BC residents who read comments here and like places in social media will be familiar with the very articulate Lew Edwardson (@valtamtech on Twitter). Lew has had an interest in general matters of public integrity and in particular, the mouldering case of BC Rail.
Lew tried to interest politicians and corporate media members in examining facts he’s assembled but they’ve ignored the BC Rail scandal for years and are determined to continue in states of purposeful ignorance.
I invited Lew to make a contribution here. His lengthy but carefully constructed article follows.
The Tracks of Our Tracks
The BC Rail Trial
R. v. Basi, 2010 BCSC 1622
In 2003, British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell broke a major 2001 campaign promise and took steps to divest the province of the publicly owned British Columbia Railway. The Canadian National Railway Company, chaired by David McLean, one of Gordon Campbell’s biggest and most long-standing financial supporters, was the successful bidder for the public asset in a process that other bidders openly termed “rigged”, and “unfair”. Canadian Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe railway companies dropped out in protest during the process, leaving Omnitrax as the only other bidder.
On December 28, 2003 the Royal Canadian Mounted Police raided the British Columbia Provincial Legislative Buildings. The offices searched belonged to Dave Basi, ministerial assistant to then-finance minister Gary Collins, and his brother-in-law Bobby Virk, assistant to then-transportation minister Judith Reid.
Basi and Virk were subsequently charged by a special prosecutor appointed under the Crown Counsel Act in January 28, 2005 direct indictments with accepting bribes, influence peddling, breach of trust and fraud related to their dealings with lobbyists for Omnitrax. Mr. Basi was also charged in an October 18, 2010 indictment (subsequent an information sworn April 3, 2006) with accepting a $50,000 bribe in connection with purported aid in removing land from the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) on behalf of Shambrook Hills Development Corporation.
The raid on the Legislature resulted from a pursuit of information obtained by police wiretaps in an investigation into drugs, money laundering, and organized crime. One of the major players in the drug investigation was Mr. Basi’s cousin Jasmohan (Jas) Bains, who was sentenced to nine years in prison as a result of charges laid following the investigation. Basi was charged with drug offences in 2004 but they were stayed in 2005.
Paragraph 41 in this search warrant information provides a window into some of the pursuit. https://beta.images.theglobeandmail.com/archive/01068/Search_Warrant_App_1068802a.pdf
This article provides some insight into why Mr. Basi and his connections were of interest:
Preliminary hearings in the BC Supreme Court proceedings dragged on and were sealed from the public until the fall of 2008 when the presiding judge struck down the publication ban. In February of 2009 the judge released approximately 8,000 pages of documents relating to the legislature raids to the New Democrat Party Official Opposition.
The documents raised serious questions about how the sale of the railway was conducted, including who was involved and whether their involvement was appropriate or legal. No government officials, elected or otherwise, would comment about the case, maintaining that it was before the court and the public would get the details at and after trial. When the trial finally began on May 17, 2010 the public had been waiting for six years to get answers about the tainted sale of a major public asset and the unprecedented police raid on their legislature.
On October 18, 2010 the defendants Basi and Virk entered surprise guilty pleas subsequent a court-accepted plea bargain with the special prosecutor and were immediately sentenced on reduced charges to two years less a day to be served under house arrest, some community service, and a fine of $75,695 ($50,000 related to ALR charge) for Mr. Basi.
Rather than provide much-anticipated answers about the sale, the trial ended with none and raised many more questions. To make matters worse, the same government officials who had refused to answer questions prior to and during the trial now reneged on their promises to speak to the matter after trial.
Public anger about this increased when it was learned that although the terms of indemnity agreements granted Basi and Virk after charges were laid in 2005 stipulated they were liable for the legal fees if convicted, the government had entered into a secret October 14, 2010 legal agreement with the defendants to forgive liability for over $6.4 million in accumulated legal fees for their defence counsel only if and after the defendants pleaded guilty, were convicted, and did not disclose anything about the agreement to anyone.
Government officials and the defendants and their counsel had conspired to withhold that information from the special prosecutor and the judge until after the trial’s conclusion.
Had the trial judge known that any right to claim recovery of the advanced fees had been exchanged for the guilty pleas, in accordance with a written offer made in writing to the defendants during the trial by the government without the special prosecutor’s knowledge or involvement, she would very likely have been precluded from accepting those guilty pleas under section 606 of the Criminal Code.
On October 20, 2010 the Deputy Attorney General issued a public statement declaring that he and the Deputy Minister of Finance had made the decision to waive the legal fees because it would save money by shortening the trial and there was little hope of collecting much from the defendants anyway. He said no one else outside of the Legal Services Branch had any knowledge or involvement in the decision, which he communicated to the Attorney General on October 08, 2010. He ended the statement with this paragraph:
“A letter is being sent today to counsel for Mr. Basi and counsel for Mr. Virk releasing them and their clients from the October 14, 2010 condition that required they not discuss the above financial matters and that they refer all inquiries to the Ministry of Attorney General.”
Any attempt to explore every detail or answer every question about the sale of the railway and the trial in this forum would be futile. It couldn’t even be done in a single book; it would take a chronology, and even then would probably never succeed. Please accept that as an excuse for the failed attempt to be brief in this effort. Following are some facts, some questions, and some assertions. Anyone who might wish to add details, challenge anything, or answer the questions is invited to reply in this forum or reach me in confidence at email@example.com
If I’m wrong please tell me: but please explain why.
- There were two plea agreements.
- The joint submission to the court only revealed one; the special prosecutor’s plea agreement.
- The agreement not revealed involved secret and material plea negotiations with the defendants without the knowledge of the special prosecutor mandated under the Crown Counsel Act to conduct those negotiations, and required the defendants and their counsel not to reveal it to anyone.
- The public, special prosecutor, and the judge were deceived by the Ministry of Attorney General.
- Former Attorney General Geoff Plant wrote publicly that as a matter of law there couldn’t be a legally binding agreement connecting the guilty pleas to the waiver (Agreement to Release), otherwise it would constitute an inducement.
- The agreement not revealed was a legally binding agreement connecting the guilty pleas to the waiver.
- Guilty pleas would not have been entered except for the agreement not revealed.
- #7 above is a material fact.
- Material facts were withheld from the judge and special prosecutor.
- The Agreement to Release was a consideration under the agreement not revealed.
- Defendants’ execution of the release was a condition precedent to the Province’s execution of the release.
- Under the Agreement to Release, the defendants released the Province and all Province Entities from and with respect to any Claim in any way related to or arising from their prosecution.
- The defendants gave up their right to appeal sentence by signing the release.
- Under the terms of the indemnity, the advanced legal fees were considered loans and the defendants were immediately liable for their accumulated legal fees upon conviction and exhaustion of their appeal rights.
- The defendant’s accumulated legal fees were approximately $6,000,000 at the time of their convictions.
- Under the Agreement to Release, the Province released the defendants from and with respect to any Claim in any way related to or arising from their conduct as ministerial assistants in any way connected with the BC Rail matters or the ALR matters, or their indemnity agreements or the province’s security.
- At the time the Deputy Finance Minister retroactively signed the Agreement to Release according to the province’s obligation under the October 14, 2010 agreement, the defendants stood convicted and with their appeal rights exhausted.
- The Deputy Finance Minister only possessed authority to forgive debts and obligations to the Crown up to $100,000.
- The agreement not disclosed contained a clause declaring the release by the Province of no force or effect if Mr. Basi, his wife, or Mr. Virk breached the non-disclosure clause or failed to instruct their counsel to also observe the non-disclosure condition.
- The Deputy Attorney General stated he informed the Attorney General of the decision to waive the legal fees on October 08, 2010.
- The only persons who had authority to prevent the agreement not disclosed from implementation and that didn’t already know of it were the special prosecutor and the judge.
- Two days after the trial ended, the Deputy Attorney General released the defendants and their counsel from the non-disclosure condition.
- The special prosecutor informed the court the defendants came forward and unequivocally accepted responsibility for their transgressions.
- The defendants and their counsel participated in 5 years of pre-trial wrangling costing $18.3 million in public money, would not accept responsibility by pleading guilty unless secretly relieved of liability for $6.4 million in legal fees caused by their transgressions, and resisted coming forward until 20 minutes before court.
- The judge accepted as a mitigating factor in sentencing the submission stating the defendants came forward unequivocally to accept responsibility and by doing so would save the public from a costly trial.
- By the time the defendants and their counsel were free to disclose the agreement not disclosed without voiding it, neither the special prosecutor nor the judge could alter their uninformed actions.
- The Acting Auditor General oversaw an audit of special indemnities.
- In late May of 2013 the Acting Auditor General told the Vancouver Sun the Basi/Virk special indemnity waiver would probably not figure in his findings at all and his report would be released in July.
- The Acting Auditor General’s report wasn’t released until December, and the Basi/Virk waiver was its centerpiece.
- The Acting Auditor General’s report used the same criteria to accept the external Agreement to Release as an amendment to the indemnities as it did to deny the creation of loans through the inherent indemnity structure and authorization.
- The Acting Auditor General’s report stated “This release agreement was kept distinct and separate from Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk’s negotiations and agreement with the Special Prosecutor.”
- The results of the negotiations and agreement with the special prosecutor were a condition precedent in the plea agreement dated October 14, 2010.
- Execution of the release agreement dated October 12, 2010 was a specified consideration of the plea agreement dated October 14, 2010.
- The release agreement owed its life to the negotiations and agreement with the special prosecutor and it would not have otherwise existed.
- The Acting Auditor General’s report contained inconsistencies of fact and logic.
- The Acting Auditor General’s report was accepted without any critical analysis by all of the traditional media organizations.
- The BC Liberal majority on the Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts blocked MLA Corrigan’s motion to have the two deputies who purportedly approved the secret deal appear to answer questions about their role.
- Basi was convicted of accepting benefits from Shambrook Hills Development Corporation contrary to the Criminal Code in the ALR matters.
- Principal officers of Shambrook Hills Development Corporation were criminally charged in the ALR matters but those charges were eventually dropped.
- Shambrook Hills Development Corporation was fined $200,000 for bribing Mr. Basi in the ALR matters.
- Basi was fined $50,000 for accepting the bribe in the ALR matters.
- Basi and Mr. Virk were convicted of accepting benefits from Pilothouse Public Affairs Corporation contrary to the Criminal Code in the BC Rail matters.
- None of the principal officers of Pilothouse Public Affairs Corporation were charged or the corporation fined for bribing Mr. Basi or Mr. Virk.
- Basi and Mr. Virk were convicted of disclosing confidential information to Bruce Clark, a consultant to Washington Marine Group, in the BC Rail matters.
- No charge of accepting benefits was made in the case of information provided to Bruce Clark.
- Bruce Clark is the brother of then Deputy Premier Christy Clark.
- The NDP promised a public inquiry into the BC Rail affair in its 2013 election platform.
- I sent John Horgan a 42-page submission on October 02, 2017 requesting his assurance that the secret agreement and waiver are legal. Have also asked him over 50 related questions via Twitter.
- Horgan has not responded.
- Jon McComb of CKNW has described the BC Rail affair as the worst political scandal in the history of British Columbia.
- I sent Jon McComb and his producer at CKNW the same submission as I sent Mr. Horgan. I also sent the same 50 Twitter questions as to Mr. Horgan, plus 25 additional. He refuses to respond despite direct requests of him to at least acknowledge receipt of my submission.
- What was the duty of the Attorney General when he learned of the deal? (Facts 1-4)
- Is former Attorney General Plant’s legal assessment correct? (Facts 5-6)
- Did deliberate withholding of material facts from the court pervert the course of justice? (Facts 7-9)
- What Financial Administration Act authority did the Deputy Finance Minister use to retroactively forgive liability for over $6 million in obligations to the Crown? (Facts 10-18)
- Why was disclosure of the agreement so critical it would have voided the agreement on October 14, 2010 but of no consequence on October 20, 2010? (Facts 19-22)
- Would the special prosecutor have negotiated his plea deal differently or made submissions to the court differently had he known his plea deal would only be accepted because the defendants had a secret $6.4 million deal in place? (Facts 23-26)
- Would the judge have accepted the joint submission plea deal or the special prosecutor’s mitigating factors statement had she known of the agreement not disclosed? (Facts 23-26)
- What happened to alter the scope and focus of the Acting Auditor General’s report after May of 2013? (Facts 27-37)
- Why would the media overlook obvious inconsistencies in the audit report and then refuse to answer questions about those inconsistencies? (Facts 27-37)
- Was blocking MLA Corrigan’s motion in the public interest? (Facts 27-37)
- Why did Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk feel comfortable in illegally providing documents to the Deputy Premier’s brother? (Facts 38-46)
- Why did Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk require benefits from all who were illegally provided information, except for Bruce Clark? (Facts 38-46)
- Why is the NDP ducking the BC Rail issues?
- Why are Jon McComb and CKNW running scared from the BC Rail issues?
- Do the actions of the NDP and Jon McComb further the public interest?
- The evidence indicates that defence counsel and officials in the Legal Services Branch of the Ministry of Attorney General formed an opinion that Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk would not plead guilty based on the special prosecutor’s offer. They then conspired to arrange an inducement in the form of a quid pro quo designed to get Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk to accept that offer. They also conspired to withhold that information from the special prosecutor and the judge. The effect of their actions was to render the guilty pleas involuntary, and to pervert justice by hiding that fact from the court. The special prosecutor and the judge had every right to expect all material plea negotiations or agreement with the defendants would be done with the special prosecutor and revealed in the joint submission to the court.
- The sequencing of delivery for the considerations under the October 14, 2010 agreement and the loan provisions of the indemnities themselves left the Deputy Minister of Finance without the requisite authority to forgive the debts and obligations of the defendants at the time of his execution of the Agreement to Release.
- The judge declared in her reasons for sentence, “ I am satisfied that the fine imposed on Mr. Basi is an appropriate form of punishment. In addition to having a denunciatory effect, it provides a means by which he is required to take responsibility for the consequences of his conduct, and it provides at least a partial means by which his rehabilitation may be measured.” If Mr. Basi paid the $75,695 fine, it wasn’t because he had to. The Agreement to Release forgave the province’s right to any claim in any way related to or arising from their conduct as ministerial assistants in any way connected with the BC Rail matters or the ALR matters. That would appear to include the fine, and the judge might have wanted to know that.
- The NDP and CKNW are shirking their duty to the public by not providing assurance that the actions of defence counsel and officials in the Ministry of Attorney General with respect to the waiver of liability for the BC Rail legal fees are legal in all respects.
Categories: BC Liberals, BC Rail, Campbell.Gordon, Ethics, Horgan, John
We must now realize that the Campbell Liberal Party was about criminality.
The sole purpose of the Campbell Liberal Party was to divest BC’s assets into the hands of political friends and insiders.
BC Rail is just one of the many scandals that the mainstream media managed and only gave lip service too.
It also must be realized that the Office of the Auditor General also has been compromised by criminality and does what it is told to do. Example the Evergreen Line Review, is so full of error and lack of investigation it is all but useless.
In BC, the courts and the police are also compromised by criminality, so much so that the worst of criminals are released by “mistake” or process “wrongly”.
The NDP are now scared of a BC Rail review for fear that it may spill over into the Mayor’s Council 10 year transit plan, which a $3 billion SkyTrain subway is planned for Broadway; the transit route currently has peak hour customer flows at least 11,000 persons per hour per direction fewer than the 15,000 pphpd, North America’s standard for the minimum traffic flows needed to justify a subway.
Geoff Meggs, former Vision Vancouver Councillor and one of the chief cheerleaders for the Broadway subway is now an adviser in the Premier’s Office!
There has been little or no public debate on the $3 billion Broadway subway and because Innovia SkyTrain is a proprietary railway, Bombardier Inc. which holds the technical patents, automatically will supply cars without tender and SNC Lavalin, holder of the technical patents will automatically do the engineering on the line.
Criminality in BC, knows no politcal boundaries and the NDP know this and are very scared, very scared indeed!
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It would be trite to tar all provincial politics with the same brush because that would obscure the special recognition the Campbell BC Liberals deserve and, perhaps, BC’s special distinction with respect pervasive corruption.
Campbell outdid his idol Ontario premier Mike Harris to an outstandingly comprehensive extent and, in particular, affected some impressive recoveries when things contingent started causing problems. The fundament of requisite lying upon which these machinations were built was bound to get busted eventually, the idea of getting away with it scot free secondary to just getting it done to the point of irreversibility. With evident lack of ethical scruple that extended into jurisprudence, success might have seemed assured, but Campbell probably never imagined it would be his own butt that would plug the forensic toilet. Yet, in retrospect, he might enjoy some successes: in spite of the shit already exposed, it remains unlikely the corrupt BC Rail sale will ever be reversed, the simplest kind of justice that could be applied.
He might also be proud that his protégé had learned a lesson about getting things like Site-C past the point of no return, even if her political reputation will be forever sullied by this apparent success. Talk about selfless sacrifice to the Neo-Right cause!
Although Campbell might have won the crown of dishonesty-based-hubris by burglar-built standards, it remains only a matter of degree and hardly original: BC’s confederation was built on such, also to a superlative degree in confederal comparison, but also in kind. More original, perhaps, as we recall that the circumstances of its unique discontiguity, by, because and beside Alaska’s (and not three decades after the cession of the once-British Oregon Territory) which allowed for rampant corruption, both in amount and kind, that underpins all 147 years of provincehood.
BC was born corrupt and, like Norm’s accounting here (it’s conciseness might be under-appreciated by its necessary length), its accumulated achievement probably too daunting for a single government mandate to tackle head-on. (Yet I wonder why the whole-hog corrupt sale of BC Rail—in contrast to the piecemeal approach at, say, BC Hydro or BC Ferries—could not be matched in its audacity by a whole-hog nationalization to turn it back into the profitable public enterprise it once was.)
But there’s really no excuse. If we want to get justice done, and that requires excluding the BC Liberals politically while implicating them forensically for evidentiary sake, so it must be remembered at every election—that is, be relentlessly reminded—until it is done.
These criminals and their lawyers, friends, insiders, delay, delay and delay. Rack up millions in fees, delay continues. And we, the taxpayers, pay. We’re laughed at in so many ways by these deceitful criminals. They use and abuse and we the taxpayers get stuck with the bill. So many people should be criminally charged in the wrongdoing that has occurred. Go all the way back to 2001. Charge them all, lock them up and throw away the key. Yes, I know, they’ll laugh reading this too. Governments have so screwed with taxpayers, honest, hardworking citizens, but turn a blind eye to the crooks including those themselves. Someone take them on. I haven’t given up on throwing a bunch of politicians in jail, I don’t care which party they’re from.
And seeing the abuse and criminality, in my opinion, continue, lock them up too, whoever is involved be it Meggs, Corrigan whoever. NDP/liberal, does not matter.
Disgusted by them all. LOCK EM ALL UP!!
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There is the rule of law for BC citizens and then there is nothing for MLAs. Starting in fiscal 2015 crown corporations stopped issuing “Annual Reports” , substituting instead a “service plan”.
Avoidance could be for the following reasons. First, the inability to meet accounting standards for an annual report. Second, a way of Cabinet Ministers , Board members and senior executives escaping any legal liabilities they would have if they signed an “Annual Report”.
According to Provincial legislation all Crown Corporations MUST produce an Annual Report by August of each year. BY deliberately avoiding doing so are not folks acting illegally?
Operating outside the law does not seem a worry to either the Liberals or the NDP.
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Yes its time for the saviour of BC to grab power and start jailing the guility ones .We hoped the NDP would do the right thing but cant wait forever .A member of the sitting NDP with integrity and clout has to getting moving on a corruption investigation into these matters its AG David Ebys sworen obligation to act now
Does it not bother anyone, that these criminals will or are receiving pensions? It is our money. Arlene
Don’t ever expect the MSM/corporate media to deal with the issue. They don’t deal in that kind of news, you know the type which impacts the people of this province forever. They just report on the B & Es, shoot’em ups, etc.
it is doubtful the NDP will deal with the issue either, even if Mr. Eby wants to. B.C. won’t get its rail way back and the NDP most likely figures so what is the point. To get the rail way back would be a very long and costly exercise, so they don’t want to get mired in it.
In my opinion Gordon Campbell ought to have gone for jail for what he did, ‘giving’ away our railway. What he got was an appointment to London, England and upon return an appointment by Trudeau to a council advising the government on NAFTA. Crime does pay, just ask el gordo.
As they say, what goes around, comes around. I just want to live long enough to see life get even with el gordo, given what he did to the people of this province.
You should be so lucky e.a.f.! Your (our) only consolation is that while we enjoy retirement Gordy still has his nose to the grindstone and has little opportunity to enjoy is purloined castle on the Sunshine Coast. ( I wonder if Nancy or Laura has visiting rights?)
It’s not all sunshine and roses, entertaining bigwigs every night. Also hard on one’s liver. I wonder if he has managed to stay on the wagon?
Anyway, I would not want to be watching my back for the rest of my life. Liable to give you a case of scoliosis!
Have a great day!
So what Gordon Wilson is doing, is okay. It’s our money again. What have any of them done for a real job! Arlene
Something that shouldn’t be lost when thinking about politicians and senior bureaucrat remuneration is the role MLA John van Dongen played in trying to get answers on BC Rail from Gordon Campbell and the entire BC Liberal cabinet at the time.
I disagreed with Mr. van Dongen on a lot of public policy (especially open net fish farming), but admire him for his principled stand on this issue, which goes far beyond policy and into breaches of the law. Political stripes shouldn’t matter in that regard.
He spent well north of $250,000 of his own money and lost his seat trying to get answers on this matter. His Supreme Court affidavit in support of his application to join the Auditor General’s application for document access in the case is especially illuminating. It details his unsuccessful efforts to have Gordon Campbell and the rest of cabinet arrange a caucus briefing by the two deputies that arranged the deal to end the trial.
Throughout his efforts, the traditional media and most politicians sat on their hands in some cases, and actively blocked any useful public interest investigation in others.
It isn’t too late for some of them to make amends. The question is whether they have the courage.
Lew makes a good point here. The Journalist’s Creed includes these statements:
I believe that the public journal is a public trust; that all connected with it are, to the full measure of responsibility, trustees for the public; that all acceptance of lesser service than the public service is a betrayal of this trust.
… I believe that suppression of the news, for any consideration other than the welfare of society, is indefensible.
I believe that no one should write as a journalist what he would not say as a gentleman; that bribery by one’s own pocket book is as much to be avoided as bribery by the pocketbook of another; that individual responsibility may not be escaped by pleading another’s instructions or another’s dividends.
I believe that advertising, news and editorial columns should alike serve the best interests of readers; that a single standard of helpful truth and cleanness should prevail for all; that supreme test of good journalism is the measure of its public service.
…[Journalism] is stoutly independent; unmoved by pride of opinion or greed of power; …
This country needs a voice it can believe, verify, and trust. Who will be the journalists to accept that charge? Who will follow the creed and all other ethical codes of conduct? [END]
Unfortunately, journalists in British Columbia, perhaps wanting to maintain comfortable relationships with ruling politicians and the province’s financial elites, refused to peak behind the curtains. There was no search for truth by senior members of the Press Gallery.
I happen to believe that the worst part of this scandal was the corruption of our legal system, including the BC Supreme Court. The first judge was moved off the case after government suffered adverse rulings; the second had to pretend she was unaware of backroom manoeuvring to end the trial. She allowed the sentencing to be of little consequence. It’s main element was “house arrest” that was unenforced and had so many permitted absences that it was insignificant.
People in the legal profession who knew the system had been gamed chose to stay quiet because revealing the truth “would bring the administration of justice into disrepute.” They decided that if the general public lost faith in the court system, we’d have a larger problem that its corruption in a handful of cases. (Shades of Justice Peter Leask who was allowed to continue even after questions were raised about his conduct and relationships.)
What IS Gordon Wilson doing Arlene? Shearing sheep is not an easy job, whether it be his farm animals or the taxpayer. And it can’t be easy living with himself, and Judy, and her son. I wonder if he’ll ever get his day in court! One must have to have a pretty thick skin to walk about without wondering what his neighbours are thinking about him, and not caring!
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Whew! Believe it or not, this is as concise as this sorry mess can be expressed, a daunting read but as solid as everything Norm does.
Great work, Norm! We’ll never forget it!
Entire credit belongs to Lew Edwardson. I didn’t even edit the item, it came ready to post.
I know there are many BC people of voting age who don’t understand the simplest details of the BC Rail frauds; this provides them with a relatively complete description.
Yes, if you’ve got the time to read it and all the attachments! An amazing chronicle of events.
Makes you wonder what you’d do with all the time and expense expended by the lawyers, judges, police etc. if they weren’t involved with this sorry bunch of felons. No wonder we’re in the glue!
Oh, well, we’ll soon succumb to climate change or WWIII and all our debts will be forgiven, or of no consequence.
And Gordon’s hacienda will be of no use to him.
Scotty, you seem to have missed that Norm has merely been a conduit on this BC Rail article. Lew Edwardson is the author.
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My bad! It was too engrossing (…me out) and I missed it. Thnx for publishing it here.
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BC Mary would be proud of you Mr. Edwardson
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Ray, I don’t know about that but I do know this: Mary would have tracked these guys down eventually. She didn’t quit; she ran out of time.
At the risk of my verbosity wearing out my welcome here, I’d like to point out one difference between good citizen journalists and politicians.
First, one good citizen journalist’s tribute to another:
Now the politician:
Leonard Krog was opposition critic for the Attorney General’s ministry for a good part of this saga.
DEBATES OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
MONDAY, MARCH 5, 2012
L. Krog: I rise today to ask the House to pay its respects to the passing of one of British Columbia’s most courageous citizen journalists, a woman who was a harsh critic of the B.C. government, particularly around the sale of B.C. Rail, and also critical of yours truly, in the role that I played in criticizing the government. She was a well-known blogger. A defender of democracy, she feared no power. I’d ask the House to pay its respect to the passing of B.C. Mary — Mary Mackie.
Here’s what he told me in July of 2013:
“I am of course not satisfied by the circumstances of all of this, and will go to my grave with doubts about how this deal ‘went down’…” and “…given the fact that our research department had a look at this whole issue again in light of the concerns you raise, and has reached the same conclusion I have, that this is largely a dead issue. I am not prepared at this point to say that the Opposition will pursue this issue much further without something new forthcoming.”
So BC Mary didn’t quit. Neither did Ian Reid, Merv Adey, or Rafe Mair. They were still making a difference when they ran out of time.
But Leonard Krog and the NDP quit without making a difference while they still have time.
That’s not a difference to be proud of.
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Just because I’m pretty sure Mary would have wanted me to bring it up…
Working backward from October 8, 2010 a little, it’s also worth considering/recalling just what may have triggered all this effort to end the trial so suddenly.
RossK, by all accounts Gordon Campbell was a micro-manager who just might have had more than a passing interest in the trial. And by Bill Bennett’s account at about the time the normally glacier-like bureaucracy was moving with unseemly haste to knock the trial on its head, Campbell was causing the cabinet to suffer from “battered wife syndrome”.
What are the odds a couple of deputies would take it upon themselves in that atmosphere to contravene government policy and risk breaking the law to let a couple of defendants who Campbell called “…a couple of criminals who are now paying their price” off the hook for $6.4 million?
The answer to how the trial was halted is the key to why it was halted. John Horgan seems afraid to turn that key. Maybe he’s allergic to gunsmoke.
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Quote from the 2010 article linked above:
“The recent top-to-bottom reorganization of his energy ministry and others? “Very poorly thought out.” Secretive too. The two deputy ministers who worked on it for eight months were ordered not to tell anybody about the plan, least of all the ministers who were supposed to implement it.”
The following is an excerpt from the website of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada:
“Canadian courts expect a great deal from prosecutors, who are subject to ethical, procedural, and constitutional obligations. Traditionally, their role has been regarded as that of ‘a representative of justice’ rather than that of ‘a partisan advocate.’ Their functions are imbued with a public trust. Prosecutors are expected to discharge their duties with fairness, objectivity, and integrity. Their role is not to win convictions at any cost but to put before the court all available, relevant, and admissible evidence necessary to enable the court to determine the guilt or innocence of the accused. As stated by the Supreme Court of Canada in Boucher v. The Queen,  S.C.R. 16, at 23-24:
It cannot be over-emphasized that the purpose of a criminal prosecution is not to obtain a conviction, it is to lay before a jury what the Crown considers to be credible evidence relevant to what is alleged to be a crime. Counsel have a duty to see that all available legal proof of the facts is presented: it should be done firmly and pressed to its legitimate strength, but it must also be done fairly. The role of prosecutor excludes any notion of winning or losing; his function is a matter of public duty than which in civil life there can be none charged with greater personal responsibility. It is to be efficiently performed with an ingrained sense of the dignity, the seriousness and the justness of judicial proceedings.”
The next following is an excerpt from an open letter from former BC Attorney General Geoff Plant to former BC Solicitor General John van Dongen regarding the Basi/Virk secret plea deal (his last sentence was in underlined italics for emphasis):
“It’s worth emphasizing the point. What was offered were guilty pleas on behalf of the two key defendants. Admissions of criminal wrong-doing. The very object of the entire exercise.”
Which of course explains why in BC our betters think it’s acceptable for government to secretly control what happens in a courtroom in order that their deeds do not come into full view.
We must demand redress.