Monday, December 31, 2007


Aneal Basi

G West writes:

There are so many loose ends hanging from this case; I can't but wonder if Anon. 2:40 couldn't help pull some of those threads together Mary.

Aneal Basi has been a kind of forgotten entity in all of this - he went from being a hero on Canada's Field Hockey team to little more than an Asterisk in RailGate...and yet, he must have an interesting story to tell as well.

Although he is supposed to be related to the other principals in the case he occupies a strangely equivocal and almost invisible place in what has been happening in court and I can't help but wonder why that is.

Let's recall the bits and pieces we do know about him.

(1) He was specifically mentioned in paragraph 64 of the Notice of Application for Discovery [Feb 26 2007]- I believe for the first time - with these words:

"On December 28, 2003, the RCMP also exercised a search warrant on the residence and office of Mr. Bornmann. At that time Mr. Bornmann made a statement to the RCMP that Aneal Basi (hereinafter "Mr. A. Basi") was a bona fide contractor working for him."

(2) A few paragraphs further along he is mentioned for the second time:

para 78: "The defence takes the position that at no time did Mr. Basi (Dave Basi) or Mr. Virk (Bobby Virk) act in a fraudulent, deceitful or criminal manner, but rather acted at all times under the direction of their superiors in the highly political circumstances of the Offices. Certain of the disclosure requests are critical to determining whether Messrs. Basi and Virk had consent to act as they did. These issues in turn affect Aneal Basi. [Material in brackets and emphasis added.]

And that’s it!

We know he was a star Field Hockey player at both U Vic and with the Canada team and we know he was appointed to Campbell’s Public Affairs Bureau on July 29, 2002 under OIC 759.

Resume of Orders in Council Vol 29 Number 26 – July 29 2002

Statutory Authority: Public Service
Aneal Basi appointed a Public Affairs Officer in the Public Affairs Bureau.


He’s much the junior partner of the other two accused; Dave Basi and Bob Virk having gotten their OIC spurs a little earlier via OIC 558 on June 5, 2001.

Dave Basi with the title of Ministerial Assistant in the Ministry of Finance:

Robert Pauliszyn Ministerial Assistant
David Basi Ministerial Assistant
Yvette Heuse Administrative Coordinator

And Bob Virk in the Ministry of Transportation:

Bob Virk Ministerial Assistant
Fraser Randall Executive Assistant
Elizabeth Young Administrative Coordinator

At the same time, Jamie Elmhirst was appointed a Ministerial Assistant with the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection

Water, Land and Air Protection
Jamie Elmhirst Ministerial Assistant
Gail Gajda Clerk 5


And Dave Basi must have been an up-and-comer too, because, on September 12, 2002 we find there is another Order in Council containing his name that seems to give him a raise in Salary:

Statutory Authority: Public Service
David Basi, Ministerial Assistant to the Minister of Finance, shall be paid at step 4 of the Compensation Guidelines attached to Order in Council 1230/93.


The records of salary paid to the three men in fiscal 2003 – 04:

Basi, Basi and Virk were ALL OIC appointments in fiscal 2003 - 04. You can find their salaries listed among the OIC schedules that start on page 11 of this pdf -

Dave Basi's salary was: $62,824; Bobby Virk's was $65,091 and Aneal Basi's was $50,727. for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2004.

I’d caution the reader not to assume much from these amounts. Dave Basi’s OIC appointment was rescinded on December 29, 2003 (OIC 1270). The other two continued their appointments for a much longer period.

Approved and Ordered December 29, 2003

Statutory Authority: Public Service
Effective December 29, 2003, the appointment of David Basi as Ministerial Assistant to the Minister of Finance, made by Order in Council 558/2001, is rescinded.


And what to make of all this, now that is a good question. If, as seems to be the case, Erik Bornmann used Aneal Basi as the conduit to pump money from OmniTrax to Dave Basi and Bob Virk, was his claim that Aneal was a contractor working for him at Pilothouse simply a lie…or, was he simply doing what he had been told to do? (The following curious group of transactions in Aneal's account was originally posted at the House of Infamy by kootcoot May 8, 2006).

Somebody's Laundry List?

Why did Gordon Campbell act so quickly to rescind David Basi’s OIC and leave the other two appointments intact for months?

Lots of questions here Mary, not least about how the connections to the Liberal party (provincial and federal) impact on the behavior of the three main players AND all the others who are still in the shadows but whose names may very well be on those redacted FOI documents Bill received as a kind of early Christmas gift last week.

I hope some of the Anons can help…..



Is there a Pilothouse on Pender?

Pacific Gazette
Thursday, April 06, 2006

The informant (RCMP Cpl Andrew Cowan) says that indictable offences have been committed, namely, THAT, on or between April 01, 2002 and December 31, 2003, at or near Victoria, British Columbia, Udhe Singh BASI, being an official, specifically a Ministerial Assistant for the Minister of Finance, Provincial Government of British Columbia, did accept from Brian KIERAN, for himself a benefit, to wit: receiving of monies in connection with a matter of business relating to the government, contrary to Section 121(l)(a) of the Criminal Code of Canada.

Search Warrant, Sworn Before A Justice of The Supreme Court of British Columbia, Oct. 2004 Released to Public, Apr 03, 2006 (pdf)

"....out of respect for the integrity of the legal process, I will make no comments about the case prior to my appearance as a witness for the Crown.''

Brian Kieran, former co-proprietor of the Pilothouse, then the K&E, lobbying firms
Vancouver Sun, Apr 3, 2006

Brian Kieran, who just last week handed the mantle of senior partner (of K&E) to Jamie Elmhirst, will be - for all intents and purposes - retiring to Pender Island.
Public Eye Online, Apr 06, 2006.

Wow, things sure have a way of moving fast when a little light finally shines in, [writes RossK on Pacific Gazette].

Regardless, that must be some Gulag, that Gulf Island Archipeligo.

All information between brackets is ours, added for clarification.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


2008 issues that could rattle B.C.


Ian Mulgrew
Vancouver Sun - Published: Sunday, December 30, 2007

Early in the new year, two of this year's biggest legal battles will be back in the headlines - one with a verdict, the other with the next round of bare-knuckled legal brawling.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Catherine Wedge before Christmas let both sides know they should expect a ruling in the landmark civil trial over ownership of the Vancouver Canucks by Jan. 7 at the earliest.

Her thoughtful advance notice meant the lawyers and three wealthy families involved in the massive lawsuit for GM Place and the NHL franchise could holiday in peace.

If she's that close to a verdict, it also indicates that since mid-October, she has motored through volumes of documents and quickly processed the five months of evidence heard during the epic trial. {Snip, snip, snip!!!} ... Jeez!!

Justice Wedge would create an incredible stir if she agreed with the plaintiffs in this action. But we'll know soon enough. Similarly, her colleague on the high trial bench, Justice Elizabeth Bennett, will be back in the news, refereeing the province's other heavyweight courtroom bout.

After lumbering along through another 12 months of skirmishes involving disclosure issues, the criminal prosecution of Liberal political aides Dave Basi and Bobby Virk [and Aneal Basi] soon resumes.

It's been four years since police raided the legislature on Dec. 28, 2003, carting away boxes of documents and tarnishing the government's integrity. We are still in the dark.

Organized crime, the RCMP said, had perhaps infiltrated the highest levels of the Liberal administration and may have compromised the $1-billion sale of BC Rail. It has cost taxpayers millions, but no more light has been shed on the circumstances or culpability - criminal or otherwise. Lots of smoke, charges of conflict of interest, insinuations of cabinet involvement, all of which keeps the truth murky and hidden.

Although Victoria promised to cooperate with the investigation, it has blocked the release of many documents, citing executive and solicitor-client privilege.

Defence lawyers were in court a few weeks ago seeking greater access and the right to grill government secretaries about what Premier Gordon Campbell knew. Aside from those issues, there is a witness who wants to testify in secret. There is much to be resolved.

Again, we'll soon see whether Justice Bennett can get this train wreck righted over the coming weeks and the central public proceedings under way by March as hoped.

Aside from the bitter wrangling interrupted by the Christmas break, there are looming constitutional challenges that may yet be invoked by the defence.

One, over the delay and the damage it has done to Basi's and Virk's right to a fair trial. And a second over the disclosure fight and the damage it has done to their right to be able to fully respond to the charges. [What about Aneal?? - BC Mary]

As I said last year - don't hold your breath: This marathon may end with a whimper rather than a bang.


Saturday, December 29, 2007


Keith Baldrey's trial predictions for 2008

[Well, one of them, anyway ... BC Mary]

Keith Baldrey
Burnaby Now
Saturday, December 29, 2007

Our politicians are on holiday and the political scene is fairly quiet, but that doesn't mean there aren't some key outstanding questions still hanging around. The answers to each of them could prove critical to any power shifts that may occur in the coming year.

So here are four of them to ponder - not necessarily in order of importance - along with my own answers, for what they are worth. {Snip} ...

3. Will the B.C. Rail trial ever really begin? You remember this one, don't you?

This is the alleged corruption case arising out of the raid on the legislature way, way back in December of 2003.

The case has become mired in a procedural swamp resulting largely from the special prosecutor's refusal (or inability) to meet obligations regarding the disclosure of evidence to the defence.

From what has surfaced in court so far, it may be the RCMP and the Crown that have the most to answer for here, as their zealous investigation seems to have gone way overboard.

But the case has produced some titillating revelations that suggest the seamier side of politics may get some airing if the trial ever proceeds.

While not illegal, the backroom political shenanigans may leave a sour taste in the public's mouth, and that may prove problematic for the Liberals.

But will this actually come to trial? The latest delay results from the Crown appealing a ruling that the defence can sit in the courtroom and hear secret testimony from a secret Crown witness.

That appeal could take at least half a year to complete, pushing the start time of the trial until the fall at the earliest and quite possibly the spring of 2009.

In other words, don't expect much substance arising from this case this year. {Snip} ...

Four questions with four possible outcomes. Keep an eye on each of them in the months ahead, because the eventual answers may go a ways to deciding who wins the next election.

Keith Baldrey is chief political reporter for Global B.C.
© Burnaby Now 2007

Keith: Thanks for this, and Happy New Year. Just wondering, though, why your predictions are in the small media outlet, Burnaby Now, rather than in one of the big CanWest dailies??
- BC Mary.



New piece of the Gateway puzzle

Surrey Now
Published: Friday, December 28, 2007

The region's three ports have been amalgamated into one port authority.

The ports will operate as one port authority and will be called the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority as of January 1, 2008.

Federal Transportation Minister Lawrence Cannon said amalgamation, which was supported by the stakeholders, will make the ports more efficient and more competitive globally.

"The integration of the Lower Mainland ports is a key policy measure that will position these ports to enhance investment opportunities in the region," Cannon said.

International Trade Minister David Emerson says the move will strengthen trade ties with Asia.


Friday, December 28, 2007


Political Connections 4 years ago

BC Legislature Raid was 4 years ago today - and still no trial

Bill Tieleman

It is exceedingly hard to believe that the dramatic televised news of a police raid on the British Columbia Legislature was four years ago today - December 28, 2003 - and yet the trial of former BC Liberal government ministerial aides Dave Basi and Bob Virk and communications staffer Aneal Basi has still not taken place in BC Supreme Court.

I well remember that day. On vacation in Seattle, my cell phone suddenly started to ring constantly. When I finally answered I discovered the Legislature had been raided and that the offices of Dave Basi and Bob Virk were the targets.

The reason my cell phone was inundated with calls was because I had profiled Basi in my October 2, 2003 column in the Georgia Straight newspaper for a piece on all the connections between the federal Paul Martin Liberals and the Gordon Campbell provincial Liberals.

Every reporter who Googled Dave Basi got that column in their search.

Interestingly, as you read this piece over four years later, the number of players mentioned who were subsequently implicated in some way in this case is amazing, including key Crown witnesses Erik Bornmann and Brian Kieran.

So, as an ironic look back in time to just weeks before the raid, here is that column. Most of those with connections to the case are named in the second half of the column.

[Canadian Press reporter Camille Bains, one of the regulars at BC Supreme Court room 54, has done a good wrap-up look at the BC Legislature Raid case. Regrettably, neither the Vancouver Sun nor Province has noted this remarkable anniversary in their editions today, nor printed Camille's piece.]

The Basi-Virk trial is scheduled to begin in March 2008 and the pre-trial hearings will resume January 7, 2008. As always, stay tuned for more on this blog in the new year.

* * * * *

Bill Tieleman’s Georgia Straight Political Connections column
Oct 2-9, 2003

Local "Liberals" Prime B.C. for Martinizing

By Bill Tieleman

After promising to reverse the course of the hated Tory government, Paul Martin actually went on to embrace the policies of that administration with breathtaking enthusiasm, refashioning the role of government to an extent never dared by Brian Mulroney.

- Murray Dobbin, Paul Martin: CEO for Canada?

Forget "unite the right" merger talks between the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party.

A far more powerful right-wing alliance is being forged by two other political parties: the Paul Martin Liberal party of Canada and the B.C. Liberal party of Premier Gordon Campbell.

Unlike the loveless union that would result from a shotgun wedding between Alliance leader Stephen Harper and Conservative leader Peter McKay, the Paul Martin­-Gordon Campbell match is a joyful political same-sex marriage.

The connections between the federal Liberal Martinites and their B.C. Liberal counterparts are legion, though neither side is publicly announcing the love that dare not speak its name.

But from deputy premier Christy Clark on down, the B.C. Liberals are loaded with Martin disciples eager to help see Paul ascend to his rightful place as prime minister, stepping over the bodies of Jean Chrétien, Sheila Copps, and others who thwarted him.

Both Liberal parties see much to gain. The financially destitute B.C. Liberals, officially a separate party, desperately need money from Martin for projects they can't afford themselves.

The federal party needs provincial party help to elect more B.C. MPs.

The B.C. Liberals, of course, are "liberal" in name only. After the 1996 election choke, Gordon Campbell realized he needed the provincial Reform party's 10-percent vote for a Liberal win.

So he courted B.C. Reformers (and former Social Credit followers) like Richard Neufeld, now energy and mines minister, and Martyn Brown, now Campbell's chief of staff, to join his Liberal fold.

Then Campbell sold his liberal soul to win redneck votes, attacking the historic Nisga'a treaty and promising a divisive referendum on aboriginal treaties.

Paul Martin, for his part, will become the most right-wing federal Liberal leader ever. Author Murray Dobbin's new book, Paul Martin: CEO for Canada?, argues that Martin will easily displace former Conservative PM Brian Mulroney as Canada's farthest-right prime minister.

Dobbin's book makes a convincing case that Martin is a Gordon Campbell for all of Canada. For example, Martin waxed eloquent in his 1995 budget speech about slashing social-program spending down to levels not seen since the days when men wore fedoras and drove Studebakers.

"Relative to the size of our economy, program spending will be lower in 1996-97 than at any time since 1951," Martin extolled. Dobbin says that while Mulroney cut federal social-program funding by 25 percent over nine years, Martin axed it a further 40 percent in just four years.

B.C. suffered big time from the Martin cuts of the 1990s, losing at least $2.5 billion in health and social-program funding.

But Martin's B.C. campaign team still thinks Paul is the province's best friend. Led by Education Minister Clark's husband, Mark Marissen of Burrard Communications, the Martinites are a controversial group of Liberals, many working for Martin since his 1990 leadership loss to Chrétien.

Marissen is a communications consultant who has done well through the patronage of his former boss, Environment Minister David Anderson, and Martin.

A "BC Campaign Structure" federal Liberal document leaked to the Georgia Straight reveals another key member of the Martinite team with deep B.C. Liberal roots.

Former Paul Martin aide Erik Bornmann is a provincial lobbyist with Pilothouse Public Affairs Group, started by former Vancouver Province political columnist Brian Kieran. The Martin document shows Bornmann in charge of "operations".

The Pilothouse Web site says Bornmann has "over a decade of political experience inside both the B.C. Liberal Party and Liberal Party of Canada, serving in advisory and elected director capacities". Bornmann apparently earned the nickname "Spider-Man" for daring, gravity-defying feats connected to the federal Liberal membership.

Another key Martinite active in both Liberal parties is also a Pilothouse lobbyist. Jamie Elmhirst is a former David Anderson aide who recently served as ministerial assistant to Joyce Murray, B.C. Minister of Water, Land and Air Protection, after years with the B.C. Liberals in opposition.

Victoria insiders say that up to 60 percent of B.C. Liberal political staff are Martinites, including David Basi, ministerial assistant to Finance Minister Gary Collins.

The Marissen-Clark family connection with Martin is further cemented by Bruce Clark, Christy's brother, who serves on the Liberal Party of Canada's B.C. executive.

But despite media fawning over Martin's vaunted B.C. machine, a Liberal source says leadership voter turnout languished below 25 percent of the estimated 44,000 party members. That number raises questions about Marissen's ability to pull the vote when it really matters: the federal election expected by May 2004.

Speculation is rampant that several current B.C. Liberal MLAs, including Christy Clark, will run for the federal Liberal Party in that election, forcing multiple provincial by-elections should they win. More on the Martinizing of British Columbia in a future column.


4 years unfair to British Columbians

Justice delayed, justice denied

Times Colonist - Friday, December 28, 2007

Four years ago today, police armed with search warrants raided government offices in the legislature, seizing 33 boxes of documents.

The raid grew out of an investigation into organized crime, the RCMP said. Police were looking for evidence of corruption in the $1-billion sale of B.C. Rail.

The case raised troubling questions about possible corruption within government, the role of well-connected lobbyists and the fairness of the sale process. It also resulted in the cancellation of the planned sale of a B.C. Rail spur line, costing taxpayers about $1 million in wasted money.

The public has been waiting four [years] for answers to the questions raised by the raid and its fallout. That's too long.

Commercial crime investigations are often complex and time-consuming.

But the delays in this case have also been caused by the prosecutors' failure to disclose evidence to defence lawyers. The delays and lack of co-operation have drawn sharp criticism from B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett. {Snip} ...

The process has been unfair to the three men charged -- Dave Basi, Bobby Virk and Aneal Basi -- who have had the charges hanging over their heads for far too long.

And it has been unfair to British Columbians, who have waited four years for answers to the many questions raised by the legislature raids.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


4th anniversary of legislature raid

B.C. legislature raid case reaches four-year anniversary without trial

Camille Bains
Canadian Press - 26 December 2007

VANCOUVER - The images splashed on TV newscasts four years ago shocked British Columbians - RCMP investigators swarming the province's stately legislature building, carting away boxes of documents seized under a search warrant. {Snip} ...

Bill Berardino, the special prosecutor appointed in the case, said he's certain about one thing: "This will go to trial."

But he pointed out the mass of documentary evidence approaches that of the Air India bombing case because it covers four separate investigations.

They involve BC Rail, drugs, the province's Agricultural Land Commission and a related proceeds-of-crime probe. {Snip} ...

In the Agricultural Land Reserve investigation, Basi faces four fraud-related charges for allegedly taking $50,000 from developers so a 700-home project near Victoria could proceed with an application to remove protected farmland from the land reserve.

Berardino said disclosing documents to defence lawyers has been a time-consuming process because while the BC Rail probe was completed first, the other investigations took about three years.

Going through all the documents has been a massive undertaking for him and a team of Crown lawyers who've worked full time for two years to deal with disclosure issues, Berardino said.

"What people don't understand is we have to vet every document because we have to be sure there's no informer information on there, no solicitor-client privilege or privacy and safety interests."

The government's position is that cabinet privilege will be waived on all documents that are relevant to the BC Rail case, except if they involve solicitor-client privilege, Berardino said.

"This idea that the government is blocking through cabinet privilege, which the defence lawyers have tried to argue, is complete nonsense," he said.

Mark Jette, a lawyer with the B.C. branch of the Canadian Bar Association, said lawyers for both sides in the case are wading through uncharted waters.

"It's not an area which any of us are used to litigating or experienced in litigating so you've got to figure out how you're going to deal with and research it and it's not easy to do," Jette said of documents involving government privilege.

"You can look at the American example in Watergate and the giant struggle that went on between the White House and Congress as to what was privileged presidential cabinet material," he said, referring to the 1970s political scandal that toppled president Richard Nixon. {Snip} ...

The focus of the allegations against Basi and Virk involve them accepting money for providing confidential BC Rail documents to a lobbyist for OmniTRAX, a Denver, Colo.-based company that was one of three bidders vying for BC Rail.

Basi and Virk's lawyers have said their clients were merely political operatives acting on behalf of their political masters - mainly Basi's boss, former finance minister Gary Collins, who was handling the sale, and Premier Gordon Campbell's office.

Court has heard evidence Collins offered a so-called consolation prize to OmniTRAX officials if they stayed in the bidding while his aide kept up assurances about the perception of a fair bidding process even though the government had already decided the successful bidder would be CN Rail.

Collins, who is expected to testify at the trial, maintains he did nothing wrong.

Another factor in the complex case involves a police informer who is the subject of an in-camera hearing that defence lawyers fought to attend.

The judge has ruled they can be present but the Crown could challenge that decision.

Lawyer Roger McConchie, who represents The Canadian Press and other media that also want access to the secret hearing, said the fact reporters are barred from the court room means the public won't learn what's involved in the political corruption case.

"This case cries out for the greatest transparency at every step because of the profound public interest in the integrity of its institutions - the legislature, the government and public officials," McConchie said.

"In my view the delays in getting the matter to trial, where all of the evidence should become fully available to the public in the Crown's case and possibly the defence's case, has meant that the interest in prompt, complete understanding of the facts has been effectively negated.

"The entire life of an incumbent government goes by without the public getting a clear view of the facts which have led to this prosecution."

Political observer Norman Ruff said there will be a huge public outcry if the case does not go to a trial.

"People would demand a public inquiry but a public inquiry isn't a substitute for a court judgment," the retired University of Victoria political scientist said. "I think the public would much prefer a trial."

Ruff said that while the case is complex, the image of the police raid at the legislature is burned into the public's collective memory. People want to know what went on.

"That December 2003 image still has a currency," he said.

Thanks and a Happy New Year to Camille Bains who attends the Basi-Virk-Basi courtroom hearings regularly and writes some of the best reports. - BC Mary.



CN links to Alberta oilsands

Last summer's head-on crash of two CN locomotives in Prince George will seem like nothing when this new CN dream comes true -- with Vancouver as its Gateway to World Riches. - BC Mary.


CN buys key rail link to Alberta's oilsands
Last Updated: Monday, December 24, 2007
The Canadian Press

Canadian National Railway Co. has signed a deal to buy the Athabasca Northern Railway Ltd., a key railway link to the oilsands region of northern Alberta.

CN said Monday it will pay $25 million for the railway and will invest $135 million in upgrades over three years to improve transit times and service consistency.

"CN's investment and partnership agreements with key shippers will allow the parties to maintain important rail service to Lynton, Alta., a point near Fort McMurray, home of existing and future oil sands development," CEO Hunter Harrison said in a statement.

"While Athabasca Northern's current traffic volumes are too low to keep it going as a stand-alone operation, we and our shipper partners see the Athabasca Northern playing a critical role in one of the world's largest construction projects." [Not to mention, the world's largest pollution project, visible from space. - BC Mary]

The purchase and upgrade plans are premised on long-term traffic volume guarantees that the company has negotiated with Suncor Energy Inc., OPTI Canada Inc. and Nexen Inc., the company said.

"Suncor has a long history with the Athabasca Northern and, with this announcement, we're looking forward to the line's future with upgraded operations," says Mike Ashar, Suncor executive vice-president.

The 325-kilometre Athabasca Northern connects with CN at Boyle, Alta., about 160 kilometres north of Edmonton.

CN said it plans upgraded rail, ties, bridges and new ballast to allow greater volumes of northbound shipments of construction materials and machinery to support oilsands development.


Sunday, December 23, 2007


One lone voice

Friday December 14 was the beginning of a critical phase in the Basi-Virk / BC Rail Case. Tensions were rising in BC Supreme Court.

George Copley QC was arguing for secrecy on behalf of the Executive Branch (read, the Premier's Office). Copley's argument was that vital BCRail documents are protected by solicitor-client privilege so they can't be released to the Defence. He added insult to injury by declaring that the government is being "completely open and co-operative".

Defence lawyers go ballistic, arguing that some of these papers have already been released! That one of the Accused (Bobby Virk) had seen, as part of his job at the Ministry of Transportation, those very papers! And that he, his brother-in-law (Dave Basi) and cousin (Aneal Basi) needed them for a proper defence.

What's more, they allege, these 17 documents link the premier's office with this sorry state of stonewalled affairs. Defence lawyers inform Madam Justice Bennett that they may seek to cross-examine current and former Deputy Cabinet Secretaries about solicitor-client privilege. So there! Even the BCRail lawyer wanted to speak in support of secrecy! Secret witnesses, secret sessions ... what next?

And then they adjourned until Monday, December 17.

This much we know because Bill Tieleman was there every day until Friday. And Bill told us.

But did the judge return on Monday morning? Did the Crown Prosecutor and the Defence lawyers return? Or did they build a solstice bonfire in Courtroom 54 and dance naked around it, chanting in ancient tongues?

Who knew? Nobody. Judge, Crown, and Defence lawyers were all obviously silenced by ... well, if not by solicitor-client privilege, then by a media boycott. It's the media's job to bring vital information to the public. And there were no reporters in the courtroom.

No matter how critical the issues, if Bill and Robin Mathews were busy elsewhere, then the public heard nothing. Never would hear anything. Because for the Basi-Virk-Basi / BCRail Case, by special direction of Justice Patrick Dohm, no court transcripts are available to the public.

So that was the picture on Monday December 17: a total black-out ... the public left in the dark with no inkling of what was unfolding in the BCRail Case. Except ...

... except for one lone voice: One person visited Courtroom 54 and reported back to this web-site -- a Citizen who knew that British Columbia was waiting.

He's the guy -- Anonymous 2:40 -- who told us:

Bill [Berardino, Special Prosecutor] was still AWOL. He left Andrea McKay to mind the store.

What happenned [Monday] is that Bolton demolished Copley's arguments for soliciter client priviledge and McCulloch insinuated that the premiers office was interfering with the release of evidence.

Then, once more, our Anonymous 2:40 reported again for 18 December: ...

In a nutshell here is what happened today.

Trial started late due to the fire alarms going off in the courthouse just prior to 10 am

Beradino still a no show, McKay and St Pierre representing the crown. Copley representing BC govt

Zero reporters in attendance

Defence demanded that they be given an inventory of all the electronic
documents pertaining to the case in the RCMP's possession.

Crown claimed than no such inventory existed except what was on the original RCMP discs which contained the documents as well as the inventories. It would take considerable time for them to assemble such an inventory.

No cross examination of Ms. Reimer. It was deemed unneccssary.

Court adjourned until January 7th or so I'm told. [Bill Tieleman was able to confirm the story when he got back, including the identity of Anonymous 2:40.]

These simple words provided the full outline of who, what, where, when, why ... with colour. The professional media provided nothing.

It's not as if the BCRail Case is some Mickey-Mouse affair. Three powerful employees within the BC Ministries of Finance and Transportation were arrested and stand accused of bribery, influence peddling, breach of trust, fraud, and money laundering, pertaining to the dubious transfer ("sale") of Canada's 3rd largest railway from public ownership to private hands. The three Accused were movers and shakers within Liberal Parties (federal as well as provincial). One, perhaps two, had hoped to become part of the Prime Minister's office in Ottawa, with influence extending from sea to sea.

Many people suspect that the three Accused as well as the government(s) are being shielded from proper public scrutiny. This creates the scent of corruption and people worry. Citizens have a duty to look for some answers.

And so it was, that one Citizen Journalist became the eyes and ears for the nation on those two critical days in the Basi Virk / BC Rail Case.

Anon 2:40 is my nominee for a National Newspaper Award for 2007.

- BC Mary.

Footnote: B.C.'s big media is careful not to let the public know much about Basi Virk ... and because of this, taxpayers have unwittingly been paying the salary of a secret journalist (Stuart Chase) to spy on the Basi Virk scene and report back privately to the Campbell cabinet. When asked in the Legislature, the Attorney General said that Mr Chase was in the courtroom to assist the public. If so, why were the Chase reports kept secret, until released under a Freedom of Information request by Bill Tieleman? And if the Chase reports were intended for the public, why was so much of its 100 pages blacked out?


Friday, December 21, 2007


Report shows government followed trial

FOI shows Public Affairs Bureau officer reported to BC govt on Basi-Virk case about NDP MLAs, Gary Collins at Court - but what was cut?
S - 21 December 2007

A Public Affairs Bureau officer reported to the B.C. government about media questions and the attendance of NDP MLAs and a lawyer representing former B.C. Liberal Finance Minister Gary Collins at pre-trial hearings in the B.C. Legislature raid case, a 24 hours Freedom Of Information request shows.

24 hours first disclosed Stuart Chase's attendance in May 14 and it became the topic of an entire question period in the B.C. Legislature, with Attorney-General Wally Oppal wrongly insisting Chase's duties were to assist the media and public but refusing to release his reports.

In fact, the 100-page FOI of Chase's reports and notes shows that he told the government who attended court and what questions media asked prosecutors and defence, as well as extensively detailing the case, in which former provincial aides David Basi and Bob Virk face breach of trust charges related to the 2003 privatization of B.C. Rail.

"Note that two NDP MLAs were in and out of the courtroom today, taking notes on what was being said," the April 27 report reads. "As far as the media is concerned, other than talking amongst themselves about the AG's new nickname, there were no comments or questions from media after the hearing today."

Oppal's nickname became "StoneWally" for not answering questions.

And Chase kept an eye out for 24 hours.

"The Canucks/GM Place ownership trial has started today, and it's creating a media frenzy that's dividing attentions away from the Basi trial. Bill Tielman, [sic] even, has barely been in the court room," reads Chase's April 30th report.

The FOI request had many sections removed. 24 hours has appealed that decision to the FOI Commissioner.


Chase and about 200 Public Affairs Bureau staff are political appointees hired by Order-In-Council – that is, the B.C. cabinet – and are employed “at pleasure” until their appointments are rescinded.

That was a change made by the B.C. Liberals in their first term - previously most government communications staff were public servants hired through the normal process and protected by their BC Government and Service Employees Union contract. Now they can be fired at any point by cabinet - which realistically means the Premier's Office.

Chase's reports are extremely detailed - and he shows a good eye for courtroom coverage.

In one dispatch Chase notes that president Justice Elizabeth Bennett was “visibly irritated” by a lack of disclosure of evidence to the defence and in another quotes Virk’s lawyer Kevin McCullough as alleging there might be “a privileged relationship that seems to exist between the RCMP and the B.C. Liberals.”

The severed sections were ruled "out of scope" - that is, out of the scope of my FOI request and therefore not disclosed.

But those severed sections come at very interesting junctures.

For example, here is what Chase wrote in handwritten notes dated April 23, 2007 leading up to an exclusion:

"March 29, 2006 News from Pilothouse P.A ." - the next six lines are whited-out in the FOI.

In an article I wrote for The Tyee on that day's court hearing there were a number of defence allegations made, focusing on dirty tricks directed from staff in the office of Premier Gordon Campbell, in particular stacking radio talk shows with phony guests.

But there were also many references to Pilothouse Public Affairs and two of its partners, Erik Bornmann and Brian Kieran - both of whom are alleged by police to have provided bribes to David Basi and Bob Virk - and both of whom are now Crown witnesses not facing any charges. A third Pilothouse partner, Jamie Elmhirst, has been subpoenaed to testify in the trial.

Among the allegations made by the defence that day which I reported were:

"That key Crown witnesses against Basi and Virk -- provincial lobbyists Erik Bornmann and Brian Kieran -- were allowed by the RCMP and Special Prosecutor Bill Berardino to continue their lucrative lobbying business even after disclosing that they had "made serious bribes" to the two aides to obtain government information on the B.C. Rail deal.

That the RCMP knew Bornmann had lied to the media when he issued a statement saying he had been cleared of any wrongdoing but did nothing about it, not informing the government of the truth.

That there was "obviously some sort of deal" between Bornmann and the RCMP and Special Prosecutor to allow his lobbying to continue because he was acting as the key Crown witness."

And in another report dated Tuesday May 15, 2007 at 9:30 a.m. the initial 12 lines of Chase's report are removed. In notes from that afternoon over a full page is severed.

The first line from the 9:30 a.m. report that is included in the FOI reads:

"Bud Bishop was aware that Debrechyre had relationship by family to Kelly Reichert, only by way of the letter. First troubling issue to McCullough is the BC Liberal Party involvement in the issue. Recalled a comm b/t Reichert and Campbell that outlined charges which would be laid."

This section apparently refers to RCMP Sargeant Bud Bishop and RCMP Inspector Kevin DeBruyckere, who was in charge of the investigation despite being the brother-in-law of Kelly Reichert - who is the BC Liberal Party's Executive Director.

The "comm b/t" appears to be the communication between Reichert and Premier Gordon Campbell about possible additional charges that the RCMP were contemplating laying against David Basi over political dirty tricks he allegedly was involved in. Reichert, the defence alleged based on evidence disclosed to them, asked the RCMP not to lay charges as it would be embarrassing to the party. No charges were in fact laid.

Here is what I wrote for 24 hours about the court hearing May 15:

"Virk's defence lawyer Kevin McCullough alleged that the RCMP consulted B.C. Liberal Party Executive Director Kelly Reichert, who told Premier Gordon Campbell that criminal charges were recommended against Basi.McCullough alleged an "effort by Reichert to not have the charges approved. That reeks of political interference."

The allegations come from a June 24, 2005 RCMP report titled: "Kelly Reichert - Do Not Disclose."

McCullough said a recorded RCMP interview with Reichert was stopped but a conversation continued.

"After the tape was turned off Mr. Reichert was asked if the Liberal Party was comfortable being the victim in three payments to Basi. Reichert said frankly any good to the party by prosecutions would be outweighed by the embarrassment to the party, with the issue of the load of manure dumped on Jim Sinclair's lawn and sending people to the B.C. Federation of Labour convention," McCullough alleged.

Sinclair told 24 hours there were protesters at the Federation convention but that his home was never attacked. Sinclair asked why the RCMP would allegedly consult the Liberal Party but not the Federation."

Chase's notes are again whited-out in the afternoon session of court on May 15, starting just after McCullough tells Justice Elizabeth Bennett that he needs Bornmann's lawyer George McIntosh in court for cross-examination regarding the agreement reached with Special Prosecutor Bill Berardino that resulted in Bornmann becoming the key Crown witness and not facing any charges.

The severed section lasts for 36 lines, then continues with: "Letter noting Collins was not advised of surveillance - March 24, 2004. Facts are inconsistent with reasoning of Sgt. Debruckyer given the fact that he had knowledge of wiretaps. Mentioned the meeting w Claude Richmond again, w took place in Kamloops to get Richmond's permission to search the house."

So what was said in BC Supreme Court on May 15 that the Public Affairs Bureau wanted whited out between those two disclosed segments?

The FOI appeal may reveal that but fortunately, we can get some immediate idea from my own courtroom notes, which do not mirror Chase's but may be informative.

That afternoon defence lawyer McCullough was exploring the details of the Crown's deal with Erik Bornmann.

McCullough quoted from "RCMP Sgt. Finner's notes" in court [possibly Sgt. Pat Finner]:

"Mr. Bornmann said he'd received a letter from Mr. Berardino. I was aware that Mr. Berardino had spoken to the media and said that Mr. Bornmann's interpretation may be misleading to the public."

McCullough then drew his own conclusion: "Mr. Berardino, apparently was contacting the media directly. We have no disclosure of that....he was concerned that Mr. Bornmann was taking advantage of that self-exoneration so he could lobby, lobby, lobby and make money, money, money. So he could go on to a law career."

There were other topics that afternoon but Bornmann's deal was the main one. Why references to it were removed from the FOI request as "out of scope" is just another puzzling question in a very puzzling case.


On Bill Tieleman's web-site, G West said...

... remember that 'Chase' was being paid through the ministry of Finance.

I think this little info gathering exercise was not just something that the AG knew about ... the whole Cabinet must have been aware exactly 'what' was going on. The Attorney General's utterly lame attempt to spin this out as part of a 'media-helping' exercise attached to the Picton trial was disingenuous at the time. - In the context of what Stuart Chase was actually doing - and that he was appointed on OIC makes it eminently clear that this was a 'political' exercise from the start....

And, to get back to that quote at the start of the item on your own blog … “sayin’ it’s your job don’t make it right!”


Bill: Very special thanks for getting this Freedom of Information report (well, most of it) for distribution.

Couldn't help comparing it with a CanWest "report" today about former Victoria Police Chief Paul Battershill. Why would CanWest keep rushing into print to tell us that the RCMP report isn't -- is not -- ready yet? The subject of this ominous-sounding RCMP review is some allegations of "misdemeanors" in personnel matters? It leads me to think that Victoria's police chief must be a good guy. That's the feeling I get, after reading the West Coast CanWesters.

Yeah. And didn't Chief Battershill's lawyer's office get broken into? No further news on that, of course.

Looking forward to your news of what was blacked out on the Stuart Chase reports, Bill. Which, come to think of it, we the people paid for. - BC Mary.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Plea bargain with the Prosecution

A few days ago in Chicago, two Canadians were in Supreme Court for sentencing. David Radler was given a light prison sentence, because he had agreed in a plea bargain to give the testimony which convicted his old friend, Conrad Black. It got me thinking, especially when I heard a lawyer say:

High level, white collar fraud is usually resolved by a David Radler-type of witness making a deal with the prosecution.

The BC Rail Case is about high-level, white collar fraud and bribery, too. It desperately needs to be resolved.

So why not a plea bargain between Dave Basi and the Crown? between Bobby Virk and the Crown?

Couldn't Dave Basi say: I can show you every player who did the BCRail deal. I'll do that, under oath, if you will dismiss the charges against me. (This could even include the pending Sooke A.L.R. bribery charges.)

Why don't Basi and Virk agree to tell the public everything they know about the BCRail deal, in return for their absolute discharge? Imagine the good it would do, to get this whole secret BCRail thing straightened out, resolved, and any guilty parties charged.

The money saved would be better used in trying to get BCRail back.

But does our Special Prosecutor want any more whistles blown on who sold off BC Rail? Ol' Bill would probably turn pale and swoon at the thought. In fact, could that be what's holding things up in Courtroom 54?

Or perhaps it's time for the Defence team to speak directly to the public, asking if we would accept a dismissal of this expensive, going-nowhere trial, offering us full information on the BC Rail deal.


Well, we could get an immediate Public Inquiry up and running, based on a Basi Virk and Basi guarantee that they would be giving sworn evidence telling all, answering every question, answering questions we never even thought of asking. It would be an inquiry which would provide them -- and the province of B.C. -- a fresh start. It would be open to the public. Its findings would be immediately available to the public.

In return, we would need to promise the accused absolute immunity, their freedom, and their charges dismissed. For B.C., a clean slate, the courtroom fiasco stopped, lives salvaged, restitution where wanton damage had been done, a ton of money saved.

I wonder if it would work. Who could we trust to undertake the plea bargaining and public inquiry? Could we agree to that kind of a quid pro quo?

What do you think?

- BC Mary



Basi Virk Basi / BC Rail today, with the nation's ONLY reports direct from the Courtroom

Although Case #23299 is at a critical stage in its Supreme Court pre-trial hearings, there isn't a syllable in any CanWest newspaper about yesterday's developments.

Bill Tieleman is away.

And without Bill's reports from the courtroom (and Robin is busy elsewhere, too), we are left with no news whatever. On a subject of great public interest.

Does this picture help to explain why Bill Tieleman's office was smashed up, and the "Raid" clue left as a warning, in an apparent attempt to silence him too?

Just askin'. - BC Mary.


Anonymous just reported:

Bill [Berardino] was still AWOL. He left Andrea McKay to mind the store.

What happenned yesterday is that Bolton demolished Copley's arguments for soliciter client priviledge and McCulloch insinuated that the premiers office was interfering with the release of evidence.

[Oh. Is that all. Well, no wonder CanWest didn't bother ... grrrrrrr. - BC Mary]


Our wonderful Anon-Y-mouse 2:40 reports again for today
18 December:

Anonymous said...

In a nutshell here is what happened today.

Trial started late due to the fire alarms going off in the courthouse just prior to 10 am

Beradino still a no show, McKay and St Pierre representing the crown. Copley representing BC govt

Zero reporters in attendance

Defence demanded that they be given an inventory of all the electronic
documents pertaining to the case in the RCMP's possession.

Crown claimed than no such inventory existed except what was on the original RCMP discs which contained the documents as well as the inventories. It would take considerable time for them to assemble such an inventory.

No cross examination of Ms. Reimer.
It was deemed unneccssary.

Court adjourned until January 7th

or so I'm told.


Anon -- You really should take a bow, as the only reporter on duty today for the biggest trial in B.C. history. Thank you very much indeed! And Merry Christmas.
- BC Mary.


Anon-Y-Mouse 2:40 for December 18, 2007
has been nominated as the year's BEST Citizen Journalist for vivid on-the-spot reporting from Studio 54 at The Law Courts, even including fire alarms. On the final, critical 2 days of pre-trial hearings for 2007, in the biggest trial in British Columbia history, only Anon 2:40 -- Anon 2:40 alone -- stood up for the public interest! Well done, 2:40.

Watch the Annual Gyro Awards for 2007 at http://House of

Good luck, 2:40!! And Happy New Year!


Monday, December 17, 2007


The return of Railgate - Hansard's Revenge!

Recommended reading.



Confirmed: 10:00 AM today Basi Virk hearing continues

The agenda? Bill Tieleman reported last Friday that:

The defence will make further arguments on Monday
December 17 at 10 a.m. on the solicitor-client privilege issue.

[And] ... Bennett agreed that the defence could cross-examine Nancy Reimer, an assistant to government lawyer George Copley, on Tuesday December 18 regarding an affadavit she prepared outlining privilege issues in the case from the province's perspective. Reimer was excused from the court for part of the afternoon because of that request.


Important new analysis at


Sunday, December 16, 2007


BC Rail's $2Billion tax shelter, the real prize

"Lynx" wrote, in a comment today:

I want to include a link here to a stunning piece written by Kevin Potvin in January, 2004. In it Potvin theorizes that "BC Rail's $2 billion worth of tax shelter instruments may have been the real prize CN was after."

I remember reading it a long time ago but it is highly relevant to the discussion of the fairness report and what Charles River itself says in this regard - that in the end they were not privy to the detailed data on BC Rail tax shelters - and just had "to trust the government".

This is an excerpt. It is long but it highlights what could be the greatest of losses to the people of BC in order for CN to gain the greatest of tax shelter prizes.

"Combined with the $1.2 billion in un-depreciated capital purchases, CN acquired in total $2 billion worth of tax shelter instruments for the princely sum of $250 million. Tax shelter instruments are extremely important to profitable companies because provincial and national corporate income taxes in British Columbia grab 38% of a company's reported profits in its tax returns. Reducing the profits a company must report reduces the taxes it must pay to governments. Companies with large carried-forward losses and large un-depreciated purchases have become increasingly attractive targets for take-over by larger, profit-making companies. It is often the case that the interest one company has in taking over another company is almost solely in the hidden value contained in its tax books, and can have little or nothing to do with its real assets or operations. BC Rail's $2 billion worth of tax shelter instruments may have been the real prize CN was after, while the actual assets and operations of BC Rail, worth just a potential $111 million annually, was simply a throw-in to legitimate the deal.

The firm hired to assess whether the Province received fair value in its sale of BC Rail explicitly disavowed any capacity to assess the value of the tax shelter instruments comprising the second half of the deal. The report generated by Charles River Associates states that, "historically, BC Rail has paid no income tax because of its relatively large backlog of" of tax shelter instruments. "We did not attempt to model the prospective tax strategies of an acquiring company," the report states.

The report further states that "We cannot offer much insight on the sale price" of the tax shelters "because we are not privy to the detailed data that would be required to assess a particular company's situation." The firm hired to assess the government's handling of the sale of BC Rail ended up simply trusting what the government said about its own transaction: "It is our understanding," Charles River Associates concluded, "the Province did compare the sale price of the [tax shelter instruments] to the potential future tax revenue that would be generated for the Province if the acquiring company did not have access to BC Rail's" tax shelter instruments. There is no documentation offered in the report to justify the authors' "understanding."

The report goes on to conclude, "It is safe to assume that there is sufficient inventory of [tax shelter instruments] to offset CN's income tax obligations to the Province of British Columbia for at least 25 years," and further, that "any future income tax revenue after 25 years is negligible."

This is an astonishing statement. If it's true that CN can expect to earn $6.7 billion in the next 60 years with BC Rail, and if the tax shelter instruments allow CN to avoid federal taxes as well, the $250 million portion of the sale is potentially worth more than $2.5 billion to CN, just on its operations of BC Rail alone. As the report explicitly states, "We can assume that in the future, CN will use the [tax shelter instruments] acquired as part of the BC Rail transaction to avert paying taxes." But the report further states that CN's entire operations in British Columbia, after acquiring BC Rail, will not be liable for any taxes because of its acquisition of BC Rail's tax books.

We don't know the size of CN's prior operations in British Columbia, but it is a substantial operator in this province. If its operations were roughly equal to BC Rail's operations prior to the purchase, then the benefits to CN in its purchase of BC Rail's tax books would exceed $5 billion. Had Charles River Associates evaluated the total value of the sale of BC Rail to CN, they would have concluded the package was worth close to $12 billion in anticipated profits to CN. If it's true that $750 million was a fair price to pay for the $6.7 billion in anticipated income from BC Rail operations, then it stands to reason that $12 billion in effective income should have been sold for no less than $1.75 billion. CN paid in total only $1 billion.

That $750 million gain is no chump change. The firm hired to assess the fairness of the deal admitted in its own report that it was not privy to the information necessary to do its job. It states that it relied on a vague understanding that someone in the finance or transportation ministries assessed the value of the hidden tax shelter assets on BC Rail's books at $250 million, instead of the $1 billion they may be worth.

Whoever within these ministries provided this understanding to the government and to the firm that assessed the fairness of the deal would have been in a key position to personally profit by arranging a $750 million gift to the executives of the private company, CN."



Basi-Virk Defence may question B.C. cabinet official

Lawyers say government is not forthcoming

By Keith Fraser
The Province - Sunday, December 16, 2007

Lawyers for three former government aides facing corruption charges may apply to cross-examine a former and a current provincial cabinet official on issues relating to the disclosure of key documents. {Snip} ...

The documents, seized by police in December 2003 from the legislative offices of two of the accused -- David Basi and Bobby Virk -- relate to legal advice given during the controversial $1-billion sale of B.C. Rail.

Kevin McCullough, a lawyer for Virk, told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett that there is an issue as to who is giving instructions on whether to release the documents.

Court heard from government lawyer George Copley that deputy attorney-general Allan Seckel is currently giving instructions to him. Prior to Seckel, it was former deputy cabinet secretary Joy Illington, who reports to the B.C. cabinet.

"The real issue is as to when that shift occurred," said McCullough. "When does the shift occur that puts Mr. Seckel in that position?"

He said he might wish to cross-examine Illington and Elizabeth MacMillan, who took over as deputy cabinet secretary from Illington.

McCullough has claimed that two of the 17 documents now being blocked by the government were earlier released to him on freedom of information requests. Yesterday, he claimed a third document he received on an FOI request is similarly among the documents claimed as privileged.

McCullough said he and his defence colleagues hope to first cross-examine Nancy Reimer, an assistant of Copley, who provided the affidavit.


Links to inner circle of premier's office

Defence in raid on legislature examining thousands of newly surfaced documents

Neal Hall
Vancouver Sun - Saturday, November 24, 2007

... A pre-trial hearing involving two former B.C. government aides accused of corruption heard Friday about thousands of e-mails that were recently disclosed to defence lawyers, which reveal links to the "inner circle of the premier's office." {Snip} ...

The e-mails reveal "what high-ranking people are telling him [Bornmann]," McCullough told the judge.

Defence lawyer Michael Bolton said of the e-mails: "They pertain to the conduits of information between the inner circle of the premier's office and the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Finance . . . passing information to key members of the premier's inner circle." {Snip} ...



Final Fairness Report ... found!

*** *** ***
Update 9:00am, Monday, December 17, 2007

(posted by kootcoot)

Here in clickable form is a link to the "wayback" cached copy of the publicly paid for Fairness_Report done by Charles Rivers and Associates of that esteemed Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Apparently the Government of British Columbia doesn't think it is in the interests of the citizens of BC to have access to information they paid to have collected and published.

This requires a "Portable Document Format" reader such as Adobe Acrobat, as does most of the information published online by the Government of British Columbia.

Click HERE to DownLoad Acrobat

*** *** ***

He found it! Thanks to our "G West" we have seen the FINAL REPORT prepared by Charles Rivers Associates who were retained by the Campbell government to act as Fairness adviser in "matters of BC Rail Freight Division re-structuring and BCRail Port Subdivision restructuring".

This report -- Fairness Evaluation of the Restructuring of the BC Rail Freight Division -- appeared to have been scrubbed from every source we consulted. But G found it and here's the link he used:

Update: G West says Fortunately an 'internet archive' is available and a cached copy has been filed which is accessible using the wayback machine.

Here's the website:

Last evening, all we had to do was just click on the lengthier link, and we saw all 139 pages for which BC taxpayers paid $300,000.00.

BUT ... when I started off, this morning, to study the Fairness Report, it was gone! "Not in the Archive" I was told. "Try again." I was told. So I did try ... again and again. Nothing. A mere co-incidence, of course.

[Anon 9:10 says: The report is still there. Type the original url in the "Wayback" function. -- and confirmed by G West. ]

Then I realized that pdf always provides that icon thingy which it leaves on the desk-top. That was working this a.m., but I wouldn't be too surprised if it vanishes too. And it did. Or at least, it vanished en route to this web-site. I can't get the pdf icon to transfer here.

Here's a bit that I wrote down:

Charles Rivers Associates' (CRA) contract began in October of 2003, by which time round two proposals were submitted. The CRA contract called for an Interim Report by mid-November (it was delivered on Nov 14), and Final Report in mid-December 2003 (delivered 11 Dec).

"Specifically, CRA provides detailed review of the transfer of a publicly owned Crown Corporation to a private operator.

"It is important to note" says the CRA final report, "that the Province retained CRA after the transaction process had begun so that CRA could review and provide analysis only in retrospect."

And, if you ask me, in an extremely short time, too, if the BCRail Case is as complex as the trial lawyers keep saying it is. CRA apparently boned up on all the issues within 6 weeks. How come it's taking 4 years to get the issues straightened out for presentation in court?

If British Columbia taxpayers paid $300,000. to CRA for these matters, why couldn't CRA's holdings be called in to assist the Defence in Case $23299 and get it into Trial mode.

Good luck with individual searches for this Final Report. There's a lot to think about, in each of its 139 pages.

Thanks also to the Anon-Y-mouse who advises the "save as" function for the pdf file. Good advice. - BC Mary.


Hey, thanks a million to His Geekiness, Kootcoot, for posting the button which we only need to click on, to get the whole 139 pages of the final report prepared by Charles Rivers Associates -- the Fairness Evaluation of the Restructuring of the BC Rail Freight Division. - BC Mary.


Saturday, December 15, 2007


Hansard reveals concerns during ...

Hansard, Nov. 19, 2003

J. MacPhail: Today we learn that the Canadian Pacific Railway has pulled its bid for B.C. Rail, casting a cloud over the whole process. We've also learned that the only other non–CN bidder, Omnitrax, has expressed concerns about the fairness of the process to the Premier. A report into that process released earlier this week identifies two leaks from B.C. Rail. In one case, data were sent to a party that should not have had access to it.

Can the Premier tell this House what was leaked and to whom?

Hon. J. Reid: Indeed, we've worked very hard on a process that is fair and equitable and have worked very diligently with the proponents. The fairness adviser's report…. The fairness adviser is Charles Rivers Associates, which is a very reputable firm, and that firm has stated that the process established and implemented by the province, the evaluation committee and its advisers was fair and impartial. The information they investigated within this — because they were concerned about being absolutely concise and drilling down and making sure that they could bring forward those conclusions — was not substantive and was not harmful to the process.

Mr. Speaker: Leader of the Opposition has a supplementary question.

J. MacPhail: Well, the minister didn't answer my question, and certainly the Premier didn't rise to answer my question.

Let me tell what the report says. The report on the process, an interim report where the minister admits the person still has to talk to the proponents, says only that the lawyers verified that the leak was retrieved and destroyed by those who had access to it. It doesn't say what was leaked and to whom it was leaked. From the start this process has been called into question by bidders, by B.C. Rail customers and by British Columbians who depend on the line.

Now, can the Premier provide assurances that the process was fair when his own minister won't come clean on the details of this leak? If the leak was to one proponent, were the other proponents advised immediately, or did the government simply think this matter could be swept under the carpet? To the Premier: were the other proponents told what was leaked, and who received the information?

Hon. J. Reid: The whole purpose of the fairness adviser's report is to investigate the concerns the member has said, not to perpetuate those concerns. The fairness adviser's report investigated those concerns, and the conclusion that was arrived at was that the process was not compromised and that everyone involved was treated fairly and equitably.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Order, please, hon. members. The Leader of the Opposition has a further supplementary.

J. MacPhail: In fact, that's not what the report says. It's not what the report says on the second leak at all. In fact, what it says is…. I'll read it: "In the second case, we have been informed that the error was quickly identified. We have documented statements from the attorneys involved verifying that the data were retrieved or destroyed by those who had access to it."

It doesn't say who had access to it or whether they then distributed all that leaked information to all the proponents. So unless the Premier has a giant magnet, some kind of secret memory-erasing device, asking for the information back and destroying it does not fix the problem. Two of the major bidders for B.C. Rail are now saying the whole process was unfair. They say that CN has already been given the go-ahead, despite the minister's repeated denials. The Premier needs to face reality. The deal stinks….


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

J. MacPhail: The little support it had is vanishing by the hour. Will he at least stand up and give the House assurance that the second leak wasn't to CN Rail?

Hon. J. Reid: The whole purpose of the fairness adviser's report is to make sure that all three proponents were treated fairly, were treated equitably and received the same information at the same time. It was verified by the fairness adviser that, indeed, that was the case. There is no need to be able to repeat problems or concerns. What's important is the conclusion. It was investigated, and the conclusion was that it was fair to all the proponents.

Four people (that I know of) have been searching for a copy of the final report -- Charles Rivers Associates Fairness Evaluation Report. It appears to have been removed from the Internet and from government web-sites. If anyone knows where/how it can be seen, please comment? Thanks.

And special thanks to "Lynx" who found this information in Hansard. - BC Mary.


Lynx added: in regards to:

"We have documented statements from the attorneys involved verifying that the data were retrieved or destroyed by those who had access to it."

Then those attorneys would know "who" had access to it and who destroyed it? Shouldn't they be subpoenaed?



From Pacific Gazette ...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Release The Railgate Tapes!


"When I am attacked," Richard Nixon once remarked to this writer, "it is my instinct to strike back." The president is in a mood to obey his instinct.......So on Wednesday, July 18th, at a White House meeting, it was agreed unanimously that the (Watergate) tapes should not be released.
Stewart Alsop, Newsweek, Aug 8, 1973

Now, unless he really and truly is a Machiavellian Superstar the likes of which this Province has never seen, it would appear that British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell never expected it would ever come to this.

Being forced to release a bunch of 'conflicty' RailGate documents, that is.

Otherwise, as BC Mary pointed out earlier this week, why would Mr. Campbell have engaged in the following exchange with Opposition Leader Carole James in the Legislature way back in the Spring of 2007:

C. James: I appreciate that clarification, but just a question again around the privilege or, as you said, determining whether there's cabinet confidentiality or otherwise. Does the Premier agree that preventing document release through privilege is interference?

Hon. G. Campbell: This is an important issue; there is no question about that. I think it's important for the Leader of the Opposition to understand that the government's only real direction with regard to this was, from the outset, that it should be unfettered and independent — that we would remain away from both the decisions with regard to whether or not a case should proceed. Certainly, we don't intend to comment on what's taking place within the court.

Now, we would agree with Mr. Campbell that this is an 'important issue', especially now that one of the defendants, Robert Virk is seeking '17 documents' that he was involved in generating and/or apparently saw while he was still working with Mr. Campbell's government on the BC Rail deal.

Interestingly, Mr. Virk's lawyer has already told us about alleged details in two of those documents that were apparently acquired through a Freedom of Information request.

Why might these documents be vitally important to Virk's defense?

Because, if his lawyer is correct, the discussions/correspondence between Mr. Virk and Mr. Chris Trumpy, then a deputy minister and member of the BC Rail Restructuring 'Evaluation Committee' (see flowchart at the top of the post which is from the 'Interim Fairness Advisor's Report -pdf') appeared to be centered around OmniTrax' bid for the Roberts Bank Spur Line.

Now, don't forget that OmniTrax was the company whose lobbyists, Pilothouse and principals, allegedly paid bribes to Mr. Virk and co-accused David Basi.

And don't forget that there have also been accusations that OmniTrax may have been receiving special consideration in a quid pro quo/smoking gun deal for the Spur Line in return for its having previously provided 'competitive' cover for the mainline deal that was won by CN.

Thus, if any measure of this were supported by the documents requested by the defence it would very strongly suggest that Mess'rs Virk and Basi were not acting alone but rather, at least in part, under the direction of the government.

Which was then, and still is now, despite the defection of many of the Ministers involved at the time, the government of Mr. Gordon Campbell.

So, what has that government now decided with respect to, as Mr. Campbell called it last May, the unfettered and independent treatment, of the documents?

Why, of course, just like Mr. Nixon's government from long ago, Mr. Campbell's government has decided to stonewall while claiming....:

Government lawyer George Copley has said the documents can't be released because they involve legal and financial advice on B.C. Rail and are therefore protected by solicitor-client privilege.

In other words, like Mr. Nixon's before it, Mr. Campbell's government appears to have decided that the Railgate Tapes/Documents will not be released.

All of which has us wondering if any of Lotusland's proJourno Pundits will soon be asking which is worse..........

.......The Crime or the Cover-Up?

Of course, those, like Bill Tieleman, who have been following things closely have noted that Campbell government lawyer Mr. Copley also invoked the exchange between the Premier and Ms. James in the Ledge as a 'justification' for the government's present stonewalling action. This is nothing sort of bizarre, and Mary (see bottom of post) has exposed it for what it is - a ridiculous circular argument (which is the polite, non-Doctor 'J', way of putting it).

Some (OK, maybe one or two) readers may be wondering why we resorted to taking the flowchart from the 'interim' fairness advisor's report that was commissioned by the government after issues of leaks arose way, way, way back in early 2003 (ie. back when CP Rail pulled out of the bidding screaming that the fix was in which occurred before the Ledge Raids that led to the Basi/Virk/Basi charges). Well, it appears that the link to the final report (which includes the tag 'prem' within it) is dead. Coincidence?

Oh, and one last, pseudoFeltian point - someone who goes by the moniker 'deep throat' first posted up the Campbell/ James exchange quoted by Mr. Copley today over at Mr. T's place last Monday. A second coincidence?

Interesting Trivia Update: As our good friend Big Audible Dyn-O-Mite told us off-line ......Alexander Butterfield actually guessed that Mark Felt was Woodstein's real life 'Deep Throat'. Who was Butterfield? He was the Nixonian deputy assistant who originally told the world that the Watergate tapes actually existed.


Many, many thanks for this, RossK. - BC Mary.

P.S. Is it true that Premier Campbell has returned from China but has already gone to Hawaii for his annual Christmas va ... va ... vacation?


Friday, December 14, 2007


Lawyer in B.C. legislature raid case says Liberals denying access to documents

VANCOUVER - A defence lawyer for a former B.C. government aide charged in a political corruption case slammed the provincial Liberals' "perversity" Tuesday, saying he's being denied access to documents in the case even though he's already obtained some of them through a Freedom of Information request.

Kevin McCullough, who represents Bobby Virk, said his client had access to documents involving the sale of Crown-owned B.C. Rail as a government appointee to a committee evaluating bids.

But McCullough said Virk now can't have the same information to defend himself against charges of fraud and breach of trust involving the $1-billion privatization sale of Crown-owned B.C. Rail to CN Rail in November 2003.

"It's difficult to digest the suggestion that the government is fully co-operative," said McCullough, who has made several lengthy submissions about the lack of disclosure documents.

The charges against Virk, along with his co-accused Dave Basi, also involve a Dec. 28, 2003, police raid on their legislature offices. Aneal Basi, a government communications officer, is charged with money laundering in connection with the case.

Virk was a ministerial assistant to then-transportation minister Judith Reid, while Dave Basi worked for former finance minister Gary Collins, who was heading the B.C. Rail sale.

McCullough said 17 of the seized documents, including two he obtained after a 2005 Freedom of Information request, will explain Virk's actions in relation to instructions he obtained from the premier's office and Collins.

Government lawyer George Copley has said the documents can't be released because they involve legal and financial advice on B.C. Rail and are therefore protected by solicitor-client privilege.

"You can fully co-operate and still take a principled stand and we are taking a principled stand on solicitor-client privilege," Copley said.

"We had no prior notice of the arguments being presented today or what was being sought," he said, adding he was not prepared to respond fully until Friday.

McCullough also claimed Collins was in a conflict of interest when he appointed deputy finance minister Chris Trumpy to the B.C. Rail evaluation committee while he was lead negotiator for the B.C. Rail deal.

Trumpy was also appointed by Collins as chairman of the B.C. Investment Management Corp., which holds private company shares on behalf of the B.C. government.

The appointments were made despite the fact the corporation held CN Rail stock, which currently stands at $363 million, McCullough said of the company that was favoured to win the B.C. Rail bid weeks before it was announced to the public, court has heard.

"It's an obvious conflict and one which my client was aware of and whether the (opposition) NDP would get a hold of that was an issue in question," McCullough said.

The Freedom-of-Information documents McCullough obtained include a Dec. 18, 2003, e-mail from Trumpy to Virk and others on the B.C. Rail evaluation team and a Dec. 19, 2003, e-mail to Trumpy from a lawyer titled "Advice to Trumpy re conflict."

McCullough said the RCMP interviewed Trumpy three times about the appointment issue involving Collins.

"When you're considering the government's assertion of solicitor-client position about the disclosure of this material I want you to consider it in light of not my Johnny-Come-Lately position but the one that I was advancing and chasing two years ago regarding what clearly are the actions of this government, the way that they appointed people and who they appointed," he told the judge.

Michael Bolton, a lawyer for Dave Basi, said his client is at a disadvantage compared with Virk, who had access to the seized documents that were e-mailed to him and that he likely remembers.

Basi's job was to keep Denver, Colo.,-based OmniTRAX interested in buying B.C. Rail, even after CP Rail became so disenchanted that it dropped out of the bidding process, Bolton said.

He said Basi kept up assurances about the perception of a fair bidding process to OmniTRAX even though the B.C. government had decided the successful bidder would be CN Rail weeks before the public announcement was made on Nov. 25, 2003.

OmniTRAX had increased its second-round bid by $45 million, Bolton said.

He also said putting the Crown-owned railway into bankruptcy was one option being considered at the time of the negotiations.