Saturday, December 31, 2011


BC Rail: You've got to know when to hold 'em

BC Mary comment:  There's an old song I often think of -- a gambler's song -- which makes my husband laugh whenever I mention it out loud because, he says, it doesn't sound like me. But it does sound like me in a particular time and place: like, at this time of year when we mark off another sad anniversary of crooked, cheatin', bribing, mean-spirited goomers who were caught on December 28, 2003 trying to run our world for us.

Caught, fair and square. By the police. And then the game started up in earnest. From then on, Who was in the game? What were the rules? Who could look at the evidence? Who was protected and who was vulnerable? Who would pay the price? Who would go to jail?

Dave Basi, Ministerial Assistant to his good friend, the Minister of Finance (Gary Collins) was fired immediately after December 28, 2003 when police raided the BC Legislature. (Such a shocker had never happened before within the British Commonwealth.)  His cousin, Bobby Virk, was put on paid leave for 1 year, then fired.  8 other people were charged but barely  mentioned. Mr Big, Jasmohan Singh Bains, also Dave Basi's cousin was, in fact, not mentioned even when the highly successful investigation produced charges, a trial, a verdict, a sentence, and a hefty fine, on charges of cocaine trafficking ... a trial which took place a few blocks down Blanshard Street from the Victoria Times Colonist. No mention. For 6 months (June 2009 - December 2009) no mention ever.

After due diligence based on a citizen's report from BC Supreme Courtroom, BC Mary (that would be I) published the Bains trial in December 2010. Nobody picked it up in MSM.

Feb. 17, 2010 ... after a brief conversation with Ian Mulgrew in which I said "Ian, I wish YOU had been assigned to the Basi-Virk trial because ... " and I outlined the Bains story. Mulgrew picked it up ... it appeared one time only ... in Vancouver Sun a full 60 days after I broke the story.  Now I'm only mentioning this because it's so glaringly obvious what's going on here. {And I eliminate Mulgrew from this accusation because he DID report it ... but seems to have been stifled since then.}

Things which DON'T happen are the hardest to explain.  For example, our leaders might have given the impression that nothing had happened.  Because neither Campbell nor Paul Martin rushed to BC's Capital City to stand on the steps of the Legislature and say something reassuring like: "We're worried. We know you are worried and let me assure you, we are on the case."  They were so dismissive, it had a certain stink to it right from the get-go. So there was no reassurance for a frightened province.  No.  When days after cops were pacing the corridors of the Legislature, Gordon Campbell wandered back from Hawaii ... and I imagine him with his hands in his pockets and his eyes gazing all bored into the far horizon while he says, "I know nothing more than YOU know ... " which is laughingly, tragically comical when you really stop and think about it.  He knew. He had to know how BC Rail happened to end up as a book-end for CN instead of as a lifeline for the Province of B.C. But surely he knew everything of what Basi and Bains knew too.  Everything and more.

At the time, without undue haste, days later, Prime Minister Paul Martin sauntered along -- big Paul, who just had one of his Canada Steamship Line come into Sydney Harbour with a shipment of cocaine strapped to its exterior hull, what did he say? He said "I know nothing, too." Then Paul said he'd make everything look better by transferring ownership of Canada Steamship Lines in trust, to his sons. God, how they must've laughed, Gordo,  Paul and the boys.

But then, not much is ever investigated (or so it appears) about how such massive shipments of simple marijuana ($6Billion a year cash trade) -- let alone the hard dangerous traffic in cocaine, heroin, and all that -- make their way into Canada, or across Canada, and within Canada. But isn't that what Jasmohan Bains was convicted for, fair and square and quietly?

Let me ask you: what benefit do you see in these new "Free Trade Zones" which Vicki Huntingdon more aptly calls "Foreign Trade Zones" -- in which, it seems to me, new cities are being built -- for example, near Winnipeg Airport -- to which sealed containers will be shipped and stored for rapid trans-shipment to export. Under some fancy new customs terms?  Is it possible that these could be something we damwell don't want?

And that's where the beloved BC Rail comes in. BC Rail was more than a railway ... but now it's only a chunk of trackage on the highway to hell.  BC Rail is now a simple join-up with the purpose of hurling freight across B.C., and onto ships bound for export. BC is virtual road-kill.

BC can be, once again, what it was in the past: the vital link between agriculture and markets, between industries and cities, between villages, towns, tourists and their destinations. It can once again be the singing heart of a highly productive province, instead of the off-loader of precious raw resources. BC Rail is exactly what British Columbia needs and wants again. Didn't we have forests and a forest industry when we had BC Rail? Yes we did, and now we don't. I still say that a deal achieved by illegal or crooked means is no deal at all. With determination, British Columbia could say to CN that it's time to stop playing silly buggers ... time to return BC Rail to its rightful owners.

Remember the brilliant foresight of W.A.C. Bennett in establishing BC Hydro? Well, he set up BC Rail too.

My readers may find re-possession of BC Rail a very big dream. It is a big dream, but it's an achievable dream if we're determined to put things right. As I've said before, the BC Rail heist was the first tragedy but there are other disasters to attend to as well. Somebody has to call a halt.

And that's why I keep singing:

You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, 
Know when to walk away, know when to run.

You never count your money when you're settin' at the table,
There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done. 

- The Gambler Song by Don Schlitz, 1978. The song tells the story of a late night meeting on a train. An un-named old man is talking to the narrator and notes that he's down on his luck. He offers this advice in exchange for the last swallow of whisky. 

Noted in passing:


2011 Vancouver Gang War Year in review

... Yet I do think Saanich Police officer Dillon Sahota's son Paul Sahota and son in law Jarrod Nicol's involvement in the drug trade is very significant since Dillon Sahota owned one of the houses where drugs were seized and how that whole Victoria cocaine trade is tied to the BC Liberals through the Bassi Virk BC Rail scam.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Off-topic, but Jaysus, Mary and Joseph: reality check ...

Oh Canada’s Become a Home for Record Fracking
                                                                        [para. #2 corrected Dec. 29/2011.]

Early last year, deep in the forests of northern British Columbia, workers for Apache Corp. performed what the company proclaimed was the biggest hydraulic fracturing operation ever.

Workers on a natural gas drilling rig near Longview, Alberta. (Larry MacDougal/Canadian Press via AP Images)  [Please note that this is a photo caption and really isn't connected to the northern story being reported here. The photo got left out but the caption (showing Longview, Alberta instead of the once-deep forests of northern B.C.) got jammed into place when the system failed to copy the photo which originated from U.S.A.  Sorry for the confusion, which happened after I had cross-checked it. - BC Mary.]

The project used 259 million gallons of water and 50,000 tons of sand to frack 16 gas wells side by side. It was "nearly four times larger than any project of its nature in North America," Apache boasted.

The record didn't stand for long. By the end of the year, Apache and its partner, Encana, topped it by half at a neighboring site ...

Please read it all HERE.  These people don't care!  Tuum est!



BC Rail 8 years later ...

                                     Shocking new story:
                              huge alleged heroin hotbed in
                            Afghanistan's Kandahar Airfield 
                                 The Tyee - Dec. 29, 2011

BC Mary comment: Bill Tieleman's latest Tyee posting reminds us of what B.C. has endured these past 8 years, since police with Search Warrants entered the B.C. Legislature searching for evidence of drug trafficking. The BCRail hanky-panky came into view, after this got under way. The funny thing is, the evidence was found, the perpetrator (Jasmohan Singh Bains) went to trial in Victoria, he (thought to be Mr Big) was found guilty, and was sentenced to 8 years plus a large fine ...  and not a word of it was published in West Coast or national media.

The story came to light only because of a citizen who attended BC Supreme Court almost every day, who overheard some courtroom conversation (not secret). He  looked around the courtroom and saw no big media journalists ... and decided to pass the tip to BC Mary.

Although grateful, I couldn't believe his report. I couldn't imagine Big Media letting that kind of story pass by unnoticed. So I did plenty of due diligence, even got the judge's Reasons for Judgment, and there was no doubt: Bains had been arrested, tried, convicted, fined, imprisoned ... under the full protection of secrecy. I will never rest until I find out why that information was kept from the public. [But what a co-incidence, to see this huge heroin centre revealed today, operating at a high level amongst our own troops in Afghanistan, cloaked in "wartime" secrecy.  - BC Mary.]

But ... getting back on track with Bill Tieleman ... here's the Basi, Virk, Basi story reviewed again ... with a flip! 

How BC Rail Was Made to Disappear

Eight years later, looking back at the BC legislature raid, and where we've arrived.
By Bill Tieleman, Yesterday,

Dec 28, 2003: Police seize documents related to BC Liberals' $1 billion privatization of BC Rail.

Give it 1/5
Give it 2/5
Give it 3/5
Give it 4/5
Give it 5/5

Railgate, A to Z
Five years after the legislature raid, a who's who guide to BC's biggest political scandal.
Railgate? Asked and Answered, Says Clark
Premier calls me out as she rejects Basi-Virk inquiry. Yet questions do persist.
'I Want Everything Released': Basi
Convicted Railgate figure says 'Who's your daddy' wiretap comment was a joke, not about procuring sex.

What happened when an unprecedented police raid on British Columbia's legislature took place eight years ago Wednesday?

How did the BC Liberal government's $1 billion privatization of BC Rail spark the province's biggest political scandal in decades?

Why did the ministerial aides to then finance minister Gary Collins and then transportation minister Judith Reid -- David Basi and Bob Virk -- defend themselves against charges of breach of trust and fraud for six years only to make a surprise guilty plea bargain when their trial had heard just two of a likely 40 witnesses?

Who knew what and when?

And when, if ever, will we find the answers to these questions?


BC Mary response:

Hi Bill,

Your Tyee column today is terrific. Nice analogy too, the Princeton dirt-pile ... the image stays in the imagination.

I wanted to leave a comment on Tyee but couldn't get on (what a nerve! - I've been a member for 6 years and 39 weeks!). But wanted you to know how welcome your comments are ... for those of us who worry about the BC Rail story going stale.

One aspect I'd like to see you explore ... I've heard it said that any agreement reached by fraudulent means then itself becomes null and void. It makes sense to me!

Also: There are clauses, in all agreements (even including the BCR-CN agreement) which specify certain actions or conditions under which the deal becomes untenable, and ownership is revoked.   In this case, with BC Rail the tentative ownership would lapse and be re-possessed by the BC government under certain circumstances. As I recall (from memory) reasons for breaking the deal between BCRail and CN included CN failure to maintain certain rail-lines; or if CN fails to buy the promised 600 rail-cars, etc. And it's my understanding that both those sins had been committed by CN ... which is why I tried to institute a "Show Us The Deal" campaign for July 14, 2009 (5th anniversary of the deal, designated for review).

Q.  Why would the Campbell / Christy-Clark governments shrink from that question? Seems to me it would be a win-win for BC if, as a result of a Public Inquiry, the BCR-CN deal is shown and proven to be corrupted.  I'd love to see your analysis of this.

I'll try to post this on your Tyee review, if I can access it now.  Happy New Year!



And here's the URL to a column by Mark Hume at the time, which explains the inexplicable Ken Dobell as well as the imponderable BC Rail "trial".

Dobell defends his perusal of seized files in BC Rail probe.


Sunday, December 25, 2011


'Struth: we once had a premier named Boss Johnson

Welcome confirmation from The Galloping Beaver ...

Deborah Grey gives Harper a reformer wedgie

On CBC's The House, Evan Solomon asked Reform Party matriarch Deborah Grey about Harper. Harper used to be her legislative assistant so we can probably safely assume she has some insight into the way he thinks.

While she waxed on about how wonderful Harper is and how he's a Conservative and therefore the neatest thing since the invention of peanut butter, she slipped from referring to "conservatives", in a general sense to "Reformers", specifically. Solomon latched on:

Solomon: Is he still a Reformer?

Grey: Pardon?

Solomon: Is Stephen Harper still a Reformer?

Grey:  Oh, I'd say so.
Grey: Oh, I'd say so. 
Grey: Oh, I'd say so. 
[Grey quietly to herself: Uh oh, maybe I shouldn't have said so.] 

So much for the "mellowing" his supporters keep trying to foist on us. If you go to link and listen to the audio you can pick it up at about minute 18.

Posted by Dave at 14:35

BC Mary says: I remember Deb Grey as one of the rare Reformers who came across as believable. Maybe the old originals felt more confident of their sincerity. That has changed.

Plus, did you know that her Uncle was a BC premier? By the name of "Boss Johnson" ... who was premier of a Liberal-Conservative Coalition ... and I did NOT make that up.  Premier Boss Johnson lasted from 1949 to 1951 when his Coalition government was "defeated" (ha ha) by Social Credit.


Saturday, December 24, 2011


Christmas Greetings to all, 2011

BC Mary sends Christmas Greetings to all. Somehow I think I'll feel better if I send a special Christmas Greeting to our former premier, Gordon Muir Campbell (now Canada's representative in the highest government appointment of all). What to say ... what to say ... hmmm.

John Wood writes: I came across this Canadian government site and thought the comments on Campbell's  bio to be deliberately misleading and somewhat fictional at the end.

Canadian Representatives Abroad

United Kingdom - London
(United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)

Mission         The High Commission of Canada to the United Kingdom

Web site


Street Address         The High Commission of Canada
Macdonald House, 1 Grosvenor Square
London, United Kingdom

Telephone    General    (011 44 20) 7258 6600

Fax    General Fax    (011 44 20) 7258 6333

Fax    Consular Fax    (011 44 20) 7258 6533 (Consular and Passsport Services) *

Position                       Name
High Commissioner     Gordon Campbell
Deputy High Commissioner    Mr C. Boucher
Minister    Ms A. Arnott
Minister-Counsellor    Mr M. Fletcher
Minister-Counsellor (Economic/Commercial)    Mr B. Parrott
Minister-Counsellor (Political/Public Affairs)    Mr D. Proudfoot
Counsellor     S. Nordstrum
Counsellor    Mrs D. Spencer
Counsellor (Commercial - Alberta)     J. Sundquist
Counsellor (Commercial - Ontario)     M. Stewart
Counsellor    Mr M. Theilmann
Counsellor (Commercial)    Ms J. Daubeny
Counsellor    Mr R. Kondo
Counsellor (Commercial)    Mrs S. Gera
Counsellor (Public Affairs)    Mrs V. Alexander
Counsellor (Immigration)    Mr D. Cochrane
Counsellor    Mr R. Sinclair
Counsellor    Mr R. Khatchadourian
Counsellor (Economic)    Ms E. McLaughlin
Medical Attaché    Dr. S. Bertrand
Medical Attaché    Dr. M. L. LeBlanc
First Secretary (Administration)    Mr P. Bonser
First Secretary (Immigration)    Mr R. Stevenson
First Secretary    Mr K. Gupta
First Secretary    Mrs S. Rossiter
First Secretary (Immigration)    Miss F. Galarneau
First Secretary (Commercial)    Ms A. Desmarteau
First Secretary (Immigration)    Mr C. Raymond
First Secretary     M. Ryan
First Secretary (Immigration)    Mrs A. Corbett
First Secretary (Immigration)     G. Rent
First Secretary (Administration)     D. Morency
First Secretary (Immigration)    Mr C. Goldsby
First Secretary (Immigration)    Ms M. Williamson
Attaché    Mr P. Cyr
Second Secretary (Immigration)     J. Hansen
Second Secretary (Immigration)     I. Van Haren
Second Secretary (Immigration)     W. Wolbert
Second Secretary    Ms A. Bretzlaff
Attaché     D. Ridley
Attaché    Mr M. Derkaoui
Commander and Defence Adviser     K. Williams
Counsellor (Defence Research & Development)     D. Dyck
Naval Adviser    Capt(N) H. Harsch
Air Force Adviser     P. Keddy
Army Adviser     M. Makulowich
Assistant Army Adviser    LCol D. Janelle
Assistant Air Force Adviser    LCol A. Agnew
Assistant Naval Adviser     A. James
Attaché     A. Rivera
Attaché    Mr N. De Chamaillard
Attaché    Mr J. Aranda-Espejo
Attaché     C. Barber
Attaché    Mrs C. Lanteigne
Attaché     H. Nagra
Attaché     P. Tejada-Hache
Attaché     N. Savard
Attaché     D. Wonnenberg
Attaché    Mrs G. Laplante
Attaché    Cpl J. Lyster

* Consular and Passport Services: Macdonald House, 38 Grosvenor Street, London W1K 4AA
** Immigration and Medical Services: Macdonald House, 38 Grosvenor Street, London W1K 4AA
Primary navigation

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Proactive Disclosure

Date Modified:

Thank you, John Wood, for sending this list.  Happy New Year to you and your loved ones.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011


No Deep Integration with U.S.A., you gotta be kidding!

B.C. allies back Blaine Amtrak station

By Jeff Nagel
Surrey North Delta Leader - News
December 20, 2011.

Visit Source for additional links.
Amtrak trains pass through White Rock but don't stop. Years of lobbying have failed there, but a new campaign is underway to create an Amtrak stop in nearby Blaine, just steps from the Peace Arch​.

Efforts to get a White Rock stop for Amtrak passenger trains have so far failed, but a new push is now on to use Blaine's historic train station just a short stroll across the border. The idea is that Canadians – particularly from cities like Surrey, Langley and Abbotsford – could park near the Peace Arch border and board trains there to Seattle.

"It would have heavy Canadian usage as they could cross the border by foot or bike even," predicts Bill Becht, one of the Blaine residents behind the campaign to restore the shuttered station.
The issue has become urgent in Blaine since BNSF Railway applied for a permit to demolish the old station building.

The city has postponed the decision one year while the building's significance is assessed."I just want to get more awareness and hopefully there will be a groundswell of support," Becht said. "Tearing a historic train station down is an asinine thing to do."

He thinks Canadians will be key allies in the fight.The current Vancouver-Seattle service, which has no intermediary stops north of Bellingham, is much less convenient for the 600,000-plus South of Fraser residents who must first get to Vancouver's Main Street train station to board Amtrak or else wait in border lines and drive to Bellingham to connect.

Surrey resident Gordon Hall notes Amtrak's morning trains leave Vancouver too early for anyone from Surrey to get to the station on public transit. "If we could park north of the border, walk to customs and get on the morning train headed south, then return on the evening train, it would work very well," he said.

Numerous Canadian supporters have already posted on the website. "This concept would bring hundreds of BC residents into Blaine for travel to Seattle and further," predicted White Rock's Christy Grant.

"We would love to take the train south but driving to downtown Vancouver or Bellingham doesn't make sense," added Bill Hughes. "It would be far more efficient and convenient to use my Nexus pass to cross the border and hop on a train to Seattle, or points south, than to catch a plane from Vancouver International Airport where I would have to spend two hours or so clearing security," wrote Kane Scott.

Metro Vancouver residents also suggested TransLink buses run an extra eight blocks east from White Rock to the Peace Arch to support the service. Others said the stop may even reduce pollution and lineups at the Peace Arch crossing.

Amtrak now runs two daily trains in each direction between Vancouver and Seattle. Amtrak has opposed adding another stop because it would lengthen run times.

A proposed stop in White Rock was even more challenging because of the need for passengers to clear customs – a problem that would not exist in Blaine. "They'd have a leg up there," White Rock Mayor  Wayne Baldwin said. "But it's certainly not going to be a cakewalk."

He noted hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to upgrade the passenger rail line to reduce the travel time.

Blaine's old train station is near the intersection of Marine Drive and Peace Portal Drive.
[See map and photos at source.]



BC Mary question:  BC Rail was successful in promoting the economic wellbeing of British Columbia, from Vancouver northward to the top of the province. CN came along and switched the focus from provincial prosperity to private profit-making. That's our history ...

So how are we to read this push southward?  How does this improve British Columbia's economic future? It's offered so innocently: merely a "convenience" for shoppers in the lower mainland of B.C. ... but in BC Rail terms ... B.C. is being railroaded one giant step toward closer integration with the U.S. economy. 

Why would we want to do that?


Tuesday, December 20, 2011


When B.C. rail gives a Christmas gift to Port of Vancouver


Roberts Bank Rail Corridor upgrades benefit communities, boost Asia-Pacific trade

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TSAWWASSEN, BC, Dec. 20, 2011

 CNW/ - Local commuters, farmers and truckers now have a safer, more reliable route to cross Deltaport Way at 41B Street without being delayed by long trains and truck traffic, thanks to a newly completed overpass.

"Demand for Canadian exports in Asia-Pacific markets continues to grow at a rapid rate, and investments such as these along the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor are furthering Canada's competitive advantages, improving infrastructure in local communities, and creating jobs and prosperity for workers, businesses and families," said the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway. "With the completion of the 41B overpass and, eventually, the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor overall, we are strengthening Canada's Asia-Pacific Gateway, while positioning the West Coast as the corridor of choice between Canada and the high-growth Asia-Pacific markets."

41B is the first of nine projects completed in the $307-million Roberts Bank Rail Corridor (RBRC) Program and will ease traffic congestion in the communities of Delta, Surrey, the City of Langley and the Township of Langley. The RBRC Program comprises eight overpasses and one railway siding in a 70-kilometre stretch that connects Roberts Bank, which contains Canada's largest container facility (Deltaport) and coal terminal (Westshore), to the North American rail network. The RBRC is expected to carry increasing volumes of goods from around the world that we use here every day, as well as Canadian exports.

"Strengthening infrastructure to get our goods and services to expanding markets in Asia and the world is a pillar of the B.C. Jobs Plan," said B.C. Agriculture Minister Don McRae on behalf of Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Blair Lekstrom. "The 41B project, which created more than 150 construction jobs, supports our growing trade and improves the quality of life for local farmers and all families by providing a safer connection within the community."

The overpass will also provide improved access to the Tsawwassen First Nation Gateway Logistics Centre.

"The Asia-Pacific Gateway and Deltaport are key areas for growth opportunities for Tsawwassen First Nation's new Tsawwassen Gateway Logistics Centre — which links directly to Deltaport and the South Fraser Perimeter Road system," said Chief Kim Baird of the Tsawwassen First Nation. "The 41B overpass is a critical link in expediting traffic from our centre and is a further indication of the strategic economic partnership TFN has with the B.C. government."

The RBRC Program is funded by 12 public and private partners: Transport Canada, the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, TransLink, Port Metro Vancouver, the Corporation of Delta, the City of Surrey, the City of Langley, the Township of Langley, CN, CP Rail, British Columbia Railway Company and BNSF Railway.
The $24-million 41B Street overpass project is funded by the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure ($5.5 million), British Columbia Railway Company ($12.6 million), Transport Canada ($3.5 million) and Port Metro Vancouver ($2.4 million).

"The RBRC Program exemplifies the Asia-Pacific Gateway strategy in action," said president and chief executive officer of Port Metro Vancouver, Robin Silvester. "Working together with the federal and provincial governments, we are advancing infrastructure projects that will benefit the community, and support Canadian trade and jobs in the most sustainable way possible."

The RBRC Program is working proactively to make improvements to road and rail to accommodate increasing traffic around growing communities and ensure residents can travel through the corridor safely, with minimal delays and impacts on their quality of life. British Columbia's trade with Asia is increasing through Canada's Pacific Gateway. Pacific Gateway partners have committed $22 billion to expand and enhance port, rail, road and airport infrastructure in the Pacific Gateway to meet those growing demands.

For more information about the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor Program and the Pacific Gateway, visit
Transport Canada is online at Subscribe to e-news or stay connected through RSS, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr to keep up to date on the latest from Transport Canada.
This news release may be made available in alternative formats for persons living with visual disabilities.

Backgrounder Information

Roberts Bank Rail Corridor 41B Street overpass at Deltaport Way
The Roberts Bank Rail Corridor (RBRC) Program is a comprehensive package of road and rail improvements funded through a unique collaboration of 12 public- and private-sector partners. The $307-million program is designed to improve the safety and efficiency of the road and rail network. It will also enhance the quality of life for residents of communities through which rail traffic travels to and from Port Metro Vancouver terminals at Roberts Bank in Delta.
The partners are working proactively to improve road access and safety for local residents by providing alternate routes over busy railways. Partners include Transport Canada, the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, TransLink, Port Metro Vancouver (PMV), the Corporation of Delta, the City of Surrey, the City of Langley, the Township of Langley, CN Rail, Canadian Pacific, British Columbia Railway Company and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway.
The eight overpasses and one rail siding project in the RBRC Program will be completed by 2014. Other rail improvements will reduce whistle blowing, close rail crossings and provide an advanced early warning system that will notify drivers of approaching trains. These improvements will also reduce vehicle idling time and greenhouse gas emissions.

These RBRC projects are underway to connect each of the corridor communities and provide drivers with alternate routes over rail lines, reduce congestion, increase safety, improve emergency vehicle access and reduce idling times.

The $24-million 41B Street overpass project was designed to improve safety and community livability and enhance economic opportunities. The overpass enables local commuters, farmers and trucks to cross Deltaport Way and the rail lines without idling or being delayed by long trains and heavy traffic. The 41B project also meets the demand for increased international freight to and from PMV's Deltaport and Westshore terminals.
The Tsawwassen First Nation (TFN) was a key part of this project, working with the contractor to build a detour road, providing better access to TFN and creating new employment opportunities.
For further information:
Rudy Husny
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade and Minister for the
Asia-Pacific Gateway. Ottawa
Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa
Kate Trotter
Government Communications and Public Engagement
B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
Barbara Joy-Kinsella, Media Relations
Port Metro Vancouver


Before we drive off the cliff ...


This is our Arab Spring!

After Durban: We must pull the emergency brake before the 1 per cent drive us off the cliff

By Derrick O'Keefe
| December 16, 2011

On behalf of Canada, Environment Minister Peter Kent recently spent several days in Durban at the UN climate talks treating the global community like, well, shit -- disrespecting her, ignoring her wishes and just generally displaying rude and selfish behaviour.

But Minister Kent did not have the guts to break up with the global community face to face in Durban. So he waited until he landed back home in Ottawa before officially announcing that Canada was dumping the Kyoto Protocol, making us the first country to ratify the agreement to abandon what is -- for all its flaws and shortcomings -- the only legally binding international climate treaty in existence.

Ironically Peter Kent, years ago when he was a respected CBC TV journalist, had narrated and helped produce a groundbreaking documentary on global warming way back in 1984.

From 1984 to 2011 -- that's 27 lost years. Twenty-seven years of failure to do what must be done. In 1984, Kent's documentary inquired about a potential ban on fossil fuels, or a 300 per cent tax on carbon dioxide emissions.

But nothing like this type of serious, drastic action ever happened. And that's because the past three decades of the climate crisis have coincided with three decades of neo-liberal politics and economics. The market came before society; money came before science, the environment, reason and even morality.

The result of the 2011 Durban climate talks is that the big polluters have given themselves a few more years to fiddle while the world burns. They spin this by telling us that at Durban they agreed to a "roadmap" to a future agreement.

But the map of the road agreed to at Durban leads only one place for humanity -- off the cliff.

In the lead-up to Durban, new evidence emerged about just how quickly we are speeding towards the edge:

-  In November, the International Energy Agency reported that the world was headed for irreversible climate change in five years, unless we immediately cease creating new oil and gas infrastructure.

-  Then, at the beginning of this month the Global Carbon Report revealed that global emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning jumped by the largest amount on record last year.

Then, on Monday, as the world reeled from Canada's irresponsible decision to pull out of Kyoto, there came a new report that suggested it may already be too late to stop our collective drive off the cliff. The story ran in the UK Independent. It read, in part:

Dramatic and unprecedented plumes of methane -- a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide -- have been seen bubbling to the surface of the Arctic Ocean by scientists undertaking an extensive survey of the region.

The scale and volume of the methane release has astonished the head of the Russian research team who has been surveying the seabed of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf off northern Russia for nearly 20 years.

Igor Semiletov, of the Far Eastern branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said that he has never before witnessed the scale and force of the methane being released from beneath the Arctic seabed.

"Earlier we found torch-like structures like this but they were only tens of metres in diameter. This is the first time that we've found continuous, powerful and impressive seeping structures, more than 1,000 metres in diameter…

Scientists estimate that there are hundreds of millions of tonnes of methane gas locked away beneath the Arctic permafrost, which extends from the mainland into the seabed of the relatively shallow sea of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf. One of the greatest fears is that with the disappearance of the Arctic sea-ice in summer, and rapidly rising temperatures across the entire region, which are already melting the Siberian permafrost, the trapped methane could be suddenly released into the atmosphere leading to rapid and severe climate change.

Reading this news report hit me hard.

My mind raced back 15 years, to when I was sitting in a first-year environmental science class at the University of Victoria, riveted as the professor explained the theory of the potential for runaway climate change. The theory is simple but horrifying: that the initial effects of warming -- melting polar ice and permafrost, for example -- will set off "positive feedback loop" effects like the release of stores of methane gas that in turn cause additional warming. Once a certain tipping point is reached -- and the science tells us this is likely somewhere in the neighbourhood of two degrees Celsius of warming -- there will be no possibility of curtailing or reversing the climate change.

Catastrophic climate change will go from theory to reality.

The new findings of massive Arctic methane plumes are perhaps the most startling warnings yet that runaway processes may already have been set into motion. It's the latest indication that we are hurtling towards the cliff. If and when we go over, it won't just result in massive loss of life and dislocation for us humans -- we will also take millions of species over the cliff with us.

This is where the neo-liberal, capitalist joy ride has taken us. Heading over the edge. Only an unprecedented collective mobilization and effort can save us.

It feels like it's now or never. And the once unthinkable thought is becoming the unavoidable thought: it may already be too late.

I'm tempted to suggest that the 1984 Peter Kent would tell the present-day Peter Kent to go to hell. But maybe Kent's just been a vacuous opportunist all along and only the words on the teleprompter have changed. And, secondly, this is much, much bigger than Mr. Kent and the rest of the sock-puppets and salesmen for the tar sands and the rest of Big Oil.

This is now about political power. Forget speaking truth to power. We are going to need to take power, and transform power. It's an almost unbelievable challenge in front of us, especially the younger generations.

Those of us who grew up in the neo-liberal years were told again and again that politics was the art of the possible, but now we face a situation where we must do the impossible.

Walter Benjamin once wrote: "Perhaps revolutions are not the train ride, but the human race grabbing for the emergency brake." Pulling that emergency brake today will require a global movement like we have never seen before.

We are going to need a revolution. An energy revolution.  A social revolution. And a revolution in international relations -- waging war on climate change, instead of war on countries with the misfortunate of sitting on top of oil and other coveted resources.

To achieve all this we are going to need to summon an unprecedented collective will to take back the public sphere, including the media, and we will have to re-imagine our democracy, our cities, our societies, and our daily lives. (My Note:  This starts in our communities and broadens out to include every neighbouring community.  When?  NOW!)

But our first task is clear: Those who have driven us to this perilous point -- the 1 per cent, the rich, selfish, shortsighted, uncultured and ignorant ruling class of our times -- must be removed from behind the wheel once and for all. (And have their keys taken away, too, for good measure.)

System change, not climate change -- this is indeed our only option left.

Note: I did a radio version of this commentary on Wednesday morning, some hours before Justin Trudeau called Peter Kent a "piece of shit" in the House of Commons. For this written version, I made a few tweaks and added one "s-word." You can listen to the original audio here; it's from a segment on the W2 Morning Radio Project, which airs Monday to Friday, 6 a.m. to 8 a.m., on Vancouver's Co-op Radio.



Monday, December 19, 2011


Vancouver Sun has a history: The Sun's incorporation paper in 1912 had stated the newspaper shall not "editorially, nor in its news columns or otherwise, adversely criticize, condemn, oppose in spirit or letter such policy or policies, principle, principles ... or leaders of the said Liberal party - and such shall be considered a violation of the constitution of this company."


An interesting history of Vancouver Sun ... is it 78? or 104 years old?

And would you be surprised to discover that allegiance to the Liberal Party is built right into their DNA?:


The Sun had long given up being the editorial arm of the provincial Liberal party. Said Straight, in 1953: "We operate this way: if the CCF (now the NDP) has a newsworthy case, it gets treated on its merits as a story. There are no sacred cows on the newsdesk."

The Liberal party had once been the most sacred of cows. The Sun's incorporation paper in 1912 had stated the newspaper shall not "editorially, nor in its news columns or otherwise, adversely criticize, condemn, oppose in spirit or letter such policy or policies, principle, principles ... or leaders of the said Liberal party - and such shall be considered a violation of the constitution of this company."

Read more HERE:


Sunday, December 18, 2011


Robert Fisk explains


Bankers are the Dictators of the West

Writing from the very region that produces more clichés per square foot than any other "story" – the Middle East – I should perhaps pause before I say I have never read so much garbage, so much utter drivel, as I have about the world financial crisis.
But I will not hold my fire. It seems to me that the reporting of the collapse of capitalism has reached a new low which even the Middle East cannot surpass for sheer unadulterated obedience to the very institutions and Harvard "experts" who have helped to bring about the whole criminal disaster.

Let's kick off with the "Arab Spring" – in itself a grotesque verbal distortion of the great Arab/Muslim awakening which is shaking the Middle East – and the trashy parallels with the social protests in Western capitals. We've been deluged with reports of how the poor or the disadvantaged in the West have "taken a leaf" out of the "Arab spring" book, how demonstrators in America, Canada, Britain, Spain and Greece have been "inspired" by the huge demonstrations that brought down the regimes in Egypt, Tunisia and – up to a point – Libya. But this is nonsense.

The real comparison, needless to say, has been dodged by Western reporters, so keen to extol the anti-dictator rebellions of the Arabs, so anxious to ignore protests against "democratic" Western governments, so desperate to disparage these demonstrations, to suggest that they are merely picking up on the latest fad in the Arab world.

The truth is somewhat different. What drove the Arabs in their tens of thousands and then their millions on to the streets of Middle East capitals was a demand for dignity and a refusal to accept that the local family-ruled dictators actually owned their countries. The Mubaraks and the Ben Alis and the Gaddafis and the kings and emirs of the Gulf (and Jordan) and the Assads all believed that they had property rights to their entire nations. Egypt belonged to Mubarak Inc, Tunisia to Ben Ali Inc (and the Traboulsi family), Libya to Gaddafi Inc. And so on. The Arab martyrs against dictatorship died to prove that their countries belonged to their own people.

And that is the true parallel in the West. The protest movements are indeed against Big Business – a perfectly justified cause – and against "governments". What they have really divined, however, albeit a bit late in the day, is that they have for decades bought into a fraudulent democracy: they dutifully vote for political parties – which then hand their democratic mandate and people's power to the banks and the derivative traders and the rating agencies, all three backed up by the slovenly and dishonest coterie of "experts" from America's top universities and "think tanks", who maintain the fiction that this is a crisis of globalization rather than a massive financial con trick foisted on the voters.

The banks and the rating agencies have become the dictators of the West. Like the Mubaraks and Ben Alis, the banks believed – and still believe – they are owners of their countries. The elections which give them power have – through the gutlessness and collusion of governments – become as false as the polls to which the Arabs were forced to troop decade after decade to anoint their own national property owners. Goldman Sachs and the Royal Bank of Scotland became the Mubaraks and Ben Alis of the US and the UK, each gobbling up the people's wealth in bogus rewards and bonuses for their vicious bosses on a scale infinitely more rapacious than their greedy Arab dictator-brothers could imagine.

I didn't need Charles Ferguson's Inside Job on BBC2 this week – though it helped – to teach me that the ratings agencies and the US banks are interchangeable, that their personnel move seamlessly between agency, bank and US government. The ratings lads (almost always lads, of course) who AAA-rated sub-prime loans and derivatives in America are now – via their poisonous influence on the markets – clawing down the people of Europe by threatening to lower or withdraw the very same ratings from European nations which they lavished upon criminals before the financial crash in the US. I believe that understatement tends to win arguments. But, forgive me, who are these creatures whose ratings agencies now put more fear into the French than Rommel did in 1940?

Why don't my journalist mates in Wall Street tell me? How come the BBC and CNN and – oh, dear, even al-Jazeera – treat these criminal communities as unquestionable institutions of power? Why no investigations – Inside Job started along the path – into these scandalous double-dealers? It reminds me so much of the equally craven way that so many American reporters cover the Middle East, eerily avoiding any direct criticism of Israel, abetted by an army of pro-Likud lobbyists to explain to viewers why American "peacemaking" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be trusted, why the good guys are "moderates", the bad guys "terrorists".

The Arabs have at least begun to shrug off this nonsense. But when the Wall Street protesters do the same, they become "anarchists", the social "terrorists" of American streets who dare to demand that the Bernankes and Geithners should face the same kind of trial as Hosni Mubarak. We in the West – our governments – have created our dictators. But, unlike the Arabs, we can't touch them.

The Irish Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, solemnly informed his people this week that they were not responsible for the crisis in which they found themselves. They already knew that, of course. What he did not tell them was who was to blame. Isn't it time he and his fellow EU prime ministers did tell us? And our reporters, too?

Robert Fisk
Robert Fisk is Middle East correspondent for The Independent newspaper.  He is the author of many books on the region, including The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East


Saturday, December 17, 2011


Investigating the legitimacy of the Berardino appointment to the BC Rail case

Canadian Canary's comment on "B.C. Chief Justice. Playing to the Gallery":

Mr. Mathews, you say no one is asking to have the legitimacy of Bernardino's appointment investigated. Could we appeal to you to send a letter to the Auditor General re Bernardino, or have you done that already?

It seems that request should at least be on record with the Auditor General's office. I would do it myself as an ordinary citizen, but you are much more knowledgeable about the Special Proscecutor in the BVB/BC Rail case.

Alex Tsakumis might also be someone who could do that, having some specific knowledge about Bernardino. However, he seems to focus his towering anger on Christy Clark almost exclusively, particular his evidence. Also, Mr. Tsakumis is rather vague on Bernardino, admitting that he was in conflict of interest as Special Prosecutor, but that he likes Bernardino personally -- a compromising balancing act, I think.

So you're the only one who I can think of who could/should make the request to the Auditor General to investigate the appointment of Bernardino as special prosecutor.

Finally, special disgust must be reserved for the BC NDP, especially Leonard Krog and Mike Farnworth for their willingness to protect wrong-doing at the highest levels, and playing footsie with Mike de Jong in his whitewash of Bernardino's appointment. This isn't the first or last time the NDP rubber-stamped the Liberals' decisions or stayed quiet in the background.

This is the party that wants to form the next government of BC?!?

People who are putting their faith in the NDP to call a public inquiry will have a rude awakening. The BC NDP have had multiple major opportunities on different issues to prove they aren't as craven and self-serving as other parties but they drop the ball most of the time.

Sadly, I don't believe we can trust the NDP to do the right thing on behalf of the people of BC -- in the BVB/BC Rail matter or any other. They will also work in the interests of their friends and "base" supporters, not in the interests of the public.

I'm in a conundrum. Never voted for Campbell/Liberals -- saw through that deceptive destructive megalomaniac long before he started to get caught out. Had high hopes for the NDP, especially when Horgan emerged as a possible leader, but Dix and Sihota prevailed. Now we're seeing the sad return to the worst of the hard left, who will turn out to be untrustworthy dictators as much as the hard right (Harper) but in different areas.

BC Mary forwards Canadian Canary's comment to Robin Mathews:

From: Mary Mackie
Date: December 17, 2011
To: Robin Mathews
Subject: re BC Chief justice

Dear Robin,

Here's a thoughtful response to your column. If agreeable to you, I'd like to post your reply to him.



Robin Mathews replies:

Dear BC Mary.  You know that I don't, as a rule, reply to comments on articles.  But since you ask for a reply in this case, I reply.

                          In normal circumstances, the person to request investigation and resolution from is the Attorney General of the province: called 'the chief law officer of the Crown'.  I, of course, made that request.  The assistant deputy Attorney General wrote to me that the matter was sub judice and so he couldn't comment. Mr. W. G. Gillen's reply was in error. Over the period of the Basi, Virk, and Basi case the Gordon Campbell Attorney General's office repeatedly replied to questions about any aspect of the B.C. Rail Scandal (often in the legislature) by saying the matter was sub judice when it often was not.  And so I wrote again to the Attorney General and asked for a reply directly from him, pointing out that the reply from the assistant deputy Attorney General was in error. 

                          The Attorney General never answered my letter.

                          A matter is considered "sub judice" when an action in court is in process, is not decided. The appointment of Willliam Berardino in December of 2003 was never sub judice.  He was conducting the prosecution but his status was never "in process" in any court. And - I believe - W. G. Gillen knew that as well as I did.

                          Consider: if an Attorney General and a Deputy Attorney General - both closely associated with the Special Prosecutor appointed - violate the legislation governing the appointment of Special Prosecutors, their successors are not going to open up the appointment to public scrutiny unless they are moved aside so it may be opened up. By directly or tacitly accepting the illegitimate appointment, all succeeding Attorneys General, I allege, become accessories, all are engaged in the wrongdoing.

                          You ask, I believe, too much of the Auditor General.  That is not surprising since there is nowhere else to go.  The RCMP has refused to investigate the BC Rail Scandal and the Gordon Campbell cabinet involvement in it.  The Mainstream Press and Media has been shamefully irresponsible. You see the response of the Supreme Court of British Columbia to clear, irrefutable evidence of the improper presence of the Special Prosecutor in the courtroom.

                           The powers of the Auditor General do not extend to ordering what should be police investigation of possible wrongdoing. The job of his office is to oversee expenditure of public money to make sure it happens with integrity and responsibility.  If, in the process, the findings of the Auditor General's office should reveal what appears to be criminal negligence, then the members of the legislature to whom the Auditor General's Reports are made, and the Mainstream Press and Media on behalf of the general public, should call upon the RCMP to investigate for wrongdoing. 

                           For all the years of the Gordon Campell/Christy Clark Liberal government, I believe, the Auditor General's annual reports have carried a designation which indicates serious uncertainty about the government's book-keeping. (That is putting the matter with great delicacy!)  The Opposition and the Mainstream Press and Media should, by now, have demanded investigation either by fully empowered Public Inquiry or by the RCMP. 

                          Remember that the RCMP is in negotiation for a twenty year policing contract with a government that it should be investigating for widespread corruption. Remember that allegations were made - as the basis of the Defence strategy - that the accused in the BC Rail Scandal, Dave Basi, Bobby Virk, and Aneal Basi, were "targetted" and had the charges against them "tailored". If that is true, the only possible people who could "target" and "tailor" have to be the investigating police and the Prosecutor with whom they consulted. Remember that the trial of Basi, Virk, and Basi fell apart when Defence asked of Martyn Brown - long-time Gordon Campbell chief of staff - what he knew of the relation between investigating RCMP officer Kevin DeBruykere, his brother-in-law (then) BC Liberal Party Executive Director Kelly Reichert, and Gordon Campbell, (then) premier.

                          Before answers to that question and to many, many others of key importance could be given, the trial was shut down.

                          The Auditor General, I am sure, understands there may be many contradictions in the operation of the Appointments Process to Find Special (Crown) Prosecutors. The revelation that there may be as many as a hundred other cases where "special arrangements" may have been made that may parallel the "deal" made with the accused, Basi, Virk, and Basi, suggests that. I doubt that the Auditor General's powers extend to the matter of the APPOINTMENT of Special (Crown) Prosecutors, since that is not essentially a "money matter" - unless government friends over the years received outrageous payment for services. If "deals", made dubiously or not recorded properly in accounts, were made (as is alleged in the Basi/Virk case) to spend taxpayers' money to pay for costs of convicted wrongdoers connected to police, civil service, legislature members, and/or members of cabinet - then the Auditor General can reveal them in full detail. 

                          It is then the responsibility of the Opposition, the RCMP, the Mainstream Press and Media, and the higher courts of the province to provide the remedies required.  They have all massively failed the people of British Columbia. The Auditor General, alas, is not the Atlas who can shoulder all of their responsibilities as well as the responsibilities of his office.

BC Mary comment:  speaking of responsibility, consider this:

Saturday, December 17, 2011
Campaign Research Con cats are out of the bag

Campaign Research client and House Speaker Andrew Scheer ruled it "reprehensible" while Campaign Research client and Con House Leader Peter Van Loan defended it as "vital free speech", but Campaign Research cofounder Nick Kouvalis put it best when he described his firm's now infamous phone calls to Lib MP Irwin Cotler's constituents : 
“We’re in the business of getting Conservatives elected and ending Liberal careers. We’re good at it.”
Since 2003. For 39 Conservative candidates in the last federal election alone.

Kouvalis, who managed Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's successful campaign, was also election day chair for Kitchener-Waterloo Con MP Peter Braid.

Other Campaign Research staff currently include the other co-founder Richard Ciano, now running for presidency of the Ontario Con Party, and Aaron Lee-Wudrick, campaign manager for Con MP Peter Braid.

In 2009, Ciano, Wudrick and Braid participated in a series of workshops hosted by the Ontario Progressive Conservative Campus Association and the Preston Manning's Manning Centre for Building Democracy, where Ciano was Executive Director of Practical Politics til Feb 2010 . At one such training session in February 2009, Wudrick and  Ryan O'Connor, 9th VP of the Ontario Con Party, were taped instructing students to set up Con-friendly "shell organizations" and "front groups" :

Wikileaks :
"With the apparent support of representatives from both the Ontario Progressive Conservatives and the Conservative Party of Canada, the OPCCA is attempting to covertly influence the political climate of Ontario's university campuses.

Presenters and participants are caught on tape advocating for the creation of front groups for the Conservative Party to masquerade as non-partisan grassroots organizations, influencing the political discourse on campus, stacking student elections with Party members, and conspiring to defeat non-profit organizations because of political differences, all with the intention of hiding their affiliations to the Party in the process."
(37:10) Aaron Lee-Wudrick : I say we, because, even though [Ryan O'Connor] was the forced neutral [as Student President] and me as the Tory president, it was all orchestrated obviously behind closed doors, and it actually worked out well because it looked like different groups of stakeholders, like I'm the outsider coming in, and you guys were just the responsible student government and we had other members of council, a guy he appointed to council, he got speaking rights but he wasn't an elected member, but just as another voice at the table, it made it look like there were all kinds of different corners where in fact we were all on the same team.
(42:14) Aaron Lee-Wudrick : Campus Radicals for Action on Zimbabwe Yes, or something like that, they were a great shell group. Feel free to use Campus Coalition for Liberty, that's ours so we have a logo and everything.
(50:05) Ryan O'Connor : When Aaron was doing the petition campaign, which "I knew nothing about;" I was printing them in my frickin office in student government, of course I knew about it, of course we were behind it, I couldn't take a public position on that issue because although I wasn't running for reelection, this was three months before the end of my mandate ... if we had made them an issue, no Tory would ever get elected to student government again. 
Ryan O'Connor : Sometimes you can't attach the party's name to something. You just can't. If it's a really controversial issue on campus or something that might show up in the newspaper, you want to be careful. You just have your shell organization and have the Campus Coalition for Liberty and two other Tory front groups which are front organizations, all of those groups might actually qualify for funding too.
Aaron Lee-Wudrick : Don't think that the Party doesn't like that, because they do. They're things that will help the Party, but it looks like it's an organically-grown organization and it just stimulated from the grassroots spontaneously. They love that stuff. And they don't have to bear the burden of having any of it attached to their name."

You know, like pretending to be spontaneous grassroots fake twitterer Karen Philby or making anonymous calls to talk radio. (h/t Montreal Simon)

Plus ça change, plus c'est la fucking Con même chose, eh?

Bonus : Out here in BC, Campaign Research was "the single largest beneficiary of the HST contracts, pulling down $167,000 of the $250,000 total budget for "conducting telephone town hall meetings" related to the implementation of the controversial tax change".

They were hired on by BC rightwinger Suzanne Anton in her unsuccessful Vancouver mayoralty bid, and also set up a fake website mocking Christy Clark for signing up a cat as part of her party membership drive in their campaign work for her rival George Abbott :
In the source code, the author of the website was identified as Bo Chen, who works for Toronto-based Campaign Research

The Campaign Research Con cats are definitely out of the bag.


Friday, December 16, 2011


B.C. Chief Justice. Playing to the Gallery.

Special to The Legislature Raids, December 16, 2011

By Robin Mathews

There is much to laugh about in the politics of B.C. (when one is not crying).  Keith Fraser of the Vancouver Province has just filed a story reporting that the Chief Justice of the B.C. Supreme Court has made a bold move.

Robert Bauman has ordered that newspaper ads be run to attempt to locate people who have received the kind of special pay-off received by Dave Basi and Bobby Virk at the end of the Basi, Virk, and Basi trial.

Bauman’s bold move on behalf of justice and clarity is – to be generous to the Chief Justice – too, too little, too, too late, and almost, but not quite, laughable.  Not quite, because the Auditor General who has asked for the ads is really trying to do his job well.

We know – don’t we – that then Attorney General Michael de Jong set up (in 2010) a feather-weight review of the appointment process for hiring “Special Crown Prosecutors” – the (mostly) boys who would manipulate what the court chooses to call the “special indemnities” paid to accused in apparent contradiction of policies not to pay legal fees (of those mostly in or connected to government) when declared guilty.

Out of nowhere, Michael de Jong wanted the feather-weight review.  Was he aware that his government was being closed in upon – and might get caught…?

We know – don’t we – that with the assent of Leonard Krog, NDP Attorney General critic and Mike Farnsworth, NDP Solicitor General critic, feather-weight reviewer Stephen Owen found the process for appointing Special Prosecutors as pure and sweet as a spring breeze over Skaha Lake. Lovely. Well run.  Fine. Great. Fastidious. Praiseworthy. But there is reason to believe the process has been used to appoint people who will work against justice and clarity, to cover-up for powerful people allied to the Liberal government of B.C. A real investigation of the process to appoint “the boys in the golden circle” as Special Prosecutors still needs to be done.

We know Wally Oppal was caught misusing the process. The trial he pushed into operation against the alleged bigamists of Bountiful was tossed out of court and killed on the spot because of the wrongful actions of the former Supreme Court appeals judge and Attorney General, Wally Oppal.  Maybe Oppal didn’t know the rules.  I mean we have to be fair to him, don’t we.  But then the accused in the case went to court – and Oppal was named in the wrong.  Maybe he didn’t know the rules….

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of B.C., Robert Bauman, on the other hand, was told twice, formally, that the Special Prosecutor in the Basi, Virk, and Basi case was appointed in violation of the legislation setting up the position of Special Prosecutor.  Not only was William Berardino appointed in violation of the legislation, but in violation Big Time, as they say.

Special Prosecutors are not supposed to have any relation with cabinet members, police, civil servants and their like when taking a case that even might relate to them. Special Prosecutors are not supposed to have any relation that would lead even to a perception of bias.  They don’t have to have proved bias.  They just have to look like they might SEEM to be biased, and then they can’t be appointed.

William Berardino was appointed to the case in 2003 when he had not long since been partner and colleague of appointing Attorney General Geoff Plant for seven years and of appointing Deputy Attorney General Allan P. Seckel for eleven years.

The Basi, Virk, and Basi case was anchored in the activities of the Gordon Campbell/Christy Clark cabinet.  Major civil servants were involved in the whole baroque structure of deceit which corruptly transferred BC Rail to the CNR. The Special Prosecutor appointed should have had no relation to anyone anywhere near those people.  But he was appointed by a ministry containing a member of cabinet and a top civil servant – both of whom had been in long, close association with him.

When that information was revealed, I wrote to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of B.C., Robert Bauman, the Associate Chief Justice, and the judge on the Basi, Virk, and Basi case and, formally, informed them of the matter.  They refused to act.  They DID NOT SAY I was wrong.  And so I wrote to them again, formally.  They refused to act.  They DID NOT SAY I was wrong.

Chief Justice Robert Bauman and Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie – knowing William Berardino was wrongly appointed, and knowing that his wrongful appointment made the trial illegitmate – refused to do anything and permitted the trial to go on.  They permitted, I insist, an illegitmate trial – which they knew to be illegitmate – to continue.

Think about that.

When is was ALL over, and when two of the accused admitted kinds of guilt, and when all their legal and court costs were paid by the taxpayer, the Auditor General of B.C. began to ask questions.  He even had to go to court to force answers from the Christy Clark wedge of the BC Rail Scandal.

And now he wants to know more – he wants to know what is going on in the internal machinery of the Special Prosecutor process.  He wants to know everyone else who received the kind of treatment over payments of legal costs that Dave Basi and Bobby Virk received at the end of the illegitimate trial that was illegitimate because the Special Prosecutor in the case was appointed in violation of the legislation governing appointments.

 No one is asking to have the legitimacy of William Berardino’s appointment investigated.

Within his powers to oversee expenditures, the Auditor General of B.C. wants to know how the taxpayers’ money is being spent in matters that relate to the appointment of Special Prosecutors AND to people who have found themselves in a like situation as Dave Basi and Bobby Virk have found themselves.

We taxpayers can only wish him the best of luck. And we need to ask, don’t we? why Chief Justice Robert Bauman and Associate Chief Justice (and judge on the trial of Basi, Virk, and Basi), the Honourable Anne MacKenzie, permitted William Berardino to remain Special Crown Prosecutor when they were formally told that he was present in the court illegitimately.

Will anyone ever go to court to get that answer?