Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Saturday, October 23, 2010
The special prosecutor had nothing to do with that part of the deal. It was made in Victoria by deputy minister of finance Graham Whitmarsh in concert with deputy attorney-general David Loukidelis.....
The deputy duo acted under the authority of the Financial Administration Act, de Jong added, which brought a provocative e-mail from a reader.
On what authority? he asked, noting that the act explicitly states that only the cabinet can forgive "a debt or obligation to the government if the amount forgiven is $100,000 or more."
The amount forgiven here exceeded that threshold by a factor of 60. But no cabinet order was forthcoming because the amount was not, technically, a debt. It could have been, if the accused had been convicted and the Crown had proceeded to try to recover the legal fees.
But when the decision was made, the outstanding legal bills were only a contingent liability, advanced by way of indemnity, and cancellable by the deputy minister of finance under his standing authority under the act. Whitmarsh, acting on the recommendation of Loukidelis, signed off on all the paper work.
The cabinet was thus out of the loop, which is surely preferable to having ministers make the call on any aspect of the deal to end this case....."
Friday, October 22, 2010
Sometimes Not Everything In A Six Million Dollar Straw Man Burns To The Ground After It Is Lit-Up With A Blow Torch
Why yes it turns out, believe it or not, that there is actually something less popular in the province of British Columbia than Premier Gordon Campbell and his 9% approval rating right now.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
"A major consideration was the relatively small amounts that might be recovered from Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk compared to the millions of additional dollars it would cost the government to continue to fund defence, prosecution and court-related costs through to the completion of the trial, and to fund any appeals, with no guarantee of convictions," said Loukidelis.
"Based on the above, in our respective capacities the Deputy Minister of Finance and I decided to release Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk from their liability to repay. I communicated that decision to the Attorney General on October 8, 2010....."
Had one done so, one would have realized that Mr Whitmarsh's background is PR and sales and (although his Navy background was submarines) airplanes...."
Thursday, May 03, 2007
So, we thought this wee plot development, as reported by the Globe's Mark Hume, was interesting, from earlier in theweek:
Former finance minister Gary Collins yesterday called on the Crown to release any police surveillance material it has of him from a 2003 meeting with U.S. business executives concerning the government sale of BC Rail.
Speaking through his lawyer, Clark Roberts, Mr. Collins said if the police did tape his meeting with OmniTRAX Inc., a company that failed in a bid for BC Rail, it should be made public because it will only prove that he did nothing wrong while handling the $1-billion sale of the state-owned rail line.
"If there is any surveillance, Mr. Collins says it should be disclosed because it will completely reveal that he wasn't involved [in any wrongdoing]," Mr. Roberts said.
But at the time, when that came out Tuesday, we didn't know to do it with it.
I guess, maybe, now we know why the good Mr. Roberts was trying to force the Crown's hand. This, also reported by Mr. Hume, from yesterday:
Defence lawyer Michael Bolton underscored the political nature of Mr. Basi's job and the "intimate" working relationship he had with Mr. Collins by reading wiretap transcripts in which the two men discussed political dirty tricks.
In one conversation, Mr. Basi tells his boss that former B.C. premier Bill Vander Zalm and then North Vancouver Mayor Barbara Sharp were going to be on a radio talk show.
"I wanted to have the mayor of Squamish call in and just rip Barbara Sharp a new asshole. . . is that okay?" Mr. Basi asks.
"Yeah, absolutely," replies Mr. Collins.
That's some innocuous media manipulation huh.
Bill Tieleman got a quote from Ms. Sharp in response - and it is very interesting, indeed.
Sharp told 24 hours the alleged comments are "quite a shocker."
"What a terrible way to talk about people. I don't know what they were so upset with me about except that I was trying to keep B.C. Rail in North Vancouver."
In other words - it appears that it was the intent to whack any and all persons that actually wanted to keep BC Rail for British Columbians (don't forget that just last month, the last remaining remnants of BC Rail in North Van were sold to Enron.....errrr.....KinderMorgan).
There's more - also reported by Mr. T.:
Later in the call Bolton quoted Collins to Basi: "I want you to keep this completely to yourself because there's only two of us who know about this."
Collins' spokesperson Clark Roberts left the court without speaking to reporters.
What a show!
We do have one question arising from this episode, however.
And that is......
Just who is paying the good Mr. Roberts to represent the former (and we stress former) public servant Mr. Collins?
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
The image above was taken on Nov 25th, 2003 by Chuck Stoody of the Canadian Press and was included in the photo stream that ran with Mark Hume's piece in the Globe yesterday (Photo #2, here).
It shows Premier Gordon Campbell announcing the thousand year lease (minus ten) of BC Rail to CN's Claude Mangeau and E. Hunter Harrison (seated) and a couple of huge TeeVee screens behind them.
Let's focus on the numbered statements on the left screens for a moment (because the blather on the right screen really is pure propaganda repeated over and over and over and over again -feel free to click on image to enlarge it just in case you have a chicken bone stuck in your throat and you would like to initiate the gag reflex).
Here we go......
Every single member of the British Columbia public alive today will be dead when this deal 'expires' in the year 2993. Heckfire, even the 3,465th incarnation of the Hal-9000 will be junk by then.
There never was any significant public debt. The concerted and repeated efforts of cabinet ministers and other quislings to wurlitzer a story of financial armageddon were all based on a bogus accounting exercise designed to provide both cover and leverage to foist this deal on the members of the public that are still very much alive.
Say what? Did Kevin Mahoney and Brian Kenning et al. actually buy us (ie. the public) a passel of shiny new rail cars while they were sitting in luxury boxes at Canucks games, working on their golf swings, and/or collecting hundreds of thousands of the public's hard-earned dollars for doing essentially nothing (for years!) AFTER they made sure the deal went down as planned in the fall of 2003?
Just ask the shippers.
Is there any hard evidence that CN has laid even one single centimeter of new track that has improved access to anything.
And finally let's consider that really big whopper at the very top of the screen.....
Show us the money Mr. Campbell.
And when you do, prove to us that the 'indemnification' of the tax credit default swap that you have hanging over the (still very much alive) public's collective head is, right now (ie. at this very minute in time in 2010, not 2993), is NOT more than $900 million*.
*And prove to us also, Mr. Premier, that the idemmity is NOT growing, thanks, we can only presume, to some fantastic 'strategic advice' received by Mr. Mahoney et al. way back when, at the rate of approximately $4 million every single month.
Many thanks to North Van Grumps who alerted us to the 'picture' and reminded us that it really is all about 'The Indemnity, Stupid!"
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
RailGate Witness Reduction Plan...Will The Ol' Flight Instructor Still Take The Stand For The Crown?
Only Special Prosecutor Mr. William Berardino, and, perhaps, a hermetically-sealed wiretap or 50, know for sure.
How do we know this?
Because Mark Hume, who filed a little late yesterday, way after the PostMedia Boys, told us it was thus in the pixels of the slimmed-down Globe:
"...Mr. Berardino told reporters his unexpected manoeuvre will not weaken the case against the three accused.
“We believe it’s in the best interest of the administration of justice to do everything to shorten the case, without impairing the strength of the Crown’s case,” said Mr. Berardino.
He declined to say which witnesses might be dropped and would not confirm whether former B.C. finance minister Gary Collins, who was expected to be called next, is still going to appear for the Crown...."
So there you have it.
All in the interests of justice being served, according to Mr. Berardino.
For the best in-depth analysis and opinion of what Mr. Berardino's latest gambit may really mean, Robin Mathews' citizen-accredited musings over at our friend Mary's are the real deal.
If it turns out that The Juice is #32....
Does this mean that Capricorn II has landed....
In the Andes?
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Update: Ian Reid, who was both inside and outside the courtroom this morning, has the most value-added, CorpMedia or otherwise, that I have read on this matter so far, here....
Well, well, well.....
The RailGate trial has been delayed.
Apparently, this time the delay has occurred because the Special Prosecutor, Bill Berardino, has decided to make like George Costanza and shout.....
Here is the money quote from Neal Hall's first-past-the-post report in the VSun:
Perhaps now is the time to throw in Keith Fraser's wee bit of added value in The Province:
'....The judge adjourned the trial until next Monday.
At jury selection, there were more than 40 witnesses on the list. Since the trial began in May, that has been cut down by a number of witnesses.
Outside court, Berardino said that his decision to reduce the witness list was in the best interests of the justice system. He said his decision would not impair the strength of the Crown’s case.....'
Sure thing Mr. B.
Of course, it had nothing to do with the way the defense has wiped the floor with your first two witnesses and the third, the ol' Flight Instructor, 'allegedly' slated to be up next.
All of which begs the question.....
Just who, exactly, was on that original Top 40 RailGate Hit List of Mr. Berardino's?
Well, we don't know for sure, because, despite reports indicating that the list was read, in full, in open court, with the jury present, it has never, to the best of our knowledge, been published as one complete set.
We did do our best to piece it together previously, based on myriad published reports though.
As a result, this is what we came up with back in May of this year (ie. 2010):
Campbell Administration Apparatchiks
WestCoast FedLib Rainmakers
Former Campbell Government Ministers
ClaudeMongeau (CN's current Big Boss not named David)
Rob Ritchie (CP's Former Big Boss who cried wolf)
John Nash (CP Exec.)
Gary Rennick (OmniTrax' COO)
Dwight Johnson (OmniTrax' CEO)
John McLernon (BC Rail's former* Chairman and the former Chair of the 'Evaluation Committee' during the BC Rail Restructuring*)
Kevin Mahoney (BC Rail's former* CEO and a former 'Staff Advisor' during the BC Rail Restructuring*)
Brian Kenning (former* BC Rail Board Member)
Former Agents in the Employ of OmniTrax:
We were right so far (which wasn't very bloody difficult).
It sure will be interesting to see who remains, don't ya think, especially given the fact that this has all been done, according to Wild Bill at least, 'in the best interests of the justice system'.
Friday, October 08, 2010
Which begs the question....
Who, exactly, is Railgate's Uncle Duke?
For the record, the trial, with both judge and jury, is supposed to start up again next week...Which means the publication ban will be off and, presumably, a brand new witness will take the stand....Rumour has it that it will finally be the ol' flight instructor.....
For anyone interested, there is a very nice Doonesbury retrospective, pretty much in G. Trudeau's own words and pictures, in this month's dead tree version of 'The Atlantic'.....You can see it online too, as long as you're willing to wait out the ads for Boomer toys which, of course, is ironic in the extreme.
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
I finally broke down and bought the allegedly new-and-improved, not to mention the super-shiny high-tech, Globe and (nolongerEmpire) Mail yesterday.
In terms of the significant decrease in long-form, deep understanding pieces, it is clearly, in my opinion at least, a step backwards for sure.
But, then again, there is something to be said for the increase in higher profile/higher impact stuff that seems to have squeezed-out a significant proportion of the parochial 'inside' Central Canada minutiae that may not be such a bad thing, at least as it pertains to the National edition.
Here's the real thing....
When I pulled the thing out of my pack after I got home and settled into the Subterranean Blues Room (eg. my pigeon-holed office in the basement) the smell of it hit me ton of bricks.
And it was not a new smell at all.
Instead, it instantaneously reminded me of the super-ink-saturated uber-cheap newsprint smell that permeated my pre-adolescent childhood when my brothers and I got ripped off by a bald, cigar-smoking guy named Mario to deliver massive bundles of shiny five-and-dime flyers at a never-quite realized 1.5 cents per.
High tech, indeed.
Monday, October 04, 2010
Specifically, when asked by CKNW's Sean Leslie on Sunday afternoon why the 'Fight The HST' braintrust sent out their 'Rate Reduction Rumour' press release prior to Premier Gordon Campbell's speech to the UBCM last Friday, Mr. Tieleman said that folks should go ask Michael Smyth because he, Smyth, ran with the same rumours without, according to Mr. T., speaking to the Zalmoids about it.
Mr. Leslie, whose history of palling around with Mr. Smyth we have noted previously, did not go there.
And neither, of course, did Mr. Leslie attempt to get to the heart of the matter while he wrung his hands and went on and on and on (and on) about the sleaziness of the shooting of messengers rather than messages themselves (which Mr. Tieleman was happy to abide).
And what is that heart that matters that Mr. Leslie so assiduously avoided?
Well, if you ask me, the real story here is that there was a serious attempt at media manipulation goin' down in Victoria on Wednesday....Mr. Smyth took the bait and started the Wurlitzer crankin' on Thursday not understanding that the Zalmoids had already set the thing up for the spiking.
Which they did, as fully evidenced by what Mr. Campbell did NOT say on Friday.
As I've noted a number of times already....
I figure that, in the main, these are all relatively bright boys who know and fully understand what really went down (Mr. T. even suggested as much to Mr. Leslie himself during their Sunday afternoon radio chat given that the latter is based in Victoria).
So, ask yourself this......
Why won't these people tell us what they really know?
Do they think we're stupid?
Is something else going on?
And while I'm not averse to stroll or seven down memory lane with Mr. Vanderzalm's historical record (as long as, say, Mr. Campbell's get's the same treatment), if you want something a little less political and a little more personal, you couldn't do much better than this, from Alex Waterhouse-Hayward.