Wednesday, February 23, 2011

 

BC Rail Public Inquiry must now be much broader

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BC Mary comment: This is Skookum1's comment following on from Bill Tieleman's column on Dave Basi ... 

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Quote from another comment on Bill's blog: Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie has given them documents that BC tax payers paid for through a 6 million hush fund. 

Skookum1 responds ... 

No, these aren't what that $6 million hush fund bought.  What that bought was a premature end to the trial before all the evidence was heard, and before our famous cast of characters had to hit the stand, and face an even worse grilling than the amnesiac Mr. Brown or the disappearing "birthday boy" Mr. Kenning.

Given that we know the defendants slandered in these "uncensored" documents were offered incentives, and also mildly threatened, to come back to the fold and keep their mouths shut, and they would be rewarded and should be concerned for their families yadayadayada (all mob-talk dressed up in finery), you do have to wonder what led to the case [being] dropped against the third defendant in this trial.

And y'know, we still don't really know what went on [in] the related ALR trial, do we, and what that cost.  And what evidence we were not allowed to hear during that trial, nor is it available for our viewing now.

The price of what we paid for not being allowed to see these documents ourselves is not just the cost of the trial and proceedings but also the time paid to staff of Crown lawyers and RCMP who prepped and selected these materials.  And we paid for it with a railway, which proper court proceedings would have shown to be have been improperly shucked off and which should be rightfully returned to us WITH DAMAGES.  Not having that railway anymore, nor its revenues, nor the tax indemnities and other locked-in benefits in debates which are still marked "confidential", and debates about which are marked "privileged" - we don't have that.

We also don't have our democracy, or what we thought was our democracy.  And we don't have an honest press.  We have a press that is part of the machinery of lies and thievery and institutionalized deception and systemic corruption and closed proceedings, and courts and police and Crown lawyers beyond reproach by the public.  Indeed, even showing contempt for the public, in no small measure.

Can you spell "parochialism"?  I can, but this is something much more than simply parochialism.

It is piracy.  In Her Majesty's much-benighted name.

The public inquiry must now be much broader than simply the tainted sale of BC Rail.  It must be about the process itself, about what our government is, and how to stop it from doing this or anything like it again.  It must be about abuse of process - in the courts, in the offices of the Crown, amongst the RCMP involved in this case, and the pack of lobbyists (=Liberal insiders) serving as intermediaries to expedite, and profit from, helping companies buy out not just our province, but our very government, from beneath our feet.

As long as our media lie to us, they keep the public fed with entertainment and "soft news" and all manner of deception and distortion and deflection in order to keep the system of corruption of which they are a part from being visible to the public at large.

The internet has changed that; not so sharply here as in other countries at the moment; but they cannot muzzle us, and for every bit of mud they hurl, as they have done here to the defendants, only serves to underscore what a vicious system it is and how far they'll go to keep what they have stolen.  And who they have bought.....

We just don't want the railway back.  We want it all back.  And if it means that those running for the Liberal leadership were involved in it, we need to know that NOW, not a long ways down the line.  We need a court to overrule ACJ Mackenzie, who has shown no concern for the public interest since she was parachuted into the case, none whatsoever.

If our press won't help us, and in fact does the kind of thing it has done this week, we need the international press to find out about this, and we need to be loud about it; maybe not in mass protests like those sweeping countries with more open tyranny than our "hidden" one, but in reaching out to papers and writers and friends around the world.  By engaging in "internet warfare".  Not denial of service attacks and viruses, but dissemination of the truths we have all now so grimly learned; a war of information.  Our own media try to silence us; that is good enough reason for other media to sit up and take note, who are not part of the webs of power which seek to rob us and dominate our economy, and take our resources, while building zillion dollar homes at the same time as shutting down our social institutions, health care, schools etc.  Since when should the operations of government be a money-making business for someone from another country????

Perhaps all these people don't have to look at themselves in the mirror.  Perhaps they have no reflection at all....
--
... given the previous rulings to do with this case, that the public interest is paramount and the public is an interested party - as made by Justice Elizabeth Bennett, who also lifted the original publication ban and also ordered released thousands of pages of documents - that that should be the basis of a case to the Court of Appeal to release all the evidence to the public and also to make it digitally available, so easily searchable and sources.  Even what she released was only in physical copy and limited access - a primitive method rooted in the colonial, pencil-and-pen driven past.

Like Dave Basi, we want everything released without filter and without control.  It's our right, as interested parties to a transaction that affected all of us, to demand that.  If Justice Bennett does not live up to her own prior principles here and "does the right thing", the next step up is the Supreme Court of Canada, and the other apparatus of the federal justice system.

But Justice Bennett, as previous presiding justice on the case (if not on the trial itself, though that's debatable), has the power and interest and, we hope, the same generosity towards the public interest before the Crown's complaints saw her removed from the case.

And THAT, also, should be part of the public inquiry.  As should the mysterious and heavy-handed role of ACJ Dohm, in so many ways...

Somewhere there's a fox ready to rampage through the chicken coop.  We need to find that fox.

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BC Mary comment: Citizens have rights. We also have duties. In my opinion, the responsible citizens of British Columbia are standing up as guardians of the homeland ... fulfilling that essential duty.

Responsible citizens can sit no longer with bags over our heads pretending that all is well in the province we love. It isn't. And we're the court of last resort in a functioning democracy.

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Comments:
Return of the railroad plus damages is a great concept and not too far fetched. If this was not a publicly owned asset and the sale went as it did, it would appear to anyone that damages would be awarded the the seller. As the buyer rigged the percieved auction by influencing insiders in the sale. NOT a stretch at all. And if it is then tell us about it in an inquiry. Come clean. It might be embarrasing, but in the end all anyone has is their integrity.
 
A 'functioning democracy' we are not.

I think a functioning democracy would have elected representatives attending a parliament for a reasonable fixed duration, where issues affecting and involving the electors would be discussed, a concensus reached, and an act passed to accomodate that concensus.

A functioning democracy would have a non partisan media scrutinizing and reporting on the actions of the government.

A functioning democracy would have an independant judiciary, unencumbered or influenced or tampered with in any way by the sitting government.

A functioning democracy would have a police service that followed and applied the letter of the law, and was committed to upholding the principles of peace, public safety and good government.

A functioning democracy would not allow the financial weight of corporate entities to unduly influence the actions and activities of government, at any level.

A functioning democracy would be a representation of the people, for the people , and by the people.

I do not see these requirements being presented or represented in British Columbia at least, and perhaps not elsewhere in this country.

It is imperative that we do whatever we can to rectify the situation.

If we fail to remove the current 'elected' government from office; and they continue to refuse to show up for work and operate outside of a sitting legislature, then we should also refuse to show up for work. After all, are they working for us, or are we working for them?

Whatever it takes, we must have a functioning democracy and only constant vigilence(sp?) will keep us from sliding back down the present path.
 
Well said, Skookum 1:

"The public inquiry must now be much broader than simply the tainted sale of BC Rail. It must be about the process itself, about what our government is, and how to stop it from doing this or anything like it again. It must be about abuse of process - in the courts, in the offices of the Crown, amongst the RCMP involved in this case, and the pack of lobbyists (=Liberal insiders) serving as intermediaries to expedite, and profit from, helping companies buy out not just our province, but our very government, from beneath our feet."

Well said, BC Mary:

"Responsible citizens can sit no longer with bags over our heads pretending that all is well in the province we love. It isn't. And we're the court of last resort in a functioning democracy."
 
To "r.w.", Not For Publication ...

Very encouraging. Thanks, and thanks again.
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I see you spotted a couple of missing words; I was writing on the fly...but at least I went back and corrected my usual plethora of typos before posting. But I noticed this too, where I repeated a word instead of saying what I'd meant to:

in contracts which are still marked "confidential", and debates about which are marked "confidential"

That should have been "debates...which are marked "privilege", and I suppose I also meant negotations; it was a flood of thoughts coming out when the logjam broke, couldn't keep all the logs in the water at once, I guess....
 
"functioning democracy", allegedly, is similar to what Atlantic Monthly's slideshow says is why Canada got its 6.5 rating on the global Corruption Perception Index (CPI):

Canada is another parliamentary democracy with an advanced legal system, a strong multi-faceted economy and a well-trained, highly educated work force (http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2010/10/the-10-most-and-10-least-corrupt-countries-in-the-world/65222/)

Here's the actual link to TI and the CPIs for last year and and previous years>

http://www.transparency.org/publications/gcr

"To form this index, TI compiles surveys that ask businessmen and analysts, both in and outside the countries they are analyzing, their perceptions of how corrupt a country is. Relying on the number of actual corruption cases would not work since laws and enforcement of laws differ significantly from country to country."
- from the Wikipedia article on TI (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transparency_International#Corruption_Perceptions_Index)

There's a big subjectivity problem with this index, though. Why would business people and analysts who are part of the system of corruption ever admit that there was a problem?? Are, for example, Michael Walker or Michale Camppbell among those analysts? Patrick Kinsella? And as for business people, well, gee, that would be a long list just insofar as BC Rail alone goes.

This is only a perception index, and it only surveys people in the business and academic/media elite.

Maybe we should come up with our own index, huh?
 
I remember that during the succession crisis in Mexico, when fistfights and dragging-people-from-the-podium in the Mexican Congress/Senate reached the TV networks, Harper bemusedly commented that Mexico had a "functioning democracy" or "vibrant democracy", with a twisted little "don't get me to say anything serious" grin of amusement on his face. the actual fistfigh was the challenge against undemocratic meaures being taken to ensure a PAN takoever of the election results, as I recall it, and this was within days (either way, can't remember exactly) of the violent crackdown on the University of Oaxaca by Mexican troops during Vicente Fox's last "lame duck" month in power, before Calderon took over (as a result of that fistfight).

There was a pronounced subtext of anti-Hispanic bigotry in Harper's grin and comment, but the reality is that Mexican politicians cared enough to physically scrap over illegal procedural moves, whereas Canadian ones just tug the forelock and carry on....Mexico in fact, because of that openness and passion, does have a more open political system than our own; partly because of the strength of the non-corporate press there; it has vicious policing and that nasty civil/drug was and more, but its political machineries and culture are nowhere near as stultifed and secretive as our own.....
 
I totally agree with Skookum1's musing. Very good.

Actually, I wouldn't mind seeing someone cross the floor in the House of Commons and lay a licking on Harper or "mad dog" Bucky Baird from time to time. It would be good entertainment and a break from the lies,spins and subterfuge.

Anyway,I see that BC Mary managed to get a few licks in in the Globe and Mails disgusting story on Gary "the Ferret" Collins before discussion was cut off. They must be taking a lot of heat or more probable, they don't want the truth to come out.

To Mark Hume!
You can't polish a turd Mark, and no matter how hard you try the stink is not going to go away. Shame on you.

CGHZD
 
Warmest salutations to Mary, Robin and Skookum1 for their thoughtful thoughts and for giving a damn about BC, Canada and the plights of average everyday people around the world.

Best line in all of the above:
"Perhaps all these people don't have to look at themselves in the mirror. Perhaps they have no reflection at all...."

Skookum1, those clever words enticed me to ROFLMAO. I needed that musing to lift me from the acrid decomposing body of politics, enforcement and justice we have been finding in BC, Canada and the world. I am sure that the Egyptions would smile understanding were your words translated into Arabic.

And Robin, you are right. It is most wonderful that most warrior-citizen journalists do have wits about them - whatever the level of syntax they may conjure with which to make their points.
 
Hypocrite Harper, tries to pass himself off as a christian, he could do with a good pasting. I heard two M.P's from the east say, Harper is a fascist, a dictator, and too stubborn to work with.

The media is so despicable, in their bias for the Campbell crime family. It is so blatant, all a person can do is laugh. Does the media, really think we believe anything they say. They are Campbell butt kissers.

Campbell's corrupt sale of the BCR, was a total travesty of justice. The next party in office, should fire the entire BC judicial regime, that we have now, which is so horribly corrupt. We need to start out with some new rules, for a new judicial system.

The RCMP are so corrupt, I think we should try the Provincial police. They have made changes, for the better. The image of the RCMP, is in tatters, all across the country. They are pro Campbell, and are not for the citizens.

What is the problem, with releasing all of the BCR documents. Do Campbell and the BC Liberals, have something to hide? BC people know, Campbell has plenty to hide. Every day, there is more and more, of Campbell's corrupt sale of the BCR, being exposed. However, we do know Campbell's favorite quote, shred, shred, shred.
 
The provincial police can't have made any changes, since they've been disbanded since, I think, the mid-1950s. And they were pretty corrupt, especially in their later days, which is one reason the RCMP was brought in to replace them. Maybe you're thinking of the VPD?

But any police force subject to political interference, and also free to take part in politics in its own right - as both the RCMP and VPD have been doing - is no longer viable, any more than is our current justice system.

@SIG: I'm not sure that Arabic culture has the same thing about people with no souls not showing reflections in mirrors; possibly, given the deeply-connected and intertwined roots of the hermetic tradition across Western cultures (which includes them, particularly Egypt). I was of course more meaning vampires, not just those who've made a pact with the Devil or who are only simulacra or golem....to me there's no mistaking why vampire and zombie movies are such a mainstay of the local film industry.....it's a reflection of "who we are", at least as far as when "who" means the flavour of local culture, particularly of the elites.

As I just said on Bill's blog, we need a wiki-leaks style hacker to penetrate the firewalls around the Ministry of Attorney-General and Special Prosecutors and get at what's not been released - what's in digital format anyway, and maybe a catalogue of what's not.

Ultimately, and in the short term, the place to take this is the Court of Appeal and hope it's the bench of Justice Bennett whose lap it lands in; beyond that to the Supreme Court. Pretty much a given that the parliamentary justice committee or the Competition Bureau, both controlled by Tories, are not worth bothering with.

Robin's account and his analysis of what Basi said to Tieleman implies that there was tampering with the evidence by the RCMP and/or Crown after the admissions were signed/agreed upon. Not that that miscarriage of proper process is going to go anywhere but where the emails thing went to, and so much else in the irregular proceedings of this case, beginning with the appointment of the Very Special Prosecutor as the damage-control hatchetman down to this present situation of trial-by-media.

Why have the Conflict Commissioner and Auditor-General taken no investigative measures here? Oh yeah, they're Liberal appointees TOO.
 
On second thought the federal Conflict Commissioner might be Tory-appointed, but that's tantamount to saying BC Liberal too (as is also the case if he was federal-Liberal appointed).
 
Basi and Virk could have had their day in court.

They chose not to.

Now they cry like babies "it was all a joke" bs. Too bad. They are adults and they knew that pleading guity meant the book was shut. Now all I want to know is HOW the prosecutor was able to allow basi to now have to pay his legal fees.

That I dont like one bit and it reeks to high heaven.
 
Anon 4:00,

Would you repeat this please? The line which begins "Now all I want to know is ..." doesn't make sense.

The PREVIEW button allows you to re-read your comment (and correct it, if necessary) before you press PUBLISH YOUR COMMENT.
 
Now all I want to know is how the prosecutor was able to allow basi to NOT have to pay his legal fees.
 
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