Sunday, May 16, 2010


How did BC Rail, the nation's 3rd largest railway, slip from public ownership into private pockets? Was Organized Crime involved? Is that why police raided the BC Legislature on Dec. 28, 2003? Tomorrow, as the Basi, Virk, Basi trial gets underway, we hear evidence given under oath, in BC Supreme Court, 800 Smithe St., Vancouver BC

BC Mary comment: today, and tomorrow morning, I am hoping to see commentary, reports, editorials, opinions concerning the momentous trial scheduled for tomorrow morning, May 17, 2010. I will add their URLs here so that, with a click, readers may read the full stories ... 

Later: but, as the hours go by, I must apologize to everyone because the news media seems to be using the same Canadian Press story over and over. There's nothing from BC's three (count 'em, 3!) CanWest dailies. Nothing. Not even 4 words totalling 5 syllables. Simply: nothing. I ask you: what says "Back o'my hand to ya, citizens!" like publishing -0- about it on the eve of a momentous event like the BC Rail Trial?


Political corruption trial to begin six years after police raid B.C. legislature
Tamsyn Burgmann 
The Canadian Press - May 16, 2010

VANCOUVER - It has been more than six years since uniformed RCMP officers armed with search warrants entered British Columbia's ornate legislature building and carted away heavy boxes laden with confidential documents.

On Monday, voters [?]may finally get some answers about the unprecedented search as a trial gets underway for three government employees accused of corruption.
"It's a long time ago, but it remains significant in the minds of the B.C. public, in large part because of the very powerful imagery of the raid," said Norman Ruff, a political science professor emeritus with the University of Victoria.
"I can't think of any other legislature that's had that kind of experience."

When the smoke had cleared, former ministerial aides Bobbi [sic] Virk and Dave Basi stood charged with fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes.
Their offices were searched because of allegations the pair had leaked information about the $1-billion sale of Crown-owned B.C. Rail to Canadian National in exchange for money and other benefits.
Basi had worked for then-finance minister Gary Collins, and Virk's job was in then-transportation minister Judith Reid's office.
Basi's cousin, Aneal Basi, a communications officer is charged with money laundering.

{Snip} ...
Former Liberal cabinet ministers Collins and Reid are among a list of nearly four dozen political and corporate insiders subpoenaed to testify at the trial.
Among them is Campbell's chief of staff Martyn Brown, former deputy ministers Brenda Eaton and Ken Dobell, and executives from BC Rail, CN Rail, CP Rail and OmniTrax, as well as two former lobbyists.
Ruff said the outcome of the trial could have implications for the Campbell administration.
The privatization of Crown-owned BC Rail, which ran from North Vancouver to Prince Rupert [sic], was already controversial before the charges cast a new cloud over the deal.
That cloud has cast a shadow over the provincial government since the case came to light, but it remains to be seen how the trial revelations will impact the B.C. Liberals.
"We're not looking at drunk driving here, we're looking at corruption of public policy, and that goes to the heart of government and democratic policy making," Ruff said ...

Read more HERE.
Yahoo! News HERE.
Toronto Sun HERE.
CHQR Calgary HERE.

Attention Neal Hall and the BC Supreme Court Media Accreditation Committee:

Please note that working journalists do make errors of fact, two are noted above. Perhaps 3, as I think "voter" should be "citizens" or "Canadians". 

An error of omission could be added: I believe it's important to consider that Aneal Basi worked as "a communications officer" for the BC Public Affairs Bureau. That, plus the error noted by RossK, makes a total of 4, perhaps 5 errors here.  - BC Mary.

Pacific Gazetteer has been working (without salary) overtime on Basigate too. The Sunday afternoon headline:

Just how much has CN Rail given to Gordon Campbell?

Go HERE for the full story. But the quick answer (remember: this was calculated by a blogger) is ... "approx. $340,000.00"


BC Rail insider-trading trial to start

Legislature staff accused of trading in confidential information related to $1-billion sale in 2003

David Ebner
Vancouver — Globe and Mail Publ. Sun., May 16, 2010

The courtroom drama of a political corruption trial starts Monday morning in Vancouver, with a long roster of government insiders slated to testify, casting a glaring spotlight on unpopular Premier Gordon Campbell.

Dave Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi, former government employees, face multiple charges of fraud, breach of trust and money laundering for allegedly trading in confidential information concerning the $1-billion sale of BC Rail in 2003.

The saga began spectacularly when RCMP officers carrying search warrants three days after Christmas of 2003 carted away boxes of documents seized from the Victoria legislature offices of Mr. Basi, an assistant to then B.C. Finance Minister Gary Collins, and Mr. Virk, an assistant to then Transportation Minister Judith Reid.

With Mr. Campbell’s Liberal Party sitting at 29-per-cent support, according to an April poll by Angus Reid, well behind the opposition NDP at 47 per cent, the long-delayed trial begins just as the government is being assailed for the introduction of the harmonized sales tax.

{Snip} ...

At B.C. Supreme Court in downtown Vancouver, in a trial that is expected to last six weeks, 44 witnesses are expected to be called by the Crown. Among them is Martin [sic] Brown, chief of staff to Mr. Campbell.

Former deputy ministers to the Premier, Ken Dobell and Brenda Eaton, will also testify, along with Claude Mongeau, chief executive officer of Canadian National Railway, which bought BC Rail.

The trial will be heard by Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie. The defendants, who had previously indicated they wanted a trial by judge only, chose to go for a jury trial in February. The jury was selected last month and is comprised of five women and seven men.

Jim Scott, Editor of Salt Spring News, regularly on a daily basis provides an admirable round-up of world news. Today is no exception. But he sounds the warning of where BC fits into the world-wide sweep of history.  I must say that the  segment pasted below, got me thinking ... and I was thinking, once again, that our fight for BC Rail is no small thing. It's huge. Beyond imagining. Our efforts are included in SSNews today and yesterday. Go HERE for the full round-up, headlined

Who can doubt that the Campbell coalition (in terms of oversight and public accountability) is the worst BC government in living memory?

By Jim Scott
From Salt Spring News - May 16, 2010

Jim Scott wrote:
The items in this post are just a small, very small, sample of the Campbell coalition's egregious behavior. The early twentieth century Italians, who invented the word fascism, also had a more descriptive term for the concept -- estato corporativo: The corporatist state. Fascism’s principles are wafting in the air today, surreptitiously masquerading as something else, challenging everything we stand for. Dr. Laurence W. Britt analysed seven regimes and revealed fourteen common threads that linked them in recognizable patterns of behavior and abuse of power. These basic characteristics are more prevalent and intense in some regimes than in others, but they all share at least some level of similarity. The second of the fourteen is:

2. Disdain for the importance of human rights. The regimes themselves viewed human rights as of little value and a hindrance to realizing the objectives of the ruling elite. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human rights abuses by marginalizing, even demonizing, those being targeted. When abuse was egregious, the tactic was to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation.

A caporegime or capodecina, usually shortened to just a capo, is a term used in the Mafia for a high ranking made member of a crime family who heads a "crew" of soldiers and has major social status and influence in the organization. Caporegime is an Italian word, which was originally used to signify the head of a family in Sicily, but has now come to mean a ranking member, similar to captain or sergeant. In general, the term indicates the head of a branch of an organized crime syndicate who commands a crew of soldiers and reports directly to a boss or an underboss.


Errors indeed.

I found this one, which is editorial in nature, and is surprising for Canadian Press* to be the most egregious:

"....A routine ban prevents the publication of any details that emerged during preliminary hearings....

Sure thing.

Nothing was seen, heard, or read by anyone during the lengthy and heated pre-trial hearings....And of course, there were no 'protocol' changes or anything crazy like that ...And there were no documents released....And there were no diaries....And there were no details of insiders 'allegedly' working both sides against the middle...and there was nothing about retroactive clampdown/ban that stretches retroactively over a number of years....


It was all 'routine'.


*Unless, of course, you wonder about just who the Westcoast Bureau chief is....This is an issue I have raised before, in the wake of previous Canadian Press cryptograms.

All those in favour of the Basi/Virk/Trial being televised, raise your hands.

"Guidelines for Television Coverage of Court Proceedings"


I found this one directory UP from the Accreditation Committee under the heading of "Media".

And further in their Annual 2008 report this:

Mr. Justice Groves (Chair)
Mr. Justice Williamson
Mr. Justice Blair
Madam Justice Wedge
Chief Justice Brenner (ex officio)
Jill Leacock, Law Officer (secretary)

In 2008, the Public Affairs Committee continued its work in providing liaison between the court, journalists and members of the media, the Law Courts Education Society and other non-judicial groups.
The process established by the Committee for accreditation of journalists who wish to bring audio recording equipment into courtrooms continues in place. The Publication Ban Notification Project initiated by the Committee in Vancouver registry in 2005 also continues in place and was extended in 2007 to the New Westminster registry, with the hope of “rolling out” the Project to the balance of the Province in coming years.
This past year, as in other years, Committee members met with the working journalists who cover our Court to hear their concerns.
We also met, as we do annually, with court clerks to see what concerns they had.
In the coming year, the committee will deal with the challenges of communication technology in the courtroom and what, if any, protocols may be necessary to address the challenges of changing technology.
The Chief Justice, Mr. Justice Groves, the chair of the Committee, and the Court’s Law Officers, respond to inquiries, suggestions and requests from the media that come to the Court periodically.

Interesting.... "Publication Ban Notification Project

Search Publication Bans"

I didn't input anything, but there are two that are listed and they don't involve the BC Rail trial of David Basi, Bobby Virk and Aneal Basi.


Are you guys sure that the trial judge Madame Justice MacKenzie has imposed one?

Ahhhhh, here it is, on the subject of what is not reportable during the Basi, Virk, Basi trial:

"Section 648(1) - This section makes it a criminal offence to publish information about any portion of a jury trial which takes place in the absence of the jury before the jury begins deliberations on its verdict."

Ebner's article headline sez:
Legislature staff accused

Huh? Since when were Basi, Virk and Basi "legislature staff"?? They were ministerial aides, and specifically they were the Premier's political henchmen in the ministries they were assigned to. The headline should read:

Premier's right-hand men accused or the equivalent. This has nothing to do with the legislature, other than they worked in the offices in the Legislature as a building, i.e. in the Parliament Buildings (the proper name for the facility).

Premier's political appointees accused, Premier's political aides appointed are other options; even better Political operatives hired by Premier's personal assistant and purported mistress accused....

Interesting how the national media is obsessing over whether or not Guergis and Raitt were wrongly driven out of office by "optics"....maybe somebody should get them an optometrist's appointment so they can see through the crap in BC well enough to report on it accurately; and give it the headlines it deserves.

These guys didn't work for the Legislature, they worked for the Premier.....
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