Friday, July 09, 2010


The View from another part of Canned Wasteland

A reader sent in an entire editorial on the BC Rail Corruption Trial from today's Times-Colonist, but I chose not to publish the whole thing in comments or here on the front page. This is because in general I don't think it is proper to do that. To me fair use means to quote some excerpts and then provide a link to the story WHERE it was published so that interested parties can then proceed there and read the entire piece and be exposed to the blog, newspaper, website and any associated advertising there.

The only reason I published yesterday's excrement from the Sun in its fullness and foolishness was because there were no highlights and pretty well everything was a lowlight. It just seemed that pickiing out the worst of a really bad lot was both too difficult and actually unfair in its own way.

The editiorial in the Times-Colonist is shorter than the garbage published yesterday in the Sun, but much more accurate in general and perhaps shorter because they left out all the egregious spin that if removed from yesterday's piece would have resulted in a virtually blank page.   Like the editorials in the Sun though, no one took credit for the T-C piece, but in this case it is probably just normal policy, not embarassment or shame.

Here are some highlights ( bolding mine) and I would recommend following the link and reading the rest, all it would take is a minute or two as it is quite short.

B.C. Rail trial delays


The halting progress of the B.C. Rail corruption case is an indictment of our justice system.

The B.C. Supreme Court trial adjourned this week for an 11-week summer break. "Enjoy yourselves," Justice Anne MacKenzie advised the jurors.

It's unlikely the three defendants -- or anyone else involved with this eight-year-old investigation -- will find it easy to enjoy themselves as the case drags on.

The long summer break follows the first eight weeks of the trial..../snip

........In that time, only one witness has testified. Weeks have been taken up with legal arguments, with the jury excluded.

What about? We can't tell you. MacKenzie issued a sweeping publication ban on anything said in court in the absence of the jury

The purpose is understandable. Coverage of the legal arguments -- which are not evidence -- could influence jurors. The primary consideration must be a fair trial for the accused.

But the public has a right to know what is going on in the courtroom, what is causing the delays and why the legal issues weren't settled in advance.

We have no idea who to blame for halting progress and many delays.

But the delays are unfair to the accused and those named in search warrants and other documents, who have spent more than eight years under a cloud.

They are unfair, and costly, to the public, which is waiting to learn whether corruption tainted the government's sale of B.C. Rail. They reduce the chance of a fair trial, as witnesses' memories fade.

And they reinforce the public perception that our criminal justice system is not working.
As I suggested above, hie thee on over for the rest, all in all a lot more reasonable examination of just what in the hell is going on in Courtroom 54, or not. Perhaps they could have pointed out a bit more about what we do know about the cause of the delays.......but all in all much better than what Mary has come to call the Vancouver Spun.

posted by  kootcoot

Read both editorials and I am convinced the Vancouver Sun is watching an entirely different trial than the rest of the world.
Forgive me for suggesting homework, but here's something which adds to our understanding of how government decisions (such as selling BC Rail) are allowed to happen.

It doesn't entirely explain how people can end up with secret deals enacted against the public's wishes, such as BC Rail-CN deal. But the Walkom column is informative.

It describes a Parallel Universe in which the Prime Minister is pressing forward with Bill C-9 which makes no sense in terms of the public interest. We see Stephen Harper following in the footsteps of the Gordon Campbell government. We even see the federal Opposition behaving like the BC Opposition in a similar crisis.

See Toronto Star online for Thomas Walkom's article:

Bill C-9 and the Failure of Ignatieff's Liberals.

at issue is the priceless treasure of Atomic Energy of Canada.

For hours, this morning on CPAC, I watched a Senate Committee discussing the impending legislation which, if it passes through Parliament successfully, will allow the Harper Government to sell AECL to whomever Harper pleases, under whatever terms he may choose.

AECL at Chalk River, Ontario, produces much more than nuclear isotopes for medical imaging purposes; it also builds safe facilities for overseas buyers. And much more ... with world-wide distinction and profits.

Walkom's column explains the pitiful mechanisms by which such public assets are either saved ... or cut off. I would copy it for TLR if I could ...

The best we can say about the AECL situation is that -- at least we know about the enabling legislation -- and there's time to STOP the insanity.

That's something we were denied in the BC Rail affair.

For a better idea of the value and significance of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, google AECL and read up on the miracles it performs.

Miracles not only in medical imaging but also in engineering ...

Jeez ...
Bill C-9 is also about deregulating parts of Canada Post:
there was an op-ed piece in today's Chronicle-Herald (hfx) about our new Governor-General, and how it was that he came to set the terms for the commission of inquiry into the Mulroney-Schreiber Affair....i.e. in such a way as to insulate other Tories from information about payments made to them. And how Harper said "howevermuch we paid him for this, it wasn't enough"....all by way of keeping out of the inquiry any evidence already brought out by the RCMP.....

Other editorials about the new G-G send him up as some kind of august, impartial sage.....but it's clear he got where he is by doing Harper a favour, a big political favour. How many of those other Tories that Johnston's criteria for the commissions helped exclude are now on the Tory caucus? Or cabinet? Do they include Stephen Harper?

There are even parallel segments in the story showing how A.E.C.L. was neglected and double-crossed ... so as to appear worth less than the public might have imagined ...

therefore ripe for selling off as junk.

Just like happened to BC Rail.

But C-9 can still be stopped.
Skookum, I've been informing myself about the GG designate also and he sure do seem different than the lap dog media try to portray him. For starters he is a corporate and securities lawyer, in other words the kind who have made a career of enabling the robbers of Wall Street and those who brought to the brink of the Really Great Deprssion - NOT A CONSTITUTIONAL scholar.

For a public servant he certainly manages to receive a LOT of money from Harper's pet company CGI (seven figures) - can I be an poor underpaid public servant too, please? Why even the CBC runs with the meme about his constitutional/public servant creds is difficult to understand considering the CBC's left wing pinko leanings that we all know about.

It was difficult for me to understand why Harper didn't want to extend the "compliant" with his disregard for parliament Ms. Jean, but now it is perhaps more clear.

Mary, as to AECL, it's the same old story - "instead of if it ain't broke don't fix it" the right wing ideologues have the motto "if it ain't broke, break it so we can give it away for our friends to profit from - society and the public be damned."

To the following UNPUBLISHED commenters:

Christian with a View: I would send you away if you knocked on my door too, unless I was feeling really bored and wanted to argue with a dumb person that day for something to do.

The person who left advice for solving Blogger problems - thanks, but I know how to deal with actual ongoing problems - perhaps you didn't notice the part about "intermittent" - in these cases usually just re-booting or even just re-submitting cleared it up - it just created a delay and a minor irritation. That post was just to reassure folks who might have thought their comments were being ignored.......

Who ever the Anon was that said "God Bless Wallace" - Hi Alan!

Or do you mean the former Southern racist governor?

and Skookum again - I consider it likely that Alan will be just as brain dead (when it suits him) as Martyn Brown was and we apparently don't really have a judge that would demand responsiveness. Of course Alan Wallace could spend the next few weeks reviewing his notes, if he hasn't shedded them already.

What about the CRA guy that already testified by video-conference from your current neck of the woods, Skook, did he remember anything at all?

BC Government's indemnity to CN Rail to hit $600M - according to Vaughn Palmer's blog.

Does Martyn Brown know about this now??
Kootcoot - I'm going to take issue with you regarding your reply to Christian With a View. If you've seen fit not to publish their comment for all to read, please do the same with your comment to them - do not show it.

Whether or not you are a Christian, whether or not you are a "believer"...and whether or not you agree with those who are - they still have the right to opine as the rest of us do. And we all have the right to hear them - and agree or disagree.

I'm sorry, this time, you're dead wrong.

You are entitled to take issue with me about Christian with a View. However, this person left a comment that purported to be a link to a blog that would be relevant to the issues of the Legislature Raids. I had to use some of my time I will never get back just to find out the link was completely inappropriate for TLR - I thought that in this way I would not only let him know how I felt but also anyone else who might feel I or Mary needs to be saved by Jesus, Allah, Buddha or Elron Hubbard..........perhaps I was somewhat impolite, but I've been having a rough couple of days and Jesus won't make it all better, OKAY?

Thank goodness I went to the link first and there was nothing there except stuff about the bible and Jesus - to me that is as appropriate as the comments left in Russian or promoting pornsites. I would give them hell too, but they are usually automated bots. I do however report them to their ISP IF I can locate the ISP - usually with an ISP in Russia or other such jurisdictions is is pretty useless. It is almost useless to even bring phishers posing as representatives of Hotmail or Microsoft to the attention of Microsoft - much less these foreign hosted porn or other garbage sites hosted by ISPs especially created to host shady websites.

Maybe I would remove it to please you, but there are too many messages to other folks with that comment and as I indicated if it dissuades any other missionaries from wasting their time and ours, it will have been worthwhile, even if it upset you.........eggs get broken making omelets!

You can take solace in the fact that Mary herself will most likely be back in a couple days, at least I hope so!

Perhaps you are a Christian Leah, and if you are that is fine, but why would someone think that TLR was an appropriate place to prosletyze? God is too intelligent to tell them that, isn't he/she?
Furthermore Leah:
"they still have the right to opine as the rest of us do. And we all have the right to hear them - and agree or disagree."

Did it ever occur to you that I cut this guy some slack? While getting my message across re: trying to prosletyze for any voodoo here? I at least published the name of his blog, even if I wasn't so helpful as to make it a live link. If you want to exercise your "right to hear" him, just google the name of his blog - his profile pic is a nice image(though minature)of El Capitan in Yosemite . That is more courteous than the way he left it here, because he didn't leave the title, which would have at least indicated the topic/subject matter - he left a round about link that made me think it was to something on topic with TLR. First I went to his profile, and then even the title showed some promise, me foolishly thinking that the "with a View" part meant he would be talking about something other than Jesus and the Bible - like perhaps a Christian's take on Martyn Brown's amnesia - or Gordon Campbell's love for the poor.

If you want to exercise your right to check out the spam in Chinese or Russian and links to pornsites, provide me with an email address and instead of deleting them, I would be happy to forward them to you.
From the December 11, 2003 CRA Fairness Report I found that CN Rail doesn't necessarily have a five year slam dunk discontinuance clause of exiting from BC Rail routes. - Page 62


3.5.2 ROUTE STRUCTURE Commitment to Maintain Current Routes
CN will maintain existing BC Rail routes in its agreement to a moratorium on any operational discontinuance for at least five years. CN also will keep intact the track to Tumbler Ridge, which BC Rail planned to dismantle. Finally, CN has committed to re-opening the Dawson Creek-to-Hythe line and to investing in the track, should traffic increase on this subdivision in the future. Over at least the next five years, therefore, the CN proposal provides equivalent or greater protection of the BC Rail route infrastructure than would occur if operational control of the railroad remained with the Province.
Over the longer term, any decision by CN to discontinue routes will be subject to potential federal review under the provisions of the Canada Transportation Act. This avenue for appeal would not be available if operational control of the railroad were to remain with BC Rail.

... "over at least the next 5 years", please note.

Critical date was July 14, 2009.

Major holes in this "fairness" concept.
re CN Rail doesn't necessarily have a five year slam dunk discontinuance clause of exiting from BC Rail routes. - Page 62
Other possibilities for extensions of the 5 year's.
Competition Bureau obtains remedies in BC Rail merger

July 02, 2004

•Financial penalties will be assessed against CN when its average transit performance for a specific zone in a given period exceeds one of the corresponding transit time benchmarks identified above. The penalties will go into a trust fund maintained by the British Columbia Railway Company ("BCRC") and dedicated to fund upgrades of the BC Rail line. Disputes about penalties will be referred to commercial arbitration.
•Post-merger, CN has a penalty-free transition period of one year followed by a four-year period with the penalty regime in place.
•The Commissioner of Competition will be entitled to reinstate the penalty regime for a further period of five years, if the Commissioner determines that CN has not respected its transit time covenants.
I ask, HAS the Commissioner of Competition reinstated the penalty regime for a further 5 years?

Certainly CN has had enough complaints made to the Federal Transportation Ministry.

Switching Tracks: A Review of the BC Rail Investment Partnership
Report number: Report 12
Date: March, 2007
An examination of whether commitments made by CN upon purchasing railway operations in B.C. were being met and monitered .
(spelling error not mine

Can you give me any more on this I'll try to make a post for it, on July 13, the 6th anniversary of the BCR-CN Deal which shouldn't have happened.

Thanks for this.
I have been so busy, ha ha. Sitting out side with laptop, doing research. Mary I will see to your request shortly.

VICTORIA – On July 30, 2003, Transportation Minister Judith Reid committed to issue a bi-weekly bulletin to keep British Columbians up to date on the BC Rail revitalization process.

This page will take You to all of the updates nice refresher, I am reminded someone asking if there was a RFP placed for the Fairness Advisor, Sept. 12th states there was, then on October 10th,2003 mentions that Charles Rivers was selected to be the Advisor. Wierd they went with the Boston Team, when
In 1998, CRA opened its first non U.S. office in downtown Toronto. This office offers clients economic consulting in the areas of competition, regulation, intellectual property, trade, and general litigation support.
and Margaret Sanderson Vice President, Practice Leader of Antitrust & Competition Economics (just say hmmmmmmmmm)

One of these update sheets, I was reminded about what I read today by Sean Holman ``It describes the behaviours senior civil servants are expected to demonstrate. Among them: being able to "create a crisis to force change." I'm not making this up. I'm not wearing a tin foil hat. That's exactly what the document So here is one from Minister Reid from October 24 update(link below)``Slide damage update
In light of heavy rain damage to BC Rail’s main line in the Squamish and Pemberton valleys
over the past week, it is important to note that the burden for future misfortune such as this will not be
absorbed by taxpayers but rather by the new railway operating partner.
`The rail revitalization agreement will ensure that taxpayers are no longer exposed to these financial risks and uncertainties.``

All Updates 1-7 are here

pssst, no Ian Munro " CRA
The Original ``Switching Tracks`` was done by Arn van Iersel, CGA
Acting Auditor General March 2007 submitted.

The second purpose of our review was to assess whether an
adequate process is in place to adequately monitor the performance
of CN regarding its commitments under the BC Rail Investment
Partnership. More specifi cally, we wanted to know:
what are the commitments of CN to the Province and
stakeholders under the Partnership;
who is monitoring CN to ensure its commitments to the
Province and stakeholders are fulfi lled;
what remedies are available to the Province and
stakeholders should CN fail to meet its commitments; and
is CN fulfi lling its commitments to the Province and
Our review was carried out between November 2005 and
November 2006. We focused on the commitments made by CN in
the agreements that form the BC Rail Investment Partnership and
on the processes to monitor CN’s performance in meeting these.
The process to select a partner and to attribute a financial value to BC Rail for its sale was evaluated and assessed by an independent consulting firm contracted by the Province, and is not included within the scope of our review. Nor did we directly examine CN’s performance under the Partnership or its operations over BCRC’s
railway line.
We concluded that a generally adequate system is in place to
monitor CN’s delivery on its commitments under the BC Rail
Investment Partnership. We make one recommendation relating
to the monitoring of the Consent Agreement, that BCRC should
request a copy of any notice of non-compliance (with the agreement) that may be issued by the Competition Bureau, to CN.

and My favorite part

Various remedies are available should CN fail to meet its commitments
We found various remedies are available under the agreements
defi ning the Partnership and through the federal agencies, should CN fail to meet its commitments. The remedies include:
a prescribed dispute resolution processes directly between
connecting carriers and CN;
fi nancial penalties against CN for failures to perform to
stated transit time benchmarks or fulfi ll its guarantees to
shippers for ordered cars;
rulings, arbitration, or mediation for any complaints taken
by industry stakeholders to the Canadian Transportation
Agency; and
targeted inspections, negotiated settlements, or prosecution
for any complaints taken by industry stakeholders to the
Bureau.Should these remedies prove insufficient, and should
CN continue not to meet its commitments, (ha re read that continue NOT to meet)further remedies are available to BCRC through its lease of the railway line to CN, that is, through the Revitalization Agreement, including terminating
the lease and re-letting the railway line to another railway operator.
pg 28-54
The monitoring and reporting relationship between the Agency and
CN was initially set up for a fi ve-year period, expiring in July 2009,however the Bureau can extend this term for another fi ve-years
if it determines that CN has not met its transit times commitment
during that initial period.
As well, should it become necessary, the Bureau has the ability
to actively monitor and assess CN’s compliance with its other
commitments under the agreement, at any time. The agreement also
allows the Bureau to audit any of CN’s records that are relevant to
CN’s commitments within the agreement.
from the web page Report Highlights

3. The Province has the power take decisive action should CN default on its most significant commitments. It is expected that the Province would not take such action until all other remedies have been exhausted, but this would be at the Province’s discretion.
4. It is our understanding, based on conversations with federal officials, that no formal complaints have been received under the Consent Agreement, suggesting that CN is fulfilling its performance commitments.

All these reports can be accesses from this page.
Post a Comment

<< Home