Thursday, April 29, 2010


Witness list in Basi-Virk trial full of former ministers


Long-awaited BC Rail case set to cast shadow over Campbell’s first administration

Rod Mickleburgh

Globe and Mail - Wednesday, Apr. 28,

A who’s who of politicians, highly placed bureaucrats, back-room operatives and corporate executives has been subpoenaed to testify in a long-awaited political corruption case that continues to cast a shadow over the first administration of Premier Gordon Campbell.

Among those on the witness list are Mr. Campbell’s chief of staff, Martin Brown, two of the Premier’s former deputy ministers, Ken Dobell and Brenda Eaton, his former finance minister Gary Collins, and key federal Liberal strategist Mark Marissen.

The Crown’s roster of 44 witnesses was read to prospective jurors in B.C. Supreme Court on Wednesday, providing a tantalizing glimpse of what promises to be one of the most dramatic political trials in the province’s turbulent history. {Snip} ...

While individual premiers and cabinet ministers have been tried before in British Columbia, the Basi-Virk trial appears to cast a wider net than a single politician.

“Wow,” said veteran political commentator Norman Ruff, on hearing some of the names on the witness list. “Those are many of the central players in the first Campbell administration.

“That’s what makes this case so intriguing. It takes in the whole centre of the government. Look for it on the front page. It certainly won’t be dull.”

Also summoned to testify are Claude Mongeau, president and CEO of Canadian National Railway, and the former head of Canadian Pacific, Rob Ritchie.

Canadian Pacific pulled out of the bidding for BC Rail over stated concerns that the government had already decided to award the line to CN.

Judith Reid, provincial transportation minister at the time of the sale, is on the witness list as well.

It took two hours before a jury of seven men and five women was selected from a pool of 133 individuals, who crowded the courtroom, their summons in hand, to be scrutinized by lawyers for all sides in the case.

The trial is expected to last six to eight weeks.

Presiding judge Anne MacKenzie, promoted earlier this week to Associate Chief Justice for the B.C. Supreme Court, has imposed a strict publication ban on proceedings, preventing the media from reporting any trial-related material that is not presented with the jury in the courtroom. {Snip ...}

BASI-VIRK - Crown to call staff, ex-cabinet ministers, appointees of Premier Gordon Campbell in BC Legislature Raid case

By Bill Tieleman
Read his column HERE.

Basi-Virk Special Prosecutor Janet Winteringham gave BC Supreme Court Justice Anne MacKenzie the Crown's list of 44 witnesses it intends to call in the corruption trial of three former BC Liberal government aides on Wednesday.

David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi all face trial beginning May 17 in connection with the $1 billion privatization of BC Rail in 2003. A police raid on the BC Legislature on December 28, 2003 was the first sign to the public of the major political scandal.

Former BC Liberal Finance Minister Gary Collins and former Transportation Minister Judith Reid, the current Chief of Staff to Premier Gordon Campbell - Martyn Brown, former BC Rail Chair John McLernon, federal Liberal Party operative Mark Marissen, former BC Liberal government deputy ministers Ken Dobell and Brenda Eaton, and former railway company executives among others.

The Crown's key witnesses, former BC lobbyists Erik Bornmann and Brian Kieran, are also listed.
{Snip} ...

I am travelling this week and was unable to attend the jury selection process.


If the terms and scope of the Basigate investigation and trial had been fully expanded there would be more than three "only following orders Grit Storm-Troopers" in the Crown's docket.

I can think of a least one former Grit super person now a media celeb who would be looking for a Central American Nation without an extradition treaty with Canada.

Additionally the Basigate witness list would read like the entire Ober Kommando der Martin of the Liberal Party of Canada in BC between 1997-2003.

And this bunch of "made" men, women and aging kids would be taking The Fifth or also visiting Central America.

In the end, I still expect the three sides in this: Crown, Justice and Defense will throw the fight and "take a dive" insuring a mis-trial or a made in heaven appeal.

Either way, WE ONLY CHEAT WHEN WE CAN'T WIN is Gordo's creed.

I'm getting really confused here by the publication ban on what the public is permitted to know about the goings on at the pre-trial stage of Basi/Virk/Basi.

On your post BC Mary, where you have SNIPPED out a column from Rod Mickleburgh of the Globe and Mail - dated Wednesday, Apr. 28 your have written:

"The Crown’s roster of 44 witnesses was read to prospective jurors in B.C. Supreme Court on Wednesday, providing a tantalizing glimpse of what promises to be one of the most dramatic political trials in the province’s turbulent history." SNIP

Prospective jurors means they are not jurors but public citizens.

The Crown prosecutor read our a roster of 44 witnesses to these prospective jurors AND Press with the latter category only reporting on the juicier ones. Why not all of the names?

Norman Ruff said "Wow" and “Those are many of the central players in the first Campbell administration."

So why can't the public who are not the jurors be privy to what was heard in an Open and Transparent Pre-Trial?

What gives here.

If the Court system is only going to provide 150 seats, and the Press is not permitted to report on the trial (pre-trial as well) what about others who would dearly want to sit in on the trial proceedings, are they to be defied their day in court or will that Court provide another room where we all may sit in judgment (of the court system).

First thing I would such to my "learned friends" is to kick the Press out and leave room for the little guy to sit down.
PS your glove in hand..... oops your Globe and Mail link gives this error message:

"The article you are looking for is available to GlobePlus members or can be licensed."
Anon 10:24,

Now I'm confused. Not sure what you mean, in some of what you say here.

Could you help by 1) selecting a USER NAME for your next comments? and 2) make your queries easier to follow? Especially the final line ... "kick the Press out" surely can't be what you mean?
Anon 10:25,

Will you, also, select a User Name please, when you make your comments?

Yes, I got the same Cold Shoulder from The Globe and Mail when I looked for their list of Witnesses ... and I'm a paid subscriber, so I don't understand this.

I'm going to write them an objection to the way G&M put today's National edition out without any mention of the BC Rail Trial or the Witness List covering much of the Government of BC ... with links to the office of the former Prime Minister,

I mean, what does it take for news to register as I*M*P*O*R*T*A*N*T in this country?

but G&M made a big deal out of the British P.M. referring to a bigoted woman as "a bigoted woman" and other such dumb stuff.

Btw., there's also a fabulous column on their Editorial Page A21 about media's handling of our news, well worth a read: A land of bias from sea to shining sea by Lawrence Martin. For example, he says: "The right side campaign against the CBC is reflective of a wider trend ..." OK?
Who needs Reality TV, this may well turn out to be the Mother of all Gong shows!
Well, well, well.....

The VSun Eds have seen fit to expand Keith Fraser's original cryptogram...As such they have now seen fit to dribble out three additional names for us from 'The List'. They are...

#1- Former OmniTrax CEO Gary Rennick

#2- BC Rail Chairman John McLernon*

#3- BC Rail CEO Kevin Mahoney.


*Who also just happens to be the current Chair of the BC Lotteries Corporation.....So....Based on the past performance of at least one former Chair of that most august institution, one can only wonder if Rollingstock Railroad Casinos are, perhaps, just over the horizon....


I am confused. It appears that the full list of witnesses is public information, but I can't find it reported anywhere. Can you help?
This comment has been removed by the author.
So, Anon 11:45,

please select a USER NAME and then

tell us: do you plan to attend the BC Rail trial??

I hope so.
As always with this case, a la the Pickton trial and other matters like Gulf War II, whats "important" in this country is the coverage of the Jaffer-Guergis case. Interesting as it is, it's small fry in relation to this one.....but as always the national media pundits are finding something else to talk about than BC Rail/BVB et al. Anything BUT, is what they're always finding to talk about....

What had me going yesterday was the federal Speaker's order to release all documents on the Afghan war et al. to all members of the House. For a sec I thought it would provide a useful precedent in BC, but then I realized he was responding to a vote of the House calling for that release, not acting on any general principle of House access to all documents contracted by the government. Clearly there's going to be no vote in the BC Ledge on opening the BC Rail file for public viewing; not unless, that is, enough BC Liberal members see the error of their ways, and suddenly cross the house to sit as a rump/splinter and force a vote of non-confidence....I'm not holding my breath, but I wouldn't mind if it turned out that that's what enough of them might do if it looks like the grease in the frying pan is starting to catch fire.

It would only take about five honourable members to start acting honourable in order to bring the government down, and also to pass a vote calling for full disclosure of ALL documents related to the raid on the legislature (including those dodgy warrants, still sealed, especially that last one that had to be signed in Palm Springs....).

I think that was "judge-fishing", wasn't it?
Here's a better G&M link for you BC Mary, at no cost:
This place is becoming overloaded with Anonymous people and I hate that.

So please, 1:50, select a USER NAME for your next visit, OK?

Thanks for your tip. It doesn't work except to advertise Speedy Glass repairs and something about fish ...

meantime, I'm still trying to send off that letter to The Globe and Mail about making a more serious effort to run the BCRail trial as a NATIONAL story. With more detail. Such as that list of witnesses.
Hi Everyone,

I don't know if I am going blind in my old age, suffering from Scampbell myopia, or what. I read the witness list and didn't see any reference to Lara Dauphinee - I would think she would be right in the middle of it as she was/is personal assistant to Campbell.

Has she been excused as a witness or is there some sort of protectionism going on after all????



Maybe we're both going blind, because I haven't yet seen the court transcript of the official witness list.

Have you?

If so, where did you obtain it??

Don't forget - this is the Prosecutor's list....Should be quite a different cast of characters when the Defense has their turn.

What with all the heat on the Libs over the HST, they are under a microscope now with anything they do.

That is a very good thing, as finally people will pay attention.
This is the time to turn up the heat on gordon the impaler. He, as well as his cast of criminals must be brought to the forefront of this story. His name is all over the BC Rail situation. All these bagmen and bagwomen dance to his tune. Same lots of money, get him on the stand! RECALL NOW! Please keep up the great work Mary.
For those interested....A 14th member of 'The List' has been added over at my place.


I thought there were some e-mails missing, regarding the BC Rail scandal. The BC Liberal government, is so riddled with, underhanded methods. I can't believe they would not take steps, to obliterate their tracks. Campbell and Hansen whited out the papers from,the FOI. The NDP had pulled them, to try and find out what the Olympic deficit was. Has there been any news on the amount? I have a bad gut feeling, the BCR case will be lost, or thrown out of court. I am mystified, why there hasn't been a vote of no confidence, against Campbell. Is he to continue on, until the entire province is decimated?


Welcome to the BC Rail blog. I like your curiosity.

A quick way to get answers to your questions is to use the SEARCH box at the top of the screen. For example, type in "Missing e.mails".

Or just scroll back, back, back in time and read some of the 1,500 postings about BC Rail on this site.

You won't have success asking about other topics, however, as this blog is focused entirely on BCRail.

I hope you comment again. Will you be able to attend any of the Basi-Virk trial?
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