Tuesday, September 19, 2006


From the Editor-in-chief, Times Colonist

This morning, finding zero news of Basi & Virk, I said:

Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2006 11:38:50 -0500
To: "Edit (Times-Colonist)"
Conversation: Basi, Virk, Basi in court yesterday?

Is it too much to ask, that a daily newspaper should report on the
appearance in BC Supreme Court yesterday (Sept. 18) of Basi, Virk,
Basi, their lawyers, the Special Prosecutor (on behalf of the people of
BC, presumably) and Judge Elizabeth Bennett concerning a matter of
serious significance to this province and this country?

Did the trial take place, as forecast, to discuss the status of
evidence and to confirm the trial date? If so, what was the decision?

If not, was the trial delayed? postponed? stayed? what?

Too often, the public is accused of being apathetic. But it's
difficult to keep informed of such an important matter as Basi, Virk,
and BC Rail ... if the news isn't published in the mainstream press.

BC Mary

and then she said:

From: "Chodan, Lucinda (Times-Colonist)"
Date: Tue Sep 19, 2006 1:31:32 PM Canada/Eastern
To: bcmary14@rogers.com
Cc: "Helm, Denise (Times-Colonist)" , "Obee, Dave (Times-Colonist)" , "Patterson, Candace (Times-Colonist)"

Subject: Re: Basi, Virk, Basi in court yesterday?

Dear Ms. Mary:

There was indeed a pretrial appearance by Basi, Virk et al yesterday. Our
reporter staffed the appearance, and nothing of note happened. As is the
case in such instances, the reporter consulted with his editor and did not
write a story. When there is news, we plan to report it.

Lucinda Chodan
Victoria Times Colonist
2621 Douglas St.
Victoria, B.C. V8T 4M2

The fact that they appeared in court isn't news?

Wasn't every court appearance for Glen Clark reported on (ad nauseum)?

I notice that Lucinda Chodan didn't answer your questions.

Mary, do you know when the trial is scheduled to begin?

Great work as always Mary.

Thanks for getting Ms. Chodan on the record.

My response over at my place.

Testing ...
Ms Lucinds Chodan's answer to BC Mary's query about the Basi/Virk/Basi "trial" was typical of the general apathy into which the members of the media seem to have sunk in regard to this very important matter. Has it dragged on for just too long so that it's no longer "sexy"? Has the phrase "investigative journalism" been dropped from the vocabulary?

Ms Chodan completely missed the point, in my view. The fact that there was no news IS the news! After two and three quarter years of pre-trial dates, lawyers' hearings and heaven knows what other forms of obfuscation, there SHOULD be news.

Is the press being shackled by an embarrassed government? Or do they just not care about one more nail being hammered into the coffin of democracy in this province?

Perhaps it's on the government's agenda that this whole unsavoury mess be allowed to slither and squelch away between the grubby paving stones surrounding the B.C. legislature.

Sheelagh Weeks
Salt Spring Island, B.C.
There are lumps in the electrical current today, obviously. Otherwise, I can't explain how my comment signature reached out (above) and snagged the next visitor, and I apologize for the intrusion.

Many thanks indeed to Sheelagh Weeks for perseverence ... and for a red-blooded statement in support of a free press. Great stuff.
In answer to Great Aunt Bertha's valid, urgent, and legitimate question: the trial of Basi, Virk, and Basi was scheduled for 4 Dec. '06 ...

... but what we don't know, because nothing was reported from the court room of Judge Elizabeth Bennett on 18 Sept., is whether that date was upheld, changed, or what.

If it's true that there are Public Access Computers in the 2nd floor corridor of Victoria Court House, perhaps somebody could punch in the names of Basi, Virk, Basi and get the new trial date.

Did Kafka write this script, or George Orwell, or what? Surely this can't be happening in Canada!

One thing is for sure-- there won't be any question periods to keep it from slithering between those less than gleaming paving stones.
BC Mary,

I will be in Victoria for the 3rd week of October. If nobody else gets a chance before then, I will go to the court house and snoop around.

GAB, that would be GREAT ... so here are some co-ordinates:

Victoria Registry Trial Coordinator office
Room 210, Victoria Court House
Blanchard at Burdett
Phone 250.356.2050
Fax 250.952.6824

Trial Co-ordinator: Diane Lesetch
Her phone: 250.217.4196

and those Public Access Computers (just punch in the name and the info pops up, they said) are right out there in the 2nd floor corridor somewhere. Maybe in a closet or something, as I sure didn't see them the day I was there looking for Dave Basi.

By phone, these people sounded very helpful. Can't wait for your report back !!
The Times-Colonist should be reporting any court appearance by anybody involved in the raid on the Legislature, even if the appearance is just a perfunctory one to set another date.

But hey, this newspaper is owned by Izzy Asper of CanWest - a major financial backer of the Liberal Party. And we know this scandal goes all the way to the top of the federal Liberal Party.

That's why we count on people like you BC Mary. Keep up the good work!!!
I agree with your view on reporting, Anon. Whatever they decided, we need to know about it.
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