Sunday, October 24, 2010
BC Rail Court of Public Opinion continues ... with the Honourable Gordon Wilson, former leader of the BC Liberal Opposition
Another welcome new blogger:
http://gordon f.d. wilson
and here's what the former BC Liberal Leader and BC Opposition Leader said today:
Attorney General Mike de Jong chose the Christy Clark show on CKNW to make his live media defence of the Basi-Virk BC Rail Trial settlement. Christy served with de Jong as a member of the Campbell Cabinet, at one point as Deputy Premier, and left office abruptly after the raid on the Legislature.
The Attorney General, who is supposed to be upholding the integrity of our judicial system, made it clear on Clark’s show that he thinks it is perfectly acceptable for a special prosecutor to decide the outcome of a criminal proceeding without the benefit of an open trial, even though this means none of us will ever know what really happened.
If anyone hints that Berardino, the special prosecutor, was biased in his handling of this affair, he will get a swift rebuke from de Jong along with a veiled threat of a law suit.
Riding his best-groomed, moral high horse, the Attorney General feigned shock at the thought that some calling into the show might be openly challenging the integrity of the special prosecutor. He sounded like a Catholic priest chastising his parishioner for challenging the authority of the Pope!
De Jong knows full well that there are serious issues with the appointment of special prosecutors, which is why he is currently paying Stephen Owen to review the whole process of appointing them. This came after Terry Robertson got into trouble with the Law Society because he accepted an appointment as special prosecutor to look into allegations of irregularities and election law violations in Kash Heed’s campaign without revealing his law firm had donated to the campaign.
Why was Robertson’s contribution to Heed’s campaign an issue, but Berardino’s contribution to Liberal Wally Oppal’s campaign, the man who was later appointed Attorney General, not? For more on this subject click the link at the end of this blog.
You really have to wonder why de Jong provides such a strong defence of Berardino when there is just as compelling a perception of bias as in the Heed case. After all, Berardino was looking into a far more serious affair where there were allegations of involvement by senior cabinet ministers and the premier’s office.
De Jong tried to spin us that the agreement to pick up the $6 million of the defendants’ legal bills was the primary issue for the public. At first this spin looked like it might work because the public was furious.
The response to the Basi/Virk deal was, like everything else that comes out of the Campbell government, a carefully orchestrated partisan response, and it was a pretty good one because De Jong was on firm ground. Berardino had the legal right to cut the deal, although it is quite doubtful that he did so alone.
The process gave de Jong plausible deniability. The fact that the trial didn’t finish meant that there was no assignment of costs by the court. The $6 million in legal fees could be signed off by the Deputy Attorney General and Deputy Minister of Finance. Cabinet would not have to be involved, thus more plausible deniability.
It was all pretty slick. I seriously doubt that it all happened without considerable discussion amongst the senior Deputy Ministers. This includes Allan Seckel.
Seckel was appointed Deputy Attorney General by then Attorney General Geoff Plant. The two previously worked together at Russell & Dumuolin, the same law firm where Berardino worked for a number of years. Seckel, who appointed his former colleague Berardino as special prosecutor on the BC Rail case, was responsible for deciding which cabinet documents relating to B.C. Rail should be deemed confidential in the criminal trial of Basi and Virk.
Guess where Seckel is today? In October of 2009 he became Deputy Minister to the Premier. I guess he did a good job as Deputy Attorney General!
So de Jong takes to the safest airwaves he can find, spins his tale of how clean and pure the process was, and is indignant that anybody would question the integrity of the special prosecutor and the wisdom of his decision to shut down this case and thus prevent we the people from hearing the testimony of Gary Collins, then Minister of Finance and David Basi’s boss, and Judith Reid, then Minister of Transportation and Bobby Virk’s boss, and yes, Premier Gordon Campbell, who was boss of them all.
Berardino’s directive was clear from the beginning. Find Basi and Virk guilty and look no further. These two political hacks were the fall guys, and even though they may well be as guilty as they have finally admitted to being, they asserted over and over again that they did not act alone and in fact they were just doing their job.
De Jong tries to tell us that Berardino has seen all the evidence and so we should all be satisfied that there are no others guilty in this matter. But that simply isn’t true.
We know that Basi and Virk were bribed by Bornmann, a top lobbyist in Victoria. Police said their firm, Pilothouse Public Affairs Group, provided benefits to Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk in return for confidential government information related to the sale of BC Rail. Pilothouse represented OmniTRAX Inc., a U.S. company bidding for the railway. That is an offense and yet Bornmann was not charged, instead he was given immunity. Why? And what about the American company that paid the bribes? What are the repercussions to them?
One would have thought that if indeed no others in the Campbell government were involved, every possible effort would be taken to prove that to be the case and clear the names of the ministers who were the bosses of those convicted, and demonstrate that there was no involvement at all by the premier’s office. Instead, every possible effort was taken to keep relevant documentation, surveillance materials, and the open testimony and cross examination of government ministers, including the premier, from happening. And now the files are sealed.
De Jong stands with the special prosecutor.
It might have been a very different story if he stood with you and me, the people of British Columbia, the voters, and the people who used to own a multi-billion dollar asset in BC Rail.
The public has been very poorly served by this process, and continues to be very poorly served by an Attorney General who seems to think that the narrow view of a special prosecutor appointed by those who have a vested interest in the trial constitutes justice.
As slick and as clever as this atrocious act may have been, the people are left with a clear idea of why this trial did not look after their interests. The very defence of this process by de Jong speaks volumes about what really happened.
The price of democracy and an open, fair justice system is eternal vigilance and an ongoing commitment to hold those responsible for its diminishment accountable. And so we shall soldier on.
I am glad to hear from Gordon Wilson.
I hope he runs for office again.
More importantly, I hope he can make some political hay out of this.
Lord knows Carol James cant.
It is actually a 6 million dollar strawman, carefully constructed with, as Mr. Wilson makes clear, malice aforethought by the fine folks who rolled it out into the public square and then used blow torches (one of which was Ms. Clark's show) to burn it to the ground such that all the evidence inside it is gone forever.
Here is something to consider as you sip your morning coffee…
With 72% of British Columbians opposed to and prepared to vote against the HST, (Angus Reid Poll Oct 19, 2010), and a growing anger at the backroom deal made to cover up the details of the criminal activities surrounding the scandalous sale of a billion [...]cont at his page.
I did a search of every Legislature in Canada, AND British Columbia is the only one(not sure on New/Lab.)that will not have a sitting!!!!!!!!
Newfoundland and Labrador( was one that I wasnt sure if it is sitting, yet it did sit for 30 days between May and June 2010)
its page says
Whenever the House stands adjourned, if the Speaker is satisfied, after consulting with the Government that the public interest requires that the House should meet at an earlier time than set out in number (1), the Speaker may give notice that being so satisfied the House shall meet, and therefore the House shall meet to transact its business as if it has been duly adjourned to that time.
Lets start screaming that Our elected Officials GO BACK TO WORK in OUR House, like every other Province.
Note The First Premiere of BC in 1871 He resigned as Premier after a vote of non-confidence at the second session of the Assembly on December 17, 1872.
But the background to that is that he never wanted the job in the first place, and wanted out at the first opportunity; he was appointed only and the vote of non-confidence was what he wanted. Amor de Cosmos was the first elected premier.
2. Mr. Les the new AUTHORITY on the
HST will be on Bill Good's show on
CKNW on Tues. AM. Let's jam the phone lines with complaints. Therapeutic to vent one's anger. Cheers.
2. about jamming phone lines, sounds to me as though you have taken a few lessons from Basi himself.
3. 2 wrongs dont make a right.
Anonymous 12:48 recommends "jam the phone lines" of Bill Good with HST complaints.
Radio ohone-ins/stacking radio phone calls were sited as a trick Basi was involved in.
Anon 12:48 wants to stack the Bill Good Show. Anon 12:48 must have attended the same school as Basi.