Friday, July 31, 2009


BC Rail: a job for a warrior

BC's Opposition Justice Critic is a job for a warrior
Correctly known as the Opposition Critic for the Attorney-General

The Opposition Justice Critic is the official voice of dissent in a parliamentary democracy. It's a very special voice. The OJC can speak like an avenging warrior to express the people's dismay, our pain, and our hopes when a government goes wrong. Hymns of praise would be sung for his honesty, courage, vision, and protection at a time of incalculable loss augmented by deceit.

If British Columbia's actual, current Opposition Critic for the Attorney-General (Opposition Justice Critic) had acted differently, he would be remembered in poetry and song far into the future.

But that special warrior-hero role remains unclaimed, and the duties of high justice have been left undone. During the chaotic years of the Campbell Administration, the United Nations made 9 rulings condemning Gordo's errors. Polite letters are written to the premier. A dainty list of 70 questions is presented in the Legislature (no reply expected). Grammatically correct comments are ready when he visits the BCRail trial. Runnymede is mentioned more often than Prince George. But justice for the people? I don't think so.

Recently, people in British Columbia stood up, ready to face the threat of the BCR-CN deal's 5th anniversary triggering more benefits to CN to be taken from our ownership of BCRail. Citizens were seeking simple justice. We thought that the Opposition Justice Critic would understand that, and invited him to be our guide and advisor.

We asked our OJC to demand that government "Show us the deal", and wondered if "an injunction, or other means" could stop the deal until the implications are clear. Rumours say that there is an option for re-possession of the BC Railway "for cause" and that cause does exist. That priceless BCR lands would slide into CN hands as a gift on the 5th anniversary. That certain BCRail lines would be abandoned leaving communities stranded. And more.

These are not minor concerns.

So what happened? Does British Columbia have this heroic warrior-figure who leaps into action, defending the people against injustice? No.

Did citizens spontaneously rise up to write and telephone him? Yes, they did. I wrote 3 times, myself.

Did the Opposition Justice Critic take notice? Maybe. I was told that this blog is read "with respect" in Opposition quarters. But who knows?

Did the OJC offer his advice? his legal opinion? helpful information? his personal guidance? No, he did not. It was as if his face was turned away from us.

Was there any response at all? From the OJC, no. From his assistants, yes.

His assistants prepared an identical form letter which was emailed to most (not all) of us, on July 13, 2009. Sly. By then, it was too late to head off the windfall benefits to CN triggered by the 5th anniversary of the deal. The Opposition's explanation, over the OJC's printed signature, was as follows:

* An injunction is too expensive. (Ignore the fact that Maude Barlow, for The Council of Canadians, is seeking an injunction this week to protect a water source. And B.C.'s Opposition Justice Critic can't even discuss the topic of lands, railway lines, communities, and the public good?)

* We would have no "standing" before the court for an injunction. (We, the previous owners of BCRail, would have no "standing"??)

* No mention was made of "by other means" which we believed a lawyer would know about. It was an embarrassing list of excuses for doing nothing, sent to us the day before it was possible to do anything.

Which maybe wouldn't be as bad, if our Opposition Justice Critic hadn't held a Vancouver press conference the next day ... the next day being the 5th anniversary which the citizens themselves had called "BCRail Day".

His press conference gave a public impression that he believed what we believed: that further outrageous benefits would roll out of the secret BCR-CN agreement and into the pockets of CN, without the people knowing.

But was he agreeing that the deal should be stopped? No. So why did he set up a press conference for July 14, 2009?

The purpose of that press conference was, I believe, to make it easy for Big Media in Vancouver to quote him as being "aware" of the 5th anniversary and its ramifications, to pretend that he was leading this rally ... and to reassure the Campbell Government that he certainly wasn't about to rock the boat. He was saying, in my view, "Gordo's Gang will lose the next election and I want to be premier. So trust me. This is my promise: if I'm premier of BC, nothing will change." Message received.

A heroic Justice Critic would have stood like a proud warrior, tall and determined on BC Rail Day, defending the rightful interests of his people.

Like an avenging angel, he would have been challenging, pushing, embarrassing the government, raising his voice so all could hear his call for justice: "It's been 5 years!" he would have said, "I challenge the Campbell Government to immediately SHOW US THE DEAL. No contract is legal if one of the parties have never seen the agreement -- and the people of B.C. are one of the parties! I challenge the Campbell Government to stop right here!"

Then he would roar like a lion: "This is my personal injunction upon this government. Put a hold on that CN deal. Show us the agreement. Then consult with the people." It really didn't seem a lot to ask.

Did our well-paid OJC stand up for the people of British Columbia? No, he didn't.

Is there any indication that our unhero is looking into re-negotiating the BCR-CN deal? Re-possessing BC Rail? Or challenging the terms of the agreement in any way? No, no indication whatever.

A warrior Opposition Justice Critic, fighting for the people of B.C. would be a hero on a high pedestal in British Columbia these days. But in my opinion, that empty pedestal should have a Help Wanted sign attached. - BC Mary.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Trainmen considering criminal charges against CN after train wreck killed Don Faulkner and Tom Dodd, seriously injuring Gordon Rhodes

Memorial for 2006 derailment victims unveiled

Robin Poon
Bridge River, Lilloet News - July 29, 2009

Lillooet – Rail employees past and present unveiled a memorial to two trainmen who died in a 2006 derailment last Thursday afternoon at Downton Park beside the museum.

John Holliday, general chairman of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, spoke first. He recounted the story of CN Engine 9606.

On June 29, 2006, the engine, with one lumber car attached, was heading back to Lillooet for the night.

The train derailed when the brakes on the car and locomotive failed to control the train’s descent down the winding tracks and steep grade of the mountains.

The train car derailed first, eventually coming to rest 1,000 feet down the mountain. Soon after, the locomotive also derailed and slid about 800 feet down.

Conductor Don Faulkner and brakeman Tom Dodd both died. Gordon Rhodes, the engineer, survived but was badly injured.

The report from the federal Transportation Safety Board (TSB), released last May, blamed inadequate brakes for the accident.

The board noted that CN did not perform a risk assessment before removing engines with “dynamic braking”, better suited for the mountains than CN Engine 9606, from the route.

Dodd and Faulkner’s fellow union members volunteered to build the memorial with the support of the District of Lillooet.

The volunteers erected a stone cairn topped with the bell of CN Engine 9606, salvaged from the wreck.

Rocks for the cairn were collected from the banks of the Thompson River.

Holliday gave “a big thanks to retired conductor and master stonemason Clive Casey” for doing the cairn’s stonework.

Former district councillor Marg Lampman delivered a statement on behalf of the local member of the federal Parliament, Chuck Strahl.

Harry Lali, the provincial member of the legislative assembly for the area, then spoke.

“As we remember Tom and Don…I would also like to point out how close Gordon Rhodes came to losing his life,” he said.

He added that Rhodes’s survival was key to finding out the truth about what happened in the train’s final moments.

Both Lali and Lampman cited the importance of workplace safety in light of the accident.

“We remember Tom and Don and at the same time, we hope for the safety of all workers,” said Lali.

Later, in an interview, he added, “TSB squarely laid the blame on faulty, inadequate equipment.”

He urged the federal government to enact tougher safety standards in the transport industry and enforce existing regulations more diligently.

“Transport Canada should do their jobs.

“The ball’s squarely in the federal Ministry of Transportation’s lap.”

Lali also said that the province is partly responsible as well in that it sold B.C. Rail but did not ensure that CN upheld the former’s safety standards.

Holliday expressed similar sentiments in an interview in the wake of the TSB report’s release.

He said of CN‘s safety policy, “They only do what’s required by law.

“What’s needed is a change in the law.

“I would like to see Transport Canada have more teeth.”

Holliday added that the union has long demanded adherence to B.C. Rail’s more stringent standards.

“We have been working since Day One when CN bought B.C. Rail.”

But, he said, the railway was unlikely to act unless safety issues begin to hurt profits.

“Safety in the transportation industry is compromised by the bottom line.”

For CN change its ways, he said, “The price of the stock would have to drop.”

According to Holliday, the Teamsters are now in the process of pursuing criminal charges and a civil suit against CN in relation to the accident. He said he hopes the case goes to trial so that the railway’s actions are made public.

The cairn’s unveiling was followed that evening with a reunion of former B.C. Rail employees.


CN Rail slammed for deadly derailment
Accident occurred after CN Rail took over B.C. Rail and changed operating procedures


In the frantic minutes before he died, Tom Dodd heroically scampered across a flatbed rail car loaded with lumber to try to save the lives of fellow crew members on a runaway train.

Moments later, the car Dodd was on went flying off the tracks on the Kelly Lake hill 27 miles north of Lillooet, tumbling 1,000 feet down the steep hill.

“I’m very proud of him,” Tom’s brother Barry Dodd said Thursday, as the Transportation Safety Board of Canada’s report into the June 29, 2006 incident was published.

Tom Dodd, 55, the conductor, and trainman Don Faulkner, 59, both died in the derailment.

Two miles down the hill from where the flatbed car derailed, the locomotive went off the rails with Faulkner and engineer Gordon Rhodes outside the cab looking in vain for a soft place to safely jump off.

But the locomotive was by then hurtling down the 2.2-percent grade at about 60 m.p.h.

It rolled 800 feet down the hill and burst into flames. Rhodes suffered serious injuries but survived.

Barry Dodd said his courageous brother was trying right to the bitter end to use the hand brake at the back end of the flatbed car to slow it down.

“The thing didn’t have any brakes and it went off the track,” Dodd told The Province.

“I guess it did slow down for a bit because the engine got ahead.”

The report slams CN Rail, which had taken over BC Rail in July 2004.

When BCR ran trains on the mountainous route, they used locomotives with dynamic braking (DB) — which engage the engine to exert torque on the drive wheels in the opposite direction the train is going.

But three months before the fatal incident, CN Rail decided to take the engines with dynamic brakes off the run, called the Exeter Switcher, in favour of smaller locomotives equipped only with air brakes.

“In this situation, no consideration was given to the need for supplemental DBs for the safe descent of mountain grades and there was no formal risk assessment performed before removing DB-equipped locomotives from this territory,” said the TSB report.

“I’m happy with the report,” said Barry Dodd. “They are a very thorough outfit.

“They didn’t pull any punches.

“We agree with their report, that CN wasn’t checking how the other people [BCR] ran it.

“It was only three months before that they pulled the dynamic braking (DB) engines off,” said Dodd.

“[CN] didn’t check with BCR on how they ran their railroad. They just did it their way and it caused some problems.”

The report said: “Had the train been controlled with DB, the 40,000-pound DB capacity would have been sufficient to maintain the speed at the 20 m.p.h. limit without any use of the train air brakes or the locomotive independent brake, significantly reducing the risk of loss of control.”

The report recommended CN “take effective action to identify and mitigate risks to safety as required by its safety management system.”

Dodd has fond memories of his brother, who is survived by a son and daughter.

“He was a good person,” said Barry Dodd. “He liked hunting and fishing, and skiing.”

John Holliday, general chairman of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference local that represents CN employees in B.C., said actions taken by CN managers could be criminal.

“We’re going to talk with our lawyers about having CN charged under the Westray Act,” Holliday said of the law that holds a supervisor accountable for the on-the-job safety.

“We have been concerned since Day 1 that CN has been ignoring the operating experience of BC Rail.

“BC Rail is a mountain-grade railway. It’s a little bit steeper, the curves are a little bit tighter,” said Holliday.

“We’re working to bring CN up to the operating and maintenance standards of BC Rail.”

The TSB report noted that CN instituted a policy change in February this year: “Southward trains on the Lillooet Subdivision between Kelly Lake, Mile 192.6 and Polly, Mile 162, must operate with Dynamic Brake equipped locomotives.”

Stunning photo HERE.

Dramatic description of a similar terrible train ride and fatal derailment near Trail which took the life of Lonnie Plasko who was engineer for Kootenay Valley Railway, a short line operating within CPR. Read the story HERE.

Here are three Youtube videos:

BC Rail - Full 'DB' [Dynamic Brakes] All the Way Down to Lillooet
or click HERE.

BC Rail Lilloet Sub - The Treacherous Climb
or click HERE.

CN cost-cutting blamed for deadly derailment
for computer-generated replay showing the terrain, the grade, the acceleration, and the derailments, click HERE.


I remember Don Faulkner for his belief in this blog and the necessity for people like me, to speak up for BC Rail. It was good to read about this memorial. Sincere thanks to those who built it. Best wishes to Gordon Rhodes and to all who are proud to say that they were once BCRail trainmen. - BC Mary.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009


BCRail Properties, the Defendant

Our friend, Gary E, has a startling posting up at his place today:

BCRP Fails to Give Evidence of Government Mandate

Gary E writes:

Anonymous has supplied us with a very interesting piece of information in a case involving BC Rail Properties in Prince George Court.

[Click HERE to see the full "Reasons for Judgment" in a case involving the lease-sale of land owned by BC Rail Properties. Binks Forest Products Ltd., of Prince George, B.C., is the Plaintiff. BCRail Properties is the defendant. The hearing in chambers took place on April 15, 2009.]

After reading this judgment I [Gary E] found a couple of interesting submissions and reasons for judgment. Not the least of which involves the following:

[39] The only harm that I [Judge Meiklem] can infer would accrue to the defendant from a preservation of the plaintiff’s option to purchase pending a hearing of the issue on the merits is that the defendant would be delayed or hindered in marketing the premises in the intervening period of time. The defendant states in submissions that an injunction would prevent the defendant from dealing with the premises in accordance with its mandate from the provincial government to divest itself of all its real property. There is no evidence as to the terms of any such mandate or what losses may occur if there are delays experienced. The defendant also suggests that an injunction would be in place for some time as this action is unsuitable for Rule 18A summary disposition given the conflicts in evidence the require findings of credibility to resolve.

So BCRP tells the court that an interim interloculatory injunction prevents them from doing the government's bidding ie : divesting itself of all real properties. They say this has been mandated. Yet they fail to show evidence in court?

It will be interesting to see the final results of this interim injunction.


BC Mary says:

We tried, didn't we ... to get either an injunction "or other means" to hold back further benefits rolling out into CN pockets on the 5th anniversary of the BCR-CN agreement.

Mr Krog (when he finally got around to having his assistants send us form letters the day before the 5th anniversary when it was too late to act) said an injunction couldn't be done. Mr Krog said that the Opposition (or maybe the people of B.C.) had no standing. Or, said Mr Krog on the day before the 5th anniversary, if it could be done, it would cost too much.

I don't buy that.

Compare Krog's words to the creativity going on in the Prince George case:

The Application

[1] The plaintiff has applied under Rule 18A and Rules 45 and 46 of the Rules of Court for certain declaratory and injunctive relief in connection with an option to purchase contained in a lease of industrial property adjacent to a railway track in Prince George, British Columbia. Short leave was granted for the hearing of the application, but upon the return of the motion it was agreed that a summary trial on the merits was premature and outside the bounds of Rule 18A because neither a statement of claim or defence had yet been filed. The matter proceeded as a limited application for an interim interlocutory injunction to preserve until a hearing on the merits of the plaintiff’s claim that for various reasons, the option to purchase has not expired.

[2] The application was not initially framed as a stand-alone injunction application, so the affidavits in support of the application did not address the question of irreparable harm and other matters relating to the balance of convenience. Leave was granted to the plaintiff to file further evidence by affidavit and to the defendant to respond with affidavits. These have been received, together with further submissions from the defendant. [end of excerpt]

I don't agree that something couldn't -- or can't -- be done to pause the BCR-CN deal.

I don't agree that the people of British Columbia who were the previous owners of BC Rail, would not qualify for "standing" in a case seeking to pause the BCR-CN deal until we SEE the deal.

I don't agree that compelling evidence couldn't be provided showing the losses incurred by the people because of the deal, but that the options for redress are being kept secret from the people.

I can't agree that there aren't sufficient grounds, for innovative lawyers willing to find a way to seek a fair reappraisal at this opportune time ... if not by injunction, then by other means.

But I've stopped watching Mr Krog for any sign of action. Instead, I'll be watching what happens next with Brink vs. BCR Properties in Prince George.

Special thanks to Gary E, and his Anonymous contributor, for this insight. - BC Mary


This further contribution adds to the BCRP story:

Mary, I left that court case @ Gary's, I am good at finding stuff, just not posting it very coherently.

Here is a court case that will blow your socks off, I was doing further research to the Co. involved, which I will put in my next post ( word limits) The statement below might exlain why they call it a lease.

In the 2009 BCRC financial report

BCRC also held a number of dormant subsidiary companies, of which all have been voluntarily dissolved since 2004, with the exception of the following remaining dormant subsidiaries:

Vancouver Wharves Ltd. and Vancouver Wharves Limited Partnership
These are no longer operating entities, since the May 30, 2007 transaction with Kinder Morgan, but cannot be dissolved until resolution of any outstanding litigation matters.

In the Supreme Court of BC
May 14, 2003
Vancouver, B.C.

[2] The plaintiff, International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI), is incorporated pursuant to the laws of the Philippines and is engaged in the business of managing, operating and developing container ports and terminals. It is not registered as an extra-provincial corporation in British Columbia.

[3] The defendant, British Columbia Railway Company (BCRC), is a Crown Corporation, which included among its holdings Casco Terminals, Vancouver Wharves, and Canadian Stevedoring.

[4] In 2002 BCRC embarked on a process to sell some or all of the components of BC Marine. ICTSI was a bidder on the Casco Terminals part of the offering. ICTSI’s proposal was not accepted and Casco, along with Canadian Stevedoring, was sold to another party in January, 2001. Put in the most general terms, ICTSI claims that the bidding process was unfair and that it has suffered damages including loss of the contract for the purchase of Casco Terminals and the costs and expenses incurred in preparing the bid.....

(h) the determination of value by BCRC would be conducted in good faith and using a process which ensured that no bidder would receive preferential treatment or a competitive advantage;

links and further info - next comment



Follow up to EM's comment

The 2003 case

[18] I see no prejudice to the plaintiff in directing that such particulars be provided to the extent they are known. That is to say that the particulars of its dealings with CIBC and BCRC, which would give the defendant notice of any issues that may arise in its communication with its agent and of which it may not be aware, should be given. A pleading expressed to include such information without limiting the allegations, would leave the plaintiff ample room to explore acts or omissions internal to the defendant’s activities or those of its agent which may have a bearing on what occurred but of which the plaintiff may not be aware.

[19] Paragraph 5 of the Statement of Claim reads:

Prior to completing the confidentiality agreement, ICTSI sought and received from BCRC an assurance that the process would be fair and transparent, and that all information made available to any bidder would be supplied to ICTSI.

[20] In paragraph 5(b) the defendant has sought the following particulars:

(i) the person or persons who gave the alleged assurance;

(ii) the person or persons who received the alleged assurance;

(iii) whether the alleged assurance was made or given orally, or in writing or both;

(iv) if the alleged assurance was made wholly or partly in writing, the date and description of the writing;

(v) when the assurance was given; and

(vi) particulars of the alleged assurance;

[21] I do not think it inappropriate or prejudicial to the plaintiff to ask, at this stage, for such details as to the actual assurances alleged, and I order the particulars sought.

forward to February 2009 in BCSC

International Container Terminal Services Inc.,



British Columbia Railway Company and CIBC World Markets Inc.

1] The defendant British Columbia Railway Company (“BCRC”) seeks an order compelling answers to certain discovery questions and production of certain documents. The plaintiff says that the information sought is protected by solicitor-client privilege. The issue on this application is whether the plaintiff has waived privilege.

[2] This action arises out of the sale by BCRC of its marine operations, which consisted primarily of three companies—Vancouver Wharves Ltd., Casco Terminals Ltd. and Canadian Stevedoring Ltd. BCR issued a request for proposals from potential purchasers and the plaintiff was an unsuccessful bidder for one of those assets—Casco Terminals.

[3] The plaintiff alleges that BCR provided a number of assurances about the bidding process, including that it would be “fair and transparent” and that the plaintiff would not be at a competitive disadvantage if it bid for only one of the three major assets. These assurances are alleged to amount to a contract that governed the bidding process and the plaintiff claims damages for breach of that contract. The terms of the alleged contract are set out in paragraph 19 of the statement of claim:

[4] The plaintiff’s alleged damages are set out in para 25:

25. As direct consequence of the breaches of contract by BCRC as set out herein, ICTSI has suffered damages including the loss of the contract for the purchase of Casco Terminals at the price and on the terms contained in its October 8, 2002 bid. In the alternative, ICTSI has suffered damages in the amount of the cost and effort of conducting extensive due diligence investigations on Casco Terminals over a five month period and in preparing and presenting its preliminary and final bids.



Monday, July 27, 2009


BC Rail: Rafe Mair talks about Dubious bluster from BC Libs on e-mails ...

Simply Unbelievable
Dubious bluster from BC Libs on e-mails, river power.
By Rafe Mair - July 27, 2009

Basi-Virk: Court orders disclosure of Gordon Campbell's emails

The Campbell government has lost its moral compass, if it ever had one.
Let me give you two examples, starting with the private rivers policy.

{Snip, because it's long; but don't miss it!} ...

The scuttled e-mails

Carrying on with the credibility of this government, we have a new attorney-general, Mike de Jong, who knows that masses of government e-mails, created and sent during the critical years of the Basi/Virk issue, have been destroyed. As the CBC recently reported [under] "the government's own guidelines [they] should not have been deleted because of their relevance to the BC Rail corruption trial."

Let's do a bit of an overview here:

The sale of BC Rail was an initiative of the premier.

His most senior cabinet minister, Gary Collins, was in charge of the details and Mr. Virk and Mr. Basi worked under him.

Since December 2003, the government, including then attorney general Plant, then finance minister Collins, and the premier, knew that there was a stench about the BC Rail bidding process.

These questions come to mind:

Did then attorney general Plant advise the government to retain all documents? Did he do so in writing, and if so, where is the document? If he didn't, why not?

Did the next attorney general, Mr. Oppal, give such an order? If he did, where is it? If not, why not? He was AG after the trial began.

After the December '03 raid, or at any time thereafter, did the premier order all ministries to make sure nothing was destroyed?

If so, where is the directive?

If there was not such an order, why not?

Yes, appoint a special prosecutor

The government could hardly argue that they had to make more storage space available since, as Margaret Wente has pointed out in the Globe and Mail, for a few hundred bucks you can buy a computer at The Future Shop to take care of all of it.

It is now evident that just before the last election, documents bearing on the issue were destroyed. If done under orders of the government this could well amount to tampering with evidence and contempt of court.

Under the Attorney General Act there is a provision for the attorney general to appoint outside Crown counsel to investigate where there is a perception of conflict of interest. This was done with allegations against Glen Clark and Bill Vander Zalm.

The government will likely say that they already have appointed Bill Berardino, but he's confined to the Basi/Virk case and here we're talking about potential wrongdoing by members of the Campbell government including the premier himself, after those charges were laid.

Indeed, if Mr. Campbell is squeaky clean as he alleges, he should welcome such a move.


The history of the Campbell government is one of deceit, obfuscation and stonewalling. Campbell, for example, has declined to comment on documents which have become evidence in the Basi/Virk case saying that they are sub judice -- before the court. They are not. This is legal flim flam.

What if a document was tendered in the court saying "Premier and his colleagues were utterly uninvolved in this case" (difficult as this is to imagine). Would the premier then say "I can't comment because this is before the courts"?

A government, if it doesn't want to be seen as amoral, must have credibility. This one is blurring the line between fact and falsehood beyond recognition.

P.S. Rafe Mair deserves maximum credit for his passionate work on behalf of British Columbia rivers and fishery. No question about that. But there's also an amazing comment by Chuck Dickens which is equally passionate and well-informed, answering that nagging question: what's wrong with the do-nothing NDP Opposition? - BC Mary.


Sunday, July 26, 2009


Skookum1 asks the big questions about the BC Rail Case

A valued commentor to The Legislature Raids left a comment this morning which shouldn't be overlooked, so it is posted here as well. Whatever your thoughts about these matters, I love to hear from you. Today, Skookum1 writes:

Someone once told me to keep lies, when necessary, simple, so that you don't trip up on the complications....there are so many complications in this case that it will be hard for them to manage the contradictions. Contradictions which already abound; and given that more than one liar will be on the stand (including the "Crown witnesses") it seems very likely that they will trip over each other's complexities.

Not that that will keep the court, or the media, from glossing over them, or in the court's case making rules that render them "not relevant".

And again, there remains the larger issue of the OTHER charges that need to be laid; not in relation to the OminTRAX bribe, and not in relation only to the emails. But to the proceedings which engendered them.

Is there anyone in the RCMP, or in the Crown prosecution or A-G offices, or at the higher level of the federal government, or potentially in international tribunals, who will have the balls/decency to investigate and file these charges??

The political fortunes and careers of others have been ruined by false charges - Glen Clark and Ralph Goodale come to mind - but the coating of teflon around the BC Liberals does not bode well for any of this, i.e. the pressing need for the REAL charges yet to be laid, and which should have been laid a long time ago. Why did the RCMP exempt elected officials from investigation? (well, other than Gary Collins?). And why have the private corporate parties to the illegal transactions (OmniTRAX and, fairly obviously, CN) also been exempted?

We already know the answer, but that answer just isn't good enough is it? Or rather, the answer poses a further string of questions.....

Will this country ever be a real democracy, or will it remain a shoddy post-colonial plutocracy forever?



BC Rail (BCRC) ... and CN Acquisition Limited (CNAL), in Restated Transaction Agreement dated 25 Nov 2003, amended July 13 and 14, 2004

Sunday morning and a kindly rel has fixed my printer which has been out of commission for a while. So imagine my surprise when the paper block was released, and out popped a page headed


BCRC (British Columbia Railway Corporation) and BCRC Properties Ltd,

(BCRC and BCR Properties are herein collectively, the "Vendors"),


Canadian National Railway Company, a corporation continued under the laws of Canada and having its registered office at 935 de la Gauchetiere Street West, 16th floor, Montreal, Quebec, H3B 2M9

(the "Purchaser")


CN ACQUISITION LIMITED, a corporation incorporated under the laws of Canada and having its registered office at 935 de la Gauchetiere Street West, 16th floor, Montreal, Quebec, H3B 2M9



A. BCRC owns 25% of the isued and outstanding shares in the capital of BC Rail Ltd. ("Rail") and 5% of the issued and outstanding partnership units in BC Rail Partnership "BCR Partnership"),

B. BCR Properties owns 75% ... wait ... wait just a doggone minute. "CNAL"? ... "a corporation incorporated under the laws of Canada and having its registered office at ..." (same as CNRC above)? So was this corporation freshly incorporated for the purpose of accepting BCRail Properties lands ... at arm's length?

The RESTATED TRANSACTION AGREEMENT made the 25th day of November, 2003, and amended on July 13, 2004 and July 14, 2004 ... is long and it's loaded with things to examine.

Under WITNESS THAT WHEREAS, see especially F, G, H ... and then the new interpretations, especially subsection 1.1, (f) and (g).

(bb) gives the Closing Date as July 14, 2004 "or such other dates as the parties agree";

and under Competition Act Approval, there's an interesting bundle of words at (i), (ii), and (iii), where it seems to struggle with "not sufficient grounds to initiate proceedings before the Competition Tribunal ... in respect of the transaction contemplated herein ... or otherwise in connection with the transfer of the Business to the Purchasor ... "

But if you're like me, you'll finish up wondering if this is The Agreement or not. There are enough black-out lines and missing pages to suggest that it is. Or could be. Or not, as the Parties may decide.

I try to imagine a British Columbia citizen knocking on that door on the 16th floor at
935 de la Gauchetiere Street West, Montreal, Quebec, to ask our questions, and having them say, "What Agreement? Show us the deal." How embarrassing. What agreement? I don't know for sure. Do you? - BC Mary.


Saturday, July 25, 2009


N.V.G. finds the Attorney-General responsible for disclosure of Executive Council e-mails

North Van's Grumps sent this information as a comment. It's important. It's posted here so readers can't miss it. N.V.G. says:

It looks like the "guy" who will be on the hook if the Executive council emails are not turned over to the courts, immediately, might just be the Former Attorney General, or the Current one.

Read about it HERE ...

After all the whole of this pre-trial antics for the defense team for Basi, Virk, Basi has been about disclosure.

d) Disclosure Requirements for Legal Proceedings

1. Ministries must list all relevant records in their custody or control under the Attorney General's discovery of documents.

2. Government records destruction schedules must be suspended during court orders for Demand of Discovery.

3. Records disposition must be suspended during legally mandated reviews (e.g., litigation, document discovery, and commissions of inquiry.)

... and HERE.

"Any content created or transmitted using government equipment or retained within the government network will be managed as a government record. There is no expectation of personal privacy related to the use of government information technology resources except for specific privileged communications (i.e., Cabinet, solicitor/client, and union representative communications)"

Therefore the disclosure process has been stalled because of at least two specific priviliged communications eg. Cabinet and solicitor/client which is the same as Cabinet and the Lawyer who represents the Executive council at the BC Rail pre-trial hearings.

... and then N.V.G. came back again with this:

I was doing a bit more in depth look at how the government stores our data and I just had a look at the date stamp on the file, on the page actually, ..... July 15, 2009!

Go HERE to see that. Last revision: 2009/07/15

I wonder if there's an older copy, one that would say have allowed the government to have a broader discretion ......interpretation, of the Document Disposal Act before the lawyers for the defense team made their pitch to the press on where the heck has the Executive emails gone to?

And HERE. And especially HERE.

From: BCRail Sale case is BC's biggest political scandal

By Gabriel Yiu
The Straight - July 25, 2009

... The Core Policy and Procedures Manual (Section 12.3.3) clearly states that “Government records destruction schedules must be suspended during court orders for Demand of Discovery” and that “Records disposition must be suspended during legally mandated reviews.”

The government’s electronic mail records management policy (Schedule 102903) states that e-mails “required for ongoing legal, fiscal, audit, administrative or operational purposes” must be transferred “to a storage medium suitable for retention for seven years".

The Executive Records Policy (Schedule 102906) requires the premier, cabinet ministers, deputy ministers, and assistant deputy ministers to retain documents that have “legal” or “evidentiary” value.

The executive records policy (Schedule 102906) also requires executive records, including e-mails and voicemails, to be retained for a minimum of 10 years.

Therefore, it's incomprehensible that the B.C. Liberal government only keeps e-mails of the premier and his cabinet for a mere 13 months.

It also raises a disturbing question: whether someone high up in the B.C. Liberal government deliberately destroyed these e-mails to hide the truth concerning corruption in the B.C. Rail sale ...



BC's Biggest Political Scandal

By Gabriel Yiu
Chinese in Vancouver - July 24, 2009

From this lengthy article, an interesting excerpt:

Is the $1B sale of BC Rail a government-business collusion?

Even if we overlook the hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of tax write-off benefit for CN Rail’s purchasing of BC Rail, it is a real bargain when we compare its purchase price with the building costs of other public railway networks:

BC Rail – over 3,000 km of railway network covering the continent and Vancouver Island - $1 billion

Skytrain Millennium Line – 16 km. $1.2 billion

Skytrain Evergreen Line – 11 km. $1.4 billion

Skytrain UBC extension – 12 km. $2.8 billion

Canada Line – 19 km. $1.9 billion


Thursday, July 23, 2009


Live-blogging (almost) - Bill Tieleman reporting from BC Supreme Court on Kinsella

And Kinsella's lawyer is trying to stop the defence from getting any BC Rail documents related to him - online now - going back to court and will update ... says Bill in an e.mail to BC Mary.

Bill Tieleman's morning report is HERE.

Bill's afternoon report is HERE.

And "Judge Bennett to rule at 8:30 AM on Friday July 24 on the relevance of the Kinsella documents." [July 24 update: there is no BC Supreme Court listing for Basi-Virk today. - BC Mary.]

Thanks again, Bill !!

Plus Bill's column in 24 HOURS for July 24, 2009

More Twists and Turns. See it HERE


Kinsella's lawyer says client's emails not relevant to BC Rail corruption case.

Keith Fraser
The Province - July 3, 2009

Read about it HERE.

Kinsella's position at BC Rail debated in court

By Mark Hume
The Globe and Mail - July 24, 2009

Vancouver Was Premier Gordon Campbell's long-time adviser Patrick Kinsella a strategic consultant for BC Rail, or a lobbyist and government insider who played a political role in the $1-billion sale of the railway?

Conflicting views on Mr. Kinsella were presented in the Supreme Court of British Columbia yesterday as lawyers argued over the disclosure of BC Rail records.

Mr. Kinsella's lawyer, James Sullivan, told Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett that lawyers defending three former government employees on corruption charges should not be given access to the material, which includes e-mail exchanges.

Mr. Sullivan argued the material is not relevant to the case against Dave Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi – who are accused of trading confidential government information about the BC Rail deal – and even if it were found relevant, it should be excluded because it invades Mr. Kinsella's privacy.

{Snip} ...

“I want to underscore … the political dynamics at work here and what we consider to be the very key role of Mr. Kinsella,” said Michael Bolton, Mr. Basi's lawyer.

He said some of the records will provide “graphic evidence to confirm the defence view … that the BC Rail divestiture to CN occurred at a very high and political level.”

{Snip} ....

Read Mark Hume's full column HERE.

Liberal insider's e-mails not relevant to Basi-Virk case: lawyer

Patrick Kinsella was co-chair of two B.C. Liberal election campaigns, according to defence lawyer Kevin McCullough, including the one in which Premier Gordon Campbell promised not to sell BC Rail.

Patrick Kinsella was co-chair of two B.C. Liberal election campaigns, according to defence lawyer Kevin McCullough, including the one in which Premier Campbell promised not to sell BC Rail.

Photograph by: Glenn Baglo, Vancouver Sun files

VANCOUVER — A lawyer for Liberal insider Patrick Kinsella argued Thursday that his client's BC Rail e-mails are not relevant to the Basi-Virk political corruption case.The defence lawyer reminded the judge that an e-mail already disclosed, written by BC Rail vice-president Kevin Mahoney, refers to Kinsella as a "Liberal backroom guy" and a lobbyist appointed by the chairman of BC Rail.

{Snip} ...

McCullough said the e-mails being sought appear to include invoices for Kinsella's consulting work for BC Rail.

"The question in this case is: What is Mr. Kinsella doing for BC Rail?" the lawyer asked in court.

McCullough said Kinsella's invoices start in 2004, even though he began working for BC Rail in 2002. He estimated Kinsella had been paid more than $175,000 by BC Rail up to 2004.

McCullough pointed out that Kinsella was co-chair of two B.C. Liberal election campaigns, including the one in which Premier Gordon Campbell promised not to sell BC Rail.

Then, after Campbell won the election, the government decided to sell BC Rail to CN Rail for $1 billion in order to balance the provincial government books, the lawyer told the judge.

Neal Hall's complete column is HERE.


Judge orders release of Kinsella e-mails 'relevant' to B.C. Rail case

By Keith Fraser
The Province - July 24, 2009

{Snip} ...

Several of the relevant e-mails describe the setting up of meetings between Kinsella and B.C. Rail, she said.

“The defence submits that it’s significant that B.C. Rail is meeting with Kinsella a few months after the 2001 election,” said the judge.

“The e-mails refer to meetings to discuss the plans for the 2004 railway.

“Given that B.C. Rail was put on the market in 2002, and the charges come from that event, these documents are likely relevant. Mr. Kinsella does not have a privacy interest on the documents.”

{Snip} ...

Read more Keith Fraser for July 24, 2009 HERE.

See also:

Court orders some Kinsella records released, restricts access to others

By Mark Hume
The Globe and Mail - July 24, 2009

It's becoming a bit difficult to keep the reports in sequence so I hope this will help people fill in Bill Tieleman's complete report:

UPDATE 12 p.m. Friday

The Province's Keith Fraser reports that Justice Elizabeth Bennett has ruled this morning that about half of the BC Rail documents connected to Patrick Kinsella are relevant to the defence and ordered them released, in particularl emails describing meetings being set up between Kinsella and BC Rail shortly after the election.

“Given that B.C. Rail was put on the market in 2002, and the charges come from that event, these documents are likely relevant. Mr. Kinsella does not have a privacy interest on the documents,” Bennett stated in court.

UPDATED 6 p.m. with new info from afternoon court session

The defence in the Basi-Virk case today alleged that BC Liberal Party insider Patrick Kinsella was paid over $175,000 in consulting fees without submitting any invoices for his work.

And Kinsella's lawyer James Sullivan argued in BC Supreme Court that about 108 BC Rail records, documents and emails connected to Kinsella should not be disclosed to the defence, saying they are either private and harmful to Kinsella's business or not relevant to the case.

In court Kevin McCullough, representing former BC Liberal ministerial assistant Bob Virk, alleged Kinsella played a key role in the $1 billion privatization of BC Rail and that he had significant communications with successful bidder CN Rail when the deal got into trouble after the sale was announced.

McCullough blasted the lack of invoices from Kinsella and his company the Progressive Group to BC Rail for what he said amounted to more than $175,000 of the $297,000 the former BC Liberal Party co-chair in 2001 and 2005 charged the Crown corporation for "business advice."

"The fact that we only have invoices commencing in July 2004 for all the Progressive Group when we know in excess of $175,000 was paid from 2002 to 2004 alone is significant to what Mr. Kinsella was doing for B.C. Rail," McCullough told Bennett in arguing for disclosure of the documents.

But B.C. Rail lawyer Robert Deane said this afternoon that there was “an explanation and it’s not sinister.”

Deane said CN Rail had taken over B.C. Rail documents in July 2004, so they were not in B.C. Rail’s possession.

Deane said an affidavit filed in June of 2009 explained that when the transfer of B.C. Rail to CN was completed in about July 2004, recoreds were transferred to the control of CN.

Outside court Deane declined to answer questions about why B.C. Rail still retained some records related to Kinsella but not others or whether B.C. Rail knows if the invoices exist and are in CN's control.

Sullivan said outside court he has no information on the invoices.

But earlier in court McCullough launched a blistering attack on Kinsella and his role at B.C. Rail.

"What did he do for $175,000 between 2002 and July 2004? We know he was campaign chair for Mr. Campbell in 2001. We know that CN was communicating with him directly....A reasonable inference can be drawn that something's not right," McCullough alleged, telling Bennett that Kinsella was retained by B.C. Rail chair John McLernan, a provincial political appointee.

"If Mr. McLernan hired a backroom Liberal lobbyist guy, that's highly relevant," McCullough said. McCullough at one point repeated the term "McLernan-hired, Liberal backroom lobbyist" four times in a row.

In court Sullivan argued that the B.C. Rail records connected to Kinsella should not be disclosed to the defence.

"Mr. Kinsella asserts that documents from B.C. Rail cannot possibly be relevant and also asserts privacy rights. Many of these B.C. Rail documents fall outside the time period where they would be likely relevant," Sullivan said.

And Sullivan told Bennett that release of the documents could be harmful to Kinsella's business.

"Mr. Kinsella is not a government official or a public figure. He's a private citizen who relies upon his good reputation for his business," Sullivan said. "Mr. Kinsella, it must be stressed, is not a party to these proceedings."

Sullivan said that if Bennett rules any documents related to Kinsella should be released, he would want to review them and make submissions on redacting some of the content.

NEW: Tempers flare on all sides in testy battles between lawyers and between lawyers and Justice Elizabeth Bennett

The afternoon session saw some of the testiest arguments yet seen in
court in over three years, with McCullough at one point seeming close to being ejected by an obviously angry Justice Elizabeth Bennett.

And Bennett repeatedly ordered Sullivan to sit down and stop interjecting, at one point warning him his actions could potentially result in grounds for an appeal in the case by the defence.

An exasperated McCullough attempted to make additional arguments in response to statements by
Special Prosecutor Janet Winteringham in support of Sullivan's position on disclosure of the Kinsella documents and after Sullivan accused the defence of going on a "fishing expedition".

"I have issues to reply to," McCullough said to Bennett despite being told not to rise. "You raised the CN-Kinsella relationship. There is evidence....

"No there isn't," Bennett cut in.

McCullough continued despite Bennett's indication to sit down.

"Can you stop talking please?" an irritated Bennett told McCullough.

When McCullough still continued, Bennett cut him off: "We're going to take a break - 15 minutes!" and then walked quickly out of court.

Earlier in the afternoon Michael Bolton, representing former ministerial aide David Basi, had also alleged that Kinsella played a critical role in the sale of B.C. Rail and that his records are therefore essential to the defence.

"At a political level, he's the man the government couldn't do this deal without," Bolton said of Kinsella's role as a paid consultant at B.C. Rail. "It's a matter of having a key political fixer on the payroll."

And Bolton had little sympathy for Sullivan's arguments to protect Kinsella's privacy.

"Mr. Sullivan argues correctly that his client isn't a public figure - that's true - he's a backroom guy, he's a political figure. It's a power broker role," Bolton said of Kinsella. "There's no doubt Mr. Kinsella would like to remain in the backroom but these documents are critical to the defence."

Winteringham appeared to argue against the defence and for Sullivan's position on the Kinsella documents, saying that defence lawyers had not made a case for extending the time frame for documents or proving likely relevance.

"If the defence is advocating the court consider that 'the fix is in' or "something is not right" the defence must establish that this defence exists at lawy and is of relevance," Winteringham said.

"The defence must move beyond speeches from the floor about likely relevance," she added.

But it was Sullivan's reply to the defence position that raised the most hackles.

"There were documents that were completely irrelevant and yet the defence has come to court and not only argued that they were likely relevant but that they were highly relevant," Sullivan said.

Referring to documents that connected Kinsella to political advice to B.C. Rail regarding the Waste Management Amendment Act of 2002, Sullivan said that despite it having no connection to the case, the defence argued it was relevant.

"The Waste Management Act has absolutely nothing to do with B.C. Rail except that it is a property owner," affected by the amendments, Sullivan said. "Frankly, that's absurd."

After terming the defence arguments a "fishing expedition" Sullivan said that Kinsella's privacy interest is "significant" and his connection to the accused was "remote".

Eventually Bennett allowed McCullough to reply but Sullivan repeatedly tried to object.

"Mr. Sullivan - criminal case - the accused's liberty is at stake - I'm going to let him speak," Bennett said.

When Sullivan later rose again, Bennett warned him strongly: "It doesn't help me if you object. Not letting the defence argue for disclosure is a clear grounds for appeal."

McCullough returned to Kinsella's alleged connection to CN.

McCullough said the Crown's own disclosure of a document seized from Pilothouse Public Affairs in which lobbyists Erik Bornmann and Brian Kieran - who alleged bribed Basi and Virk but are now key Crown witnesses - is where Kinsella link to CN came out.

"This document talks of Mr. Kinsella being CN's political advisor. The Crown relies on these two witnesses - they say Mr. Kinsella was CN's political advisor," McCullough alleged. "According to Mr. Bornmann and Mr. Kieran, Mr. Kinsella is CN's chief political advisor."

The defence has previously alleged that Kinsella may have also been working for CN as well as B.C. Rail but today Bennett said that: "There is no evidence that Mr. Kinsella worked for CN Rail."

McCullough also discounted Deane's explanation of the lack of invoices from Kinsella being in B.C. Rail's possession.

"Whether or not those documents existed and whether they were shipped to CN is another matter," he argued.

McCullough also said B.C. Rail-Kinsella documents related to the Waste Management Amendment Act were indeed relevant.

"The Waste Management Act was going to affect the cost to the buyer - that's why Kinsella was getting it from B.C. Rail," McCullough argued. This Act is going to impact the operating costs - it's obvious."

Bennett said she will rule at 8:30 a.m. Friday on which documents will be examined for likely relevance.

The pre-trial hearing will then be adjourned until August 17, when she is expected to rule on whether she will stay on as the trial judge despite her promotion to the Appeal Court of BC or not.

The court will also hear from BC government lawyer George Copley whether backup email tapes of cabinet ministers and staff that were sent to EDS Advance Solutions for destruction in early May still exist or not.




Basi-Virk today in BC Supreme Court, 10:00 a.m.

Confirmed in BC Supreme Court listings for today July 23, 2009. Best access to Law Courts building: corner of Nelson and Hornby. Featured topic: Patrick Kinsella. Thanks to Bill Tieleman for this info. Bill says this is the last Basi-Virk pre-trial hearing until August 17. More at his blog: HERE.

The famous players in this historic event assemble again at 10:00 AM. See Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett presiding. See Bill Berardino, our Crown Prosecutor. See Bolton, McCullough, and the other guy, for the Defence. See Bill Tieleman and maybe Robin Mathews, as well as Mark Hume and other pressmen. If you ask me, this is the most riveting show in town.

Open to the citizens, of course. - BC Mary.


Destroyed government e-mails could lead to mistrial

Campbell, as well as defendants, would be pleased


Defence lawyers in the B.C. Rail corruption trial say Premier Gordon Campbell's private e-mails could help prove their clients' innocence.

But what's obvious now is that the destruction of those same e-mails could prove even more valuable to the former government insiders facing charges of fraud, breach-of-trust and accepting bribes in this politically explosive case.

Why? Because if the e-mails have been erased, as government lawyers suggest, the defence will use that as grounds to have the charges thrown out of court -- more than five years after the legislature was raided by police.

{Snip} ...

Sickeningly, you just know the government is secretly hoping the case will be thrown out of court, too -- despite Campbell's pious promise of a "thorough, complete and diligent investigation in the public interest." I don't believe it for a second -- not if evidence has been wantonly destroyed.

"We don't know who gave that order [to erase e-mails]," Bolton said.

"We don't know why that order was given. Those are serious questions that need serious answers that we'll be seeking when we resume this matter in August." You can practically hear the abuse-of-process arguments now. And the government will be privately rooting him on.

Now it's up to Justice Bennett to ensure this trial stays on the rails -- because the public deserves the truth.

Read the complete column HERE.

I'm going to send a Thank You to Michael Smyth for his plain-spoken opinion. I hope others will write to him, too. Maybe also a Letter to the Editor. Never mind how late this kind of fearless analysis may be. This is truth-telling that we desperately needed to hear. It should be encouraged. - BC Mary.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Vaughn Palmer: unbeknownst to the Liberals, the tape recorders would be running.

Dobell's flippant quip revealing
Campbell advisor avoided leaving a trail - either electronic or on paper

By Vaughn Palmer
Vancouver Sun - July 22, 2009

For all of Premier Gordon Campbell's professed commitment to "openness and transparency," a closer-to-the-mark characterization of the government attitude toward politically sensitive information was provided by his longtime adviser Ken Dobell.

"I don't put stuff on paper," the then deputy minister to the premier told a conference in the provincial capital, halfway through the B.C. Liberals' first term in office.

{Snip} ...

In any event, the safest strategy was to do the most sensitive work in person or over the telephone. As Dobell put it, explaining his reasons for avoiding the written record, paper, electronic or otherwise: "It's like having a family argument at home and deciding to tape it and invite the biggest neighbourhood gossip in."

Interesting analogy. For as he spoke -- this was the fall of 2003 -- the Campbell government was engaged in one of the most controversial exercises of its entire time in office, "a family argument" over how exactly to deliver publicly owned BC Rail into the hands of privately owned Canadian National.

And unbeknownst to the Liberals, the tape recorders would be running. More later.

Read Vaughn Palmer's full column HERE.



BCRail lines are as much a lifeline as the highway system for Fort St. John, Dawson Creek, Fort St. James, Quesnel, Lillooet

The other B.C. Rail issue

Times Colonist - July 22, 2009

While the legal battles in the B.C. Rail corruption trial have rightly grabbed headlines, the New Democrats have raised another legitimate issue in asking for full disclosure of the contract governing the sale of B.C. Rail to CN Rail five years ago.

The party's stated concern is that CN is now in a legal position to abandon rail service through many B.C. communities. It deserves a response from the government.

Breaking a key election promise, the government announced in November 2003 that it would sell the B.C. Rail freight division for $1 billion to CN Rail. The deal, finalized July 14, 2004, stated CN could not abandon sections of the rail line for five years -- a period that ended this month.

The agreement affects thousands of kilometres of track from North Vancouver to Fort Nelson. Unfortunately, much of the contract remains mired in secrecy.

The government has said it has released all that it can under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

{Snip} ...

For many smaller B.C. communities, rail lines are as much a lifeline as the highway system. Fort St. John, Dawson Creek, Fort St. James, Quesnel, Lillooet -- these resource-dependent cities and towns rely on their rail service to move exports to markets.

The possibility of losing service -- or even of that service changing hands -- is a key concern in these communities. The government should be up front with them about their future.

There is also the larger concern of open public disclosure.

It's been five years since a key public asset was sold to private enterprise and we have still not seen the complete wording of the contract.

For a government that likes to describe itself as open and transparent, this is anything but.



Gary Mason: All right, Campbell, time to talk about the e-mails

British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell. John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell.

Government's handling of this matter is disgraceful and shows nothing but contempt for the concerns of B.C. citizens

Gary Mason

No one wants to talk about the e-mails.

Not the Premier of B.C. Not the minister in charge of the provincial government's electronic information system. Not the woman who swore an affidavit that said digital records potentially critical to a political corruption case were destroyed during the May provincial election. (Or not.)

Not the company contracted to carry out the order.

No one in government will return a phone call to discuss the broad policies and guidelines that apply to the electronic storage and disposal of government records. Officials in the government's massive, and massively expensive, public-affairs bureau refuse to respond to e-mails that deal with requests about e-mails.

All of which should give people in B.C. and across the country an idea of the level of paranoia that surrounds the issue since questions about the destruction of key government records were prompted by a front-page story in The Globe and Mail last week.

It concerned the long-running trial of three former political aides charged with fraud and breach of trust related to the sale of BC Rail in 2003. Two of the three are accused of leaking top-secret information to one of the bidders in exchange for cash and other gifts. Defence lawyers have argued that the extent to which their clients leaked any information was done with the full knowledge of Premier Gordon Campbell and the members of his cabinet and part of a strategy to drive up the sale price of the rail line.

And e-mail records from that period would prove it, defence lawyers have insisted.

Mark Hume took your BC Rail questions

Discussing the political corruption trial that is reaching all the way to the office of Premier Gordon Campbell


A government lawyer had earlier said all e-mails from the period in which the defence is seeking records – 2001 to 2005 – had been destroyed. But then The Globe and Mail revealed that an affidavit was filed last week indicating that many of those records were ordered deleted as recently as May, during the provincial election. The same affidavit says some records from that period were later found intact.

So no one seems to know what really is going on. And no one seems to know precisely what the policies are that govern the storage and disposal of government records. Which is what I was trying to find out this week. For the record, here are those who refused to discuss the matter or even respond to interview requests:

{Snip} ... See the list of people Gary called: Ben Stewart, Rosemarie Hayes, Sue Goldsmith, Lee Johnson, David Loukidelis ... and their reaction.

Don't miss reading Gary Mason's full column HERE.



What happened when we live-blogged with Mark Hume

This explains why some questions didn't appear on the live-blog today ...

On Jul 22, 2009, Hume, Mark wrote:

Mary…I had some technical difficulties on my first experience with Go Live today and lost a number of questions….I did see your name on the list, but due to an error on my part, your question and several others did not get responded to. My apologies. I did get things figured out, but only after some material was lost.

Mark Hume
The Globe and Mail
National Correspondent, the Vancouver bureau
Phone: 604-631-6667

Posted here, with permission. - BC Mary.