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.