Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Kim Bolan explains how to get docs from BC Supreme Court, and the costs involved

The public's right to know: priceless

Kim Bolan
Vancouver Sun

As an investigative reporter, I am often searching court databases for cases involving people I am writing about. When I want to get copies of some of those public records, it can be trying and expensive.

Did you know that the B.C. Supreme Court does not have its civil files entered in one data base? So you have to physically go to the Vancouver registry or the New Westminster registry or wherever else you need to go to search files by hand. Every file search costs $8. If we want to photocopy anything, it costs $1 a page. Files can run you hundreds of dollars - ridiculous costs when a fundamental principal of our judiciary is openness.

The Federal Court of Canada Vancouver office is very accommodating. They don't charge a search fee and photocopies can be had for 40 cents a page. But I still blew $700 there recently so that I could get documents about the Hells Angels and UN gang's tax battles with the Canada Revenue Agency.

By contrast, there is one massive U.S. court data base that anyone can access online 24-7. We get civil files, criminal cases, exhibits - even reference letters written for criminals by Canadian MPs - all for the bargain basement price of 8 cents a page!

So we can write these detailed stories about Americans or Canadians charged in the U.S., while we have very limited and very expensive access in our own country.

B.C. Supreme Court photocopies: $1 a page; Federal Court of Canada photocopies: 40 cents; The public's right to know: priceless.


Reprinted here by kind permission of "Sun & Province Info-Line".

See also on this blog (type this into the search box, above left): Transcripts may be available next week, in which Robin Mathews, while reporting on the Basi-Virk / BC Rail case, also describes this BC Supreme Court process for obtaining court documents.


Now if Chief Constable Battershill were still at the helm of the VPD and working in conjunction with the Mayor of Victoia, could we then assume that the business person (developer) who brought about false charges against the Chief wouldn't be saying to himself today...."The Tent City People have to go from city parks because it was bad enough when they were panhandling on the streets in downtown Victoria, but now we are being required to provide "housing"... and next door to my lucrative development property....AHHHHHHH!

What will the majority on the VPD Board do now or will they stand behind the temp Chief Constable with the City Council's current laws and bylaws that says homeless people can't set up tents on public property?


When's the next municipal election? Will homeless people, without proof of where they live, be instumental in bringing about change, without casting a single ballot?
As much as Victoria's "tent city problem" decision is spreading across the warmer climates of British Columbia in a combat to prevent hypothermia to homeless people, its interesting to note that there are three different opinions from CanWest newspapers today.

The Vancouver Sun's Ian Mulgrew paints a picture of a Judge who pitched her tent on shaky grounds;

and the Vancouver Province, using an excerpt from the Victoria Times Colonist, to toot its whistle as well
Meanwhile in Victoria. The Vancouver Province is pointing its finger at the BC Liberals for not treating 40% of the homeless who have mental illnesses.

Vaughn Palmers column today has mentioned the many tax cuts, 103 in all since the BC Liberals came to power, but the public has only taken notice of the last one that was implemented... the dreaded carbon tax.

How many people remember when their driver license renewal fees skyrocketed; how many remember the knife that Gordon Campbell took too far when it came to those of our soceity who were the most vunerable, the children (and hasn't done a damn thing to correct the situation either).

"Top of the line" columnist writings today goes to Don Cayo with BC Liberal insider Patrick Kinsella involved, yes, again, for not having been registered as a lobbyist: "Let's not give payday lenders the key to the store
Don Cayo, Vancouver Sun
Published: Friday, October 17, 2008
The latest B.C. Liberal lobbying scandal interests me for reasons beyond the obvious pleasure of seeing politicians squirm.

The story concerns Patrick Kinsella, co-director of the Liberals' last two provincial election campaigns, and whether he was lobbying when he arranged meetings between his government pals and his clients. If so, he'd be legally required to register. But he didn't.

Other writers have outlined many angles to the story -- disputed allegations and denials, and the indisputably scandalous failure of the Liberals' new process to, at long last, make backroom dealings more transparent and accountable.

But that's not what caught my eye. It's who Kinsella was lobbying -- or do I mean not lobbying? -- for. The payday loan industry......SNIP

And now another payday lender has hired Kinsella, whose fees, I'm guessing, are not small, given the names he has in his Rolodex. So, I wondered, what do these guys want? Why such a big investment to catch the ears of those in power?


Problem. This comment (so far as I know) has nothing to do with Basi-Virk / BC Rail. Therefore, it's off topic and should be deleted for that reason.

But you are indeed showing everybody how efficient the hyperlink is in a posting like this. Ha! Like, as if we didn't know THAT. As if BC Mary wouldn't love to be as clever as you!

I do appreciate your (and Koot's) several attempts to open my mind to HOW to create a hyperlink.

But I must explain again: Much as I want to, I cannot seem to visualize the hyperlink action when given only words -- especially words like HREF & stuff (whether spoken or written, it's all the same). I will explain again: I need to be able to WATCH a geek create a hyperlink. And that will happen soon, I think.

But high marks for trying, Grumps. It's appreciated.

Next time, however, my own moderator rules will trump all that. Off-topic = delete. This blog is called The Legislature Raids ... so there's gotta be a connection.

PS My vote for today's best CanWest article goes to Michael Smyth, btw. But it's off-topic too, unless there's a breakthrough in the BC Rail Case.

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