Saturday, June 14, 2008

 

Paul Martin - Gordon Campbell connections, 10 days after police raided the B.C. Legislature

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Raids Prompt Revelations of Martin-Campbell Connections

By Bill Tieleman

Information obtained exclusively by the Georgia Straight raises new questions about the drugs, money, and organized-crime investigation that led to police search warrants being executed last week at the B.C. legislature and the homes and offices of several key provincial and federal Liberals.

The information also shows the extensive links between the Paul Martin federal and Gordon Campbell provincial Liberals. It includes: a list of more than 11,000 Indo-Canadian federal Liberal political supporters in British Columbia obtained by the Straight that indicates the potential extent of Liberal membership sign-ups done by the Martin leadership campaign; confirmation that the federal Liberal party in B.C. privately chartered an airliner to fly more than 200 Young Liberals from Vancouver to the November leadership convention in Toronto at a cost of almost $90,000; and extensive links between a money-losing telecommunications company, many of those who were subject to police search warrants, and key provincial and federal Liberal party insiders and supporters.

A key Paul Martin leadership organizer was David Basi, the ministerial assistant to B.C. Finance Minister Gary Collins who was fired in late December after his office and home were searched by police in connection to the investigation. Neither Basi nor anyone else had been charged in that probe at press time, but Victoria police constable Ravinder Dosanjh has been suspended with pay in connection to the investigation.

Others connected include: Mark Marissen, husband of deputy premier and Education Minister Christy Clark; Bruce Clark, Christy's brother and federal B.C. Liberal executive member for party finances; Erik Bornman, a provincial lobbyist and federal B.C. Liberal executive member for communications; and Bob Virk, ministerial assistant to Transportation Minister Judith Reid. The offices of Bruce Clark, Bornman, and Virk were searched by RCMP and Victoria police officers, while Marissen was visited at home by the RCMP and asked to turn over documents of interest, which he says are unrelated to the Martin leadership campaign.

The anonymous source who provided the Straight with the federal Liberal list of Indo-Canadian supporters said it is not a membership list but does include many prominent members, such as Basi. Federal Liberal membership in B.C. skyrocketed from about 4,000 in February 2002 to more than 37,000 today, with most new members coming from the South Asian community. Adult membership in the party costs $10, meaning the Liberals collected more than $300,000 in dues.

The list was reportedly started by former Liberal cabinet minister Herb Dhaliwal and his backers. The names of both Dhaliwal and his wife, Amrit, are included on the list. Martin supporters obtained the list after Dhaliwal lost control of his riding association in November 2002.

In several media interviews, Dhaliwal has blamed Basi for that takeover and also criticized Premier Gordon Campbell and Collins for allowing their aides to undertake hostile political activity at the federal level.

The Straight's source says the list is available to former NDP premier Ujjal Dosanjh if he decides to seek a federal Liberal nomination in the Lower Mainland, a possibility that is already causing major divisions in both the federal and B.C. Liberals.

In another development, Bill Cunningham, president of the Liberal party of Canada in B.C., confirmed reports to the Straight that an HMY Airways jet was chartered at a cost of about $90,000 to fly predominantly Young Liberal delegates to the November 12-15, 2003, leadership convention in Toronto.

Cunningham said in a telephone interview that the Young Liberals did their own fundraising for the flight, with between 200 and 215 people on board the aircraft. He said the effective price for the flight was $419. That would put the cost at between $83,800 and $90,085. In addition, delegates had to pay for hotel accommodations, food, and convention fees that ranged from $785 to $1,100 each.

Cunningham said that despite rumours he has heard connected to the police investigation, he has no concerns about fundraising by the Young Liberals and said the Liberal party would disclose all details as required by law.

"I don't want to say there's no way we could be used for wrongdoing, but I can't see it," Cunningham said.

In July 1997, the Vancouver Sun reported that Young Liberals were the subject of a police investigation when $30,000 raised for federal convention costs went missing. [... Bill Tieleman, in granting permission to reprint this column, has weighed in -- urgently -- to say that he had been misinformed on this point. In his next column, he corrected what he calls "a serious error" about Jim MacLaren. - BC Mary]

Erik Bornman had been president of the Young Liberals during the time the money was raised, while Jamie Elmhirst, one of Bornman's colleagues at Pilothouse Public Affairs Group, a Victoria-based PR and provincial lobbying firm, took over as president after MacLaren's departure. Elmhirst is a former Gordon Campbell aide who also worked for federal Environment Minister David Anderson, as did Mark Marissen.

Another series of strong political connections are all tied to Bruce Clark, who is a key Paul Martin operative. Although these connections are unrelated to the investigation, they show how close top provincial and federal Liberals are in B.C.

Clark was CEO of a money-losing telecommunications company called Canada Payphone Corporation between late 1998 and late 2000, earning up to $115,000 a year.

Patrick Kinsella, the influential cochair of the 2001 B.C. Liberal election campaign along with Christy Clark, was a director of Canada Payphone from 1995 to 2001, as well as buying a private placement and having share options, according to Stockwatch.

The Progressive Group, Kinsella's consulting firm, also bought a private placement in Canada Payphone in 1996 and received shares for debt in 1999. Kinsella and his firm have given more than $50,000 to the B.C. Liberals since 1996.

Bornman was Canada Payphone's communications director in 2000 and 2001.

The Earnscliffe Strategy Group, a powerful Ottawa-based public- and government-relations and research firm, became "consultants" to Canada Payphone in 1995. Earnscliffe was a "virtual parallel finance department" when Paul Martin was minister, according to the Globe and Mail, with the firm winning $1.6 million in communications contracts from the finance department from September 1993 until July 2002.

Earnscliffe partners David Herle and Scott Reid are both senior Martin political advisers who hold enormous influence with the new prime minister.

Canaccord Capital, whose CEO, Peter Brown, is a major supporter of Gordon Campbell, helped Canada Payphone with a brokered private placement of two million units, with shares valued at $1.40 each. Those shares are currently worth just nine cents apiece. Canada Payphone losses for financial year 2003 were $1.8 million while those reported for financial year 2002 were $5 million. Canaccord donated more than $191,000 to the B.C. Liberal party between 1996 and 2002.

Darcy Rezac, executive director of the Vancouver Board of Trade and B.C. Liberal political supporter, was another investor in Canada Payphone.

The Neighbourhood Pub Owners' Association of BC chose Canada Payphone as its official payphone supplier in December 1998. The executive director of the association was then Brenda Locke, now Liberal MLA for Surrey­Green Timbers.

Needless to say, there is much, much more to come on this story. Stay tuned.

Bill Tieleman is a political commentator Thursdays on CBC TV's Canada Now and regularly on CBC Radio's Early Edition. E-mail him at weststar@telus.net.


Source URL: http://www.straight.com/article/raids-prompt-revelations-of-martin-campbell-connections

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Many thanks to "Anonymous" for remembering this remarkable piece of investigative journalism.
Special thanks, as always, to Bill Tieleman for his work, and for his generosity in sharing.

- BC Mary.

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Footnote: Bill Tieleman's warning was kindly meant, I know. So I gladly took his advice and removed that segment about Jim MacLaren, which left an awkward hole in Bill's story. So I went Googling, trying to find out either (a) what had happened to the $30,000., or (b) why MacLaren had been jailed. I still haven't found out ... but what I did find is that the MacLaren information (which Bill advised me to remove before re-posting his column) is readily available to readers all over the Internet, just as Bill originally wrote it.

- BC Mary.

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Comments:
Mr. T's follow-up piece, from whence the clarification came, is pretty darned good too.

I found the following, from a 'federal liberal insider', as quoted by Mr. Tieleman, particularly interesting:

"We warned Paul Martin about his 'soldiers' out here," said the insider. "He was told that this was going to divide the party, that Mark Marissen was doing a 'take no prisoners' approach, that he would crush you or drive you out of the party."

The insider source, who insisted on not being named for fear of the "wrath of Marissen", said that David Basi, the ministerial aide to Collins who was fired after his home and legislative office were searched by police on December 28, was "involved tons" in the hostile Paul Martin takeover of former federal cabinet minister Herb Dhaliwal's riding.

The source laughed when asked about Collins's claim that he did not know what Basi was up to in the federal party. "Gary's used these soldiers for years--the Young Liberals--and to help Gordon Campbell. Gary helped Sonja Sanguinetti get elected as [B.C. Liberal] president with the soldiers."


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Someone should warn Stephane Dion as many of the same "BC Martin Soldiers" are now soldiering for him. According to Robin Mathews, two of those Dion soldiers had their names brought up in court last week.
 
Anon-Above--

Yup.

Those be the same soldiers....

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REMEMBER THE NAME GREG WILSON...
 
Greg Wilson = Mark Marissen's new best friend!
 
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Many thanks, Anonymous 8:00.

Try googling "Greg Wilson + Mark Marissen" ... I thought this Taber/Matas story was one of the best of MANY news items listed. This was written only 2 days after the police raided the B.C. Legislature, in that strangely "open" period when journalists were behaving much more like journalists. Vancouver Sun, you'll recall, had those 27 big black questions covering its entire front page!

This article (below) was written, in part, by the usually sycophantic Jane Taber, which makes the comments about Greg Wilson all the more interesting. For the full Globe and Mail article, go to:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20031230.wrais-liberals1230/BNStory/National/
TARGETS OF RAIDS HAD TIES TO MARTIN
by Jane Taber & Robert Matas
The Globe and Mail - December 30,2003

A preview: Greg Wilson, "a former Sheila Copps supporter ... a member of the B.C. Liberal executive from 1996 - 1999", was probably the first to publicly describe "The Basi Boys" and how they took over Herb Dhaliwal's riding association.

Greg Wilson also says in a direct quote, "Mr Basi's ethnicity, organizational skills and aggressiveness made him an attractive prospect for a job in Ottawa with [Prime Minister Paul] Martin. Dave Basi was active in the movement to elect Martin as leader of the federal Liberal party ... and therefore, as Prime Minister.


Anon, thanks again for jogging our memories.

Now ... what do you figure Greg Wilson is doing these days?? Ya think maybe he's preparing to be one of the Basi Virk witnesses??

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Express Collision Shop Said,

CONNECTING THE DOTS-TAG TEAM JOURNALISM BC STYLE.

Mary, It has been a good week. I have learned a plenty from this site. Concerned bloggers have enlightened some dark corners. The scribes of all sorts were busy. The editor emails were classic. Marketing 101-How To Sell a Newspaper. Kirk had the opportunity of the year and well say no more.

PG, I really liked the "All The Young Dudes" piece. Good pick up, thank you. Happy Fathers Day! The young liberals make us collision types look well- really good. Many of these reporters and lobbyists and politicos are good friends and enemies. I have to wonder if Mason's musings about that editor is true, we gonna have all those media lawyers from across Canada delaying this mess forever, hey wait a minute, nah. If we see that Burnett lawyer and friends on the scene, we will know for sure.

Thank You
 
And let's not forget....

All the young dudes....

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What is Greg Wilson doing now? He and Mark Marissen have mended their differences. Most recently he was working on the Gregor Robertson Vision mayoral candidate campaign and currently sits on the Vision board. Before that he managed Joyce Murray's campaign in Vancouver Quadra.
 
Both Mark Marrisen and Greg Wilson are now in Bill Tieleman's political party, Vision Vancouver.

And, yes, they have patched up their differences.

Mark Marrisen and Bill Cunningham supported Al De Genova for Vision's mayoral nomination, but, even though Al lost, it appears that they are staying in their new municipal political home.

Mark and Bill, big fans of Larry Campbell (the founder of Vision Vancouver) joined Vision at Larry's request to support Al. (Larry was appointed to the Senate at Mark and Bill's urging to then-PM Paul Martin in a bid to consolidate Vancouver's centre-left vote for the federal Libs. Let's not forget Larry's gushing praise of Paul Martin. He got his reward!)

Now that Mark Marrisen is an active member of Bill Tieleman's municipal political party of choice, does this mean that Bill Tieleman is now linked to the Basi investigation, too?

And, given that Gregor Robertson says he cares about the environment, and wants to be a progressive, modern, green Mayor, will he come out now and endorse Gordon Campbell and Stephane Dion's carbon tax? Or will he still toe the line with Carole James and the old union-focused-rural, cynical NDP?

These are some interesting questions.
 
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Hmmmm ... thanks for your comment, Anonymous 9:38, it's interesting ... but ... pretty much off-topic. I think this would fit better on Bill Tieleman's blog.

Note to self (and to yourself, himself, herself, themselves): this blog is about the legislature raids, about everything arising from the raids, and especially about BC Rail.

E.g., a fancy dinner at Vila del Luppa fits this mandate, while (so far as I can see) the election of a new Vancouver mayor does not. OK?

Thanks.

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This was the pertinent point:

Now that Mark Marrisen is an active member of Bill Tieleman's municipal political party of choice, does this mean that Bill Tieleman is now linked to the Basi investigation, too?
 
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Good grief, that's silly. But I still think the conversation is best suited to Bill's blog. He'll answer for what it means (if anything) to be within 6 degrees of Mark Marissen.

Sheesh. Grumble ...

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And, just to finish this off....It's pretty clear that Mr. T. was most definitely NOT supporting Big Al.

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".....this blog is about the legislature raids, about everything arising from the raids, and especially about BC Rail." - BC Mary


An example of what is not on topic is:

"Public Safety Inquiry opens in Ottawa Tues. June 10; first witnesses RCMP. Will BC's OK-Coq Minister of Public Safety be there?" - BC Mary
 
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Too subtle, Anonymous 8:07??

Let me try to explain.

Now and then, a news report comes along which goes a long way toward illustrating how easily the overtones of criminality can cross over into government affairs.

Think of it as the answer to those people who pooh-pooh the idea of organized crime, and who kid themselves that it couldn't and doesn't happen here.

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Here's more, from http://saltspringnews.com/


Paramilitaries threaten Canadian Embassy in Bogotá
Micheal Ó Tuathail
Upside Down World International June 16, 2008

BOGOTÁ–Little more than a week after the Canadian government announced the completion of free trade talks with Colombia, that country’s national daily, El Tiempo, reports that the Águilas Negras (Black Eagles), a violent right-wing paramilitary organization, has sent threatening emails to the Canadian Embassy in Bogotá. The threats are reported to include references to the Embassy’s granting exile to witnesses in the Colombian government’s on-going ‘para-política’ scandal, in which at least 65 Colombian Congress members are under investigation for direct links to paramilitary groups. Twenty-nine Congress members, all supporters and close political allies of current Colombian president Álvaro Uribe Vélez, are currently behind bars for proven links with paramilitary groups over which the government is suffering a serious legitimacy crisis. Five months ago, the Canadian Embassy – as well [as] those of other countries – received similar threats. However, this case seems to be different, as the emails included specific references to a particular witness and his or her family. “The information about the asylum of this family,” an inside source told El Tiempo , “was only recently collected and known only to a small group of high level Canadian officials.” This suggests that the security of the embassy might have been breached, at least electronically ...

In spite of international criticism and the Colombian government’s legitimacy problem, Canada has been an avid supporter of President Álvaro Uribe Vélez, and official government statements have tended to overlook the on-going violence in the country. Behind the Harper administration’s allegiances to Uribe is the pursuit of the economic interests of Canadian businesses mainly in the extractive sectors, culminating in the advancement of economic partnerships through a free trade agreement. In 2006, Canada granted asylum to 1,200 Colombians out of 1,400 applicants. Over the last 10 years, 8,000 Colombians have officially fled their country for Canada.

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Editor Jim Scott says: It's confusing but what the above is about is simply gang drug wars (as are so common these days between rival street gangs in North America). Wars of the same nature are more institutionalized in Colombia. The Black Eagles are closely associated with drug cartels and are involved in drug trafficking activities, extortions, racketeering and kidnappings. So is Álvaro Uribe Vélez's gov't. We can only grunt: Umph! American 'war on terror' objectors are denied safe haven in Harper's Canada but apparently Colombian pro-corporatist 'terrorists' are welcome. It's not just countries like Colombia and Afghanistan that see drug trafficking and related activities as major institutional activities. Organized crime—as the BC Rail scandal hints at (will we ever have a trial that would help find out to what extent?)—has permeated our society too. Ninety percent of the world's illicit heroin comes from Afghanistan. How accidental was it that former Canadian foreign minister Maxime Bernier left classified NATO documents with his Hells Angels associated girlfriend? How accidental was it that Julie Couillard turned her significant charms on Monsieur Bernier in the first place?

Related: Though lawmakers in Washington remain intensely focused on Iraq, it is not lost on policymakers that Colombia remains the biggest recipient of U.S. assistance outside of the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Scandal in Colombia raises skepticism on Capitol Hill
Juan Forero Washington Post USA February 17, 2007

U.S. support for Colombia has been a foregone conclusion under the administration of President Álvaro Uribe, who was elected in 2002. But with a widening scandal tying the president's close supporters to paramilitary groups, policymakers on Capitol Hill say skepticism of Uribe's government is mounting, leading to closer scrutiny of a proposed aid package and free-trade agreement with the Andean nation. On Thursday, Sen. Álvaro Araújo Castro, the brother of Foreign Minister Maria Consuelo Araújo, was arrested along with three other senators and a congressman. Authorities said they are investigating links that those lawmakers -- along with a sixth legislator who remains at large -- may have had ties to a paramilitary organization that has terrorized the country for years while shipping tons of cocaine to U.S. cities ...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008 - 04:40 AM - Posted by: Jim Scott

http://saltspringnews.com/

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