Friday, August 13, 2010


Indo-Canadian stars shine, flicker, and fade


BC Mary comment: An unusual political commentary from the Indo-Canadian point of view, which readers might find interesting.  Written by Manpreet Grewal, special to Vancouver Sun, published August 11, 2010.


The Indo-Canadian community keeps sacrificing its lambs at the political altar. Politics is a popular sport in democratic India, and the participants span the whole class, caste, educational, rural and urban spectrum. In traditional Indian villages, people are actively involved in electing their sarpanches (head of the local government); the election mania continues on to state and federal levels. They have continued this enthusiasm in Canada.

While it is commendable that as an immigrant and an ethno-cultural group, Indo-Canadians have become active participants in Canadian political life, it is critical that they understand politics is not everyone's cup of tea. Many assume that anyone doing well in any field should and will somehow end up in politics to reach the epitome of their career -- and if they are not going to end up there, they had better be close to the ones who are already there.

Relationships with politicians are seen as a mark of respect, importance and clout among peers. Such relationships have become an ingrained part of many aspects of our mass culture where private and community events feature photo ops and rubbing shoulders with politicians.

Needless to say, many of our successful members become attracted to or are cajoled into the arena. They are like moths drawn to the light of politics, but, unfortunately, many have been led to an early demise.

Wally Oppal was one such star. He enjoyed immense credibility and clout as a judge and set many precedents for the participation of the Indo-Canadian community in mainstream Canadian society. Oppal was appointed to the County Court of B.C. in 1981 and to the Supreme Court of B.C. in 1985. In 2003, he was the first Indo-Canadian appointed to the B.C. Court of Appeal. He was a man of immense stature within our community.

At the peak of his legal career, he decided to enter politics. Some were saddened because they could see the inevitability of his path. Politics would eventually chip away at the credibility he had built through his brilliance and hard work. He would encounter pitfalls. He was victorious as a B.C. Liberal in the riding of Vancouver-Fraserview and appointed attorney-general in 2005.

Few would argue, though, that he was as revered on the benches of the legislature as he was at the Supreme Court. In the 2009 election, he gave up his riding to Kash Heed and lost by 32 votes in his new riding of Delta South.

That brings us to Heed, another fallen hero facing challenges in his resurrection. Before entering politics, he was gaining immense popularity as a Vancouver police officer. He pioneered initiatives aimed at crime reduction and prevention as well as greater community and police engagement. He was a superintendent with the VPD and went on to become the first Indo-Canadian police chief in Canada, heading the West Vancouver force.

His appointment was a moment of pride for the community, but, alas, he couldn't resist the lure of politics. He was elected in the 2009 provincial election and became the minister of public safety and solicitor-general.

On April 9, he resigned in response to an RCMP investigation involving alleged violations of the B.C. Elections Act by his campaign staff. A special prosecutor exonerated Heed of involvement and he quickly returned to cabinet on May 4 -- only to resign 24 hours later because the special prosecutor himself came under a cloud.

Then there are the stories of his ambitious political aide, Barinder Sall, and others whose aspirations have landed them in a mess. Bob Virk and Dave Basi, on trial for corruption in the BC Rail case, have tasted the glory and suffered the fall. Whether some of these men took one for their leader, the team or the party, or just made gross errors in judgment, they are a loss to the galaxy of our stars.

Some of us are proud of our many successful politicians, but we're also happy to be dazzled by many other stars that happily twinkle away without being dragged down by the gravitational pull of politics.

Manpreet Grewal is a freelance journalist based in Abbotsford.


I often wonder why the name of Aneal Singh Basi seldom is mentioned with regard to the BC Rail Political Corruption Trial. As in this article, he isn't mentioned at all.

Yet one of the most interesting facts about Aneal Basi (youthful though he is) is that he served the Campbell Government as a "communications officer" which means he was part of the dreaded propaganda machine we know as the Public Affairs Bureau.

Interesting how the facts are moved around.
Didn't Aneal Basi elect to have a separate trial?
Gary E,

Not that I know of. Aneal is usually included in the list of 3 accused whenever Case #23299 is in court.

It's in news reports that he's often left out of the picture.
Mary, very astute of you to say:

"Interesting how the facts are moved around."

I have noticed in the last couple years that there has been an increased tendency of those in the legal trade and in the judiciary to say they just made a mistake, an error, and with that simple (often disingenuous) statement, they absolve themselves completely.

They avoid being held accountable because it's claimed that they just made a mistake. This, then, gives them license to carry on "making mistakes" whenever it suits their purpose.

I believe this has become epidemic in the court system and in the judiciary. We also see it in the bureaucracy and in the police. They simply excuse themselves, but the public is held to a much higher standard.

This is a farce, but one with devastating consequences for individuals, for society and for the rule of law in BC – which is supposed to be our basis for a civil society.

That is how the courts can "move the facts around" with impunity. They hide under the guise of ineptitude.

Surely misleading the public about what is occurring in the courts should be considered a crime against the public, no?

I think it's time the lawyers / courts /court house staff were held accountable, even charged, with public mischief.


Excellent points, and I agree wholeheartedly except at the end - I think you are low balling the suggested "charges" - I mean really, public mischief?

I would suggest for starters, fraud, theft over $5,000,000, money laundering. Then with a a bit more gumption the Campbelloids could be charged EASILY with obstruction of justice and perjury.

An inspired prosecutor would have no problem with betrayal of the public trust, and with a bit more gumption a REAL prosecutor could pursue treason charges. Here in the realm of the Inferior Health Authority, a prosecutor worth his salt could consider negligent homicide.

I can't wait until November....Recall them all and let's see if they can make a living without the Gordo granted license to steal!

If we could clean up Victoria, that would be just a start, there's still a pool of clowns and low lifes in Ottawa - Mr. Toews, who sees terrorists and criminals on every boat and under every bed. Ms. StockGirl Day, who wants to spend BILLIONS to deal with crime so serious that nobody bothers to report it.

And then there is Bad King Stephen and his butt boy, Prince "Air Show" Mackay, who want to spend even more BILLIONS on planes that can't even fly from TO to Terminal City without meeting fuel tankers enroute, but are real good at penetrating radar installations, a necessary spec for pre-emptive attack on cities and other targets with defensive infrastructure. Forget about patrolling the north though and protecting so-called Canadian Sovereignty - unless of course the Ruskies agree to meet the single engine stealth jokes with fuel part way. What a dream (or is that nightmare) to be flying in the Arctic, in the dark with just one engine and very little fuel - but if the black box works, at least they can find the wreckage.

The fighters the PsuedoCons want to get are more suited to joining the Zionists and the USAF in a raid on Tehran, or alleged nuclear sites anywhere within carrier range or with fuel tanker support.
Also note the publication bans listed at the SC website do not list Bobbie Virk.

2010/08/06 134750 R. v. Udhe (Dave) Basi Supreme Court Victoria Inherent Jurisdiction
2010/03/04 23299
R. v. Udhe Singh (Dave) Basi Supreme Court Vancouver
2010/03/04 23299
R. v. Aneal Basi
Supreme Court Vancouver
2009/12/14 23299
R. v. Udhe Singh (Dave) Basi Supreme Court Vancouver
2009/12/14 23299
R. v. Aneal Basi Supreme Court Vancouver
Virk is listed on the notice of the ban by Judge Mac
Also, ironic the same day as the case is to reconvene, there is a Welcoming of the Judge that is taking over Mackenzies position.

--OTTAWA, June 18, 2010 - The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced the following appointment:

The Honourable Shelley C. Fitzpatrick, a lawyer with Davis LLP (Vancouver), is appointed judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia to replace Madam Justice A.W. MacKenzie, who was appointed Associate Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia on April 23, 2010.

A formal Welcoming Ceremony for Madam Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick will be held in Vancouver on Monday, September 13, 2010 at 9:15 am.
Good catch E.M! I spent a moment reading over some of her history, and have to say I think she's a far better choice for this particular trial than the current Justice.

She practiced mainly insolvency and commercial litigation, so she'll know what she's hearing and looking for. Let's hope this is a significant change for the better in this trial...though I do wonder why another change? And will she be kind enough to remove the publication ban so we're able to stay abreast of the daily goings, on and discuss it without looking over our shoulders?

Time will tell, I guess.
Still trying to sort this out. I don't think that Fitzpatrick is taking over the BC Rail Trial. Here's how I read this paragraph:

" ... is appointed judge of BC Supreme Court to replace ...

as saying that Fitzpatrick is appointed to BCSC to fill the vacancy created when MacKenzie was appointed ACJ. That, and nothing more.

Any other thoughts?

Like, wouldn't we have heard about it, if a new judge had taken over the BC Rail Trial in June, even before it went on summer recess?

Or ... could that be what the August 6 hearings were about???
Lets get on with the trial! I have been watching this from afar and am amazed and shocked that the trial was allowed to be delayed over summer. Was OJ Simpson delayed? No. And why all the 2 hour sessions? Doesnt a day have 24 hours in it? The taxpayers of BC must be fools to let lawyers take their money like this.
Or ... could that be what the August 6 hearings were about???

LOL, wouldn't we have had to have a deux ex machina appearance from Dohm for that scenario?

I don't think this is what happened; ACJ Mackenzie is "seized" of the case at this point, and an appointment to a higher pay grade within the SCBC is not the same as being "elevated" to the Court of Appeals, i.e. a different court. And wouldn't the superimposition of a third judge in this case be good grounds for Defence to call for a mistrial or a stay or some such? True, maybe ACJ's penchant for summer vacations was truly irresponsible, but so have been a lot of her actions and we've seen no sign of her being relieved of her duties; rather, she was promoted.

We are witnessing the operations of a star chamber, none of us should be surprised that things going on in secret would be presented as the course of justice and transparency, which of course they are not given the matters at stake.

The bit about a judge's son being up on charges, with no names being released, smacks of teh same exclusivist and elitist proceedings that we've been subjected to in BC Rail (and in the Pickton case, the Bush hearings, the Dziekanski case and more).

Wouldn't it be interesting if that judge's son's last name was Mackenzie? Or Dohm?
Not sure if Fitzgerald is stepping in for J Mac. for 23299, I am sure as Chief Justice, She would not be able to commit to many trials. Just such a coincidence of the timing, Welcoming on Septemvber 13th at 9 15.

Also, any one know who the Judge is for case 134750? Back awhile ago they said 134750 is being put off until the end of 223299.
doesnt surprise me that in this culture liars are looked up to with admiration.
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