Friday, February 26, 2010


BC Rail Unabridged


Photo: Flickr

I wrote an article for the National Post yesterday, which was published in the print edition. I also wrote a blog entry built around the main points of that article, but was waiting for the original to be published first. For obvious reasons, most of the following could not be printed in the newspaper, since parts were based largely on uncorroborated speculation. In reference to my comments about Jessica McDonald, I imply no wrong-doing on her part, nor do I wish to cast aspersions on her. I’m merely reporting the scuttlebutt of the case.

Read Adrian MacNair's blog HERE

More than six years after the RCMP executed an unprecedented search and seizure on the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, the Basi-Virk trial is finally scheduled to get underway on May 3, 2010.

Two of the accused, Dave Basi and Bob Virk, are charged with fraud, breach of trust and corruption, and Aneal Basi is charged with money laundering. The trial has been set by jury, and is expected to take five weeks.

The crown will be trying to prove that Dave Basi and Bob Virk accepted bribes from lobbyists in exchange for leaking information about the bidding process for BC Rail. Notably, one of those lobbyists, Patrick Kinsella, has been alleged to have been working “both sides” of the BC Rail sale.

Court documents show that Mr.Kinsella was being paid by Canadian National Railway as a political advisor at the same time he was being paid $6,000 a month to lobby for the BC government. Mr.Kinsella wrote the B.C. Liberal party platforms for the 2001 and 2005 elections.

The sale of BC Rail went through in 2004 to CN Rail for $1 billion, with the government retaining the rail right-of-way.
The lease to CN Rail was based on a 990 year agreement, beginning with a 60-year initial lease and then an option to renew every 30 years. Since the sale went through, Canadian National Railway has contributed more than $152,750.00 to the B.C. Liberal party.

But BC Rail still owns the strategic port of Roberts Bank and the 40km of track that connects to it. It also owns 2,509 pieces of property in towns and villages, including prime real estate waterfront in North Vancouver. BC Rail’s real estate portfolio is impressive, with the government boasting it has generated revenue of over $1 billion since the BC Liberal Party took over in 2001, although it hasn’t explained how.

The Roberts Bank port facility was originally slated to be sold off separately, but irregularities were discovered during the main BC Rail line sale when David Basi was accused of accepting a bribe from a lobbyist for OmniTRAX. Canadian Pacific is also said to have withdrawn their bid when they learned that CN had insider information into the government sale.

The government continues to control and operate this 40km of track, but won’t discuss any details of the case since the matter has been “before the courts” in perpetuity since the December 28, 2003 raids.

At the time of the raids, Dave Basi was a senior political aide to Finance Minister Gary Farrell-Collins, and Bob Virk a senior aide to the Transportation Minister, Judith Reid.

The raids arose when the RCMP uncovered the involvement of BC Liberal insiders during an ongoing drug sting. In 2003 the RCMP were tapping the phones of Dave Basi in order to break up a marijuana and cocaine smuggling ring between B.C. and Ontario, run by his cousin, Jasmohan Singh Bains. It has since been alleged that the drug money from that operation was laundered through the BC Liberal Party.

In November of 2009, the media got wind that although BC Rail was left with just 40km of track and 30 employees, that there was a swell of executives all earning six figure salaries to preside over the remaining crown assets.

BC Rail’s CEO, Kevin Mahoney, earned $494,182 in 2009, which exceeded even the government’s own imposed salary cap.
After the bad press about the salaries, the government announced a “review” of the company, which culminated in an announcement on February 10 that the Province would be moving the operations and management of BC Rail into the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

“By integrating BCRC’s day-to-day operations into the ministry, there will be ongoing savings and benefits from a reduction in operating costs,” Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Shirley Bond announced on the government website.

The optics could hardly be worse. The very ministry implicated in the botched and tainted BC Rail-CN Rail deal would be absorbing the remaining holdings into a ministry still very much under investigation and “before the courts” in the Basi-Virk trial.

What surprises many people about the BC Rail affair is that the Premier, Gordon Campbell, and the BC Liberal Party, have remained largely immune from the fallout of the Basi-Virk case and the suggestions of government impropriety.

The author of the website, The Legislature Raids, Mary Mackie, has been following the case for four years. She told me that one of the largest factors in containing the BC Rail scandal has been the control of information with their Public Affairs Bureau. Mitigating scandal has been a full-time job for these staffers, who have had to deal with issues like the unpopular HST, which was brought in after running the 2009 May election promising not to implement it.

The BC Rail story has a very similar background. Paul Nettleton was a BC Liberal Member of Legislative Assembly in the first Campbell government, and a former opposition critic for BC Rail during the NDP Glen Clark government.
In a phone interview, he told me that the BC Liberals campaigned in 2001 on a promise not to sell off BC Rail, after an extensive review of the viability of the railway line. He also spoke out against the privatization of BC Hydro in 2002, and was eventually kicked out of caucus by the BC Liberals and became an independent.

Gordon Campbell explained away the broken promise on BC Rail by claiming it was only a lease to CN Rail, but for many people like Paul Nettleton, it was a breach of trust, of power, and of responsibility. But still, it has not resonated with voters in the intensity that scandals like the Fast Ferries did for Glen Clark’s NDP.

“You have to realize the kind of excitement there was in the legislature at that time,” Paul Nettleton reminisces in his retelling of the last days of the NDP government, before the Liberal Party was ushered in on a 77-2 seat majority. “I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning.”

The reign of the NDP had been so traumatic to residents in the province, that the memory of it protects the current government from the same kind of scrutiny for abuse and corruption that had been focused on the Clark government. Since there was no other centre-right political party to vote for, many British Columbians have simply been looking the other way.

Meanwhile, ex-Liberal insiders continue to influence the business contracts in the Province, using their former contacts in the party to become lobbyists for their own benefit. The recent Cache Creek dump awarded an Environmental Certificate for an expansion to Belkorp Environmental Services Ltd. Ken Dobell, premier Gordon Campbell’s former deputy minister, used his influence in the government to lobby for Belkorp Industries Inc. And former Finance Minister at the time of the BC Rail sale, Gary Collins, is now the senior vice-president of the company.
Belkorp Environmental Services Ltd, has given $26,900 to the provincial Liberal party since 2005, more than half of it since 2008, according to Elections B.C.’s donation database. Its parent company, Belkorp Industries Inc., gave another $59,870 during the same time period, while Belkorp Capital Inc. gave $12,500 in 2005. That brings a total of $100,000 in donations to the Liberal Party since 2005 from Belkorp and all its subsidiaries.

With the departure of Jessica McDonald from the Head of BC’s Civil Service, some worry it might be Déjà vu all over again. Jessica McDonald became Executive Vice President for Western and International Development at HB Global Advisors Corp., the consulting arm of Heenan Blaikie Limited liability partnership in 2010 after the BC Liberal government sent her on a $12,360 course in Ontario to become a corporate director. Jessica McDonald has since founded a consultancy specializing in natural resource and land management.

Some following the BC Rail case have speculated that the most likely sale of BC Rail lands would come via a former insider with influence within the party. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time.

The sale of BC Rail might, ultimately, be based on land acquisition and the sale of prime real estate. By selling the crown company BC Rail, Mary Mackie writes in her blog, the government isn’t responsible for the economic viability of the towns, villages, reserves, farms, factories, and sawmills for 1,500 km from North Vancouver to Fort Nelson. And with a rather large deficit yawning beneath the feet of the government, the quiet sale of lands to private interests could be something that would be little more than a byline in the affairs of the massive Ministry of Transportation.

It is this quiet and stealthy technique that has managed to keep the party from public scrutiny. And with the Olympic Games in town for the next several weeks, any unpopular items delivered in the Throne Speech just days before, will probably have faded from memory by the time the Legislature reconvenes.



The BC Rail Scandal: A Test of the BC Higher Courts

By Robin Mathews
February 26, 2010

The pre-trial hearings in the one criminal case arising out of the BC Rail Scandal have exposed the soft underbelly of power in the province. May 3 will begin trial of the three cabinet aides accused of criminal wrongdoing in the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to CNR by the Gordon Campbell government.  The administration of justice in British Columbia has been shaken to its roots in a pre-trial process marked by delay, apparent obstruction, the erasure of disclosure material by government, the de facto refusal to release search warrants, juggling of judges – and more.

Many are talking and writing about the shameful secrecy of the BC higher court system, about its irregularities, inconsistencies, inefficiencies, exorbitant costs, and … more.

The inadequacies, I believe, are orchestrated from the premier’s and the Attorney General’s offices to protect what I hold is mounting criminal breach of trust on the part of the Gordon Campbell forces.

In a burst of (mock?) concern, present Attorney General Michael de Jong recently announced a number of reform things he might do – garnering him much press coverage.  He will do none of them, I believe, because the Attorney General’s ministry is a key location from which, I allege, law and judicial proceedings are manipulated to cover what I believe are Gordon Campbell government criminalities.

More on that in coming columns.

For now, look at a very small corner of the territory.  Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett  - three years in pre-trial hearings involving applications for disclosure, arguments of the disputing parties, etc. -- was (I believe) “manipulated” out of the job.  In her place Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie was, I believe,  “manipulated” in.

I have already written about what I consider the “unsavoury” hi-jinks of Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm and Special Crown Prosecutor William Berardino in that regard.  Their's was not behaviour, I think, that reasonable Canadians would find satisfactory. 

The BC Rail Scandal case is perhaps the most important public-interest criminal trial in the history of B.C.  It not only involves the three accused men – cabinet aides appointed by Gordon Campbell.  But it also seriously links the alleged actions of the accused to cabinet and other top-ranking public personalities.  And it provides reasonable grounds for speaking of the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to CN Rail by the Gordon Campbell government.

The ‘provenance’ of the trial judge, then, is an important matter, especially since she was brought in (without sound reason, I believe) to replace her predecessor.

Whatever location she started from, little could be found out about Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie by those looking for “background”.  And so, a reasonable Canadian, I wrote to Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm, Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie herself, and the Law Courts Librarian and asked for her professional resume (curriculum vitae).

The Supreme Court of B.C. must possess such a thing, or something close to it.

None of the people addressed, of course, answered my letter.  I received a reply from what one might call “an in-house lackey”, or a “cover-up aide”.  He wrote, in short, that they wouldn’t give me what I asked for.  He didn’t say: “but here is a brief professional biography”.  Nothing. He provided nothing – on the orders of senior court officers, obviously.

The action of the court officers (Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie included) was, I insist, stupid, insulting, and irresponsible.  What’s more, it was an example of the enormous arrogance of the “power clique” in B.C. in the face of an absolutely legitimate public interest in public affairs.  The vaunted “Open Court System“ of our tradition is dead in B.C. I would say that any reasonable Canadian might assume all the three written to – to use street language – “are in the pay of Gordon Campbell and his friends”.

The refusal to supply the information was, further, I say, an infantile expression of the wholesale violation of the administration of justice characteristic of anyone within the farthest radius of Gordon Campbell power.

The response of the court officers meant a few people would have to do a lot of research in order to tell British Columbians just the bare bones of information about Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie.  Think of it. Imagine.  A judge of the Supreme Court of B.C., presiding at a major trial, has to be privately researched to gain basic information about her – because top officers of the court, and the judge herself, refuse to make any reasonable information public.

Now some has been gathered.  What I believe might be embarrassing personal information – if pushed to further investigation – I will not mention since I only asked to be given (and was flatly denied) information that might be considered relevant to the appointment of Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie to the BC Rail Scandal case.  I was denied, I allege, information that should be available to any British Columbian who asks for it.

Madam Justice Anne Winter MacKenzie is approaching sixty years.  She was born in New Westminster and lived her early life in the lower mainland of B.C.  Like Madam Justice Stromberg Stein, Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie was made a Supreme Court judge in 1990.

Earlier, she attended the University of British Columbia and has proficiency in the French language.  She took a B.A. degree in 1973, an LL.B in 1977, and she was called to the bar in 1978.  She soon joined the Criminal Law section of the federal Department of Justice where she acted as a federal crown counsel in Vancouver. 

At university she met and married (lawyer) Roderick (Roddy) MacKenzie.  They produced three children.  They live in West Vancouver. 

Roderick M. MacKenzie was, for a time, City Solicitor for the city of New Westminster.  He continued to show interest in municipal government and its problems.  In 1980 he was re-elected national secretary of the municipal law section of the Canadian Bar Association.  He left the role of City Solicitor, went into private practice in Vancouver (with partners), and is, presently, I believe, practicing alone from a downtown Vancouver office. 

In 2008 Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie received some criticism for her handling of a Hells Angels matter.  On May 15, 2009, Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett was appointed to the B.C. Court of Appeal.  That was one of the pretexts (a baseless pretext, I believe) for removing her from the Basi, Virk, and Basi case.

Very shortly after the announcement of Justice Bennett’s new appointment, Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm, in what I thought was a crude and inelegant appearance in court, stated he had chosen Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett’s replacement, but would not name the person.  In September, Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie took over the Basi, Virk, and Basi case.

As I perceived her actions, she immediately began cutting off all Defence access to disclosure materials that might involve highly placed government and other officials.  Early in her tenure as presiding judge she wondered, as I remember, whether justice could be afforded in the case – but she soon removed herself from that patch of quicksand.  She did, however, make a statement – when rejecting a Defence request for more complete disclosure – that society expects a fair trial … not a perfect one.

She is correct.  Canadian society is remarkably reasonable on the whole.  But I don’t think any informed Canadian will expect a fair trial in the Basi, Virk, and Basi case. 

Judicial figures have, it seems to me, parried attempts to widen, properly, the range of the accused – in effect protecting Gordon Campbell.  The RCMP has failed to investigate political figures almost certainly involved in the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to CNR. RCMP Deputy Commissioner Gary Bass has refused to undertake investigation when asked to do so, as if there is no basis for investigation. 

The “independent”, “objective”, and “unbiased” Special Crown Prosecutor was appointed by an Attorney General who had been for a long-time his partner and colleague.  The cabinet of which the Attorney General was a member was (and is) a deeply interested party in the case before the court. The present Attorney General’s Ministry has refused to discuss the appointment of the Special Crown Prosecutor on the specious grounds that the matter is “sub judice”.

That specious claim has been made over and over by both Gordon Campbell, premier, and recent Attorney General, Wally Oppal, whenever asked about the BC Rail Scandal.  The latter, Wally Oppal, is presently facing a civil suit for, in fact, misuse of the powers of Attorney General.

And the deputy Attorney General at the time of the appointment of the Special Crown Prosecutor had been for an even longer time partner and colleague of the person appointed.  For his excellent work Allan Seckel was recently appointed to be Deputy Minister to the premier Gordon Campbell, Cabinet Secretary, and Head of the British Columbia Public Service. 

The trial of Dave Basi, Bobby Virk, and Aneal Basi for (variously) fourteen counts of fraud, breach of trust, and money laundering begins on May 3, 2010.  It will probably be bizarre, dramatic, macabre, fascinating, and endlessly intense.

But it will not, I allege, be a fair trial. 

And I suspect Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie knows that very well.  It will be a trial, I believe, of three men – innocent unless proved guilty.  They, I allege, make up only a very small portion of a much larger number who should have been charged in relation to the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to CNR, but who have been almost ubiquitously protected by all the forces that should have been serving law, the administration of justice, and the people of Canada.


Thursday, February 25, 2010


Delving into the dirty details of BC Rail, "the optics could hardly be worse" - National Post

Adrian Macnair 
National Post - February 25, 2010

A political scandal that has been brewing for more than six years will finally land in a B.C. courtroom in May, the repercussions of which could be very damaging to the government.

Although Premier Gordon Campbell is currently basking in the glow of the Olympic flame, the Basi-Virk trial will put his government under intense examination, at a time the struggling B.C. Liberals hardly need more problems. The latest opinion poll by Angus Reid Strategies puts the Premier in a category all his own in Canada -- owner of the worst approval rating among provincial leaders with a dismal 21%.  {Snip} ...

The RCMP uncovered the alleged involvement of B.C. Liberal insiders during an unrelated drug sting in 2003 involving another of Basi's cousins, Jasmohan Singh Bains. Their findings from phone taps led to an unprecedented police raid on Victoria Legislature records on Dec. 28, 2003. The resulting corruption charges have been winding their way slowly through the legal system, accompanied by defence demands for almost a million pages in documents and various claims of undue involvement by political figures.

The sale gave CN Rail a 990-year agreement, with a 60-year initial lease and then an option to renew every 30 years. BC Rail still owns the strategic port of Roberts Bank and the 40 km of track that connects to it. In November, B.C.'s provincial auditor confirmed that, despite having just 30 employees and no more trains to run, BC Rail's chief executive, Kevin Mahoney, earned $494,182 in 2009, which exceeded the government's self-imposed salary cap. Three other executives earned more than $700,000 between them.

Embarrassed by the revelations, the government ordered a "review" of the company, which culminated in an announcement on February 10 that the province would be moving the operations and management of BC Rail into the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

The optics could hardly be worse. The very ministry implicated in the BC Rail-CN Rail deal will now absorb the remaining holdings while corruption allegations are still before the courts.

What surprises many people about the affair is the ability, so far, of Premier Gordon Campbell and the B.C. Liberal Party to survive the fallout of the charges against Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk, and the suggestions of government impropriety. The Liberals have been re-elected twice since the sale and the police raids.

Paul Nettleton, a former Liberal critic for BC Rail and an MLA who was ejected from the caucus for objecting to the privatization of B.C. Hydro in 2002, says the government benefited from timing. Voters were so relieved at getting rid of the former NDP government they were willing to overlook Campbell's broken promise.

The long, complex manoeuvring since 2004 has kept the case largely out of the public eye, and Mr. Campbell and other top officials have resolutely refused to talk about the charges on the basis that the case is before the courts.

That may change when British Columbians finally get to hear the details. For five weeks the government will be under the microscope, and this time there will be nowhere to hide. Mr. Campbell, who was re-elected to a third term last year, may wish the Olympics lasted just a little longer.

BC Mary says: I asked the author why there's no Comments section provided for his readers after his column. Adrian Macnair replied: There's no option for comment on the page you mentioned because it's a reproduction of the print edition, but it's been cross-posted to Full Comment if you like:

Thanks for promoting it.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010


What lies buried under BC Rail's track beds?

By Kevin Potvin
The Republic of East Vancouver
Reposted from May 20, 2009 with permission

... Even at the time of the auction, things looked strange. It was eventually sold to CN for $1 billion. The now-opposition NDP flew into a rage and the interior towns revolted. The government responded by insisting it had got a good deal for what had plainly been a money loser, as though it was the price they got and not the act of selling it that was the source of all the fuss.

To allay these invented fears, Campbell hired the services of a third party auditing firm to test whether or not the government got a good deal. The tactic worked: the price became the issue. But even here, questions arose. In general, the auditor said, the deal was in line with other similar deals, and this opening sentence in the conclusion was much touted by Campbell, eager to lay the issue to rest.

But a closer read of the report reveals the deal, in the auditor’s study, was broken down into two parts. The stamp of approval so warming to Campbell’s heart applied only to one part, the $700 million part covering the sale of the cars, tools and leases on the rail beds. Concerning the second part of the deal, the $300 million for the tax books of BC Rail, the auditor was quite explicit in saying not nearly enough information was ever provided to even begin considering whether $300 was a fair price. It refused to even ask, instead saying another examination was required, one that would be provided the necessary information. That never happened.

This is indeed the fulcrum around which the whole BC Rail deal swings, as The Vancouver Sun’s Harvey Enchin noted last weekend, in his strangely Johnny-come-lately article extolling the value of BC Rail’s tax accounting books that contain huge carried-forward losses. Keep your eye on that Harvey Enchin fellow. Read John Perkins. Then google Enchin, see if you can find anything out about him.
Funnily enough, it is the accumulated losses at BC Rail that made its tax accounting books worth so much.

Simply put, if your company makes, say, $1 million in profits, it will need to pay something like $300,000 in taxes. However, your company could buy another company that lost $1 million, merge the two books together, and the resulting combined company will be able to report that it made no profit at all. Now it doesn’t have to pay that $300,000 tax bill anymore, does it.

That makes the money-losing company worth a lot of money to your profitable company, like say, something around $200,000 in this example. If you buy it for that much, cut your $300,000 tax bill to zero, you just gained $100,000, not a bad return on an initial outlay of $200,000, especially if you do it in the last month before tax reporting time. Companies that have lost a lot of money are worth a lot of money to companies that have made a lot of money. That don’t teach this at the university.

The government tax collectors allow losses by companies to be carried forward for up to seven years and to be applied against future profits by the same company, or any other company that buys it and merges books with it.

At the time of its sale, BC Rail had on its books $1.3 billion in accumulated losses available for carrying forward, or for application against profits at any other company that chose to purchase it.

CN annually makes a healthy profit. Since its purchase of BC Rail, CN has been using up BC Rail’s losses against its own profits and saving, by the time it’s done, $1.3 billion in tax payments. It is the same, essentially, as profiting $1.7 billion, since the profit here is an after-tax profit. For this guaranteed $1.7 billion profit (there was no risk, after all, since the tax department would not likely change carry forward rules), CN paid the princely sum of $300 million.

Let’s see: $300 million for a $1.7 billion guaranteed profit. The portion of the deal the auditor did look at, covering the cars and sheds, pales by comparison. We can see why the government failed to provide the auditor with sufficient information to be able to evaluate whether the public received fair value for the sale of the tax books portion of the BC Rail deal. Paying $300 million for something automatically guaranteed to be worth $1.7 billion is called theft, at least the way I was raised.

Not long after the closing of the deal, police showed up at the legislative building for a shocking and completely unprecedented raid on elected officials’ offices. They gathered up and carried off boxes of documents and computer hard drives that have remained sealed from public scrutiny ever since. Specifically, they raided the office of the minister of finance and the office of the deputy premier [this is an error: Bobby Virk worked for the Minister of Transportation, the second office raided. - BC Mary]. Police said only that the raid was related to the sale of BC Rail, and that they had been monitoring in secret deep dark corruption surrounding the deal’s negotiations the whole time.

The two ministers affected were not charged with anything. But, curiously, while both were rising stars in the Liberal firmament, and both were widely known to be ambitious about leadership one day, they both, by surprise, soon after the raids found family life and other opportunities more attractive and left government for good, never to be seen again anywhere near their old, police-raided offices. Mere co-inky-dinky, shhhhhhurly, says the grinning guy down the bar from me, one eye rolling across the ceiling, the other across the floor.

The court case has centered on two non-entities accused of influence-peddling and bid-rigging. But from the start, there has always been the stench of something much bigger hanging over this whole curious affair. Specifically, there has always been the sense of the time-bomb ticking inside one of those sealed boxes or publication bans that populate the long-drawn out and excruciatingly procedural case.

We might think an elected official stuffing an envelope of cash in his breast pocket in return for arranging a sweet deal for public property is an outrageous impossibility. But who, at the time, would have imagined the then-dignified and thoroughly above-board Prime Minister Brian Mulroney stuffing envelopes of cash into his pockets outside the washroom in a restaurant out by the airport? Vander Zalm too, the self-described Christian moralist, down at Howard Hughes’ old digs, the Bayshore Hotel, jamming his pockets with unmarked envelopes of cash. Who’d have thought?

Such things can and do happen, involving those men who moil for gold. CN walked away $1.4 billion to the good, and that whole part of the BC Rail deal has all along been obscured, distracted, and hidden, and remains to this day still largely unknown. It had to have taken a few of those thickened envelopes to so effectively paper over such a thing, I say to the grinning guy down the bar.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Basi-Virk: The conviction and sentencing of Mr Big in 2008 was "an important victory for the Mounties and they deserve credit for it."

One year ago, this column appeared in The Vancouver Sun newspaper. 

Drug dealer linked to legislature raid imprisoned
RCMP oddly silent about key victory against cocaine ring

Ian Mulgrew
Vancouver Sun - February 17, 2009

The key figure in Project Every Which Way, the organized crime investigation that triggered the raid on the legislature half a decade ago, has been convicted and sentenced to nine years' imprisonment.

Jasmohan Singh Bains, the 33-year-old would-be Mr. Big of the Vancouver Island drug world, was also fined $242,170 and forfeited $12,718.11 seized by police at the time of his arrest five years ago. If he fails to pay the fine, Bains must serve another three years in prison.

Although then only 28, Bains headed a Victoria-based group that shipped kilograms of cocaine to Metro Toronto and remitted cash back via Federal Express.

His trial last summer focused on one shipment of 12 kilos, worth about $400,000, and Bains's boast that he could supply 50 kilos a week.

"Mr. Bains was the sine qua non of this conspiracy," Provincial Court Judge Robert Higinbotham said at the sentencing on Sept. 11 [2008].

"He was the initiator, the driving force, and the chief executive officer of the trafficking enterprise, and he answered to no other person."

This significant event went apparently unreported until it appeared on citizen journalist Mary Mackie's blog [] and was brought to my attention Monday.

I was surprised no one in the federal prosecutor's office or the RCMP had issued a statement since this is the organized crime connection that led to the raid on legislature offices Dec. 28, 2003.

"Organized crime has stretched into every corner of B.C. and onto most city streets," RCMP Sgt. John Ward warned then. "It is not an exaggeration to say that organized crime is a cancer eating away at the social and moral fabric of British Columbia."

He was talking about Bains's seeming influence.

In separate proceedings about two years ago, a prosecutor told B.C. Supreme Court that police became interested in former Liberal insider Dave Basi when numerous calls were made to his cellphone from Bains, his cousin.

Basi and Bob Virk, also a former top government aide, are on trial for fraud and breach of trust.

Prosecutor Janet Winteringham explained in pretrial proceedings that police learned in May 2002 that Bains was expanding his underworld empire after the arrest of one of his rivals.

The RCMP targeted him and launched the massive operation that ultimately snared Bains, the two high-flying Liberal operatives and several others.

Tips from an informant suggested Basi was laundering money for Bains by purchasing real estate, Winteringham said.

After a wiretap operation was in place for the drug case, police overheard Basi discussing the sale of BC Rail. That auction process is at the heart of the breach-of-trust charges the former back-room operatives face.

{Snip} ...

This conviction ... is an important victory for the Mounties and they deserve credit for it.

And this is an excerpt from a Neal Hall column at that time ... 

"As a result of our drug investigation into organized crime, other information came to light and another investigation was begun," RCMP Staff Sgt. John Ward said a day after the raid on government offices of two ministerial aides, Dave Basi and Bob Virk."


Saturday, February 20, 2010


The Fire and the Fence

Berlin 1936 / Vancouver 2010 . . . the Fire and the Fence ...

Cambridge Dictionary says

cauldron: a large round container for cooking in, usually supported over a fire.

Photo by The Great Satan, published here with permission.

In my view, this photograph evokes the police state into which our beautiful province is sliding. Some others have tried to say it in other ways ...

Olympics' Artist 'Muzzle Clause' Causes Uproar

The so-called muzzle clause [ in Cultural Olympiad performers' contracts, which forbids artists from making any negative comments about the Games]  has recently been the subject of heavy criticism ...

On the eve of the Games, Raymond T. Grant, artistic director of Salt Lake City's 2002 Olympic Winter Games Arts Festival, sent an open letter to the Vancouver Olympic Committee urging it to drop the controversial clause from the contracts, which he deemed "both dangerous and unnecessary."

The clause states, "The artist shall at all times refrain from making any negative or derogatory remarks respecting VANOC (the organizing committee), the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Olympic movement generally, Bell and/or other sponsors associated with VANOC ..."

Friday, February 19, 2010


BC Rail: when police raided the BC Legislature


Drug charges were laid against Dave Basi as well as against Jasmohan Singh Bains after the Legislature Raids. We know this from a little exchange in Supreme Court when Janet Winteringham (a Crown Prosecutor) said the Basi-Virk defence was simply wrong when it stated that the investigation, code named Project Everywhichway, suddenly veered off course to target Mr. Basi … 

In fact, she said, Mr. Basi emerged as an early person of interest in a drug investigation that was triggered when informants told the RCMP that the arrest, in May 2002, of U.S. drug dealer Cirilo Lopez had created an opening for a new drug boss on Vancouver Island. 

“The word on the street was that Jas Bains was going to be the person taking over,” Ms. Winteringham said.  After Cirilo Lopez, the new Mr Big was expected to be Jasmohan Bains (Dave Basi's cousin).

Drug charges against Dave Basi were stayed by the Crown in 2005. 

I have been watching the news for 6 years now, to find out what happened to Cirilo Lopez, the original Mr Big in the U.S., and this is the first time the name has shown up. But then, Jasmohan Bains' 2008 trial wasn't reported in the news either.

This unfortunate police officer may not be the same Cirilo Lopez. 

As a guess, I'd say that "Police Officer Cirilo Lopez" is not the "Mr Big Cirilo Lopez" associated over 6 years ago with the Vancouver Island drug trade; but the name Cirilo Lopez is appearing for the first time in 6 years in today's news:

... Killed along with the mayor [of Democracia, Guatemala] were police officers Cirilo Lopez and Marco Tulio Lopez and a street vendor identified as Pascual Perez.

Citing witness accounts, Rudy Fuentes said the attack was mounted by a least a dozen people who arrived at the scene in a vehicle, fleeing afterward on foot in the direction of the nearby Mexican border ...

The news report is HERE.
From Latin American Herald Tribune
Caracas, Venezuela - Feb. 19, 2010.

Posting that information brought welcome suggestions from knowledgeable readers ... 

Hi, Mary

You asked

 "I can't find any trace of a Jan. 2009 murder outside Gotham Restaurant in Vancouver. Can you add a few more bits to the puzzle? "

This may help.

Ricardo Scarpino aka Richard Scarpino: Reputed bounty hunter, cocaine smuggler, killer-not one of Vancouver's nor Victoria's finest. Caught dead to rights for murder by LA Police, cocaine smuggling charges in Victoria dropped by Crown for undisclosed reasons, over the course of a career that left him dead on a Vancouver street, best I can determine he was convicted only of property theft.

Here's a brief summary (January 20, 2008) of his activities.

Scarpino was convicted in 1999 in Victoria of being the ringleader in
a cocaine importation scheme. [sic, all other reports I have found said those charges were dropped by the Crown.] He was previously involved in a shooting
death in 1993 when he was working as a bounty hunter in California,
but  convinced a court it was a matter of self-defence and was
sentenced to 27 months for firearms violations.

According to police and gang sources, Scarpino has also worked with a
variety of criminal groups, including prominent gangsters linked to
Ranjit Singh Cheema, who was recently extradited to the U.S. to face
trafficking charges.

Scarpino told Lower Mainland associates that he had New York Mafia

His brother told the Vancouver Sun the day after the shooting "Mario said no family members were at the restaurant for the engagement party and only learned about the shooting later in the evening."

The second target in the shooting was Gilles Andre LePage.  LePage, 38, had been living in West Vancouver with Scarpino, the other murder victim. LePage had no criminal record and was known to the police only through his association with Scarpino.

January 21, 2008

... Richard Scarpino, 37, and an unidentified man were shot dead Saturday night just moments after they arrived at the upscale Gotham Steakhouse & Cocktail Bar, where Scarpino was planning to attend his engagement party.

Scarpino, who was released from jail last week, was sentenced in 1998 for importing cocaine from Colombia. In 1993, at age 23, he also shot and killed a man in a Los Angeles mall.

Police are saying the dispute was over money and possibly drugs.
On Saturday, Scarpino and his fiancée pulled up outside Gotham in a black Land Rover with two friends. Moments later, gunmen raced across the street and began shooting. Scarpino and another man died. ...

In an interview, Scarpino's brother Mario told the CBC that his brother was trying to make a fresh start after getting out of the gang scene.

Interestingly in a listing of "Metro Vancouver slayings for 2008" by Kim Bolan, Vancouver Sun January 7, 2009, the name is listed as Ricardo Francis Scarpino.

Jan. 19: Ricardo Francis Scarpino and Gilles Andre Lepage are gunned down as they arrive in a black Land Rover at Gotham's Steakhouse downtown. Two armed men, laying in wait, walk up to the vehicle and shoot the pair. Afterwards, the suspects flee on foot and police later recover two guns.

Here's an item from December 1993 about a Richard F. Scarpino, aged 23. Could be the same guy, the age is right and the name seems it could be the same ( Ricardo Francis Scarpino or Richard F. Scarpino)

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office has decided not to file murder charges against a man who shot a dinner companion seven times at an upscale Redondo Beach mall last weekend, saying there is no evidence to disprove the man's claim that he fired in self-defense.

"It's frustrating that a person gets killed in front of all those other people and there's nothing we can do," said Monika Blodgett, chief deputy at the Torrance district attorney's office. "But our hands are tied."

The shooting on the patio of the Red Robin restaurant at the Galleria at South Bay on Saturday occurred just after 6 p.m., following an argument among three men who were having dinner.

According to police, one of the men, Richard F. Scarpino, 23, a Canadian citizen who had been living in Oregon, drew a handgun and started shooting his dinner companion, Aum Trammell, 24, of Long Beach. At least eight shots were fired as diners and shoppers screamed and ducked for cover.

Blodgett said an autopsy showed that Trammell was hit seven times in the head, chest and back. He died at South Bay Hospital in Redondo Beach shortly after the shooting.

Scarpino and another man at the table, Bradley Steven Kyllo, 23, of Vancouver, British Columbia, attempted to flee the scene but were quickly apprehended by Redondo Beach police. Both were carrying handguns and wearing bulletproof vests. Trammell also was carrying a .45-caliber handgun when he was shot, Redondo Beach Police Sgt. Rick Petersen said. ...

Blodgett said Scarpino and Kyllo are being held by U.S. immigration authorities pending deportation to Canada. It is unclear whether the men will face lesser charges in the case. Story is HERE.

A search on Ricardo Francis Scarpino will get you a bunch of results  including this one:


Mr. Scarpino was convicted and served time for heading up a huge cocaine smuggling ring based in Victoria in the late 1990s.

But the convictions were subsequently stayed several years later by the Crown for undisclosed reasons, and Mr. Scarpino was soon released.

In 1993, Mr. Scarpino killed a man in a busy Los Angeles restaurant, while acting as a bounty hunter. He was not charged with murder, however, because investigators could not disprove Mr. Scarpino's claim that he acted in self defence.

He had also served time for property theft.

Constable Fanning said the second victim, a 38-year West Vancouver resident described as a friend of Mr. Scarpino, was not known to police. His identity is being withheld, pending notification of next of kin.

The attack took place while Mr. Scarpino and three passengers were still inside his black 2007 Land Rover that had pulled up to the restaurant.

A pair of black-clad gunmen ran up and pumped numerous bullets at the victims, before dashing off down a nearby alley. Two handguns were found a block away.

Mr. Scarpino was killed right beside his fiancée, who had been sitting in the front seat of the Land Rover.

"She is very, very distraught, as you can imagine," said Constable Fanning. "It was an absolutely horrific thing to happen on what was supposed to have been a very joyous evening."

January 20, 2008

Gangster killed
Ricardo Scarpino, released from jail one week ago, was shot dead in
downtown Vancouver in front of his fiance

Kim Bolan
The Vancouver Sun
(Comments In Brackets [the poster's] Own.)


The Vancouver Sun has learned that Scarpino had only gotten out of
jail on Jan. 12 after a series of run-ins with the law going back 14 years on both sides of the border. His brother Mario said Sunday that the whole family is distraught at the news, especially given that
Scarpino was about to get married and start his life fresh.

"Supposedly they were going away next week to get married," he said. "I know that he was planning on getting into some sort of real estate."

Mario said no family members were at the restaurant for the engagement party and only learned about the shooting later in the evening.

"I was invited, but I wasn't [there] ... My mother phoned me," he said.  "And then I watched it on the news."

(His brother gets out of the pen and he doesn't go to a engagement
dinner at a well-known steakhouse.? Was he warned in some way to stay away? What kind of brother wouldn't go to a dinner at a nice restaurant with his new sister-in-law?)

He said he can't figure out why the gangland hit would come so quickly
after his brother's release from jail, where he had spent much of the last eight years.

(Why should they wait? Going to the Gotham Steak House where I have
seen HA ppl eat is a way of letting the gangsters of the city know you are still into it following your release from prison. Go to the Salmon House on the North Shore or Hy's  Black Angus if you are trying to stay out of the criminal underworld and make a fresh start.)

"I wonder and am asking myself how this could have happened. I mean
the police can't give him personal protection," Mario said. "You know
what, it could be an old score, I don't know. It could be a new score."

(Did he ask for protection? That isn't allowed if you're a gangster. No wonder they killed him in such a brazen fashion.)


The two had known each other for a couple of years, meeting while
Scarpino was incarcerated.

Author Ed Griffin taught Scarpino creative writing in Matsqui Institution several years ago. He was devastated when he learned of the murder.

"This is really tragic. This is a life gone down the tubes," said Griffin on Sunday. "I am sad that he is dead."

He said Scarpino was extremely intelligent and dynamic - a real leader who could have gone far in life.

"In that class, there were lots of ideas flowing around. He was a very
creative guy and quite a leader," Griffin said. "It is really sad to
me that the prison system failed him."


Slain man a great family man, niece says

When Amanda Schwab's baby son had cancer six years ago, her uncle - Ricardo Francis Scarpino - sent his prayers and love from prison.

"My son was three months old and he was stricken with cancer. My uncle still sent a nun to come and pay his regards to his nephew Austin and she ended up having 700 nuns praying for my son. And it worked," Schwab said today. "Even when he was in jail, he was here with us."

She said the clan is upset by the negative media coverage of Scarpino's gangland execution in front of an upscale Vancouver restaurant Saturday, with his close friend Gilles Andre LePage.


Police have described the 37-year-old as immersed in organized crime and freelancing his services to almost every major gang in B.C. He served time in prison for gun possession, robbery, unlawful confinement, and drug importation, though the final charge was stayed after he won an appeal of his original conviction.

But even law enforcement officers who knew Scarpino admit his charisma allowed him to talk his way out of almost any situation and to maintain international organized crime connections up to and including the Mafia.

"He never really brought it home," Schwab said of her uncle's criminal ties. "You have to remember that he was the victim here."

Asked what legitimate jobs Scarpino had held, the only one Schwab could remember was modelling.

"That's all that I know about," she said.

She said Scarpino, who was on his way to his own engagement party at Gotham Restaurant, was the happiest she had ever seen him. His shocked fiance is still reeling from watching him being gunned down as she sat beside him in his SUV.

The family is planning a funeral, Schwab said, though the details have not been finalized. In the meantime, as police try to identify two suspects who fled on foot, the family has been poring over old photos of good times, Schwab said.

"I just remember him being there every Christmas and all the special times. He was always devoted to his family," she said, recalling that he would always tell her to maintain strong connections to relatives.

"It is terrible and we are the ones that have to pick up the pieces somehow," Schwab said.

LePage, 38, was sitting behind Scarpino when he was also hit by the assassins. Vancouver police said Wednesday that he has no criminal record, and is known to them only as a Scarpino associate. The two men shared a rented British Properties mansion.


And, as if that isn't dramatic enough, our old friend and mentor, RossK from Pacific Gazette offers: 

Mary et al......

Try adding 'Romero' to the end of Senor Lopez' name. (U.S. Court of Appeals vs Cirilo Lopez Romero)

(note the basis of the charge and the date of the judgement re: 'The Opening' mentioned by Ms. Winteringham so long ago)

To Watcher above---

Are you suggesting that there is/was a connection between Mr. Lopez and one of the victims of the targetted shooting outside the Gotham Restaurant in early 2008, Ricardo Scarpino, who was, according to media reports at the time "well-known" to police and that he was involved in criminal activity?

And if you are saying there is such a connection what is the basis for that statement?



Thursday, February 18, 2010


Basi Virk: A trial that could well alter the course of provincial [and federal] political history.

Well, here's a bit of a mystery. Go HERE and you'll find a U.S.* real estate listing. But scroll down, down ... and there's a candid summary of what the BC Rail trial is all about. No kidding. Publication date unknown. Author unknown. From Blog Koshkonong Lake Realty WI, doing business from a Nanaimo, B.C. address. Re-pubished Feb. 18, 2010. Some excerpts:

... At the heart of the [Basi Virk Basi] defence case is a serious contention -- that the police and Crown have so screwed up their prosecution of the accused that a fair trial is impossible ...

If the trial goes forward, expect the $1 billion B.C. Rail privatization to be placed under more scrutiny than ever before, because it is central to everything about this case ...

And notwithstanding former B.C. Liberal finance minister Gary Collins's claim in March 2004 that the there was no concern by investigators about the B.C. Rail sale to CN Rail, in fact the police were literally all over it.

Just how much concern there was can be seen in the defence application, which details a major police surveillance operation focused on Collins himself when he dined with senior executives of OmniTRAX at Vancouver's posh Villa del Lupo restaurant on Dec. 12, 2003.

CN Rail had just been announced as the successful bidder for B.C. Rail on Nov. 25, and according to the defence document, the RCMP learned through intercepted communications that Collins was meeting with OmniTRAX executives Pat Broe and Dwight Johnson.

'Extensive video surveillance'

"The surveillance included undercover operatives both inside and outside the restaurant, and extensive video surveillance and tracking of the parties," the defence states.

It claims that on Nov. 17, 2003, the RCMP had "learned through a series of intercepted communications that Mr. Basi advised OmniTRAX that Minister Collins had authorized a consolation prize for OmniTRAX in exchange for them staying in the bidding process."

The defence will argue that Basi and Virk were merely following ministerial orders from Collins, not acting in their own benefit by leaking confidential government information to a lobby firm representing OmniTRAX.

The defence applications spells this out clearly: "The defence takes the position that at no time did Mr. Basi or Mr. Virk act in a fraudulent, deceitful or criminal manner, but rather acted at all times under the direction of their superiors in the highly political circumstances of their offices."

'Fraught with political controversy'

The defence also spells out just what kind of importance the B.C. Rail privatization had to the B.C. Liberal government.
CP Rail had already dropped out of the bidding, saying privately to government that it believed CN Rail was the predetermined winner of the bidding. A letter to that effect stated that a "clear breach" of fairness had occurred when other bidders obtained confidential government information about B.C. Rail.

"It was clearly in the provincial government's political interest to have an auction with more than one bidder," the defence application states. It later continues that:

"The decision by the Liberal government to sell B.C. Rail was fraught with political controversy, largely because it was in direct contravention of a previous election promise not to sell B.C. Rail. The Liberal government had recently suffered serious losses of political capital due to their decisions surrounding other major projects, including the Coquihalla Highway project."

"The B.C. Rail bidding process therefore had to be handled with the utmost political care, given this sensitive political climate," it concludes.

Who will testify?

"Sensitive" is a good word to describe much of the evidence slated to be heard in this trial. For example, will former finance minister Gary Collins be called to testify against his own former ministerial assistant David Basi?

Entirely possible and totally impossible for the defence to actually know, because they also allege that: "From the outset of this case, defence counsel has repeatedly sought a list of witness the Crown intends to call at the trial of this matter." That list is among the requests the defence is asking Justice Bennett to order the Crown to provide.

The defence is also frustrated that it has limited information about "an interview with a member of the public who provided the RCMP with his opinion of two witnesses on the condition of anonymity."

"The special prosecutor and RCMP have refused to provide this statement, advising that its disclosure would breach the third party rights of this individual and the two witnesses," the defence states.

What is alleged

Again, a reminder is in order that these are only allegations not proven in court. Among the more stunning allegations made by the defence are these:
In a nutshell, a bombshell

In a nutshell, the defence has alleged that there was an internal political decision by the B.C. Liberal government to "fix" a $1 billion dollar deal and pay off the losing firm with another deal worth up to $100 million. And it seeks internal RCMP and government information on whether the B.C. Rail deal should have been rescinded.

It also alleges that a key RCMP investigator was related by marriage to the top staff person of the B.C. Liberal Party and that confidential information about the immunity granted to the Crown's key witness was leaked to that staff person.
The defence also alleges the special prosecutor gave beneficial treatment to two provincial lobbyists who are to be Crown witnesses, so they could continue their lucrative business. And that one of those witnesses still faces potential criminal charges.

More shockers?

Believe it or not, this lengthy compendium does not even cover all of the allegations made in the defence disclosure application -- not even close. I have deliberately left out many of the allegations that have been previously reported in The Tyee and other media outlets for reason of space and complexity.

Suffice it to say that if the Basi, Virk, Basi trial does go ahead as planned, there will be more bombshells than on a bad day in Iraq.

And if the case is somehow derailed by defence motions, well, British Columbia will have been deprived of the most fascinating trial in decades, a trial that could well alter the course of provincial political history.

[Author unknown.]


Skookum1 comment:

Leah, I'd think the interest by realty people has to do with the stability and security of real estate investments in British Columbia, and how they would be affected by a major political case related to government assets and the disposition of public lands. Much the same as the security being sought on land title and resource access re the First Nations. 

If anything this seems like sympathetic interest, even if it is only a re-posting of Tieleman. Americans are interested in this, and those who have invested in British Columbia, or are considering doing so, have a vested interested in the credibility and reliability of British Columbia's government. Which apparently has redefined the term "the rule of law". 

If anything like this had gone on in a US state - and it couldn't, because police, D.A.s and the executive and legislative branches are all watching each other, and similar competition applies in the media - the governor and cabinet would have been raked over the coals, and probably ejected from office, or forced out, long, long ago.....

I've said it before and I'll say it again - it's when the eyes and intelligence of the American, UK and European press and others around the world start to speak about the stink coming out of the BC government, and the Canadian political system as a whole, that we will ever see decent coverage by the Canadian media, or any kind of real political change. 

The bubble has to be broken; that this article is circulating in the US investment community is a very good thing. Our media, and our politicians and police, may not be taking this too seriously; that doesn't mean everyone else will be so blase. And because of the involvement of American capital and corporations, this article should be circulated at the Securities & Exchange Commission...

It would also be a good thing if this were made into a pamphlet and somebody spent some time nailing anyone with a media badge with a copy of it, especially around the entrance to the Olympic Media Centre. Add in other elements of the dirty sale, like the $1 land deal and the story about the Premier's "assistant" and somebody's gonna bite - whether it's The Economist or Pravda it doesn't matter; it'll force it into headlines here at home.....

This is one of the best summaries I've seen so far; very clear, in plain language, and very "indictful"......
plenty of US realtors belong to the Democratic Party, also...


*Kootcoot comment:


The domain of that blog (with the Bill T story and real estate stuff) is registered to an owner in Russia - one search tells me it is Poldask another that it is in Irkutsk....definitely Russia. weird.........

of the House of Infamy


Jim S. comment:

Alexa gives this Minsk, Belarus address as the contact info for

Smirnov Denis Antonovich
Mashinostroitelei, 25-65
Minsk, Minskayav Oblasts(be) 220134

Curiouser and curiouser

Jim S.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Basi Virk: When Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett, as a new QC, needed a silk robe ...

Vancouver tailor had the legal market all sewn up 

Tony Zeilinger, a fourth-generation Austrian-born clothier, outfitted lawyers and judges for decades

Tom Hawthorn
The Globe and Mail -
Tony Zeilinger faced more judges than even the most recalcitrant of scofflaws. Pins between his teeth, a measuring tape draped regally around his neck, chalk and scissors at hand, the master tailor outfitted the cream of British Columbia's legal community.

His Matz-Wozny Custom Tailors, on the ground floor of a downtown Vancouver office block, was crowded with objects from his trade. Stacks of sample books teetered precariously. Bolts of cloth loomed over a snug fitting area.

At lunchtime, lawyers and judges from the law courts across Hornby Street shoehorned into the tiny shop to be fitted in the finest British woolens and the best Canadian polyesters.

The Austrian-born clothes maker, who died of heart failure on Feb. 3 in Vancouver, operated his shop with good humour, his wisecracks bringing a smile to the sternest jurist while putting at ease nervous customers only recently called to the bar.

He provided tabs, shirts, skirts and waistcoats, as well as robes, the cut and style of which seemed unchanged through the centuries.

The proprietor was aware many citizens did not share his opinion of his customers. “I'm the only guy around,” he once said, “who wants more lawyers.”

The tailor considered his humble outpost part of a centuries-old tradition launched by such esteemed firms as Ede & Ravenscroft, founded in London in 1689, which created robes for the coronation of King William III and his wife Queen Mary II.

While a paragon of discretion, Mr. Zeilinger took pride in having outfitted the Speaker of the B.C. Legislature for more than four decades. Robes were also made for Supreme Court justices in Ottawa.

He could often admire his handiwork on the national news, as one of his deluxe robes was favoured by Vancouver South member of Parliament John Fraser, who served as Speaker of the House of Commons for eight years.

At the time, in early 1992, the tailor's robes cost from $415 for a modest wool blend to $1,600 for Ottoman ribbed silk. A Zeilinger innovation involved extending a judge's vent in the seat, eliminating those undignified moments on the bench when m'lord squirmed to be freed of a trap of his own unintentional construction ...

{Snip} ...

A lucrative and happy trade involved the preparation of “silks” every year for those lawyers named Queen's Counsel. Tradition demanded these honoured lawyers replace their wool robes with elegant ones of hand-cut silk.

In 1994, Elizabeth Bennett earned the coveted QC designation, though she would be a rare Vancouver lawyer not to call on Mr. Zeilinger's services, she told the Vancouver Sun's Larry Still. She intended to use the silk inherited from her late father, a piece of clothing with which she was familiar, as he had allowed her to wear it as a child when she wished to canvass for candies on Halloween as Dracula.

Last year, Madam Justice Bennett was appointed to the B.C. Court of Appeal while presiding over the political corruption case involving the sale of B.C. Rail.

The shop also became a favourite for visiting actors and rock stars, many of whom stayed at nearby downtown hotels. Among the clients served by the tailor were Bob Hope, Tom Selleck, and Gene Simmons of the band Kiss.

{Snip} ... 


Sunday, February 14, 2010


BCRail: Twilight of the sociopaths

From Salt Spring News

All hierarchies have inevitably become top-heavy with psychopaths

I have often recommended Salt Spring News (online) for its depth of investigation into vital issues which impact upon us as humans, as a nation, or in the global context. Today's Salt Spring News can help us understand the global phenomenon  allegedly represented in Colonel Russell Williams, commander of Canada's  largest air base, the man arrested on charges of murdering women. 

In my view, this kind of fearless investigation may also help us to confront the baffling events which have brought the Province of British Columbia down to the status of a pawn in a high-stakes poker game, where citizens are tenants in their own rich land, where baffling events keep adversely affecting our future -- as if there's no cohesion between the people and their government.

We were told to rejoice when our vitally important railway -- 3rd largest railway in Canada -- was sold for $1Billion which, at the moment, we can now see is the amount being spent merely for policing the 17 days of the Olympics. 

The Speech from the Throne in one line  told us on Feb. 9 that, while these Games and this policing are going on, the premier will be trying to stuff BC Rail, with properties worth Billions, under the mattress in the Ministry of Transportation -- the very Ministry which botched the BCR-CN deal in the first place.  Without consultation. And with a crazy story about doing it to save money. Throwing away an enormous treasure to save money! Is this insane? 

Again and again, we hear it:  Is this insane? You be the judge. Go HERE for the full presentation. I have excerpted only this segment:

Twilight of the Psychopaths

by Dr Kevin Barrett

 In On Killing, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman has re-written military history, to highlight what other histories hide: The fact that military science is less about strategy and technology, than about overcoming the instinctive human reluctance to kill members of our own species. The true “Revolution in Military Affairs” was not Donald Rumsfeld’s move to high-tech in 2001, but Brigadier Gen. S.L.A. Marshall’s discovery in the 1940s that only 15-20% of World War II soldiers along the line of fire would use their weapons: “Those (80-85%) who did not fire did not run or hide (in many cases they were willing to risk great danger to rescue comrades, get ammunition, or run messages), but they simply would not fire their weapons at the enemy, even when faced with repeated waves of banzai charges” (Grossman, p. 4). Marshall’s discovery and subsequent research, proved that in all previous wars, a tiny minority of soldiers — the 5% who are natural-born psychopaths, and perhaps a few temporarily-insane imitators—did almost all the killing. Normal men just went through the motions and, if at all possible, refused to take the life of an enemy soldier, even if that meant giving up their own. The implication: Wars are ritualized mass murders by psychopaths of non-psychopaths. (This cannot be good for humanity’s genetic endowment!) ...

Behind the apparent insanity of contemporary history, is the actual insanity of psychopaths fighting to preserve their disproportionate power. And as that power grows ever-more-threatened, the psychopaths grow ever-more-desperate. We are witnessing the apotheosis of the overworld—the criminal syndicate or overlapping set of syndicates that lurks above ordinary society and law just as the underworld lurks below it. In 9/11 and the 9/11 wars, we are seeing the final desperate power-grab or “endgame” (Alex Jones) of brutal, cunning gangs of CIA drug-runners and President-killers; money-laundering international bankers and their hit-men, economic and otherwise; corrupt military contractors and gung-ho generals; corporate predators and their political enablers; brainwashers and mind-rapists euphemistically known as psy-ops experts and PR specialists—in short, the whole sick crew of certifiable psychopaths running our so-called civilization. And they are running scared. It was their terror of losing control that they projected onto the rest of us by blowing up the Twin Towers and inciting temporary psychopathic terror-rage in the American public. Why does the pathocracy fear it is losing control? Because it is threatened by the spread of knowledge. The greatest fear of any psychopath is of being found out. ... Psychopaths go through life knowing that they are completely different from other people. They quickly learn to hide their lack of empathy, while carefully studying others’ emotions so as to mimic normalcy while cold-bloodedly manipulating the normals.

Today, thanks to new information technologies, we are on the brink of unmasking the psychopaths and building a civilization of, by and for the normal human being — a civilization without war, a civilization based on truth, a civilization in which the saintly few rather than the diabolical few would gravitate to positions of power. We already have the knowledge necessary to diagnose psychopathic personalities and keep them out of power. We have the knowledge necessary to dismantle the institutions in which psychopaths especially flourish — militaries, intelligence agencies, large corporations, and secret societies. We simply need to disseminate this knowledge, and the will to use it, as widely as possible. Above all, we need to inform the public about how psychopaths co-opt and corrupt normal human beings. One way they do this, is by manipulating shame and denial — emotions foreign to psychopaths but common and easily-induced among normals ...

What I'm suggesting here is that Beautiful British Columbia is in the grip of something which most of us don't understand. But it's something we do recognize. Well, that's Step #1: recognize the problem.  Discouraging though it is, coming face to face with the core problem,  it's a whole lot better than trying to agree that everything is OK ... that "There's nothin' to see here, folks ... just keep movin' along, thank you."


Friday, February 12, 2010


Oh. And about those worthless BC Rail holdings ...

 If you click on the North Van camera you will be able to see what's left of the BC Rail Yard. It will be on your right in the picture. The marina is Mosquito Creek Marina. The old yard starts just past it and goes for about 3 miles.

Click HERE for the map ...

Special thanks to Gary E. for providing this information, proving once again that one picture is worth 1,000 words. 
This photo  certainly proves that BC Rail lands are unique and priceless. Surely any citizen, shown the facts, would understand that BCRail should therefore be held and protected as a Crown Corporation ... not stuffed under a mattress at the BC Ministry of Transportation where the BCRail-CN semi-secret deal was tainted and hatched in the first place. 

Gordo at very least must hold his fire until the BC Rail trial is heard, starting May 3, 2010.  After all, it is "before the courts".

See Laila Yuile for recommended reading on current corruption within the BC Ministry of Transportation: 

How often does the Supreme court note how unethical the behavior of the Ministry of Transportation is?

History here:


Today's ruling, and statement from former Chairman, Here :




You will love this item from Port Townsend, Washington State.

The photos, the maps, the text.

Go HERE ...



BC Rail to shed Crown corporation status

CBC - Feb. 11, 2010

plus 45 other articles about BCRail.


Comment from Mike Cleven:

Here's a thought: seeing the CPR Olympics ads (and noting that's the Kamloops Lake or Shuswap Lake shoreline in one shot, despite vague similarities to Howe Sound...), could it be that any thought of high-speeding Euro-style passenger service to Whistler for the Games was shelved long ago, because it was known that CP would be the Olympics sponsor and not the BC government's political partner?

Why would CN invest in passenger rail infrastructure for a Games it was not involved with?

Even the Rocky Mountaineer's expensive to-the-Games service seems like an afterthought to compensate for what to a European must seem like a glaring omission of design.....high-speed rail to Whistler for an eventual Olympics was mentioned all the way back in 1976, and has been bandied about in years since; but in all the years of Liberal-supervised planning for this event there was no mention of it at all.

In Socred days the animosity of the many car dealers in that regime made anti-rail politics understandable; but in the BC Liberals case (stocked with lawyers and realtors as they are) it's less understandable; until you factor in the Olympics sponsorship going to the company who openly criticized the BC government's rigged bidding process.

All railways, in North America at any rate, would rather run freight only, but in light of all the hoo-hah about high speed rail the most obvious connection in our region (Eugene-Whistler as outliers of Portland-Vancouver, with or without being part of the Cascadia MagLev) it just seems odd, or rather it seems that some kind of CN-related backdoor reason was why there was no effort at all to come up with Olympic rail service at a European (or Japanese...) standard.....

it's not like the technology, or the money, isn't there.....


Comment from Kootcoot:

Rail service to Whistler would make sense for much more than just the Olympics. How much more enjoyable it would be to spend a day skiing at Whistler-Blackcomb, have a hot tottie and maybe a meal apres-ski at the resort and then tuck into a railcar to return to North Van rather than belting up for a go at the Sea to Die (with even faster speeds attainable).

However as to speculating on motive for these guys to neglect developing the BC Rail corridor - how about all the real estate opportunities for speculative opportunists (a la Gordo the Real Estate Profiteer) opened up by rail line abandonment (i.e. Britannia Bay, the North Van yards and hundreds or thousand more parcels spread from the Lower Vainland to the (not so)Peace(ful) Region of North East BC.

 Comment from Mike Cleven:

That's exactly the point, koot. Not just at Whistler but everywhere along the line passenger rail would enhance property value and encourage development; that's the whole point of urban/suburban transit systems, in fact (which is why all the big developments along the Expo and Millennium Lines). The new Nita Lake Lodge even bills itself as having on its premises the Whistler train station (it's built atop an older railway lodge, the 1904 Jordan Lodge which as you can tell by that date pre-dated the PGE...I know because I lived in it....)

The lack of imagination about the use of passenger rail for urban/exurban expansion in BC is rather mind-boggling....though I remember a front-page feature back in the '80s which had this map of high-speed lines running up the side valleys of the Lower Mainland (Pitt, Stave etc) as well as up the inlets of the Sunshine Coast, all with condo/housing developments branching up and down the mountains, apparently using funiculars or other vertical transportation systems from the rail stations.....

Brittannia, Furry Creek, Squamish/Brackendale - all would make viable "rail suburbs", and with first-class cars like they have in Europe you could even cater to the snob class (as they do successfully throughout Europe; nobody drives to St. Moritz, for example....).

Commuter rail would also have its uses around Prince George, among other northern centres where rail-spurred residential growth would make a lot more sense than building places that need cars to get to (as with Greater Quesnel). Ditto around Kamloops and the Central Okanagan/Greater Kelowna. We have to stop building cities with the automobile as the core system; it's time to change, and you'd think given the European and Asian experience our "world class" politicians and planners would have thought of this, and applied it, a long time ago....