Monday, April 30, 2007


News commentary - 30 April, 1 May

There is nothing in today's Vancouver Sun -- British Columbia's largest daily newspaper -- about developments in Vancouver Supreme Court yesterday on Her Majesty the Queen vs. the three former B.C. government employees. Nothing. Not a word. This too is NEWS.

We understand that last Friday, Crown Counsel requested a publication ban. Hello? The prosecution wants silence? And the defence wants the public to know? This is disturbing NEWS also not published in the big daily newspapers.

Following is what little we could find ...

Collins demands Crown release surveillance material
The Globe and Mail - May 1, 2007

VANCOUVER -- Former finance minister Gary Collins yesterday called on the Crown to release any police surveillance material it has of him from a 2003 meeting with U.S. business executives concerning the government sale of BC Rail. {Snip} ...

He said it was hard to believe the RCMP's specially trained surveillance team couldn't get recordings of the meeting when it appears to have had undercover officers a few steps from Mr. Collins's table.

Mr. McCullough said another gap in disclosure was revealed to him on Sunday when John Preissell, former president of the United Auto and Collision Association, called to advise him about a 2003 phone call concerning Mr. Collins.

Mr. Preissell, who became the first witness in the corruption trial when Mr. McCullough suddenly called him to the stand, testified that in 2003, his association was in conflict with ICBC, the Crown-owned Insurance Corporation of B.C.

He said his association had been using the services of Pilothouse Public Affairs Group, a lobbying firm in Victoria that also worked for OmniTRAX at that time.

Mr. Preissell said Brian Kieran, a Pilothouse director, called to warn him not to launch a media campaign against Mr. Collins.

"The bottom line was he threatened me repeatedly for me not to go to the media and embarrass the Finance Minister," Mr. Preissell said. "I was actually afraid."

Mr. Preissell said he subsequently complained to the police about the call.

Mr. McCullough said that complaint should have generated police reports, but only a few "cryptic" notes were provided through disclosure.

"We would like to know where this material is," Mr. McCullough said.

Outside court, Mr. Roberts said Mr. Collins "has no recollection of Mr. Preissell ... and if Mr. Kieran contacted Mr. Preissell, it was at Mr. Kieran's initiation and not at the behest of Mr. Collins."

Pretrial applications are expected to continue for several weeks in the case, which is set to run through the summer and into the fall.

Full story:
Canadian Press (Vancouver Province)
Published: Tuesday, May 01, 2007

It's like "pulling teeth" to get access to evidence from a special prosecutor probing the criminal case stemming from a raid on the B.C. legislature, a defence lawyer complained yesterday.

Kevin McCollough told the judge hearing the case that the defence discovered on its own both an alleged threat with a connection to a government minister and that RCMP had made video and audio surveillance tapes of a key restaurant meeting involving former finance minister Gary Collins.

"It isn't an obligation for us to provide all the needles in the haystack," McCollough told Justice Elizabeth Bennett as he laid out a long list of material that wasn't disclosed to defence lawyers by the special prosecutor's office.

"The reasonable inference is the special prosecutor didn't appreciate the relevance of the documents," he said.

"Or the RCMP are simply telling him not to [disclose evidence.]" McCollough also alleged that the RCMP were working closely with the provincial Liberal government because police Insp. Kevin Debruyckere was briefing his own brother-in-law, Kelly Reichert, on the case.

Reichert is the B.C. Liberal Party's executive director.

"That reeks of the RCMP and the Liberal government having some sort of quid pro quo, some sort of relationship," he alleged. {Snip} ...



Voice OnLine - 30 April 2007

What a SHAMEFUL picture is emerging of the RCMP investigation in the notorious December 28, 2003 Raid on the Legislature case involving Dave Basi, then-assistant to then-finance minister Gary Collins, Bob Virk, then-assistant to then-transport minister Judith Reid and Aneal Basi, who was a government communications officer at the time and who was Dave Basi's cousin. The charges of breach of trust, fraud and gaining benefits involve the B.C. Rail sale to CN Rail.

Last week we reported that then-RCMP Sgt. Kevin Debruyckere was apparently biased because he was the brother-in-law of B.C. Liberal Party executive director Kelly Reichert who worked with Gary Collins and Premier Gordon Campbell - and this RCMP officer only disclosed this relationship to his bosses in early 2004, as defence lawyer Kevin McCullough, acting for Virk, argued before B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett.

And Dave Basi's lawyer Michael Bolton told the media outside court that one of the problems with the investigation was the inducements that were apparently offered to Erik Bormann before he admitted to bribing Basi in a statement to the police.

As though these were not bad enough to sully the RCMP's reputation and badly damage their case, this week more shocking revelations emerged - and they exposed the DIRTY TACTICS USED BY CAMPBELL AND HIS TEAM.

The defence lawyers revealed how Campbell and his team used Dave Basi to make phony calls to radio talk shows and use disruptive tactics against opposition politicians, as McCullough put it: "The use of these political operatives was from the top down." He said it was clear that Campbell WAS AWARE of this.

McCullough said that Campbell actually mentioned in caucus that one of Basi's callers was good according to the wiretap evidence. He said that this call demonstrated that not only was the premier aware that it was a phony call, "but the premier was PLEASED. That call was not something that Mr. Basi dreamed up on his own, but rather was DIRECTED TO DO." (Emphasis mine).

According to the defence lawyers, Basi was directed "to get the posse together" to deal with NDP Leader Carole James interview on the Bill Good Show on Radio CKNW. He was also instructed to give a "rough ride" to former Social Credit premier Bill Vander Zalm on a talk show.

He was also asked to arrange for a fraud Safeway customer at a protest against salmon farming.

Basi was instructed by Mike McDonald, who reportedly managed media affairs for the Liberals, and Campbell's press secretary Mike Morton. [Mike McDonald's wife, Jessica McDonald, is Gordon Campbell's Deputy Premier. - BC Mary]

Also, last week the trial heard that Basi was paid for two $10,000 contracts by the Liberal Party for monitoring the media.

The defence lawyers now want all government documents regarding the B.C. Rail sale.

The implication here is quite obviously that many documents will be those that involve the premier himself - and we could be headed for some EXPLOSIVE REVELATIONS.

Neal Hall,
Vancouver Sun - Monday, April 30, 2007

The trial involving two former provincial government aides accused of corruption heard today that a defence lawyer got a call over the weekend from a man who said he received a threatening call four years ago from a lobbyist.

Kevin McCullough, the lawyer for the accused Bob Virk, told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett that the man claimed during the weekend call that he got a phone call in 2003 from Brian Kieran, who at the time ran a lobbying firm called Pilothouse Public Affairs. The man said Kieran threatened that if the man launched a media campaign against then-finance minister Gary Collins, it would have dire consequences for his organization.

The lawyer said the man who called over the weekend worked in the automobile repair industry. (Collins' lawyer, Clark Roberts, who is attending court to monitor the pre-trial proceedings, said he talked to Collins and he has no recollection of meeting that man who alleged he felt he was threatened by Kieran.) {Snip} ...

But the defence has not received disclosure of the complaint, McCullough said in his sixth day of legal arguments about the lack of disclosure of relevant documents.
He pointed out that while the special prosecutor has disclosed "hundreds of thousands" of pages of documents, the defence still is finding documents that have not been disclosed.

The defence shouldn't have to find needles in a haystack, McCullough told the court. {Snip} ...

The trial continues at the Vancouver Law Courts.


Sunday, April 29, 2007


Vancouver Supreme Courtroom 54 on Monday 30 April 2007. Basi,Virk,Basi.

Start time: 10:00 AM. Basi, Virk, Basi pre-trial conference is confirmed.

Please consider carefully the final 3 items of the 7-page Criminal Court List, which I have hastily copied at 6:45 AM as follows:

AA-1440-5 - Limited Access vs HTMQ - Directions to consider unreasonable delay
AA-1440-6 - Limited Access vs HTMQ - Staying the proceedings as an abuse of process
AA-1440-7 - Limited Access vs HTMQ - Court to reconsider 2 of its prior rulings.

If these 3 items mean that the Defence team is raising their arguments to a challenge, this could be a historic day in Courtroom 54 and many people will want to be in the public gallery. At 6:45 AM, I have no way of checking exactly what this means -- or if indeed this is even the BC Rail case.

Click on the B.C. Criminal Courts Link at left, to see the complete listing for today, 30 April 2007. - BC Mary.

A confidential source within the Times Colonist confirms that the prosecution did petition the judge for a publication ban on Friday April 27.

Crown Counsel WInteringham asked Madame Justice Bennett for a publication ban on further evidence in the BC Rail trial but then withdrew it, BC Mary was told.

Times Colonist says that they remain committed to opposing such attempts in future, that they "think it is crucial that British Columbians are aware of what is going on in this trial."


Friday, April 27, 2007



Robin Mathews
27 April 2007

To the average Canadian visiting a Supreme courtroom, surprises are the order of the day. Today was no exception. The eleven or so people in the gallery - to say nothing of about the same number in the court proper - waited, and waited for the day to begin. They waited nearly three quarters of an hour.

To the average Canadian it seems strange that no one in the gallery knows why there is a delay, however perfectly reasonable. Shouldn't someone come out after ten minutes and announce proceedings are delayed, give a reason, and give some sense of when proceedings will begin? Doesn't the judge presiding have some obligation to everyone there to tell them why their court is not operating? Strange. Little things like that are symptomatic of the gulf between the officers of the court and people for whom the courts exist. The tendency of court officers at act as if the people of the country for whom the courts exist do not deserve the slightest consideration is deeply disturbing.

I joked with one journalist that the court should provide us with refreshments when there is such a delay. Perhaps not that. But the judge should make certain that the people for whom he/she works - the people in the gallery, the Canadian people, are not treated like garbage to be ignored when such incidents occur.

Today troubled words, a serious clash ended the morning session. With usual deliberate organization, Defence counsel Kevin McCullough reviewed the actions (and the inactions), the responses (and the failures of response), the disclosures (and the failures to disclose) of the Special Prosecutor about whom he said at one point that such an appointment was made to assure complete independence and impartiality, but that quite a different sense could (and perhaps must) be gained from William Berardino's conduct.

McCullough spent a good deal of time on the matter of so-called "star" witness, Erik Bornmann, the "deal" struck between him and Crown counsel, the negotiations to put together and partially unpick the deal, the conduct of the Special Prosecutor in the making of the deal (and its partial unmaking), the strange action of Erik Bornmann in issuing (untrue) press notices that he had been completely exonerated of wrong-doing, the Special Prosecutor's conduct in the matter of Erik Bornmann continuing in "articles" with a legal firm in Toronto and, apparently, about to proceed to admission to the Law Society of Upper Canada while in a legal condition which found him (to refer to Defence's language) self-admittedly guilty of bribing a public servant.

And all that was to make a point relentlessly hammered in these hearings. Disclosure of materials needed by the Defence has been shoddy, imperfect, and - in the case of the all-important star witness - almost non-existent.

While the sights of Defence are upon William Berardino and his assistants, to the average Canadian visiting a Supreme courtroom a question occurs (yet again). Where has the judge been? Why has the judge not insisted upon full and timely disclosure?

We watched (as an average Canadian I insist upon making this point again) Madam Justice Brenda Brown in the service of justice, the Gordon Campbell government's Olympic plans, and a U.S. corporation fall upon average, decent Canadians with draconian and swift action - to the point of jailing for ten months a 78 year old woman for failing to show contrition and jailing a sick, elderly Native woman in a wholly unsuitable jail, which conduct almost certainly caused the woman's death!

It is not enough to say that the demonstrators at the Eagleridge Bluffs violated direct and clear court orders and so admitted themselves to contempt of court. They only did so because the judge uttered unnecessary court orders in that case.

The fact - in the Basi, Basi, and Virk trial - that Madam Justice Bennett has not issued court orders to the RCMP, Crown Counsel, certain government officials and perhaps others may reasonably be seen as a failure to use necessary court power. In that case there is very little likelihood that she would have had to cite those ordered with contempt of court. Her firmness of purpose would have ended what seems to average reasonable observers to have been and to be delay of a kind that smacks of an attempt to pervert the course of justice.

All that brought the end of the morning to what might be called a serious clash between Defence and Prosecution. Crown counsel Winteringham rose in dismay at the apparent inferences of Kevin McCullough, suggesting that he seemed be suggesting prosecutorial misconduct by William Berardino.

She was replied to by Defence Counsel Michael Bolton who summed up the argument of the morning with clarity and perspicuity, anchoring it in the case being made for huge failures of disclosure. When Kevin McCullough rose to assure Crown counsel that if it saw prosecutorial misconduct as a conclusion of his argument, he was not responsible for that.

Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett suggested to Mr. McCullough that perhaps he had been making inferences, but he would not give any ground. The objection of Ms Winteringham was voided of any formal character, and the assembly filed out, each to pursue his and her own thoughts on the matter.



27, 28 April - from the newspapers

Vancouver Sun Editorial
Friday, April 27, 2007

{Snip} ... there is another issue that has to be weighed. The mere fact that former Liberal staffers Dave Basi and Bob Virk are on trial on charges of fraud and influence peddling connected to their work in government cannot preclude any discussion of the operation of government, past and present, in the political arena. {Snip}

Public officials of all political stripes must be able to declare at any time that they are not using tax dollars to fund unethical political practices. Campbell's position has been further undercut by the willingness of Attorney General Wally Oppal to proclaim during the same question period in the legislature that the allegations made by Virk's lawyer, Kevin McCullough, were "baseless." We'd like to know what Oppal knows, so that our confidence in the ethical operation of the premier's office can remain undiminished. {Snip}

An editorial worth studying for its familiar style of reaching out to include the NDP in the headline and tail-line (if the news is bad). Read it in full at:

Neal Hall
Vancouver Sun - Friday, April 27, 2007

Defence lawyers representing two former provincial government aides at a corruption trial hammered away today at the Crown's failure to disclose an immunity-from-prosecution deal with the Crown's key witness.

Erik Bornmann, who is expected to be the Crown's star witness at trial, apparently cut a deal with the special prosecutor some time in 2004, months after the raid of the legislature offices of Dave Basi and Bob Virk.

Virk's lawyer, Kevin McCullough, alleged in legal arguments seeking further disclosure that Bornmann was given special treatment and was not charged, even though he confessed to bribing government officials involved in the $1-billion privatization sale of BC Rail in November 2003.

The defence lawyer said the special prosecutor, Bill Berardino, had a duty to keep detailed records of his contact and negotiations with Bornmann and his lawyer, George Macintosh, to provide a transparency to show how the immunity deal was reached. {Snip} ...

McCullough pointed out that one of Macintosh's letters, sent April 15, 2004, suggested he had received a "most disturbing message" from Berardino that the agreement reached with Bornmann "is at an end." The defence lawyer said there is no disclosure over what prompted Berardino's message.

"He did something to bring about that call from Mr. Berardino," McCullough told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett. "Something must have occurred and we have absolutely no disclosure of it," he said. {Snip} ...

The trial continues Monday at the Vancouver Law Courts.
Updated version of foregoing article:

Basi-Virk lawyer says RCMP didn't look into close ties between lobbyist, deputy minister

Neal Hall
CanWest News Service
Saturday, April 28, 2007

VANCOUVER -- The RCMP "tailored and targeted" their efforts in a bid to nail two former British Columbia government aides accused of accepting bribes involved the sale of B.C. Rail {Snip} ...

The defence lawyer speculated that the call may have stemmed from Bornmann issuing a news release that indicated he had been cleared of any wrongdoing and was now a witness instead of a suspect.

It was untrue, McCullough said of Bornmann's false claim of exoneration, which was reported by a number of media outlets at the time.

The defence lawyer questioned whether part of the Crown deal was to allow Bornmann to pursue a legal career. Bornmann received a law degree from the University of B.C. and then went to Toronto to article for a law firm.

He had applied to the Law Society of Upper Canada to become a lawyer and would have had to disclose on his application that he was under investigation for bribing government officials, McCullough said.

He alleged Bornmann lied about his past in his application, which undermines his credibility.

He said Berardino had a duty to tell the law society about Bornmann but instead did nothing until the law society contacted him.

McCullough told the court that Bornmann now is facing a disciplinary hearing after a member of the public filed a complaint. {Snip} ...

Read the complete column at:
Vaughn Palmer looks at British parliamentary history to discuss the B.C. government's evasion of questions in the Legislature:


Palmer writes: "The B.C. Liberals can, and do, duck questions on any number of matters, including this one. But they needn't pretend their stance is grounded in any principle other than naked self-interest."

Read all about it at:
Take the following as the preview of a horror movie about things which could happen anywhere. In particular, note the "whirlwind speed of change" factor:

Excerpt from:
By Naomi Klein
The Nation - 14 May 2007 edition

When Yeltsin left office, his family had become inexplicably wealthy, while several of his deputies were enmeshed in bribery scandals. These incidents were reported on in the West, as they always are, as unfortunate local embellishments on an otherwise ethical economic modernization project. In fact, corruption was embedded in the very idea of shock therapy. The whirlwind speed of change was crucial to overcoming the widespread rejection of the reforms, but it also meant that by definition there could be no oversight. Moreover, the payoffs for local officials were an indispensable incentive for Russia's apparatchiks to create the wide-open market Washington was demanding. The bottom line is that there is good reason that corruption has never been a high priority for the Bank and the IMF: Its officials understand that when enlisting politicians to advance an economic agenda guaranteed to win them furious enemies at home, there generally has to be a little in it for those politicians in bank accounts abroad.

[It's important, when reading articles like the following, to note that the current government hired 185 new spin doctors under Order in Council #656 dated 12 Sept '06 in addition to those already on staff. Not a misprint: 185 new "communications officers".]

By Les Leyne
Victoria Times Colonist - April 28, 2007

The older a government gets, the less enraptured it is with high-brow concepts like openness, transparency and accountability.

Premier Gordon Campbell's government is six years old this spring. {Snip}

Campbell's practice is to convene the media in his office for a group interview semi-regularly. He's done that once since the legislature resumed sitting in February.

He also did a scrum this week after an event, repeating more than a dozen times that he had nothing to say, because the issue involved was before the courts.

His office's explanation for the lack of press conferences? "No one's asked." On the other hand, what's the point in asking, when you know he's not going to answer?

There are two more current examples of how experience has corroded that early commitment to transparency. {Snip}

The other example of opacity overtaking transparency was the recent introduction of changes to "strengthen" freedom of information legislation. It's the sixth year in a row they've amended the law and the sixth time they've missed the mark.

Open government campaigners say the one amendment in the new bill that directly affects FOI requests actually impedes them, by increasing the government's proven ability to stall.

It's the latest of 16 specific amendments over the years that make FOI requests more difficult, time-consuming and expensive. (The commissioner found this month that the Environment Ministry's estimate of the fee for compiling pollution data was unreasonable. It wanted $173,000!)

Freedom of information commissioner David Loukidelis dumped on the latest changes. They do nothing to change the loophole that lets government censor anything considered advice to a minister.

He said that section "seriously undermines public accountability."

Changes have been recommended throughout the Liberal term, but the longer they're in power, the more intent they are on ignoring them.

Which reinforces the unfortunate point: The longer a government's track record, the shorter its patience with openness and accountability.

Jeff Lee
Vancouver Sun - April 28, 2007

A defence lawyer in the B.C. legislature raid case touched off a firestorm this week with allegations in court that high-placed government appointees engaged in a dirty tricks campaign to discredit Liberal opponents.

Kevin McCullough used information from RCMP wiretaps, e-mails and other documents obtained for discovery purposes to allege that friends and associates of Premier Gordon Campbell used their government positions to manipulate the media and public opinion by stacking telephone lines on radio shows with paid callers and paying someone to heckle protesters.

The explosive allegations -- an attempt to dislodge more government documents McCullough and other defence lawyers want to use to defend their clients, -- Robert Virk, David Basi and Aneal Basi -- caused the premier to issue a blanket statement in the legislature that he wouldn't comment on any allegation while the case is before the courts.

But suggestions that political appointees in Victoria used their taxpayer-funded jobs to orchestrate partisan political activities raise troubling questions about both government and party operations.

And the allegation by McCullough that the premier himself was aware that some radio callers were organized by Basi -- a ministerial assistant to then finance minister Gary Collins -- points to a disturbing crossover of traditional lines in politics, according to Norman Ruff, a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Victoria.

"Everyone knows that (stacking radio shows with sympathetic callers) goes on. But the concern here is that this seems to be part of the daily activities of a ministerial assistant condoned by the premier's office. That's where it crosses the line," Ruff said. {Snip}...

McCullough unveiled a strategy that appears to be aimed at showing that Basi was acting within a network of political operatives at the Legislature condoned by both the premier's office and the B.C. Liberal Party. {Snip} ...

Included among the allegations McCullough made in court were:

* That Campbell was aware -- and thankful -- that Basi had stacked a talk show with friendly callers;

* That Morton had emailed Basi to say he would let Campbell know "your team is in place" when the premier appeared on a CKNW talk show;

* That McDonald and Basi discussed faking calls on talk shows, and of being careful not to use people whose voices could be identified;

* That Campbell angrily upbraided Reichert when Morton was seen at a Liberal fundraising dinner sitting with officials from OmniTRAX, a company that was bidding for BC Rail;

* That McDonald told Basi to "get the posse" to ambush NDP Leader Carol James on another CKNW talk show with Bill Good;

* That Basi and Reichert had at least 43 telephone conversations in October and December, 2003, many of them dealing with the pending BC Rail sale, talk-show stacking and elections legislation Reichert didn't like.

Ruff said all the allegations are troubling and pose serious problems for Campbell. But he was particularly struck by McCullough's statements in court that Basi had received two $10,000 "media monitoring" contracts from the Liberals while he was a ministerial assistant.

Such government assistants "are inherently party-political, in that they are there to protect the political interests of the minister," he said. "But they're not regarded in any way as an agent of the political party. This week is the first time I've heard of someone who is a ministerial assistant and have a contract with a political party. I rolled my eyes when I heard that."

Ruff believes people will be troubled by the allegations made by McCullough because the public understands that "dirty tricks" campaigns at the best of times are wrong. When they are orchestrated on the public payroll, they're worse.

"The kind of activities being described here are dirty tricks, and if they are being engaged by political parties, they are to be deplored," he said. "But what's offensive and alarming is if they are being performed by someone who is on the public payroll."

He also says the crown argument that Basi and Virk were acting on their own and tried to use their offices to obtain federal government jobs has been damaged by McCullough. {Snip} ...

Ruff notes that the allegations coincide with several significant political events: the pending privatization of BC Rail, the selection of James as leader of the NDP, and the continuing fallout from Campbell's drunk-driving conviction in Hawaii.

Campbell was caught driving drunk in January 2003, and pleaded guilty several months later. James was elected as leader of the NDP on Nov. 23, 2003. Two days later the Liberals announced the BC Rail deal.

Morton, McDonald and Basi all were appointed to their jobs when the Liberal government came to power in 2001. McDonald worked for Campbell when he was Mayor of Vancouver. When he left the provincial government in December, 2003, Campbell stood up in the Legislature and gave him a warm farewell. One month earlier McDonald's wife, Jessica, was hired as a deputy minister in Campbell's office, where she remains to this day. {Snip} ...


Thursday, April 26, 2007


Trial continues Friday 27 April 2007 - 10:00 AM - Courtroom 54. Vancouver Supreme Court, 800 Smithe Street.


Bill Tieleman
Friday 27 April, 2007

The defence in the trial of former BC Liberal government ministerial aides David Basi and Bob Virk today alleged the Crown has deliberately refused to disclose details of a secret immunity agreement with key Crown witness Erik Bornmann.

And Kevin McCullough, lawyer for Virk, alleged in BC Supreme Court that Special Prosecutor Bill Berardino actually cancelled an immunity deal with Bornmann after the former provincial lobbyist implicated in the BC Rail deal told media he had been cleared of any wrongdoing by the RCMP and Special Prosecutor.

But McCullough says that ultimately the deal was not terminated and alleged that both the RCMP and the Special Prosecutor allowed Bornmann to falsely claim he had been exonerated in order to continue his highly-paid business lobbying the Gordon Campbell government for corporate clients.

These are defence allegations only, unproven in court and the Crown has not yet responded to them. The defence is arguing a disclosure application before Justice Elizabeth Bennett.

McCullough alleged that Bornmann's statement to media that he had been exonerated was false.

"Mr. Bornmann had bribed public officials, had made submissions that he had committed criminal offences," McCullough alleged.

McCullough also alleged that the Special Prosecutor had been "stonewalling" all defence requests for details about the deal, why it was apparently cancelled in a phone message to Bornmann's lawyer and why despite knowing Bornmann had not been cleared neither the RCMP nor Berardino corrected the record.

"When the Special Prosecutor chose to cut the immunity deal with Mr. Bornmann they were obligated to disclose the details," McCullough said. "It's an absolute stonewall to providing that information."

On Tuesday in court Janet Winteringham, Berardino's associate, had objected to McCullough's characterization of Berardino's conduct in the case, saying it amounted to an allegation of "prosecutorial misconduct."

McCullough also said it was strange that the RCMP had never requested the financial or tax records of Erik Bornmann in their investigation.

McCullough said that Aneal Basi, a former government communications aide alleged to have laundered payments by Bornmann to David Basi for confidential government information on the BC Rail deal, was actually issued a T-5 income tax receipt by Bornmann but that was never sought by RCMP.

Posted by Bill Tieleman at 1:31 PM
Bill Tieleman

More fascinating defence allegations again this afternoon.

And you know there is blood in the water when sharks show up all the way from Victoria!

NDP MLAs Leonard Krog and Mike Farnworth, critics for Attorney-General and Public Safety respectively, attended court today to take in the proceedings.

Krog told me this afternoon that: "The Premier's office, the BC Liberal Party, the Crown and the RCMP all have a lot of questions to be answered about this case." {Snip} ...


Hansard Blues
Part Deux

When we took a break from the Hansard Blues for Question Period yesterday, the Soup Nazi had just sat down so his colleague the Honorable Wally Oppal, Attorney General could take over the challenging task of finding ever new ways to say nothing. Now as an attorney general, Mr. Oppal is competing at an elite level, Alberto Gonzales managed to find new ways (or just repeat himself) to say I don't recall for the whole day under increasingly impatient grilling by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Estimates vary from just over seventy to over a hundred times that "Torture Boy" managed to say "I don't remember" depending on which variations one counts. In the end his whole day of testimony came down to in short form - "I don't have a clue just what happened, but I am sure that none of it was "wrong."

Surely Mr. Oppal could do as well for just a hour or so under the gentle "coddling or poaching" (as opposed to grilling) of the tame NDP opposition or can he? Well to carry on in the same manner as Hansard Part Uno lets return to the Blues themselves.

(Once the tumult had calmed to a low roar........Wally managed to say:)

Hon. W. Oppal: That might be news to members of the opposition. Allegations are often made. Evidence is often led, but evidence often isn't factual. It may or may not be proved. But it's not proper for those questions to be raised in this House and for anybody to comment on those. As lawmakers, we should be painfully aware of that. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY (annotated by kootcoot) and exaggerated by kootcoot]

Hon. W. Oppal: This is the same question, so I'll give the same answer.

(it wasn't actually the "exact same" question, but......)

J. Horgan: Well, it's a sad, sad day in British Columbia when you can't ask the Premier of the province what his staff do for a living. The taxpayers of British Columbia….

(the two questions above prompted Wally to tag Gordo who jumped back into the ring to deliver some campaign speeches about how wonderful BC truly is under the BC Lieberals )

Keep in mind that this is the same Wally Oppal who according to Scott Sutherland of Canadian Press said last October that.....

he is concerned that an RCMP wiretap recorded an innocent phone call between Premier Gordon Campbell and his then-finance minister in 2003, slightly before police raided the legislature in late December.

Wally Oppal, a former B.C. Appeal Court judge, said Wednesday that his office has not been asked to consider the matter officially. "But it's obviously something we're concerned with," he said on his way into a weekly cabinet meeting.


Oppal said it's relatively common that wiretaps often record lawful conversations and do not contribute to gathering evidence of a crime.

"That's always been the problem with the wiretap sections of the (Criminal) Code, people who are entirely innocent of any wrongdoing are caught in the intercepts," he said.

(do you think that the FBI caught John Gotti's wife making an appointment with her hairdresser - should they release the Teflon Don if they did?)

He said he was troubled by reports the RCMP may not have been entirely up front about the fact the wiretap warrant was for a government phone.

"I don't know whether they misled the judge," said Oppal, who as a judge said he authorized many wiretaps. "It would bother me if they did.(BTW, It bothers me that it took about two years (until safely past the election) to release the information in the warrants. And what about those documents Robin Matthews is still waiting for?)

"Keep in mind this is an invasion of privacy of phone calls that are lawful in every sense (and) if something is altered without the consent of a judge then that's something that is a matter of concern."

While Oppal expressed his opinion, the province's solicitor general, responsible for the RCMP in B.C., was reluctant. (interesting)

"These are matters that are playing out in court as we speak and I think are best left there," said John Les. (this is starting to sound familiar)

One does tend to wonder why it was so appropriate for the AG to be expressing his opinion all over the place while John Les stuck to the party line. After the Gord carried the ball for awhile, Jenny Kwan, formerly one half of the previously seemingly more effective opposition of two took the floor, necessitating the Premier to tag his AG to jump back into the fray.

J. Kwan: It is very unfortunate that the Premier has displayed, in my view, complete contempt for British Columbia's…


Mr. Speaker: Members.

J. Kwan: …loyal opposition in asking these questions. These questions are legitimate. Liberal staffers have been caught with media manipulations for the government's political gain in the past….


Mr. Speaker: Members. Members.
Continue, Member.

J. Kwan: It is legitimate to ask the Premier whether or not any of those kinds of activities are continuing today. Will the Premier commit in this House to launch a full investigation into this matter? And will he confirm for members of this House that none of his staff are engaged in media manipulation for his own personal political gain

(Notice that Jenny was asking the Premier a question, but notice who answers, it's a bird, it's a plane, no it's the Consigliere)

Hon. W. Oppal: Yes, the names are not before the court. Those names are not before the court. But any six-year-old who reads the newspapers would know that all this arises out of the trial that's now being conducted in the Supreme Court.

Apparently even issues to do with Prem Vinning and his activities back in 2005 are related to "The Trial." I guess having "everything" off limits due to the ongoing "trial" is the next best thing to having war powers, and fortunately, I guess provinces can't declare war on anybody, except for their own citizens. Mr. Oppal managed to stonewall the rest of this attempt to elicit information with such gems as:

Hon. W. Oppal: You know, we don't conduct "investigations" while trials are going on......

Hon. W. Oppal: ..............All of those are matters that have arisen out of the Supreme Court trial that is presently going on in Vancouver. The member opposite can say what he wants — that this doesn't arise out of the trial. We don't conduct investigations that are parallel to trials.

Hon. W. Oppal: Well, if the question has been asked 19 times, it's been answered 19 times.

(Saying "It's before the courts, thus I can't comment" is more of an evasion than an know....ANSWER.....and 19 times is really a conservative estimate.)

The so-called cloud that the member speaks of is a cloud that's over on that side of the House. I can assure the House that there's no cloud over this side of the House.

(I'm starting to get it now, the cloud is on the opposition side of the House. The NDP actually gave away BC Rail, while the Premier was drinking and driving and allegedly philandering on Maui)

I could include many, many more of Wally's weasel words, but it's already getting pretty darn redundant. NDP member S. Simpson thought maybe another line of questioning might prove more likely to be productive. Fat chance, different questions same old answers, though from the Premier himself rather than the AG.


S. Simpson: We know that the integrity of the Premier's office and of this government is in shambles, and it's unravelling more every minute in this question period as they deny information. In the court proceedings today…


Mr. Speaker: Member.

S. Simpson: …counsel for Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk made it clear that they will be seeking disclosure in the coming days for documents that this government is withholding. The counsel is making the assertion that those documents will confirm or deny that the B.C. Rail oversight committee, made up of senior cabinet ministers from this government, was aware of the discussions of a consolation prize in the B.C. Rail deal.
My question is to the Premier. If the Premier is so sure and clear that these are false allegations, will he commit today to release all of those documents to the defence?


Mr. Speaker: Excuse me.


Mr. Speaker: Members.

Hon. G. Campbell: At least on this side of the House, we believe in the rule of law. (ROTFL).......
We will not taint that process.(is that a promise Gord? Like "We will not sell BC Rail) We will encourage the prosecution to be to the fullest extent of the law. I'm sure the defence will provide their defence, and we will not in any way taint that process, so we can get to a resolution that every British Columbian can count on.


Mr. Speaker: Members. Members.

[End of question period.]

The sad thing, or one of them, is that we pay these people and provide the venue for this nonsense. Gordon Campbell had a real winner during one of his shifts serving as the Wall of Stone. Maybe I will need to start referring to Gordy and Wally as a tag-team, known as what else, the Wall of Stone.
Hon. G. Campbell: The independent review which is taking place into the substance of the e-mail that was written by the third party will be fully public. It will be available to the public, subject to freedom-of-information and privacy protection legislation

I was wondering if Gordon is referring to the new FOI legislation just rammed through the House this spring under which the results of so called "Public Inquiries" don't even have to be shared with the whole cabinet, much less the public? Just wondering!

© used with permission of House of Infamy


26 April 2007 - News clippings

Ex-Finance Minister Gary Collins meets Prem Vinning, former BC Liberal staffer caught in phony talk show call


By Bill Tieleman, 24 hours
26 April 2007

Former B.C. Liberal Finance Minister Gary Collins had a lunch meeting Wednesday with an ex-staff member of Premier Gordon Campbell’s office who resigned after being caught making a phony call to Campbell during a talk show ...

Read the full column at


Zips lips on allegations of scandal, adviser's conflict of interest
Michael Smyth
The Province - Thursday, April 26, 2007

Things have been so downright stable at the B.C. legislature lately I'd begun to think the old Government Street snakepit was losing some of its venomous charm.

But then the convention centre went $300 million over budget, Gordon Campbell's lobbyist buddy Ken Dobell was outed for all his lucrative contracts and -- the juiciest of 'em all -- courtroom allegations of political dirty tricks exploded right inside the premier's office. {Snip} ...

But wait a minute. What about those leaked e-mails involving conversations between Insurance Corp. of B.C. president Paul Taylor and Victoria lobbying company Pilothouse Public Affairs, the very outfit at the centre of the B.C. Rail scandal?

Campbell's deputy ordered an investigation into that little stinker, but now he won't say whether he'll investigate the dirty-tricks affair.

Campbell has proved he's a smart politician. But he's making a crucial mistake this time. {Snip}

These kind of stinkbombs have a way of exploding later if you don't defuse them right away.

Keep your clothespins handy. This could get smellier.

Full story at:
Carlito Pablo
The Straight: April 26, 2007

... political observer Norman Ruff told the Georgia Straight that the mood in Victoria has shifted following revelations of partisan media manipulation emerging from the trial of three ex–government aides.

Ruff, a retired UVic political-science professor, pointed out that {Snip} ... this was clearly noticeable during the April 24 question period when Campbell himself answered Opposition queries on alleged partisan media operations by B.C. Liberal staff, which included making fake calls to open-line radio talk shows. {Snip}

Source URL:

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

              Gimme dem ole
Hansard Blues

Well I ain't got no more to lose,

I got dem mean ole Hansard Blues........

Hansard from yesterday afternoon should live on as a case study in future editions of Understanding the Stages of Denial for Dummies. Future social scientists and mental health professionals may actually diagnose clinical denial using the The Soup Nazi Scale of Denial.

Early on, like just after the raids, Gordon Campbell's position could be summed up as: "I don't know."

......David Basi? Who's that?

I don't know why I fired one and just put the other on paid leave, heck, I hardly know who they are, much less what they do.............

Of course the famous memo excerpted below from 2001, kinda, sorta, contraindicates the old "I don't know" denial stage/tactic.

June 25, 2001,
from: G. Campbell
to: all cabinet minsters

Martyn Brown will arrange the structuring and staffing of your offices. All ministers are instructed not to act like the chief executive officer of their ministries, this role should be performed by your deputies who will be selected by the premier's office."

Now the Soup Nazi and his minions have moved onto the next stage which can be summed up as "Can't talk now, it's before the courts." Though this stage has been apparent for awhile now, it became glaringly obvious during question period yesterday at the ledge. It appears that the only things that can be discussed in the House now are matters such as the Armenian Genocide, Agriculture Day and Aboriginal bosoms in an historical mural in the lobby. The MSM really went to town with the bosom story, natch. Anything relating to BC and/or the present is verboten because it relates to the "Trial." Actually in a way, I have to agree with Gordo and Wally, the scope of this trial is much more than the misdemeanors of Dave, Bob or Aneal.

The complete Hansard (blue) for yesterday afternoon is here. But some of the highlights include: (annotated by koot) and bolded by koot

C. James: Serious allegations.....(any question)?

Hon. G. Campbell: As we have canvassed in this House in the past and as I will repeat today, (and repeat, and repeat, and repeat....) I have no intention of commenting on issues that arise during the court case that is currently before the courts. I think it's our responsibility to protect the integrity of that process. We will do that, and I will not be commenting on any issues that come out of that court case while it is ongoing.(you can say that again, oh, yeah, you do) [all excerpts DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY - annotated and exaggerated (bolding) by kootcoot]

Hon. G. Campbell: My answer remains the same.

Hon. G. Campbell: .............we are going to let this run to fruition prior to any comment on any issues that arise out of that court case.

(shall we use the passive voice for variety?)

Hon. G. Campbell: Issues that arise out of the court case will not be commented on by me prior to the conclusion of the court case.

(perhaps it's time for some future tense)

Hon. G. Campbell: The answer is that while there is a court case ongoing, I will not be answering…

Hon. G. Campbell: I don't know how I can be clearer. I will not be commenting on issues that arise…

(maybe by answering a question, occasionally, that may make your agenda clearer, oops, I forgot, that's the point.)

(Then an opposition member began a question with)

M. Farnworth: I didn't mention the term "courthouse." I didn't mention the term "trial." I didn't even ask if these employees came from the firm of Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Dean and Mitchell. What I asked, hon. Speaker…

(the rest of Mr. Farnworth's question and the reponse)

Farnworth cont'd... There's a pattern in this government of senior staff misrepresenting themselves in the public. We've seen it with Prem Vinning, we've seen it with the Deputy Premier's assistant, and now we are asking questions about staff in the Premier's office.
So my question once again to the Premier is this. Can he assure this House and can he assure the taxpayers of British Columbia that senior communications staff in his office are not working on blatant partisan media manipulation?


Mr. Speaker: Members.

Hon. W. Oppal: I know that the member opposite didn't mention the trial. He didn't have to mention the trial. Anybody that's read the morning Province knows what he's talking about. He's talking about evidence that emerges from the trial.
I want to point out one other thing, and that is that allegations are often made in court. They're not necessarily factual. You know, that might be news to the….


Mr. Speaker: Members.

Attorney, continue.

So the mentioning of Nixon's plumbers and architects might have scared the Soup Nazi back to his seat, or his jaw had become numb from the drone of constant repitition or Mr. Farnworth ventured into territory scary enough to awaken the Consigliere, Wally, Wunnaful, Wunnaful Wally. At least the Soup Nazi deigned to appear at the Legislature this week. He was probably hunkered down last week, memorizing the "I can't speak about an issue that is before the courts" line and its myriad variations in tone, voice, tense and meaning. He also probably needed to learn a few impressive twenty five cent words to throw into sentences written in the passive voice, like "fruition."

Things to watch for in the future. Once Gordo and the Guys can't hide behind the all-purpose "it's before the courts" anymore; like when they are witnesses under oath, or Justice Bennett "orders" documents to be produced (oh be still my heart) they will move on to stage/strategy Level III or "I can't recall." If we were in Amurka, they would invoke the "Fifth" and I don't mean the fifths Gordo used on Maui.

So many of the amateur or professional "media manipulators" that troll Mary's site or the Tyee boards repeat ad nauseam that the Campbell Agenda is just bidness as usual, so no blood, no foul. I beg to differ, Glen Clark's (completely legit) deck or the Zalm's SMALL paper bag of money wouldn't even create a blip against the current background of slime. Especially if the media actually paid attention to what is important. But of course yesterday it was BC's own version of Janet Jackson's nipple at the Superbowl, or the Indian Maiden Breasts in the Lobby of the Ledge. Perhaps one slow news day there won't be so much important breast related news happening and the media will be forced to seriously cover say, Question Period, to fill unsold ad space. I mean if there is no editorial content at all, the advertisers might as well publish their own flyers and hire their own people to put them on doorknobs.

I now realize that yesterday afternoon's Question Period, just the part addressing "ALLEGATIONS OF PARTISAN MEDIA ACTIVITIES BY LIBERAL STAFF," [Page 1355] is simply too rich of a vein to exploit in merely one post. So I will now try to get together Hansard Blues: Part Deux or What did Wally Say and Where and When Did He Say It? Wally is teetering on the brink of an opportunity to become famous internationally as the Alberto Gonzales of British Columbia, or perhaps the John Mitchell of Campbell's Cabinets 'R' US? Find out soon when Part II is released!

© used with permission of House of Infamy


25 April 2007 - Press Cuttings

CKNW - April 24 2007 - 11:50 PM

VICTORIA/CKNW(AM980) - Allegations of a media manipulation campaign stemming from the trial of three former Government aides dominated Question Period Tuesday.

Premier Gordon Campbell refused to answer any questions about the claims that his staff orchestrated fake calls to talk-shows to praise the Premier or bash the NDP. But Opposition House Leader Mike Farnworth didn't buy Campbell's argument that he can't comment without jeopardizing the trial, "I didn't mention the term courthouse, I didn't mention the term trial, I didn't even ask if these employees came from the firm of Haldemann, Erlichman, Dean and Mitchell Mr. Speaker."

The Premier says he won't answer any questions related to the trial until the court proceedings are over.


[Significantly updated]
DEFENCE LAWYER SEEKS CABINET DOCUMENTS ON BC RAIL SALE Ex-aide's counsel wants to examine integrity of the bidding process
Neal Hall
Vancouver Sun - Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Documents expected to involve Premier Gordon Campbell and his cabinet will be sought in an application regarding the controversial sale of BC Rail, the defence announced Tuesday at the corruption trial of three former provincial government aides. {Snip} ...

"Clearly there are overtones and undertones of very significant political involvement in this case," said Bolton, who is representing Dave Basi, former assistant to then finance minister Gary Collins when the government announced on Nov. 25, 2003, the sale of BC Rail operations to Canadian National. {Snip} ...

The defence decided to file the new application after realizing the RCMP never sought certain documents, he said.

"It's our belief that because of the involvement of the solicitor-general and the cabinet in the BC Rail deal, that there must be additional documents that the RCMP have never sought," Bolton said. {Snip} ...

Most of Tuesday was spent by defence lawyer Kevin McCullough, representing Virk, arguing that the special prosecutor, Bill Berardino, failed in his obligation to provide full disclosure of the negotiations and immunity-from-prosecution deal reached with Bornmann, who has connections to the federal Liberal party and was a key organizer for Paul Martin's leadership campaign in B.C.

"Mr. Bornmann has received special treatment by not being charged," McCullough said in court.

Janet Winteringham, a member of the special prosecution team, objected to McCullough's allegations of prosecutorial misconduct, telling B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett that the prosecution will have more to say later.

McCullough told the judge that Bornmann admitted to police in early 2004 that he gave bribes to government aides but was allowed to continue "merrily along" lobbying government, as were Bornmann's partners, Brian Kieran and Jamie Elmhirst, in the Pilothouse lobbying firm.

Pilothouse was paid $297,918 by OmniTRAX for lobbying services, he said.

McCullough also revealed that police, after executing a search warrant on Bornmann, found a screenplay on his computer titled Politico, which the prosecution deemed irrelevant but the defence considers relevant.

He said the prosecution also failed in its obligation to provide witness statements from nine people listed as potential Crown trial witnesses, including Ken Dobell, a special adviser to the premier. {Snip} ...

The Basi-Virk trial resumes FRIDAY


Vaughn Palmer
VANCOUVER SUN - Wednesday, April 25, 2007

VICTORIA - ... The premier also maintained that "as far as I know this is an isolated incident."

Does he still think it was an isolated incident? Has he checked? Are his current staff involved in these kinds of things?

"I expected the premier would want to clear things up," Opposition leader Carole James said following question period.

"But he can't tell us whether his own staff is involved in political activities."

Won't tell, is more like it. The premier isn't about to comment on a proceeding he doesn't control.

The allegations of dirty tricks had some Opposition members harking back to the gold standard of political scandals, the Watergate case.

House leader Mike Farnworth cracked that maybe the Liberals had been recruiting office staff from "the firm of Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Dean and Mitchell," all figures in the imbroglio that brought down their boss, U.S. president Richard Nixon.

When Campbell got up to speak at one point, New Democrat David Chudnovsky, heckled a line from Nixon: "I am not a crook." (The Speaker of the legislature directed him to withdraw, and he did.)

The deliberately unresponsive strategy also recalls the Nixon administration's way of stonewalling irksome queries from reporters, critics and others.

"Stonewalling: Saying 'no comment,' hanging tough -- a strategy based on those actions," former Nixon speechwriter William Safire wrote in his definitive Political Dictionary.

"The word was popularized during the Watergate investigation," he continued. "To stonewall is to impede ... usually through silence, sometimes through delay."

Time will tell whether the strategy works any better for Premier Campbell than it did for the originator.

Read Vaughn Palmer's complete column for April 25 at:
Defence seeks documents RCMP left behind in raid
THE GLOBE AND MAIL - 25 April 2007

The defence team in a case about alleged corruption connected to the government's sale of BC Rail for $1-billion will be seeking access to confidential cabinet documents and other material the police never gathered during an unprecedented raid on the legislature in 2003.

The Supreme Court of British Columbia was given notice yesterday that an application for government documents will be coming within days. {Snip} ...

The privatization of BC Rail is at the heart of the RCMP investigation that led to charges of fraud, accepting bribes and money-laundering against Dave Basi, Mr. Virk and Aneal Basi. Dave Basi and Mr. Virk are accused of leaking confidential government information about the BC Rail process in return for bribes, and Aneal Basi, who was a low-level information officer, is alleged to have laundered the payments.

The defence contends, however, that Dave Basi and Mr. Virk were "political operatives" who at all times were following government directions.

The defence argues that the RCMP "tailored and targeted" their investigation to focus on the minor figures to leave politicians out of the case. {Snip} ...

In Victoria yesterday, Mr. Campbell refused to respond to allegations from the defence on Monday that his top officials were involved with Dave Basi in a dirty-tricks campaign that included setting up phone calls to radio stations and disrupting protests by groups opposed to government policies.

Mr. Campbell said the matter is before the courts so he can't comment.

Read the full story at:

Jeff Rud and Lindsay Kines
Times Colonist - Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Premier Gordon Campbell refused to comment yesterday on allegations that current and former senior government and Liberal caucus staff members were actively involved in media manipulation tactics. {Snip}... Campbell refused to answer any questions about whether he was aware of these activities or whether the public can have confidence that his staff is not involved in such activities now.

Thirteen times during a media scrum at the legislature -- the most fierce interrogation Campbell has faced since his arrest for drunk driving in Maui in 2003 -- Campbell declined comment, citing the fact the Basi and Virk case is before the courts.

Read the full story at:

Les Leyne
Special to Times Colonist - April 25, 2007

Kevin McCullough is a Victoria criminal lawyer few people have heard of, but he's emerging as the hot new star of the Official Opposition.

And he couldn't have come along at a better time. After limping along and making only sporadically successful forays against the B.C. Liberals, the New Democratic Party now has a bulldog, normally specializing in murder and dangerous offender cases, who might have an entire backyard of political bones to dig up.

McCullough's politics are unknown to me. But he better get used to New Democrats hanging on his every word for the next few months. Because like it or not, he's the NDP's new main man when it comes to supplying raw material for use against the Liberals.

He's currently acting as defence counsel for Bob Virk, charged in the long-awaited corruption trial involving the manoeuvering that went on behind the scenes during the government's move to privatize B.C. Rail.

The three-year wait for that trial to begin has given everyone lots of time to collect evidence, or at least, identify places where evidence lies. So only a few days into the trial, McCullough has detonated a few little bombshells that the NDP quickly adopted as their own. {Snip} ...

It's easy to imagine what will happen if the lawyers turn up some hard evidence about how things work in the Liberal government. There's going to be a direct pipeline running from the Vancouver courthouse to the legislature. Deliciously embarrassing questions for Premier Gordon Campbell will be BlackBerryed from NDP courtroom observers to the Opposition caucus faster than you can send Canucks scoring updates.

The Liberals cut all ties with one of the accused, Dave Basi, right after the legislature raid. They eventually terminated Virk, as well.

So the defence appears to be in payback mode. The opening of the trial showed them in a mood to take down as many Liberals as they can in support of their position that Basi and Virk were only small fish in the big pond into which the police dipped their net.

All of which leaves the premier in an awkward position. Yesterday he took the time-honoured stance all B.C. premiers adopt when government matters end up on the Supreme Court docket: "I will not be commenting ... matter is before the courts ... protect the integrity of the process."

The trouble is, he had to repeat that position six times and Attorney General Wally Oppal had to reiterate it another nine times. No matter how principled that stand is, after 15 times in a row it starts to sound a little lame.

Particularly when the questioning eventually morphed into pointed queries about whether Liberal staffers sitting in their legislature offices were butting into radio shows using fictitious names and disguised voices during daytime hours, when they were supposed to be beavering away for the good of all British Columbians. {Snip} ...

In the hallway later, where "blatant media manipulation" is an art form, James told reporters that the Liberals are running away and trying to hide, but "the premier's going to have to hear those questions, because we're going to keep asking them."

That assumes he keeps showing up for question periods. Given how uncomfortable he looked Tuesday, it's safe to assume his schedule of appointments elsewhere will fill up rapidly.

In the mean time, the operative phrase in the NDP caucus is "Go, Kevin, Go!"


Tuesday, April 24, 2007


24 April 2007 - Collected press clippings

Don't miss this barn-burner by Bill Tieleman, writing about yesterday's scene in Vancouver Supreme Courtroom 54:

... It was at times as if the roof had been lifted off the giant ant farm that is the BC legislature, letting all in the courtroom have a sneak peak at what just might have been going on there in 2003.
But there were more details than ever before as well.

In the highly controversial allegation related to the $1 billion privatization of B.C. Rail, McCullough said B.C. Liberal Party Executive Director Kelly Reichert was taped by police in a call to Basi on Oct. 28, 2003, discussing a situation where Premier Campbell's Press Secretary Mike Morton sat with OmniTRAX, one of the companies bidding for the rail company, along with their lobbyists from Pilothouse Public Affairs, at a Liberal fundraising dinner.

"Reichert says he gave Gord a three-page memo on Saturday. Gord was yelling at Reichert because Mike Morton had fucked up. There was a dinner where Mike Morton is positioned with OmniTRAX -- he's at the Pilothouse table," McCullough said.

Of course we now know that two of Pilothouse's partners, Erik Bornmann and Brian Kieran, are key witnesses for the Crown against Basi and Virk, while the third, former Liberal Party of Canada B.C. president Jamie Elmhirst, has been subpoenaed to testify in the trial.

Read the full story on The


Neal Hall
Vancouver Sun - April 24, 2007

The defence announced today at the corruption trial of three former provincial government aides that a new application will be made to seek government documents regarding the controversial sale of BC Rail in 2003.

Some of the documents sought would involve the provincial cabinet, including Premier Gordon Campbell, defence lawyer Michael Bolton explained outside court. {Snip} ...

"Clearly there are overtones and undertones of very significant political involvement in this case," said Bolton, who is representing Dave Basi, former ministerial assistant to then-finance minister Gary Collins when the government announced in November, 2003, the privatization sale of BC Rail operations for $1 billion to CN Rail. {Snip} ...
Read the full story at:


Globe and Mail - April 24, 2007

VANCOUVER — ... Outside court, Michael Bolton, one of several lawyers for three former government employees, said the defence doesn't believe the RCMP got all the relevant material when it searched the legislature offices of Dave Basi and Bobby Virk ...

“It's our belief that because of the involvement of the Solicitor General and the cabinet in the BC Rail deal that there must be additional documents that the RCMP never sought with respect to the bidders, the bidding process and the possibility that there were considerations [offered] to some of the bidders who stayed in the process,” said Mr. Bolton. {Snip}... The defence contends, however, that Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk were “political operatives” who at all times were following government directions.

Asked if the defence would specifically ask for material from Premier Gordon Campbell's office, Mr. Bolton replied: “That is probably premature to say that, but we'll be asking for materials that certainly one would expect the premier would have had access to.” {Snip} ...

Read the full story at:


Bill Tieleman - 24 April 2007

"Stonewalling." That's what defence lawyer Kevin McCullough alleged Tuesday in BC Supreme Court that Special Prosecutor Bill Berardino has been doing in response to repeated requests for details of a deal lobbyist Erik Bornmann cut for immunity from prosecution for testifying against three ex-government aides.

Across the water in Victoria, the New Democrat opposition were saying Premier Gordon Campbell was "stonewalling" too - refusing to answer their repeated question about earlier defence allegations that Campbell's top staff had been involved in a "dirty tricks" operation involving paid media manipulation and fake protesters.

Read Bill's full column at:


Monday, April 23, 2007


Robin: A Morning in Courtroom 54


A Morning in Courtroom 54

To the average person, visits to Court see strange human happenings. Today the unrelieved sleaze of the Campbell operation, however, diminished everything else. I'll get to that.

Today Gary Collins' lawyer was present again in the gallery, as he seems to be each day, protecting Collins' interests, as he makes quite clear. How he can do that, however, is not very evident. I'd say his presence alerts everyone else to the fact that Collins thinks he has things to worry about.

Then there's the Globe and Mail reporter sitting near me. The day opened with need to change or shift some of the schedule and when it was finished being done, I wasn't sure what had been decided. At the morning break, I asked the Globe and Mail reporter who shouted at me to leave her alone, she was working. She had a story to file, get out of the way - so to speak. I didn't mind at all, her outburst. Imagine working for the Globe and Mail.

So I asked a lawyer for the Crown and found out - nothing will be happening on the 25th and 26th. Then I went to another lady who hadn't been able to catch the change and told her. Her appreciation made up for the tongue lashing a little earlier.

The gallery had close to 20 people in it, a few seemed to be students on a "project" to look at the grand spectacle of Canadian justice.

For the Defence, Kevin McCullough again listed materials that have not been disclosed or shoddily disclosed. Madam Justice Bennett listened.

Quietly, McCullough pointed out that the divisions among the police, the politicos, and the politicians was not anything as simple as they all would like us to think. The Solicitor General, for instance, was being briefed on RCMP investigation. Campbell, Collins, Coleman (Solicitor General) and others sat on a key committee concerned with political direction. At least two men in Gordon Campbell's office were directing David Basi to do things in his role in Media Monitoring. What it comes down to - with very many illustrations given by McCullough - was that Basi himself, and using others, telephoned in to radio shows to pretend to be ordinary citizens when Gordon Campbell was speaking, and others.

On one occasion, (Nov.27 03) Basi phoned into a radio show, pretended he was someone else, commended Campbell on privatizing B.C. Rail, and asked a stooge question. On another occasion Basi paid a connection to go into Safeway, make a purchase, and then come out and heckle and harass a group gathered there to protest the implementation of fish farms. Stories of the kind tumbled out for part of the morning. At one point Basi telephoned to a Solidarity group in Victoria, posed as a mill owner closed down by the NDP, to leave a message. Then when Vanderzalm was going to appear on a show, plans were made to give him "a rough ride". Etcetera.

This was, we should note, when Basi was also alleged to be dealing with OMNItrax and the "consolation prize" they were allegedly promised if they would stay in the bidding for B.C. Rail - the consolation prize being the Roberts Bank rail spur, later killed because of "leaks" of information.

More eerie and more disturbing even was the accounting of the "deal" made with Eric Bornmann to be a witness against the accused. (Remember he said he carried a bribe, and his partner admitted to paying what was "tantamount" to a bribe.) Disclosure is almost non-existent on the matter. But RCMP and the Special Prosecutor apparently went to work to see that whatever "deal" was made. Bornmann himself released information that he had a letter from the Special Prosecutor that he had been cleared of all wrong-doing. That was taken up quite heavily by press and media. The RCMP did not deny it; the Special Prosecutor, Berardino didn't deny it. After a time Defence phoned Berardino's office to learn that no such thing had happened. "To protect the trial rights of Mr. Virk," Defence asked, "aren't you going to correct this?"

Not only that, but the RCMP and the Special Prosecutor permitted both of the men involved, allegedly, in bribes, to continue as lobbyists, lobbying government officials and even being permitted seats among those in the budget lock-up.

In my latest column for vivelecanada I suggest that the strange and feverish activity to get the goods on the accused may be part of a very large operation to shift attention from the dirty sale of B.C. Rail and - especially - the dirty hands involved, AND the strong likelihood the deal was unlawful. This morning in courtroom 54 I felt confirmed on all those points.



23 April 2007: Collected reports from B.C. Supreme Courtroom 54

Trial hears details of Basi activities while working for Liberals
By Neal Hall
Vancouver Sun - Monday, April 23, 2007

More dirty laundry was aired Monday at the trial of three former government aides to the provincial Liberal government.{SNIP} ...

Full story at:

Globe and Mail Update
April 23, 2007 at 9:21 PM EST

VANCOUVER — One of the accused men in a corruption trial was waging a campaign of “dirty tricks” that was directed by top advisers to Premier Gordon Campbell, the Supreme Court of British Columbia was told Monday.

In a series of allegations made during pretrial arguments, defence lawyer Kevin McCullough exposed what he called the “ethically devoid” world of hardball politics and drew Mr. Campbell's inner circle into a case that has long had undercurrents of political intrigue.

He said that Dave Basi – one of three former government employees charged with fraud, accepting bribes and money laundering – was a political operative who was used among other things to make phony calls to radio talk shows, upstage anti-government protests and disrupt an NDP convention with fake demonstrators.

“The use of these political operatives was from the top down,” Mr. McCullough told Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett as he argued that Mr. Basi was merely following orders when he got involved with a BC Rail deal in 2003.

Mr. Basi, Bobby Virk and Aneal Basi are accused of fraud, accepting bribes and money laundering in relation to a privatization deal in which the B.C. government sold BC Rail to CN Rail for $1-billion.

Using wiretap evidence gathered by the RCMP in a project code named Everywhichway, which in December 2003 led to a raid on the legislature, Mr. McCullough said it is clear that Mr. Campbell was aware that Mr. Basi was routinely engaged in political actions. {Snip} ...

Mr. Basi is advised whenever Mr. Campbell and other Liberals are appearing on talk shows and is asked to set up supportive callers.

“The premier mentioned (in caucus) one of Dave's callers being good,” Mr. McCullough said, quoting an RCMP synopsis of a call in which Mr. McDonald talks about Mr. Campbell's appearance on a show.

“This call demonstrates that not only was the premier aware. . .(it) was a set-up, phony call, but the premier was pleased,” he said. “That call was not something Mr. Basi dreamed up on his own, but rather was directed to do.”

In preparation for another radio appearance by Mr. Campbell, the court heard that Mr. Morton says in a call to Mr. Basi: “Thanks Dave, I will let the Premier know that your team is on the job.”

In one call, Mr. Basi is alerted to an upcoming appearance by NDP Opposition leader Carole James on Bill Good's top rated CKNW radio talk show.

“Mike [McDonald] asks Dave to get the posse together,” said Mr. McCullough, reading from a police synopsis of a wiretap. {Snip} ...

When fish farm protesters plan a rally outside a Safeway in Victoria, Mr. Basi is directed to disrupt it.

“The government was supporting fish farms . . . this was another effort that the B.C. government was engaging in, in their political efforts,” said Mr. McCullough.

Mr. McCullough said many of the calls to Mr. Basi “are just fraught with political overtone and direction.”

One series of 42 calls was made between Mr. Basi and Mr. Reichert, where they talk about “the Youbou thing,” an apparent reference to a protest that was staged at an NDP convention.

When Mr. Reichert raises concerns that an email might later surface through a Freedom of Information request, Mr. Basi tells him not to worry because he'll just print it out and delete it.

“FOI is for [the] puritanical,” he says.

UPDATE from BC Supreme Court - Basi-Virk Defence Disclosure Application
Bill Tieleman - 24 HOURS
Monday April 23, 2007

More shocking allegations today of heavy involvement in manipulating radio talk shows - right from the office of Premier Gordon Campbell.

Kevin McCullough, defence lawyer for former ministerial aide Bob Virk, said he was quoting from evidence disclosed by the Crown in preparation for the trial. He read from an email he alleged came from Mike Morton, who was and is Premier Campbell's press secretary.

"The first of these emails is from Mike Morton in the Premier's office. It's dated March 11, 2003," McCullough said.

" 'Thanks Dave - I'll let the Premier know your team is in place, whereas MM's is not. The Premier will be on John McComb's show - there will be a call-in,' " McCullough read in court.

In another document McCullough referred to Mike McDonald, the former BC Liberal Caucus Communications Director in Victoria.

" 'Dave's asking Mike if he want to make some calls to CKNW after the MLA is on,' " McCullough alleged.

Justice Elizabeth Bennett interjected: "Is this a Liberal MLA?"

McCullough: "Yes."

Bennett: " I should have known that."

McCullough also quoted a November 23, 2003 document alleging calls being set up to ambush NDP Leader Carole James.

"It's a call in response to Carole James - she's going to be on the Bill Good Show tomorrow - Mike asks him to 'get the posse together', " McCullough said.

"They're not just lobbing softball questions to the Premier - they're setting the stage for calls to the leader of the Opposition," McCullough alleged.

There was much, much more, including allegations that the RCMP and Special Prosecutor allowed key Crown witness Erik Bornmann to continue his lucrative lobbying business and falsely declare he had been cleared of any wrongdoing in 2004.

More on all of this in Tuesday's 24 hours newspaper and on The Tyee online as well as right here:

Neal Hall
Vancouver Sun - 23 April 2007

... One of the key issues in the trial, [Michael] Bolton said, is whether Dave Basi was authorized to do the things he is alleged to have done.

"The nature of this case is, of course, that it's going to pass a bright spotlight on the roles and activities of that part of the public service known as political servants, as opposed to civil servants," the lawyer said.

"Mr. Basi's role was a political aide," Bolton said. "His job is distinctly political. It has very much less to do with being a public servant than it does to being a loyal supporter of the Liberal party."

In court McCullough, Virk's lawyer, said that during a call on Nov. 27, 2003, Basi was told by an unnamed MLA and deputy house leader that the premier mentioned in a caucus meeting that he thought "one of Dave's callers" was good when the premier appeared earlier that morning on a CFAX radio program in Victoria.

The trial heard last week that Basi made the call himself to the premier during a radio appearance -- Basi disguised his voice and claimed to be a man named Don from East Saanich who praised the government's $1-billion privatization sale of BC Rail, saying it was "the best thing you could have done for the province."

The government had announced two days earlier, on Nov. 25, 2003, that the winning bid for BC Rail was Canadian National Railway.

The phoney call was intercepted by the RCMP during a wiretap operation, which allowed police to secretly listen to all of Basi's phone conversations.

Full story at:
Susan Lazaruk
The Province - April 24, 2007

Two ministerial aides facing corruption charges carried out duties -- including setting up phoney government supporters -- on the direction and with the knowledge of the premier's office and other government officials, their trial heard yesterday.

And defence lawyer Kevin McCullough asked why Premier Gordon Campbell wasn't interviewed as part of the RCMP's probe into the B.C. Rail sale in 2003, which involved a raid on the legislature.

Calls intercepted by the RCMP at that time showed the Mounties were tailoring the case against the accused, David Basi and Robert Virk, McCullough told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett.

This evidence "should assist you in determining there is in fact a very particular course this investigation follows, which is to put this investigation on the backs of Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk and take it away from elected officials," said McCullough. {Snip} ...

McCullough also recounted several instances where Basi was asked by McDonald, or by Mike Morton, Campbell's press secretary, to arrange for positive calls or e-mails for Liberals on talk shows.

Basi was also instructed to give a "rough ride" to former Social Credit premier Bill Vander Zalm on a talk show and to "get the posse together" for when NDP Leader Carole James was scheduled for the Bill Good radio show, McCullough said.

Basi and Virk are charged with leaking documents in the hope of getting federal government jobs, putting the bidding process for the B.C. Rail sale at risk. [Excuse me, Ms Slazaruk, this final comment of yours is putting a very odd slant on the serious charges facing the accused, isn't it? - BC Mary.]
Read the full story at:



Robin Mathews says: Welcome to Beautiful British Columbia


The corrupt cabinet announced its presence early with the lie that B.C. Rail would not be privatized, third largest rail system in Canada - a guarantor of B.C.'s economic health. Then came the lies and manipulations about B.C. Ferries, B.C. Hydro, B.C. Forest codes, the B.C. Children and Families Ministry, the Gateway Project, TILMA, and on and on and on.

Lies and sell-outs and corruption. Unnecessary deaths mounting in numbers. Rotten criminals slipping into the shadows. Fake "commissions of inquiry" disguising truth. A private corporate press and media covering, propagandizing, lying, faking, for the corrupt - a sad spectacle of human beings without self-respect. Ugh.

Present focus is on B.C. Rail, its dirty sale, and the one trial rising out of that, struggling from the B.C. Rail cesspool, struggling to reach British Columbians with some information - a little information - about the destruction of the province in the hands of a corrupt government.

Lawyers in courtroom 54 of the Supreme Court of British Columbia this week can only do so much before Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett. (A corrupt Supreme Court?) The focus this week is on the Basi, Basi, and Virk "trial", the dirty sale of B.C. Rail and what it says about the corruptions noted already. The Defence has to defend the three men charged, and get them liberated if possible.

The Defence is NOT an unimpeded Commission of Inquiry into the dirty sale of B.C. Rail. That kind of Inquiry has been scotched by Gordon Campbell. And it's been forgotten quickly, conveniently, by the private corporate press and media. Hand in hand.

But the Defence has to extract the story of the men for whom it is acting from the dizzying whirlpool of government, police, and media corruption that they lived in and that surrounded them. Extracting the men's story means pulling out some of the larger story. To understand the story, we have to know what Defence can't say in court and what it has said or will say.

What Defence can't say.

(1) The corrupt cabinet. Gordon Campbell is alleged to have gained leadership of his party by "bulk membership" votes that cannot be traced to people. The "case" against innocent Glen Clark, premier of B.C., surfaced in Gordon Campbell's constituency office, leading to a long media frenzy, irregular RCMP investigation, and to a trial (presided over by Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett) that destroyed Glen Clark and the ruling NDP.
(2) The corrupt police. In 1995 the RCMP used a (largely staged) "stand off" with 30 or so Natives and non-Natives at Gustafsen Lake to unleash a media campaign of "smear and disinformation" - the RCMP's own words.

From that series of events a major RCMP player moved to key place in the Glen Clark affair, perfecting RCMP "smear and disinformation" tactics and protracted evidence-gathering suggesting guilt. The investigation of that activity, following my complaint to the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP was, I was informed, "wrongfully" terminated by B.C. RCMP officers.

What the Defence can tell.

Preparing for the search warrant "raids" on B.C. legislature offices on December 28, 2003, the RCMP held a number of "media (smear and disinformation?) strategy" meetings to shape ways to control and allegedly to falsify information about the reason for the raids. At one of those meetings Beverly Busson, present replacement for disgraced RCMP Commissioner Juliano Zaccardelli, was in attendance.

A chief investigating officer in the B.C. Rail scandal was Sergeant Debruyckere, brother-in-law of Kelly Reichert, Executive Director of the B.C. Provincial Liberal Party and member with Finance Minister Gary Collins on the Provincial Liberal Election Campaign Team. Hand in hand?

According to the Defence, Sergeant Debruyckere enabled information about the investigation to get to Kelly Reichert and to Gordon Campbell, and - one may assume beyond what Defence alleges - to many others in Liberal and cabinet circles. The overall investigation began well before December 28, 2003, of course. Debruyckere didn't formally declare his connection to Reichert until March of 2004 - which does not mean the connection was a secret.

A very strong peculiarity of the investigation and especially of statements after December 28, 2003, was the emphasis by RCMP upon the wonderful cooperation provided by the Campbell cabinet and the repeatedly stated insistence that no elected politician was involved or under examination. Apparently, whatever wrong-doings surfaced, they were completely (the public was supposed to believe) separate from real political power in the province and from, especially, members of cabinet - like Gordon Campbell.

Special Prosecutors (appointed as independent agents when politicians are involved) changed rapidly in the early investigation period, a few suggesting, apparently, that their "independence" was imperilled. From a print-out I have of 11/17/06 from htm I will quote a passage apparently written just after the "raids" on legislature offices. I'm sure it is spurious, but it suggests the role of Special Prosecutor can be put into question. "Vancouver lawyer William Berardino has once again been appointed 'an independent Special Prosecutor' in the case which is a common procedure when criminal investigations may involve politicians. This makes cover-up easier, when you have a 'go to guy' we can rely on - said a crown source who wished to remain anonymous."

The police strategy was to connect the accused with organized crime apparently, and it was - Defence states - completely successful, taking in the gullible, reactionary press and media. Defence counsel remarks, however, that the "connection between organized crime and the search of the Legislature was false and misleading and completely deleterious to the fair trial rights of the Accused".

Corrupt press and media.

To detail the lies, misrepresentations, half-truths, cover-ups, and failures to report information of the private corporate press and media in B.C. would take volumes.

We need only look at Vaughn Palmer's column for April 21 07. Chief political columnist for the Vancouver Sun, Palmer is the journalist I call "Gordon Campbell's personal representative at the Vancouver Sun". Palmer's scatter-gun approach separates the story into fragments. Moreover he writes "the defence concern is not with what the police said after the raid". That statement is completely false. As I read the column, Palmer also extenuates the contortions the RCMP used to preach that no elected officials were involved in the raid. If as Defence alleges, Gary Collins was being investigated on the 12th of December, and if he ceased to be investigated, a reason should be available. Palmer doesn't give one, nor does he seem vaguely interested in the subject.

What is more, if Debruyckere was talking to Reichert who was informing Gordon Campbell and others, some elected officials would have had to be part of the raid operation in the respect that they would have known about it and approved of it. In that case the search warrants would "involve" elected provincial politicians.

One of the search warrants, we are told, was for the home of deputy premier Christy Clark and her husband Mark Marissen. It was not used in that form, Defence argues, because Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm talked the police out of using it. The police, instead, visited the home and talked to Marissen - which Palmer of course doesn't tell readers.

Christy Clark was careful to say she was not interviewed by police. Did the police telephone and ask for an interview? Does that mean incriminating evidence might have been removed that would not have been if the search warrant route had been followed? If such evidence had been found, does anyone believe Marissen's wife, an "elected official" would not have been "involved in the investigation"?

Quietly and conservatively, I would say that Vaughn Palmer introduces a falsehood into his column, fails to report information that links important parts, and introduces what many would call misrepresentation - that last because he nowhere suggests that when he mentions information going from "the investigation to a party operative and then to the premier" that it apparently did so because a chief investigator was a relation of a top Liberal with whom there was allegedly contact over a long period.

Crucial matters are at stake for democracy in B.C. Don't look to Vaughn Palmer to find out what they are. Look to Palmer if you want to see how CanWest journalists dumb things down. When he should be calling for a full-scale, high-level, no-holds-barred, impartial Inquiry to answer the questions the Defence is throwing up, Vaughn Palmer dumbs down, dumbs down. As we would expect.

A corrupt Supreme Court?

Finally, we have to ask if the court is corrupt, too. Desperately hoping it is not, we can't find reason to base the hope upon. The Basi, Basi, Virk charges were laid more than three years ago. What facts do we face?

Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm has imposed an odious and intolerable gag order on documents that are on public record.

Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett has said - in this case - that documents are to be released. She said that six weeks ago. I cannot get her to tell me the status of documents now.

Associate Chief Justice Dohm signed the search warrants for the "legislature raids" and more. He then defied law and practice and kept the search warrants secret for months. Defence argued on April 20, 2007, that the RCMP did not want the warrants released as they should have been. Was Patrick Dohm working for the RCMP which, itself, was too closely connected to top Liberals and Gordon Campbell? Looked at now, I cannot see a single legitimate reason for Patrick Dohm to have refused British Columbians the right to see the search warrants immediately.

Patrick Dohm, Defence alleges, talked RCMP out of serving a search warrant on the home of Christy Clark, deputy premier, and Mark Marissen on December 28, 2003. Why? If the RCMP had a list, possessing integrity, of people and places to be investigated by search warrant, why did Patrick Dohm say, in effect, I will separate out one of the destinations. Especially when he admitted in a news story two months later that he still didn't know the matter well. (Vanc. Sun, Mar 3 04 A3) Was Dohm providing a little bit of help to his friends?

Indeed, on March 2, 2004, Dohm had William Berardino write out the odious summary of the search warrant information Dohm was keeping from the public. And apparently Dohm had Berardino do the job because he, himself, didn't know enough about the matter. As Dohm said: "they know the material better than I do".

Defence has sought reasonable information for many months, information that has been obstructed, delayed, shoddily produced, and sometimes apparently unfairly denied. The delay has wounded the process and delayed justice. The person chiefly responsible for the delay is Madam Justice
Elizabeth Bennett who could have ended the delay months ago.

What is going on in courtroom 54 of the Supreme Court of British Columbia? What are the Basi, Basi, and Virk charges all about?

Let us remember that the sale of the Roberts Bank rail spur was cancelled because "confidential information regarding the sale had been leaked to at least one of the prospective bidders". The sale would, therefore, have obviously been invalid.

In the case of B.C. Rail, let us remember, the Vancouver Sun trumpetted (Mar 6 04 H1) "CN got private information". "The British Columbia government Š released confidential information to Canadian National during a critical stage of the bidding."

In addition CPR alleged the Campbell group gave CN an "unfair advantageŠ" So much so CPR withdrew from the bidding. CPR claimed Campbell and his boys made a "clear breach" of fairness. And more. The Basi, Basi, and Virk matter concerns a claim that a U.S. bidder was promised a consolation prize if it would pretend to stay in the bidding after the CPR blew the whistle. It also concerns an allegation that bribery was involved in the U.S. bidder's interests. Does that show lawlessness in the sale of B.C. Rail? Was Gary Collins the promiser? Heated argument will be heard on that subject.

If the Roberts Bank spur line sale was cancelled, the B.C. Rail sale should have been cancelled too. The sale of B.C. Rail stinks of gigantic lawlessness.

Could that explain the behaviour of a corrupt cabinet, a corrupt RCMP, a spineless and complicit private corporate press and media? And could it point to a corrupt Supreme Court - all playing the Basi, Basi, and Virk game - with endless planned delays - to hide a crime of huge proportions and have British Columbians forget it - the real crime, the dirty sale of B.C. Rail?