Wednesday, January 12, 2011
PART FIVE. A Society in Breakdown. British Columbia's Hip-High Corruption.
The New Democratic Party. The Mainstream Press and Media.
By Robin Mathews
January 12, 2011
Alex G. Tsakumis, I am told, has objected to my statement that he is a ‘known Liberal’. He says I am wrong – though he was for a time a Liberal and contributed financially to the Party, as members of his family, apparently, continue to do. I regret any error I may have made in any statement about him. If some still think of him as a Liberal, he has made clear he left the Party and does not now contribute to it. I am especially apologetic since anyone might feel embarrassed to be incorrectly named a Liberal or to be said to be associated with the Liberal Party at this time in our history.
I extend my earnest apologies to Alex G. Tsakumis.
The question, however, still remains – posed in PART FOUR of this series. Why did copies of the very important Dave Basi memos end up in the possession of Alex G. Tsakumis? In PART FOUR I suggested they should, perhaps have gone to the Parliamentary Opposition, the NDP.
As evidence piles up that some top government and private corporate officers may have engaged in breach of trust extending to criminal breach of trust … and more … in the BC Rail Scandal, all evidence possible should be in the hands of a body powerful enough to force the RCMP to (real) investigation - and to criminal charges where and if warranted.
The RCMP has been formally requested to investigate Gordon Campbell and his associates in the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to the CNR. The top RCMP officer in British Columbia, Gary Bass, has refused to undertake that investigation. And so another force is obviously needed to bring about a criminal investigation.
In addition, as time passes, the RCMP “investigations” in the BC Rail Scandal matters appear more and more to have been inadequate. Defence counsel in the Basi, Virk, and Basi case insisted the three accused were “targetted”, that others who should have been investigated were not.
Corroboration of that allegation lies for all to see in the strange RCMP statement near the end of December 2003 that no elected officials were under investigation. In mid December finance minister Gary Collins was under investigation and surveillance. At the end of December RCMP announced no elected officials were being investigated – but investigation continued for another full year before charges were laid.
The RCMP statement points to “targetting”, especially since evidence has piled up and piled up of manipulation, misrepresentation, disinformation, unnecessary secrecy, and falsification by senior officials in the on-going process that saw BC Rail transferred to the CNR.
I asked in PART FOUR if Alex G. Tsakumis (or any individual) could wield the power in the matter that might be wielded by the NDP Opposition in British Columbia.
The answer of course is No. But the operative words in my question are “power that MIGHT be wielded by the NDP Opposition….”
This part, PART FIVE, is called ”The New Democratic Party, The Mainstream Press and Media.” (Hereafter the MSM). That is because both have been abysmally, lamentably at fault in their failure since the return of more than thirty NDP MLAs in 2005, at least.
My focus in this series is the BC Rail Scandal, but the NDP has failed across the spectrum on major issues in the province. Loyal NDP members, supporters, and sympathizers have to face that major fact. If the NDP is to form government in the next election, it will have to undergo a change in attitude, in policy, in imagination, in determination, and in action on key issues.
So far, NDP leadership candidates speak about the province as if they have just returned from a decade of travel … on other planets.
Because of the huge damage done to the province by the Liberal government since 2001 not a single Liberal deserves to win a seat in the next election. NDP members, supporters, and sympathizers, however, must face the failure of the NDP in Opposition - or the election will go to the Liberals.
Watching the NDP failure, and resisting it over those years, I refer to my own experience only to give particular evidence of NDP reality.
When the theft of B.C. river energy power began, I was a founder of the Save Our Rivers Society. I (we) sent information again and again to all NDP caucus members – receiving only very brief electronic non-replies….
When the B.C. Supreme Court chief justice of the day made a key and critical judgement about Alcan, Kitimat, and the Nechako River, I believe it was a very, very bad judgement, argued with bad law. The decision needed Opposition guns trained on it. It needed loud protest. The critique I wrote and posted on the SORS website sank into the political sludge of B.C. politics. The NDP? What NDP?
We knew – AS ANYONE WHO WANTED TO KNOW DID KNOW - that BC Hydro was being eviscerated, looted, destroyed by the Campbell forces. We told everyone we could tell. The NDP heard nothing. Major political action was required which should have been assisted, co-operated with – even led by the NDP.
I wrote a column for vivelecanada.ca about the sell-out of B.C Hydro to which an Accenture official replied to try to discredit my work. The NDP did … nothing.
The NDP should have set up an imaginative Research Committee on Fish Farms in B.C. and should have named Alexandra Morton Committee chair – with at least a few MLAs supporting and working with organized volunteers.
The NDP should have set up – with First Nations and other representative groups – a BC Children and Families, on-going, working Committee to assist Mary Ellen Turpel Lafond, B.C. Representative for Children and Youth. MLAs should have been named to that public Committee. Volunteers should have been enrolled across the province.
The NDP should have set up a provincial Audit Committee of MLAs and volunteers to undertake audits of B.C. Hydro, B.C. Ferries, B.C. Rail, all major government contracts for infra-structure and all Private Public Partnerships. The fight to obtain information kept secret, misrepresented, and falsified by the Campbell government would have been a method of informing the public full time of the looting being sponsored by the Campbell forces.
Ironically, recently, Eric Anderson, an economist has begun demonstrating the parlous condition of B.C. Hydro. He has been taken into the newly being-born Conservative Party. The NDP? What NDP?
There is much, much, much more the NDP MLAs should have done, and should be doing right now.
Just one more. Those us who remember the British Columbia days of the CCF know a simple, on-going fact. The Mainstream Press and Media have been opposed to that political expression from the first day. The MSM has done what it can through nearly eighty years to undermine and destroy the democratic Left in B.C.
What should the NDP do? Should it try to curry favour with the MSM? Should it try to fit its policies to what the MSM wants? Should it try to become the Gordon Campbell Liberals with the name NDP?
I suggest the NDP should admit its history with the MSM, name the Mainstream Press and Media a major enemy, treat it as such leading up to and during the coming election campaign. It should create a high-profile committee of MLAs, volunteer electronic news workers and activists, as well as others. That committee should devise a program of attack – ridiculing, deriding, and exposing the MSM as the propaganda arm (that it is) of the Liberal Party and government.
I believe a very large part of the B.C. population – which increasingly believes the MSM is the enemy – would celebrate the guts of the NDP and would flock to support it.
When I think of the work of the NDP in the BC Rail Scandal Basi, Virk, and Basi matter, I think of Alex G. Tsakumis. Maybe Dave Basi was not wrong to avoid the NDP and to have delivered to Mr. Tsakumis the very important memos from 2003.
Over the four years that I attended pre-trial and trial days of the Basi, Virk, and Basi case, I came to realize the NDP would do nothing of importance on the issue.
Oh yes…. The Party would call and call and call for a Public Inquiry. BUT, as became increasingly obvious, the NDP should have been demanding criminal investigation of the leading actors in the BC Rail Scandal. Right away. That should have been the drum the NDP would not stop beating.
The NDP should have demanded over and over that top RCMP officer Gary Bass attend public meetings with the NDP Leader and key MLAs to answer questions about the RCMP investigation.
The more Gary Bass refused to participate in such meetings, the more the NDP should have demanded his presence – and the more the B.C. public would have become informed.
Those are just a few suggestions. Much, much, much more should have been done by the NDP.
When evidence that the Special Prosecutor in the BC Rail Scandal Basi, Virk, and Basi case, William Berardino, was appointed in violation of the legislation governing such appointments, the door was open for the NDP to drive through to … government.
The wrongful appointment of Mr. Berardino by old partners and colleagues (and one presumes friends) Attorney General Geoff Plant and Deputy Attorney General Allan Seckel – invalidates ALL of the pre-trial and trial proceedings.
Forcing the issue, forcing Mr. Berardino’s resignation would have exposed the whole rotten Affair. Then real investigation could then have been demanded. Then a Public Inquiry could follow new criminal charges being laid … if they were warranted.
NDP Justice critc Leonard Krog was informed of the wrongful appointment. He would do nothing.
But the story of William Berardino’s wrongful appointment is not the only one! The same kind of thing happened with the next Attorney General, Wally Oppal. He misused the Special Prosecutor legislation in the Bountiful bigamy case. Mr. Oppal ‘arranged’ the launch of a case after “Special Prosecutor shopping”. He sought and rejected Special Prosecutors until he found one who would take the case – others saying it should not be taken.
When the case, with Terence Robertson, Special Prosecutor, came to court, it was stopped dead when Wally Oppal’s actions were revealed to Madam Justice Stromberg-Stein. Wally Oppal is reported to have ordered Robert Gillen, assistant deputy Attorney General to appoint Terence Robertson.
Needless to say a conviction against the Bountiful bigamists (legitimately or illegitimately convicted) would have gained votes for the Liberal Party – as would the credible conviction of ‘the three brown men’ in the BC Rail Scandal matter. But that action is still exploding its rotten bombs all over the province.
A third Attorney General appears to have violated the Special Prosecutor legislation in his appointment of Terence Robertson as Special Prosecutor in the Kash Heed affair. Michael de Jong will deny the appointment was wrongly undertaken. Nevertheless, the appointment revealed a failure on the part of the Attorney General to know the validity of the appointee.
As has been reported, Mr. Robertson was to investigate brochures in Chinese issued days before the 2009 election in which the NDP was aspersed and Kash Heed was supported. Mr. Robertson suggested Kash Heed was clear and that two others should be charged.
Gordon Campbell returned Kash Heed to the position of Solicitor General immediately. Clearly, Gordon Campbell wanted Kash Heed as Solicitor General. Then Mr. Heed had to resign again, and Terence Robertson had to resign because of conflict of interest in the matter.
It may be of interest that Terence Robertson was the Special Prosecutor when Ken Dobell was accused of breaking lobbyist law and could very well have been charged. On Robertson’s recommendation Dobell wasn’t. He was the Special Prosecutor Wally Oppal settled on and convinced to conduct a case (thrown out of court by the judge) against the Bountiful bigamists. He was the Special Prosecutor appointed to the Kash Heed investigation and was forced to leave the position because of conflict of interest. Were there more reasons?
Three Attorneys General and three calamitous Special Prosecutor appointments (that we know of). Clearly, every appointment of a Special Prosecutor since the Gordon Campbell government took power should be carefully examined by impartial investigators.
The NDP - through Leonard Krog – knew of the wrongful appointment of William Berardino … and did nothing. The NDP had to know of the Wally Oppal matter and the Michael de Jong/Kash Heed appointment of Terence Robertson. After all, Mike Farnworth was critic of the Solicitor General's portfolio and Leonard Krog of the Attorney General’s ministry.
Things were getting hot in the Attorney General’s office last summer. And so Michael de Jong decided to have [what I consider a fake] review of the process for appointing Special Prosecutors. Mr. de Jong sought as Reviewer Stephen Owen who is vice president of UBC in charge of good relations with governments. (Conflict of interest?)
Mr. Owen was fully informed of the wrongful appointment of William Berardino. He never referred to it in his Report. He wrote a glowing and celebratory Report and did the same kind of interviews with the press. The process of appointing Special Prosecutors in B.C. is essentially … wonderful!
Mr. Owen didn’t interview Kash Heed, William Berardino, Wally Oppal, or Geoff Plant.
But before writing his Report he interviewed (among others) two NDP MLAs – Leonard Krog and Mike Farnworth. They had a chance to demand that a totally different Report be prepared. They had a chance to make a major separate Report demanding the resignation of William Berardino and demanding a whole, new, thorough investigation of the appointment process of Special Prosecutors. The two NDP MLAs, apparently, had nothing negative to say about the process.
We know about the calamitous appointments I have noted.
What other calamitous appointments have been made that we know nothing about?
The appointment process for the placing of Special Prosecutors must look I believe – to reasonable and prudent British Columbians – soiled and corrupt.
The NDP doesn’t seem interested. Its two key MLAs on the matter are, we may assume, quite happy with the present system. They were interviewed by Reviewer Stephen Owen and – we must assume – agreed with him that the Special Prosecutor appointment system is … just dandy.
To be sure the stubborn refusal by the MSM to give them a fair and impartial hearing is discouraging, but they could have used other avenues. They still can.
Their failure to oppose makes them bear some of the responsibilty for the harm that Campbell and associates have done and are doing to our province.
I do believe Carole James was vocal about BC Rail before the last election, but she certainly fell silent after.
We have no choice now but to elect an NDP government and I hope a leader that will rise or fall on championing the people will soon emerge.
Too bad we couldn' elect them conditionally.
With reference to the RCMP investigation, we were told as late as 2009 that they were investigating Dave Basi for money laundering for his cousin Bains via buying and selling real estate in the province. There is certainly a lot of evidence that close family members of Dave Basi bought and sold a good deal of real estate in the time period under investigation. Why was that avenue not developed?
The RCMP will not look any better than anyone else in this sordid affair when you guys bring it to its proper conclusion.
Robins' suggestions of what to do with the MSM in part #5 are a great idea. The MSM have been using these same tactics on anyone who opposes them or their masters since forever. Lets see the shoe on the other foot for a change. If the NDP does form the next Government in BC I would assume they would get to choose which press outlets etc would be 'accredited'. They wouldn't have to worry about too much blow-back from 'accredited sources' after the election. Any chance they would be on-side with this? It could be great fun! Especially the attack and ridicule part. I have noticed a few posters here that have their Masters degree in this practice.
To bad the people of this province after fend for themselves against organized crime masquerading as government!
was smart enough to put Moe in as 'opposition'. Then get Christy a cushy job as a MSM PR guru, and the rest is history. Almost! Damn, I wisht I were 50 years younger!
Recently, I was fighting for some help for my special needs granddaughter and got I email from the NDP critic for Child and Family and she said her office was to busy to help, I was shocked.
Gordon Campbell office pass my letters unto somebody and by some miracle the Federal, Province and Aboriginal governments got together and solve the problems so my granddaughter is still at a safe loving Foster home and I'm graceful to whoever did what to make it happen.
I still believe that the opposition should stand between the controllers and demand that the powerless are treated fairly.
Robin it was good to read your column because you tell it like it should be told not like the MSM tell is on behalf the power of money.
I look forward to reading Robin Mathews blog everyday. Robin's and Bill Tieleman's blogs are the bright spot in the province. I can't imagine subscribing, let alone reading, the MSM on a regular basis. The days of investigative reporting are long gone, if we ever had them. To be fair, there are a few lone voices in the wilderness. Among the very few is Mark Hume. But that is the only one I can think of in the MSM.
In the big picture, how can anyone trust a for profit corporation with ties to other corporations reporting the "news" objectively and fairly? That is nonsense.
I think Robin in this last post has really identified some of the main issues that any opposition party should have dealt with. I'm saddened that the NDP failed and I am glad that the NDP must now re-establish itself, if only for its own members and its own integrity.
However, I have one small point. Referring to Liberal appointments, Robin asks, "What other calamitous appointments have been made that we know nothing about?" That question is impossible to answer. The question should perhaps be rephrased to something like: "Are there more calamitous appointments waiting to be found?"
One important point that Robin makes, however, is that "investigations" like that conducted by Stephen Owen of the process of appointing Special Prosecutors in B.C was seriously flawed since he failed to interview important principals and even failed to mention the obvious conflict of interest in the appointment of William Berardino. I'm shocked by Mr. Owen's failure. He receives an "F".
The Ombudsman, the Auditor General, Police Complaint Commissioner (ha, ha, ha), or the Freedom of Information Commissioner... oh yah, right David Loukedelis jumped ship and is now Deputy Attorney General, sworn to silence.
The single shining exception, standing alone on the public's behalf is Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond.
Are we very very naive??
How far reaching is the corruption and how deeply rooted? Why is someone in the position to not demanding a full inquiry now? The Liberals are at their weakest position ever and the trust from the public at it's lowest ever so why aren't we hearing demands for that hearing now? Is the corruption that far reaching that it has touched all and if it has who is controlling it? If it were just the Liberal party that is so weak why is there no one at this point willing to show some strength?
As far as the recovery of the evidence in the Basi/Virk case the quetion of entitlement should be addressed. Who is entitled to it. It belongs to the people of the province to whom the crown is representing or is in the guise of representing. If it should be returned to them it is in essence returned to the people and therefore the Government should have no right to ask permission to destroy it, it doesn't belong to the Government it belongs to the public.
If anyone should have entitlement it should be the defense as the evidence contained therein is supposedly against their clients and left for further actions.
In Canada our court system to my understanding is two tiered, one being civil courts the other the criminal courts. The civil courts are under provincial jurisdiction the highest level being the supreme courts of BC.
The criminal courts however while under provincial jurisdiction can be appealed to the higher Federal supreme court if justice at the provincial level is in question.If this evidence should be released and destroyed and this matter moved to the Federal supreme court, well, I just think that someone dealing with this evidence should be considering possible outcomes. Mr. Basi/ Virk could have more claim to it than anyone.
All this considered while the Government keeps heaping buckets full of money at the defense team there seems to be little incentive on their part to move forward on these grounds.
Other than the tax payers and the "criminals" Basi and Virk (who really aren't paying that dearly, having to hang in their posh Island homes) the only person who seemed to have to pay dearly, with his career, for trying to seek justice was former Chief Battershill of the Victoria Police.
Read this morning they might build a new 360 cell prison in Penticton, that would almost be enough room to house all the criminals involved in the theft of BCRail.
Here's what I think we must do. We must rip off the gag that has been placed on BC society in the last decade.
We need to 'name names' and reveal the deeds being done under the cosy blanket provided by a complicit MSM.
Yes, we all fear law suits, charges or threats of losing our jobs. However, when we are all so muzzled and fearful, that simply enables and encourages the greed-and-power mad people who belong to the bureaucracy-authority class to abuse us further.
Mary is right, we need a LotusLandLeaks service. Alex Tsakumis is leading the way on "naming names". Maybe he was a Johnny-come-lately, but he's causing a lot of nervousness, and he's helping to build public resolve, as did/does BC Mary and other fine bloggers. But we must 'name names'; to speak in hushed, oblique tones achieves nothing. More of us need to stand up and challenge ourselves and others to speak out.
I know many, many people who are so frightened of the health care authority in their region, or the nursing home staff where their parent lays in waste fearing the next beating or worse. I know people who have been horrifically mistreated by the medical doctors and nurses but cannot afford to have their lives ruined by speaking out, in the courts or in the media. They would be destroyed in the process.
I understand that fear, but we need to understand that we will be stomped on further if we meekly submit. That's our challenge right now, to find the courage to speak out, join with others of like mind, support one another in speaking out.
Name names. Stop being a party to the silence on which this corruption feeds.
That goes for you in the bureaucracy too. Some of you have to be decent people, who know the harm being done. That goes for judges too, some of you have to be decent people (God, please). Lawyers? I won't even go there. Virtually all are trained, then steeped, in corruption.
Each of us has to look ourselves in the mirror, then look around to see what is happening to our society, or we're headed to a far, far worse world here in BC and Canada, so fast it will make our heads spin.
They - or whomever might just come through the famous middle and suddenly form a government, albeit a neophyte one, overnight - will also be able to decide which publications and websites get the bulk of government advertising contracts.....and also could pursue policies designed to break the back of the press and media monopolies by encouraging profitable new, independent media outlets to become competitive in the monopoly-dominated environment. "Diversity of communications" or some such the policy could be called - and in instrument of its implications would be to target government advertising.....partisan yes, in a way, but other than tit-for-tat could just be done by pursuing incentives to support news publishers, rather than target all government advertising spending on only the big, slimy ones.
Remember what they tried to do to the Straight?
Might be worth examining the numbers of government spending going towards certain news networks.
And what's with that disused legislative channel that's dormant right now? Seems like an ideal venue for a televized public inquiry, since the politicians are too chicken to hold a sitting of the House.....
A lot of other places that money could go, of course, including the public inquiry all the trolls are complaining will cost 23 miliion dollars.
Ha ha ha ha ... abolish the Public Affairs Bureau and save the $23million annual cost ...
to pay for the Public Inquiry into all aspects of the corrupt sale of BC Rail ...
What a good idea !!
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