Wednesday, May 07, 2008
"Affidavits completely contradict the premier ... who's telling the truth?"
DISCLOSURE OF DOCUMENTS IN B.C. RAIL INVESTIGATION
Hansard - May 6, 2008
L. Krog: In 2007 during debates in this Legislature, the Premier repeatedly told this House that neither he nor anyone in his office had anything to do with the disclosure of government documents in the B.C. Rail corruption trial or investigation. He said: "The Premier's office does not have a direct input into that." [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
Court affidavits recently obtained by the opposition completely contradict the Premier. The RCMP wanted to question various government officials and cabinet ministers including Gary Collins and Judith Reid about three specific documents.
The court affidavits show that these three documents were discussed with Ken Dobell, the Premier's deputy and closest adviser. He made the decision to disclose them just to the RCMP. My question to the Premier: does he stand by his assertion that his office, that his deputy, that his political staff had no involvement with the disclosure of the documents?
Hon. W. Oppal: We've been very clear about this. We're not going to engage in any specifics as to what took place. This matter is before the courts. The opposition members know about it. We're not going to talk about it.
L. Krog: I would have thought integrity is just the thing we'd want to talk about in this Legislature. In an e-mail from the government's own lawyer George Copley to Ken Dobell, Mr. Copley states: "After discussing these documents, your instructions were to waive privilege with respect to these confidential documents for the limited purpose of the proposed investigative reviews."
That is absolutely unequivocal. There is nothing to interpret. Ken Dobell gave very specific instructions about the disclosure of documents, documents that went to the heart of this corruption investigation. It completely contradicts everything the Premier has said.
Again to the Premier: who's telling the truth? Who's right? The Premier or the government's own lawyer?
Hon. W. Oppal: Let me quote from what the member for Nanaimo said on November 2, 2006: "It is essential to the rule of law that the integrity of the judicial process not be interfered with. High profile prosecutions have failed in the past because politicians felt compelled to make comments in the public that were later deemed prejudicial.
L. Krog: The questions are not about the documents, and they're not about the outcome of the corruption trial. They are about the Premier's credibility and his integrity in this House. They are about comments this Premier made in this House.
The government's own lawyer has directly contradicted statements the Premier has made. Mr. Copley is now on record as saying that Mr. Dobell discussed documents and issued instructions about their release. The RCMP then used those documents to interview Ministers Collins and Reid.
Will the Premier finally come clean and tell British Columbians what he and his office were trying to hide and who they were trying to protect?
Hon. W. Oppal: These issues are all before the Supreme Court of British Columbia. They will be judged in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, as they should be discussed and judged in that court, not in this House.
B. Ralston: The Attorney General has a unique constitutional position in the government and in the cabinet. He, in one respect, is a political member of cabinet and participates in political debate, but he has a second part of his duties which is as the guardian of the public interest. He is to exercise that in a non-partisan way. His job goes beyond running political interference for the Premier.
The Premier said here in this Legislature in 2007 that the Premier's office did not have direct input into that — referring to the disclosure of documents. Why did the Premier try to hide the fact that Mr. Dobell, his deputy minister, his alter ego, reviewed crucial documents in this case?
Hon. W. Oppal: Well, the….
Interjections. Mr. Speaker: Members.
Hon. W. Oppal: Well, that member got it partly right. I do have a special role, and part of my distinctive role in government is to protect the integrity of the process and the independence of the courts. For that reason, we don't comment on whatever takes place in the courts. The member is a lawyer. He knows better
B. Ralston: Part of the difficult job of the Attorney General is when questions like this arise and involve other members of cabinet. He has the duty at that point to exercise his independent jurisdiction. That's something that he's not prepared to do, obviously, and it's shameful.
Mr. Dobell reviewed crucial documents in this case. He did not sign an undertaking, as did the other four people who had access to these documents. That protocol requiring the signing of those undertakings was to protect the integrity of the investigation and the integrity of the evidence.
How can the Premier convince anyone that Mr. Dobell didn't speak to him about those documents?
Hon. W. Oppal: Whatever Mr. Dobell did or didn't do is something that will be determined in a court of law, and we should wait for the judge to determine what he did or he didn't do and if it did impact on the system. That's entirely within the…
Mr. Speaker: Members. Continue, Attorney.
Hon. W. Oppal: It's entirely within the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. We don't comment on those matters. That's pretty basic.
THE COMPETITION BUREAU OF CANADA ALSO MONITORING BC/CN RAIL FOR UP TO TEN YEARS ?
The transaction raised serious competition issues in two main areas: rail interline transportation of commodities, such as lumber, between the BC Rail territory and various markets throughout North America and rail transportation of grain from the Peace River area. From the Competition Bureau's website Nov. 23,2003.
ICBC and BC/CN Rail under the eyes of the Comp Bureau. CN has to be competitive and good old boys to the public and companies of BC and elsewhere. I wonder if that includes derailments? Now we know why they hired BLG. BLG are Competition specialists across the nation. This from two hours of going through all of the Krog/Copely documents. I am on Copely burnout.
Interesting to note the emails and files that the defence wants from Basi and Virks offices. I also read about the consolation prize teazer again. The crowns argument about these two guys being on the bottom of the totem pole takes on a whole new meaning of a very short pole. Basi's ALR info is also in this info with those two developers on the south island. Shredding of documents has a whole new meaning in Victoria. I hope they recycle in the capital. Keener eyes will have to try to figure out the Protocol for cabinet priviledge and the for your eyes only four----------------that turned into five-that turned into six-that turned into ?
Very kind of you to say that, Anon 8:05 ... but you can see the help I get with some wonderful commentors.
Thanks very much. It sorta spurs me on, you know?
Ecs ... where are you finding these choice items you refer to, such as the Krog/Copely documents, Basi's ALR papers, and such??
When I think "railroads" in BC and Canada, ..... CPR and CNR immediately come to mind, but not OmniTrax. Here is a complete listing of Federal railroads in Canada bottom of link page.
Surprise, surprise, Kelowna Pacific Railway Ltd. and
Kettle Falls International Railway Company are right in the middle of the pack.... owned and operated by CNR and OmniTrax, respectively, the two bidders for BC Rail.
What I don't understand is as much as CNR and Omnitrax appear to be in two different camps, bidding against each other.... OmniTrax boasts it has "pervasive connections throughout North America via the Canadian National Railway system." Hmmmmmm.
If there was a quid pro quo deal for the Roberts Bank Spur that could mean that OmniTrax was only in it to provide cover for CN's big deal (especially after CP pulled out screaming that fix was in).
And if that is the case it could mean at least two things.
1) CN and OmniTrax never were 'really' in competition on the mainline deal (as you have surmised).
2) There was never actually any 'real' bribing by the agents of OmniTrax which would mean what, exactly, re: what Mr. Virk and Mr. Basi we're really up to and whose orders they were actually following?
here's my account of the possible quid pro quo deal that relies heavily on a hammerheaded screed by Mr. Palmer.
Maybe we should divide it all up and each of us could Fisk a few docs and then report back.
Whaddy'a say Mary - want to start an Email chain on this?
(btw - This is the way Josh Marshall et al. at Talking Points Memo handles document dumps from the Cheney Administration).
All from link from Billy T to the NDP Website. Be prepared for there is some painful reading, however there are a few choice nuggets in these hundreds of pages of documents. I actually went through all and went into Copely overload after 150 pages or so. Too many cooks in the kitchen on this protocol interference free for all. I can see how this pretrial does take so long to get through the courts with all these thousands of documents and emails and scheduling and such. Just what many a government types want since the defence wants all info and their first borns from all the liberal MLA's and executive committee.
Check out all the checks and balances(post it note thingys) regarding evidence handling and one would wonder how the hell a hard drive could go missing for so long. One could also surmise that it would be easy to find out who last handled or put this hard drive there in the court registry. Dohm had a funny answer for some of these documents I recall and Bennett made a big deal of it, however we heard nothing of how this hard drive ended up in the court registry. Court registry Casper I guess.
There is a list of some of those emails except the big one. Thats the one the special prosecuters and Copely want McCullough, Bolton and Doyle to sign a deal with the devil and give up their first borns to have a peek at. Looks like they just might be willing to do that. Leonard Krog threw a three month legal dagger right dead center into the Attorney General, Seckle, the special prosecuter, Copely and the executive committee and I think it may take three months to pull it out.
Remember those emails about Paul Taylor or his wife, Kieran, Larry Blaine(P3 guy) and Omnitrax and getting them together? Many folks still remember all the liberal fundraisers the Denver boys attended. I see the defence is also asking for all info from the conflict of interest commissioner HAD Oliver. Anon(9:20) above, thank you for this interesting info.
Anon's are doing a heck of a good job. Someone said follow the money and you shall find the answers.
Gazz, I would be the wrong person to make any decent notes however, I am willing to try if no one else steps up. I have some really cool family stuff going on over the next few days. The ICBC mess is also taking some strange turns. The recent info on closely connected tracks has me thinking about this Competition Bureau info and all those huge donations to the liberals. The paper trail is really starting to connect the tracks. Keep up the good work all.
PS Mary did you ever get any comments back from our bait and switch mix up?
I totally agree with you, our Anonymous Citizen Journalists are invaluable. You are a stand-out amongst a lot of concerned people.
It's a great idea but it's beyond my mental and physical strength at the moment to organize a research team to analyse the NDP documents.
But another wonderful semi-Anon -- Lynx -- suggested that people go ahead and read what they choose ... then report back on whatever aspect they chose. I like that idea.
Now, Ecs, your question about any reply to our bait-and-switch questions. The answer is a definite yes and no.
The initial explanation (which I published) was interesting, I thought. But I held back on further reporting because ... well, you'll see.
Our invaluable Anon-questioner is politely awaiting further info AND PERMISSION before publishing ... and BC Mary is politely waiting for him to publish HIS scoop first ... and so there's a lot of this unproductive "wait and see" going on.
But I think you'll be very interested when it's finally published.
Meantime, special thanks to all who contribute to our understanding of what's going on with the BCRail case.
I know you'll remember that Charles River Associates 'Final' report we managed to dig up from cyber oblivion - as I recall it was that report the Minister of Transportation referred Joy McPhail to when he was questioned in the house about a certain alleged 'meeting' with Paul Tellier - did you ever manage to get through the thing and come to any conclusion(s)?
If the information about the Tellier meeting is also contained in some of those documents it could be almost as fascinating as that little chin wag at the Vila del Lupo.
If the premier is so concerned with keeping the information about the alleged 'quid pro quo' (which is just another term for ‘consolation prize’ out of public view, I wonder if there isn't another way to skin this cat.
As it happens, a friend of mine sent some material to Mary this morning about the fact that there is an escape clause in the BC Rail deal...perhaps, if some embarrassing facts about the nature of the 'deal' CN signed were to come out in public it might just happen to enrage some CN shareholders (American ones) to the extent that they'd stand up on their hind legs and howl.
I sense some kind of log jam is breaking in this case - wonder what's next?
I believe it was actually Ms Brezinger who brought up that particular question about a June 2002 during question period.
Yes 2002! meeting.
I'll check back with the Charles River thing again.....
He comes to the shocking conclusion that the fact that Ken Dobell was involved in the decision making process just proves that the process worked as designed.
Never mind the fact that, even if you agree with Mr. Leyne, it also proves that the process was designed to ENSURE that Mr. Campbell's cabinet was involved in the process.