Friday, July 17, 2009
BC Rail: Mystery of grave ineptitude
Finally, Canada's national newspaper has placed the BC Rail trial in a lede editorial. But the mild, gentle, soothing tone of "Tut, tut, my son ..." in itself is a new mystery. Must the citizens of British Columbia stand on roof-tops and shout out that losing a big, publicly-owned railroad is no small thing? and that the destruction of key evidence is not some mild annoyance but a matter of national concern?
The Globe and Mail has, thank goodness, sent their excellent Mark Hume into BC Supreme Court and published his regular reports ... I repeat: thank goodness. But obviously someone who wasn't there and doesn't care, wrote the editorial. Someone who needs to hear from British Columbia. It's the last line which is so especially off the mark. Like Gordon Campbell doesn't micromanage everything.
Citizen Journalists still have duties to perform in a case which isn't over until the people (the previous BCRail owners) say it's over. Please add your comments to The Globe's editorial. The first comment is outstanding, reminding Globe editors that secret deals messing with a big publicly-owned railway is no small thing. - BC Mary
Mystery of grave ineptitude
The casual loss of e-mails might be understandable in a small, unincorporated business - but not in the offices of B.C.'s Premier and cabinet
From Friday's Globe and Mail Last updated on Friday, July 17, 2009
The destruction of e-mails of the office of Premier Gordon Campbell and the cabinet of British Columbia, which may have been relevant to a current court case, was remarkably incompetent for any central governmental institution. The ineptitude is all the more grave, because the trial in question is about politically sensitive charges of corruption, connected to the government's sale of B.C. Rail in 2003-2004.
The B.C. government now has an obligation to explain itself clearly and thoroughly.
This is an era in which it is well known that anything said in an electronic message is quite likely to surface and, more particularly, that e-mails may well turn out to be documents that a party in a civil or criminal proceeding will have a duty to produce.
The casual loss of these messages might be understandable in a small, unincorporated business, but not in the key agencies that are called the executive branch in B.C.
It is perfectly proper for an organization to have a consistent policy of getting rid of documents after a certain period of time - unless that organization learns that some of these documents may be needed in a court case.
Last month, a government lawyer, George Copley, told the court that executive-branch e-mail backups are routinely destroyed after 13 months, which would have meant in this case that the messages in question were long gone.
Now it has emerged that they were disposed of this past May, after four years, which most unfortunately was during the B.C. election campaign - unless the private business contracted to do the electronic waste disposal still has some of them.
The general principle in criminal cases is that the Crown has to disclose to the defence all relevant documents that are within its control. Since the Crown is in one sense part of the government and in another is the government, the prosecutors clearly had access to these messages only a couple of months ago.
B.C. officials, perhaps including Mr. Campbell himself, may yet have to give live testimony in court to explain the actions of the defendants. Justice may still be done, but the government's left hand seems not to have known what its right hand was doing.
What seems to be slipping away from the conversations on the e-mails is that the material was requested 2 years ago. And after a two year delay in holding them back they were FINALLY ordered destroyed during the last election campaign or very shortly after.
Anon 8:32 Baldrey was conspicuously absent from the news casts last night. My guess is that he needed time to be debriefed on the spin.
John Daley did a great job and you know he was probably severely edited. And the question by the other station (whatever it's called) with Pam Martin by the Bureau chief. Two weeks ago Premier you commented on this case. Why is it different today.
The look on Campbells face. Priceless.
this is about as openly corrupt as you can get isnt it?
I couldn't get on that G&M site to leave a comment, either, although I've been registered for quite a while. I even tried to re-register as a new person but no luck there either.
The point you make is important ... so I suggest you (and the rest of us) send our e.mails to Letters to the Editor,
As for that priceless look on Campbell's face, I hope somebody has it on YouTube soon.
Broke my boycott for Sean Holman's appearance on the Ledgie Boys this morning and learned, from both Messrs Good and Baldrey that this whole mess is all the Blogosphere's fault for spreading all these spurious allegations that have no basis in fact...
The good news.....we who actually pay attention are, apparently, no longer cultists!
A little more detail/info on this and other tidbits over at my place if anybody's interested.
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