Sunday, July 31, 2011


They didn't call it "News of the World" for nothing. So, OK: What's new?


BC Mary note: I don't know about you, but I think it's odd that suddenly there's almost no news in our Canadian media about Rupert Murdoch, nothing about his NEWS OF THE WORLD disgrace, no news of the alleged crimes perpetrated from within his enormous media empire. But ... as we have learned with BC Rail: sometimes the story is about what isn't being said.

Norway's tragedy did take full possession of the news media on July 22, 2011 but surely not to the exclusion of all else?

Britain is telling more of the media-corruption story; Australia is publishing the story of how media is corrupted; why isn't Canada? Especially BC?  Such as ... 

You couldn't make up latest shameful story of betrayal

The extraordinary drama that is Hackingate is still far from being played out.

The Independent (U.K.) - July 31, 2011.

Read about this HERE: 

If there are people (and I believe there are) walking around on this planet who can squeeze all news into shapes to suit their specific needs ... i.e., people who can even  suppress further mention of Rupert Murdoch, then we all have work to do. 

Harper immune from Murdoch-style scandal - Analysts
The Canadian Press - July 31, 2011

This is so misleading! Wrong, wrong, wrong!  See for yourself:

An example of heinous manipulation being enacted right before our eyes. Or should that be "hilarious" manipulation? Stephen Harper is not immune. 


BC Mary comment: And there are so many other ways for government to avoid providing the information we need:

MLA not impressed with Liberals' new information site

By Staff Writer
Nanaimo News Bulletin - August 1, 2011

For Nanaimo-North Cowichan NDP MLA Doug Routley, perusing the province’s new open data website is like discovering you’ve got 200 channels on your television, but nothing to watch.

The DataBC website was launched last week by the B.C. government.

It’s described as a citizen-focused government website that catalogues open datasets, freedom of information requests and government expenses.

Available information ranges from birth rates and carbon emissions statistics, to details about schools.

“We are changing our approach to governing by putting citizens at the centre of our web services and making government data and information more freely available,” said Premier Christy Clark, in a press release.

But Routley, the NDP’s open government critic, said pomp about the website is misleading.

“We’ve asked for proactive disclosure and this does not meet the task,” he said. “If you search for anything mildly controversial, such as B.C. Rail information, you’ll come up with zero (results). So far, it seems to be millions of pages of information that’s already on different government websites.”

Routley said the website is little more than “data dumping”.  “You throw reporters and the Opposition off course by dumping millions of pages of data that is mostly meaningless, but it allows them to say they’ve shared a huge volume of information,” he said. “But what really counts politically is being held back.”

Routley’s other concern is FOI requests, which will now be made available to the general public between 72 hours and five days after the applicant has received the information.

“This is a disincentive to making requests, which cost a lot of money,” he said. “Reporters doing investigative work will only have a few days to use the data before all their competitors have it as well, and that’s a disincentive to use the process. If they eliminated fees at the same time that might be a bit more reasonable, but the same obstacles to holding government accountable still exist.”

The DataBC website is at


Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Quisling planted the tree of Nazism in Norwegian soil

BC Mary comment: The name "Quisling" was made infamous during WWII - a Norwegian name symbollizing treason. But I had never come across an explanation for it like this one, making it clear that Norway had managed to function, on their own terms, under Nazi occupation. I hadn't realized that Anders Behring Breivik is almost a home-grown product -- gone wrong -- but extremely relevant today -- not just in Norway. 
It looks to me as if the world will be a long time dealing with the fall-out from last week's tragedy in Oslo and Utøya Island. I thought you might be interested in seeing this ... from Salt Spring News:

Palestine's Norwegians
Counterpunch - July 25, 2011

Sitting on an Amtrak train from New Haven to Washington, DC on Friday, I was enjoying my thriller, Kjell Ola Dahl's The Man in the Window. Dahl's police procedural novels are set in Oslo, Norway, where the remarkable detectives Frank Frølich and Gunnarstranda confront the heart of modern evil: Property is often the hub of the conflict, but so too is the ineluctable history of Nazism and the Second World War. Abrave history of pacifism, partly contained in the Norwegian Labour Party, kept the country out of World War I. Its ports and a direct route to Swedish iron ore made it irresistible to the Nazis, whose forces invaded a largely unprotected Norway in 1940.

To run the country, the Nazis turned to the leader of the Norwegian Nasjonal Samling, the local Nazi Party, Vidkun Quisling (from whom we get the noun for traitor). It was the Quisling era (replete with concentration camps) that planted the tree of Nazism in Norwegian soil. The remnants of Scandinavian Nazis regrouped after World War II, but they remained small and obscure.

Scandinavian social democracy stumbled by the 1980s as the economic benefits of its welfare state were reduced. Anti-immigrant and anti-left sentiment grew amongst sections of the dispossessed working-class and middle-class, whose more militant element formed the Skinheads. They were the rump of the revival of neo-Nazism in the 1990s. It was as a consequence of this emergence that in 1995 the Swedish left created Expo, the anti-racist magazine edited by Stieg Larsson. It is also the reason why Scandinavian police procedural novels and thrillers are so very good (from Henning Mankell to Larsson to Jo Nesbø): they produce superb artfrom the hypocritical bourgeois denial of the existence of Nazism, and how it is the soft-Right of the "moderates" that tolerates and encourages the far-Right.

In Norway, the Skinheads morphed into groups such as the Boot Boys, who spent their time trolling the streets seeking out those who appear to be migrants. In 2002, three of the Boot Boys killed a fifteen year old, Benjamin Hermansen. When this incident occurred, the newspaper Dagsavisen wrote, "This must open the eyes of the authorities and all those who don't want to acknowledge the existence of Nazism and racism in Norway." On February 1, 2002, 40,000 of the 4.4 million Norwegians gathered in Oslo to demonstrate against this murder. The crowds included Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Crown Prince Haakon. The Centre Against Racism in Oslo notes that since the late 1980s, there have been almost two thousand incidents of racism in the country, some of it enhanced by the rhetoric of the so-called Progress Party and of course the Nazi sects.

My I-Phone pinged, and news came of the bombing in Oslo and the massacre on Utøya Island. The dead at the latter were from the Workers' Youth League (AUF), linked to the Norwegian Labour Party, but with roots in the Communist and Socialist movements of the 1920s. The current Prime Minister of Norway, Jens Stoltenberg, was once leader of the AUF. The initial reaction in the West was that the attacks had been conducted by Muslim jihadis. This has become a habit – after the 1995 bombing in Oklahoma City, CBS's Jim Stewart said, "The betting here is on Middle East terrorists." Of course this was more Mid-West than Mid-East, but there was no apology from the media to the Muslims in America.

The first reports from the New York Times suggested that the Oslo bomber was a jihadi (Professor Will McCants tweeted that the perp was Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami, something repeated by the Times, who later said that "the group was previously unknown and might not even exist"). When the fog of Islamaphobia partly cleared, and the Norwegian police was allowed its moment, they revealed that the actual killer was a Nazi, Anders Behring Breivik, who could very well have been a character from a Dahl novel.

A few hours later, Breivik's manifesto began to appear on various websites. [My emphasis. - M.]  Here Breivik fulminated against "Marxist-Multiculturalists." This has become a familiar refrain among the defenders of Fortress Europe: they want to secure their continent from the re-conquest of the Moors. The tendency is hateful toward immigrants and Islam. But these are not marginal socio-paths. Their views flow down the center of the stream of European conservatism. InOctober of last year, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that multiculturalism "has utterly failed." Immigrants needed to be force-marched into German culture, and if this is not possible, they should not be allowed to enter the country.

In February of this year, Britain's Cameron and France's Sarkozy followed Merkel's lead. Cameron blamed the "doctrine of state multiculturalism" for encouraging migrants to "live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream." France's Sarkozy gave a bitter speech against multiculturalism and then told the MPs of his "Union for a Popular Movement" party that he wanted laws to rein in Islam. Electorally, Sarkozy wanted to outflank the increased popularity of Martine Le Pen's National Front. "We had a debate on the burqa," he said, "now we should have a debate on street preachers." This is less a debate and more a vitriolic campaign against Islam and those who look like Muslims.

European Conservatism takes a harsh position vis-à-vis its African and Asian migrants. There is not much that separates these sophisticated leaders from their antecedents (namely, Enoch Powell and his 1968 "rivers of blood" speech) and the neo-Nazis (namely, Breivik). This strand of Conservatism hates difference and diversity, and promotes mono-cultures in social life. It cannot fathom that human beings are able to live convivial lives with those who are different. It would like to blame society's problems on difference. The last thing imaginable is to put the onus on the hierarchies of property, power and propriety, all of whom are generally alien to the commonplace conviviality of everyday people.

When Breivik writes that "indigenous Europeans" are committing "cultural suicide" by accommodating these migrants, he displays the typical ignorance of Nazism – they have no sense of the long centuries of interaction across the continents, of the mechanisms of colonial ideology that continued those interactions amidst the growth of a toxic racism, and of the recent histories of polycultural social life that has become so important to the lives of people in his own Europe. Watching television footage from Utøya, one could see that the Labour youth had among them children of migrants from Sri Lanka and North Africa. Their Norway was not Breivik's Norway.


On July 20, days before the shooting, the leader of the AUF Eskil Pederson gave an interview to the tabloid Dagbladet. The AUF had held a rally for the boycott of Israel at Utøya Island, and it had strengthened its position vis-à-vis the BDS campaign (Boycott-Divest-Sanctions). Pederson told the tabloid that he believed that"the time has come for more drastic measures against Israel." He wanted the Norwegian Foreign Ministry to impose an economic boycott against Israel. "We in the Labour Youth will have a unilateral economic embargo of Israel from theNorwegian side."

Norway has a very advanced position on the international campaign against the Occupation of the Palestinian people. The Norwegian trade union federation (LO), which includes a fifth of the country's population, divested from a series of Israeli firms, such as Africa Israel Investments,Danya Cebus, and Elbit Systems. This is one of the largest sovereign funds in the world, and its move puts pressure on other funds. Norway also has an arms ban on Israel. Norwegian civil society has been very active in pushing for an academic and cultural boycott of Israel (support comes from 42% of the population, including the Norwegian soccer coach Egil 'Drillo' Olsen, who is a member of the Norwegian Worker Communist Party). Last year, the Norwegian Foreign Ministry refused to allow the Germans to test submarines that are slated for sale to Israel in Norwegian waters. A few days before the shooting, Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre visited the AUF youth, who told him that they wanted the boycott strengthened. A picture of Støre at the AUF camp walking past a sign that said "Boikott Israel" ran in the tabloids.

Støre's visit to the AUF camp came just after he met with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmud Abbas to reaffirm Norway's support of the Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations later this year. It is significant that Oslo was the home to the Israel-Palestinian peace accords in 1993. Israel's obduracy since then has changed the equation. "I don't think that any Palestinians or anybody around the world are in doubt that Norway supports Palestinians' right to statehood," Støre said. Støre is also a great supporter of diversity in Norway; he often uses the expression "the New We" to refer to Norwegian society. His "we" includes the asylum seekers and migrants, the Muslims and the Jews.

Above my desk I have a poster from a demonstration led the Anti-Fascistik Aktion in Copenhagen in June 1995. "No Fucking Fascists," it says. That is the sentiment of the more than ninety young people of the AUF killed last week. Breivik was certainly a right-wing militant, and without a doubt inspired by the Euro-fascism of Merkel-Sarkozy-Cameron. The press might be obsessed by their "lone gun-man" theory. They see things in the police's terms, which is to say, in terms of who actually acted, and who provided material support for the action. The action in Utøya was not the act of a madman, and it was not a human tragedy. It was an act of political murder against people who had committed themselves to a convivial world not only for their beloved Norway, but also for those who live under Occupation elsewhere.

Vijay Prashad is the George and Martha Kellner Chair of South Asian History and Director of International Studies at Trinity College, Hartford, CT His most recent book, The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World, won the Muzaffar Ahmad Book Prize for 2009.

He can be reached at:


See also Conspiratorialists with an appetite for political destruction ... &   Stephen Harper on 'the anti-Israeli mob'


In Norway, the Progress Party; in Canada, the Conservative Party of Canada. Anders Behring Breivik grew up in the youth wing of the Progress Party and for much of his adult life was a card-carrying member of the party. Stephen Harper worked for almost two decades to create the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC). First, the formation of the Reform Party; second, morphing Reform into the Canadian Alliance; third, the betrayal and destruction of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada; fourth, the forging of the revolutionary coalition that is the CPC.

End of quote.


Sunday, July 24, 2011


OUR world explained ... and it gets easier to see how BC Rail got tossed into the game with nobody at that level protesting

BC Mary comment:  We often ask ourselves "What's wrong with the New Democrats in the B.C. Opposition? Why don't they go on the attack when they can see criminal events unfolding before their very eyes?" Our world is probably suffering through the same process as the British ... it's much easier to just "go along, to get along" ... as is described here. It shows strong governments giving way, bending to the determined will of the shady profiteers. Isn't it just like British Columbia, including our outrageously complacent media which grew fat on the morsels tossed to them by the Public Affairs Bureau, paid out of revenue, which supported and glorified what was going on? This story is being told and re-told around the world, I think ... a rapacious story that feeds on the appalling notion that "nothing can be done" ... not noticing that the public doesn't seem to be part of this picture. There's the shocking part: not noticing  that there's plenty people can do, to preserve, protect, and advance best choices for the future in this province. Have a look: 

The Problem That Won't Go Away
Murdoch: Will Anything Really Change?

Counterpunch - July 20, 2011

The rottenness of British political culture, in a country where the lives of so many have been subjugated by lies for so long, has now been on public view for the last few weeks. The country’s most powerful media baron is forced by events to close down his profitable Sunday paper—News of the World--- specializing in celebrity sex stories and using its close links with the police to get tip-offs about murder investigations, disappearances, etc. They went too far by hacking the mobile phone of a murder victim and stealing the messages, thus creating an impression that she might still be alive.

It was this that triggered a nationwide revulsion shining the torch on politicians and the senior most policemen in the country. Why had David Cameron hired a senior Murdoch journalist as his press chief? Why had Scotland Yard hired another senior journalist from the same stable?  Of course we know why, but the fact that it has now become an outrage makes it unacceptable.

It’s a very British scandal, of the sort that erupts suddenly and immediately becomes a national preoccupation. One almost feels that the psycho-politics underlying this for most people, those who live outside the bubble world of power, money and celebritydom, is partially escapist and a substitute for the anger that people genuinely feel against a corrupt and corrupting  political establishment of the country: bankers, media barons, politicians, judges and the police. The economy is in a mess, austerity measures are in place, Scotland is seriously disaffected, but at least Members of Parliament can question Rupert Murdoch and his son and watch them apologizing and cringing in public. [And we, the public, get dumped off the train of thought  at this point. How come? - BC Mary.]

Murdoch came to life twice. First when he applauded the Daily Telegraph for exposing MP’s fiddling their expenses and urged them to follow the transparent model offered by Singapore and secondly when a protester threw some shaving foam at him and got punched by Wendi Murdoch. For the rest the Murdochs put on a good double act. Young James sounding like an Enron executive after the collapse and a moist-eyed Rupert explaining how he had learnt his journalism from his brilliant father who had exposed the disaster at Gallipoli. And after the rehearsed drama? Even if Murdoch doesn’t aquire all of BskyB, will anything really change? [No, not while we sit quietly with bags over our heads waiting for Mr Big (Campbell, Murdoch, Harper) to fulfill our every secret wish. - BC Mary.]

The Murdoch Empire has dominated British politics since the days of Margaret Thatcher. She gave him satellite television. He destroyed the print unions and his newspapers helped to destroy the miners. He was instrumental in creating a culture that glorified privatizations, free-market dogmas,  wars, (all of Murdoch’s nearly 300 papers in different parts of the world supported the Iraq war), etc. The right-wing populism unleashed by the Thatcher-Murdoch combination neutered the public ethos created after the Second World War. So strong was this influence that others newspapers and television networks (like Channel Four and the BBC) lost confidence in themselves and became pale imitations in search of circulations and ratings.  Classical music, loved by many regardless of class or creed or race, was considered elitist and disallowed on BBC 2.

Thatcher’s Blue Labour heirs, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown continued the worship of money and Murdoch. Blair continuously abased himself before the media baron. Brown did the same. Murdoch press editors became regular guests at official residences; [Like, Peter Mansbridge having dinner at 24 Sussex and it isn't mentioned on the news. Like Peter Mansbridge attending by invitation  the most recent Bilderberg Conference. - BC Mary] their own private parties regularly attended by Prime Ministers and their entourage. Just yesterday Murdoch said that he and Gordon Brown met regularly. Their families became friends. David Cameron followed suit, making it clear that despite his class background he could be just like Blair and embrace anyone and everything that linked big money and politics.

It was Peter Oborne, a journalist writing for the always-conservative Daily Telegraph who provided a coruscating pen-portrait of Cameron, suggesting that he had consciously descended to the sewer by becoming part of the louche Chipping Norton set:

“He should never have employed Andy Coulson, the News of the World editor, as his director of communications. He should never have cultivated Rupert Murdoch. And – the worst mistake of all – he should never have allowed himself to become a close friend of Rebekah Brooks, the chief executive of the media giant News International, whose departure from that company in shame and disgrace can only be a matter of time. We are talking about a pattern of behaviour here. Indeed, it might be better described as a course of action. Mr Cameron allowed himself to be drawn into a social coterie in which no respectable person, let alone a British prime minister, should be seen dead.”

Cameron has shown himself quite as authoritarian and opportunist as Blair in his handling of the party. But if the political lava from this volcanic scandal  continues to  flow,  the British Prime Minister, currently wounded by the revelations might have little option but to fall on his sword. We have not reached that stage.

Meanwhile the trilateral consensus in the British Parliament will not break with neo-liberalism and its dogmas that are creating havoc throughout Europe. That is the problem which, unlike Murdoch’s battered media empire, won’t go away.

Source is HERE:


Saturday, July 23, 2011


BCRail = News of the World. Co-incidence? I don't think so. It's the same old routine and it needs looking into.

BC Mary says: Here's a good article from Britain's The Guardian newspaper. I couldn't help but notice more similarities between what's happening to the News of the World in Britain ... as compared to what's happened to BC Rail news in British Columbia. I mean: it comes down to the vital questions of what gets reported, and how it's reported. But frankly, I just couldn't believe that the death of the whistle-blower on this case, was something the British police could so readily find "not suspicious". The guy was only about 45 years of age!

News of the World phone-hacking whistleblower found dead

Death of Sean Hoare – who was first named journalist to allege Andy Coulson knew of hacking – not being treated as suspicious


Speaking to another Guardian journalist last week, Hoare repeatedly expressed the hope that the hacking scandal would lead to journalism in general being cleaned up, and said he had decided to blow the whistle on the activities of some of his former NoW colleagues with that aim in mind.  End of quote.

It immediately reminded me of OUR British Columbia experience, when police raided the BC Legislature and the RCMP told us right away that "no elected officials" were under investigation. That is so wrong. We know for a fact -- and have the transcripts to prove it -- that two weeks before that historic raid, the RCMP set up surveillance at the posh Vancouver Restaurant to record whatever was being said over dinner by the B.C. Minister of Finance (ahem ... an "elected official") and two executive officers of OmniTRAX who were  still actively bidding on the purchase of BC Rail. Right? The fact is: RCMP told us that no elected officials were being investigated.

Check it out with another story which catches the details of what Gary Collins  (the "elected official" of the moment) had to say later. 

Railgate: Was There a Cabinet Leak to Lobbyists?

Ex-Finance Minister Gary Collins told police he was surprised at 'blow by blow' description of cabinet meeting in lobbyists' memo to bidder for BC Rail.

By Bill Tieleman
24 Feb 2011 -


The RCMP told the media and public one day after the B.C. legislature raid took place December 28, 2003 that "no elected officials" were under investigation.

Eight years later the Globe reported that: "An exhaustive police investigation into political corruption surrounding the sale of BC Rail found no evidence of wrongdoing by former BC Liberal cabinet minister Christy Clark or any other elected official."

This Tieleman article is well worth reading again, for its insights into "police working with government officials"... just exactly what the British Parliamentary Committee is working on in London, England. 


BC Mary comment: It's interesting, how the story of the whistleblower's sudden death was viewed in Australian news.  You might think the Aussies would go a bit easy on Murdoch (Australian) and his power-position ...  but no ... this is about the duty owed by honest journalism:

Sudden Death of News of the World Whistle-Blower Shocks Colleagues

The Times of Australia - July 19, 2011

Read the article HERE:


BC Mary comment: This surprising update, written by Jonathan Manthorpe at Vancouver Sun, explains a whole lot about Rupert Murdoch (and wife, Wendi) and his botched links to China ... 

How the Chinese dealt with Murdoch

It's the only place that has run the media mogul, rather than vice versa

Vancouver Sun - Postmedia News July 24, 2011

Read more HERE


Wednesday, July 20, 2011


News of OUR world ...

BC Mary - July 20, 2011

When Rupert Murdoch's News of the World ... suddenly, overnight, exploded onto our news media, that whole huge ugly issue of media accountability became the news of British Columbia's world too. At least, that's how I see it.

The Brits are driving straight at the issue of "how close is too close, between government and the news media?"

Because, to my way of thinking, the news media has an equal duty to serve the public with truth and honesty. The media should not be a compliant part of government; its duty is observe, analyse, verify, investigate, and report.  Media's duty (well performed) is of primary value in a democracy and, in my view, the B.C. public is deprived of a responsible media.

The Brits seem to understand this, eh?

Couldn't believe my eyes, when -- in a matter of minutes, almost -- they had a PUBLIC Public Inquiry going full tilt. They invited the most worrying candidates to answer a few questions. They had Rupert Murdoch where we might've had  Gordon Campbell. And so on ...

But not in British Columbia. Instead, we have had an 8-year battle to find out how an elected government could overthrow one of the main components of the province -- BC Rail -- and virtually go rogue, with nobody answerable.

Imagine -- The Mother of Parliaments! - almost like clapping their hands and the lights come on -- are instantly in Parliamentary Inquiry mode, in a small room, where everybody gets their chance to ask whatever they want to ask ... even of their Prime Minister.  Where the Brits encouraged (ha ha) their Prime Minister NOT to keep on with his (ha ha) journey to South Africa ... So  we'll be hearing questions bouncing off the British  Prime Minister almost immediately ...

Can you imagine that in British Columbia? No? How come we could never even imagine ourselves asking politely for the sitting premier to attend a small gathering in the BC Legislature to answer, under oath, a few outstanding questions? Let's try. Let's make a visualization of it, come true.

Even in British Columbia, 8 years is plenty, plenty long enough to keep citizens still begging and pleading for a Public Inquiry ... Rupert Murdoch and his son James ... and Rebekah Brooks with the hair ... deja vu? haven't we seen this movie before?

And what does our big flat-footed federal prime minister do for us? Well ...Stephen Harper has given Gordon Campbell one of the highest, most influential diplomatic postings -- he's now representing all of Canada as our High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.

Our own, blessed-by-media Gordo is living at Canada House, on Trafalgar Square, in priceless proximity to H.M. the Queen, where almost every trade and government secret is open to him.

-- and maybe he is dropping in on the Mother of Parliaments to watch these  British parliamentary hearings?  Na. Why should he? He wrote the book on how to bring the media into compliance. What must be going through his mind, as he listens to Big-Time Members of Parliament asking the hard questions, nose-to-nose, at a very small table, broadcast to millions of people who have this notion that the media SHOULD be gathering the news, but that nobody is entitled to break the law.



Here's little bit of BC Rail history. It's a little bit about a provincial accomplishment. The photos alone are evocative, but don't miss the concluding paragraph. This is a special item for the  poor sod who came on here to explain that only private, profit-taking enterprisers should do all these things:

BC Rail Tumbler Ridge Branch Line - Northeast Coal Development 1980-1983


Tuesday, July 19, 2011


When government decides to fight the media ...

Conservative Party of Canada appeals to party supporters to finance fight against media, pundits

by Elizabeth Thompson - June 9, 2011

With a stable majority government for the next four years and the Liberal Party still reeling from the election results, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party is calling on supporters to dip into their wallets to help the party counter a new foe. [Wha-att?? Foe? - BC Mary.]

In a letter sent out in the past few days, Conservative Party President John Walsh is urging supporters to help the party counter a “hailstorm” of negative attacks from the media, pundits and the “opinion elite.”

Walsh says the party had to fight off attacks during the last election and expects them to continue.  [Wha-att? The Cons were doing the attacking! Before the federal election even started! - BC Mary.]

“During this election campaign, we faced an onslaught of negative attacks like never before from the media, from pundits and from anti-Conservative lobby groups and union executives,” Walsh wrote in a copy of the letter obtained by iPolitics.

The problem, said Walsh, is that a Conservative government jeopardizes their interests.

“The fear among the opinion establishment is that if our government is successful, and Canadians see the benefits of lower taxes, sensible and less-interventionist government and more personal freedom, the Conservative Party of Canada will continue to win future elections,” he wrote.

“Quite simply, smaller government means less power for the left-leaning, opinion establishment and they will fight every step of the way. We saw their tactics last time and they will be even nastier and more desperate next time.”

[O.m.g., o.m.g. ... ]

Walsh calls on supporters to become Conservative Party Partners so the party can promote Harper’s low tax, job creation plans and “educate Canadians on the benefits of less government and a stronger Canada.”

{Snip} ...


Sunday, July 17, 2011


8 years ago, BC Rail is up for grabs

British Columbia selects four-firm short list for BC Rail privatization bid

From: Progressive Railroading 
Freight News - 7/15/2003

On July 14, British Columbia's government released a short list of companies invited to submit final proposals on assuming BC Rail Ltd.'s operation and management.

Out of five submissions received from a request for proposals issued May 15, the province selected Canadian Pacific Railway, Canadian National Railway Co., RailAmerica Inc. and OmniTRAX Inc. in partnership with Burlington Northern Santa Fe to submit final bids.

"This process was designed to allow the government to select the submission that best meets the needs of British Columbians as spelled out in the request for proposals released May 15," said province officials in a prepared statement. "The government is responding to the requests of communities and resource industries for revitalized, sustainable and strengthened railway service, and more competitive rates."

{Snip} ...

Read more HERE:


Saturday, July 16, 2011


Raid queries from 2009

Raid queries re-visited

Vancouver Sun
Questions & Answers from 2009:


15. Does the fact so many individuals have connections to the BC Rail deal mean anything?

Yes -- the sale of BC Rail is at the heart of the influence-peddling charges against Basi and Virk. Specifically, the two are alleged to have given confidential government information to a lobbyist working for OmniTRAX, one of the unsuccessful bidders for BC Rail.

16. Has the investigation uncovered evidence that government policies or decisions may have been illegally or inappropriately affected?

The B.C. Liberal government has maintained that the $1-billion sale of BC Rail to CN was not tainted by the case. However, the government did cancel the proposed sale of BC Rail's 37-kilometre spur line at Roberts Bank after police raised concerns that the sale had been compromised.

17. Were phones at the legislature or politicians' private phone lines tapped?

Yes -- phones at the legislature were tapped and, in trying to listen in on Basi's conversations, police accidentally heard a conversation between then-finance minister Gary Collins and Premier Gordon Campbell. Once police realized who the parties were in the conversation, police stopped listening. It was also revealed in February that the RCMP had videotaped a meeting Collins had with U.S. railroad executives from OmniTRAX, which had unsuccessfully bid to buy BC Rail. Collins told reporters he had no objections to the videotape becoming public, saying there was nothing improper about the meeting.

18. Are there connections to Indo-Canadian gangs?

The criminal organization involved in the drug case was made up of people from several different ethnic backgrounds.

19. Other criminal groups?  {Snip} ...

Read more HERE:



If you intend to press charges ...

BC Mary comment:  Visit Laila's blog by clicking on her name in the left margin here.  That's what I do, every day. Well ... today Priscilla Judd left some very helpful information there, as a comment following Laila's report on catching a  mayor red-handed in the kind of act which BC Liberals seem to think is OK but BC Election law does not. What to do? Well, thanks to Priscilla Judd and Laila, here's some excellent advice which will surely interest many, many, many others in B.C. I hope this information is shared around the province ...

priscillajudd wrote:
July 14, 2011 - Laila's blog

If you intend to press charges – you can ask for the RCMP to forward the file to your local Restorative Justice program (RJ). As you have noticed – many public servants have charges dropped when a criminal charge hits the prosecutor’s office or the court room because no one wants to destroy the future for anyone in society – especially not a public figure who made the wrong decision – what we seek is a healthy community with the moral capacity to resolve conflict and live in peace. The ben[i]fit of RJ is that – the perpetrator makes amends for the harm that has been done and the victim finds closure. An RJ file does not result in a criminal record.

All that is necessary is the evidence that charges can be laid and knowing the name of the victim (the person or people who put up the signs) RJ deals with crime where it is committed – it is a healing process and in my opinion (as a trained RCMP RJ Facilitator) if you are truely upset this is what needs to happen.

In Canada justice is about creating healthy communities but as long as people want to use the justice system as a measure of punishment – we will see charges dropped because Prosecutors can’t manage the long process of convicting a Mayor of petty theft to punish him when punishment is not the object of our justice system. Other cases are more pressing – so we all lose. I urge you to start the process of re-thinking crime – embrace Restorative Justice whenever possible and take back your community. In that way, no one seems to be above the law – people are part of the law – the process and the outcomes are very healthy.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Of course "they" needed BC Rail ... but "we" needed BC Rail most of all

It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world: Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) completed the biggest deal ever in its history, namely the $8.8 billion buyout of Bucyrus International Inc.

... Caterpillar is riding the wave of heightened construction and mining activity in the developing markets, triggered by the demand for coal, copper and iron ore. The company expects demand to continue expanding over the next decade.

Caterpillar Inc. manufactures and sells construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives worldwide. It operates through three lines of businesses: Machinery, Engines, and Financial Products. The Machinery business offers construction, mining, and forestry machinery, including track and wheel tractors, track and wheel loaders, pipelayers, motor graders, wheel tractor-scrapers, track and wheel excavators, backhoe loaders, log skidders, log loaders, off-highway trucks, articulated trucks, paving products, skid steer loaders, underground mining equipment, tunnel boring equipment, and related parts. It also manufactures diesel-electric locomotives; and manufactures and services rail-related products and logistics services for other companies ....

Read all about it HERE:


Fortune announces Posco JV, mulls second partner for BC coal project

By: Liezel Hill
Mining Weekly - July 13, 2011

TORONTO ( – TSX-listed Fortune Minerals has agreed to sell 20% of its Mount Klappan anthracite coal project in north-west British Columbia to a subsidiary of Korean steelmaker Posco, the world's third-biggest steel producer by market value.

The company still plans to take on a second partner for the project, which could start production in 2014, depending on how long permitting takes, CEO Robin Goad told Mining Weekly Online on Wednesday.

The agreement with Posco Canada (Poscan) involves an initial $30-million upfront payment, as well as Poscan funding its 20% share (about $154-million) of the project development costs. The group will also pay Fortune another $17.2-million based on future milestones.

The funds from Poscan should cover the costs of detailed engineering and design studies, Goad said.

From there, based on the capital estimates from a 2010 feasibility study, London, Ontario-based Fortune's share of project construction costs will be around $614-million.

“And we fully expect to bring in an additional partner that might buy a 20% to 30% tranche, presumably at a much higher price, and be responsible for a large part of Fortune's obligations to finance the mine,” Goad said in an interview.

Once production begins, Poscan will fund 20% of the operating costs and receive 20% of the coal produced at Mount Klappan.

The project has measured and indicated resources of 230.9-million tons and inferred resources of 359.5-million tons, and is expected to start up at an initial three-million tons a year of pulverised coal injection product from an openpit mine and wash plant.

Shares in Fortune Minerals rose 10.96% on Wednesday, to C$1.62 apiece by 14:56 in Toronto. The stock traded as high as C$1.72 earlier in the day.


Fortune had initially studied and begun permitting processes for a project that involved building a new road to truck production from the mine to port Stewart, but received attractive quotes last year from CN Railway on a plan to extend and upgrade a rail link to the site instead.

“That provided a much simpler and scaleable transportation option, and it is also what our customers would prefer,” Goad said.

The company will be able to access the port of Prince Rupert, use Capesize vessels for ocean transport and share cargoes with other Western Canadian coal producers by shipping from the existing coal-loading terminal at Ridley Terminals.

However, although much of the environmental work for the mine and associated facilities is already completed, Fortune needs to go back and conduct baseline environmental studies on the new railway plan.

{Snip} ...

Fortune Minerals also has a cobalt/gold/bismuth project near Yellowknife, in the Northwest Territories of Canada.

Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter  

Read the full article HERE.


Sunday, July 10, 2011


Damming Evidence. We saw it first with BC Rail.

BC Mary says:  Briony Penn should have been elected the Federal M.P. for Saanich and The Islands; her ecological  point-of-view matches the prevailing attitudes of most Gulf Islanders. But no, she was narrowly defeated by Gary Lunn although not before serious questions were raised about Lunn's electioneering tactics.

Briony Penn is writing here about Site C ... and BC Hydro ...

British Columbians learned the hard way (by hind-sight) that BC Rail had been  specially prepared for slaughter. The treachery behind the sale of this BC lifeline was based upon weakening the railway: carefully BC Rail was prepared, and then sold off cheap. Against all protests. That's when BC first learned that other precious public assets might go too.  And did go. With BC Hydro being the biggest loss of all.

Dots are beginning to connect ...

Stephen Harper couldn't be more clear. He's been in on the game from Reform days with Preston Manning. Once he had his iron-clad majority in the House of Commons, Stephen Harper appointed the despicable Gordon Campbell to the top diplomatic post of High Commissioner to Britain. It's all so clever: the 2012 Summer Olympics will be hosted in London too. Right under our noses, the sleazy game continues ...

No further proof is needed that Stephen Harper is in on the game of pirating public assets -- any and all public assets, from A.E.C.L. to CBC to our National Health Care system. In fact, he has spoken of Canada (to a US. audience) so disparagingly that it's safe to say that Harper and Campbell are committed to Deep Integration, meaning that Canada in their view should be absorbed by the U.S.A.  If only Big Media would take up the narrative so that the voting public can make intelligent choices before it's too late.

Here's what Briony Penn wrote:

Damming evidence



Saving the Peace River Valley from the threat of Site C

China’s premier admits the massive Three Gorges Dam has created “urgent problems.” Is anybody at BC Hydro listening?

The premier of China, Wen Jiabo, recently made an official announcement that the Three Gorges dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric project, which has created a reservoir twice the length of Vancouver Island and displaced 1.3 million people, is experiencing “urgent problems.” Urgent on every front—dead water zones, pollution of drinking supplies, siltation, landslides, earthquakes, erosion, and drought. The project is also generating less power than it was designed for because of the danger of raising the reservoir to optimum levels; there’s been more displacement of residents, and massive destruction of the river ecosystems.

Canada can take part of the blame for this fiasco: it was a Canadian consortium of engineering companies—including BC Hydro International, a subsidiary of BC Hydro—whose feasibility study for China’s Ministry of Water Resources and Electric Power gave the green light to the Three Gorges dam. Financed by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) for $14 million, the study was completed in 1988.

Those who did stand against it—like Probe International—have been vindicated. One of Canada’s most respected environmental advocacy groups focusing on Canadian-backed international developments, Probe blew the whistle back in 1990. They assembled a team of international experts to review the CIDA-funded feasibility study. One of them—University of Manitoba professor Vaclav Smil, an expert on Chinese energy and environment issues—stated of the study, “This is not engineering and science, merely an expert prostitution, paid for by Canadian taxpayers.” The results of Probe’s review were published in Damming the Three Gorges: What Dam Builders Don’t Want You to Know.

Probe also filed complaints against the Canadian engineers who conducted the feasibility study, accusing them of professional negligence, incompetence and professional misconduct.

Though CIDA withdrew from the Three Gorges project in 1992, Canadian companies gleefully participated in this project over a 20-year period, despite its failure on every test for technical, ecological or economic feasibility, not to mention the reality of people in China being arrested, beaten, and threatened with execution for criticizing the project.

Now that Probe’s expert reviewers have been proven right, will those Canadian firms who gave it the green light—British Columbia Hydro International, Hydro-Quebec, SNC-Lavalin** and Acres International—take any responsibility? (Acres was later convicted of bribing officials in projects in Lesotho and has since been bought out by the Canadian company Hatch, while still owing millions in fines.)

And how about our politicians who pushed it forward? This was a project that no political premier of any stripe dared question because of the money to be made. Even Mike Harcourt, then-BC premier, was part of a booster delegation to China back in 1993, along with then-BC Hydro CEO Marc Eliesen, vying for work in the project that mushroomed from a projected $10-$20 billion to one in the range of $25-$75 billion (Harcourt later instructed BC Hydro not to bid).

The fact that Canadian and BC companies and politicians jumped on the bandwagon for such a problematic mega-project should give British Columbians pause about our own huge scale dam proposal: Site C on the Peace River. The proposed dam is just south of Fort St. John, downstream of the W.A.C. Bennett Dam and the Peace Canyon Dam. Despite being far away, the two Peace dams have become an essential part of every Victorian’s life. The electricity generated there lights up our houses and runs our appliances. The Site C project would flood 5340 hectares of a stunningly magnificent river valley, including highly productive river bottom lands and agricultural land. All so we can run our flat screen TVs, microwave ovens and video-game players.

Site C has already been the subject of intense critiques, especially amongst First Nations and Peace River residents who suffered first hand the devastating effects of the W.A.C. Bennett dam—including huge declines in wildlife through loss of critical habitat and migration corridors, to the mercury contamination and impoundment of native migratory fish in the reservoirs.

As with Three Gorges and earlier phases of the Peace River dams, communities were relocated and traditional hunting and fishing areas and sacred sites were flooded. Like the Three Gorges dam, compensation for the first dam wasn’t forthcoming. BC has only marginally compensated surviving members of Fort Ware and Ingenika Point. Most of the victims, the Tsay Keh Dene people of the Kwadacha First Nation, have argued that there is no compensation for destroying vast river valley systems, water quality, wildlife corridors and their cultural traditions tied to that river.

BC Hydro argues that this is a climate action strategy to generate “clean” energy, but data, even from their own engineers, suggests that the carbon and climate benefits aren’t there.

First, there is the loss of all the carbon stored in the forest and soil which will be released when they are logged, excavated and flooded, coupled with the lost opportunity thereafter for that sink to capture carbon. And when you factor in the release of methane, a highly concentrated greenhouse gas with 21 times the impact of carbon dioxide (from rotting vegetation bubbling up through the waters), the argument that dams offset fossil fuel emissions for equivalent energy starts losing its potency. In a well-documented 1995 case study of a dam in Brazil, researchers found that there were more greenhouse gases produced by the dam than would have been released through fossil fuels to generate an equivalent amount of energy. Critics also argue that the power generated by Site C will mostly be sold to the US, rather than addressing provincial energy needs.

Site C is now into Stage 3—the environmental and regulatory review phase of the planning process. Back in September, the launch of Stage 3 was met by over a thousand protesters coming in convoys from northeast BC to the provincial Legislature, including some of the original elderly victims who spoke of the impacts of the first dam. Everywhere there were signs asking British Columbians to “Keep the Peace” and “Say No to Site C.” All the First Nations in the region, groups like the Peace Valley Environment Association, Citizens United to Save the Peace Sierra Club of BC and Suzuki Foundation have all come out against the project. BC Hydro is stating that they “have a duty to consult and, where appropriate, accommodate Aboriginal groups.” Given BC Hydro’s past, it seems reasonable to question its ability to be the arbiter of what is appropriate accommodation of aboriginal groups.

In China, long-time Chinese critic and journalist Dai Qing, who went to jail for editing and publishing the landmark report Yangtze! Yangtze! with independent scientists in 1988, has always argued that very small energy projects are far less costly on all fronts than mega-dams. Now 70, Qing is dismissive of her government’s claims that it can resolve the many problems with the Three Gorges Dam. “The government built a dam but destroyed a river…My role is to dig out what really happened and tell the truth to my reader.”

The truth appears almost more robust in China than back here in Canada, where we have precious few of Qing’s ilk left standing in the media. Let’s hope the Three Gorges project will be widely seen as evidence that mega-projects projects don’t work, and an example of why it would be wise to listen to the critics before the shovels hit the ground and 16 million tonnes of concrete have been poured.

Naturalist, journalist, artist and environmental educator, Briony Penn is doing her best to reduce her demands on electricity to eliminate the need for projects like Site C.

**SNC Lavelin. Remember them? SNC Lavelin is playing the Campbell-Harper-Game too. First the Harper government stopped production and fired the manager of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited; then a whole series of bad news which painted AECL as a hobbling cripple instead of the world leader in production of radio isotopes ... and then (you got it), the sudden announcement of a sale of the publicly-owned Crown Corporation, AECL, sold to SCN-Lavelin of Montreal.’s-premier-admits-the-massive-three-gorges-dam-has-created-“urgent-problems-”-is-anybody-at-bc-hydro-listening/


Friday, July 08, 2011


The “near-points” of the BC Rail case need to be looked at – and then how all has been shaped towards what looks like, to many, an outright manipulation to end trial and to guarantee silence from the accused and convicted pair, Dave Basi and Bob Virk.

By Robin Mathews
July 8, 2011.

The B.C. Auditor General wants all information on the $6 million paid by the Gordon Campbell cabinet to Defence lawyers in the BC Rail Scandal Basi, Virk, and Basi case.

The trial of Basi, Virk, and Basi ended on October 18, 2010 (with the B.C. government  absorbing all of the $6 million of Defence costs – even though two of the accused men were convicted.)  In a case of conviction, government does NOT normally pay Defence costs of employees.  What went on? B.C.’s Auditor General wants to know.

In November, 2010, the B.C. Auditor General requested information and documents from the Attorney General’s ministry.  They were  (alarmingly, but effectively) denied.

Going to court, it took Auditor General John Doyle (overall) nearly eight months to get what he wants. (In the meantime, Stephen Harper, HST buddy of Gordon Campbell, could begin lifting Campbell right out of B.C. and dropping him into London, England, as Canada’s High Commissioner there.)

The “near-points” of the case need to be looked at – and then how all has been shaped towards what looks like, to many, an outright manipulation to end trial and to guarantee silence from the accused and convicted pair, Dave Basi and Bob Virk.

The near-points.  What – for instance – Vaughn Palmer doesn’t tell his readers is that part of the deal made by October 18, 2010, was that the two main men accused – Dave Basi and Bob Virk – had charges against them significantly reduced.  They were found guilty … but not of what they were originally charged with in December 2004, and remained charged with until October 2010.

Suddenly, charges were reduced, jail time was out, fraud was removed … and the deal was made.

Near point #2.  From December 2004 until October 18, 2010, Aneal Basi was accused of receiving moneys from Erik Bornmann, and of depositing them in tranches in a Dave Basi account.  Aneal Basi was accused of money laundering – for six years.  If he is innocent (all charges erased against him on October 18, 2010), then the Crown (through the wrongfully appointed Special Prosecutor William Berardino) slandered and libelled Aneal Basi for six, highly publicized years.  What is to be done? What does the Crown owe him as remedy for a six year, highly public slander?

If Aneal Basi is not innocent, why were charges against him erased on October 18, 2010?  (No one mentions Aneal Basi anymore in Mainstream Press and Media reports.  Why not?)

Near-point #3.  As the trial closed, standing near William Berardino (wrongfully appointed Special Prosecutor in December 2003), I heard him reply to a question to the effect that he was responsible for all the terms of the deal that had been made.  Within hours that statement had holes shot through it – as responsibility for paying Defence the $6 million climbed further and further through the Gordon Campbell government.  Finally, it was pretty clearly revealed the payment had to be approved at the highest levels.

But the auditor general is alleging that it was not approved – as it had to be – by cabinet (in any recorded way).

A few key moments were played out before the final few weeks. Those moments point to the sudden, intense, back-room dealing that resulted in the final “deal”: Aneal Basi was wiped of all accusations; Dave Basi and Bob Virk received significantly reduced charges; B.C. taxpayers paid the $6 million Defence legal costs.

No one mentions that the Special Prosecutor – appointed in violation of the legislation governing such appointments – was paid, with his “team”, something like $12 million.

The appointment of William Berardino by a ministry whose Attorney General had been Berardino’s partner and colleague for seven years and whose Deputy Attorney General had been his partner and colleague for eleven years was plainly, outrageously wrongful. It was so wrongful that any British Columbian may believe Mr. Berardino was appointed for baldly political reasons – and that he did what he was appointed to do….

Any British Columbian may believe his payment was no more legitimate than the payment, by government, of Basi’s and Virk’s costs. The mainstream press and media do not mention Aneal Basi’s strange situation; the reduced charges against Basi and Virk; the wrongful appointment of the Special Prosecutor. The mainstream press and media don’t report facts British Columbians have a right to know.

It all began a long time ago, before Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett was made judge on the Basi, Virk, and Basi case.  But we’ll begin there.

She had (I believe) blown the Glen Clark (NDP premier) case concerning payment for a deck on a modest, East Vancouver home, believing the RCMP presented clean evidence.  I believe the RCMP did not.  She believed the bases of the charges – which had their first suggestion from Gordon Campbell’s constituency office – were real.  She believed the chief RCMP investigator, an officer Gordon Campbell at least twice tried to woo to be a Liberal candidate, was squeaky clean.

In brief, she ran what I believe was a case based on a corrupt construction of evidence as if it were not.  Clark’s lawyer more than once argued that the charges were baseless and should be stayed.  She disagreed … and then came to the judgment that Glen Clark had done nothing that warranted conviction! (After 136 days of highly trumpetted trial.)

Two former premiers joined the call for a Public Inquiry into the case, an Inquiry that never happened.

Justice Bennett was then appointed judge in the Basi, Virk, and Basi case. (Her judgement in the Glen Clark case was made after he had been destroyed politically by what I believe were trumped up and falsely constructed charges. In a way, then, even innocent of all the forces at work, she did what was necessary to destroy Clark’s political career.)

Whether she saw into what I believe was the situation in the Glen Clark case, I cannot say.  Whatever the situation, she conducted the pre-trial matters of the Basi, Virk, and Basi case with great care.  I believe she conducted them too slowly, and with too lax a hand on the RCMP and the Special Prosecutor.  But she saw the Defence argument – that the case against the three men was “tailored and they were targetted” in order to narrow the case and to protect highly placed others.

She permitted evidence to pile up of tailoring and targetting. Because of what the Defence thought was her general fairness, they elected to have trial by judge alone – not judge and jury.

Then she was removed, promoted, appointed to the Appeal Court smack in the flow of the pre-trial process.  Her promotion had to be approved by Stephen Harper (who has just appointed Gordon Campbell as Canadian High Commissioner in London).  Observers may argue forever about whether she was removed to stop her from doing a fair job or for other, legitimate, reasons.

All I can say is that I asked senior Defence lawyer Michael Bolton on two separate occasions who could remove Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett from the case, and Michael Bolton insisted only she had the power to remove herself.  But  - as I witnessed Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm at work in court – I became convinced that he removed her.

At this point the key to the “deal” struck on October 18, 2010, is revealed.

The appointee to replace Elizabeth Bennett was Anne MacKenzie – who very soon after became Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie.  She terminated (quickly) the pre-trial process, and she was to sit as judge on the trial.

The Defence team became alarmed, I believe.  Observing the day-to-day process in the court, it believe I could see the Defence counsel coming to think that Associate Chief Justice MacKenzie would cut off all argument about “tailoring and targetting” of the accused, would confine all attention to the three accused in the small situation of the charges against them, and would prevent the larger picture of an alleged wholesale, corrupt, high-level transfer of BC Rail to the CNR to have any bearing on the case.

She would not let, it seemed to me observing, Defence argue that the accused three men were simply part of a huge, elaborate, corrupt activity in which others, very highly placed, were involved and even directing the three accused.

There was only one way, it seems, to stop Associate Chief Justice MacKenzie from riding rough-shod over the carefully prepared Defence case.  That was to put between her and the lawyers involved a jury of twelve ordinary British Columbians.  To do that, Defence would have to re-elect (not a common thing to do) to have a trial with judge and jury, not merely a judge.

After all, they had not elected to have Anne MacKenzie as sole judge, but Elizabeth Bennett – and she had been whisked away.
But to get the re-election they wanted, they were going to have to negotiate with the Special Prosecutor.  And they did.

One of the results of the negotiation was that the two sides in the case agreed to a statement of “Admission of Facts”.  That isn’t highly unusual.  It permits both sides to begin with a number of matters agreed upon.  The accused did this and this and this – all agree.  That saves time.

But the Special Prosecutor required that the accused refrain (it seems from what went on in court) from suggesting investigation was biased, that there were unseemly connections between people involved, and so on.  I have come to believe the Special Prosecutor required the accused to agree to things that, in fact, prevented reasonable defence – something no court could uphold – something that would prevent the fair administration of justice.

But the paper was signed by all concerned.

Then, as trial began, the accused would not agree that they had signed away some key rights to defence.  They interpreted the statements in the Admission of Facts differently – at first (it seems)  than their lawyers.

A real and total impasse occurred. The accused were advised to seek legal advice beyond their own counsel.  Time passed. Finally, the accused and their lawyers decided to proceed with the trial.

The cross-examination of the first witness, Martyn Brown, Gordon Campbell’s long-time Chief of Staff, brought everything to a head.
Defence counsel asked Martyn Brown what he knew about the relation between major investigator, RCMP officer Kevin DeBruyckere and his brother-in-law, Kelly Reichert, Executive Director of the B.C. Liberal Party.  (Could they have passed information on to Gordon Campbell? was asked or intimated.)

The Special Prosecutor stopped the action.  Defence counsel couldn’t ask such a question, Berardino alleged – as a result of the agreed Admission of Facts.  The judge had to rule.

She ruled, in short, that the question was valid, and that Defence could ask such questions.

That changed too much in the Prosecution strategy. The trial had to be stopped.  Nearly 30 highly placed politicians and corporate actors were to appear and to be cross-examined. They couldn’t walk through the trial, one after the other, in the state of amnesia that Martyn Brown had shown – to the wonder of even the mainstream press and media journalists who rarely wonder about anything.

The trial would turn into a blood bath.  It had to be stopped.  Either the witnesses would reveal things that would affect the jury (and the case) in highly significant ways – probably turning it away from the accused towards major political and corporate figures.  Or, I believe, all Crown witnesses would have to live in amnesia – which situation would become less and less and less convincing even to the sold-out mainstream journalists. Such repeated amnesia would turn the trial into a raging public farce.

It had to be stopped.  And so dealing went on.  Only one half of one more witness took the stand before all came to an end.  (Martyn Brown was suddenly transferred to a safe position as Deputy Minister of Tourism.) To get an end to the trial, charges against Aneal Basi had to be dropped completely.  Charges against Dave Basi and Bob Virk had to be cut down to anodyne levels. No jail term.  No fraud charges. The Gordon Campbell government agreed to pay all Defence costs – and not try to retrieve any of the money from the convicted men.

And so the trial was killed – with lightning haste.  It was killed –  with such haste and in such an unconventional way that the Auditor General of B.C. wants to know all about it.

Good luck to Auditor General John Doyle.

It seems to me the Gordon Campbell group that oversaw the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to the CNR – Christie Clark included – has so far escaped all serious examination.  Let us hope John Doyle can break through their defense and show the BC public why $6 million of its money was misused – as a beginning to showing how billions were misused – and perhaps criminally looted - in the transfer of BC Rail to the CNR.


Wednesday, July 06, 2011


Dammit, dammit, dammit ... the civil war erupts again: who stole BC Rail? and why aren't they charged?

BC Mary figures that the time has come for some plain talk in the BC Rail scandal. I have blogged this topic on a daily basis for the past 5 years, and only today has  "Skookum1" opened my eyes to the outrageous truth ... that I've behaved like any starving pauper ... I have eagerly welcomed ANY crumbs of truth which fall from the table of the Basi-Virk-Basi ... and (I admit it), I haven't cared much about the guilt or innocence of BVB in their sleazy zones of activities. It's not as if we don't KNOW that they were underlings. Even knowing it ... and knowing that underlings scuttle about doing precisely what their masters want done ... I knew perfectly well (so did you) that it was none other than the former premier Campbell, Campbell, Campbell who was sitting in BC Supreme Court as the Accused in what National Post rightly termed the "BC Rail Political Corruption Trial".  I knew that. And yet I got sidetracked. Completely thrown off the track of finding out how he did that to BC Rail.

We could plainly see the
modus operendi revealed when the "new" premier took over BC government. Yes, said the unelected Premier Christy Clark, yes indeed they would look into the $6million pay-out ... yes, yes, yes!  But not the Full Public Inquiry into the Sale of BC Rail ... no, she (who was Deputy Premier of BC at the time of the BC Rail rigged bidding) has pushed the hope for a full Public Inquiry farther back in the mists of time, farther off the rails. Once again, I was thinking -- like a starving pauper -- that a few more crumbs of truth would be so precious, so valuable that we could afford to limit our inquiries into that $6million pay-off ... even knowing that it was that very $6million pay-off which stopped the BCRail Political Corruption Trial dead in its tracks. Like, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush ... 

Stupid, stupid, stupid. We got our heads messed up, is what we got.

All I can say, right now is that Skookum1 opened my eyes when he wrote the following comment on my blog, responding to "Anonymous" who says he believes the story of BC Rail begins and ends with Basi, Virk, and/or Basi:

Skookum1 wrote:

Anonymous, you're trying to change the topic again away from the REAL CRIME which was the illegal bidding process that unloaded BC Rail onto the BC Liberal Party's backers. The documents exist to prove that, and were hidden from public view (other than those believed to have been destroyed by "someone" in the Premier's Office).

The issue is NOT Basi and Virk, it is that charges were laid only against them and no other charges were laid; charges of all kinds, including ones that should have been laid against the current Premier's brother (and her ex-husband) for illegally having cabinet documents, but the "Big Kahoona" is the very clear evidence and statements from other competitors in the bidding process that it was tainted. And this is the MAIN DEAL, not the red-herring side issue with OmniTRAX, but the giveaway to CN.....a couple of game tickets in Denver don't compare to the hidden contracts and secret meetings and unknown payola that saw us ROBBED of a very valuable public asset.

What sickens me about this country is there are idiots like you prepared to do the dirty work to allow your bosses to get away with what they do. You're a shill, a dissembler, nothing more than a piece of puff who's allowing himself to be used for probably not a very large paycheque to keep the heat off the big political cheeses. Ranting about Basi when the real criminals are Campbell and Clark and Kinsella is only so much more BC Liberal hocus-pocus.

The documents we weren't allowed to see and analyze - that's where the evidence is; it's not about exonerating Basi, it's about convicting Campbell. And you don't want to go anywhere near THAT, do you?

You're either a fool, or evil, and a f**king waste of time.


Monday, July 04, 2011


Who could miss the signal here, sent up on Canada's birthday?


BC Mary comment: The trans-continental mainline railway was cut in half at a significant place, on a significant date ...

This is terrain of tragic memories where BC Railers Don Faulkner and Tom Todd were killed on a de-railing shortly after BCR was acquired by CN. 

That BCR-CN deal (dreamt-up and engineered by the Campbell Gang) remains partially secret to this very day ... a tainted sale which  almost came into BC Supreme Court as part of a much lesser action (bribery etc) against three underlings.

See this current problem, as reported by CBC ... HERE.

Rail bridge service to resume over weekend
CBC News

Railway ties were on fire on the entire stretch of a CN Rail bridge south of Lytton, B.C.  [BC Mary says: Please visit the CBC story to see dramatic photo by Joelle Harvey.]

CN Rail hopes to have a company rail bridge damaged by fire on Thursday back in service sometime this weekend.

According to one witness, the fire lit up the Fraser Canyon bridge from end to end, burning railway ties and emitting a billowing cloud of black smoke.

While the bridge remains structurally sound, officials say the damaged ties need to be replaced.

CN spokesman Jim Feeney said more than 50 people are working around the clock to get the steel bridge back in service.

"It's an important bridge, it's our transcontinental mainline," Feeney said.

"It's the link between the Port of Vancouver and the rest of our North American network. It would see in the range of about 30 trains a day."

Feeney said the cause of the fire is under investigation.

In the meantime, he said all freight and passenger rail traffic is being rerouted along an adjacent CPR line.


Saturday, July 02, 2011


Palmer says: " ... having fought to gain access to the [BC Rail] material, the BC Auditor-General wouldn't hesitate to take on the government a second time if necessary." And he adds: "Now that Doyle has managed to scale the stonewall, one can only hope that his curiosity on behalf of the public will extend to every aspect of this dubious transaction."


BC Mary comment: This is a new Vaughn Palmer. He appears ready to consider that BC's media-assisted secrecy has been a gift to the Campbell Gang while it was desperately seeking to take over BC Rail. Vaughn Palmer seems almost like he's understanding how the failure to inform the public laid the groundwork for the virtual theft of a railway vital to the BC economy ...

Blessings upon Palmer for that, I would say, if only ... if only Stephen Harper hadn't just appointed Gordon Campbell to the cushiest job in the English-speaking world.  Why would Harper do that? Were Harper (Reform) and Campbell (Social Credit) soul-mates all along? If so, we need to know more about that.

Being appointed to the position of Canada's High Commissioner to Britain is a prize, not a job. It's the most important political appointment in Canadian diplomacy. The address is 1 Grosvenor Square -- actually on Trafalgar Square -- almost as prestigious as the Queen's address in Buckingham Palace. This prize is political, not diplomatic. Political and -- I would say -- corporate. It's Old Boys Heaven. This is the public bonding of the current prime minister of Canada, with the most tainted premier in Canada. 

And it's all going down as we speak ... didn't the Harper Gang just give away the priceless Atomic Energy of Canada (AECL for $15 million on a quid pro quo to provide $65m tax dollars for developing stuff which AECL has led the world in developing)? And didn't somebody say it was an outrageous deal "just like the AVRO ARROW? And did I just imagine that this was announced during the official visit of the undeniably delightful Royal Newlyweds ... who are legally and legitimately here in Canada bedazzling us in our news and thoughts?


Plenty for B.C.'s auditor-general to consider
Now that he has access to the BC Rail information he wanted, John Doyle still has a lot of work to do

By Vaughn Palmer,
Vancouver Sun - July 2, 2011

Auditor-General John Doyle launched his examination of the openended policy of covering legal bills for accused public servants after last fall's settlement in the BC Rail case.

Court proceedings ended abruptly in mid-October with guilty pleas on corruption charges from Dave Basi and Bob Virk, the two ex-government aides whose legal bills had been covered throughout.

The running tab totalled $6 million. As part of the settlement, the Liberal government waived any obligation for the two to repay any part of the bill, never mind that government policy supposedly required repayment in the event of a conviction.

Galvanized by reporting of the details and by public concerns about same, Doyle descended on the ministry of the attorneygeneral seeking information in his capacity as independent watchdog of the public purse.

The first formal request, filed Nov. 29, sought all relevant documents relating to the indemnification policy in general and to its application in the BC Rail case in particular.

"The information," as a subsequent court application paraphrased it, "would be used to consider the rationale for paying the fees and to better understand how monies were to be accounted for and how they will be presented in the government's financial statements." All in the name of gauging "the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of the indemnity process" as a whole.

From the outset, the auditorgeneral made it clear that his office "would protect the confidentiality of all documents provided," as per the requirements of his own enabling legislation.

Initially, it appeared the government would cooperate. But after weeks of back-and-forth, the legal services branch of the attorney-general's ministry balked, arguing that all of the material was covered by a confidentiality agreement with Basi and Virk.

Not the first stonewall to be erected in this case. But one that was more than a passing convenience to the Liberals, given the lingering controversy over the policy and how it was applied.

Doyle, to his credit, was not prepared to let the government hide behind that excuse. After several additional attempts to negotiate access to the documents were also met with failure, he proceeded to court.

The hearing was held in B.C. Supreme Court earlier this week and on Thursday, Doyle obtained access on the very basis he'd sought, namely comprehensively and confidentially.

Worth noting too that by the time the matter ended up before the judge, the two exaides had written to say they were not opposed to Doyle gaining access to any information about the policy and its application in their case.

The government sent a lawyer into court anyway, but he did not take a position on most of the matters before the court. In which regard, taxpayers may wish to reflect on the irony that they were once again picking up the tab for all sides in a BC Rail-related proceeding.

As for how Doyle will proceed, it is not entirely clear. Normally he would have closed off his vetting of the public accounts for the last fiscal year by the end of June.

But presumably those will be delayed long enough for him to conduct at least a preliminary review of the line  item regarding indemnities.

His legal counsel reiterated that the auditor-general would, of course, respect confidentiality, including anything touching on solicitor-client privilege. The only time the auditor-general goes public is when he is required to do so by his broad obligation to blow the whistle on doubtful bookkeeping and other financial shenanigans.

We may not hear more about what he found other than in a general sense.

But the public can take comfort that Doyle, having fought to gain access to the material, wouldn't hesitate to take on the government a second time if necessary.

His court action focused on the front end of the arrangement with Basi and Virk, namely the indemnity policy in general and how it was applied in their case. But there's also the matter of the decision to waive repayment.

The Financial Administration Act, the key law governing provincial finances, states that: "A debt or obligation to the government may not be forgiven without the approval of the Lieutenant-Governor in Council" -that's the cabinet-"if the amount forgiven is $100,000 or more."

No such order was forthcoming to cancel the $6 million in outstanding legal bills for Basi and Virk. Instead it was done by the deputy minister of finance, on advice from the attorneygeneral's ministry that the outstanding legal bills were only a contingent liability, advanced by an indemnity, and thus not a debt or obligation.

Another convenient decision for the politicians. But as noted in this space when the arrangement was reported last October, one that ought to be assessed independently: "The auditor-general could review all the paperwork, interview the players, and render a verdict on whether the decision on the legal bills, however wellintended, struck the right balance in the public interest."

Now that Doyle has managed to scale the stonewall, one can only hope that his curiosity on behalf of the public will extend to every aspect of this dubious transaction.



and,  just sayin' ...




Friday, July 01, 2011


If Basi & Virk get a complete explanation as to how that controversial $6million defence fee was arrived at ... the people of British Columbia should have that same freedom of access


Auditor gets access to details of $6-million payout in BC Rail political-corruption trial

But John Doyle won't be sharing data about Basi-Virk deal with the public

By Tracy Sherlock,
Vancouver Sun - July 1, 2011

VANCOUVER - B.C.’s auditor-general will have access to documents outlining details of the deal that saw the government pay $6 million in defence costs in the BC Rail political-corruption trial.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Bruce Greyell granted the petition of Auditor-General John Doyle, who wants the information as part of his audit of the provincial government’s financial statements. The statements usually include the auditor-general’s opinion and are normally released June 30; however, this year they are delayed. Doyle’s petition said that he could not properly assess this year’s statements without the details of the $6-million settlement for former government aides Dave Basi and Bob Virk, who pleaded guilty in the case after the government agreed to pay their legal bills.

Greyell’s reasons for the ruling said that Basi and Virk had waived their solicitor-client privilege only so far as to allow the auditor-general to perform his duties.

Both men had agreed in correspondence presented in court that they were not opposed to the auditor-general viewing the documents, as long as he maintained their right to confidentiality.

Basi and Virk will also have the opportunity to review and challenge in advance any auditor-general’s statement that pertains to them that may break their solicitor-client privilege.

“Our system of justice could not operate without a full and effective solicitor-client privilege and the confidentiality arising there from,” Greyell said in court Thursday.

{Big, horrifying SNIP} ...

Basi and Virk entered surprise guilty pleas last Oct. 18 to two counts each of breach of trust and accepting benefits.

The charges were related to the leak of confidential information about the BC Rail bidding process in 2003.

Read the full column HERE



Wow. Don't miss this!


B.C. Rail scandal back on centre stage

By Les Leyne,
Times Colonist June 25, 2011

It was startling to see auditor general John Doyle forsake the usual accounting treatises and dive into a genuine scandal. His office is better known for eye-glazers like the one released earlier this week on "Status of Enterprise Risk Management."

But just as that one was out the door, another intriguing piece of work came to light. It was a petition filed with the B.C. Supreme Court seeking an order compelling the government to provide all the information on the questionable payment of B.C. Rail duo Dave Basi and Bob Virk's legal costs.

Up to that point, the Liberals were winning the battle to put the story behind them.

Doyle's writ shows the struggle isn't over yet. Until now, it's just been people on the sidelines clamouring for some explanation of the terms under which $6 million in taxpayers' money flowed to their defence lawyers over the years.

Now there's an official with some clout getting into the argument.

{Snip} ...

That's the clearest indicator yet that the case spun completely out of control. Everybody was so busy insulating each other from the toxic case and maintaining "solicitor-client privilege" and erecting "screening walls" that no one in government was counting as the money flowed out the door for years on end.

Read it all HERE: