Monday, July 21, 2008

 

Stoolies loose in the B.C. Legislature?

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Delays in B.C. Rail case put Campbell under a cloud

Iain Hunter
Special to Times Colonist - July 16, 2008


Anyone who watches TV knows that informers used by cops are stoolies and rats.

So why are we in B.C. going all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada to keep the identity of one of them secret as if he, or she, is a paragon of virtue?

And why are there stoolies loose in the legislature, anyway? Why are there rats scampering along the corridors of power?

It's been more than four and a half years since the cops swarmed into the legislative buildings and seized boxes of documents purporting to have something to do with shenanigans surrounding the sale of B.C. Rail.

Since then, and since ministerial aides Dave Basi, Bobby Virk and a lower level government functionary, Aneal Basi, have been charged with what is loosely called corruption, citizens of this province have been kept in the dark.

The trial of the three men, supposed to have begun in 2005, still seems months away, if things ever get to that point. Everything's been held up while lawyers argue who should, or shouldn't, be allowed to learn what was in the documents.

The Crown wants B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett to impose a publication ban on 90 of them, many of which she's determined are irrelevant.

It's made a deal with defence lawyers to allow three of them to see the documents, but only if they're kept secret from the public. The reason is that old bogey, solicitor-client privilege, behind which many a rogue is allowed to hide by our justice system.

In this case the Crown is claiming this privilege for the cabinet and B.C. Rail, which is odd because I was given to understand it's been sold to CN.

I can understand -- though I think it's wrong -- that Premier Gordon Campbell and his ministers would rather keep from the electorate what they discussed with others about the B.C. Rail deal. I can't understand -- though it's rather silly -- that they'd like to be spared the embarrassment of having made public laundry lists, take-out orders or whatever is in those documents that Bennett has declared irrelevant.

I get really suspicious about documents stamped "shred after meeting." I wonder why they haven't been shredded. I wonder what else relevant has been shredded.

I wonder if any documents were stamped "chew carefully and swallow after reading" and what shape they'd be in today.

And then I see that the deal by the Crown to allow three lawyers to look at the documents means that Campbell himself might not have to take the witness stand -- on this issue, anyway -- and I get even more suspicious.

This bit of organized obfuscation is, apparently, quite apart from the issue of the stoolie. His or her name is said to appear in a policeman's notes.

The Crown said the notes should be discussed only by government lawyers and Bennett without defence lawyers being present. The judge ruled that the defence had to be there even if the hearing was closed to everyone else.

The B.C. Appeal Court upheld her decision, but now the Crown wants to go all the way to the Supreme Court in Ottawa to keep the police informant's identity secret -- which could contribute to delaying this whole mess until after the provincial election next year.

As far as I can see, this government isn't going to be defeated by this scandal, if that's what it is, since the New Democrats, with the exception of MLA Leonard Krog, don't seem particularly interested in it.

Campbell is known for his sunny disposition, but surely even he should realize that all this is putting him and his government under a cloud. There must be quite a few British Columbians who'd wish this affair were all over -- even dropped for lack of evidence -- before he comes back to them to ask for another mandate.

I can think of a lot of people who'd not sit idly by while they thought corrupt forces were at work in the government. Ministers might be upset. Senior bureaucrats, who as a species like to play by rules, might be offended. You'd think they'd be proud of acting in the public interest.

Or do the cops think this government is so rotten that they need to plant a rat under the cabinet table?

cruachan@shaw.ca


http://www.canada.com/components/print.aspx?id=5f14330b-ebfe-4748-a027-c3effc637aae&sponsor

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Good one, Iain!! Thank goodness the newsmen of B.C. have begun to notice. - BC Mary.

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Comments:
I find it disturbing, but certainly not surprising, that the RCMP would send a 5 man team to Poland to apparently attempt to impugn the character of the victim of their taser attack at YVR in order to cover their asses. This is especially disturbing when one remembers that this is the SAME RCMP that couldn't be bothered to send anyone to Maui to interview the Drunken Premier and the Ferret regarding the possible THEFT of BC Rail and/or drug dealing/corruption in the People's Legislature in Victoria.

Could it be that the brother-in-law of the BC Liberal Mucky-muck that was in charge of the investigation ALREADY knew what he wanted to know about Gordo and Colin and preferred to see no evil, hear no evil and definitely not suggest any evil committed by elected officials?
 
"There must be quite a few British Columbians who'd wish this affair were all over -- even dropped for lack of evidence -"

This British Colombian would find the dropping of the case, for lack of evidence or because Wild Bill can't have his super secret star chamber witnesses, completely UNACCEPTABLE!!!!!!

It is becoming an abuse of language to call what we have a "justice" system.
 
Welcome back Mary. Hope the vacation did some good.

As far as the "newsmen of BC beginning to notice", I think they have noticed all along. What is disturbing about all this new outpouring of straight news is that it is all happening within a (approximate) two week time frame. With the exception of Mike Smyth who started near the beginning of the year. I for one would be interested to know what spurred all this reporting. I saw a collumn somewhere mentioning the blogosphere and online newspapers and what they were doing to the news. Couple that with CanWest shares dropping, could this have something to do with the surge in reporting.

They are not just reporting they are digging. North Van's Grumps notes in a comment on my blog that Palmer has given us some information on a program in ICBC called SOAR. He tried to find it and came up with only Palmers mention of it.

This begs the question "How much have these newsmen known in the past that they haven't shared with us?" This program was started some time ago.

So given the lack of reporting on the BC Rail case, I was wondering what they know that we don't?
 
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