Saturday, January 16, 2010


The Strange ... Strange ... Strange Appointment of William Berardino as Special Crown Prosecutor in the BC Rail Scandal Case ...

... Against Dave Basi, Bobby Virk, and Aneal Basi.

By Robin Mathews

In all criminal cases in Canada the Queen – ‘Regina’ (Elizabeth ll) – acts against the accused.  We speak of ‘the Crown’.  ‘Regina’ is represented in every criminal case by her prosecutor.  That’s why all prosecutors in criminal cases in Canada are called Crown Prosecutors. 

A reader might think that’s old, dusty symbolism without meaning.  A reader would be wrong.  ‘Regina’, and The Crown stand (in Canada as in Britain) for “the nation at its best”.

In criminal trials (as distinct from civil trials) the wrong done is not only to the person murdered, or robbed, or beaten, or hurt by the criminal breach of trust of a public officer (say Gordon Campbell), etc.  The wrong is done to everyone – to “the nation at its best”. And so a representative of “the nation at its best” conducts the prosecution.  He or she is the “Crown Prosecutor” – the prosecutor for ‘Regina’, the Crown, “the nation at its best”.

Because the prosecutor represents “the nation at its best”, he or she has a complicated task to perform.  He or she must want a conviction of the accused – if the evidence points without question to guilt.  But since “the nation at its best” also includes the accused, who is innocent until proved guilty, the prosecutor must not work from bias, must conduct a fair trial.  He or she must not act in a prejudiced way towards the accused, and must share evidence gathered with the accused.  The accused – given a chance to see the “evidence” - may find many, many things wrong about the evidence.

“The nation at its best” wants to give the accused a fair chance to prove the accusations are wrongly placed.

The Crown Prosecutor, plainly, is not just an attack agent wanting a conviction.  In fact, the Crown Prosecutor doesn’t want, primarily, a conviction.  He or she, representing “the nation at its best” wants a fair trial,  wants the administration of justice to be unblemished, wants justice to be done and be seen to be done – wherever justice is found to lie.  If the “evidence” doesn’t lead to a conviction in a fair trial, The Crown Prosecutor is content.  Justice has been done.

In a civil case the contest is party against party, plaintiff and defendant,  each seeking predominance and victory.  In a criminal trial the situation is somewhat different.  The prosecution (“the Crown”) is both contestant and “the nation at its best”.  It seeks to “prove” the justice of accusation, but it also seeks balance, the rule of law, fairness, and honourable process.  If the prosecutor (“the Crown”) acts out of predetermined loyalties, biases, and/or prejudices related to some force other than loyalty to the rule of law and the fair administration of justice, then the reputation of the administration of justice comes into disrepute and loses its credibility among the population upon whose trust it depends.  As trust is withdrawn the system collapses.

In British Columbia – apparently in pursuit of a guarantee of fair trial and justice - the status of Special Crown Prosecutor has been added to the status of Crown Prosecutor.

When first thought about, that very suspect addition was said to have a clear purpose.  (It doesn’t exist in a number of other provinces.) There is, we know, a pool of prosecutors maintained by the government – men and women of undoubted probity.  But they are employed by government, in fact.  And they deal with police frequently in sometimes necessarily close relation.

And so if a politician, or a civil servant, or a police officer is charged, or is close to, or related to, or in business with someone charged, such as to suggest that bias or prejudice might enter into the decisions made by a regular prosecutor in dealing with the matter, then a person qualified should be sought out of private practice, it is argued, who is unbiased and independent of all parties involved.  He or she is named a Special Crown Prosecutor.

The beautiful idea does not, in every case, seem to have a beautiful conclusion.  In fact, more and more, evidence may be being accumulated which shows that Special Crown Prosecutors may be appointed to assure that politicians or civil servants or police officers are protected from fair trial and from the unblemished administration of justice.

As I write I have before me news in the Globe and Mail (Jan 14 10 S3). It relates to the case begun against two men from the Bountiful, B.C. community accused of polygamy.  The case against them was stopped by the judge in answer to a motion from the accused, and they have replied by a suit against Wally Oppal, former Attorney General. The piece in the Globe and Mail is written (it seems to me) to obscure the real question – has the position of Special Crown Prosecutor been violated?  We are pulled through a bath of polygamous information and such – without the matter of the Special Crown Prosecutor even being mentioned.

Never mind.  What is in question is the use of the Special Crown Prosecutor. In fact the allegations brought by the two men from Bountiful are based on the belief that Wally Oppal, Attorney General at the time, approached more than three prosecutors before he found one who would willingly conduct a case against the two accused men from Bountiful.  That might mean Mr. Oppal was not interested in the rule of law but in a political desire to try the men.  The statement of claim against Oppal, filed in recent days, alleges Oppal 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”.

If there is truth to the allegations, we have evidence of the Special Crown Prosecutor being used for exactly the opposite purpose than the purpose for which the institution was created.  But the allegations haven’t, of course, been proved.

In the case of the Bountiful men accused of polygamy none of the men invited to be Special Crown Prosecutor was in any way connected to them.   The Crown prosecutor office and two Special prosecutors simply did not think a case should be taken until the polygamy question in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was pronounced upon by the Supreme Court of Canada.  Which is why the judge who stopped the trial of the men used the phrase “special prosecutor shopping”.  There are, perhaps, 11,000 lawyers practicing in B.C. and so it shouldn’t be hard for the Attorney General’s office to find unbiased, independent Special Crown Prosecutors. And, apparently, Wally Oppal did find a few, but moved from them, it would seem, when they did not believe charges should have been proceeded with.

In the BC Rail Scandal criminal case [for fraud, breach of trust, and money laundering] three cabinet aides are the accused civil servants who were appointed (in fact) by Gordon Campbell and who worked in close relation to cabinet members.  They provide every reason, clearly, for the appointment of a Special Crown Prosecutor.

As we remember, 20 months of police investigation was conducted – beginning, apparently, with drug matters.  The investigation spread – everywhichway – as the RCMP put it: drug matters, ALR matters, illegal proceeds of crime, and activities related to the transfer of BC Rail from public ownership to ownership by CNR.  That last was a major policy undertaking of Gordon Campbell and his cabinet, and it eventuated in allegations of favouritism and secrecy – one major bidder publicly declaring the bidding process tainted. (At least one other protested less publicly about the process.)

At least two of the accused men were involved with the cabinet policy of effecting the transfer to CNR.

A short time before the now-famous search warrant raids on B.C. legislature offices (December 28, 2003), William Berardino was appointed Special Crown Prosecutor. 

British Columbians have a hazy idea that legislature offices in general were “raided” on that day.  They weren’t.  The search warrant raids were targetted on the offices of Dave Basi and Bobby Virk only.  Dave Basi worked for Gary Collins, minister of finance.  Bobby Virk worked for Judith Reid, minister of transportation.  Gordon Campbell had (in fact) appointed the two aides.  All three of those cabinet ministers had to be considered principals in the transfer of BC Rail to CNR. 

None of their offices was approached by police.

At the end of the raids – in the midst of unexamined file cabinets, computer hard drives, and materials gathered from private offices and homes – the policed announced that no elected official was under investigation.  A year later the three cabinet aides were charged – for wrongs in which they are alleged to have been engaged connected to the transfer of BC Rail to the CNR – a major activity of Gordon Campbell and important people in his cabinet.

The situation obviously bristles with connections.  Basi, Virk, and Basi were connected to cabinet.  All three – in greater or lesser degree - were connected to the BC Rail transactions.  The charges against them would almost certainly involve some mention, some discussion, even perhaps some allegations concerning their connection to cabinet, cabinet policy, cabinet members, government committees, and to other highly placed people involved with the “sale” of BC Rail.

Scrupulous care would have to be taken to find a Special Crown Prosecutor with no connection to any of Basi, Virk, and Basi. Scrupulous care, too, would have to be taken to find someone free of any connection to Gordon Campbell, members of cabinet, influential civil servants – anyone in government who might be seen to be capable of or possessing the potential to influence or bias prosecutorial decisions taken by the Special Crown Prosecutor.

After some false starts, apparently, and some refused invitations – which the public needs to be fully informed about, but has not been – William Berardino was chosen to be Special Crown Prosecutor by the ministry of the Attorney General.  The three key people in such an appointment are the Attorney General, the deputy Attorney General, and the assistant deputy Attorney General – in the last case, he is a man who spent years working up through the ranks to become assistant deputy. 

What do we know about William Berardino in this regard? 

I had heard, quite early in the process of pre-trial hearings, that he had once been in some sort of relation to the Attorney General in the ministry that appointed him.  I took that to be something very inconsequential – like spending a year in the same firm at the beginning of his career … something like that.  I held that view because the very purpose of the Special Crown Prosecutor and the description of that role on the Attorney General’s site is clearly concerned that no suggestion of the possibility of bias or perception of bias will be present in the appointee.

In a few pieces I wrote, I remarked that if the allegations that the two were connected were true, everything Mr. Berardino did in the case would be suspect.  I meant that, even thinking Mr. Berardino’s connection with the Attorney General must be/must have been very slight.

I was – as readers must be – alarmed when I researched and found the degree of connection.  William Berardino had been for many years a partner and colleague of Geoff Plant, the Attorney General, whose ministry appointed Mr. Berardino Special Crown Prosecutor.  Mr. Berardino also had been a partner and colleague (for more years) of Allan Seckel, the deputy Attorney General in the ministry that appointed Mr. Berardino.

Allan Seckel is said to have worked on the first election of Geoff Plant to the B.C. legislature.  He was named Mr. Plant’s deputy Attorney General. And, it seems, three years after Mr. Seckel and Mr. Berardino ceased being partners, Mr. Berardino was appointed Special Crown Prosecutor by the ministry in which Allan Seckel was (and is) deputy Attorney General. 

By a fiat of premier Gordon Campbell in 2007, moreover, a careful protocol for screening cabinet documents for disclosure to the Defence in the Basi, Virk, and Basi case was changed.  Mr Seckel was placed in charge and would – the premier said – work with the Special Crown Prosecutor on relevant matters.  Two men – long in association as partners and colleagues in private practice - would be placed in charge of what (because of Gordon Campbell’s intervention in the disclosure matter) could very easily be perceived as a highly political matter concerning the criminal trial of Basi, Virk, and Basi.

In the three years I have sat in court through pre-trial hearings in relation to the accusations against Basi, Virk, and Basi, I have (probably quite naturally for a layman in a complicated procedure) been unsatisfied with the conduct of Mr. Berardino, thinking he might be delaying disclosure sought, that he might be claiming privilege for documents not really privileged, and so on.

Now I believe that I cannot be contradicted when I state that (possessing the knowledge I now possess of Mr. Berardino’s relations with a cabinet member - Attorney General - in Gordon Campbell’s government, and with a deputy Attorney General in that government) I am free, reasonably, to believe that I perceive evidence of bias exercised by Mr. Berardino in pre-trial hearings.  I hold that - whether or not Mr. Berardino has shown bias - his relation to people in the Gordon Campbell government – responsible for appointing him Special Crown Prosecutor - opens the door, inevitably, to the potential for such perceptions on my (or any one else’s) part.

That is why Special Crown Prosecutors are expected to be independent, unbiased, and free of the potential to be perceived as possessing bias or predetermined loyalty:  so that the administration of justice cannot fall into disrepute even by perceptions which may be misperceptions.

As a result, I believe, the process cannot go ahead further with Mr. Berardino in place.  I believe that is so because ‘the situation’ is one in which the reputation of the administration of justice is at risk.  ‘The situation’ produces a condition, ineluctably, that cannot be dismissed as unimportant to the rule of law.  It produces a situation in which reasonable men and women, I believe, might believe that it is impossible for justice to be done  - and to be seen to be done.

For that reason I wrote to the present Attorney General of B.C., the Honourable Michael de Jong, on January 7, 2010, asking that Mr. Berardino step down as Special Crown Prosecutor in the Basi, Virk, and Basi matter.  Mr. Berardino’s appointment, I believe, was highly imprudent (if not improper), to say the least.  I believe it was inconsistent with the honour of the Crown and the administration of justice.

I asked Mr. de Jong to put in place a fully independent, open, public Inquiry into prosecutorial services and, especially, the institution of the Special Crown Prosecutor.  Mr. de Jong has not yet replied to my letter. 

If any reader believes the actions I request should be taken, the e-mail address of the Attorney General is, the postal address is Box 9044, Stn. Prov. Govt., Victoria, B.C., V8W 9E2. ( If writers will send me a copy of communications to the Attorney General, I will be grateful.)


Several Special Prosecutors were approached first but had to properly decline as they were in a conflict since their firms had previously represented some of the people involved. Mr. Berardino is a well respected long term Special Prosecutor and is doing a good job under the unusual circumstances of this case. He is quite competent as are defence counsel. Over the next 6months this criminal case will unfold as it should. The Judge in this case is very capable as well and has good control of her courtroom.
The current position of Allan Seckel as head of the public service and deputy to the Premier cannot be ignored in this context as well.

Premier Gordon Campbell has appointed Allan Seckel as the head of the B.C. Public Service taking over from the resigning Jessica McDonald.

Seckel has been deputy attorney general since 2003.

As Robin pointed out, Seckel was a partner for many years in the downtown Vancouver office of Russell & Dumoulin, later known as Fasken Martineau, until he was appointed deputy AG by then-attorney general Geoff Plant. Plant also worked at the same law firm.

Seckel, remember, was the person who decided which cabinet documents relating to B.C. Rail should be deemed confidential in the trial of David Basi, Bob Virk, and Aneal Basi.

In the legislature on May 8, 2007, Campbell said he would play no role in that decision, saying Seckel would work directly with the special prosecutor (Bill Berardino, the special prosecutor in the Basi-Virk case, also worked at Russell & Dumoulin for many years.)

Now, the Premier just has to look across his desk to find the person who made that 'independent' decision. He won't even need to call him on the phone!

did you read this posting? There was no discussion of the Crown Prosecutor's competence.

As I understand things, Wm Berardino's competence lies in the realm of litigation. There is virtually nothing in his cv to indicate that he's had any experience as a criminal defence lawyer.

That's huge, in my view.

But all those close working connections to other key players ... you find nothing troubling about those?

P.S. Have you attended the pre-trial hearings, as Professor Mathews has? If so, you will recall the many unexplained absences of the Crown Prosecutor, which many people often found disturbing. And strange.
Great Piece Robin. You can correct me if I'm wrong but I seem to remember something about one of the partners in Hunter Litigation being first appointed as SP. Either John Hunter or Dave Harris. I'll see if I can find that later. Got wood to split. It turned cold again.
Thank you Robbin.

This case stinks of political interference.
Gary E,

It was Harris.
BC Liberal motto "We only cheat when win we can`t win"

Another good read Robin....Thanks.

The paramedics have had the deck stacked against them as well!
It would seem that Robin has a legitimate point. Given the track record of the Gordon Campbell Government and what has transpired since December 28, 2003 one has to wonder who knew what and when they knew it.

According to a Vancouver Sun front page news article of Wednesday December 31, 2003, outside of a few select legal officials, those being Solicitor –General Rich Coleman, Attorney-General Geoff Plant and the assistant deputy attorney-general responsible for criminal justice ( he wasn’t named in the article but we now know it was
Allan Seckel) - no one knew what the legislature searches were all about.
It appears now that those in charge of the legalities surrounding this debacle knew well ahead of time what was coming down. How else would they find the time to go out and find a “Special Prosecutor ” explain to him what was happening and determine that he would follow the program that we now know is taking place. Also, why would Gordo and the boys throw Basi and Virk under the bus so quickly after it took a year to finally charge them. Did they know something the public did not?

Campbell and his ministers couldn’t have thought up this defense of their corrupt ways by themselves. They appear to have had a very good outside cleaner come in and try to defuse this mess. The closer this comes to trial the more likely the rats will be jumping ship.

This case is being pulled through the Courts kicking and screaming all the way, with a little luck the people of BC might find themselves with some high ranking elected officials in jail. Hope springs eternal.

Congratulations to Robin and Mary for keeping this trial and it’s shortcomings before the public where most would have packed it in a long time ago.


warm thanks for what you've just written.

I will forward your words to Robin Mathews who has been in bed, battling (I think) the 'flu for the past two days.

It will be like tonic.
@ Amicus Curiae

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.

The three monkeys are Mizaru, covering his eyes, who sees no evil; Kikazaru, covering his ears, who hears no evil; and Iwazaru, covering his mouth, who speaks no evil.

Sometimes there is a fourth monkey depicted with the three others; the last one, Shizaru, symbolizes the principle of "do no evil".

However, not in British Columbia.
Though Berardino’s specific background is news to me, I certainly don’t find it surprising. The legal establishment will claim that such relationships are unavoidable because of the inherent structure of the legal system and the requirement that the public interest is served by relying upon a pool of talent they characterize as “the best and the brightest”.

This though is really just self-serving rhetoric. I don’t realistically see how we can hope for an “independent” inquiry into the role of Special Crown Prosecutors or any of the myriad other ways in which the legal system is fatally compromised.

You can quickly draw on a piece of paper a matrix of the various institutions that the legal establishment runs. They all serve the interests of the legal establishment, not the public interest.

The principle ones are: the courts (and the tribunals – or quasi-courts); the university law schools; the Law Society; the Canadian Bar Association; the Ministry of A.G.; and the major law firms. We could also list some lesser entities, such as the Legal Services Society. While many lawyers may spend their entire careers in one specific institution, the problem is illustrated by the freedom with which many individuals move around within the system. Last year, when Donald Brenner resigned his post as Chief Justice of the B.C. Supreme Court, he immediately joined Farris Vaughan Wills & Murphy: from the bench to the bar, no hesitation. Wally Oppal was a classic - and for the system a wonderfully embarrassing - example. I will state unequivocally that the Ministry of A.G. and the courts are one seamless machine.

In 2001 a Ministry of A.G. lawyer who is currently facing me in litigation wrote an article (for internal government distribution) entitled “The Attorney General and Judicial Independence”. It ends with a very revealing vignette that demonstrates that the concern is with appearances, not reality:


Guarding independence requires sensitivity

The necessity of guarding the principle of the judiciary as occupying “a place apart” is vividly illustrated by the following story. In the mid-1980s, a new building was constructed in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, to house both the courts and the Ministry of Attorney General. An open walkway was erected on the second floor to allow convenient passage between the courts and the ministry. The senior judge expressed concern about the walkway, observing that the public might interpret it as signifying a closer relationship between the judiciary and the government than actually existed. The importance of this concern was recognized and, as a solution, the walkway was not demolished but passage was blocked by a row of potted plants.


[This article is among several of interest to me that I have found in a series of newsletters entitled “Legal Briefs and Lawful Shorts”, that somehow ended up in the online Legislative Library catalogue.]

A result is that it is a pointless exercise to ruminate about the integrity of any particular individual. They are all compromised, and there are many legal outcomes that demonstrably prove that.

This problem is not unique to B.C., and probably not unique to Canada. However, there seems to be, finally, some growing awareness in B.C. about the nature and extent of the problem. I think we can safely assume the legal establishment is determined to retain all its power and privilege. So, we should be prepared for a long and difficult fight.

Ultimately of course we should be able to turn to our elected representatives to ensure that the system is fundamentally re-designed to serve the public interest. Here, unfortunately we have another obvious problem. All political parties are dedicated to winning the next election so that they are then in control of the executive branch. However, even when there is a change of government, there is no capacity or will to really change anything.
Chris Budgell,

Thank you for adding your thoughts to this discussion.

But anyone reading such comments as this one: it is a pointless exercise to ruminate about the integrity of any particular individual. They are all compromised, and there are many legal outcomes that demonstrably prove that... might shrug and give up trying to understand what is causing such obvious malfunctions as we are seeing in the Basi Virk Case.

I think that would be an unfortunate mistake ... and I'm guessing that you'd think so, too.

We can't turn away because it might be "a long and difficult fight".

But neither should we, in my view, try to fight everything all at once. It's too much. It's beyond our means at present.

Which is why I have been single-focus on the BC Rail-CN deal believing that if we can open this up to public scrutiny we'll find the key to how such outrages can happen.

Because other outrages have happened since 2003 -- one right after the other.

And believe me when I tell you that we tested the current Opposition and found them outrageously twisted and self-serving too.

So while re-couping the perils does have a place in the battle, it must be held in check. We dare not continue telling ourselves that there's no hope, that it's too hard, and there's no capacity or will to change anything.

Help us take the next step. We're listening: What would you suggest?
Actually I agree with you entirely. I am determined to continue fighting my own case and I applaud your efforts. It might take only one or two significant cases to really get the message out to the public, and then the political / legal establishment will face accountability for the years of betraying the public interest.

I don't have time to say more than that this evening but I am interested in talking about solutions.

Good plan ... and I wish you success.

Thanks for putting the smiles on many faces this evening, as we anticipate another pre-trial BVB hearing on Tues. Jan. 19,

and I'm thinking that surely, the time is narrowing down,

until the most important trial in BC history must begin soon?

Best wishes, Chris.
The importance of this concern was recognized and, as a solution, the walkway was not demolished but passage was blocked by a row of potted plants.

Perhaps an unfortunate turn of phrase; wasn't it Spiro Agnew who said "I am not a potted plant"? Or was it Nixon?

One of the powers of a reformed lieutenant governor's position might be the power to preside over courts which try politicians for breach of process and abuse of power.

But then, of course, such power would mean the position couldn't be appointed, either by higher authority or collegially, because of the partisan politics implicit in such powers.

I'm not sure about this but I think in the US system the courts with that power are the legislative bodies, e.g. the right to impeach, and with congressional and senate enquiries holding subpoena and also sentencing powers; in application only to the Executive Branch, not to each other naturally enough.

Though still of course highly-charged and political, the appointment of high justices down there undergoes a lot more vetting and public scrutiny; lower-court judges, like county sheriffs and chiefs of police are often - generally? - elected. Also DAs....

We Canadians can be as self-righteous as we want about America, but the fact of this matter there is that their political system has a lot more latitude for bringing criminal politicians to heel, and a mandatory public open-ness to the process. And a press willing and operating in a free market of information where they can be torn to pieces in the process.

Remember the old saw about Canada having the heart of a banker and a soul of an accountant. I heard a rider to that recently - "and the morals of a lawyer" (present company excepted)
Mathews raises some very good points I must say. But Skookum...??

...torn to pieces in the process?

You mean like how they tore Glen Clarke, not Bill Clinton or George W Bush appart? Clarke was torn to threads, undeservingly. Clinton and Bush werent but arguably deserved to be. So what are you talking about the US having in their political system a lot more latitude for bringing criminal politicians to heel? I dont buy that at all. If anything, we are slowly but surely learning the american way, self-serving as it is.

Take for instance how the Prss has torn appart Jason Walker, the PHD wanna be that graces every front page newspaper for posing as a Medical Doctor, while Basi Virk Bains and BAsi hardly ever get any mention at all.

If Walker was Indo-Canadian, I betcha you would hear protests, "You are only tearing him appart because he is east indian! This is racism!!" But since Walker is white, you hear very little about the fact that he is being tried in the court of public opinion, more so than is deserved many would argue.

Gee Whiz,

Thanks for your comments.

I truly wish you'd let go of the racism stuff, though. OK?

And frankly, I think Paul Battershill (who did nothing wrong that I know of) was treated far, far worse than Jason Walker (whose office sign proclaims him to be a doctor but he isn't, thus a matter of public safety).

Also, in case you haven't noticed, the three characters Basi, Virk, Basi do seem to be less and less important these days, as other well-known figures seem to be coming into focus and taking over. Have you noticed that?

Next pre-trial hearing is Jan. 19.
BC MAry, the reason BVB seem less and less important is becuase, like Bains, who was sentenced to 9 yrs and not a peep from Canwest until BC Mary informed them a month or so after the fact (thanks you MARY!!), is because the press rarely if ever reports on them.

Hopefully the trial will begin soon and will be open to the media, perferrably, on tv in real time!!
BC Mary, you may be right about Battershill, he seemed to be heading for super stardom, the Legislature and beyond when the knoves went in and the axe came down.

Yes, infidelity is a naughty thing, a devestating thing on a family. But that seems to be the only thing that stuck, the rest ofter the allegations, which I cant remember or even recall if I knew, were all determined as unfounded. Or if they were founded, I dont know if they really mattered.

I seem to remember hearing that Battershill had a rule of thumb that a Chief should only stay 5 years, that a chief becomes ineffective after 5 yrs for whatever host of reasons, political mostly I would imagine.

Well go figure, Battershill stayed well beyond 5 yrs.
I was thinking more like Eliot Spitzer and Rod Blagojevich, not any of the presidencies. But even the Commanders-in-Chief get flayed by comedians and pundits and editorialists throughout those inquiries, which (as with Whitewater and Lewinsky or the various nasty stuff associated with Bush & Co.) come under public scrutiny and are examined without the power of court bans, secret witnesses, and a compliant press which politely finds something else to talk about. There's also sufficient balance in the US in terms of media bias to ensure that while one side of the media spectrum may look the other way (e.g. Fox and MSNBC ignoring wrongdoing by conservatives while conflating alleged wrongdoing by "liberals") there's another very large faction of the media who do anything but. There is no press monopoly in the US, nor any ability by the government to have a monopoly on the courts and police, and of course a legislative branch which doesn't owe its position to the good graces of the first minister/governor/Prez.

The failures of the US system are always trotted out to justify the complete incapacity of the Canadian system; I've heard arguments like Gee Whiz's before. The reality remains that US citizens have more recourse to remove corrupt officials (particularly elected ones) than anything in the Canadian constitution.

Does anyone think for a second that the Gordo & Lara story would have gone unnoticed/uninvestigated in the US media, had Gordo been governor of California or Massachussetts? Does anyone think that the scrutiny laid onto Enron and AIG and Bernie Madoff wouldn't have happened if the CN/BC Rail hornswoggle had happened in the US? That Gordo would have continued in office after his drunk driving incident if he had been governor of Hawaii?
Ten thousand pardons! The following was meant to go here.

BC Born said...

Friend of the Court, indeed!
The Court is in need of all the “friends” it can get.
BC Mary has a wide audience; some have knowledge of the Court that causes us to question the motivations of the Court.
Unfold as it should? Hmmm? And by whose reckoning will it be “as it should”? More and more people are becoming aware of the lack of integrity of the Court(s) and for whose interests the Court is beholding to.

BC Born

January 17, 2010 4:14 PM
I did a little checking with a lawyer friend wanting to get as much inside scoop as I could. here is the reply I received via email

Basi and Virk.


Elizabeth Bennett was the judge and was sent in to protect something.

She earned her spurs in the Glen Clark case.

Slapped Clark's wrist but did not convict.

It was a done deal.

Bill Berardino the special prosecutor is an insider.

He has a long history with the BC Attorney General.

In my opinion, the defence lawyers are not on the take

They seem to be doing a good job.

I don't know if these guys are guilty or not but suspect that they knew a marijunana operation was going on in their house - whoever owned it.

I was out there. Checked the house out about 2 months after it was raided.

I haven't been following the case.

I don't trust the newspapers.

I really canot offer you much information.

However, CPR pulled out of the bidding sayng it was fixed.

David MacLean is close to Gordon Campbell

He was director of CNR, the company that won the bid.

Patrick Kinsella was around that deal.

It doesn't smell good.

Basi and Virk are "small fry" for sure.

Maybe even a decoy or a smokescreen.

The big fish are strill swimming free.

Hope this helps

BC Born
Skookum what are you talking about? George W Bush was convicted of DUI, and yet became the President of the USA!!!

Bush was infact arrested on 3 occasions

The first arrest of George W. Bush was for theft at a hotel.
The second arrest was for disorderly conduct at a football game.
The third arrest, we've now learned, is for a very serious crime -- drunk driving.

You're picking hairs, and I think in many cases that's all that you're up to around here.

Your latest two comments are deleted ... they went head-first in the garbage.

I welcome comments to my blog but I cannot allow you to make personal, insulting comments about anyone else who has taken the time to comment here. Including me.

Gee Whiz keep them coming, we need varied opinions on these things. I like your counter arguments it helps me check myself from falling prey to a total lack of objectivity regarding BVB. Hopefully the regulars won't resort to accusing you of being from PAB because you disagree on some points.

Mr. Matthews has raised some very interesting questions about the SP QC. I wonder if he could try sending a copy to the BC Office of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner

Paul D.K. Fraser Q.C.
Conflict of Interest Commissioner 250 356-9283
Daphne Thompson Executive Coordinator 250 356-0750

Thanks for your comment.

But we're not talking about varied opinions with regard to Gee Whiz.

There's a huge difference between having a different opinion on BC Rail ... as compared to wandering off onto different (and ridiculous) topics and especially simply cursing and swearing.

Somehow I can't believe that you need the kind of thing Gee Whiz was saying the last times he showed up here (and got deleted) ... if so, that's pretty sad, but then you can always send a comment to HIS blog, eh?
There's some old-fashioned politics showing up in posts by new visitors here.....approving of rhetorical nonsense from other newcomer-kibbitzers, then attempting to validate those comments by providing reasonable, or seemingly reasonable ideas. Gee Whiz was doing that, too, now we have Sleepless....

Bafflegab backed up by intermediary quasi-relevance. "We need to hear different opinions" is fine and dandy; if you need that, go buy a CanWest newspaper....

First of all, I forwarded to Robin Mathews your suggestion about the Conflict of Interest Commissioner. Here is what Robin said:

Dear Mary. That's a great idea and I'll do it tomorrow. R.

So thanks again for that good suggestion.

Now, I must do something about comments which are not so good, which have no relevance to BC Rail.

Personally, I dislike nasty comments. Others dislike them too, and tend to turn away from a web-site that isn't welcoming, and sometimes even fun. I can see no benefit whatever, in providing space on this site for publishing ill-mannered, meaningless abuse.

Therefore, I will delete nasty comments. I simply don't have the time or the energy to deal with them.

I remind you once again:

My blog. My rules.

And the topic is BC Rail.
Well then I'm leaving good luck in your myopic and arbitrary world world. You are now deleted.

Don't go away mad. I mean that. There's no need.

I stand by the simple rules laid out: topic here is BC Rail. The tone is civil. Because the issues are large, and the odds are huge.

If I could leave you with one thing, it would be to have respect for principled journalism which seeks to empower its readers with information essential to a just and democratic society.

Principled journalism is, some historians say, an arm of government.

Think of it that way and you'll be OK.
No question about whose Blog it is or whose rules.

However, it cannot be denied that as a result of the raid many other factors about BC’s governance and actions of the courts were brought to light. It would be a shame of epic proportions to ignore those factors and this Blog may already be a magnet attracting bits of otherwise unknown information regarding government criminal activities.

Will a lid be firmly placed on this Pandora’s Box?

BC Born
BC Born,

I see that you're trying to be civil, so I'll say it one more time:

The way BC Rail slid from public ownership into private pockets was the TEMPLATE for many other events ...

and THAT is why we need to know what happened and how it happened to BCRail,

to understand BC Rail is to understand all else under Gordo's rule.

Got it?

Next time you feel a complaint coming on, though, why not go back into the archives on this site and read up on it.
Was too, being civil that is. And no complaints were intended.
The corruption in BC did not start with Campbell it only continued and the “template” was created long before his rule.
As to the Police, it is well known that backing the days of Chief Walter Mulligan the city was wide open and as a second generation Vancouverite I heard some of the stories of days gone by.
Since then I have a collection of lawyers that have shared their stories with me about the courts and my own studies guided by legal researchers on both side of the 49th have spoken to the colour of law, how it came about and its intentions for being that way.

Yes! Your Blog and most definitely your rules.
The Basi / Virk affair is only scratching the surface. It is because of your Blog, its contributors and responders that I have regained some of my lost faith in BC’s chances of becoming a province to be proud of.

BC Born
BC Born,

Fact is, we can't fight every issue all at once. Perhaps this is why people get overwhelmed and discouraged.

So I say: choose your field in which to do battle; then give it your best.

Therefore -- I say it again -- BC Rail is a worthy example. We have the opportunity to open up the still-secret portions of the BCR-CN deal. And to hear the evidence revealing how that happened, and who ran the show.

Please accept the fact that this site is about BC Rail. Go ahead and research something else, like BC Ferries or BC Hydro, and discuss it on an appropriate blog. Why not?
BC Born
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