Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Are there rules about WHO can report on the BC Rail Corruption trial?

May 17, 2010.  "Professional" Reporting ... or something else?

By Robin Mathews

Maybe we should wonder about the "mainstream media" that jumps into reporting the BC Rail Scandal, Basi, Virk, and Basi trial for almost the first time.  Is it a bid to smother the real story?  Is it me-too-ism because other papers are there ... and so ... we have to be there, too?

Already I am feeling ill-at-ease in talking to those msm people who show they know almost nothing about the issue and aren't particularly interested in finding out.

Is their mission a propagandizing one?  Are they there to brainwash the public on the real issues?

I've been having my troubles with the CanWest controllers of the reporter accreditation process at the B.C. Supreme Court who have decided I'm not a "working journalist" and so cannot be accredited (after nearly three and a half years of reporting on the BC Rail Scandal pre-trial hearings for websites, in magazines, on the radio, in papers ... and perhaps more.)  Neal Hall who wrote me the refusal letter says it has nothing to do with CanWest policies (or, unstated, my criticism of CanWest over a long time).  The decision was unanimous, he said today - all three CanWest members of the committee joining with the one CTV member. They were just following the guidelines in refusing me.  (Guidelines??)

And then I read the National Post story on the trial - the icon of CanWest, the paper that was founded to fight for reactionary ideas.  The National Post tells me that at the time of the Search Warrant raids on the legislature offices (Dec.28, 2003) the RCMP removed "armfuls of documents from high-ranking civil servants and politicians."

They did not.

The raids on the legislature offices only took place on the offices of Dave Basi and Bobby Virk, two cabinet aides.  The offices of their bosses - Gary Collins for Dave Basi and Judith Reid for Bobby Virk - were not touched.  Nor were the offices of ANY high-ranking civil servants. Nor was the office of the architect and overseer of the whole smelly transfer of BC Rail to the CNR  touched - the office of Gordon Campbell.

The offices of Dave Basi and Bobby Virk were "raided" because they were in the sights of the RCMP (and its consultants in government?).  The RCMP was not looking at the mountain of the transfer of BC Rail to CNR but the molehill formed by the activities of the three (later) charged.  In fact, the RCMP appears to have stopped (without any record) its investigation of Finance Minister Gary Collins.  And on the day of the "raids'"RCMP spokespeople assured the public that no elected official was under investigation.

The statement by the National Post that at the time of the Search Warrant raids on offices of the legislature the RCMP removed "armfuls of documents from high-ranking civil servants and politicians" makes it look as if the RCMP did what the RCMP SHOULD HAVE DONE.  But it didn't. Is that misreporting by the National Post intentional?

Is the National Post 'reporting' in order to obfuscate what really went on?  Or are those "professional" journalists (so dear to Neal Hall's heart) about as professional as Conrad Black (founder of the National Post) would be as a dishwasher at his jail somewhere in the USA?

BC Mary comment:  Errors? We try so hard to be accurate. And I deeply regret that I made the error which -- when it appeared in Robin Mathews' email to Neal Hall, Neal seized upon it as a reason to reject Robin's request for accreditation. Accreditation, in that instance, simply meant granting Robin the regular reporters' OK to use a recording device in the courtroom for purposes of accuracy.

Preventing Robin from using the regular reporters' recording device is an insult to a free press, an open courtroom, and a functional democracy. It demeans all those things ... and diminishes our history as well.

Even Neal Hall knows that when the trial begins and the public galleries begin to fill up (40 or 50 people attended on May 17), it becomes more difficult to hear each word spoken in court. For example, nobody seems to have the complete list of 44 Witnesses which was read aloud to the court. When CBC is reporting that Gordon Campbell's name is NOT on the list ... how do they know this?

Talk about errors. Try checking today's BCSC schedule. Try finding out whether Madam Justice MacKenzie's admonition to the Black Robes yesterday (May 17) is on schedule. Wasn't she expecting them to return to her courtroom today (May 18) at 9:30 to sort out some legal issues, and at 10:00 AM for the Basi-Virk Trial to actually begin? There's absolutely nothing about File #23299 (Basi, Virk, Basi) listed.

Much later, when the first headlines began to appear in the news media, the BCSC listings changed, to include #23299. 

Note, as well, Neal Hall's frequent mistake with the Crown Prosecutor's name (Berandino, instead of Berardino) in his reports today. 

Some errors are significant. Some errors don't matter, apparently.

Robin Mathews has several new pieces which are posted on Vive le Canada, including "The judge on the BC Rail Scandal Case -- a Complaint". For those columns, go HERE.


This blog is a one-thing-at-a-time kind of news service, and right now there are record-breaking numbers of incoming reports on the BC Rail trial. I want to provide links and previews to a wide variety of reports, which means over-crowding at times. But that's the history, the archive. This blog may never get back to normal but I hope we complete our goal of bringing forth all the information possible, about BC Rail and how we lost control of a vital provincial railway.


It is very interesting to see BC's beautiful-celeb-media after five years of ignoring the entire case are now flocking like flies to fresh poop to be seen covering it.

Don't they have more important things to do like cover the Canucks in the 2012 Play-Offs or the latest on Pammy Martin's Botox injections and bust lift.

These Campbellite fart-catchers in both Vancouver and Victoria represent the worst that Canada can produce.

So any coverage we get will reflect the old 1970's Soviet humour . . . "THERE IS NO NEWS IN INVESTIA AND NO TRUTH IN PRAVDA"

Thank you Robin and Mary, for your dedicated coverage. I have been here daily for months now, and then I go comb the MSM. For naught, because they most certainly have no interest in journalism. Go get 'em!
I just checked the court listings and after May 17, there is no more next date schedualed?
Could the National Post know more about the raid, then what we were first lead to believe?

I can't believe you just said that.

WHY would you think that the National Post could know more about the raids on the BC Legislature?
I very much agree with Robin's critique of that NaPo way-late-to-the-party, byline-free backgrounder....I also noted that they also 'suggested' that the deep-seated issues of document disclosure in which we (ie. clearly not 'they') witnessed all sorts of shenanigans and protocol changes on the part of the Government and its Agents actually was actually nothing but a successful defense ruse.

Clearly these are egregious in both fact and interpretation....

However, regarding the inadvertent error of stating that there are 4 CanWest folks on the Supreme Court Media Accreditation Committee vs. 3 (plus one)....Well, Gary Mason made a double error in fact in the lede of his latest column that was much worse (and just as trivial)....

So, does that mean the Mr. Mason will soon be on the outside looking in with Mr. Mathews?


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