To emphasize that the Basi/Virk trial was merely meter-spinning theatre from the injustice system, I bring back a Northern Insights piece from almost 18 months ago. I think it captures reality, showing the trial was never about exposing truth.
This week another insider of the Liberal government was caught reaching hands into the cookie jar. People in that party are hooked on cash from the public. Like junkies, they are dependent, they can’t stop and we, as citizens, have grown tolerant.
Thievery and hypocrisy are the government’s main attributes. Tourism Minister Pat Bell proudly announces he has disciplined a staff member for an embarrassing clause in a brochure Bell issued without bothering to read. That is accountability in the BC Liberal world. No wonder that former Port Moody mayor Joe Trasolini joined the NDP team.
What follows was first published June 30, 2010:
“Ol’ Billy was right, let’s kill all the lawyers, kill’em tonight.” — The Eagles
Fans know that Shakespeare wrote words like those in Henry VI but wasn’t actually suggesting mass slaughter of black robed citizens. Actually, the Bard was ridiculing a revolting peasant who promised that, after he overthrew the King, common laborers would be newly respected and gentlemen who could read and write would be punished and the lawyers would be eliminated.
However, if Shakespeare spent any time in Vancouver’s Courtroom 54, he might decide the words in Henry VI should not be ironic. My oh my. If lawyers ran car repair shops, you would buy a new vehicle instead of replacing a worn out brake pad. If lawyers ran NHL teams, you’d have the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Well, maybe that explains something; Brian Burke is a lawyer.)
I’m not suggesting that today’s edition of the BC Rail Corruption trial was typical. After all, the jury listened to more than an hour of testimony as defence lawyer Michael Bolton questioned the Premier’s main man Martyn Brown. However, the testimony proceeded at something less than a snail’s pace because Bolton was reading from emails written in 2003 and Brown acknowledged remembering pretty much nothing, except that his then colleague, Assistant Deputy Finance Minister Paul Taylor – later the Naikun wind farm electricity promoter – if he had spilled any beans about Cabinet policy to friendly lobbyists, would only have done so with good reason. Brown also remembered that it would have been entirely appropriate assistance if the ADM seemed to be helping the lobbyists land a client and gain large fees and sufficient expense allowances for the entirely appropriate hospitality required (fishing trips?) so that lobbyists could entertain government insiders. I wonder how Glen Ringdahl and his automobile dealer clients will react to knowing the the lobbyee was helping the lobbyist set up the contract for the lobbyor.
Brown has been able to remember surprisingly little for a man with a memory so prodigious that he studiously avoids keeping file and meeting notes or copies of correspondence. However, Brown confidently remembered that Paul Taylor always acted with the greatest integrity, that he was ever trustworthy and trusted. The Premier’s deputy also remembered that he never had policy conflicts with Ken Dobell, another insider with indubitable probity, in Brown’s opinion.
Today, with an11:30 am start, the session ran longer than the day before but was complete by 2:30 pm, with a leisurely lunch break preceding the almost 30 minute afternoon session. In three weeks, hours the jury has listened to testimony could be counted on one hand. Now the whole gang breaks for the long weekend, planning three days for the trial next week before starting a summer adjournment and returning in September. At the current rate of progress, the trial should last for about four more years. It’s a tough pace but a BMW X6 M is now over 100 grand. Work’s gotta happen. Life’s not all fun.
I have a theory about why courtrooms largely sit empty throughout the day. First, there is all the preparation needed for the material that couldn’t be prepared in the years waiting for the trial to begin. And, the day can’t start too early because judges just aren’t morning people. Extended lunches are a necessity because that is prime meeting time for lawyers to spend with prospective clients and breaking early in the day allows for a full 18 holes before sundown.
If I can be more serious, it is amazing that we have a provincial government that wages war on hospital workers, paramedics, school teachers and others but raises not a peep about the privileged few who manage the vital justice system with virtually no accountability to anyone. It is not a coincidence that more politicians are lawyers than any other profession.
If the AG is interested, I could recommend a retired sawmill foreman who was an expert ass kicker, able to drive the laziest green chain puller to complete a good day’s effort.