Monday, July 20, 2009


Premier, senior cabinet members ordered to release emails in BC Rail sale

Camille Bains

THE CANADIAN PRESS - July 20, 2009.

VANCOUVER, B.C. - In a ruling one lawyer called potentially explosive, A B.C. Supreme Court judge has ordered Premier Gordon Campbell and former finance minister Gary Collins to produce emails linked to the 2003 sale of Crown-owned BC Rail - almost six years after a police raid on the province's legislature.

Justice Elizabeth Bennett said Monday the premier, his senior staff and several former high-profile cabinet ministers must forward emails linked to the $1-billion privatization sale that sparked corruption allegations and an ongoing court battle.

It's not clear whether most of the emails still exist. Bennett heard last week a private firm contracted by the government was ordered to destroy them last May.

The unprecedented ruling also includes emails former transportation ministers Judith Reid and Shirley Bond, former deputy premier Christy Clark, then energy minister Richard Neufeld. It covers emails sent between Jan. 2002 and Dec. 31, 2004.

{Snip} ...

It's alleged they provided confidential government documents to lobbyists representing Denver, Colo.-based OmniTRAX, which was part of the bidding process, in exchange for gifts and promises of federal government jobs and with the help of communications worker Aneal Basi, Dave Basi's cousin.

Lawyer Michael Bolton, who represents Dave Basi, said the ruling is unprecedented and potentially explosive.

"These are critical documents that are necessary to the right of our clients to answer these charges and they must, in our view, be produced in order to have a fair trial," Bolton said outside court.

"We know, for example, that at least one of the people in the premier's office had thousands of emails pertaining to BC Rail."

"The critical stuff is we've never got emails from the cabinet and now we've got an order to have those produced to the judge."

{Snip} ...

"The destruction of evidence, whether by recklessness, negligence or a wilful failure to preserve could be a very significant factor to the outcome of this case and it potentially could lead to a motion for abuse of process," Bennett said.

"Ultimately, the cabinet ministers that Mr. Virk and Mr. Basi worked for are slated to be witnesses in their trial so these emails are very important for trial purposes."

{Snip} ...

"If this government had co-operated earlier it wouldn't look so bad as it does now," [Leonard Krog, Justice Critic] said. "The fact is they should have co-operated. It was the right, moral, legally correct thing to do and they haven't done so to date."

Krog has called for a public inquiry into the supposed destruction of the emails, saying a provincial statute calls for electronic records must be kept for at least 10 years.

Virk's lawyer, Kevin McCullough told court last month that the RCMP failed to obtain emails connected to its raid of the legislature even after former deputy finance minister Dave Morhart said in a statement that he'd saved about 2,000 of them.

McCullough said that suggests the Mounties targeted Virk and Basi from the beginning.

Morhart is among the officials whose emails Bennett requested Monday. The judge also said police did not seek emails from Collins, the former finance minister, during their investigation of the BC Rail deal.


i can only speculate that the police in hearing what they heard from tapping the phone lines, didnt think the emails would make a difference.

who would of thought politicians would be crooked? (~wink~)

look hard and long enough and just about everyone wears a little tarnish here and there.

i have always assumed from the get-go that these employees were only carrying out the wishes of their bosses, but I doubt said bosses ever conveyed it okay to take inducements along the way, or engage in the other host of nepharious activities alleged.

lets get on with the trial(s).

i hope the judge gets to inspect the emails and we can get on with it.

there is no way those emails can be lost forever. no way would anyone be so stupid as to delete the server and the tapes. i just dont buy that. people in that business would know not to do such a thing.

this is getting all so ridiculous. what if this is all orchastrated?

Camille Bains is back on the case with the CP.

And check out that lede:

"VANCOUVER, B.C. - In a ruling one lawyer called potentially explosive, A B.C. Supreme Court judge has ordered Premier Gordon Campbell and former finance minister Gary Collins to produce emails linked to the 2003 sale of Crown-owned BC Rail....


Does this mean that there is a new Bureau Chief in the Lotsulandian division of that august Wire Service?


Let's check.


British Columbia
Wendy Cox
Bureau Chief

Interesting that, eh?

In case you're wondering what the heckfire I'm talking about, check out Ms. Cox's entry in Bill Tieleman's comprehensive RailGate line-up card.

OMG...does government get any cozier than the current nepotistic hellhole?!
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