Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Paul Nettleton, former BC Liberal M.L.A. for Prince George - Omineca, on: Honesty, Openness, Transparency, Accountability


I was asked to meet with Gordon Campbell within months of my election to the Legislature in 1996. I was led into the meeting with Campbell within the Wall's car dealership in Prince George by Doug Walls a relative, friend and confidante of Gordon Campbell (and mentor of Shirley Bond).

It was at this meeting that I was asked to assume the role of Critic for BCR and lead the discussion on its future for the BC Liberal Party. I accepted this responsiblity and committed to work towards an informed presentation to the caucus on the future of BCR. I was relatively young, idealistic, politically naive and believed strongly that I was embarking on an endeavour that would promote and protect the interests of my constituents who had so recently placed me in this position of what I viewed as a sacred trust.

It was some years later in the Vancouver office of the premier within months of the election of 2001 that I was informed by Mr Campbell and Martyn Brown (Shirley Bond and Pat Bell were also present) that the pre election promise to maintain BCR as a Crown Corporation was about to be broken.

I walked out of that meeting with those present, up the street to a previously scheduled Congress at the Wosk Centre for Dialogue in the early morning hours on a lonely, distant Vancouver street. My trust and confidence like those I represented had been shattered! (It would be only a few months until I released a "letter to the BCL Caucus on Hydro" that would lead to my departure from the Campbell Liberals)

Today we are about to see the writ dropped as we prepare for a provincial election in British Columbia. Many of the Campbell loyalists remain and are preparing to run within their respective constituencies again. They have chosen to ignore their individual and collective responsiblities in and around the sale of BC Rail. They have opted not to deal with allegations of scandal and corruption nor to respond to the sense of loss and betrayal felt by many thousands of their constituents.

I am thankful for Mary (BCR Blog) and others like her who continue to fight for honesty, openess, transparency and accountability. It seems like yesterday, before the broken promises and scandal, that I and my fellow BC Liberal candidates campaigned (1996, 2001) on the promise to form government based on these commonly shared values and principles.

Paul Nettleton
April 14, 2009

My blog, with Paul Nettleton's message, was mentioned in today's edition of The Globe and Mail.

NDP hammer Liberals over BC Rail deal.
By Mark Hume & Ian Bailey
WEST VANCOUVER - April 15, 2009
See the column HERE.

I especially loved this paragraph:

... Following her remarks to the media, a worker got off a rail engine that had come to a stop at the crossing and, recognizing Ms. James, came over to compliment her opposition to the deal and say it was not working.

The man, who told Ms. James he had been a BC Rail employee for 33 years, returned to the engine without giving his name to reporters ...

- BC Mary

The name of Doug Walls may sound familiar. Google lists many stories to explain this. Here is one from 250 NEWS in Prince George dated March 8, 2007: DOUG WALLS AND MILLARD SENTENCED.

HERE for that story. - BC Mary.

One story leads to another. Thanks to our faithful friend LYNX who added these facts preserved in Hansard. Lynx wrote:


Two little snippets from Joy MacPhail, in hansard, Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2005 afternoon, one involving PAB [Public Affairs Bureau], the other Doug Walls and the resulting cuts to The Ministry of Family and Children. [Read that HERE.]

The first one addresses that question about PAB, where it is often countered that it began with the NDP....here you see Joy making it very clear that the vital difference was that under Gordo public professional servants became political appointees. It is often forgotten that Gordo fired 270 public professional servants...and replaced them with political appointees of his own choice.

J. MacPhail [Leader of the 2-person Opposition]: "I wonder what insider is going to deliver on that strategy today. On Gordon Campbell's first day…. That was just the most recent political insider appointment by the Premier. But on the Premier's first day in office, he appointed the president of the B.C. Liberal Party to the non-partisan position of Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. The president of the Liberal Party went from that position to a deputy minister position in this government. Oh. No experience whatsoever in the public service — none. He was given a salary of almost $200,000 of taxpayer money.

Then the Premier fired 270 government communications staff, who were public professional servants, and then hired replacements appointed by cabinet, making government communications staff political appointees. [More about this later. - BC Mary]

Broken promise No. 5. "Improve services for women and children." That was from 2002. Some of the deepest cuts made by this Liberal government have been to services and programs that most affect women and children. They eliminated the freestanding Ministry of Women's Equality. They slashed the legal aid budget by 40 percent. They shut down legal aid offices across the province. They cut welfare rates for single moms. They forced them to go back to work when their children would turn three. They cut child care programs for the very people that would be forced back. They ended the zero-tolerance policy for spousal violence. They eliminated victims' assistance programs and cut all funding to women's centres. This government targeted the Ministry of Children and Family Development for some of the biggest budget cuts across government, a 23 percent cut to the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

As a result of those cuts, agencies serving children across the province had their budgets slashed, dozens of programs for high-risk children were eliminated, and front-line social workers serving our most vulnerable children were cut. Yet Doug Walls did okay — Doug Walls, the Liberal insider who finally got fired. Doug Walls, the Liberal insider who was given a budget of $500 million — he did fine by this government because he was a Liberal. He was a good-serving Liberal, a personal friend of the Premier, a family member, very close to the current Minister of Health Services. He did just fine, but it was the children who suffered."


Thanks for posting this, BC Mary.

Gordon Campbell was leader of the opposition in 1996 when Paul Nettleton first spoke to him?
You're welcome, 7:01! It's been my pleasure to post Paul Nettleton's comments (past and present).

Not sure I understand your question. Can you re-phrase it?

I was just noting that the liberals were the opposition in 1996, with Campbell as leader.
The Campbell connection to Doug Walls, and the un-tendered contracts with which he was involved, had the potential to create a cause celebre almost as significant as the Basi Virk Trial.

Once again Campbell has 'managed' the case in such a way as to minimize the exposure and potential damage to himself and his regime.

The use of special prosecutors in both instances is another factor that makes the interested observer concerned about what's happening to the administration of justice in this province since 2001.
"The use of special prosecutors in both instances is another factor that makes the interested observer concerned about what's happening to the administration of justice in this province since 2001.
The "administration of justice in this province since 2001" is an oxymoron. This government MANIPULATES the justice system to hide their own warts and avoid accountability. As for everyone else, they close courthouses, reduce prosecutors and severely reduce access to legal aid - thus making "justice" virtually inaccessible to the rest of us!
The timing here, in my opinion, is critical.

If, as Mr. Nettleton is suggesting, the decision to privatize had already been made in 2001, would this not make all of the 'consultation' with for example, the Mayors of the towns along the line in 2002/03, little more than a post-done-deal propaganda excercise?

Oh, and one more thing....

Given that Mr. Nettleton has claimed that Mr. Bell and Ms. Bond were present at the meeting cited, perhaps some enterprising young reporter who is covering their re-election bids up in Prince George could ask them if they were, indeed, present and what their recollections of the discussion were?

After all, given that PG is one of the communities that has been most impacted by the privatization of BCR, we're pretty sure that quite a few folks in that area would be most interested in their elected representatives' answers to such questions.

Hello, Miss Mary.

I read your comment/questions regarding Savarys 8th myth and laughed out loud!
I have heard this story for years on island,but no one one wants to talk about it because of the great Peter Armstrong. He does own a place on the island, in fact hes bought up the whole end of it and had a bloody barbed fence put up so no one can go and look at the view up there. He's someething else, for sure , and now theres rumblings about him making a resort or boutique hotel or something else on that point.

Anyways , to get back to this meeting you alluded to. And forgive me my ineptitudes at typing and some mistakes.

This is the story I have heard about the BC rail meeting on Savary, and I think you have your times wrong. This happened in 2003.
A large group of people came on island,in the off time, so it stood out to the people that remained there. Helicopters brought in a bunch of men,as well as the food, the chefs, everything was brought in for this,nothing was done locally.

I emailed some other residents last night and was told that the house where the actual meeting happened belongs to John O'Neill, of Westin Whistler, and that it was during something called a Young Presidents meeting at his house.

Some of the people stayed at Peters house, some at Johns,and I hear that one of the chefs brought in did talk to an islander and said it was all about BC Rail. Then, some other staff said that the helicopter occupants were BC Rail bigwigs. You can imagine there is a lot of gossip on an island like this, and word spreads pretty fast. But like I said too, no one wants trouble with this Peter Armstrong, so its a big secret/rumour.

I also did some figging last night, because you got my radar up. I found this news item on an old issue of Canada By Rail News:
"November 11, 2003

Passenger rail service proposed to Whistler
Rocky Mountaineer tours would need new access to BC Rail line

Bruce Constantineau
Vancouver Sun

The owners of the Rocky Mountaineer have announced a proposal to operate services along the BC Rail route -- from Vancouver to Whistler and from Whistler to Jasper. The plan would require Vancouver-based Great Canadian Railtour Company to negotiate a successful track access agreement with the winning bidder for BC Rail's assets. Great Canadian Railtour president Peter Armstrong said his company was close to a track access deal with BC Rail before the province decided to sell the railway's freight operations and it has already talked with the potential buyers about a new tourism rail service along the Vancouver-Whistler-Prince George corridor. Three potential buyers remain in the bidding for BC Rail in a process that's expected to last several more weeks. They include Canadian National, Canadian Pacific and a partnership between OmniTRAX and Burlington Northern."We are very fortunate because we operate over CN and CP tracks so we have had a long relationship with both those railways," Armstrong said in an interview. "We have also met with Burlington Northern/OmniTRAX so whoever the government chooses, we hope to conclude something with the successful proponent." He envisions a high-end service between Vancouver and Whistler -- to be called the Whistler Mountaineer -- and a service from Whistler to Prince George that would use BC Rail and CN lines to connect to Jasper. Armstrong said that if the necessary approvals are obtained before the end of this year, he could start the new services by the spring of 2005. "This is part of a much bigger plan and we think there is a lot of potential in moving people through Prince George, Jasper and maybe intermediary points along the route," he said. "We have already started a shore-excursion program for cruise ships in Prince Rupert and in time, we'd like to see if we could connect Prince George with Prince Rupert." BC Rail shut down its tourism and passenger rail services last year because the operations lost money. The closures involved the Pacific Starlight Dinner Train and Whistler Northwind tourism operations and the Cariboo Prospector, a passenger rail service that lost an estimated $5 million in its last year. Armstrong said there are not enough passengers along the route to make a passenger service viable. "It's what has happened with rail and tourism all over the world," he said. "Over long distances, you're not going to get enough locals using the service on a regular basis. They might use it once in a while but that won't be enough to pay the freight." Armstrong said his company would invest millions of dollars on new equipment for the proposed rail services as it is anxious to expand its operations throughout B.C. He noted Great Canadian Railtour will conduct a trial run next spring to test the feasibility of a Kootenay service linking Golden, Cranbrook, Creston, Trail, Castlegar and Nelson. "We think rail tourism has a real potential in this province and we'd like to see how far we can take it," he said. A new Vancouver-to-Whistler rail service has also been proposed by Vancouver-based Whistler Rail Tours and Via Rail. Whistler Rail would provide the rail cars while Via would operate and maintain the service."
The link is here, but I didn;t want to chance it disappearing:

So it looks to me like Peter was greasing all the wheels for his own good, of course, but I know that he is friends with Gordon Campbell too, in fact I think Gordons son worked for Peter at one time. So if someone did want to have a meeting where the deal was done, this would be the place to do it because of the location and the people who own here. There are a lot of other Liberals here too, like Gordon Campbells green eco guy whose name I cant remember right now.

Anyways,its the best rumour about SAvary I know, besides the treasure.But I think there is something to it.
Good luck with that, your site is very interesting.
Hmmm! The plot thickens.
"....In May of 2006, Armstrong Group introduced two new tourist train routes in BC and Alberta. The highly anticipated Whistler Mountaineer train, a daily service for travellers between North Vancouver and Whistler BC ......."

The soup called BC Rail thickens.

And in 2010 ....... the only passenger rail route between Whistler and Vancouver is Peter Armstrong's rail line.....
Public Eye Online revisted....... Peter Armstrong, Jess Ketchum, Patrick Kinsella

".....Mr. Ketchum has also been a consultant to Great Canadian Railtour Co. and is friends with the company's chief executive officer Peter Armstrong. In September 2004, Canadian National Railway Co. announced Great Canadian had been selected to operate tourist trains on its newly-acquired British Columbia Rail routes. Mr. Ketchum does not sit on the company's board of directors nor is he an executive officer. ...... SNIP"

To Tyee pages Liberal donor won rail service dealMay 13th, 2005 By Darryl Greer

".... Canadian Railtour founder Peter Armstrong has donated more than $60,000 to the Liberals, both personally and through his companies, since 2002 according to reports filed with Elections BC.

Armstrong’s former employees include the premier’s son, Nicholas Campbell, as well as CN chairman David McLean’s son, Sacha McLean, according to a recent book by Paul Grescoe, entitled, “Trip of a Lifetime: The Making of the Rocky Mountaineer. The book details Armstrong’s longstanding battle with VIA Rail.

Armstrong’s competitor for the passenger service bid raised questions about the selection process in an interview with Terminal City. “We put in a bid, we were told a lot of things that never happened, and we were told by certain people we had the best bid, said Whistler Railtours CEO John Haibeck. “In my opinion we got screwed."

Holy smokes, folks ... these are some of the most amazing comments ever!

Check every hyperlink, it only gets more and more amazing!

Thank you for the research, and for sharing.

So there was a fascinating sub-plot going on all these years on all these rails ... an unelected government, ya think?

Big influences. Big ideas. Big pressures. Biiiiiiggg secrets.

Holy smoke.

BC Mary,

I was going through some old articles I have and I ran into these from and about Paul Nettleton. I thought you might be interested.

1. Loose Liberal cannon rolls over Hydro issue - Vaughn Palmer – Vancouver Sun Nov. 14, 2002


2. Liberal MLA warns of Hydro sell-off – Craig McInnes – Vancouver Sun Nov.14,2002

3. Liberal MLA just doesn’t believe his own party! Hydro - Micheal Smyth-http://www.canada.com/components/printstory.asp?id=…

Quote from this article:
Liberal caucus chairman John Les on the Nettleton bombshell:
“I’m not sure whether he had a bad night or whether his wife threw him out or not.”
Micheal Smyth asks, “Hey, John: What does his wife have to do with it?”

4. Liberal MLA blows fuse over Hydro – Judith Lavoie - http://www.canada.com/components/printstory.asp?id=…

5. There’ll be no apologies – none are necessary: MLA

6. Power Struggle - Pr. George Citizen Nov. 16, 2002 - Paul Nettleton

7. Nettleton – naïve or shrewd?


8. Nettleton Exposes Privatization Trick

– David Schreck – Strategic Thoughts.com Nov. 17, 2002

I can’t get addresses for them (except the 1st), maybe they’re too old. But I am looking at printed copies of all of them. Some of them accuse him of going public because he wasn’t appointed to cabinet. And then there is John Les’s quote.

Mary, I can mail you a hard copy if you wish.
Hard copy seems like a good idea Mary - (and anon. 9:09)
G., very much agree! These look like the kind of research clues which have a habit of disappearing.

And special thanks to that Anon-Y-mouse 9:09 who found them, just in time.

What a twist, so much so that I had to go back and read all this twice...

So, this meeting (allegedly)took place at John O'Neills( of Westin Whistler)vacation home on Savary, and was facilitated by Peter Armstrong... How convenient.

After the fact,A competitor in that Whistler line bid later complains that they were told THEY had the best bid,yet it goes to Armstrong.

Seems this ( alleged) meeting could play into the whole BC Rail corruption deal in a rather important way... Armstrong and O'Neill obviously both stood to make some big bucks from this contract, Peters trains bringing customers to John's hotel. The connections between all of them on Savary is just too handy, or am I the only one who thinks that?

Can anyone tell me if there is any reference to all of this in the pages released to the NDP? Has anyone looked?

That previous comment left by the Savary resident states that the chef stayed at a local B&B and that people were helicoptered in.

Shouldn't be too hard to trace that on a small island.
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