Friday, December 17, 2010

 

The province is at a crossroads. More information continues to come out almost every day about the scandal and corruption regarding the sale of BC Rail back in 2003. And every day there is more news about how the tentacles of organized crime are extending throughout the province in an illegal drug trade worth billions of dollars.

... Indeed, it is sometimes forgotten that the initial RCMP investigation that blew open the BC Rail corruption case, actually started with wiretaps related to an ongoing criminal drug investigation.

If somehow the BC Rail issue is swept under the rug by government or even if it is investigated in a limited, feeble manner, as some in the NDP opposition seem to be suggesting, British Columbia could end up as a state similar to Sicily in Italy, where gangsterism and corruption appear to be endemic.

It is a fact that a large number of people in the province want an inquiry into the sale of BC Rail, and this includes many who have voted BC Liberal in the past. For almost a decade, they have been demanding answers from government leaders about the scandal. But in the years since the original raid on the provincial Legislature in 2003 and the charging of Basi and Virk, the Campbell Liberal government has kept a finger to its lips and refused to comment on the case on the grounds that the case was "before the courts".

Now, in an amazing aboutface, Liberal leaders, a number of whom were linked to the scandal, are claiming that they have nothing to say because the "court case is now over", and that, furthermore no inquiry into the sale of the railway is necessary.

Given this state of affairs, any observer would expect that the opposition NDP would be demanding, boldly and fearlessly, a public inquiry that has teeth and that could unravel this complicated and sordid scandal, which has stained the political life of the province. But the observers would be wrong. Instead, from certain elements in the NDP leadership, we get vague, toothless statements. For example, look at the feeble question that Paul Ramsey, former NDP cabinet minister, put forward to current NDP MLA Mike Farnworth on the cable TV Show "Voice of BC":

"Mr. Farnworth", Ramsey said, "I saw the other day that the NDP was calling for a public inquiry into the Basi-Virk trial. Now, I agree that the Basi-Virk outcome was a disaster. The public did not get the answers that it wanted about the sale of B.C. Rail. However, I am not sure that the public is really prepared to support the spending of, say, another $30 million to get those answers. Is a public inquiry really the best way to get at those answers?"

Then there was Farnworth's reply: “I don't necessarily think you have to spend as much as Paul is saying,” he commented. It would be determined by the manner in which "you structure a public inquiry." Farnworth further added that "we need to look at ways in which it does not have to go to $30 million.”

In his article on this matter, Vaughan Palmer explains that "those structuring options would presumably include narrowing the scope of the inquiry - limiting the issues it would tackle, the time frame covered, the nature of the findings, or the ability to find fault" (Dec. 16, Vancouver Sun online). "For instance", he says, "the government could ask the inquiry to examine the decision to sell B.C. Rail, but withhold the power to find fault with individual public servants. More like a fact-finding exercise, than a judicial proceeding." In other words, both Ramsey and Farnworth appear to be proposing that the inquiry be as "toothless" as possible. If that is the case, this would be just one more example of the NDP leadership "gutting out" on still another issue of great importance to British Columbians.

And it wouldn't be the first time the leadership has acted that way in regards to the BC Rail "file". Back in 2003-2004, many people in the province, especially Prince George and other cities in the Interior, wanted the sale to be stopped in its tracks, especially after the raids on the Provincial Legislature. Activists for the Committee to Save BC Rail, which included a number of NDP members in its ranks, were calling for a "cancellation" of the sale of the railway. But, in its "wisdom", the NDP leadership in Victoria decided to drop that demand. Even some local NDP members were not happy with what they saw as another case of the party leadership "backing down".

The irony in all of this is that, as documents from the BC Rail corruption trial have revealed, the sale of the railway was in danger of "going off the rails" right around that time in 2004 when the NDP leadership chose to withdraw its demand for the cancellation of the sale. In other words, the sale might have been stopped if pressure had been kept up.

So just who does the party leadership keep "backing down" from? It is no secret that some dominant sections of the big business elite in this province did not want a cancellation of the sale in 2004, nor do they want an inquiry today.

Why? Because this elite does not want the veil pulled back on how it operates in the province. And also because some business interests are undoubtedly involved in one way or another in this huge scandal. For its part, the NDP leadership does not want to "take them on" in any kind of serious manner. Instead, it wants to "curry favour" with this elite and prove that it is "fit" and "responsible" to take over the reins of government and poses no threat.

Politics in this province are not for the fainthearted. If political leaders can't pledge to commit to a full and comprehensive inquiry with real "teeth", if they can't boldly stand up to the naysayers and the big business elite who prattle on about the few million dollars for an inquiry, yet support paying $458 million for, of all things, a retractable stadium roof in Vancouver, then they should get out of politics and take up stamp collecting or some other harmless hobby.

Yes, NDP leadership, if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen.


Thanks to Peter Ewart for this column.  He is a columnist and writer based in Prince George, British Columbia. He can be reached at: peter.ewart@shaw.ca
 

Link:  http://www.opinion250.com/blog/view/18730/1/ndp+leadership+-+if+you+can%27t+take+the+heat,+get+out+of+the+kitchen


Or click HERE to see Peter's original column.

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Comments:
Nelle Maxey

Peter Ewart

made my heart sing, this morning. Thanks to both of you for lighting small fires under the BC Opposition in the matter of BC Rail. We know what you say is true:

Peter wrote:

The irony in all of this is that, as documents from the BC Rail corruption trial have revealed, the sale of the railway was in danger of "going off the rails" right around that time in 2004 when the NDP leadership chose to withdraw its demand for the cancellation of the sale. In other words, the sale might have been stopped if pressure had been kept up.

And that, in my view, earns a highly-paid member of the BC Opposition a quick trip out the EXIT, making room for people, like, well ...

Peter Ewart, and Nelle Maxey. Come on. I know you're out there.


So perhaps the quickest, surest way to start repairing the damage done to the political process in BC is to turf the whole pack of the current Opposition.

Start the arse-kicking parade with Leonard Krog in the lead position, he who struts in his sanctimonious robe (the grey one with the moth-holes in it), posturing as "Justice Critic" in the matter of BC Rail, but doing nothing. Fool.

One thing is sure: BC Rail is still up there in many BC thoughts ...

and I love the way Nelle Maxey and Peter Ewart have expressed that.

Thank you both ... it will be a Merrier Christmas because of you.
.
 
It seems that the time is ripe for new political parties in BC.

On one hand we have the encumbant BC Liberal party known for it's dishonesty, deception, deceit -led by a disfunctional phsycopath - who is still controlling after claiming to resign.

On the other hand - the silent opposition that seems to have forgotten what it's function is. The NDP is is supposed to be rallying against all the injustices purpitrated by the BC Lie-beral party and demanding answers and changes. Instead we get "diddly squat" and an occasional squeek.

Gone is the passion and concern by the opposing party. Who got to them I wonder? What is the real reason - has Moe Sihota got something to do with it all, in the backround?????

The province cannot be any worse off than it is now.

Independent MAL's could work - but would there be enough to effect a change.

Can enough people be persuaded to stop supporting the dishonest BC Liberals and go with another party.

BC Refed. is a party claiming to listen the to the electorate - basing their role on the Swiss model.

Whatever party or parties evolve out of this current debacle, there is no question that time and money needs to be spent looking at everything that Campbell has "messed with" and messed up.

It is very important that all British Columbian's get off their collective butts and go and do something for their province. Being compliant and docile has got us all in this present situation.

Thanks Mary, for all the work you are doing.

Thank you
 
When did the Official Opposition become just another "pig at the trough"?
 
Anonymous 1:18 - a long, long time ago.

and re:
Vaughan Palmer explains that "those structuring options would presumably include narrowing the scope of the inquiry - limiting the issues it would tackle, the time frame covered, the nature of the findings, or the ability to find fault" (Dec. 16, Vancouver Sun online). "For instance", he says, "the government could ask the inquiry to examine the decision to sell B.C. Rail, but withhold the power to find fault with individual public servants. More like a fact-finding exercise, than a judicial proceeding."

Gag! Not that I expect anything better from Palmer, but the glib delivery of this is truly breathtaking. In other words, it's OK to have an inquiry, but not to find fault on "individual public servants" (a term which, presumably, includes elected officials and particularly cabinet members). A commission of inquiry that would answer no questions, and refuse to find fault.

Huh? The whole point of a public inquiry is to look into illegal proceedings, illegal conduct, illegal contracts. Exempting everyone concerned from prosecution "to save costs" is so....so.....so Canadian. Reminds me too much of the Mulroney-Schreiber inquiry which kept other Tories from having their dirty fingernails dragged out in public.

What Palmer's really saying is the cast of characters in the wrong-doing is so lengthy, and so many crimes are at issue throughout, that it's easier to just forget about it and say "oops, I'm sorry".

No, the "oops" is entirely in Palmer's ball court, and those of the politicians he's known to toe-suck up to. It's time to the pay the piper...and given the Yuletide season, I'd say there's quite a few more than simply twelve pipers who piped....and we want our five golden rings back....
 
Anonymous said... 17 December, 2010 1:18 PM

When did the Official Opposition become just another "pig at the trough"?
--------------------------
I would guess at around the same time they adopted affirmative action.
 
Many forget that it was the police investigation respecting the importation of cocaine and that the wire taps were of Dave Basi and his cousin, Jas Bains, who was found guilty and is currently serving a 9 yr sentence, something the news media didnt publish until a month or so after the fact and only because BC MAry reminded them so.
 
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Anonymous 6:43, you evidently have difficult reading/understanding English....I said nothing about cutting Basi some slack, nothing at all. Your twisting of my comment bespeaks training/motives as a spin doctor, probably on payroll like so many who come by here. Don't put words in my mouth, it's a risky business as other anony-mooses have found out.....

I don't want Dave to slack off at all; I want him to realize he can rescue his career by coming clean on all his dirty tricks, fessing up about what else he knows went on in cabinet offices and what other crap our "responsible government" were up to during his time carrying wood, bagging money and spewing lies for them.

All of what he, and his lawyers, didn't get a chance to say at the trial, we all still want to know. Well, unless we're a Liberal cabinet minister or party apparatchik, in which case we'd just like the whole thing to go away.

It won't go away until BC Rail has been repossessed by the people of British Columbia; whether because of a court finding that the deal was illegal, or through re-nationalization.

CN bought a party leader, then a government, and then got its boodle as a reward, and there's no way this can be seen as anything but "seeking to influence government officials" and "seeking to obtain a benefit" etc etc. Basi and others know what went down and it's time for the silence to end.

I'm asking for Dave Basi to step up to bat, not loll on the couch playing videogames with the kids or wondering how things might have gone if the trial had gone forward.

I'm asking for Basi to come forward with the truths all you Anony-meese are trying to pretend is irrelevant, and want to shut down discussion of.

It ain't gonna work, it hasn't worked for the last seven years (shutting us up), and we're not about to back down now. We've smelled blood for a long time, and it's always when the quarry is getting close to being caught that we see posts like yours, dissembling what others have said, trying to discredit anything Basi might say (especially if it turns out to be the truth, which he no longer has any reason to hide).

As in my post about Palmer's babble, a public inquiry that is not really in indictment only a bunch of witnessing that will produce "oh, is that so? Ok, let's move on" just ain't gonna wash. What is shocking is the number of people who've played along with the privatization schemes of this government; they're all participants, knowingly so, in a massive fraud. How many should be indicted when the time comes? Probably many more than just a clutch of cabinet ministers and an certain about-to-be-ex Preem and his much-rumoured bagcarrier-cum-gf.....
--
 
And just remember the final piece of BC Hydro is about to be bankrupted and sold off through the ruination and sell-off of our rivers to private hands. Gordon Campbell and his backers have brought so many issues of selling off public assets that the oppositions have just too much happening to deal with single issues. He obviously paid attention in his polisci classes about how to keep the public confused and off balance. Thank goodness for Rafe focusing in on the river/power issue and BCMary sticking to the BCRail travesty. And with the NDP sucking wind the sale of BC will continue. Gordon may have 'quit' but he still has the power of Government in his hands and my opinion is that he is using it for no good and to the detriment of the public purse.

Burgess
 
"The irony in all of this is that, as documents from the BC Rail corruption trial have revealed, the sale of the railway was in danger of "going off the rails" right around that time in 2004 when the NDP leadership chose to withdraw its demand for the cancellation of the sale. In other words, the sale might have been stopped if pressure had been kept up."

Is the above documented anywhere I can refer to? Or is it just Peter's imagination working overtime to get the liberal liars re-elected?
 
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Good grief ... it's there in the documents online. And yes, it was an NDP Opposition initiative that got so much online.

It's Christmas, for cryin' out loud, 3:46.

How about a bit of courtesy toward someone who has put in hours of work to bring you this article?
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Merry Christmas. How about a link to those documents?
 
Some people are so stupid they shouldn't be allowed near computers!

You might even be too stupid to know who you are!
 
Worse yet. Rumor has it Campbell is sticking around, as an adviser for the BC Liberal party.

Many BC citizens know of, Campbell's pollution plans for BC. People need to read Rafe Mair's, The Common Sense Canadian, and pass along plugs for him. Read about, the huge hydro project, in Bute Inlet. Site C dam is going to flood, the most valuable farmland in Canada. For what? The Alberta dirty tar sands. Campbell fully intends to force, the Enbridge pipeline, to carry the filthy tar to, The Port of Kitimat. Then, China's dirty oil tankers, will carry the sludge back to China. Enbridge was the pipeline that burst, into the river in Michigan, a terrible disaster. Harper and Campbell are also pushing to drill off shore oil and gas wells, off the BC coast. There was a 6.6 earthquake, on the Queen Charlotte's. Their stupendous stupidity, boggles the mind. If we don't watch our backs we can be sure, we will be knifed.

People should be grateful, for the hours of research, the blogger's spend to inform citizens. I would have been unaware of, Campbell's dastardly deeds, if I hadn't read, The Common Sense Canadian.
 
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