Monday, May 12, 2008

 

Question to the premier

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DISCLOSURE OF DOCUMENTS IN B.C. RAIL COURT CASE
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.

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