Tuesday, September 14, 2010


BC Rail Political Corruption Trial - Sept. 14, 2010

For today's story from The Canadian Press,  click HERE ... if you think it's all Bobby Virk's fault:

Witness warns of doc fall-out


Political corruption trial resumes after 2-month break

By Neal Hall
Times Colonist - Sept. 14, 2010

BC Mary Comment: Neal is in error, I believe, on the reasons why police raided the BC Legislature on Dec. 28, 2003. They were tracking several "persons of interest" including the man thought to be Mr Big in drug trafficking on the West Coast. And, as I understand it, police overheard conversations about BC Rail only while listening to wiretaps between Dave Basi and his cousin, Jasmohan Singh Bains. 

Bains was  charged, tried, and sentenced to 9 years in prison, with nothing mentioned in the news media until I broke the story 6 months after the trial (thanks to a tip from a citizen who heard lawyers' comment in the Basi-Virk courtroom). Note to Neal Hall: click HERE for the details, including Ian Mulgrew's credit to BC Mary.

Drug dealer linked to legislature raid imprisoned.
RCMP oddly silent about key victory against cocaine ring.

By Ian Mulgrew
Vancouver Sun - Feb. 17, 2009

also this, to explain the connection:

Warrants from BC raids must stay sealed: Judge

The Canadian Press - Jan. 24, 2004
Read about it HERE


Warrants linked to a raid at the B.C. legislature and an investigation into drugs and organized crime are "intertwined" a judge said Friday as he ordered them sealed while prosecutors decide on laying charges.
The warrants concern a 20-month drug investigation that led police to open a new probe and seize documents from offices in the legislature.
"It would be most unwise at this juncture to separate the matters...They are so intertwined," said Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm ...

"It's going to be 2 or 3 months before anything comes out on this" said one of the media lawyers at the time.

Read the full column HERE.

To balance the evidence given by Mr Brian Kenning's description of our old BC Rail as being so poor, decrepit, so irrelevant, incapable and indebted that "we" had no choice but to sell it ... click HERE for the inside, mostly handwritten comments by the Campbell bigwig Yvette Wells. Ms Wells was Executive Director of the Crown Agencies Secretariat at the time of the BC Rail sale. Ian Reid headlines today's post with an exquisitely Campbellish quote from Ms Wells:

"Can we back up the debt spiral with evidence?"

Ian Reid
The Real Story - Sept. 13, 2010

BASI-VIRK: BC Rail Director says $1 billion ...

By Bill Tieleman

A B.C. Rail director explained the damaging results that would have occurred if confidential government documents on the $1 billion privatization of the Crown corporation were leaked to a bidder, as the Basi-Virk trial resumed Monday in ...

Read Bill's column HERE and on The Tyee HERE

BC Rail executive donated $50,000. to Liberal government

By Rod Mickleburgh
The Globe and Mail - Sept. 14, 2010


Vancouver —A company headed by Brian Kenning, who was appointed by the Liberal government to BC Rail’s board of directors and subsequently involved in its controversial sale, donated close to $50,000 to the Liberals from 1999 to 2003, B.C. Supreme Court heard Tuesday.
Mr. Kenning, then chairman and CEO of BC Pacific Capital Corp., did not quibble with defense lawyer Kevin McCullough’s totting up of the political donations to “approximately $48,000”, including $21,790 in 2003, the year the government reversed its election promise and sold off most of BC Rail to Canadian National.

“That sounds about right,” said Mr. Kenning, who is testifying for the Crown at the trial of three ex-ministerial aides facing corruption charges connected to the sale of the formerly provincially-owned railway.

Asked by Mr. McCullough whether his company gave any money to the NDP, the witness replied: “No, we didn’t.”

Read more HERE.


BC Rail board member denies he was appointed by premier Gordon Campbell

By Neal Hall
Vancouver Sun - Sept. 14, 2010

Click HERE to read more.



Everything old is new again:


" the" notebooks will prove to be a wealth of information and unless Ms. Wells has suddenly developed a whopping case of amnesia, it will be interesting to hear her explain her personal notations.
Not to mention this... all the same names in all the same places.

Well, isn't it curious that a BC Rail director would - in reference apparently to OmniTRAX - say that if a bidder had unwarranted access to information it would be a disaster; but we know that that's exactly what happened with CN getting access to CP's and BNSF's bids, and also getting access to private BC Rail info, like its shippers list.....

Was that really the wisest thing for him to say, and/or for Berardino to put on the table? Because if the imputation is that BVB's role in the OmniTRAX affair is a bad thing for the bidding process, how to hell is it a good thing for CN to have had access to much more sweeping information?

These guys seem like they're falling on their sword. Except it's a dull sword. Dull dull dull. Nothing more exciting than a banker/financier talking for hours about picayune details....I'm still not sure if it was jet lag or just boredom that had me barely able to keep my eyes open....I think I've come to the conclusion that part of the Crown's strategy is to bore the public to death....tell us what we don't know, not what you're already telling us that none of us have reason to believe!!! (and good reason, in fact, to NOT believe).

And I recall Kenning saying something about with the disappearance of coal markets and coal mines that BC Rail had "no new revenue streams" and therefore couldn't service its debt. But ex-cyoooze me, shouldn't a financial analyst/arbitrager be LOOKING for new revenue streams, instead of just holding their hands up in the air saying "the sky is falling the sky is falling....sell, sell, sell". A little creativity might have found/created those new revenue streams.

Dependency on resource extraction is part of the problem, but that's systemic in BC and not the railway's fault; the railway kept alive operations that otherwise would have been inviable...in fact, if CN hadn't undertaken to extend teh line to the Klappan area now, those mines wouldn't be viable, either. That's the whole point of BC Rail and why Dave Barrett, WAC Bennett and others before them stepped in to write off the debt. Viewing such a railway only in the context of a standalone company is the problem; it's a symbiotic part of how the Interior and North were developed....cut it away, you cut the heart out of a transplant patient....so the costs that should have also been considered were the damages to local economies served by the line....

But heck, I don't have an MBA in excuse-making like Kenning does....

And is it just me, or does he resemble the PC-guy in those Mac commercials....even down to expressions and personality, not just haircut/duds/glasses....?
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