Thursday, September 16, 2010
BC Rail timeline, important to recent trial testimony
Pacific Gazette - Sept. 16, 2010
Bear with me for a moment or two here, because I want to establish a timeline of how RailGate originated.....
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 Campbell campaign co-chair Kinsella to provide the company with 'strategic advice' at $6,000 per month for 49 straight months until 2005.
Fall of 2001...The very fine BC Rail Board, according to now Basi-Virk-Basi Trial witness Mr. Kenning, tells the government of Gordon Campbell (and, presumably, its then chief-of-staff Mr. Martyn Brown) that the railway should be privatized.....Witness Kenning also tells the Basi-Virk-Basi courtroom that it took a year to convince the government of this.
Did it really take a year (ie. from the Fall of 2001 to the Fall of 2002) for the BC Rail Board to convince the government of Gordon Campbell to sell-off the entire railway and break it's 2001 election promise?
Well, according to public statements by then Campbell government Transport Minister in charge of BC Rail, Judith Reid*, in the Summer of 2002, you just might conclude that that was actually the case.
Because at that time, according to Ms. Reid, they were only planning to sell off parts of the people's railway to make it more profitable, thereby keeping BC Rail, as a Crown Corporation intact and viable.
Luckily, the statements of then Minister Reid were recorded [for] posterity by Paul Willcocks in an Op-Ed piece published in the Vancouver Sun on August 10th, 2002**:
BC Rail is quietly planning to sell its longest stretch of track to a private operator, the latest step in what critics call a slow-motion Liberal flip-flop on privatization.
And to make the deal attractive, BC Rail is asking municipalities for a subsidy to the new owner, something the Liberals pledged to eliminate provincially but consider acceptable from municipal governments.
On the block is the 400-kilometre line that runs from Fort St. John to Fort Nelson. No one has talked publicly about the sale, but BC Rail president Mark Mudie has met with local mayors to pitch the need for a property tax break that would cost them about $850,000 a year in potential tax revenue.
Transportation Minister Judith Reid said Friday the plan to sell the line -- the latest in a series of shutdowns and sell-offs at BC Rail -- doesn't break the Liberals' campaign promise to keep BC Rail as a Crown corporation. The Fort Nelson subdivision is a money-loser, she said. "The alternative is to close this line."
But here's the thing.....
Was that really the case?
Did the government of Gordon Campbell really and truly have no intention of selling off the entire railway in August of 2002?
And, more, to the point did Gordon Campbell himself?
Follow RossK's deductions HERE.