Friday, August 21, 2009

 

August 22 press clippings from BC Rail hearings

.
Kinsella a crucial figure in Basi-Virk trial
Defence wants answers to simple 'what did you know' question from top BC Liberal operative

By Ian Mulgrew
Vancouver Sun - August 22, 2009

Patrick Kinsella -- confidante of premier and prime ministers -- should be subpoenaed in the prosecution of three former provincial Liberal ministerial aides because he was pivotal in the $1-billion BC Rail privatization, defence lawyers say.

They want the vaunted Vancouver consultant -- who received almost $300,000 from the Crown corporation for his savvy between 2002 and 2005 -- to explain his role in the divestiture and why he appeared to be working simultaneously for successful bidder CN Rail.

Notes from two key Crown witnesses, along with wiretaps and e-mails among corporate and political insiders, according to the lawyers, support their contentions and make it imperative the B.C. Supreme Court order Kinsella to answer questions since he has refused to provide information voluntarily.

His lawyer, James Sullivan, said in a previous letter presented to the court that Kinsella would not agree to "such an unwarranted invasion of his privacy" and that the defence team was engaged in a "fishing expedition."

Defence lawyer Michael Bolton disagreed, saying the evidence already indicated a very cosy relationship between CN and the Liberal eminence grise.

"He has a very political role, he operates at a very high level," Bolton explained, reading through documents obtained from the special prosecutor. "At the material time, he was in some sort of relationship with CN Rail."

Another defence lawyer, Kevin McCullough, agreed, adding that the defence has a right to know the extent and the nature of Kinsella's relationship with the railway companies: "They're pretty simple questions -- did you work for CN; if so, when?"

The defence wants Kinsella also to produce an inventory of records and documents under his control that are connected to the privatization process.

"We take issue with much of the material put before you," his lawyer, Sullivan, briefly retorted during Friday's submissions before Justice Elizabeth Bennett.

However, he won't officially reply until the hearing resumes Aug. 31.

If Kinsella is shown to have been working for both railways at the same time, the landscape of this politically charged trial will change completely.

That accusation is the lynchpin of the defence.

{Snip} ...

If Kinsella did play a dual role in the deal, it would buttress the claim that Basi and Virk were only following the orders of their political masters, that the railway auction was rigged in CN's favour and that everyone knew it.

The defence argument holds that the Liberals wanted to sell the provincial freight operation to CN Rail and the troubled bidding process was designed only to legitimize the privatization; Basi and Virk were told to keep OmniTrax publicly in the running so it would appear the process was competitive rather than a fait accompli.

In return for playing along, the American firm was allegedly promised a "consolation prize" of remaining BC Rail assets.

Bennett, who is wrapping up a series of pre-trial motions because she has been elevated to the B.C. Court of Appeal, refused a second defence request Friday to subpoena government employees recovering computer records.

Although some of the electronic documents have been destroyed for reasons that remain unclear, Bennett said the civil servants had been "extremely thorough" and were doing everything possible to comply with the court orders.

"It would be a complete waste of court time" to cross-examine them, she added.

A new judge in the four-year-old proceedings will be appointed this fall, but the trial is not expected to begin until much later next year because of a matter before the Supreme Court of Canada and outstanding constitutional questions.

imulgrew@vancouversun.com

"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""
Kinsella trumpeted insider status to BC Rail, court hears
Defence seeks to have him called to testify

Rod Mickleburgh
The Globe and Mail - August 22, 2009

Fewer than six months after he co-chaired the B.C. Liberals' stunningly successful election campaign in 2001, Patrick Kinsella trumpeted his insider's perspective on the new government to prospective client BC Rail, the Crown corporation now at the heart of a long-running political corruption trial over sale of its operating rights to CN Rail.

Mr. Kinsella, a close confidante of Premier Gordon Campbell, also co-chaired the Liberals' repeat election victory in 2005.

In a letter dated Oct. 30, 2001, to BC Rail vice-president Kevin Mahoney, Mr. Kinsella refers to his company as communication consultants “with a value-added component. That value could be interpreted as political savvy and to some extent providing commentary and advice to our clients vis-à-vis the current B.C. Liberal government.”

Defence lawyer Michael Bolton read the passage in B.C. Supreme Court Friday to bolster an application to have Mr. Kinsella summoned to testify and provide further documentation about his role in the privatization of BC Rail.

Based on previously disclosed e-mails and notes, defence lawyers have suggested in court that Mr. Kinsella had ties, not only to BC Rail, but to the government and CN Rail, while the $1-billion sale was going through.

Five days after his Oct. 30 letter, Mr. Kinsella signed a contract to provide services to BC Rail from 2001 to 2004, for which he was paid “roughly $200,000,” according to Mr. Bolton.

“The Liberal government owns BC Rail and yet he [Mr. Kinsella] is going to provide political savvy re: the government,” Mr. Bolton told Madame Justice Elizabeth Bennett. “This says a great deal about the role of Mr. Kinsella. He has a very political role and he's offering it at a very high level.”

Former Liberal political aides David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi are facing trial on corruption-related charges connected to the BC Rail deal, including fraud, breach of trust and exchanging information in return for a benefit.

The bulk of the railway's assets were sold to CN Rail in 2003, with the deal closing in 2004. Mr. Bolton, who represents Mr. Basi, pointed out that Mr. Kinsella was working “to provide this political savvy” to BC Rail for the entire “critical” period of the transaction.

The defence lawyer also reminded Judge Bennett of several e-mails, released earlier this year to the court, indicating Mr. Kinsella had dealings with top executives of both BC Rail and CN Rail. At one point, CN Rail chair David McLean conveyed information to Mr. Kinsella that the deal appeared to be falling apart rather than dealing directly with BC Rail. Mr. Kinsella then conveyed CN's concerns to BC Rail, Mr. Bolton said. “[Mr. Kinsella] may not be working for CN, but there's clearly a relationship.”

Defence lawyers have said their clients were acting under orders from their political masters in matters related to the BC Rail sale.

Mr. Bolton said it was essential to the defence's position to have Mr. Kinsella appear in court to shed light on his relationship with CN Rail in the BC Rail purchase.

Defence lawyer Kevin McCullough, who represents Mr. Virk, said that Mr. Kinsella has, so far, refused to answer some “very simple questions” posed to him through his lawyer, James Sullivan. “Did you work for CN? If yes, when? What was the nature of that work?”

Mr. McCullough said the extent of Mr. Kinsella's relationship with CN is “significant to the issues at stake in this case … Where else are we going to get that evidence [than from Mr. Kinsella]?”

Judge Bennett will hear further argument Aug. 31 on the defence bid for a subpoena to be issued to Mr. Kinsella.

Meanwhile, veteran Supreme Court justice Anne MacKenzie has been appointed to take over the complex case from Judge Bennett, who has recused herself from the trial because of her recent elevation to the Court of Appeal.

The formal trial has not yet started, nearly six years after RCMP raided the legislative offices of Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk. Proceedings have bogged down in wrangling over disclosure of tens of thousands of documents.

Judge Bennett has agreed to decide several outstanding issues, including whether Mr. Kinsella should be summoned for questioning, before standing down.

""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""

Defence in BC Rail corruption case assails role of Liberal insider
Lawyer in BC Rail corruption case says Liberal insider worked both sides

Camille Bains The Canadian Press - Aug 21, 2009


VANCOUVER, B.C. - Emails to and from a political insider show he had a strong relationship with CN Rail, suggesting the company was pegged to win the bid to buy Crown-owned BC Rail, says a defence lawyer.

Michael Bolton told a B.C. Supreme Court hearing Friday he wants to cross-examine Patrick Kinsella about his connection to CN Rail while he was also a consultant for BC Rail.

Bolton read a string of emails from between April and May 2004 showing Kinsella was the conduit between top-level executives for both BC Rail and CN Rail and a senior B.C. civil servant when the sale seemed to be in jeopardy.

"The way in which (BC Rail) gets answers to CN Rail is to go to Kinsella rather than directly to CN," Bolton said in a hearing related to fraud and breach of trust charges against three former government employees.

Bolton, who is defending one of the accused men, said the trio were tasked by their political masters to keep a third company in the bidding process to make it appear that the sale of BC Rail to CN Rail wasn't rigged by the Liberals.

Bolton also said lobbyists at a Victoria firm called Pilothouse, which was representing Denver-based OmniTrax, a third company bidding for BC Rail, had also known about Kinsella's involvement with CN Rail while he was working for BC Rail.

"Kinsella working for CN," said an Aug. 19, 2002 handwritten note in a journal kept by Pilothouse lobbyist Brian Kieran, defence lawyer Kevin McCullough told the court.

McCullough said Kieran also wrote another note to himself about the BC Rail sale on Sept. 2, 2002, a year before the actual sale: "CN has an understanding it's a go."

His client Bobby Virk and Bolton's client Dave Basi are accused of funnelling information to OmniTrax in exchange for money and gifts in a case that involved police raids on the men's legislature offices in December 2003, when they worked as ministerial aides.

Former government communications officer Aneal Basi, Dave Basi's cousin, is charged with money laundering.

A fourth company, CP Rail, dropped out of the bidding after sending the government a terse letter about its belief that the sale of BC Rail to CN Rail was a done deal.

Kinsella's role with both the seller and the buyer of the Crown-owned rail line, which eventually sold for $1 billion, was also questioned in the legislature in 2003 by then-New Democrat MLA Joy MacPhail.

Kinsella, who was the Liberal party's campaign manager in both the 2001 and 2005 provincial elections, has refused to answer any questions about his connection to CN Rail, which has also not provided any information about Kinsella's role.

The issue surfaced during the May provincial election, when the Opposition NDP alleged he was involved in a conflict of interest.

In April, NDP attorney general Leonard Krog sent a letter to the RCMP calling for an investigation into allegations that Kinsella was working both sides at the time of the controversial sale of BC Rail.

The New Democrats released government documents before the election campaign showing Kinsella was paid almost $300,000 by BC Rail between 2002 and 2005.

Bolton said an Oct. 30, 2001 letter Kinsella wrote to BC Rail executive Kevin Mahoney shows he sold his company, the Progressive Group, as having "political savvy."

"We are essentially communications consultants with what I would call a value-added component. That 'value added' interpreted as political savvy, and to some extent public opinion expertise, allows us to provide commentary and advice to our clients vis-a-vis the current Liberal government."

Judge Elizabeth Bennett has already ruled she's not satisfied that Kinsella was working for CN Rail, but Bolton said the strong relationship Kinsella had with CN Rail is relevant to the case.

In her July ruling, Bennett said that in order for her to infer a connection between Kinsella and CN Rail, she needs more evidence than the emails and a phone conversation the man had with CN executive David McLean.

"If there was evidence connecting Mr. Kinsella to CN Rail at the material time of the core review and sale of BC Rail, then that would change the landscape entirely," she said in a written decision.

Legal arguments in the case have dragged on for over five years and a trial may not be held for another year.

Same article in Metro News, Calgary - August 21, 2009

Same article in the Brandon, Manitoba Sun.

Let's just say this story has finally got legs and is running all over the place.

""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""

Kinsella trumpeted insider status to BC Rail, court hears
Defence seeks to have him called to testify

Rod Mickleburgh
Globe and Mail - Friday, Aug. 21, 2009

Fewer than six months after he co-chaired the B.C. Liberals' stunningly successful election campaign in 2001, Patrick Kinsella trumpeted his insider's perspective on the new government to prospective client BC Rail, the Crown corporation now at the heart of a long-running political corruption trial over sale of its operating rights to CN Rail.

Mr. Kinsella, a close confidante of Premier Gordon Campbell, also co-chaired the Liberals' repeat election victory in 2005.

In a letter dated Oct. 30, 2001, to BC Rail vice-president Kevin Mahoney, Mr. Kinsella refers to his company as communication consultants “with a value-added component. That value could be interpreted as political savvy and to some extent providing commentary and advice to our clients vis-à-vis the current B.C. Liberal government.”

Defence lawyer Michael Bolton read the passage in B.C. Supreme Court Friday to bolster an application to have Mr. Kinsella summoned to testify and provide further documentation about his role in the privatization of BC Rail.

Based on previously disclosed e-mails and notes, defence lawyers have suggested in court that Mr. Kinsella had ties, not only to BC Rail, but to the government and CN Rail, while the $1-billion sale was going through.

Five days after his Oct. 30 letter, Mr. Kinsella signed a contract to provide services to BC Rail from 2001 to 2004, for which he was paid “roughly $200,000,” according to Mr. Bolton.

“The Liberal government owns BC Rail and yet he [Mr. Kinsella] is going to provide political savvy re: the government,” Mr. Bolton told Madame Justice Elizabeth Bennett. “This says a great deal about the role of Mr. Kinsella. He has a very political role and he's offering it at a very high level.”

Former Liberal political aides David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi are facing trial on corruption-related charges connected to the BC Rail deal, including fraud, breach of trust and exchanging information in return for a benefit.

The bulk of the railway's assets were sold to CN Rail in 2003, with the deal closing in 2004. Mr. Bolton, who represents Mr. Basi, pointed out that Mr. Kinsella was working “to provide this political savvy” to BC Rail for the entire “critical” period of the transaction.

The defence lawyer also reminded Judge Bennett of several e-mails, released earlier this year to the court, indicating Mr. Kinsella had dealings with top executives of both BC Rail and CN Rail. At one point, CN Rail chair David McLean conveyed information to Mr. Kinsella that the deal appeared to be falling apart rather than dealing directly with BC Rail. Mr. Kinsella then conveyed CN's concerns to BC Rail, Mr. Bolton said. “[Mr. Kinsella] may not be working for CN, but there's clearly a relationship.”

Defence lawyers have said their clients were acting under orders from their political masters in matters related to the BC Rail sale.

Mr. Bolton said it was essential to the defence's position to have Mr. Kinsella appear in court to shed light on his relationship with CN Rail in the BC Rail purchase.

Defence lawyer Kevin McCullough, who represents Mr. Virk, said that Mr. Kinsella has, so far, refused to answer some “very simple questions” posed to him through his lawyer, James Sullivan. “Did you work for CN? If yes, when? What was the nature of that work?”

Mr. McCullough said the extent of Mr. Kinsella's relationship with CN is “significant to the issues at stake in this case … Where else are we going to get that evidence [than from Mr. Kinsella]?”

Judge Bennett will hear further argument Aug. 31 on the defence bid for a subpoena to be issued to Mr. Kinsella.

Meanwhile, veteran Supreme Court justice Anne MacKenzie has been appointed to take over the complex case from Judge Bennett, who has recused herself from the trial because of her recent elevation to the Court of Appeal.

The formal trial has not yet started, nearly six years after RCMP raided the legislative offices of Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk. Proceedings have bogged down in wrangling over disclosure of tens of thousands of documents.

Judge Bennett has agreed to decide several outstanding issues, including whether Mr. Kinsella should be summoned for questioning, before standing down.

""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""

Comments:
From Canadian Press....

""Kinsella working for CN," said an Aug. 19, 2002 handwritten note in a journal kept by Pilothouse lobbyist Brian Kieran, defence lawyer Kevin McCullough told the court.

So.

Whadd'ya know.

Only five days late.

And four days after GAB and Laila first told us about it.

Who's doing the real reporting now?

RossK.

____
I have a comment about this over at my place for anybody interested

.
 
The wording of this intrigues me:
His client Bobby Virk and Bolton's client Dave Basi are accused of funnelling information to OmniTrax in exchange for money and gifts in a case that involved police raids on the men's legislature offices in December 2003, when they worked as ministerial aides.

Don't we usually just hear "raid on the legislature" or the like, i.e. no mention that these men in particular were the target of the raid? Do you think this is a sop, to deflect from the notion that the Premier's Office and other ministerial offices ewre raided, it was only these guys?

And the implication is that the raid targeted these guys, despite the RCMP knowing by this time that the sale of BC Rail was rigged and that higher-ups were involved in various kinds of misdealings. Selective charges from what at the time seemed like a pretty sweeping raid. Given that the Mounties knew that the bidding process was rigged, why didn't they go after THAT instead of just the minor side-bribe. As I've said before, if OmniTRAX payed 120k just to come in second or third, what did CN pay to come in first?

And more and more I'm thinking that Brian Kieran and Erik Bornmann got a lot of issues solved for themselves by bargaining for immunity....and the further question, again, is why Basi, Virk and Basi were not offered immunity in the context of the potential charges that seem necessary to have been laid on those above them (but which still haven't been laid)?? I think the publisher of the Indo-Canadian paper who claims that they're just brown fall guys for the white elites is pretty close to the mark.

If Kieran threatened John Priessl over the ICBC problem, it's not difficult to image his behaviour with much higher stakes at play. So his credibility as a witness might be called into question....and I'm curious to know exactly what range and scope of misdeeds the Mounties and Crown signed away when they granted him immunity?
 
.
Thanks, Skookum1 ... and now I'm going to try to read those long-ago Search Warrants which the RCMP had so much difficulty getting authorized ...

do you recall exactly what they described?
.
 
Ian Mulgrew's story:

http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Kinsella+crucial+figure+Basi+Virk+trial/1919974/story.html
 
Skookum sez:

"And more and more I'm thinking that Brian Kieran and Erik Bornmann got a lot of issues solved for themselves by bargaining for immunity...."

Now if either Bormannnnnnn or Kieran are less than forthcoming after being granted immunity, doesn't that invalidate their immunity and leave them vulnerable to charges? I think if you are caught lying, even by omission, your immunity ceases to exist. Of course a judge just recently admitted to the bar might disagree and of course IANAL (I am not a lawyer) which means I belong in the dark, eating........we all know what!

And Mary, it should only take you a minute or two to read those Search Warrants, considering that approximately 80% of the text is redacted. Everything thing these guys are forced to cough up through FOI's or other means turns out to be a bunch of blank pages.

If you want some stationary, put in an FOI for a purchase agreement between BC Hydro and one of the Greed Power companies.
I have the one between BC Hydro and AXOR for Glacier/Howser and on many, many pages the only thing left is the page number.


It is a mockery of the whole idea of transparency. Anytime the people's business has to be secret from the people something is rotten in James Bay!
 
No; maybe I'm wrong that their offices weren't targeted and it wasn't a sweep of an entire department (or two or three). Even so, the question remains as to what the RCMP knew about the bidding process. We already know the Cmopetition Bureau didn't take action despite CP's and BNSF's stated issues with the bidding; likewise the mis-assessment by the NYC subsidiary of CIBC World Markets (I've gotten that bank name wrong before - is it Scotiabank?).

How can so much have been going so wrong and they were only interested in guys who were known to be henchmen for the Premier's Office et al.? For a relatively minor side-gambit pulled by a consulting firm hired by the government? And how can the corporate crime division not been aware of the role of the Liberal campaign manager with both parties to the transaction? Does this country operate with blinkers on or what, huh?

And though the Globe and Mail has been doing, frankly, admirable work on finally breaking this whole affair nationally - if not going quite "all the way there" - how can it be that the national media don't see this as being bigger than Adscam/sponsorhip scandal (or the relatively minor Black and Drabinsky Affairs?....even Airbus seems paltry and venal by comparison, like Fantasy Gardens only involving a few parties. The RCMP were so eager to pounce all over Ralph Goodale and Glen Clark, as I've said before, why the hands-off treatment of the BC Liberals? Between Nettleton, Cardoso and others who withdrew from the government because of questions not only about the legality of what the government was doing, on the one hand, and on the other the political impact of the BC Rail deal and associated privatization agendas?

Here we have a whole government, and ruling party apparatus, tripping all over the law right and left but never being charged? And a whole caucus and senior civil service keeping their mouths shut, which to me is playing the role of accomplices for keeping silent. It was Nettleton who used the term "collusion", and maybe that's just not in the Mountie's offences-to-be-looked for manual. It's certainly in the Criminal Code.

Nobody has been charged for anything? But their underlings were? Why, and why only them?

cont....
 
In Britain the Speaker resigned simply because of expense accounts, and the political turmoil is such that the current government may fall, even though the Opposition was guilty of the same excesses. But expense account infractions pale by comparison to what's gone on in Victoria since Gordon Campbell was sworn in as the head of the Executive Council in 2001.

As on my vanished post from the other day, which I'll try and rephrase here, the situation in Turks and Caicos is a reminder of why Crown Dependencies have one advantage that fully-indepedent ex-British colonial regimes do not; a recourse to higher authority when the government is out of control and beyond the law. Since 1912 or 1927 or 1982 or whenever of those it was, Canadian citizens have not had recourse to the Law Lords or the bigger and more-ignored direct appeals to the monarch. Time and again in the early history of BC, the Mother Country's courts and legislators had to override various measures attempted by the BC government - including the writ of the Mainland Colony's declearation, in fact, which had to be rewritten and "done properly", as Douglas hadn't the authority to do it, technically. Government-after-the-fact....

Sorry to digress like always; the point is if we had a situation where the Law Lords decided to investigate what our provincial courts and our rent-a-police-department-from-the-feds enforcement authority will NOT? Or if it were Scotland Yard who were investigating, rather than E Division?

I'm not the man to do it but at some point a complaing to the Review Commission of the RCMP (or whatever it's called) about the inter-relationship of the police in BC with the political system, and with one political party in particular, should be undertaken. Some countries, like Turkey, require the participation of the military in government; in other countries the military and police are excluded from party politics and in others the military intervene - sometimes to restore democracy, as in Thailand and Turkey vs places where the point is to overthrow democratic rule (as in Chile) or to prevent it (as in Iran, more or less).

Examples abound on both sides; what I'm getting at is - should Canada enact laws and measures guaranteeing the political neutrality of the police force in daily politics? It may not be necessary to go to the extreme of barring retired police and even serving police from serving as MLAs and MPs; I'm more thinking of being independent of political party machines and also not laying or not-laying charges on a partisan basis. There are enough hanging questions in relation to the Basi Virk case alone, among other questionable matters like Powder Mountain and Olympics funding and the Fortress Investments affair re the Olympic Village, and so more than enough to request and investigation from policing review bodies.....

Most complaints to the commission (the
RCMP Complaints Commission - is that what it's called?), are about wanton killings or brutality. As with other areas of society, that's the blue collar counterpart to the white collar crimes that are summed up by the litany of government-corporate corruption. So not investigating, not even wanting to investigate, serious misdeeds involving millions of dollar and the health of the infrastucture of the province (financing, power grids, the lot).....what that means is the police are, like the Liberal caucus, implicated in collusion. As are, of course the media - though the national media for different reasons than within BC.....

cont.....
 
Citzen journalism is one thing...citizen government would be another, huh?

Do we have a system capable of investigating its own corruption? Is such a thing possible? Well, back to the Mother country - at least they're trying

Seems like we need a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for all this; as if the truth would ever come out of their mouths without being confession. Equivocation is an art form in BC, calling black white; a good example is the justification for the end of Tourism Bc, that it was a way to improve the efficiency of tourism marketing in BC.

Not even the Socreds were that bald-faced in saying the clear opposite of the truth.

And thing is, if we did have our own provincial police authority, which has been discussed a bit for revival lately, if only a bit, then they'd have been just as mixed up and tied up within this as the RCMP seem to be. Or individual members of the RCMP at least.

Nobody resigns in disgrace in this country anymore, it's as if it was an old tradition that just gets in the way of free-booting do-it-yourself impunity. Who needs honour when, as one of those in charge, you can get away with anything because you're in charge of who enforces the rules - one of the perks of office, and isn't that what "privilege" is all about? Well, certainly being used that way in this case. Funny how only one tradition is honoured, the other is ignored huh? Never has "shameless self-interest" have a more apt demonstration in politics....why expect shame from those who have none?

And why does it take five to ten years for major political investigations to get anywhere near completion? if ever completed?

A civilian government, a government without one extreme faction having the power to overrule the wishes and interests of whole sectors of society for any reason (not just the current issue of personal and corporate financial gain/control/empire), a government of citizens, a citizen government. And, somehow, a court system we can be sure is free of political interference.....
 
Wow.

Mr. Mulgrew goes pretty far, even brings up the ol' quid pro quo.

Could the (media)herd it be a changin'?

Directions I mean.

.
 
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home