Campbell’s Harmonized Sales Tax and the Working Joe ( and Jill)

Time for a blast from the past.

I  originally wrote and posted this piece over a year ago- July 24th, 2008. Reading it tonight, I found myself shaking my head and laughing. A year later, not a lot has changed in the economic situation for thousands of British Columbians, except that the rich are getting richer and the poor? Well, they aren’t doing so well now, are they? Times are tough all over, and this HST sure as hell isn’t going to make things better for anyone.

Thanks to our dear premier, I can save myself a world of time tonight and simply run this old blog post – substituting HST in place of Carbon Tax…..

Really, how bad is that?

Read on….

In recent weeks, there has been plenty of talk about the cost of living, the inflation rate, fuel prices and foreclosures. It’s enough to drive a man to drink

I’m tired of hearing about global warming, climate change,carbon tax, and the like. Enough is enough. Our premier doesn’t give a damn about me, or you, or any of our families. He doesn’t worry about things like missing a credit card payment or putting gas in the tank, or whether or not his kid can play football if you cant afford the registration fees. Does he even drive himself anywhere, anymore?  It is simply not his reality.

 And so, the HST really doesn’t mean anything to him other than some really bad PR right now. It wasn’t motivated by a care for the province, it was motivated by a delusional fantasy of self importance. This, from a man who spends vacations in Hawaii, living the high life, while the rest of us are forced to stick our feet in the kiddie pool with a sun lamp to get a tan. The man couldn’t buy enough carbon credits to offset his air travel in one year, and this summer so many of us couldn’t afford to fly anywhere for vacation… I think he would do the environment a much better service by  simply shutting his mouth to prevent hot gas from escaping everytime he speaks.

I am an average Jill. I come from a forestry town up north, one that is going to be hurting badly when the beetle kill wood  being logged runs out. My dad has always worked harder than anyone I know, and he would give any of his friends the shirt off his back. His job is dangerous at times in the pulp mill. Chlorine gas leaks, black liquor tanks, complicated machinery. Many of his friends have died younger than they should have: cancer , heart attacks, strokes. All to make sure that pulp keeps being processed. Pulp has been huge for BC.

There are thousands more men and women like him in our province, and if it wasn’t for them, Gordon Campbell wouldn’t have anything to run. The men and women building that ill-fated sky train line into Richmond. The young crane operator who died. The men who spend days and nights, long and lonely on the road to bring us our food, and clothes and whatever else is transported by semi. Men like my husband and his coworkers who take so much abuse and flack just trying to make a living. Construction workers, truck drivers, labourers, taxi cab drivers, you name it.

These men and women work hard to provide for their families, sometimes dirty, no thanks, shitty jobs just to make ends meet and feed their kids.

Will they be able to heat their house and feed the family this winter? The sad truth is, some will, some won’t. There will be children who are too cold, or too hungry to fall asleep this year. There will be more kids without presents at Christmas and so long to that hockey team little Billy wanted to play on.

You think I’m kidding? This is the reality thousands are facing with this extra tax, and it is the way the current government sees fit to thank all of us for working hard to make him look good.

This is how the province thanks them.What next, a cheque in the mail like his Carbon Tax pay-off?  A $100.00 bribe and a whole lot of worry for the future. He gave us our own $100.00 back, and then tried to say how lucky we are for getting it… go figure. And we should buy light bulbs with it, or weather stripping – as if. The only thing is, his government cronies  have messed up so badly this time, I wouldn’t count on getting any pocket change cheques in the mail anytime soon.

I have a neighbour who works extremely hard. She has several kids that she takes care of for daycare, and she walks all over the neighbourhood several times a week delivering the local paper from a stack on top of her stroller. She does it rain or shine, and her kids help her out. I bet that rebate cheque was a nice windfall for her, but I wonder what happens when it gets really cold out in the winter? Did she save it for then ? Our houses are older, and the heat escapes everywhere. Its expensive to heat them already, and the price of natural gas is going to be rising again. Thanks Gordon.

The premier doesn’t seem to realise how many average people there are who are living pay-cheque to pay-cheque. He doesn’t seem to realise that they can only take so much, and that people are starting to clue into the reality behind this latest tax. His narrow views and hidden agendas have lasted this long because the average Joe honestly didn’t pay much attention beyond  whining about the local  political scandals, but that is quickly coming to an end.

The HST has woken people up, and how! More people than ever are talking, seeking information, and really delving into how he has run his administration to the point that Basi-Virk is becoming a household word…..imagine that. Everyone in BC knows about those missing emails NOW.

 In forcing thisnewest  tax upon us, Old King Gordo inadvertently opened his own can of proverbial worms. We shall see how well he manages trying to stuff  them all back in…

                                              A reform is a correction of abuses; a revolution is a transfer of power.
                                                                                                     Edward Bulwer-Lytton

                              I perceive that, in revolutions, the supreme power rests with the most abandoned.
                                                                                                   Georges Jacques Danton

( with that said, the stage is set to invite you to join me in attending this rally to voice your opposition to the HST  and your support for it’….


Fight the HST Rally

Saturday, September 19


Canada Place( new location)

Guest Speakers to include:


Bill Vander Zalm– former BC Premier


Carole James– BC Opposition Leader


Vicky Huntington– Independent MLA, Delta South


Chris DelaneyDeputy Leader, BC Conservatives
Mr. Vander Zalm believes all British Columbians opposed to this tax

must work together to defeat it in a united effort to hold the

government to account.


Please pass this on to all your friends and contacts.


More“Fight the HST” details coming soon.

The Pacific Gazetteer weighs in on media coverage of Basi/Virk pre-trial hearings

RossK, author of the The Pacific Gazette, has something to say about blog coverage versus media coverage of Monday’s Basi-Virk pre-trial hearings, that resulted in some pretty nasty comments directed at myself here in the comments section under that days report. While the first comment attacked my writing and coverage, the second became quite personal, and in my opinion, both were completely unwarranted.  RossK has the full story, and here is an excerpt:

“The ‘Laila’ referred to in GAB’s comment is fellow eyewitness and blogger Laila Yule who wrote a very detailed post on Wednesday that can be read in its entirety here.
This led to a tremendous discussion in the comments to Laila’s piece.
But it also led to some codswallop.

Including media monitoring contract-style codswallop like this:

“…..Since when do they let stupid little blooggers into Supreme court? Shit, things must be wrong if they let you supid little wannabes in there. You know why real reporters dont write about this extra stuff Laila? Because it just doesn’t matter. It doesn’t add a thing to the story, you idiot. And if I were you, I would watch what you write about Kinsella. And the premier.”

And so, almost an entire week after the fact, when there is finally a smidgen of proMedia reporting about the fact that a notebook belonging to one of Crown’s ‘star’ witnesses includes a passage that appears to explicitly link the former campaign manager of the Premier of British Columbia (a very fine fellow who was AT THAT VERY TIME [ie. 2002] in the employ of BC Rail) to the ultimately successful private bidder for BC Rail, was discussed in open court, well….. ”

Don’t just take my word for it- go read it firsthand at  The Gazetteer, in yesterdays post titled “RailGate Run-Around…Promedia Catches Up To Bloggers Five Days Late”  AND todays post titled  “RailGate Run-Around, Part Deux…”

All I can say is this. It would be nice if we got to a point where bloggers and MSM  can work together to tell the entire story to the public. As a blogger, I’m not confined to word limits or simply reporting the facts – I can offer my personal commentary alongside it. I can explore avenues conventional media may not have the budget for. We are not restricted by editorial constraints nor must we refrain from printing newsworthy items because it might offend a large advertiser….

While I am the first to admit there are a lot of sloppy, nameless and completely unprofessional bloggers out there, the ones I know do verify details and sources, check both sides of the story and try to bring a high quality product to the reader. We are not losers living in our mothers basements,nor are we unemployed bitter fools who write random rants with no regard for libel laws in Canada.

 What we really are , is a group of  professional individuals  in a multitude of educated fields – both corporate and academic-  with a wealth and variety of knowledge and experience that lends to good copy for our readers. We do not belong to cults and we may be associating with you at your next cocktail party without you even knowing it, or handling your financial investments. We care about this province and where it’s headed, and if we can open a few eyes along the way, that’s even better.

” I believe in truth. I believe in truth and honesty, and in doing the right thing. Most of all, I believe in justice…”

~ Susan Heyes, owner: Hazel & Co. Maternity, ( Victorious Cambie Street Merchant,),  on why she was in attendance at the Basi/Virk/Basi hearing yesterday.

It is interesting to note that all lawyers who appear in the Supreme court, refer to each other as ” My friend/s” .

This became an increasing source of amusement for myself during the Basi/Virk/Basi hearing Monday, because clearly, no love was lost between any of the mornings participants: not those representing the Crown, nor the defense , nor the attorney representing businessman, and alleged key player in the deal, Patrick Kinsella.

By a sheer stroke of fate, I found myself free of obligations Monday morning and able to watch the mornings court proceedings – which did not disappoint by any means. When reading accounts of the Railgate hearings thus far, I’ve often wondered about the stories behind the stories, the details and minutia that go unreported in traditional reporting  because of time and editorial restraints. Often,it is the same stories that go unreported that offer the most insight into cases like this, becausethey give the reader a fuller, richer depth of understanding of how these cases work and proceed.

It was extremely wonderful to have another set of eyes and ears alongside in my fellow blogger GAB, and I do hope that she offers her viewpoint on the mornings work as well. I suggested we sit in the back row of the gallery so that I could watch the reactions and interactions among others in attendance – a lesson passed onto me by a senior investigator during my career in financial investigations. You might laugh at this, but watching the interaction between people, and the minute responses we all exhibit involuntarily has, in the past, lead me in new directions that enabled me to either resolve a clients file, or give them enough to prosecute it successfully. And while nothing of the sort was pertinent yesterday, it was interesting to note the people who were in the gallery, as well as who were not. I noted immediately the presence of Susan Heyes, the Canbie street Davidwho took on Goliath government in the fight of her life – and won.  More on that later

Everyone rose as Justice Bennett entered the room, and I for one,was surprised at her appearance and demeanor. Wearing street clothing rather than the traditional judge garb, I found her to be a not-very-imposing figure in the courtroom, and at times I strained to hear her soft voice even in an otherwise silent room. She is very  keen and observant, and several times I saw her eyes dart back to watch the gallery. With no preamble, she immediately began her address to the court by reading the reasons behind the defenses application and the opinion of the Crown. Although Bennet did not announce it immediately, it was apparent within minutes that she would not be continuing as the presiding judge in this trial by the direction and tone of her address. She stated that although she had viewed thousands of pages in applications, no charter applications had yet been heard, and that she  fully expected the case would not resolvefor at least another year- at the earliest. Even this time frame would be dependant on any future charter applicationsthat could be presented.

She continued by pointing out that no evidence had been heard, nor had she taken any pleas- she has only heard disclosures and applications,and again she mentioned, no evidence. As Bennett spoke, I often watched Justice critic Leonard Krog and although I could not see his face from my vantage point, he often stroked his beard as if in deep thought. When the decision finally came: ” I am unable to continue as trial judge…”, she immediately went into her reasoning’s in detail, giving examples of similar situations in previous trials. Bennett was quick to point out that she must set the way for ease of  a new job, for a new judge,and that she would not have accepted her new appointment if the trial had been further along.  She paused for a moment, looked up briefly over top the  glasses perched upon her nose, then said that the only way she would have remained is if she felt that another judge could not have given a fair trial to the defendants. She finished her address by simply stating that she could not continue as trial judge pursuant to Section 669.2 of the Criminal Code.

Without delay, the hearing proceeded as James Sullivan- lawyer for Patrick Kinsella- stood to speak to their motion for an adjournment so he and his client could review 65 new pages of material they had just received – stating that he ” needs time to consider how they( the defense) will be using those documents.” because the defense tends to let their imaginations run wild.

 (Audible snickers rose from the gallery at this with a fair degree of head shaking and eye-rolling occurring)

 Sullivan said he needed time  as well as, to further review the application to  subpoena and cross-examine Kinsella. Sullivan’s style was all prime time drama  as he continued in his reasons for adjournment, stating that the defense seemed to be using American stye litigation tactics of private, third party cross-examination. ( more noise from the gallery at this ) It seemed that Sullivan went on far too long about how he didn’t know what the defense planned to do with these documents – as if the defense would lay all their cards on the table at this point.

Sullivan continued , repeating that this was new information,and he absolutely needed more time to review it before responding, although the look on defense lawyer Kevin McCullough said this was a bunch of poppycock.

Defense layer Michael Bolton stood to oppose the adjournment of the motions, stating that in actuality, very little of those 65 pages is new at all, and in fact, they simply re-affirm the role Patrick Kinsella is alleged to have played in the planning the railway deal. He specifically pointed out an email from Mahoney to Trumpy, relating to problems with the transaction, that says: ” I’ll do a bit of checking with Kinsella to see what he’s hearing.”

Bolton went on to mention other inferences and mentions of Kinsella within the documents, and asked Bennett to consider that it is truly  reasonable for one to consider that Kinsella had knowledge of the deal. Bennett seemed to become impatient with Boltons rather long-winded and choppy address, interrupting him at times to remind him that she had seen particular document he was referring to and that there was no need to read them again. Bolton wrapped it up  and sat again, and GAB seemed to sum it up well by saying that he appeared to be sandbagged.

If ever I am in need of a defense lawyer, ( of course, I won’t be, but I’m just saying) Kevin McCullough would be the man I would want on my side. This fellow has the passion and tenacity needed to do the job, and is not afraid to address the court with that heated passion in full display. You could see the intensity on his face as he approached the bench with a rather massive binder in hand, and the fireworks began within moments.

McCullough’s passionate argument against the adjournment also centered on the fact that very little of the 65 pages Kinsellas lawyer claimed he needed time to review was new, but he also targeted the handwritten notes  of   two Crown witnesses, Brian Kieran and Erik Bornmann. These notes, he pointed out, do nothing but confirm that Kinsella had been working for CN during the time of the deal.

McCullough referred Bennett to several pages within a journal of handwritten notes made by Brian Kieran, where the notes indicate that Kinsella was contacted for information and updates on the deal.  This is where Bennett asked McCullough what Kierans first name was, and the name ” Bruce” came up.

From BC Marys comment section, a bit from my new friend, GAB, who attended with me: 

One thing that came up today though – there was materials submitted that include a notebook of Brian Kieran from 2003 – connecting Kinsella to CN Rail.
The defence responded that they THINK they know who Bruce is but the judge cut him off saying she didn’t need to know right now.

At one point, the judge asked Kieran’s first name (Brian) and then she said, oh-, not Bruce? There’s a Bruce mentioned here. Who is Bruce?

So….Who’s Bruce? ”

( Good question- who is Bruce? One name that comes to mind is Bruce Clark, whose alleged connection to the sale is detailed in Bill Tielemans A to Z article on all the key players in this case  HERE – )


INSERT from GAB, who was in the courtroom with me. GAB has notes( in blue) to the dates mentioned by the defense in those key documents that indicated Kinsella’s involvement with CN during the dea, as well as covering Erik Bornmanns ability to verify the origin and validity of some of the documents- I’ve added notes in black:

The journal pages mentioned ( by McCullough in his passionate submission to Bennett-LY) :
P 37 – cover of the notebook
P 39 – May 18 Saturday (see page 59)
P 59 – front of calendar for May 2002 showing that May 18 is infact a Saturday. (Proving the year from which the notebook came)( Bennett was treating this information as quite dubious, because McCullough used the court calender as additional referance to prove that date. She was enamoured of this whatsoever and there was quite a bit of frustration exhibited by McCullough as a result- LY)
P 62/63 – May 19 Kinsella working for CN ( I had written in my notes that it was August 19, but rereading my notes, I have just now had doubts as to whether the date I had written, but based on the Emails mentioned and the date references from the notebook, I believe in fact the date was May 19 and I was having an excitement induced blonde moment)( HEY GAB- go easy on us blondes won’t you? – LY ; )

The other reference to Kinsella working for CN was mentioned. I am not certain, but I seem to recall it was on page 60. I couldn’t speculate on the date.

A few other thoughts…

The judge mentioned that Bornmann has immunity and she wanted to know why the defence hadn’t just asked him outright about the source and validity of information in a typed document previously presented. Apparently, the source of the document was originally in question as it was typed, but in the materials submitted on Monday, Bornmann’s notes for the document were included and aparently, they are almost word for word the same as the typed document. If I recall correctly this document also indicates Kinsella’s connection with CN. This document was authored by bornmann between Feb 20 and June 17, 2003 based on calender entries. This according to pp34/35 of an afidavit by someone named Hammerton. ( I believe that Bennett also told Bolton that he should ask the RMCP to question Bornmann immediately on that- but please correct me if this is wrong)

Bolton stated that based on the information in the submitted materials, Kinsella’s involvement was crucial over a period of weeks rather than days as previously thought.

One other note I took regarding contents of Kieran’s notebook before the page/date references (during Bolton’s submissions):

Ref: his understanding that kinsella is lobbying for CN
Ref: Kinsella assisting BC Rail.



 McCullough was heated and impatient with Bennett as he took her through the pages of his binder to show again and again the references to Kinsella with regards to the deal. He stated there was no way not to make an inference that he had intimate knowledge of how the deal was proceeding , and stated vehemently: ” Clearly there is a relationship between Mr. Kinsella and CN.”

( one of the dates mentioned in  the above mentioned  journal was page 59, from May 2002- to be honest, McCulloughs argument was so riveting that at times I found myself simply watching and stopped taking notes- GAB will hopefully assist here with more dates of reference to those documents)

At one point, McCullough seemed to become almost completely impatient with Bennett as made his argument against the requested adjournment, reminding her how long this has been going on, and that clearly Sullivan was trying to delay the case. His argument was followed by a brief appearance of defense lawyer, Joe Doyle,  and then of course, Kinsella’s lawyer stood again to seemingly plead for time to review this new information, making reference again to the defense alleged imagination- to which McCullough responded out of turn with a snarky retort  heard by all. This was  followed  immediately by another comment by Sullivan and Justice Bennett interjected  sharply: ” You don’t need to take pot shots at each other!” to which McCullough responded: ” He’s posturing!”   ( again, more raised eyebrows and noise from the gallery)

In the end,and despite excellent arguments from the defense, Bennett granted the adjournment, asking Kinsella’s lawyer how long he needed to review the material and respond if needed. He said he could not have it done by Wednesday’s date, and she told him that her calender was open for the weeks of September 8th and the 14th.

May I say, to no one’s real surprise,  Kinsella’s lawyer stated quite genially( although somewhat apologetically) that  unfortunately those dates wouldn’t work because he was supposed to be in Toronto and New York those two weeks…( wow, what a coincidence, eh?) The gallery again erupted into quiet laughter and groans of disbelief. If I were the judge I would have asked to see his itinerary and tickets…Is this not a common stalling tactic in court rooms? Previously arranged plans?

Bennett peered at him over the top of her glasses with a less than amused expression and told him he better do something about that, because other than those dates , her calender wasn’t open again until December, and so that leaves him with September – or Wednesday( today). Clearly, although Bennett granted Sullivan time to review and respond to the new documents, she is not about to accept a lengthy delay in hearing from Mr. Kinsella. And rightly so.

While  I’ve heard criticism of Bennett’s approach in the courtroom throughout this trial, I cannot say that  I saw any evidence of this during my brief visit into the Basi-Virk hearings. As mentioned above in this post, I’ve had experience with Supreme court actions while working as a financial investigator, and in my opinion – although some may not agree- she is following the law to the letter to avoid giving any reason for an appeal or dismissal. In other words, she is doing what a good judge is supposed to do, whether or not the defense likes it, or those who wish this case to come to a quick conclusion might. However, if her demeanor is any indicator, I sense Kinsellas lawyer is testing her patience with this current motion. One can expect that he will do everything he can to avoid having Kinsella set foot in the courtroom, but I suspect that the current documents presented are more than enough to make a reasonble argument to force Kinsella to answer the questions everyone has been asking.

Now for the story inside the story….

As mentioned above, there was another individual quite familiar with the legal maneuverings of the provincial government in the courtroom that morning, none other than Susan Heyes- the Cambie street merchant who took on the provincial government and Translink in her fight for damages sustained during the Canada Line construction -and won.

 How fitting that on the day that somewhat infamous Canada Line opened, Susan sat in the courtroom to witness what some say is a pivotal point for the continuation of the Basi/Virktrial. I caught up with Susan after the morning session adjourned and we talked for some time in the lobby below before her appearance on the Christy Clark show. 

I asked Susan why she was came to sit in the courtroom on this particular day and she looked at me with eyes shining. ” I came because I believe in truth.” She leaned forward intensely, a clear expression of pride and fierce determination shone on her face. ” I believe in truth, and honesty, and in doing the right thing. Most of all, Laila, I believe in justice. I believe in justice for the little guys out there, the ones being stomped on, the small businesses, the unimportant people and all the other Susan Heyes of this world…”

Wow. Pretty powerful, and a pretty damn fitting finale for this post. Susan Heyes sitting in on the Basi/Virl trial on the opening day of the Canada Line that  damn nearly ruined her life.

I took it as a sign that justice will prevail in this case as well.

The people will not have it any other way, Campell.

( now,in a related Susan Heyes story,  things must be getting pretty warm in the Premiers office- and I’m not referring to the weather…..I’ve heard that they fought tooth and nail to prevent the release of the following information, and although I haven’t seen anything in the locals, a Kelowna newspaper is running this story, which I include here in full with the link ( because sometimes these links disappear)

One wonders why the government would try so hard to keep this all a secret. no? Read it for yourself at  :


Freedom of Information office rejects firm’s claim of security risks and financial harm on Translink

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009 | 6:05 am

Canwest News Service

The operators of the Canada Line have been ordered to reveal all the details of their agreement with TransLink, despite claims by Canada Line Rapid Transit Inc. that it would lead to an increased risk of terrorism and cause financial harm.

Celia Francis, senior adjudicator for the Freedom of Information Office, said Canada Line Rapid Transit and InTransitBC did not provide sufficient evidence to “establish a reasonable expectation of harm flowing from disclosure.”

She ordered all information of the concession agreement be made available to lawyer Cameron Ward, who filed the FOI request, within the next 30 days. He argued the project involves a “massive amount of public funds” and details should be available to the public.

Ward represents former Cambie merchant Susan Heyes, who successfully sued TransLink, InTransitBC and Canada Line Rapid Transit for $600,000 in damages after losing business as a result of tunnel construction along Cambie Street.

Ward could not be reached Monday.

According to Francis’s report, InTransitBC claimed it withheld some some information from the agreement because it could prejudice its competitive interests, while Canada Line Rapid Transit argued disclosure could open Canada up to a terrorist attack in light of attacks in London and Madrid.

Canada Line’s case said disclosure of the information it withheld could “reasonably be expected to harm the security of the line and ultimately the physical safety of passengers, law enforcement personnel and others.”

But while Francis agreed “the possibility of a terrorist attack on public works carries with it the threat of serious and significant harm to public safety,” she said there was no evidence of how a terrorist would exploit the information.

The information being withheld included the level of police and communications personnel, the operation of the CCTV system, the tunnel-ventilation system and the communications systems and equipment.

Canada Line also refused to release a diagram titled Basic Layout of the Control Room, a diagram of the “Proposed Cross-Section of One Bored Tunnel under False Creek and Downtown Vancouver” and more than 400 pages of drawings.

“Canada Line did not provide evidence that is detailed and convincing enough to establish specific circumstances for the harm it argued could reasonably be expected to flow from disclosure of the information in question,” she wrote.

She also dismissed Canada Line’s arguments that releasing the information would harm conduct of aboriginal relations, saying they were “vague, speculative and hypothetical” and that she was not persuaded of the threat of financial or economic harm.

InTransit BC, she said, also failed to provide sufficient evidence to support its arguments on the reasonable expectation of “significant” harm to its own competitive or negotiating position or that of others.

TransLink itself did not oppose releasing the agreement details.

*** I’ve obtained a copy of the FOI order and you can read it in PDF format here: OrderF09-13 

Say, Gordo … Is this a date?

Guest commentary by BC Mary

The Campbell Government is good at dating.
 They nailed three election campaigns just right. They’ve managed to delay the date of the Basi Virk trial for 3 years and counting. Their CanWest minions made it clear, after July’s spectacular Supreme Court Sessions, that we could sleep peacefully on a beach until September and we wouldn’t even get sun-burned because nothing bad would happen all summer. 
But things were happening all right. July saw the face-ripping sessions where the government’s own lawyer explained to Judge Bennett that all the e.mail evidence requested 2 years ago, have been “lost”.  People’s eyes snapped open like daisies. Lost? How could the premier’s correspondence on a topic which is before the courts, and which had been ordered disclosed 2 years ago, suddenly go missing?
Eyes narrowed … Because we’d already been stunned by the news headlines on May 20, 2009 — 12 days after the BC election — telling us that the BC Rail trial judge was about to be taken off the case! Promoted to the BC Court of Appeal.Oh? Put those two items together, and howls of outrage drowned out the other news. 
August 17 was jotted down on many a post-it note, taped to quite a few well-known desks. 
On August 17 in BC Supreme Court, the judge who has presided over the Basi Virk / BC Rail Case for the past 3-1/2 years, will issue her ruling. Thankfully, she makes the final decision: will she see the case through to the end? or will she depart immediately for her promotion to BC Court of Appeal?  She makes the decision … unless Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm thunders in, deciding otherwise. It could happen. 
Many of us, including retired Professor Robin Mathews who has attended most pre-trial hearings, believe it’s important that Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett stay on the BC Rail Case.
 Strangely, it’s the Crown Prosecutor (presumably, representing the people of B.C.) who wants her gone … immediately.  It’s the Defence team which wants Judge Bennett to stay with the trial. What’s with that, we ask ourselves. 
So there will be historic fireworks in BC Supreme Court on August 17 as the Defence, the Crown, the special interest lawyers for Gordo, Gordo’s Cabinet, key lobbyists, and BC Rail … but strangely enough: nobody from CN, plead their cases for and against the obvious fact that Judge Bennett has absorbed 3-1/2 years of courtroom argument (little of which is written down) that cannot  be effectively transferred to a new judge. 
Besides, we ask ourselves: what’s to be gained by bringing in a new judge to start all over again?  
Oh. You already guessed. Well, that’s our best reason for NOT bringing in a new judge. 
As August 17 comes closer, eyes narrow again … because on August 17 when we should be paying attention to BC Supreme Court, the Campbell Gang is having a big party!!
No kidding. For the Canada Line’s inaugural trot from the airport to downtown. 
Never mind that the Canada Line isn’t quite finished yet. Never mind that Gordo’s Gang may have “sold” Canada’s 3rd largest railway (our BC Rail) for $1B (we’re not sure – maybe he did, maybe he didn’t), the people now have a new railway to pay for! Instead of BC Rail’s 1,500 km of mainline track from North Vancouver to Fort Nelson, with branch lines to Mackenzie, Dawson Creek, Tumbler Ridge, Fort St James and Takla … the people now have an itsy-bitsy trolley operating between Vancouver Airport and downtown and a tax debt of $2 Billion.  But hey! It’s party-time!
With some things on the Canada Line uncompleted, why the rush? Well, all I can say is that the government’s lawyer, George Copley , will be in BC Supreme Court that day too, trying to explain to Madam Justice Bennett what happened to those executive e.mails which have gone missing …  but hey, look away!

Never mind that an embattled judge presides while a dozen angry lawyers engage in the fight of their lives: look away!

Will evidence be allowed in court even if it incriminates the guy who wanted to get rid of BCRail and build a downtown 20-minute railway? Look away! Free rides on the Canada Line at this critical junction of B.C. history. 

I think that the biggest free ride in history may be happening right under our noses if we DON’T attend the August 17 pre-trial hearing on the BC Rail Case which is less and less about Basi, Virk, or Basi and more and more about the Executive Branch of this government … sorta like we always knew, you might say. 


BC Mary is the creator and author of The Legislsture Raids – the one stop reference of anything pertaining to the Railgate scandal, including links to court documents, media coverage, dates, and commentaries.

BC Rail Properties fails to give evidence of provincial government mandate to divest itself of all it’s real property

 What some say could be a precedent setting court case , is giving hope to many in the case of BC Rail and the potential transfer of assets over to CN. Quietly, and without much press, legal minds have been hard at work in the case of  J.A.Brink Investments Ltd.( Brink Forest Products) vs. BCR Properties limited.

  It appears a temporary injunction has been granted in the case –  passed on by an anonymous comment  and detailed at The Legislature Raids– however, the final outcome has yet to be decided. But what is most revealing in this judgement is a section of the reasons for  that details today’s headline, located by Gary E in his blog post today :

39] The only harm that I can infer would accrue to the defendant from a preservation of the plaintiff’s option to purchase pending a hearing of the issue on the merits is that the defendant would be delayed or hindered in marketing the premises in the intervening period of time. The defendant states in submissions that an injunction would prevent the defendant from dealing with the premises in accordance with its mandate from the provincial government to divest itself of all its real property. There is no evidence as to the terms of any such mandate or what losses may occur if there are delays experienced. The defendant also suggests that an injunction would be in place for some time as this action is unsuitable for Rule 18A summary disposition given the conflicts in evidence the require findings of credibility to resolve.

So BCRP tells the court that a interim interlocutory injunction prevents them from doing the governments bidding ie : divesting itself of all real properties. They say this has been mandated. Yet they fail to show evidence in court?

It will be interesting to see the final results of this interim injunction.”

My question would be then, why  did BCR properties failed to definitively show the government mandate that orders them to divest themselves of their properties, and why could they not provide evidence to show what would happen if they did not?

Judge orders Campbell government to hand over emails, including those of the Premier, Gary Collins, Judith Reid and Former deputy premier Christy Clark.

From the courtroom of today’s Basi-Virk hearings: Justice Bennett has ruled that the missing and possibly destroyed emails must be given to the defence, and issued a court order forcing the government to hand over the documents:

Whoever ordered those emails to be destroyed must be feeling pretty uncomfortable right now. The contents of those email communications among the premiers inner circle have been the subject of much speculation in recent months. Complete details will be posted as the reports come in, over at

Now, scroll down to read the post right below, with a link to the announcement that the RCMP have launched a preliminary probe into whether or not a criminal investigation should be ordered into those missing emails – which  may have suddenly become an even bigger thorn in many politicians – old and new alike – sides…

( this should provide plenty of discussion for CKNW, no? Christy Clark was deputy premier at the time of the deal, and her emails are among those ordered to be given to the judge)

I think it’s time  for a refresher on who’s who in this case, so when you have a moment, go and read this fantastic bit titled ” Railgate, A to Z“, by Bill Tieleman.

RCMP announce preliminary probe into missing emails, same day as Times Colonist editorial declares:” The people who ordered the records destroyed have no place in government…”

Quote of the week, from the Times Colonist editorial of July 18th, 2009 (  thanks to Gazetteer for this heads up )

” ….No one employed by the government could be unaware of the charges against Dave Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi. It is beyond belief to think that any senior government employee would not know better than to destroy evidence that could be needed in a major court case.

That is apparently what has happened, according to evidence presented to the court this week. To make matters worse, some e-mails were destroyed after the defence lawyers asked to see them.

The loss of these documents is a serious problem for the B.C. Liberal government, one that will plague Premier Gordon Campbell and his cabinet until the next election.

Campbell’s only real choice, if he wants to restore his government’s credibility, is to give British Columbians a full accounting of what went wrong and who was to blame. The people who ordered the records destroyed have no place in government….. ”

Today, Justice Bennett rules on the relevance of those missing emails -a crucial moment for the Premier et al. Court is open to the public and the Basi-Virk hearing begins at 9 am. Details for today’s hearing can be viewed here, under case #23299 :

In another move missed by most, the RCMP announced Saturday that they have launched a preliminary probe into the missing emails to determine if a full criminal investigation is warranted.

As per the Province article link from last weekend’s Sunday edition, RCMP spokesperson Cst. Tim Shields had this to say: ” We wouldn’t go ahead and launch a full-fledged criminal investigation until there was evidence there are violations of the federal Criminal Code or provincial statutes. At first blush . . . the destruction of internal e-mails does not appear to constitute a criminal offence.”

Well, if destruction of emails that were requested by lawyers two years ago in a court of law as possible evidence ISN’ T obstruction of justice, what is?

Clearly, Madame Bennett has a very important decision to make. It all rests in her hands.

Premier Gordon Campbell must halt the transfer of any more BC Rail assets before July 2nd!!!

***** UPDATED  JUNE 26TH, 3 PM.

 It has been brought to our attention that perhaps the actual date that may be used for the purposes of activating any clause could be as early as July 2nd, 2009.

Here is some info on the 5 year clause, dating back to 2004 :

 “ Government has refused to reveal details of the contract until the bureau has completed its review. But a copy leaked on the weekend showed that the government has the power to force CN to buy for $1 any B.C. Rail line land it chooses to abandon. CN is prohibited from abandoning any routes during the first five years of the deal, however. 

Premier Gordon Campbell said this clause was put in place solely to protect taxpayers and prevent CN from potentially offloading expensive environmental cleanup costs onto the government. CN would be compelled to buy such land and perform the cleanup itself if this was the case, the government said.  Campbell said that the agreement with CN makes the company responsible for maintaining all the tracks, railbeds and land on which the railway operates and that the $1 land-sale option simply provides extra protection for taxpayers. 
    –  Times Colonist (Victoria), Page A04, 21-Apr-2004  B.C. Rail deal has just one more trestle to cross  By Jeff Rud 

While in this quote the premier seems to have such noble  thoughts at hand, let me point out that this clause  would have the potential of handing over millions – if not billions- of dollars of land from North Vancouver to Squamish to CN for the ridiculous sum of $1.00.

 Property with future  development potential along some of the hottest waterfront areas around that in the end – even after cleanup of toxic soil etc- would stand to net the owner some massive profits.  Puts an entirely different perspective on that $1.00 offload, doesn’t it?

There have also been rumblings for some time now, that the sales agreement in the privatization deal between BC Rail and CN, contains a clause that allows the province of BC to take back possession of the railway if CN has failed to honour all terms of the agreement.

To my knowledge, the speculation surrounding the repossession clause has not been confirmed by anyone- not the media, not the premier nor the two companies in question – however, it also has not been denied. A sizeable portion of the released documents were redacted- meaning portions were blacked out .

 The only place I have seen it written publically is within the postings on The Legislature Raids, and in the comments section following those posts.

 Of course, there is a very simple method of  determining if this is truth or if it is  simply mere speculation – The premier must confirm or deny it. To date this has not occurred. And why not? This was a government entity that was sold. Do the people of this province not have the right to ask to see what kind of a deal this was?

 Why is it that I have a feeling this won’t happen without some legal wrangling?

A reader of  The Legislature Raids, sent the following letter to BC Mary, which was to be printed as a letter to the editor of her local paper:

” Dear Mr. Editor:

I am writing this in the hope that it may help unlock the logjam surrounding documents, emails, phone calls and other forms of communication regarding the sale of BC Rail. This has been going on for far too long now, it is costing the taxpayers of this Province hundreds of millions of dollars in lawyer’s fees alone. It has to stop.

One has to wonder why the government has done everything in their power to keep the sales documents from public view, it is after all the sale of public property, and we do have a RIGHT to know what has been/is being done to us, and in our name. This “sale” took place nearly 5 years ago, and we still don’t know what the sale entails?! Perhaps the government is waiting for a specific occurrence, before making just how much taxpayers have lost in this deal, apparent.

July 14, 2009 is the critical date. The date when one of two things may happen:
1. CN Rail will take possession of all BC Rail waterfront lands from North Van to Squamish for the princely sum of $1.00. Yes, you read that right, a dollar. What are those lands REALLY worth? Why would the Premier even consider something like that, and still call himself a businessman?

2. There is a rumour about that date that will be extraordinarily easy for the Premier to disprove by producing all documents relating to the sale…this is the date of possible repossession of BC Rail by the taxpayers of BC. Once this date passes, there is absolutely nothing taxpayers can do about the largest giveaway this Province has ever seen.

It is time for mainstream news media to begin digging and printing what they know. Newspapers across this Province have forgotten who they’re ultimately designed to serve, the people. You’re our eyes and ears in the legislature at the very least. Collectively you are failing us; above all, you’re failing yourselves. ”

 I agree wholeheartedly.

Until such time that these rumours can be confirmed or determined as false, readers of the wonderfully detailed blog, The Legislature Raids, have asked that Leonard Krog and the NDP file an injunction to stop the transfer of any more assets from BC Rail to CN, until the legality of what has already transpired can be determined, as she urges all others concerned about the sale of BC Rail to follow suit.

Leonard Krog, critic for the attorney-general:
e.mail address:

Carole James, leader of the Opposition:
e.mail address:

BC Mary has also contacted the premier on this matter with the following email :

Dear Mr Campbell:

email address:

On July 14, 2004, your government signed agreements selling BC Rail to CN.

Those documents have been kept secret. This is not right. The BC Rail Revitalization Agreement and the BC Rail Privatization Agreement must be opened to the public before the crucial 5th anniversary.

Time is of the essence because rumours say:

* that the 5th anniversary of the signing activates a clause providing a one-time-only opportunity open to the people of BC to repossess their publicly-owned railway if CN has failed to honour all terms of the agreement,

* that the 5th anniversary of the signing activates a clause granting CN ownership of BCRail lands for the sum of $1.

There may be other clauses of grave concern.

It is wrong to prevent the public – who are the previous owners of Canada’s 3rd largest railway – from seeing the documents and playing a responsible role as citizens of a democratic society. You must open the documents to public scrutiny without further delay.

BC Mary
The Legislature Raids

I would suggest to anyone who has been following the BC Rail saga, and to anyone shocked, angered and disturbed by the soon the infamous deleted emails, that they voice their concerns vocally to their local MLA, to Carol James, to Leonard Krog and to the Premier. 

If the dubious sale, the resulting investigation and the seemingly never-ending pre-trial Basi-Virk hearings do not give the public enough reason to call for am independent  review of this government’s ethics and practices, I don’t  know what would.  Premier Gordon Campbell has promised British Columbians a transparent government, one that values accountability and ethical decision making, but I’ve yet to see any of that demonstrated in actual practice. 

BC Mary has suggested that July 14th be deemed ” BC Rail Day” , and I second that motion. It is time that the people of BC were heard. We have been far too quiet for far too long about this government.  It is time to speak your minds and demand answers.

Perhaps the best way to demonstrate  this interest would be to  organize a rally on the steps of the  courthouse on that day to commemorate the anniversary of the day BC Rail was sold.

Bits and Bites – SPECIAL B.C. RAIL EDITION – Wednesday June 24th, 2009:

 ~  In a shocking revelation heard in B.C. Supreme Court yesterday, George Copley (Lawyer for the Premier and Cabinet) said that the  4 years of emails requested by the defence as evidence in the BC Rail case, cannot be found and may have been erased – despite the fact that the law requires them to be kept for 7 years. The back – up tapes are gone.  The government alleges that nothing remains, and certainly for the Premier and other government officials whose communications had been requested, it could not have been a more convenient, or timely, disappearance… ~ 

Full stories from Mark Hume ( Globe and Mail) and Bill Tieleman( 24 hours and The Tyee )

Imagine a court case so replete with allegations of  government corruption and  corporate misconduct that some people are beginning to compare to Watergate.

A court case with the very real potential of exposing an entire administration to the minute examination of the courts.  Accusations of bribes, backroom deals, secret handshakes and whispered meetings have revealed long-standing and deep political connections and influence between corporate movers and shakers and high ranking politicians.

Sounds like a real political thriller, no? When you go back to what started it all, the circle is complete. I’m talking about the privatization of BC Rail, which some call the most corrupt deal the province has ever seen. (  for the most complete all-in-one rundown of the case and it’s players read this article by Bill Tieleman:” Railgate : A to Z “

Let us not forget that it was a drug and organized crime investigation that led to a raid on the BC Legislature right before New Year’s Eve in 2003, where boxes and other materials where taken away by RCMP. An excerpt from this piece by Robin Mathews tells the  tale:

“…A 20-month investigation by Victoria police and RCMP began to move like a juggernaut.  First a drug investigation, it became a commercial crime investigation, too, and then it landed in the legislature. 

The investigation became so hydra-headed RCMP gave it the name “every-which-way”.  A key contact point in the legislature was, apparently, wire-taps on the telephone used by Dave Basi, powerful aide to the Gary Collins, Minister of Finance.

And, then, on December 28, 2003, search warrants were put in action to “raid” offices of the B.C. legislature, many homes, and offices in Vancouver and on Vancouver Island.  A year later Dave Basi, Bob Virk, and Aneal Basi were charged variously with counts of fraud, breach of trust, and money laundering.

On a BCTV program, December 29, 2003, Keith Baldrey recorded that “Bob Virk [is] in Transportation….  Transportation is  … responsible for the BC Rail initiative and Finance had a larger role … than most … and that’s again where Dave Basi comes in.”

Almost all the other people visited or searched as a result of the warrants – many connected to both the Gordon Campbell and federal Liberals – have had the search warrants involving them all-but blanked out, as protection.  Christie Clark, minister of education and deputy premier, was in line to have her home raided it is alleged.  But it is alleged that Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm reasoned with police to have them telephone in advance and make an appointment to visit. Thoughtful of him.

The “something” that happened obviously galvanized the Campbell forces.  The BC Rail sellout had hit what might be a network involving drug crime, breach of trust by public officers, bribery, money laundering, and perhaps much more. All of it might, perhaps surround, involve, connect to, and be part of – who knows? – the corrupt sale of BC Rail…”

 Those two  BC Liberal government aides  who where charged with breach of trust and fraud – Basi and Virk –  for ( allegedly) giving confidential government documents to a lobbyist representing a bidder in the BC Rail sale, have spent the last few years waiting for the lawyers to wade through thousands of documents in the pre-trial stage.

Which brings us to where we are now – the missing and presumably erased emails, some of which belonged to Premier Gordon Campbell and were to be used as evidence in the trial. NDP public safety critic Mike Farnsworth says that the fact the emails are ” missing” is suspicious, and was quoted in this CBC story as saying: ” Either it’s just gross incompetence or a deliberate attempt to pervert the course of justice.”

The defence  lawyer for Dave Basi asserts that the emails would in fact, clear his clients name, and would prove that his client was acting on orders from higher up – a likelihood I  fully support after having read through some of the 8000 documents released to the NDP earlier this year on a FOI request. 

Remember the incriminating notes in the notebooks of Yvette Wells that I blogged about back in March ? A gem that speaks volumes to the backroom politics and dubious nature involved in the entire deal…….

 Yvettee Wells  was the  Executive Director of the Crown AgenciesSecretariat at the time of the sale. The Secretariat is responsible for the accountability of  crown corporations, so keeping that in mind, it could be said that she was basically the person to oversee the accountability of the entire BC Rail sale  in her position. She would very much have been the “go-to” person of preference to reference anything to do with the ongoing negotiations.

Her notebooks were released because of the relevance of the information within them to the entire BC Rail deal, and they do not disappoint. Among all the hundreds of pages that I read through, the following excerpt clears any question as to the fairness of the bidding process for me. 

“dilema :

          – don’t want to mislead other bidders

           – don’t want to tell them CN are getting other info –  don’t want them to do work, spend $

           – don’t want them to drop out b/c if can’t resolve issues- we may go back to other bidders.

           –  CN got data from CIBC that they shouldn’t ” 

October 22, 2003 notes

It may be argued that these notes are nothing, but if the woman in charge of overseeing the deal is making notes about how to play some of the  bidders to keep them happy and hide the fact that CN was given information that they shouldn’t have, it is not a far off reach to believe Basi and Virk were operating on orders from higher up.

Which makes me wonder exactly what was contained in those missing emails from the Premier and co ? What little gems would those emails have revealed ?

 And speaking of the Premier, what does he have to say about the timely and suspicious disappearance of potential evidence that by all rights, should have been protected by law for 7 years?

 “The records that should be kept under the law have been kept,” & “I don’t know even what they are referring to,” –  Vancouver Sun

Emails are kept appropriately across government when it is a document that has specific relevance to, you know, government’s activity. It’s maintained,” – CBC

I’m not going to be talking about that,” – Globe and Mail

Campbell’s office said the premier would not be commenting while the case is before the courts.”The Province


However, in admitting the emails were missing and perhaps  even deleted intentionally, the government may have opened an even bigger can of worms, because such an action like this would not and could not have happened without an order from someone with a sizable amount of authority.  

 Going back pver the past 5 years, to the investigation that started it all and all the pre-trial allegations and revelations that have happened since , who in their right mind would delete these records?

Think about it.

Consider the potential ramifications if the contents did reveal  that the accused were acting on orders from within the goverment when handing over confidential documents…

 It could mean the end to several political careers and the kind of scandal that  follows a person for life. Government corruption at the highest levels. Bribery. Deceit. The revelations that those entrusted with the administration of the provinces assets have been conning us all along.

I’ll leave you with this excerpt from Gary Mason’s column in the Globe and Mail.

” As big a scandal as the raid on the legislature was, the destruction of these e-mails could be much bigger.

It all depends on where the search for the person who gave the order to have the files wiped out takes us.

And a search there must be.”

( for the complete history and ongoing developments including court dates, links and rousing, thought provoking editorials, etc – head on over to the only complete resource blog documenting everything surrounding the sale of BC Rail – The Legislature Raids