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. 


Just a thought: Because of the capricious nature of comment areas, if I ever happen to write something I like, I always copy and paste it into an e-mail to myself before attempting to post it so that it remains available to repost or to send directly to the party in question. I don't do this often...
While I'm here, ongoing thanks for your patience, perspicacity and persistence.
Good advice, Danneau.

I do that too. But twice this morning, there wasn't enough time for me to do that, before zap! my message was gone.

Both comments I was trying to make were about a Public Inquiry into BC Rail -- all the stuff we expected to hear, but didn't, by means of the BC Rail Political Corruption Trial.

Have a look at the column written by Elizabeth James in North Shore News today. It's titled "Throw the bums out" and it will do your heart good.

She means ALL the bums. Then she starts over, setting up a whole new system of governance. I wrote and asked her if she'd like to be our new premier. Only kidding, because I think Elizabeth James is speaking for 99% of British Columbians these days. Wouldn't we ALL like to throw ALL the bums out and start over again.
Would a BC Liberal led (George Abbott) public inquiry employ a "respected third party", a "retired judge" named Wally Oppal or Patrick Dohm? Would they be so bold?
Mary, another article written by Ms. James covers a lot of other areas.

What a shameful, lieberal lot.

The people of this province had better pay attention sooner than later and think long and hard as to what they wish for their children and grandchildren.

I've always wondered why Gordo thought it was such a great thing to turn our province into a freeway,

or, as this Elizabeth James article makes clear:

Which brings us to the destination of this story:

Dot 6: The sale of B.C. Rail to CN:

According to its website, the Port of South Louisiana is the largest tonnage port in the Western Hemisphere, the fifth largest in the world.

Important inbound and outbound cargos? Crude oil and petrochemicals.

And where is the southernmost terminus of CN Rail?

Louisiana, of course.

Is that why it was so important for Campbell to sell B.C. Rail?

Questions, more questions. Will there ever be an end to them?

Read more:

Thanks, Curt.

And to answer her final question, yes, I do believe we can get most of those answers by means of a well-run Public Inquiry into the sale of BC Rail.

I thought you were going to say "Would George Abbott be so stupid?"
This has been a very discouraging day to say the least and one that pretty much confirms the either lack of concern by MSM to bring forth news to the public or their complete allegiance to a corrupt government and their blatant protectionism of that government.
Brian Kieran was a major player of the sale of BC rail through his firm Pilothouse through which one Mr.Eric Bornhman was bribing government aides during that sale.Mr Keiran is [or was]also a part of the Christy Clark campain.
Documents released yesterday on the site of Alex Tsakumis show that Christy Clark and Mr. Borhnman were in fact communicating and exchanging documents concerning BC Rail which is in total contrast to what she has been telling the public yet it seems no member of the MSM deem this worthy of mention. Understand that these documents place her squarely in the middle of it but the public will never know!
All of this indicates to me that our province is in a more dire situation than we might believe.
The truth doesn't seem to matter much anymore here and there certainly no chance the corruption will end or even be challenged if truth in fact is hidden.
Shame to all who have the power to bring the truth forward but choose instead to use your power to indeed cover it up.
Take a look at the situation in Egypt today for a look into the future of this province if things don't change.
Thanks BC Mary.

I appreciate that you're qualifying what we want -

I'm not alone when I worry that if the Liberals were to start an inquiry, it would be limited to the $6mil pay-off or they would appoint a "questionable" person to lead it.

So it's not enough to have an inquiry but we want "a well-run Public Inquiry" !!!
Anon 3:02,

The first cow-pat we must avoid walking into, is the possibility that somebody will make the Public Inquiry focus only on the $6 million bri ... um, payment to Basi & Virk's for their legal fees. That could easily be part of the larger Inquiry ...

which should encompass all the negotiations leading up to July 14, 2005 when the suspect deal between BC government and CN was signed.

The Inquiry should include the BCR-CN deal itself, which is still not fully opened to the public.
Cui Bono, you poor sap!

If you have nothing to offer except attacks upon other people, your comments will go head first into the circular file.

Don't expect me to provide you with a platform from which to hurl your stupid insults.

Go away.
Thank you Don F. for calling out the mainstream media for their supreme head-in-the-sand ostrich act. How hard is it for this stumbling, blind bunch of ... hacks to chase down the information and report it. It isn't hard for pretty much everyone else who cares to look.

The 'Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil Gang' that is BC's poor excuse for reporters and journalists ought to be charged with treason against the people of BC, just as much as the Campbell Cohorts.

I also agree entirely with you that Egypt is a model for what we will not be able to escape here in BC. As the economy continues to tank, as the wealthy keep wanting more and take it from the rest of us, it will become very, very hot in this province. And I'm not talking climate change here.

On the bright side, Tunisia is also a model for us. The people there ran the president right out of the country. Overthrew the government because of its corrupt ways. That's an idea.

Let's keep up the pressure folks. Let's find ways to ratchet it up even more.
Politicians investigating politicians, police investigating police, lawyers investigating lawyers, judges investigating judges, companies (and a certain lobbyist) claiming the right to not be investigated, and the public isn't allowed to know anything. Ever. And the mainstream media have tried to make sure of that.

All that investigating going on, you'd think somebody would notice that everyone was being investigated...if by all the wrong people (i.e. themselves).

The system has been corrupted, knowingly, by criminals and con-men and carpetbaggers working for political paymasters, with even fatter rewards than the bloated salaries they vote to pay themselves. The more in cabinet the better, more grease for party loyalists, the more lobbyists the better, so that Liberal insiders can get a cut of incoming investment is a quasi-legal "Yeah, I'll take to him for you" system of buying influence.

All aspects of the sale of BC Rail, and of the machinations that brought it about, and the conduct of personalities associated with it - everything needs to be on the table. "No limited inquiry" should become a battle-cry....the whole Tory house should have gone down in flames, forever, because of the outrageous behaviour of Brian Mulroney (and I don't just mean the Airbus Affair), but his case was quarantined from the rest of the Tories and none of them were investigated or called to the Mulroney hearings.....huh? You mean, they all had their hands clean and didn't know anything?? That's a good's rather like people at a restaurant shooting, like the one on Main Street, where nobody saw nothin' huh? "Who, me?"

I daresay that once the public inquiry is underway, the background to the sale of BC Rail is how it is that CN stopped being a Crown Corporation, and who arranged that, and so on. Kinsella, Martin, McLean, et al., should all be called to the stand/hearings.

Remember, justice in Athenian democracy's court/justice process was dispensed by the assembly, a few thousand men, each with the right to speak and question; all the citizens (though not metics or slaves - and the police were slaves, by the way, of the city). Generally it would boil down to a rhaetor on either side, or a few of each, before a vote was called. But nobody went unheard if they wanted to be. We need something ilke how wide-open the Spicer Commission was (Keith Spicer would be an interesting chair, actually) though nothing came of it. I wouldn't want to see one person alone; it has to be a panel I think, maybe with a spokesperson representing them all, or maybe more like a US congressional hearing.

The list of witnesses would of course resemble that of the BVB defence team, and Basi, Virk and Basi themselves......Bornmann, whose amnesty is null, technically, if he didn't actually testify, could be offered amnesty for what else he knows.

The inquiry is going to create jobs - we need a new prison, somewhere with horrible weather and no golf anywhere nearby.

I commented to a couple from France i was talking to earlier, when the woman of the pair described politicians in France as having "layers".....I thought for a moment, compared ours to a web filled with spiders...
Whew! Skookum you've said it all.

How I wish your message could be broadcast to every citizen in BC, and in Canada.
Brian, re "a vendetta of circus-like proportions".....

Well, we've already a got a circus, and there's a fight going on at present as to who will be the ringmaster......but a vendetta, no, that we don't need.

What we do need is the Spanish Inquisition ("who's afraid of the Spanish Inquisition?", as Cleese & Co. would go) - thumbscrews and all. We need a full-scale inquiry, with no taint of NDP partisanship, but also with no taint of Liberal - or federal Tory - partisanship, and no way for Harper to pull what he pulled with Johnston re the Airbus Affair.

Of course, we could just build a guillotine on one of the plazas of Robson Square and launch a Reign of Terror ("the Directorate" has a nice ring to it, don't it?), with the witness stand located in view of it, and a re-instatement of the death penalty for perjury in political cases...the costs of the inquiry could be paid for by ticket sales, and broadcast advertising.....

The Liberals rightly said that government was not to be trusted with business, and so they gave us a case in point of rank mismanagement to prove their point. They certainly weren't capable of handling a railway, or anything else, they've been put in charge of (or, rather, put themselves in charge of).

I still laugh when I hear national-level media pundits talk about what a great business manager Campbell has been....what a crock huh?

Tell you what Mr. Kieran - the best you could so, as someone with media credentials, is to call on and write things up for your colleagues in other provinces.....if this mess is contained within the stinking soup of BC's crockpot, it's the same as limiting the public inquiry; help expose this nationally, and internationally, as a case of "piracy of government", and of wrongdoing unchecked by a judicial and policing system that is part of the problem.

You sound like a convert to the public cause; might I suggest you become a p.r./spin advisor to counterbalance the hordes of lobbyists and media mechanics in the employ of the "other side" (most of whom are getting paid by public money, which should be non-partisan, to boot)?
minor typo: "Yeah, I'll take to him for you"

"Talk to him for you" was late.

And CC, I've just been lazy - or too preocuppied more like - to start using my own blogger page....I'm thinking just assembling all my posts like this one so there's a central clearinghouse for them, and index maybe.....and when I need to rant on something that's not on-topic at Mary's or Bill's or Laila's or wherever, I can step up to my own bully pulpit. Also a good place for all the posts I try to make to the Globe and Mail that don't get through, and commentaries on Tyee articles (where I've been invited to return if I kiss so-and-so's butt, but I won't), as there's often hogwash and bad history/geography there aplenty....maybe I can just rig something on my page that will assemble any logged-in comments I make somewhere else.....
Interesting how CN is now positioning themselves to transport oilsands product through BC instead of Enbridge.

Am I the only one who senses a set-up? Let's all pause for a moment to consider CN's safety record in BC. Let's also think about the potential profits that might have been for Government coffers (and therefore taxpayers and other citizens) via BCR
Gordo has quit and is gone, and Basi was convicted and is now in jail.

... or is that just more made-up bs for us sheep?

There is no point spending money on an Inquiry when they cant even lock up those who are found guilty.

Instead we pay him 7M to pay for their legal bills, and tell them they have to stay home betweem 11pm and 6am.

we take away programs for autistic children at the same time.

what a frickin joke we are to allow this to prevail.

what a sick sick society we live in

btw, can anyone confirm for us if BAINS is out on bail, after serving 2 yrs of a 9 yr sentence, and if so, what he is doing for a living, if he is still egaged in the drug trade?
The Trial is over. Can we please have the answers, now?

No. 55 -- Wednesday, April 30, 2003 -- 2 p.m.

Schedule B


1 Ms. MacPhail to ask the Hon. the Minister of Transportation, responsible for BC Rail, the following questions:
1. Can the Minister confirm that BC Rail made a profit in 2002?
2. Can the Minister explain what, if any, subsidy BC Rail is receiving over the next three years?
3. The Premier announced in his February address to the province that BC Rail was costing BC taxpayers a billion dollars in subsidies, yet the three year strategic plan states that BC Rail has not received a subsidy since 1993. Which is correct?
4. The government has booked $61 million in revenue coming directly from BC Rail. Has the Ministry studied the impacts of their decision to sell BC Rail and the economic impact that decision will have on the treasury of the Government this year and future years?
5. Can the Minister provide the Opposition with recent studies that review how our highways will be affected by the Government's decision to sell BC Rail? Surely the Ministry of Transportation has analyzed the consequences of the higher freight rates that come with selling BC Rail to the private sector.
6. How does the government expect to bring in revenue to replace the loss of dividends that were paid by BC Rail?
7. Can the Minister tell the Opposition the cost of the RFP process including the mayor's committee that is being established?


Yeah ... which is precisely why we need a wide-ranging Public Inquiry into BC Rail.

We can't afford not to.


Joy MacPhail could cut to the chase like a hot knife going through butter.

Thanks for this gem.
Thanks NVG....Joy is a reminder just how lacklustre the NDP have been since she retired and, sigh, left politics....

But here's an idea: I betcha she could be called upon, privately, to help draft issues and questions and maybe the terms of referencefor the public inquiry.....
Oh, it seems that McPhail isn't completely retired.....
Joy was also a strong supporter of Carole, and of Carole remaining as leader when that was still considered a possibility.
BC Mary:
Sorry you could not post on my blog. That's the first problem of that nature I've encountered. Perhaps you went over some arbitrary character count. Try a short message.
Regards, Fang
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