It’s one of the oldest political, bureaucratic and corporate tricks: when there is bad news to release, do it late on a Friday afternoon or just before a major holiday. Chances are you’ll catch most of the media rushing to head off for the weekend; many of those who would normally comment already out of reach; and even most of the public caught up in their own weekend/holiday plans and not really paying attention.
And it works.
News has a shelf-life shorter than that of a day-old muffin. So what better tactic than to release embarrassing reports, documents than when so many are elsewhere occupied.
Maybe it was just a coincidence that, on Dec 18 …just before the Christmas and New year break … BC’s Auditor General Russ Jones released his report into the payout of $6 million to David Basi and Bobby Virk’s lawyers in the BC Rail scandal.
But I was not surprised at the timing: nor was I surprised at the findings …there was nothing illegal about the payouts and Jones could find no evidence of political interference in the decision by top bureaucrats to authorize the payoffs.
That still doesn’t end the REAL story.
Anyone who has operated within any level of government, anyone who has covered any level of government and anyone who has closely observed any level of government knows VERY WELL top bureaucrats OFTEN don’t need to be told what to do to please their political masters: THEY KNOW!
It has always been my impression they rememer who appointed them; they remember who sets their salaries and bonuses; they know what would serve their political masters’ interests … and their own. And they know what decisions and what courses of action can bring the best rewards, the promotions … or can end their careers.
The question in my mind, and I susopect a million British Columbians as well, is not whether the bureaucrats acted legally … it’s:
WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO LEAD TO THE DECISION TO ACCEPT A PLEA DEAL, SUCH LIGHT SENTENCES AND HAVE THE TAXPAYERS PAY ALL OF BASI AND VIRK’S LEGAL BILLS?????
WHAT WAS THE POINT OF THE WHOLE $18 MILLION TRIAL/PROSECUTION CHARADE IF IT WAS TO END SO EASILY IN A FIX????’
“WHY DIDN’T THE GOVERNMENT INSIST THE TRIAL PROCEED OR ESTABLISH AN INQUIRY TO ENSURE THE WHOLE TRUTH CAME OUT ABOUT THE BRIBERY/CORRUPTION SCANDAL???
And no report, released just before Christmas, saying it was LEGAL, will …or should … end the questions.
The truth, or at least much more it, could have come out had the NDP won the provincial election and west up a full inquiry; but loss of the election prevented it. But that does NOT mean most taxpayers don’t want the matter to pursued.
When the Legislature resumes sitting Feb 11, the Liberal government will no longer be able to hide from Opposition questions.
Let’s hope the NDP do NOT forget: the BC Rail selloff scandal story is not yet fully told.
And the government must not be allowed to pretend it is.