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BC Rail: the Stink is Getting Worse

September 1st, 2009 · 15 Comments

Regardless of the outcome of the Basi-Virk trial, it may take a public inquiry to find out what role, if any, Premier Gordon Campbell, his cabinet members, their top appointed staff played in the disappearance of hundreds of government e-mails from 2002 and 2003.

(Former cabinet aides Bobby Virk and Dave Basi are charged with fraud and breach of trust related to the $1-billion sale of Crown-owned BC Rail to CN Rail in 2003.)

When it comes to protecting the integrity of our governmental system, the truth surrounding what happened to those e-mails, from what I see as the most critical years,  is MORE important than the actual case now before the courts.

And during a 90-minute appearance on CKNW’s Bill Good show, the Premier made the possibilities of what may have happened look even worse: he wouldn’t even answer questions about “usual policy” for handling/destroying ANY e-mails … never mind the  BC Rail case.

(The Premier’s interview can be found on www.CKNW.com .  Click Audio Vault and tune in 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday Aug 31.)

Good did try … more than once.

After all, what could possibly be wrong with the Premier explaining to the citizens of the province how e-mails are normally handled???  How long are they usually kept?  What procedure is in place for their eventual destruction? Do discussions take place between civil servants and top appointed or elected officials?

The premier refused to answer.  With what I would view as total disrespect for the people of the province, he suggested anyone who wants to know procedures should research it all themselves.

And frankly, to me, he seemed quite defensive the way he refused to even discuss general policy relating to e-mail disposal, although nothing has remotely been proven in any court proceeding to date regarding any e-mail handling.

So what would be wrong with discussing general policy in this regard … especially when asked by an accredited member of the media??

Campbell’s handling of  even general questions of government policy, regarding e-mail handling,  stunk!

Which gives me even more cause for concern.

Harv Oberfeld

Tags: British Columbia · Media

15 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Henri Paul // Sep 1, 2009 at 3:23 am

    Harv said,Good did try … more than once.
    ————–
    And to that I say, so will a steer.
    Possibly true ,but what is the possibility that these were all loaded questions? Like here’s the fox in the chicken coop, sitting talking with the Roaster. For a guy whose supposedly has a tight schedule, Gordy is always willing to accommodate Bill and his station.

    (Response: The Premier is no fool .. he knows Good’s high rating numbers ..and he kniows that Good will be more respectful than, say Michael Smyth. And he’s aware of the Libs fall in the polls. But Good did ask and even press the issue. It was the Premier who look so bad …by not answering. h.o)

  • 2 Leah // Sep 1, 2009 at 3:26 am

    There is absolutely no doubt of his total disrespect for the citizens of the Province – and it has been that way since he was first elected to office! One only has to take a look at his record of broken promises and outright lies to see that, so his attitude now should come as no surprise to anyone.

    He not only views us with complete disrespect, add disdain to the list too. Personally, I think he finds us amusing. The more we speak out, the worse he gets, the more outrageous his actions and attitudes become. He’s a child with a bad attitude – in a mans body. And he’s all ours for the next 4 years…and beyond, if he has his way one more time. If Carole is still “leading” the opposition, he will have his “one more time.”

  • 3 Patrick Bell (Not the MLA) // Sep 1, 2009 at 3:32 am

    Harv. I’d listen to the interview, but quite frankly I might end up shadow boxing my living room walls.

    This man is all about disrespect towards the public…the secrecy, cover-ups, foot dragging and downright dictatorship we have right now sucks

  • 4 BC Mary // Sep 1, 2009 at 3:45 am

    I agree with you, Harvey. Today seemed to cross the line into the rhetorical murk which sounds like the English language but conveys no meaning. Hansard, the same thing.

    Today when Judge Bennett decided that Patrick Kinsella didn’t need to co-operate by answering any questions about his role in the BCRail-CN deal, my heart sank.

    For the first time, I felt I was seeing Bennett making a truly dubious choice … and suddenly I thought I understood why she has chosen to depart from the most important trial in B.C. history.

    I think it means that the trial is unmistakably tainted and corrupt now … that she has lost control of it … and that she doesn’t want to be part of what’s coming next.

    It would explain that weird performance when Assistant Chief Justice Dohm flounced into her courtroom making noises about how HE was the one who would decide whether Bennett left and … mumble, mumble … he already had a replacement in mind. Like, what the heck was that all about?

    But … next day or so … Judge Bennett decides to leave the BCRail Case.

    So — if the Basi Virk trial is corrupted — we know what happens next. The new, less experienced judge will make errors, the trial will be tossed … and who will be the happiest Grifter of them all?

    Well, I guess there will actually be quite a few happy Grifters … but the BC taxpayers should be raging, roaring mad.

    If only Basi or Virk — preferably Virk — would tell what they know. If it results in a swift trip to jail for our glorious leader, that would be the quickest, cheapest form of Recall …

  • 5 DMJ // Sep 1, 2009 at 4:15 am

    I think the BC Railgate trial is crashing in flames and the premier, thinks all will be well.

    Think again prem., Basi & Virk will sue for false arrest and damages in civil court and will win one hell of a lot more money than Susan Heyes.

    Gordo won only 23% of BC’s eligible voters ballots and 49% of the electorate stayed home. BC is no more a democracy than many of the so called Banana Republics down south. BC and even Canada is fast becoming an Autocracy, with show-case elections every 3 to 4 years. Democracy 1 day out of 1400 or so days is not my idea of a democratic state, rather a Fascist state.

    BC is fast getting a sour reputation as being a crooks paradise, where corruption and gangsterism run rampant.

    “each candidate behaved well in the hope of being judged worthy of election. However, this system was disastrous when the city had become corrupt. For then it was not the most virtuous but the most powerful who stood for election, and the weak, even if virtuous, were too frightened to run for office.”

    Niccolo Machiavelli

  • 6 Lynn // Sep 1, 2009 at 4:53 am

    El Gordo has disrespect for for British Columbians? My goodness, when did that happen? We receive the government we deserve. It will be rather interesting hearing from my fellow citizens crying foul over individual they voted for.
    It is because of our lack of involvement they are there corrupting the very system my Grandparents help establish. At this point I am not sure if I should be ashamed of them or myself.

  • 7 Bewlay // Sep 1, 2009 at 4:57 am

    BC Rail kicks in at 57:22 of the 8 AM to 9 AM segment contained in the audio vault but that’s all folks1 Your right Mr. Oberfeld the Premier did not answer the question on the governments email policy. Instead, the Premier ignored Mr. Goods disclaimer placed before the question and tied it to” the BC Rail trial” and would not comment. Your right again Bill Good asked the question again but he gave up after that. Think about what Mr. Good essentially said right at the beginning; I know you will not comment on the BC Rail trial Mr. Premier and I am not going to ask you about it…So what, ask the questions anyway. I would settle for CKNW going to their legal advisors and saying we are going to ask the Premier the following questions regarding BC Rail on Monday. Could you look over the list and delete any due to “sub judice” that is journalism 101, ha!

    Fly weight shadow boxing, not very Good! Bring back Rafe the curmudgeon, he really hit his stride in his geezer years!!

  • 8 Crankypants // Sep 1, 2009 at 7:01 am

    It would be a travesty if the Basi-Virk trial ends before it begins. Unfortunately, it looks as if that is what will occur. I would think this would please the Liberals to no end. If things do go south then I doubt we will ever see anything like a judicial enquiry as long as the Liberals are in control of the Legislature, and by the time some other party takes over there will be so little evidence left that it would yield bupkis.

    I too heard Bill Good’s show this morning and wasn’t at all surprised that Campbell refused to answer anything remotely close to the BC Rail trial. The Liberal party has found it too convenient to use the standard “it’s before the courts” response to avoid answering questions on many issues. In fact, I would not be surprised if the Liberal MLAs have used this phrase more since 2001 than all the combined ruling parties who preceeded them. The bobbing and weaving they employ would make a professional boxer look like an amateur.

  • 9 Dan R. // Sep 1, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    That is disgusting he would not even answer the simple questions about how emails are stored etc.

    It is too bad so many politicians do not respect the people anymore.

    Shouldn’t Campbell resign over this or at least step aside until the ‘air is clear’?? Mike Harcourt stepped down for a lot less but Harcourt was an honourable person unlike Gordo…

    (Rersponse: My own conclusion, based on his actions/statements before and after the election, is that he has no real respect for the average elector. But I don’ think we’re at the point of revelations or launched inquiry that would require him personally to step aside until any role he may have played in the destruction of the e-mails is fully revealed. h.o.)

  • 10 Truth Be Told // Sep 1, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Good morning, Harvey . . . . You are right: the TRUTH is ALWAYS more important than the backfield in motion withing the confines of any ‘case’ before BC Supreme Court.

    The BC Supreme/Appeal Courts are NOT the domain of truth and the Rule of Law.

    Long before the BC Rail/Basi Virk saga the ugly GAME ‘plays’ have set precedent & there is no mystery to this particular poltical chess game:

    . . . . whatever it takes to leverage protection for the guilty in the political arena when the truth gets too hot: whether that be sanitizing of evidence prior to or before the court and/or the slip sliding promotion of Judges who show a glimmer of decency with the scales of justice, are shuffled out of the picture swiftly with a reward or face the banishment of their legal careers . . . some of us understand it in all of its deep rot.

    Our ‘justice’ system, in every nook and dark cranny has become a POLITICALLY TAINTED cesspool controlled by a network of linkages who sole purpose is to protect the high profile POLITICAL pals and their vested interests.

    That Club includes the AG’s Ministry, Special Prosecutors, the RCMP and the BC Supreme/Appeal Court.

    Yes, Harvey, the truth as I know you have seen it up close and personally in your long, wise career of journalism; where you have witnessed & watched it disappear as you prepared “award winning” investigative stories . . . . sadly beyond your ethical control. The freedom of your Blog must feel refreshing.

    The Game of string pulling and ultimate suppression to protect well connected political garbage and their ilk IS well practiced. The BC Rail mutations are the same old worn path to coverup.

    The TRUTH is all that matters. Ultimately, as the old saying goes:

    “There is nothing covered-up that will remain covered”.

  • 11 Leah // Sep 1, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    If he wouldn’t voluntarily step down when he became a drunken criminal caught driving with three times the blood alcohol level allowed by law…and the courts never saw fit to ask him to…why would he step down now?

    Doing that in either case would require class, and integrity…you can’t say those words in the same sentence as the man’s name and be serious.

  • 12 DMJ // Sep 1, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Kevin Potvin’s Republic of East Vancouver wrote a very provocative piece a few years back and surprise, surprise, he was never sued.

    What I found interesting that the mainstream media never mentioned it; a letter published a week later demanded a retraction, which Potvin basically said “Sue me”, and no lawsuit was ever filed.

    Have a read

    (Edited by h.o. … Sorry DMJ, anyone who wants to read the piece can find it on the Internet… I feel some of it reeks of inuendo, personal attack and is possibly quite libellous, so will not publish any link here. As for not being sued ..sometimes the reason for that is not absence of culpability ..but because the offender has no sizable dough or assets..so what’s the point of a costly lawsuit and hollow victory…. other than to give the offender publicity.)

    What is the truth and have the MSM ignored the truth with BC Rail and other Liberal scandals?

    “The truth is on the march and nothing will stop it.”
    Émile Zola

  • 13 Norman Farrell // Sep 1, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    I couldn’t bring myself to listen to a person with a long history of disinformation. I know how spin works and could probably predict how Premier Deceiver is likely to answer most any question.

    I was tempted though to listen to evaluate the callers allowed through. I imagine kids in the basement at PAB were dialing their fingers raw trying to load the board.

  • 14 Crankypants // Sep 2, 2009 at 3:31 am

    You need to read Rafe Mair’s article on Roy Jacques and the state of today’s media posted today on The Tyee.

    (Response: Yes… I read it. Good to know that others feel the same way as I do …so I must be on to something with my media critiques! :) h.o.)

  • 15 Skookum1 // Sep 14, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    to DMJ: the problem with Machiavelli – and Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World and Plato’s Utopia and Butler’s Erewhon and their ilk – is that while they were written as satires and warnings, but are being used as handbooks. We are now faced with a generation (or two) of those who, educated in business and political science and worse, have been inculcated with using them as MANUALS. Guidebooks for the new autocracy, “ways to be evil”.

    There is no doubt of the parallel between the Ministry of Truth in 1984, and the Public Affairs Bureau, i.e. the latter was doubtless invented with knowledge of the former and its policies and tactics.

    Re “Prince”, those who’ve read it might find Par Lagerkvist’s “The Dwarf” entertaining; it’s a dwarf’s-eye view of the court of an Italian robber-prince, and partly written as a parody of Machiavelli’s work.

    A trip through the offices of the BC civil service and its privatized departments (now companies) might be more worthy of comparison to Dante’s Inferno. The dead were more forthcoming in their secrets and sins to Dante and Virgil than the Liberals and the plutocrats will ever be with the BC public….

    Campbell increasingly reminds me of the image of the Devil, the Great Liar, in local native folklore – “Hyas Lejaub” (“big devil”, with “lejaub” from ”le diable” in French). A White man in a white suit and white hat, carrying a white book on a white horse; the image of a Yankee preacher spread no doubt by Catholic priests. But also that of Social Credit hustlers…..I know Campbell doesn’t affect the white shoes once popular in the Socred cabinet, and he doesn’t have the intellect of ….oh, say, Phil Gaglardi….but the sliminess almost seems like a highly distilled version of Socred snakeoil.

    but you know what? Vander Zalm, WAC, McCarthy, McGeer, Gaglardi, even Miniwac – they were all more LIKEABLE, even when they lied……