Bad News Friday.

For those of you who are not in the know, there is a calculated reason behind government press releases.

What is likely to be perceived as ‘ bad news’ by the public  is likely to be released on a Friday, later in the day, so that the memory of will likely fade from public scrutiny by Monday morning.

However, what is likely to be perceived as ‘ good news’ by the public, will be released early in the day, on a Monday- or at least early in the week- so  that the government has plenty of time to pat themselves on the back and look good.

That’s just how it works.

So, based on the fact that the following news was announced late yesterday afternoon on the Friday before a long weekend, what would you make of this?

” New Judge at the Legislature Raid Trial
Vancouver/CKNW(AM980) http://www.cknw.com/Channels/Reg/NewsLocal/Story.aspx?ID=10937195/15/2009

A new judge will be appointed in the ongoing legal saga surrounding the BC Rail corruption scandal.

Elizabeth Bennett was overseeing the case in B.C. Supreme Court, but she has been appointed to the provincial Court of Appeal.

A spokesman for the Crown says that means a new judge must be chosen to take over a complex case that began with a police raid of the provincial legislature more than five years ago.
The raid targeted the offices of two ministerial aides – Dave Basi and Bobby Virk – who were charged with accepting a benefit, fraud and breach of trust in relation to the sale of BC Rail.
It’s alleged they took money from lobbyists representing CN’s rival for the purchase of BC Rail, OmniTrax, in exchange for confidential information about the $1-billion sale.
The charges have been winding their way through pre-trial arguments, and the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision to review an aspect of the case will delay a trial even further.
(The Canadian Press) “
Hell of an interesting time for a ‘promotion’, don’tcha think? 
Right after another Liberal majority( if you can consider it that when less than half the registered voters in BC even voted, and less than that voted Liberal, making it about 20-something % that actually liked what the Libs have done enough to vote for them)
As if.
Suggested reading over at Gazetteer and BC Mary, in the posts and the comments section.

12 Comments on “Bad News Friday.

  1. That is quite a conspiracy you are suggesting. Gordo calls the Justice minister and says hey Rob, can u get Liz up to the appeal court so she is off the case? He wishes he had that kind of juice. Dont forget to check under the bed for communists.

    Check out this colum in todays Sun paper – Harvey Enchin. makes sense to me.

    • you mean this one?

      ” Sale of bloated BC Rail relieved taxpayers of financial burden

      Despite rumours of rigged deal, B.C., CN gained from transfer

      By Harvey Enchin, Vancouver SunMay 16, 2009

      BC Stats tells us that the value of B.C.’s softwood lumber exports plummeted from a peak of $7.8 billion in 1997 to a paltry $3.6 billion in 2008. That’s bad news for the provincial economy but it could have been worse. We would have been carrying the added burden of BC Rail had the government not unloaded it onto CN.

      Three-quarters of BC Rail’s revenue came from forest products. Given that it rarely turned a profit, even at the best of times, it seems clear that its losses — and cost to government — would have been substantial with the industry that sustained it in freefall.

      In 2003, CN paid $1 billion to acquire the government’s shares of BC Rail and the right to operate on its tracks under a long-term lease. Under terms of the BC Rail Investment Partnership created by the transaction, CN assumed responsibility for rail transportation and infrastructure maintenance — maintenance alone cost the province $40 million a year — while railway lands remained under public ownership.

      Critics complain that the government didn’t get fair value but there was little value in BC Rail to taxpayers. CN didn’t need the rusty rolling stock, abandoned sidings and creaky loading facilities that made up much of BC Rail’s hard assets. It wanted to gain the efficiencies of an integrated North American network and take advantage of the tax loss carry-forwards that were of no use to a Crown corporation but had the potential to dramatically reduce its own tax liability.

      There’s been much ado lately about a clause in the partnership agreement that indemnifies CN to the tune of $500 million in the event the Canada Revenue Agency disallows the application of these credits against future earnings. But there’s nothing new or unusual here. Indemnities are a common feature of most major transactions, along with adjustments and dispute procedures, and this one has been on the books in plain view since 2004.

      BC Rail’s bloated and overpaid workforce stood at 1,380 when the deal was signed. CN estimated it could do the job with 950, a testament to the structural inefficiencies that plagued BC Rail.

      To its credit, the previous government led by the New Democrats realized that BC Rail was a deadweight, and had drafted plans as early as 1995 to privatize it, although it was left to the Liberals to pick up the cudgel. While ideologues in the Lower Mainland railed against privatization, producers in the north were being held hostage by BC Rail, which charged prohibitive rates to switch cargo to CN, depriving them of the use of their own seaport at Prince Rupert. BC Rail wasn’t seen as a cherished public asset; it was a trade barrier.

      Some British Columbians are in denial about BC Rail’s drain on government finances. The railway’s $1.3 billion in write-downs cost taxpayers nothing, they argue. But an accounting entry isn’t an apparition; it reflects a real loss of value. A fine-print footnote in the BC Rail 2000 annual report, for example, stated that the government approved a $233.2 million reduction in the contributed surplus of the company, eliminating a prior year’s deficit of that amount. Contributed surplus is part of shareholders equity. Since the government is the sole shareholder, this represents a realizable loss to taxpayers. In support of this assertion, if BC Rail were a private company and paid out its surplus to shareholders, the CRA would tax it as income.

      So what has this arrangement wrought? BC Rail’s $500 million was eliminated, funding of $135-million was made available to a regional economic development corporation, $30 million was invested in an expansion of the Port of Prince Rupert, municipalities along the rail corridor gain $8.3 million in new revenue a year and $15 million is dedicated to a BC Rail Benefits Trust for first nations. Meanwhile, CN has purchased 800 new rail cars, built a $20-million intermodal facility and moved its district office from Winnipeg to Prince George, where it has opened a new wheel shop.

      In forming a partnership with an experienced railway operator, the government addressed a myriad of problems, including mounting debt, poor service, too few rail cars, uncompetitive rates and declining economic opportunities. It also removed the onerous provincial obligation of regulating BC Rail. Because CN operates across the country, federal agencies are responsible for monitoring and enforcing the performance terms of CN’s agreements.

      Was the bidding process rigged and the deal crooked as critics allege? Who knows? But that’s a side show that can never negate the many benefits the BC Rail-CN partnership has delivered to taxpayers.

      henchin@vancouversun.com

      © Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

  2. The real question, for the fine commenter at the top of the thread, is when the decision was made….

    .

  3. Honestly … !

    “Was the bidding process rigged and the deal crooked … but that’s a sideshow which can never negate the many benefits …”

    So there you have it, Laila. From one of CanWest’s best editors, crime is OK … so just keep movin’ along, folks … ain’t nuthin’ to see here … thank you, just keep movin’ along …”

    But as folks shuffle obediently past the train wreck, they should ask why this wonderfully beneficial deal is still kept secret from the people who used to own BC Rail …

    .

  4. First of all to the first commentor. The promotion was in the bag long before the election. That’s one of the bonuses of fixed elections.

    Next. Enchin conveniently leaves ou the fact that BC Rail fed ministry coffers such as education. Where is this money today.

    And don’t ever try to tell me that we got a billion dollars. With all the tax breaks and other candy CN got we received a NET ZERO.
    Enchins’ column is a spin. Need I go further.

  5. Laila, I would suggest that this debacle is not going away. Also, based on History, it is NEVER the crime, or perceived crime, but the “cover up” that brings the whole house of cards down.
    Mr. Opal’s responses, or lack there of, tells a reasonable person, that this Rail Deal stinks on ice.
    But we are a patient lot, and one day, the those involved, will be held to account.
    Stay tuned folks!
    Cheers.

  6. The point is BC Rail should have been sold. The point is that the selection of Bennett to the Appeals court has nothing to do with a Gordo conspiracy. Ever thought she actually deserved the promotion? Any case she was hearing at the time could make the same claim no? Date of decision? Check the web site for the announcement, it may give one. If it does not, phone the Justice ministers office and find out if it fits into your conspiracy theory.

    The trial will get to the facts if there was corruption regardless of the judge. I am patient.

    Maybe we got net zero, at least it aint sucking any more of my tax dollars. Your much valued NDP seems to be the first government to come to this conclusion.

  7. SB Did you ever read the books on BC Rail? There was no debt in the final year. There was sure as hell not more debt than this province is carrying right now.

    Who mentioned Campbell Conspiracy? Not me. What I have suggested is that it takes a hell of a lot more than two or three days to consider an appointment to the appeals court. Common sense tells me that you just don’t weigh in and jeopardize 5 years of work by appointing a new judge. Unless that judge has been paraleling the case. By that I mean he has been reading every piece on it from Day one..

    “Maybe we got net zero, at least it aint sucking any more of my tax dollars.” So I guess you mean its okay to tell the people a bald faced lie as to how you can handle their finances? And tell me where your tax dollars are going now? To schooling? To supporting the aged? To hospitals? No sir, they are going to Campbells mega projects Not the people who pay them.

  8. Did you read the books? Is the columnist wrong? The last year was not in debt. Hooray. Paragraph 8 seems pretty sound to me.

    The conspiracy comment was not directed at your post. As far as the tax dollars, BCrail will no longer suck my tax dollars out of my pocket. I mean it exactly as I wrote it. It neither condemns nor condones, or even if there was a bald faced lie comment on it. that was not my point. So why did the NDP get ready to sell BCrail? Or is that more “spin” of which you referred to?

    Where are my tax dollars going now? You listed some right there, or was that some kind of rhetorical question? There is only so much of my dollars to go around, with a huge amount going just to health care. Didnt someone just build a hospital in surrey?? You do not like what proportion it is being spent on? Tooooo bad. Elect somebody else then. Oh thats right we just elected another bunch. I guess you will have to wait 4 years.

    Any judge can come up to speed on the case, or are you suggesting that nobody but Bennett could properly handle the case? Replacing judges happens all the time. Everything is on the record thus far. It cannot be ignored. It is a trial, witnesses can be recalled if need be.

    • (((( Ummmm…… no. no hospital in Surrey despite over 4 years of promises. Campbell did make an ” announcement” a while back announcing the construction of a new ER etc….. but alas, when one reads the actual wording, it requires a P3 partner….. and of of today one has not been found yet.

      So back to 3 day waits in the ER if you get hurt. )))

      Just thought I’d throw that in there, it’s along weekend and I’m going to enjoy the outdoors today.