Monday, April 19, 2010


Racism. Gordon Campbell's BC Rail Scandal

By Robin Mathews

The ‘No No’ word in the BC Rail Scandal – Racism - has to be looked at. It must be, because it is so totally rejected by “important” people.  [The “Scandal” refers to the corrupt transfer by the Gordon Campbell government of BC Rail to CNR.]                                                                  

The tiniest tip of the iceberg is the up-coming trial of three former cabinet aides – charged (variously) with fourteen counts of fraud, breach of trust, and money laundering.  Investigations were on foot as early as 2002.  Legislature offices of the later-accused were the only ones subjected to search warrant ‘raids’ on December 28, 2003. The accused were charged after yet another year of investigation – in December 2004.

The charges all relate to the BC Rail Scandal – directly.

Offices of the direct bosses of the men accused were untouched in the searches of legislature offices.  The offices of Gordon Campbell, chief architect of the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to CNR, were left in their pristine purity. Through all the investigation, no one else has been alleged to have engaged in wrongful activity.

One has to remember, of course, that from the earliest moment, the RCMP announced that no elected official was under [or would be under] investigation.  Years (literally) of investigation of alleged crimes directly involving the BC Rail Scandal by-passed – carefully avoiding - involved politicians, corporation officers, and the platoons of civil servants at work to effect the tainted “sale” of BC Rail. ALL the effort, apparently, was undertaken to fasten on three men, the accused in the case. 

They make up “the tiniest tip” of the iceberg. The huge, portion hid from view, I believe, involves corporate and government wheelers and dealers who are being shielded from investigation – and have been from the beginning. 

The one word that has been unspoken, and to people like RCMP Deputy Commissioner Gary Bass is “unspeakable” in the case is the word ‘Racism’.

The three accused men, you see, are Sikhs.

No ‘white’ person has been charged.

Indeed, what would be a hilarious development (if it weren’t so serious) is that the key Crown witness in the case, lily-white Eric Bornmann, Liberal operative, lobbyist, etc. was, allegedly, an active participant in the key allegation of bribe-offered and bribe-received.  He was extracted from the action, given blanket immunity it seems, and will testify at the trial. 

When I wrote to RCMP Deputy Commissioner Gary Bass asking for an RCMP investigation of Gordon Campbell and associates in the transfer of BC Rail to CNR, he refused. (And in refusing, I believe, is derelict in his duty to justice and the people of British Columbia.) The only part of my letter to him that brought Deputy Commissioner Bass to emotional speech was the suggestion that the accused men might be the victims of Racism. 

I think the response of Bass reveals touchiness on the subject, perhaps … possibly because he knows or suspects that the targetting of the three accused does, in fact, involve racism. 

In my view, Deputy Commissioner Bass is a large part of the iceberg invisible under the water in the BC Rail Scandal.  His failure to undertake full and open investigation of Gordon Campbell and associates in the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to the CNR is of cardinal importance.  And, alas, Mr. Bass does not have a fine reputation.  If one looks only at the Robert Dziekanski case, Mr. Bass had to have assented to the alleged false reporting on the events at Vancouver International Airport when Robert Dziekanski was allegedly killed by RCMP officers.  As top B.C. officer, he had to be a part of an alleged cover-up that has shaken confidence in the RCMP across the nation.

Deputy Commissioner Bass comes to us in B.C. from strange origins, moreover. He was a favourite of disgraced former RCMP Commissioner Guiliano Zaccardelli.  One remembers that Zaccardelli was forced to resign the top job in a hail of allegations.  One of the funniest [though appalling as well] occurred in Parliamentary Committee when a committee member asked Zaccardelli if he had perjured himself this time – or was it last time when his tailored story was totally different! Alleged perjury?  From the top police officer in Canada?

Zaccardelli appointed his favourites to top jobs, we are told. The favourites recognized themselves so clearly, [Paul Palango, Dispersing the Fog, Key Porter, 2008] they apparently called themselves (after Zaccardelli’s old division) ‘the J Division mafia’.  The appointment of Gary Bass as assistant commissioner in B.C. is referred to by Palango as “incestuousness” (p. 24).

As if to poison any attempt to see him in virtuous terms, Bass responded to RCMP Commissioner William Elliott regarding Dziekanski.  With imprudence of a kind one might expect from Robert Mugabe, Elliott had telephoned the four RCMP officers involved in the death of Dziekanski to express his support!!  The reply Bass sent was that the calls by  Commissioner Elliott “were a big hit” at the Richmond detachment where the four men were employed!

Such behaviour cannot be believed – except it is on the record.  As is the chummy conversation Bass had at the time with premier Gordon Campbell who also expressed support for the officers – who were plainly engaged in behaviour of the most questionable kind!

I have no record of Deputy Commissioner Bass saying, at any time, that there is zero tolerance in his Division for improper violence – though examples of alleged cover-up of such behaviour under his watch are there to examine.

When I mentioned racism to him in connection with the charges against Basi, Virk, and Basi, Mr. Bass recoiled.  But the likelihood increases. 

‘White’ Special Crown Prosecutor William Berardino was appointed in violation of all the legislation covering the role.  Neither the Attorney General nor the top officers of the Supreme Court will act in the matter or recognize its importance.

‘White’ cabinet ministers vacated their jobs in 2005 perfectly innocently … when the BC Rail Scandal was getting hot.  Deputy premier Christie Clark, Attorney General Geoff Plant [whose ministry had wrongfully appointed William Berardino], Gary Collins, finance minister – deep in the BC Rail fiasco, Judith Reid, transportation minister.  All were among the leavers.  None has been investigated since the legislature raids of 2003.

The list of people outside the legislature “searched” as a result of search warrants issued (December 28, 2003) is long.  The warrants have never been fully opened – which is not usual practice.  When they were, finally, partially opened in 2004, the only people whose search warrants were completely unsealed were the not-yet, at the time, accused Sikhs.  All the ‘white’ folk continued to be – strangely and especially – protected.

Racism?  Or something else?  I don’t know what to conclude.  What do you conclude?


Robin, as much as I appreciate your steadfast pursuit of justice, to make that jump one would have to assume they were hired in advance as ready fall guys.

Secondly, if there was no Basi/Virk/Basi....Would there be no case, the complaints from Omni and CP about rigged bids were still there.

In my opinion they are being used as fall guys and or diversionary subjects, unfortunately we will never know what form the investigation or where the pursuit of justice would have gone if Basi/Basi/Virk weren`t there.

Let`s try and keep focused on the substantive matters.
We need to hold the police accountable!
"o/c has creapt into every corner of BC"...
If the police are taking orders from higher up, then it's up to the police to take back their right, to do their job. Which,
(not witch), is to serve and protect.
This has had to be the most EXPENSIVE photo-op in the history of BC Politics. Five jet plane loads of bought and paid for party hacks and campaign donators. What a gig. All to direct attention away from REAL issues. Dollars stripped from Education, Health and Welfare to fund one ego maniac's dreams of grandeur. Quit now Gordon while you still have a head. It is interesting that not one scene on the news broadcasts ever showed the faces of the folks ferried to the dam. Political organization at its best it seems. Spend no expense to make a major announcement with political 'parasites' for a photo op. Hey! Its just taxpayer dollars so it is just whining on a critic's part.
Just a reminder, my friends, that this blog is about BC RAIL ...

I'm tempted to agree with Robin, but G West has the main point; they would have to have been hired in advance as fall guys. On the other hand, when the ship began to sink, it was only them who were pushed to the plank....and there's that connection to the Bains case. But again, that's potentially targetting, given the multi-coloured nature of drug crime in BC....

My immediate reaction to the Jaffer-Gillani-Guergis fiasco was also "why only go after the brown guys?" Because in Canada's murky crossover world between politics, business and crime there's LOTS of this kind of thing going on (according to the rumour mill)....and yeah, it was only a drunk driver pull-over (in a pricey car) and theoretically random. In a way....while they might not have known when pulling the car over the driver was married to an MP, and had been one himself (well, I suspect that info would be in CPIC, though, and they would have x-ref'd the licence plate and found out anything like that during the proceedings), the reality is that there is such a thing as "driving while brown" in this country, equivalent to "driving while black". "Hey there's a couple of coloured guys driving an expensive sports car, let's pull them over" is not too far of a speculation as to how OPPs think.....

Sex, drugs and money are part of "how business are done" in this country; I'm sure if we dug far enough into the BC Rail fiasco we'd find lots (other than the Premier's girlfriend). But as we know, the RCMP only dug into the Ledge Raids evidence deep enough to charge only a very few people and launch only two cases. That's the biggest issue, not what colour they are.

And about Site C, my gut reaction to seeing that (it was reported even in the Halifax paper) and Campbell's maundering about "clean energy" is clearly it's not clean energy. He's using that buzzword to sell to California, which has a Clean Energy Act. That's got to be the battleground to stop Site C, and the spread of IPPs, but I'll take that to Rafe's blog (and Burgess, so should you).
I just want to express my appreciation to you and your regular contributors, the conversations about certain events in BC would never be heard without you folks.

A people's coalition to the rescue!

Yes indeed, there are wonderful contributors to this blog,

Thanks to all, and to you CQ.
Mary, the trains coming in to the Port in Delta are longer and longer and longer. Well, you get the point. Is there not a legal requirement to limit length as these trains come through dangerous sections of the Rockies, the Fraser Canyon, etc.Cheers.
Anonymous 8:38,

Good question. From memory, I recall this kind of concern as coming under a new jurisdiction once we lost ownership of BC Rail.

As BC Rail, it was a provincial railway -- the largest of its kind in Canada in fact. As such, we in BC were able to establish safety guidelines based upon the B.C. trainmen's knowledge and experience of our very special terrain.

You know where this sad story is heading now, don't you?

With the main line BC Rail now in the clutches of the private U.S. corporation known as Canadian National (CN), BC can no longer exercise a direct influence in these matters. Even in questions of safety, this is now a federal matter. Decisions are now made in Ottawa, and possibly in Texas.

The Transportation Safety Board is there to establish the risks ... after accidents happen.

However ...

the 40 km. line coming into Deltaport still belongs to BC Rail. That's us. And BC Rail still has offices in North Vancouver (if Gordo hasn't already swept them under the rug in the BC Ministry of Transport -- the same ministry which botched the sale of BC rail).

How about doing an actual count of the coal train cars arriving at Deltaport over a few days -- and then place a call to BC Rail and ask about it. Ask who does the oversight on these public safety matters ... and what set of regulations do they go by.

You never know: BC Rail (what's left of it) might be damn happy to hear from a member of the public.

Many thanks for your comment.
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