Bits and Bites, March 24th 2011

March has been an exceedingly busy month for me and that has been reflected in the lack of blog posts. I am happy to tell you that April is the light at the end of the tunnel and you can look forward to a variety of compelling, exclusive stories.  For now, I want to take a look at a few issues that have caught my eye, starting with Christy Clarks  “launch” of a project here in Surrey that actually began construction in January, long before she was narrowly selected by BC Liberals to lead the party.

This item received a bit of press around the province, and is one of the biggest examples of crafty PR engineering I have seen in some time. Christy Clark, flanked by her team of re-re-run Liberals,all eagerly lined up to accept credit for something she herself has had nothing to do with –  the opening of the Surrey Memorial Hospital Expansion – a deal that well underway in October of last year when Kevin Falcon made the announcement that final negotiations were about to begin with preferred bidder, Integrated Team Solutions. Construction was well underway in late January of this year with site preparation, and anyone can see in this video, this project launch is nothing but an attention grab for the new premier, who clearly would love to have people believe this is something she was responsible for.

This may not seem like a big deal to those of you who are well aware the single biggest trick the BC Liberals like to fall back on for press is  to re-announce a previously announced announcement. Campbell  himself was famous for it! But what really bothers me in this instance is that in none of the media coverage I saw or read of this opportunistic press opp, was it even mentioned that this project was well underway before Ms. Clark became premier. The impression is clearly given that she is somehow responsible for this project and is very proud to launch it. Example :

Which leads me to her strategy, which apparently consists of making as many feel good announcements that she can to gain as much positive attention and possibly more votes when she finally does call for an election. First we had the minimum wage boost, a big winner in many areas. Then we had hospital launch, clearly she wanted to win over the increasingly cynical Surrey voters, followed by a toss of a millions dollars to the daycare providers who might(and this is a big might) lose out on some revenue because of the full time kindergarten initiative enacted by the Liberals. And today, more money is heading out in the form of increased community grants. Yes, all lovely and needed to be sure, but let that not take away from the hard reality of what Clark’s real motives and true leadership style are, as already indicated by the people she selected to lead up her transition team,some of whom are clearly in a conflict of interest.  Yes indeed, Ms.Manswers Clark, who has tried overly hard to appear completely benign as a threat to this province, has betrayed her own agenda by her own doing. Good luck with that, Clark. It still won’t help you answer questions about what your involvement was in the sale of BC rail…questions the public will surely not forget come election time.

Lobbyist activity to note…. Patrick Kinsella, who worked on Premier Clarks leadership campaign, and partner Mark Jiles, just registered to lobby the government for MWH Global.   Look for stunning contracts ahead for this company, who hired the lobbyist with the most pull with the premier…

Something to think about : a contribution from B.C. economist Erik Andersen, who sent these thoughts out this morning.

” Why we need elections; if anyone cares.”

From the book titled “Public Service; Private Profits” by John Loxley; published in 2010.Pages 7 & 8.

 “The P3 concept [in Canada] has benefited from the lobbying efforts of organizations like the Canadian Council for Public Private Partnerships (CCPPP), an increasingly strong lobby group, which was established in 1993 and draws its membership from both the private and public sectors. In 2009, it had fifty-eight sponsors, fifty-seven of which were companies with commercial interests in P3s, such as construction companies, banks and their financial offshoots, bond houses and bond rating agencies, lawyers and consulting companies such as SNC-LAVALIN, RBC CAPITAL MARKETS, JOHN LAING, CARILLION, DELOITTE and TOUCHE, BOMBARDIER TRANSPORTATION and UNITED WATER. The only non-corporate sponsor was the Government of Ontario (CCPPP, 2009).

—the CCPPP has a solid membership and financial base on which to promote P3s and has been able to attract prominent politicians and ex-politicians into its fold, such as PREMIER GORDON CAMPBELL of BC, who is currently the honorary chair. The CCPPP can be considered the main ideological proponent of P3s in Canada.

In the financing area alone,of twelve projects identified by the CCPPP in 2009 as being in the works or under consideration, no fewer than twenty-six companies were potential sources of finance; some well known companies such as SNC-LAVALIN, BILFINGER BERGER and RBC CAPITAL MARKETS are active in the CCPPP, —-“

For those among us who do not know why we desperately need elections please read the above very carefully. It takes barely a second to appreciate that here in BC we have had a Premier and Cabinet pretending to look after the PUBLIC’S INTEREST while concurrently, AGGRESSIVELY LOOKING AFTER THE INTERESTS OF PRIVATE P3 PARTNERS. It is difficult not to imagine a more blatant demonstration of conflict of interest.

All you taxpayers should feel royally annoyed that our politicians collected salaries and pensions while working on behalf of private interests.

Keep this in mind when you pay HST; when you get your property tax invoice; when you get your next BC Hydro bill and when you get your chances to vote. 

In BC we have had two recalls fail so brace yourselves for even more aggressive spending now that Minister Falcon has the cheque book. He will be emboldened by the evidence of voter apathy.

Canadians are alleged to be upset by what folks  say are unnecessary elections. That must have been what the Greeks thought as well. 

Well done, Erik! Erik as you likely know, has been a great resource for me in researching P3’s in the province, and is bang on in this regard. I would also like to point you to a video Erik taped last year in which he discusses how he personally looked into and researched BC Hydro’s financials to come to this disturbing questions: IS BC Hydro being deliberately put into financial jeopardy to privatize it? Considering the press release from COPE last week, this video is more relevant than ever.

An ironic news item in the Surrey Leader caught my attention..  “20,000 secondary suites in Surrey… 1 permit application.”    This as several builders up the hill from my home are working on putting on the finishing touches on several houses containing multiple illegal suites that are one of the causes behind school overcrowding in Surrey. The new legislation brought into effect in December that requires homeowners to legalize and register their now illegal suites is a stunning example of too little, too late, since the damage from a decade or more of unrestrained and uninhibited construction is far too massive to tackle without a concentrated effort by city staff, which are currently focussing on homes with multiple suites.

 For a first hand look at many of this kind of home, take a drive along highway 1o eastbound, and look to the hills along the leftside of the drive between 152nd and 176 for how ridiculous the problem has become, since the vast majority of these homes on the hill each have two or more rental suites within. It brings to mind the million dollar question the city has deflected about the crisis Surrey school district is facing with regards to massive budget shortfalls in the millions : What responsibility does the city play in contributing to this educational mess, when it would take 8 new schools, right now, to catch up to where we need to be?  Should the city be completely absolved of any blame or does the sole reposponsibility begin and end with the province and ministry of education?

Considering the mayors hearty endorsement of the past and current development of new neighbourhoods with these multiple suites, should the city be assisting in paying for some of these new schools, instead of say… planning a new athletic stadium?  

That’s right, the mayor finds it outrageous that a city of this size does not have a stadium, is spending millions of dollars moving a perfectly good city hall to a new location because the old one”is in the middle of nowhere” ( not at all true, not far from my home and very close to another rapidly growing industrial/residential/commercial centre) and boasts about having over $805 million in approved residential building permits alone in 2010. Only problem with all of this is that while she talks about how important sustainability and livability is and how such thoughts are given great consideration in city planning, the truth is out there for all to see : we have become a city that has vastly outgrown all of it’s infrastructure and services in terms of education and community sustainability, and a city in which poverty and crime is still a massive reality check to new residents. One would think that the key to creating a vibrant city would be to ensure the vital services  like schools and health care are kept in line with the growth and demand, however somewhere along the way the reality verged off course from the vision. In this case, the kids are the ones who suffer the brunt of poor planning.

Onto a quick look at the NDP leadership race with this story , also from the Leader, that shows Farnworth far ahead of Dix and Horgan in the leadership race.

As with all polls, the news should be taken with a grain of salt, but this is in line with what I have been hearing from around the province, and I’ve been saying for some time that I think Farnworth is the only candidate who can truly unite the party members who are currently on opposing sides. Both Horgan and Dix came out strongly against the dissidents who wanted to see Carole go, and that still speaks volumes to party members who realise that many of those dissidents are hard-working and well respected in their communities.  Farnworth vs. Clark? You be the judge.

Last but certainly not least, fellow blogger Norman Farrell has been belting out the hard lines on his blog, Northern Insights. May I suggest if you do not  do so already, please make a point to check his site regularly for a good dose of reality in BC !

Berner is back, and better than ever!

One of my favorite bloggers is back, and in better format than ever. From his blog,David Talks/ The Berner Monologues :

Happy New Year All!

Here is my announcement:

This month I am beginning a new television show.

I am partnering with SHAW TV CABLE 4 to launch a half-hour weekly public affairs show that will be broadcast on SHAW TV CABLE 4 four times each week.

We are taping the first show on Thursday, January 20th. I am not yet sure of the first air date, but, of course, I will let you know and here is the tentative schedule for the run:

Tuesdays 10:30p
Wednesdays 8:30p
Fridays 2:30p
Monday 4:30am

As for the name of the show…we hired a dozen focus groups and flew them by private jet up to a remote private fishing resort for consultation. After three intense and sleepless days and nights, we came up with…


That’s how it will be listed in your favorite media.

Here is what the show will look like and what it is about:

“Charlie Rose” style, the Host and one or two guests at a round table before a black cyclorama.

Host and guest(s) dig into the major headline story of the week and get behind the headlines to reveal the as-yet unspoken truths.


Did the Liberal government buy the silence of two felons? Is it credible that these two petty crooks acted alone?

What was the role of Patrick Kinsella, who we are led to believe was, at one and the same time, working for CN Rail, BC Rail and the premier’s office? Is this not conflict of interest?

What of Gary Collins, the Finance Minister at the time, and the boss of Dave Basi? Why did he jump to private industry, working for an airline that went bankrupt only a few months later?

Our guest, [TO BE ANNOUNCED] has been following this story from the beginning.

The show is sponsored by a number of local companies and we have reached a cross-promotional agreement with the Vancouver Courier newspaper.

I will begin posting the blog about a week before we begin the show. The show will also be posted regularly to YouTube and to this blog.

When I left radio in April ’06, I really thought that I had put my broadcast days behind me. So this is great fun and I am very much looking forward to getting back on air and stirring the pot.

Hope you’ll ride along with us.

Health and prosperity!

Ahhhhhhhhh. I can’t wait for this. YOUR MODERATOR

” Truth will only make you unpopular.” ~ Wolfgang Borchert

I had my first taste of how true this statement is Friday night, with an incident that happened while I was out enjoying the Stanley Park Christmas train with my two youngest children, and some close friends of mine who joined us. I share it not only because I think it needs to be recorded, but because I fully believe the person behind the incident is a regular reader of my blog.

The evening began in splendour of the astounding light display we all enjoyed on the crisp, wintry evening train miniature train ride. After disembarking the train, a bathroom break was in order and one of our party left us in the central courtyard to wait for them. Being women, my girlfriend and I noticed a tall woman with a stunning cashmere style long coat, reminiscent of another era, walking past us with her boyfriend/husband. To be honest, her coat was the only thing at that time that grabbed our attention, as we admired it from our stance. In a moment they were gone, and our attention was directed by the children elsewhere.

Suddenly, with no warning, I was shoulder-checked by a largely built man hard enough I was nearly knocked to the ground, and with enough force that my shoulder and neck are still sore today. I looked up to see the same couple that had just passed us moments before as my friend and I admired his companions coat! There was no one else close by, and this area was not at all crowded enough where this could have  occurred by accident, but had I not had my two young sons at my side, I would have gone over and pointed out how rude and careless this fellow was to his face.

My girlfriend witnessed the entire thing, and as our other friends joined us, her husband mentioned that he had seen the entire thing as he walked back from the bathrooms, and he said it was intentional. I believe it. The force this fellow used to knock me was strong,  and at 5’10” , I am hardly one to be knocked over easily.

As he went to find this guy and his companion, we moved closer to the crowd for safety because suddenly everything  just felt really weird about the situation. Moments later, my friend grabbed my attention and alerted me just as this man was about to go for a second shoulder-check, his companion holding his hand the entire time like a normal couple!

I whirled around and ended up face to face with the man, and we stared right at each other….before he narrowed his eyes at me, smiled with malice and gave me a look of steely intention before he turned with his companion to walk quickly towards the exit.

I turned to my friend and said: ” This was no accident.” She nodded in agreement and her male friend walked after the couple wanting to know what the hell this was all about since the children were with us during all of this,although unaware of what was going on.

As he caught up with the couple, he walked by and shoulder checked the man to get his attention, and he turned around to face my friend with a look of malice. HE asked him what the hell this was all about. The man’s companion grabbed  his arm and cautioned him: ” Don’t say a thing… ”

The couple left, my friend watched to make sure they weren’t coming back. Both were well-heeled, yuppie types, not people one would expect to initiate this kind of behavior, which was clearly intended to intimidate. She was an extremely average looking woman, tall about 5′ 8″,a mid-length mousey brown bob, wearing a long, camel coloured coat that came to well below her knees, Burberry style. He was shorter than her, short dark brown hair, dark rimmed glasses, definitely pudgy but strong nonetheless. He wore a dark green outdoors type jacket, likely a North Face brand or similar.

It is expected  that when researching and writing the kind of stories I do, that enemies are made. There have been occasional veiled threats over the last six months since I started working on the Ministry of Transportation stories, emails, comments, that kind of thing. Other writers and bloggers have had similar issues at times.

 However, making a point with children around is crossing a line, and I don’t take that lightly, nor did the people I was with, or the people who support my writing. Whether this particular incident was related to one of the recent stories on Christy Clark and Kinsella, Kevin Falcon and the SFPR, or the ongoing investigation to a story I am keeping under wraps for now, I don’t know.

But I can say this. These are two people who I won’t forget anytime soon, and someone who is reading this will know who you are, and what that was all about. You can bet on it.

Now, for some more interesting reading, I was chatting back and forth with North Van Grumps today about the Sea to Sky, and a little something-something he found that I find extremely interesting……check it out, and remember this. With the BC Liberals, it is all the same names, in many different places…

How many consultants did the Government need to start building the Sea to Sky Highway Improvement project on February 6 2004?


* I will be responding to emails and comments shortly, swamped with Christmas coming!

” 100 reasons Gordon Campbell must go” becomes new feature page

For your reading pleasure, may I introduce you to a new page I have created here on my blog, which will be permanently located on the tab lineup above!  It is a comprehensive and substantial list of the worst of Campbell’s actions and achievements during the past 9 years.

 I welcome all new comments and additions in the comment section on that page, and I am sure Premier Campbell and the BC Liberals will continue to provide us with a host of reasons to get rid of them all. Happy reading!  ( Please feel free to send the link to page, to everyone in your email address book. )

The same names in all the familiar places…

From Alex G. Tsakumis’s site, Rebel with a Clause, as he comments on Bill Tieleman’s departure from CKNW :

 …I suspect, STRONGLY, that there is more to this than meets the mic…

Two items: Tieleman has NEVER backed away from naming Christy Clark as someone of interest in political issues emanating from the Basi-Virk trial (which always rankles the dimbells at NW) and Bill has been APPROPRIATELY critical of the shameless Premier and his pathetic excuse for a govt.

You don’t think that the bias angle is possible?

Well, let me light another bomblet…

During the 2005 municipal election, I was still on the Board of the NPA in Vancouver. (I didn’t become a scribbler until later in 2005). My youngest daughter was going through life saving heart surgery about the time of the mayoral nomination, fought by Sam and Christy. I resigned from the campaign committee to assist my wife with caring for Giulia (who is fully recovered, thank God), but had an interesting conversation with someone, who stunned me with his revelation…

He knew that I was supporting Sam (and not just because Sam was clearly the better candidate, but, too, because Christy’s then husband would have turned City Hall into a federal Liberal Martinite outpost).

Then this same fellow said to me that while he was supporting Christy, he had some regrets…

“You know, Alec, I’m working awfully hard on getting her a sealed deal at NW for as long as she wants. She should go do that instead of Mayor. CKNW will do her political career much better and keep her name circulated and current…then we can run her for whatever she wants”  I was so stunned, I wrote it down, it’s verbatim.

The man’s name?

Patrick Kinsella.



Supreme Court rules on secret witness issue Thursday am – will the Basi-Virk trial proceed?

From my friend Bill Tieleman’s site :

The most anticipated decision in the BC Rail corruption case of David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi will come at 6:45 a.m. BC time from the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Court has announced today that it will release its ruling on Special Prosecutor Bill Berardino’s appeal of two BC lower court decisions on the issue of a secret witness and how his or her testimony should be handled.

Berardino hinted at one point the trial might not go ahead if the identity of a secret informant could not be fully protected, stating he would not violate the privilege of the witness to remain unknown….

Visit this website Thursday morning for the decision and full analysis of what it means for the likelihood of the trial proceeding.

A pivotal moment – one of many thus far – in the case that many have said the BC Liberals would like to see quashed before it even begins – and for good reason.

 Pre-trial hearings have produced thousands of documents that would seem to support allegations of fraud, breach of trust, bribery and corruption in all levels of our provincial government involved with the privatization deal of BC Rail.The potential witness list contains many past and current government ministers, such as CKNW talk show host, Christy Clark, Premier Gordon Campbell and a host of other well-known politico’s of the BC scene. The most comprehensive list of who is who, and what it what pertaining to Railgate, can be found in this Tyee article, also by Bill, titled  ” Railgate , A to Z ” .  Another critical site to check out, The Legislature Raids devotes itself entirely to everything and anything pertaining to the BC Rail deal and subsequent events

 The biggest  government scandal to hit the province of BC, Railgate began with the infamous  RCMP raid on the BC legislature in December 2003, amid allegations that organized crime had infiltrated every corner of province, possibly even the very building the RCMP charged into that fateful day.

Since that date, nothing has come easy to these hearings. Bogged down in paperwork, at times it has seemed unlikely that the pre-trial stage would ever reach completion. Toss in some pertinent emails that were “accidentally” deleted by the Liberal government after being requested in court, a judge who at times seemed disinterested in the implications of potential damning documents,  and that same judge subsequently being replaced so she could  take a new appointment ?

All I can say is that you have the makings of a home-grown political thriller, and one I would very much like to watch one day! Adding to the intrigue is the ever-present spectre of the mysterious secret witness Bill writes about above – one who very much has the power to end the trial before it even starts.

Yes, the scandal ridden Basi-Virk hearing started with the Legislature raids -but will it all end with this Supreme Court ruling?

Head over to Bill Tieleman’s site Thursday for the full meal deal on the ruling , and what it spells out for the future of what promises to be the most riveting trial in the history of British Columbia.

For now, I think it is time for a little reminder of what may have been the motivation for the entire deal. Check out this previous post of mine, titled:  The key to the BC Rail deal lies in Premier Gordon Campbell’s beginnings in real estate and land development.

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 

Common Ground highlights Key BC Liberal Insiders Hired by Private Power Developers

This just in from Common Ground Magazine, May Edition, page 26 . Available free  in over 1200 locations, or read the supplement here:

***Note Mark Grant in the list below, previous Executive Director of the BC liberals who resigned December 12th, 2008….

Since the Campbell government gave the green light to private power developers like the Plutonic Power/General Electric partnership, there has been a virtual revolving door in Victoria, as key government officials and senior BC Liberal political advisers have moved from government to lucrative positions in the private power industry.

While such individuals are not subject to British Columbia’s ethics laws, which prohibit cabinet ministers and some senior staff from lobbying government in the areas governed by their former ministries, the sheer number of former government staffers now working in the private power industry is shocking.

In addition to the hiring of so many key government insiders, the private power industry has provided massive financial donations to the BC Liberal party both before and after Premier Gordon Campbell decided to allow private power access to BC rivers. Here is a list of all the known former bureaucratic and political staffers now on the payrolls of the
private power industry.

Patrick Kinsella, Co-chair of 2001 and 2005 BC Liberal provincial campaigns -has consulted for Alcan, Accenture and now Plutonic Power. Alleged to have worked for both CN and BC Rail as BC Rail was being sold to CN.

David Cyr, former Assistant to BC Liberal Minister Mike de Jong, now a director at Plutonic Power/GE.

Robert Poore, recently worked under the Provincial Revenue Minister of the Province of BC, now a senior director at Plutonic Power/GE.

Tom Syer, former deputy chief of staff to Gordon Campbell, now a director at Plutonic Power/GE.

Bill Irwin, after holding key positions in the BC Ministries of Land and Water,and Crown Lands, now a director at Plutonic Power/GE.

Doug Bishop, formerly 32 years with BC Hydro and Powerex, now with Plutonic Power/GE.

Bruce Ripley spent the last 2 of his 16 years at BC Hydro as VP Engineering,now President and COO of Plutonic Power/GE.

Elisha McCallum (Moreno), after 7 years with BC Hydro as a media relations manager, moved to a directorship with Plutonic Power/GE.

Mark Grant, former executive director of the BC Liberal Party now with Rupert Peace Power.

Bruce Young, has held several high profile positions with the BC Liberal party and lobbied his own party on behalf of Katabatic Power is listed as a director of Atla Energy.

Stephen Kukucha, former senior policy advisor for the BC Ministry of Environment, is now president and CEO of Atla Energy.

Bob Herath, former Assistant Regional Water Manager for the BC Ministry of Environment, now with Syntaris Power.

Paul Taylor, former President and CEO of ICBC as well as high level positions in the BC Government, is now President and CEO of Naikun Wind Energy Group.

Michael J. O’Conner, former President and CEO of Crown Corporation BC Transit, now holds senior positions at Naikun.

Jackie Hamilton, formerly held various BC Government environmental assessment and regulatory management positions,is now a VP at Cloudworks Energy.

Michael Margolick, held positions in resource and strategic planning at BC Hydro, now is the Vice President of Power and Transmission planning at Naikun Wind.

Robert Price, after a 30-year career at BC Hydro and Power Authority which culminated as the utility’s Vancouver Island transmission line construction,supervision and operations manager,now a member of the Hawkeye ‘team’.

Mr. Paul Adams, after a 33-year career with BC Hydro in which he held senior management positions, now is another ‘team’ member at Hawkeye.

Ron Monk, former BC Hydro Engineer, now employed by Kerr Wood Leidal engineering firm used by IPPs.

Wayne Chambers, a former BC Hydro power plant and substation operator,now a manager at Cloudworks.

Alexander Kiess, after long career with BC Hydro in management, now works as a consultant to Syntaris Power.

Geoff Plant, former BC Liberal Attorney General, now chair of Renaissance Power.

READ the entire supplement – very informative- here:

As well, you can see many of the smiling faces mentioned above here:

Brookfield Asset Management, Gordon Campbell and British Columbia’s Best Assets

 I recently  authored a post that is again receiving considerable attention, due in part it appears, to a comment left by ‘RickW’, below the Tyee’s front page column today:

Thank you, RickW –  my hope is to inform as many people as possible about this sell-off, and see if we can’t get some answers as to why this is happening considering the election campaign in full swing.

If you’ve been following the election coverage on, you’ll get it when I say that the east ( and west) coast of Vancouver island is yet another place you WILL NOT be finding Gordon Campbell making a campaign appearance…..

Read it all on my original post, dated April 21st, 2009 :

( Patrick Kinsella post was originally slated for this morning’s blog, but  since I’m in a world of pain this morning from a tooth extraction yesterday, just check back tomorrow am)