BC Rail Story MUST Not End Now

Now that I’m back from some well-enjoyed fun in the sun, I am amazed at the number of people who have suggested the biggest story that happened in BC in the past few weeks was the decision by Premier Gordon Campbell to step down.  They are wrong.

As repeatedly explained on this blog long ago, especially after the HST debacle,  Campbell would be going  before the next election: it was only really a question of timing …and I guess after you spend $240,000 taxpayer dollars to “talk” at the voters, and your popularity actually drops (LOL!) , it’s time to go collect your corporate and/or political appointment rewards.

Politicians …good and bad …  come and go. They leave their various legacies, but few alter, or by their actions threaten the very long-term  integrity of our justice and democratic governmental systems.

The BC Rail fiasco has done that.

After seven years of delays, wrangling and legal manoeuvering David Basi and Bob Virk decided to plead guilty after all. Exasperating as that may be to the citizenry, that was their legal right and they decided to invoke it. Of course in doing so, and admitting guilt on FOUR serious charges,  they brought shame on themselves, to their public “service”,  to those who appointed them and displayed for all to see their lack of ethics and integrity.

And adding insult to public injury, the courts imposed very soft sentences on them.

But the stink only starts there.

The real stench will not go away until there is a FULL Public Inquiry into exactly what did go on, who knew what, and who did what …. right up to the highest levels of government and their political friends and supporters.

The way things have been left, Basi and Virk look like the fall guys in some BC version of a Mafiosa criminal conspiracy, in which Mr Big and his Conseilliaries get away with some huge fraudulent scheme involving government, private contracts and millions upon millions in public funds.  This is the stuff Oscars are made of …cue the music and bring back Al Pacino!

And the BC government has made it all wrose by agreeing to pick up the accused’s $6 million legal fees …part of an $18 million cost to our “justice” system.

It was all a farce …   that looks to me as aimed primarily, secondarily and beyond at keeping the whole  TRUTH of what happened in the BC Rail deal away from full public scrutiny, public knowledge and public accountability.

There should even be a criminal conspiracy investigation ito how this unfolded, how justice was denied and how the integrity of  our democratic governmental system was scuttled, manipulated and sold off …with public funds!!

If  Carole James and the NDP promise a full judicial public inquiry into exactly what did happen in the BC Rail case …I’ll vote for them on that basis alone.

To save the integrity of our political and democratic governmental system.

I’m back.

Harv Oberfeld

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27 Responses to BC Rail Story MUST Not End Now

  1. frosty says:

    I’m curious to know what Basi did to cause the court to tighten his house arrest conditions…and why we the people can’t know about it.

    (Response: I’m sure our crack media investigators and politicos will be all over that!! As for why we can’t know about it … because we the taxpayers (and victims) have NO rights … except to foot the bill. h.o)

  2. Welcome back Harv,
    without a doubt I do miss your posts when you’re away. Speaking of, you were down in the heart beat of American politics for the midterms and I for one would love to hear your take on the outcome from a Canadian journalist’s perspective.
    Thanks,

    (Response: U.S. politics are even more bizarre than here in Canada. Elections are bought … and the Republuicans clearly have much more money than the Democrats to do that. In addition, Lobby groups can spend unlimited millions of dollars on campaigns and ads; negative ads rule supreme …aired almost every ten minutes night and day for weeks; and the radio talk shows and even supposedly non-political morning shows are virtually ALL 24 hours a day rabidly right-wing anti-Democrat …where I heard one “morning” man refer to someone as “a decent person, even though he’s a Democrat.”) Theere is not even a pretense of fairness or balance. And many middle class Americans are clearly moving right (the incessant talk show propaganda and ads DO work). In Florida .. the state’s Chief Financial Officer, running as a Democrat for Governor , was attacked for the state’s pension funds losing $250,000 on a New York City investment land deal …and LOST to a Republican, whose personal company of medical clinics and private hospitals was FINED $1.7 BILLION for medicare fraud! h.o)

  3. Norm Farrell says:

    Welcome back H.T. It has been a fascinating and busy time here for wingnuts and nincompoops of the blogosphere.

    I believe the apparent issue will be Dave Basi giving a TV interview while he was at Bobby Virk’s house. Social visits presumably are not permitted if one is under house arrest, particularly when TV cameras are invited inside. The real issue though is that he embarrassed the court by demonstrating his house arrest was absurdly lax.

    I think there is much for the courts to explain in this case and the highest judge in the land has talked seriously about the need for judicial accountability. More about that here:

    http://northerninsights.blogspot.com/2010/10/judges-must-be-seen-to-be-independent.html

    (Response: I hope those of us in the blogosphere will keep this issue alive and let the people speak …just as we did with the HST petition, when the mainstream media were poo-pooing it and Vander Zalm. h.o)

  4. Thanks for this Harvey and welcome back – I don’t know how you can stand to go away with all that’s happening in BC!

    For Frosty, another hearing will be held Monday at 10 a.m. in BC Supreme Court for David Basi -and we have to hope that Justice Anne MacKenzie won’t impose yet another publication ban on the proceedings!

    (Response: Thanks. After working 38 years, it’s actually quite easy to pick up and go vacationig! 🙂 As for Basi/Virk … now that the government has picked up their $6 million legal tab, I can’t help but get the feeling they took the fall for others higher up. They have admitted to commiting crimes while working for the government. Surely it should be more in the interest of any honest government to ferret out EVERYONE who had a hand in illegal deeds rather than just shell out millions of public dollars to help out those who pleaded guilty. h.o)

  5. Gary E says:

    Don’t worry about the giveaway of our railway Harv. The most passionate person in this debacle, BC Mary is still on it. As are many others.

    Frosty, I’m not sure how things will play out but Basi is in court tomorrow morning to face the music.

  6. Ian says:

    Harvey, Carole James and the NDP immediately called for a public inquiry, saying if the Liberals refuse to call one they will. That promise reiterates the promise James made in the first week of the last campaign.

    A list of 70 BC Rail questions, unanswered by the Liberals remains on the order paper. James added another 30 questions focusing on the deal deJong and Campbell made to end the trial.

    (Response; Thanks. But calling for one is not the same as PROMISING one. I hope they will do that …soon. h.o)

  7. Genuine says:

    Good to have you back Harvey.

    (Response: Thanks. Should be an interesting Fall, Winter and especially Spring ahead! h.o)

  8. Terrence says:

    Glad you are back, Harv; but I do appreciate the desire/need to get away from it all from time-to-time. I am glad you enjoyed yourself.

    I fully agree with what you say about Carole James and the NDP promising a full judicial public inquiry into BC Rail case. I would also vote for them on that basis alone.

    Corky Evens has been a lot of favourable coverage as a new leader of the NDP, over the internet, at least. Do you have any thoughts about him?

    (Response: I think Corky would appeal to many NDPers, especially up country and on Vancouver Island … but I do not see him as saleable to most British Columbians in Vancouver, the Lower Mainland and Victoria as Premier. h.o)

  9. Crankypants says:

    Welcome back Harvey.

    I agree that there should be judicial public enquiry into everything involving the sale of BC Rail including all aspects on the raid of the Legislature, and all aspects of the Basi-Virk-Basi trial. The only thing that makes me leery about getting to the real facts is the lack of confidence I have for our judiciary and the RCMP.

    I would like to see some outsiders enlisted to carry out said enquiry. I believe that the Armed Forces have a legal division, which could serve as the legal side of the enquiry. I would also like to see a panel of regular citizens chosen in much the same way as a jury to act as overseers of the whole thing.

    Yes, it may be a costly venture, but with all the innuendo attributed to this matter, the only solution is to bring all the facts to the fore. otherwise, the stench of BC Rail, real or perceived, will linger of British Columbia for generations to come.

    (Response: Having government-appointed judges considering the actions of government officials does pose problems. But I think the real benefit would be the sworn testimony from all the witnesses summoned or subpoenaed. Would no dout be fascinating…and very revealing. h.o)

  10. Warren White says:

    Hi Harvey – Glad to see you back and glad that you see Railgate as such an important issue. My opinion is that much of what has happened since the announcement of the plea deal has been orchestrated to “change the channel”…and sadly, with the MSM’s help, this has occurred. The parallels with Watergate are striking, but we have not had a Woodward or Bernstein (or Washington Post) willing to do the investigative journalism to unearth the truth. It will remain a stain on our democracy until it is dealt with.

    (Response: I agree …it is a stain ..and it MUST not be allowed to remain untreated. h.o)

  11. D. M. Johnston says:

    I found it extremely interesting how the mainstream media and Brand-X tried to sanitize the Basi/Virk affair. Except for Micheal Smith, everyone has tried to sweep it under the carpet.

    If the great unwashed wanted more answers, especially the bloggists, they were deemed wing-nuts or worse. I am saddened how our media has prostrated themselves to the ruling Liberal party and have become mere conduits for Liberal spin.

    The great leader, El Gordo, resigned because of his disastrous $240,000.00 30 minute TV promo, which finally caused a mini revolt in the caucus. Watching his resignation on TV, I felt that he had a gun, so to speak, held to his head and was forced to resign – but has he?

    A judicial inquiry is a must, and not only into the Basi/Virk affair, but the courts and the police as I believe our whole legal system has a massive stain, if not out right complicity in the whole tawdry mess.

    Life as usual in Lotus land!

    (Response: I think the NDP should also be speaking up more… holding press conderences, over and over again dissecting what went on to keep the issue in the public eye, and PROMISING that, if elected, they WILL hold a full judicial inquiry …absolutely needed now to protect the reputation and integrity of BC’s governmental AND judicial system h.o)

  12. Ron says:

    Just look at who owns most of BC Rail’s shares and you will see that no inquiry will take place. We have had a bloodless coup in BC!!!!
    More of the same to come. If it works in the states, why not here, in the gutless wasteland we call BC. Nobody will do anything and us sheep will bleat for more of the same. Truly pathetic province and gutless citizenry, imo. I for one am ready to take up arms to rid this province of these diabolical heathens and return this province to the people who should own it, the taxpayers!!!! Who’s with me?

  13. Keith says:

    Ayup Harvey,

    Welcome back, as you can imagine the not so fun and games continue unabated. Trial balloons regarding the minimum wage increase, leadership candidates saying ” thanks but no thanks” et. al.

    Yes indeed a full judicial inquiry must be held with no narrow terms of reference, everything on the table no matter where it leads and if necessary prosecutions. Preferably if possible under the administration out of province judiciary and police force, not the rcmp. This is too important an issue to be handled by local judges and plods. Not sure if it’s possible but the NDP should look at a legal order to preserve any remaining documents before they go to the shredder.

    Slightly off topic but some in the local liberal sponsored media are now getting a bit twitchy regarding the blogosphere.

    (Response: Glad they’re getting twitchy. Maybe next time any of us ask them questions, they’ll give bloggers the same quick responses they so often demand when asking questions of others. As for the BC Rail issue, I sure hope the NDP raises it again and again …soon h.o)

  14. Genuine says:

    It seems like everything about this case is still out there ,including the statement made by the police in the early days of the raid, his name was John Ward (I think),that criminals have infiltrated the highest level of our government,and, all that has occurred during this time,brings that statement to a full circle ,and still we have no answers,why are the police not investigating now that that sham of a trial is over why are the ndp no longer asking questions to keep this at the fore,this is haunting many of us ,can we trust the courts ,can we trust judges,can we trust the police or are they all wearing the same uniform,the only answer we know for sure is you can’t trust a politician or a lawyer,but they must answer the question about weather the courts police and judges can be trusted.

  15. PG says:

    This deal stinks – these guys were bought off for the $6 million dollars and no one in the media is asking why the Special prosecutor allowed the deal to be cut after he delayed this case for 7 years and charged over $10 million dollars to make this case go away.

  16. Wondering says:

    Welcome back – you raise a point in your comment about Corky Evans that has troubling me for I while and I think may not bode well for BC in the future. Given the present political environment and alignments I don’t think there will ever be a Premier of BC elected who is not from the Metro Vancouver region. We have had successive Premiers from the lower mainland and who, in my opinion, have not been able to articulate a vision for the entire province. I fear we in BC are heading to great divide between urban and rural BC much like what exists between Northern and Southern Ontario. I know this is unrealistic but given current population growth trends perhaps it is time for Canada to examine the creation of additional provinces to better reflect the political needs of its citizens.

    I would appreciate hearing your thoughts on that point.

    (Response: I too share your concerns….but your original question was specifically about Corky’s chances….not the whole urban/rural divide. It’s not that I believe ALL potential future premiers will have to come from urban areas: look at Carole James. Corky might even prove very popular with many NDPers in urban areas but I personally don’t think HE has what it would take to capture the urban middle of the road vote that would be needed to swing the results to the NDP. h.o)

  17. D. M. Johnston says:

    Carole James do anything right? You must be kidding! If the NDP want to win the next election, they have to dump her like how Gordo was dumped!

    I have absolutely no faith in Carole James!

    Interestingly the mainstream media are championing her cause to stay as NDP leader, which with the double speak so common now in BC, translates to; “we want James to stay because we know she will lose!”

    (Response: I’ve written before that I believe she will have to go to give the NDP a full chance at winning the next election. I assume she’s delaying for the proper timing to create excitement over a new leader closer to the election. But while she’s in the chair, she has a job to do on behalf of us all …and BC Rail deserves a lot more attention. h.o.)

  18. Henri says:

    Nov 15, 2010 at 9:28 pm
    Harv replied ,But while she’s in the chair,she has a job to do on behalf of us all …
    ————————————————————
    I suppose if you can call someone sitting in a chair on her ass a job , then I suppose she qualifies.

  19. Harvey, welcome home my friend.

    Glad to hear you got some well-earned rest.

    With my compliments:

    http://alexgtsakumis.com/2010/11/15/breaking-news-basi-virk-restrictions-its-all-about-the-documents/

    And again…

    http://alexgtsakumis.com/2010/11/15/basi-virk-the-offending-interview-you-be-the-judge/

    And I’ll have more in about an hour…

    Apparently the real crimes were ones that we’rent referred to in the charges against Basi and Virk…

    The stench is unbearable.

  20. Wilson says:

    Welcom back Oberfeld. Can’t say I give a shat about BC rail, but it’s nice to have you back and I look forward to some of your posts on what the hell is going on in B.C. these days.

  21. Linda. says:

    Campbell’s resignation, and his not leaving, is just another dirty Campbell tactic, to stall for time. He said, he would be here for quite some months. He also said, he will continue on with his work. And indeed, Campbell’s dirty work surfaces every day. Campbell is in a panic, to have the RCMP seize all of the documents regarding, Campbell’s corrupt sale of the BCR. (edited..h.o.) Sears is under threat, for having HST free sales. Restaurants, got a vendetta, for not supporting the HST. The RCMP are ordered, to investigate duplicate signatures, on the HST petition. This of course, is to scare the BC people into, not signing the recall. Threats for fines of $10,000. Campbell, should give the RCMP useful work. Campbell should have the RCMP, to further investigate, his corrupt sale of the BCR. Or perhaps, the sea to sky highway scam. Campbell is too full of, hate, spite, malice, and too vindictive to just quit. Campbell must honor his commitment to his good buddy Harper, as was prearranged, he must cement that HST bargain. This BC Liberal Taliban party, must be obliterated, off the face of the earth, never to be seen again.

  22. patrick bell (NOT THE MLA) says:

    Welcome home Harv…..really missed your posts….especially now the BC politics have gotten even nuttier and nuttier….

    yup, the whole BC Rail scandal just reeks…even more now…

    Quick kids……grab the popcorn and watch more stuff like Bennett from the Interior rip into Campbell……..lol…it’s all good 🙂

    (Response: Thanks. Will have a new blog up soon …on Campbell! 🙂 h.o.

  23. Ron says:

    I wish someone would comment on how we can find out how much the gov’t is paying Kiewit for the ‘shadow tolls’ on the sea to sky highway and how much they are getting per car for the new Port Mann.

  24. sunshine coast girl says:

    There must be a criminal conspiracy investigation and any and all found involved must go to jail, up to and including the Premier.

  25. Mike Boileau says:

    Sorry for logging in so late in the game but, I agree wholeheartedly. Furthermore, relating to keeping info from the public by way of there being no “Real Investigative Reporters” in BC any longer, what was it all about when Gordon Campbell, along with Peter Mansbridge, attended the Bildiberg Meetings this year? Did we pay for that trip? What went on in those meetings? How did Gordon Campbell get contacted with an invitation? Why was Peter Mansbridge there? Why will Peter Mansbridge, who should be reporting on these people, not doing so? Did they attend any of the Bohemian Grove Encampments in the past ten years?
    What should we know about BC Rail, Bildiberg Meetings and Gordon Campbell’s sudden interest in the “Global Warming” fiasco?
    Is he quitting BC in order to get into the trading of recently invented “Carbon Credits”?
    Yep, where are the Real Investigative Reporters?

  26. Janeth says:

    No apology neeedd. I can only imagine how many hours of work, all of the research takes. I get tired, just thinking about it You do good work, that is appreciated.I know Alex works far too hard, and ended up with the flu and probably exhaustion. We appreciate the excellent work Alex has done, to bring us the truth of the BCR scam. However, R and R is also important. We need you people to carry on, for the BC citizens.It seems the rats nest, of the BC Liberals creation, is going to take a lot of unraveling. The corruption within this province, really sickens a person.

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