Friday, October 30, 2009


Lara Dauphinee mentioned in today's news. That's twice, in recent days. And before that: never.

Keepers of the Olympic flame treat it with great care, high security

By Jeff Lee
Vancouver Sun - Oct. 30, 2009

Read the full story HERE. The Lara Dauphinee excerpt is as follows:

... The flame's arrival in Victoria triggered equally heavy security, and from the moment the jet landed the four lanterns were separated from each other, just in case.

But there were some odd moments. At one point after Simon Whitfield and Catriona Le May Doan had started the relay, Premier Gordon Campbell's executive assistant Lara Dauphinee walked backstage by herself, gingerly carrying one of the flames. "I didn't know that I was going to be a keeper," she joked.

I have no idea why Jeff mentions Lara. I'll ask. - BC Mary

Jeff's answer:
I was backstage unlike other media. I saw her. Having been in Greece I knew the flame is normally closely guarded. It was color for the piece.

I asked some more. Jeff replied:
No, she wasn't on the plane back.

To answer the questions: Who is Lara Dauphinee? Google her name on the Vancouver Sun web-site ... there are more options there.


Thursday, October 29, 2009


Ontario Court of Appeal overturns delay of trial case with B.C. Legislature Raid implications

The best chance Basi Virk will go to trial comes out of Ontario, says Bill Tieleman.

He explains more in his column HERE.



BC man who combined corporate ingenuity and violence is now facing 30 year prison term

U.S. seeks 30-year term for 'drug lord' UN gang leader


United Nations gang leader Clay Roueche was like a multinational entrepreneur, expanding his lucrative drug empire across North America with a combination of corporate ingenuity and violence.

He earned premier status in the criminal underworld by overseeing “the movement of tens of thousands of pounds of marijuana, thousands of kilograms of cocaine and millions of U.S. dollars,” U.S. prosectors say.

For that reason, the B.C. man should spend the next 30 years behind bars when he is sentenced in a Seattle courtroom in December, the U.S. Attorney says in more than 60 pages of just-filed court documents ...

“He used private airplanes, float planes, helicopters, cars, semi-trucks and coded BlackBerry telephones to create a secret and successful organization that he planned to extend into the Far East and South America. He employed pilots, drug couriers and money transporters to carry out the objectives of his organization.”

{Snip} ...

The documents quote former associates of Roueche, who cooperated with U.S. officials, saying he threatened to kill people who wanted out. One said Roueche claimed he had beaten someone with “dull machetes.”

“His organization has used any means necessary to carry out this goal, including threats and violence.”

Roe and Rogoff said Roueche “worked hard, with laudable organizational skills coupled with an attention to detail, to achieve the moniker ‘drug lord.’

{Snip} ...

The sophisticated law enforcement probe that led to Roueche’s downfall is laid out in the sentencing documents.

“Using customary investigative techniques, routine arrests and seizures, confidential informants, undercover agents, recorded phone calls, a consensual wire intercept, search warrants, physical surveillance, electronic surveillance and inter-agency cooperation as well as other sophisticated law enforcement techniques, a multitude of federal law enforcement agencies undertook to dismantle or disrupt the organization,” the documents say.

Roueche was nabbed in May 2008 as he attempted to attend a gang meeting in Mexico. Mexican authorities — tipped off about his criminal connections — turned Roueche away and he was forced onto a flight that landed in Texas, where an warrant was executed.

Roe and Rogoff say in their memo that they understand 30 years is “an extraordinary sentencing recommendation.”

“The government makes the recommendation because Clay Roueche is an extraordinarily dangerous, remorseless defendant, who committed extraordinarily serious crimes. He deserves this extraordinary sentence,” they said.

The breadth of the conspiracy as laid out in the court documents is startling.

U.S. agents “identified at least 15 helicopter landing sites on federal and state lands in Washington state that were being used by the UN gang for drug and human smuggling,” the documents say.

The agents believe Roueche spearheaded over several years the shipment of at least 2,000 pounds of B.C. bud a month into the U.S. and the movement into Canada of 200 pounds of cocaine per month. [Emphasis added ... because the raids on the BC Legislature were alleged to be tracking one thread of this investigation into organized crime. See footnote*. - BC Mary.]

“This sort of criminality dramatically increases the United States’ illicit drug supply by causing Mexican and Colombian drug trafficking organizations to smuggle more cocaine,” Special Agent Peter Ostrovsky said in an affidavit.

“In all, the investigation resulted in the seizure of 2,169 pounds of Canadian marijuana, 335 kilograms of cocaine, $2,033,388 in U.S. currency, two pounds of crack cocaine, four pounds of methamphetamine, and five firearms,” Roe said. “In addition, agents conducted the undercover delivery of $748,460 in U.S. currency at the direction of Roueche.”

U.S. investigators got help from the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit-B.C. after Roueche’s arrest in Texas.

The CFSEU information highlights Roueche’s leadership role in the organization and “his use of violence within the gang is clear from two different themes,” the sentencing memo says.

Intercepted conversations of Roueche’s dad Rupert indicated his son’s “long-running role in drug-trafficking.”

The U.S. Attorney says a Roueche letter intercepted from jail indicates “he simply wishes to continue supporting his organization until he can get out and pick up where he left off.”

{Snip} ...

Roueche deserves to spend three decades in jail because of the “creativity, toughness, and intelligence required to build and maintain an illegal organization the size of the UN gang.”

“Roueche has travelled the world to find new sources of supply and new potential markets for his drugs. He is worldly and charismatic. Unfortunately, he has chosen to use these traits in a manner that serves to hurt the people of the United States on as grand a scale as possible,” the memo says ...

* Reported explanation for the slowness in laying charges in the BC Rail / Basi Virk Basi case is that four separate investigations were under way:
- BC Rail
- Drugs
- Agricultural Land Reserve
- A "related Proceeds of Crime probe"
(Legislative Raid Case Hits 4 Years, The Canadian Press, Dec. 27, 2007)



Basi-Virk witness is back in business

Read about it at Bill Tieleman's place. Just click HERE.


Noted in passing ... 

BC Rail trial worrisome - Oct. 28, 2009

The Basi-Virk trial continues to make the BC Liberal government look corrupt and secretive.

Over 30,000 pages of recovered documents, documents intentionally deleted to hide complicity in the sale of a Crown corporation at a discount price.

The defence notes, and the public should note this with them, that there are still three data disks worth of emails and government correspondence that could not be recovered, preventing full disclosure from occurring. It’s a concern.

How can we trust a government that actively deleted reports and information it was legally required to archive, and then attempts to prevent judicial access to those same messages in a criminal trial, just to protect themselves.

It’s time for accountability.

Instead of complaining about the cost and the labour involved in retrieving the files that were intentionally destroyed, illegally, the BC Liberals should be happy to show some accountability and transparency in government. I seem to recall it was something they ran on in 2001.

Or was this another empty Liberal promise designed to quell the masses and mislead the public?

Trevor Ritchie


Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Basi Virk: Justice Anne MacKenzie has indicated she is not prepared to find out why thousands of e-mails related to B.C. Rail sale have disappeared*

Will FOI revisions prevent more 'lost' e-mail?
B.C. needs legislation that requires government to retain documents

Special to Times Colonist - October 28, 2009

It's looking less and less likely that the Basi-Virk corruption trial will get to the bottom of what happened to the years of e-mail records related to the sale of B.C. Rail.

Justice Anne MacKenzie has indicated she is not prepared to find out why thousands of e-mails related to the B.C. Rail sale have disappeared despite court orders to present them as potential evidence.

Society has a strong interest in making sure accused persons receive a fair trial.

MacKenzie might well be right in saying that the law does not demand perfect justice, but only fundamentally fair justice.

However, society also has a strong interest in government accountability.

In this instance, it seems like the illegal or incompetent records management of the B.C. government has worked to its advantage. The government claims the cost to retrieve documents related to one of the most controversial sales of a public asset in recent history would be too high. If the judge accepts this, the story of what happened to those records and how they got lost or destroyed might never be known.

It shouldn't be this way.

There are laws and rules in place that govern the handling of anything a government official writes down in whatever format. The province's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and Interpretation Act both define a "record" as any and all recorded information, including all information stored electronically.

The Document Disposal Act governs the destruction of government records and states: "[A] document must not be destroyed except on the written recommendation of the Public Documents Committee."

This means that regardless of the format -- paper or electronic -- no record can be destroyed without what's referred to as an "approved records retention and disposal schedule." There certainly does not appear to be any such schedule in the case of the B.C. Rail e-mails.

This situation can't be allowed to continue. We are far behind other jurisdictions in Canada when it comes to maintaining vital public records.

We don't have legislation that requires government officials to document their decisions, retain and archive important records and make information more openly and generally available.

B.C.'s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act doesn't cover any of these areas -- but maybe it should.

The FOI act is going to be reviewed by a special committee of the legislature this year.

The committee should make it a priority to look at how the government creates, preserves and destroys records.

If records are never created, can't be found or are improperly or illegally destroyed, then there is little point in having a law that allows us to request them.

And if we need a new law to accomplish that, then that is what the committee should recommend.

*And the RCMP doesn't seem to be prepared to act in the matter yet, either. The Commanding Officer of "E" Division, Gary Bass, the top cop in BC for the RCMP, has pretty much stated that either the police haven't noticed the loss or destruction of e.mail evidence in the Basi Virk trial, or don't know that it's a crime to destroy evidence.

This is a quote from his letter to Robin Mathews (scroll down to October 23, 2009 to see his letter on this web-site), where Gary Bass states: "
Should you come into information capable of being viewed as credible evidence of criminal wrongdoing by anyone in the Government, I would give it the attention it deserved."

Vincent Gogolek is the director, policy and communications, of the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association.

Special thanks to Captain D.P. Love (ret.) for spotting this valuable information and forwarding it to The Legislature Raids. We trust that Mr Gogolek and Times Colonist will appreciate this information being posted here for further distribution in the public interest. It is high time the experts spoke up this way, on behalf of the public. Thanks, all. - BC Mary.



New reports on Terrace courtroom matters involving Kitimat Village Council vs Haisla Community, defamation, BC Hydro, Alcan, BCUC, Gordon Campbell

Lawyer starts laughing in Haisla trial

By Mel Ritchie
Terrace Daily Online - Oct. 27, 2009

As the trial resumes this morning in Terrace between the Kitamaat Village Council and the Haisla Community members that are being sued for defamation, the two lawyers will be debating with the Judge, Justice Punnett, on the expertise and permissibility of an elder to give testimony on tribal law.

Many elders have already spoken about the Haisla traditions and tribal courts however the lawyer for the KVC, McConchie, continues to object that any of this testimony be considered in evidence.

The Supreme Court of Canada Appeal Court decision of 'Delgamuukw v British Columbia' was to be reviewed by these three legal minds last night along with other Court rulings such as the Van Peet decision, to determine if an elder can give evidence of his knowledge of aboriginal history and if this evidence should be considered in the Courts in Canada.

Hemaas Wakas, Raven Clan Chief, Alan Williams is on the stand waiting for this answer.

Haisla elder Don Stewart had taken the stand earlier. After stating his Haisla name, which no one could spell, and after briefly beginning, he was also asked to stop giving testimony as it was all about Haisla customary courts and tribal law.

The Court resumes at 10:00 am in Terrace and will begin with arguments on the validity of evidence by first nations elders on aboriginal customs, culture and traditions.

BC Mary comment: It kept bothering me, that name "McConchie" ... didn't he have something to do with the BC Rail Case, I kept wondering. Simple Googling told me that Roger D. McConchie is a very fine man who graduated from UBC in Law 1977, and who specializes in "defamation, libel, slander, media, access-to-information, injurious falsehood, breach of confidence, internet law. Hmmm. Media might be the key ... and so it was.

An excellent article written by Camille Bains, The Canadian Press, quotes Roger D. McConchie this way, when he showed up in an early Basi Virk ore-trial hearing, as representing "The Canadian Press and other media that also want access to the secret [Basi Virk] 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 [BC Rail] 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.”

That McConchie, eh? Okay then ... read on, for an
excellent summary of the BC Rail & Basi Virk issues:
Legislative Raid Case Hits 4 Years
By Camille Bains
The Canadian Press - Dec. 27, 2007

Now, back to Terrace and some apparent alleged dingdong fascinating similarities ongoing there.

Court will debate custom law authority

Merv Ritchie's report on the previous day's Kitamaat - Hasla trial is HERE.

Now that we've started following this trial, we can't quit now ... although you might start rubbing your eyes and reading today's report a second time ...

Steve Wilson calls sheriff onto reporter
By Merv Ritchie
Terrace Daily Online - Oct 28, 2009

Merv's front-line report is detailed HERE.


Measure of dignity for hereditary Chiefs
By Merv Ritchie
Terrace Daily Online - Oct 29, 2009 is HERE.


Justice in a rock slide at fraud trial
By Merv Ritchie
Terrace Daily Online - Oct. 30, 2009 is HERE.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Mafia - stimulus links? "If there are any cases where anyone suspects any kind of fraud like that, [people] can go to the police and raise them."

These suspicions are probably not confined to Montreal or even to the province of Quebec. The troubled finances of BC's 2010 Olympic Gaming spring to mind. This news report isn't included in today's online edition of The Globe and Mail, for some reason. So I copied this much, word-by-word, from Page A4, Oct. 27, 2009. You ask: how does this relate to BC Rail? Answer, in one word: corruption. - BC Mary.

Minister rejects link between Mafia, stimulus

By Sidhartha Banerjee
The Canadian Press
The Globe and Mail - Oct. 27, 2009

MONTREAL - There's no evidence of federal stimulus money going to the Mob, Canada's Public Safety Minister says in response to sensational allegations from Quebec of Mafia-related collusion in the construction industry.

Recent reports have said that construction companies in the province work together to drive up the cost of public-works projects, threaten companies that don't participate and give commissions to the Mafia.

Organized-crime experts said that it's a common practice wherever the Italian Mafia operates.

Ottawa and the provinces have been showering billions on construction projects in the biggest infrastructure spending spree in Canadian history. {Snip} ...

the scandal has reached an unparalelled intensity in Quebec.

It has tossed the current Montreal mayoral race into disarray, with the incumbent administration fending off a flood of corruption allegations and the main opposition party also tainted by the scandal ... {Snip}

The scandal erupted after an invstigative report on the French-language arm of the CBC, Radio-Canada, indicated that 14 Montreal-area firms work together in a price-fixing scheme.

A recent Transport Canada study concluded that a kilometre of road cost 37% more to buildij Quebec in 2008 than the average cost for the rest of the country.

Also, not in today's print edition ...

A Sikh who refuses to be silenced

By Joe Friesen
The Globe and Mail - Oct. 27, 2009

Jagdish Grewal saw three masked men dressed in black running toward him, and he knew that it meant.

He had just enough time to make it to his van and lock the door, but the men were on him in seconds. As he tried frantically to start the engine, they beat on the window until it smashed. Then they placed a gun to his head. Everything went quiet.

The men said nothing. Mr Grewal turned away from the gun barrel, his eyes closed. It was 11:40 on a rainy Friday night in the parking lot of a Brampton industrial park. Mr Grewal, the 42-year-old editor of the Punjabi Post and a father of three, was crtain his life was at an end ...

Speaking out
Among other attacks on Canadian journalists:

1985 - Ujjal Dosanjh, in Surrey, B.C., hospitalized by gangsters who gave him a near-fatal beating with a lead pipe, after speaking out for peace during a period when "a wave of hatred, violence, threats, hit lists, silencing of broadcasters, journalists, activists happened," Dosanjh said.

1998- Tara Singh Hayer, publisher of the Indo-Canadian Times] was assassinated at his home in Surrey, B.C. by two Indo-Canadian gangsters [10 years after being paralysed by another gunman] on the orders of the terrorist group Babbar Khalsa for a $50,000 fee, according to information provided to police three years ago. The hit was so successfully carried out that the two young men were then approached about killing Sikh moderate leader Balwant Singh Gill for another '50 grand,' police were also told in the fall of 2000. Hayer was expected to be a witness in the Air India bomb trial when he was shot to death.

2000: Michel Auger of the Journal de Montreal survived being shot 6 times outside the paper's downtown offices. He was responsible for the groundbreaking reporting on Montreal's biker wars.



CN's Hunter Harrison nears final station

The CEO of Canadian National Railway Co. is preparing to retire, leaving an admirable record of accomplishment

Brent Jang
The Globe and Mail - Oct. 27, 2009

Did you ever see the deal, British Columbia?

Montreal — In his 16th floor office in Montreal, Hunter Harrison is reminiscing about his birthplace of Memphis, where he grew up a kilometre down the road from Elvis Presley's Graceland mansion.

The king of rock 'n roll would often rent the Memphis fairgrounds, using it as a private amusement park for his family and friends after closing time, and one night, a teenage Mr. Harrison managed to score an invitation through a buddy who knew one of the singer's confidants.

“Elvis leaned on a wall with his motorcycle hat on,” recalls the chief executive officer of Canadian National Railway Co. (CNR-T52.32-1.08-2.02%) “There was a lady then that Elvis was going with named Anita Wood. She was a local TV star on a dance show like American Bandstand .

“She knew me a little bit. Here I am at the fairgrounds with pimples, 16 years old ... {Snippety-barf } ...

Memphis has emerged as CN's main southern U.S. hub, a strategic yard that handles freight that arrives after long journeys, including Asian imports sent along CN lines from the Port of Prince Rupert in British Columbia. Memphis, where CN interchanges traffic with all four major U.S. carriers, is also the company's gateway to its Gulf of Mexico region operations.

In a fitting tribute, CN has named the Memphis distribution hub after its CEO, unveiling the Harrison Yard last month after spending $100-million to nearly double its capacity. What was once an aging flat yard has been converted into an industry model of efficiency after CN added a hill, or “mini-hump,” to better shuffle trains into proper position. “Memphis is particularly a very important spot for CN going forward,” Mr. Harrison says.

{Snip ah yes, "going forward"} ...

Although hurt by the recession, CN has been a popular stock for investors since the initial public offering came out at $27 a share in 1995, or a split-adjusted price of $4.50. Taking into account stock splits, but not dividends, an investor holding 100 CN shares worth $2,700 back in 1995 would currently have 600 shares worth $32,040.

“This will go into the history books. No other railroad has come close in the last 14 or 15 years,” says Mr. Harrison, who will leave at the end of this year, to be replaced by Claude Mongeau, CN's Quebec-born executive vice-president.

Mr. Harrison admits that he has been sensitive to being an American in Montreal, serving as Paul Tellier's right-hand man for five years, after CN acquired Illinois Central Railroad Co. in 1998 before taking over as CEO in 2003.

“Paul Tellier and I used to joke about this. We would cross the border for visits. He went south and I went north. He got to Jackson, Mississippi, and they'd have the red carpet out, catfish and fried chicken. They didn't have any red carpet out for me here, and I don't know if it was me, or if Paul was just so charming,” Mr. Harrison says with a laugh.

He pokes fun at his own attempts at speaking French, even trying, “Bonjour, y'all,” as a greeting in New York.

As the time draws closer to pack up the trusty golf putter he keeps in his office, he says he will be only a phone call away should Mr. Mongeau feel the need to ring. Gone, however, will be the Hunter camps – retreats where Mr. Harrison could easily speak for two hours without any text about the importance of railroading.

“If there are going to be camps, there will be Claude camps. There will be things that he will want to put his touch on. If you want to be a good leader, you got to make tracks of your own,” Mr. Harrison says.

“I'm going to take a breather. I'm not going to do anything on a rebound. I'm going to take some time off and reflect. I'm trying to do some charitable work in Ridgefield in Connecticut. I might sit on a board, but I'm not going to be a professional board member. People have approached me about doing a couple of books on leadership. So, it's time for me to move on.”


Sunday, October 25, 2009


Gordon Campbell implicated in alleged fraudulent deal with Haisla First Nation trial, which resumes Monday, Oct. 26, 2009

By Merv Ritchie

Terrace Daily Online - Oct. 24, 2009

The tale of Kitamaat and the Village Council gets stranger every passing week.

A number of weeks ago we were informed that a Clerk to the Chief Councillor was let go under the alleged suspicion of removing papers from the Kitamaat Village Office and passing them on to former Chief Councillor Steve Wilson. Photocopying of other documents and deeds were also alleged.

This past week two very different reliable sources closely connected to the affairs of Kitamaat have also reported an RCMP investigation of the Kitamaat Village Offices. We have called RCMP officials and Kitamaat Village Council officials and not a single person would return our calls to speak to the allegations.

It is reported the RCMP showed up and were allowed to walk around the offices of the Kitamaat Village Council. They left having discovered enough cause, 'apparently', to apply to a Judge for a search warrant. The RCMP, we are told, returned and removed some computer or recording equipment. It is alleged some telephone lines were being recorded or tapped.

One inquiry to the Kitamaat Village offices resulted in confirmation the Clerk, Ms Martin, was let go however no explanation was given.

The details remain to be confirmed and we have left messages on various RCMP and Village Council answering services including the Chief Councillors home and office.

The defamation trial involving Steve Wilson, the Kitamaat Village Council and the Haisla Nation resumes on Monday October 26th.

BC Premier Gordon Campbell was implicated in the trial when Wilson acknowledged writing him a letter claiming he fulfilled his part of their conspiratorial arrangement to keep the Haisla from interfering with the electricity purchase agreement between Alcan and BC Hydro during the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) hearings.

Wilson also admitted the signature of the highest Haisla Hereditary Chief supporting Alcan in the BCUC application was a fake and the stamp used to fake his authorization was improperly used.

If the RCMP have now raided the Kitamaat Village Council offices; a BC legislative assembly, and if this has anything to do with Steve Wilson and the alleged fraudulent deal he had made with BC Premier Gordon Campbell, the entire Haisla First Nations Trial, which resumes Monday, may be a small precursor to the BC Rail sale to CN Rail 'Fraud trial', which resulted after the BC Provincial Legislature was raided.

Are the political leaders of BC really involved in corrupt, fraudulent activity? We will continue to dig and report on what turns up. We have been informed the RCMP wish to keep this quiet as their investigation is ongoing. The Haisla community consists of only approximately 750 people. Quiet is unlikely.

Visit Terrace Daily Online HERE ... this is a gold-mine of information. Here are two snippets:

... January 2009, a letter is discovered that Wilson wrote to BC Premier Campbell in the fall of 2007, demanding Campbell fulfill his end of the bargain he made to keep the Haisla from interfering with the BCUC/Alcan electricity purchase agreement. It is exposed in the Provincial Legislature.

September 30, 2009, the trial of the facts begins. On October 9, the trial adjourns. The defence will begin presenting their evidence on October 26; two years to the day after the KVC launched the lawsuit.


REPORTING · 5th October 2009
Merv Ritchie

Steve Wilson takes witness stand and remains on stand Tuesday.
This is the crux of the trial, which continues in Terrace today. The allegations made against the Kitamaat Village Council (KVC) are that they, through past Chief Councillor Steve Wilson participated in a fraud with Gordon Campbell to ensure the Province approve and facilitate the Independent Power Projects (IPP) on the Haisla traditional Territories at Crab and Europa water courses.

See historical article with copy of letter Wilson wrote to Gordon Campbell talking about a deal HERE,

and BC Liberals delay BC Utilities Commission Inquiry to stack the deck for Independent Power Producers is HERE.

And "Did Haisla secret decision win Alcan favour?" HERE.

See also Vancouver Sun report HERE.

Steve Wilson and the KVC are suing for defamation. The only defence those being sued have is that the statements and writings are true or that they were not defamatory. If they were true then this would have serious consequences for the Province and the BCUC decisions. This is what makes this trial so important for the Province of British Columbia and the Indian and Northern Affairs Canada authorized Kitamaat Band Council. It is why the lead lawyer for Steve Wilson and the KVC is taking so much time with Morris Amos ...

Sure didn't see any of this in the big CanWest daily newspapers in Vancouver or Victoria. I'm just shaking my head wondering why the Sun, Province, or Times Colonist news editors couldn't have used their telephones to call Terrace for a few updates on Gordo's latest public affairs ...

instead of disturbing Mr & Mrs Battershill
and the Loon Lake retirement community.


Here's another interesting "sales" plan from Gordo's workshop for giving away prime public assets:

Jumbo Ski Municipality (with no residents)

Jumbo Ski Resort carves new legal tracks

The theory is that, in addition to doing the CN a favour, the BC Liberal insiders wanted to get their hands on BC Rail's land banks. They drooled for years over the development potential of huge acreage between West Van and Squamish. Politically unconnected developers were put off by the need to deal with a regional district or the provincial government.

Now a template is revealed. Have the BC Liberals create a municipality with no residents, managed by your own appointed councilors. Eliminates all those difficult zoning limits.

Ask people to imagine if this is the template for development of ex BCR lands. I don't think you even need to draw the line.




How to access online BCSC listings: first, forget about the old 3-click process ...

The following comment is re-posted today because of the difficulties people are having with accessing the pre-trial hearing dates for the BC Rail Case in time to attend.

Please add your own thoughts about this, because it's a matter of bedrock importance: to SEE that justice is being done in BC's courts and courtrooms, all of which the public is paying for. This is something to safeguard as the foundation of a democratic society.

Anonymous has left a new comment on the post "Not today? Yah, well ... there probably IS a Basi-Virk hearing in BCSC today, and they'll tell us when it's too late to attend":

As much as we have come to rely heavily upon the internet to find out the smallest detail, including BC Supreme Court Hearing Lists, the Attorney General of British Columbia via his revamped website has declared that its up to the public to phone the the Court Registry to determine exactly when a Hearing is to take place.

Gordon Campbell talks about tightening the belt, the cupboard is bare (Million dollar purchasing of 2010 Winter Olympics exempted...unless of course you read Mike Smyth's column today in the Vancouver Province newspaper where he states that taxpayers dollars have ponied up $3 million via municipalities and Crown corporation)...... staff are being laid off, or to more accurate, the crime spree with multiple killings this year that resulted in more trials coming on line, not to be confused with online .... via the internet highway.... the gallery public is now required to pick up the phone and WAIT, WAIT, WAIT for someone to say "How may I help you?"

Just what is the problem with one Court Registry employee posting his Hearing List on the internet after 6:00am so that those who have been called by the Court to ATTEND the proceedings can actually do so without having to wait for someone to ask if the BC Rail trial is a go or not.

And then can the public believe the answer from a harassed court official that there is going to be something not happening when it turns out to be that there is something happening.

For the facts, the full FAX:

Vancouver Law Courts (Supreme Court only)

Law Courts, 800 Smithe Street

Vancouver, B.C. V6Z 2E1

Tel: 604 660-2847

Fax: 604 660-2420

PS BC Mary could you add this information to your LINK section of your blog instead of relying only on the internet to make the connections as to who will be in court, or not.

BC Mary comments: I'm probably just as puzzled as anybody else. For example, this process requires the public to wait until regular 9 to 5 office hours before placing such a call. This means that, before citizens can pull on their boots and run out the door, the hearings have already begun. (Assuming that each citizen is free to take the day off and free to leave home for the day.) So what are the options available to citizens?

CanWest media has gone broke -- which means that there's little to no public reporting on the Basi Virk / BC Rail Case. Not like the CanWest fixation upon the gruesome Pickton murders (and how helpful was that?).

We know now (too late) that there were Basi Virk pre-trial hearings all week, from Oct. 19 to 23, 2009 but the public was NOT informed in time.

Bill Tieleman was unavoidably delayed and missed a lot of this. Robin Mathews reported on Wed., Oct. 21 but since then, he's been out of town for a few days with his family. The Globe and Mail, BC edition, had one column for the week of hearings.

The public can't do its own due diligence because of distance and economics. But also because they can't find out whether or not there's a further hearing in the BC Rail Case. Previously, they could find out at 6:30 AM on the very day of the hearing. But since Oct. 19, to our knowledge, the public can't find out at all ... not until it's too late to attend. This happened 5 days in a row and cannot be co-incidence or clerical error.

Does this sound like the perfect time for the Attorney General to revise and complicate matters? No, it certainly does not. It sounds like the perfect time for an alert, responsible Attorney General to make absolutely sure that citizens can at least find out WHEN and WHERE to attend. It's no great intellectual challenge: let the court system post the schedule the day before the hearings! [How on earth does the Judge know when and where to show up for work?]

In the Geof Plant era, $7.2 million of BC taxpayers' dollars was spent to create the amazing Courtroom 20 with special emphasis on media facilities. [Click
HERE see "AIR INDIA TRIAL, Media Information Package".]

There are already TV cameras in place in Courtroom 20. The provincial government has its own dedicated broadcast channel. It would cost nothing to provide access to the trial of Basi, Virk, and Basi. From what I can find out: somebody in authority must ask the Judge to authorize this. My polite requests to the lawyers remain unanswered.

The BC Rail Case is important to every British Columbian. Will the current AG Michael de Jong, press the button which makes the BC Rail hearings and trial accessible to every community throughout British Columbia?

Someone suggested we write to the Attorney General. Let's do that. There's an easy message-format provided on the AG's web-site, by clicking
HERE, or copy and paste this URL into your browser:

Or Michael de Jong, invites us to contact him at his constituency office:

Abbotsford West Constituency Office
103-32660 George Ferguson Way

Abbotsford, BC V2T 4V6

Phone: (604) 870-5486

Fax: (604) 870-5444

Something else from our valued commentor:

Hello BC Mary,

I'm the Anonymous author of "For the facts, the full FAX:"

As I clicked on Published I realized that although the BC Rail trial effects all British Columbians, the phone number listed for citizens to call, whether they live in Kelowna, Cranbrook, or somewhere on Vancouver Island, is 604 (Metro Vancouver), its not a 1-800 number where the cost would be borne by the Courts instead of by the person who is phoning and once they get on line they are asked to "Wait, Wait, Wait", and then hangs up in frustration and the cost of a mounting phone bill.

On another issue within this trial, of the failure of the government to disclose all documents, one that hasn't been mentioned, although the defense team is succeeding, somewhat to gain access to the Executive emails, what they haven't asked for are the ENCRYPTED emails/Word Documents, nor the SCRAMBLED phone calls from the Premier's office to his minister and PAB aides.... which came into being shortly after the raid on the Legislature.

Why? Why are public documents being encrypted, why are phone calls being scrambled?

BC Mary Comment: Someone else, I hope, can answer your very interesting questions about ENCRYPTED and SCRAMBLED information which, even as we speak, could be the evidence required somewhere, sometime in the history books even if not in Court.

As for the question of a 1-800 number for communities outside Vancouver, I found it: Enquiry BC, that central BC govt call centre where somebody explains who it is you need to talk to, and even connects you (no charge) with the correct department. Yes, the handy numbers that should get access for any British Columbian, are as follows:


Vancouver: (604) 660-2421
Victoria (250) 387-6121
Outside Vanc & Vic: 1-800-663-7867.

Many thanks, Anonymous commentor. - BC Mary.


Friday, October 23, 2009


Gary Bass to Robin Mathews, Part 2

After many weeks, months, years of attending pre-trial hearings for Case #23299 - Basi, Virk, Basi - Professor Robin Mathews turned to the head man for Royal Canadian Mounted Police matters in British Columbia. That letter was posted on this web-site on October 5, 2009 under the heading
" ... the said open public auction of BC Rail was, in fact, an allegedly intended, calculated, and practiced fraud ..."

Robin Mathews shares the reply with us:

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: "Gary BASS"
To: "Robin Mathews"
Cc:, "Helen DARBYSHIRE" , "Jodie BOUDREAU" , "Kevin Begg" , "Les Rose"
Sent: Thursday, October 22, 2009
Subject: Re: Fwd: bbv

Good day Mr. Matthews.

I responded to your letter earlier this week. Hopefully you will receive it within a few days.

I have to say that your classification of the Government of BC in this latest e-mail, as a "Criminal Gang" is disturbing to me as the head of the Provincial Force and does a serious disservice to the many men and women who have devoted their lives to public service.

Should you come into information capable of being viewed as credible evidence of criminal wrongdoing by anyone in the Government, I would give it the attention it deserved.


Gary Bass
Commanding Officer
"E" Division RCMP

Robin Mathews replies to Gary Bass:

Dear Deputy Commissioner Bass:

Thank you for your kind reply by email. I haven't yet received your written reply. I will look for it with pleasure.

I did not classify the government as a "Criminal Gang" if you observed the question mark. The men and women who have devoted themselves to public service deserve the respect and admiration of us all. Among them are those in the RCMP for whom we all feel warm affection. But you may remember that among those same RCMP officers were those who appeared before the parliamentary committee to affirm the belief that Guiliano Zaccardelli was deserving of disgrace (and removal), their top officer.

Let us not confuse the men and women who have devoted themselves to public service with other kinds of men and women. By the same token, you may be asking for "credible evidence of wrongdoing" in such a way as permits you to avoid the major points I have made to you - and to others - about the behaviour of some in the Gordon Campbell government. You, of course, have not only the right to do that, but also the power.

That does not mean that I am wrong to ask you to investigate. Nor does it mean that you will not be brought to that undertaking in the future.

I appreciate the courtesy of your reply.

respectfully, Robin Mathews



Warning: another BC Rail type of deal may be in the works ... and soon

Critique of Business Council of BC discussion paper on forestry, Part 2
By Peter Ewart

Published in OPINION 250 - Oct. 23, 2009

All of Part 2 is HERE. Excerpt:

... the Wall Street and other tycoons realize that a “90 year lease” amounts to de facto ownership of the forest resource. This means that the timber rights take on dramatically new value and can become pawns in the international financial markets to be bought, sold, and speculated with in all sorts of ways.

It also means that the big forest companies, under the direction of international financiers, will become even more like feudal princes, and that, by becoming the sole “managers” of the forest resource, they will be able to more easily strangle and / or gobble up small and medium sized competitors by using monopolistic tactics, squeeze or eliminate contractors, consolidate and rationalize production, close mills, layoff workers, and skirt environmental regulations.

But there is one other clue in the discussion paper that explains why - using a mishmash of clumsy arguments to build the case - this drastic proposal is being pushed right now. Almost with a wink of the eye and a nudge, the document states, “it could be argued that today is as close as it may be possible to come to the ideal timing …. to introduce proposals for major policy changes of this nature” (p.90).

In other words, when tens of thousands of forest workers are laid off, mills are closed, communities are reeling or devastated, and when many people in the province are facing an uncertain future and are at their most vulnerable, what better time to concoct and push forward a proposal that is so objectionable that, during any other period, it would be soundly rejected by the population?

What better time, indeed.

In Part 3 of this series of articles, we will be discussing how similar techniques to those used in the privatization of BC Rail are being dusted off to sell the discussion paper’s idea for “90 year” forestry leases.

Peter Ewart is a writer and columnist based in Prince George, BC. He can be reached at:

Part 1 is HERE. The Oct. 24 editorial opinion of Ben Meisner (Lumber giants don't like CN anymore) is HERE.

Watch OPINION 250, or this web-site, for Part 3. A sincere tip o'the tuque to Peter Ewart and friends of BC Rail in Prince George.

- BC Mary.



No Basi-Virk Supreme Court listing for today, either ... but it probably means YES, there's a hearing, but we're just not tellin' YOU, that's all ...


Judge for yourself. This is what Bill Tieleman said last week:

Bill Tieleman also said "Yes", hearings would be starting again as of yesterday, October 19 and run for 5 days, with more on Friday, October 23.

And once again, for the 5th day in a row, the hapless citizens of British Columbia can look up BC Supreme Court listings for today Oct. 23 and find nothing to indicate that the pre-trial hearings of Dave Basi, Bobby Virk, or Aneal Basi will continue today. - BC Mary.

12:00 noon, same old thing. YES, there's suddenly 2 pages of Basi Virk Basi listings scheduled for today, beginning a couple of hours ago, at 10:00 AM, mostly about Disclosure.

So, fine. We'll just jump into our handy time machine, turn the knobs back a few hours, and see if we can get into that courtroom on time -- like good citizens should. - BC Mary.

It gets worse!

Government cash grab puts safety at risk

People will have to pay to access them


The squeeze is on. Citizens using an online provincial court-records database will soon be hit with fees.

Court Services Online allows users to input an individual's name and find out what criminal offences that person has been charged with, if any. It provides court-appearance dates and case results.

The attorney-general's ministry put the database — previously accessible at public terminals in courthouses — online last fall at no charge.

I publicized this service in a Valentine's Day column, suggesting it provided an easy way to check out possible romantic partners.

Province readers deluged me with e-mails, saying they would use the service for everything from screening potential dates to hiring new employees.

Soon after the column ran, the ministry added the following message to the website (

"Due to the increased volume of usage, we are currently monitoring the service and may need to suspend it if volumes continue to exceed capacity."

Now it appears they've reconsidered. Here's the message that started appearing this week: "Note that this service is temporarily being offered for free; however, service fees will be introduced in the near future."

I called the ministry, and spokesman Shawn Robins told me they had always planned on charging fees for this information, since they already charge for information about civil-court cases.

I might believe that, if they hadn't put up the earlier message about suspending the service. It looks to me like the provincial bean-counters identified a public demand for the service and decided to cash in.

Robins says no decision has been made on when to impose fees, but it'll eventually cost $6 per search, the same as for civil searches. If a person has, say, four charges, it will cost $24 to find out the details. If the person doesn't have a distinctive name, you could blow a lot of money trying to match cases and individuals with birth years.

The database will continue to be available for free at courthouse computer terminals, Robins says. {Snip} ...

"They don't need to charge for it," says Darrell Evans, executive director of the B.C. Information and Privacy Association. "They're doing it anyway. We're against using access to information as a revenue-generator. The more information is free, the healthier the society will be, within privacy limits."

Robins says those who run the service don't have usage numbers at their fingertips, and they were too busy to compile that information for me to share with you.

We in the media use the service frequently, to provide the public with information about criminal cases. I know a man, worried for his family's safety, who used it to track the court case of a drug-dealing neighbour linked to a gang killing.

Fees will reduce use of the service by the public and the media, and we will all know less about the criminals in our midst.


I sent a note of appreciation to Ethan Baron for this. And suggested that there's room for improvement in the Supreme Court's On-line Schedule of hearings and trials too. - BC Mary.


Thursday, October 22, 2009


Speaking of news that isn't made public ... maybe it's time to revisit Ian Mulgrew's column in Vancouver Sun - February 17, 2009

Public information that isn't made public ... it carries a special impact. Why was the information withheld in the first place? Who hid it? What's their excuse? Should the public tolerate this?

"Forgetting" for 4 days in a row, to provide the simple details of time and place for the next Basi Virk Basi / BC Rail hearing is one of those special silences. But it reminded me of another, much bigger one ... remember "Mr Big"?

There was only one casual remark (Neal Hall's remark, I think) in the 5 years between the raids on the BC Legislature and the trial of the man police were tracking: "Jasmohan Singh Bains comes up for trial in 2008" he wrote. I watched. I waited. I Googled. The man's name never appeared in the news again.

Then a clever citizen, attending the Basi Virk pre-trial hearings, heard a remark about the 9-year sentence Bains had received. Clever citizen indeed ... he looked around the courtroom, saw no media represented there, and decided to tell BC Mary. I have to admit that I really didn't believe it. How could such an important trial be silenced, overlooked, ignored ... censored?

I took the time to check thoroughly ... and found it to be true. The man who police thought was "Mr Big" on the West Coast -- big enough to embolden them to raid the People's Legislature -- had gone to trial (June 2008), been found guilty (Aug 2008) and sentenced (Sept 2008) without a hint of it being reported in the news media.

So I broke the story on The Legislature Raids in December 2008. I even took time to create a headline which Google couldn't miss. I figured that's all it would take for the story to go national. Ha. Silly me. Absolutely nothing more was said about Jasmohan Bains -- weeks passed -- until I happened to mention it while in discussion with Ian Mulgrew, very, very casually. I was actually talking about another column he had written; and I said something like "I just wish you had been assigned to the Basi Virk story - then maybe the Jasmohan Bains trial would have been reported." Something like that.

Next thing was the column by Ian, published a day or two later:

Drug dealer linked to legislature raid imprisoned
RCMP oddly silent about key victory against cocaine ring

Ian Mulgrew
Vancouver Sun

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The key figure in Project Every Which Way, the organized crime investigation that triggered the raid on the legislature half a decade ago, has been convicted and sentenced to nine years' imprisonment.

Jasmohan Singh Bains, the 33-year-old would-be Mr. Big of the Vancouver Island drug world, was also fined $242,170 and forfeited $12,718.11 seized by police at the time of his arrest five years ago. If he fails to pay the fine, Bains must serve another three years in prison.

Although then only 28, Bains headed a Victoria-based group that shipped kilograms of cocaine to Metro Toronto and remitted cash back via Federal Express.

His trial last summer focused on one shipment of 12 kilos, worth about $400,000, and Bains's boast that he could supply 50 kilos a week.

"Mr. Bains was the sine qua non of this conspiracy," Provincial Court Judge Robert Higinbotham said at the sentencing on Sept. 11.

"He was the initiator, the driving force, and the chief executive officer of the trafficking enterprise, and he answered to no other person."

This significant event went apparently unreported until it appeared on citizen journalist Mary Mackie's blog [] and was brought to my attention Monday.

I was surprised no one in the federal prosecutor's office or the RCMP had issued a statement since this is the organized crime connection that led to the raid on legislature offices Dec. 28, 2003.

"Organized crime has stretched into every corner of B.C. and onto most city streets," RCMP Sgt. John Ward warned then. "It is not an exaggeration to say that organized crime is a cancer eating away at the social and moral fabric of British Columbia."

He was talking about Bains's seeming influence.

In separate proceedings about two years ago, a prosecutor told B.C. Supreme Court that police became interested in former Liberal insider Dave Basi when numerous calls were made to his cellphone from Bains, his cousin.

Basi and Bob Virk, also a former top government aide, are on trial for fraud and breach of trust.

Prosecutor Janet Winteringham explained in pretrial proceedings that police learned in May 2002 that Bains was expanding his underworld empire after the arrest of one of his rivals.

The RCMP targeted him and launched the massive operation that ultimately snared Bains, the two high-flying Liberal operatives and several others.

Tips from an informant suggested Basi was laundering money for Bains by purchasing real estate, Winteringham said.

After a wiretap operation was in place for the drug case, police overheard Basi discussing the sale of BC Rail. That auction process is at the heart of the breach-of-trust charges the former back-room operatives face.

At the time, Basi was an aide to Gary Collins, then B.C.'s finance minister. Virk, Basi's brother-in-law, was an aide to Judith Reid, then B.C.'s transportation minister.

Basi and Virk are accused of accepting bribes in exchange for confidential government documents concerning the controversial sale of the provincial railway company.

Another cousin, Aneal Basi, who worked as a government media analyst, is accused of money laundering for allegedly accepting cheques from Erik Bornmann, then a partner in the lobbying firm Pilothouse, and transferring funds to Basi.

Pilothouse was retained by U.S.-based OmniTrax, one of the bidders for the BC Rail assets. Winteringham alleged that during a police search of Pilothouse's office, confidential government documents were found.

The Liberal administration announced on Nov. 25, 2003, that it had accepted CN Rail's $1-billion bid for the bulk of railway assets. An auction for the Roberts Bank spur line was cancelled in March 2004 after police advised that the process had been compromised.

The trial on the breach-of-trust issues remains mired and awaiting a Supreme Court of Canada decision about whether defence lawyers but not their clients will be allowed to learn the identity of a confidential informant.

This conviction nevertheless is an important victory for the Mounties and they deserve credit for it.

Can anyone see any reason for silencing news of "Mr Big"? ... because I sure can't see it. Yet 5 years had passed with scrupulous non-mention of him, his trial, or his conviction.

In the same way, I can't see any justification for BCSC withholding the simple facts needed by the public if they're to attend pre-trial hearings this week leading up to the most significant trial ever to be held in the Province of British Columbia. Maybe once, court clerks could "forget". Maybe twice. But for 4 days in a row? I don't think so.

- BC Mary.



Not today? Yah, well ... there probably IS a Basi-Virk, BC Rail hearing in BCSC today, and they'll tell us when it's too late to attend

For the 4th time this week, the operational management at BC Supreme Court in Vancouver has seen fit to leave an important courtroom drama off the day's official courtroom listings.

Important? Let's say unprecedented, historic, and almost unbelievable trial of a sitting government whose leader is preparing to welcome the world to his hometown: Vancouver.

An accidental, honest clerical error? A coincidence? No, I think British Columbians have learned that lesson.

Nobody is looking for conspiracies here. But those are the facts: for 4 days in a row the same "error" is made -- somebody at BCSC "forgets" to post the day's schedule of courtroom hearings for File #23299 Basi, Virk, Basi -- but the hearings continue all the same ... only it's too late for most people to attend. That's no conspiracy theory. Them's the facts. And the facts lead to an empty public gallery and a loss of news coverage.

How can we possibly believe that the BC Supreme Court is fair, impartial, and concerned with the public interest? - BC Mary.

Well, well, well ... sure enough, as suspected ... the "too late to be much use to the public" the BC Rail Case showed up on Vancouver's Supreme Court criminal listing, as follows:

Case #23299 -- Udhe (Dave) Singh Basi, Bobby Singh Virk, and Aneal Singh Basi -- pre-trial hearings resume at 10:00 AM on October 22, 2009 in Courtroom 43 to talk about Bribes, Fraud, Disclosure, and Full Disclosure.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009


BC Rail trial must be fair, not perfect: Judge

Defence told the right of the accused to a fair trial must be weighed against cost and time spent on disclosure

Mark Hume
The Globe and Mail - Oct. 21, 2009

VANCOUVER - The defence team in a long-running political corruption trial has been reminded in the Supreme Court of British Columbia that justice in Canada means a fair trial – not a perfect one.

Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie issued the caution Wednesday as she heard arguments from the lawyers defending two of three former government employees accused of fraud, breach of trust and money laundering surrounding the $1-billion sale of BC Rail. {Snip} ...

Citing a judgment in a separate case, by Madam Justice Beverley McLachlin of the Supreme Court of Canada, Judge MacKenzie said the right of the accused to a fair trial has to be weighed against the cost and time spent on disclosure.

She said the public expects not only a fair justice system, but one that is “efficient and affordable” as well.

“The Charter guarantees not the fairest of all possible trials, but rather a trial which is fundamentally fair,” wrote Judge McLachlin in a decision made while she was with the B.C. Court of Appeal in 1995.

“What constitutes a fair trial takes into account not only the perspective of the accused, but the practical limits of the system of justice,” Judge McLachlin wrote. {Snip} ...

“What the law demands is not perfect justice, but fundamentally fair justice,” she stated.

“Which I think is sensible,” Judge MacKenzie said.

Her comments were seen as a warning to the defence that a lengthy delay over the disclosure of yet more documents is not something the court will consider lightly.

Mr. Bolton, however, told court the disclosure process has been lengthy by necessity, because it involves hundreds of thousands of pages of government, police and other third-party documents.

“The nature of the case is that it involves humungous amounts [of documents]. … I think it is unprecedented in jurisprudence in this country,” he said.

Mr. Bolton said the BC Rail e-mails could provide key evidence concerning a period when the government both sold the railway and made a decision not to sell a related port subdivision because police had warned the deal was tainted by fraud.

Mr. McCullough said the e-mails could show the accused men not only did not leak confidential government information for a benefit, as charged, but that government or BC Rail officials did.

“All of these documents are so important … because they are all about leaking,” he said.

Judge MacKenzie asked if the e-mails “might give you an enlarged body of potential leakers?”

Mr. McCullough, who earlier had argued his client only acted on instructions from his superiors, said that was his point.

“Do you think it's a defence to say, ‘Well, I was told to do it … I didn't commit a crime because others did.' … Isn't that like saying, ‘The devil made me do it, so I'm not guilty?' “ Judge MacKenzie asked.

“What [Mr. Virk] is saying is, ‘I didn't do it … but that [government] organization I was employed with was completely engaged in that kind of conduct,' “ Mr. McCullough replied.

Submissions on the application are expected to continue [Thurs. Oct. 22].

Read more HERE.



The Gordon Campbell Government of British Columbia, A "Criminal Gang"?

By Robin Mathews
for - Oct. 21, 2009

If the title of this piece seems an adventure in humour – then it must be Black Humour. For the condition of government in British Columbia is almost beyond belief in its massing of wealth for private interests, its stripping of support for social uses and programs, its hell-bent awarding of dubious contracts, its digging the province into a debt load of surrealist size, and its almost unopposed anaesthetizing of police forces, press and media, and political Opposition.

To add to that, the province has a premier who is (always in a whisper) alleged to have elevated his mistress to a position of enormous power and to a salary that would make the heads of ordinary British Columbians spin in dizziness. A Central American dictatorship? No. The Province of British Columbia.

We think of ‘criminal gangs’ as unruly adolescents massing at street corners or (one step up) operating brutal organizations to traffic drugs or stolen commodities. We rarely take the concept further to include the rotten administrations that suck the blood from their societies in what are called often ‘Banana Republics’. Those are places where the ruling group enriches its friends as primary activity, has the support of the police, and is portrayed in its own press and media as colourful, eccentric, occasionally wayward – but the only sensible option for those who want a government which can “manage the people’s affairs responsibly”.

Those are places – like B.C. – where the political Opposition is a decoration, almost never hitting the most egregious sins, but forever glancing off critical issues in flashes like the light that flashes off diamonds making them appear more attractive. Those are places where members of the political Opposition (a) seem to make a profession of getting elected (not of opposing), (b) have lost all ideology and so are incapable of presenting platforms with any meaning (c) are ‘managed’ by apolitical appointees who hug teaspoonsful of power (d) and – most importantly – swell and bulge to fill every opposition space so that the development of real opposition is a huge and daunting task.

In British Columbia the shadowy spending and backroom contracting for the 2010 Winter Olympics is paralleled by proposals to outlaw opposition signage anywhere within a wide radius of the games – to outlaw, that is, Freedom of Expression. Vancouver Sun columnist Ian Mulgrew writes of “the draconian Olympic sign bylaws”. Conversation about that proposal is almost conducted in normal voices! And just below the border, a warehouse full of U.S. ‘experts’ is helping to design the incredibly costly “security” apparatus to assure “terrorists” won’t use the ten days or so of Olympiad to ‘destabilize’ B.C.’s law-abiding community (or to spill over into Obama Paradise with demon-like intentions). As the costs of those madnesses unfolds over 2011, 12, and onwards, British Columbians will be appalled.

Helicopters will patrol, ships (even perhaps submarines) will scour the coastline, security experts will coordinate masterful (?) police forces, special autoroutes will paralyze normal traffic. Totalitarian rule will be almost absolute.

Does anyone really pretend that will be about top-level athletics? The nature of Olympic contracts that will drag British Columbians through trenches of debt for decades go almost unexamined, except by individuals trying to shout through the smoke and mirrors. The same may be said about “expansionist” contracts that parallel “the games”. To my knowledge, one lady is attempting to track the almost lunatic structure in “Sea to Sky Highway” contracts that reek of cronyism and gigantic expenditures programmed into the far future. Laila Yuile is also trying to unpick Fraser Valley bridge contracts, expenses, networks. To my knowledge, she is doing it almost alone while the “protective” institutions of the province: media, police, political Opposition, focus attention almost anywhere else (as if by carefully scripted design).

Tearing apart any semblance of fiduciary duty – that is, responsibility to meet the promises to and the reasonable expectations of the electorate – the Gordon Campbell group has castrated, shredded, and privatized (partially in secret) BC Hydro – formerly a major dollar getter for provincial expenditures. I believe there is strong possibility of serious malfeasance involved. [Malfeasance: official misconduct; violation of a public trust or duty.]

The Gordon Campbell group is alienating the revenue gathering power of ALL B.C. rivers and passing it to private (often U.S.) interests. The action over decades will involve billions of dollars of lost government revenue and escalating energy costs to all British Columbians. Power to direct and control the exploitation of water energy will reside outside Canada. I believe there is strong possibility of serious malfeasance involved in the changes to BC Hydro and the new “rivers policy”.

BC Ferries, a spectacular dive into fake private corporate ownership in which flagrant debt is held completely by taxpayers, has a U.S.-imported CEO who recently was reported to be making a million dollars a year. Routes are trimmed. Carrying is down. Fares climb. Competence and morale sink. Bonus structures for the elect are “fantasy’. Created early in his premiership, BC Ferries is ‘a Gordon Campbell special’. The gigantic spending in having new ships built offshore seems nowhere to be recorded as part of the public debt.

Then there is the BC Rail Scandal – the transfer of BC Rail, a key economic, community lifeline and dollar-getter for provincial revenues, to the now-Texas head-quartered CN Rail. B.C. Rail was the brilliant possession of the people of B.C. with a far-stretching future of use in almost every way to the security and well-being of British Columbians. It was not only shabbily and stupidly alienated. I believe it was done so with serious – as yet untabbed – malfeasance.

I have written to the top RCMP officer in British Columbia, Gary Bass, asking for full RCMP investigation – on a brilliantly prepared basis. Deputy Commissioner Bass appears to be hiding (perhaps in Gordon Campbell’s basement?). He will not so much as acknowledge my detailed request to him. His refusal even to acknowledge my letter I insist – if it continues - is, in itself, a declaration of incompetence or of a willful refusal of duty.

“On a brilliantly prepared basis” I write of the condition for investigation of what I believe is major malfeasance in the transfer of BC Rail to CN. How so?

Out of the so-called “sale” of BC Rail – its transfer to the private corporate ownership of CN Rail – came a strange set of charges against three top cabinet aides (in the employ of Gordon Campbell who placed them in ministries). They – it is alleged – engaged (variously) in 14 counts of fraud, breach of trust, and money laundering. And they did so, allegedly, in specific relation to the “sale” of BC Rail, leaking confidential government information, accepting favours in reward, etcetera. How the men were chosen for ‘charges’, and how the specific charges were worked out becomes more and more and more difficult for an ordinary Canadian to comprehend. And that is because of new information that floods in on the matter with every “application” by the Defence counsel for evidentiary material necessary to the defence of the accused men.

The new information appears to implicate in improper behaviour major actors in the transfer, up to and including Gordon Campbell, premier of the province.

Therein lies ‘the brilliantly prepared basis” for an RCMP investigation of all major actors in the preparation and transfer of BC Rail from public ownership to the private hands of CN Rail. No such evidentiary material has been prepared, recorded, indexed, filed, maintained, archived and itemized for any of the other slippery, shoddy, shameful ‘deals’ of the Campbell group. In the matter of the BC Rail Scandal, Defence counsel has sought material relevant to the defence of the accused and has caused to be gathered thousands of pages of record about how BC Rail was “sold”.

Just two examples. Police notes suggest investigation (in 2003) of Dave Basi, Gary Collins (then Finance Minister), and Virk. Evidence shows a meeting between Collins and OmniTRAX rail officials was under police surveillance in early December, 2003. Then – as Defence counsel Kevin McCullough puts it – Collins “dropped off the radar screen”. He added that there is no record of the decision to cease investigating the Finance Minister. It just happened. Mr. McCullough remarked that he must conclude there are other documents on that matter.

Secondly. McCullough argued that the portion of the rail sale involving Roberts Bank spur line was cancelled on March 12, 2004, almost three months after the search warrant raids on legislature offices. The RCMP apparently informed government that the process was in danger, soiled by confidential leaks. McCullough went on to argue that if the Roberts Bank part of the sale was tainted, then the CN sale must be tainted, too, but it continued. Apart from defence of the three accused, if the sale to CN was tainted, what is the legal position of those in government who completed the sale?

The BC Rail Scandal has been (more and more and more, though not completely) emptying its true, rancid facts into the lap of the Supreme Court judges for more than three years of pre-trial hearings. And those facts appear to involve, I believe, important, measurable and detailed acts of malfeasance by major actors in the transfer so that investigation might well reveal allegations of criminal wrongdoing.

I have formally asked RCMP Deputy Commissioner Gary Bass to set his men to undertake that investigation. He (to date) will not reply to my formal request. But I believe he will do so when he has considered the request and come to his conclusions about it. Surely….

The basis for my request has been highly-lit and underscored in the last two days (October 19 and 20) of hearing time in courtroom 43 of the B.C. Supreme Court where – before the newly and very strangely appointed judge, Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie - Kevin McCullough for the Defence, has been providing a summary of the Defence position in the case against the three cabinet aides, Dave Basi, Bobby Virk, and Aneal Basi.

Readers should consult the transcript of those two days of trial (which the court will probably try to prevent them from seeing by asking that a bizarre set of costs and protocols be followed to get what came out of an “open court”.) The transcripts will make clear that I am repeating here the substance of Mr. McCullough’s assertions.

It is the Defence position he stated that (a) the election promise not to sell BC Rail was broken and was intended to be broken. The preparation to break the promise and to dump BC Rail (b) involved manipulation, repeatedly leaked information, and , as well, a policy and thrust to sale (before ever “the decision” was made to sell). [In addition, I add, documents I have been able to examine lead me to believe that the policy in place was misrepresented to BC people and the condition of BC Rail was misrepresented as well – as a planned intention.]

Finally, the Defence position, Mr. McCullough said, is that the public auction of BC Rail (to assure the people that the best price and deal could be gained for British Columbia) was “a sham”. Not only that but, he alleges, the government took steps to try to make it appear that a fair public auction of BC Rail was taking place when it was not. He alleges, as I understand his statements, that it was policy at the highest levels to convey that falsehood – to keep another bidder than CN to appear to be in the bidding.

Without saying any more, that opens serious questions. What amounts of public money were devoted to the alleged deception(s)? What is the quality of the apparent violations of fiduciary duty – are they criminal violations? What is the nature of the seeming fraud (pretending one set of actions is being followed when another is in fact being followed)? Is it criminal fraud? What is the nature of the expenditures to maintain that position? Are they criminal expenditures?

I need not go on. Readers will see for themselves even more questions leaping from the statements of Mr. McCullough.

I think they will also see that a request to the RCMP to investigate for malfeasance the major actors in the the so-called “sale” of BC Rail is matter-of-fact, is based upon the utterance of responsible people in court over a long period, and upon thousands of pages of gathered evidentiary materials in the hands of the court and immediately available to examine. The request is straight-forward. The investigation can begin now.

What can possibly prevent it from going ahead?



The sale of BC Rail was a huge blow to economic development in this province

It is unfortunate that the big forest companies are only now realizing that the sale of BC Rail was a huge blow to economic development in this province. If they, along with the Business Council of BC, had opposed the sale back in 2003 – 2004, it would not have gone ahead. Other than a handful of Interior mayors who acted as shills, no one else would have supported it.

Critique of Business Council of BC discussion paper on forestry - Part 1
By Peter Ewart
OPINION 250 - Prince George, B.C.
Oct. 21, 2009

To see the full essay, click HERE. Another excerpt:

... One of the most glaring examples of inconsistent logic in the discussion paper is found when it addresses the issue of “monopoly.” Back in 2003 - 2004, when the provincial government was in the process of selling BC Rail to CN Rail, there was substantial opposition across the province to this privatization. Nonetheless, the Business Council of BC and the big forest companies saw fit to support this sale, despite the fact that the “Committee to Save BC Rail,” labour unions, commentators like Ben Meisner and Ron East, and others, repeatedly warned that a giant rail monopoly was being created that would cause problems for industries like forestry and mining, as well as for communities in the Interior.

So, if we fast forward to 2009, what is the Business Council of BC discussion paper saying now about the rail service? It is now making the confession that “BC’s rail monopoly … is a long-term strategic and competitive weakness for the industry” (p. 73).

This rail monopoly, which includes CN and CP, is a “particularly serious” problem resulting in “rising” costs and “declining” services. It constitutes “a formidable hurdle not only for the forest industry but also mining, other extractive industries and a wide variety of manufacturing activities.”

According to the discussion paper, “Some forest industry CEOs have said that, for current investors in BC’s existing industry, and potential investors in new innovative future products which BC could manufacture, BC’s rail monopoly is even more debilitating to the industry’s global competitiveness than the province’s labour unions were historically” (p. 73).

Indeed, the situation for the big forest companies has been so dire that they have been pushing the federal government to allow them to operate a “third party rail service” and pay a fee to CN or CP.

It is unfortunate that the big forest companies are only now realizing that the sale of BC Rail was a huge blow to economic development in this province. If they, along with the Business Council of BC, had opposed the sale back in 2003 – 2004, it would not have gone ahead. Other than a handful of Interior mayors who acted as shills, no one else would have supported it.

In addition to the criticism of the railway monopoly in the province, the Business Council of BC discussion paper also takes a shot at the “increased concentration of buying power among distributors (e.g., pro-dealers and big-box retailers).” This further monopolization “has resulted in the decline in the leverage of forest product manufacturers” and “transferred pricing power” into the hands of the big dealer and retail monopolies, especially in the U.S. (p. 73).

After all these criticisms of “monopoly power”, you would expect that perhaps the BC Business Council would be championing anti-monopoly ...


Sincere thanks to Peter Ewart for his work on this story and for sharing it with us.

That BC Rail issue, it isn't over, is it? It's nowhere near being over. - BC Mary.



No Supreme Court listing today for Basi Virk or Basi ... but we're pretty sure it's happening. So what's going on?

Is this simply incompetence? Did somebody forget? And is simple incompetence acceptable as an ongoing feature of BC's high court system?

It is intolerable to imagine that the public is being deliberately misled into thinking that the BC Rail Case has gone away. Or that citizens aren't expected to attend another Basi Virk Basi hearing.

So ... what's going on?

Because there's the uncomfortable perception that this level of chaos is a reflection of
whatever else is supposed to be happening in BC Supreme Court.

Noted, in passing, on a different trial altogether (nothing to do with BC Rail): there's an attractive item being dealt with today, namely: "Order compelling Crown disclosure OR alternatively Order compelling disclosure of 3rd party records". BC Rail trial needs to have some "Orders compelling Crown disclosure" too, doesn't it? It sure as heck appears in need of something.


Oh look ... a Citizen Sleuth has found the listing!! At 12:00 noon, EM found it, isn't that handy, when the Basi Virk pre-trial hearing began at 10:00 AM? Thank you, EM, for the welcome news:

listed today 21st @10 am (checked @ 12

note Rm Reg and also Rm 43, what does reg mean?
bottom of pg 1 and on pg 2-3



Thanks again, EM. Jeez, things don't have to be this hard to find, do they? When BC Supreme Court performs their duty toward informing the public this way, it feels so ... je ne sais quoi ... 'ow you say: disrespectful? - BC Mary.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Sometimes you can stumble across the darndest things ...

and while searching for news of the Basi Virk courtroom scene today, I did stumble across this sentence. Click
here to see the full article:

... Significantly, it was also revealed yesterday that the Vancouver office of lobbyist Erik Bornman was raided. Bornman is listed in the government's official lobbyist registry as a "representative of an American railroad company" that had sought control of B.C. Rail.

Police sources had suggested that much of the trade of BC Marijuana is done via train, where off loading of product is done in remote areas only accessible by train and four wheel drive vehicles or helicopter ...


and this sentence, where a National Post columnist is trying (with a little help from his friends) to pick the worst government in Canada, is HERE:

"what about BC, with the rail scandal and lying about HST?"