Thursday, March 11, 2010
BC Rail: precious moments to remember
As the trial date of May 3, 2010 approaches, there's no media report as electrifying as the debates which erupted on the floor of the BC Legislature following the unprecedented police raids on offices in the Ministries of Finance and Transportation. Gary Collins (sometimes known as Gary Farrell-Collins) was Minister of Finance at that time, representing a 77-member government being held to account by the relentless inquiries of the Leader of the 2-person Opposition. This is not a movie script, this was the stark reality of the time ... recorded forever in the official Hansard Record of Debates for the afternoon of March 3, 2004. Here's a tiny bit:
... J. MacPhail: I'm actually quite taken aback. Is there no Treasury Board decision minute on the B.C. Rail deal?
Hon. G. Collins [Minister of Finance]: We'll try and determine that for the member. I'm not aware of one.
J. MacPhail: It didn't go to cabinet for final approval before the big frou-frou public announcement by the Premier. The cabinet meeting occurred — because I went through these Hansard debates yesterday — before CP Rail made its accusations of unfairness on the bid. The minister doesn't know if there was a Treasury Board minute. Where is the decision point on this deal, and when was it?
Hon. G. Collins: I've described the process to the best of my knowledge, as well as the role of Treasury Board and the staff that might have been in the Ministry of Finance. I know the member had that discussion with the Minister of Transportation in the fall. If she wants to pursue that discussion further, she should take it up with the Minister of Transportation in his estimates.
J. MacPhail: No, no. That's not my question. Where is the decision to spend money? Where is that decision point?
Hon. G. Collins: We're actually making a billion dollars on this transaction.
J. MacPhail: No. Oh, honestly. What a ridiculous statement for the minister to make. What an absolutely ridiculous statement. Is it on that basis that he decided not to take it to Treasury Board then — because he can't remember? Isn't it funny? A billion dollars either making or spending, and he can't remember where the decision point was.
Can we just take a pause here, and then the minister can consult with his deputy minister? Is the deputy minister still secretary to the Treasury Board?
For all of that afternoon's proceedings, click HERE. Highly recommended.
The link here doesn't work, unfortunately.
Yes, we could certainly put Joh MacPhail to work,
if she would agree. But I've wondered about that: why do the old soldiers simply march off into the sunset like that?
We could use a couple of dozen like MacPhail.
Btw, I don't know what's up with Google -- they can usually handle big links.
But no matter, you can access that afternoon's record of Hansard by pasting the URL I provided into your browser.
I understand that Joy has kept her home in Vancouver, though.
And she did occasionally appear on CTV's weekly political panel - always lively and intelligent.
But so far as I know, she has never participated in BC politics, right?
And who better to confront and put the boots to those Dark Forces within the New Democrats that we hear so much about?
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