In the first half hour of your show you asked two guests what purpose would be served by a public inquiry into the Basi-Virk corruption case.
You did receive a number of solid reasons but I feel that the two most important reasons were not stated and need to be answered:
1. By not holding a public inquiry, the government is tacitly approving and condoning illegal activities by its public servants giving them immunity from testifying by paying for their trial and letting them avoid jail time for a criminal offence. What message does this send out to the thousands of Public Servants who are in positions of influence right now and in the future. What consequences are there for illegal activity being carried out if after 7 years, we get little or no information about what happened and the perpetrators of fraud ultimately against the citizens of British Columbia are not held accountable for their actions. Two years house arrest without any information being clarified and tax payers money well in excess of 6 million dollars being spent is hardly being held accountable.
We need a public inquiry to find out how this has all occurred and what influence these two admitted criminals had on the process of selling our BC Rail system through a flawed and illegal bidding process.
2. There are 70 more questions listed below that should be answered – a public inquiry would help get to the bottom of all this. Accountability for selling public assets and spending public funds is mandatory and discovering the answers to even some of these questions will demonstrate to all the citizens of BC that it is of paramount importance to take seriously the trust that is placed in civil servants and politicians and when that trust is broken, the consequences are serious and damaging to the perpetrators of illegal action. Two years of “house arrest” is not a deterrent, we throw ordinary people in jail for stealing thousands of dollars, these two indirectly stole uncounted millions from the people of BC by their illegal actions and they get house arrest????!!!!! This and the next 70 questions are why a public inquiry needs to be held.
Here are the other 70 reasons why a public inquiry should be held:
1. Will the government hold a public inquiry into the sell-off of BC Rail as soon as the criminal proceedings conclude so that B.C. taxpayers can finally get the answers they deserve?
2. When did the government first learn that the BC Rail deal was the target of an in-depth RCMP investigation?
3. When will the government release all documents — including documents which may not be directly linked to the charges — that relate to government policies or decisions regarding BC Rail?
4. Has the investigation into the sale of BC Rail uncovered evidence that other government policies or decisions may have been illegally or inappropriately affected? If yes, will the government release all such documents — including documents which may not be directly related to the charges?
5. Did the BC Rail Steering Committee discuss the potential for the BC Rail deal to collapse if only one bidder remained in the bidding process?
6. Will the government release all minutes for meetings of the BC Rail Steering Committee?
7. Will the government release all documents produced for the BC Rail Steering Committee?
8. Did members of the Steering Committee or other members of the government caucus meet with or communicate with any of the proponents or their representatives during the process to sell BC Rail?
9. Did the Premier or any of his staff meet with or communicate with any of the proponents or their representatives during the process to sell BC Rail?
10. Can the government explain why then-Solicitor General Rich Coleman briefed the Premier before the search warrants were executed?
11. Can the government explain why then-Solicitor General Rich Coleman briefed the Premier’s Chief of Staff Martyn Brown immediately after the warrants were executed and before alerting the public?
12. Why was Martyn Brown given the go-ahead to fire Dave Basi immediately, prior to any charges being laid?
13. How can the government defend the propriety of the Solicitor General’s actions against the charge that in briefing the Premier and his top political staffer, this government put its political interests ahead of the public interest?
14. Why was provincial government staff allowed to organize for the federal Liberals in the Legislature using taxpayer resources?
15. What steps did the Premier take to ensure that the BC Liberal Party did not benefit from illegal activities by staff?
16. Will the government release the tapes and/or transcripts of phone conversations between the Premier and government ministers that were gathered during the criminal investigation into the sale of BC Rail?
17. Given the government’s own forecasts for significant coal mining activity, why were projections based on coal export growth deliberately left out of revenue calculations for the BC Rail line?
18. Did the government consider cancelling the sale of the BC Rail freight division?
19. Will the government release any and all correspondence with the RCMP and BC Rail about rescinding the sale of the BC Rail freight division?
20. If the government considered cancelling the sale of the BC Rail freight division, was compensation considered for any proponents?
21. What discussions took place concerning the issue of whether CN Rail had paid too much or too little for the BC Rail freight division?
22. What was the estimated value of former BC Rail assets in 2003, before they were sold? What is the estimated value of those former BC Rails assets now?
23. Did CP Rail express concerns about the clear breach of fairness in the process to sell BC Rail prior to their letter of Nov. 21, 2003?
24. Did the government — including any and all government ministers, the BC Rail steering committee, the government caucus and/or its advisors or technical specialists — ever discuss the consequences of OmniTRAX dropping out of the bidding process prior to or following the withdrawal of CP Rail?
25. Did the government consider the potential consequences of a small number of proponents or a single proponent during the sale of BC Rail for its goal of “maximizing value to the province”?
26. Did the government consider the potential negative political ramifications of a small number of proponents or a single proponent during the sale of BC Rail?
27. What was discussed at the Dec. 12, 2003, meeting held at Vancouver restaurant Villa del Lupo between the Minister of Finance and senior executives from OmniTRAX, the second-place finisher in the bidding process for the government-owned BC Rail?
28. Will the government ensure that tapes and transcripts resulting from the surveillance of the Minister of Finance’s meeting with OmniTRAX officials are made public?
29. Did the Minister of Finance meet with other proponents during the transaction process?
30. Was it the Minister of Finance who ordered confidential government information to be leaked to a lobby firm representing OmniTRAX?
31. If it was not the Minister of Finance who ordered confidential government information to be leaked to a lobby firm representing OmniTRAX, was the Premier’s Office or any other government official responsible for this order?
32. Will the government release the “meeting minutes, presentations and other documents” referred to in the Charles River Associates report on the BC Rail bidding process?
33. Did Charles River Associates review meetings, conversations or communications outside the official process — particularly those including ministers and ministerial aides — in their analysis of the fairness of the BC Rail transaction process?
34. Will the government release all documents including emails, reports, interview transcripts relating to the two information leaks referenced in the Charles River Associates report?
35. Can the government provide concrete evidence for their claim that the information leaks referenced in the Charles River Associates report did not materially affect the sale of BC Rail?
36. Will the government provide the full list of files and issues in the purview of or involving David Basi, Aneal Basi and Bob Virk between June 2001 and December 2003?
37. Did the government order an internal investigation into every file that Mr. Basi touched while he worked as a top political aide to the Minister of Finance — and if not, why not?
38. Did the government order an internal investigation into every file that Mr. Virk touched while he worked as a top political aide to the Minister of Transportation — and if not, why not?
39. Will the government provide an explanation as to why Dave Basi was fired immediately — prior to any charges — while Bob Virk was only suspended?
40. Can the government provide assurances and evidence of the statement made by the then-Finance Minister in December 2003 that Dave Basi “was not involved in the budget process, never has been” and “was not involved in the drafting of legislation or policy development.”
41. Will the government conduct a review of every decision made to remove land from the ALR while Mr. Basi worked in the Campbell administration?
42. Will the government provide a full enumeration of all government activities and files that involved Dave Basi and/or Bob Virk and the principals and staff of Pilothouse Public Affairs?
43. Is the government aware of any other potential or ongoing investigations that involve Basi, Virk, or Pilothouse and any other minister, ministry or public body — and if so, what are they?
44. Will the government provide a full enumeration of the roles played in this investigation — or any other related investigation — by Mark Marissen, husband of then Deputy Premier Christy Clark, and Bruce Clark, the brother of the then-Deputy Premier?
45. What materials did the Special Prosecutor withhold from the defence that were the subject of the February 27, 2007 defence application?
46. Will the government provide a full enumeration of all government activities associated with Pilothouse Public Affairs?
47. Will the government provide a full enumeration of all government activities associated with K&E Public Affairs?
48. Does the government believe that lobbyists involved in criminal proceedings related to their lobbying activities should be permitted to continue those activities?
49. Why won’t the BC Liberal government allow an all-party review of the Lobbyists Registration Act in order to have greater accountability over who is influencing government and how?
50. Why did the BC Liberal Party continue to accept money in 2004 from lobbyists named in the original warrants, long after the raids on the Legislature?
51. Why did the Premier declare immediately and before the criminal investigation had even begun that the Legislature raid was not about government but “about outside of government”?
52. Why did the Premier — before even returning home to BC from Maui — state categorically that none of his ministers were “in any way touched by this investigation”?
53. When did the Attorney General and Premier first become aware that the lead RCMP inspector was the brother-in-law of Kelly Reichert, Executive Director of the BC Liberal Party?
54. How did Kelly Reichert learn that Erik Bornman had been granted immunity in exchange for providing information about David Basi and Bob Virk?
55. When did the Attorney General and Premier first become aware that information related to the investigation was leaked to Kelly Reichert and was subsequently leaked by Mr. Reichert to principals in the investigation?
56. Does the Attorney General agree that the actions of Mr. Reichert risked compromising the investigation?
57. Why does Mr. Reichert continue to serve as the Executive Director of the BC Liberal Party?
58. Given that one of the government’s objectives for the BC Rail transaction was “ensuring integrated North American access to preferred markets and carriers for interline rail shipments”, why would the government attempt to sell the Roberts Bank Spur line separately, following the withdrawal of CP Rail?
59. Is it true that in November 2003, Dave Basi advised OmniTRAX that the then-Minister of Finance had authorized a consolation prize for OmniTRAX in exchange for that company staying in the bidding process?
60. Was this consolation prize the BC Rail spur line?
61. How much was the consolation prize valued at?
62. Was OmniTRAX offered any Delta ALR lands for expansion of the port as part of this consolation prize?
63. If it were not for the alleged criminal actions of high-ranking aides, would the government have proceeded with the sale of the BC Rail spur line?
64. Does $900,000 represent the total cost to taxpayers of cancelling the sale of the spur line, or did the final tab come in even higher than that? What was the final tab?
65. What was the estimated value of the spur line in 2004, when the sale was put on hold?
66. What was the estimated value of the spur line when the sale was totally cancelled in February 2006?
67. What is the estimated value of the spur line now?
68. Why won’t the government exercise its rights under article 10.2 of the Revitalization Agreement to inspect all of CN’s maintenance records for the former BC Rail line?
69. When will the government investigate the rash of tragic derailments since 2004 in order to shed light on this safety scandal?
70. Why has the government refused to provide evidence for its claim that the government discussed safety and maintenance with the proponents during the negotiations to sell BC Rail?