Monday, January 31, 2011
Brian Kieran reports that the post-Campbell goal of BC "Liberal" renewal ... is hanging by a thread
Liberals' post-Campbell goal of renewal hangs in the balance
The Kieran Report - Jan. 30, 2011
Liberal leadership candidate George Abbott – who calls himself “the honest guy who gets things done” – was brutally frank with supporters in Campbell River Sunday morning.
If the party fails to endorse new weighted vote provisions when it holds its extraordinary constitutional amendment convention on Feb. 12th
, Abbott said his chances of becoming leader and premier are “slim.” He could have said “slim and none.”
He also said the party’s chances in the next election will be equally slim.
Put this altogether with Abbott’s concerns and with Smyth’s revelations
and you can make a case that the party’s post-Campbell goal of renewal and inclusiveness is hanging by a thread.
Read more HERE.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
BC Rail: The list of unanswered questions is a mile long.
BC Rail: No questions? You bet there are questions
The Real Story
BC’s media pundits just don’t get BC Rail. And that means they are selling British Columbians short.
The list of unanswered questions is a mile long. And depends not only on rumour and conjecture but evidence gathered by both the RCMP and the defence through disclosure, sworn affidavits, patterns of behavior that haven’t been adequately explained and established facts that counter the government message.
Hansard is the first place to go to find unanswered questions. There’s a list of one hundred questions sitting on the order paper, based on questions the government refused to answer over six years, claiming the case was before the courts.
Stonewally wasn’t just the NDP’s name for Wally Oppal. It’s the public’s name because it rang true.
And then there are the questions that stem from the evidence that has been disclosed to the court in the five-year fight for disclosure. That evidence goes well beyond rumour and conjecture.
We could start with something I’m sure some would call tangential – the sworn affidavit of Rosemary Hayes regarding the destruction of documents relevant to the case. It’s never been disclosed how many documents were destroyed and more importantly, the name of the mysterious senior official who ordered their destruction in the months leading up to the 2009 election.
And there’s the sworn affidavit of George Copley that revealed that the Deputy to the Premier was provided with evidence and RCMP questions prior to RCMP interviews with two cabinet ministers, breaching the evidentiary protocol established by Chief Justice Dohm.
Here are a few of the questions that flow from that pattern of facts – What impact did that breach have on the questioning of Collins [Minister of Finance
] and Reid [Minister of Transportation
] and the direction of the investigation? Is there any connection between the breach, the questioning and Collins' surprise resignation three weeks later? Most importantly, did that breach constitute contempt of court or obstruction of justice as at least one RCMP official has implied?
There are also the recent questions about Christy Clark’s connections to the deal, a connection Clark denied in the Legislature. Documents Alex Tsakumis published last week leads one to ask “Did Clark lie. And if so, why?”
Keith Baldrey was quick to say that those documents “are not corroborated…. haven’t stood up in court…” But that’s ridiculous. If every document the media reported on was required to stand up in court before it was published newspapers would be blank.
Just last week the media was in a frenzy reporting allegations from Harry Lali – now there’s a credible source – about NDP membership forms, without seeing a single form or waiting to see whether the allegations stand up in court. Did that prevent the media from reporting? Of course not.
That line of argument is disingenuous in the extreme.
It’s clear that dozens of documents that have been revealed and leaked come straight out of the police investigations and the pre-trial and trial processes. Their provenance is not in question. For example no one – not even Christy Clark – has provided any reason to question the documents Tsukamis has released. The same can be said for all the documents the defence used in the trial and pre-trial. And it cannot be denied that they raise troubling questions that stand unanswered and therefore cast doubt over the fairness of the sale, the direction of the investigation and the conduct of the prosecution.
That harms trust in our key institutions.
The final nail in the coffin is the way in which the trial ended.
The government has still not offered a coherent and believable explanation of how the supposedly separate arms of prosecution and government managed to collaborate on the offer of reduced sentencing and continued immunity without talking or knowing what each other was doing. Somehow, a deal that ended the trial at a crucial and dangerous moment for the government materialized out of thin air.
Who set the Deputy AG and the Finance Deputy to work to overturn government indemnity policy in order to get a deal? Who approved their decision to overturn the policy to the tune of over $6 million?
Why did the Special Prosecutor drop his insistence on hard time for the slap on the wrist sentence of house arrest with generous exceptions? How did the deal get done between government, the defence and Special Prosecutor, because it took all three to make it happen?
The way the trial ended had British Columbians up in arms. The most common word heard in the week after the announcement was ‘corruption’.
What I don’t get is why pundits are so ready to brush their questions and anger aside.
BC Mary comment: And this is precisely why British Columbia must have a Public Inquiry into the highly questionable sell-off of BC Rail.
Which reminds me ... remember this stunning little item? ... and it was only a month later that the BC Rail Political Corruption Trial was stopped in its tracks.
The Scandal That Hides a Scandal
by Rob Wipond
Focus online - Sept. 16, 2010
[Quote]... During the same testimony yesterday, it was revealed that a former BC Rail president had successfully sued BC Rail for wrongful dismissal. He'd complained that, since the Campbell Liberals had come to power, BC Rail had developed a "failure strategy". Basically, he'd argued in his lawsuit, the company had started deliberately running itself into the ground and intentionally losing money in order to help publicly justify Campbell's plan to sell BC Rail to the private sector. He'd complained about it, and been fired. And then he'd been given a big settlement.
That's very stunning evidence to indict the Campbell Liberals -- especially in light of similar accusations more recently that the Campbell Liberals are also deliberately trying to make our health care system and our education system fail (see also this month's Focus feature), in order to justify privatization ... [end of quote]
Visit the story for its embedded links. http://focusonline.ca/?q=node/96
Some of the questions which were asked in court ...
... May 19 : Campbell's chief of staff Martyn Brown denies that CN Rail's campaign donations to the B.C. Liberal party played a role in the company being chosen as the winning bidder for BC Rail in 2003.
May 20: Defence lawyer Kevin McCullough alleges that his client, Virk, was repeatedly told by Campbell and Brown to "keep his mouth shut" and they would "take care of him."
June 9: Brown denies that he told Virk to leak a document to the media. He also rejects a defence suggestion that Campbell would have told Virk to leak the same document.
June 10: Brown repeatedly denies suggestions in court that Campbell decided to sell BC Rail to CN Rail before a public bidding process even began.
June 15: Brown admits that it was not "good optics" when the co-chairman of the B.C. Liberals 2001 election campaign took a consulting contract with BC Rail four months after the election.
Brown could offer no reason why Patrick Kinsella would contact BC Rail and offer to sell his services and "political savvy."
and then, whammo! the trial is shut down. Over. Finished.
Oct. 18: Basi and Virk plead guilty. The Crown stays the charges against Aneal Basi.
Cross-posted from comments, with thanks to Evan Symons:
BC Rail's operating performance actually peaked in the last 2 years it was owned by the provincial government, largely because of the policies implemented by Mark Mudie, the former president who was fired.
From page 3 of the 2003 BC Rail annual report found here:
"Overall, the Company performed admirably on the strategic plan announced in 2002 to focus on being a key transportation link for the province’s export-oriented rail customers. Operating income for the year was $78.5 million compared to $65.5 million in 2002. Revenues remained constant while expenses were reduced by more than $15 million.”
Noted in passing, this comment on Huffington Post in U.S.A. ...
“A few years ago here in BC they 'privatized' BC Rail, what had been a 'Crown Corporation', and in the week preceeding the official announcement something like 30% of the stocks in BC Rail changed hands. It has since been revealed that many government officials, some of them in the Provincial leadership and people they are associated with, dumped their holdings. When the announcement was made, the share prices plummeted and many of the ones who had just sold their shares were lined up to buy them back.
A clear case of 'insider trading' occurred, within the government itself and not only the fact that nothing will come of it but the casual acceptance by the public infuriates me.
It is the same here, while the economists and politician s are telling me the recession is over and the economy is growing none of the jobs lost locally have returned, everyone is just as concerned for their job security and a huge number of them are going to be f**ked when the interest rates go up. And up they will go, we have already had the Governor of the Bank of Canada warn that rate hikes are coming and when the do "they will hit fast and hard" ...
Saturday, January 29, 2011
BC Rail ... the elephants in their rooms
Thanks to "DavidinNorthBurnaby"
BC RAIL heading south after changing crews - More video will be on GOOGLE video of it coming into Squamish as ...
Friday, January 28, 2011
Like BC Rail, B.C.’s water to be sold to the highest bidder?
BC Mary comment: Honestly, I must've said it 100 times: that if we allowed the "sale" of BC Rail ... if we didn't stop it and reverse it by means of a Public Inquiry, it would become the template for a whole program of piracy.
Well ... here's the nightmare coming true (if we let it): Look at this report about water ... and even if you're short of time, check out the bits in red ...
B.C.’s water to be sold to the highest bidder?
Province's once-promising water modernization efforts go off-track
By Randy Christensen
Ecojustice, Jan 26, 2011
For the past several years, there has been a multitude of discussion papers, extensive public consultations and big speeches from the B.C. Government on the effort to “modernize” the B.C. Water Act. It’s the law that governs who gets to use water, for what, when, where, and who gets the priority when there’s not enough to go around.
Everyone agrees the systems is broken, it’s only a question of what to do about it.
All of the public statements from June 2008 until December 2010 were unambiguous in promising strong legal protections for environmental flows and revisiting the antiquated and highly problematic “first in time, first in right system.” More importantly, the B.C. Government de-emphasized the potential adoption of “market reforms” such as “water rights trading” that has devastated communities around the globe.
But what was a well-intentioned and well-managed process seems to have fallen victim to B.C.’s current political turmoil. In late December the B.C. Government posted the “proposed framework” for new water laws that introduces water rights trading (section 5). Troublingly, the strong legal protections for environmental flows have been downgraded to guidelines that merely have to be “considered” when someone wants to take water from a stream (section 1).
In the current leadership vacuum, those managing the process have become politically risk adverse and are simply defaulting to the blueprints of conservative governments around the world. This approach downplays the need for good governance and views markets as a solution that solves any and all problems.
To understand what the B.C. Government is proposing, think of the current water use system as a bike share. Ultimately it’s a community owned resource that people (or companies) sometimes use for their own private purposes. And, like a bike share, the water use is supposed to be time limited and one is supposed to leave the water so that others can use it in the future. You’re definitely not allowed to take the bike and sell it in the back alley!
What the B.C. Government is proposing is that at some point in the near future, everyone who happens to be using a bike now owns the bike (and they didn’t even have to buy it – it’s just a gift from Government). Going forward, anyone who wants to use a bike will have to buy it or rent it from these now new owners.
Sounds like a pretty sweet deal for the fortunate few who happen to have water rights – primarily electricity generators (including Independent Power Producers), oil and gas companies, mining companies and agriculture.
It’s not that there is no potential role for using economic instruments as part of water management. But there’s a big difference between using economic instruments as a policy tool and abdicating management to market forces. Many economic instruments — such as full cost accounting, conservation oriented pricing, water rentals that incorporate a reasonable return to the public for public resources — could be valuable and of real benefit. It’s even debatable that if B.C. had protections for the environment and the public interest in place, a limited water rights trading system could be implemented, but B.C. has a lot of work to do before it even entertains that discussion.
But I guess it’s really no surprise that in the end B.C.’s Water Act “modernization” is just another initiative that pays lip service to protecting the environment and the public interest while delivering the goods to the large corporate interests that have long dominated the province.
What’s most dangerous about this proposal is that it will privatize water in a way that becomes effectively irreversible.
Right now, one gets a “licence” to use water that the Government may alter or revoke without (generally speaking) having to pay compensation. However, once the licence to use a public resource is converted into a tradable economic right, that is held and may be sold, any changes to the system that affect that right will undoubtedly spur lawsuits against the government.
If this proposal goes forward, you can pretty much write off any chance of ever meaningfully recognizing a human right to water or a public trust over water.
This will all become [law] in mid-February, unless the public convinces the BC Government not to pursue this misguided course of action.
For example, obvious questions such as the following ... we as yet have no answers for. Is that fair? Is that accepted business practice?
I know of no evidence that:
- CN has actually made a claim for tax relief on the BC Rail 'losses' that it is thought to have purchased from the BC government. Have they?
- that the 'losses' actually occurred; as with BC Ferries, they may just have been cover for financial asset-stripping as BC Rail was sold
- If a claim has been made, that it remains unresolved
- if it has been denied, that the BC government is on the hook for the sum said to have been paid for the tax relief, said to be $250,000,000, plus interest at 9% compounded (the government's books do seem to record an increasing unfunded liability for this)
- There may be a statute of limitations - with Revenue Canada, this tends to be seven years, but from when? When the losses were occurred, when CN bought BC Rail and booked the losses, or when they claimed tax relief on them from Revenue Canada?
- the 'very long-term lease' applied to anything other than the track. I believe the distinction made by the government over the lease was only intended to justify its claim that the government retained title to the roadbed, for what that is worth. Rolling stock and other facilities, and the operating rights and business of BC Rail, I think were pretty clearly sold to CN.
- That a private corporation is entitled to write off losses incurred by a government operation (Crown Corporation) before it was privatized, and thus claim tax relief, not only from another government (the federal Revenue Canada) but also indirectly from the provincial government, which incurred the losses in the first place.
- If we had some actual numbers and could calculate all this, I wonder what we would find CN actually paid for BC Rail?
Give it a try. Do you have the answers? Any answers? Let me know. Because without answers to fundamentals like this, BC needs a Public Inquiry on BC Rail.
- BC Mary.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Brian Kieran says: "Like a runaway freight, calls for a BC Rail probe are unstoppable"
From "The Kieran Report"
By Brian Kieran
January 24, 2011
Like a runaway freight, calls for a BC Rail probe are unstoppable
More than a week ago I indicated that I wanted to rethink my lack of enthusiasm for a public inquiry into the sale of BC Rail.
I have done that and I have decided that I must reverse myself and support calls for such an inquiry.
For the benefit of all the conspiracy buffs out there I can happily report that neither my original position nor my subsequent change of heart have been influenced by my legions of fair weather friends in the provincial and federal Liberal parties. They all stopped calling five years ago when it became a matter of public record that their little darling Erik Bornmann had betrayed me and the rest of my Pilothouse team with a secret $25,000-plus cheque writing spree. Perhaps they all felt guilty by association.
Because the BC Rail trial ended abruptly and with so many questions dangling unanswered there has been an outcry, particularly from the NDP, for a full public inquiry into the $1 billion sale.
Most political observers believe the charges against David Basi and Bob Virk masked a far more vital issue about whether the sale process was tainted like bad meat. Having been at the epicentre of this mess in one way or another since 2002, I have had no hesitation stating my belief that the sale of BC Rail represented a colossal failure of public policy process.
I did not get a chance to tell my story in a privileged courtroom environment. Nor did I have the pleasure of watching a select few twist like skewered rats on the stand. Nevertheless, I originally took the position that a public inquiry would take place up to 10 long years after the fact and cost taxpayers upwards of $6-$8 million ... perhaps without a satisfactory outcome.
I also believed, and still do, that the person who can really shed light on this affair is outgoing premier Gordon Campbell and that he will not willingly relinquish the privilege of cabinet secrecy in an inquiry.
Further, I have criticized MLA George Abbott’s call for a “retired judge” to conduct a narrowly focused inquiry into the government’s decision to pay the $6 million tab for the Basi/Virk legal fees. My position was and is simple: No judge is going to be so constrained. Certainly there would be an obligation to follow the evidence deep into what I have called “Pandora’s railway trunk.”
These factors influencing my earlier thinking have not changed. But, they have been trumped by the reality that very important questions have been left unanswered as a result of the unanticipated guilty pleas that stopped the trial dead in its tracks.
Was the process fair? Was the fix in? Certainly, information coming to my client OmniTrax at the time from the North American railroad community and material I reviewed supported the theory that CN was being fast tracked to victory. This is borne out by an eleventh hour letter to government from bidder CP in which the railway company abandoned the bidding process because it deemed that process to be discredited.
Even though I have no power to make an inquiry happen, I do not wish to be perceived as being opposed to those questions being answered.
However, any inquiry that does not get to the heart of the matter, the efficacy of the sale, will be a waste of time. This could be the case unless the government of the day frames specific inquiry terms of reference that are wide enough to allow for disclosure of cabinet discussions around the sale. Only then can we get at the truth.
I know ... born at night but not last night. The New Democrats, should they form the next government, will make such an open-ended inquiry priority No. 1. The Liberals, should they form the next government, will not. I get it.
Can the NDP resist the temptation to turn this into a vendetta of circus-like proportions? I doubt it.
Will the Liberals resist growing public demand for such a process? I expect they will try.
These realities notwithstanding, as a key player in the BC Rail saga, I am obliged to support calls for an inquiry and to engage in it fully and freely should it come to pass.
BC Mary note for Brian Kieran: I spent an hour, this morning, writing a note of appreciation on your blog [The Kieran Report -
And I wrote about other things too: corruption, fairness, invoice-padding, who's guilty .... But alas, I couldn't get your system to accept my comment. So, if you're reading this, THANK YOU for the thoughts as expressed.
I wanted to tell you that I think partisan politics has no place in the proposed BC Rail Public Inquiry -- that whichever political gang takes over, there's 50% of BC feeling left out and angry; and that's wrongheaded when BC Rail belonged to us all, equally.
And ... like the fish that got away, my comment was really, really good.
Friday, January 21, 2011
They let us down so badly over BC Rail, there must be a Public Inquiry into all aspects of the BC Rail negotiations
Some recent events looked really, really bad to me. And they seem only to get worse. I'll try to explain because it continues to worry me. Let me start with how Big Media in BC served up the curious news of BC Supreme Court justice Peter Leask using vulgar language in court ... which was only a mild shock compared to what came after that. I figure the "improper language" thing was a red herring:
Canadian Judicial Council completes its review of complaints against Justice Peter Leask
Source: Canadian Judicial Council
The real public shock came next, centred upon Justice Peter Leask's handling of a Hells Angels trial. Leask had ruled so very gently on a convicted cocaine trafficker, that BC Court of Appeal felt it necessary to increase the sentence by 4 times
... as explained by Kim Bolan HERE
Now that's startling. That's like a 4-alarm fire which started me wondering about another big dot which might need to be connected. For this, let's re-visit the courtroom in June 2009 of Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett who, for 3-1/2 years, had demonstrated a firm grasp of the BC Rail Political Corruption trial ... until the sudden appearance of Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm. The message he wished to convey was the need for a new judge on this, the most important trial in B.C. history. Why?
Nobody to my knowledge had laid any complaint against Bennett who had complete control of the complex issues. The only grumbling centred upon her extraordinary patience and thoroughness. We assumed this meant she was preventing the possibility of any errors in law, or Charter challenges about delayed disclosure. Those would risk having the trial thrown out of court. So the public was impatient, but not angry.
Then came the day when Assciate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm showed up ... in a bizarre display of power ... to announce that Justice Bennett had to go. She was promoted to BC Court of Appeal but routinely such a promotion allows the candidate to finish an assignment before going. Well, not this time.
But go she must, it seemed, leaving the most important trial in BC history stranded. I'll go back for the details which some readers may not know about. Dohm himself, for example, had a few big question marks floating over his stately head.
Dohm steps down. Now what?
By BC Mary
The Legislature Raids - Friday April 23, 2010
This week's Friday afternoon surprise news announcement: Associate Chief Justice of the BC Supreme Court, Patrick Dohm, has resigned. At age 75, he has retired.
ACJ Dohm, behind the scenes, has played many a riveting role in BC history. In the BC Rail Case, it was he who signed off on the Search Warrants for the police raid on the offices of Dave Basi and Bobby Virk in the BC Legislature. Then it was Dohm himself (apparently) who went through the 32 boxes of seized documents to decide which were "privileged" and couldn't be shown to the public.
At other times, ACJ Dohm took a starring role at centre stage ... such as in the dramatic and disturbing courtroom scene where he announced (almost over her head) the immediate removal of Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett from the BC Rail Case. Robin Mathews, in a letter to the BC Attorney General dated January 7, 2010, wrote about it as follows:
... The whole matter, in addition ... is complicated further in the method by which Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett was removed - after three years of detailed hearings - to be replaced by Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie on the Basi, Virk, and Basi matter. On June 4, 2009, Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm appeared in court to hear an application by Mr. Berardino that Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett be removed in favour of a new (to be trial) judge. I could not see a rational unfolding of meaning in that appearance.
Mr. Berardino argued that Mr. Dohm had the power to remove Madam Justice Bennett and to appoint a new judge. Mr. Bolton for the Defence was of the opinion, expressed out of court in answer to questions, that Madam Justice Bennett had power over her situation – to stay or to leave. I never heard that difference resolved in discussion in the courtroom.
In court discussion the word “recused” was misused since Madam Justice Bennett had – in no way – any conflict of interest.
Why then, I ask, did Mr. Berardino want her removed?
Mr. Dohm made statements revealing he believed he had power to remove Madam Justice Bennett and that he was going to assign the trial judge, but not now. He said he knew who it was going to be. But he would not name the replacement that day, he said, because he didn’t want to muddy the waters by appointing a trial judge while Madam Justice Bennett was still engaged with the matter of the case.
Mr. Berardino argued that Madam Justice Bennett couldn’t be in two places at once. (She was recently raised to the Appeals Court.) He also stated – as I understood him – that Defence had not been filing motions with all materials and all summaries of learned argument so the Prosecution could reply and respond. He said that “we” have not been following that process in this case…. He seemed to imply that fact (if it was a fact, and I am reporting it correctly) indicated a failure on the part of Madam Justice Bennett.
When Mr. McCullough rose to object, Mr. Dohm silenced him. As I understand the process, no real argument on the motion happened or was permitted to happen. Mr. Berardino seemed to me to be saying that one of the two reasons Madam Justice Bennett should be removed was that she was not assuring proper process in the hearings. Mr. Dohm seemed happy to hear that said – and yet Madam Justice Bennett was promoted to the Appeals Court. The hearing before Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm simply did not – to me – make sense. I still cannot make sense of it. And it was a very important hearing.
Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett was removed in fact (as far as I could understand the process) – as a fait accompli – on June 4, 2009 in a brief hearing that was more like a press conference in which Mr. Dohm announced the change. To this observer, there was no doubt in either Mr. Berardino’s or Mr. Dohm’s mind that Madam Justice Bennett would go.
The potential for a perception of bias was presented without disguise, I believe, when Mr. Dohm stated he knew who the replacement would be and would announce the name later, without, in fact, hearing any significant argument against replacement. The whole event, to me, seemed “cooked up”.
End of Robin's quote.
But in addition, there are two other points to consider. And this, it seems to me, bristles with unanswered questions:
1) Justice MacKenzie -- like Justice Peter Leask -- had only shortly before that, been involved in a strangely gentle ruling in another Hells Angels trial. [See: http://gangstersout.blogspot.com/2011/01/anne-mackenzie-in-anne-injustice.html .
... The Crown had a solid case connecting Hells Angel David Giles to the cocaine deals of Revell and Remple but she threw out wire tap evidence and said she didn't hear what the police heard on the wiretaps. Oh really?
One wire tap phone call had Giles referring to how Revell had made $30,000 for him in the past several months. Giles' lawyer admitted that proved Revell and Giles are indeed in business. So, if Giles' lawyer admits Giles and Revell were in business, what kind of work did Revell do for Giles that earned Giles $30,000 in several months?
If the police heard him say that on the wiretap and his lawyer heard him say that on the wiretap, then surely Anne Mackenzie heard him say that. Her throwing out wiretap evidence is very suspicious indeed ...] End of quote.
OK, so the Courtroom of the BC Rail Political Corruption Trial was about to be visited by something new and strange and reflective of Organized Crime.
Remember how we tried to find out who Anne MacKenzie was? and her legal history? We couldn't find much of anything about her. Most strangely, Court registry said they didn't have that information.
Then came the utterly weird performance in Courtroom 56 on August 17, 2009 with Patrick Dohm flaunting his power position over Madam Justice Bennett who was still the presiding judge on the Basi-Virk trial. See HERE
Crown Prosecutor Berardino wanted Judge Bennett gone ... immediately. Is that strange, or what? Defence counsel want Judge Bennett to see the trial through.
And so the spotlight turns full-on to the ominous spectre of Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm who allowed himself the honour of saying, during a pre-trial hearing, that he might step in again, to assign a new judge. But why? There is nothing to be gained by bringing in a new judge. Is there?
Scrolling down to an earlier post by Robin Mathews fills in the explanation:
A Clash Of Legal Opinions
By Robin Mathews - June 4, 2009
The morning opened with Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm on the bench to receive a motion by the Special Crown Prosecutor, William Berardino, to replace Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett as the trial judge seized with the Basi, Virk, and Basi matters. As I understood his meaning, Mr. Berardino wished the new appointment to be made immediately.
Mr. Berardino offered the argument that Madam Justice Bennett cannot be in two places at once (acting as a Supreme Court judge and acting as a Appeals Court judge). Mr. Dohm agreed. Mr. Berardino argued that Mr. Dohm can appoint a judge to a case and he should proceed to do so.
There is more to the argument, as we shall see. But that first point is an oversimplification. Both courts are in the same building. A judge raised to the Appeals Court must have responsibility to cases in process with which he/she is already 'seized' (in a legal sense 'in possession of').
In a trial of the enormous public importance as the one swirling around the BC Rail Scandal, changing judges won't be accepted as "routine" but cannot help being seen by some as political manipulation for advantage.
Defence counsel pointed out the obvious - that applications were in process of argument regarding third party disclosure and much more - in mid flow.
Mr. Dohm asserted that he would not create a situation of two existing trial judges - meaning, I take it, that he would not appoint a judge for "down the road" while another judge (Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett) is, in fact, seen as "trial judge". He would not, moreover, break into the present procedures underway.
Matters will proceed as they are until about June 26, much being cleared up of pre-trial activity by then. Then Dohm, as he said it, might step back in to make decisions. Mr Dohm said that depending upon what happens with the motion put forward by Defence that Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett proceed to the trial he will "probably step back" in, an assignment of a judge will take place, and matters will proceed.
In a manner that had a certain grand theatricality about it, Mr. Berardino, Special Crown Prosecutor, stated that the tight process of what might be called 'address and response' between Defence and Crown has never been used in the Basi, Virk, and Basi matter (a good reason, apparently, to proceed with another judge). That brought the Defence lawyers to their feet, fit to burst....
They wanted to rehearse their sorry tale of Crown delay, failure to reply to requests, muddled replies, etc. etc. But Mr. Dohm stopped what would doubtless have led to top-rated entertainment, and even perhaps something worse.
Mr. Dohm appeared to speak out of both sides of his mouth. That is not to be unexpected. But the appearance, in this instance, may simply have been produced by misunderstanding. And there lies what I see as the Clash of Legal opinions. Mr. Berardino (to put the matter in rough words) seemed to be saying that Dohm has the power to change judges, without question. And he should set about doing it.
If that is the case, why does he wait until she assesses the motion put forward by Defence that she (Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett) stay on. If Patrick Dohm makes the decision, why can't he make it now?
Asked outside court about this apparent contradiction, Michael Bolton for the Defence asserted that if the motion considered by Madam Justice Bennett carries a weight of argument that convinces her she should stay, her decision is final, and cannot be overturned by Mr. Dohm. Mr. Dohm did say that "depending what happens to that motion" he would step back in.
I asked Mr. Bolton if Mr. Dohm - who stated he already has the replacement judge, in fact, chosen - could exert influence on the independence of Madam Justice Bennett's decision. Mr. Bolton would not be drawn on the question (and, of course, quite rightly would not be drawn).
Defence counsel, of course, made the obvious argument for retaining Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett. She has presided for three and a half years over hearings that have ploughed through mountains of documents and hundreds of hours of argument and review, to say nothing of a growing acquaintance with the connection of apparently widely dispersed forces acting upon the accused and their actions.
That may be, in sum, reason why some forces in society would want her removed. For my part - as a long time observer who has been one of the more severe critics of Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett's mode of presiding over proceedings - I cannot see how, at this point, switching judges could be anything but a serious, foolish, and politically ill-advised move.
I believe, sincerely, that the people of the Province would not consider a change as anything but the effect of the long arm of Gordon Campbell reaching into the higher court system and forcing it to decisions that guarantee advantage to him and his fellows.
There was also a cocaine-trafficking component to the Legislature raids, too, as evidenced by the resulting arrest and trial of Jasmohan Singh Bains [See HERE
and http://bctrialofbasi-virk.blogspot.com/2010/11/remember-dave-basi-is-in-bc-supreme.html ]
To round out the picture, we must dwell upon the intriguing figure of William Berardino. See HERE
... http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/bc-rail-special-prosecutor-cleared-of-professional-misconduct/article1613768/ and Special Prosecutors HERE
I'll just mention two things: 1) Berardino was extremely well-connected with the Campbell Government [See that HERE
... http://gettingitright2.blogspot.com/2010/10/william-berardino-or-how-biased-and.html]. Excerpt: ... William Berardino is exceptionally well connected with the BC Liberals government, especially for someone who is supposed to be impartial:
For many years Mr. Berardino was buddy-buddy with Geoff Plant, yes, indeed, the Attorney General and BC Liberal Geoff Plant.
Allan Seckel was buddy-buddy with Geoff Plant too (working at the same law firm Fasken Martineau), before he was hired by Gordon Campbell (no further details available on Mr. Campbell at this point) to become head of BC Public Service.
Mr. Berardino was appointed by the Ministry of the Attorney General, of which Geoff Plant was the Attorney General (in 2005, bc rail corruption case dates back to 2004), and Allan Seckel, Deputy Attorney General (since 2003).
... Sorry for repeating myself here, but the main reason for hiring an independent Special Prosecutor is his independence. Now this guy is clearly not independent, far from it. Mr. William Berardino has been buddies with the BC Liberals political elite for years. And those BC Liberals are exactly the same club of people that Basi and Virk were working for! End of quote.
And 2) Mr Berardino's firm contributed $500. to the BC Liberals while he was Special Prosecutor on the Basi-Virk trial.
Does any of this sound unbiased, impartial, or operating at arm's length from government? No, the general impression is that the BCRail Political Corruption Trial had a Special Prosecutor who was and is very cozy with the Gordon Campbell Gang.
So there's the disturbing picture ... we had a mostly-trusted judge in Elizabeth Bennett doing a slow but thorough job of presiding over a difficult trial ... then, suddenly she's promoted OUT of the BC Rail Trial and an unknown judge named Anne MacKenzie takes over, who immediately demonstrated a stunning ignorance by announcing that this complex trial with over 40 Crown witnesses would last only 5 or 6 weeks. Read more HERE
This new lady of course had to change her tune a bit, but she soldiered on, without a blush, to ask the people selected for jury duty if they could stay until March of the following year ... or June ... or, given summer holidays and Christmas holidays, until ... presumably until 2011. MacKenzie obviously hadn't a clue what she'd got herself into. Didn't Berardino know that?
One might even suspect that there was no need for MacKenzie to understand the trial. She wouldn't be allowing the BCRail trial to proceed. Obviously.
Blind to the optics, Madam Justice MacKenzie ploughed ahead and placed a "draconian" publication ban on everything not nailed down. Not just the unfolding trial, but also things published before the trial started. It was hard to know exactly what citizens could say without the risk of being hauled into court themselves.
There was another annoying MacKenzie tactic. She was, in my view, guilty of lying to the public when she said that the Crown needed time off, to trim their witness list. That apparently wasn't true at all. Then the next witness, Brian Kenning, former BCRail director, wasn't available to continue testifying because he had run off to Toronto for his son's birthday party. Repeat: to a birthday party, that date being no surprise to Kenning.
MacKenzie seemed amazingly calm when Kenning, in my view, should have been cited for contempt of court. But no, this absence, said Justice MacKenzie, "is not his fault". Well, we can see now that it wasn't HIS fault. But it was MacKenzie who had excused
Brian Kenning for being absent. Kenning was the former Director of BC Rail at the time it was sold. MacKenzie sent him off to a distant party as if his presence didn't really matter. Or, more likely, his testimony wasn't wanted.
Well, I guess the BC Rail Trial really didn't matter to her, because we know now that negotiations behind the scenes, were working full-tilt to end the BC Rail trial altogether ... on terms of their own choosing ... and t'hell with the public.
And there was our own Honourable Madam Justice, bold as brass, providing a fake cover-story so that the negotiations could keep going without the bother of ordinary citizens in BC knowing anything about it. It was only because MacKenzie was providing the false screen of protection that the secret negotiations could keep going, right up to the trial crashing and burning on Oct. 18, 2010. Is that what the people of BC wanted? No, it certainly is not. Stated with brutal frankness: that's what BC citizens were asked to pay $17.3 million for and, in return, that's what they got.
Who could avoid smelling the rot here ... the same old rot
, we're forced to realize, coming from the same old sources within the Campbell government. Because there's also the matter of the Special Prosecutor improperly appointed despite his close relationship with members of the Campbell government. British Columbia takes pride in having established the legislation for appointing special prosecutors who were at arm's length, untainted by influence from government. Ha.
So these are the jagged edges of things the citizens of British Columbia and Canada, had to think about in regard to the judging of the BC Rail Political Corruption Trial, also known as the Basi-Virk-Basi trial (File #23299 in BC Supreme Court). In barest terms, that's the amount of factual, sworn evidence we received for the well-padded $17.3 million (and counting) invoice taxpayers paid for legal services.
British Columbia waited over 7 years to find out why police raided the Legislature, and how such an important public asset as BC Rail could have slipped into private pockets ... we've waited to find out, in fact, if BC Rail is really gone from our possession. I say BC Rail is not gone from our hands; BC Rail is redeemable, if only we open the records and see what was done.
But for now, I ask you: Is it so unreasonable that people insist and demand the long-awaited Public Inquiry into all aspects of the BC Rail negotiations and sale ... a Public Inquiry where we can actually ask the right questions,
hear the answers, and start the clean-up?
Because all the trial players have let the people down so far; and that's just not OK. A Public Inquiry will cost too much, you say? Well, look how they padded the invoice for the fake show-trial for Basi-Virk, and tossed $6 million where it need not have gone ... so don't be fooled again. There are amends to be made in Victoria. We can't afford not
to have a Public Inquiry.
The Honourable Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie was briefly allowed her moment of glory, to play the leading role in the BC Rail Political Corruption Trial. She was there, on the bench, costumed in her black silk robes, telling us that the most important trial in BC history was over. Finished. Kaput. Crushed like a bug. And that it was all right with her. No questions asked. Never to be heard from again.
British Columbia was sucker-punched one last time. It was a horrible awakening, to find that somehow we had been cut off from our own history, and our own ability to protect our province. It absolutely doesn't sit right.
At this juncture, a Public Inquiry is the price we must pay for a functioning democracy. A full-blown Public Inquiry into all aspects of the negotiations surrounding the "sale" of BC Rail is the guarantee any candidate for BC premier must willingly provide. And soon. "Someday" just won't do. "Taking a look at it" just won't do.
It's not just a little old backwoods trolley. BC Rail was the main artery bringing life to every city, town, reserve, village, farm, mill, and industry on its long lonely track from Fort Nelson to Vancouver.
BC Rail was Canada's 3rd largest railway and it can be re-possessed. A Public Inquiry can do that. A Public Inquiry will reveal the terms (some of them still secret) of the BCR-CN deal. A Public Inquiry can show us the clauses which govern what CN must do, and the CN penalty (re-possession of BCRail by the people of BC) if they fail.
Don't let them fool us again. A Public Inquiry NOW is the test citizens must apply to any person hoping to take over the BC premier's job. A guaranteed immediate Public Inquiry into all aspects of the BC Rail negotiation and the clean-up is under way. Anything less is plainly suicidal.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "They let us down so badly over BC Rail, there must be a Public Inquiry ..."
Direct action (ie: going over the Governments head to request a public enquiry) got me thinking about our Lieutenant Governor, Steven Point.
He is an EXCEPTIONAL man, honest and uncorruptable, bright and experienced both politically & judicially - he is a former BC judge.
If there is some way that the people could appeal to him, I think we could have a chance. From the LG website, here is a description of his role:
The Lieutenant Governor is the representative of Her Majesty The Queen of Canada in the Province of British Columbia and, as such, takes precedence over everyone in the province except the Sovereign. The Lieutenant Governor personifies the Crown, which is both the apex and the unifying link in the constitutional and political structure of the province — executive, legislative, and judicial. All legislation must receive Royal Assent before it becomes law and must be signed by the Lieutenant Governor. All Orders-In-Council and official proclamations are also signed by the Lieutenant Governor in the name of The Queen.
The Lieutenant Governor is also responsible for ensuring there is a First Minister in the province at all times. At any time, when the position of First Minister is vacant because of death or resignation, after defeat in a provincial election or the result of a non-confidence motion in the Legislature, the Lieutenant Governor must either dissolve the House or call upon someone else to become First Minister and try to form a viable government.
BC Mary comment
: On the topic of Big Media in B.C., January 23, 2011 ... The Victoria Times Colonist, poor souls, seem very uncomfortable about trying to assess the current aspirants for the BC premier's job. They're still trying to convict former Premier Glen Clark of a felony he didn't commit, hoping it reflects poorly on Adrian Dix. But also, they manfully admit that there's nothing to choose from on the BC Liberal side, because they're all corrupt. I especially enjoyed Times Colonist's forthright conclusion:
... Gordon Campbell is finished as premier because he didn't come clean with us when it counted. The new leaders would be well advised to avoid that fate, by levelling with us now.
Read more HERE:
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Basi-Virk case: $17.3 million and counting. [Oh?]
By Keith Fraser
The Province · Jan. 17, 2011
The total cost to the province for the Basi-Virk case so far is $17.3 million — and counting.
The costs for Berardino, who has had several co-counsel working with him on the file, relate to not only the B.C. Rail case but also to aspects of the police investigation known as Project Everywhichway. Those costs include the prosecution of Dave Basi, one of two former ministerial aides who pleaded guilty in the B.C. Rail case, in connection with a land deal on Vancouver Island involving the removal of farmland from the Agricultural Land Reserve.
They also include the prosecution of former Victoria police officer Ravinder Dosanjh for attempting to obstruct justice and payments made to Berardino for providing advice to police during the December 2003 police raid on the B.C. legislature.
There have been another $2.39 million for “other legal services,” according to the government’s public affairs bureau.
The province’s share of the RCMP costs has been $686,000. Court costs come to $234,000 and corrections costs have amounted to $40,000.
In October last year Basi and his co-accused Bob Virk pleaded guilty to breaches of trust in connection with the $1 billion sale of B.C. Rail to CN. They received conditional sentences.
The B.C. Rail case has been one of the costliest trials in recent years in B.C. but is far less than the $102 million spent on the Robert Pickton serial murder case, or the $130 million spent on the Air India bombing case.
Source is HERE
BC Mary comment: Wait a minute. Wait just a doggone minute ... the costs "also include the prosecution of former Victoria police officer Ravinder Dosanjh for attempting to obstruct justice." What? I don't recall this very tenuous connection being mentioned in the BC Rail trial. Dosanjh is Dave Basi's cousin.
Click HERE to read the Dosanjh confession.
Costs charged up to the BC Rail Political Corruption Trial a.k.a. the Basi-Virk trial also "include the prosecution of Dave Basi ... in connection with a land deal on Vancouver Island involving the removal of farmland from the Agricultural Land Reserve." Ditto. How was this part of the BC Rail trial? It wasn't. See Vancouver Sun at: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2010/10/21/bc-shambrook-basi-alr.html Also, next to nothing published about this. No connection whatever between the BCRail Trial and the Sooke A.L.R. trial. So why was the case heard before Justice MacKenzie?
Question for the government accounting service: Was the trial of Jasmohan Singh Bains also charged to the BCRail/Basi-Virk trial? I bet it was. I bet the cost was. I know the Bains trial (File #127870) in Victoria Law Court wasn't reported -- only shrouded in secrecy. Imagine. Mr Big in BC cocaine trafficking was the man police were tracking when they raided the BC legislature. Police charged Bains who was convicted on evidence gained from wire-tapped telephone calls (26 of them during the critical summer of 2003) between Bains and his cousin in the Ministry of Finance, Dave Basi. Click HERE for that story. Although sentenced in 2008 to 9 years, Bains is said to be free and living in Victoria again. Did we hear about any of that in the media? No, dammit, we didn't, except for one (1) report 5 months later. Very few people know all this. Let somebody in government accounting explain that, please: secret trial except for costs?
It never stops, does it? Why do "they" keep doing these underhanded things?
I can only guess. First of all, note that this information is coming to us via the corrupt Public Affairs Bureau, probably building a case to show that the BC Rail / Basi Virk trial was so expensive, we can't have a Public Inquiry. New roof on BC Place, fine. But a Public Inquiry to restore justice in B.C., and the BC Liberals seem to think that would be too expensive.
Why does the PAB keep on labouring in this way, on behalf of the BC so-called Liberals? I assume, it's because they are also BC Liberals, and although Gordo is "gone", BC Liberals are still giving the orders. And the last thing BC Liberals wanted was a full-blown trial ... even less do they want a Public Inquiry now. Too much dirt to cover up. They know how best to do it: shut down or ignore any "open and transparent" research. The Opposition hasn't seized this opportunity, either. It's up to the citizens now.
Right now, while there are candidates clamouring to take over the chair of BC premier, each one needs to be asked a question: will you guarantee a Public Inquiry into the sale of BC Rail? Soon? Will you put that promise in writing and have it notarized? Soon? In other words, will you start the clean-up of BC immediately? Even that won't be enough.
So keep asking "Show us the guarantee!" ... I mean, no more airy-fairy promises about " Oh yes, I'll be pleased to look at that suggestion when the moon turns green ... " etc etc. They won't guarantee a Public Inquiry unless we push them. Meantime, we shouldn't let them put out fake calculations intended to prejudice our honest wish for a Public Inquiry to tell us what happened to that priceless public asset, BC Rail. And you know, the more the BC Liberals act up this way, the more likely it seems that the province could rise up and exercise its legal rights to repossess BC Rail. I do believe that grounds exist for doing so.
And here's another foolish expense discovered by North Van's Grumps ... it's
another gift from the Campbell government to CN. This is an excerpt from a posting dated December 2010:
N.V.G. writes ... excerpt:
... Election BC to the rescue, not that I was looking for that particular data last night, a month and a half after the $6 million payoff, I just found it at their wonderful website while doing some Dry reading where every once in awhile something makes you go WOW!!!!
The reason I was looking for this particular information was because I wanted to know how Elections BC counted political donations. I've kindly highlighted in Bold below, "Prime Interest Rates".
Prime Interest Rates
If a loan to a political party, constituency association, candidate, leadership contestant or a nomination contestant is made at an interest rate less than the prime rate of the principal banker to the Province of British Columbia at the time the interest rate is fixed, the benefit derived is a political contribution. The interest rates that should be used when completing the Loans and Guarantees Received (S-L1) form to calculate the amount of interest payable at the prime rate are located at the following sites:
Historical interest rates
Current interest rate
If you have any questions, please contact the Electoral Finance program area at Elections BC."
N.V.G. continues: I clicked on the Historical interest rates without realizing there was "fin" in the link which took me to this page's contents:
"The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) is considered to be the Province’s principal banker for interest rate reference purposes. As the need to determine the prime rate of the Province’s banker arises under various enactments and instruments across government, the historical record of CIBC’s prime lending rate can be referenced below. The rates are listed from 1974 and will be updated on a periodic basis. Please refer to CIBC's Web site for the most recent rate.
View the Historical Effective Prime Rate table."
I went Hmmmmmm. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) and wondered aloud as to whether CIBC World Markets was related to CIBC. Would you make the same observation? Would you be tempted to take the next step in the link to View the Historical Effective Prime Rate Table that goes back to 1974 and is updated on a periodic basis. I did.
On page 2 of the document, top right corner ... April 14, 2004, the going interest rate was 3.75%!!!!!
The indemnity that the Executive Council (Campbell Cabinet) signed off on the sale of BC Rail to CN Rail was a whopping 9%, and the really interesting thing is that the numbers show that the Prime Rate peaked on July 11, 2007 at 6.25%, and went into a steady decline, all through 2008, till September 9, 2010 at 3.00%."
End of N.V.G. Excerpt. But there's more, and it's damning, too ... go to:
British Columbia absolutely needs a Public Inquiry NOW.
Skookum 1 responds to The Globe and Mail "timeline" article:
It's really quite amazing that the national media, like the BC media, continues to claim that Campbell's resignation was all to do with the HST
Sure - that's what HE said, other than concerns for his family (ahem) - but everyone knows it was because of the public anger at the shutting down of the BC Rail trial, which was all about keeping Campbell and various senior staffers and party backers/beneficiaries from having to appear on the stand. This was an important element in the caucus revolt, as was the just-recent cabinet shuffle, about which both cabinet and caucus were not consulted and involved the creation of the controversial and gigantic new Ministry of Natural Resource Operations which even diehard Liberals don't like the look of, nor the notion of a new super-minister position whose job it is to expedite the off-sale of resources and "streamline" ways through environmental and other regulatory inhibitions in the way of wholesale and running-amuck selling-off of BC's remaining riches (what hasn't already been sold or given away to party backers).
Campbell claiming his resignation was to do with unrest against the HST is a red herring, as is the media's willing parroting of that single-issue rationale.
And about his concerns for his family, everyone in BC who reads the blogs (which most people trust more than any of the newspapers or networks, including yours) knows that his Executive Assistant and Deputy Chief of Staff, and longtime "close companion", was also going to be called to the stand and face a grilling by the defence team....along with a lot of party backers, big bankers and railway CEOs and other bigwigs, who didn't want to be put on the spot the way Martyn Brown, Chief of Staff, and Brian Kenning, the henchman who presided over the jerry-rigged justifications for why BC Rail had to be sold off, and presided also over a dud corporation on a quarter-million-dollar salary since then, until the remaining corporate status of the railway was folded into a branch of the Ministry of Transportation this last summer.
There's so much more to the political unrest and outright anger in BC than the HST - when are you mainstream media going to wake up and smell the stench of corruption, which is really what his resignation is about, and which will destroy the Liberals themselves as long as they continue to dodge the issue of a full public inquiry into BC Rail - which would necessarily end with the cancellation of CN's contract and the railway's repossession by the people of British Columbia.
This timeline of yours is a joke; you didn't even mention the caucus revolt, never mind the obvious optics of the timing of the BC Rail Trial's shutting-down and how angry people are about it.
The biggest scandal in BC history, and maybe the most sweeping in Canadian history in recent memory and your paper pretends it doesn't exist......when are you going to live up to what Junius has to say on your masthead?
Monday, January 17, 2011
Why partisan political parties are an abuse of a decent, civil society
BC Mary comment: Here's the reason why people like me aren't giving the time of day to the campaigners for either political party in the current auction of the BC premier's temporary roost. This commentary comes from the fearless Merv Ritchie, editor and publisher of 5 independent daily online news services. Visit his site for embedded links. Reprinted with emphases added, by generous permission.
Commentary is HERE
UPCOMING ELECTION FULL OF PROMISES BY A DOZEN PREMIERS
By Merv Ritchie
17 January 2011
Edited 9:30 am Jan. 17 to add new news release at end
Once again it feels as though we in the media are being used to perpetuate a carefully orchestrated public mis-information campaign. Generally most media do not tell the public the news they reproduce was originally written by the various political party spin machines. Global, and the rest, all get the same news releases from the government or opposition parties and they run with a microphone and camera to get a direct quote from an official on a story they were already given. This is all good and well most of the year as the Government is attempting to get out a message, attempting to inform the public of new programs. These news releases are almost always tilted to favour one party or another and should really be credited as a news release so the reader or listener has a foundation on which to judge the information, yet there is currently something very different going on today.
The BC Liberal Party has taken this information dissemination machine (news releases) to new heights. Every candidate running for the leadership of the Liberal Party is shovelling out news releases as if the election had been called and they were running as Premier in a Provincial election today. They are all touring the Province exactly like those running for the job of Prime Minister during a Federal Election, would do across the Country. There has never been a leadership race for the helm of a Provincial Party much like this. Generally these leadership candidates spend their time attempting to convince party faithful at conventions or through constituency association campaigns; never like this, through electioneering style campaign stops making promises of great things to come, “Just Vote For Me”.
We heard it from Falcon, Stilwell, De Jong, Clark etc etc. How is it these people who refuse to address the blatant corruption of their previous regime, can make multi-million dollar promises without even being selected by their own party members? And why do the main media waste space reproducing these empty hollow promises?
Only George Abbott has stepped above the corruption offering a glimpse of light. Abbott has actually suggested there should be a third party inquiry into the BC Rail Fraud allegations. Christy Clark, even though her own brother was directly involved (or maybe because of this fact) refuses to even consider it. Same goes for Falcon. He was the Minister in charge of the affair first as Minister of Deregulation then as the Minister of Transportation. He is more than ankle deep in the do-do. And this is only breeching the subject of the wide ranging corruption apparent with BC Rail. There is the sale of BC Hydro, the sale of BC’s water to Independent Power Producers, the sale of BC residents health record management to a USA corporation, the sale of revenue collections to a USA corporation, the sale of essentially everything BC to anything or anybody ‘not BC’.
It is almost as if the Main Stream Media is complicit in assisting a huge cover up on behalf of the Liberal Party. The wholesale sale of BC and nothing is said.
The allegations of the BC Government being taken over by Mafioso type characters was recently bolstered by the revelations of huge money laundering at Casino’s. The BC Government led by Gordon Campbell campaigned in the 90’s against increased gambling and casino’s, taking a high moral position how bad it was for families. Yet today we not only have a Province that resembles Vegas and Reno, we have the first jurisdiction in the world to have a Government run ‘Online’ gambling site. This, accompanied with expose’s on Casino funds being directly filtered into the Liberal party Campaign coffers (link here), would normally have a publicly honest media on a heyday of expose’s.
Ever since, and even while, Campbell was the Mayor of Vancouver, the blatant mis-information (some would call out-right lies) was so continuous the reporting of it all became passe’. The media stopped exposing the misinformation in exchange for increased advertising revenue; right from the beginning when Campbell proclaimed ‘I am Mayor of Vancouver and I intend to stay Mayor of Vancouver. I have no interest in being the Leader of the Liberal Party. I wish Gordon Wilson would keep me out of his family squabbles.’ Two months later he was the liberal leader and he began saying things he never meant, just to trick and deceive. The Mainstream Media did not expose it. ‘We will not increase gaming facilities, we will not sell BC Rail, we will not sell BC Hydro’, and all of this was long before the HST deception.
One of the most disturbing aspects of this media enforced mis-information campaign on the general public is how we find our friends and neighbours absolutely convinced of the truth, the veracity of the Liberals, Gordon Campbell’s, repeated claims of NDP financial mismanagement.
During the election campaign where Campbell first won the position of Premier, he and the media kept using the words, “Fudget Budget”. They used it for the next four years and even into the next election they won. They will, as Christy Clark demonstrated during her recent visit to Terrace, continue to use these claims in the next election. It is a wonder (or not) why the mainstream media hasn’t corrected this claim, why not, they helped perpetrate it.
Here is the correct information as exposed in 2005 by the TYEE News after getting the information from a ‘Freedom of Information’ (FOI) request; (Click on the text to go directly to the full expose' article.)
Two days after the transition ceremony when the binders were handed over, Gordon Campbell met a scrum of press gallery reporters at Victoria's Empress Hotel. There, where the 77-member B.C. Liberal caucus was holding its first post-election meeting, Gordon Campbell gave his answer.
"Some of the problems that we face are as we thought and some are worse than we thought," he said, "The finances of the province are worse than we anticipated." He added, "The magnitude of the losses we may face compared to budget is still up in the air."
Banner headlines in the following day’s daily newspapers fairly screamed that the defeated New Democrats had left behind a fiscal mess for the new government. "B.C. Finances Worse Than Thought, Campbell Says," blared The Vancouver Sun.
Five weeks later, without fanfare, B.C.’s public accounts for fiscal 2001-02 were released by the comptroller general and auditor general. They confirmed record-shattering surpluses in the consolidated revenue fund and the summary accounts. So great was the fiscal windfall that British Columbia was able to make what was then the largest-ever reduction to the public debt.
Yet still today Liberals, rightly referred to as ‘Fib-erals’ continue to claim financial mis management and our friends and neighbours spout off these lies as if they are hard and fast, court proven “Everyone knows that!” truths.
If there was a public overseer body, the mainstream media, Global, Pacific Press, Black Press, BCTV, CKNW, and all the rest would be charged with treason against the public, the residents and citizens of BC.
When the general public has been deceived to such an extent that the majority believes lies as if they were truths, an insidious crime has occurred that requires hard and immediate correction and prosecution. This isn’t just a political game or a political spin on information, it is a corruption of intelligence of the people the government has the fiduciary duty to enhance and protect, not to degrade and abuse.
So today the Mainstream media continue to spout the news releases issued by those wishing to hold the top dog position in the province as if these were forgone conclusions of what the Liberal Party will do for the Province.
Anyone with half a brain, one that has the ability to separate fact from fiction, knows nothing could be further from the truth. Just as George Peden wrote to Grace McCarthy in 1988 and which was exposed in the BC Legislature that caused the firing of a Attorney General's assistant for revealing this information to the media, the Mob has taken over BC and the BC Liberals are their front men. A vote for the Liberals is a vote for the Mafiso of the 21st century. But don’t count on the Mainstream Media to tell you this, it is too lucrative to keep repeating the lies they are delivered, to repeat to you for your consumption.
The 1991 BC Legislature Hansard, the transcript of the debate, which refers to this incident, can be read HERE. And more on this from the authors personal experiences. HERE.
Timing is everything - Just read this news release issued today claiming support for Falcon:
Community Leaders Endorse Falcon for B.C’s future
Gaglardi, Jaffray, McNeill, Cross, Manji, Young, Mamdani, Kalaw, Greenough and Carlson endorse Kevin Falcon
Vancouver – January 17, 2011
BC business leaders representing thousands of jobs in the province of British Columbia are endorsing Kevin Falcon to be the Leader of the BC Liberal Party.
“Job creation, economic stability and smart longer term vision are paramount in these trying times. Choosing a Premier that will keep BC viable, competitive and strong is the most critical choice that any of us can do,” said Tom Gaglardi, Chairman and CEO of Sandman Hotel Group.
“My Grandfather, Phil Gaglardi, helped build this province as Minister of Highways in the 1950’s and 1960’s. I see the same dedication, energy and passion in Kevin Falcon. British Columbia needs a Premier that gets results, keeps our province competitive, and has the heart to make the tough decisions. Kevin is the best choice for the job,” said Tom Gaglardi. “Being responsible for 3500 of my team members jobs and their families is constantly on my mind. This is why this is so important to me.”
“Kevin is the best candidate to be the leader of the BC Liberals and the next premier of British Columbia,” said Richard Jaffray President and Founder, Cactus Club Restaurants. “I think Kevin is decisive and has a proven track record of effective leadership, our economic future depends on having a strong manager with a strong resume. I don’t believe in taking chances, with Kevin’s record I know he will continue to ensure BC prospers. His resume speaks for itself.”
“Kevin’s record of results while holding the most challenging mandates in government has convinced me that he will be a great Premier. I am encouraging my colleagues to join the BC Liberal party and vote for Kevin,” added Cam McNeill, Founder and President of MAC Marketing Solutions.
Today, also announcing their support for Falcon are:
* Carolyn Cross, CEO of Ondine Biomedical
* Samir Manji, CEO of Amica Mature Lifestyles
* Matt Young, Founder of Innovative Fitness
* Zahra Mamdani, President of Wear Else Fashions
* Paolo Kalaw, CEO of Frontier Dental Laboratories
* Tom Greenough, President of TomTar Roofing and Sheet Metal in Kelowna
* Eric Carlson, President and CEO of Anthem Properties
Joining with the previously announced members of Falcon 20/20
* Ryan Beedie, President, The Beedie Group
* David Aisenstat, President and CEO, Keg Restaurants
* Peter Armstrong, Executive Chairman and Founder, Rocky Mountaineer
* Kyle Washington, Chairman, Seaspan International
* Stan Fuller, CEO, Earl’s Restaurants
* John O’Neill, President and CEO, O’Neill Hotels and Resorts
Falcon 20/20 is a group of BC community members who believe that Kevin Falcon's experience and vision for BC make him the clear choice to be the next Premier. The list of supporters endorsing Falcon is growing daily. www.Falcon2020.ca urges all British Columbians to be part of the solution and sign up for Liberal memberships before the February 4, 2011 deadline.
Well, sign me up boys! Will I get a cut?
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Why Solicitor-General Rich Coleman was the go-to-guy in the Raid on the BC Legislature
BC Mary comment: Anonymous has left a new comment which is well worth following up. There's a segment by then-Chief Constable Paul Battershill dated November 30, 2003, which introduces PRIME BC, the electronic sharing of police information ...
Pages 8 and 9 of this document, from November 2003, explains clearly in Model A and Model B why the Solicitor General was the go-to-guy in the Raid on the BC Legislature.
Read this document HERE:
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Time out for a good laugh ...
Deja vu ... didn't we do a provincial election recently (2009, was it?), where the candidates won by hiding themselves from the public???
Couldn't help but hope they'd get accustomed to permanently disappearing REALLY SOON.
I had a good laugh over the way it was described in South Asian Link today:
No Public Debates For Liberal Candidates
Liberal leadership candidates Mike de Jong, Moira Stillwell, Christy Clark, Ed Mayne and Kevin Falcon were at all candidates meeting in downtown Vancouver this week. The candidates are not holding public debates for obvious reasons – BC Rail corruption scandal involving BC Liberal insiders and friends, HST outrage and possibly their Elections BC Puppet, claims one online writer. “They are liers and everyone knows it and they don’t want to be asked questions which would A.) for them to look like bumbling idiots trying to avoid the answer B.) Give an answer and look even worse.”
Source is HERE:
[To look even worse, the photos can be enlarged if you click on them. See Big Christy. See Little Falcon. But why are they laughing?
Basi-Virk Don't Want to Give Back BC Rail Corruption Documents. The application by the Crown returns to BC Supreme Court , 800 Smithe St., Vancouver on Feb. 16, 2011.
South Asian Link - 15 January 2011
VANCOUVER— Dave Udhe Basi and Bob Virk, the two Indo-Canadian men at the centre of the BC Liberals scandal that reaches to the offices of Premier Gordon Campbell are asking why are Crown prosecutors in such a hurry to get documents relating to their trial which ended in a government payout plea deal that netted their lawyer $60 million in fees and Basi, Virk a comfortable house arrest.
Prosecutors have applied to the Supreme Court of British Columbia for the return of hundreds of thousands of pages of documents the defence obtained through the disclosure process.
Confidential government records, private e-mails, bank records, wiretap transcripts and other material is included in the massive package the Crown disclosed to the defence leading up to the breach-of-trust trial, which ended abruptly in October when Virk and Basi entered guilty pleas.
Although the case is over, the defendants don’t want to give up the disclosure material – saying it contains information that is vital to the public interest, and they want to hang on to it to ensure it is available for future examination, reported the Globe and Mail newspaper.
“I have nothing to hide. I think there needs to be full and open access to all this material,” Virk told the Globe in an interview Monday after the court agreed to hear the application Feb. 16.
“I listen to CKNW [radio talk shows]. People have questions [about this case] and the only way to get answers is through this material,” he said from his home in Victoria, where he is serving a one-year term under house arrest.
“If people ever want to know the truth, those documents are critical,” said Basi, who is also under house arrest ... Virk said he is preparing a detailed affidavit to explain his reasons for wanting to retain the disclosure package, but of specific concern to him is the possibility of a future public inquiry into the case.
“If it is not under my control, who knows where it’s going to end up?” he said of the package, which consists of massive electronic files.
He said he also wants the material so documents can be provided to the Law Society of Upper Canada, which is planning to hold a “good conduct” hearing for Bribemaster Erik Bornman, a former partner in Pilothouse Public Affairs. Bornman has applied to be admitted to the bar in Ontario.
A statement of facts filed in court when the guilty pleas were entered said that “Basi received payments totalling $25,695 from Erik Bornman during the same time that Omnitrax was bidding [on BC Rail].”
Virk did not receive any direct payments, but he and his wife, along with Basi and his wife, did accept a trip, paid for by Pilothouse, to a Denver Broncos football game in Colorado.
Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie said she will hear the Crown’s application next month, and at the same time she will consider an application by The Globe and Mail and CTV for release of documents filed as evidence in the case.
BC Mary comment: There are two errors: the legal fees pay-out to Basi & Virk was $6 million, not $60 million. And both B&V were sentenced to two years less a day of house arrest, not one year.
I thank the South Asian Link for their generous permission to repost their article.
Friday, January 14, 2011
BASILEAKS. BC Rail. The Struggle for Power in British Columbia
By Robin Mathews
January 14, 2011
First, readers must know that memos alleged to have been written by Dave Basi in the Fall of 2003 have been and continue to be leaked by a blogger. (Basi was convicted in the BC Rail Scandal Basi, Virk, and Basi trial on October 18, 2010.)
The memos deal with the policies and behaviour of some top actors, as well as Dave Basi and Bob Virk, in the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to the CNR.
The appearance of the leaks open, perhaps, more questions than answers.
The memos answer, partially, questions about high-level manipulation to misrepresent the transfer of BC Rail to the CNR. And they will suggest – to some – that earlier allegations of breach of trust among high-flying players may rest upon solid ground.
Leaked to a blogger, they open serious questions about their source and the reasons they have been leaked. Those questions are very important.
If they were leaked by Dave Basi himself, the reasons would probably be to keep the BC Rail Scandal pot boiling, to force attention to involved senior operatives giving Dave Basi and Bob Virk orders and directing their actions in a process that seems – more and more – to have been improper.
It might be Dave Basi saying: “I told you so” about Defence allegations that the three accused were pawns, were targetted, and took the fall for more powerful, top politicos and their friends.
But if – as has been suggested – the leaks were initiated by someone close to the RCMP and/or the Prosecution, the questions become very different … and more serious.
Investigation by the RCMP in the matters of the BC Rail Scandal has been widely … and deeply … questioned. Why did the RCMP terminate without record their investigation of finance minister Gary Collins in mid-December 2003? Why did they announce in late December 2003 that no elected officials were being investigated – though deputy premier Christy Clark was served with a search warrant (as was her brother) on December 28, 2003?
Why did the RCMP take a full year to “complete” investigation during which – apparently – all elected officials were put aside or ruled out? How could RCMP spend another full year of investigation without involving elected people deeply involved in the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to the CNR?
Was RCMP investigation chief Kevin Debruyckere discussing matters with his brother-in-law Kelly Reichert, top BC Liberal Party officer and familiar of Gordon Campbell, premier … as Defence counsel alleged? Why have we no answer about that?
Why, later, in the pre-trial hearings did the RCMP – as Defence alleged – stall, delay, and scramble production of disclosure materials needed for the Defence of the accused?
If the RCMP is responsible for the leaks of the Dave Basi memos to a blogger, they may be trying to force attention away from their own role in the BC Rail Scandal investigations. As alleged servants of the Gordon Campbell cabinet, they may be trying to force attention away from themselves to an apparently central role – as Mr. fixits – played by Dave Basi and, to a lesser degree, Bob Virk.
If the leaks were arranged by someone close to the Prosecution, a similar attempt to shift attention may be at work.
The Special Prosecutor in the case was wrongly appointed – in a violation of the legislation governing the appointment process. Mr. Berardino’s appointment, though wrongful, may have been anodyne. That is, it may have been simply a matter of friends helping a friend – fully intending that he would pursue justice with unstinting integrity.
But – of course – a wrongful appointment opens questions. What if, instead, he was appointed to protect senior wrongdoers? What if he was set up to help “target” the accused, to assist in stalling, delaying, scrambling disclosure materials sought by the Defence? What if he was directed to effect an unseemly deal to shut down the trial - in order to protect Gordon Campbell and his associates in a corrupt transfer of BC Rail to the CNR?
If those questions are real, then Prosecution (‘the Crown’) might well want (1) the accused to seem like wrong-doers deep in manipulation, (2) the charges against them to appear to be visibly deserved, and (3) the role of the Prosecution thrown into a perspective that makes it seem untainted.
A further question presents itself. If the leaked memos exist as part of materials held by the Crown, the RCMP, and/or the Defence, why is there no alarm expressed? Why isn’t the court – so quick in the past to protect secrecy, disclosure materials, and the farthest outreaches of the publication ban – why isn’t the court ordering all the material that is being leaked sealed immediately under threat of Contempt of Court?
Does the Court want the Dave Basi memos made public?
To date, application has been made to have the Court order all materials that have been disclosed to Defence returned to the Crown. But that application hasn’t yet been heard fully. A decision has not been made.
Disclosure materials, then, are in limbo – and are not presently at the disposition of anyone who wants to cast them into the public arena. Does that mean the Basi memos are not part of evidentiary materials held in the case? If that is true, where did they come from to be leaked to a blogger?
Why is Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie silent about the on-going leak of the Dave Basi materials obviously relevant to the BC Rail Scandal and the trial of Dave Basi, Bob Virk, and Aneal Basi?
Who provided the Dave Basi memos to a blogger who is making them public? That is the key – and so far unanswered – question.
[The Blogger. Observers may fairly and objectively want to know on which part of the political spectrum the Blogger is located. My informants suggest he would probably be a long-time federal (Stephen Harper) Conservative who, for a time, took membership in the equally Rightest BC (Gordon Campbell) Liberal Party. Now, the Blogger is said to have no formal affiliation with a political party. My informants tell me, however, he rarely writes with sympathy about the NDP, and rarely writes flatteringly of anyone he believes would be found on the Left half of the political spectrum. Observers, then, may fairly and objectively ask who – wanting to leak the Dave Basi materials – would deliver them to a Blogger on the Right end of the political spectrum?]
First there was a comment from "Jackson Smith" as follows:
There was no search warrant ever placed on Christy Clark. That is simply untrue.
If it is true, this is the first time it has ever been reported.
Then there was a 2nd comment, this time from Don F., saying the Christy Clark search warrant is an error:
Mr. Mathews, if you are reading these comments may I refer you to one made by Jackson Smith which states that a search warrant was never issued against Christy Clark.
I have been reading these articles for many months and must advise you that this is also the first time I have heard this mentioned. Perhaps worth your checking in this matter,
I am not a Clark fan by any stretch in fact I wish what you say to be true but see this as exactly the type of credibility mistakes they would love to cite against bloggers.If you are correct my apologies! With all due respect!
BC Mary: I had already forwarded the Jackson Smith comment to Robin. This is Robin's reply:
Dear Mary. As you know, I don't usually answer comments made on your site. But this comment requires an immediate answer.
If there was no search warrant, as Mr. Jackson Smith says, "ever placed on Christy Clark", that fact needs to be made absolutely clear. Without delay.
In the search warrant looseleaf folder released on September 11, 2004 information is given regarding the "Information to Obtain dated December 24, 2003." That was the time when the Legislature 'Raids' search warrants were gained - and for several to other places around Victoria and Vancouver (used on December 28, in fact).
The September 11, 2004 document reports that "of the information to Obtain dated December 24 ,2003, there is a list of individuals whose names appear within the document. The fact that various individual's names are contained within the document should not be taken as an indication that those individuals are under investigation". That statement was made and signed on September 10, 2004 - more than eight months after the original search warrant 'raids'. The list contains 20 names of which two "are at the present time subjects of this investigation", and they are David Basi and Bob Virk. Among the other eighteen, Erik Bornman, Mark Marissen, Bruce Clark, Gary Collins, and Christie Clark are named (among others).
The looseleaf folder then reveals some search warrant material, naming Dave Basi, Pilothouse, Erik Bornman, BC Govt Server, Bruce Clark, and several Legislature locations (six uncensored pages).
Then follows a synopsis by Corporal A. T. Cowan with some parts blacked out, identifying 'sources of information', and repeating the list: "That the following persons have been identified during part of the Project "Everywhichway" Investigation, and are referred to in this information to Obtain a Search Warrant." The names on the list are the same as the ones named in the preceding paragraph here (except that - by error I believe - the name of Keyvan Shojania appears twice).
In that - at first - not heavily blacked out portion Mark Marissen is referred to as "the husband of BC Government MLA Christie Clark" and is mentioned in relation to Dave Basi. Bruce Andrew James Clark is referred to as 'the brother of BC Government MLA Christie Clark" and the director of VOBIS Consulting Group.
That part of the synopsis takes about 13 pages (various parts blacked out). At the point that the reference is to VOBIS Consulting Group and to Bruce Clark as "sole director", the text following is blacked out completely for ten pages.
Then about a half page is un-blacked out. Corporal Cowan (if a new name hasn't been introduced in the blacked out pages) writes "That based on a review [next words blacked out] I believe the following in relation to the named offences has taken place...." Then four paragraphs refer to Basi and Virk. And then the following, next forty-five pages are blacked out. And the four after that are mostly blacked out. And it goes on... farther.
There follow (and I don't itemize because of space) many pages containing Warrant to Search, Warrant To Search And Related Assistance Order materials.
In one, entitled "INFORMATION TO OBTAIN A SEARCH WARRANT", taking up fourteen pages - of which four are completely blacked out and six partially blacked out - the following appears after four and a half completely blacked out pages:
"DECEMBER 28, 2003
38. That members of the RCMP Commercial Crime Section attended the residence of Mark MERISSAN and BC Government Deputy Premier Christie CLARK. Mr. MERISSAN was spoken to by S/Sgt BISHOP of the Vancouver Commercial Crime Section. Mr. MERISSAN was in receipt of a list forwarded by BORNMAN containing the names of BASI and VIRK for federal government jobs.
39. That I reviewed the notes completed by S/Sgt BISHOP and the following was stated by Mr. MERISSAN...."
[No further reference is made to Christie Clark.]
In the material from which I have quoted, the document is named: INFORMATION TO OBTAIN A SEARCH WARRANT.
In the material which follows (much of it blacked out) the document - INFORMATION TO OBTAIN A SEARCH WARRANT - then reports RCMP officers "attended the residence of Mark MERISSAN and BC Government Deputy Premier Christie CLARK". Since I could find no statement that ONLY Mark Merissan was the subject of the 'Information to obtain a Search Warrant', I presumed both people named were included or that the RCMP would have indicated otherwise.
[The change in the spelling of Mr. Marissen's name was undertaken by the RCMP.]
I am perfectly happy to be shown that I am wrong.
[I report the very large number of pages blacked out to give an idea of the incompleteness of the looseleaf folder materials - about 80% is blacked out. I try not to introduce any matters that are unrelated to the statement by Mr. Jackson Smith. I hope he - or Christie Clark - will respond and prove me unquestionably wrong. If I am wrong, I will happily retract the statement publicly. But, clearly, I based my statement on information I believed sound; and still am not convinced that it isn't sound.]