I know at least a few of the folks who stop by here occasionally, or even regularly, are not going to like what I have to say in this post.
But I honestly think it needs to be said.
Are you ready?
OK, here goes.....
For perhaps this one and only time I cannot disagree, in the main, with the utterances of Premier Christy Clark's press secretary, Ms. Sara MacIntyre, about a 'Memo to File' written by Mr. David Basi, as quoted by Michael Smyth in his column last night:
...In the memo, Basi said Clark — deputy-premier at the time — often pressed Virk for details on the B.C. Rail privatization process, and that lobbyists involved in the deal later repeated the information Virk had given to Clark “word for word.”
Clark has vehemently denied leaking cabinet secrets and she also excused herself from any votes or cabinet discussions on the deal because her then-husband, Mark Marissen, was doing work at the time for CIBC World Markets, which handled the privatization process for the government.
Clark’s press secretary, Sara MacIntyre, said Basi’s memo should not be trusted.
“This is a ‘memo-to self’ written by the man who would plead guilty to being the source of leaking confidential information and breach of trust,” MacIntyre said.
“This supposed memo was written when he himself was leaking. It’s the fabrication of a criminal. And it’s completely inconsistent with every shred of evidence gathered by investigators.”...
Why do I agree with most of what Ms. MacIntyre had to say?
(Update Tues pm - Please note: I do have a problem with the last sentence of the statement - see the post-script at the bottom of the post, a subject that Ms. Clark herself was, at least based on Jonathan Fowlie's report in the VSun today, was careful to stay very far away from)
Because, as I've said before, at the time that Mr. Basi was writing his 'Memos to File', a number of which have been published online by Mr. Alex Tsakumis, he was also actively taking bribes from Mr. Erik Bornman(n) then a lobbyist along with Mr. Brian Kieran and Mr. Jamie Elmhirst in the PR firm 'Pilothouse'.
More specifically, the latest 'Memo to File' to surface, was apparently written by Mr. Basi on Oct 8th, 2003 just a few weeks before the Railgate deal went down in late Nov. 2003. In addition, it is important to remember that, while the raid on the Legislature had not yet taken place, by that time the run-up to the Railgate deal had already come under considerable public scrutiny when competing bidders started screaming about the 'fix' being in, so much so that the government had to hastily commission in, in my opinion, a very shoddy 'Fairness Advisor's' report.
Thus, at that time, when Mr. Basi wrote the following in October of 2003 just as everything was coming to head with the actual deal, it is very difficulty for a reasonable person not to surmise that he may have become concerned with the potential of his own ongoing illegal activity coming to light if there were further enquiries. Given this, it would also not be unreasonable for a reasonable person to wonder if, indeed, Mr. Basi was looking to ensure that it was clear that others may have not been on the up and up when he wrote the following:
"...I am especially concerned with the fact that our friends Bornmann, Kieran and Elmhirst have unfettered access to cabinet information via their contacts K......., C...... and deputy premier herself, Christy Clark. On several occasions Bob (Virk) has mentioned the fact that K........ and Christy have spoken to him in the hallway or pulled him aside at events to probe him for details about the process, details that clearly reveal more than a passing interest in the subject..."
Now, regarding that ongoing illegal activity that was taking place throughout the Fall of 2003, here is what Mr. Basi agreed to, along with Mr. Robert Virk, in the legally-binding 'Statement of Facts' that ended the Railgate trial in the wake of the Six Million Dollar Deal:
"...Basi received payments totaling $25,695.00 from Eric Bornman(n) during the same time that Omnitrax (the Rail company that had hired the PR firm 'Pilothouse') was bidding on the Fort Nelson line and the Freight Division (of BC Rail)..."
But that is not the last of it, from a chronological point of view at least.
The following is a summary of an RCMP wiretap of a phone call between Mr. Bornman(n) (i.e. the 'briber') and Mr. Basi (i.e. one of the 'bribees') that occurred two months after Mr. Basi wrote the 'Memo' referred to above. Furthermore, the call, which took place on Dec 9th, 2003, occurred approximately two weeks after the main Railgate deal had already gone down Nov 24th, 2003 and approximately three weeks before the raid on the legislature. Importantly, summary was included by the RCMP in the original search warrant that led to Ledge Raid on Dec 28, 2003 :
"....The telephone call was between Dave BASI and Erik BORNMAN. They discuss (David Basi's cousin) Aneal BASI (who handled the cheques from Mr. Bornman(n), the funds from which subsequently flowed through to David Basi).
BASI asks "Aneal's thing'll be starting up again this month, right?"
BORNMAN says that "we were gonna have a chat about that, right?"
BORNMAN says that "he hasn't forgotten" and that BASI "shouldn't feel bad about reminding him".
BASI says "hopefully the reminders will get bigger and bigger in the future"
(T)o which BORNMAN replies "yes, um"......
In my opinion, this call which, again, was part of an RCMP search warrant that was later made public by the judge in the Railgate pretrial (and then, in full, unredacted form, much later after the trial was haulted), indicates that, in addition to his willful taking of bribes during the period when he wrote the 'Memos' (ie. in the fall of 2003) before the deal went down, Mr. Basi was also asking for even more (and in larger sums) AFTER the big* deal had been consumated.
Thus, in my considered opinion, Mr. Basi very likely had his own self-interest in mind when he wrote those memos.
Thus, again in my opinion, the memos, on their own, are not of any significance or import in terms of determining whether or not Ms. Christy Clark (or other members of the BC Liberal government of the time) leaked cabinet documents or information in the run-up to the selling-off of BC Rail to CN Rail.
Put another way, getting to the bottom of this requires the use of separate documentation and evidence that is not tainted by self-interest.
Finally, before anyone goes ballistic, I am not in anyway suggesting that separate documentation and evidence is NOT available (including some of that which Mr. Tsakumis and others have already published, and which I will have more to say about in a future post)....It's just that I honestly believe that it would be a mistake to rely upon Mr. Basi's self-interested memos as the basis for pushing for a public inquiry and, frankly, I am surprised that a number of the members of the Lotuslandian pro-media have chosen to wurlitzer the one individual memo rather than the actual documentary evidence of Ms. Clark's potential involvement at the time she was Deputy Premier....Then again, what do I know given that I am just one more member of a wild-eyed, know-nothing 'cult'?
*For aficionados and card-card carrying cult members, only.....Please do not forget that in Dec. of 2003 the 'smaller' deal (ie. the 'Spur Line/Consolation Prize' was still in play)...And the company that Bornman(n) and other fine folks that Pilothouse were working for was, apparently, still in the game....Right?