local MLAs shouldn't get away with making a brain-dead decision without being made accountable. The railway was built for a reason, to support Interior communities with the benefits automatically flowing to the people who owned it. Why change that?"

Ironically, he says, one of the main problems the sale to CN Rail was supposed to fix is still unresolved. "There's a shortage of rail cars and nobody wants to talk about it. The big mills received tax concessions to support the BC Rail sale, so they're not saying anything."

At earlier meetings, these two men provided additional information:

"... A contract based on fraud is not valid," he said. Meisner blasted the deal, and denied the argument BC Rail was losing money, as the Liberals have suggested.

"That, pardon my vulgarity, is bull----," he said. "In its last year, it made $98 million (in profit)."

He also questioned who knew about the re-emergence of coal mining in Tumbler Ridge, leading to the shipments of coal by rail, and more business for the railroad.

"Who knew the deal was on its way?" he asked. "Did CN know it and keep quiet, or is the B.C. government that stupid? I think it's a bit of both."

He also suggested parts of the rail system would be shut down in coming years.

East told the audience they were shareholders in Crown corporations, and Meisner went further, telling them "unless you stand up and be counted, you're no more than dust in the wind."

The meeting, moderated by city councillor and pulp mill engineer Brian Skakun, followed two similar meetings in Williams Lake and Quesnel earlier this week.

There's more at:

Noted in passing:

Business in Vancouver - 16 May 2008
Excerpt: CN railcar shortage

... There is simply not enough train track or port capacity in Australia to accommodate coal delivery.

“It’s a problem we don’t have here in Canada. Here we have the rail and port capacity, but our problem is the availability of rolling stock. In the case of Peace River Coal, a shortage of CN rolling stock was overcome by PRC leasing two aluminum train sets,” said Slater. - Hillsborough Resources Limited



Question to the premier

Hansard - Question Period
BC Legislature - Monday May 12, 2008

L. Krog: On Friday, the Premier's former deputy minister confirmed that he reviewed and discussed documents seized by the RCMP in the B.C. Rail corruption case. Mr. Dobell also confirmed he did not sign an undertaking that would have given him the ability to see those documents. In other words, Mr. Dobell was not entitled to see or discuss those documents. These undertakings were sworn in order to protect the integrity of the RCMP investigation into the B.C. Rail corruption case while seized documents were vetted for privilege.[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Question to the Premier: Can he explain why Mr. Dobell received access to these confidential documents contrary to the undertaking sworn in court?

Hon. W. Oppal: The member opposite is obviously referring to evidence that he's heard in the trial that's before the Supreme Court. We have made it clear throughout: we will not comment on anything that's before the Supreme Court because it's improper to do so ...

L. Krog: The documents shared and discussed with Mr. Dobell all deal with the second round of the bidding process, the round where the issue of the consolation prize arose. That means those documents go to the heart of the B.C. Rail corruption trial. When Mr. Dobell reviewed
those documents, he was also told that the RCMP was going to interview Ministers Collins and Reid about the documents. The special prosecutor instructed that this information not be shared; yet we know it was.

Does the Premier agree that sharing this information with Mr. Dobell may have provided the means for Mr. Collins, Ms. Reid and others to be informed about the nature of the RCMP's concerns prior to the interviews, and does the Premier not agree that this is a serious breach in the integrity of the RCMP investigation?

Hon. W. Oppal: Well, I'm somewhat disappointed in the member opposite, who is a member of the bar. He obviously has .… He's obviously ignored the well-established principle of judicial independence. We will not ignore that principle on this side of the House.

B. Ralston: The Premier felt comfortable enough to discuss these issues last spring in estimates debate here in this very room. Mr. Dobell confirmed Friday that he was under no obligation of confidentiality with respect to these documents. He had not signed an undertaking to the court. During the period in question, there were at least four cabinet meetings involving many of the people who were to be interviewed by the RCMP.

The Attorney General must see that the disclosure to Mr. Dobell tainted the investigation. This wasn't a leak from the RCMP. This wasn't a leak from the special prosecutor's office. It occurred between the Ministry of Attorney General and the Premier's office. What is the Premier going to do about it?

Hon. W. Oppal: These issues are all before the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett is hearing the case. She will make the appropriate findings, and we'll live by them ...

B. Ralston: The issue of the documents before the court was discussed here in estimates debate in spring 2007, so that excuse simply doesn't wash. The Ministry of Attorney General informed the Deputy Minister to the Premier about key documents that the RCMP wished to use to question Ministers Collins and Reid. This was contrary to a protocol approved by the Supreme Court restricting access to the documents to four people only.

These actions of the Ministry of Attorney General may well have tainted the integrity of the RCMP investigation. If the Attorney General won't act, will he at least agree that the matter be referred to the RCMP for their investigation?

Hon. W. Oppal: If the process was tainted, we'll let the judge make that finding. We don't have to make that finding here.