Friday, January 29, 2010


BC Premier's Public/Private P3 Lifestyle

By BC Mary

There are simple tests for understanding the role of the media in British Columbia. Here's one test. Try to find the January 2003 article Petti Fong wrote  after interviewing Gordon Campbell's cell-mate at the Wailuku Police Station, Hawaii.

Try. Go ahead. You won't find it. But it's worth trying, if you're prepared to ask yourself why that story has disappeared.

Vancouver Sun and The Province had Fong's full, up-close and personal account of the Maui Affair from journalist, Petti Fong. Sun publisher, Patricia Graham later told BC Business magazine that the story had been killed because Gordo's cell-mate was described to The Sun as a "complete prevaricator" or, as a Sun editor said, "as opposed to a premier who says his government won't sell BC Rail, hasn't expanded gambling ... "

The massive neglect the Campbell drunk driving story received was the diametric opposite to the massive magnifying-glass under which all things NDP or former BC Premier Glen Clark had been placed.  That particular Vancouver Sun editor, Charles Smith, resigned in 2003. [There must be copies of Petti Fong's story around.]

Part 1 of this series talked about the press conference of Jan. 12, 2003, which took previous suspicions of media bias to a new level of firm conviction that CanWest Global was a branch of the Campbell government and that neither could be trusted.  [There must be copies of that film around, including "the question" followed by the stunned silence.]

It demeans us that our own BC media couldn't publish the story of our premier's arrest, and couldn't even tell us that there were hours in which the B.C. premier's chair was vacant and vulnerable. It demeans us that a foreign news media could write up a report worthy of an A+ in any journalism class, accurately titled Canadian official fined for driving drunk on Maui. Honolulu Star Bulletin, March 25, 2003.

The truly embarrassing part of being so demeaned is that the Hawaiin media was telling British Columbians things we needed to know; important things we'd never hear otherwise. E.g.,

He [Gordon Campbell] has told the news media that he had three martinis and some wine while dining with friends Fred Latremouille and Kathy Baldazzi during his annual vacation on Maui and was returning to a place where he was staying.

Deputy Prosecutor Mark Simonds said that about 12:55 a.m. a police officer stopped next to Campbell at a traffic light, and when the light changed, Campbell sped his vehicle forward.

The police officer said Campbell crossed the double solid line to his left, then pulled to his right crossing into the bicycle lane, Simonds said.

Campbell's driving was erratic, sometimes hitting his brakes, and he almost crossed into a lane that had a motor vehicle going in the opposite direction, he said.

Simonds said when the police officer stopped Campbell, he had a strong odor of liquor, an oily face and slurred speech.

But they didn't know our Gordo. He was lying, of course. He was very, very drunk.  Here's what a commentor said on this blog:

" ... a little high school level chemistry is all that is needed to improve our understanding of the Premier's Blood Alcohol Content:

Did you know that Gordon Campbell's blood alcohol rate would actually have been higher had he been in BC instead of Hawaii?


I looked up the methods used for measuring blood alcohol right after the news broke. I did the following simple math and sent my findings to all of the papers and the news stations. None of them published the new info I provided. I think I may have also commented upon it in the Tyee, but I am not sure.

In BC, blood alcohol content is measured by volume; in Hawaii, it is measured by weight.

8 grams of alcohol per 100 ml = 0.08% in Hawaii.

Ethyl alcohol has a speciffic gravity of 0.785 which means 1 ml of alcohol weighs 0.785 grams.

0.161/0.785 = 0.205

That means Campbell would have blown 0.205 at the roadside, and the 0.149 station measurement would have equaled 0.190 had it been measured by volume - the BC method!

For our way of thinking, Campbell was 2.5 times the legal limit, not twice the legal limit. At the time of the arrest, (with Campbell's body weight figured at 185 lbs.) that's probably at least 2 more martinis in his system - quite possibly 3.

End of quote.

So much for the B.C. media.

It would be a mistake to conclude that certain issues become improper, and shouldn't be mentioned simply because they might embarrass people in high places.

The Queen's family knows that this isn't true. And here in B.C., Kevin Potvin shot that theory full of holes when he published Is Gordon Campbell a 'Made Man'? on May 12, 2005. It's still readily available even in a province where a tell-all profile on Gordo is a rare event.

Fact is: there is absolutely no reason why the truth can't be told, with due respect for the subjects and the players. 

The awful fact is that if our civil democracy is to survive, the truth must be told. Absolutely must be told.  And it's entirely possible that we wouldn't need to endure the loss of a major railway or  painful events like the BC Rail Trial (Basi, Virk, Basi) if BC government developments had been fully and regularly  explored in B.C. news media.

CanWest has no excuses left. The Asper Empire of CanWest Global can find 1,001 ways to tell the lurid details of Pickton murders and to linger over street-level violence. It can illuminate the details of Gordo's Golden Era.  But it can't say "Whoa ... just a moment ... have you thought this legislation / this decision / this sweeping announcement through, Mr Premier?"

Of course it could do that. But CanWest Global chooses to turn away and completely ignore stories such as the trial and sentencing of Jasmohan Bains, the very person police were tracking when they made their unprecedented raid on the BC Legislature. "When there's news, we will publish it," sniffed the Editor-in-Chief of Victoria Times Colonist ... and they didn't.  Why not?

So CanWest's tactics of turning their back on the public's right to now has, in my view, brought bankruptcy on them by failing to serve the public interest.

People are not apathetic. But they cannot respond to, or act upon, information they've never heard about. And when eventually, the citizens of B.C. hear about the extent of the betrayal, they are invigorated. We have seen this ourselves. The public mood is shifting to: "Gordo has gone way, way too far ..." 

But Gordo still hasn't learned that he can't have it both ways. He can't pump up a syrupy happy-home story about their English housekeeper without also inviting media scrutiny as to whether his marriage was actually as blissful as that story suggested. And apparently it was not.  [Someone must still have copies of those stories.]

Gordo's Gang can't orchestrate a propaganda barrage against Gordon Wilson, former  leader of the BC Liberal Party and Judi Tyabji M.L.A., without inviting scrutiny of his own public/private P3 kind of life.

Signs of Gordo were all over the assault against former premier Glen Clark.

But  Gordo's response has been to establish zones of protective silence. One such zone surrounds his Executive Assistant, Lara Dauphinee. Whereas he might seem more likeably "open and transparent" if he said, "Yes, unfortunately it is true: Nancy and I have divorced; and my fiancee/wife is now ____ [fill in the blank]."  Evidence? Try to find a photo of Lara Dauphinee who is said to be "never far from his side." Try finding just one photo of her, despite all the grumblings "off the record".

But Gordo doesn't work that way. We may have seen clear evidence of his strategy during the May 2009 provincial election campaign. Several reliable sources have told me that it was my previous 4-part story about Lara Dauphinee which sparked the sudden change of pace before the May 2009 election. 

Remember how there was no participation by Mrs Nancy Campbell or the official Campbell family in the May 2009 provincial election? Then ... suddenly, there they were: Gordo wreathed in full frontal smiles.  Nancy -- in the background -- often ill at ease. Two hulking sons suddenly "working hard on the campaign" for dear old Dad. Bringing up the rear: the young wives and a baby. Gordo's happy family. So sudden.

Quote from "Concerned Citizen":

Gordon Campbell, having been so publicly and manipulatively self-righteous and accusatory of Premier Glen Clark, Opposition Leader Gordon Wilson and M.L.A. Judi Tyabji, simply in order to steal their power, invited a public searchlight onto himself for the rest of his career.

"Once the invasive searchlight was of no benefit to him personally, Gordo made damn sure it was turned off. It is Gordon Campbell's lack of integrity that has allowed him to behave so selfishly and recklessly in both his personal/public life. It explains "how he is destroying democracy and the forests and the fishery and healthcare." Total selfishness and lack of integrity in a leader is always very consequential to citizens. Thus we need to shine the same light on the possibly sociopathic Gordon Campbell that he has schemed to shine on others. What goes around is supposed to come around, and I certainly hope it does in this situation. I don't care per se what anyone does with their dick. It's what they do with their mind, heart, and soul that matters. Gordon Campbell, if he is in a sexual relationship with Lara, has chosen to have taxpayers, at huge expense, keep her at his side at all times. That is shameless and severely lacking in integrity on many levels, and if it is true, his dick is shining the light all by itself."

End of quote.

So there is another reliable test for evaluating the mainstream media in BC. Try to find a story, a photo, or even a mention of the woman who is not only on the B.C. government payroll as the current premier's Deputy Chief of Staff as well as  his Executive Assistant, but also has long been rumoured to be the premier's mistress, as well.

Try. Go ahead and try. You won't find much. Then ask yourself if there might be other things sealed away from public scrutiny ... for example, the fine print on the tainted deal giving BCRail to CN.

This was Part 2 of a 4-part series.

Footnote, received as comment from The Great Satan:

Imagine the shame, Sports Illustrated . . . hardly the Economist or The New York Times, sends a reporter to Vancouver to cover the 2010 Games and on his first swing gets it right.

Meanwhile out local colour people comprising an endless league of Gordon Campbell and Dennis Skulski (both who stand to make millions off the Games) media sycophants write their usual two year old repetitive pulp about BC, The Best Place On Earth.

Yesterday at the Woodward's media center demonstration in East Vancouver I saw German media ask in-depth questions of the BC Government/Public Relations types, and asked and listened (and not for 30 seconds) to the demonstrators.

Meanwhile CanWest/Global and the Bill Bad & Pamela Botox 2010 crowd were reporting on how to collect Olympic pins.

The new phrase among the thinking to describe Vancouver 2010 has no references to Supernatural Beauty or the Best Place on Earth, it's . . . VANOC Occupied Vancouver.

And if you have to ask why, just look up and see the helicopter gunships and on the ground Gordon's Campbell's army of Robocops patrolling the streets of Vancouver.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Part 3 - Conspiracy theories, government spooks and Cass Sunstein

By Peter Ewart
News 250 -  January 28, 2010

Previous installments in this series (see Part 1 and Part 2 ) discussed how Cass Sunstein, the well-known legal scholar and advisor to the U.S. president, has put forward proposals for governments to use undercover agents and “dirty tricks” to combat so-called “conspiracy theories” being generated by those he calls “extremists.”

Also discussed was how there are, in fact, very real conspiracies being carried out against the public interest whether they are hatched in the White House, Parliament buildings or boardrooms of multinational corporations.

Why is this the case? How is it that all these conspiracies are taking place? This is a legitimate question – after all, we are said to be living in a democracy where the people of the country are supposed to be in charge.

The facts are very different. Today, it is well-known that the big banks and big business dominate governments, and monopolize the main sectors of the economy, to the extent that even their most slavish apologists must admit it. Indeed, on the individual level, some of these financial and corporate monopolies have such huge power it now dwarfs that of many nation states.

Even members of the U.S. Congress openly acknowledge this state of affairs. Dick Durbin, a leading U.S. senator, has put it bluntly: the big banks “own the U.S. Congress.”

This situation prevails not just in the U.S., but also in Canada, the province of British Columbia and other parts of the world.

The problem with monopoly is that it goes hand in hand with conspiracy, whether this be price fixing, predatory lending, corruption, or other practices. The Robber Barons were the monopolists of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries who were notorious for their ruthless, unprincipled activity and for their conspiracies against their non-monopoly competitors and the public good. They were so bad that governments back then were forced to take some measures against them, including various pieces of anti-trust and anti-monopoly legislation.

Flash forward to 2010. Much of that legislation has been gutted or eliminated, as can be seen in the recent financial crisis on Wall Street. The 21st Century Robber Barons of today dominate government and the economy to an unprecedented degree. And with this domination comes numerous, ongoing, unrelenting conspiracies against the interests of the people, whether it be workers, professionals, small or non-monopoly businesses, or entire communities, regions and even countries.

This domination of government by monopolies has created an extremely dangerous situation whereby giant armament and war production conglomerates have a vested interest in provoking war and conflict throughout the world – these days especially in the Middle East. For example, U.S. armament companies played a big role in the conspiracy to launch wars against Iraq and Afghanistan, and they continue to beat the drum for military action against Iran and other countries.

As recent revelations in Britain are bringing to light for all to see, the launching of the Iraq War was a conspiracy hatched long before 9/11 and involved the highest levels of the American and British governments.

It is, of course, very interesting that a “legal scholar” like Cass Sunstein is proposing action against “conspiracy theorists” who are working to investigate and uncover government and corporate conspiracies, precisely at this time when the most heinous, and even treasonous, conspiracies are being launched at the highest levels.

But the problem is not just that monopolies dominate government. There is also a grave problem with the political process itself, and the two issues are interlinked.

The political parties in Parliament, Congress and the legislatures themselves are like monopolies, working together and conspiring like cartels to keep the citizenry out of the process except as “voting cattle.”

The party-dominated political process is such that we elect party-selected candidates on one day every four years. For the rest of those 1200 or 1400 days, we have an “elected dictatorship.” The people are kept outside the door in the cold. As the Little Richard song goes, “I hear you knockin’ but you can’t come in.”

The political process is such that, during an election campaign, a political party can make practically any sort of promise, yet, once elected, turn around and do the exact opposite, as happened in British Columbia with the sale of BC Rail and the imposition of the HST tax. A government can “prorogue” Parliament in the most anti-democratic way as the federal government in Canada has just done. Or, like the Republicans and Democrats jointly did in the U.S. last year, a government can bailout the billionaire bankers in spite of the fact that the American people were overwhelming against such an action.

Some would argue that this kind of behavior constitutes fraud and breach of trust. But the citizenry have no mechanisms to prohibit it, and it happens time and time again, whether the political party in power presents itself as “left wing” or “right wing”, “Republican” or “Democrat.”

Like the monopoly domination, such a political process breeds conspiracy. At all levels, it creates a political and governmental culture of extreme secrecy and lack of transparency, of “backroom deals” and “plain brown envelopes”. Government, in effect, becomes a captive to special interests and hostile to the vast majority of people.

Is it any wonder that many Americans have contempt for the U.S. Congress or that, as a recent report says, a growing number of Canadians are profoundly “disenchanted” with politics and feel “increasingly alienated from the political process and its institutions.”

It is one of the features of modern life that people want control over the political process and over their livelihoods. The monopolies, with their domination over government, and the established political parties, with their domination of the political process, stand in the way.

We need a new political process, one that has mechanisms to empower the citizenry and that ensures their control over government, as well as restricts the power of the monopolies.

In my opinion, if there is any lesson to be drawn from Cass Sunstein and the anti-democratic actions he is proposing, it is that.

(This article is the last in the series)

Peter Ewart is a columnist, writer and community activist in Prince George, British Columbia. He can be reached at:


Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Courtroom 53, January 25, 2010. The BC Rail Scandal. Criminal Charges. Basi, Virk, and Basi

By Robin Mathews

A Five Minute Hearing At the Edge of Trial: or, The End Of Innocence.  PART ONE.

The administration of justice – to the naked eye – moved with urbanity and smoothness at the brief and cordial hearing.  William Berardino, Chief Crown Prosecutor, rose to inform Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie that counsel for the Prosecution and Defence are engaged in fruitful and constructive exchange.

Nearly all applications and/or motions outstanding that Defence has made or had announced intention to make  – through agreement – he believed, may  be rendered unnecessary.  Non-litigable facts will be agreed upon.  By February 8 and 10 Mr. Berardino hopes that sufficient agreement will have been reached that a trial date might, at last, be fixed. 

Did anyone wish to add to the matter, Madam Justice MacKenzie asked?  No one did.  She commended counsel to continue their work apart from the court, and she secured February 8 and 10 for re-meeting, prizing the expectation that a trial date might be set then.

Mr. Berardino even estimated [perhaps a reckless thing to do at this stage] a trial of perhaps ten weeks.  He was not – at that point – speaking for the Defence.  But perhaps he wanted to evoke an aura of optimism as the interminable, closely-fought, unnecessarily delayed – if not purposefully obstructed  - years of pre-trial hearings seemed, for the present at least, to be drawing to a close.

Hard as it may be to believe, some of the members of the Mainstream Media, it is said, saw several white doves appear behind Madam Justice MacKenzie, saw them fly upwards and over the heads of people in the court and the gallery, and saw them pass out through the Arthur Erickson  windows at the end of the courtroom … to disappear somewhere in an uncertain  blue beyond.

No member of the Mainstream Media reported the sightings.  That is not surprising.  Frequently members of the Mainstream Media consider facts and events occurring in the court too trivial, too fantastic, or too embarrassing to report.

The smoothness and the harmony which struck the naked eye in Courtroom 53, alas, masked contradictions, anomalies, irregularities, breaches – perhaps – in the administration of justice so large that one might speak (for British Columbians) of “Basi, Virk, Basi and The Loss Of Innocence”.

Indeed, one might not be incorrect in suspecting that - with Mr. Berardino in the role of Special Crown Prosecutor - the fair administration of justice cannot be perceived as being maintained but may be perceived by many as soiled, damaged in reputation, and otherwise vitiated as a key process in the life of British Columbians.

In the Basi, Virk, and Basi case Mr. Berardino took upon himself the role of Special Crown Prosecutor  - a designation specifically created to signify independence, objectivity, freedom from relation with or bias towards the persons or the interests of any party in a criminal action or related to a criminal action.  It is a designation, moreover, specifically created to obviate a perception of bias or even the potential to permit a perception of bias.

Indeed, the title, Special Crown Prosecutor, was specifically created to provide for the appointment from the ranks of illustrious counsel in private practice men or women who were certifiably free – as regular government-employed Crown Prosecutors might not be - of a perception or the potential of a perception of bias, relation to, or association with someone in a criminal case – especially with elected government officials, civil servants, or members of police forces.

That matter is clear and unequivocal.

Mr. Berardino, we now know, had been – at the time of his appointment as Special Crown Prosecutor – a seven year partner and colleague of Geoff Plant, the Attorney General whose ministry made Mr. Berardino’s appointment.

Mr. Berardino, we now know, had been – at the time of his appointment as Special Crown Prosecutor – an eleven-year partner and colleague of Allan Seckel, deputy Attorney General in the ministry which made Br. Berardino’s appointment.
Mr. Berardino was chosen to act as Special Prosecutor in a criminal case  against cabinet aides who were in close association with cabinet members, civil servants, and non-governmental people in close association with cabinet members.

The “government” of Gordon Campbell was, from the outset, “interested” in the investigation of and the charges against Messrs. Basi, Virk, and Basi whose legislature offices, alone, were “raided” by police in the December 2003 search warrant “raids” on legislature offices.  Carefully by-passed were the offices of closely-linked cabinet ministers Gordon Campbell, Gary Collins, and Judith Reid.

Mr. Seckel, we now know, had worked in the political campaign for the election of Geoff Plant to the legislature.  Mr. Seckel, we now know, was appointed as Mr. Plant’s deputy Attorney General.  And in 2007 Mr. Seckel was personally appointed by Gordon Campbell to replace a protocol assuring the unbiased assessment of cabinet documents requested by the Defence in the Basi, Virk, and Basi matter. 

Mr. Seckel was to be the sole arbitrar of that matter in consultation with his former eleven-year partner and colleague, Special Crown Prosecutor William Berardino.  Gordon Campbell’s highly political, unilateral decision to appoint Mr. Seckel drew Mr. Berardino ineluctably – as reasonable people may see it – into a situation charged with political implications. 

With the very best will in the world, Mr. Berardino cannot be separated from the history of his long-term relation with the Attorney General and the deputy Attorney General in the ministry which appointed him Special Crown Prosecutor.

Reasonable and fair-minded Canadians, I sincerely believe, would have to admit – given full information – that Mr. Berardino’s appointment was a contradiction of almost everything intended in the creation of the office of Special Crown Prosecutor.

So flamboyant was the appointment – so astonishing – that (on January 7, 2010) I wrote to the present Attorney General, the Honourable Michael de Jong, to ask that Mr. Beradino, on the solid grounds set out here, be removed as the Special Crown Prosecutor in the Basi, Virk, and Basi case. I asked, further, for an open, independent Inquiry into the prosecutorial services and especially the institution of the Special Crown Prosecutor.

Not a single news organization connected to coverage of the BC Rail Scandal and the Basi, Virk, and Basi case has reported a word about the discovery of Mr. Berardino’s history of relation to key Gordon Campbell government officials.  The failure condemns those news organizations to the suspicion they are playing the role of operatives employed to support the Gordon Campbell government in … whatever improper actions it chooses to undertake.

Mr. de Jong has, so far, refused even to acknowledge my letter.  That is no surprise from a member of Gordon Campbell’s cabinet. I believe the only answer he could make is one which accepts the fact that Mr. Berardino must step down.

And so Attorney General de Jong won’t reply.

[Since writing the above, the Attorney General’s ministry has written to me.  Since it has not addressed the primary questions I raise, I have not changed the text above.  In effect, Mr. de Jong will not reply….  I include the letter from Mr, Gillen.]

Before Mr. de Jong, Wally Oppal was Attorney General.  He is alleged to have so misused the function of Special Crown Prosecutor that he is being sued, now, for having – allegedly – acted in “a manner that was high-handed, arbitrary, reckless abusive, improper, and inconsistent with the honour of the Crown and the administration of justice”.

Before Wally Oppal, Attorney General Geoff Plant’s ministry appointed William Berardino as Special Crown Prosecutor.  I believe many reasonable British Columbians would think that Geoff Plant’s ministry – in the appointment of William Berardino – was acting in a manner that was high-handed, arbitrary, reckless … and certainly inconsistent with the honour of the Crown and the administration of justice.  The refusal of Attorney General de Jong to address that situation points to a deeper suspicion of corruption in the Gordon Campbell government.

British Columbians may – with reason – gain a perception that since the arrival of Gordon Campbell to political power the ministry of the Attorney General has become a major base of corruption in the B.C. government.  And since the Attorney General is the protector of the rule of law in the province, British Columbians may perceive that the province has lost the rule of law to have it replaced by the caprice, the greed, the opportunistic manoeuvring for illegal advantage, perhaps criminal breach of trust, and self-serving actions of Gordon Campbell and his associates.

The five minute hearing in Courtroom 53 on January 25 brought into focus evidence to support the allegation that the administration of justice in British Columbia is, increasingly, a farce, a travesty, a mask for wrongdoing, an expensive undertaking to hide growing corruption and the misdeeds of a government determined to destroy democratic accountability in the province.

Look at an apparently unrelated event.  The head of the Office of Information and Privacy, David Loukidelis, made a lightning transfer out of his job just a week ago, leaving the office without a Commissioner.  Not until concern was expressed and publicized did the Campbell government move to fill the position – temporarily and in an unsatisfactory manner.  Strange.

Even stranger … Mr. Loukedelis made his lightning move so that he could take the position of deputy Attorney General. (Was he ‘kicked upstairs’ as Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett appears to have been in the middle of the Basi, Virk, and Basi pre-trial hearings to make way for a judge … more suitable to certain interests…?)  Mr. Loukedelis was conducting a review of the Campbell government’s intention to expand personal information sharing, believed by some to be an Orwellian file-keeping on innocent citizens.  Much will be put on hold at the (Freedom of) Information and Privacy office.  Just by accident…?

In October of last year, Mr. Seckel, deputy Attorney General, was raised to the position of head of the Public Service by Gordon Campbell, and he is now deputy minister to the premier.  (Can ambition reach higher?)  Today the site of the deputy Attorney General lists “M. Gerry McHale” as acting deputy Attorney General – the name of Mr. Loukedelis is not yet posted.  Will Mr. Loukedelis be able to match the superbly loyal character of Allan Seckel, his devotion to the wishes and needs of Gordon Campbell … before all else?

The administration of justice – to the naked eye – moved with urbanity and smoothness at the brief and cordial hearing on January 25 ….

Addendum: A reply to my letter to the Honourable Michael de Jong, Attorney General, by assistant deputy Attorney General Robert W. G. Gillen.

January 21, 2010.

Dear Robin Mathews:

I am responding on behalf of the Attorney General to your letter of January 7, 2010.  As Assistant Deputy Attorney General, I am responsible for the Criminal Justice Branch within the Ministry of Attorney General, including the conduct and supervision of criminal prosecutions in British Columbia.

In your letter you ask that Mr. William Berardino be removed as Special Prosecutor in the case against Mr. Dave Basi, Mr. Bob Virk and Mr. Aneal Basi.  The case is currently before the Court, so it is not appropriate to discuss or comment on the proceedings at this time.

You suggest the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry to investigate prosecutorial services in British Columbia and special prosecutor appointments.  The special prosecutor structure in British Columbia is the result of the findings of the 1990 Owen Commission Report following the Discretion to Prosecute Inquiry.  Commissioner Stephen Owen concluded that criminal justice in British Columbia is administered with integrity, professionalism and public confidence, but the system itself is vulnerable.  He recommended a process to allow for the appointment of special prosecutors to strengthen the independence of prosecutorial decision-making from real or perceived improper influence.

Section 7 of the Crown Counsel Act (the Act) passed in 1991, authorizes the Assistant Deputy Attorney General (ADAG) to appoint a lawyer from the private Bar as a special prosecutor to carry out a defined mandate with respect to the approval and conduct of a specific prosecution when the ADAG forms the view that there could be significant potential for real or perceived improper influence in the administration of justice.

Special prosecutors are appointed by the ADAG on a case-by-case basis from a list of senior and experienced practitioners from the private Bar.  All counsel on the special prosecutors list have been jointly approved by the President of the Law Society, the Deputy Attorney General (DAG) and the ADAG.  This joint approval process insures a consistent high standard is applied to those sensitive cases which are referred to the special prosecutor.

You ask that every direction given to special prosecutors since Mr. Gordon Campbell took office as premier be made public. Section 7(4) of the Crown Counsel Act requires that when the Attorney General, the DAG, or the ADAG give a direction to a special prosecutor regarding any matter within the mandate of the special prosecutor, that direction must be given in writing and be published in the British Columbia Gazette.  This procedure had been followed since the inception of the Crown Counsel Act.

Thank you for writing to the ministry about your concerns. 

Yours truly,
Robert W. G, Gillen
Assistant Deputy Attorney General
Criminal Justice Branch

                            *  *  *

That is PART ONE of A Five Minute Hearing At The Edge Of Trial, or The End Of Innocence.  PART TWO will follow.

Bill Tieleman's recent column is

David Loukidelis move from F.O.I. Commissioner to Assistant Deputy Attorney General is wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong.

The Tyee - Jan. 26, 2010.

Click HERE to see Bill's column.  

One excerpt:

Reason 2: Railgate optics

What's more, Loukidelis takes over as the senior administrator responsible for dealing with FOI and other requests for government documents in the B.C. Legislature Raid case -- a disquieting prospect given that he has been ultimately responsible for FOI requests previously made by defence lawyers for David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi -- who face serious corruption charges.

Who recruited Loukidelis? The former deputy attorney general Allan Seckel, who is now Campbell's own deputy minister.



As the date for the Basi-Virk trial approaches, let's remember that it's really about BC Rail, shown here as it was, April 2003

Southbound PV descends the 2%plus grade that extends over 35 miles from Kelly Lake to Lillooet at the bottom of the Fraser Canyon, British Columbia. 

Photographer: Bill Hooper
Photo ID: 309754
Locomotive No 1, Train ID: BCOL4648.
Fountain, B.C.  April 9, 2003

Click HERE and scroll down Bill Hooper's photo listings, then click on this photo to see it dramatically enlarged.


BC Mary says:

When I look at this photo, I see my home province. Can almost smell the sagebrush. Can hear the train whistle echoing off the hills. I love this photo.

I see BCRail (as it then was) making its careful way from the northern towns and villages, to market. Vital, guaranteed access.

This photo helps me remember a time when British Columbia could control how BCR served our communities, never having to seek approval from a privately-owned head office in Montreal and/or Texas.

I remember the BC Rail trainmen who were as special as their train; knew the tracks, knew the engines, knew how to navigate our spectacularly beautiful but dangerous terrain.

I remember Don Faulkner, proud of being a BC Rail trainman, worrying about  cost-cutting measures brought in by the new owners, in particular the braking systems and the added length of the trains. The BC Rail trainmen had developed an expertise suited to B.C. terrain. 100 boxcars were a maximum; but CN would soon decide that 150 boxcars would bring in more profit.

And so, of course, I remember that Don Faulkner and Tom Dodd died near this spot ... died trying to save a train running without Dynamic Brakes, one of the safety factors they had worried about. The 3rd trainman, Gordon Rhodes, survived  seriously injured.

Looking at this BC Rail photo, I remember why trains like that were running, carrying the production of towns and villages, farms, factories and sawmills from the BC interior ... from way, way up almost to the Yukon border ... keeping the province healthy. British Columbians could guarantee this shipping service through boom times and bad times. But CN has been given the right to abandon rail lines when they fail to show a profit.

I can look at this photo and see what has kept me running this web-site for the past 4 years, remembering that BC Rail was a good railway, an invaluable public asset, a source of provincial revenue, and a means of sustaining the economy of this province.

It was all that, and more. It was part of us, part of who we are.

Thank heaven, the BC Rail Trial is coming soon, they say. Mid-March, perhaps. So, at long last, we may find out how such a significant public asset as Canada's largest regional railway could simply slip out of our hands, the way it did ... and how we became helpless to save it.  Other major public assets are at risk as well. BC Hydro is being crippled, ready for the axe, as we speak. We must understand how these things can be allowed to happen.

To look at this photo is to remember British Columbia in better times ... before Campbell.


Very special thanks (again) to our old friend Kootcoot, without whom I would not be able to post photos or get my blog un-jammed, at times. Koot brought the BC Rail photo over from Bill Hooper's web-site and posted it here.  Many thanks, Koot.  And double-thanks to photographer, Bill Hooper, for his generous permission to use his photo.  - M. 


Monday, January 25, 2010


Basi-Virk Political corruption trial date to be set

Political corruption trial date to be set in early February, over six years after 2003 police raid on B.C. Legislature

By Bill Tieleman, 24 hours columnist

A trial date in the political corruption case that begin with a police raid on the B.C. Legislature in 2003 will finally be set in early February for later this year, a Special Prosecutor said in B.C. Supreme Court on Monday.

Bill Berardino said lawyers for the accused – former B.C. Liberal government aides David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi – have made such substantial progress working with the Crown on outstanding defence applications that a trial date can be set on either February 8 or 10 ...  {Snip} ...

Bill Tieleman's complete column is HERE

Bill Tieleman in The Tyee is HERE


Basi Virk Trial to Finally Commence Following Olympics

The Link - Feb. 1, 2010



Basi-Virk trial not expected to drag on


Trial anticipated to take 8-10 weeks; start date may be set by Feb 8

Mark Hume

The Globe and Mail - Jan. 25, 2010

Vancouver, B.C. - A political corruption case that has been before the courts for nearly six years will unfold relatively quickly once the trial starts, the Supreme Court of British Columbia has been told.

“We are anticipating … the trial would take something in the order of … eight to 10 weeks,” special prosecutor William Berardino said.

{Snip} ...

Also to be dropped by the defence are an abuse-of-process application – which would have sought to have the case dismissed because it has taken so long – and a motion for disclosure of more third-party records.

Discussions on moving the trial from Vancouver to Victoria, and a defence motion to elect a jury trial are also being resolved outside court, Mr. Berardino said, without indicating exactly what agreements have been struck.

“That's the progress we've made, so I am encouraged,” he said.

Mr. Berardino said he would come back to court on Feb. 8 to give a final update and he expected to be ready on that day, or by Feb. 10 at the latest, to set a trial date.

Madam Justice MacKenzie, who, when she took over the case last year, said she wanted to go to trial by February, thanked defence and Crown lawyers for settling their disputes outside court and preventing further delays.

“The court wants to acknowledge the hard work of counsel … it's in the interest of the administration of justice,” she said.

Outside court, Michael Bolton, who is defending Dave Basi, said he agreed with Mr. Berardino's statements, but cautioned that it's hard to predict the exact length of any trial.

“It's difficult to say exactly,” he replied when asked how many witnesses the defence would summon. “It obviously will depend on which witnesses the Crown calls.”

Mr. Berardino said while the majority of the outstanding applications have been withdrawn, that doesn't mean the defence is retreating.

“The Crown and defence [still] have a fundamental and basic disagreement about the Crown's ability to prove their case,” he said.


After such a long, frustrating period of waiting, it's a bit difficult to recognize a bit of good news when we see it.

But friends, I think we are seeing a bit of good news coming out of BC Supreme Court today.

I may be speaking for others, too, when I say how welcome this new development is. To salute the judge, the Crown prosecution, and the defence team for this welcome news ... three long toots of appreciation on a BC Rail horn.  

And special thanks to those who invest their time and dedicate their best to keeping us informed by their reports from the courtroom. 

Nor can we forget that this is the most important trial in the history of British Columbia. It should reveal how a major public asset could slip out of public ownership and into private pockets under a deal still partially secret.  How could that happen in a democratic society?

We cannot forget that BC Rail was Canada's largest regional railway, and the 3rd largest railway in the nation.  It's an enormous asset to just ... lose. Its 1,500 km. of mainline track ran from North Vancouver to Fort Nelson, with branch lines to Mackenzie, Dawson Creek, Tumbler Ridge, Fort St James. BC Rail and its trainmen were especially suited to our mountain terrain as well as responsive to the far-flung towns, villages, farms, and industries who need to a guaranteed means of moving their products to market.  BC Rail answered all those needs ... and regularly sent its profits to bolster the provincial treasury. 

In my view, BC Rail should never have been sold, and in this trial we may discover, for the first time, how that happened.  - BC Mary.



Basi-Virk trial date to be set in February, 2010



Vancouver Sun - Jan. 25, 2010 

VANCOUVER - The Crown told a judge today that a trial date is expected to be set by early February for the Basi-Virk case.

Special prosecutor Bill Berardino told Justice Anne MacKenzie that good progress has been made sorting out pre-trial matters with defence counsel.

He said the Crown expects to be in a position by Feb. 10 to set a trial date.

The Crown expects the trial to last eight to 10 weeks, Berardino said.

There will be about eight "core" witnesses and some other shorter witnesses, he said.

"The court wants to acknowledge the hard work that's gone into this," the judge said.

"Your efforts are being encouraged."

The matter will return to court Feb. 8 to tell the judge what kind of progress has been made, then will reconvene Feb. 10 to set a trial date.

{Snip} ...

Click HERE for Neal Hall's complete column. 

Also HERE in


Sunday, January 24, 2010


Basi-Virk pre-trial hearing is confirmed for today, Monday, January 25, 2010, start-time 10:00 AM.


The listings are published at 6:30 AM on the actual day of the hearing.

See the listings by clicking on BC Criminal Courts under LINKS in left margin, then click on Criminal ... then Adult Supreme Court ... then choose Vancouver Law Courts - Supreme Court List.

You are looking for Case #23299 and the names are Udhe Singh (Dave) Basi, Bobby Singh Virk, and Aneal Singh Basi.

The start-time is 10:00 AM. Courtroom is open to the public.



The question you never heard asked, when Gordo met the press after being jailed in Maui for drunk driving

On January 12, 2003, a press conference was held in the Vancouver Cabinet Office complex at Canada Place in Vancouver.

Almost everyone was there since the premier had just come back from Maui after the bust, his arrest, and a night lying drunk on the floor of a Maui jail, and the story was lede everywhere. It was BC's "stand by your man" adventure for Nancy Campbell, too.

But for most of us, that press conference was expected to provide British Columbia journalists with enough facts to report on how the Premier would explain his fall from grace.

While in Opposition, Campbell had been a relentless Calvinist, ruthless in his hellfire condemnation of those failing his moral standards, so some of us expected Gordo to resign, the way he insisted so forcefully that others resign -- such as Glen Clark, Gordon Wilson, Mike Harcourt.

All of us, I venture to say, expected that the guy identified as "Premier 03-02659" by Maui police would provide answers to real questions, and would be thoroughly  grilled by impatient journalists.

I'll let you be the judge of that. 

The first question came at 11:30 a.m., but very few people outside that room have ever heard it until now:

From a respected senior journalist: Mr Premier, was Lara with you in the car at the time of the arrest?

The answer was silence.

Mrs Nancy Campbell, an understandably angry woman that day (although we didn't know the whole story then) turned a very dirty look toward the reporter who had asked that question. And this is where to  pay special attention:

Other reporters -- and let us be clear: the  CanWest reporters -- jump in with deflection questions.

Serious attention is called for here:  Noon news: the video clip is shown with question and reaction.

6:00 PM all networks, all references to question and reactions deleted.

In fact, my reliable source tells me that one well-known radio personality promises to f*** over anyone who dares to report on it.

CBC is threatened with legal action.

This should answer any lingering questions about why CanWest newspapers pick and choose which news will be considered "news".

And so Gordo, the guy in charge of protecting British Columbians from drunk drivers, had been thrown into a drunk tank with 6 other drunks; he spent the night of Jan. 10, 2003 there after blowing 0.161% blood alcohol level in the field test, and 0.149% when tested later at Wailuku Police Station. That's almost twice the official legal limit of .08%.

The BC premier was undeniably guilty of putting the public at risk on that Hawaiian highway at 1:00 a.m. on Jan. 9, 2003. But after grinning "mockingly into the lens of a Maui police camera", Gordo came home and begged for forgiveness, like a teen-ager who has made a slight error.

But it was no slight error. 

After this middle-aged man had paid the (US)$275 Bail, he had also paid $500. for the petty misdemeanour of driving under the influence of alcohol, paid $50. for failure to drive on the right side of the road, $50. fine for disregarding lane markings, and $125 fine for speeding (70 miles per hour in a 45 mph zone) for a total of (US)$1,000.  He did not contest the charges.  Then, a few days later, he came home to the unhealthy Golden Era climate he himself had created in B.C. to be forgiven, protected and allowed to continue on his way.

No teen-ager, he was 55 years of age. Watch him here, in full flight, talking  about his duty to protect the public interest.

So after the Maui arrest, certain journalists staked out Vancouver International Airport to watch for Lara to return. But Lara came back by an indirect route some days later, from Hawaii to Phoenix, then a car trip across the Canada-US border at Blaine, Wash.

Rewards are distributed. Not long afterward, the Campbell home in Pt Grey went up for sale.

It's fair to ask, even at this late date: Mr Premier, was Lara with you in the SUV at the time of your arrest?  In fact, was  Lara Dauphinee driving the SUV that night ... and is it true that there was a scramble to switch drivers just before Hawaiian police stopped the vehicle, and then the premier of British Columbia fell out on the ground?

By any chance, is it possible that Lara, the premier's Deputy Chief of Staff and Executive Assistant, was also arrested that night for failing the breathalizer test?

Her employers would like to know.

This is Part 1 of 4 parts.


Saturday, January 23, 2010


Gordo's Mistress

 Do you use "Google Alerts"?? I do, and they're very helpful ... like the old-style clipping service where spotters search for news stories on any subject of your choice, and for a fee, they clip and save all the news stories they could find on that particular subject. Google Alerts do that for free, simply for the asking. 

Two of my requests are for news of 1) Gordo, or 2) Lara Dauphinee, Lara being the Deputy Chief of Staff to the BC Premier, and also his Executive Assistant, whose large salary is paid by the taxpayers of BC.  But rarely does her name show up.  Yesterday, it showed up.

But please don't ask me what this item means, as I have no idea. I did NOT ask for items about anybody's "Mistress" but this is exactly how it arrived. Frankly, I have never seen such a thing before. Tell me what you think it means ...

Google Web Alert for: "Lara Dauphinee"

RE: Gordo's Mistress

First of all it is Lara Dauphinee, and she is most definately not related at all to Kathy Baldazzi. Kathy (not Cathy) is the wife and radio partner of Fred ...

This posting has been deleted by its author.

And if you follow this Link to Craig's List, it says only:

(The title on the listings page will be removed in just a few minutes.)

For what it's worth, another "Google Alert" arrived today, Jan. 26, 2010 which makes even less sense. It's also responding to the topic "Lara Dauphinee" and here's what it says:

RE: Campbell's Secretary (here)

You may be getting confused with his old press sexretary/personal assistant LaraDauphinee, but has now been bumped up the ladder at tax payer expense. ...

On the next page, it says:

This posting has been deleted by its author.


This is a new strategy ... a repeat of the previous "Google Alert" which is obviously bogus (they think an Executive Assistant means a secretary), originating from Vancouver CraigsList, and the message is "This posting has been deleted by its author." Big deal.

It has no form or function, so I don't exactly get it.

Is it possible that somebody is so fed up with Campbell that they're just kicking  sand in his face?


Friday, January 22, 2010


Privacy Official sounds urgent alarm

What is Campbell trying to cover up?

Why wasn't another person hired first to replace the Privacy Commissioner before he resigned?

The Basi, Virk, Basi case (BC Rail) is finally going into the actual trial ... the Olympic Games cost overrun must be horrific ... is there something fishy going on?

CBC News - January 22, 2010 

A crisis has been created with the sudden resignation of B.C. Information and Privacy Commissioner David Loukidelis, according to the commission's executive director.

Work at the office of B.C.'s Information and Privacy Commission in Victoria is reported to have ground to a halt after the commissioner resigned suddenly this week.

Privacy Commissioner David Loukidelis resigned unexpectedly Wednesday to take a job as deputy attorney general.

Commission executive director Mary Carlson circulated a letter labelled "extremely urgent" at the B.C. legislature Friday calling for a quick resolution of the situation.

The letter was addressed to the legislature Speaker Bill Barisoff and copied to Premier Gordon Campbell, Opposition Leader Carole James and senior legislative staff.

In the letter, Carlson said she sent an urgent request to Campbell Thursday.

"I wrote to the premier's office to raise this pressing concern," she wrote.

"Despite having attempted to learn if an acting commissioner has been appointed or, if not, when this will occur … this office has received no response."

Work was piling up quickly in the busy commission office, but her hands were tied, according to Carlson.

She said she had received legal advice that the office could not perform its job of reviewing requests for information and could not provide independent oversight for 3,000 public bodies until an appointment is made.

"It has been necessary to suspend the entire operations of the office," Carlson said.

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner is independent from government and monitors and enforces British Columbia's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and Personal Information Protection Act.


Bene Gesserit wrote: Do a quick google search of "BC Rail scandal" and get a sense of the tip of the iceberg and why David Loukidelis is taking the long walk on a short plank.



BC Rail: Conspiracy theories, online government spooks

 and Cass Sunstein - Part 2

By Peter Ewart

NEWS 250 - January 22, 2010

Reprinted here by kind permission of Peter Ewart. 

In the first article in this series (see Part 1), we noted how various governments are using the blanket term “conspiracy theory” in attempts to denigrate and dismiss opposition.

Indeed, a top government official in the U.S., Cass Sunstein, has gone so far as to write a paper advocating that undercover government agents should “cognitively infiltrate” online chat rooms, social networks and other groups in order to undermine and disrupt what he terms “percolating conspiracy theories” with dirty tricks of various kinds.

He also proposed to enlist so-called “independent experts”, who are supported by the government behind the scenes, to carry out similar activity.

So what does that have to do with Canada or British Columbia or the city of Prince George?

Well, let’s imagine a “hypothetical” conspiracy theory. What if a political party, when in opposition, promised not to sell a publicly-owned provincial railway, but turned right around and did exactly that when it seized the reins of power? What if there was opposition to this sale which was causing political damage to the government? What if police who were on the trail of a drug conspiracy happened to bug the phones of some government aides to the Minister of Transportation and uncovered what they allege to be bribery and breach of trust in regards to the sale of the railway?

What if this same telephone bugging revealed that the government aides and the Minister had been involved in a scheme to call into rural talk shows and, as Sunstein might advocate, “undermine percolating conspiracy theories” about the sale? What if the police later swept in and raided government offices in the provincial legislature and charged the aides with breach of trust and other offences?

This “hypothetical” conspiracy theory certainly sounds like material for a potboiler of a Hollywood movie, full of mystery and intrigue, and exciting twists and turns.

Except it is not hypothetical, and it is not a movie. I am speaking, of course, about the ongoing BC Rail scandal which has gripped the province of British Columbia for the last 6 years and which will be coming to trial probably in the next few months. As transcripts of the police bugging appear to reveal, the editor of Opinion250, Ben Meisner, and his Prince George radio talk show at that time, were one of the targets of the phony call-in scheme by government officials.

Indeed, the whole BC Rail affair reeks of a number of conspiracies against the people of the province, the alleged activity of the government aides being only one small sliver. And it is not just a few journalists and so-called “conspiracy theorists” who believe this. For example, CP Rail, one of the leading bidders in the sale of BC Rail, alleged in a letter that there was a “lack of fairness” in the bidding process, and subsequently withdrew its bid. Clearly, there was something very smelly about the process.

There are a number of other puzzling events that have taken place regarding the sale of BC Rail that also belong in a “mystery” or “conspiracy” movie, but might not make it because the Hollywood writers could well judge them too “unlikely” or “bizarre”, and would thus strain the “credulity” of the audience too much.

For example, let’s look at still another “hypothetical” scenario. A reporter writes a number of hard hitting articles for online publications about the controversial sale of the provincial railway, as well as the subsequent raid on provincial government offices and the upcoming breach of trust trial of two government aides. These articles embarrass the government.

One morning, the reporter comes into his office to find that it has been broken into. Although nothing is stolen (despite the fact there were many items of value in the office, including computers, printer, scanner, etc.), the reporter’s files are ransacked.

A cryptic “message” is left. The press kit for a fictional book written about a certain railway scandal and the subsequent police raid of government offices is removed from the reporter’s desk and precisely placed “on top of the broken acoustic tiles from [the] ceiling – where the criminal or criminals entered.”

To the reporter (and many others), it looks very much like a message, or better yet, a threat, being sent by powerful forces – a kind of “dirty trick” against another purveyor of “percolating conspiracies”.

This “scenario”, of course, was also not hypothetical, but very real. It happened to reporter Bill Tieleman in his Vancouver, BC, office and was reported by him on his blog and other news sites on December 3, 2007.

And then perhaps there is the biggest mystery of all. The leader of the Liberal Party opposition promised in the 2001 election that BC Rail would not be sold, and thus the people of the Interior of the province should vote for him. The Liberal Party was subsequently elected. Of course, within two years, the promise was reversed and the railway was auctioned off. Did leading Liberal Party officials know in 2001, or before, that, once in office, they were going to do the exact opposite of what they had promised?

According to a “leading legal scholar” like Cass Sunstein, posing a question such as that amounts to propagating a “conspiracy theory”, and thus government should have the right to “undermine” and “disrupt” online chat rooms, talk shows, or any other social venue that discusses such a question.

It appears though, from all that has happened in this particular affair, that government officials in BC have been one step ahead of Sunstein.

Now the BC Rail issue is only one example of where government officials, big business and other powerful forces appear to have conspired against their own citizens. Indeed, the way things go these days, a diligent researcher can practically foray out into his or her backyard, scratch around, and uncover some very real sort of conspiracy, whether it involves the White House in Washington, the Parliament buildings in Ottawa, the BC Legislature, or the boardroom of a multinational corporation.

Take the 2009 provincial election in this province. A big question coming out of that event has to do with what the government knew, both during and before the election campaign, about the huge deficit that was looming.

Furthermore, many analysts allege that the government must have been holding secret consultations about imposing the highly unpopular HST tax. It was only after the election was over that the people of the province learned about both the deficit and the new tax.

Was there a “conspiracy of silence” among many top government officials to keep these two issues under wraps while the election was proceeding?

And this is where things get so disturbing regarding what the “leading legal scholar” and top U.S. government official, Cass Sunstein, is advocating. According to his logic, concerns that people in Canada, the U.S., and other countries, have about issues like privatization of public enterprises, budget deficits, taxes, and so on, should simply be categorized as “conspiracy theories” by government.

Furthermore, that government should, with taxpayers’ money, mobilize overt and covert actions, as well as hire online undercover agents and so-called “independent experts”, etc. to “undermine” and “disrupt” such “theories”.

In the next installment in this series, Part 3, we will discuss why Sunstein may have written his paper and why the whole issue of “conspiracy theories” is coming to the fore at this time.

Peter Ewart is a columnist, writer and community activist based in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada. He can be reached at:

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


BC Rail at its finest: April 9, 2003. This is what the battle is all about ...

Photographer: Bill Hooper
Photo ID: 309754
Locomotive No 1, Train ID: BCOL4648.
Fountain, B.C.  April 9, 2003

Southbound PV descends the 2%plus grade that extends over 35 miles from Kelly Lake to Lillooet at the bottom of the Fraser Canyon, British Columbia. 

LINK is HERE ... please click here to see this photo enlarged.

When I wrote to Bill Hooper and told him I would die happy if I could post this stunning, tell-all photo, here's what he said:

You have permission for one time use of Photo-ID 309754.
BTW I am in full agreement with your political stance..Hopefully Gordo wont sell off Hydro also.
Bill Hooper

When I look at this photo, I see my home province. Can almost smell the sagebrush. Can hear the train whistle echoing off the hills. I love this photo. [But you must see it enlarged.]

And I can see the old BCRail (as it then was) making its careful way from the northern towns and villages, to market. Vital access. It was a time when we could control how BCR served our communities, never having to seek approval from a privately-owned head office in Montreal and/or Texas.

I remember the BC Rail trainmen who were as special as their train; knew the tracks, knew the engines, knew how to navigate our difficult (spectacularly beautiful) terrain.

I remember Don Faulkner, proud of being a BC Rail trainman, worrying about various cost-cutting measures brought in by the new owners, in particular the braking systems and the added length of the trains. The BC Rail trainmen had an expertise suited to our difficult terrain. 100 boxcars were a maximum; CN decided that 150 boxcars would bring in more profit.

And so, of course, I remember that Don and Tom Dodd died near this spot ... died trying to save a train running without Dynamic Brakes, one of the safety factors they had worried about. The  3rd trainman, Gordon Rhodes, survived  seriously injured.

Looking at this BC Rail photo, I remember why trains like that were running, carrying the production of towns and villages, farms, factories and sawmills from the BC interior ... from way, way up almost to the Yukon border ... keeping the province healthy.

That's why I can look at this photo and can easily see what has kept me running this web-site for the past 4 years, remembering that it was a good railway, an invaluable public asset, a source of provincial revenue, and a means of sustaining the economy.

It was all that, and more. It was part of us, part of who we are.

Thank heaven, the BC Rail Trial is coming in mid-March, they say. At long last, we may find out how such a significant public asset as Canada's largest regional railway could just slide out of our hands, the way it did.  And how other major public assets are at risk as well. BC Hydro is being crippled, ready for the axe, as we speak.

To look at this photo is to remember British Columbia in better times, before Campbell.

- BC Mary


Very special thanks (again) to our old friend KootKoot, without whom I would never be able to post photos or get my blog un-jammed, at times. Koot brought the BC Rail photo over from Bill Hooper's web-site and posted it here. He's trying to make it bigger for us (500 pixels, he needs). I hope he can do it.  Many thanks, Koot.  And double-thanks to the gifted photographer, Bill Hooper.  I just love that photo.  - M.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010


BC Rail trial date is almost here!

Basi-Virk trial on track


Cousins Bob Virk (L) and David Basi at Bob's home in Victoria December 15, 2006. Dave Basi and Bob Virk face 12 indictments, 9 of them linked to the bidding process for BC Rail operating rights.

Bobby Virk (left) and his cousin Dave Basi

Mark Hume

The Globe and Mail - Jan. 19, 2010
A political corruption case that dramatically burst into the headlines in December 2003, when police raided the Victoria legislature offices of two ministerial aides, could go to trial soon after the Olympics are finished.

Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie of the Supreme Court of British Columbia was told Tuesday the disclosure process, which so far has led to the release of hundreds of thousands of government documents, is proceeding smoothly and may soon be concluded.

Andrea Mackay, a lawyer on the team headed by Special Prosecutor William Berardino, said “the Crown and defence counsels have been working together [outside court] to prepare the case for trial.”

And she said the matter has been going so well she could not see the need for the judge to get involved in the process. In the past lawyers on both sides have come before the court to argue about numerous issues, but those hurdles seem now to have been swept aside, and the next substantive step is expected to be the setting of a trial date.
Outside court defence lawyers for Dave Basi and Bob Virk, the two aides charged with fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes, said they expect the trial to get under way relatively soon.

Michael Bolton, Mr. Basi's lawyer, said if progress continues at the current pace the trial could be under way by March.

“We're moving to trial, for sure,” he said.

[WoooHOOOOO! Oops, sorry.  Mark Hume's complete column based upon today's pre-trial hearing is HERE.]


Monday, January 18, 2010


BC Rail Case (Basi, Virk, Basi): pre-trial hearing in BC Supreme Court, Vancouver, is confirmed for Tuesday, January 19, 2010, start-time 10:00 a.m.

Confirmed in Tuesday's BC Supreme Court listings for Jan. 19 - Vancouver.



Santa, I know it's late but I really, really want a RICO law and can't wait until next December. Please? Just send it to the People of British Columbia, OK?

What is RICO?

From (U.S.) Legal Base 

RICO stands for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, and came about as a response to difficulty of prosecuting organized crime. Because law enforcement officers were largely unable to implicate organized crime bosses in the larger crimes, such as loan sharking or extortion, [U.S.]Congress passed a new law, RICO, which basically punishes people based on their status as someone who engages in unsavory or illegal business practices. In other words, RICO allows prosecutors to convict someone not for one specific crime, but for engaging in a series, or a pattern, of illegal activities. The exact nature of RICO is complex and too difficult to pin down in a summary of the law (in fact, many lawyers don't understand the law).

From Wikipedia [keeping in mind, this is U.S. law]:


Under RICO, a person who is a member of an enterprise that has committed any two of 35 crimes—27 federal crimes and 8 state crimes—within a 10-year period can be charged with racketeering. Those found guilty of racketeering can be fined up to $250,000 and/or sentenced to 20 years in prison per racketeering count. In addition, the racketeer must forfeit all ill-gotten gains and interest in any business gained through a pattern of "racketeering activity."

RICO also permits a private individual harmed by the actions of such an enterprise to file a civil suit; if successful, the individual can collect treble damages.

When the U.S. Attorney decides to indict someone under RICO, he or she has the option of seeking a pre-trial restraining order or injunction to temporarily seize a defendant's assets and prevent the transfer of potentially forfeitable property, as well as require the defendant to put up a performance bond. This provision was placed in the law because the owners of Mafia-related shell corporations often absconded with the assets. An injunction and/or performance bond ensures that there is something to seize in the event of a guilty verdict.
In many cases, the threat of a RICO indictment can force defendants to plead guilty to lesser charges, in part because the seizure of assets would make it difficult to pay a defense attorney. Despite its harsh provisions, a RICO-related charge is considered easy to prove in court, as it focuses on patterns of behavior as opposed to criminal acts.[4]
There is also a provision for private parties to sue. A "person damaged in his business or property" can sue one or more "racketeers." The plaintiff must prove the existence of a "criminal enterprise." The defendant(s) are not the enterprise; in other words, the defendant(s) and the enterprise are not one and the same. There must be one of four specified relationships between the defendant(s) and the enterprise. A civil RICO action, like many lawsuits based on federal law, can be filed in state or federal court.[5]
Both the federal and civil components allow for the recovery of treble damages (damages in triple the amount of actual/compensatory damages).
Although its primary intent was to deal with organized crime, Blakey said that Congress never intended it to merely apply to the Mob. He once told Time, "We don't want one set of rules for people whose collars are blue or whose names end in vowels, and another set for those whose collars are white and have Ivy League diplomas."[4]
The time before RICO was signed into law (October 15, 1970), was referred to as "The Golden Age" by those involved in organized crime. The term "The Golden Age" can be found on any of the multitude of "Mob Speak" glossaries on the internet.

[BC Mary says ... didn't Gordo Himself announce his reign as The Golden Era?]

RICO offenses

Under the law, racketeering activity means:

Any violation of state statutes against gambling, murder, kidnapping, extortion, arson, robbery, bribery, dealing in obscene matter, or dealing in a controlled substance or listed chemical (as defined in the Controlled Substances Act);

Any act of bribery, counterfeiting, theft, embezzlement, fraud, dealing in obscene matter, obstruction of justice, slavery, racketeering, gambling, money laundering, commission of murder-for-hire, and several other offenses covered under the Federal criminal code (Title 18);

Embezzlement of union funds;
Bankruptcy fraud or securities fraud;
Drug trafficking; long-term and elaborate drug networks can also be prosecuted using the Continuing Criminal Enterprise Statute;
Money laundering and related offenses;
Bringing in, aiding or assisting aliens in illegally entering the country (if the action was for financial gain);
Acts of terrorism.
Pattern of racketeering activity requires at least two acts of racketeering activity, one of which occurred after the effective date of this chapter and the last of which occurred within ten years (excluding any period of imprisonment) after the commission of a prior act of racketeering activity.

The U.S. Supreme Court has instructed federal courts to follow the continuity-plus-relationship test in order to determine whether the facts of a specific case give rise to an established pattern. Predicate acts are related if they "have the same or similar purposes, results, participants, victims, or methods of commission, or otherwise are interrelated by distinguishing characteristics and are not isolated events." (H.J. Inc. v. Northwestern Bell Telephone Co.) Continuity is both a closed and open ended concept, referring to either a closed period of conduct, or to past conduct that by its nature projects into the future with a threat of repetition.

[BC Mary says: haven't I said repeatedly that the tainted sale of BC Rail was the template? And that the BCRail Case is our best chance of finding out what happened again and again, after that: BC Hydro, BC Ferries, and more ...]

Where RICO laws might be applied

Although some of the RICO predicate acts are extortion and blackmail, one of the most successful applications of the RICO laws has been the ability to indict or sanction individuals for their behavior and actions committed against witnesses and victims in alleged retaliation or retribution for cooperating with federal law enforcement or intelligence agencies.

Violations of the RICO laws can be alleged civil lawsuit cases or for criminal charges. In these instances charges can be brought against individuals or corporations in retaliation for said individuals or corporations working with law enforcement. Further, charges can also be brought against individuals or corporations who have sued or filed criminal charges against a defendant.
Anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) laws can be applied in an attempt to curb alleged abuses of the legal system by individuals or corporations who utilize the courts as a weapon to retaliate against whistle blowers, victims, or to silence another's speech. RICO could be alleged if it can be shown that lawyers and/or their clients conspired and collaborated to concoct fictitious legal complaints solely in retribution and retaliation for themselves having been brought before the courts.

Although the RICO laws may cover drug trafficking crimes in addition to other more traditional RICO predicate acts such as extortion, blackmail, and racketeering, large-scale and organized drug networks are now commonly prosecuted under the Continuing Criminal Enterprise Statute, also known as the "Kingpin Statute". The CCE laws target only traffickers who are responsible for long-term and elaborate conspiracies; whereas the RICO law can be charged for a variety of organized criminal behavior.[6]

[edit]Famous cases

[edit]Hells Angels Motorcycle Club
In 1979, the United States federal government went after Sonny Barger and several members and associates of the Oakland chapter of the Hells Angels using RICO. InUnited States v. Barger, the prosecution team attempted to demonstrate a pattern of behavior to convict Barger and other members of the club of RICO offenses related to guns and illegal drugs. The jury acquitted Barger on the RICO charges with a hung jury on the predicate acts: "There was no proof it was part of club policy, and as much as they tried, the government could not come up with any incriminating minutes from any of our meetings mentioning drugs and guns".[7][8].

[edit]Frank Tieri
On November 21, 1980, Genovese crime family boss Frank "Funzi" Tieri was the first Mafia boss to be convicted under the RICO Act.

[edit]Catholic sex abuse cases
In some jurisdictions, RICO suits have been filed against abusive Catholic dioceses, using racketeering laws to prosecute the seemingly untouchable higher-ups in theepiscopacy. A Cleveland grand jury cleared two bishops of racketeering charges, finding that their mishandling of sex abuse claims didn't amount to criminal racketeering. Certain lawyers and abuse advocates[who?] have openly wondered why a similar suit was not filed against archbishop Bernard Law, who escaped prosecution by going into exile in Vatican City.[9][10]

[edit]Key West PD
In June 1984, the Key West Police Department in Monroe County, Florida was declared a criminal enterprise under the Federal RICO statutes after a lengthy United States Department of Justice investigation. Several high-ranking officers of the department, including Deputy Police Chief Raymond Cassamayor, were arrested on federal charges of running a protection racket for illegal cocaine smugglers.[11] At trial, a witness testified he routinely delivered bags of cocaine to the Deputy Chief's office at City Hall.[12]

[edit]Michael Milken
On March 29, 1989, financier Michael Milken was indicted on 98 counts of racketeering and fraud relating to an investigation into insider trading and other offenses. Milken was accused of using a wide-ranging network of contacts to manipulate stock and bond prices. It was one of the first occasions that a RICO indictment was brought against an individual with no ties to organized crime. Milken pled guilty to six lesser offenses rather than face spending the rest of his life in prison.
On September 7, 1988, Milken's employer, Drexel Burnham Lambert, was also threatened with a RICO indictment under the legal doctrine that corporations are responsible for their employees' crimes. Drexel avoided RICO charges by pleading no contest to lesser felonies. While many sources say that Drexel pleaded guilty, in truth the firm only admitted it was "not in a position to dispute the allegations." If Drexel had been indicted, it would have had to post a performance bond of up to $1 billion to avoid having its assets frozen. This would have taken precedence over all of the firm's other obligations—including the loans that provided 96 percent of its capital. If the bond ever had to be paid, its shareholders would have been practically wiped out. Since banks will not extend credit to a firm indicted under RICO, an indictment would have likely put Drexel out of business.[13]

[edit]Major League Baseball
In 2002, the former minority owners of the Montreal Expos baseball team filed charges under the RICO Act against Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig and former Expos owner Jeffrey Loria, claiming that Selig and Loria deliberately conspired to devalue the team for personal benefit in preparation for a move.[14] If found liable, Major League Baseball could have been found liable for up to $300 million in punitive damages. The case lasted for two years, successfully stalling the Expos' move to Washington or contraction during that time. It was eventually sent to arbitration where the arbiters ruled in favor of Major League Baseball,[15] permitting the move to Washington to take place.
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International equivalents to RICO

The US RICO legislation has other equivalents in the rest of the world. In spite of Interpol having a standardized definition of RICO-like crimes, the interpretation and national implementation in legislation (and enforcement) widely varies. Most nations do cooperate with the US on RICO enforcement only where their own related laws are specifically broken, but this is in line with the Interpol protocols for such matters.

By nation, alphabetically
In Australia the Australian Crime Commission has powers based on similar legislation and regulations. New Zealand has a similar arrangement and commission.
In Canada the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions enforce rules and regulations that cumulatively are equivalent to RICO.

Without other nations enforcing similar legislation to RICO many cross border RICO cases would not be possible. In the overall body of RICO cases that went to trial, at least 50% have had some non-US enforcement component to them. It must be noted that the offshoring of money away from the US finance system as part racketeering (and especially money laundering) is typically a major contributing factor.  (Snip, snip, snip}