Tuesday, September 21, 2010
BC Rail from the beginning ...
The Origin Of RailGate....Is It Under the Big 'W'?
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.
Where: 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.
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.
1996-2001...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 http://pacificgazette.blogspot.com/2010/09/origin-of-railgateis-it-under-big-w.html)
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....
Thanks for the enlightment - please keep up the good work everyone.
Look up ... way up!
and you'll see that I have started publishing at the top of the page, in orange background the date and time, on a daily basis, for the BC Rail Political Corruption Trial sessions.
And that sometimes -- like today (Tues., Sept. 21) -- there's nothing listed for Case #23299 (Basi Virk Basi) on the official court schedule, published daily. This doesn't necessarily mean that Basi, Virk and Basi aren't in court today ...
I'll change the banner info. a.s.a.p., if something does show up.
I don't personally know Paul Nettleton, nor do I know everything for which he has stood/voted upon, but I suspect he was the last honorable BC Liberal MLA.
"Open, Accountable BC Liberal government" - the BC Liberals are oxymorons.
I wanted to check in and let everyone know that I have been dealing with some health issues the last 2 weeks. I have tried to post but I cannot simply review the media and report on what the likes of the Van Sun and Prov are writing about the case.
Today, I have some friends in the courtroom and they will provide me their notes and I will be able to write in detail what happened today. There is so much that happens that the MSM do not write about that your readers need to learn.
Citizen Journalist from outside 54
Good to see your words again ... but sorry about your health.
Guard yourself, stay strong. We need you for the long haul.
Best wishes coming your way.
Now that's commitment!
Thanks so much - as Mary has said many times before, your reports have been of tremendous help to all of us.
For all those noting the exhibition of my so-called detective work in the post Mary has fronted here, please understand that everything I noted was right there in plain sight.
(and, as I noted in the comments over at my place, it is a pretty good example of the critical archiving role that the Legislative Library plays so that we can always go back and find out what really happened....Hmmmmm....Didn't Mr. Campbell try to de-fund the library not so long ago?....Why yes, I believe he did)
Campbell has been able to keep all of this quiet in large part due to "shoddy" work by the BC MSM who have the resources far beyond those the three of you have.
Thanks be to the universe for such determined effort such as this. I have no doubt had the raid on the legislature been on an NDP government, the media would have done far more because you just know where there is smoke there is fire.
That is unless you are someone who practices the dark arts...
And as only you well know, there is that small matter of Mr. Campbell having set up a massive media monitoring, manipulation and messaging machine that dwarfs all the investigative arms of the proMedia outfits in this province combined, both in terms of sheer manpower as well as hard currency-backed resources.
(and that's just a description of the in-house aspect of the machine, mind you)
A thousand apologies - that was me.
I did it so that I could reveal the date later in the piece.
I wasn't explicit about that in the first version of the post - I've updated with a complete mea culpa and have added explicit expositions in the post itself.
Again - I apologize.