On today’s Trailing Edge from the Ledge, BC Liberal press officer Sean Leslie disclosed strategy to be followed after the party’s candidate, federal Conservative wonk Laurie Throness, fails to win the once friendly riding of Chilliwack-Hope.
“If the NDP actually pulls a win out there because the Conservatives and the Liberals are split, then I think the Liberals can salvage something…”
On the same show, Keith Baldrey continued providing misinformation on BC Rail, an issue that has dogged the government for years:
“… It [payments of Basi/Virk legal fees] is stuck in a process. In court, the Auditor General is trying to get information on it.. A third party seems to be blocking it… I assume it’s the defence lawyers who say this is none of your business, it’s our money…we were paid it, it wasn’t paid to our defendants…”
No Keith, your Liberal pals are blocking the Auditor General’s access to documents. They’ve been doing it steadily for more than a year, acting contrary to promises they made in Supreme Court when John Doyle last dragged their sorry asses before the bench.
Baldrey demonstrates either ignorance or partisan willingness to misrepresent the spotlighted issue. These remarks are from Mr. Justice Greyell’s reasons for judgment dated June 30, 2011:
 Mr. [Richard M.] Butler [acting for the Attorney General] advised that the government would provide any other information and documents, even if they were subject to its solicitor/client privilege on the understanding that by doing so it would not constitute a waiver of the privilege and that the Auditor General would keep the information and documents strictly confidential.
 …Mr. Butler further indicated that he had instructions to waive any solicitor/client privilege of the Crown surrounding the requested information and would provide the information and records in the event Messrs. Basi and Virk consented to a waiver of confidentiality and solicitor/client privilege.
 The privilege and arising confidentiality belongs to the client: that is, the privilege belongs to Messrs. Basi and Virk. It is only client who can choose to waive such privilege…
I reported on this matter in November 2011 and I continue to be amazed that pundits such as Baldrey prefer to offer political spin rather than reporting on judicial findings that are easily accessed.
The following is from a Keith Fraser article in The Province, dated November 15, 2011. It appears to have been removed from the online archives of The Province but I found it in Google cache:
B.C. Auditor-General John Doyle is heading back to court in a bid to get access to documents related to the government’s controversial $6 million legal payments in the Basi-Virk case.
In July, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Bruce Greyell ordered the B.C. attorney-general’s ministry to turn over all records related to the deal.
But in a second petition filed in court this week, Doyle claims that some key documents haven’t been released.
And he seeks to have two Victoria lawyers who were appointed to vet the legal bills in the Basi-Virk case provide their records to him.
The petition says that Doyle is completing the planning stage of an audit of the indemnity policy by which Dave Basi and Bobby Virk got their legal fees paid as government employees.
But Doyle claims that access to many documents over which the attorney-general’s ministry claims either cabinet or solicitor-client privilege has been restricted.
Documents have either been delayed, edited or not released at all, slowing and hampering the audit process, he says.
“Full and unfettered access is fundamental to an auditor’s role in scrutinizing the management of programs, services and resources he or she is auditing.”
In particular, the missing documents include complete indemnity files for “special” indemnities such as those given to Basi and Virk, copies of invoices from private legal counsel and briefing notes and e-mails…