Wednesday, June 03, 2009

 

Robin Mathews: Morning in Courtroom 43

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Headliners in this morning session focus on Gordon Campbell and his relation with Bobby Virk (aide in Judith Reid's Transportation ministry) and with the importance of information that can be supplied to Defence by the accused.

The morning was given up, to begin (1) with discussion of the way e-mail materials sought by Defence can be efficiently made available - (if the application is granted). Defence suggests Mr. Webster - using the same protocol - be employed because he sifted the materials for the 17 binders of FOI material to everyone's satisfaction. (2) Mr. Montague, for the MLA's, reported that he cannot supply response until next week to the Defence application about MLA e-mails. (3) Mr. McCullough for the Defence made argument on the body of the Defence application(s) for access to e-mails of 17 MLAs. Defence will file application in a few days for access to cabinet e-mail sources. Clark Roberts, counsel for Gary Collins, was present at the proceedings.

Mr. McCullough made clear that the FOI materials recently made available couldn't include MLA e-mail material because that material, under the power of the Speaker, is not, by law, (as they say) FOIable (meaning it cannot be accessed by Freedom of Information request).

As a result, part of the present applications are intended to make available to Defence relevant MLA e-mail material.

That matter is complicated by the fact that what one might call the "e-mail system" allows for great variety. For instance, (using Gordon Campbell as example), Gordon Campbell has an e-mail address as Premier. He may have another as cabinet minister. He may have one as MLA (and does). And he (or his staff) may send out e-mails on the e-mail addresses of others. His cabinet e-mail material may be accessed by Freedom of Information. But his MLA e-mail use is not FOIable. What is more, people in his office may communicate by using his MLA e-mail - and such communication, of course, is not FOIable.

Campbell, apparently, is a blackberry user, and he can access any of the e-mail addresses on his blackberry.

It would never happen with a person as principled as Gordon Campbell, but if he wanted to conduct communication in an unexaminable way, he could use his MLA e-mail process.

Mr. McCullough was able to show that the application(s) being made have what he called the "air of reality" by producing e-mails already available that directly support the Defence position. The 17 MLAs will possess many commmunications with Virk, who was a key political operative in the BC Rail transaction, according to his counsel, Kevin McCullough.

Virk, in fact, had a position that might well appear to observers to be considerably more important than that of a "mere" aide in the Transportation ministry. Indeed, we remember that he and the two Basis (Dave and Aneal) were hired by Order in Council - not through civil service competition or such a screening process. They, in fact, might be considered to have been directly hired by Gordon Campbell. And when Virk was fired, he was not fired by his Minister (Judith Reid) but by Gordon Campbell through the chief of staff in the Premier's office.

The implications of those facts are enormous for the closeness of Gordon Campbell to the accused and to any actions in which the accused may have been engaged. And the implications are enormous for a theory that might suggest any Campbell cabinet is something of a sham, the real force in Victoria being Gordon Campbell and his personally hired agents and certain cabinet ministers who "can be trusted".

For instance, Mr. McCullough gave an example already in his possession of Gordon Campbell e-mailing (by his MLA account) Bob Virk to ask what the Minister of Transport wanted to meet about. (Campbell didn't contact the minister.) Virk replied to Campbell, telling him what the proposed meeting was about. And Campbell, in effect, replied soon after to kill the meeting in effect. I deduce that Campbell communicated with his own "employee" who he considered more important than the Minister holding the transportation portfolio. As Mr. McCullough put it, Bob Virk was Gordon Campbell's "operative".

Mr. McCullough pursued the idea to the point of suggesting Gordon Campbell "ran things" using, I gather, his own boys. What is more, all of the instance just reviewed was conducted through Gordon Campbell's MLA e-mail.

There seems to be little doubt that one or all of the accused were able to provide explanations of the structure of power in the Gordon Campbell operation preceding and during the sale of BC Rail. Any peculiarities in the process might well be known by the accused, who, according to Mr. McCullough's argument this morning, were far more than what might be suggested by the word "aide".

They appear to have been a closely operating part of Gordon Campbell's on-going actions in the sale.

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Defendants were 'operatives' for BC premier, lawyer argues
Mark Hume
The Globe and Mail - June 3, 2009.

Read the story HERE.

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e-mails between premier, accused cited by defence
Keith Fraser
The Province - June 4, 2009

" This document represents how this government operates ..."

Keith Fraser's full column HERE.

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Comments:
" It would never happen with a person as principled as Gordon Campbell, but if he wanted to conduct communication in an unexaminable way, he could use his MLA e-mail process. "

Hardy-har-har-ho-ho-ho-hah-hah-hah-hah-hardy-har-har-ho-ho-ho-hah-hah-hah-hah-hardy-har-har-ho-ho-ho-hah-hah-hah-hah-hardy-sputter-spew and laugh some more-har-har-ho-ho-ho-hah-hah-hah-hah-hardy-har-har-ho-ho-ho-hah-hah-hah-hah-hardy-har-har-ho-ho-ho-hah-hah-hah-hah-hardy!
 
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