Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Mafia - stimulus links? "If there are any cases where anyone suspects any kind of fraud like that, [people] can go to the police and raise them."

These suspicions are probably not confined to Montreal or even to the province of Quebec. The troubled finances of BC's 2010 Olympic Gaming spring to mind. This news report isn't included in today's online edition of The Globe and Mail, for some reason. So I copied this much, word-by-word, from Page A4, Oct. 27, 2009. You ask: how does this relate to BC Rail? Answer, in one word: corruption. - BC Mary.

Minister rejects link between Mafia, stimulus

By Sidhartha Banerjee
The Canadian Press
The Globe and Mail - Oct. 27, 2009

MONTREAL - There's no evidence of federal stimulus money going to the Mob, Canada's Public Safety Minister says in response to sensational allegations from Quebec of Mafia-related collusion in the construction industry.

Recent reports have said that construction companies in the province work together to drive up the cost of public-works projects, threaten companies that don't participate and give commissions to the Mafia.

Organized-crime experts said that it's a common practice wherever the Italian Mafia operates.

Ottawa and the provinces have been showering billions on construction projects in the biggest infrastructure spending spree in Canadian history. {Snip} ...

the scandal has reached an unparalelled intensity in Quebec.

It has tossed the current Montreal mayoral race into disarray, with the incumbent administration fending off a flood of corruption allegations and the main opposition party also tainted by the scandal ... {Snip}

The scandal erupted after an invstigative report on the French-language arm of the CBC, Radio-Canada, indicated that 14 Montreal-area firms work together in a price-fixing scheme.

A recent Transport Canada study concluded that a kilometre of road cost 37% more to buildij Quebec in 2008 than the average cost for the rest of the country.

Also, not in today's print edition ...

A Sikh who refuses to be silenced

By Joe Friesen
The Globe and Mail - Oct. 27, 2009

Jagdish Grewal saw three masked men dressed in black running toward him, and he knew that it meant.

He had just enough time to make it to his van and lock the door, but the men were on him in seconds. As he tried frantically to start the engine, they beat on the window until it smashed. Then they placed a gun to his head. Everything went quiet.

The men said nothing. Mr Grewal turned away from the gun barrel, his eyes closed. It was 11:40 on a rainy Friday night in the parking lot of a Brampton industrial park. Mr Grewal, the 42-year-old editor of the Punjabi Post and a father of three, was crtain his life was at an end ...

Speaking out
Among other attacks on Canadian journalists:

1985 - Ujjal Dosanjh, in Surrey, B.C., hospitalized by gangsters who gave him a near-fatal beating with a lead pipe, after speaking out for peace during a period when "a wave of hatred, violence, threats, hit lists, silencing of broadcasters, journalists, activists happened," Dosanjh said.

1998- Tara Singh Hayer, publisher of the Indo-Canadian Times] was assassinated at his home in Surrey, B.C. by two Indo-Canadian gangsters [10 years after being paralysed by another gunman] on the orders of the terrorist group Babbar Khalsa for a $50,000 fee, according to information provided to police three years ago. The hit was so successfully carried out that the two young men were then approached about killing Sikh moderate leader Balwant Singh Gill for another '50 grand,' police were also told in the fall of 2000. Hayer was expected to be a witness in the Air India bomb trial when he was shot to death.

2000: Michel Auger of the Journal de Montreal survived being shot 6 times outside the paper's downtown offices. He was responsible for the groundbreaking reporting on Montreal's biker wars.


Vancouver Sun .... Lobbyist fines and regulations introduced by the AG of BC, but not to cover the time frame of Patrick Kinsella stonewalling the Commissioner investigation.


Solicitor General Kash Heed steps aside. He's saying its unfair piece of legislation because he retired from the West Van police force under a cloud and was then asked to become a BC Liberal. He can't debate his own legislation because of a conflict of interest.

Both legislations are not rectroactive..... Too bad, otherwise Kinsella would find himself up on the carpet during a trial, eh.
Will FOI revisions prevent more 'lost' e-mail?
B.C. needs legislation that requires government to retain documents
By Vincent Gogolek, Special to Times ColonistOctober 28, 2009
It's looking less and less likely that the Basi-Virk corruption trial will get to the bottom of what happened to the years of e-mail records related to the sale of B.C. Rail.

Justice Anne MacKenzie has indicated she is not prepared to find out why thousands of e-mails related to the B.C. Rail sale have disappeared despite court orders to present them as potential evidence.

Society has a strong interest in making sure accused persons receive a fair trial.

MacKenzie might well be right in saying that the law does not demand perfect justice, but only fundamentally fair justice.

However, society also has a strong interest in government accountability.

In this instance, it seems like the illegal or incompetent records management of the B.C. government has worked to its advantage. The government claims the cost to retrieve documents related to one of the most controversial sales of a public asset in recent history would be too high. If the judge accepts this, the story of what happened to those records and how they got lost or destroyed might never be known.

It shouldn't be this way.

There are laws and rules in place that govern the handling of anything a government official writes down in whatever format. The province's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and Interpretation Act both define a "record" as any and all recorded information, including all information stored electronically.

The Document Disposal Act governs the destruction of government records and states: "[A] document must not be destroyed except on the written recommendation of the Public Documents Committee."

This means that regardless of the format -- paper or electronic -- no record can be destroyed without what's referred to as an "approved records retention and disposal schedule." There certainly does not appear to be any such schedule in the case of the B.C. Rail e-mails.

This situation can't be allowed to continue. We are far behind other jurisdictions in Canada when it comes to maintaining vital public records.

We don't have legislation that requires government officials to document their decisions, retain and archive important records and make information more openly and generally available.

B.C.'s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act doesn't cover any of these areas -- but maybe it should.

The FOI act is going to be reviewed by a special committee of the legislature this year.

The committee should make it a priority to look at how the government creates, preserves and destroys records.

If records are never created, can't be found or are improperly or illegally destroyed, then there is little point in having a law that allows us to request them.

And if we need a new law to accomplish that, then that is what the committee should recommend.

Vincent Gogolek is the director, policy and communications, of the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association.
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