Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Robin Mathews: "The Smoking Gun?"
"The Smoking Gun?" Do the 8000 Freedom of Information pages released trap Gordon Campbell in evidence of crime?
The question is dodged. It is skirted. Irregularities are recorded. Suggestions are put forward about "possible corruption", broken promises, abuse of power. Breach of trust there was. But the "C" word is not used: crime.
And then Michael Smyth, provincial affairs columnist for the Vancouver Province, reports (March 15 09) that e-mails included in the 8000 pages - among three former NDP cabinet members, and one referring to Paul Nettleton, caucus-ousted Liberal MLA, are all declared fake by three of the people involved.
Fake e-mails - and, therefore fake information - attributed to former NDP cabinet ministers, stuffed into the 8000 pages which, at the time, were to go to the Defence in the Basi, Virk, and Basi fraud and breach of trust case?
Complete fakes? Nettleton, according to Michael Smyth, thinks they connect to "the sale of BC Rail itself". "This is about possible corruption and broken promises by the leader of the Liberal Party," said Nettleton.
The mind boggles. Did all three forget? We look for some explanation that the e-mails aren't fake. The 8000 pages contain many blank pages the Campbell forces have refused to release, even though the independent nominee marked them as relevant to the Basi, Virk, and Basi case. Do the released pages contain fake e-mails, placed there as cover-up, smoke screen, something else?
And if the e-mails referred to are fake, what else in the 8000 page package is also fake? Have other things been planted there to provide false leads?
Maybe asking all those questions will go nowhere. Maybe the question should be a simple one: in the sale of BC Rail did the Gordon Campbell forces break the law? Did they commit crime?
Did the real and visible (moral) breaches of trust constitute breaches of the law, in fact?
There is growing suspicion that they did. In a piece posted on March 24, BC Mary asks how to interpret the fact claimed by Paul Nettleton (to Michael Smyth) that, in 2001 - while BC Rail was staunchly said not to be for sale (and long before sale was even mooted publicly, later, in 2003) - MLAs were called to Gordon Campbell's office and told to get "on-side and on-message" with the sale. Not only, at that early stage, did Nettleton learn, he alleges, "we were going to break our promise" but also that "we were aligning ourselves with CN".
It seems like collusion, BC Mary thinks. When placed with other evidence in the 8000 pages of what looks very like 'working together' to deceive, the sense of collusion grows.
The definition she found of "collusion" is impressive. I will quote it again, fully (from Wikipedia), as she wrote about it.
"'Collusion is an agreement, usually secretive, which occurs between two or more persons to deceive, mislead, or defraud others of their legal rights, or to obtain an objective forbidden by law typically involving fraud or gaining an unfair advantage. It is an agreement among firms to divide the market, set prices, or limit production It can involve "wage fixing, kickbacks, or misrepresenting the independence of the relationship between colluding parties.' ...All acts affected by collusion are considered void. [Examples, such as bid-rigging, are provided.]"
To begin: breach of trust was flagrant. We think of it usually as Gordon Campbell, pre-election, promising not to privatize BC Rail, and then doing it. But the breach of trust appears much worse than that - though that is bad enough - and it allegedly involves (as Nettleton suggests) a very large number of people allegedly agreeing to or being forced to accept the process of preparing and selling BC Rail to CN (colluding?).
After taking office, Nettleton alleges, the Campbell forces moved into the sale process almost immediately - while for months and months after, in fact, lying to the public. The 8000 pages contain the evidence that "the party line" was that BC Rail was not for sale while the sale was being prepared. Is that not breach of trust after public promises not to privatize and while continuing to tell the public the BC Rail was not for sale?
I quoted from the hand-written notes of Yvette Wells in my last column - Executive Director of the Crown Agencies Secretariat. Her notes from those key meetings, as I interpret them, suggest - very strongly - premeditated, organized, on-going activity to deceive about sale intentions, and to misrepresent the independence of the relationship between CN and the Gordon Campbell forces - and therefore, directly or indirectly to assist a manipulated bidding process.
The breach of trust intensifies many believed (and believe) as the bidding was undertaken. Was the public treated to a fake bidding process to cover-up the (already determined) sale to CN Rail?
Not only, some might allege, was the public treated to a fake bidding process. So were the other bidders and involved organizations. Were BNSF, CPR, Ferroequus, and OmniTRAX invited to trust a process of bidding that was, in fact, fake? Was their trust violated by the Gordon Campbell forces? The first two withdrew with strong statements of dissatisfaction about the fairness and ethical conduct of the process - one even, it seems, implicating CIBC World Markets. The third smelled a rat and wrote to Gordon Campbell that it wouldn't even bid.
OmniTRAX remained in the bidding, apparently. But a cloud is believed by some to hang over its role (whatever its innocence may be) because of charges in the Basi, Virk, and Basi case that touch upon its role in the bidding. And the cloud relates, Defence alleges, to the (pre-determined?) sale of BC Rail to CN.
Opposition critics of all stripes have been challenging the Gordon Campbell forces to "tell the truth". Perhaps they should be looking at the meaning, in law, of breach of trust.
Section 122 of the Criminal Code reads: "Every official who, in connection with the duties of his office, commits fraud or a breach of trust is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not exceeding five years whether or not the fraud or breach of trust would be an offence if it were committed in relation to a private person."
Of breach of trust (sect. 122, Criminal Code), the Ontario Court of Appeal said that the meaning of breach of trust by a public officer is "wide enough to cover any breach of the appropriate standard of responsibility and conduct demanded of the accused by the nature of his office. As a result the question to be determined in each case is whether or not the public official in question breached the public trust placed in him or her by the electorate".
If such were proved to be the case, the person in question would have to resign, and he or she would face up to five years in prison. And, presumably, if "collusion" were also proved - according to BC Mary's research - the sale of BC Rail to CN would have to be considered void.
A similar news item on the CTV web-site: Consultant becomes target over BC Rail meetings, appears on the CTV web-site, including a YouTube showing the Opposition hammering government on BCRail, Stonewally and Premier Gamble non-replying, and police inside the Legislative buildings hauling those mysterious boxes out of the offices. Both the news article and the voice-over have a remarkable new tone, as they claim something interesting may develop in BC Supreme Court tomorrow. Recommended. - BC Mary
Do you think that the recent changes, Amendments, to the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act has had any effect on how the BC Rail Company must operate?
The British Columbia Railway Company (BCRC) is a Crown corporation governed by two principal pieces of legislation. The British Columbia Railway Act establishes the Corporation’s structure, responsibilities and accountabilities. The British Columbia Railway Finance Act establishes the borrowing and investment framework for BCRC. BCRC must also meet the requirements of the Financial Administration Act and the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act.
http://www.gov.bc.ca/cas/attachments/service_plans/2008/bcrc_sp_2006-2008.pdf Page 4 of 15, and Page 5 of 15
The closing paragraph in the cover letter is this on page 2 of 15
The British Columbia Railway Company Service Plan for 2006 to 2008 was prepared under the direction of the Board of Directors _in accordance with the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act._ The Plan is consistent with government’s strategic priorities and overall strategic plan. All significant assumptions, policy decisions, and identifiable risks as of January 19, 2006, have been considered in preparing the Plan. I am accountable for ensuring BCRC achieves the goals identified in the plan and for measuring and reporting performance.
My underlining in the last paragraph above ..... and here we are in 2009, and in the midst of an economic meltdown, that has required the BC Liberals to take the unheard steps of modifying the Act so that the budget wouldn't be balanced. Again, how does that affect (effect, I can never keep them straight) BCRC?
Here's the latest document out of BCRC Board of Directors: http://www.bcrco.com/service.html and in their 2009- 2011 Annual Statement, which was dated December 31, 2008, which was well before the melt down and the change in legislation, they do mention the world credit crisis ... http://www.bcrco.com/2009servplan.pdf but where is the document that says BCRC is, as of this moment in compliance.... or was there nothing was amended that has had an effect on how BC Rail Company operates.
What have we come to in this once blessed place. A government that steals from the people instead of serving the public - supported by storm troopers who kill civilians at will and lie their faces off if necessary.
The YVR murder inquiry gets more sickening by the day, and the recent shooting in East Van seems similar, though perhaps slightly less egregious - being as it was two female officers allegedly threatened by an innocent man armed with an exacto knife rather than four burly armed and armored men theatened by a STAPLER.
PART X - FRAUDULENT TRANSACTIONS RELATING TO CONTRACTS AND TRADE
- Falsification of Books and Documents
- Breach of Contract, Intimidation and Discrimination Against Trade Unionists
- Secret Commissions
PART XIII : ATTEMPTS — CONSPIRACIES — ACCESSORIES
There's probably more, they've been able to hide a lot.
Happy Voting on May 12th.
"Good Morning, (Wednesday)
I know that there's quite a difference in the wording, and penalties, when it comes to comparing a law written by the BC Provincial government versus that of Canada's law on the subject of Lobbying, does the same hold true for the provincial law on Freedom of Information versus the federal law of Access Information Act when it comes to gaining insight into just what the Executive councils are up to?
In an article written by Andrew Mayeda on "Polygamy being a clear challenge to Canadian Values", page B1, (Vancouver Sun) he was able to see the internal briefing notes for Justice Minister Bob Nicholson by a Canwest News Service application under the Access information act which showed that the minister is, closely monitoring the case before the charges were laid in January.
At the provincial level, it seems that similar requests for information are forbidden and it needs a Judge to open the vault's doors eg......... BC raid on the legislature trial.
This morning (Thursday), Vaughn Palmer's column is on Lobbying tactics that the BC Liberals have used to avoid answering all questions regarding Patrick Kinsella.
NOTE to AG Wally Oppal, the lobbying laws of British Columbia are of a concern to the public, deny as you might that its before the courts isn't the answer that the public wants to hear. They want action and so far you have done diddly squat about anything, except talk, and pass the buck.
Today may be the day that the BC Liberals will look back upon its history and say "Boy we screwed up on lobbying even though we had two years to legislate our way out of this mess but did absolutely nothing about the agenda."
SNIPPED from the column ".....More light may be shed on that today, when an e-mail discussing his $300,000 contract with BC Rail is to be read out in court. Supposedly, it will say that he was retained because of his status as a backroom Liberal." SNIP
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