Sunday, October 30, 2011

Would it be wrong to speculate?
by Cathy from Canada - Oct. 29, 2011

Stephen Maher asks why nobody seems to be covering a possible influence-peddling scandal with connections to Harper and the PMO.

Well, perhaps it's because even in his own story, he doesn't get to the point about speculating on possible PMO influence-peddling until paragraph 13. There's all sorts of other juicy stuff in the story, too, about vacations on yachts, jobs with connected construction companies, Revenue Canada officials fired after tax evasion prosecutions, and so on. The PM and his PMO have some 'splainin to do, I think.

And with all the trashing of the CBC that we are hearing from the Harper Conservatives lately, it makes me speculate about what explosive and scandalous news stories Radio Canada just might be working on these days...

Borrowed from: CathiefromCanada

[Cathie, my vote: it's NOT WRONG to speculate given these facts! - BC Mary.]


Saturday, October 29, 2011


The Hard Truth About Corruption


BC Mary comment: Buy or borrow the book: "Capitol Punishment: The Hard Truth About Washington Corruption From America's Most Notorious Lobbyist." It's the kind of history which Dave Basi, Bobby Virk, or even Aneal Basi should write ... and make their fortune. Ditto for many others. While we wait for them to stir, here's the proven record of how it works ...

Jack Abramoff, In New Book, Decries Endemic Corruption In Washington

By Dan Froomkin
Huffington Post - Oct 28, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC -- Former superlobbyist and ex-con Jack Abramoff describes himself in his forthcoming book as a creature of a corrupted system.

"I wasn't the only villain in Washington," he writes in the book set for release on Nov. 1. Abramoff cops to the de facto bribery of public officials -- but writes that such conduct is "the way the system works."

The book, "Capitol Punishment: The Hard Truth About Washington Corruption From America's Most Notorious Lobbyist," was published by WND Books -- a division of the "birther" website The Huffington Post received an advance copy.

Abramoff describes how he "lavished contributions, meals, event tickets, travel, golf and jobs on innumerable federal public officials with the expectation or understanding that they would take official actions on my behalf or on behalf of my clients."

"As a lobbyist, I thought it only natural and right that my clients should reward those members who saved them such substantial sums with generous contributions," he writes. "This quid pro quo became one of hallmarks of our lobbying efforts."

He also describes wooing congressional staffers -- particularly chiefs of staff -- with the lure of future employment. "After a number of meetings with them, possibly including meals or rounds of golf, I would say a few magic words: 'When you are done working for the Congressman, you should come work for me at my firm.'

"With that, assuming the staffer had any interest in leaving Capitol Hill for K Street -- and almost 90 percent of them do, I would own him and, consequently, that entire office. No rules had beenbroken, at least not yet. No one even knew what was happening, but suddenly, every move that staffer made, he made with his future at my firm in mind." Abramoff points out that he was "not alone in this method" and that "it continues today, unabated by reform campaigns or public ire at the Congress."

Abramoff was the central figure in a wide-ranging public corruption and influence-peddling scandal. He pleaded guilty in January 2006 to fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials, and served three years and seven months in prison before his release last June.

His business partner, Kevin Ring, was sentenced to 20 months in prison just this past Wednesday -- the 21st person, including one congressman and two Bush White House officials, to either plead guilty or be found guilty in the scandal.

In the book, Abramoff mocks the ethics reforms adopted by Congress in the wake of his downfall.

"Is corruption in Washington really ended by insisting congressmen eat their food with their fingers standing up, rather than seated with forks and spoons? Yet, this is the kind of reform which Congress proposes, passes, and then congratulates itself about," he writes.

That's not to say reform bills aren't good for anything. "No bill is more likely to pass than a reform bill," he writes, "so smart lobbyists always keep an eye out for reform bills."

But Abramoff reserves his most scathing criticism for the members of Congress who never complained when he showered them and their staff with money and gifts -- then self-righteously hung him out to dry.

Abramoff famously remained silent -- taking the Fifth -- when he was called to testify before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee in September 2004. In his book, he hints at what he might have said had he opened up.

"Most of these legislators had taken thousands of dollars from my clients and firms, and now they were sitting as impartial judges against me. Washington hypocrisy at its best," he writes. "Members swim in a swamp of corruption, and thrive in it, but they are able -- with a straight face no less -- to accuse others at will and sanctimoniously punish what they see as malfeasance."

And finally Abramoff shares his own plan -- concocted as he "paced the track ... day after day" at Cumberland Federal Prison in Maryland -- to end the undue influence of special interests. (Although, he writes: "I know that, barring a torch and pitchfork uprising, no real changes will occur.")

He proposes that anyone who lobbies the government, receives federal contracts or benefits from public funds should be entirely prohibited from making campaign contributions or giving any gifts at all to public officials.

To end the revolving door, "the lure of post-public service lobbying employment needs to be eliminated," he writes. So: "If you chose to serve in Congress or on a congressional staff, you should be barred for life from working for any company, organization, or association which lobbies the federal government. " {Snip} ...

But Abramoff still remains very much a movement conservative, and he puts the fundamental blame for corruption not on flawed laws or weak people -- but on big government.

"The reason there are tens of thousands of lobbyists is because the ever-expanding federal government creates ever-increasing opportunities for abuse," he writes. "The more the federal government does, the more lobbyists there will be to protect special interests at the expense of the common interest."

For years, Abramoff has routinely been described as "disgraced" -- the walking embodiment of political corruption. But he is being feted with a book party at the home of Daily Caller editor Tucker Carlson in November -- potentially a sign that, at least in some political circles, redemption is at hand.


Thanks, Skookum1.


Monday, October 24, 2011


Michael Smyth says: "I didn’t think anything could stink worse than the B.C. Rail plea bargain ..."


         Don't miss the important link to an update 
by Paul Willcocks (scroll way down)
   Cover-up feared as taxpayers pay ...

BC Mary comment:  Before he left B.C., Gordo established a mega-ministry to issue faster, easier permitting of natural resources. His "visionary" Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations might work to the advantage of foreign corporations ... or ... their expedited permits might simply collapse, leaving the foreign corporations like Boss Power with the option, clearly exposed here, of suing the BC taxpayers for their pain.  The foreign corporations can't lose. Today, Michael Smyth smells an old, familiar stench ...

$30 million k
eeps Liberal mine deal out of court

By Michael Smyth
The Province - October 24, 2011

To hear Energy Minister Rich Coleman describe it, paying a $30-million settlement to a mining company for blocking the company’s claim to a uranium deposit is no big deal.

But the opposition NDP has a different view of the astonishing deal with Boss Power that burned B.C. taxpayers to a crisp: It’s hush money, they say, to protect Liberal politicians.

Now the NDP are demanding answers — and an apology.

“Saying, ‘I’m sorry, we broke the law, and it cost taxpayers $30 million’ — that would be a start,” said NDP energy critic John Horgan.

But an apology wasn’t coming Monday — and answers were in short supply during a raucous session of the legislature.

The government’s costly battle with Boss Power began in April 2008, when the ruling Liberals announced a ban on uranium mining.

Just three days earlier, Boss Power filed an application to proceed with exploratory drilling of a uranium deposit they claimed near the Big White ski resort, south of Kelowna.

During the subsequent legal tussle between the company and the government, it emerged that the province’s chief inspector of mines had been told to ignore the company’s drilling application.

That was despite the fact that the government had an internal legal opinion that said ignoring the application would be a “breach of statutory duty” — or “breaking the law” as the New Democrats prefer to put it.

Now the company had the Liberals over a barrel. They sued to the hilt. And the government settled out of court last week for $30 million.

Did the government buy an end to a politically embarrassing trial? Who knows how many cabinet ministers and top bureaucrats would have been called to testify in court? And this is the same bunch that cut a $6-million plea-bargain deal to bring an end to the politically toxic B.C. Rail corruption trial.

“This is a case of, ‘I’ll see your $6 million, and raise you $30 million,’” said Horgan, who demanded to know why such a vast amount of money was forked over to the company.

{Snip} ...

Now the government is refusing to release internal legal documents showing how the $30-million figure was arrived at.

I didn’t think anything could stink worse than the B.C. Rail plea bargain. This one comes close. And the stench is still rising.

Read more HERE:


Don't miss the best-ever, most concise and irrefutable summary of how this bit of legalized corruption went down ... while remembering BC Rail:

Cover-up feared as taxpayers pay $30Million to mining company

by Paul Willcocks

Click HERE for Paul's full explanation



"very, very rare BC rail tumbler ridge cab ride ... with this question: wasn't Tumbler Ridge and its high-quality "low emissions coal" worth the $1.1Billion allegedly paid into Gordon Campbell Government's general revenue for the entire BC Rail line from North Vancouver to ... well, Tumbler Ridge?

BC Mary comment: To visit this site, you'll ride BC Rail as it once was, into Tumbler Ridge. 

Uploaded by on Sep 18, 2011
very,very rare video footage of bc rail/cn joint venture to export coal from northern BC canada this low emmisions coal was shipped to japan ,to get the coal to prince rupert tunnels were blasted through the mouintains -special electric locomotives were designd by EMD london ontario 7 in total were built -gf6c -enjoy this very remote part of British Columbia Canada -the video was shot by Iron horse Video prodcutions -prince george BC

Climb aboard HERE:


Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Why the OCCUPY mass movement will succeed


BC Mary comment: Here's the vital link between Paul Nettleton's courageous battle in 2003 to preserve the good ... and the current mass rallying around the world in an effort to preserve the good. This little video is the best-ever insight on what's driving the OCCUPY movement and why it will succeed. You'd think Chris Hedges was talking about BC Rail ... but as I've often said, BC Rail was the template. If we allow the corrupt transfer of a major public asset to pass secretly into private pockets, other tragedies will follow ... and have followed. Most of us understand that now. That's why Chris Hedges says this quiet revolution will win the day. It's a wonderful summary.

Don't miss this ...

With thanks to The Galloping Beaver and all the other helping hands. Please keep passing this remarkable video around.



P. Nettleton: I rise in support of this ... private member's bill intended to stop the sale of B.C. Rail.


"I oppose the sale of B.C. Rail."
Monday November 17, 2003 - Morning Sitting
Hansard Volume 18, Number 6

Second Reading of Bills


P. Nettleton: I rise in support of this bill, which is a private member's bill intended to stop the sale of B.C. Rail.

My perspective is a little different, I think, from the members of the opposition, in that my first encounter with folks in Prince George who had strong feelings with respect to B.C. Rail dates back to 1996 during the election campaign, when I was going door to door with my wife. I hadn't lived in that part of the country terribly long at the time, so for me it was an introduction of myself, and it was also an opportunity to listen and learn from folks in terms of what was important to them.

One of the things that was brought to my attention during that campaign — as I say, it was the campaign of 1996 — was that B.C. Rail was an issue that ran very deep in terms of people's emotional attachment. During the course of that campaign, I also ran into a number of men — I don't know that I ran into any women, but certainly a number of men — who supported their families working for B.C. Rail. I recall some of them telling me, in fact: "You know, you seem like a decent enough guy, and the B.C. Liberal Party is a party that has a lot of appeal. But B.C. Rail is, for us, a big issue, and that's an issue on which we're going to cast our vote." This meant, in fact, that the vote would be cast not for the B.C. Liberals but rather for the NDP.

That was my first introduction to B.C. Rail and, as I say, the strong sentiment not only in Prince George but beyond with respect to the issue of B.C. Rail and the sale of B.C. Rail. The election of 1996 — for those of us that were there, and I know there are a few members here who were there in 1996 and were fortunate enough to be elected in 1996 — certainly didn't have the result that I had expected, in that I was the only member elected as a B.C. Liberal in the north. Certainly, B.C. Rail was part of that outcome, I expect.

Following the election — the election which saw a majority NDP government and a very strong but nevertheless unsuccessful B.C. Liberal opposition — one of the things that happened was the then Leader of the Opposition, who is now Premier, met with us. I recall him meeting with me in Prince George and assigning roles to members of the then opposition, now government, to take on critic portfolios. I remember meeting with the Leader of the Opposition, and he assigned to me the role as critic of B.C. Rail. So I gladly took that task on.

For those of us here that recall what it was like to be a critic, I think there were a lot of benefits in terms of really digging deep into a given ministry, or a subset of a ministry in this case. B.C. Rail, of course, fell within the ministry for which the then minister, Dan Miller, was responsible, which involved northern interests, energy and mines, and so forth. I gladly took on that role. Again, as I say, it had been brought to my attention during the course of the election. I knew that the then Leader of the Opposition had committed to the province as a whole that he would sell B.C. Rail, and there was some sense in which that was problematic, particularly for those candidates of the north that were defeated.

Being a critic involved doing a number of things beyond just asking questions during the estimates process. It involved the opportunity to travel to North Vancouver and meet with the then head and CEO of CN and head of B.C. Rail, Paul McElligott, and his board. Paul McElligott, who is now the CEO of TimberWest, was really a free enterprise kind of guy. Under his watch, B.C. Rail was really run in very much a free enterprise type of setting, as much as one can achieve that within the context of a Crown corporation. It was highly diversified; it involved much more than just the railbeds. It involved BCR Ventures, which involved joint ventures in mining and so forth throughout the north. It had a real estate arm, it had a telecommunications arm, and it had Vancouver Wharves. In any event it was highly diversified, highly successful, and paid large dividends to the provincial government at the time — millions of dollars every year. Well, not every year, but certainly it generated millions of dollars, and on occasion it was tapped for those moneys.

It was interesting to meet with Mr. McElligott to get some sense of the challenges with respect to B.C. Rail. One of the things we did as critics, of course, was report out to the other opposition members with respect to our findings as to the direction, in this instance, of B.C. Rail.

My position personally hasn't changed with respect to B.C. Rail. I understand, I think, something of the emotional attachment with respect to B.C. Rail from men and women who have in many cases worked their lives on B.C. Rail and have seen the north opened up to development and opportunity and growth, and so forth, as government has shown a commitment to the north by way of B.C. Rail over the years. My position certainly hasn't changed, but the Premier, the then Leader of the Opposition, following the election of 1996 publicly made an apology with respect to B.C. Rail. Our position — that is, the B.C. Liberals' position on B.C. Rail — firmly committed that we had learned our lesson. In fact, we would not sell B.C. Rail should we be successful in 2001.

Now, the B.C. Liberals talk about new-era commitments. I took that to be a commitment. I took the Premier, the man who's now the Premier, at his word — that when he said we would not sell B.C. Rail, he was as good as his word. That, we now know, is not the case. Shortly after the election of 2001, we see a government that has moved very quickly. There's been speculation as to why that might be, why there's been this flip-flop, this breaking of the commitment on B.C. Rail. I think the opposition has laid out rather carefully and in a way that people can understand some of the reasons why, perhaps, government is now moving as it is to sell B.C. Rail.

One of the things I will say quickly in closing, because I know I'm running out of time, is that the public sentiment with respect to B.C. Rail — the same sentiment that I encountered in 1996 going door to door in Prince George talking to people — hasn't changed. People are for the most part, along the line and certainly in Prince George and beyond, opposed to the sale of B.C. Rail — what's left of B.C. Rail, given that B.C. Rail now really is just the freight service. Everything else has been sold off, so B.C. Rail is not what it used to be.

That public sentiment hasn't changed, and I'm delighted to be able to stand here today in support of this bill which has been introduced by the opposition. Thank God there's something of an opposition here. I shudder to think what in fact would happen if there wasn't. I'm delighted to stand here for my constituents and say that I support this bill, and I oppose the sale of B.C. Rail.

These notes from the Hansard record of debate are re-posted here, as an ongoing Thank You to that heroic figure, Paul Nettleton, who stood up for British Columbians at a time when he was alone as an Independent M.L.A. for the northern riding of Prince George - Omineca. This is a a debt to remember. - BC Mary.


Monday, October 17, 2011


Was Organized Crime involved in removing BC Rail from public ownership?

By BC Mary

Looking back to December 28, 2003 ... and the shock of the historic police raids on an elected Legislature ... how much of it involved Organized Crime? There was only one person who tried to explain those raids (the first of its kind in the British Commonwealth).

It wasn't the BC premier who stepped forward to reassure the public. It wasn't Canada's Prime Minister who behaved like a statesman, either. Both these elected leaders (Campbell and Martin) waited many days before ambling back from their Christmas holiday to shrug, "I know nothing," leaving the stunned public feeling like part of the devastation.

It was the day after the raids that RCMP Staff Sgt. John Ward explained. He held a press conference at which he thanked the media for coming ... which, given that we'd just been hit with something like a train-wreck based upon a high-jacking ... was a bit alarming, too ... I mean, he thought the media might not attend? 

Well ... perhaps we should bear in mind, as we re-read these events, that Big Media would very soon begin trying to discredit Sgt Ward, as well as Victoria Police Chief Paul Battershill who had led the investigation. 

Also remember that Big Media completely forgot to mention that of the 9 persons arrested (one of whom was thought to be Mr. Big) was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to 9 years in prison, in June 2008 for serious drug trafficking. Completely forgot. 

Although the trial took place in Victoria, just a leisurely stroll down Blanshard Street from the then-CanWest offices of the Times Colonist, not a word was published at the time of the trial nor for 6 months afterward -- not until I, BC Mary, broke the story. So, yes, Big Media: thank you for attending that press conference. Too bad you couldn't have followed through ...


Search Warrants Executed on BC Legislature: News Media Statement
RCMP Media Relations Website
- issued 10:00 am Dec 29, 2003

John Ward said:

... Let me start by saying that illegal drug activity, by organized crime in British Columbia, has reached critical mass. The value of the illegal marijuana trade alone is estimated at over $6billion a year. The result is that today we have murders, beatings, extortion, and gang warfare at a level never before seen in this province. It's not an exaggeration to say that organized crime is a cancer eating away at the social and moral fabric of British Columbia. And it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better ... {snip}

Recently in Victoria a 20-month joint operation by the RCMP and the Victoria Police Department resulted in the arrest of 9 individuals in Victoria, Vancouver, and Toronto. Those individuals are alleged to have been involved in an organized crime network that exchanged BC marijuana in the United States for cocaine that was then sold to victims across the country.

Sometimes in the course of a complex and lengthy police investigation, other related and unrelated information surfaces, suggesting possible criminal activity. This was the case with the RCMP - Victoria Police Department investigation of organized crime ...  [End of quote.]

BC Mary continues: some "crimes" against the common good are never prosecuted, crimes such as failing to publish the truth or avoiding unfair bias in reporting news events. There are other savage crimes against the public interest which do get prosecuted and go unreported ... Click HERE for "Jasmohan Singh Bains sentenced to 9 years".

Grant Gough put all this into perspective when he wrote, on Sept. 15, 2009, "British Columbia, a Crime Story". To see Grant's approach, just click HERE.

Many people feel that this whole terrible betrayal of the B.C. public, would be swept aside and forgotten if it weren't for the simple fact that, dammit, the people do care about this province, and these publicly-owned Crown corporations which were established for the economic health of the province.

So Happy New Year to those who, like Sgt John Ward and like Grant Gough, and Ian Mulgrew, and you, me, all of us who keep asking what happened to the big railway we once owned, and to the splendid BC Hydro authority, and to our own BC Ferries ... and that whole long list of similar, mysterious economic tragedies still waiting to happen. In secret, if we aren't careful.

If this era is so golden, so great ... tell us the details: how did it happen that we lost the railway we still call BC Rail, are losing the power generator admired world-wide as BC Hydro, and somehow lost ownership of that  section of our highways known as BC Ferries ... all this and more ... and it's 8 years later and getting worse. Even Campbell stopped beaking off about being the most open and transparent government ... So tell us ... how come? Especially, how come it's all done in secret, eh? 


Sunday, October 16, 2011


It was one year ago: BC Rail trial ends after deal reached

BC Mary comment: Today is a sad anniversary. It was a year ago that BC Supreme Court brutally shut down our chances of hearing testimony, under oath, as to how BC Rail slid from public ownership into private pockets in a deal already proven corrupt. One year later, is  a time to review The Great BC Rail Train Robbery ... a time to remember that such a crooked deal can't be OK until the citizens -- the legitimate owners -- say it's OK ... 

and it just so happens that citizens across the world, at this very time, are saying we must take back what is ours. For British Columbia, that means finding some other ways to uncover what happened to BC Rail ... to undo the harm done. To take back what is ours.

This column, written at the time of the shocking shut-down of the BC Rail Trial, is a good reminder ...

 BC Rail trial ends after deal reached

by gary mason

Vancouver— Globe and Mail Update

Published Monday, Oct. 18, 2010
Last updated Tuesday, Mar. 15, 2011

A political corruption trial that has dragged on for years, cost millions of dollars, and threatened to draw back the curtains on the backroom dealings of the B.C. Liberal government came to a sudden conclusion Monday in B.C. Supreme Court ... {Snip} ...

The astonishing development comes on the eve of what was expected to be explosive testimony by former finance minister Gary Collins. Mr. Collins was going to be the first of several high-profile political figures who were scheduled to take the stand in this case. The defence had hinted there was a chance Premier Gordon Campbell was going to be called to testify, along with a long list of politicians past and present. Mike Farnworth, the B.C. opposition's house leader, said the biggest corruption case in the history of the province has ended with a whimper. The New Democrat said the questions of the public must still be answered.

“It stinks,” he said. “The air needs to be cleared and there should be a public inquiry to get to the bottom of it.”

{Snip} ...

While the charges against the accused were entered in early 2004, the trial didn’t begin in earnest until this past spring. Much of the time before that was eaten up in pre-trial hearings, with the Crown and lawyers for the accused sparring daily over the release of literally hundreds of thousands of documents related to the case.

In 2009, the judge who presided over the pre-trial hearings and who was supposed to hear the case, Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett, was promoted to the B.C. Court of Appeal, which necessitated a new judge, Justice Anne MacKenzie, taking over in the spring of last year. But even after the trial got underway this past May it was continually getting bogged down for one reason or another – a sick jury member, a sick defendant, voir dires, summer holidays ... {Snip} ...

With a file from The Canadian Press


Read the full column HERE:


Friday, October 14, 2011


BC Rail case a betrayal of us all. Basi-Virk first anniversary renews calls for a public inquiry into the "sale" of BC Rail

B.C. Liberal government paid $6 million legal bills

By Bob Mackin,
Contributing writer
Vancouver Courier - October 13, 2011

They come from opposite ends of the political spectrum, but Vancouver commentators Bill Tieleman and Alex Tsakumis agree on one thing: British Columbia needs a public inquiry into the corrupt 2003 sale of B.C. Rail.

Tuesday [actually Monday, October 18, 2011 - M.] is the first anniversary of the halt to the bribery trial of ministerial aides Dave Basi and Bob Virk. On Oct. 18, 2010, they copped a surprise guilty plea to breach of trust and fraud, but the B.C. Liberal government paid their $6 million legal bills.

Read on HERE:


Back in the day, on Friday, October 27, 2010, Paul Willcocks wrote this column. It is re-posted here with his generous permission:

BC Rail case a betrayal of us all

By Paul Willcocks
Courier-Islander & - Oct 27, 2010

The conclusion of the B.C. Rail corruption case smells.

The plea deal and the decision to spend up to $6 million of taxpayers' money to make it happen raise serious questions about both the justice system and politics in the province ...

it looks much like the government and the special prosecutor made it worthwhile for Dave Basi and Bob Virk to plead guilty to giving insider information on the B.C. Rail deal to lobbyists for one of the bidders.

The prosecutor agreed on a deal that would see the two men, former aides to Liberal cabinet ministers, avoid jail and accept fairly relaxed house arrest conditions. Basi is to pay a fine equal to the bribes and benefits he got.

And the government agreed to cover $6 million in legal costs for the defendants.

That's not the way it's supposed to work.

Government policy says - rightly - that if employees or MLAs are charged or sued while doing their jobs, taxpayers will pick up the tab. But if you're found guilty, you have to pay the money back.

That's what Gordon Campbell said would be the policy when Glen Clark faced criminal charges. (He was found not guilty, so the legal costs were paid.)

And it's the principle Rich Coleman advanced when he sued poor people for income assistance overpayments. Even if all they could do was pay $5 a month, Coleman said, the taxpayers should be repaid.

But when it came to the Liberal political aides, the rules changed.

And so did the government's story about the deal.

The two men couldn't pay anyway, the government said initially. It would cost too much to try and collect.

But the Globe and Mail reported the government had a mortgage on property owned by Basi. It could have recovered some of the legal costs - about $350,000 - simply by foreclosing. (It certainly would have taken that approach with a person on disability income assistance who owed $50, based on Coleman's statements.)

When the decision to cover the legal fees was announced, Attorney General Mike de Jong said he was not involved in the negotations but added "ultimately I am asked to endorse the recommendations" by the legal services branch.

But two days later, the government said the decision was made by the deputy ministers in finance and the attorney general's office. De Jong wasn't told until the decision was made, they said.

It also took two days before the government revealed that negotiations on covering the legal costs had started after Oct. 5, when special prosecutor Bill Berardino told the government he was negotiating a plea bargain.

Which seems entirely wrong. Special prosecutors are appointed in sensitive cases to avoid any perception of political influence in the justice system.

By briefing the government on the possibility of a plea bargain, the special prosecutor opened the door to political interference. [Emphasis mine. - BC Mary]

The government offered the defendants a choice. Fight on, and risk losing everything - including your homes - to settle the legal bills. Or walk away with $6 million in legal fees covered and get on with your lives. Just plead guilty.

It looks more like let's make a deal than the pursuit of truth and justice.

And you're paying the bills. Perhaps $15 million for the special prosecutor's law firm and the defence lawyers. A few million more for lawyers for Gary Collins and Judith Reid and potential government witnesses. Plus court and police costs - maybe $20  million or more, all in.

The government decided it was worth covering the legal fees in return for guilty pleas - before Gary Collins, Judith Reid, Basi, Virk, maybe Gordon Campbell, testified about the B.C. Rail sale.

But the government isn't supposed to have any role in this, remember. That's why there are special prosecutors.

Only thing is certain in all this - British Columbians are the losers.

Footnote: Gordon Campbell said this week that all questions have been answered and the two men acted alone. "They have said in their statement of facts explicitly that they acted on their own, no one else was involved or knew about this," he said. That's not true. All the brief brief statement of facts, negotiated by lawyers, says is that "Basi and Virk did not obtain the consent of their superiors to demand or accept these benefits." That's far from the sweeping claims the Premier has made.


A look at the Basi Virk trial's sudden death

By Rafe Mair
Puget Sound Radio - Oct 18, 2010.

 ... I, as a lawyer, feel sick. I kid you not, when I received the news I felt a wave of nausea.

Before going further, it’s not uncommon to “cop a plea”. It’s a gamble the crown and defense play when the Crown isn't sure it can make the charges stick, and the defence, knowing full well that they’re guilty as hell, wants to make the best of it. BUT, copping a plea usually comes at or near the beginning of the trial, not after years have passed and millions have been spent.

Now, if the accused were not guilty and at this advanced stage of the case Crown was unsure of its case, that would be one thing but for God’s sake, the accused pled guilty! Not to a reduced charge but what they were charged with!

What then could the Crown have been thinking? What motivated this bizarre quick ending?

I don’t know the answer but this much is true – the appointment of Mr Berardino in the first place has been criticized as putting him in at the very least a perception of conflict of interest ...

Read the rest HERE:


Robin Mathews' column in the archives here, dateline Sept. 29, 2010,
BC Rail Political Corruption Trial. A system in collapse.

See also the Gary Mason column, The Globe and Mail April 10, 2009,

Whiff of scandal envelops sale of BC Rail


Peter Ewart's column for Oct. 19, 2010:

BC Rail Trial and the odour of corruption.


Looking back this way, a year later, you can almost see the outline shaping up, resulting in the brutal, unapologetic decision to stop the trial. Then the Crown Prosecutor immediately set to work trying to seize and destroy all the trial transcripts (I don't know how that worked out). There are  many tell-tale signs of manipulation, including the ham-fisted promotion and removal of Justice Elizabeth Bennett so she could be replaced by the flammable Anne MacKenzie.

This is the most important trial ever held in British Columbia and yet it was bungled right in front of our eyes. The stench of political corruption won't go away until the questions are answered by opening that semi-secret BCR-CN deal for review. If it's true that a corrupt contract is not a legal contract, then it's time to test that theory with a Public Inquiry into the unfortunate sale of BC Rail. 

To conclude this look-back one year after the $20 million Supreme Court doors were slammed shut on the evidence we might have heard about the loss of BC Rail, I'd like to include the comments from some northern residents about the BC Rail which was so important to them.  I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the data, but I respect the anger people still feel, and the questions people still have.  I do respect the passion behind these words:

From News 250, Prince George, by generous permission:
Posted by: Eagleone on Sept 29 2010
Exactly... IPG [Initiatives Prince George = IPG] mandate, if it has one, should be purely in the realm of facilitating economic development... not trying to manage the economy with a political angle to all their announcements. They have no part to make political announcements in private matters. If the politicians want to speak up, or IPG staff would like to as private individuals, then that is their prerogative.

I think at the cost of $20+ million over the last decade the city of PG got little to no real value out of IPG.

PG got a (property) tax payer funded group that spear headed the privatization of BC Rail (a completely corrupted process) [what group is that??], which led to the collapse of Mackenzie (rail car shortage in a just in time business)... we got an organization pushing downtown properties to the cities (home owner) tax payer... we got subsidized call centers and foreign airlines... and we got not one single tangible industrial success from their efforts of any significance worth noting.

What we have is people advising how to spend tax payer dollars, and advising how our economy should be managed according to insider politics... with little to no real accountability by the tax payers that fund this organization. Its like privatized government safe from freedom of information requests and real stakeholder transparency... a hidden layer of bureaucracy that PG does not need IMO.

Where is the accountability for their (IPG) support of the privatization of BC Rail now that the true purpose of having BC Rail has come to haunt both the union workers of CN, and the economy of Northern BC?


Posted by: Eagleone on Sept. 29 2010
IPG already showed they work with the agenda of monopoly capitalists, and oppose free enterprise through their BC Rail gift to CN Rail. This situation is a result of the ideology that has come out in political announcements from this organization.

One thing that burns me about the BC Rail deal is the $2 Billion dollars in paper losses the government of BC created on BC Rail's books for tax purposes as part of the sale of BC Rail... so that CN could use these tax write offs against their profits to stiff Canadian tax payers for the equivalent amount that CN supposedly paid for BC Rail.... we gave it to them for free... a strategic asset critical to the viable sustainability of the northern transportation corridors... basically treason against our economy and for 999-years committed by ideology all on the take of our tax dollars... and IPG supported the sale of BC Rail as its biggest cheer leader despite the protests and public will against it.

This is what the City of PG tax payers pay for to the tune of $20+ million a decade.



Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Harper names new RCMP HQ after commish who abided illegal activities


By Glen McGregor - October 5, 2011

In an absolutely bizarre move, the Harper government today continued its building-naming spree by christening the Royal Canadian Mounted Police headquarters in Ottawa “The M.J. Nadon Government of Canada Building,” just a few weeks after naming a government building on Sussex Drive after former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker.

The Mounties’ new shop is named for former RCMP Commissioner Maurice Nadon.  Pop open any of three volumes of the McDonald Commission reports into the RCMP’s barn burning, mail opening and other illegal activities in the 1970s, and you’ll quickly come across Nadon’s name.

A sample, from this conclusion section on the physical surveillance techniques used by the Horsemen:

Commissioner Nadon was aware of the violation of provincial laws and municipal by-laws as a result of physical surveillance activities, including speeding, the use of fabricated identification documents and the use of false licence plates. Yet Mr. Nadon took no steps to stop those practices, which he knew to be illegal. He was also aware of the practices of registering in hotels under false names and entering garages in order to determine the presence of target vehicles, although he was uncertain as to the legality of those practices. We accept that he had no knowledge that documents or licence plates were being manufactured by the R .C.M.P. themselves. With respect to such practices he ought to have made the necessary inquiries to determine whether they were legal. Mr. Nadon’s failure to stop practices which he knew to be illegal and his failure to determine the legality of those practices as to which he was uncertain as to their legality were unacceptable. (bold type = mine).

And then there’s the allegation that Nadon kept then Solicitor General Francis Fox out of the loop on the dirty tricks. An 1972 operation called “Operation Bricole (Handyman)” saw RCMP security services members break-in and steal records from  Agence de Presse Libre du Québec (A.P.L.Q.). From the McDonald Commission report: 

Following the meeting of January 25, 1977, Mr . Fox asked Mr. (Roger) Tassé to prepare a letter for his signature, asking the R.C.M .P. for written assurances confirming what they had told him verbally. In that letter Mr. Fox pointed out that at the meeting Commissioner Nadon had assured him that the activities of the Security Service were carried out within the law and that members of the Security Service had received precise directions on the subject from the Director General in May 1975 .

Keep in mind that the RCMP’s insane behaviour documented by the McDonald Commission led to a cleavage of Canada’s national security apparatus from the federal police force ....

there's more to read at:

From: A few tasteful snaps

mostly about Canadian data journalism and politics.



BC Auditor general's report #6 should be required reading in postgraduate curriculums and for candidates seeking office at any level of government.

Auditor general a must read

By Elizabeth James
Special to North Shore News

October 12, 2011


“In the auditing profession, a qualified report is a rare occurrence: it indicates to the users of the financial statements that some of the information is not auditable or is misleading. During the last fifteen years, this office has issued qualified audit reports on the province’s financial statements 12 times. For a government that strives for transparency and accountability, this is unacceptable.” 
- John Doyle, B.C. Auditor General, Sept. 29, 2011

B.C. auditor general John Doyle's Report Six for 2011/12 is a masterpiece of professional decorum.

Not only does the document say as much between the lines as on them, it is easy to understand. Sited at subject/finance, it should be required reading in postgraduate curriculums and for candidates seeking office at any level of government.

Overall, this report on audits of "150 separate government organizations" paints a disturbing picture of ongoing financial and accountability deficiencies. It cracks open closed doors and tells us what it can about how things are being managed - or mismanaged - inside not just the provincial government, but also our Crown corporations and other government-grown and controlled agencies.

As I read, I focussed on three items: BC Hydro, the Port Mann Bridge project and the games being played with provincial accounting standards.

Today's column will continue the in-play Hydro story, with discussion of the others to follow.

I have long believed that BC Hydro, our one remaining major Crown asset, is being systematically destroyed by a provincial government hell-bent to complete its privatization agenda.

The Campbell-Clark blueprint for action is distressingly similar to the one that succeeded against BC Rail in 2003: manipulate the accounts into a deficit position, persuade British Columbians the corporation is dysfunctional and sell it off for pennies on the dollar.

The first step taken against Hydro also occurred in 2003 when Accenture Business Services (ABS) was awarded a 10-year contract to provide some of the corporation's administrative functions. That accomplished, the Liberals began tackling the other twothirds of the corporation.

After setting artificial deadlines in their Clean Energy Policy, the Liberals forced Hydro to negotiate long-term contracts with independent power producers (IPPs) that no sane company would have entertained ...

Read on, at:

 BC Mary (picking self up off the floor) wonders: does this mean that British Columbia (and the world) won't need a full Public Inquiry into the sale of BC Rail?  Does this mean that all it takes is a person with integrity showing the facts of our situation? And a journalist willing to help us through that? Well ... I think at very least, it's the basis of a new (ahem) era in the province we love. Thank you, Elizabeth James and John Doyle.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Campbell has now put brackets of treachery around his term of office as BC premier.

Significant update (thank you, E.M.) included at the end.

BC Mary comment: Campbell has now put brackets of treachery around his term of office as BC premier.  Just look: beginning with this effort to dismiss the Nisga'a Treaty Reasons for Judgment HERE:

and concluding with this week's obvious effort to dismiss the force and effect of the oiginal Delgamuukw treaty.

Citation:    Campbell et al v. AG BC/AG Cda & Nisga'a Nation et al   


2000 BCSC 1123   


Registry: Vancouver









THE In-SHUCK-ch N'Quat'qua



Counsel for the Plaintiffs:   
S. Bradley Armstrong
Ron A. Skolrood
Marko Vesely

Counsel for the Attorney General of Canada;
Charlotte Bell, Q.C.
Gerald Donegan, Q.C.
John Russell
Cheryl Kerr
Jennifer August

Counsel for the Attorney General of British Columbia:
Joseph J. Arvay, Q.C.
Catherine J. Parker

Counsel for the Nisga'a Nation:

Thomas R. Berger, Q.C.
James R. Aldridge

Counsel for the Intervenor,
In-SHUCK-ch N'Quat'qua:
Robert J.M. Janes

Counsel for the First Nations Summit:
Hugh M.G. Braker, Q.C.

Dates and Place of Trial:   
May 15 - 19, 2000
May 22 -26, 2000
May 29, 2000
Vancouver, B.C.



The Parties and Their Positions   


The Nisga'a Treaty   

Legislative Powers of the Nisga'a Govt.   

Sections 91 and 92: The Division of Powers   

Preamble to Constitution Act, 1867   

Do Ss. 91 & 92 Exhaust Legislative Power   

Recognition of Aboriginal Law After Confederation   

1823-32: Chief Justice Marshall's Cases   

1867 and After: Post-Confederation Cases   

1982: S. 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982   

1990: Sparrow and Aboriginal Rights   

1996: Badger and Aboriginal Rights   

1997: Delgamuukw in the Supreme Court   

Does S. 35 Protect Self-Government?   

Royal Assent   

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms   

The Framework   



[1] The plaintiffs seek an order declaring that the Nisga'a Treaty recently concluded between Canada, British Columbia and the Nisga'a Nation is in part inconsistent with the Constitution of Canada and therefore in part of no force and effect. For the reasons which follow, I conclude the application should be dismissed ...

BC Mary comment:  Not in 4-1/2 years with over 2,000 postings, have I chosen a news item for this blog which does not, in some way, refer to the Great BC Rail Train Robbery. The substance and style of each new Campbell outrage have become familiar: make a promise/get elected/get schemes okayed/legislate to cover errors/break the original promise.  This deal has Campbell-prints all over it.

Campbell has bracketed his term of office with two particularly deceitful legal actions against First Nations. Thinking back ... there was a referendum ... and this deliberate BC Supreme Court challenge of Nisga'a ... on and on it went ... concluding with the current smack-down of Delgamuukw.  What does it mean? It means winner-takes-all, and once again, that means Campbell is the winner.  The BC Rail giveaway was the first and worst of Campbell's crimes against British Columbia.  We should've stopped that deal. We now know that we could've stopped that deal. But many citizens were caught up in the Campbell campaign style. [Fact is: we can still stop and reverse the BC Rail Deal, if we wish. And we can look after the other issues, too, if we wish.]

Some call Gordon Campbell visionary and give him awards. Others call his actions legislated criminality and in my view, the Tsawwassen deal was an outstanding example of that: offer to "give" the Tsawwassen First Nation their own land and the legislated  freedom to do whatever they please with it; send the Tsawwassen chief on a lovely voyage, all expenses paid, while she thinks about that; and

Deltaport is booming, roaring maniacally as the Gateway to Asia. Big deal for the Tsawwassen.  In truth, it's the same "big deal" that's been handed to the Haisla First Nation covering their lands. Same big deal that "sold the farm" to put a possible $1Billion into BC's general revenue. Same horrifying deal for destroying BC Hydro that's being arranged right under our noses. 

So is Gordon Campbell in jail (again)? No. Oh, no no no. Make no mistake, for his valuable work, Campbell, got the best award in Stephen Harper's goody-bag: the High Commissioner's trophy-job next-door to Buckingham Palace. Gordo is laughing. At our expense. Again.

E.M has left a new comment on your post "Campbell has now put brackets of treachery around ...":

I had to come back to this post about this Court date to see the Date, case 2000, posted here Oct 11/11. I just read a case that was finally decided October 19th 2011 after 7 months since the Trial!!!

Date: 20111019

Docket: L000808

Registry: Vancouver BCSC

October 4-8, 12-13, 2010,
January 11-14, and
March 1-2, 2011

Chief Mountain v. British Columbia (Attorney General), Plaintiff Between:

Sga’nisim Sim’augit (Chief Mountain), also known as James Robinson, suing on his own behalf and on behalf of all the members of the House of Sga’nisim, Nisibil Ada, also known as Mercy Thomas and Wilp-Lth Git Gingolx (“The Association of Git Gingolx Tribe Members”) suing on its own behalf and on behalf of all its members

The Attorney General of Canada,
Her Majesty in Right of British Columbia and the Nisga’a Nation


Factum in the Campbell Case
[46] As I have already described, the plaintiffs in Campbell were Gordon Campbell, then Leader of the Opposition, and Michael de Jong and Geoffrey Plant, also Opposition Members of the provincial Legislative Assembly. After Mr. Justice Williamson handed down his decision in Campbell on July 24, 2000, they filed an appeal. The day before the provincial election of May 15, 2001, their counsel filed a factum in that appeal. After the election, the plaintiffs in the Campbell case became members of Her Majesty’s Government rather than Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, and Mr. Campbell, as leader of the successful party, became Premier of the Province. The plaintiffs then abandoned their appeal.

I found this interesting note Messrs and muzzling

95 "“No Party will challenge, or support a challenge to, the validity of any provision of this Agreement.” Mr. Jaffe adopts the terminology used by former British Columbia Attorney General Alex MacDonald, and calls this the “trap” provision, having the effect of “muzzling” Messrs. Campbell, de Jong and Plant from further challenging the Treaty."


Monday, October 10, 2011


Delgamuukw has just been dealt a critical blow. Now the Asia Pacific Gateway and all BC plans for the Haisla lands such as Enbridge and tankers need no consultation.

To access the embedded links, please visit Merv Ritchie's article. See also the Merv Ritchie explanations at bottom.


Merv Ritchie
Commentary - 10th October 2011

The foundation of the Supreme Court of Canada’s appeal ruling on Delgamuukw has just been dealt a critical blow. Now the Asia Pacific Gateway and  all BC plans for the Haisla lands such as Enbridge and tankers need no consultation. Today the basis, the foundation of Delgamuukw and the requirement for consultation no longer has validity.

The Gitxsan Wet’suwet’en trial of Delgamuukw vs the BC Government had the verbal testimony and authority of the First Nations elders and Hereditary Chiefs held in the highest regard. The recent Haisla trial between the Hereditary Chiefs and the elected band Council has just tossed all this consideration into the waste basket.

This decision will likely, in the short and long term, remove any need for consultation as the Court has just determined the verbal submissions of the Haisla elders and Chiefs were, though credible, not worthy of any historical factual knowledge for the Court.

All the First Nations who wish to use Delgamuukw and other subsequent rulings to protect their traditional territories, their rivers and lands from the Enbridge pipeline, destructive mining projects such as the destruction of Fish Lake and anything else are now on notice; the court has determined the culture is no longer recognized simply because elders and Chiefs testified.

The Government of BC and the Canadian Federal  Government of Stephen Harper have just been delivered an early Christmas gift, just in time for the Enbridge JRP hearings and rulings. First Nations culture no longer counts.

The following is how the Gitxsan described the case from the 1980’s and 90’s: Source here.

The plaintiffs in the Delgamuukw case were 35 Gitxsan and 13 Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs. The land title action was the longest running First  Nations land claim court case in Canadian history.

The trial before the B.C. Supreme Court began in 1987 and was unique in that Gitxsan and Wet'suwet'en elders took the stand to testify in their language about their distinctive culture and relationship to the land. In other similar trials, this evidence was provided secondhand through the eyes of non-Native "experts" such as anthropologists.

After the BC Court ruled against them the case went to the Supreme Court of Canada, and again from the Gitxsan;

Many of the arguments the Gitxsan made were accepted by the judges, including the fact that the province had no authority to extinguish aboriginal rights and the necessity of creating a new test for  aboriginal title.

Today all First Nations people are facing the same issues once again. This most recent ruling by another BC Court Judge dismissed the evidence by the elders and the Hereditary Chiefs.  

The Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en did not pursue a second case. It costs a significant amount of money to pursue such an action. Therefore, on behalf of the BC and Canadian Governments it appears the Haisla through former Chief Councillor Steve Wilson, got to take the lead. This new action could be considered to have been started, or at least initiated, at the request of Gordon Campbell. Evidence shows he pushed Wilson to overrule the elders and Hereditary Chiefs to advance projects on Haisla traditional territories.

Justice Punnett referred to the rulings of the Supreme Court in paragraph 406 on page 98, continuing on page 99 in paragraphs 407 and 408, of his decision;

[406] Proof of the existence of the alleged court requires consideration of the evidence to be presented in light of the requirements set out in R.  v. Van der Peet, [1996] 2 S.C.R. 507; Delgamuukw v. British Columbia, [1997] 3 S.C.R. 1010; and Mitchell v. M.N.R., 2001 SCC 33. In those cases, the court explained that trial courts must employ the rules of evidence in a manner that is sensitive to the inherent difficulties in adjudicating Aboriginal claims.

[407] I take from these cases that the flexible and sensitive application of the rules of evidence cannot have the effect of reducing the burden of proof faced by the party seeking to prove a fact in issue. The burden upon that party remains the same as in civil litigation generally.

[408] The evidence in support of the existence of this traditional court was sparse. No documentary record was presented. The evidence was presented by individuals considered to be elders, which I understand to be a term referring to those older members of the band who are considered to have wisdom and who are keepers of its traditional, cultural and historical knowledge.

Even though the elders and Hereditary Chiefs were discussed in great detail; their names and house groups, how the Chiefs conducted their affairs and their authority over the band council Justice Punnett stated the following;

[411] There was no evidence respecting how this body functioned, the source of its authority, or what custom law it followed.

Then in the following paragraph, 415, he states how the testimony by the elders was accepted by the entire Haisla Nation present in the Court room, those on both sides of the conflict.

[415] I pause to note that the elders, who are not parties to this action and who were called to give evidence on their knowledge of the alleged court, testified with the gravitas of elders and there was a palpable acceptance by those in the courtroom of their wisdom.

Yet Justice Punnett concludes this testimony was not good enough.

This is almost exactly the same basis for the Appeal decision of the Supreme Court of Canada to overturn the original Delgamuukw decision; that this evidence needs to be considered.

It may well be the BC Provincial Court Justice system, after watching the Hereditary Chiefs fight undefended by legal Counsel, recognized they wouldn’t have any money to take this to the Supreme Court of Canada let alone launch an appeal.

And if the BC Court is successful with this expectation, the decision will stand. Following that all BC mining corporations, Coal bed Methane extraction processes, crude oil tankers and pipelines will be fair game. No longer will the First Nations be able to bring their elders and Hereditary Chiefs into court to defend their claims to their traditional territories.

That is exactly what the fight was all about on the Haisla land. It had nothing to do with defamation; it had to do with the rights of the Elders, trapline holders and Hereditary Chiefs to defend their traditional way of life.

Stephen Harper's canoe has landed.

Full Court ruling with details and historical record of trial process here.

Merv Ritchie
Box 154
Terrace, BC
V8G 4A6

Office 778-634-3434
Fax 778-634-3435


Someone asked Merv Ritchie for more. This is what he posted: 

Terrace Daily - Oct. 10, 2011

Question: Do you have a legal opinion that supports Merv's column regarding the End of Delgamuukw? I'm a freelance journalist and founding editor of . . .

Merv's full reply: We have no legal opinions either way. We have studied Delgamuukw extensively and express this opinion based on the appelate courts statements regarding the presentation and acceptance of oral evidence, that which was presented in the Haisla and Delgamuukw trials.

Here is some text from the Delgamuukw appeal ruling respecting these matters;

(Remember the Delgamuukw case was a traditional land issue and the Haisla case was a traditional court issue. Both required oral historical evidence of the existance of such.)

Read on ... HERE:


Saturday, October 08, 2011


Kitimat, B.C.: Ground zero in the race to fuel Asia

The Globe and Mail - Oct. 8, 2011.

Big article. Unbelievable. It's all worked out and ready to go.

Prince Rupert caught in the middle of U.S. trade dispute

BC Mary comment: Another big article. Sickening. I ask again: does anybody in the BC Liberal Government know w.t.f. they're doing?

Read the story HERE:



Rafe says: Premier Photo-op still has her charming smile coming from every possible orifice in these papers, but criticism in the Postmedia press! Can the Age of Miracles be far off?!!!

Tide Turning Against Premier Photo-op - Even Mainstream Media
Written by Rafe Mair
 Common Sense Canadian - Oct. 7, 2011

Will wonders never cease? Was that a mild reproof of Premier Photo-op in Mike Smyth’s column the other day?

Was that a mild criticism of the Liberals in Vaughn Palmer’s column last Wednesday?

Then was that an out and out criticism by Mr. Palmer in this Thursday's paper over her half-baked idea to have the trial of those accused of the Stanley Cup riots before the TV cameras? (This bright idea was to televise the trials of the rioters, overlooking the little rule we have in this country of presumption of innocence - a concept that doesn’t seem to phase the government that gave the police the right to investigate, charge, try and convict a suspected impaired driver on the spot, then sentence him and enforce the sentence. The reason that process hasn’t been tested in court is that the accused is deprived of his right to go to court.)

And, the saints be praised, I was stunned by that editorial in the Province this past Wednesday that told the premier, in so many words, to get off her ass or someone else (never to be named, of course) might take her job away.

This is like the day Walter Cronkite criticized Lyndon Johnson’s Vietnam policy, such that Johnson knew that if he had lost Cronkite, he’d lost the country. When the loyal troopers at the Sun and Province turn their guns - even if only popguns - at you, there is definitely trouble in River City, Madam Premier. (If there was any remaining doubt as to the direction things are headed for Premier Photo-op, yesterday, Mr. Palmer dissected the grim poll numbers of Ms. Clark's party, now trailing a full 7 points behind the NDP.)

What’s next? Sun Editorial page editor Fazil Mihlar, a Fellow of the Fraser Institute, giving Erik Andersen, the economist who has exposed the fiscal folly of BC Hydro/Private power program, an op-ed piece?

Will my old “pal” Wayne Moriarty of the Province give an op-ed piece where Rex Weyler, a founder of Greenpeace, can tell that which the media won’t tell, about pipelines moving highly toxic Tar Sands bitumen to Kitimat and Vancouver and the certainty of spills on BC's land and seacoast?

Premier Photo-op still has her charming smile coming from every possible orifice in these papers, but criticism in the Postmedia press! Can the Age of Miracles be far off?!!! 

Speeches from the Throne are pretty bland affairs but to give one praising Private River projects in light of all that’s happened and to fail to make  mention of the environment has even got to our aforesaid friends in Fox News North.

I wonder when the media is going to admit that all their nonsense about the Liberals being good stewards of the public purse has been exposed as bunk (I’m trying to clean up my language, folks) – that they have tripled the provincial debt since those NDP wastrels left office and that in fact it was the NDP in 2001 that last had a surplus?

Don’t peddle that crap about the Recession; evidently they had not noticed the stock market crash and the crumbling of banks and brokers. If the government didn’t see the Recession coming, they obviously weren’t paying attention. Then, let them be reminded, that when they brought in their deceitful 2009 budget, which they knew was phoney, they then ran the election on it.

Moreover, in the NDP years there was the Asian flu which destroyed our export market and neither the media nor the Liberals cut them any slack.

Seventy years ago the boxing great Joe Louis remarked about his upcoming heavyweight fight with Billy Conn – “He can run but he can’t hide” – that’s as true today as it was then and the Premier would do well to bear it in mind.

One used to be able to brush aside concerns of the “environment” – it was a left wing issue; it was only what my Dad called “parlour pinks” that gave a damn. That’s no longer the case and, as part of the environmental movement, I can tell the Liberals flat out that they will be hounded by it unless they, in a miracle rivalling Lazarus rising from the dead, change their ways.

The further problem is that they have been so economical with the truth, nobody believes what they say no matter how or when they say it. The Campbell/Clark government has lied through its teeth for a decade and not only is that a tough habit to break, but no one believes you anyway if you do. They’re like the clock that strikes 13 – you never ever trust it again.

I and others have tried to tell this premier and her government that not only are environmental issues many and varied, there is a steady but certain coming together of those who take these issues very seriously. “Divide and Rule” is no longer possible. As we’ve been saying for some time – these issues are not matters of “Left” and “Right” but right and wrong. And we stand shoulder to shoulder in these battles.

If the media finally starts doing its job it will expose the fact that the Campbell/Clark government’s Energy Policy (you were there ma’am) has taken BC Hydro to the brink of bankruptcy while ruining our rivers for power we don’t need, which BC Hydro must buy and take a huge loss on.

It will expose the fact that BC stands to have its sacred heritage destroyed by pipelines from The Tar Sands, be it on land or from tankers on our coast. The logic cannot be refuted – if you take a risk without any limitation of time or times you take it, you no longer have a risk but a certainty waiting to happen. Ms. Clark, you and your candidates will be hearing that a lot from now until election day. (Mercy of mercies, please call a snap election - the sooner the better off the province will be!)

Then there are fish farms and farmland – huge issues led by people like Alexandra Morton and Donna Passmore, whose supporters, including us at The Common Sense Canadian, will back them to the hilt.

{Snip} ...

BC Mary comment: For people like me, there's no "left" or "right" or interest groups with all the answers to our current dangers; Gordon Campbell has earned himself a place as a "visionary". He was able to foresee the most rapacious and destructive uses of almost every portion of the land we hold dear. Sacred forests? Phhttt. Sacred salmon? Phhttt. Well, you know what I mean. 
So while I don't follow any political party line -- I do hold individuals responsible:  Gordon Campbell for recruiting, guiding, aiding, and abetting crimes which in my view surpass murder, beyond genocide, beyond "Crimes against Humanity": he took risks which sacrifice rivers, lakes, watersheds, industries, the justice system, the legislative powers to preserve and protect our system of society, which includes the corruption of the media upon which citizens depend for the information need to guide and safeguard their lives. 
Gordon Campbell, in my view, is the worst enemy any province, any country could ever have. And who was his Deputy Premier during his mismanagement of BC Rail? None other than "premier Photo Op" who isn't quite as clever about hiding her secrets.  It's fair to assume that Christy endorses the Campbell style.
And while I'm nailing hides to the wall, right up there with Campbell and Christy is Leonard Krog, the do-nothing, good-for-nothing Opposition Justice Critic who could've done so much, but quite simply chose not to. Irksome thought, the fat salary Krog receives for a job he refuses to do.


Talkin' Deltaport: "Who would have guessed parts of it would become a railway again thirty years later?"

BC Mary comment:  It's always special when we can listen in on a conversation between two people who know their subject well. Here's such a conversation between two trainmen, on the subject of BC Rail and its Deltaport. 

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Canadian Railroads > Vancouver BC railroad map

Date: 10/02/11 01:06
Vancouver BC railroad map
Author: JGFuller

Wondering of anyone might have a link to a good Ry map of the Vancouver area -- or if you have one, could it be sent, or scanned and sent? In advance, thanks!

[ Reply To This Message ] [ Quote ]
Date: 10/02/11 04:03
Re: Vancouver BC railroad map
Author: ghCBNS

Vancouver Map here:

And the rest of Canada:

[ Reply To This Message ] [ Quote ]
Date: 10/02/11 10:04
Re: Vancouver BC railroad map
Author: JGFuller

Superb! Many thanks!!

Of course, access to such info always triggers more questions!

How is it that BCR appears to own the line between Roberts Bank and Pratt - disconnected from rest of BCR?

And CP owns a disconnected segment from Pratt to Livingstone, which iirc was [or is?] part of the current SRY, former British Columbia Electric?

Are these segments individually dispatched by the owning road?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/02/11 10:16 by JGFuller.

[ Reply To This Message ] [ Quote ]
Date: 10/02/11 10:37
Re: Vancouver BC railroad map
Author: SOO6617

JGFuller Wrote:
> Superb! Many thanks!!
> Of course, access to such info always triggers
> more questions!
> How is it that BCR appears to own the line between
> Roberts Bank and Pratt - disconnected from rest of
> BCR?

Intended to keep access to the Westshore Coal Terminal and Deltaport Container Terminal neutral.

> And CP owns a disconnected segment from Pratt to
> Livingstone, which iirc was part of the current
> SRY, former British Columbia Electric?
> Are these segments individually dispatched by the owning road?

[ Reply To This Message ] [ Quote ]
Date: 10/02/11 11:37
Re: Vancouver BC railroad map
Author: eminence_grise

JGFuller Wrote:
> Superb! Many thanks!!
> Of course, access to such info always triggers
> more questions!
> How is it that BCR appears to own the line between
> Roberts Bank and Pratt - disconnected from rest of
> BCR?

This was built as the "BC Harbour Commissioners Railway", a Provincially owned railway seperate from the BCR. At some point it was folded into the BCR while the Province of BC still owned it.

The present owner is still BCR, specifically not leased to CN when the rest of the railway was. It was and is controlled from a small dispatching/yard office at Roberts Bank.

> And CP owns a disconnected segment from Pratt to Livingstone, which iirc was part of the current SRY, former British Columbia Electric?

Complex bit of history here. This was part of the BC Electric "Valley" lnterurban line to Huntington and Chilliwack. Sometime in the 1950's or 60's, the privately owned utility company was taken over by the Province of BC, and the line became BC Hydro Rail.

In the 1990's, the Province of BC decided to sell the non-utility parts of BC Hydro , (the Vancouver bus and transit system and BC Hydro Rail). BC held onto the right of way, and has had various operators run the trains, first ITEL and later the Washington Group. They sold the Pratt to Livingston portion to CP however and use trackage rights. As far as I know, this portion is still dispatched from SRY's headquarters in New Westminster.

CN built and owns the Rawlinson Sub. from a junction on the Yale Sub. to Livingston.

At Colebrook on the BNSF New Westminster Sub., the BCR Port Sub. interchanges and paralells the BNSF for eight tenths of a mile, allowing BNSF trains access to the BCR Port Sub (BCR Mud Bay).

> Are these segments individually dispatched by the
> owning road?

[ Reply To This Message ] [ Quote ]
Date: 10/02/11 13:00
Re: Vancouver BC railroad map
Author: JGFuller

Thanks for this history and explanation. Complex indeed, as is often the case in multi-carrier urban areas.

Looks like CPR accesses Roberts Bank from Mission Jct., via CN to Livingstone, thence CPR [SRY] to Pratt, thence BCR to the port. The multiple OCS clearances or Cautionary Limits running must be an interesting intellectual exercise - esp. with a 15,000-ton coal train! I count possibly three different Dispatchers for about 30 miles of route.

Did you run on this route?

I was not aware that the BCR was leased to CN - thought it was a purchase.

[ Reply To This Message ] [ Quote ]
Date: 10/02/11 15:09
Re: Vancouver BC railroad map
Author: eminence_grise

JGFuller Wrote:

> Looks like CPR accesses Roberts Bank from Mission
> Jct., via CN to Livingstone, thence CPR to Pratt,
> thence BCR to the port. The multiple OCS
> clearances or Cautionary Limits running must be an
> interesting intellectual exercise - esp. with a
> 15,000-ton coal train! I count possibly three
> different Dispatchers for about 30 miles of
> route.

More complex routing here. CP's Mission Sub. branches of the CP mainline Cascade Sub. at Mi 87.0 Mission Junction, crosses the Fraser River on a multi-span through truss bridge. The Mission Sub. continues south to interchange with the BNSF at Sumas-Huntingdon, however, at the south side of the Fraser River at Mi 1, Riverside, the CP Page Sub. branches off to the west paralelling the CN mainline Yale Mi 2 where it joins the CN Rawlinson Sub.

Also, with "co-production" directional running, most eastbound CN traffic including the coal empties go over the CP from Mission Junction to Coho/Nepa near Ashcroft BC, about a hundred miles to the east.

> Did you run on this route?

No, strictly the Shuswap and Mountain Subs further east.
> I was not aware that the BCR was leased to CN -
> thought it was a purchase.

Two Provincial Governments ago, the Premier promised not to sell the BCR. He didn't, he leased it to CN for 999 years. Initially, the Port Sub.was part of the deal, and many railways in the US and Canada were interested. When the whole bribery scandal became public, it became known that the Port Sub. was mysteriously pulled off the lease agreement. A CP vice-president legal suddenly got a job with the BC Supreme Court at that time. Whistle blowing can be lucrative.

Another complexity of track ownership. Beyond the high tide mark at Roberts Bank, the super-port is outside of BC juristiction and is Federal land. When the "Deltaport" container port was established, Omnitrax set up a nationwide switching subsidiary "Trans Canada Switching" (with an SD9 and an SW for power)who carried out the switching. For whatever reason, that didn't work out, and CP and CN and BNSF did their own switching. However, for accounting reasons, there had to be a Federally chartered host railway other than the client railways. A jointly owned CP/CN subsidiary,Toronto Terminal Railway which operates Toronto Union Station now controls the tracks beyond the tidal mark at Roberts Bank superport.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/02/11 15:13 by eminence_grise.

[ Reply To This Message ] [ Quote ]
Date: 10/02/11 21:22
Re: Vancouver BC railroad map
Author: crashnational

JGFuller Wrote:
> Looks like CPR accesses Roberts Bank from Mission
> Jct., via CN to Livingstone, thence CPR to Pratt,
> thence BCR to the port. The multiple OCS
> clearances or Cautionary Limits running must be an
> interesting intellectual exercise - esp. with a
> 15,000-ton coal train! I count possibly three
> different Dispatchers for about 30 miles of
> route.

CTC all the way from Mission to Roberts Bank.

[ Reply To This Message ] [ Quote ]
Date: 10/02/11 21:41
Re: Vancouver BC railroad map
Author: JGFuller

CTC - good to hear!

Who dispatches what? "Eminence_grise" indicated that SRY dispatches Livingstone-Pratt, and I would assume that CN dispatches Livingstone-Hydro-Page. So then, would BCR do Pratt-Roberts Bank?

[ Reply To This Message ] [ Quote ]
Date: 10/02/11 22:00
Re: Vancouver BC railroad map
Author: crashnational

JGFuller Wrote:
> CTC - good to hear!
> Who dispatches what? "Eminence_grise" indicated
> that SRY dispatches Livingstone-Pratt, and I would
> assume that CN dispatches Livingstone-Hydro-Page.
> So then, would BCR do Pratt-Roberts Bank?

BC Rail dispatches Livingston to Roberts Bank.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/02/11 22:00 by crashnational.

[ Reply To This Message ] [ Quote ]
Date: 10/02/11 22:01
Re: Vancouver BC railroad map
Author: JGFuller


[ Reply To This Message ] [ Quote ]
Date: 10/03/11 06:32
Re: Vancouver BC railroad map
Author: crashnational

JGFuller Wrote:
> Thanks!

No problem. SRY trains have to contact the BC Rail Port Sub RTC to go from Pratt to Livingston, CN and CP trains have to contact the BC Rail Port Sub RTC before they get to Hydro, the CN RTC will line trains towards the Rawlison Sub at Hydro but the trains don't want to stop at Livingston as they'd have crossings blocked and would be sitting on a hill.

[ Reply To This Message ] [ Quote ]
Date: 10/03/11 10:31
Re: Vancouver BC railroad map
Author: eminence_grise

The Roberts Bank super port consists of two facilities, Westshore Terminals, which is the coal port and Deltaport which is the container port. Both have their own trackage. Westshore has two unloading loops with rotary dumpers.

When the market for coal export opened up to BC and Alberta coal mines, it became apparent that the existing facilities along Burrard Inlet, at Port Moody and North Vancouver were not going to be able to handle the volume.

Also, considerable navigation would be required by the coal ships to reach the Burrard Inlet facilities, and the Lions Gate bridge over the mouth of the harbour would limited the vertical clearance of some ships.

By docking at Roberts Bank, ocean going vessels could save half a day sailing time, and piloting and tug fees.

Originally, Westshore Terminals was owned by Kaiser Resources, who owned most of the mines on the CP. Kaiser Resources was dissolved when the parent corporation in the US had financial difficulties. Westshore is now part of the Pattison Group, controlled by Jimmy Pattison, a grocery ,auto dealership, advertising and TV station billionaire.

Westshore has loading facilities for "Panamax" and larger bulk carriers. The only significant closures have been due to severe ocean weather, and when the rotary dumpers have required replacing. They are on their second set, and anticipate renewal in the next few years. From startup, there have been CP,CN, BN and occasional UP trains use the facility.

[ Reply To This Message ] [ Quote ]
Date: 10/03/11 11:52
Re: Vancouver BC railroad map
Author: eminence_grise

Parts of the BCR Port Sub. were built of the abandoned right of way of the Great Northern's "Victoria Terminal Railway & Ferry" line to Port Guichon, slightly to the north of Roberts Bank. The VTR&F (built 1903)connected to the GN's New Westminster Southern, the present Vancouver to Seattle line, and to the GN's Vancouver,Victoria & Eastern, which was built most of the way across southern BC but later abandoned. At Port Guichon, car ferries transported trains to Sidney on Vancouver Island, where the GN's Victoria & Sidney provided service to Victoria. The VTR&F was abandoned in 1938, with the right of way reverting to the "Crown" (BC Government). Who would have guessed parts of it would become a railway again thirty years later?

Greater Vancouver has grown south into the Fraser Valley and delta. When the coal route was planned in the 1970's, it was farmland and bush.

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British Columbia to help fund upgrades to Vancouver port rail link

As part of a “Canada Starts Here: The B.C. Jobs Plan,” British Columbia Premier Christy Clark recently announced $50 million in funding to improve a provincially owned corridor that connects Deltaport to Canada's rail network. Port Metro Vancouver’s largest container terminal, Deltaport is located in Roberts Bank, B.C.

The funds are part of the planned $200 million Deltaport Terminal, Road and Rail Infrastructure project, which is designed to increase container capacity. Rail upgrades will be completed on the BC Rail Port subdivision, the last remaining publicly owned track segment from the former BC Rail Ltd., according to Canadian Pacific.