Wednesday, March 31, 2010


BC Rail: more abuse. Note the Nazi salutes!

Avatar Posted by thepubliceye

BC Rail bleeds taxpayers again

by Maureen Bader

As originally posted: Canadian Taxpayers Federation
March 26, 2010

When it comes to B.C. Crown Corporations, the taxpayer abuse just never ends.

One of the BC Liberal party's 2001 New Era promises was not to sell or privatize BC Rail. To appear to keep that promise after leasing out the rail part of the railroad to CN Rail, the government maintained a high-cost executive. This illusion costs taxpayers an estimated $10 million over the past six years. B.C. taxpayers have paid big to maintain the myth that BC Rail was never sold.

The BC Rail CEO made almost half a million dollars in 2008. He was making even more before the government got tough and cut his bonus and took away his lunch and golf club memberships.

A few months ago, the government finally said they'd wind down BC Rail. Now, after relaxing at the trough all these years taxpayers still gets stuck with a CEO severance payment of $393,000.

Average taxpaying families with children, making about $85,000 per year, are forced to fund these bureaucrat bonanzas.

But it should come as no surprise that our governing class has lost touch with taxpayers' ability to fund these pay jackpots. B.C. politicians gave themselves a 30 per cent pay increase and brought back gold-plated pensions for themselves, so have little moral authority to hold down the excessive pay and perk demands of public sector workers, at any level of the bureaucracy. 


Somebody wrote a rebuttal: 

BC Mary said...
To Maureen Bader, BCRail even in its current state, is a priceless asset for the province to hold. This is not to say that the 4 executives need or deserve their high salaries; not at all. But that isn't the real story. Let's remember that BC Rail holds, for starters, the BCR-CN lease which means that if CN defaults (which it has done, in my opinion), BCR re-possesses its operating railway system. That's #1. And that's huge. But also, BCRail owns the Roberts Bank port and the 40 km. of connecting track. BC Rail owns something like 2,500 valuable parcels of real estate adjoining towns and villages from North Vancouver (waterfront, even!) to Fort Nelson. There's more. Much more. But this is enough to warrant speaking TRUTH TO POWER ... and to illustrate the high value of BCRail even in its present form which, by the latest Campbell decree, is being treated like garbage ... to be swept under the carpet in the Ministry of Transportation ... the very Ministry which botched the giveaway of Canada's 3rd largest railway in the first place!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Basi-Virk Publication ban: interpreted by Patrick Brown, Robin Mathews

Dear Mary ... 

           You can send this to anyone else you want, if you think it is interesting enough to do so. 

           First:  the protection of jurers is normal. It may be wrong in the present state of communication.  But it is not new with Anne MacKenzie.  That she made a huge error on her first try simply underscores the fact that she isn't really up to the BBV job; and/or that she is taking dictation ... and getting it down wrong sometimes. Both are possible.

          Second: I have been wondering, in the last weeks, about potential jurers and their relation to the materials presented by press, media, etc.  Any serious British Columbian must know a good deal about the case now. But as recent theorists have said: knowing materials and press comments should not affect intelligent people hearing evidence and testimony in an actual trial.

          Third:  Caveat. Some of the rules were shaped during the immense power of the press. As we saw in the Glen Clark case, when the whole press/media goes to work to destroy the innocent, it can do it if there is no strong court demanding fair play. The good people who first went to work to protect jurers were really thinking, I believe, of the immense power of monopolists (in fact) to indoctrinate.

          Fourth:  The restrictions are not nearly as total as they at first seem.  Notice that what can't be published is any evidence, submissions, rulings, or Reasons for Judgement given in these  proceedings in the absence of jury until....

          That means bcmary or others can continue to pour out the Hansard materials that have been so rich in the last little while.  Anyone can write and present factual material which has not been "given in these proceedings".

I have been lightly at work on Letter Three, and I can see no reason why it would have to be significantly different AFTER the declaration by Anne MacKenzie. Indeed, the court is not so crazy as to say all the archived material on several websites has, somehow, to be evaporated. The court will depend upon jurers not to go to those sources and be 'contaminated' by outside fact or 'bravura'. The court will not (cannot) demand that all material presented in the last six years must be erased.

          In a society in which freedom of expression is still the rule - quite apart from the mangling of truth by large corporate communication sources - there is much room for continued engagement with the BC Rail Scandal. And continued, forceful engagement is necessary to show we know the limits of MacKenzie's declaration AND THE FREEDOMS THAT WE POSSESS.

          The declaration by MacKenzie will scare the pants off some, and will set in motion self-censorship that is in no way necessary.  The thing to do is to read the declaration carefully. As much as they might have wished to make it more a blanket denial, they didn't dare do so.  We can even pretend they didn't want to do any such thing. Reading it carefully brings one quickly to the phrase "given in these proceedings" and the four headings of what is denied "given in these proceedings". Just for instance, the interview Gary Mason published - which you disliked so much - with Dave Basi and Bobby Virk could be reproduced whole and commented upon - for it was not "given in these proceedings".

          My letters to Gary Bass about the failure of the RCMP to undertake criminal investigation of Gordon Campbell and his associates in the transfer of BC Rail could be published and commented upon - They are not "evidence, submissions, rulings, or Reasons for Judgement given in these proceedings".  I refer to allegations by Defence counsel, and they might need care.  But one can say: "All the facts and observations I have made since 2001 regarding BC Rail leads me to insist that criminal investigation of Gordon Campbell and his associates is absolutely necessary, and I am not alone among the best informed people on the matter to hold that belief". And then, independent of what has been "given in these proceedings" one could talk about Gary Collins, the RCMP, etc. etc. AND  BBV ...

- Robin Mathews

Private comment from Patrick Brown, Island Tides newspaper:

According to Tielman's Tyee article today, the March 2 publication ban was reworded on March 4 to permit reporting of what happens when the jury is present. He says it now reads:

"Pursuant to s. 648 of the Criminal Code and the inherent jurisdiction of the court, there shall be no publication in any document or broadcast or transmission of any evidence, submissions, rulings or Reasons for Judgment given in these proceedings in the absence of the jury until the jury renders its verdict or until further order of the Court."

The key addition is 'in the absence of the jury' which wasn't there before. As it previously read, it really would have forbidden any reporting of the trial. This must have been an error, or how dumb do they think we are?

As I read the Criminal code extract, the publication ban prevents reporting of what happens in the pre-trial maneuvering. Since we have already been privy to a couple of years of pre-trial nonsense (including the revealing sparring over disclosure) it seems very strange to forbid publication of the pre-trial at this point.

It is not clear, of course, whether the publication ban ruling itself is subject to the publication ban. In other words, can we publish the publication ban?

It was, after all, made in the absence of the jury, which has not yet been chosen. Indeed, so were all the other pre-trial proceedings, up till today.

There seems to be no starting date on the publication ban. This is sloppy in the extreme, and may have already given the defendants a justification for appealing the verdict, as if they needed one.

Patrick Brown


Plus a worthy comment from G West:

Bill's latest comment about the 'effect' of this having moved from trial by judge (Bennett) to trial by jury (MacKenzie) is probably the best explanation for what seems clearly to be a cock-up by the court.

And of course, the fact that the defence 'wanted' everything to hang out when the trial was to be heard by judge alone - and is not so keen about that now that a jury must be chosen and impanelled - has created a strange dichotomy between what we know (and the public has access to) from yesterday backward as opposed to what we cannot know (unless one goes to court oneself) from this point forward.

I am also curious about one other point. What is the status of a private observer who attends at the court and sends emails to a small circle of friends?

Is personal correspondence and conversation going to be restricted as well?

Muzzling the media is fairly common place - muzzling the public - if the public wants to know, may be something quite different.

Furthermore, this is what the order says: information regarding any portion of the trial at which the jury is not present shall be published in any document or broadcast or transmitted in any way before the jury retires to consider its verdict.

If I attend the trial and report verbally to my friend what I heard and saw is my friend 'bound' by the order?


Monday, March 29, 2010


BC Rail: Doesn't this look like more treachery, this time from BC Supreme Court itself?

The Publication Ban  prevents any reportng of today's Basi-Virk pre-trial hearing.

This cockeyed ruling, contrived by the presiding judge at the BC Rail trial, is very likely unconstitutional and illegal, and is therefore up for a challenge by any civilized society.  Even in B.C.

Was this a blunder? A mistake in  judgment?  Or is that the point?

Is this total lock-down of the courts today actually the stumbling block which will bring this important trial to a halt again?

Bill Tieleman was there in the courtroom today for the final pre-trial hearing before this same Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie hears the trial. 

Bill writes: Meanwhile - I would love to tell you what was discussed in court, which lawyers representing which clients were attending, who else was present, and what was decided - but I can't.

"The reasons are rather clear based on the Criminal Code section Justice MacKenzie cites above:

Criminal Code s.648 - Restriction on publication

(1) After permission to separate is given to members of a jury under subsection 647(1), no information regarding any portion of the trial at which the jury is not present shall be published in any document or broadcast or transmitted in any way before the jury retires to consider its verdict.


(2) Every one who fails to comply with subsection (1) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

So, you will just have to wait until the trial ends - and hope there are no further restrictions on reporting during the trial itself.

Read more at:
Mary's concluding comment: So there's the challenge. Do we sit quietly with bags over our heads ... while this outrageous style of justice flattens our hopes for a true account of what happened to BC Rail? 

We dare not kid ourselves: this is no mistake. The court system is now functioning to prevent us from knowing -- or even asking -- about the evidence.  

But I ask why?  Before any such a ham-fisted ruling is issued against a whole province on such a vital issue, shouldn't there be a reason given?  A compelling reason?  I wonder what Elizabeth Bennett would say about this situation.  - BC Mary.



BC Rail: glimpses of a bigger gameplan

Sometimes, British Columbians might get the feeling that we're caught up in a far bigger gameplan than we yet realize.

To most of us -- the loss of BC Rail is huge.  Huge as it is, there's more. Lots more.

So I was looking at this old CN item, and wondered if it looks like a gameplan to others as well. Seems to me, we can look at this "news", and possibly catch the drift of these July 2004 announcements ... the way the news is set up to show that the New Jersey USA interests are the big news, whereas the almost incidental (and earlier) announcement of the BCR-CN deal comes farther down the list with no special emphasis, just another ho-hum day in the salt mines ... have a look HERE. Note the sequence, right to the bottom ... it begins:

Maher Terminals Inc. of New Jersey, USA, have been selected by Prince Rupert Port Authority to operate a new container handling facility in Prince Rupert.

Next: the "dramatic expansion" expected from Maher & Co.,

Then [cue the hands rubbing together] the economic benefits for B.C.,

Then and only then: ... the CNR-BC Rail "partnership" announced as "Good news for Prince Rupert" [and the Maher guys, presumably],

Followed by hopes for a future Liquified Natural Gas prospect for Port of Prince Rupert.

Then of course Security Plans for the Port of Prince Rupert. And we know who and what that means and where that leads ... don't we? 

What I can't see anywhere in CN's presentation is any hint of a local concern for how BC Rail was intended to serve British Columbia first and foremost. - BC Mary





No Minister Bond, it wasn't 'bankrupt' or debt-laden or 'in disarray'. Here's proof BC Rail was very healthy when Campbell got it.

By Will McMartin
The Tyee - March 29, 2010


The fact is that BC Rail was a profitable company before the B.C. Liberals took power. 23 consecutive years of operating profits and 18 years with net income were recorded by the Crown corporation during the late 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Indeed, over that period the rail company sent $137.7 million in dividends to the provincial treasury.

Yet, the B.C. Liberals' lies about BC Rail persist to the present time and continue to be told in the Legislative Assembly.

This valuable column, in full, is HERE. Many special thanks to Will McMartin and The Tyee.


BCRail: Pre-Trial Conference confirmed

Today, March 29, 2010 at 10:00 AM is another pre-trial conference in BC Supreme Court, Vancouver, but this is expected to be the final preparation before

jury selection begins on April 21 or 28 (to be confirmed later), and

the trial of HMTQ v. Basi, Virk, Basi gets under way on May 3, 2010.

Case #23299 lists for today:

* accepting a bribe as a government official

* breach of trust by public officer

* offering to influence government official

* fraud over $5,000.

The courtroom is open to the public at 800 Smithe Street, Vancouver.

Read more »

Saturday, March 27, 2010


BC Rail Scandal: Three letters from Robin Mathews


A Letter to British Columbia’s Attorney General.
Three letters on the BC Rail Scandal: Part Two

This is the second part of a four part series.  Three letters are to “officials” I believe are derelict in their responsibility to law and the administration of justice. 

This second letter is to British Columbia Attorney General Michael de Jong.  I have asked him to act on the evidence that the appointment of William Berardino as Special Crown Prosecutor in the Basi, Virk, and Basi case was
wrongly made.  His ministry has refused even to discuss the matter!

                                                                        March 26, 2010,
                                                                        xxx Salsbury Drive,
                                                                        Vancouver, B.C. V5L xxx

The Honourable Michael de Jong,
Attorney General British Columbia,
P.O. Box 9044, Stn. Prov. Govt.,
Victoria, B.C.  V8W 9E2

Dear Attorney General de Jong:

Earlier, I wrote to you on the matter of the clear and obvious violation of the prosecutor legislation:  the improper appointment of William Berardino as Special Crown Prosecutor in the BC Rail Scandal case involving Dave Basi, Bobby Virk, and Aneal Basi – former cabinet aides appointed by Gordon Campbell.

I asked – and I ask again – that you take action to remedy the violation by removing William Berardino as Special Prosecutor.

I didn’t mean my last letter to you to be answered by someone else.  I request that you, Attorney General, answer this letter.

Robert Gillen, assistant deputy Attorney General answered my last letter, refusing to discuss the appointment in violation of the legislation.  The letter I received seems to me to be the kind that would be written in Gordon Campbell’s office and sent to Mr. Gillen to sign.

Mr. Gillen argues that the matter of Basi, Virk, and Basi is sub judice and that he cannot make any comment.  That is sheer nonsense as both you and I (and, I believe, Mr. Gillen) know.

You may reply – correctly – that the legislation particularly names the assistant deputy Attorney General as the person who will appoint and (therefore, presumably) be in charge of matters concerning prosecutorial appointments.  But we both know that practice was violated recently and the violation was blazoned across the province. 

Wally Oppal, the last Attorney General, made it his personal job to bring the alleged bigamists of Bountiful, B.C. to trial.  He first abandoned the regular prosecutors and then set about finding a Special Prosecutor to do his bidding in the matter, it seems. Unable to convince Richard Peck, Mr. Oppal moved on – twice more.  For his alleged looseness with his trust, Mr. Oppal now faces a civil case over his Bountiful activities.

Robert Gillen was never mentioned in any report I saw, as Mr. Oppal moved on, in what I characterize as an (obviously cabinet approved) flamboyant vote-getting attempt at prosecution of people from Bountiful.

We may put Robert Gillen aside, for he was not seriously involved in Mr. Oppal’s Special Prosecutor hunting.  We may assume, too, that he was not seriously involved when the Attorney General’s ministry appointed William Berardino as Special Crown Prosecutor in the Basi, Virk, and Basi matter.

What is relevant and what I insist you address publicly – and remedy – is the appointment of William Berardino in flagrant violation (I insist) of the legislation covering prosecutors and Special Prosecutors in British Columbia.  His role as Special Prosecutor cannot (whatever any of us wishes) do anything but (A) damage, seriously, the administration of justice in B.C., and (B) assure from the start that the trial beginning on May 3 of Basi, Virk, and Basi takes place under a huge cloud of suspicion that must deny any credibility to anything the Crown does in the case.

Any Canadian may say, now, that he or she has no doubt the case against Basi, Virk, and Basi is a fraud, carefully planned and – about to be – carefully executed.  That may not be true.  But the improper appointment of William Berardino as Special Prosecutor opens the door, legitimately, to that or any kind of suspicion of wrong doing in the matter.

When your ministry refused to undertake its responsibility in the Special Crown Prosecutor appointment issue, I wrote to the Chief Justice, the Associate Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia and to the presiding judge in the Basi, Virk, and Basi case – Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie, asking them to act on the matter.

As with your ministry, they refuse to act – though I have no doubt that no court is bound to proceed with a criminal action to which the Special Prosecutor has been – as I insist – wrongly appointed. 

In fact, I believe that to do so, knowing the appointment violates the prosecutor legislation is, in itself, to do knowing harm to the administration of justice.  The matter may be put in the simplest terms: no judiciary in a democratic country may knowingly proceed with a criminal case in which the administration of justice is under visible challenge as it is in the Basi, Virk, and Basi case.  To proceed – as the judiciary of the British Columbia Supreme Court apparently intends to do is not an answer to my letter.

It is, rather, I insist (with respect), a declaration of the elegant depravity of the British Columbia judicial system.

The question of the possibility of a perceived or real conflict of interest is a key factor. It is absolutely crucial.  Long experience and tradition in the administration of justice in Canada leads all participants to take for granted that justice cannot be done and be seen to be done where even the possible perception of conflict of interest is present.

Mr. Berardino was appointed Special Prosecutor in a case where freedom from connection to “interested” government (cabinet and high civil servant) officers was absolutely essential.

Mr. Berardino was appointed by the Attorney General’s ministry in which the Attorney General, Geoff Plant, had been for seven years his partner and colleague in private practice.  And in which the Deputy Attorney General, Alan Seckel, had been for eleven years his partner and colleague in private practice.  And in 2007, Gordon Campbell changed a working protocol to review cabinet documents sought by disclosure application.  Campbell named that same Deputy Attorney General to the new protocol, placing him in direct, consultative contact with the Special Prosecutor who had been his partner and colleague for eleven years.

Ironically, about eight weeks after the search warrant “raids” on legislature offices  (December 28, 2003) – the question was raised in the legislature and is recorded in Hansard. Asked about the appointment of the Special Prosecutor in the BC Rail Scandal, then Solicitor General Rich Coleman said that a Special Prosecutor is appointed “to insulate a case with the  Special Prosecutor – so no minister of the Crown has any input into the preparation of the case.”

Rich Coleman stated the matter simply and clearly.  But the appointment of the Special Prosecutor in that matter was anything but an insulation, rather – the opposite.  It flew in the face of that principle.  In fact, it needlessly introduced complications that, obviously, cannot be tolerated if a fair trial is to proceed.

For your information, a copy of the letter I received from the B.C. Supreme Court follows.

“March 17, 2010

Mr. Robin Mathews
xxx Salsbury Drive
Vancouver B.C.  V5L xxx

Dear Mr. Mathews:

Re:    Your letter dated March 3, 2010

I have been asked to respond to your letter on behalf of Chief Justice Bauman, Associate Chief Justice Dohm, and Madam Justice MacKenzie.

You request that judicial action be taken to remove William Berardino as Special Prosecutor in the proceeding involving Dave Basi, Bobby Virk, and Aneal Basi.  Quite simply, Chief Justice Bauman, Associate Chief Justice Dohm and Madam Justice MacKenzie were not involved in any way in the appointment of Mr. Berardino and they have no authority to order his removal.  Accordingly, no action can be taken in response to your letter.

Yours truly,

H.L. McBride
Supreme Court Law Officer”

Please – Attorney General de Jong – reply to my letter yourself, and please tell me what steps you will take without further delay to remedy what is clearly an intolerable condition.  In upholding a wrongful appointment, and in supporting it (however tacitly) both your ministry and the highest officers of the Supreme Court of British Columbia are, I insist, bringing the administration of justice in the province into contempt.


                                                                          Robin Mathews


Friday, March 26, 2010


BC Rail: treachery! Downright treachery!

Please bear with me. In normal circumstances, I would take the weekend to think this over. I'd try to stop feeling so angry. But what's to think over? 

Just have a look at Vaughn Palmer's column.  

Even the Globe and Mail ... with a little more fairness, picks up the same theme: worthless BCRail ... the child's toy so throw it away and nobody will notice ... so I expect the entire BC rat-pack media will bleat the same "news".  

Nice try Gordo. Nice work, Public Affairs Bureau. A shining moment [cue the sardonic theme music here] ... is Mike Farnworth's and Leonard Krog's performance recorded for posterity in Hansard's Record of Debates which  should win them both an Actor's Award. 

They're all singing from the same hymn-book now. They're all saying that the Big Story is simply about accounting ... especially explaining the bloated salaries paid to 4 of Gordo's appointees to BC Rail ... 

and this is so terribly, terribly wrong! 

Following is the Hansard Blue copy of the BC Rail debate in the Legislature yesterday, March 25. Shirley Bond, Carole James, Leonard Krog, Mike Farnworth -- both sides of the House -- have created a steaming pile of crap ... speaking as if BCRail today amounts to nothing. 

As we know, this is absolutely false.  My letter to The Globe and Mail is at the end of this posting.  - BC Mary.


Debates of the Legislative Assembly

Thursday, March 25, 2010.
Afternoon Sitting.

Oral Questions


C. James [Leader of the Opposition]: The cost of the B.C. Rail scandal continues to rise. For the past six years, the B.C. Liberals have paid four B.C. Rail executives a total of $8.6 million — $8.6 million in salary for four people to manage a rail company with no trains.
Now we learn that two of these executives are getting a golden handshake worth more than $600,000 at a time when this government is slashing early child care programs, dental visits for children, services for the most vulnerable. How can this government possibly justify millions of dollars of waste at B.C. Rail?  [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. S. Bond [Minister of Transportation]: I'm not sure how the Leader of the Opposition could characterize an organization that when we became government, in fact, was saddled with debt, was completely out of control in that department. And to the Leader of the Opposition: let's be clear. This organization restored and took care of the debt issue with B.C. Rail and returned to taxpayers in this province $1.5 billion.

C. James: The minister can use all the words she wants, but the facts are that there are no trains, that there are 40 kilometres of tracks, that it was $1.2 million a year for four staff with no trains. That's $8.6 million over six years, and now we find out that two of those executives will collect another half a million dollars while they say goodbye.

So my question is to the minister: how can she justify spending millions of taxpayer dollars on executive salaries while cutting vital programs for children in this province?

Hon. S. Bond: Let me begin by correcting the Leader of the Opposition on one subject. That is the fact that this government is providing record levels of funding for early childhood education, for education that in fact the Leader of the Opposition has sat and voted against time after time after time in this Legislature.

Let's be clear. We inherited a B.C. Rail that was saddled by ... that, in fact, the Leader of the Opposition has sat and voted against time after time after time in this Legislature.

Let's be clear, Mr. Speaker, we inherited a B.C. Rail that was saddled by debt. In fact, this organization has worked to return $1.5 billion to the taxpayers of British Columbia.

C. James: This minister is trying to defend something that can't be defended. We see cuts to education. We see cuts to children. We see cuts to people with mental illness, and this government paid money — six years of money, four salaries — for a rail company that doesn't even have any trains. That isn't defendable, Minister. So $8.6 million in waste, and there's more to come.

Again, my question is to the minister. How much more will British Columbians have to put out because of this government's incompetence on B.C. Rail?

Hon. S. Bond: I think the Leader of the Opposition is the last person that can stand in the House and talk about incompetence when it comes to B.C. Rail. Let's just look…. What cannot be defended is the fact that in one year under the member opposite's leadership, B.C. Rail actually lost $582 million — a direct hit to the taxpayers in British Columbia of over half a billion dollars. That can't be defended.

The member opposite wants to laugh? I can tell the member opposite this, that if the Leader of the Opposition thinks it's amusing to saddle the taxpayers of British Columbia with half a billion dollars of debt in one year, that's what can't be defended.

B. Ralston: The over half a million dollars in severance covers only two executives at B.C. Rail, president and CEO Kevin Mahoney and executive vice-president John Lusney. There is one more executive still waiting for a payout. Can the minister explain how much more British Columbians will have to pay?

Hon. S. Bond: In fact, as I was canvassed in the Legislature for several hours the other day, we actually have…. The CFO of B.C. Rail has agreed to continue to help us with the transition to the ministry, and in fact, we have not yet determined when that position will be wrapped up. But we will be making the severance public once we're aware of when that actual final date will take place.

But, you know, the members opposite are actually experts in the area of severance. Let's look back to just one of the severances that took place. Let's look at…. Oh, my, in 1990 dollars? Let's look at the severance paid to Elizabeth Cull. Let's look at this. Elizabeth Cull, to the Leader of the Opposition, received $260,000 in severance for seven months' work in the Premier's office. That's what we would consider excessive and not defensible.

B. Ralston: Well, it's clear the minister would rather talk about anything other than the severance packages that her government is about to pay out.

In addition to those four executives, B.C. Rail also has a board of directors who, over the last six years, collectively have received over $1.5 million in compensation, over $200,000 a year to direct 40 miles of track. Does the minister think this is good value for money?

Hon. S. Bond: I do know this. When an organization like B.C. Rail can return $1.5 billion to taxpayers in British Columbia, that's pretty good.

The member opposite well knows after our lengthy discussion in the Legislature the other day that, in fact, in addition to looking at how they have returned dollars to the province of British Columbia, this organization has played a key role in the Pacific gateway strategy. If you look at land sales and the real estate portfolio alone, over $180 million in gross land sales. That's production, and that's what's taking place.

L. Krog: When you add up the salaries of the executive and probably the most underworked corporate board in the history of the province of British Columbia, it's over $10 million — money that could have been spent on the public good in a myriad of ways. Instead, it went into the fat salaries of executives who were riding their own personal gravy train.

So my question to the minister is really very simple. How much more are we going to have to pay for Liberal incompetence?

Hon. S. Bond: It may be the member opposites' opinion that, in fact…. They want to diminish the work that's been done, but we're not for one minute going to diminish the fact that $1.5 billion worth of resources has been returned to taxpayers in British Columbia. This organization has managed a real estate portfolio that has seen gross land sales of over $180 million. They have looked at the dissolution of companies in the province of British Columbia. They're managing the Kinder Morgan organization in terms of that particular project.

We're not going to stand on this side of the House and take advice from a group that actually saw a bankrupt railway that was in complete disarray when they were in government.

L. Krog: A Monopoly board has more track than B.C. Rail. I want to tell the minister that the taxpayers don't enjoy ten million of real dollars wasted on the Monopoly game over there. So what's changed? What's changed?

They were worthwhile last year to spend millions of dollars on — over the last six years — on their exorbitant salaries. Now, suddenly, they're gone. So what was it? Was it the $10 million mark that finally convinced this government to get rid of B.C. Rail?

Hon. S. Bond: In fact, what it was, Mr. Speaker, was a commitment in the throne speech in September to review Crown corporations to look at how we might effectively consider the future.

Unlike the members opposite, we actually think it's worthwhile to go back and to look at those 
HSE - 20100325 PM 008/PLP/1405
Hon. S. Bond: In fact, it was a commitment in the throne speech in September to review Crown corporations to look at how we might effectively consider the future. Unlike the members opposite, we actually think it's worthwhile to go back and look at those things and make changes.

Over the last five years — let's be clear to the member opposite, even though we've had this discussion for at least three hours in the last two days — B.C. Rail has returned in excess of $1.5 billion to the taxpayers of British Columbia. That includes $250 million for B.C. Marine,  including Centrum terminals and Vancouver Wharves.

There's no doubt in our mind that, in fact, we inherited a railway that was bankrupt and in disarray, and this organization is in a much better position than it was when that member was sitting on this side of the House.

M. Farnworth: Let's look at the B.C. Rail record on this government. First, they said they wouldn't sell it. Then what did they do? They misled the public and sold it. Then what happened? A raid on the Legislature, a court case that has been dragging on for year after year after year at a cost of god knows how much. Now after ten years, we have a railway with a board of directors with no trains, no engines, no steam, not even the Thomas the Tank, and the directors are being paid $600,000 in severance.

How, after ten years, can this government justify spending an additional $600,000 with more to come for their incompetence when it comes to the B.C. Rail file?

Hon. S. Bond: Well, thank you very much. All I can say to the member opposite is that you managed to take the train and take it right off the tracks during the 1990s. In one year alone under that member's leadership, $582 million in debt, and in fact, the only outcome, the only measure of success that that side of the House had was how big the bailout was going to be every single year for B.C. Rail.

So what has B.C. Rail done? They eliminated B.C. Rail's debt, 600 new rail cars to help increase capacity, $8.3 million in new tax revenue for communities across this province, establishment of $135 million Northern Development Initiative Trust. That's what we've managed to do with B.C. Rail. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

And here's what I wrote this morning to The Globe and Mail:

Latest Comments

3/26/2010 8:41:27 AM
BC Rail is being trashed by the media and the BC Opposition. It is unbelievable.

BC Rail remains to this day a valuable public asset. Good grief ... it holds the "lease" under which CN is operating!

BC Rail owns the tracks, the rail-bed, and the right-of-way for the 1,500 km. mainline upon which CN trains are currently operating. And more.

BC Rail could, one day, re-possess its former operating rights if CN defaults on its lease.

It owns the priceless Port of Roberts Bank plus the 40 km of connecting track.

It owns hundreds of parcels of land -- valuable railway lands adjacent to towns, villages right up to Fort Nelson, and especially ... oh yes, oceanfrontage near Vancouver ... and more.

This doesn't explain or condone the bloated salaries of the chosen executives presiding over the slow strangulation of BC Rail holdings.

Only treachery could explain why even the BC Opposition is now referring to BC Rail in terms (noted in March 25 Hansard) of "Thomas the Tank Engine" ... a mere child's toy.

And now, the Globe and Mail? Please. British Columbia has had enough of public treachery. 
OK, I'm done. Your turn now.  - BC Mary. 

A special thank you to Paul Nettleton, former member of the BC Liberal Party and M.L.A. for Prince George Omineca, for the following comment:

Shirley Bond's closing comments with reference to "big bailouts" for BC Rail, "every single year" during the 1990's is absolutely false and misleading!

I recall meeting with Paul McElligott president and CEO of BCR in his North Vancouver office on several occasions during this same period. On one occasion in particular he shared his concerns, that the government of the day under minister of transportation Dan Miller was diverting money (by way of Dividend as I recall)out of his profitable company to general revenue. He discussed the need to re-invest in various companies within BCR, including the marine division and various joint ventures he was considering, particularly potential mining opportunities with international partners. These would have the effect of creating family supporting jobs throughout the central and Northern interior, and bolster revenue in the rail division. Mr. McElligott resigned ... you guessed it, under the Campbell administration!

Paul Nettleton

A later message from Paul Nettleton makes a correction: Thanks Mary...  my blood was boiling after reading your blog...and in my haste to respond I referenced the resignation of Paul McElligott in November of 2000 as occurring under the Campbell administration, when in fact the election of the BC Liberals was May of 2001.  I apologize for the error...but I am absolutely stunned at what passes for fact within the current estimate process under current Transportation Minister Shirley Bond.

Another special Thank You to "Lynx" for finding this information from the days when B.C. had a real Opposition:

This is how Joy MacPhail responded to Judith Reid [Minister of Transportation at the time of the BC Rail sale], years earlier. Joy did her research, she knew her stuff, she cared deeply..... and it showed:

J. MacPhail:

......I guess the minister hasn't seen the new document. Let me just tell the minister about this. She can say anything her spin doctors tell her to, but what they're doing is privatizing a B.C. Rail company that not only is profitable but is highly competitive......

The opposition today, just this morning, obtained brand-new internal B.C. Rail documents showing the year-to-date financial results for B.C. Rail. The new report says that the profit margins for regional carriers remain above Canadian National, Canadian Pacific and any other class of railways, with B.C. Rail being the highest in the industry for their quarter profits and their year-to-date profits.......

Again to the Minister of Transportation: why is she saying that B.C. Rail is not competitive and is not efficient when, indeed, they have the highest productivity rate amongst all rail lines and they are the first rail line to have an operating margin of below 70 percent — better than any other rail company in North America? Why is she not telling that aspect of a rail line?........

J. MacPhail: …B.C. Rail has the highest profit margin of all regional carriers. In this year's third quarter alone B.C. Rail made a $21 million profit, and that's in American funds. In fact, they've got the highest year-to-date profits of any rail line.

If the minister pushes ahead with her plans to sell B.C. Rail, British Columbians are going to lose a company that is making big profits and that is completely and most competitive. Again to the minister: given all this good news about B.C. Rail, why is she breaking a promise and selling one of North America's best-performing rail companies? Why is she breaking the promise?


Thursday, March 25, 2010


BC Rail: CP Rail's bid was "a couple of hundred million" dollars more than CN's bid ... and yet ...

There are two surprises in an old email message dated April 21, 2004 addressed to on the subject of the sale of BC Rail. 

Source: the voluminous transcripts from the Basi, Virk, Basi pre-trial hearings  obtained by the Opposition. 

Dear Hon. Gordon Campbell,

I would like to express my concern for the future of BC Rail and the decision of your government to hand over our railway to the private sector.

The sale of BC Rail continues to be an issue of deep concern for people and communities throughout BC. In light of recent events, these concerns have only grown in magnitude.

These concerns include:  {Snip} ...

The charge by one of the unsuccessful bidders, CP Rail, that the bidding process was flawed, that "there's been a clear breach of 'general process fairness'. (Citizen, Nov. 20) and that the successful bidder received preferential treatment

The claim that CP Rail's bid was "a couple of hundred million" dollars more than CNs bid (Canadian Press, Dec. 28, 2003), yet CN was the successful bidder, 

The news that Canadian officials have been meeting with Alaska representatives about a rail link from Alaska to [illegible]  48 states (possibly using the current BC Rail line). Such a link could bring in tremendous revenues to whosoever has control of BC Rail. Yet, in its push to sell the railway, the provincial government never brought these discussions to light.
The printed material is difficult to follow,   for example, the signature of the letter-writer (above) isn't visibe;  but the information is useful. 

This is a related item from an Opposition press release: 

" in addition, the leaked section of the agreement allow -- after just five years -- for the sale of public land under rail lines to CN for one dollar. These lands include very valuable waterfront properties between North Vancouver and Squamish. 

"This goes way beyond what Mr Campbell led the people of British Columbia to believe," said Carole James [Leader of the Opposition]. "The sale must be stopped now, and the full details of the agreement must be made public so that British Columbians can see the true extent of Mr Campbell's sell-off of a profitable public asset to a major BC Liberal campaign donor ... 

"The Opposition has sought details of this agreement through Freedom of Information (F.O.I.) requests, only to be repeatedly stonewalled by government officials ... it's now obvious why the government tried to hide this from the public. The Liberals have botched this issue from Day One, when the premier promised he would not sell or privatize BC Rail ... 

Source: Premier's Office - Correspondence Tracking, May 8, 2004


Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Television cameras switched ON in the BC Rail Courtroom, please!

The trial of Basi, Virk and Basi begins on May 3, 2010. 

Otherwise known as The BC Rail Case, this is one very special trial. Every previous owner of BC Rail -- you, me, all of us -- should be able to observe  the accused, the judge, the witnesses, the crown and defence as the BC Rail  trial unfolds. We must hear the evidence being given for the first time under oath.  We must hear the cross-examinations.  And by golly, we must hear the verdict.

What we should not have to do: we should not have to rely solely on our weak-kneed media to decide how much we'll be told, how it's told, or if we'll be told certain things at all. 

Televising the BC Rail trial is entirely possible.  Already people participate in courtroom proceedings by means of video -- as Aneal Basi, in Montreal, recently appeared by video link before Justice Anne MacKenzie to declare his wish for a trial by jury.

So British Columbians in all corners of this province should just as easily be able to follow the trial which we hope will tell us how our publicly-owned railway slipped into private pockets in 2003. I believe we were abused when this public asset was taken from public ownership. I think we were abused by the 6 anxious years of waiting to find out what happened. And I believe that British Columbia is owed every decent consideration now.  If not now, when? We have waited long enough for answers.

To fulfill this TV requirement, where could the BC Rail trial be held, with cameras transmitting the historic revelations?

BC Supreme Courtroom #20, Vancouver, was purpose-built at a cost of $7.2 million for the famous Air India trial. It's outfitted with every type of modern  technical requirement. This courtroom is currently being used for the trial of purported gang members accused of a "commission of an offence for a criminal organization."  Ironic, isn't it. 

Even more ironic: the Air India courtroom isn't big enough for the Gangs; the UN Gang case expects 23 lawyers and 8 defendants. These are high security courtrooms with a place for everybody to sit and work.

Another BC Supreme Courtroom was renovated in New Westminster for Willie Pickton's trial.  It is booked for the Surrey Six murder trial of the four Red Scorpion gangsters.

Where gangs are concerned, BC has more trials than courtrooms. The total number of lawyers is a governing factor as well, because simply trundling a few more desks and swivel chairs into the courtroom won't meet with approval.

Security for gangs, witnesses and lawyers is a factor. 

The anticipated number of seats in the public gallery is a factor. All of which suggests that the BC public has fallen through a crack in the pavement outside the Law Courts at 800 Smithe Street, Vancouver, with regard to the BC Rail trial.

It seems that nobody has considered the hearts and minds of the 99% of BC's population which can't possibly attend any of the BC Rail court sessions, except by televised daily showings.

So it's very important that we remind Attorney-General deJong that every BC citizen (the previous owners), must see and hear the evidence given at the BC Rail Trial. The A.G. must insist on having a suitable courtroom ready for that purpose on May 3, 2010.

His e.mail address:



When everything is suspicious: BCRail according to Shirley Bond

Province terminating three BC Rail executive contracts, paying severance

By Andrew MacLeod
The Tyee - March 24, 2010

Two B.C. Railway Company executives will collect a total of almost $600,000 in severance payments when they lose their jobs by the end of March. [That's March 2010, presumably. - BC Mary.]

Transportation and infrastructure minister Shirley Bond provided the details yesterday under questioning in the legislature from New Democratic Party MLA's Leonard Krog and Doug Donaldson about what will happen when the government moves B.C. Rail into the provincial government.

Three of B.C. Rail's four executives will lose their jobs this year, Bond said. Two, president and CEO Kevin Mahoney and executive vice-president real estate John Lusney, have been given their notice and will go by March 31. They'll receive severance payments of $392,000 and $203,000, though Bond did not say who will receive which amount.

Bond said the government will employ B.C. Rail's CFO until around December, but he has not yet been given notice and the severance payment amount has not yet been determined. B.C. Rail's vice-president finance and CFO is Kevin Steinberg.

The government will keep a fourth executive, B.C. Rail's vice-president operations and corporate affairs, Gordon Westlake, Bond said. “There is a significant degree of work that we'll be transferring over to the ministry,” she said. There is a significant real estate portfolio and the CN revitalization agreement to manage, she said.

{Snip} ...

Yeah, Shirl. Significant. We know. We know.



Basi, Young, Duncan ... tomorrow?

A small note from a reliable source says:

ALR on Mar 26, thurs, at 2:00 p.m.

That's all I have. Does anybody have anything more on this??

I can check the BC Supreme Court listings tomorrow morning, as we all know ...

but for some people, e.g., on Vancouver Island (especially Sooke),

it would be helpful to know if there's a pre-trial hearing tomorrow for Dave Basi, and/or Jim Duncan and Tony Young (Case #134750) re Agricultural Land issues in BC Supreme Court, Vancouver (or possibly Victoria).

Thanks to anyone who can provide confirmation today.  - BC Mary. 

Well ... Adrian points out that March 26 would be next Friday, not Thursday.

Then Bill Tieleman reports to me that reliable sources have told him the next ALR pre-trial hearing will be in September, after conclusion of the BC Rail trial.

Oh. And that he'll be there.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Former Accenture Execs Score Big In BC Hydro Clean Power Call

Pssst ... wanna know how to commit daylight robbery without getting caught?  Will McMartin's column begins:

Led by two former Accenture executives who spearheaded the 2003 privatization of BC Hydro and Power Authority's back-office operations, a little-known, three-and-a-half year-old company with negligible cash reserves and an accumulated deficit in excess of $41 million scored a stunning win two weeks ago when it was awarded four much sought-after electricity purchase agreements from the province's largest Crown corporation ...

Read Will McMartin's column HERE ... and think of BC Rail. 


Sunday, March 21, 2010


BC Rail in Year 2000


BC Rail Submission
to the Canada Transportation Act Review Panel
on Competitive Rail Access

October 6, 2000.

Read it HERE.  It's 15 pages. Please tell us your opinion: what happened?


Friday, March 19, 2010


BC Rail: more dirty tricks

E.M has left a new comment on your post "BC Rail: Over 32,000 northerners signed a petition...":

The Government as we know are doing some clean-up since it was disclosed what The CEO of BC Rail and others are getting for salaries. See what will happen on April 1st, 2010 ---------------

In February Minister of Transportation Shirley Bond 2010/11 – 2012/13 Service Plan

Microsoft Word - TRAN_Service Plan 2010.11-2012.13_draft_16.docx - 24 Feb 2010

• BC Transportation Financing Authority – The BC Transportation Financing Authority is a provincial Crown corporation operating under the Transportation Act. It owns provincial highways and provides for their rehabilitation and expansion through dedicated fuel taxes and other revenues.
The Authority can also acquire, hold, construct, or improve other transportation infrastructure throughout B.C.

• British Columbia Railway Company (BCRC) – On April 1, 2010, the shares of the British Columbia Railway Company will be transferred to the BC Transportation Financing Authority (BCTFA), resulting in the BCRC becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of the BCTFA. Continuing as its own

BCRC will retain its legal and legislative authorities and agreements.

BCRC core operations will be managed by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. BCRC core functions include:

• management of the Revitalization Agreement between BCRC and CN Rail;

• ownership and operation of the 40 km Port Subdivision rail line;

• control of key land assets, including land ownership and lease arrangements with Vancouver Wharves and Squamish Terminals;

• land, permitting and environmental management of over 2,300 km of rail line;

• sale of surplus property not required for railway or Pacific Gateway purposes; and

• investment in rail, land and other infrastructure that supports Pacific Gateway capacity expansion.

The transition of BCRC management and operations to the Ministry will result in lower administrative and overhead costs and will provide closer integration with Pacific Gateway and other strategic initiatives. More information can be found at

AND see below how much revenue goes up for 2010/11 year

BC Transportation Financing Authority Statement of Earnings

Other revenue3

2009/10  43,799
2010/11  80,238
2011/12 125,983
2012/13 128,661

3 Other revenue includes interest income, grants from the Province, property sales, rentals and economic development
revenues, and earnings from the equity investment in the British Columbia Railway Company

Now this curious to me [this is E.M. speaking next] ... if BC Rail is now just being transferred to the BC Transportation Financing Authority, why back in 2004 revenue statement it shows that it Received Transfer payment of 750 million

Note BC Transportation Financing Authority — Income Statement 2004/05
Transfer payments3 750,000

3 Transfer payments from BC Rail proceeds 750,000($200 million) and the Consolidated Revenue Fund ($550 million). This is listed under BC Transportation Financing Authority

0 dollars listed for transfer payments 05-06 06-07 07- 08

E.M., many thanks for sending us this information. Can you clarify a little bit around the end of the notes ... after Income Statement 2004/2005?  
- BC Mary. 


 And E.M. kindly replied: 
Sorry Mary, here is the link that shows The Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Service plan 2004-5

You will see financials for the Ministry of Transporation and seperate statement for the BC Transportation Financing Authority —

It shows a transfer payment of 750 million for year 2004-5, it has #3 beside it, then below it shows comments for where the funds came from, # 3 says that "3 Transfer payments from BC Rail proceeds ($200 million) and the Consolidated Revenue Fund ($550 million).

Thanks again, E.M.  Much appreciated.  - BC Mary.


Three Letters from Robin Mathews on the BC Rail Scandal


This is the first part of a four part series.  Three letters are to “officials” I believe are in dereliction of their responsibility to law and the administration of justice.  The fourth part is an overview placing the BC Rail Scandal and the Gordon Campbell government in relation to the present, persistent attack on democratic accountability across the Western World.

The first – to Gary Bass, RCMP Deputy Commissioner (BC) and Commanding Officer of “E” Division. Copies sent by surface mail and e-mail to Gary Bass.

Dear Deputy Commissioner Bass:

Earlier I wrote to you to ask you to undertake criminal investigation of the actions of Gordon Campbell and his associates in the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to the CNR. 

I pointed out to you that a mass of evidence has been brought forward to the Supreme Court of B.C. by the disclosure applications of Defence counsel, and that they – in open court – have repeatedly claimed that evidence exists that the accused in the Basi, Virk, and Basi case were following the policy of their seniors, and/or were acting as mandated to do, and/or were directly instructed by seniors. 

In the material I have referred to – and more that would be available to your organization – I believe evidence rests to allege criminal breach of trust and perhaps more, by the Gordon Campbell group.

Further, reasonable investigation by the RCMP of BC Rail matters would almost certainly bring to light more evidence – despite the destruction of key materials by the Gordon Campbell structure – almost two years of key e-mail materials – without satisfactory explanation or any investigation by the RCMP, your Force.

An investigation, moreover, into the dessication of BC Hydro would, I believe, also reveal criminal behaviour by Gordon Campbell and his associates.  I formally ask you for an investigation of the separation of BC Hydro into parts, the move to prevent it from expanding energy generation,  the agreements involving the participation of Accenture in formerly BC Hydro work, and all other aspects of the de facto privatization of what were traditionally BC Hydro activities.

Beyond making here a formal request for criminal investigation of the BC Hydro matters, I will confine the subject of this letter to the BC Rail Scandal.

You have refused to conduct the criminal investigation I have asked for in the BC Rail Scandal matter – the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to CNR.

I remind you that the B.C. RCMP – at the instigation of people connected to the Gordon Campbell constituency office [you being a highly placed BC RCMP officer at the time] - undertook a criminal investigation of long duration and at high cost to determine if then-B.C. premier Glen Clark had criminally received benefit from eight to twelve thousand dollars worth of sun-deck work he had done at his private residence in Vancouver’s East End. [But you will not investigate Gordon Campbell and his associates in the corrupt billion dollar transfer of BC Rail to the CNR.]

After 136 days of expensive Supreme Court trial presided over by Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett – despite the concentrated efforts of your B.C. Force -  Glen Clark was acquitted of all suspicion of wrong doing.  Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett would grant no considerations of false or faulty procedure though the whole case bristled with suspicious activity.

You will, of course, remember well some of the suspicions aroused by the case against Glen Clark.  I refer you, for instance, to the Globe and Mail, January 7, 2002 – front page.  The story there reminds us that the chief investigating RCMP officer on the Glen Clark case was a political ally of Gordon Campbell and was asked by Campbell – on more than one occasion – to run for office. Peter Montague played out his role while you were, at least, a senior RCMP officer. 

You will know, too, that the investigation I requested into the (generally accepted) dubious investigation techniques of the RCMP in the Glen Clark matter was shut down by experienced RCMP officers.  The Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP reported the investigation I requested was wrongfully shut down.  I wonder if you ordered the wrongful closing of that investigation?

Peter Montague was a bizarre choice as chief investigating officer in the Glen Clark case.  In the earlier “Gustafsen Lake stand-off” in 1995, he was deeply involved in what has been (with mountains of supporting evidence) repeatedly alleged to have been an RCMP, B.C. government, Canadian Army, B.C. Supreme Court, and Mainstream Press and Media “operation” in defiance of all Canadian law to subdue some twenty or more Native people attending and attempting peaceably to protect a Sun Dance celebration.

Peter Montague is alleged to have lied to CBC in order to get special radio time.  He is alleged to have taken part in the falsification of documents to the Department of National Defence in order to justify a military presence at Gustafsen Lake.  In the Vancouver Province of January 21, 1997, Holly Horwood refers to the RCMP’s “disinformation and smear campaign” at Gustafsen Lake.  Sgt. Dennis Ryan admits to using the terms.  Horwood goes on: “On the tape, parts of which are missing, RCMP information officer Peter Montague says with a smile that : “Smear campaigns are our specialty”.

In an interview with Arthur Topham of The Radical in November 2000, John (“Splitting the Sky”) Boncore, deeply involved in the events, tells of the false story about armed Natives.   Boncore says “they [RCMP] had forgot to shut the camera off and so we had the footage which showed that the statements make by Peter Montague of the RCMP and subsequently reiterated by Attorney General Ujjal Dosanjh, that the two men jumped out of the truck with AK-47s and were shooting at the police and which precipitated the whole shooting incident where thousands of rounds were fired into the [Native] camp was nothing but fabricated lies”.

[One has to ask if that kind of behaviour is not echoed in the Globe and Mail Editorial of December 9, 2009.  The Editorial reads, concerning Robert Dziekanski: “The RCMP brutally killed a new-comer to Canada, put out fake information into the public sphere while investigating themselves, then refused to correct the record….” That was done with you as top RCMP officer in the Province, and one has to ask if you sanctioned the false information provided to the public, referred to in the Globe editorial?]

The Basi, Virk, and Basi case, I believe, is a cover-up action – whatever the guilt or innocence of the accused – bleeding attention away from the alleged criminal activity of Gordon Campbell and his associates in the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to the CNR.

Defence counsel repeatedly has claimed that the RCMP was delaying, stalling, responding inadequately, providing chaotic materials … and more in the Basi, Virk, and Basi pre-trial hearings.  A reasonable Canadian watching that process, as I did, might well believe your officer Force, the B.C. RCMP, was deliberately attempting to confuse and obstruct the administration of justice.

The trial of the three accused cabinet aides which is to begin on May 3 cannot have, I insist, credibility.  The Special Crown Prosecutor was appointed, I allege, in violation of the prosecutor legislation.  The RCMP responded to disclosure requests, I believe, in a way which casts suspicion on their intentions.  And – of key importance – from the beginning of investigation, RCMP appears to have (and is alleged by Defence counsel to have) carefully cut and fitted the investigation activities, “targetted” them, in order to avoid charges being laid against anyone senior to the aides accused.

When I suggested in my last letter to you that racism may have been involved in the charges against the accused, you expressed alarm and consternation.  If, however, as many believe, some “White” people were protected in the investigation and three Sikhs were charged … who can dictate what conclusions will be drawn?

All of those anomalies can only be corrected by a full, publicly announced criminal investigation of Gordon Campbell and his associates in the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to the CNR. I formally request you to undertake that investigation without any further delay.


                                                                    Robin Mathews


Thursday, March 18, 2010


BC Rail: Full circle with BC media

[Queen of the] North trial is another case of justice delayed

By Michael Smyth
The Province - March 18, 2010

Here we go again, with another case of B.C.-style "justice delayed." ... But it's only the latest example of a high-profile B.C. case where the wheels of justice don't exactly spin like the tires of a runaway Prius. 

Consider the B.C. Rail corruption saga. This is what RCMP Sgt. John Ward said on Dec. 29, 2004, [sorry, Michael, it was 2003 - BC Mary] after police executed search warrants at the B.C. legislature: "Organized crime has stretched into every corner of B.C. . . . It is not an exaggeration to say that organized crime is a cancer eating away at the social and moral fabric of British Columbia." [Yeah sure, nice to see you remember it now, Michael, but  remember how often media hacks tried to deny, ridicule, reject what Sgt Ward had said? Look back at Gary Mason's puff piece entitled "There's nothing to these charges", Dec. 2006.]

More than six years later, the case finally slouches toward court. If the B.C. Rail trial begins as slated May 3, it will be something of a miracle.  [Why? Was the case supposed to be swept under the carpet by now ... like, tra la, just another lost railway? or some such thing?]

Or consider the case of ex-solicitor-general John Les. B.C.'s former top law-enforcement officer has been under criminal investigation over suspicious land deals for nearly three years ...  [It's now years later for you, too, Michael ... and it seems to me that you could have spent lot of media time looking into what Sgt Ward had told us that terrible day in B.C. It might have saved a lot of grief ... so how about telling us now: what was it that made the whole BC rat-pack media gang up against that? - BC Mary.]


Comment from Kootcoot:

Perhaps folks don't remember, or ever realized - after all BC is a memory hole controlled by Canned Waste - Glow Ball and the PABlum Brigade - but the morning after the sinking (and heroic rescue of almost everyone by the locals during the night)that no one was allowed near the scene until representatives of the BC liaRs, the lawyers for Herr Hahn and some of the BC liaRs spin doctors were able to fly in.

Now in any non-Banana Republic dictatorship, safety and accident inspectors from the DOT would be the first on the scene. Indeed anyone else would be seen as a potential case of evidence tampering. But then obstruction of justice and abuse of process are just business as usual in British Columbia, the land that justice forgot.

I also recall that there were suggestions that instead of just trying to point fingers at individual crew members, not that they weren't possible negligent, some attention should have been paid to the possibility that Hahn's Navy had been expecting crew to use new navigation equipment WITHOUT allowing (or indeed REQUIRING) sufficient training on the new equipment.

The entire BC Ferries system, including the Inland Ferries (which in the Kootenays are essentially highways) have deteriorated since the ascent to the throne of Lord Gord. Just like the rest of W.A.C.'s legacies.

The only people who have benefitted from the re-organization (PRIVATIZATION) of the inland ferries have been the friends of government, who gained who have been showered with benefits (i.e. cheap vessels, monopoly on service, free timber and real estate)and let maintenance levels deteriorate, knowing their buddies in Victoria will bail them out when the inevitable breakdowns occur and locals are forced to stay at home or take outrageously long detours by land.

The inconvenience laid on residents of the North Coast and Haida Gwaii by Admiral Hahn's disrepectful lackidasical approach to replacing service was in-excusable. It would have been SIMPLE to provide service by freighter, just like it was done in the sixties and seventies while looking for a replacement ferry. Instead they left these people virtually stranded (except by air or fish boat) while muttering about finding a vessel to fit a particular landing set-up. Hey goofs, there are docks all over the North Coast that accomodate the typical cargo ship, which in turn can accomodate vehicles, though it has to load with a crane and cage - they only did it for decades. At one time vehicles traveled between Prince Rupert and Massett/Charlotte City by either the Northland Prince or RivTow Barge, either approach could have been used while looking for a replacement for the Queen of the North. 


Wednesday, March 17, 2010


BC Rail: Over 32,000 northerners signed a petition saying stop the sale

Sounds of desperation in the BC Legislature as the 77 government members shout at the 2-member Opposition. A few days later, the infamous BCR - CN "deal" was signed but parts of it remain secret to this day.  - BC Mary.


Debates of the Legislative Assembly
Wed., Nov. 19, 2003 afternoon sitting

Read more HERE.

Oral Questions


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To the Premier: were the other proponents told what was leaked, and who received the information?

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


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

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

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


           Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

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

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


           J. Kwan
: I don't know what planet this Minister of Transportation is living on. Mayors from Fort St. James to Mackenzie to 100 Mile House say that the plan to privatize…


           Mr. Speaker: Order, please, hon. members. Let's hear the question.

           J. Kwan: …B.C. Rail is bad news for their communities. Those who supported the deal are now saying that they've been kept in the dark about the details and the impact on their economies. Let me quote Mayor Donna Barnett of 100 Mile House: "I was probably a supporter of this as long as it was transparent. Now I don't feel so comfortable."

           Face it, minister. The Premier asked you to break one of his central election commitments, and you botched it. Now the Premier and every Liberal MLA from the north are feeling the heat. Can the minister explain why CN gets preferential treatment, but the communities affected are left in the dark?

           Hon. J. Reid: In fact, the mayor from Prince George was on a radio show this morning saying that he agrees with the process and believes that what we're doing is seeking the good of the people of the north. Further to the release of…


           Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

           Hon. J. Reid
: …information, the sharing of information and the need to balance off that information, I'd just like to quote from the fairness adviser's report, who also addresses this: "While the desire to share more detailed information with key constituents throughout the process is understandable, the confidentiality agreement served a necessary purpose by ensuring that all of the proponents had the same information and that none of the proponents had the opportunity to influence the evaluation committee through the media or by negotiating in public."

           Mr. Speaker
: The member for Vancouver–Mount Pleasant has a supplementary question.


           Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

           J. Kwan
: The Prince George council passed a resolution asking for a two-year moratorium to hold up the sale and privatization of B.C. Rail. UBCM passed a unanimous resolution asking the government not to break its commitment by selling B.C. Rail. This minister is not facing reality.

           Let's be clear. The process that has led to the sale of B.C. Rail is under a serious cloud. Supporters are now saying the government should reconsider. Over 32,000 northerners signed a petition saying stop the sale. There's no benefit to the shippers; there's no benefit to the communities. The minister's time in cabinet is short, I know. But why doesn't she go out…?


           Mr. Speaker: Order, please.


           Mr. Speaker: Hon. members, let us hear the question, please.


           Mr. Speaker: Question.


           Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

           J. Kwan
: Why doesn't the minister go out with a bang, Mr. Speaker? She can do that. She can do that to make up for her shortcomings, for all of the files she has botched — admit that it is a broken promise and that she is prepared to kill the B.C. Rail privatization deal.


           Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Order, please, hon. members. Let us hear….

           Hon. J. Reid: I'm interpreting that the question was about a concern with regard to sharing of information with communities, which I agree has been a process with which we have tried to find a balance. Once again I'd like to read a quote from the fairness adviser's report: "While the absence of detailed information may have increased rumourmongering and speculation by the public and the media…"


           Mr. Speaker: Order.

           Hon. J. Reid: "…we found that the evaluation committee struck an appropriate balance between sharing information with those who needed to know and protecting the confidentiality of the participants…"


           Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

           Hon. J. Reid
: "…and ensuring the neutrality of the process."


           Mr. Speaker: Order, please.


kootcoot has left a new comment on your post "BC Rail: Over 32,000 northerners signed a petition...":

Leah, excellent list - and I would like to EMPHASIZE, to the commenter above as well, that Arthur Anderson/Accenture who now do the billing, collecion and books for BC Hydro are experts in energy scams, being the same folks that brought the world the Exxon rip-off. I guess that explains why Gordo wanted them to be involved in his own energy SCAMS.

Now in the crosshairs - privatization of ambulance service and rewriting of the Water Act.

Will this mean that all BC water will be exported to California and Arizona in plastic bottles? Of course not, more likely either by tanker or pipeline, after all, they don't just want the water, and Gord would be happy to let them have the bottling jobs as well, for an extra cabana on his Maui cottage.

Oh yeah, and Medical Tourism to utilize our "under-utilized" surgical capacity - those cancer patients and hip replacement candidates are refusing to come to the OR and waiting un-necessary lengths of time - so Birdbrain Falcon wants to sell the space to outsiders who don't WANT to wait.

Of course Birdbrain explained on the CBC yesterday how attracting medical tourists would actually shorten wait times in BC. But I must be dumb, because I don't understand how putting someone from the prairies in an OR in say Trail ahead of me, would speed up the line in which I am stuck.

But maybe that's why Birdbrain is in charge.........I know there is an area of math that deals with irrational numbers, but I guess I will have to upgrade and take a course in irrational logic, so I can keep up with BirdBrain!

Urgent message to Kootcoot:  fire up your House of Infamy blog. Full steam ahead! Write more about these BC points of crises.  We need this information.  - BC Mary.