Friday, March 12, 2010
BC Rail: were the Legislative precincts "directly implicated in the commission of a crime" before the police are allowed in?
DEBATES OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
MONDAY, MARCH 1, 2004
Volume 21, Number 2
Introductions by Members 8891
Introduction and First Reading of Bills 8891
Education Statutes Amendment Act, 2004 (Bill 12)
Hon. T. Christensen
Statements (Standing Order 25B) 8892
Business costs in Canada
Opening of Victoria Sobering and Assessment Centre
Black History Month and African immigration
Oral Questions 8893
Emergency physician staffing levels at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital
Hon. C. Hansen
Police access to Legislature for search of Finance ministry office
Hon. G. Plant
Impact of contracting-out of hospital services
Hon. C. Hansen
Mining task force report
Hon. P. Bell
Tendering of contracts for assisted-living units
Hon. M. Coell
Committee of the Whole House 8895
Ministerial Accountability Bases Act, 2003-2004 (Bill 10)
Hon. G. Collins
Report and Third Reading of Bills Ministerial Accountability Bases Act, 2003-2004 (Bill 10)
Throne Speech Debate (continued)
POLICE ACCESS TO LEGISLATURE FOR
SEARCH OF FINANCE MINISTRY OFFICE
J. MacPhail [Leader of the Opposition]: Mr. Speaker, I ended last week questioning the Finance minister about his mentoring of the next generation of young Liberals. Today I'd like to focus on the recent raids on his offices, which media reports say involve young Liberals, marijuana, organized crime and wiretaps.
The Solicitor General involved himself in those raids. We know that he consulted with you at least once, Mr. Speaker, prior to the raids. I assume he did so because this place has certain privileges.
Maingot, an authority on parliamentary practice, has carefully written on those privileges. This House has exclusive authority over the affairs within the precinct. Maingot says, for example: "Police may not lawfully intercept private communications within the precincts without the permission of the House."
Will the Solicitor General please advise this House what standard he used to decide whether it was appropriate for the police to enter into the precincts? Will he also tell us today what argument he brought forward to the Speaker to allow the police access to the precincts on this matter?
Well, I'm not quite sure why the Solicitor General won't stand up and answer the question. He was more than forthcoming in the media at the time of the raids.
I assume now the Solicitor General doesn't want to be too closely associated with the news on this raid. He has had advice to distance himself, I assume. But he did insert himself early on. He admits that he spoke to the Speaker. He spoke to the media. He admitted that he briefed the Premier and Martyn Brown. Clearly, he knows more than he is prepared to admit here today.
We have a right to expect that the Solicitor General and the Speaker didn't allow the police to raid the Finance minister's office on what Maingot cites as "fishing trips." They're specifically precluded in the Legislature. Indeed, partially based upon direct evidence of Mr. Maingot, a 1980 report on wiretapping in this precinct concluded that there must be evidence that the conduct in the precincts is "directly implicated in the commission of a crime" before the police are allowed in.
Will the Solicitor General please confirm for this House that evidence that someone was directly involved in criminal activity was the test he used to justify allowing a police raid on the Finance minister's office? If he didn't use the standard test, what test did he use to allow the police in the Finance minister's office?
Hon. G. Plant [Attorney General]: My understanding is that the police were executing a search warrant. The matter of the search warrant is before the courts, and we'll let the courts decide.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Order, please.
[And moving right along like scalded cats, the 77-member government turned its attention to other matters ...
[I couldn't stop reading -- on this same URL -- the cut-and-thrust dialogue between the Minister of Finance (poor Gary Collins) who later on the same day got into deep water with the Leader of the 2-person Opposition while debating his new legislation, the Ministerial Accountability Bases Act 2003-2004. It must have been electrifying to watch. It's impressive how well-prepared Joy MacPhail was, and her ability to assemble, recall, and retain the facts and figures necessary for this level of debate. She was star quality. Still is, I bet. - BC Mary.]
The Dec. 16, 2003 "special" one day recall of the legislature (after everyone had long departed and said their Christmas holiday good-byes on Dec. 2) is also interesting. Not only did the BCLiberal government not mention at that time that a Special Prosecutor had been appointed but it also makes one wonder why the legislature was recalled at such big expense when the holidays lay just ahead...and when according to the revealing debate between Joy MacPhail and Graham Bruce neither employer or employees had asked for an intervention:
MacPhail: "We're in an emergency session of the Legislature. I know the minister doesn't care about what that means, either the abuse of it or the expense, but we're in the middle of an emergency session of the Legislature. We've all been recalled because of the absolute urgency of this legislation, according to the government, and the government has no idea of the effect this is going to have negatively or positively. That's what the minister just admitted. He has no idea what mills are going back to work or when. He has no commitment from the employer — none. There's nothing in the legislation to enforce the employer putting people back to work......
Did the minister not get any commitment from the employer whatsoever on this? Why are we here on December 16 with such great urgency if the minister doesn't even know what mills are going back to work? What is the urgency here if he can't even tell us the effect of this legislation?"
Then in a Victoria Times Colonist article by Jeff Rudd, published on Dec. 31, 2003, just a few days after the raid, Paul Nettleton, clearly on the outside of the BCLiberal party by that time is quoted in the article as saying:
"However, I guess what makes this case somewhat more interesting and what distinguishes it from an ordinary criminal proceeding and investigation is the fact that it has to be looked at within the context in conducting the business of the province,'' he said. "The dynamics are different.
"Certainly some of the conversations I've had in recent weeks with members inside caucus suggest to me that, in fact, this is the beginning of the end of the Campbell administration,'' Nettleton said.
"And I believe we will see it unravel over the course of the next few weeks and months.''
Just days after the raid he is saying:
" some of the conversations I've had 'in recent weeks" with members inside caucus suggest to me that, in fact, this is the beginning of the end of the Campbell administration"
So this seems to suggest that even those on the "outside" knew something disastrous was up weeks before the raid happened, something that was "the beginning of the end" for the Campbell government,
So if those on the outside were discussing "the beginning of the end", predicting an "unravelling" weeks before the raid, what did those on the "inside" know... and when did they know it?
Premier Gordon Campbell lists off seven select standing committees.....
MLA Joy MacPhail rises in support of the Premiers list and then adds an eighth as an amendment ...."Attorney General-Solicitor General Joint Committee".
On the amendment:
J. MacPhail: I move that the select standing committees of this House for the present session be appointed for the following purposes…. In addition to the seven that the Premier has just appointed, add an eighth: Attorney General–Solicitor General joint committee.
At certain times in the life of our province, issues of grave concern arise that demand the immediate attention of legislators, that demand strong leadership, that demand strong action. These issues rise above the daily partisan battles that we wage here in the Legislature. They are fundamental to the maintenance of a free, open and democratic society.
The spread of organized crime in British Columbia is just such an issue. Recently, every British Columbian watched as members of the RCMP organized crime and drug units descended on this building, carrying away boxes of evidence from the offices of senior political staff. Although we know little about what led to these raids on our most important democratic institution, we listened carefully to the words of RCMP Sgt. John Ward, who described the spread of organized crime as "a cancer eating away at the moral fabric of our society."
"There will always be a need for public scrutiny of this government's activities on this matter. Just last week the Solicitor General announced integrating the Organized Crime Agency with the RCMP, but integrating with the RCMP means there will no longer be a service plan forthcoming from the agency responsible for organized crime in this province. Therefore, unless we have this legislative standing committee, there will be no legislative scrutiny because of that action of the Organized Crime Agency. It will be through a standing committee such as this that information regarding the adequacy of funding and resources for organized crime fighters will be found.
We cannot hide from this issue. We cannot ignore it and hope that it just goes away. Now is the time to match rhetoric with action and to get serious about our collective responsibility to tackle a mounting, dangerous problem that affects us all. I strongly encourage and hope that every member of this House will support this motion."
YEAS — 3
Subtext: "and we know we're all involved"....
Self conciousness/guilt/fear can be a beyatch!
Nettleton, Kwan and MacPhail - a trio of integrity - hopelessly trying to stand up to a tsunami of criminality!
The same could be said to be true about Liberal MLAs.....they don't want to really investigate organized crime because they know whose money it is that helped get them elected. Smart criminals not only pay their taxes; they also pay off politicians like everyone else in big business.