Weekend roundup for your reading pleasure!

With this stunning and somewhat rare West Coast Sunshine, we should all be outside enjoying the weather before it returns to nasty rain again!  However, I know a lot of people down with flu and colds now, and so I’ve compiled a few items of interest I found that I think you might want to check out!

1) Katherine Blaze Carlsons column in the National Post: ” Long Before Milf Interview, Christy’frickin’ Clark laughed her way through Questions on Her Looks andstunnedchristy Nudity In This Radio Chat ”    

Well, it’s about time you got on board, Katherine, but better late than never! The CFOX appearance was just part of the argument behind my December 27th post here and on the Huffington Post BC, but a crucial one, because as I wrote then, and stand by now, it set the standard for what was acceptable topic of conversation with the premier on that kind of station.  Don’t forget, you heard it here first, linked to within the comments section below the first post.  By the way, the earth opened up and nearly swallowed me live on Friday when I arrived home to an onslaught of messages about Bill Good.. gasp.. agreeing with my points in an earlier interview with Mike Smyth. Cue up the Audio Vault for 9 am Friday the 11th to hear firsthand.

2) Why is Christy Clark deleting messages of concern from movie industry workers, from her Facebook page?

Good friend and BC actor, Adrian Hough mentioned to me recently that Christy Clarks team had deleted dozens of message from her Facebook page, from members of the film and movie industry in BC… read on my friends!

The  countless messages  from both actors and actresses, and film/movie industry workers were left on her Facebook page in response to the news that the BC government could not make a case for any added emphasis in the BC Jobs Plan for film, television or video game industries.

Bob Mackin has the story : http://www.timescolonist.com/film-tv-gaming-left-out-of-bc-jobs-plan-1.44327

Interesting… Clark claims to have an open government that wants to communicate with the people, she states again and again she would rather talk to people than sit in the legislature… but when people want to talk to her… she ( her team) deletes their comments from her Facebook page?  Not exactly indicative of a leader who wants to hear from the people, if you ask me!

Luckily, one smart cookie took screen shots and posted them for posterity :http://www.ninja12.com/cc/

moneyNow, to me, the only reason she, or her staff would delete them all – and they were all civil – was so that no one else in the province saw the disappointment of a major industry being left out in the cold.  I find this compelling, because there is definite pressure on other sectors that have traditionally brought in revenue to provincial coffers, so why wouldn’t the government be interested in promoting and expanding that? And what will the impact be for BC film industry workers?  I asked Adrian for his take on this, and this is what he had to say:

BC actor Adrian Hough with Christian Slater” The film industry  has contributed something in the realm of 2 billion dollars to the province or more, but has been losing production like crazy, as well as talent to the East…which means that someone like me, who makes a living on frequent roles in production, Vancouver based, will have less opportunity.  Crews are being hit the hardest however.

I love living in BC, but if production leaves here, I might also be forced to.  My kids are here. I love BC.  The mountains, the ocean, the fresh air.  I like the community I have developed in the industry, and in my adopted hometown of Nanaimo. 

Making a living from the arts is possible, and most performers, and film people are incredibly generous with their skills, and selves, and work unreasonable hours.  The stories we tell are seen all over the world, as well as at home.. I think it does something good to people to be able to look at a film or television series,  and see someplace or someone they know.  Or recognize as their own. 

As far as economics go, talent and skills and stories are a totally renewable and unending (and therefore sustainable) resource.   ( my emphasis there-ly.)

But we have to remain competitive with Ontario and Quebec and the Maritimes and as for the ‘money people’, ( I have spoken to quite a few of them) they say that if they can take a show somewhere else, and save money in production, they will.  And it is happening.”

Talk about shortsighted leadership. Times are changing and so must we as we work towards a shift from a resource based economy to other economic engines.  Adrian makes a very compelling argument for fostering growth in an industry that, in an entertainment hungry society, could very well contribute more to our economy than it does now.

But hey, I’m just a writer/blogger/columnist… what do I know?  : )

**Note, I just noticed Bob Mackin has the same story poste, albeit an hour earlier, and has embedded a link to the site above on his blog- check it out here – credit where credit is due!!! http://2010goldrush.blogspot.ca/2013/01/film-folks-furious-premier-photo-op.html

3)  Andrew Nikiforuk, of whom I am a very big fan of, has a must read series on fracking over at the Tyee. In the series, he “takes a look at four very big claims the industry uses to reassure the public”  that fracking is A-ok for the environment, people and our future. A must read if you share the same concerns over fracking in BC as I do.


4) Last but not least, Rob Shaw of the Time Colonist has a story out this weekend very relevent to the payoff payout of Basi-Virk legal fees..… of which I’m not unfamiliar with…. which lends even more credence (not that it is needed) to the theory that this was a deal made to keep them in silence, and prevent a trial from revealing the truth to the public. The timing is very interesting.. in particular because of Auditor General John Doyles strong attempts to get at the truth behind this deal… oh wait… arent the Liberals trying to fire him?…. hmmmm.


Of course, whether you are a reader  in the lower mainland, the UK, or in Europe, don’t forget to check back tomorrow night for a sneak peak at  my upcoming column in Mondays edition of 24 hours Vancouver, The Duel, with Kathryn Marshall!

Meet British Columbia’s best friend in government – Auditor General John Doyle

In CBC this morning: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2011/06/21/bc-basi-virk-auditor-general.html

B.C.’s auditor general is going to the province’s Supreme Court to get information about defence costs related to the Basi Virk corruption trial.

John Doyle filed a petition Tuesday seeking an order for access to records and information, arguing that the information is essential to an audit due at the end of June.

Auditor John Doyle is an exceptionally busy man, and an exceptional man. I have written to him with my concerns on P3’s and how they are accounted for, and what impact that nefarious accounting will have on provincial budgets- as well as the long term impact on the provinces true debt load. Other progressives have made similar contacts with their concerns on BC Hydro and Ipp’s. Each time, he has replied personally, with thoughtful and insightful comments and at times, at length. I believe he is absolutely committed to doing his job the best he can, and this action supports that.

Will this be the avenue that finally reveals all? Watch this story as it develops and how our unelected premier deals with the questions that this development will undoubtedly resurrect.

“Bad news Friday” becomes bad news Monday for Campbell and Liberals on November 1st.

One deceit needs many others, and so the whole house is built in the air and must soon come to the ground” ~ Baltasar Gracian

A follow-up to the Sea to Sly highway shadow toll story will be posted for Monday morning, please be sure to check back then for the latest and surprising new developments that will make you ask the question: ” What else are Campbell and the BC liberals keeping from us?”

**** update – What a way to wake up on a sleepy Sunday morning,  thanks to Powell River Persuader, and others, for emailing me the news CKNW was carrying a story on the shadow tolls last night – Midnight news –   in response to the press release issued by BC First  calling on Campbell to come clean about the deal. CKNW audio vault for Sunday Oct. 31st, t the 00:00 mark. http://www.cknw.com/other/audiovault.html  

However, I’ve listened to the news several times this morning, and nada. So you’ll have to go listen to the audio vault I’m afraid!

Corruption is complete authority plus total monopoly, minus transparency.

corrupt [kuh-ruhpt]

–adjective 1. guilty of dishonest practices, as bribery; lacking integrity; crooked: a corrupt judge.

2. debased in character; depraved; perverted; wicked; evil: a corrupt society.

3. made inferior by errors or alterations, as a text.

4. infected; tainted.

5. decayed; putrid.


October 18th is already a date that is emblazoned in my mind, for personal reasons, yet in an odd quirk of serendipity, this year it was also the day everyone appeared, grandly dressed and ready to be surprised, to hear the allegedly shocking admission of guilt by the accused in the Basi-Virk trial.

I’ll be honest.When I read the email from a friend in the MSM yesterday morning, I was so momentarily taken aback by his words that goose-flesh covered my skin, which were immediately replaced by a feeling of intense heat. Enraged, I tossed my pen across the room.

While clearly we all knew this could happen, might happen, I hoped beyond hope that these two men would stand firm in their NOW,  apparently not-so-firm convictions of innocence,  and assist the public in revealing the truth of the depth of corruption within the BC Liberal government.

It was not to be. There would be no titillating revelations in courtroom 54, there would be no tanked careers, no embarrassing facts of evidence presented before the jury, and by nature, all of you.

The two defendants would appear to be  susceptible to whatever influences came before them to entice or dissuade.One wonders what it would take to change the minds of men who stood firm for 7 years, who defiantly claimed their innocence and repeatedly said they were only acting on the orders of other, higher officials. 7 years of work down the drain, bought and sold in a deal I suspect we will never be party to said details.

All said, I will not linger long on the tragic decision of  Basi and Virk, because in all truth I know much will be continually covered by BC Mary, the Queen of the Bloggers, Bill Tieleman, Ian Reid and Gazeteer, among others. In truth, Basi and Virk are relatively minor, somewhat inconsequential players in a grand game far more superior and powerful than them. There are far bigger fish to fry, and I am quite hungry from an extended absence from this blog. Like setting a night line to catch a ling cod, patience is a virtue, and I set my lines  within the MOT long ago, content to sit and tug occasionally to  see what appeared at the end. I suspect a feast will be in order shortly.

Contrary to what our Premier would say, the sale of BC Rail was riddled with corruption. Inflammatory statement, to be sure, but one I am confidant to stand behind, as are many others. We may not hear what evidence there is to prove this in a courtroom, but certainly now you will continue to read and see evidence presented online, in the courtroom of public opinion. The list of blogs to the left of my site will provide you with many links that will continue to bring this evidence into the public domain, because this story is far from over.

I am by, not an expert on this case and the sale of BC rail, but I have done a fair bit of digging and searching along with fellow bloggers and interested parties. I have read the entirety of Yvette Well’s notebooks, in fact, I still have the contents, in paper, to read with a short, neat glass of scotch at night. Quite damning, I would say, along with the countless emails and messages that show clearly others knew of the tainted bidding process.

But let us move on now, for there is much that the corrupt sale of BC Rail we can learn from, in fact, about corruption itself, and about corruption within the BC Liberal government. Indeed, from what I have seen, it is the mere tip of the proverbial iceberg, and only gives a glimpse to the depth of the rot within several ministries.

Here in Canada, Quebec generally comes first to mind when conversation about government corruption begins. True enough,Quebec – and Montreal in particular has been long fighting a seemingly losing battle against government corruption and  allegations of organized crime involvement in public projects. In speaking with a french friend of mine recently, he marvelled that in Quebec, nearly every Liberal candidate faced allegations of corruption in some manner –  yet was still elected!

The question to be asked then, is Quebec  really so unique? Is it truly possible that it is the only government  that has been infiltrated, manipulated by organized crime?

For one to think that Quebec is the only province to face such scandal or that it is unique in its rampant government corruption, is foolhardy. Funny enough, this statement brings us right back to the Basi- Virk trial, which initially began with an investigation into organised crime that had allegedly infiltrated the legislature. A statement, that seen in archived video last night on the news, was quickly recanted shortly after it was made. ( reminds me of the swift handling of the  CSIS allegations of Chinese control on BC politicians made earlier this year)

” Nope, not true, certainly not. We did not mean to infer this, blah, blah, PR crisis mode , blah, blah ”

Remarkable, is it not, that such important officers and officials could possibly make such unequivocal statements, on television no less, and then try saying it was an error…

No, I can unequivocably state that no longer does Quebec hold the sole reign on corruption… but I  do think it is safe to say that they simply have more journalists,editors and publishers willing to explore and expose it. Rarely have I read an article on the topic here in BC,  and if there is one bit of necessary writing that I could direct anyone to, it would be this Macleans article titled:

How B.C. became a world crime superpower – Forget forestry or fishing. B.C.’s big, multi-billion-dollar growth industry is crime. And business is booming…

Written by  Jason Kirby and Nancy Mcdonald in 2008, it is a 6 page, detailed look at organized crime in BC, and why the province has become such a player in what used to be an eastern provincial industry. Quotes:

According to police, 40 per cent of all murders in the Lower Mainland are now tied to organized crime. For Vancouver’s law-abiding citizens, the increasingly brazen public executions near schools and in posh neighbourhoods have gotten too close for comfort…

But the carnage on the streets is only the most obvious sign organized crime has infiltrated everyday life…

Things get far murkier once you start to examine the fuzzy line between B.C.’s criminal and legitimate economies. One car dealer in Vancouver told the National Post a few years ago that a quarter of his business involved selling luxury cars for cash to those involved in the drug trade…

… number of factors help explain why B.C. has become such a hotbed of criminal activity. The U.S. border is just minutes from Metro Vancouver, offering ready access to that market. And the province’s ports are among the busiest in the world. Last year the RCMP told the Senate committee on national security and defence that Indo-Canadian and Asian gangs, as well as the Hells Angels, were very active at the Port of Vancouver. Due to limited resources police warned they could only tackle 30 per cent of the criminal activity taking place on the docks. When a new deepwater port opened last year in Prince Rupert, business leaders cheered because it would shave days off the trip between Asia and the eastern U.S. So did the criminals.

B.C. hasn’t grasped publicly the size and the effect the Pacific Gateway program is going to have on B.C. and North America,” says Kiloh. “The projections about the depth of crime that’s going to come just from that are absolutely staggering.” ( highlighted by myself)

…As organized crime flexes its muscles in the province, many fear the inevitable outcome will be corruption on a massive scale. “There has to be people on the take across the spectrum,” says Robert Gordon, head of the School of Criminology at Simon Fraser University. “From time to time you see little signals.”

“There’s been no indication Canadian police have been compromised or that politicians or judges have been bought, but it’s hard to imagine these kinds of flows of money without that happening,” says Stephen Easton, an economics professor at Simon Fraser University.

My point exactly. BC  has long been the arrival and departure point for a variety of evils we may rather forget exist in this world. Most of it does has little to do with you or I, unless you happen to find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time.  And right now, you may be wondering what this has to do with corruption in government, so let me explain.

In Italy, it is no secret that organized crime finds its way into public projects. Several years ago, Italian police laid charges with respect to allegations of  organized crime to win a bid on a large P3 bridge project over the Strait of Messina. Had it been successful, it likely would have been the largest money-laundering effort in some time. And interestingly enough, there was a direct Canadian connection.

In Quebec, organized crime has dogged the construction industry for years. In fact, Ottawa has just commissioned the first comprehensive study of the problem, despite active protest from provincial and municipal politicians alike.

The federal government has quietly commissioned a study of a Canadian construction industry mired by allegations of political cronyism and infiltration by organized crime.

The move comes after the federal and Quebec governments as well as Montreal’s administration were sideswiped over the past year by stories alleging impropriety in the industry


It also comes after a year in which politicians at all levels have steadfastly stonewalled demands for a public inquiry.

Quebec and Montreal have been saddled with allegations of intimidation, bid-rigging, inflated contracts, construction cartels and organized crime involvement.

Interestingly enough, the article also mentions the RCMP probe into a $9 million government renovation project involving a bankrupt construction firm and a Tory organizer – in Ottawa!

Clearly, not even our nations capital is immune from corruption, but again, is it plausible to think that our British Columbian Liberal administration have been completely immune to insidious influences? I’m not saying conclusively that organized crime or foreign influence is involved in any BC public projects, but what I am saying is that why is no one looking at what is going on here in BC?

After all, corruption comes in many forms, and not just in terms of the presence of organized crime.

There can be collusion and conspiracy,  or bid-rigging, construction cartels, and  corporate nepotism which is basically a form of favouritism to one particular company based on personal friendship or business relationships.

And please don’t forget the exchange of  large political donations for contracts, which technically is hard to prove in a court of law without precise supporting documentation and evidence, but happens frequently nonetheless. Buying influence through donations is no less corrupt than anything else, although it seems to be a completely acceptable practice, although often denied as  merely ” coincidental “.

The construction industry  in B.C. is replete with massive,public projects undertaken since the Liberals came into power, many of which I have scrutinized in detail following allegations made to myself of ongoing  ” irregular bidding practices “, both of which would appear to be supported by my research into cases in which the MOT has been involved.

However, since the ministries involved fight disclosure of bid-related information tooth and nail, no one has yet  been able to delve into the fine details of some of the most dubious projects, such as the Port Mann bridge. 

Information that is released on Freedom of information requests is often heavily redacted and provides little if any understanding, and this is alarming for several reasons. Until the public at large knows the details of what happened, why it happened, and the terms of the agreement, how can we be assured of any accountability for our tax dollars?

Secrecy and lack of transparency in government are two cornerstones that pave the way for corruption to sprout and blossom, as evidenced in the landmark case of Tercon vs. British Columbia and MOT.  This important case I uncovered  and wrote about extensively earlier this year, is quite indicative to how the province does business – corruptly, and in this case, fraudulently and with rife deception.

Rogue civil servants indeed – ha! In the case of Tercon, the key players went onto long and lucrative careers within the BC government and the private sector –  the reaping the benefits of obtaining government contracts in what I believe are classic examples of corporate nepotism within the BC Liberal government.  If you have not, you must read the above link and the backgrounders, which demonstrates exactly how those ” rogue civil servants”  get their start.

Another aspect of how the BC Liberals like to demonstrate their lack of regard for transparency ( one of those cornerstones of corruption)  is how they have increasing taken such an interest in public-private partnerships (P3’s), even in an economy where  using the P3 model has delivered higher costs and additional risks, such as the Port Mann Bridge fiasco.

Last year, a damning report was released that confirmed the legitimate concerns surrounding the P3 model preferred and endorsed by Campbell  and his team of Liberals,for BC’s largest projects:

VANCOUVER-In a report released today, B.C.’s most respected forensic accountant, Ron Parks, along with his colleague Rosanne Terhart, find that public private partnerships (P3s) are costly for taxpayers.

They also find a consistent pro-privatization bias in the way that the B.C. government (through Partnerships BC) compares costs when assessing major projects. On top of this, the B.C. government is routinely denying access to critical information, which limits the public’s ability to know that its interests are protected on P3 projects.

Parks and Terhart evaluated four P3 projects: the Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre, the Sea-to-Sky Highway Improvement, the Academic Ambulatory Care Centre (Diamond Centre) and the Canada Line. Based on this review, they find that developing the projects as P3s is more expensive than if they were done publicly.

In the case of the Diamond Centre – they report that the actual nominal cost of a P3 was more than double that of a publicly procured project.

Secretive, biased and expensive. Pretty strong words when used in reference to the way a government who claims to be open and transparent is doing business, and extremely relevant to keep in mind when watching Premier Campbell smugly maligning Basi and Virk on TV and in print as rogue civil servants who acted on their own.

And important to keep in mind when thinking of the large, most often international corporations that are getting our public works projects.  If one digs a little deeper, one often finds information like this :

German contractor Hochtief A.G., ranked the world’s largest contractor based on revenue outside its home country, is considering a Sept. 16 buyout offer from Madrid-based construction giant Grupo ACS. The Spanish firm, which is Hochtief’s largest shareholder with a nearly 30% stake, has offered $72.70 per share for the remaining shares, valued at $3.5 billion. Hochtief owns two U.S. contractors, Turner Construction Co., New York City, and Flatiron Construction Corp., Longmont, Colo. ACS acquired 25.1% of Hochtief for $1.65 billion in 2007. ACS, which also owns Spanish contractor Dragados, has acquired U.S. contractors Schiavone Construction, John Picone and Pulice

( Again, I am certainly not saying organized crime is involved with ACS or the SFPR, however it is interesting, if nothing else, to note even the most remote connections of two companies that makes up part of the Fraser Transportation Group.  )

I believe we have a come to a point in British Columbia, where the general public is finally, genuinely aware of the implications of electing officials without due care and regard.  Of the  further implications of turning a blind eye in acceptance without asking questions and demanding answers. In the long run, I doubt they will draw any distinction between the various types or level of corruption, because it is what we have come to expect from public officials and politicians and we have allowed it to continue for so long.

In my opinion, corruption is corruption no matter how you serve it up, and it is the continued and marked absence of appropriate and assured accountability that is at the root of a majority of the scandals and allegations confronted by the BC liberals.  It would appear to be, that the more powerful one in within this administration, the less accountable they are required to be , and premier Campbell sets the standard by far.

As long as the government  fails to create and adhere to an accountability model that really works, as long as they police themselves with no regard to public transparency, we will have corruption to various degrees, at all levels of government.

What is particularly disturbing to me, is that the Campbell government has repeatedly and actively sought to block fact-finding inquiries made by those wishing to uncover and reveal the abuses of power that have occurred in the 10 years of Campbell’s ‘Golden Decade’  – as we just witnessed by Campbell’s refusal to initiate a public inquiry into the BC Rail sale. ( I often wonder if Campbell calls it the Golden decade because so many of his colleagues and friends lined their pockets immensely while he has ruled the province!)

Sadly, corruption is as human as the desire for love. There will be no remedy to any of it unless someone consistently and forcefully challenges both the cynicism of the public, and systematic degradation of our political process and justice system.  Governance for the purpose of  illegitimate and illicit power and dominance is as reprehensible as the ideology that begets it – a lesson every political party in this province would do well to take to heart if they want to win over an electorate whose political cynicism is at an all time high.

” The accomplice to the crime of CORRUPTION is frequently our own indifference.”

Bess Myerson

( Now, if you want to read something really, really corrupt, head over to Creekside, where Alison has the details on the gag order Basi and Virk had to sign in order to get that multi-million dollar legal costs reprieve from the government….. http://creekside1.blogspot.com/2010/10/bc-rail-trial-6m-buys-whole-lot-of.html  If that isn’t a pay-off of the most corrupt kind,I don’t know what is )

Filed under ” Never thought I would see this photo in the paper – again!”


     This photo crack’s me up every time I see it…why the hell was he smiling? http://jimspss1.courts.state.hi.us:8080/eCourt/ECC/PartyIdSearch.jspx
Search results for criteria: Party Id: @665975, CaseType: ALL

ID Name/Corporation Case Next Event Party Type Filing Date

5 cases found, displaying 5 cases(s), from 1 to 5. Page 1 / 1

@665975 Campbell, Gordon M 0302659AM – State v. Gordon Campbell Defendant 06-FEB-2003
@665975 Campbell, Gordon M 0302659BM – State v. Gordon Campbell Defendant 06-FEB-2003
@665975 Campbell, Gordon M 0302659CM – State v. Gordon Campbell Defendant 06-FEB-2003
@665975 Campbell, Gordon M 0302659DM – State v. Gordon Campbell Defendant 17-JAN-2003
@665975 Campbell, Gordon M 00302659M – State v. Gordon Campbell Defendant 10-JAN-2003

( While the Province article is about the Basi- Virk trial, since the incident of the premiers drunk driving incident was brought into court in relation to the activities of one of the defendants, I thought I would take a side trip down memory lane….)


It has well been discussed in many forums and by many political insiders, that Premier Campbell has long counted on the treaty process with  many British Columbia aboriginal bands, to lubricate the way for mining and oil exploration in traditional band territories. However, it all seem to be falling apart for the premier, as first nations in many parts of BC fight to retain control and prevent exploration and destruction of land within their range – recall the Enbridge post further down this page from last week.

Our friend at  ” How bad is the record” has a post up that is self-explanatory with regards to what I have just mentioned, and I encourage all of you, to attend a rally/protest in downtown Vancouver today, if you can- details at the end of the following story  :


I have known from the beginning that Campbells “new relation” with the First Nations of BC was a sham. It was designed to placate the nations and lure them into a false sense of security.He never ever thought once that he would buck big business, especially  mining, to allow the First Nations to have a say in their traditional lands.

Please read the following press release about the Fish Lake, Prosperity Mine double cross by Campbell.


For immediate release B.C. Government Treats Aboriginal Rights as Meaningless; Tsilhqot’in Nation Denounces Long-Term Lease for Taseko June 14, 2010, Williams Lake – The Tsilhqot’in National Government angrily denounced the provincial government’s decision to grant Taseko Mines Ltd.(TML) a long-term mining lease for its proposed open-pit mine at Teztan Biny (Fish Lake), an area where the Tsilhqot’in Nation holds proven Aboriginal hunting and trapping rights.
“B.C. is essentially saying our proven rights are meaningless,” said Chief Marilyn Baptiste, of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation, one of the six Tsilhqot’in communities that comprise the Tsilhqot’in Nation. “The Province is handing Taseko long-term property rights to lands where we are actively exercising our proven Aboriginal hunting and trapping rights – before it is even known whether Taseko’s project will be approved or rejected by the federal government.”
Federal approval is far from certain. During recent public hearings held by a federal environmental review panel, the Tsilhqot’in Nation actively opposed the project, which would destroy two lakes of profound cultural and spiritual significance, with elders, members and even school children describing the unfathomable loss that this destruction would mean for their communities and traditional way of life. The federal panel is due to issue its report and recommendation on July 2nd. “During those hearings, our Nation, people from Williams Lake, environmental organizations from across the country and a number of eminent scientists warned the Panel that this mine will cause untold damage to the Tsilhqot’in culture and to a complex ecosystem,” says TNG Tribal Chief Joe Alphonse of Taseko’s plan is to drain the pristine, trout-bearing Fish Lake and dump waste rock there. “Even federal agencies said that Taseko’s plan to destroy Fish Lake and Little Fish Lake didn’t meet their guidelines. It’s a black eye for British Columbia. It’s hard to find anything good to say about it.”
The Tsilhqot’in National Government (TNG) called the decision to issue the 25-year renewable lease “disrespectful.” Chief Alphonse: “There is still a need for Tsilhqot’in endorsement to operate with the Tsilhqot’in traditional land. The Tsilhqot’in National Government does not feel that we have been adequately consulted.” TNG has written to Jody Shimkus, the Chief Gold Commissioner, recommending the decision be rescinded.
The issue of allowing mining companies to use lakes as garbage dumps for mining waste is now a national issue. On June 4th, the Sandy Pond Alliance – a coalition that includes the Council of Canadians, MiningWatch and other eNGOs – launched a court case against the federal government contending that the regulation currently used to authorize the destruction of lakes for mining purposes is unlawful. On Wednesday, June 16th, there will be a protest at 12:30 pm in downtown Vancouver at the Taseko Mines Annual General Meeting. The rally at 837 W. Hastings Street has been organized by Council of Canadians in support of the fight to defend Teztan Biny (Fish Lake).and please pass this on to your friends

Posted by Gary E at 9:35 PM

At long last, a return to Bits and Bites,Tuesday June 8th, 2010

Good evening, my loyal friends and readers!

 I have to thank all of you for your continued patience and let you know how much I appreciate your faithful stops even though the pages here have remained vacant of posts for some time. All I can say is that sometimes life lobs you a hard-ball, and then sometimes life burns in two or three in succession, and as a result, I’ve had to take time to attend to my health and my family. I’ve still been working on various stories behind the scenes, but at a far less dedicated level than previously. I promise to be back to filling these pages with insight and revelations as often as I can over the summer, and who knows, you may even see a special feature of  the Laila Yuile Road Trip across BC…

And out of the starting gate today… It seems there was much ado about nothing at the Basi-Virk trial today, as we all wait -again- to find out the decisions of the two jurors who were not sure if they could continue their duty well into 2011.  I invite all of you to tune into my three favoured sources for all things Basi- Virk ( Railgate) ,each of which posts continued and detailed updates on the proceedings: The Gazetteer, my good friend BC Mary’s site, The Legislature Raids, and of course, my friend Bill Tieleman, who has had some interesting experiences in the past when it comes to Railgate related incidents.  

Next up, I have to say that if there is any grace, any tiny blessing in the horror that continues down south with the BP oil disaster, it is that it may jolt the minds of locals who have yet to form an opinion on the Enbridge pipeline, of which I have been blogging about since last year.  see these posts for my coverage of this issue:  Support divided for Enbridge Northern Pipeline, Close Call on BC coast should be “Wake-up call” for all British Columbians ( contains links to several other posts of mine, and a great video link of the Exxon Valdez) . I called it then in the first post about the fact that the alleged moratorium against tanker traffic is baseless, as did others before me- but did anyone listen then?

I think, I hope, that they are all listening, and watching now. What we have here in BC is unique, precious and must be saved and preserved at all costs for future generations.

I was thinking about all of this when I was surfing through YouTube recently, when I found the  following two videos.

The first is taken from Question Period in the Legislature, March 23rd, 2010. The entire video is worth watching ,but is you are short on time, FAST FORWARD TO the 2 minute mark and pay close attention to what Premier Gordon Campbell says in his rare moment of speaking in the house.  He says , quite clearly, ( and I paraphrase here ) that if the First Nations say no to the Enbridge pipelines, THEY WILL NOT PROCEED…. This is a very,very important moment caught on tape.

Now, the following video was taken the day BEFORE premier Gordon Campbell’s great speech declaring that if First Nations were opposed, they would not proceed with the pipeline. The date is March 22nd, 2010

This video shows the Coastal First Nations press conference  stating unequivocably that they will not allow, support or endorse in any way, the Northern Gateway project and the Enbridge pipeline. Clear as a  bell to me. 

So. Please tell me why this project has advanced to the environmental review stage, and why Enbridge is still spending tons of money emailing people like me their glossy new project brochure?  ( PDF)

And, if that wasn’t enough, check out this link  to the great people at the Dogwood Initiative :

By arranging to attend as official representatives of Enbridge shareholders, I and whoever comes with me have a once-in-a-year chance at holding Enbridge CEO Patrick Daniel to account, by asking him point blank questions on the record. For representatives of First Nations who make it to the AGM, it’s a unique chance to assert their jurisdiction in front of senior executives, the Board of Directors, shareholders, and the financial media.

This year the AGM team included myself, Vice Tribal Chief of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Terry Teegee, Chief Namoks (John Ridsdale) of the Wet’suwet’en, and Nikki Skuce from our colleague organization Forest Ethics.

I’m not gonna lie; trips like this are always stressful. There’s the logistics (e.g. my Greyhound bus broke down on the way to Calgary), the preparation, making sure media know why you’re there and what you’re doing, and the worry up until the end that something’s not going to go according to plan.

But somehow it always works out, and this time was no different. Super Calgary volunteer John Vickers pulled through with an entire series of professionally designed posters to be used as rally placards outside the meeting; we were able to speak with TV and print media about the issue; John and Terry did an amazing job of asserting First Nations’ jurisdiction over the project; and, we got Patrick Daniel on the record admitting to three crucial points:

(1)    That Enbridge hasn’t been completely upfront with all of the shippers they’ve been negotiating with about the inadequacies of the review process for the project.

(2)    That the broad opposition to Enbridge’s oil pipeline and tanker project creates “significant” risk for the company, which the Board of Directors discusses virtually every time they meet.

(3)    That the “protocol agreements” that Enbridge has signed with some First Nations don’t actually indicate support for the project, and that at current count, there are zero First Nations he is aware of that are publicly supporting it; in contrast to the 28 who are publicly opposing it. Enbridge’s project is on shaky ground

These statement’s by Daniel proves what we knew all along, the Enbridge project is on shaky ground. More importantly they give us the opportunity to drive home the message that Enbridge is in for a fight they can’t win

Campbell proved he was a liar with the HST, and continues it with Enbridge. 

The premier needs to put an end to this and stick to his word, for once. We do not want an environmental disaster here, in this place of incredible beauty and diverse ecosystems.

Speaking of the HST, a curious note to mention here , direct from my blog stats. WordPress shows me what search terms people used to find my blog ,and one of the top search terms for the last month has been : ” How much will my HST rebate cheque be if I am low-income?”

What does that tell you? People are freaking out about paying the HST and already counting on getting some money back. Yes, we know  the Liberals are going to issue rebate cheques for those among us who are hurting, but it is far too little in the end to save any of the woefully lagging Liberals. Especially now that the First Nations in BC have joined the fight.  (Let me guess if that is going to help. ..or hurt, the treaty process…)

Last, but not least, there will be more to come this week on an interesting angle to the South Fraser Perimeter Road, and let me tell you, it’s quite a PR angle that may not have been discussed yet.  Call me a tease, but that is all I’m going to give you right now.

A quick bit of insanity for you relating to the Canada Line: Who exactly decided giant orange Cheeto Bears make any kind of sense at all coming out of this wall ?  Yep. I thought so.Seriously, what’s the deal with these bears, and more importantly, how much did they cost?

Under the  ” Bet you won’t see this in the Sun or Province ” banner, I bring to you a very Proud to be Canadian moment from our friends at The Galloping Beaver ( and let me tell you, this would be a crowning blogger moment, if I may so so myself!)  

The Galloping Beaver – Banned in Guantanamo

Friday, June 04, 2010

We get mail :


Your website is one I have long visited and I was quite surprised when I was visiting Guantanamo last month and I was not allowed to visit your website while at the base. I received a notice that the website was not allowed to be accessed by the “administrator” (military censors) (not an exact quote). I was quite surprised, went to other websites that I thought might be more controversial but had no problem and checked at various times to get on to your website (I was there for almost a week this visit) but I never could get on to your website.

So, please take my congrats….I would consider it an honor to be barred by those thugs!

Best regards,

H. Candace Gorman

Well … just … wow. We at The Beav also consider it an honour to be visited by Guantanamo human and civil rights lawyer Candace Gorman.

Ms. Gorman was successful earlier this year in freeing one of her clients from Guantanamo and maintains The Guantanamo Blog to “provide updates on developments concerning the plight of the detainees, the ongoing injustice of current U.S. detention policies in the “War on Terror” and efforts to hold accountable those men and women responsible for the war crimes”.
Today she writes :

Of course Bush only spoke about his joy in waterboarding KSM…..I wonder how he will respond to questions about waterboarding Abu Zubaydah (some 100 times) as the government has now been forced to admit Abu Z was not al-Qaeda or taliban …. just some shmuck who had the misfortune to be captured by my criminal

Another recent blog entry asks you to lend your support to a military lawyer who refused to prosecute a man who was tortured into confessing. Lieutenant Colonel Darrel Vandeveldis is now at risk of losing his 19 year military career for doing so.

Thanks for making our day, Candace, and for all your fine work defending justice and the rule of law from thugs.

Email published with permission of author.

Congratulations to all the busy beavers posting over there, and if you haven’t been to visit, why not head over and check them out?  Consistantly great posts that hit the mark every time !

Last, but not least, I would like to thank my army of ” helpers”, who without which , it would be all that much harder to write the blog. You know who you are, and I thank you today for all that you do to get these stories out.

Take care , and see you again soon!

” I actually have a responsibility to the taxpayers to protect the integrity of the court system…”

Yes, my friends, this  little gem actually came out of the mouth of our not-so-dearly-beloved premier, Gordon Campbell. In reference to the entire Railgate scandal.

He wouldn’t talk about it before the election.

He wouldn’t  even talk about it during the election, as seen here in this CBC interview.

He still wouldn’t talk about it after the election, and he’s certainly been quiet since.

The question now is, will he talk about it in a court of law? And if so, will he remember his responsibility to the taxpayers to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?  Or will he stick to the “facts” ?

Anyways, this is an oldie, but a goodie. I’m thinking he’s NOT feeling  quite so smug now…

When is a losing bidder, NOT a losing bidder? When it involves bidding on a Ministry of Transportation project!

Without a doubt, it’s when the losing bidders have bid on a Ministry of transportation project with the BC Liberals! 

It came as a shock to me, anyways, when I recently read in the South Fraser Perimeter Road Request for Qualifications, that the losing proponents( bidders) would still be receiving  so-called ” Stipends” to the tune of $1. 5 million dollars each.  My God, I thought, I’m clearly in the wrong line of business, if even a losing bid could be so lucrative!  MLA Guy Gentner agreed wholeheartedly with me when I recently talked about just this topic on his radio show  ” Live from the Leg” 

Now, one must remember that submitting any bid to the province and the MOT is a risk venture at best, because the MOT makes all the rules, and often changes or breaks them as the bidding process goes along. The right and ability to do this, often with no notification to the bidders, is clearly written into the wording of the most recent large projects, and to be honest, reading some of these Request for Proposals makes it seem like the bidding process is as safe as jumping into a pit of cobra’s who’ve been tortured for a while already.  But still,  big business is never without risk, and in many other private sector industries there is no such thing as a consolation cheque for not getting the job.  

So why is the Ministry of Transportation still handing out such lucrative stipends to these losing bidders?  That is a question for Shirley Bond, I would say. 

Take for example the losing bidders for the Sea to Sky highway, who each walked away with a cool $1.5 million each : Page 51/77 section 6.2 

 The Province will pay a $1.5 million stipend ( the Stipend) to each proponent that is not selected as the Preferred Proponent… 

And let us not forget the most recent announcement concerning the South Fraser Perimeter Road preferred proponent ( bidder) – each of the losing bidders there also receive a lovely cheque in the amount of $1.5 million each, just for losing… http://www.partnershipsbc.ca/pdf/SFPR_RFQ_072908.pdf   Page 16/62, Section 2.3 : 

…a Stipend in the amount of $1,500,000.00 will be paid to each Proponent that is not selected as the Preferred Proponent… 


But the award for the largest consolation prize in the history of BC bids that I am aware of has to be given to the RAV line losing bidders, each of whom received … are you ready for this? $ 4 million each. 

You read that right, $ 4 million dollars for NOT making the cut : http://www.ravprapidtransit.com/files/uploads/docs/doc173.pdf  Page 42/96. section 12.5 : 

RAVCO upon Closing will pay an honorarium to the unsuccessful BAFO Proponent covering a significant portion of its costs up to $4 million 


You can do the math, these amounts add up in to a massive sum of money when you consider this is the way it’s done on most large projects initiated by the provincial government.  And while I’ve only started to crack the surface of the muck that covers every surface of the MOT, it leads me to wonder if these kind of consolatory offerings are the norm for losing bidders in other ministry projects and contracts! I highly suspect it is. 

It’s hard to imagine that in these tough economic times, that these kind of top dollar “Stipends” are still being handed out, especially in light of the massive cuts the government have ordering in various other sectors, such as health care, education and special needs.  There is no justification for it, no matter what angle I look at. 

I’ll let you be the judge of whether these cheques are fair or not, but to me, this is a clear-cut case of  typical BC Liberal extravagance – perhaps even  Liberal callousness, at worst, when one looks at the many children, elderly and handicapped going without needed diagnosis, treatment and care  all over the province. 

What do you think? 

( now scroll down to why I think the Basi-Virk trial is just the tip of the iceberg…)

A little rebellion now and then is a good thing and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. ~ Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Jame Madison

And never have I felt more rebellious, more incited to revolution than tonight, when I sat down to read who, and what, really controls what you, and I, and our friends and neighbours read and watch in the evening news….

And you think you live in a democracy?

I suggest you read the following. And think again.

 Because when journalists employed by publications that benefit from very lucrative government advertising revenue are among those who are designated to pick and choose who may obtain media accreditation on behalf of the Supreme Court…. something has gone terribly wrong.

 From The Legislature Raids :

BC Supreme Court Media Accreditation Committee … say again?

What is a working journalist? Wouldn’t it be someone with a set of high skills who attends all the hearings, studies the process, and reveals the story in its fullest form? I think so. And I think Robin Mathews is that highly skilled working journalist who is telling us the BC Rail story in its fullest meaning.

Recently Robin wrote to Court Scheduling to ask for accreditation.  Why? So he could do his job better. He said that if the court is jammed (as it was for the first jury-picking) he needed to get a place where he could hear what’s going on … which isn’t always easy in the back row with 150 people in the public gallery. A reply came to him from H.L.McBride, Supreme Court Law Officer, with material describing the Accreditation Process and it referred him to the committee of journalists which does the initial accrediting.  Of the four named as representative of the committee, Robin chose Keith Fraser to write to.

Robin Mathews has been in the BC Rail courtroom with other paid journalists for over three (3) years. Sometimes Robin Mathews is the only working journalist in the public gallery reporting on the BC Rail Trial.  I would imagine that he has logged more hours in the public gallery than any other journalist at the BC Rail hearings. So in my view, the public should know the dark side of what goes on.

Heaven knows we berate the journalists often enough for not doing their jobs better. I, for one, never quite imagined them doing these kinds of things as part of their duty to the public.

First, here’s Robin’s inquiry:

Dear Keith:  First:  I wrote to Mary Ellen Pearce to ask if I could get accredited as a court reporter. My reply came from H.L.McBride who I can never decide if it’s a woman or a man.  Anyhow, the reply was I have to go to someone really powerful to ask – and you were listed among the really powerful!!!!

                     Yes, I would like the right to record.  But also I’d like the right if the court is jammed (as it was for the first jury-picking) to get a place where I can hear what’s going on … which isn’t always easy in the back row with 150 people there. I notice that you and CP could slip in to a corner where you were in good relation to the goings-on …

                    I’d like to know about “accreditation” if you can spare a few minutes over the next days (before the 17th.)

                    good wishes, Robin

Next: Neal Hall of Vancouver Sun offers the formal reply, as follows:

From: “Hall, Neal (Vancouver Sun)”
Date: May 11, 2010
To: , “Fraser, Keith (The Province)” , ssmart@ctv.ca, JSeyd@nsnews.com,
Subject: Court accreditation application

Robin Mathews:

The B.C. Supreme Court media accreditation committee considered your application but has decided you are not a working journalist, so do not qualify for accreditation.
We are aware of the valuable role you play as a “blogger” and analyst of the court proceedings, so would encourage you to apply by letter to the trial judge, requesting permission to use a recording device in court.
As for seating, so far, there doesn’t appear to be any special arrangements for media seating in the courtroom. So we’re all in the same boat – we’ll be trying to find the best available seat each day.
Any questions, please feel free to contact me (I can always be reached by e-mail).

Neal Hall
The Vancouver Sun
(604) 605-2067
Email: nhall@vancouversun.com

Now. If you don’t get what is wrong here, I feel for you. I really do. But for the rest of you, click on the The Legislature Raids  and read the rest of the story…