Thursday, March 12, 2009

 

Robin Mathews: Courtroom 66. Morning, March 11, 09

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There was 'big news' this morning - which sent reporters scurrying. And - in the short term - it was big news. In the last days the NDP released information that nearly $300,000.00 was paid to Gordon Campbell friend, Patrick Kinsella - to his firm, Progressive Group - between 2002 and 2005. For what work?

That's the question which Wally Oppal, answering for the premier (as if Gordon Campbell is too retarded to speak for himself) persistently and ridiculously refused to answer. To show the empty posturing of a government with less and less credibility, Oppal persistently claimed he would not answer the question because it arose from the Basi, Virk, and Basi process in court - even though it was discovered in a report by BC Rail shelved in the legislature library.

If someone were to ask Wally Oppal what he thinks about tomorrow's weather, he'd refuse to answer on the claim that the weather will be the same for the Basi, Virk, and Basi court process, and so the question is clearly connected to the 'trial'. Oppal's paper thin credibility grows thinner with each passing hour.

The Kinsella 'big news' surfaced in court because Defence lawyer Kevin McCullough raised the matter, reporting Defence is in possession of an e-mail between top people in BC Rail asking why there was a major payment to Patrick Kinsella. Was he a lobbyist?

There has been no indication in any documents to date from BC Rail that they had a lobbyist. What would a lobbyist do for BC Rail - which was being 'sold' (out) by the Gordon Campbell government? (We know Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett chose to rule the FOI-gathered documents from BC Rail could not be given to the NDP and the public. Clearly, BC Rail is holding some high explosives. And just as clearly, Madam Justice Bennett, under the claim of privilege, is denying them to the British Columbia public.

More will be said about this matter - much more...

The day began on the question of parliamentary privilege, based on the application by Defence to get materials exchanged among MLAs regarding the sale of BC Rail and the accusations against Defence clients.

That, too, is big news, - although of a more rarefied kind. For the rights of legislators in Canadian democracy are strong, and the courts must walk carefully around them. Counsel Frank Falzon argued that parliamentary privilege is absolute and cannot be lifted by a court. Joseph Doyle, for the Defence, had already taken the position that there are exceptions that can be invoked. Since parliamentary privilege is a key aspect of our constitutional life, and since it was fought for over centuries to prevent kings and others from challenging the legitimacy of legislators - and sweeping them aside - its discussion in today's courtroom strikes a note of historical relevance and interest.

But there is a poisonous present aspect to the discussion in Vancouver court today. (I will write much more about that.) The poisonous aspect is that what is really on trial in the Basi, Virk, and Basi matter - something that becomes clearer with each passing day - is the Gordon Campbell government and (what I see more and more as) its on-going breach-of-trust-without-law-to-confront-it. That is why Wally Oppal is slithering like a caught cobra - because the Basi, Virk, and Basi process probably cannot ever be tried in full and open court without the whole Gordon Campbell operation being exposed in a way that will make Canadian history.

At present, Basi, Virk, and Basi is in pre-trial hearings where much more may be hidden from public view that can be hidden in full trial. Another reason, hallway talk has it, why the Gordon Campbell forces are doing everything in their power to prevent the matter coming to trial. If hallway talk has solid base, the question then is just who are the people who make up the Gordon Campbell forces?

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Can't resist: "Hey, Mr Oppal: how's the weather?" - BC Mary, in appreciation for a good joke when we see one. And for clarifying the heavy sledding, too. Thanks, Robin.

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Comments:
Thanks for the fulsome report Mr. Mathews.

And we very much look forward reading about all those extras still to come.

One small query....You said:

"The Kinsella 'big news' surfaced in court because Defence lawyer Kevin McCullough raised the matter...."

However, Neal Hall in his report in the VSun, suggested that it was Mdme. Justice Bennett who raised the issue because, "he had read about it in the newspaper".

Care to clarify?

Thanks,
RossK
 
Mr. Kinsella speaks!

Early details here.

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