Ok, I’m here: if only by the grace of hot coffee and ibuprofen – lots of it. Depending on who you ask, my voice deteriorated to the point that I now sound like either a phone sex operator, or an 86 year old smoker with emphysema. Whatever works , right?
I’m not going to do one of those lame Year in Review things that all the news programs have been running all week. We all know who died and who won and who screwed up and ended up on the front page of gossip rags from here to China. It’s all been talked about to death. However,some of the most important stories of the year received very little press at all – a travesty in my eyes.
Without a doubt, the biggest ‘non-story’ with the local press would have to be the B.C. Rail Scandal.
If there is one thing I could ensure that every British Columbian knows about prior to the upcoming provincial election, it would be the story that began waaaaaaaay back in 2003 with the infamous B.C. Legislature Raids. At that time, RCMP inferred that the raids were linked to organized crime and corruption within the highest ranks of the BC government, but it was soon revealed that the actual reason for the raid was connected to Premier Gordon Campbell’s privatization deal concerning B.C. Rail.
” Oh, what a tangled web we weave , when at first we practise to deceive…” most accurately sums up the 5 year ongoing saga that has resulted in two former government ministerial aides – Dave Basi and Bob Virk – being charged with fraud and breach of trust.
But will the truth behind the allegations that they handed over confidential government documents to lobbyists hired by one of the bidders ever be known? Some believe this case will never actually go to trial, and the likelihood that it will break open before the provincial election sits buried under masses of documents and legal wranglings still to be dealt with.
If this case ever does get to trial, the potential witness list may contain some of B.C’s most notable Liberals, including Bruce Clark and his sister ex-politician-cum-radio-talk-show-host Christy Clark, as well as her husband, Liberal wunderbar Mark Marissen, whose home office was visited by the RCMP at the time of the legislature raids. Christy was Deputy Premier during part of the BC rail privatization period,and her husband has connections to many of the key players in this investigation. Premier Gordon Campbell is, of course, the person I wish most to see on the stand and he is a probable witness in his role as the initiator of the privatization deal. Seriously, I would book vacation time to see what he has to say if the wire taps are released in court!
What does the government have to hide, and why? An excerpt from Bill Tielemans recent article in the Tyee says it all:
” It was Campbell’s grand plan to privatize B.C. Rail that set in motion a scandal still careening down an uncertain track that could end in a political train wreck.
No one has more at stake in the B.C legislature raid than Campbell and the accused.
Many of Campbell’s top cabinet ministers, political staff and bureaucrats are all alleged by the defence to have had varying roles in the case — and a full trial would expose secrets that must make the premier sleepless at night.
Campbell’s biggest fear — release in court of all the various wiretaps on David Basi, Bob Virk and other key players that would paint a devastating picture of not only the B.C. Rail sale but potentially of a government with less scruples than the Richard Nixon White House as revealed by Nixon’s own tapes.
The best case scenario for Campbell is that the case is dismissed without coming to trial…”
If in fact this trial does end up being dismissed, it will be the greatest victory the Campbell government has ever seen – and the biggest cover-up ever pulled on the citizens of British Columbia.
A travesty in the true meaning of the word.
With the seemingly cooperative press that so obviously fail to give ongoing and in-depth coverage to the proceedings in any sort of regular manner, most British Columbians have been left in the dark.
Thanks to Bill Tieleman and BC Mary, those who do know and are interested are able to head over to either of their sites and get up to date reports and commentaries on recent developments complete with interesting links.
Do yourself a favor and take the time to find out more about The B.C. Rail Scandal. It might give you something bigger to think about at the polls this spring when you have to choose who you trust to lead this province through the coming years difficulties.
Read Bill Tieleman’s article ” Railgate, A to Z : Five years after the Legislature raids, a who’s who guide to B.C ‘s biggest political scandal. “at the Tyee: http://www.thetyee.ca/News/2008/12/29/Railgate/?utm_source=mondayheadlines&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=291208
Read Bill Tieleman’s blog : http://billtieleman.blogspot.com/
( Bill Tieleman writes a column on B.C. politics every Tuesday in 24 hours, the free weekday newspaper, also online at http://vancouver.24hrs.ca. Tieleman can be heard every Monday at 10 a.m. on the Bill Good Show on CKNW AM 980)
BC Mary’s coverage : http://bctrialofbasi-virk.blogspot.com/