Saturday, July 18, 2009

 

BC Rail: E-mail scandal answers needed

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After reading the following Times Colonist (a CanWest newspaper) editorial, I wondered: are they incapable of fair-minded analysis? Does the longterm respect for the law have no place in CanWest's view of British Columbia? Does a good citizen really mean only
"dedicated Libral supporters who have stayed true to the party for the past decade" i.e., with bags over their heads, happy to swallow Gordo's party line ... comfortable with his Public Affairs Bureau running the biggest newsroom in the nation ... asking no questions?

Today's CanWest editorial plays with these basic tenets as if they are nothing more than the next roll of the political dice. Then they conclude - 8 years later - that "The public has a right to know what's going on" in the BC Rail affair.

Well ... we've always had that right. And it would've been helpful if CanWest had accepted the people's right to know what's going on as a basis for their news gathering. But no. It hasn't been like that at all. BCRail hearings would come and go, with nothing reported. Year after year, the courtroom battles went on for disclosure, for some glimmer of compassion for the previous owners of a big railway who needed (and still need) to know what's going on. And what has CanWest said in support of the people? Not much then. Not much now except weasel words.

At this critical point in B.C. history, the people deserve better. They deserve journalism's best efforts to tell us "what's going on" in the BC Rail Case. For example, look into the question of the Roberts Bank "Consolation Prize", and tell us whether OmniTRAX has sent their real estate developer Patrick Broe, back to Vancouver recently. - BC Mary.

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E-mail scandal answers needed

TIMES COLONIST - JULY 18, 2009


It would be hard to explain the apparent destruction of government e-mails pertaining to the sale of B.C. Rail -- and harder still to defend it. The $1-billion sale was the basis for a political corruption case that is still before the B.C. Supreme Court. The charges were laid almost five years ago and followed a police raid on the legislature in December 2003.

No one employed by the government could be unaware of the charges against Dave Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi. It is beyond belief to think that any senior government employee would not know better than to destroy evidence that could be needed in a major court case.

That is apparently what has happened, according to evidence presented to the court this week. To make matters worse, some e-mails were destroyed after the defence lawyers asked to see them.

The loss of these documents is a serious problem for the B.C. Liberal government, one that will plague Premier Gordon Campbell and his cabinet until the next election.

Campbell's only real choice, if he wants to restore his government's credibility, is to give British Columbians a full accounting of what went wrong and who was to blame. The people who ordered the records destroyed have no place in government.

The premier's only comment so far is that the government has retained all of the documents that it was required to keep. That defence shows a lack of respect for both the legal process and the voters.

For years, the government has refused to comment on the B.C. Rail deal, arguing that it was before the courts. The apparent destruction of e-mail evidence makes a mockery of that stance.

Even dedicated Liberal supporters, who have stayed true to the party for the past decade, should be shaken by the e-mail fiasco and pressing for answers.

Consider the evidence presented to the court, and the timing of the e-mail destruction.

A government lawyer told Justice Elizabeth Bennett last month that all provincial cabinet e-mails from 2001 to 2005 had been destroyed. They were only retained for 13 months, the court was told.

That would have meant that even after the legislature raid, even after the charges were laid, someone decided to get rid of the records. That would also have meant that all electronic backups were also gone.

After that, it turned out that some e-mails to and from MLAs were, in fact, still available.

And this week, the court was told in an affidavit that the backups of cabinet e-mails had been ordered destroyed in May, just two months ago.

But the defence lawyers had asked for the e-mails two years ago. The government did not turn over the documents -- and after receiving the request, the e-mails were destroyed.

What should British Columbians think about this? Is this incompetence, an effort to undermine the court case or something in between?

The loss of the e-mails is sure to bring more attention to the case, which deals with the sale of B.C. Rail to Canadian National.

Defence lawyers say that their clients were acting on the orders of cabinet ministers and senior bureaucrats. The e-mail records could turn out to be critical to the case.

The defence has asked Bennett to order the government to produce any e-mails pertaining to the rail deal. Bennett will rule on the request on Monday. Her first order of business will be to determine the potential relevance of the e-mails.

The B.C. Rail court case could turn out to be one of the most expensive in B.C. history, and taxpayers are picking up the tab. We have a right to see justice done.

We also have a right to answers about the government's use and retention of e-mails. Which ones are missing? Which ones are kept permanently? What is being retained now?

The government should answer those questions, and more. If it has nothing to hide, it should not hesitate to tell the people.

The public has a right to know what is going on.

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Comments:
Here some more answer's we need on some more questions subject:a note on Basi,Basi,Virk.May 9,2007:by Robin Mathew's
 
Exactly Mary. Weasel pieces. Where have they been? And as far as Baldrey is concerned I guess after Bill Goods last fiasco he'll just keep refraining from rocking the boat.
Conspiracy Theorists unite. This is the only way we can prod these fools into actually reporting on meaningful news.

Wake up Bill and Kieth the trains a comin, and it has no breaks.
 
Canwest has been in the tank for Campbell since CAI held their loans. With the recent takeover of the company by the US hedge funds, there isn't going to be as much interference in the day to day operations.

ian
 
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Ian,

Thanks for your comment. You've no idea how tired my brain is from trying to figure out riddles, so please: what is the CAI you mention?


Gary E,

Always good to see your comments, and to feel your passion for British Columbia. I've always been on your side ... but I ain't no Conspiracy Theorist ... and imo, neither are you ...

we go where the facts take us and, as I say to Ian, we try to figure what it's all about.

I think what got up my nose so badly with that CanWest editorial today is their holier-than-thou pronouncement ... YEARS LATE ... that people have a right to know what is going on. Jeeez.

Remember my dust-up with one of the CanWest editors (was it Lucinda?) when they had actually SENT a reporter into a Basi-Virk court hearing and then printed nothing? "When there is news, we will print it," the Editor-in-Chief said. Sanctimoniously. Jeeeeez.

As my mother used to say, "It's enough to try the patience of a saint."

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Amazing, this latest version of Google. As I slowly type in "O m n i t r a x" Google search engine is busily making suggestions of where to look. Is it Churchill or Denver or Broe or Colorado or John Fenton or loveland.

At Omnitrax Churchill, under REAL ESTATE, this comes up:


".....Property Services:
For detailed information on how to obtain property leases, licenses and applications for utility encroachments along the OmniTRAX network of railroad right of way...."


Utililty encroachment???? is that what is such a lucrative side business to owning/leasing a railway line in British Columbia?

At Google once again and having typed in Omnitrax loveland BC Rail......


"....In British Columbia, the railroad company is linked to the trial of three former Canadian government aides, who allegedly passed confidential documents to, and accepted bribes from, OmniTrax lobbyists. The case has to do with OmniTrax's bid in 2003 to privatize B.C. Rail in a $1 billion deal, which the Colorado company didn't get.

OmniTrax has cooperated fully with British Columbia authorities, and prosecutors in the case have told OmniTrax it's not a target in the trial, according to Ogborn......"

Canadian government aides???

http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=omnitrax+loveland+BC+Rail&meta=


http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_6098753
 
So, CanWest is finally awakening from their stupor! Too little, too late.
“The loss of these documents is a serious problem for the B.C. Liberal government, one that will plague Premier Gordon Campbell and his cabinet until the next election.”
The Loss? Until they start calling it what it is “willful, knowing destruction of”…they’re showing their bias, and a horrendous lack of responsibility to the public they’re supposed to serve. They still see the “deal” questions as a minor irritation, and those who are asking the questions as the “problem.”
To even imply that those in charge of document retention, ministers, aides, and the Premier himself do not know the LAW regarding said retention, is to assume we really are as stupid as they hope we are!
IF they were truly interested in the Truth, they would DIG until they found it. How sad. They have earned our disrespect, and our distrust. Let’s give it to them.
Do I trust any player in this game? The government, the police, the courts, the media? No, I don’t. They’ve all given us damn good reason not to. Here’s to hoping they prove me wrong – but this is how I see it:
Monday morning, Justice Bennett will declare that the emails ARE relevant and perhaps even critical to the case against Basi and Virk – and without the evidence, the trial cannot continue. They walk free, as they should if they’re not guilty…or as free as anyone can be with that kind of cloud following them around.
Campbell declares ignorance about knowing the rules of retention, and points the finger at someone else as being at fault. Said person is fired to make things look good, and Campbell walks away looking like the wounded victim in his house of cards. The courts will not proceed with an obstruction of justice case, and though the entire Campbell government should be recalled for that issue alone – nothing will happen to them.
Then we get to watch CanWest gloat – while the rest of what’s left of our resources and Crown corporations are given away at fire sale prices, because he knows this IS his last time at the public trough.
 
What bugs me about a lot of the MSM reporting in BC these days is that it tends to normalize, trivialize, or downplay absolutely unacceptable behaviour and policies in people/parties it likes. Still, I can understand (though not condone) why they want to these downplay recent developments - the alternative (albeit, the honourable thing to do) would be to admit that they have fumbled or dropped the ball. It's getting very sloppy, though - For example, I noticed today there was a letter to the editor in the T-C that had no name appended - the heading was "Cuts lives, health at risk" where the name of the author wasn't even given. Looked like an astro-turfer trying to garner support for private healthcare. Really, I expect better of the MSM, but they seem determined to let the public down. I just don't find the local MSM credible anymore.
 
I'm pretty sure Mary that you knew I was being facetious.

At any rate you are correct that none of us are.

What also amazes me is that some of the new people commenting on our blogs had no clue as to what was being hidden from them.

And Leah please stop trying to depress me. (he said laughing)
 
Leah, did you mean they walk free, as they should if they ARE AS GULITY AS SIN! ??
 
Hi Mary,

Here's background-

BC Reform – Liberal laws, hedge fund fraud on BC Rail



April 23, 2009



BC Reform believes that federal and provincial Liberal insiders hired the law firms Ogilvy Renault of Montreal and Sidley Austin of Chicago to guide the CAI hedge fund through a debt-for-equity swap in the 2003 sale of BC Rail to CN Rail.



We have evidence that Liberal insiders used Entrust TruePass, Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), security technology to conceal the fraudulent BC Rail swap from public scrutiny; the same technology used to secure communications by law firms, Canada’s banks, the Canadian military and the RCMP.



Reform research shows that the Liberals and their law firms and the CAI fund managers 'hedged’ the secret transaction by using BC Rail's estimated $2 billion worth of accumulated losses over the years to offset a quarter of a billion dollars in annual taxes paid by CN Rail to the federal government as well as several Canadian provinces.



We note that the provincial Liberals indemnified CN Rail for anticipated reductions in corporate and other taxes by signing off on an indemnity pegged to the "maximum present value" of the credits plus an annual escalator clause reckoned at nine per cent.



Federal Liberals in the CAI hedge fund, including Yves Fortier, Chairman of Ogilvy Renault, and Donald Macdonald, a defence minister under late Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, appear to have used Sidley Austin to shelter terrorist leader Bernardine Dohrn in the ‘70s/‘80s, to privatize CN Rail in the ‘90s and to buy up BC Rail in 2003.



Reform argues that all Liberal contracts with Sidley controlled hedge funds in respect of CN / BC Rail must be repudiated; given that the law firm has paid a US $39.4 million penalty to the IRS to avoid criminal charges after being sued for damages in respect of abusive tax shelter frauds, multiple violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act and breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract claims.



On December 3, 2003, Reform leaders asked the BC Conflict of Interest Commissioner to look into the apparent conflict of interest and insider information in the B.C. legislators' decision to privatize BC Rail and sell it to CN Rail.



After personally speaking with a B.C. Securities Commission senior investigator who confirmed that there had been insider trading, we knew nothing was going to be done.

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You'll notice we brought this up in 2003 to a lot of yawns.

As for CAI, http://www.caifunds.com/ourteam.html check out the team, including David Emerson.

ian
 
To Anonymous 9:34....
You said: "Leah, did you mean they walk free, as they should if they ARE AS GULITY AS SIN! ??"

I said what I meant: "They walk free, as they should if they’re not guilty…or as free as anyone can be with that kind of cloud following them around." I'm usually fairly good at stating exactly what I mean, so please don't be putting words in my mouth.

Your comment appeared to be making accusations (to me) of their guilt. Whether they did as they've been accused of doing or not, their status must be clearly understood by the courts before any determination of guilt or innocence can be established. Were they acting outside of their employ, were they acting on behalf of their employ? THOSE are the questions we're seeking answers to - and those answers come from the lost/missing/deleted/not deleted/possibly-some-left emails!

If you're certain of guilt, and you KNOW why...as in you have information we don't - then please feel free to share it. I'm sure I speak for many of us in saying we'd be glad to hear it.
 
ian, that is a spectacular summary of engineering you have presented. Such an undertaking appears to have been initiated well before the time Campbell said there would be no sell off of BC Rail. If so, he would of known at that time his words were false.

I beleieve Entrust is an encyption software used to send emails securly between parties, and I would not think that in and of itself changes the location of the file server or backup tapes. But any email would likely still exist in the records of a 3rd party who received them.

Well done bringing this forward. Much more interesting than Leah's spin on word choice.
 
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