The provincial Crown is seeking the return of up to one million pages of documents disclosed to defence lawyers in the Basi-Virk political corruption case.
B.C. Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie will hear the Crown’s application, seeking the return of the documents, on Feb. 16 at the Vancouver Law Courts. . .
All BC Liberal leadership candidates oppose holding a public inquiry into the sale of BC Rail and underlying bribery and influence peddling. The documents now in the hands of Basi/Virk defence lawyers contain almost one million pages of evidence linked to purported crimes and civil fraud of government insiders and associates.
If the documents are allowed into the public domain, leadership candidates fear that ostensible wrongdoing might be established as fact. This could lead to demands for prosecutions that would affect public confidence in the BC Liberal Government. Additionally, party members and financial supporters could face jail terms or house arrest that would interfere with Liberal Party activities.
One unnamed source close to the Attorney General declared that BC has a proud tradition of ignoring, even consenting to, acts of fraud against the government by those having access to funds or other valuable public assets.
“If we suddenly clamped down on influence peddling, deceit and mismanagement, privately funded political parties would be completely debilitated. Who would be left on the streets to organize elections and raise money for needy politicians? People should let us run our own affairs. They should move on and focus on important issues like allowing elementary school students the right to vote or creation of more long weekends through additional holidays and holy days. “
Most experienced political pundits support the determination of BC Liberals to move on and end discussions of BC Rail. Vaughn Palmer has written about holding “an inquiry on the cheap.” Perhaps, Patrick Kinsella, who has experience in both politics and railways, could be asked to provide a low-key fact finding report. If Kinsella is unavailable, perhaps the old Pilothouse boys, Keiran, Bornmann and Elmhirst, could review the situation. Already having advance knowledge and not being fully committed to other activities, they could complete a review without running up more than a few millions each for expenses.
An inquiry on the cheap might be the most cost effective move to restore confidence in government conduct. Not all commentators agree. Alex G. Tsakumis has been posting old file memos hes says clearly indicate inappropriate conduct by BC Liberal insiders. The blogger is unwilling to accept Liberal assurances that everything on the Basi/Virk file is copacetic and he wants a full blown inquiry. Despite many assurances and assertions from BC Liberals, Tsakumis remains skeptical,
“Can’t imagine how everyone who’s self-proclaimed as lily white in this sordid tale, doesn’t want an inquiry, and yet Basi and Virk, the ” admitted criminals” are fighting to keep their defence documents…”