Wednesday, January 23, 2008
27 Questions: a raid on BC Legislature
Most readers will quickly remember the dramatic front page of Vancouver Sun on January 2, 2004. In big black type, those 27 questions took up the whole front page, just as those questions dominated our thoughts that day and have echoed in our hearts ever since. Please follow me down memory lane. There are surprises.
- BC Mary.
SOME QUESTIONS FOR BRITISH COLUMBIANS
Vancouver Sun - January 2 2004.
Six days after the shocking raids on the legislature, citizens still have been told next to nothing about the RCMP actions that have shaken the province's political life to its core. Here are 27 unanswered questions:
What triggered this investigation? - How closely linked is the drug investigation led by federal prosecutor Robert Prior to the investigation led by special prosecutor William Berardino? - What if anything is the link between drugs, organized or commercial crime to staff in the B.C. legislature? - To the federal Liberal party? - Who are the nine people recently arrested and why have none of them been charged? - What premises were searched on Sunday? - Who was arrested Sunday and then released? - Have other arrests been made? - Were other search warrants executed prior to Sunday's action? - Have any criminal charges been laid in either investigation? - If so, when and against whom? - Does the government know more than the public is being told? - How is the suspension of Victoria police officer Ravinder Dosanjh linked to this investigation? - Why would RCMP spokesman Sergeant John Ward choose a press conference on the raids at the legislature to say that "organized crime is a cancer eating away at the social and moral fabric of British Columbia"? - Does the fact so many individuals have connections to the BC Rail deal mean anything? - Has the investigation uncovered evidence that government policies or decisions may have been illegally or inappropriately affected? - Were phones at the legislature or politicians' private phone lines tapped? - Are there connections to Indo-Canadian gangs? - Other criminal groups? - Does it mean anything that so many of the individuals have links to the federal Liberal party, Prime Minister Paul Martin's organizing team in B.C. and his leadership campaign? - Why did a 20-month investigation come to a head on a Sunday between Christmas and New Year's? - Why was Dave Basi fired and Bob Virk only suspended? - Why would the government fire someone who has not been charged with any crime? - Have the province's $28-billion operations been compromised? - How long will this investigation cast a shadow over B.C.? - With so many unanswered questions, can the citizens of this province be confident in the government's ability to function effectively? - Will this affair adversely affect the province's economy and reputation?
Here come the surprises: there was considerable effort required to find this famous Vancouver Sun item. I could scarcely believe what I was actually seeing. Or, rather: not seeing.
Google "Some questions for British Columbians" --- the headline for the original Vancouver Sun story -- and you get 598,000 hits ... not one of them, so far as I could see, is the original Sun story.
Google "Some questions for British Columbians + Vancouver Sun + January 2, 2004" -- and you get 575,000 hits -- not one of them, the original Sun story.
I wouldn't have believed it possible. But I did find this (more surprises!)
Glen Robbins of Robbins SCE Research is doing a re-issue of his polls focused on the police raid on the BC Legislature. So this poll is among the 575,000 hits. I hope readers will check out the findings by clicking on the link below.
Glen Robbins does have a strong political leaning but perhaps not what might be expected: He had a brief stint with the BC Liberals in 1994, but left the BC Liberals in 1996 when he was one of the few Reformers who, he said, would not capitulate to the BC Liberals' last minute push for Reformers to join. He now describes himself as "probably Democratic Reform". This would suggest that his views might align with the current B.C. government which is made up of former Socreds, Reformers, Alliance, Conservative, and now Liberal.
But Robbins provides one more surprise. Four years after the police raided the B.C. Legislature, his 2008 views are summarized in this poll:
" ... Addendum: Jan 11, 2008. Think about this-the average British Columbian likely pays 40-50% of income (all inclusive) to pay for government, courts, police etc. Why? Where is the value? ROBBINS is no anarchist-but certainly any right thinking individual can begin to see that in BC there really is no democracy, simply the illusion of it. The Courts are ornate, the architecture compelling. The lawyers wear robes and everyone rises when the Judge walks in. Is there any justice for the average taxpayer/citizen? Look at the numbers---we've been polling this stuff for many years (1998).
Politicians-I need not make my case. A low majority of citizens vote--turn-out constantly decreases. Even dutiful Ontario's recent provincial in the 50's. Why? people are finding out it's corrupt---likely even crooked/criminal. There are very few citizens (not hooked up to a party or other benefit) who believe in the system. BC is beautiful, but as a democracy it is a 'dump', a toilet. Can the average person do anything about it? Not really. To get involved you need to be connected---to run you need to be in on the inside. There is nothing you can do, and you and I both know it. You are trapped into paying taxes.
Many of you who write in tell me story after story about how the government doesn't work. Government in BC (Canada?) is based upon the illusion of working, because most people don't actively use government services. The bottom line, police protection---are you really safe? Many BC governments in the past decade or so have been awful.
As partisan as this is---the BC Liberal government under Gordon Campbell is awful. The businesses who support him with large donations should be boycotted. In the coming months ROBBINS will be posting the names of BC business that support this 'sick' regime, and will ask you whenever possible to not support these businesses. Try within the law to limit to the extent you can, the money the government takes from you.
If you vote, don't vote for any incumbents-make a point of voting for any other person or party who is an outsider. This is how we send a powerful message. The Government of BC is in our opinion-(Constitution Act, 1982 Schedule B Constitution Act, 1982; Part 1 Charter of Rights and Freedoms-Fundamental Freedoms (2) Everyone has the following freedoms (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication; essentially an organized institutionalized 'mafia', to the extent that we understand what mafia is---organized crime. If you are one of the tens of thousands of Americans who come to this site-tell your friends and pass this around. BC is crooked government for decent (but docile) people. Don't spend your money here. Not a dime.
Glen P. Robbins."
One more question:
If you, Dear Reader, could have just one question answered about the police raid on the BC Legislature, what question would you ask?
Please let us know. We plan to circulate a few questions amongst B.C. journalists, editors, publishers. You just never know what might happen. - BC Mary.
Bribes were offered by officials of companies. Are they above the law?
My question is: If this is the case then why have the people who offered the bribes not been charged and brought to justice?
for bloggers to provide answers for them.
No can do.
That's Vancouver Sun's story, not mine.
I thought of adding an asterisk to separate each question ...
but decided, no. This is the way it appeared at that dramatic moment. This is a historic image.
Why was former Solicitor General Rich Coleman, using political influence, inserting himself with the RCMP Commercial Crime process/investigation? For example:
1. Coleman travelled with the RCMP to Kamloops to get permission from the Speaker to Raid the Leg, which involved not only political 'aides' but their political 'masters'.
2. A political aide of Coleman's (promoted to Asst. Dep. Min in March of 2004) reportedly 'chatted up' Acting Dep. Commissioner Gary Bass to suggest that the RCMP NOT pursue an investigation of then Minister Gary Collins while in Hawaii vacationing at the same time as Premier Campbell- while pre-trial evidence found that a lead Investigator et al wanted to pursue the investigation.
Thanks for getting our list of questions started.
CanWest has a useful "Chronology of events leading up to the trial of Basi & Virk". Excerpt:
- Dec. 27, 2003: Solicitor-General Rich Coleman, who warned Premier Gordon Campbell before he left for vacation in Hawaii that he might have to contact him, calls Campbell and tells him to be in contact the next day. Campbell says he assumed, because of Coleman's position, that it related to a police matter.
- Dec. 28, 2003: Victoria police search Virk and Basi's offices in the legislature. Victoria police and RCMP execute search warrants on seven premises in Victoria and the Lower Mainland.
- Dec. 29, 2003: Basi is fired and Bob Virk is suspended with pay, although he was later terminated.
- Dec. 31, 2003: Then finance minister Gary Collins returns early from his Hawaiian vacation to face the media. Collins says he knows no more than the public but assures British Columbians that the seizing of documents will not derail government business.
- Jan. 7, 2004: Campbell returns from his vacation in Maui and says he knows little more about the investigation than what has been in the media.
So my question is: If Campbell knew nothing about the raid, how did Campbell / Martyn Brown (his Chief of Staff) arrive at the decision to fire Dave Basi within 24 hours of the police raid, even before the premier got back from Hawaii?
For the record, Martyn Brown, the key political fixer of Campbell, was a Zalmoid in a previous incarnation.
From their political perches in December 2003 both politicians Rich Coleman & Claude Richmond (a former VanderZalm Minister who conveniently turned a blind eye to the dealings of a disgraced former Premier) had a clear picture of what was about to unfold.
How much in reality, did either/both of these politicians have to say to Premier Campbell, Minister Collins, Martyn Brown and/or any other of their political associates prior to the police Raid on the Leg?
I don't think there's any consinguinity - brown is a pretty common name...however, this little clip from Public Eye Online (circa 2005) is kind of interesting:
Apparently, BC Business magazine thinks the premier's chief of staff Martyn Brown is one of the province's preeminent capitalists. In a Web survey sent to readers via email by Ipsos-Reid Corp, the magazine asks them to identify those businesspeople "who have had the biggest impact in the B.C. business community over the past year?" And Mr. Brown is on the selection list. Should he reach the top of that list, press gallery members could have an opportunity to ask their favourite unasked question: "Premier, what's your opinion of the first Martyn Brown government?"
Make of that what you will!
Why are police documents marked "NOT FOR DISCLOSURE" when the subject matter of the document is dealing with the BC Liberal Party?
Good questions ... which get us thinking of more questions.
I've been going over that December 29, 2003 Instant Firing of Dave Basi -- BANG! GONE! -- just like that! even while Premier Campbell and Minister of Finance Gary Collins were saying they knew nothing about the raid.
So my 2nd question is: Why didn't Dave Basi sue the Campbell Government for wrongful dismissal?
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."
Why would a premier want his cabinet ministers to play a back seat role?
Since so many appointments involved in this case (the special prosecutor appointments etc.) have been defended as free of government influence, how can this be the case when the premier himself has selected those deputies? And if Martyn Brown, the premiers right hand man, was "structuring" and staffing cabinet offices, one would have to be highly naive to believe that anything in this realm, including government appointments was free of influence.
My other question.
Joy MacPhail asked this question of Gordon Campbell and Judith Reid in the legislature about the leaks and the take on them from the fairness report ...and received no real answer to her question:
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."
So my question is:
When that leak happened, and it was retrieved or destroyed - Who made that decision to do so?
If the attorneys "verified" whether the leak was retrieved or destroyed, then why is the word "or" used? Which was it? Was the leak retrieved? Or was it destroyed?
If it was retrieved, where is that leaked document now and what did it say? If it was destroyed, why was it destroyed? Who made that decision and what are the legal obligations upon finding a leak has been made?
Who are the attorneys who verified this leak? If they verified the leak, they would know who had access to it and whether it was retrieved - or whether it was destroyed? It had to be one or the other, so which was it? Have these attorneys been subpoenaed?
Lynx: Thank you for those good questions, particularly the backgrounder -- the infamous memo -- in which the very new premier clamps down on the re-structuring of all Ministries and the appointment of all Deputy Ministers who are referred to as "CEO" ...
Anon 7:23 refers to "the Feds" interviewing these Campbell-appointed deputy ministers. Are you sure, Anon? Wouldn't that be a little bit redundant?
Btw, let's not forget the Anonymous announcement that former prime minister Paul Martin will be in Vancouver on January 31 at the Floata Restaurant. Somebody, please ask him how he's feeling about this trial of his former star campaigners ... and "I know nothing" doesn't count as an answer, much less "I cannot speak on a matter that's before the courts".
I've noticed that Paul Martin sometimes turns up in Vancouver at a critical moment in the pre-trial hearings, usually unannounced. Two years in a row, on April 1 ...
My first question would be, where are the RCMP and JUDICIAL federal watchdogs in this case? I don’t think that anyone looking at this case would say that the officers, prosecution, judges have not done things a little there own way (not precisely by the book) or that there is no political interference.
My second question would be, where are all the political, tax payer, rcmp/police, judicial, social, democratic, media, watch dogs in this province and where are the over 50% of the people that did not vote for this government? Even with the deceitfulness of the msm (obvious they have had a impact but there cowardly ways are deteriorating) these groups and individuals are not on the radar. WHY?
Very interesting question indeed ... I remember reading the appointments to those positions which included Dave Basi and Jamie Elmhirst among others.
But I don't recall ever seeing when Jamie Elmhirst left the Ministry of Environment. Do you know the date?