Thursday, September 30, 2010


"BC Rail.... we gave it to them for free... a strategic asset critical to the viable sustainability of the northern transportation corridors... basically treason against our economy ..."

Ipg wouldnt know a Rail Strike from a whoopy cushion.

If they were so concerned about the CN having a monopoly here, why did they and Colin Kinsely support the sale of BC Rail.
If BC Rail was still here shippers could still load to Vancouver and the USA by routing traffic South. However not anymore. CN is the only game in town.

I doubt if there are any Customer relationships between shippers and CN Rail. Most shippers are not happy with the present rail service.

In any event it is **moot** because firstly the CN would actually have to go on strike. Secondly the CN Management would continue to run the Railway with Management personel, like they did the last time, and thirdly if there was serious disruption the Government would order them back to work.

Railways and Unions have had many strikes over the years, and they managed without any input from IPG. Im sure they can again.

So you're allowed to have your opinion but IPG isn't?
Exactly... IPG mandate, if it has one, should be purely in the realm of facilitating economic development... not trying to manage the economy with a political angle to all their announcements. They have no part to make political announcements in private matters. If the politicians want to speak up, or IPG staff would like to as private individuals, then that is their prerogative.

I think at the cost of $20+ million over the last decade the city of PG got little to no real value out of IPG.

PG got a (property) tax payer funded group that spear headed the privatization of BC Rail (a completely corrupted process), which led to the collapse of Mackenzie (rail car shortage in a just in time business)... we got an organization pushing downtown properties to the cities (home owner) tax payer... we got subsidized call centers and foreign airlines... and we got not one single tangible industrial success from their efforts of any significance worth noting.

What we have is people advising how to spend tax payer dollars, and advising how our economy should be managed according to insider politics... with little to no real accountability by the tax payers that fund this organization. Its like privatized government safe from freedom of information requests and real stakeholder transparency... a hidden layer of bureaucracy that PG does not need IMO.

Where is the accountability for their (IPG) support of the privatization of BC Rail now that the true purpose of having BC Rail has come to haunt both the union workers of CN, and the economy of Northern BC?
IPG already showed they work with the agenda of monopoly capitalists, and oppose free enterprise through their BC Rail gift to CN Rail. This situation is a result of the ideology that has come out in political announcements from this organization.

One thing that burns me about the BC Rail deal is the $2 Billion dollars in paper losses the government of BC created on BC Rail's books for tax purposes as part of the sale of BC Rail... so that CN could use these tax write offs against their profits to stiff Canadian tax payers for the equivalent amount that CN supposedly paid for BC Rail.... we gave it to them for free... a strategic asset critical to the viable sustainability of the northern transportation corridors... basically treason against our economy and for 999-years committed by ideology all on the take of our tax dollars... and IPG supported the sale of BC Rail as its biggest cheer leader despite the protests and public will against it.

This is what the City of PG tax payers pay for to the tune of $20+ million a decade.
[Sound of small voice in background shouting "Yayyyy!"]



BC Rail Political Corruption Trial: Sept. 30, 2010. Jury is sent home until Oct. 12.

Neal Hall writes in Vancouver Sun - Sept. 30, 2010:

Basi-Virk corruption trial postponed to October 12

A jury was told Wednesday that some unforeseen problems will delay the Basi-Virk political corruption trial until Oct. 12.

But B.C. Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie advised the jury that Crown counsel and the defence lawyers are working to make sure the trial does not go past next March. "The Crown anticipates reducing their witnesses as well," the judge advised ...

Click HERE for Neal Hall's full report.

See also: HERE.

BC Mary comment: is Courtroom 54 open for legal discussion between today (Sept. 30) and Oct. 12? I hope so, as it would mean that the public is free to take seats in the public gallery, to observe and to listen to these legal discussions ...

but the official schedule (left margin, click on BC Criminal Court etc) says nothing about Case #23299 (BC Rail) for today. 


Wednesday, September 29, 2010


BC Rail Political Corruption Trial: Sept. 29, 2010. A system in collapse.

The BC Rail Scandal Trial (Basi.Virk, and Basi) in the British Columbia Supreme Court: A System in Collapse. 

By Robin Mathews
September 29, 2010

In his worst nightmares of a Legal System gone crazy, Charles Dickens couldn’t have painted a Bleaker House than is coming into view out of the Vancouver fog in British Columbia’s most important public criminal trial in its history.  It is a trial that calls into question almost every aspect of the integrity of the government in power.

Pre-trial hearings, dogged by delay and legal obfuscations, lasted more than three years. That happened after strange, long delay in the laying of charges and the unacceptable “hiding”(still maintained) by then-Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm of the largest part of the search warrants key to the matter. (The “hiding” – the failure ever to release the major portion of the materials – leads, of course, to suspicion Gordon Campbell and associates are being especially protected.)

The latest moment of Bleak Comedy has been presented by the second Crown Witness to appear (Brian Kenning, a former director of BC Rail) disappearing in mid-cross examination to attend (apparently) a birthday party in Toronto (says gossip in the outer corridors of the Law Court building)!

This morning – apparently for Mr. Kenning’s convenience – the jury was sent away until October 12, and the court will not sit on this matter again until next Tuesday (Oct. 6), when a publication banned session will continue.

“Three Brown Men” (as I term them) – all appointed from the premier’s office, and government aides of some importance - are being tried for (variously) breach of trust, fraud, and money laundering allegedly undertaken in a small, dark corner of the BC Rail transfer from public ownership into the private possession of Texas-headquartered CNR.  The corner may- it appears more and more possible - have existed, however, in what may have been a huge edifice of fraud and breach of trust erected almost painstakingly by major Gordon Campbell politicians and major Corporate actors in the province.

That aspect of the matter remains muffled in the Bleak Fog of Vancouver because no charges have ever been laid in that direction. The top BC RCMP officer, Deputy Commissioner Gary Bass, refuses to undertake criminal investigation of the chief actors in the transfer of BC Rail to CNR.

The “trying” of the case seems almost to be a gigantic game of hop-scotch in which the major activity may be to leap over the guilty ‘important public figures’ in order to land in the small, dark corner where, allegedly, “three brown men” – with one white one who has been given immunity from prosecution and made a witness – were allegedly working to do bad things in which they were seeking personal gain, for which they have been charged.

As if all that isn’t enough, the Special Prosecutor acting for “the Crown” was improperly appointed and shouldn’t be in the courtroom.  The implications of that are enormous, apart from the fact that Mr. William Berardino seems to have something less than a firm hand on the movement of the trial.  A Crown witness (Mr. Berardino’s witness) – in process of cross-examination – has just disappeared (apparently) to a birthday party in Toronto (as corridor gossip has it. Wherever he is, he was plainly not in view in the Law Courts).

While the witness is “friendly” and a willing participant, the call of honourable behaviour, most British Columbians would believe – if no other pressure were upon him - would assure that Mr. Kenning would be in Vancouver, in the Law Courts building, for the whole period of his (after all, not long) court appearance.  True, a juror fell sick, and one of the accused fell sick and is still sick today, throwing off the schedule a little.  But in the most important public criminal trial in British Columbia history couldn’t the Crown? Couldn’t the judge? Couldn’t Mr. Kenning’s own sense of propriety? insist he remain in Vancouver and be available at the court for the few weeks required to finish his period of testimony?

Doesn’t his absence suggest that he has something less than the highest respect for the administration of justice in Canada?

Apparently not.  And so the trial – a masterpiece of delay and judicial hide-and-seek – is delayed yet again while the world waits for Mr. Kenning to return (it is suggested) to Vancouver.

He went (apparently). Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie apparently doesn’t blame him – for she didn’t even hint such a thing when speaking to the jury about the delay. She hardly mentioned his name.

If Mr. Berardino’s hold on the case, in my view, is not sturdy (since he shouldn’t be in court at all, and since he has been constantly, it seems from the beginning, springing material on the Defence as if he doesn’t know court protocol and manners), hers is equally shaky, in my judgement. She didn’t preside over the largest part of the pre-trial process.  And she appeared as judge as if conjured up by a magician.  The removal from the case (partly by promotion to the Court of Appeal) of Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett was not completely – as we all like to say these days – “transparent”.  It had the colour, to some, of political expediency. And so the appointment to the case of Justice Anne MacKenzie couldn’t help but fall into the shadow of Elizabeth Bennett’s “promotion”, and its scent of political expediency.

But we can be sure that her own promotion to become Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie, shortly after she took over the BC Rail Scandal trial, has not a hint of political expediency about it.

The view is Bleak. Bleak is the Mainstream Press and Media refusal to present sound background to almost any political news story in the province – and to this one especially.  Unanimously, for instance, it is refusing to report Mr. Berardino’s wrongful appointment – as just one example of its shortcomings in the matter.

As I write this report, moreover, Wally Oppal (former lawyer, judge of the BC Supreme and Appeal Court, and former Attorney General) has just been appointed to head the Inquiry into the legal and police and Attorney General-related failures in the murders culminating in the Robert Picton conviction. The appointment is a staggering affront, I say, to any sense of justice in the province.  The only person to be heard with a hint of the horror that should be expressed at Wally Oppal’s appointment is Stewart Phillip, head of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.  He is not a member of the media.

The acceptable press is pussy-footing and soft-pedalling shamelessly.  We need only take the column written in 24 Hours by David Eby of Pivot Legal Society (Sept. 29, 2010) whose Google entries express praise for his virtue that is only slightly less in magnitude than the praise expressed for Mother Teresa. (I ask how it is possible for social activists like Eby to be folded into “the club” so easily?)  I choose him to discuss because his virtue is trumpetted with such éclat.

Eby doesn’t object in his column to Oppal’s appointment, though he says others will.  In fact, Eby says those who know Oppal and have worked with him “including me, [writes Eby] know he is impartial, fair and qualified”.  (That is not my experience with Mr. Oppal, but I am unimportant.)

Never mind my experience.  Does Mr. Eby remember the “Bountiful Bigamy” matter?  Does he remember that (Attorney General) Oppal violated the procedure for the appointment of Special Prosecutors, approached two top lawyers, Richard Peck and Len Doust to act as Special Prosecutors, one after the other.  And when – one after the other – they recommended with good reason against prosecution, Oppal dropped them, one after the other, and moved on until he had someone, Terrence Robertson, who would proceed with a case. [“Impartial, fair and qualified.”]

Does Mr. Eby remember the case went to B.C. Supreme Court?  Does he remember the judge stopped the trial in its tracks and said the Attorney General was special prosecutor shopping?  Mr. Blackmore – one of the accused in the aborted trial – wrote later, after taking a related case against Mr. Oppal: “we brought an action against the government and proved in court they broke the law.”

The instrumental breaker of the law has to be seen as Mr. Wally Oppal. [Impartial, fair and qualified.] Not only does David Eby not mention the bungled and sleazy Bountiful case, he is joined in that oversight by every other journalist commenting on Mr. Oppal’s appointment that I have heard or read. A number of reasons exist to object strongly against Mr. Oppal’s appointment.  Why do all media representatives fail to remember what is perhaps the most important reason?

In addition, Mr. Oppal’s refusal – when Attorney General – to answer any question whatever about the BC Rail Scandal and court process – in my opinion - made a mockery of the law, the court system, and the position of Attorney General. [Impartial, fair and qualified.]

The legal, judicial situation in British Columbia could be more Bleak … perhaps.  That’s not really the point.  The point is that the legal/higher court system in British Columbia is in collapse … and no one in any position of public influence and power is doing a thing to save it. In my judgement, the BC Rail Scandal trial is an on-going expression of the system in collapse…but it is only the highest profile case and the most important expression.



BC Rail: Kinsella won't be cross-examined [and] "I call Bull-Sh!t" says G.A.B.

Recommended: read this first, then read Robin Mathews (above)
The Legislature Raids
Re-posted from August 31, 2009

BC Mary comment: Click HERE to see the way Patrick Kinsella was handled ... and the sudden departure of Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett from the BC Rail trial. Looking back from 13 months on, it all seems much more clear. To quote Gary Mason's segment (below),

" ... The defence wants to put Mr. Kinsella on the stand to ask him directly about the matter. It believes that through questioning it will be revealed that Mr. Kinsella was the linchpin in the sale the three accused insist was politically fixed in favour of CN.

And that that is the real scandal here.

To whet the judge's appetite, the defence read aloud a 2004 e-mail from Kevin Mahoney, president of BC Rail, to Chris Trumpy, then-deputy-minister in charge of the BC Rail sale. It concerns rumblings that CN Rail was not happy with some fine-print aspects of the deal that had been publicly announced but not yet formally signed.

In the e-mail, Mr. Mahoney says to Mr. Trumpy that he'll check “with Kinsella to see what he's been hearing,” about CN's concerns. A later e-mail refers to a conversation that Mr. Kinsella allegedly has with David McLean, chairman of CN, who outlined for him the concerns the company had about some of the tax implications of the proposed deal.

“Clearly there is a relationship between Mr. Kinsella and CN,” defence lawyer Kevin McCullough told the court.

If Judge Bennett agrees that Mr. Kinsella should answer questions under oath about any behind-the-scenes role he may have played in the sale, you can imagine the squirming that will be going on in Victoria.

And maybe in the witness box too."


BC Mary comment: It makes me wonder how the "new" judge can wrap her mind around all that pre-trial negotiating, before the main performance yet to come ... that is, if it's in the cards to allow the BC Rail Political Corruption Trial to proceed to a logical conclusion. 



BC Rail Political Corruption Trial: Sept. 29, 2010. Delay, delay, deny ... is it mere coincidence that the former Minister of Finance, Gary Collins, is expected to be the next Crown witness?

Another delay in the Basi Virk trial

By Neal Hall
Vancouver Sun - Sept. 29, 2010


Another day, another delay at the Basi-Virk political corruption trial.

{Snip} ...

The jury was told to return at 10 a.m. Wednesday [Sept. 29].


BC Mary comment: What happened to Alan Wallace, the guy who fronted for the Campbell government in signing a deal (still partially secret) with CN?  He was expected to be the next witness at the BC Rail Political Corruption trial, wasn't he? And there's Brian Kenning, the so-called BC Rail guy. Is he finished testifying?

I hope that Courtroom 54 is packed with citizens who want to know what's being said about these matters.  Although that courtroom is open to the public to see and hear in person; there's still that handy little tool -- the Publication Ban -- to prevent information from getting around in the public domain. Go figure. 

[Nor, incidentally, can I figure how Maclean's magazine could write a cover story on "The most corrupt province" (Quebec), without mentioning British Columbia's Campbell regime. They did mention BC, however: they blamed three premiers: Vander Zalm, Mike Harcourt, Glen Clark! I wrote to Maclean's pointing out that this comment was "2/3 wrong and 100% biased", then filled in a few details which obviously they didn't know, about the BC Rail Political Corruption trial, now well into its 5th year and counting.] 

Specal note to Anonymous 7:08,

Many, many thanks. No, nobody told me.

Cross-posted from this morning's comments, Anonymous has left a new comment on "BC Rail Political Corruption Trial: Sept. 29, 2010...":

Judge tell[s] jury that Special Prosecutor Bill Berardino will reduce the witness list to assist the trial!

Who will be excused from testifying? Who will not face the tough questioning from the Defence lawyers armed with mountains of emails?

Has a witness told Bill Berardino that they have refused to testify?

More questions and no answers.


Illness, scheduling conflicts put Basi-Virk on hold for 2 weeks.

By Keith Fraser
The Province - Sept. 29, 2010 @ 10.51 AM.

Click HERE for a good rundown on the details.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010


BC Rail Political Corruption Trial: Tues., Sept. 28, 2010. Wally Oppal.

Another expensive day off in Courtroom 54 ... Robin Mathews attended, and this was his report for today (as much as was allowable): 

Morning in Courtroom 54
By Robin Mathews - Sept. 28 2010

This morning Dave Basi continued his absence because of illness.  The judge dismissed the jury and - in the absence of jury - all else that transpired is under publication ban. Tomorrow court will assemble - unsure for the present if Mr. Basi will be in attendance.  The judge addresses the jury tomorrow morning about the schedule of trial days.

BC Mary comment:  Can't help thinking it would be more fair ... and in the public interest ... to reveal the judge's courtroom discussion with the attending lawyers? What's the big secret here -- that Dave Basi has 'flu? If the damn trial was being shown on government TV, I don't see how these problems could arise. I mean, even a sick person could see and hear the proceedings from home. We could see and hear it, too. And after all, I ask you, who's paying the big bill for this performance?

Please, Madam Justice MacK., don't make me think this is all a big phony display of corrupt manipulation again.

Today's comment by G. West might fit right in here ... 

G West wrote on Sept. 28, 2010

This maybe isn't the place for this comment - but, what the hell.

We've learned today that former Supreme Court justice and former attorney general Wally Oppal has been appointed to lead an inquiry into the Picton killings.

I think now's as good a time as any to make the suggestion that the current Attorney General, Mike DeJong, has been smoking something stronger than Kools if he thinks this is a good appointment.

Wally wasn't much of a judge - take a moment and search out the decisions he actually wrote while on the bench compared with the many times he simply and reflexively concurred with one of his learned colleagues.

He was even more incompetent as an Attorney General AND, he was intimately involved in the set up, the financing and the legal wrangling that preceded and accompanied the Picton case.

Of all the jurists available to lead this inquiry, Wally Oppal is the LAST one whose name should have come to mind.

As evidence, I'll submit the following 'search' of BC Mary's own blog - The Legislature Raids.

Have a look through these records - all dated from long before Wally was given his latest sinecure from the government - and decide whether a man so closely involved with the courts and the Picton case - not to mention the Basi-Virk case - has any business leading this inquiry.

I'm told that the First Nations are upset with this disrespectful and ill-considered appointment too, as well they should be.

Do you suppose Wally needed a paycheque that badly? Or is there another reason for this ill-considered choice.

With a strong response from Canadian Canary who wrote:

G West, I agree but may I make one point:

Wally Oppal is not a jurist. He gave up his job as a judge to become a politician. Up until yesterday, he was simply a former, failed, politician and a former judge.

The Gordo Gang are going to press ahead with his appointment and the inquiry IMMEDIATELY. Why immediately when they dragged their feet before calling for an inquiry into the murder of Robert Dziekanski?

Gordo's Gang desperately wants a diversion that will fill the local media pages and airwaves with wall-to-wall faux-inquiry crap. Bread and circuses. The old magician's trick to divert us from the other things exploding in Gordo's face: BC Railgate, HST Liarpalooza, children in CrazyCare, the elderly in HellCare...

Please don't get me wrong, I think there's lots that was wrong with how the police did or did not investigate these murders, but having Pal Wally in charge is not going to get us anything but spin, and a nice prestigious platform from which Wally can opine and try to regain his "judicial reputation".

As for Oppal being a respected judge, hah, hah. Are people's memory's that short? As Attorney-General, he shopped around 3 times (using taxpayer dollars) to get a legal opinion he like regarding the Bountiful incest case. And, in the end the Supreme Court openly castigated him for it. Respected, my as!terisk.

Wally Oppal is someone who needed an income, pure and simple, Oh yah, and it doesn't hurt for him to have a media platform and a position to help him look judicial again. Looks like Wally wants another shot at the public trough, preferably in front of the klieg lights not in the background. He's one shadowy dude though. We best watch out!


For another good read, go to Bill Tieleman's blog for a running commentary on Carole James and the NDP these days, as well as Wally Oppal and his  appointment to the Pickton case, and today's twists and turns of the BC Legislature Raid "trial curse".
Click HERE for all that. 



BC Rail Political Corruption Trial - Sept. 28, 2010

Another courtroom session is rumoured for today, but ...

‘Black cloud’ could be hanging over BC Rail case

Rod Mickleburgh
The Globe and Mail - Tuesday, Sep. 28, 2010

VANCUVER - The wheels of justice are often said to grind slowly, but rarely have they ground as slowly as the excruciating, tortoise-like pace that has befallen British Columbia’s high-stakes, political corruption trial.

More related to this story

BC Rail in good financial health at time of sale, trial told

In pictures

The Legislature Raid trial

More on than going, proceedings against former Liberal political aides Dave Basi, Bob Virk, and Aneal Basi have become a poster child for the catchphrase, “one damn thing after another.”

“You start to wonder whether there’s a black cloud hanging over this case,” said one observer close to the proceedings, after yet another postponement on Monday.

Since opening May 18, the trial, once set for six weeks but now scheduled to run until next March at the earliest, has heard from only two witnesses.

Meanwhile, the trial, itself, did not begin until more than five years after corruption charges were first laid against the accused back in 2005.

This seemingly interminable gestation of a case that reaches high into the ranks of the Liberal government and its controversial decision to sell BC Rail has been manna from heaven for the ruling Liberals.

For years, through elections in 2005 and 2009, Liberal cabinet ministers, from Premier Gordon Campbell on down, have refused to answer a single question about their involvement in the $1-billion BC Rail sale, arguing they can say nothing because the matter is before the courts.


The latest hiccup in proceedings was prompted by Dave Basi falling victim to the flu.

That follows hard on the struggles of last week, when various juror mishaps, including illness and a broken hand, caused the court to stop and start like cars at a traffic light.

The trial was also put on hold for a few days early on to allow Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie to consider the implications, if any, of an unusual incident involving a father of one of the prosecutors, who approached and spoke to two of the jurors.

The judge subsequently instructed jurors to draw no negative influences from the encounter.

There followed a two-month summer break, and long before that, a change in judges, and a two-year fight to resolve a matter before the Supreme Court of Canada.

“You really do start to seriously consider whether this whole thing is cursed,” said political consultant Bill Tieleman, who has covered and blogged about the Basi-Virk case from the beginning.

Long since lost in the distant past is the bold proclamation of then associate chief justice Patrick Dohm who declared the trial would begin on Nov. 28, 2005, “no matter what.”

Read more HERE.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Monday in BC Supreme Courtroom 54 - the BC Rail Political Corruption Trial interrupted

By Robin Mathews
Mon., September 27, 2010

The morning was taken up mostly with jury-absent argument and discussion which should be available to the public, but isn't because of the draconian publication ban put in place by Associate Chief Justice Anne Mackenzie.

There are, doubtless, things which - from time to time - need to be kept from immediate release to the public.  Most of the things happening now without the presence of the jury are not - as I see it - of that nature.  But all is banned in a sweeping, absurd, defiance of the "Open Court" principle ... as I observe the proceedings.

The daily transcript of proceedings, which should be available to all of the public in an "Open Court", is never available, either.  That denial of information, I insist, is a violation of the public's freedom to have information about its business, which this Supreme Court and the government of Gordon Campbell seem, almost, to work together to deny the public.

Clearly, a broom needs to sweep through the B.C. Supreme Court.  Normally, it would be used by a concerned Attorney General.  But Michael de Jong who was responsible for the "cover-up" review of the Special Prosecutor appointment process won't be the person. The failure of that "review" to mention the misuse of the Special Prosecutor appointment process by former Attorney General Wally Oppal and the wrongful appointment of William Berardino as Special Prosecutor in the present BC Rail Scandal trial says everything that needs to be said about it.  A cover-up.

This morning's procedure opened with the announcement that Dave Basi, accused, could not be in the court because of illness.  And so the jury was dismissed.

Then the publication ban events took place.

Court (if Dave Basi returns) meets tomorrow.


Optically unfortunate: BC Rail, CN and Patrick Kinsella

The Real Story - September 27, 2010 by Ian

Thursday’s handover from Virk’s lawyer, Kevin McCullough, to David Basi’s lawyer, Michael Bolton, was seamless as one dropped and the other picked up the CN thread.

Not surprisingly the name of BC Liberal campaign co-chair Patrick Kinsella came up.

“Mr. Kinsella and his company were paid about $300 thousand to in assisting in divesting of its freight operations.  That’s a lot being paid to the man who ran the election campaign” Boulton asked.  “It’s a lot of money, yes” replied Kenning.

And what did Kinsella do for the $300 K?  “I don’t know,” said evaluation committee member and BCR audit chair Brian Kenning.

According to Kenning, Board Chair John McLernon and BCR CEO Bob Phillips told the board they were hiring Kinsella to “provide guidance on how to deal with government in context with core review.”  When Boulton reminded Kenning that BC Rail executives were already dealing directly with Brenda Eaton in the Premier’s office on the core review Kenning offered, “to be honest I don’t know what was in the minds of McLernon and Philllips.” {Snip} ...   

Around three o’clock Boulton raised the infamous exchange between Kevin Mahoney and John McLernon regarding a telephone call from Kinsella, when it looked like the CN deal was going south.  “Did you become aware that Mahoney went to Patrick Kinsella to find out what CNs issues were,”  Boulton asked? “Can you explain why Kevin Mahoney thought it was a good idea to check with Patrick Kinsella to see what Mr. McLean was concerned about?”

The Court adjourned and left the question hanging.  But it’s clear we’ll be hearing much more about Mr. Kinsella’s role in this trial.  You can bet the mortgage money that ‘Who’s side was Mr. Kinsella really on,’ will become a steady theme of this trial.


Saturday, September 25, 2010


Hot tip: BC Rail Political Corruption Trial will feature Gary Collins, who was BC Minister of Finance during the transfer of BC Rail from public ownership into private pockets.

BC Mary comment: Noted in passing and  unconfirmed until the BCSC daily schedule is published, each morning; see "BC Criminal Courts" left margin): there are/were no Friday sittings during September for the BC Rail Political Corruption Trial ... but ... sittings will run 5 days a week, Mondays to Fridays, as of October 1, 2010.

And next week, rumour has it that the Honourable Gary Collins, Minister of Finance during the tainted BC Rail negotiations, will be called to the witness stand in the BC Rail Political Corruption Trial. These sessions are open to the public. 

Meantime, we have a weekend (Sept. 24, 25, 26) to ponder a few things, such as: why do we continue to step cautiously around the plausible notion that it was Gordon Campbell and his government which micro-managed the unpopular sell-off of BC Rail, a vital public asset? Because the process didn't stop on July 14, 2004 when the tainted BCR-CN deal was signed. It has continued in various forms, including the transfer to CN of priceless BCR real estate holdings.

Look back at this report by Keith Fraser:

B.C. Rail execs had no trains but lots of perks

By Keith Fraser
The Province - September 17, 2010

Five years after the sale of B.C. Rail's main freight division, when the company was winding down its operations, they spent $32,000 to fly executives around the world, the Basi-Virk trial heard Thursday.

The details came out during the third day of cross-examination of former B.C. Rail board member Brian Kenning.

In 2008, five years after the Crown corporation had been largely sold off, a number of B.C. Rail executives flew to other key ports, including Hong Kong and Dubai, said Kenning, who sat on the evaluation committee for the sale of B.C. Rail and headed the audit committee.

"So B.C. Rail, in 2008, a company with [few employees], you're saying it's necessary for them to go on airline travel to the Far East, have I got that right?" asked defence lawyer Kevin McCullough.

"No, you haven't got that right," said Kenning. "What I'm saying is that we had a new mandate from the government that required us to carry out our job," said Kenning. "We made the decision that trips to other, key, world-class ports would be helpful to us in carrying out what was a new duty tasked to us by the minister of transportation and the premier's office."

McCullough pressed Kenning on why B.C. Rail, which only had a small rail line at Roberts Bank and no trains by this point, would agree to such an expenditure.

"As a board member, did you not think that was absurd?" he said.

"No, it wasn't absurd," said Kenning. "I think it makes perfect sense, given what the government asked us to do."

Read more HERE:

And this insight from the astute Salt Spring News:

New World Order corruption in its BC outpost: North American Union related sale of BC Rail trial resumes today [Sept. 13] in Vancouver court

Cartoon courtesy of The Real Story (click HERE to visit the link and see Gordon Campbell trying on his BC RAIL  T-shirt which, in his mirror, is reflected as BC LIAR).

What BC Rail and the HST have in common

Ian Reid
Vancouver Observer - Sept 11, 2010

Around about 1930, Dorothy Parker started answering her telephone with the question, “What fresh hell is this?” Little did she know that she was channeling BC Liberal operatives yelling into their phones 80 years in the future. This week’s fresh hell --- not to be confused with the ongoing hell of the HST --- is the resumption of the BC Rail corruption trial at the Vancouver Courthouse. I know, I know... Not that again. That’s so 2009. But here’s why the BC Rail trial is relevant: it tells us why the BC Liberals thought they could get away with the HST. It lays out, like a late night episode of Law and Order, their way of doing business. The BC Rail trial is the BC Liberal M.O. on full display – with cross-examination.

For example, next week Alan Wallace of CIBC World Markets takes the stand. Wallace was the hired gun responsible for implementing the BC Rail sell-off, a process riddled with leaks and charges of unfairness and favoritism. Those charges came to a head in the fall of 2003 as the BC Liberals prepared to pick the winning proponent. Two of the three firms in play got wind of secret information supplied to the government’s favourite CN and complained to Wallace and the government. Here’s what Burlington Northern’s president had to say just before they pulled out of the process: “Lack of fairness”, “favoritism”, “serious breach of the process.” Canadian Pacific said much the same in a separate series of letters to the government, except they leaked their complaint to the media.

What did the BC Liberals do? They leaked back, releasing an unfinished draft report from Charles Rivers Associates – the so-called fairness report – that purported to show the whole mess was on the up and up, totally fair and completely unbiased. This is the report the forgetful Martyn Brown remembered rapturously on the stand last July. He told the jury the Charles Rivers report gave the sale process the stamp of legitimacy. Except internal government documents on the BC NDP Caucus website show that the report was anything but legitimate. It turns out the report was preliminary, didn’t include any interviews with the three proponents and was edited by the government. You can bet Wallace will be answering questions about these charges of abuse of process and favoritism if and when he takes the stand Monday. ...

and from Pastor Palmer:
No grounds for premier to refuse to testify in BC Rail

by Vaughn Palmer
Vancouver Sun - May 26, 2010

That will depend on whether he is called.

Campbell was not on the list of 40 witnesses presented by the prosecution during the jury-selection process.

But the defence could seek to call him, providing the judge agreed that his test[i]mony could be relevant to the proceedings.

Or the crown could add him to the list to rebut testimony from defence witnesses.

In that event, some commentary on the trial has suggested that Campbell could/would refuse to appear by invoking his privilege as a member of the legislature.

But no  privilege exists that would allow an elected member to refuse to testify  a criminal proceeding.

If called, he would have the same obligation to appear as any other citizen.

Friday, September 24, 2010


The BC Rail Station in North Vancouver: wtf?

Maybe "Metro Vancouver" could just wait a few doggone months to see who is the legal owner of BC Rail ... before deciding to turn this significant BC Rail Station site into a ... a ... a sewage treatment plant (for cryin' out loud).

North Vancouver District Mayor  Richard Walton stands at the former B.C. Rail station at McKeen and  Pemberton avenues in North Van, the planned site for a sewage  treatment plant.

North Vancouver District Mayor Richard Walton stands at the former B.C. Rail station at McKeen and Pemberton avenues in North Van, the planned site for a sewage treatment plant.


By Kent Spencer

The Province - Sept. 24, 2010

Photograph by: Arlen Redekop - PNG, The Province

There is a bad smell about federal plans to dump the cost of $1.4-billion worth of sewage-treatment upgrades on Vancouver and the North Shore, say residents and politicians of both areas ...

Read more HERE:

Thursday, September 23, 2010


BC Rail Political Corruption Trial: Thursday, Sept. 23, 2010

Morning in Courtroom 54.  The BC Rail Scandal Trial

By Robin Mathews
Sept. 23, 2010

Without Mr. Berardino in the courtroom this morning, matters forged ahead.  Two subjects occupied the core of cross-examination by Kevin McCullough, first, and then Michael Bolton – who will occupy the rest of the day.

The two subjects may be stated simply as, first, the question of Mr. Brian Kenning’s accuracy in testimony (former director, Chair of the Evaluation [preparation for sale] Committee and Chair of the audit committee).

 And second, the matter of “payoffs”, or “greasing the palms” of insider Liberals or even – perhaps – cronies of Gordon Campbell … and others getting favours.  Citizen Reporter 54 reported on September 22 to BC Mary’s site, the following.

 “We have heard how BC Rail paid BC Liberal insiders Randy Wood. Patrick Kinsella, Nancy Spooner and Judy Kirk hundreds of thousands of dollars.  We have heard that the BC Government approved huge salary increases for the members of BC Rail board.  All evidence that points to a railway run as a political tool for the friends of Gordon Campbell to play with.”

 Mr. McCullough and Mr. Kenning fell into stern disagreement about the profitability of BC Rail – and the reporting of profitability by Mr. Kenning to the jury.  Mr. McCullough stated on the basis of reports that BC Rail was in much better condition that Mr. Kenning had suggested to the jury.  Indeed, Mr. McCullough used the word “bogus” when referring to operating ratios as presented by Mr. Kenning.

Mr. McCullough asked repeatedly if management told the directors that BC Rail did great in 2002 and would do well in 2003 – and that Kenning and government were told BC Rail could manage with no new debt, no debt forgiveness, and no new subsidies.  Did Kevin Mahoney vice-president of BC Rail tell you that? Mr. McCullough asked.

Mr. Kenning couldn’t recall if that had been the case. But he assured Mr. McCullough that much work had been done by management and the statement would be germane if government decided not to take the Board’s recommendation and sell BC Rail.

 Mr. McCullough told Mr. Kenning that he had told the jury that BC Rail couldn’t manage and that it couldn’t meet its debt obligations.  Mr. Kenning denied both statements.  He said the future depended upon what happened to the business.

 Mr. McCullough asked why CN has told investors it is making “a ton of money” off the operations of what was previously BC rail?

 Mr. Kenning said he doesn’t know.

Mr. McCullough asked Mr. Kenning if he knew that Brian Kierans , lobbyist for Omnitrax lived next door to Paul Taylor, deputy minister of finance on Pender Island (2003-03),  that KPMG was doing an investigation of Mr. Taylor and Mr. Kierans in 2006-07, and that an e-mail among Eric Bornmann, Jamie Elmhirst, and Brian Kierans (all of Pilothouse lobby group working for Omnitrax around 2002-03) referred to “a blabbing deputy minister”?

 Mr. Kenning did not know, nor did he know if Mr. Taylor had access to confidential information.

 On the question of leaks, Mr. Kenning said that the Evaluation Committee never recommended an investigation into the sources, though it discussed the matter from time to time.

 Though the Board of Directors and the Evaluation Committee intervened in no way in the “sale”, stayed at arm’s length from negotiations, and seemed not to know what government was doing in bidding and such like, according to Mr. Kenning - repeatedly - yet they recommended the hiring of ‘fairness evaluation’ entity (about which Mr. Kenning knew nothing when it was appointed). And then when the bid from CN came in, they recommended that CIBC tell CN its bid was far below the leading bidder. The Board of Directors appears to have stayed at armslength from all aspects of the transfer of BC Rail to CNR (and knew nothing about any of the details) – except when that wasn’t the case.

 A humorous exchange – though deeply serious in fact – was conducted on the times and the relevance of Mr. Kenning accepting a place in the CIBC hockey box.  Mr. Kenning couldn’t remember if he had accepted a seat before or during CIBC contracting with BC Rail, nor could he remember who else had sat in the box on those occasions.  When Mr. McCullough remarked that those boxes are pretty nice, the judge, first, and then prosecution intervened.

 As an introduction to Mr. Bolton’s cross-examination Mr. McCullough had Mr. Kenning recall that he was appointed to the Board of Directors of BC Rail on September 11, 2001.  It may not be without relevance that Gordon Campbell set up new directors, soon to recommend the sale of BC Rail.

 Mr. Bolton drew from Mr. Kenning the fact that Patrick Kinsella, who was co-chair of the Liberal campaign in the 2001 election of Gordon Campbell, was appointed “to assist” BC Rail.  He drew from him, too, that Mr. Kinsella was hired to assist in advising how to deal with government.  Since BC Rail had easy access to the premier’s office, the appointment seemed somewhat redundant.

 Mr. Bolton pointed out that Mr. Kinsella wrote offering to sell some “savvy” to BC Rail about the government.  Mr. Kenning replied that since the Board (fairly new) didn’t have background on the Liberal government, that might have been a good idea.

 Then Mr. Bolton pointed out that over a few years Mr. Kinsella and his company were paid $200,000.00 for assisting BC Rail.  Mr. Bolton remarked that it is a large sum paid to a man who ran Campbell’s election campaign – especially when the government owned BC Rail and may not have needed “savvy” either way.

Where were you as head of the Audit Committee seeing such a payment, Mr. Bolton asked?  Did you know Mr. Kinsella had apparently been advising CN?  Did you know that Mr. Kinsella was obviously a political link?  On all those questions and matters Mr. Kenning had absolutely no knowledge, was not involved, knew nothing about what happened, knew nothing about conversations, and so on.



BC Rail Political Corruption Trial: Thursday, Sept. 23, 2010

The Canadian Press
Published: September 23, 2010

VANCOUVER - A lawyer at the legislature raid trial in Vancouver says BC Rail was in good financial shape when it was sold to CN Rail for $1 billion, despite claims that the Crown corporation was a money loser. {Snip} ...

Defence lawyer Kevin McCullough, who represents one of three former government employees in the political corruption case, continued Thursday in British Columbia Supreme Court to cross-examine a member of the committee that approved the sale. {Snip} ...

"Did Mr. Mahoney tell you, sir, that in 2002 BC Rail had a great year, that in 2003 they were having a solid year, and that they told the government that although there was risk we could manage the railway under the existing restrictions, no new debt, no debt forgiveness, and no subsidies?" McCullough asked the witness.

Kenning said he couldn't recall Mahoney making such a statement, though he couldn't rule out that it happened.

Last week, Kenning denied that the "fix was in" for CN Rail to win the bid.

BC Rail's former president has suggested he was let go in 2001 because he opposed a plan to run the company into the ground.

Mark Mudie said in court documents pertaining to his wrongful dismissal lawsuit that the "failure strategy" would have strengthened the case for selling the railway.

McCullough accused Kenning Thursday of tailoring his testimony.

"BC Rail was a company that was not only making money, but the complaint that you've suggested — that they had a poor operating ratio, the justification you'd suggested for sale — is simply a bogus justification," McCullough said.

Operating ratio compares a company's sales figures to its operating expenses ...

Read more HERE. And HERE.

and HERE.

BC Rail director sat in CIBC box at Canucks games, trial told

Vancouver Sun - September 23, 2010

VANCOUVER - A director of BC Rail testified today at a political corruption trial that he accepted seats in the CIBC [Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce] private box for Vancouver Canucks game.
But Brian Kenning couldn't recall whether it was before or after CIBC was awarded the untendered $6.1-million contract to act as financial advisor for the BC Rail sale.

"I think I went to one or two games," the witness recalled about sitting in CIBC's private box.

"You don't recall it was before CIBC got the $6-million contract?" asked defence lawyer Kevin McCullough.

"I've been to the CIBC box two to four times in my lifetime. I can't recall when," Kenning replied.

Asked if he considered it appropriate to attend the CIBC box for Canucks hockey games during the BC Rail transaction, Kenning replied: "I never really thought about it."

{Snip} ...

The Crown contends Basi and Virk leaked confidential information about the BC Rail bidding process to a lobbyist representing one of the bidders, OmniTrax, in exchange for cash and other benefits.

Basi's cousin, Aneal Basi, is accused of money laundering.

At the time. Dave Basi was the top political aide to finance minister Gary Collins and Virk was ministerial assistant to transportation minister Judith Reid.

Aneal Basi worked in communications for the transportation ministry.

The government announced on Nov. 25, 2003, that CN Rail was the winning bidder to take over BC Rail operations. The $1-billion deal was finalized in 2004.

The defence contends there was a bias in favour of selling to CN because the chair of CN was David McLean, the chief fundraiser for Gordon Campbell's 1996 election campaign.

The government contends the deal was not a sale but a long-term lease of 60 years, with option renewals of up to 990 years.

The police investigation led to search warrants being executed on the legislature on Dec. 28, 2003.

Gary Collins, the former finance minister, is expected to testify next week.

Read more HERE.


Bias allegation raised during B.C. Rail sale

By Keith Fraser, The Province September 22, 2010

 A former B.C. Rail board member offered to resign from a committee handling the controversial sale of the Crown corporation when an allegation of bias was levelled against him, the Basi-Virk trial heard Tuesday.
The allegation against Brian Kenning was revealed during the fifth day of his cross-examination at the government corruption trial.

Under questioning from defence lawyer Kevin McCullough, Kenning admitted that board chairman John McLernon told him that MLA Pat Bell had complained about a comment Kenning made that allegedly revealed a perception of bias ...

Read more HERE.


Ex-B.C. Rail board member unable to recall details of perks

The Province - Sept. 23, 2010

Former B.C. Rail board member Brian Kenning accepted invitations to the CIBC corporate box at Canucks games, the Basi-Virk trial heard Thursday.

But Kenning could not say whether he attended the games before or after the investment banker was awarded a $6-million untendered contract as financial advisor on the sale of BC Rail.

Kenning has been on the witness stand for more than a week. The next witness is expected to be former finance minister Gary Collins. It’s anticipated he’ll be testifying some time next week. {Snip}

Read more HERE.

A comment which bears repeating:

North Van's Grumps has left a new comment on "BC Rail Political Corruption Trial: Thursday, Sept. 23":

"Optics" has been the word that the Defense team has been using at the BC Rail trial, and the optics of laying charges should have been laid on with an even hand.

How about this for similarities with strikingly different results on the part of the police, and Special Prosecutor.

Dave Basi and Bobby Virk leave their safe haven of Victoria to go to Denver, Colorado where Omnitrax picks up their tabs for their attending one football game. Omnitrax was in the running for a chance to be the winning bidder for BC Rail: Result: Breach of Trust charges are laid against Dave Basi and Bobby Virk.

That's fair, they're Government officials.

Witness Kenning on the other hand is invited by CIBC World Markets to sit in their box to watch a Vancouver Canucks hockey game, up to four times. CIBC World Markets "won" an untendered contract for the BC Rail Marine division and then went on to run the sale of the freight division of BC Rail deal where "leaks" occurred in the process. Fees paid to CIBC World Markets by BC Rail: over $6 million dollars in 2004.

Nothing wrong with the latter, attending free functions, so says Witness Kenning, its done all of the time.

Kevin McCullough then reminds the Witness of his earlier testimony on how the six Directors went about deciding who was to be their investment banker.

There wasn't a list of names presented, just blank pieces of paper*. Amazingly they all wrote down CIBC World Markets.

BC Mary comment:  *also known as carte blanche. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


From Citizen Journalist: the BC Rail Political Corruption Trial doors were closed and locked today.


I hope that you can post this for your readers.  Many have sent notes to me asking to continue to write about Courtroom 54.  I will keep writing (health permitting) and I hope that you can keep posting.


I travelled to the courthouse today to find out that the doors of
Courtroom 54 were locked.  No reasons posted.  The events of the last
week highlighted by more "I don't recall" and "I can't remember any
events seven years ago" from Brian Kenning forced me to travel to the
BC Supreme Court to see for myself what the reactions were in the
courtroom to the inability of witnesses to remember anything about the
sale of BC Rail.  It appears to me that the strategy is for witnesses
to avoid perjury charges at all cost and they are following the
pattern of select memories set by Martyn Brown.  No doubt, this will
be a pattern that continues.

We have heard that a so called "money losing railway" was using scarce
dollars to fund Vancouver Canuck tickets and BC Lions tickets.  We
have heard that the management of BC Rail travel to Hong Kong and
Dubai to learn about ports.  We have heard that Kevin Mahoney Vice
President at BC Rail was eligible to receive bonuses equal to 28
months of salary for only 10 months of work if BC Rail was sold.  We
have heard how Brian Kenning was close friends with Peter Armstrong of
Rocky Mountaineer Railtours and a strategic partner with CN. We have
heard how BC Rail paid BC Liberal insiders Randy Wood, Patrick
Kinsella, Nancy Spooner and Judy Kirk hundreds of thousands of
dollars.  We have heard that the BC Government approved huge salary
increases for the members of the BC Rail board.  All evidence that
points to a railway run as a political tool for the friends of Gordon
Campbell to play with.

The most outrageous example of the gross abuse of taxpayer monies was
the notion that BC Rail management received threefold  bonuses for
retention, severance, and change of operator that was signed in
January of 2002!   If the decision to sell the Railway wasn't made
publicly until May 2003, why did the BC Rail Board of Directors
approve these extravagant bonuses in 2002?  Why aren't these questions
being asked of our elected officials?  After BC Rail was sold, Kevin
Mahoney was paid $797,104 in 2004 plus $46,000 in expenses.

The other important fact that was made in evidence was the number of
people involved in the sale of BC Rail.  The process to sell BC Rail
involved many people and many politicians.  You have the support
staff.  You have the people of BC Rail.  You have the lawyers.  You
have other consultants.  You have the bankers at CIBC World Markets.
And then you have the BC Government.  The government had many people
involved in the sale of BC Rail and many elected officials including
Pat Bell - a key person who was referred to by Mr. Brian Kenning in
his evidence on Tuesday morning.

According to Mr. Kenning, John McLernon (chairman of BC Rail and chair
of the evaluation committee), advised Kenning that he had information
from Pat Bell, (MLA for Prince George and current Minister of Forests)
that Mr. Bell heard from a source that Mr. Kenning said that "CN is
going to get BC Rail" sometime in March 2003.  John McLernon asked
Brian Kenning if he made the comment and Mr. Kenning denied it.  Brian
Kenning testified that John McLernon would handle the allegation.
McLernon is scheduled to be a witness in this case.

Unfortunately, the mainstream media ignore some of the more important
facts that are given in evidence during the trial.  Everyday new
details emerge around the sale of BC Rail.  Unfortunately, the whole
truth is not emerging given the inability of witnesses to remember.

Citizen Journalist from outside 54

More Citizen Journalists on the job:

Morning Brew

BC Rail employees motivated by huge bonuses to sell ...
By Jon

That BC Rail scandal just won't die. There's now evidence to suggest that BC Rail executives had good reason to sell the company -- that is, big fat bonuses. We're talking upwards of $500,000 on top of their $275,000 salaries.

Beyond Robson -
British Columbia News » Blog Archive »

Ex-B.C. Rail board member ...
By admin

A former board member of B.C. Rail offered to resign from a committee handling the controversial sale of the Crown corporation when an allegation of bias was levelled against him, the Basi-Virk trial heard Tuesday. ...

British Columbia News -

Northern Insights / Perceptivity:

Ferry Master David Hahn ...

By Norm Farrell
BC Rail Political Corruption Trial:
Sept. 22, 2010 - . *Bonus packages linked to BC Rail* By Neal Hall Vancouver Sun - Sept. 22, 2010 "Lavish bonus packages" that would be triggered by the sale of BC Rail ...

Northern Insights / Perceptivity -

Government may be on the hook for $900 million in BC Rail sale ...
By Nina Adelson

Government may be on the hook for $900 million in BC Rail sale, court hears. The B.C. government could be forced to compensate CN Rail by as much as $900 million for lost tax writeoffs, eating up most of the $1 billion it sold the ...

wilson96 -

Cute, eh?

No grounds for premier to refuse to testify in BC Rail Trial

By Vaughn Palmer

Read more HERE.



BC Rail Political Corruption Trial: Sept. 22, 2010

Bonus packages linked to BC Rail

 By Neal Hall
Vancouver Sun - Sept. 22, 2010

"Lavish bonus packages" that would be triggered by the sale of BC Rail gave its executives an incentive to ensure the publicly owned railway was sold, a defence lawyer suggested Tuesday.

"The incentive was that these executives would get all these bonuses if the railway was sold," lawyer Kevin McCullough suggested to former BC Rail board member Brian Kenning.

Kenning replied that the bonus packages were "completely standard business practice" ...

Read more HERE:



The last straw ... Restoration of the BC Rail Station in North Vancouver: "a shitty proposition" says North Vancouver councillor

By Niamh Scallan
North Shore News - September 22, 2010

District of North Vancouver councillors are fuming after hearing at a Monday workshop that a new Metro Vancouver liquid waste management plan could cost district households up to $3,830 each.

"This is a shitty proposition and it's not of our making," Coun. Doug MacKay-Dunn said of the potential cost of Metro Vancouver's proposal to overhaul its wastewater treatment facilities. {Snip} ...

According to utilities department manager Lorn Carter, the primary treatment plant -- as well as more than 1,000 facilities across Canada -- must be upgraded to comply with new federal environmental regulations.

Over the next several years, Metro Vancouver plans to move the North Shore's primary wastewater treatment from its current location on Squamish First Nation land under the Lions Gate Bridge to a new site at McKeen Avenue and West First Street in the District of North Vancouver -- the location of the old BC Rail station.

According to Monday night's presentation to district council, the relocation of sewage piping and primary treatment technology to the old BC Rail site -- where a secondary treatment facility will be built -- will add to the Lions Gate Wastewater Treatment upgrade cost, already estimated at $400 million.

District councillors also discussed concerns that North Shore communities are more heavily burdened by the costs of Metro Vancouver's liquid waste management plan than other municipalities in the region.

"When you get to the secondary (treatment) upgrade, the costs fall far more on the local community than building a building a primary plant," Walton said. "We're in a situation where we're in a small (sewerage) district with a major plant upgrade and . . . 70 per cent of the cost falls on us."

"This could pit us against our Metro neighbours," he added.

According to Walton, councillors across the North Shore continue to advocate to local MPs John Weston and Andrew Saxton to press for a cost-sharing agreement with the provincial and federal governments.

"As Metro Vancouver goes through with this liquid waste plan, which they have to do as a requirement with the Ministry of the Environment, there's no assurance at all that (the District of North Vancouver is) getting off the hook with this $134 million," he said. "This is being strongly advocated by our two representatives, Mayor (Pam) Goldsmith-Jones and Mayor (Darrell) Mussatto, on the waste committee."

District council plans to hold a public meeting on the waste management issue in the near future.

At a City of North Vancouver council meeting the same night, councillors also voiced many of their district counterparts' concerns.

Coun. Guy Heywood described the potential costs to ratepayers as "truly frightening." {Snip} ...

Read more HERE:


Tuesday, September 21, 2010


BC Rail Political Corruption Trial: Sept. 21, 2010

Morning in Courtroom 54.

By Robin Mathews 
September 21, 2010

Being in the courtroom frequently, a person can begin to forget what the reaction of other Canadians would be to activity there.  A person gets used to the formalities - rising for the judge and jury, the fine points of procedure (and behaviour) argued at length.  When the father of one of the prosecuting team spoke a few words to a jury member on a skytrain platform, the (possible) implications took a few days of court time to iron out.

Mr. Brian Kenning, a recent  director and Chair of the Evaluation Committee of the Board of BC Rail, is in his fifth day of cross-examination.  He doesn’t seem to be very comfortable.  Being cross-examined is not a picnic.

Nonetheless, it is easy to miss the big picture – and, sometimes – the lawyers miss the big picture, too, it seems.   Mr. Kenning was in a major position of trust, on the Board of Directors of a huge Crown Corporation.  He was appointed by the new Gordon Campbell government in 2001.  (And the gossip – fiercely denied – is that the board was chosen to dump BC Rail with all haste into the hands of the CNR.)

Indeed, this morning in testimony, Mr. McCullough, for the Defence, elicited from Mr. Kenning that Pat Bell a Northern MLA had made the allegation when the bidding for BC Rail was in process that Mr. Kenning was saying that CN would get BC Rail. Mr. Kenning denied the allegation.  Mr. Virk, too, Mr. McCullough said had spoken to Mr. Kenning about the possible problem of his bias.  Mr. Kenning remembered discussing the Pat Bell allegations with Mr. John McLernon, but remembered nothing about Mr. Virk.

Mr. McCullough asked why Mr. Kenning took so long to come round to remembering the Pat Bell event.  Such a question might be asked frequently.
Mr. Kenning, as I have written already, forgets a great deal.

It is possible, sitting in the court, to become absorbed in close details – like the revelation that many, many people had not signed confidentiality papers about the BC Rail transfer to private ownership.  Many who had access to computers and offices had not signed confidentiality papers.  The point being made by Defence is that sources of leaks were widely potential and are not easy to find – though sometimes they can be found.

Those are the face-to-the-glass details one sees easily.

Much more difficult to see is that Mr. Kenning was in – as I say – a position of great trust on the Board of BC Rail.  He was acting for all the people of British Columbia who needed to have their assets under impeccable stewardship.  But he told Defence counsel – as I understood him – that the Board of Directors and the Evaluation Committee (of which he was chair) listened to the recommendations of ‘management’ without questioning them and demanding hard responses.  They made no key decisions on the “sale” of BC Rail and did not intervene in negotiations the Campbell government was having with bidders and buyers.

In fact, only months after his appointment to the Board, Mr. Kenning joined the rest in recommending BC Rail be privatized, be handed it away from ownership by British Columbians.

Mr. Kenning and the other members of the Board of Directors didn’t, seemingly, question anything.  Guardians of a major asset of British Columbians, the directors didn’t even question the enormous interest of 9% on the tax loss revenues that might at some time fall as a debt on the shoulders of B.C. taxpayers!

If there were discussions of sale matters by the directors or the Evaluation Committee of BC Rail (of which he was chair), Mr. Kenning cannot remember any of them.  A Board of Directors of a Crown Corporation exerting no oversight over sale, making no interventions, asking no questions, simply ‘taking orders’ from ‘management’ and ‘government’ has no reason to remember … anything.

But British Columbians have many, many questions to ask.  Argument grows that the transfer of BC Rail to CNR was corruptly engaged in.  More and more people believe that the timeline of ‘sale’ properly seen began the first day Gordon Campbell took office  (or earlier), that all BC Rail appointments from the beginning were made to assure BC Rail would be privatized – and to CNR … and that all other explanations are so much spin and disinformation.  And, it happens, “all the other explanations” are those of the (mostly) major figures involved in dumping BC Rail on CNR.

If the growing sentiment has roots in the truth of the matter, then other questions arise.  Were the directors of BC Rail in Breach of Trust?  And if they were, was it Criminal Breach of Trust?  And were (and are) others who manipulated the transfer of BC Rail to CNR (if the transfer was done illegitimately) also in Breach of Trust, in Criminal Breach of Trust?

No one says that kind of thing in Courtroom 54, as day after day after day drags out in the trial of three Order in Council appointed aides: Basi, Virk, and Basi. The trial has to be – because of the history of the BC Rail Scandal – about their guilt or innocence.  No other people in the whole seamy dumping of BC Rail have ever been charged.  Perhaps a trial should be about the guilt or innocence of Gordon Campbell and his associates in the transfer of BC Rail - not excluding the Board of Directors of BC Rail.

That is why I have asked RCMP Deputy Commissioner Gary Bass to undertake a criminal investigation of Gordon Campbell and his associates in the “sale” of BC Rail – to clear the air for once and for all.  Mr. Bass refuses to undertake such an investigation.

  [Small voice off-stage can be heard shouting Hooray! Hooray!!]


Footnote: after lunch, the session was cancelled when a juror fell sick and had to leave.


Ex-B.C. Rail board member accused of bias offered to resign

By Keith Fraser
The Province - Sept. 21, 2010

Click HERE to read more. 


BC Rail executives had incentives to get large bonuses if railway was sold, trial hea

By Neal Hall
Vancouver Sun - Sept. 21, 2010


... Kenning explained that once executives get a whiff of a company being sold, they get concerned about the future and start looking for other jobs.

To retain the key employees at BC Rail, Kenning recalled, the executives signed retention and severance agreements on Jan. 1, 2002. (The government announced the BC Rail sale Nov. 25, 2003.)

The agreements included a retention bonus of 12 months of salary, a 12-month severance bonus, plus a change-of-carrier bonus, which in total amounted to 28 months of salary.

McCullough questioned why a BC Rail vice-president, Kevin Mahoney, would be offered a 28-month severance package only 10 months after the railway had hired him ...

Read more HERE.

BC Rail - how badly were we hosed?

By Ian
The Real Story - Sept. 21, 2010


McCullough asked Mr. Kenning the obvious question.  Did the evaluation committee – which Kenning sat on – evaluate the three final bids in light of this taxation deal with CN.  In other words, if CN gets paid back $900 million was CN’s bid still the best bid?

And Kenning said “no.”  The Evaluation Committee did no due diligence on the tax deal when assessing the bids.

But wasn’t it the evaluation committee’s job to evaluate the bids, you ask?  Well “no”, said Kenning.  Because the tax deal was negotiated by the government after the Evaluation Committee made its recommendation...

Read more HERE.




BC Rail from the beginning ...


The Origin Of RailGate....Is It Under the Big 'W'?

By RossK
Pacific Gazette - Sept. 21, 2010
Re-posted here by kind permission of Dr RossK. 

Who: Premier Gordon Campbell, Chief-of-Staff Martyn Brown, and then MLA's Pat Bell, Shirley Bond and Paul Nettleton.

What: An early morning meeting called by Mr. Campbell.

: Mr. Campbell's Downtown Vancouver office.

Why: So that Mr. Campbell could tell his then three Prince George MLA's that he was breaking his earlier promise not to privatize BC Rail.


Who the heckfire is claiming that this meeting actually happened?

Why, none other than Mr. Nettleton himself, a man who is no longer a BC Liberal Party MLA who is actually much better known as the public servant who blew the whistle on Mr. Campbell's alleged plans to privatize BC Hydro.

But what about this RailGate thing?

Well, last spring, after he was approached by the Citizenry's chief chronicler of all things RailGate, BC Mary, Mr. Nettleton wrote her the following letter:

I was asked to meet with Gordon Campbell within months of my election to the Legislature in 1996. I was led into the meeting with Campbell within the Wall's car dealership in Prince George by Doug Walls a relative, friend and confidante of Gordon Campbell (and mentor of Shirley Bond).

It was at this meeting that I was asked to assume the role of Critic for BCR and lead the discussion on its future for the BC Liberal Party. I accepted this responsiblity and committed to work towards an informed presentation to the caucus on the future of BCR. I was relatively young, idealistic, politically naive and believed strongly that I was embarking on an endeavour that would promote and protect the interests of my constituents who had so recently placed me in this position of what I viewed as a sacred trust.

It was some years later in the Vancouver office of the premier within months of the election of 2001 that I was informed by Mr Campbell and Martyn Brown (Shirley Bond and Pat Bell were also present) that the pre election promise to maintain BCR as a Crown Corporation was about to be broken.

I walked out of that meeting with those present, up the street to a previously scheduled Congress at the Wosk Centre for Dialogue in the early morning hours on a lonely, distant Vancouver street. My trust and confidence like those I represented had been shattered! (It would be only a few months until I released a "letter to the BCL Caucus on Hydro" that would lead to my departure from the Campbell Liberals)

Today we are about to see the writ dropped as we prepare for a provincial election in British Columbia. Many of the Campbell loyalists remain and are preparing to run within their respective constituencies again. They have chosen to ignore their individual and collective responsiblities in and around the sale of BC Rail. They have opted not to deal with allegations of scandal and corruption nor to respond to the sense of loss and betrayal felt by many thousands of their constituents.

I am thankful for Mary (BCR Blog) and others like her who continue to fight for honesty, openess, transparency and accountability. It seems like yesterday, before the broken promises and scandal, that I and my fellow BC Liberal candidates campaigned (1996, 2001) on the promise to form government based on these commonly shared values and principles.

Paul Nettleton
April 14, 2009

Now, please go back and read the paragraph, above, bolded in red.

Do you see the significance of that paragraph?

To my mind it indicates that Mr. Campbell, with Mr. Brown present, explicitly told the entire Prince George faction of his Northern Caucus that he had decided to sell-off the Public's railway.

But WHEN, exactly, did that apparently happen?

Well, before we attempt to answer that question, I'd like to return to the "Timeline" that we established last week which was based, at least in part, on the very recent sworn testimony of RailGate witness Brian Kenning in which we established the following:

Spring of 1996
....Gordon Campbell promises to privatize BC Rail....Barely loses election to Glen Clark he really should have won.

...Gordon Campbell's political friend and uncles, which include CN Boss David McLean, RockyMountain Railtours Boss Peter Armstrong, and campaign co-chair Patrick Kinsella, help raise and/or donate oodles and oodles of money to Mr. Campbell's political party...Former BC Reform party staffer Martyn Brown is hired as an 'advisor' to Mr. Campbell.

Spring of 2001
....Gordon Campbell promises NOT to privatize BC Rail....Wins election in a landslide....Brings in John McLernon to head BC Rail Board who assembles a very fine group of Directors that includes Mr. Brian Kenning (who also gave oodles of money to Mr. Campbell's party in the run-up to the 2001 election).

August of 2001.... BC Rail hires Mr. Kinsella to provide the company with 'strategic advice' at $6,000 per month for 49 months until 2005.

Fall of 2001
...The BC Rail Board, which was appointed by Gordon Campbell, tells the government of Gordon Campbell (and, presumably, its then chief-of-staff Mr. Martyn Brown) that the railway should be privatized.....Former Board member Mr. Brian Kenning last week tells the Basi-Virk-Basi courtroom that it took a year to convince the government of this.

Summer of 2002
...The then Minister of Transportation responsible for BC Rail, Ms. Judith Reid insists that there has been no flip-flop by the government of Gordon Campbell because there is no plan to fully privatize BC Rail and dismantle the Crown Corporation.

So, with that we come back to journalism's fifth 'W', which we did not mention at the top of the post.

Which, again, is WHEN.

As in WHEN did the meeting between Mess'rs Campbell, Brown, Bell and Nettleton and Ms. Bond purportedly take place?

Well, to look into that we focussed on one sentence from the paragraph, bolded in blue, from Mr. Nettleton's letter to BC Mary:

"....I walked out of that meeting with those present, up the street to a previously scheduled Congress at the Wosk Centre for Dialogue in the early morning hours on a lonely, distant Vancouver street..."

This led us to comb the Legislative Library's on-line archives to see if we could find an event at the "Wosk Center For Dialogue" in Downtown Vancouver that took place "within months" of the 2001 election that was attended by the Premier and all three PG/Northern Caucus MLAs already mentioned.

And this is what we found (click on "2002" for the file, which, in its entirety, is a nice big, fat pdf):

(click on image to enlarge at

Now, as for the date, which is XXX_XX'd out, in the image above?

Well, that would be, the big, bold fifth 'W', which is a day that Mr. Nettleton confirmed for both Mary and myself last week when we asked him, specifically, about it......

February 26th 2002.

Which was almost six months before Minister Reid's comments.

And at least eight to ten months before Mr. Kenning said the government made up its mind to privatize.

And it was before the dirty tricks offensive and the 'ripping of new ones' started in earnest.

And it was before the bogus charm offensive began that was designed to cajole previously uppity mayors of the small towns up and down the line to start calling for the privatization of the railway.

And it was, in my opinion at least, the last time the people of British Columbia should have allowed themselves to be bamboozled by anything that Mr. Campbell and his Minions say or do.


And in just in case you were wondering, Mr. Nettleton's letter to Mary was noted in at least one proMedia organ at the time.....Scroll down to the very bottom of the piece by M. Hume and I. Bailey in The Globe during last Spring's election campaign to find it.....

Now, despite the bigtime Mainstream Media report noted above, to the best of my knowledge Mr. Nettleton's account was never challenged by any of the people he named as being at the apparent meeting on that day....Unfortunately, we are already quite certain that, based on his previous testimony before judge and jury, that poor Mr. Brown's memory is no longer capable of going back that far...Thus, perhaps some enterprising young reporter could ask either Ms. Bond or Mr. Bell to either confirm or deny Mr. Nettleton's account.....Alternatively, reporters could always ask Mr. Campbell himself....Oh....Wait....We've already established, I believe, that there is no use doing that if you are looking for a full, and fully realized, not to mention open and honest account, that is based on deeds, actions and events that actually happened....