Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Origin Of RailGate....Is It Under the Big 'W'?



Double-Secret Probation Update.....Mr. Willcocks notes another, potentially important, aspect to the timeline that I had missed from January of 2002, here.

Please See Update At The Bottom Of Post .....Especially if you previously read this post in its original version early on Tues Sept 21st

Who: Premier Gordon Campbell, Chief-of-Staff Martyn Brown, and then MLA's Pat Bell, Shirley Bond and Paul Nettleton.

What: An early morning meeting called by Mr. Campbell.

Where: Mr. Campbell's Downtown Vancouver office.

Why: So that Mr. Campbell could tell his then three Prince George MLA's that he was breaking his earlier promise not to privatize BC Rail.


Who the heckfire is claiming that this meeting actually happened?

Why, none other than Mr. Nettelton himself, a man who is no longer a BC Liberal Party MLA who is actually much better known as the public servant who blew the whistle on Mr. Campbell's alleged plans to privatize BC Hydro.

But what about this RailGate thing?

Well, last spring, after he was approached by the Citizenry's chief chronicler of all things RailGate, BC Mary, Mr. Nettleton wrote her the following letter:

I was asked to meet with Gordon Campbell within months of my election to the Legislature in 1996. I was led into the meeting with Campbell within the Wall's car dealership in Prince George by Doug Walls a relative, friend and confidante of Gordon Campbell (and mentor of Shirley Bond).

It was at this meeting that I was asked to assume the role of Critic for BCR and lead the discussion on its future for the BC Liberal Party. I accepted this responsiblity and committed to work towards an informed presentation to the caucus on the future of BCR. I was relatively young, idealistic, politically naive and believed strongly that I was embarking on an endeavour that would promote and protect the interests of my constituents who had so recently placed me in this position of what I viewed as a sacred trust.

It was some years later in the Vancouver office of the premier within months of the election of 2001 that I was informed by Mr Campbell and Martyn Brown (Shirley Bond and Pat Bell were also present) that the pre election promise to maintain BCR as a Crown Corporation was about to be broken.

I walked out of that meeting with those present, up t
he street to a previously scheduled Congress at the Wosk Centre for Dialogue in the early morning hours on a lonely, distant Vancouver street. My trust and confidence like those I represented had been shattered! (It would be only a few months until I released a "letter to the BCL Caucus on Hydro" that would lead to my departure from the Campbell Liberals)

Today we are about to see the writ dropped as we pr
epare for a provincial election in British Columbia. Many of the Campbell loyalists remain and are preparing to run within their respective constituencies again. They have chosen to ignore their individual and collective responsiblities in and around the sale of BC Rail. They have opted not to deal with allegations of scandal and corruption nor to respond to the sense of loss and betrayal felt by many thousands of their constituents.

I am thankful for Mary (BCR Blog) and others like her who continue to fight for honesty, openess, transparency and accountability. It seems like yesterday, before the broken promises and scandal, that I and my fellow BC Liberal candidates campaigned (1996, 2001) on the promise to form government based on these commonly shared values and principles.

Paul Nettleton
April 14, 2009

Now, please go back and read the paragraph, above, bolded in red.

Do you see the significance of that paragraph?

To my mind it indicates that Mr. Campbell, with Mr. Brown present, explicitly told the entire Prince George faction of his Northern Caucus that he had decided to sell-off the Public's railway.

But WHEN, exactly, did that apparently happen?

Well, before we attempt to answer that question, I'd like to return to the "Timeline" that we established last week which was based, at least in part, on the very recent sworn testimony of RailGate witness Brian Kenning in which we established the following:

Spring of 1996....Gordon Campbell promises to privatize BC Rail....Barely loses election to Glen Clark he really should have won.

1996-2001...Gordon Campbell's political friend and uncles, which include CN Boss David McLean, RockyMountain Railtours Boss Peter Armstrong, and campaign co-chair Patrick Kinsella, help raise and/or donate oodles and oodles of money to Mr. Campbell's political party...Former BC Reform party staffer Martyn Brown is hired as an 'advisor' to Mr. Campbell.

Spring of 2001....Gordon Campbell promises NOT to privatize BC Rail....Wins election in a landslide....Brings in John McLernon to head BC Rail Board who assembles a very fine group of Directors that includes Mr. Brian Kenning (who also gave oodles of money to Mr. Campbell's party in the run-up to the 2001 election).

August of 2001.... BC Rail hires Mr. Kinsella to provide the company with 'strategic advice' at $6,000 per month for 49 months until 2005.

Fall of 2001...The BC Rail Board, which was appointed by Gordon Campbell, tells the government of Gordon Campbell (and, presumably, its then chief-of-staff Mr. Martyn Brown) that the railway should be privatized.....Former Board member Mr. Brian Kenning last week tells the Basi-Virk-Basi courtroom that it took a year to convince the government of this.

Summer of 2002...The then Minister of Transportation responsible for BC Rail, Ms. Judith Reid insists that there has been no flip-flop by the government of Gordon Campbell because there is no plan to fully privatize BC Rail and dismantle the Crown Corporation.

So, with that we come back to journalism's fifth 'W', which we did not mention at the top of the post.

Which, again, is WHEN.

As in WHEN did the meeting between Mess'rs Campbell, Brown, Bell and Nettleton and Ms. Bond purportedly take place?

Well, to look into that we focussed on one sentence from the paragraph, bolded in blue, from Mr. Nettleton's letter to BC Mary:

"....I walked out of that meeting with those present, up the street to a previously scheduled Congress at the Wosk Centre for Dialogue in the early morning hours on a lonely, distant Vancouver street..."

This led us to comb the Legislative Library's on-line archives to see if we could find an event at the "Wosk Center For Dialogue" in Downtown Vancouver that took place "within months" of the 2001 election that was attended by the Premier and all three PG/Northern Caucus MLAs already mentioned.

And this is what we found (click on "2002" for the file, which, in its entirety, is a nice big, fat pdf):

(click on the amalgamated image, put together from three pages in the pdf, to enlarge.... Please note that the XXX_XX addition was all mine - see below)

Now, as for the XXX_XX date*, when was that exactly?

Well, it was a day that Mr. Nettleton confirmed for both Mary and myself last week when we asked him, specifically, about it......

Which was almost six months before Minister Reid's comments.

And at least eight to ten months before Mr. Kenning said the government made up its mind to privatize.

And it was before the dirty tricks offensive and the 'ripping of new ones' started in earnest.

And it was before the bogus charm offensive began that was designed to cajole previously uppity mayors of the small towns up and down the line to start calling for the privatization of the railway.

And it was, in my opinion at least, the last time the people of British Columbia should have allowed themselves to be bamboozled by anything that Mr. Campbell and his Minions say or do.


And in just in case you were wondering,
Mr. Nettleton's letter to Mary was noted in at least one proMedia organ at the time.....Scroll down to the very bottom of the piece by M. Hume and I. Bailey in The Globe during last Spring's election campaign to find it.....
Now, despite the bigtime Mainstream Media report noted above, to the best of my knowledge Mr. Nettleton's account was never challenged by any of the people he named as being at the apparent meeting on that day....Unfortunately, we are already quite certain that, based on his previous testimony before judge and jury, that poor Mr. Brown's memory is no longer capable of going back that far...Thus, perhpas some enterprising young reporter could ask either Ms. Bond or Mr. Bell to either confirm or deny Mr. Nettleton's account.....Alternatively, reporters could always ask Mr. Campbell himself....Oh....Wait....We've already established, I believe, that there is no use doing that if you are looking for a full, and fully realized, not to mention open and honest account, that is based on deeds, actions and events that actually happened....
Image at the very top of the post shows nobody's minion, Jonathan Winters, in front of the 'Big W' which is from Stanley Kramer's frenzied 1963 masterpiece, 'It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World'.
*Update: The February 26, 2002 date is readily available in the actual pdf held in the legislative library....It is not obscured in the initial document in any way.....I did that myself, for effect, so that I could reveal it later in the piece.... Specifically, I pasted the XXX, XX in when I constructed the amalgamated image shown wherein I also pasted in the names of the three PG MLA's who attended the Congress from other pages in the source pdf document linked to above....I apologize to all readers who read the original version of this post where I didn't make that clear (see comments for the slight kerfuffle it caused).



BC Mary said...

... and just WHY the heck was the DATE of that big meeting XXX'd out, I wonder. Who did that, I wonder. On whose specific instructions in the Premier's office, I wonder.

Terrific piece of work, RossK.

Ian said...

Very good work. A lot of stuff falls in place - for example why hire National early on to put together a strategy to sell the sale? Because, as the song goes, "your mind's made up."

kootcoot said...

"Doug Walls a relative, friend and confidante of Gordon Campbell (and mentor of Shirley Bond)."

This would be the same Doug Walls, scam artist extraordinaire, who thanks to his status as "relative, friend and confidante" of the Capo Campbell can rip off the taxpayers with impunity for so-called "computer services" contracts that are never fulfilled, and not be held accountable as would you or me!

Anonymous said...

fyi: Just checked the PDF and the date - February 26, 2002 - was NOT x'd out.

RossK said...

Sorry, sorry, sorry I did the XXXXing for effect.

I'll make that clear.



Grant G said...

Fantastic Mr. Ross k....

I can breathe again!

Ross Sherlock K......

And it appears to any reasoned person not suffering from cryogenically frozen memories that...

Campbell and the BC Liberal insiders lied!

I`m shocked!

Have a very good day....

Mr. Holmes!

RossK said...


Only you (and, perhaps my eldest daughter) could free-associate and connect this to a Swell Season song. Thanks.



Yuppers, that'd be the same Mr. Wall


Sorry to keep you holding your breath for so long - my unintended, but most fruitful, discussion of 'blogging' v. 'the old journalism' with Mr. Lee held things up for awhile

Again, apologies to anyone who read the original post (that I finished late last night, which is a lousy excuse I realize but, apparently, the editor on my shoulder had nodded off by then) where I didn't make it explicitly clear that I was the one who XXX'd out the Date in the image I constructed from different pages of the linked-to pdf....I've corrected that oversight in the post now and I have written an update as well...

One last thing....Is this not a pretty good example of why it is so important for us to keep funding the Legislative Library?....


lynx said...

Jumping candlesticks, Ross!

My Grandad used to say that to us whenever he thought we had done a very fine job of something. I have no idea what it means but it was always delivered with a sense of delight that remained with us for days.

Well done.

Nice to see Jonathan Winters and the "Big W" again, too.

RossK said...

Thanks lynx--

And ya, it is good to see Mr. Winters and the Big W....To be honest, I just couldn't quite think of a way to get Jimmy Durante in there...

And, unfortunately, a Spencer Tracyesque character just doesn't quite fit in this saga so far (although I suppose some might make a case for Mr. Nettleton on that one).


North Van's Grumps said...

Just to throw a bit of a curve ball at you RossK, I have a note here regarding something called the Sarbanes-Oakley Act which happened in 2002. I'm curious to know what the Board of Directors for BC Rail did about it because the Directors for BC Hydro thought that it was important, so important, that they included it in their handbook: "Procedure for confidential reporting
of financial concerns
to the Code of
Conduct Advisor - Issued January 2004"
Page 21 of 40

"Sarbanes-Oxley provides for increased corporate responsibility, increased penalties for accounting or auditing
improprieties and the protection of shareholders. As a result, its provisions are increasingly considered a best practice for companies operating outside the U.S. Securities and Exchange reporting environment.
Where practicable and useful, the Board of Directors believes that certain recommendations from Sarbanes-Oxley should be adopted by BC Hydro."

Mr. Kenning was on the Audit Committee for BC Rail and the Evaluation Committee to sell BC Rail. On April 7, 2003 the Ontario government introduced Bill 198, aka "Canadian Sarbanes-Oxley Act.


"The bill was enacted as a reaction to a number of major corporate and accounting scandals including those affecting Enron,......."

"On June 2003, all Canadian securities commissions (except the British Columbia Securities Commission) issued three regulations for public comment designed to build on Bill 198"

Do you think the "Indemnity clause" that the BC Liberal Government wrote into the CNR deal, would have passed muster if the BC Securities Commission had invoked a discussion on Bill 198 in 2003?

A hidden liability of $250 million mushrooming to the value of the rail line being sold for One billion dollar sounds like an Enron deal to me.

Anonymous said...

Doug Walls charged for kiting cheques at his ford dealership was given the ministry of community living there was a huge furor over his appt at the same time he was under investigation for fraud and Im sure I recall Campbell saying that he didnt really know Walls all that well lol more lies same with shirley bond she didnt know him well either what crap these criminals spew

kootcoot said...

If you don't push the boundaries of being investigated for fraud, you can hardly consider yourself a BC liaR in good standing!

Oh yeah, the BC Securities Commission, that would be the chumps that ran interference for Bennett the Lesser Sot and Dohan so they wouldn't be prosecuted for insider trading by the more grown up Ontario Securities Commission. The justice system in BC didn't decide to be corrupt just last week, after all!