Thursday, March 25, 2010


BC Rail: CP Rail's bid was "a couple of hundred million" dollars more than CN's bid ... and yet ...

There are two surprises in an old email message dated April 21, 2004 addressed to on the subject of the sale of BC Rail. 

Source: the voluminous transcripts from the Basi, Virk, Basi pre-trial hearings  obtained by the Opposition. 

Dear Hon. Gordon Campbell,

I would like to express my concern for the future of BC Rail and the decision of your government to hand over our railway to the private sector.

The sale of BC Rail continues to be an issue of deep concern for people and communities throughout BC. In light of recent events, these concerns have only grown in magnitude.

These concerns include:  {Snip} ...

The charge by one of the unsuccessful bidders, CP Rail, that the bidding process was flawed, that "there's been a clear breach of 'general process fairness'. (Citizen, Nov. 20) and that the successful bidder received preferential treatment

The claim that CP Rail's bid was "a couple of hundred million" dollars more than CNs bid (Canadian Press, Dec. 28, 2003), yet CN was the successful bidder, 

The news that Canadian officials have been meeting with Alaska representatives about a rail link from Alaska to [illegible]  48 states (possibly using the current BC Rail line). Such a link could bring in tremendous revenues to whosoever has control of BC Rail. Yet, in its push to sell the railway, the provincial government never brought these discussions to light.
The printed material is difficult to follow,   for example, the signature of the letter-writer (above) isn't visibe;  but the information is useful. 

This is a related item from an Opposition press release: 

" in addition, the leaked section of the agreement allow -- after just five years -- for the sale of public land under rail lines to CN for one dollar. These lands include very valuable waterfront properties between North Vancouver and Squamish. 

"This goes way beyond what Mr Campbell led the people of British Columbia to believe," said Carole James [Leader of the Opposition]. "The sale must be stopped now, and the full details of the agreement must be made public so that British Columbians can see the true extent of Mr Campbell's sell-off of a profitable public asset to a major BC Liberal campaign donor ... 

"The Opposition has sought details of this agreement through Freedom of Information (F.O.I.) requests, only to be repeatedly stonewalled by government officials ... it's now obvious why the government tried to hide this from the public. The Liberals have botched this issue from Day One, when the premier promised he would not sell or privatize BC Rail ... 

Source: Premier's Office - Correspondence Tracking, May 8, 2004


He was obviously doing exactly as he was ordered to do - and he still is. But by whom?
I hope BVB's lawyers have the sense to have lined up reps from CP, Ferroequus and BNSF to stand as witnesses.....
"The claim that CP Rail's bid was "a couple of hundred million" dollars more than CNs bid (Canadian Press, Dec. 28, 2003), yet CN was the successful bidder, "

Could this have anything to do with the fact that as far as I know the CEO of CP Rail (not headquartered in Texas) wasn't a Point Grey neighbor and crony of the soon to be recalled (come November) dis-honourable member from Point Grey?
Just curious - did CP's bid include the 400-750 million in tax indemnities that CN's did?

I think the original estimate of the tax savings was actually much less than that - there should be a G&M story from the Business section dealing with the amounts at the time of the sale somewhere.

The possible tax liability which the province might eventually become liable for is, by now, much larger and that's where, I think, the bigger number comes from.

Mary can correct me but I think there is a note in the current blue book of government finances that specifies how large the conditional liability is now.

If, for some reason, Revenue Canada should disallow the initial tax savings (through consolidation of the companies) and force CN to restate their subsequent earnings for tax purposes I believe the agreement allows CN to come back on the province.....
Mary...It is true...But Gordon Campbell(IMO) made a deal with David Mclean in 1994...

David Mclean donated a kings ransom to Gordon Campbell 1996 provincial campaign...David Mclean had been the link in other rail privatization schemes,of course Gordon Campbell lost to 1996 campaign(Remember in 1996 Campbell said he would sell BC Rail)..He lost..So in 2001 Gordon Campbell lied about his intentions of selling BC Rail...

But,Mary,when Campbell won...He still owed David Mclean a railway..Hence to deal! Have a look at David Mclean.

There is the deal maker.

by allows CN to come back on the province..... you mean that the province has guaranteed the indemnity if Revenue Canada disallows it? Boy, is that ever proof that the Liberals are good at business huh? "Good for business", yes, but.....not for the people's business....

It reminds me of the other clause exempting them from any lawsuits or other legal actions should anyone try to take the contract and its terms on....I still think that's utterly illegal...but that's just another thing the E Division Corporate Crimes folks aren't even interested in looking at huh?
BC Rail made it into Hansard today, Thursday. Bond was trying to justify the salaries of four guys and a committee that has cost BC tax payers over 10 millio bucks . Not bad for a outfit with no trains, engines, steam of the cartoon tank engine. She babbled about how thosew guys brought in way over a billion dollars for BC. Hard to believe and nobody but the trained seals on the Liberal side of the house were pleased
if thats true, that the bid was a couple hundred million more, than the agrument that the accused is advancing that they were providing into as per their bosses wishes to keep the bidding processing going, to provide competition, has to be false.

The fix appears to be in, and no amount of insider info would matter.

If thats what you are suggesting that is.

There is no other possible interpretation - CN gets the tax savings or BC gets the BILL.

It was, and is, a sweetheart deal for CN - and, given the fact they've actually reneged on many of the undertakings (new rolling stock etc) that they were meant to purchase - I think you could even say they 'stole' our railway.
G West,

Did you notice Shirley's passing reference to "600 boxcars" in yesterday's infuriating non-informational obfuscation loosely referred to as a Debate on this issue in the Legislature?
They have no shame. Campbell's playing silly buggers in Vancouver today with an annoucement of a new 'destination' casino development for the lands around BC Place.

Bond is, simply, the stupidest of a very dumb lot
Another casino?? It was not so long ago that gambling was top of the list for the morality squad in this province. I don't suppose Campbell is getting a sundeck built for this, is he?

And when gambling was legalized, weren't its revenues supposed to go to sports, culture, health?

And re David McLean, what struck me as really odd about this was the attempt a few years ago to strip BC's film industry of its tax incentives....which, among others, would have driven Vancouver Film Studios, one of McLean's holdings, out of business....I never understood how that even got considered in the first place, considering his influence over Campbell.....maybe all the lobbing efforts of the film unions and film companies meant nothing when the decision to keep those incentives was made...maybe it was just one phone call from David McLean.....

And I'm curious....sort of a side issue. But is that the same McLean family as of the first Vancouver mayor? The one who beat out Oppenheimer by hiring thugs to drive Chinese voters, who were Oppenheimer supporters, from the polling place?
Skook, you sure be awesome on your grasp of history!
Another note about that McLean, koot, is that he represented the freshly-arrived Ontarian carpetbagger element in the new city; the Oppenheimers were veterans of the Fraser and Cariboo gold rushes and represented the BC element; Oppenheimer's support among the Chinese partly results from that, i.e. his own merchant connections with Chinese merchants involved in the same gold rushes. McLean was "barely off the train", whereas the Oppenheimers had been in BC for over twenty years.

Not that any of that matters today; but it's a reminder that "outside" politicians from Central Canada have often meddled in BC's politics, to nobody's benefit but their own. Another one is Sir John A., who double-crossed Victoria after getting their support to get back into Parliament (as he was unelectable in Central Canada; Victoria thought by electing him the Seymour Narrows/Bute Inlet route would be used for the CPR, and that they would be the railhead).
Last month, the province announced it would wind down the Crown corporation and hand over the remaining assets and duties to Ms. Bond's ministry. Those tasks include overseeing lease agreements, disposing of remaining land assets and “facilitating" the B.C. Ports Strategy.
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