Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Basi Virk Basi - this Morning in Courtroom 67 - March 31, 2009
By Robin Mathews
The morning was almost beyond belief.
Outward appearances, one more time, were smooth, well-dressed, and orderly. The universe was unfolding as it should...apparently. Nine lawyers, a judge, (with five or six in the gallery) were sitting before a document list from BC Rail. Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett turned pages and turned pages and went on and on, saying 'document W is relevant, document X is relevant, document Y is not relevant and..and..and'.
What was going on was simple. And it was totally unnecessary.
In my judgement, it is happening (and will continue, more or less, to happen all day) because (as I see events) the Gordon Campbell government is doing everything it can to prevent the world from knowing the manipulations, misrepresentations, shady actions, and - even perhaps - lawless things done to fake BC Rail out of ownership by British Columbians and slip it into the ownership of CN.
If the cabinet and its connected agencies had conducted public business concerning BC Rail openly and transparently, they could have made all documents available long, long ago. (Why should government conduct of the people's business be so 'cloak and dagger', so in 'the shadows'? So secret?)
If the transactions within BC Rail itself concerning the alienation of BC Rail from ownership by the people of BC had been conducted openly and transparently, all the related documents could have been made available long, long ago. (What actions went on in BC Rail that need as much hiding as can be arranged?)
The documents would have been made freely available to the public as well as to the Defence lawyers for Basi, Virk, and Basi long ago. And so this morning's activity was part of a delaying and obstructing game, to these eyes.
If the B.C. public wanted to see plainly that the Gordon Campbell government has a great deal to hide, the public needed only to sit this morning and watch what might be called "fake justice" playing out in Courtroom 67.
This morning Defence got 80 new documents from BC Rail. Remember that BC Rail joined the protocol used to gather seventeen binders of documents (the 8000 pages) from government departments. Two of the binders were of BC Rail documents. Counsel for BC Rail objected to their inclusion as documents the Defence could use. Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett upheld the BC Rail objections and ruled that a small number were privileged and the larger number were not relevant to the Defence of Basi, Virk, and Basi.
Upon consultation with the independent nominee who gathered the FOI documents as relevant, Defence applied to have them named relevant. Today, after Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett had ruled on the relevance or irrelevance of her previously named irrelevant documents, Court recessed for an hour so that Defence could consult again with the independent nominee and prepare, perhaps, another application to have the documents now named irrelevant reviewed.
Remember. This is happening, as I see it, because the Gordon Campbell government is unwilling to have the people of B.C. know about the steps taken to sell BC Rail, after solemn promises not to sell it.
In that regard some might believe, as I do, that Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett is not concerned enough about the people of British Columbia in the matter, is not nearly impatient enough with various kinds of delay.
Michael Bolton, for the Defence, said outside the courtroom, the documents in question were not uncovered by the RCMP in their investigations, but Defence believes they may have important relevance to the political agenda of the sale of BC Rail, as well as to various legal and accounting issues, and to the withdrawn port subdivision sale. We remember that the (withdrawn) sale of the Roberts Bank part of BC Rail is connected to allegations against the accused.
No mention of Patrick Kinsella - who may have have been working for both CN and BC Rail at the time - was made today. But there will no doubt be more action on that file before a long time has passed. On everybody's mind there are questions. What did he do for either side or both sides? What was his contract? Or what were his contracts? What direct connections did he have with Gordon Campbell (known as a friend)? What were his instructions from either side of the sale - and did they conflict?
By Daphne Bramham, Vancouver sun March 31, 2009
The Charter of Rights' guarantee of free speech overrides any claims by governments that they can be defamed by citizens critical of their actions, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Nicole Garson ruled last week."
"Last April, Powell River tried to sue three citizens -- including Coun. Patricia Aldworth -- who had accused the city of Powell River of improper and possibly criminal conduct when it used an alternative elector approval process to fund a controversial, $6.5-million harbour development."
And we bloggers, are we accusing the provincial government of improper and possibly criminal conduct while it signed a 990 year lease with CN Rail on behalf of our Crown BC Rail when their election promise was not to?