Like Fox News, I want Northern Insights to be fair and balanced. Therefore, after the encomium of my previous blog entry, this one will demonstrate how Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer pulls punches to grant indulgences to the gentry. In Deal to let Basi, Virk off hook for legal costs needs hard look, Palmer writes:
The attorney-general was, in effect, challenging the critics to accuse the respected [Special Prosecutor William] Berardino of corruption, incompetence or both. No one who stood to be sued for such a baseless accusation — meaning no one this side of crank commentary or Internet anonymity — was likely to do so.
But the more problematic part of the deal for the Liberals was the second line of decision-making, namely to forgo any attempt to recover the $6 million advanced by the Crown to cover the cost of Basi’s and Virk’s legal defence.
The special prosecutor had nothing to do with that part of the deal. It was made in Victoria by deputy minister of finance Graham Whitmarsh in concert with deputy attorney-general David Loukidelis.
Now, wait a moment. Even without me redrawing the former partnership connections between Bill Berardino and senior Liberals such as once Liberal AG Geoff Plant and Premier Campbell’s Deputy Minister Allan Seckell, that is untrue.
Government and the supposedly independent legal-beagles told us that terms of the plea arrangement were mutually dependent; that financial relief to Basi and Virk was as necessary a part of the consideration as the absence of jail time, lax rules of house arrest and dropping of charges against nephew Aneal Basi. I won’t discuss the additional deal to drop charges against two Victoria developers accused of bribing Basi. Without each element in place, there would be no plea bargain, they all agreed.
It is disingenuous of Palmer to suggest that prosecutor Berardino conducted his part of the negotiations without regard to the government’s decision to waive millions of recoverable legal fees and to discharge liens against property and income. If I drove my neighbor’s car to a dealer and tried to purchase a $20,000 vehicle with $10,000 cash and $10,000 paid by trading-in the neighbor’s car, could I make that deal without that person’s consent and approval? No, if the deal got made, it would require all of the parties to agree together.
Palmer has minimized the BC Rail scandal for seven years, saying he was unaware of evidence that indicated wrongdoing. Had the timid reporter attended Richard Nixon’s famous 1973 press conference and heard, “I’m not a crook“, he would have dropped the story and told his readers that all was fine. There was no evidence proven in court that Nixon was other than what he claimed.
Categories: Vaughn Palmer