Friday, August 07, 2009
BC Rail: Caution! Blinding revelations ahead!
British Columbians want action on BC Rail controversy, oppose HST: poll
[The identical article is also in The Province and Victoria Times Colonist today]
BY REBECCA TEBRAKE
VANCOUVER SUN - AUGUST 7, 2009
The majority of British Columbians want action on two political controversies brewing under Premier Gordon Campbell's Liberal government, a new poll shows.
Seventy-nine per cent of respondents believe a special prosecutor should be appointed to investigate the apparent disappearance of e-mails from Campbell, his chief of staff, and cabinet ministers related to the privatization of BC Rail, according to a poll released by Angus-Reid Strategies today.
The e-mails are being sought by the defence as evidence in the Basi-Virk trial, which involves three former government aides accused of corruption ...
Last month, a B.C. Supreme Court judge granted a defence application to obtain the e-mails and other communications created in the years surrounding the sale of the railway, saying the documents are likely relevant.
However, whether they exist is still in question.
The government initially said the material didn't exist because backup tapes containing e-mail are only kept for 13 months. But last month, a new affidavit by a government official revealed the tapes had been sent for storage, and an order was made by somebody in May that retention of the tapes was no longer necessary. It isn't known whether the e-mails were destroyed.
Norman Ruff, a political commentator and professor emeritus at the University of Victoria, said public opinion is unlikely to force the government to hire a special prosecutor.
"The real fundamental message is that people still are concerned about so-called rail-gate," Ruff said. "Usually as people forget, they start to forgive and politicians rely on that. But if they haven't forgotten, they haven't forgiven either."
And that's what could come back to haunt the Campbell Liberals in the next election, if the case continues to be drawn out, Ruff said.
The survey also asked about a controversy involving Solicitor-General Kash Heed.
Ruff believes people are critical of Heed because his two predecessors had to step down —John van Dongen over nine speeding tickets and John Les after allegations of improper land dealings—but that Campbell may just ride this out since an investigation isn't legally required.
Richard Johnston, a professor of political science at the University of B.C., said the government is unlikely to act on either issue.
"If you are going to tough things out in the government, now is the time to do it," Johnston said. "The election is recent, they've basically got a three- to four-year window, so it's plenty of time to take some short-time hits."
Province cuts Public Affairs Bureau Positions
No kidding! 8 P.A.B. positions gone, just like that!! And more through attrition, leaving them (a) in counseling, and (b) with "only" 197 full-time P.A.B. staffers! Oh, the humanity! Read the story HERE.
Because a few people like you and Bill Tieleman (and others) have made it their business to keep this issue from drying up and blowing away.
Had the MSM been left to their own devices on this file it would have been closed and archived long before now.
But it's not the time to quit either. As professor Johnston puts it, these turkeys are going to try and tough it out...now's NOT the time for a holiday.
Keep it up and lets hope for something substantive on August 17 that has nothing whatever to do with the Canada Line.
That's so doggone nice of you. Thanks for taking time to send this message as it really does keep us going.
Bill T. has done a fabulous job and I keep asking him if he will write The Book when this is finally over. He must. Somebody must write the book(s) ... and I have always hoped that this blog will serve as a useful archive, when the day comes.
And I couldn't agree more that NOW is the time to push harder, wherever possible, to bring the BC Rail issues to trial.
I sure hope Robin Mathews is back in town for August 17 ...
I was wondering while reading it just how long it would be before Campbell blames the media for keeping The BC Rail Giveaway alive.
We all know just how much the Mainstream Media has backed these thieves and this is what they get for doing so. Oh how sweet it is.
apparently that just isn't so. Should be interesting to hear his spin on this poll, or do you think he's even going to address it ?
Taxing things like pain killers and other medicine, childrens' clothing, school supplies and books and magazines are actually anti-social and only beneficial to the elites and the corporations. It is just another part of the ongoing transfer of wealth, from the poor and rapidly shrinking middle class to the already TOO rich.
It will just lead to even more underground economy, bartering and increase the probability of civil disobedience or outright insurrection. The Campbelloids have no shame, one day they can accuse the poorly treated, yet important, ambulance service for being greedy, and the next day hand someone like Patrick Kinsella 6,000 dollars per month for "knowing people" or give the foreign corporations that suck the fossil fuels from our ground a 90% discount on royalties. How does giving off shore rapists such a bargain help alleviate government revenue shortfalls?
I guess there really is a lot of wealth to go around, as long as it is assured to go ONLY to a "chosen" few!
Mary, we can hope that Robin is back for August 17th - I suspect that it might take a team of oxen to keep him away though! :)))
I expect that the article is right. Campbell is willing to take some short-time hits in the early stages...so he can buy us back with our own money a little closer to the next election. For that reason, I'm keeping a list of every single stunt he's pulled from 2001...and it will magically find its way to at least one newspaper to remind everyone, when the time is right. Yeah, it will take up a full page...I'm working on saving up for that too.
Good luck with that full-page ad. You just might need the centrefold to hold all of Gordo's stunts. I was just searching for something else, when I came upon this impressive list from 2002:
Vaughan Palmer’s show the Voice of BC recently had guest’s Norman Ruff and Norman Spector on the program, which dealt with the political news of the summer.
There was a minute or two in an hour long broadcast devoted towards the BC Rail case and the missing or destroyed e-mails.
Norman Ruff talked about “alarm bells going off” because of the timing of the e-mails being (maybe) destroyed during the election and that this whole e-mail affair compares to Water Gate in many ways.
Mr. Ruff also talked about how long and drawn out the whole BC Rail scandal has become. Norman Ruff has been following this scandal very closely and has accumulated a vast amount of information concerning BC Rail/raid on the legislature.
Norman Spector disagreed on all the rational points made by N. Ruff and talked about…… the case has not been made that points toward the Campbell government as the ones that possibly destroyed the e-mails, that Water Gate was about an election and that the assistant that worked for Nixon hade done so for many, many years, and that there is a court case in Ontario has lasted nine years.
Mr. Spector was not credible and spent his time trying to take the conversation away from Gordon Campbell and the BC Rail scandal by going on at some length to talk about Nixon and Ontario.
Vaughn had no opinion and as always, warned everyone that nothing is proven and evidence given in court has not been cross-examined.
I have not seen any news casts that mention that the BC Rail/e-mail scandal was the topic of a poll or that it had such a high number of public intrest, however I have seen the results of that same poll which asks the opinion of the pubic in regards to the HST.
TV news as usual has betrayed the people of B.C.
As a Citizen Journalist, you're doing a great job ... thanks very much for the report on what WAS said and what WASN'T said on "Voice of B.C."
Let's send a message to Vaughn Palmer that the name of his show should be changed to "Voice of P.A.B." or some such thing.
What is the time for the hearing on
Aug. 17? Perhaps many of us could attend? The public does have a right to observe what is happening in our courts.
As for those deleted emails, where do things stand on that? Has there been a formal investigation by anyone??? I do think it is important to blame all Liberal MLA's for the lack of justice in our province and not just Campbell, as their quiet support speaks volumns. Have they no independant voice? The fact that Campbell has not been forced out of leadership of the party is quite amazing, especially now with the HST thing.
As Montgomery Burns might say "Excellent" Mary!
Guys like Vaughn and "Squrrel Cheeked" Keith (The "Good" guy that pretends to be a "journalist" is beneath mention)make me wonder if so-called "journalists" have to take an oath similar to that taken by a draftee or enlistee into the US Army - you know the one where you agree to toss aside you conscience, your moral responsibilty and "follow orders."
By and large in a functional sense that does seem to be the best policy. Only for a few guys that had to show up at Nuremburg did "following orders" seem to not be an adequate excuse for damn near anything. Of course our modern day issuers of immoral orders have learned to avoid accountability as Lydie Englund learned after serving at Abu Ghraib.
Of course if the scrapegoats of Abu Ghraib had been serving with the RCMP, their punishment would probably have been something like two years suspension (vacation) with pay!
The only way we can find the answer to that question is by checking "BC Criminal Courts. etc etc" [see masthead] ... the start-times are provided in the official Supreme Court listings confirming who is appearing and why.
It's obvious that somebody decides these things and that key people do know the dates and times in advance ... the judge, the lawyers, sometimes even the journalists ... but for those who pay the bills - we're told nothing until the very morning (6:30 AM) of the very day of the hearing (or trial).
And I couldn't agree more: the public should be in the gallery on August 17. Me, I'd take a chance: show up at 9:00 AM and be ready for whatever comes along, whether it starts at 9:00, 9:30, 10:00 AM, or even 2:00 PM.
This is history unfolding ... and we should be there for British Columbia.
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