Friday, December 31, 2010


Ben Meisner says: "Never mind Basi and Virk, the tragedy occurred when we gave the dam railway away to CN who held a big party in Arkansas the night the sale went through and stuck their fingers in the air towards us. Long before was when we needed you people."

BC Mary comment: Ben Meisner wrote a passionate editorial dated Dec. 30, 2010, on his news service -- Opinion 250 -- from Prince George. The next day,  Ben let off some more steam and I'm very glad he did.  I loved hearing what this seasoned journalist had to say; I hope he'll write more like this ... because ... (hangs head, scuffs toe) ... I didn't know. I had wondered, but didn't have an inkling of the great battle he undertook to save BC Rail.  How many working journalists today would get out and fight the good fight this way, in the public interest?  I wrote to Ben asking permission to publish his remarks here on The Legislature Raids. Here is his reply. A tip o'the tuque to Ben Meisner for the generous position he took, with regard to BC Rail; I'll add another version of his  story because of the information it contains; same with those other northern comments which I'll include at the end.  Thanks, Ben. 


Mary; These are the kind of E-mails I get, along with my reply, you can print this.
- Ben Meisner

Just wondering what your opinion on the BC Rail Scandal and your participation in the sale? Could you brief me on what happened on your talk show during and the sale? I have read some disturbing info that seems to indicate you and some others in Prince George, notably the Mayor at the time, assisted the Gordon Campbell government in the cover-up and the implications to the shippers? Is this true?

To which Ben replied:

Are you crazy; Mayor Colin Kinsley supported the sale, I sure as hell didn’t. On my own dime, I went from city to city and town to town (while everyone else in the lower mainland, save a very few, were sitting on their hands), telling people [they] were being screwed and how that was taking place.

Problem was other than the mayor of Squamish, BC Mary, Bill Tielman, Peter Ewart and Ron East, who came on board with us to protest the sale and try to bring out the facts, no one else rushed out to support us.

I believe now as I believed then, that the sale was set up in such a way to make the railway look like it was losing money.

The Premier's principal secretary, Mike Morton, even hired some people to phone in on my talk show to say the sale was a good one; they tried to set me up on numerous occasions. That came out in court testimony.

Finally when the trial came about, a few people like Bill Tielman and BC Mary saw the writing on the wall and began to report on it. At the time I said when I interviewed Tielman, on lots of occasions, that this trial will never see the light of day, it will be buried. He still owes me the beer from the bet.

I don't mind for a moment people climbing on my frame, but BC rail, you people who even ask the question about where I was in the sale, show me that you either didn't know or didn't care what was going on.

Never mind  Basi and Virk, the tragedy occurred when we gave the dam railway away to CN who held a big party in Arkansas the night the sale went through and stuck their fingers in the air towards us. Long before was when we needed you people.

But we had another election and again you sat on your hands and the issue did not become a major political issue.

Ten years later we finally get some traction on the issue and the 604 finally woke up and smelled the coffee because a trial was about to start.

As for Mayor Kinsley, he never would come on the air with me over the BC Rail sale  and you people have the Gaul to say I supported the sale of BC rail..........whoa.

One more thought now that you have me going. The shippers got a 5% break on freight to get them to support the sale, which they did. Now they are mad because CN isn't delivering the cars on time, they got exactly what they wanted, CN.

What bothers the hell out of me is that the issue became public about 11 years ago... and people in the lower part of the province  are now just getting around to asking questions, about how we were had, quite apart from the trial.

I often read some comments about me and shake my head in disbelief, again asking the question, where were you people when we needed you.

Suddenly I wonder if it’s all about getting elected , rather than trying to right a wrong.

Ben Meisner


And another explosive explanation ...

One More Time On The 'Benefits' Of Selling BC Rail

By Ben Meisner

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Would MLA John Rustad (or whoever speaks for the MLA) have the courage of conviction to answer these questions?

Rustad says investments at the Port of Prince Rupert would never have been made without the sale of BC rail, nor would the loading facilities have been built in Prince George to handle returning traffic.

Now this may come as a surprise to Mr Rustad (or whoever) but CN has been the only railway to have a line into Prince Rupert, “ever”.

That rail line has been in existence since 1919.

The Port Of Prince Rupert is, for your information Mr Rustad, “A Crown Corporation”, a not for profit corporation.  That's the one you say would never have been built if not for the sale of BC Rail.

The deep sea port expansion was built by the “Crown Corporation” to break into the overseas market for containers because Prince Rupert is a day’s sailing closer to the west coast from China.

CN services the port because they are the only game in Prince Rupert and the only game in northern BC, remember you sold ( or should I say "leased") the competition.

Now do you think they are there because they owe the people of BC some sort of gift for the fact that they stole BC rail in a sale, or are they perhaps there because they want to make money?

So now that we have established that BC Rail never had a track within 483 miles of Prince Rupert, how you can suggest that the Port Of Prince Rupert would never have had investments taxes the mind.

CN was, and is, the only game in town in Prince Rupert.

Now did BC Rail ever have a rail line running from Prince George to Jasper?   No.

Did BC rail ever have a rail line running between Jasper, Alberta and Oh....? Chicago?  No.

Did CN have a rail service running to Chicago?  Yes indeed, they have since in the late 1920’s.

Now let’s just talk a bit local.

The container facility built in Prince George was to accommodate container shipments moving back from the east to China via Prince George.

The idea for the shipping companies is simple; if you can fill up the containers on the return trip you make more money.

If CN can get those containers full they can charge more for the back haul, and both the container company and CN make more money.

Now indeed there is a planned expansion of that facility. Do you think that was brought about by (a) more back haul shipments, or (b) CN wanting to do something for the region because they got such a good deal on the purchase of BC Rail. Or (c) the tooth Fairy.

If anyone has any doubt as to why the people of the province want a full blown inquiry into the sale of BC rail regardless of the cost, look no further than the kind of remarks we are furnished with from MLA John Rustad as to why selling BC rail was such a great idea.

It may have been a great idea, but for whom?

I’m Meisner and that’s one man’s opinion.

Read more HERE

Impassioned, informed comments followed Ben Meisner's article:

Posted by Socredible on December 30 2010

Would have been better if THOSE aspects of the situation had been examined in a 'public inquiry' BEFORE the sale of BC Rail.

If WE, the People, were supposed to be its ultimate 'owners', even though the Crown through the BC Government acts as a Trustee for our ownership, then such a pre-sale 'public inquiry' would have been the equivalent of a 'special shareholder's meeting' in a private Company.

One could well imagine what would happen where any private railway company's top management tried to sell the company based on information only THEY had about future prospects. AND HOW TO BEST BENEFIT THEMSELVES to the exclusion of benefit to the shareholders, and acted on that information without first disseminating it to the 'shareholders' at large.

After those 'shareholders' subsequently found out that the sale had been made at probably something less than what their company was really worth, there'd be lawsuits galore. And in all likelihood they'd be successful.

But what recourse are we left with in this situation? Certainly we can vote that 'top management' out of office when we've the opportunity, but that really doesn't properly redress the situation.

At the very least, if WE were supposed to be the ultimate 'owners' of this Crown corporation, WE, each and every British Columbia citizen at the time of its disposition, should've received an equal share of the proceeds.

Likely as not we can't do anything about that now, short of dismissing the 'wrecking crew'. But we should certainly DEMAND that any FURTHER 'privatisations' of any Crown corporation or government 'operating' assets of this nature be subject to public inquiry FIRST, and if approved, the sale proceeds are returned directly to the real 'shareholders' equitably.

Posted by: Palopu on December 30, 2010
There are a number of issues surrounding the sale of BC Rail and the Port of Prince Rupert.

We can argue the pros and cons of selling BC Rail, however we will never be able to make a case for selling it to CN Rail. If it had to be sold, it should have been sold to CP Rail, or the Burlington Northern Railway, so that we could continue to have some rail competition in the North. As it now stands CN Rail is the only game in town.

When we talk about BC Ports we should keep in mind that the Port of Prince Rupert and the Port of Vancouver (On BC Rail lines) are equidistant from Prince George. So in terms of logistics, it matters little to industry in Prince George which Port they use as long as the freight rates are competitive.

People in Prince George have this mindset that somehow Pr Rupert is a better Port for this area than Vancouver, when in fact the exact opposite is true. At this point in time Containers loaded to Prince Rupert go to one destination only ie; China. When product is shipped to Vancouver Port it can basically go anywhere in the world, Japan, China, Europe, India, etc; So the Port of Vancouver in much more diversified.

While it is true that the sailing time from China to Pr Rupert is one day shorter, once the ship unloads in Pr Rupert it then goes to Vancouver, and then to a US Port before it returns to China, so in effect the one day saved at Pr Rupert is lost to Vancouver and say Portland/Seattle, so the overall transit route would not necessarily be more beneficial from a Transportation point of view. There would certainly be some benefits in Prince Rupert in regards to congestion, and train service to the US East Coast, and I suspect that this is the real reason they built the Container Port in Prince Rupert.

The pulp and lumber loaded in Prince George is the same product that would be loaded into Containers in Vancouver if the Rupert Port had not been built. The thing people should keep in mind is that although we are using a different Port (Pr Rupert) we are shipping the same commodities, so overall there is no increase in production, and therefore no new jobs. In fact one could make a strong case for actually losing jobs because of less trucking to Vancouver to stuff containers, and therefore less mechanical repairs, new truck sales, truck driving jobs, tire sales, restaurant meals, fuel sales etc;. You don't get any of these benefits from a Railway.

The people who benefit the most from the Port of Prince Rupert, are:

1. The City of Prince Rupert,
2. COSCO Shipping Co.
3. CN Rail
4. Maher Terminals

These people all invested in the project and they will get some benefits, however there [are] absolutely no benefits to the City of Prince George.

The fact that CN Rail purchased BC Rail has in fact decreased the train service from Prince George to Vancouver via BC Rail, and in fact I suspect that it has been decreased by over 50% since the purchase. All lumber going to the USA now comes through Prince George, and I believe that all pulp and Paper is taken on the CN Lines to Jasper, and then down to Vancouver, so there has been a dramatic decrease in traffic South on BC Rail, with the attendant loss of jobs etc;.

So in effect we have lost a competitive railway to the Port of Vancouver, we have a decrease in traffic South on BC Rail to the point where one would wonder how long they will actually maintain the track South of 100 Mile, we are now operating under a CN Rail monopoly which is not good for business in this area.

The completion of the Panama Canal expansion in 2013/14 will have a huge effect on Container traffic on the West Coast and there will be fierce competition for whatever Container traffic is available. Can Pr Rupert survive after Panama? Who knows. One should keep in mind that Maher Terminals' (the people who built the Pr Rupert container facilities), main container handling Ports are on the East Coast (New Jersey) and once the Panama opens up, it would be in their best interests to have these ships unload on the East Coast.

Time will tell.


Posted by: Eagleone on December 31 2010

John (TILMA) Rustad is the guy that worked in the shadows to 'harmonize' the sovereignty of BC away to the lowest common denominator for investment, environmental, and labor regulations. Selling BC Rail in a corrupted process is par for the course for a guy that cares little about BC sovereignty and views monopoly capitalism as akin to a religion.

The strangest thing to me is that the riding he represents has none of the mega corporations... it's a riding of independent farmers, loggers, small business, and sustainable development type folks... yet they buy the line that they have to vote liberal for free enterprise and in the process vote for a guy that really stands for monopoly capitalism. Of all the ridings in BC it might be the best example of one that should support independents, but yet they support one of the biggest party yes men in the entire province. The only explanation is ignorance of politics by the voters in that riding... a people who vote based on name recognition and party platitudes, rather than actual policy and track records.

As for BC Rail... its gone, we could never rebuild the rolling stock and the business without huge costs. A huge crime. But we still own the tracks and BC should simply make them open tracks maintained by an independent crown corporation. Allow CP and Burlington Northern, or CN, or anyone else including Canfor themselves to operate their own trains on that line for a per-mile usage fee... open it right up to free enterprise competition and let the industry in the north benefit from the competition and lower shipping rates.

As for the BC liberal party... they didn't pay a $6 million dollar bribe to convicted criminals to shut down the BC Rail trial without a good reason. They have skeletons in their closet and everyone in the province knows this.

A full independent inquiry should be done and if wrong-doing is documented through discovery, then Elections BC should ban the BC liberals as a party from the next election just like what Elections BC did to the reform party for a much much smaller offense.

Perjury punishable by a loss of accreditation to run in the election. In BC the ndp have never, and never will be the majority... so what would likely happen is a couple of parties would benefit from homeless voters much the same as the BC liberals did when the 26% that supported reform BC lost their vote... the end result could be a minority government in BC that we so desperately need to restore the principles of democracy... even if it was an ndp minority government.


Posted by: Eagleone on December 31 2010
If the BC liberals were banned from the next election for perjury... then existing BC liberal MLA's and candidates would have to run under a different party. And that would be the absolute best thing that could ever happen to BC... dismantles the mafia control from the top and reasserts primacy of the MLA over the party structure. Plus, not all would agree on the same 'new party' so some might opt for a far right, while others might opt for a more centrist approach... in the end we would have a truly multi-party parliamentary system again.

Of course that is if people truly believed that Elections BC was actually independent and a watch dog for the sanctity of the democratic process in BC... namely the right for people to know what they are voting for through truthful and honest policy debates at election time... as well as above board open transparency to follow the democratic protocols between elections.

If BC wants to blame anyone for the criminal nature of our politics in this province than Election BC is the one that should take most of the blame IMO.


Posted by: socredible on December 31 2010

It's a nice notion, banning the Liberal Party, Eagle. But like the man said, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Only in this case, a skunk's piss would stink just as bad even if you called him a polecat.


Posted by: BC Mary on December 30 2010

Ben Meisner, Socredible, Palopu ... thanks for valuable information, much needed as we [sigh ... !] hammer one another in the good ol' democratic traditions, trying to figure out IF ... for cryin' out loud ... IF we really need to have a Public Inquiry into the criminal negotiations which led to the loss of a huge public asset.

And bid-rigging is a crime under the Criminal Code of Canada. So is offering bribes, as well as accepting bribes.

It beats me, how anybody can feel OK about having a major public asset stolen, then shrug it off as being too much trouble to put things straight again.

I'd like to correct where Socredible says that "Likely as not we can't do anything about that now, short of dismissing the 'wrecking crew' ..."

There are reposession clauses built into one of the BCR-CN deals which, on its 5th anniversary -- July 14, 2009 -- stipulated that the government of BC could re-possess BCRail if certain agreed points weren't fulfilled.

Unfulfilled promises such as the upkeep of existing trackage, and CN's promise to replace 600 BCR rail cars with new ones. Both these items were unfulfilled legal agreements ... in other words,  deal-breakers.

My group tried to activate the Opposition Justice Critic -- Leonard Krog -- to no avail ... in fact, he stonewalled us, then held a Vancouver press conference and took credit for the idea.

All I'm saying is that re-possession isn't a futile dream. It can be done. Start early and keep trying.

Happy New Year, everyone.


 Posted by: Eagleone on December 31 2010
That may be so socredible, but they would all be tarred and feathered and may not all want to hang out together sharing the same ignominious distinction. To create a new party they would have to create a new platform and set of polic[ies]... and for this they would have to have input from a wider circle of people than currently run the show... and in this one defuses this power structure even if only temporary.

Politicians would think twice before ever wanting to rebuild like that again in the future. Why is a political party held sacred? Shouldn't the process be about the people we elect? Perjury in politics (especially from unaccountable party insiders) would then be seen as the crime that it is, and the punishment would be well known by all the actors in the political scene... honesty would then again have a chance to survive in politics, and people would then again have faith in the value of voting.

Leaving it to the voter like when the liberals came to power and the ndp were wiped out as a recognized political party leaves the province vulnerable to dictatorship, which is exactly what Elections BC set BC up for when it banned the reform party and left alone the real criminals of perjury (ndp, in the 90's) that the people wanted gone. Had Elections BC banned the ndp instead for perjury (ie fudget budget) we might have seen them form new groups, some of which would have went centrist, and we would have a viable option to Gordon Campbell... possibly a minority government... and he would not have had his free ride to dictator powers that he did.

Elections BC has done everything they can going out of their way to enable the corporatist agenda of Gordon Campbell and nothing to protect the sanctity of democracy in BC.

Perjury in politics should not be rewarded with impunity. Perjury in politics should be punishable by banishment from the trade. There has to be accountability for perjury otherwise democracy is dead.

To promise not to sell BC Rail, not to privatize BC Hydro, not to privatize BC Ferries, not to bring in the HST, and to say one has a balanced budget for an election when in fact its a two billion dollar deficit... those are all acts of perjury to the voter for ill gotten political gain, and that undermines the whole political relevance of democracy. That has to be regulated to end the corruption, or we simply do not have a democracy anymore.


BC Mary comment: And then there was one more blast from Ben Meisner. This was his message to a challenger, one day earlier. I love it! Happy New Year, Ben!

Subject: Re: BC Rail and rigged radio calls

Date: Wed, 22 Dec 2010

When I first had a sniff that BC Rail was being sold, I began an investigation as to how the government of the day was lying on the matter, having said they wouldn't sell the railway.

It was then and still is my  contention that the railway was put into a position to lose money and the government was then able to say they had to sell it.

That was nine years ago. When the railway was sold, [I] went on a
speaking tour,  on my own dime, of the areas affected by the sale, criticizing the  government and trying to get political support, demanding that a hearing be held into how they cobbled this thing together. I also at the same time interviewed anyone who would listen that we in the province were selling out our heritage much less giving CN a railway that was worth several billions of dollars, all along saying it was just a lease.

I interviewed people in Arkansas when Hunter Harrison [CEO of CN] held a
party to  announce that CN had bought the railway, it was a sad day indeed and he was so happy that CN was about to
make a bunch of money.

I got into many arguments on the radio with the various ministers who tried  to feed me the BS that the railway was
losing money and they had to do it.  They tried to set me up on numerous occasions, not just the one mentioned in  the court records.

I am very aware of the fact that Mike Morton of the Premier's office paid some people to make phone calls to me on the
air suggesting the sale was a good idea. That is no different than when Glen Clark did the same thing by hiring someone to phone my program during an election. I simply don't trust  any politician no matter what stripe. Read the court records of the NDP and how they said we want to take
out Meisner.

{Snip} ...

Had you taken time to listen to my program the day you were trying to give  me the heat, you would have heard an
interview that I did with Christy Clark  in which I said that the people of this province would gladly pay 30 Million
for a public hearing, rather than allow people like her to sweep this whole issue under the table. I still support the
notion of a full blown inquiry.  {Snip} ...

I don't know whether we ever will be able to get to hear the full story  about the involvement by the government in the
CN deal. They try and suggest  that campaign contributions do not affect decisions that they make, I don't believe
that for a moment. {Snip} ...

Ask  any party leader that has ever held
political office in this province and  you will be told, that I don't have any favourites. I trust them all in an equal manner, very little.

If anyone has fought for BC rail and continues to do so, you will find with a little digging it was me, ask any BC rail employee, anyone with a bit of  knowledge and they will tell you that I still haven't given up. {Snip} ...

Ben Meisner

BC Mary comment: My wish for 2011, a Public Inquiry into the matter of alleged criminal negotiations which led to the loss of Canada's 3rd largest railway, a public asset of critical value to the health of the Province of British Columbia. 


Thursday, December 30, 2010


Is Organized Crime operating within the corridors of the BC Legislature?

BC Mary comment: Click-on the links below for 3 Search Warrants showing how much was known by police when they entered the BC Legislature on Dec. 28, 2003 to continue their investigations.

Readers might begin with Attachment #2 (Gordon Campbell's signed promises for "A New Era of Accountability"). There is shown the whole sketch-outline for his schemes. So he knew, didn't he?

The most awful question arising out of the 7-year stonewalling of BC Rail information is: Can British Columbians feel confident that Organized Crime is not operating within the corridors of the BC Legislature itself?  

This is the dark cloud of suspicion which has hung over the entire BC Rail Political Corruption Trial beginning with the police raids on Dec. 28, 2003 -- and only becoming more urgent with the frantic shut-down of the BC Supreme Court trial on Oct. 18, 2010. Organized Crime was stated clearly by RCMP spokesman at the Dec. 29th press conference, and in my view, is fully confirmed here, in this:

Quote from Attachment #4, Information to obtain a search warrant. Vancouver Registry dated August 4, 2003:

4.  ... that "These authorizations included several other identified targets. It identifies the following criminal offences: drugs, proceeds of crime, conspiracy and breach of trust."

5.  "That the criminal investigation of Basi initially concerned proceeds of crime and corruption".

See attachments #1, #3, #4 for details. See  the following column by Robin Mathews  for a summary of British Columbia's legal situation today.

Click-ons for 3 Search Warrants showing how much was known by police when they entered the BC Legislature to continue their investigations.

Readers might begin with Attachment #2 (Gordon Campbell's signed promises for "A New Era of Accountability"). The whole sketch-outline is there. So he knew, didn't he?

The most awful question arising out of the 7-year stonewalling of information is: Can British Columbians feel confident that Organized Crime is not operating within the corridors of the BC Legislature itself?  This is the dark cloud of suspicion which has hung over the entire BC Rail Political Corruption Trial beginning with the police raids on Dec. 28, 2003 -- and only becoming more urgent with the frantic shut-down of the BC Supreme Court trial on Oct. 18, 2010. Organized Crime was stated clearly by RCMP spokesman at the Dec. 29th press conference, and in my view, is fully confirmed here, in this:

Quote from Attachment #4, Information to obtain a search warrant. Vancouver Registry dated August 4, 2003:

4.  ... that "These authorizations included several other identified targets. It identifies the following criminal offences: drugs, proceeds of crime, conspiracy and breach of trust."

5.  "That the criminal investigation of Basi initially concerned proceeds of crime and corruption".

BC Mary's apologies for technical problems. The attachments for these items will appear as soon as I get things figured out. Or, go to Vancouver Sun for their embedded links.  Click HERE. Or copy-and-paste their link into your browser:

My view is that British Columbia must open the files, demand (under oath) the facts of how we lost an irreplaceable public asset, and push on with laying criminal charges wherever the findings take us.  Only a Public Inquiry into the negotiations surrounding the BCR-CN deal, will provide -- for the first time -- the necessary information for starting the clean-up of the province we love. Don't bother me with weasel-worries about how much this will cost ... tell me, instead, how much it will cost if we allow Organized Crime to lock the BC government in its final death-grip. 

Right now, I see Partisan Politics as a large part of the problem; Partisan Politics is about citizens squabbling: "Me good, You bad!"  This isn't democracy; this is a cruel distraction from responsible democracy. Partisan Politics have, in my view, become tools for destructive action. What's the answer? Because it's up to us, the citizens, to find the answer and press forward.

Laugh if you will (laugh, if you can!), but I have no confidence in either the current government or the BC Opposition to have the courage or integrity to launch this Public Inquiry. Yet I'm sure that any party promising to launch that Public Inquiry would be elected to government. Then, if they're part of the Gordon Campbell group, they'd reverse their position once in power. Is that democracy? No, it isn't. So here's my dream ...

My dream is to see the BC Legislature fill up with Independent M.L.A.s who are intelligent enough to act collegially on the issues after thinking things through independently ... and yes, while keeping citizens informed. If that's a far-fetched or impossible dream, then BC is indeed in a crisis. And, well ... it is in crisis: I never expected Paul Nettleton to vacate his Independent outlook and throw his lot in with Christy Clark's ambition to become leader of the BC Liberal Party, and therefore premier.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010


BC Rail. A Society in Breakdown. British Columbia's Hip-High Corruption. Part One.

By Robin Mathews
December 29, 2010

Only one … only one of the centres of rot in the Breakdown of British Columbia society is a boiling and seething quagmire of corruption that Gordon Campbell and associates (in cabinet, in the BC Liberal Party, in the RCMP, and in private corporations) want covered over… fast.

That centre of rot is the octopus-armed BC Rail Scandal. Its flash-point is the Basi, Virk, and Basi trial, closed down, abruptly, shockingly, on October 18, 2010. Closed down, maybe … but refusing to go away, and spilling over the transom … and out … into the court of public opinion…. 

The reasons are simple.

The corrupt process by which BC Rail was transferred to the CNR (2002-2004) involved a gigantic theft of assets owned by the people of British Columbia.  The theft involved – at the highest levels - breach of trust, disinformation, deception, a process of planned destruction of BC Rail’s real value, pig-troughing greed by Campbell connections, and a fake “partnership” (dissembled and misrepresented) which was, in fact, a 900-plus year lease to CNR.

AND, the transfer included a bizarre tax retrieval clause that may cost the people of British Columbia more than the Gordon Campbell government claims it received for BC Rail.

The on-going trial in the court of public opinion reflects rage that the investigation required has not yet been conducted.  That investigation, undertaken, will very likely produce criminal charges against cabinet members, leading corporate actors … and officers of the RCMP.

We have learned those things from the material disclosed to the accused and their lawyers during years of pre-trial wrangling (and calculated delay). 

To forestall use of that material, apparently, the Crown has announced it will be asking the Court (on January 11, 2011) to require the return of all disclosure documents provided to the accused and their [Defence] lawyers. That unnatural request - and the unnatural haste - provide substantial evidence that nearly all the people named as involved (above) are terrified of the time-bomb ticking in the evidence presently in the hands of the accused  (now the convicted) and their lawyers.

The investigation which must take place, and hasn’t yet, is well begun in the disclosure material acquired and held by ‘the Defence’.  That is the reason I formally asked – some months ago – that (then) RCMP Deputy Commissioner Gary Bass undertake criminal investigations of Gordon Campbell and associates in the transfer of BC Rail to the CNR.

I assume that is, also, why Gary Bass refused to act.

(a) The recent publication of the Dave Basi memos of 2003 confirms  information that was being laid out by Defence lawyers in pre-trial – that the accused were the instruments of their superiors.  (b) The disclosure of 2004 search warrants, on the order of Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie – for the most part – does two things.

It goes some way to suggest the three accused were grubby self-seekers, reinforcing the Crown’s essential position.  But it reveals something else of real importance that is backed up by the Dave Basi memos. The disclosure reveals that the special protection of Erik Bornmann (‘star’ Crown witness) was very strange, that other white men connected to him were apparently deeply involved in highly questionable activity and were never charged – and that further investigation might well have unearthed a good deal more.  In that corner alone.

Erik Bornmann and the other principals of Pilot House lobby group – and Dave Basi and Bob Virk – were mostly, incidentally, active Provincial and/or Federal Liberals. All the white participants – like the ‘superiors’ of Basi and Virk, like all the important white men on the BC Rail Board and the Campbell-appointed BC Rail Evaluation Committee, and others, slipped through the BC Rail Scandal investigation net unscathed.  One can only assume that it is the colour of their skin that made it impossible for Dave Basi and Bob Virk to slip through.

The fact that the two main men accused, Dave Basi and Bob Virk, were never interviewed and questioned by police officers goes a very, very long way to support the Defence claim that they were ‘set up’ to take a fall and to distract attention from the more heinous, more damaging activities of their superiors.

If they had been given the chance for a full questioning – as Erik Bornmann was in a very long testimony – investigation of, and then charges against some of Basi’s and Virk’s superiors almost certainly would have had to result.  That fact is key.  That may explain the almost bizarre fact that the two brown men were never interviewed by police.

In the light of the coming January 11, 2011 appearance of the Crown before Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie to request the return of all disclosure documents by the Defence to Crown, we should look at (a) the convicted, (b) the Crown (c) the judiciary involved, (d) the RCMP, (e) the Mainstream Press and Media, (f) the Liberal Party, and (g) the NDP.

First the convicted.  Dave Basi and Bob Virk, Order in Council appointed cabinet aides to, respectively, minister of finance Gary Collins and minister of transportation Judith Reid (and responsible to Gordon Campbell and Martyn Brown, Campbell’s Chief of Staff, as well) were two of ‘the three brown men’ originally charged in December of 2004.  The other was Aneal Basi a media officer and cousin of Dave Basi.

The more the public receives information involving the men and the charges against them, the more the treatment of ‘the three brown men’appears to be, in simple terms, racist.

Pale people on all sides of them somehow escaped investigation, escaped charges, escaped … everything.  Statements made, apparently emanating from Crown sources, had Dave Basi admitting to having given Bruce Clark confidential (BC Rail) information of use to his client, Washington Marine.  Pale Bruce Clark is brother of (then) cabinet minister pale Christy Clark. Dave Basi affirms that he was instructed to provide the information to Bruce Clark by at least one (white) superior.

None of Basi’s superiors have ever appeared as under suspicion in Crown materials made public.  Bruce Clark has passed unscathed through the process.  His sister, Christy Clark, has not, apparently, faced questioning by the RCMP although she was a member of cabinet when he received confidential information – which was found in his residence.

When the first search warrants were being acted upon, it is reported that Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm wouldn’t permit a “raid” on Christy Clark’s residence.  Her residence had, apparently, to be telephoned in advance. (Most people about to have their property searched would be happy to be given advance notice of the search.)  The search warrants for December 28, 2003 are still about 80 percent blacked out – only the warrants for Basi and Virk are almost completely uncensored.

That strikes me, first, as improper judicial behaviour since, normally, search warrants become public property very shortly after they have been served.  It strikes me, secondly, as suggesting racist treatment of Basi and Virk.  The search warrants were issued for December 28, 2003.  The charges were not laid until late December 2004 – and yet Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm released the warrants, seriously censored and blacked out (except for the sections on Basi and Virk), in early September of 2004.  Investigation must have gone on, therefore, for another four months, and yet, Dohm seemed to know in September that only the two brown men would be charged, and only their information in the warrants was bared.

The search warrant file asserts that most of the censoring was the result of “Mandatory Criminal Code provisions”.  Whether that is in dispute or not, the history of the original search warrants needs careful examination – and they need, now, to be released as the search warrants of 2004 have been released, almost uncensored, by Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie.

The question of racism in British Columbia practiced by political parties, moreover, must be examined.  The use of Indo-Canadians as fodder for bulk membership use is outrageously racist.  To take a racial group, to buy party memberships for some illicitly, and then to deliver those people to nomination meetings to vote for people they may never have heard of is gross exploitation.  It is flagrantly dishonest. It is an insult to the democratic process.

Gordon Campbell is alleged (by Judy Tyabji) to have gained his leadership by such Indo-Canadian bulk membership use.  When Paul Martin was seeking a federal “dream team” of candidates from B.C., wide use of Indo-Canadian bulk memberships is alleged to have been used.

The response that the practice was used by “the Basi boys” provides no argument.  Racist practice may be engaged in by people of the exploited race…and that has been the case throughout history.  Indeed, Christy Clark is rumoured to have lost the nomination race against Sam Sullivan to become Vancouver NPA mayoral candidate (shortly after she left the cabinet) partly because the Indo-Canadian alleged to be delivering votes to Sam Sullivan was able to deliver more Indo-Canadian voters than Christy Clark could get.

The Liberal Party in B.C. appears, at its highest levels, to be willing to exploit a racial minority for political advantage, however legitimate or illegitimate the exploitation is.  If that is truly the case, then racist exploitation of Basi, Virk, and Basi would occur to many in the Party to be perfectly normal.  If that happened – and I believe it did – then all the actions against Basi, Virk, and Basi would be an affront to Canadian democracy, law, and justice.

 Next: “The Crown” - The Special (Crown) Prosecutor.  In British Columbia police officers cannot lay charges.  Charges can only be laid by Crown Prosecutors.  In the BC Rail Scandal trial of Basi, Virk, and Basi a Special Crown Prosecutor was appointed – and, of course, would be the person who somehow passed by all the other (white) people who many believe should have been charged. He passed by all the white others, it seems, and settled upon only ‘the three brown men’ to lay charges against.

What came clear during the pre-trial part of the process was that the Special Prosecutor, William Berardino, was appointed in violation of the legislation governing the process of appointment.  Essentially, the legislation requires that the appointee in such a matter be free of connection to elected officers, civil servants, police, etc.  – that the appointee even be free of the potential for the perception of bias in his/her role.

William Berardino was appointed by an Attorney General’s ministry in which the minister, Geoff Plant, had been a partner and colleague of Mr. Berardino for seven years, and the Deputy Attorney General, Allan Seckel, had been a partner and colleague of Mr. Berardino for eleven years…and only a few years before.

The appointment process in the case has not been investigated, and must be for very obvious reasons.  It is alleged, moreover, that for a short time Josiah Wood was Special Prosecutor appointed – and then he disappeared.  We know that at the time of the search warrant raids on the legislature David Harris of Berardino and Harris was advising RCMP about the public statement it would make about the “raids”.  We know that, after that, William Berardino acted as Special Prosecutor.

Were other Special Prosecutors appointed, and then left?  Did the Attorney General engage in “Special Prosecutor shopping” – seeking, that is, a Special Prosecutor who would do his bidding? (As (later) Attorney General Wally Oppal did in the Bountiful Bigamy affair?) Those questions need to be answered.

But whatever answers are supplied to those questions, the fact remains that the appointment of William Berardino as Special Prosecutor was in violation of the legislation.  He was, in short, wrongfully appointed.  As wrongfully appointed, his actions in the case cannot be legitimate. 

That fact is serious because it means that his every action in the case against Basi, Virk, and Basi is and has been without credibility.  It means that he cannot, in fact, take the application before Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie on January 11, 2011 to have all the documents that have been disclosed to Defence returned to the Crown – for he is not, legitimately, “the Crown”.  And no one else may take the application either – for no one else has been named Special Prosecutor - “Crown” in the case. His team assistants have not been so named.

To add further serious complication to the matter, Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie has been fully informed of the wrongful appointment of William Berardino as Special Prosecutor.  She has refused to act on the matter and is, as a result, accepting in her court a Special Prosecutor not properly authorized to be there.  There will be many who argue that she, as a result, loses her own legitimacy in the court.

Those things being true, the process entered into on January 11, 2011, will be ‘theatre’ merely.  The process cannot have legitimacy.

The role of the judiciary in the BC Rail Scandal pre-trial and trial of Basi, Virk, and Basi has been – obviously - complex and interesting.  I have just touched on a part of it here. PART TWO will begin with an examination of the judiciary’s role in the Breakdown of British Columbia Society, specifically in the BC Rail Scandal Basi, Virk, and Basi case.

Skookum1 comment, cross-posted:

Anywhere organized crime flourishes there are links to the highest politicians: New York, Chicago, New Orleans, Miami, Mexico, Colombia, Afghanistan ("heroin heroin heroin, that's the boy scout's marching song", as Tom Lehrer might quip about the allied occupation), China, Japan - you name it.

Money and politicians attract each other like flies to sh*t, and politicians don't care whose it is, unless they get caught red-handed.

As for whether BC Rail etc were "legal or illegal, hard to prove", that's kinda equivocation, suggestive of the "move along now" soundbites/textbites coming out of spinners in blogspace and out of politiicans' mouths. The bidding process we've already seen more than enough evidence - especially re CP and BNSF - to know was a tainted process, a sham. That's illegal, period. "Hard to prove" only because it's not been allowed in court by those who control our courts, or rig them.

Accenture's acquisition of part of BC Hydro was untendered, like all else it was a largely secret deal. And where governments keep secrets, there are crimes being hidden. It's axiomatic; that's why the secrets.

And is it constitutional for government agencies in Canada
to be owned and operated by foreign companies, from foreign soil? Is it really legal to outsource the government itself? Really?? Is that what the Free Trade deal meant?

Of course, our constitution is a toothless fat man only meant to shore up the existing system of patronage and pork barrel and centralized, autocratic corruption. The Republicans in the US must marvel at the king-like powers their Canadian counterparts (Harper, Campbell et al.) wild while in office.

And anywhere politicians hold near-absolute power, corruption is a given; it's what near-absolute and absolute power ARE. Corruption without check, with the mandate of power/authority, and therefore "legal or illegal, hard to prove".

So let's rephrase that - "legal or illegal.....easy to prove, hard to prosecute".

And "when is our government not our government?" When its services are being operated from foreign soil. When it serves not the interests of the people, or the nation, but only of its inner circle and those who funded their rise to power. And it doesn't matter which country, or which side of the street, that money comes from. Dirty money is still dirty money, just like foreign money is still foreign money. Money has no colour and no nationality, as the old line goes, it also has no morality, no sense of right or wrong. Except it knows that there's more money to be made by not being on the up-and-up than by being "straight". 
Just the same as in politics, as with the Indo-Liberal membership drives that helped Campbell take the leadership, then win in 2001. Where that money came from, where it went....."legal or illegal, who's to know". Cold hard cash often doesn't leave paper trails - and habitually tries not to.

It's not that something wasn't illegal or may not have been illegal, simply because it was those mandated with royal power who executed it. It's that they had the power to do that, and that the opposition (in the House or out here) was unable to stop them, and that the media are behaving like media in a totalitarian state, that's the issue.

If it all wasn't illegal, it should be made so. But those who use the "system" also are the ones in charge or writing its rules, and also in control of the public debate (well, until the internet and blogspace came along).

We need an independent judiciary, an independent police system, free from political control and barred from political involvement, and we need strict rules - and enforcement - on the buying of politicians by campaign donations from foreign donors using Canadian proxy companies.

But there's very little doubt there's drug money connected to BC politicians, knowingly or not. There's too much drug money flowing in the BC economy for there NOT to be. And organized crime ain't stupid, whether it's a homegrown gang or one of the big cartels or the Cosa Nostra or the triads: they know how to buy power, and are old pros at it. They run protection rackets themselves; doling out some largesse to politicians and bureaucrats is something like a protection racket; they're buying cover, as well as power......
Immoral, illegal, unconstitutional - we can prove all of that, even without a money trail. We just don't have media, courts, police or any independent recourse to investigate and bring it to heel. We don't have power, and money is power.....and money, as we all know, is the root of all evil.

I wonder if the Christian fundamentalist faction in the BC Liberal camp (said to be lining up behind Falcon) has that in their catechism? Or are they utterly Calvinist, that material success is a sign of your spiritual superiority and God's blessing? That corrupt money is OK, so long as it's doing God's business?

I've heard a few people quip that they have more faith in the Hells Angels than they do in politicians....and more than one person; in fact it's a constant theme, people operate under the assumption that the politicians are greased, not just by foreign companies, but by organized crime. And when not, they just behave like organized crime, in the Queen's name.

Monday, December 27, 2010


BC Rail political corruption dominates over the leadership race and all issues

BC Mary comment: over at Laila Yuile's blog on December 15, 2010, Don F. said it so well ... 

Don F. wrote: 

In my opinion it is not that everyone is stuck on Christy but everyone is stuck and, should be, on BC Rail. BC Rail dominates over the leadership race and all issues and so it should. 

This was and is massive corruption that all these leadership wannabees are guilty of not just Christy Clark, this will revisit all of them. My take on this is that until BC Rail and all its implications are brought forward, there stands no chance for trust from the public or business as usual. 

This was and is the biggest scam ever played on the people of this province and until it is resolved the public will feel, and righteously so, that they are fools and at the mercy of criminals. There is no other issue, and I believe there are many, but no other to compare to the extent of the corruption that was exercised on us from our politicians through to our courts.

If we should allow this to pass and allow this to fade then we forgo our right to ever speak ever again for then we have set a new precedent, one that we will deserve.

This simply must be resolved or we are all tainted forever.

Skookum1 has left new comments on your post "BC Rail political corruption dominates over the leadership race ..."

Nope we need new blood, new voices, and if not a new party or two, then the courage to elect "strong independents". A house full of Independents, even, would go a long ways to nailing the right-wing coalition extremists and left-wing political eunuchs in their respective (or perhaps more fittingly, mutual) coffin. A houseful of Independents actually representing their constituents and having to collaborate to form a government, with no partisan ideology holding control over cabinet OR the House.....

...then we'd have the parliamentary system as it's supposed to be.

It would mean candidates worth their salt who could garner enough support from the public in their areas to not need party financing or party associations in order to win. Strength of character and accomplishment etc....would take a lot of dough to combat corporate campaign financing and union campaign financing on the other....but the monopoly, the bipolarity rather, of BC's political culture has to be brought to an end.

One big problem with Independent campaigns: the denial of provincial matching funds, which favour organized party candidates. A possible solution might be to charter an Independent Caucus as a party.....


It may well be that the Clark campaign is all a spin device, meant to sell "us" on Falcon or Abbott, somehow redeeming them as the Lesser Three Evils. The party machine - or rather the corporate machine behind the two parties within the BC Liberals (Tory/Reform and fedLib) - could have fielded her simply as a ruse, to make the remaning Liberals seem more palatable and help one of them be a dark horse who took out the front-runner etc. Well, Falcon or Abbott are gonna have to mea culpa on BC Rail or forget it. It's a dance macabre crossed withmenage a trois, with GC playing the fiddle, hanging on and transmitting his core and primary guilt to others while still executing policy and major changes before he's gone. He's been awfully silent, don't you think? Not a good sign.....

And yeah I totally agree the temptation, evinced also at Bill's blog, to dump it all on Christy is very much there, even in blogspace; Abbott and Falcon aren't getting as much heat as they deserve; but then they don't have any incriminating memos about them (well, Falcon's in there, but in a subordinate, fuctionary capacity, though "in the know").

Could be the real reason, also, is they're not having an on-the-ground convention but only a televote because they don't want to face their own party membership face to face. Wouldn't it have been great to see BC Liberal members turn a leadership convention into a BC Rail inquiry? The mind reels....are there enough of them sane, and with morals, to even do such a thing, had they even been given a chance?

Also, hm, I'd like to know what was behind Alex Rebagliati's resignation from the Liberal candidacy in the Okanagan-Coquihalla riding (or was it Southern Interior?). There's more to that than meets the eye, though I think we'll hear the same "family" issues as is commonly claimed. Could have been an issue of conscience....

BTW have any of the NDP stepped forward for the leadership yet? Maybe they all feel like Carole Taylor and just don't want to put their necks out there.

Wouldn't it be interesting to see them both reduced to rumps behind, say, the Tories and the Refeds? And then the latter form a cooperative coalition to "fix BC", and leave both older parties in a bony and unfriendly Opposition. It happened in 1952, no reason it can't be done again.

Bill Bennett should rally the Tory vote on a campaign to take back BC Rail and BC Hydro. Carole Taylor - who should also weigh in on BC Rail, might want to think about joining Refed or even sidling up to Gordon Wilson and reviving the Democratic Alliance.

Any candidate or leader who doesn't talk about BC Rail is gonna get raked over the coals at all-candidates meetings (if they dare to show at any; Libs find it easier to be elected by not being available to open questioning). It's a motherhood issue, and the Liberals have grossly underestimated it, and the big media haven't been able to shut people up; it's widespread talk, and the resentment and negative judgement (of politicians) attached to it is much more vicious than against the HST. The NDP are also fools, or just hopelessly inadequate, for not having their teeth in it long ago - why expect them to start now?


cfvua: yes, I agree, i was going to say the same thing, though was going to use the term "resignation"...."capitulation" is more like it. "Oh well, it was a great evil but there's no point in trying to fix it now"....very tug-the-forelock don't-make-waves Canadian-ness. "We know they stole it all, but might as well let them keep it" is really waht he's saying.

remember those Olympic commercials about Canadians changing and becoming more outspoken and assertive? It needs to be moer than in just international sports......

As for Tamsyn Burgmann:
Government brass fended off accusations for the next seven years, getting raked over the coals during question period and pressing through two elections with the albatross of an ongoing criminal trial around their necks.

That would be "getting raked over the coals for only the next two years", i.e. until the Joy & Jenny show was over. And yeah, that albatross was sure a burden to them in national coverage of those campaigns huh? Also in provincial campaigns.....must have been an invisible albatross.....I recall CP being among those major news agencies who did everything they could not to report on the trial, the sale, or issues arising from them, and when they did mention them soft-soaped them so ridiculously as to lose all relevance. If Burgmann had been doing her job from 2003 onwards (i.e. the one the public expects of a reporter, not the marching orders from the publisher/owner), the Liberals would have not won in 2005, and not have had a chance to win again in 2009. And given what else we know about that party's morality and conduct, it's not too far of a stretch to think that ballot boxes might even have been stuffed.....seriously.

The free ride that CP and other news agencies gave the BC Liberals was anything but an albatross. It was more like a first-class airline ticket, with complementary massage and a special lane through customs.

Holman's surrender to illegal actions and flagrant theft of public assets, "oh well aw shucks" just doesn't sit well with me....I just lost a lot of respect for him. Seems like he's just becoming another established-system toady.


Special year-end tip o'the tuque to John Wood who tirelessly forwards eye-popping news clips to major newspapers around the world. Including this, for today: 

 The seven year anniversary of the BC Government Corruption Trial over the sale of BC Rail. As has been said by so many people - the stench of corruption is overwhelming. Arrest warrant details published.

See links and attachments for details.



“There’s some very, very powerful people who were caught up in this whole entire [BC Rail Corruption] controversy, both inside and outside government, and it’s an important case that people deserve answers to,” he said. If it's about Organized Crime in the corridors of the B.C. Legislature, can we afford to wait for history to catch up?

BC Mary comment:  As the 7th anniversary approaches (Dec. 28, 2010) of the historic police raid on an elected house of parliament, there are still arguments in favour of finding out or opposed to finding out w.t.f. happened to the publicly-owned railway built to respond to the special conditions of British Columbia's demographics, economy, and geography.

Excerpt from

Questions still linger after stunning raid of B.C. legislature

Tamsyn Burgmann
The Canadian Press
Toronto Star - Dec. 27, 2010
Also Winnipeg Free Press
Click HERE for the full report.

VANCOUVER — It’s an anniversary British Columbia’s Liberal politicians would sooner forget.

On Dec. 28 2003, uniformed Mounties armed with a search warrant broke the post-Christmas time quiet at the ornate B.C. legislature. They scoured offices of senior politicians and seized 33 boxes of documents.

Government brass fended off accusations for the next seven years, getting raked over the coals during question period and pressing through two elections with the albatross of an ongoing criminal trial around their necks.

As suddenly as it had started, it was over.

In October [2010], former ministerial aides Dave Basi and Bobby Virk made surprise guilty pleas. They were sentenced to house arrest for breach of trust.

The vault sprung open by the stunning legislature raid was all but slammed shut, leaving expectant British Columbians without a sense of closure. {Snip} ...

“There will always be speculation, there will always be unanswered questions, there will always be a cloud,” said Sean Holman, who runs a daily web-journal covering the backrooms of B.C. politics called Public Eye. “And that is unfortunate — maybe it’ll come out one day in the history books.”   

The most valuable product of the affair was that during the trial, the public got a brief glimpse of the inner workings of the provincial government, Holman said.
“There’s some very, very powerful people who were caught up in this whole entire controversy, both inside and outside government, and it’s an important case that people deserve answers to,” he said.

{Snip} ...

Read it all here:



Search Warrants, now open 7 years later, tell us that many dark secrets were known to the police investigators who, on Dec. 28, 2003, undertook the historic raids on the BC Legislature.

BC Mary comment: Go HERE for the valuable links to Search Warrants No. 1, 2, 3, 4 which authorized the historic police raids on the BC Legislature; or copy-and-paste this link into your browser:

The Search Warrants will shock many  readers when they see how much was already known 7 years ago of the darkly suspicious links to Organized Crime as well as the dubious negotiations which took an enormously valuable public asset (BC Rail) into private pockets (CN, whose largest shareholder is Bill Gates). 

Readers may ask themselves if it was wise to let this situation continue for 7 years without decisive police action. 

The Search Warrants may be seen in full, by visiting the Vancouver Sun article by Neal Hall, dated December 14, 2010 in the following article. 

Well worth pausing over, is the group photo showing the leading figures (except for the judge and Special Prosecutor) in the BC Rail trial leaving the Vancouver Law Courts building after the sudden shut-down of the most important trial in BC history. Each person appears to be well pleased with the cancellation ... except for the unidentified figure at left, a tall handsome man in civilian clothes who walks with his head down, hands in pockets. We may recognize him as (now) RCMP Superintendent Kevin deBruyckere, lead investigator on the BC Rail Political Corruption Trial.  What is he doing there, beside that group? I find it interesting (even comforting) that Superintendent deBruckyere is not happy with the sudden cancellation of that massively important corruption trial.


Dave Basi was paid for referring clients to lobbying firm, lobbyist claimed


Photo here, pending.

Former ministerial aides Dave Basi (dark suit, top centre) and Bob Virk (grey suit, glasses) pleaded guilty at their political corruption trial (after years of protesting that they were innocent, and only carrying out their assigned duties). Charges of money laundering were stayed against Aneal Basi (left, blue tie).

Photograph by: Glenn Baglo, Vancouver Sun

Click here to read search warrant one

Click here to read search warrant two

Click here to read search warrant three

Click here to read search warrant four


... At the time, Bornman told police, he was busy working on the "Paul Martin [federal] leadership campaign, which took up a lot of my time."

Bornman went on to say that after the first cash payments, he began making regular payments by cheque to Basi through his cousin, Aneal Basi.

"I was paying him a set amount," Bornman told police. "I'm ashamed to say in return for his assistance in referring clients and his assistance on matters of government and for his, for his continued loyalty to my political endeavors..."

He said the first payments to Aneal Basi, who worked in government communications at the time, was $1,000 and after that $1,500.

Bornman recalled Aneal Basi was worried about losing his job, so Bornman provided him with a CD of files to make it look like he doing work for Pilothouse.

He added the CD "was merely, you know, I'm ashamed to say that, it was...I guess a front that would've been used to substantiate the payments."

Later on, Bornman referred to his regular payments to Dave Basi, via his cousin Aneal Basi, as "bribes."

"I was not believing, didn't want to believe in my own mind that these were, these were bribes," Bornman told police. "In politics, people often get paid to do political work. Consultant companies often hire people, pay them and send them off to do political work and, you know, in moments of self-induced willful blindness, wanted to believe that Aneal was just providing some kind of political service to the greater organization but there denying the fact that they were payments to David, not to Aneal."

Bornman recalled Dave Basi had a variety of reasons of why he needed the money, including that "he was short money for a down payments on a house he was purchasing and it was for his mother..."

He added he gave Dave Basi three months of payments -- $4,500 -- one month because of Basi being short of cash.

Another search warrant stated that Dave Basi had "unexplained income" totaling $870,000 between 2000 and 2004, but the defence maintained that figure was inaccurate and should have been $112,000.

Last Oct. 18, the trial of Dave Basi, 44, and Bob Virk, 36, entered surprise guilty pleas to two counts each of breach of trust and accepting benefits in exchange for leaking confidential information about the B.C. Rail bidding process in 2003.

At the time, Basi was the senior ministerial assistant to then finance minister Gary Collins and Virk was the ministerial assistant to then transportation minister Judith Reid.

The trial, which began last May and was expected to continue until next March, came to a sudden halt when the special prosecutor, Bill Berardino, told the trial judge that Basi and Virk wanted to change their pleas from not guilty to guilty.

Dave Basi also pleaded guilty to accepting $50,000 from a development company, Shambrook Hills, that was trying to get a piece of land out of the Agricultural land reserve -- a charge contained in a separate indictment.

The Crown said Basi had contacted some government officials about the Victoria area property but his actions did not affect the decision of the Agricultural Land Commission.

Dave Basi and Bob Virk were sentenced to two years less a day of a conditional sentence, that is, house arrest.

The trial judge also imposed 150 hours of community service work on each of the men, and ordered Basi to pay a fine of $75,695 -- the total amount of money he accepted.

The charge of money laundering against co-accused Aneal Basi was stayed by the Crown, which noted that Aneal Basi had no knowledge that the money was paid by the lobbying firm, Pilothouse, in exchange for confidential information about the B.C. Rail bidding process in 2003.

B.C. Rail freight operations were sold to CN Rail for $1 billion. The privatization deal was controversial because Premier Gordon Campbell had promised during the 2001 election campaign not to sell the publicly owned railway.

The B.C. Liberal government maintain the railway wasn't sold but it [is] a long-term lease of 990 years, with options to renew.


Sunday, December 26, 2010


When the cat's pyjamas caught fire ... and the BC Rail Political Corruption Trial didn't ... in 2010's most memorable stories in Victoria Times Colonist

BC Mary comment: It's Boxing Day and Jack Knox has just published an annoying column about the things he thinks make up the 25 most significant stories of 2010. Like the U.Vic bunnies and such. Grrrr. He gave the BC Rail Political Corruption Trial the Number 9 spot, "in no particular order", of course ... quote:

9. What do you expect for a lousy $18 mill?

The corruption case of Liberal aides David Basi and Bob Virk, which began with the legislature raid seven years ago this week, stumbled to an October conclusion that left more questions than answers. A plea deal saw Basi and Virk -- who accepted favours in the $1-billion B.C. Rail sale -- avoid jail time and have the taxpayers pick up their $6-million legal bill, bringing the total public cost to at least $18 million.

Meanwhile, the province continued trying to recover money, if only a few dollars at a time, from welfare cheats. The government must maintain its principles, you see.

Basi also pleaded guilty to taking $50,000 from developers seeking to have Sooke land taken out of the agricultural land reserve. Shambrook Hills Development was fined $200,000, but charges were dropped against two of its owners, Tony Young and Jim Duncan.

Then, momentarily, all was forgiven, when I saw that Jack Knox also wrote this:

20. Flaming feline
Doing the right -- and romantic -- thing, B.C. Environment Minister Barry Penner shut off the lights for a candlelit Earth Hour dinner March 27.
Alas, the evening got hotter than anticipated when his cat brushed against the candle and caught fire. Happily, the pet was only slightly singed. And the tale gave us the headline of the year, courtesy of the Times Colonist's Sandra McCulloch: "Say, honey, could you put out the cat?"

But ... [sigh] ... back to basics: Read the whole dismal list of what Lucinda's Times Colonist thinks is news -- big news -- of the year 2010, HERE

Friday, December 24, 2010


Wishing British Columbia

Merry Christmas 2010

to the wonderful people who contribute to The Legislature Raids and give me loads of encouragement,

to the wonderful bloggers who take on the extra work of maintaining their own unique and valuable blogs,

to the quiet readers who stop by, read a little, then move on to think things over from a little bit different angle,

to the genuine whistle-blowers, the genuine journalists, and all others who care deeply enough about British Columbia that they keep digging to find the hidden facts of what happened to that precious link: BC Rail,

I wish you a very merry Christmas with family and friends. I wish good health to everyone. I wish good luck and good news to us all.

I especially wish to send a loving Thank You to these exceptional Canadians:

Robin Mathews ... Laila Yuile ... RossK ... Kootcoot ... Grant Gough ... Gary Edwards ... Ian Reid.  May your New Year be filled with good news.

Bill Tieleman deserves special thanks for unfailing generosity when asked for advice or information, and again thanks to Bill for setting up the process which says:  Go to and search "Basi-Virk Public Inquiry" to find the page and join up to demand a Public Inquiry into how Canada's 3rd largest railway slipped from public ownership into private pockets.

Happy New Year 2011


Interesting suggestion from Skookum1 for improving the quality of government ... 

Skookum1 comments:

There is a movement to get rid of Party politics in BC. Both the NDP and the Liberals have outlived their usefulness and have each contributed to the demise of the inherent wealth of BC. It is now up to each of us individually.

I'm all for an end to caucus solidarity as an institution, and party discipline of individual MLAs should be forbidden. Even a return to pre-1903 non-party times would be preferable to the warring camps of extremists we see doing nothing but lie, on the one side, and waffle and shuffle their feet, on the other.

Proposal: that the current Independents and those who may join them, from either side of the House or may win seats in the coming election, run under the "Independent Caucus" banner, and candidates using that promise to represent their constituents and refuse party ties.

Given the resentment and hostility towards the Punch-and-Judy show of the two-party system as we know it, it's quite possible the Independent Caucus could form a majority of seats; while not a party they could still hold enough sway to nominate/elect one of their number to be Premier and the Lieutenant-Governor would have to recognize that (as was the case 1871-1903).

Party disciplne must end, and if it results in half a dozen parties in the House and coalition government, then the resulting cabinet should also be coalition, or multi-party, on the European model; such that cabinet secrecy, when needed, is not used as a shield for partisan misconduct and illegal activities, as we have seen more and more evidence of.

The major media in CAnada constantly deride minority government as weak and unstable; really what they're doing is endorsing autocratic, centralized rule by majorities formed out of electoral minorities. The media, who are corporate in bias, view multi-party government and true democracy as a threat to "stability" - which means more of the same, business as usual, no upsetting the applecart of corporate-political corruption.

And that is the real reason they've tried to shove the BC Rail scandal and more into the dustbin of national politics and pretend it's not going on.

Until the bias is changed by an example of a coalition/minority/cooperative government, formed out of independent members who make a point of representing their constituents instead of serving as mouthpieces and pet monkeys of their party machine, that is. But most likely the Big Media will try and make life uncomfortable for the applecart-rockers, who are anathema to the political/media establishment in Canada. Every time you hear a politician talking about what a great system the parliamentary system is, that's just someone protecting their own interests, not someone speaking from high principle.

CP and BNSF and other bidders should have sued the BC government and/or CN. That they didn't doesn't mean that "we" can't....OmniTRAX would never have considered such a case, due to their own exposed involvement in influence-buying.....I suspect WMG didn't either, because of whatever they may have had Bruce Clark doing for them....



"The acquisition of B.C. Rail by CN would likely result in the elimination of most management functions at B.C. Rail," the document states, noting most head-office jobs would be relocated out of B.C. "These would be absorbed by existing CN groups in Montreal, Edmonton, Winnipeg and, to a lesser extent, Vancouver.

... The document, dated last Aug. 23, sent off rockets yesterday at the B.C. Rail union office.

"The loss of even a single job is of huge concern to us," said Bob Sharpe, chairman of the B.C. Rail Council of Trade Unions, who slammed the Liberals for secretly scheming to sell off the publicly owned railroad.

"We've never been consulted."

But spokesmen for both the government and CN Rail cautioned against reading too much into the document.

"We're known for fair and equitable treatment of both management and union staff in earlier acquisitions," CN spokesman Mark Hallman said last night from Toronto.

"This is speculation that B.C. Rail did last August," said Shawn Robins, communications director for the Transportation Ministry.

But the document is detailed and appears to be based on considerable research and number-crunching.

"The acquisition of B.C. Rail by CN would likely result in the elimination of most management functions at B.C. Rail," the document states, noting most head-office jobs would be relocated out of B.C.

"These would be absorbed by existing CN groups in Montreal, Edmonton, Winnipeg and, to a lesser extent, Vancouver.

"Savings would occur from the elimination of senior management, finance, legal, risk management, human resources, rules and regulatory affairs, environmental affairs, customer service, fleet management, information services, service design, car accounting, pricing, tariffs and other head-office functions.

"The only management functions remaining would likely be front-line supervisors in field operations and perhaps the retention of some account representatives from marketing and sales."

The document says CN would shed hundreds of union jobs by reducing or abandoning unprofitable routes and shifting maintenance work to existing CN facilities.

"Where CN would obtain cost savings is through the elimination of B.C. Rail track programs and equipment," the document states.

"CN ownership would eliminate the need for B.C. Rail shops. Work would be consolidated into existing CN shops to maintain cars and locomotives."

The government issued a public offering May 15 for private-sector companies to express interest in taking over B.C. Rail.

A private operator is expected to take over by the end of the year, although Premier Gordon Campbell said the tracks and railbed would remain in public hands.

CN is one of several bidders for B.C. Rail.

"This document is an entirely speculative exercise by B.C. Rail," said Hallman, the CN spokesman.

While the document says CN Rail would save more than $70 million a year by eliminating the 1,223 management and union jobs, Hallman scoffed at the conclusion.

"We haven't even seen B.C. Rail's books," he said. "B.C. Rail employees would actually have greater opportunity to expand their horizons with new job opportunities at CN."

But the document said CN would save a total of $123 million through layoffs and consolidation if it took over B.C. Rail.

Read more HERE.



BC Criminality exposed

Merv Ritchie at Terrace Daily writes:   Just a 'Heads Up' that we also have entered the fray again.

Go HERE for the full story:

 ... Take this excerpt from a memo by David Basi written on October 31st, 2003, when the BC Liberal Government was attempting to persuade the public the sale of BC Rail was a good thing.

“I told Bob [referring to Bobby Virk] that the article written by Dan Miller supporting the sale of BC Rail that ran in all the Northern Papers was actually written by [Don] Zadravec.”  [ That situation is described HERE. ]

This particular memo refers to Liberal insiders along with former PG Mayor Colin Kinsley also manipulating a radio talk show hosted by Ben Meisner. It appears the Liberal team, when they didn’t already control the content of the media, went to great lengths to stack their opinions into the perceived independent audience.

“I will make sure our callers are ready for Vanderzalm and Sharpe (Kinsley gave me the heads up) when they make an appearance on the Miesner show. I am also going to call Ian Sutherland and ask him to challenge Barbara Sharpe on the radio.”

In conclusion if, as a good citizen, you feel you are making your assessments on the management of the Provincial affairs, that your opinions are based on good information provided to you by the local radio, TV and newspapers, you now need to recognize all of that information was and is canned to trick you.

The Province of BC and the vast wealth available to provide all the means necessary to provide for your, your children’s and your grandchildren’s prosperity; their education, healthcare and much more, is being robbed right in front of your eyes.

It is very difficult for one person to compose an article full of all the compelling facts and details to demonstrate and prove the criminality behind the Provincial Government of BC. In fact the Court process which was underway to expose the criminals within the BC Government was quickly shut down, the Government paid to have it stopped. If there was an independent media the demand for a full judicial public inquiry would be on the front page of every newspaper, on the opening segment of every TV news cast and as a lead story on every radio. Currently Global and Black Press remain silent on the fiasco while running even more commentaries and full page editorials authored from the same nest.

Democracy takes time and energy. There is a movement to get rid of Party politics in BC. Both the NDP and the Liberals have outlived their usefulness and have each contributed to the demise of the inherent wealth of BC. It is now up to each of us individually.


A plague on both their houses

By Tony Eberts
Royal City Record - Dec. 24, 2010

Dear Editor:

This year's big political storm saw the ruling B.C. Liberals collapse under the weight of the bungled HST introduction, assorted lies, the B.C. Rail corruption scandal, environmental degradation and a continuing show of arrogant, dictatorial leadership.

The NDP also bungled, falling into a noisy leadership battle.

But already most of the political commentators seem to have forgotten almost everything but the fun of pre-judging leadership candidates and gossiping about the individuals who are in or who may soon be in the races. Astoundingly, some have concluded that the rotten performance that brought down Gordon Campbell is no more important than the internal bickering of the NDP.

The pundits who clearly favour the right-wing policies of the B.C. Liberals are pushing the skewed notion that all the sins of the party will be washed away in the glorious baptism of a new leader - even though that leader is bound to be a Campbell-trained politician.
Source is HERE.


Thursday, December 23, 2010


Basi memos show need for BC Rail Inquiry - North Shore News

BC Mary comment: Elizabeth James of North Shore News sums it up neatly ... why we should join in the demand for a Public Inquiry. There's a way to join forces: go to Facebook at and search "Basi-Virk Public Inquiry" to find the page and join the demand for a Public Inquiry into how Canada's 3rd largest railway slipped from public ownership into private pockets.


Basi memos show need for B.C. Rail inquiry

By Elizabeth James
Special To North Shore News
December 22, 2010

"Over the next week or so I will release one 'Memo-to-file' per day. They are authored by Dave Basi alone, in his own words, and after he wrote each instalment they were witnessed by Victoria lawyer George Jones, Q.C. whose unimpeachable integrity is without question and whose signature I have verified."

Political journalist/analyst Alex G. Tsakumis, Dec. 14, 2010

So began Alex Tsakumis' Christmas gift to British Columbians who had been concerned that the termination of the Basi-Virk trial meant they would never know the true story of the B.C. Rail deal.

As Tsakumis explained, he received "part of the information from a police source," while "Other information came from a source very familiar with the prosecution."

The memos were written by Dave Basi who, at the time, was ministerial assistant to then finance minister Gary Collins.

The memos are "dated from Oct. 6, 2003 and extend almost two months to Nov. 25, 2003 (the day after the sale of B.C. Rail to CN was formalized.)"

So far, only four of almost a dozen memos have been released, but already their content is enough to justify a clarion call for a commission of inquiry.

British Columbians are owed a full, sworn exposé of the political shenanigans that led to the dealing away of a critical public asset -- B.C. Rail -- into the hands of CN Rail by way of a 990-year lease.

{Snip} ... 

As we demand that public inquiry, we need to answer these two questions for ourselves:

On Oct. 18, 2010, did Dave Basi and Bob Virk decide to plead guilty because the deal offered them house arrest for two years, a stay of the money-laundering charges against Aneal Basi and their $6 million in legal fees to be paid by the taxpayers?

Or did they cop the guilty plea before Justice Anne MacKenzie because Dave Basi was tired of the self-incriminating charade and knew he had Plan B in his back pocket?

You will be the judge; and after you have read all of Basi's memos-to-file, I'll be interested to know your decisions.

So what's to be learned from the material posted to date?

On Oct. 6, 2003, 49 days before the sale was consummated, Basi writes, "Had a meeting with the Minister (Collins) today about bc rail."

"The government needs a political win with the bc rail deal. We do not want to be left holding the bag without another option if the preferred bidder CN starts playing hard ball at the negotiating table." (Emphases throughout are mine.)

"The Minister wants me to continue back channelling with the various players to keep them on side and prevent them from going off the deep end.

"We are in the home stretch and really have to keep our eyes on the prize."

Ah yes; the players.

With apologies to Shakespeare, as we'll see along the way, Victoria was the stage and many men and women had their exits and their entrances and played many parts. In fact, Tsakumis's introductions to the memos makes the point that some players were, at one and the same time, donors, fundraisers and/or appointees to the Harper Conservatives, and to the Paul Martin and Campbell Liberals.

On Oct. 14, Basi writes:

"Briefed the Minister over the phone. . . . The Shippers are abuzz with rumours that they will be forced to look at CN's bid and told to accept the fact that this is going to happen. . . . The Minister can't tell them what to do but he agreed I can certainly encourage them to be critically supportive so they don't look like they are caving in to government pressure. . . ."

Many of the shippers were forestry companies along the line, whose workers opposed any deal that would see CN, a company they viewed as unfriendly to its employees, take over from B.C. Rail.

Basi goes on to say that the minister wanted to make his trip to Prince George trip the next day "productive and fruitful."

"He wants me to advise our friends that this is their chance to play a positive role . . . the sale is going to take place with or without them. . . ."

Then, after recording that he had advised Collins he had arranged for Lyall Knott and Paul Martin to meet Erik Bornmann for lunch the next day, Basi brings Bruce Clark -- brother of current B.C. Liberal leadership hopeful, Christy Clark -- on stage:

"The Minister wants me to . . . ensure that Bruce Clark doesn't take all the credit . . . for the hard work of our team. . . . I reminded the Minister that Bruce wants assurances from us that his friends at Washington Marine will not be led along the garden path in a sham process for the next item up for bid, the Roberts Bank line. . . ."

And so the saga continues.

In a brief scan of the third memo of Oct. 17, 2003, Basi introduces more players to the scene -- Bob Virk and the too-often-forgetful trial witness, Martyn Brown, who was prone to "going off the deep end all the time yelling at Bob and me. . ." -- and the "biggest frustration we have . . . the double-talk that seems to be coming out of everybody's mouth in the premier's office."

Most startling of all was a comment that may yet prove prophetic: "I voiced my concerns again with the Minister that it will be a miracle if we don't end up being sued in court by jilted bidders at the end of the process."

Things get hotter -- and, as Tsakumis describes, scarier -- for Basi in the fourth memo of Oct. 23, 2003 when the names come down fast and furious.

Basi becomes worried that the balancing act was in danger of falling apart because, in his words, "Everybody involved seems to have their own agenda and personal self interest."

Then, after Collins "cautions" him for voicing his opinion that, "if things go sideways and CN proceeds to break every promise this will be something the Premier will wear not us," Basi continues, "The Minister advised that we can score a big political win by getting contractual guarantees in writing. CN will only do this if they know there are other bidders waiting outside the door if they decide to play hardball and walk away from the deal."

If readers are not yet sick at heart at the depths to which their government has sunk, the remaining memos should do the trick.

From what Basi had the foresight -- self-protection? -- to write and have witnessed, it is clear that he saw the premier's "lease, partnership, new investment etc," of B.C. Rail as "a sale pure and simple."

In light of these memos, and the history of a trial inexplicably terminated after a seven-year investigation, it is essential that British Columbians demand an immediate public inquiry.

Everyone responsible for the egregious disposition of a publicly owned railway into the private hands of CN Rail must be held to account -- not just the two who played bit parts on the stage.

Source is HERE:


BC Mary comment:  Not to be overlooked -- the actual reading of the Search Warrants #1, #2, #3, #4 for the raids on the BC Legislature. Amazing information there, as to what police already knew even before they went into the offices of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Transportation on a quiet Sunday morning, December 28, 2003. 

See also what The Galloping Beaver and friends are saying HERE:


And here, here, and here:

Nowhere To Run To Baby....Nowhere To Hide
By RossK

This issue, which has more precisely emerged as a tax 'indemnity' that CN Rail ' bought' as part of the old BC Rail's alleged 'debt', was apparently critical for getting the deal nailed down in the end (and was almost certainly ... 

Source is HERE:


Gordon Christy Clark Campbell for Premier
By Grant G

BC Rail is Campbell`s shame, he lied, he sold our asset, of all the players involved in the corrupt BC Rail deal none are more entwined than Christy Clark and her family, her ex-husband Mark Marrisen, Bruce Clark and Patrick Kinsella ...

The Straight goods - HERE


Blog Borg Collective: "participatory democracy" - a process ...

I wonder when someone is going to start up the BC Rail Inquiry Initiative? Or is that a Criminal matter that is under review by a Special Prosecutor? 

Posted by North Van's Grumps ...
Blog Borg Collective - HERE


Was justice served in the Basi Virk trial? ...

The question to Dave Basi was did he have connections to organized crime. .... Dave Basi took lobbyist's bribes for years, court documents state ...

Read more HERE:


The train wreck that keeps on wrecking
By Dave
The Galloping Beaver

The sale (OK 99 year lease) of BC Rail is still fresh in everybody's minds. [BCM adds: 990-year-lease.] Truthfully, it's smelly and the sudden turn of Basi and Virk to a guilty plea will never be something easily swallowed. Somewhere, somehow, a deal was made ...

The Galloping Beaver is HERE


A plague on both their houses

By Tony Eberts
Royal City Record - Dec. 24, 2010

Dear Editor:

This year's big political storm saw the ruling B.C. Liberals collapse under the weight of the bungled HST introduction, assorted lies, the B.C. Rail corruption scandal, environmental degradation and a continuing show of arrogant, dictatorial leadership.

The NDP also bungled, falling into a noisy leadership battle.

But already most of the political commentators seem to have forgotten almost everything but the fun of pre-judging leadership candidates and gossiping about the individuals who are in or who may soon be in the races.
Astoundingly, some have concluded that the rotten performance that brought down Gordon Campbell is no more important than the internal bickering of the NDP.

The pundits who clearly favour the right-wing policies of the B.C. Liberals are pushing the skewed notion that all the sins of the party will be washed away in the glorious baptism of a new leader - even though that leader is bound to be a Campbell-trained politician ...

Read more HERE.