Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Premier Campbell Talks To His Constituents...


.....And answers their questions, straight-up, as only he can........

In Railgate-Related News, in his column today Gary Mason comes pretty close to comparing the Premier with Rodney Dangerfield's less likeable nephew....Meanwhile, Les Leyne gets hung-up on Attorney General Wally Oppal's nickname and continues to, in our opinion, skirt the real issue(s).


LiveBlogging Question (Not Answer) Period....Where's Gordo (Again)?



Note Added In (sloppy)Proof: Down below, I start babbling about the 'G' Man over and over and over again.....Now that I've re-educated myself (ie. gone back and re-read Sean Holman's work), I realize it should have been 'J'....

1:50pm....All hail, hardy and farewells so far....No sign of the actual Premier being present to close down the House....

2:00pm....Claude Richmond says good-bye...gets Standing-O's all 'round....

2:05pm....Here it comes.....C. James to Minister of Energy and Mines....Kinsella and Accenture, what influence with government to privatize Hydro?....Minister ducks....Stonewally steps in front of the left hook.....It's before the courts.....James supp: silence speaks volumes....goes to Kinsella CV....details linkage between Hydro/Accenture/Kinsella....Asks again about Kinsella's role in the 'sell-off of BC Hydro......Oppal....."I will not answer the question".....James back at him....Just not good enough....asks Minister again....'What did the government and the Premier do to grant Mr. Kinsella and his client access.....Stonewally....If anything improper was done 'info should be sent to proper authorities

(me: WoooooWeeee!!!!)

2:08pm L Krog up.....Wants all the Judge Bennett-says-they're-relevant-documents that are being squashed (under gov. privilege?) released.....Stonewally defers to 'Special Prosecutor'.....Krog supp.....This is astounding... on one hand they can't speak in House....on the other they have hired guns in court suppressing....Krog says it.... 'COVER-UP'.....Calls for disclosure again (from S-G?).....Back to General Stonewall....says statement by member 'shameful'....

(me: Man, they must really be propping up Mr. Oppal in the corner....he's like George Chevalo against Ali....)

2:10pm....Ralston....Back to Accenture.....Oppal.....conduct of Kinsella is being assessed by Supreme Court?????!!!! What the heckfire???? Does Wally know what he's saying?.....Ralston goes back on that.....Oppal....Connects Mr. Kinsella (me: now and forever?) to BC Rail....

2:12....Austin....Here comes.....Alcan!.....What role did Premier and Mr. Kinsella play in securing Alcan deal (to Minister)....Stonewally steps in front of haymaker...I will not answer.....Austin supp....a gov't that puts shareholders ahead of citizens....goes back at Minister....Stonewally takes another one....Again, if there is a suggestion that Mr. K has done anything wrong, take it to the Horsemen....

2:15....Trevana up....And it's....Plutonic Power....Stonewally's (anti-)answer 'the same'.....Treana Supp...shocked by the contempt of the Attorney.....long applause.....The people of BC want answers.....Hydro and Plutonic are not before courts....brings up contributions of companies to Liberals....Stonewally...it is the individual (Kinsella) who is before the courts, and therefore everything is possibly subject to cross-examination.

2:16....Fleming next....Pay Day Loans and Kinsella's lobbying....what was he bringing to the gov't....Is that why BC's laws against PayDay Loan (me: Shark?.....errrr....) Lending so weak?....Stonewally....Make the allegation.... outside!..... Fleming.....Didn't ask the Attorney the question (S-G?), but it's appropriate he answer a question about lobbying given that he keeps stalling on Lobby legislation.....

(me: gosh...can't wait for the Hallway Scrumxtravaganza.....)

2:20pm.....Simpson...notes that the Attorney is also a 'Muzzler'....goes back at Accenture....Stonewally responds.... member should inform himself about what is going on in court....Simpson Supp: Attorney should inform himself about his job.... because he's not doing it....calls Kinsella 'ultimate Liberal insider'.....links and links and links and links, and wants to know Kinsella relationship to this government....Stonewall - it will all (me: really????) be answered in court.

2:22pm....Kwan....lists all the linkages on Public Eye's list (me: except WaState?)....What was the role of the Premier in getting his friend's clients deals?.....Stonewally 'deference to court'.....Kwan Supp.... None of the companies asked about today are before the courts....Have all the Ministers been lobbied by Mr Kinsella?.....Stonewall responds (me: with head-fake)....Member is quite right....Accenture is not before the courts, or Hydro....loses his way....(me: stumbles to ropes for standing eight-count?)....PayDay loans not before the courts but....(me: here he goes again)....Mr. Kinsella is (me: I think I can see the headlines tomorrow).

(me: Are they throwing Mr. K. under the bus?.....Will we see them start to raise money for a Libby-like defense fund soon...Are there any 'Progressive' Aspens.....?)

2:25 Hebert.....Goes to tendering process for transportation stuff ....was process open.....Stonewall: My answer is the same....Hebert.....Nobody is buying this line anymore (me: he goes a little bombastic, I've noticed)....Goes after Stonewally on sub-judice an lecturing the Press... and then back to Minister of transportation about contracts being secured (me:.....ooooooohhhhhh, that was a good one).....Stonewall?????....pausing (me: another standing eight...or is he down this time?...gets up....legs wobbled?).........finally responds and goes ad hominem on Hebert about reading from a script and returns to the fog of Mr. K...

(me: why don't they just shift to K's Companies and/or the people who work for them....the G-Man....go to the G-Man!!!!!)

2:25pm....MacDonald - When will Premier explain Mr. K's actions....Stonewall....I will answer nothing regarding Mr. K.....

(me, again....Go to the G-Man!!!!)

2:28pm Farnworth....This is the finish?.....Goes after Stonewall re: Inside v. Outside house flip/flop-o-ramalamalama dingdong.....

Interruption.... (me: missed it....stupid work!)....

Oral Questions over.....

2:34 M. deJong goes John Belushi-like, Blotto-crazy....(me: "Did Gordon Campbell give up when the Progressives bombed Pearl Harbour?!.....Are you with me??!!....Let's get Dean Palm....errrr...Wormer!!!!!"....or some such thing....I couldn't understand actually understand very much of anything MdJ was saying).....

2:35pm.....Minister of Energy and Mines actually makes an appearance.....wooooooaaaaaa....
promptly disappears....

(me: gotta go....)

And while you wait for the Hallway Scrum Video from Public Eye T.V., you might want to go have a read or ten of Vaughn Palmer's latest...especially the discussion of Stonewall's worst weapon 'sub-judice'.


RailGate Lockdown....Run!....Run For Your Electoral Lives!

Apparently MeansNothingVille

Well, whadd'ya know.

According to CKNW, the government of Gordon 'What Me Worry?' Campbell', has suddenly (ie. for no RailGate reasons whatsoever) decided to close down the British Columbia Legislature early:

"It looks like the last BC Legislative session before the provincial election will come to an end tomorrow, a couple of days earlier than expected.

Liberal House Leader Mike de Jong says the House will likely rise for Good Tuesday afternoon, "By the end of tomorrow, the bulk of the legislation has passed, I'm happy about that, a couple of lengthy pieces left that I don't see us getting through with only in only a day or two, so MLA's want to get home, they want to engage with their constituents and get on with the campaign."

One of the bills that will not be passed includes a strengthening of the Police Complaint Commissioner's Office. "

(me: and/or fixing the craptacular piece of legislation that deals with lobbyists and their non-registration)


It looks like today's Question (not answer) Period will be the last time the Opposition will get a chance to throw itself at the Stonewall while the minions scurry off to their hidey-holes behind it.

Guess this is what happens when all the Poodlery suddenly disappears from Victoria's Parliamentary Press Gallery.

Originally had this one timed to go off later, in the afternoon (I usually try to write ahead)....Darn that Sean Holman! He darn well better have the batteries in his DigiCam fully charged...


Depression 2009....Buddy Can You Spare A Tent?


Billmon says it all, with very few words.

And even fewer pictures.


RailGate Reality Check....Who, Exactly, Is Really Being Specious Here?


After yesterday's Question Period in the BC Legislature, the Parliamentary Press Gallery showed no signs of poodlery whatsoever when some its members went after Attorney General Wally Oppal for his continued stonewalling on all things RailGate (and beyond).

It was a very interesting scrum, for all kinds of reasons.

But one thing that has not been discussed in any detail is how Mr. Oppal cut and really ran (quite literally) for cover when folks in the press gallery started to poke what appeared to be a hole in his 'legal' argument:

Oppal (pushing into the media scrum): If I as the Attorney General, a former judge, comments on what goes on in the courtroom, there's every possibility that will result in an unfair trial.

Minder (for the 2nd time): Thank-you everybody.......

Media (Gary Mason?): With judge alone (ie. no jury)?

Oppal (still pushing into scrum): Absolutely....You made that point...Absolutely it does, because it affects the integrity of the court because she (ie. the judge) can make a decision that is (wagging finger in face of media) contrary to what I say..... that impacts on the credibility of the court......(so) that's a specious argument....

Media: No, no. I think you know, as a former judge (Oppal turns), that the rules on this have changed (Oppal starts to go the other way).... quite a bit.

Oppal (high-tailing it down the hallway away from media scrum with minder at his back): Thanks for the legal (unintelligible/advice?)........

Specious, indeed, Mr. Oppal.

Specious indeed.


For the record, below is Sean Holman's reader-supported video footage of the exchange (and make sure you go to check out all of Public Eye T.V.'s hallway scrum archives, which are worth their weight in gold and/or Paypal accounts, here.....)


Monday, March 30, 2009

RailGate Retreat.....Accentuate The Positives



At bottom of post

Today, during Question (not answer) Period in the British Columbia Legislature, (Attorney) General Stonewall Oppal indicated that, in addition to any and all matters railway-related, the privatization of a portion of BC Hydro is also before the courts:

J. Horgan: Well, let's try a privatization scheme that's not yet before the courts. In 2003 Patrick Kinsella's organization, according to their own resumé, did the following: "Did a survey of the landscape and interviewed a number of stakeholders in the British Columbia government and B.C. Crown corporations and determined that the best opportunity for Accenture was B.C. Hydro."

Now, the minister of defence took this question on notice last week. So I'm hopeful that the Minister of Energy has been prepared for this, and he's able to stand in this place today and advise this House what role Mr. Kinsella, what role Mr. Martyn Brown from the Premier's office, had in the privatization to Accenture. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. W. Oppal: Those questions I expect will be answered by (RailGate's presiding judge) Madam Justice Bennett. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]


Mr. Speaker: Members. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Member has a supplemental. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

J. Horgan: It's curious to me how the Attorney General can stand in this place and tell us that B.C. Hydro is now before the courts. For every activity [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Now, based on this, it is difficult not to conclude that General Stonewall might have at least a few rocks in his logic.

And it's not just Hydro....It just might be gambling that is before the courts as well....

John Horgan continues:

J. Horgan: ..........Mr. Kinsella was involved with the B.C. Lottery Corporation. Does that mean we can't ask questions about the Lottery Corporation? Is everything that Mr. Kinsella touched now off limits to the people of British Columbia? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Again, a simple question to the Minister of Energy — and I know he's anxious to get to his feet. What role did Patrick Kinsella and Martyn Brown have in the privatization of one-third of B.C. Hydro, a $1.45 billion deal to the friends of the government, Accenture? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. W. Oppal: I'm sure these questions are asked for the purposes of getting a sound bite on the six o'clock news. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

I'm not going to answer the question. The question is before the…. All of those matters are before the Supreme Court of British Columbia, and everybody here knows that it's inappropriate to talk about matters that are before the court. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT]


Is StoneWally really suggesting that absolutely everything Mr. Kinsella ever did for his for his former boss and/or campaign horse is before the courts?

Well, apparently the Attorney General actually believes that it is Mr. Kinsella himself that is before the courts. Here he is responding to Mike Farnsworth:

Hon. W. Oppal: The matter of B.C. Rail, the matter of Patrick Kinsella, is before the Supreme Court of British Columbia. That may be political fodder for these people who have absolutely no respect for the process, no respect for the courts, no respect for the independence of the courts. I'm not going to answer that. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]


Mr. Speaker: Members. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Member has a supplemental. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

M. Farnworth: Will the Attorney General then confirm to this House that the Accenture deal is now before the courts? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. W. Oppal: I know nothing about that deal, but I do know that the matter…. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]


Hon. W. Oppal: I do know that all the other matters that the member refers to are before the courts, and I'm not going to answer them. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]


Who needs to invoke a Saturday Night Massacre when you've got an AG like General Stonewall on your side?

Wanna read the entire thing? Go to the link and then type 'Kinsella' into your browser's find box...There's some potentially important stuff there about maybe why the lease became '990' years (ie. it's all in the 'tax breaks' which potentially tells us something very important about how 'free' this enterprise really was).
Update, Sean Holman, the guy who brought the whole Kinsella Accenture/Hydro connection to light in the first place, catches Mr. Oppal in the back alley....errrr....hallway and, together with Vaughn Palmer and the newly-arrived, gasp!, competition in the name of Gary Mason, gives The General even more rope. Oh, and Mr. Oppal especially likes legal advice he receives at the very end of the scrum.....You can catch all two minutes twenty seconds of it here on the always invaluable Public Eye TeeVee.


RailGate Minderbinders.....Relax Would'ya...


For all the folks that have been flocking over here from the very fine 'gov.bc.ca' domain today (aka the 'British Columbia Systems Corporation'), relax....am in meetings....can't liveblog Question (not answer) Period today....will be back later though with a Hansard Blues round-up...


You all sure are ancy these days.



RailGate Runaway.....Where's Gordo?


Sean Holman is reporting that British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell will not be in Question (notAnwser) Period today.

Which would make it three days in a row.

Mr. Holman also reports that it if Mr. Campbell does, indeed, make it the trifecta it will have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the possibility that the Premier is attempting to duck questions, either in the chamber or the hallway, about his good friend and former campaign manager Patrick Kinsella.


LiveBlogging The WaterCarrier with Spector and Tieleman....


Oooohhhhh.....it's 10:15am and the Watercarrier is going to the BC Rail issue with Tieleman and Spector....

Watercarrier defending Mr. Kinsella because 'friends' are not necessarily employees/consultants/lobbyists....

Spector says that it doesn't matter if Mr. K was employed by both BCR and CN simultaneously while the latter was 'bidding' to acquire the former from the Premier that the consultant once worked for because that's just the way government works now (ie. working both sides against the middle in a 'conflicty' kind of way)....Therefore everything is OK/fine and dandy....

hen the Watercarrier says that Tieleman would be doing it too (ie. working both sides against the middle in a conflicty way) if the NDP were elected in May....

Spector goes on to say that what people are buying is 'access' and that's just the way it is (does Mr. Spector even understand what the heckfire he is saying?!!!!!)....

Watercarrier then cuts to commercial....Comes back....Watercarrier asks Spector if Railgate is a 'scandal' that has legs (after a set-up that clearly telegraphs that he would like a negative answer during his pre-amble).....Spector dances, waffles and goes to Paul Martin, Chretien and Iggy (wtf???!!)....

Spector finally says it won't ultimately matter with the public because there are no 'cash-stuffed' envelopes like Mulroney-Schreiber.....(Ya, right Mr. Spector....I mean, who needs envelopes when you have $6K per month retainers that roll in every single month for more than three years).....

Watercarrier then cuts it off for another commercial that leads into the news (showing once again that he's tough, tough, tough as, what?, jello? on the CEO's gov't, sheesh)....

First caller...takes Spector to task re: conflictyness sucks....it's the way things shouldn't be done....Watercarrie changes the subject...Devolves into STV discussion...OK, Spector now says he decries the conflictyness (after he just said it was OK and won't matter in the upcoming election....I really wonder what's up, he seems to argue against himself half the time)....then Mr. Spector lists a bunch of countries, including Israel and says that prop rep. and minority gov'ts lead to the highest levels of corruption....

Second caller....Gordon Campbell came to power to take care of his friends....really goes to town on Translink/Regional Gov't....fellow is mad....but Mr. T. points out that he's a little mixed up manages to get it back to Kinsella and not registering as a lobbyist. Spector gets all wound up about policies being irrelevant because with lobbyists the only thing that matters is that their guy's in power....

More stinkin' commercials.... (although I must admit, I have not heard anything even approaching a discussion like this on, say, the Cluffmaster Flash's show in the last year or three).

Third caller....procedural...party leader above caucus....blah, blah, blah....caucus should be able to control things and tell a leader when and where to go...Spector says 'That's exactly what happened to Margaret Thatcher'.....(ya, sure, Thatcher, blah, blah, blah......but do these guys even remember what happened to caucus members who crossed the CEO right here in BC?).....Spector says that Campbell would be much more accountable if we had the British system (as he understands it)....

Fourth caller....absolute power corrupts...can't change system....but the thing that matter is economics....the NDP will screw us, because they only care about people not business...Tieleman challenges him....the guy has pat answers...I smell media monitoring....Watercarrier steps in immediately and cuts it off (surprise! again!)

I gotta get back to work.


Hey, Stevie! How Come You Can Talk To FOX News...


....Twice in one month.


You can't talk to the Canadian Press once in almost two years?


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Poodles In The Parliamentary Press Gallery?....Perish The Thought!


In case you missed it, in the wake of the tempest-in-a-tea-cup issue that was the one involving the Dipper candidate from Vancouver-Kensington, Mable Elmore, Georgia Straight columnist Charlie Smith called out the Parliamentary Press Gallery in Victoria.

In a follow-up blog post today Mr. Smith was even more disdainful, not to mention specific:

"....The press gallery is a club, both literally and figuratively. There’s a collegial atmosphere among the members, who don’t criticize each other publicly.

In fact, the dean of the press gallery, Vaughn Palmer, often praises the other members, even if they work for rival media companies. As the alpha male in the gallery, Palmer sets the tone in the place.

I’m not a member of that club, which has more than its share of employees of Canwest Global Communications Corp.

Last week, I also broke from the press gallery tradition by writing how I felt last Tuesday morning. I was sick and disgusted and embarrassed to be a working journalist in B.C. after seeing coverage of the Mable Elmore apology. She's the NDP candidate in Vancouver-Kensington.

I was troubled by how members of the press gallery interacted with NDP Leader Carole James, and then reading, watching, and listening to how this story was presented.

Two senior members of the press gallery took an opportunity to rip into me on CKNW on Friday morning. Global TV’s Keith Baldrey and Palmer of the Vancouver Sun pointed out that James summoned members of the press gallery to a scrum to tell them that Elmore had issued an apology.

Palmer said that members of the press gallery were offended by my column which, in his view, suggested a “giant Canwest conspiracy”. Palmer told CKNW listeners that he didn't think I knew what I was talking about because two of the people asking questions, the CBC's Jeff Davies and the recently laid-off Sean Holman, are not Canwest employees.

I believe I also heard the voice of the Globe and Mail's Justine Hunter asking questions, though I can't be certain of this. She doesn't work for Canwest, either.

Baldrey said if I felt sick and disgusted, I should seek another line of work.

I chose my words very carefully and I stand by what was written.

On CKNW, Palmer and Baldrey also made it appear as though I didn’t think it was a news story that the Opposition leader had wrung an apology out of a candidate. I'm not that stupid. It was a news story--that wasn't the point of the column.

In my view, the real story was that our so-called watchdogs refused to ask a single question of the Opposition leader why she was forcing a candidate to apologize for using a common descriptor of someone who supports a Jewish homeland in the Middle East....."

All of which are fightin' words, I'm sure.

And I, as someone who have been critical of the coziness amongst the persons of the PPGallery in the past, was glad to read them - even if I had already come to pretty much the same conclusion about the general state of affairs there.

However, there was a wee bit of completely new news in Mr. Smith's blog post today that I didn't know, which is the following:

"There are members of the press gallery who've accepted speaking fees from business groups that lobby the provincial government regarding pieces of legislation."

Say what?

I mean wouldn't that make any and all persons of the parliamentary press gallery who have done so a.....uhhh......what's that word I'm lookin' for.....

You know.

The one that starts also starts with a 'p' and ends with an 'e' (not a 'y') that is most definitely NOT the first word in the header that tops this post.


Meanwhile, Mr. Palmer responded to Mr. Smith's original column on his own blog, and while he did his best to stay above the fray (I think), he did do a pretty neat and nasty turn on the descriptor 'dim-wit'. And, I'm quite certain that in doing so he was not referring to this guy. Although, it is entirely possible that Mr Palmer once wrote about the no-longer-with-us Mr. Montgomery in days way long gone by.


RailGate Relations.....Assumptions 'R Us.


Les Leyne
made some 'interesting' assumptions in his Victoria Times Colonist column published yesterday.

Here's one of them:

"If nothing else, the (four year, $297,000) contract (with Patrick Kinsella) and the justification explain why B.C. Rail was such a dead loss as a business enterprise. The management was so completely bereft of business smarts they had to hire outside help to tell them how to get along with their only shareholder."

But does it actually demonstrate a management completely 'bereft of business smarts'?

Well, first of all, how do we know that the BC Rail management even had a choice? And second, if they did, how do we know they were not following Vito Corleone's advice by 'holding their friends close and their enemies closer'.

Which brings us to two more assumptions from Mr. Leyne's column, both framed in the form of questions:

"On what planet does that scenario make any sense? Since when do Crown corporations need government relations advice?"


The BC Rail/Kinsella 'contract' began in 2002.

And at that time, anybody who was paying any attention at all could see that the Campbell government's PR machine had already started to crank things up to clear the tracks for the great dismantling. Thus, with that in mind, one could just as easily turn Mr. Leyne's assumptions on their head and conclude that the hiring of Mr. Kinsella made a whole lot of sense on a whole lotta levels (not to mention planets) given that such advice might be critical for the Crown corporation's very survival.

Or death.

Depending, of course, on your point of view and/or your assumptions regarding the true intent of the good folks who were close to the Mr. Campbell's government at the time.



Saturday, March 28, 2009

RailGate Unwinding....What Did CN Know, And When Did They Know It?


Early last Thursday the Globe and Mail published a piece by Gary Mason in which he made the following kinda/sorta suggestive allegation:

"....There is the appearance that Mr. (Patrick) Kinsella might have been on the payroll of BC Rail and CN Rail during the $1-billion sale of the rail line....."

But here's the kinda/sorta weird thing.

Very little specific evidence was offered up by Mr. Mason in the column to support this kinda/sorta bombshell other than the paraphrasing of a May 2003 exchange between Joy McPhail and Gordon Campbell in the Legislature that Paul Willcocks posted-up on his blog some time ago based on a tip he was given by a commenter*.


How did Mr. Mason convince his editors to run with such a bold kinda/sorta allegation without something more than the following non-denial denial that a CN spokesthingy gave him?

"...I phoned CN yesterday to ask if Mr. Kinsella was a paid consultant or lobbyist during the bid process, and spokesperson Kelli Svendsen said: "We have nothing to say."

Me, I kinda/sorta figure that Mr. Mason may have had an evidence-backed inkling that the very same kinda/sorta bombshell would be dropped in RailGate court later that day which, again, was last Thursday Mar 26, 2009.

But, I don't that know for sure.

But I do know one thing.

Which is that Mr. Mason was not the first member to of the media to ask CN if they had a business relationship with Mr. Kinsella prior to their takeover of BC Rail.

How do I know this?

Because Sean Holman, in a post at Public Eye, said it was so earlier today:

When asked on Monday whether Mr. Kinsella had worked for Canadian National, the newspaper's Gary Mason quoted company spokesperson Kelli Svendsen as saying: "We have nothing to say." But Ms. Svendsen was more forthcoming about the reason for that lack of comment when we asked the same question on March 12.

Noting her firm has been "successfully operating" British Columbia Railway Co.'s line "for five years" the spokesperson said Canadian National's "focus remains on meeting our customers transportation needs. And the matter is before the courts."

But here's the thing.

The possibility that there was a business relationship between Mr. Kinsella and CN around the time of the BC Rail deal was not raised in court until Thursday Mar 26th, 2009.


What did CN know that we didn't on March 12th 2009 when their spokesperson told Mr. Holman that the matter was "before the courts"?

A Hansard link to the May 2003 McPhail/Campbell exchange can be found in a post of our own written the day after Mr. Holman spoke to Ms. Svendson which, it turns out, was the second Friday the 13th (in a row) of the year.
As for possibility that Mr. Kinsella himself might answer the question about whether or not he had a business relationship with CN at the time the BC Rail deal went down?......Well, most unfortunately, he has been unable to respond to Mr. Holman's repeated calls (see last sentence of post).


RailGate Re-Renumerated....Was There An Extra $200,000?



We all know, and it has been fully confirmed by all parties involved, that Gordon Campbell's good friend and former campaign manager, Mr. Patrick Kinsella, received $297,000 to do something or other for BC Rail between 2002 and 2005 (ie. through the entire period when Mr. Campbell sold BC Rail to a company run by another good friend of his, Mr. David McLean).

But did one of Mr. Kinsella's companies actually receive an extra $200,000 from BC Rail to do something that wasn't the same something or other mentioned above that had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with bid rigging?

Why do we ask?

Because Gary Mason, in his Globe and Mail column this morning, already did:

".....Who suggested the Crown corporation hire Mr. Kinsella in 2002? What work did he perform for the $297,000 it paid him? It appears BC Rail also paid a $200,000 bonus to Mr. Kinsella's company. Was that a separate payment, and if so, what was it for?...."

Those other questions are pretty interesting too, don't you think?

Just by way of comparison, it's interesting, to me at least, if not, apparently, to folks like the good Mr. Good, that 30,000 fits into 297,000 approximately ten times....and into 497,000 approximately fifteen times......If you get my drift....


Friday, March 27, 2009

The RailGate Real Stuff.....Who's Seen It?


....It Was A Nice Place. They Were Principled People, Generally....

"(T)here are a hundred or more people wandering around Washington today who have heard 'the real stuff', as they put it - and despite their professional caution when the obvious question arises, there is one reaction they all feel free to agree on: that nobody who felt shocked, depressed or angry after reading the edited (Nixon) White House Transcripts should ever be allowed to hear the actual (Watergate) tapes, except under heavy sedation or locked in the trunk of a car. Only a terminal cynic, they say, can listen for any length of time to the real stuff without feeling a compulsion to do something like drive down to the White House and throw a bag of live rats over the fence."
Fear and Loathing In Washington: The Boys In The Bag
Hunter S. Thompson, RS #164, July 4, 1974

So, in the case of British Columbia's RailGate we, the great unwashed, have apparently gotten a little peek at the teeniest, tiniest bit of the 'real stuff' the past few weeks.

Which got me to wondering....

Who's seen it all?

Or even a good chunk of it.

Especially the early stuff, back in the days when the accused were still ruling the roost, and all the old cabinet gang was there too.

And that has me wondering the following even more....

Have any of those that have seen the real stuff ever thought about stepping up and showing it to the rest of us?

(and/or playing us the audio)



RailGate Riding.... With Mr. P.....Recusal Refusal


You may (or may not) have noticed that VSun columnist Vaughn Palmer's name came up in yesterday's RailGate pre-trial court hearing?


Well, it was because of an Email exchange that was read out in court in which two government officials, officials of the Gordon Campbell government, discussed a column by Mr. Palmer from way back in ancient times (ie. 2004).

First, courtroom witness Bill Tieleman's description of the Email exchange:

....One e-mail dated July 7, 2004, concerned a column written by Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer about possible problems with the BC Rail sale to CN running into problems.

The e-mail was from BC Rail VP Kevin Mahoney to Deputy Minister Chris Trumpy, who was a government appointee to the BC Rail deal evaluation committee.

"Mr. Vaughn Palmer of the Vancouver Sun had written an article that contained what appeared to be confidential information -- that he wouldn't otherwise know," McCullough said, going on to read the e-mail into the record.

"Subject: Palmer. Mahoney: Where does Palmer get his stuff?"

Trumpy replied 36 minutes later, McCullough said.

"Trumpy: What is your phone number now?".....


What does Mr. Palmer think of all this?


Is he refusing to answer any and all questions about himself because he, himself, is now and forever himself 'before the courts'?

Well, let's head on over to his Blog and find out shall we:

....I'd like to answer. I really would. But the matter is before the courts, and my overriding obligation is to respect the independence of the judiciary...

But fact is, I wrote the column five years ago, have only the vaguest memory of doing it, and can't begin to recall where I got the information.

For the record, the column dealt with the one of the lingering regulatory concers with the CN takeover of the government-owned BC Rail. "CN, Liberals finally pry BC Rail okay out of the competition bureau.".....

Now, all joking aside, given how concerned Mess'rs Mahoney and Trumpy were with that 2004 column one can only wonder if any members Premier Gordon Campbell's government became apoplectic after they read the following, also from Mr. Palmer, in a column that was published more than two years later on Nov 04, 2006:

The aides (ie. Basi and Virk) are accused of being involved in the exchange of confidential information regarding the sale [of BC Rail] and of gaining benefits and/or other considerations in return.

But one possible defence would be that they were authorized to pass along information to keep the bidding process alive.

That was a critical consideration for the B.C. Liberals as they moved to privatize BC Rail in the second half of 2003.

The preferred bidder was CN Rail. It had a continent-wide rail network and it was offering the highest price -- $1 billion.

But to preserve the competitive aspect of the process and to keep pressure on CN, the government needed other bidders.

Initially there were three. But one dropped out in the early going and a second exited in the final month, complaining that the process was tainted.

With only one other bidder left, the competitive aspect was hanging by a threat. Not surprisingly, the Liberals wanted to keep that alternative player in the game.

The rival bidder was OmniTRAX, a Colorado-based operator. It did stay in until the announcement Nov. 25, 2003, that CN Rail would takeover BC Rail.

OmniTRAX subsequently got involved in bidding for another BC Rail asset, the spur line serving the Roberts Bank superport.

There was talk that it might prevail in the bidding process as a sort of consolation prize.

But the Roberts Bank sale was cancelled in early 2004. Police had advised the government that confidential information regarding the spur line had ended up in the wrong hands, possibly compromising the bidding process.

The charges in the case imply a tit-for-tat. The aides were allegedly passing confidential information to gain something for themselves.

But what if any passing was inspired by their bosses, the politicians? What if the objective was to keep OmniTrax in the loop and thereby preserve the credibility of the BC Rail sale?"

Now, why does this matter?

Well, because if such a quid pro quo was, indeed, in place would it not suggest that the defendants in the RailGate case were not actually acting as rogue elements while they (allegedly) lined their pockets, but instead were actually working at the behest of their political masters.

And further, would it not also mean that, perhaps, when the RCMP informed the government in early 2004 that the Spur line bidding process had been compromised that it was actually the government itself, NOT the rogue elements, who had done the compromising?

From the beginning?

On purpose?

With malice aforethought?

If you get my drift.


RailGate Gets Good.....The Wisdom(?) Of Mr. Bill


Because of science geek commitments, I missed the 'Cutting Edge of The Ledge' with Keith Baldrey, Vaughn Palmer and Bill Good on the (no-longer-so)Giant98 this morning.

From what I've read, I didn't miss much.

However, I did hear a considerable portion of the segment immediately preceeding in which the Goodship Watercarrier interviewed NDP MLA Leonard Krog on yesterday's RailGate Bombshells.

At first I thought Mr. Good was just playing dumb and/or rhetorical.

But then he said something that struck me dumber.

Which was, essentially (paraphrasing)...

"Nobody really cares, especially the public. After all, the sale of BC Rail was in 2003 and we've had an election since then so, clearly, the public is fine with it."


You may be able to imagine the blue streak of extremely percussive screams that came flying out of my mouth just before I lost my hearing completely and went dumbest.

But now that it's a few hours and a couple of meetings later, I've actually regained a modicum of control over my vestibulocochlear nerve pathways and brainstem functions. As such, I can now almost formulate a coherent response to the good Mr. Good....

Which is to point out the fact that Richard Nixon was re-elected AFTER the Watergate break-in was already fully in view for all to see.

However, it was not until a free and vigilent press, driven into a competitive frenzy after their gongs were beaten repeatedly by a couple of young punks named Wood-Stein, went to work and dug up the real facts of the story that had been carefully hidden behind the masssive stone walls erected by Attorney General Wally Opp........errrr......John Mitchell that the public became righteously enraged and Mr. Nixon, he who was so twisted, as Hunter Thompson once famously said, that he "had to screw his pants on every morning", was finally hounded from office.

In other words, do you not understand that one of the major reasons that the body politic doesn't care about issues that actually affect them is because of press poodle people?

Press poodle people like you.



Vaughn Palmer REALLY Is Blogging...


Earlier this week, we reported that Mr. Palmer had entered the bloggodome.


There is blogging, and there is blogging (especially on corp-sites).

Me, I figure the real thing is when somebody pays attention to what commenters have to say and then follows up with posts that send the conversation in new and interesting directions.

Mr. P. has already done that with his first two posts. First he first suggested that the currently declared green vote is soft, with the assumption that a considerable portion of it will swing Dipper and tighten things up as election day gets closer (me, I'm not entirely sure about that - and said so in the comments). Mr. Palmer then replied by returning to the Green swing issue and then talked about the (somewhat) more remote possibility of the BC Conservative Party hiving off some Big Red GordMachine votes.

Which could turn out to be a very good thing, indeed, over the next, say, seven weeks or so.

Assuming, of course, that Mr. Campbell doesn't reverse himself (again) and actually does drop the scheduled writ...


Hiding Behind Bad Law Leads To Processive Exhaustion...


Why can't BC Premier Gordon Campbell tell us whether or not his former campaign manager, Mr. Patrick Kinsella, has lobbied his government?

Why it's because, according to the Premierhimself, 'processes are in place' to deal with it.

Although, as Sean Holman of the Public Eye Television Network exclaims to a fleeing Mr. Campbell (watch all the way to the end), those 'processes have been exhausted!'.......

Of course, those processes are very easily exhaustible due to shortcomings in the lobbyist's registration act, an act put in place by, surprise, the Premier himself as well.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

RailGate Gone Wild....Was There Really A Lib-Connected Linchpin?



There have been all kinds of speculative statements today from columnists, legislators and lawyers that BC Premier Mr. Gordon Campbell's former campaign manager was working for both BC Rail and CN Rail around the time that the former was long-term leased (ie. not sold!) to the latter in late 2003.

But what is the actual evidence that such a simultaneous duality was really going on?

Well, for that, we look to the citizenry's Eye-Witness-In-Chief on all things Railgate-related, Mr. Robin Mathews.

The following is a passage, posted at our good friend Mary's, from Mr. Mathews that deals with a period in spring of 2004 when the actual 'deal' was apparently in jeopardy:

....The Discovery package of documents, (RailGate defence lawyer Kevin) McCullough said, from the Crown for 2003, apparently showed Kinsella identified as a political advisor to the CN. Between 2002 and 2005, however, we know he was employed by BC Rail.

The "problem" arose, apparently, because - without consulting CN - Gordon Campbell made a television appearance in which he attempted to placate the Northern B.C. population about the deal with CN. In the presentation, Campbell apparently stated that the rail track was not in the sale. CN was alarmed because they would lose money, tax advantages and rail scheduling opportunities if that were so. Kinsella, McCullough alleged, was at that time the point man for CN.....

So, again, at this point there would appear to be court documents which have led the RailGate defence team to allege that Mr. Kinsella was "a political advisor to (the) CN" and "the point man for CN" while he was apparently also being paid by BC Rail during the period when the deal was being consumated.

But what about this linchpin thing?

Well, here is what another RailGate defence lawyer, Michael Bolton, said OUTSIDE the courtroom today, as quoted by the VSun's Neal Hall:

...."What we have right now indicates to us that Mr. Kinsella appears to have been a very pivotal person in the entire BC Rail transaction, and we have very, very, little documentation of what he was doing." he explained to reporters.

"There is material referred to in court today that indicates he was engaged in some work for BC Rail and doing work at the same time for CN."...

Clearly, the only way we're truly going to know what really went down is if somebody, or some group, is able to follow the money.

And I'm talking about the ALL of the money, not just a few thousand here or there that may, or may not, have been tossed around to win friends and influence uncles.

In my opinion the only way to do that is to get rid of all of this silly secrecy/bankers' privilege garbage by holding a wide-ranging, no-holds-barred public inquiry.

Which sure would make a great campaign promise right about now don't you think?


RailGate Question Period.....First Past The (Court E-Mail Release) Post Edition...


Liveblogging BC Legislature Question Period, Mar 26/09...

Farnsworth's up first....says Kinsella was in the center of the deal..Questions directed to deputy premier (Premier and AG not there)....no answer....Farnsworth's supplemental....Makes statement about lack of answers being 'shameful'.....

Farnsworth then says ....'We know he (Kinsellsa) worked with BC and CN Rail'.....'


Further Supplemental from Farnsworth....reads Email exchange linking CN CEO to Mr. Kinsella.....More ducking....

Horgan's up next.....brings up Martyn Brown....where was the Premier when all these other folks were moving in and out of inner circle....de Jong says it's all politics, no regard for independent judiciary....ha!

Horgan's supplemental....brings up MaceMan's Globe column....

Here comes Fleming.....Brings up news releases from Kinella/Progressive calls Kinsella 'fixer'....Asks "What instructions did the Premier give to Mr. Brown re: Mr. Kinsella"...de Jong says it's before the courts

Fleming's supp....longterm concern about BCR deal being tainted.... brings up CPR, BNorthern, OmniTrax concerns re: favouritism.....then asks about linkage of Mr. Brown and Mr. Kinsella again....

(me: looks like the Dippers wants to widen the inner circle, get more 'hats' in the ring)

Next up is Krog.....Going all in....Asking for 5 or 6 W's.....(but little in terms of specifics)....Getting personal between Krog and de Jong...

Now Norm MacDonald....says K was lobbyist using 'apparent' direct access to MBrown...de Jong indicates that the actual BC Rail 'deal' is before the courts....

(me: Is Mr. de Jong suggesting that his government's deal is 'on trial'?)

MacDonald supplemental....goes way-wide with 'culture of corruption' accusation.....it's all de Jong all the time in response.....

Ralston's next.....very specific questions....'What did the premier tell Martyn Brown to do re: Kinsella and BC Rail'

Ralston supplemental.....widens to what did Premier tell M.Brown re: Kinsella and Accenture!...complete and absolute NON-JUDICIAL duckage from de Jong....


S. Simpson (goes Galloway?).....Integrity at stake....Implies the 'what did the premier know and when did he know it?' type question might be coming....oh ya, and 'what was the ROLE of the premier....?' as well as the role of others in the widening hat circle is asked...

Simpson Supp.....Premier is not under investigation.....so?

(me: leading towards?....maybe Mr. de Jong is actually suggesting that the premier is under investigation?....will somebody suggest that?)

Oooohhhh here is kinda/sort comes from Mr. Simpson.....Speaker won't allow it.... requests, and gets, withdrawal

Kwan next....Integrity and trust of premier and office in question....P Kinsella was working with M Brown to assist CN in deal....'What instructions did the Premier give to M. Brown .....?'....more of the same judicial duckage from deJong.

Kwan supplemental......'What happened between Premier/Brown/Kinsella/CN Deal?' .....brings up D. McLean calling PKinsella requesting 'help' from Emails released in RailGate court earlier today.....de Jong says question inappropriate because he's defending independent judiciary.....

(me: maybe somebody should ask the reverse...ie. ask what instructions MBrown gave to the premier? ha!)

(me: Drats, question/not answer period over.....linkage to Hansard Blues to come......)

(me: And we await post-session hallway scrum(s) on Public Eye Tee Vee......)

Here comes the Blues....All of 'em ....For The Record....
Oral Questions


M. Farnworth: One week ago today we learned that B.C. Rail and Mr. Kinsella released a statement saying that Mr. Kinsella had been paid $300,000 by B.C. Rail to interpret the government's core review. It wasn't credible a week ago, and it's looking like a cover-up today. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

We've learned that Mr. Kinsella was hired to smooth the way for the B.C. Rail deal. He was in on the RFP. He was working the back rooms. He was at the centre of the plot to sell B.C. Rail to CN. He was working directly with top political staff in the Premier's office. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

My question is to the Deputy Premier. When will we know what Mr. Kinsella was doing, what the Premier's chief of staff was doing and what the Premier of British Columbia was doing out of their office in the sell-off of B.C. Rail? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. M. de Jong: The hon. member chooses to make allegations that derive [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. M. de Jong: The hon. member chooses to make allegations that derive directly from information and material that are squarely before proceedings at the Supreme Court of British Columbia. It is, therefore, inappropriate to answer. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Mr. Speaker: The member has a supplemental. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

M. Farnworth: The opposition has been asking these questions of the Premier and the Attorney General for a number of weeks now, and we have failed to get any answers. It's clear today we're not going to get any answers from the Premier and the Attorney General again, and that is shameful to the people of the province of British Columbia. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

We know that Mr. Kinsella was paid almost $300,000. We know that he was working for CN Rail and for B.C. Rail. I'd like to quote from an e-mail from B.C. Rail. "Progressive Holdings is Patrick Kinsella, a McLernon-retained lobbyist and Liberal backroom guy. He provided a great deal of backroom support." [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Can we get, finally, confirmation from this government that that is the real reason Mr. Kinsella was hired by B.C. Rail — because he's an insider friend of the Premier and backroom guy, and that's how this deal was put together, in the back rooms of the Premier's office. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. M. de Jong: The fact that the opposition choose to ignore a principle as important as the independence of the judiciary makes the questions no less out of order and answers no less inappropriate. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Mr. Speaker: The member has a further supplemental. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

M. Farnworth: This is about the principle of accountability in this House — of a Premier and a government who made a commitment and then broke it; of a Premier who said this would be the most accountable and open government in the history of British Columbia. What we're seeing is a sordid chain of backroom interference and backroom deals from a backroom guy friend of the Premier. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

I'll read another e-mail just to drive home how important this issue is and why transparency and answers to these questions are so key. "Patrick Kinsella received a call from David McLean, who in essence told him the deal was at risk. Anything they could do now would be appreciated and, in CN's view, needed now. Kinsella is talking to Martyn for immediate support." [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

That has been the pattern of this government right from the beginning in this affair. It has been a catalogue of backroom interference by one of the Premier's closest friends, one of his closest confidants, working with his chief of staff around the sale of one of this province's Crown assets. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Yet we get no answers from this government. None. We have an Attorney General who will say one thing outside in the halls and a completely different thing inside the House. So there is a stain on this Premier's office. There is a stain on this government. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

When will this government stand up and tell the truth about what happened with the back rooms of the Premier's office regarding the sale of B.C. Rail? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. M. de Jong: I have a quote also. It is the oft-quoted passage from a couple of years ago from the member for Nanaimo. "It is essential to the rule of law that the integrity of the judicial process not be interfered with. High-profile prosecutions have failed in the past because politicians felt compelled to make comments in public that were later deemed prejudicial." [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

The member for Nanaimo's colleagues may choose to ignore the wisdom of that advice. We will not. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

J. Horgan: The issue at play today in this Legislature and right across this province is the integrity of the Premier's office itself. We've learned that Patrick Kinsella — the campaign manager in 2001 when the Liberals promised not to sell B.C. Rail, the campaign manager in 2005 after they had sold B.C. Rail — was in direct contract with Martyn Brown in the Premier's office, trying to salvage a deal with CN. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

The question is: if Patrick Kinsella's the conductor and Martyn Brown's in the caboose, where was the Premier when all of this was going on? How can it be that his chief adviser, 10 feet away from his office, is working with CN to close a deal to sell a Crown asset, and the Premier won't answer to the people of British Columbia? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Simple question, government Members. Where's the integrity? When will the Premier be accountable to the people of B.C. and clear the air on this cover-up? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. M. de Jong: On the very day when the Supreme Court of British Columbia is in session considering matters relating to certain events, the member stands in this chamber in violation of all of the tenets that are supposed to guide proceedings in this chamber and, for nothing more than political purposes, chooses to ignore those principles. I think that speaks volumes about the desperation that exists on the opposition side and how little regard they have for something as basic as an independent judiciary. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Mr. Speaker: The member has a supplemental. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

J. Horgan: Getting sermons from the minister of defence on integrity and accountability is absolutely laughable. If it wasn't so funny…. If it wasn't so serious, we wouldn't be in here today. We'd be out doing some of the people's business. Not so. They want to sit in here. They want to shield the Premier from the corruption. He should stand in this place and speak to British Columbians. It's hilarious. It's a joke. Integrity is a joke to every single member on that side of the House — every single member. The tracks go right through the Premier's…. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]


Mr. Speaker: Member, just take your seat for a second. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]




Mr. Speaker: Members. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]


J. Horgan: The Globe and Mail today, end of a column by Gary Mason, a reputable columnist here in British Columbia: "British Columbians deserve answers. The integrity of the Premier's office is at stake." The integrity of the Premier's office is at stake. It may be a joke to members on that side of the House, but the people of British Columbia deserve an answer. Why is it that friends and insiders are benefiting from government policy, not just across the board but right in the middle of the Premier's office? When will the Premier stand and be accountable? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. M. de Jong: One day the members opposite want to be in this chamber; the next they are complaining about being here. One day they are baying for a chance to go to the polls; the next day they're asking the government to postpone the election. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

The matters to which members continue to refer are being considered by the Supreme Court of British Columbia. It is appropriate that they be considered by the Supreme Court of British Columbia. It is inappropriate for this chamber to interfere in those deliberations. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

R. Fleming: You know, it was only the other week that we learned for the first time that the Premier's friend, his campaign manager, his chief fundraiser, was being paid by B.C. Rail for a number of years — the [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

R. Fleming: You know, it was only the other week that we learned for the first time that the Premier's friend, his campaign manager, his chief fundraiser was being paid by B.C. Rail for a number of years, the years in question. This was new information. We asked questions about it in the House. We got no answers. Then came the news releases from B.C. Rail and from Mr. Kinsella's firm itself. The news releases said Mr. Kinsella only worked on the core review. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Well, it's clear it went farther than that. Now it's clear that Mr. Kinsella was the fixer on the privatization deal for B.C. Rail. He was the go-between guy for B.C. Rail, for CN Rail and for the Premier's office. So the question today is: what instruction did the Premier, through Martyn Brown, receive to "give support to Patrick Kinsella and CN Rail"? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. M. de Jong: It was actually also, as I recall, two weeks ago that defence counsel in a criminal trial in the courts of British Columbia commented specifically on the potential for prejudice to accrue as a result of comments made by politicians. The opposition may choose to play fast and loose with the fundamental principle of independence of the judiciary. We on this side of the House will not. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Mr. Speaker: Member has a supplemental. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

R. Fleming: There is widespread public concern that the deal to sell B.C. Rail was tainted right from the start, and now the public concern is about what the involvement of the Premier's office was through his friend Mr. Kinsella. We know from several years ago that the deal had problems to begin with because we had complaints lodged to this government from Burlington Northern, from CPR, from Omnitrax. They all pulled out of the process because they believed the Premier's office and Mr. Kinsella were working hand in glove with CN Rail and giving them a leg up in the deal. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

So my question for the government is: when will they stop stonewalling and come clean on Mr. Kinsella's role in the whole B.C. Rail deal? When will the Premier finally tell British Columbians about Mr. Kinsella's work with Mr. Brown to make the deal happen and sell off B.C. Rail? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. M. de Jong: If the question from the hon. member is: when will this government abandon the principle of an independent judiciary? the answer is never. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

L. Krog: Well, it's just a bit rich in this House for the Government House Leader to talk about principle when it was this government that broke its major campaign promise not to sell B.C. Rail. As that member well knows, the law is both a shield and a sword, and they've stretched that little shield a little too far. Sub judice does not apply to every tiny aspect of information available to the public about B.C. Rail. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

What we know today is that the major backroom boy of the Liberal party was working both sides of the track on this one. So my question to that member is, if he's got an answer, let him stand in this House today and explain why is it that the taxpayers of British Columbia paid $297,000 to Mr. Kinsella and his company, and why was CN paying Mr. Kinsella, and what did they get for it, and what did the Liberal Party get out of it? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. M. de Jong: On this day when this Hon. member of the House stands up, a member of the bar, and poses these questions and makes these allegations, I am curious how he would reconcile his behaviour and his commentary with what he himself said just a few years ago about the impropriety, about the inappropriateness of putting judicial proceedings at risk by commenting for no other reason than political convenience. He has chosen to do it. We will not. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Mr. Speaker: Member has a supplemental. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]


Mr. Speaker: Member has a supplemental. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

L. Krog: I can tell this member that I'm acutely aware of my responsibilities as a member of the bar. I wonder if that member's acutely aware of his responsibility to the people of British Columbia. He swore an oath, as did every member of this chamber, to uphold the law, to do the right thing by the people who elected us to this chamber. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

I want to hear today from that member, from someone in this government: why was this deal tainted from the start, what was the political motivation, what did the Premier's office do in this deal, and why can't the people of British Columbia have an honest answer for once in this chamber? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. M. de Jong: That oath and that commitment included and includes a commitment to ensure that the independence of the judicial process is respected. That is a commitment that those of us who sit on this side of the House believe applies 365 days of the year. That is a commitment and a principle that we do not shed merely because it might be politically convenient to do so and an opportunity to score political points. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

I think the discussion that has taken place today, that has taken place in this chamber over the past number of weeks, speaks volumes for which group of political leaders will stand by the principles that are at the root of our democratic process. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]


N. Macdonald: We see it again today. We have a Premier that hides from accountability when the Premier's office is stained by what is going on. There is no question that that's how people see it. The Attorney General is gagged, and instead we come here, and we hear again and again a refusal to talk about something that is of core importance. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

The people of British Columbia deserve to know how Patrick Kinsella, the B.C. Liberal campaign manager in 2001 and 2005, made hundreds of thousands of dollars as a lobbyist for B.C. Rail and apparently with using his direct access to Martyn Brown. The Premier's office is…. Its integrity is questioned. We need to know: when will the people of British Columbia get the answers they deserve on this issue? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. M. de Jong: I guess, according to the member, we don't need courts. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]


Mr. Speaker: Members. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. M. de Jong: Another, perhaps, policy pronouncement from the opposition. Because why would we? The hon. member and his colleagues are apparently well equipped to act as judge, jury, executioner if necessary. The principle of judicial independence requires certain things. One of those things is that we respect that process. That's what we're doing, and we'll continue to do it, notwithstanding the kind of irresponsible questioning we're getting from the opposition. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Mr. Speaker: The member has a supplemental. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

N. Macdonald: Let's just understand the history here. Patrick Kinsella, in 2001, sat down and put together the New Era document. All the members that were there and ran in 2001 ran on those promises. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

We are well familiar with the promise not to sell B.C. Rail, and we are well familiar with the fact that as soon as that promise was made, you have Mr. Kinsella and the Premier's office intending to do the exact opposite and sell it. The same sits with B.C. Hydro and the secret deal to Accenture. You have a promise and Mr. Kinsella there breaking that promise as a lobbyist. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

It's the same with our rivers, the same with gambling, the same with alcohol. All of those point to a culture of corruption that needs explanation from this government to the people of British Columbia. A culture of corruption. When [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

that needs explanation from this government to the people of British Columbia. When are British Columbians going to get the answers that they deserve? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. M. de Jong: Well, Mr. Speaker, clearly the member is in the wrong venue. He should ask the member for Nanaimo for his robes and get over to the courtroom. He seems so intent on interfering in that judicial process that maybe that's where he should take his arguments. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

He and his colleagues seem not to understand one basic fundamental principle — that we have courts with judges who are independent of the political process, independent of the executive branch, independent of the legislative branch. They are charged with the task of adjudicating matters that are in dispute. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

The member may feel himself qualified to pass judgment and render a verdict. We aren't. We will not substitute. We will not interfere. We will respect the independence of the judiciary. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]


B. Ralston: We are raising a serious question that concerns the very integrity of the highest office in this province, the Office of the Premier. The question is a very simple one. What did the Premier tell his political chief of staff, Martyn Brown, to tell his campaign manager, Patrick Kinsella, about the CN bid for B.C. Rail? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. M. de Jong: The matters referred to by the member are before the courts. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Mr. Speaker: Member has a supplemental. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]


B. Ralston: Will the member opposite explain: what was the respective role of Martyn Brown in the Premier's office and Mr. Kinsella in the Accenture deal, the awarding of a contract of $1.4 billion to Accenture and the sale of one-third of the operations of B.C. Hydro? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. M. de Jong: I'll take the question on notice. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]


S. Simpson: Hon. Speaker, the matters that are before the courts will be dealt with by Justice Bennett there. The matter that is before…. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]


Mr. Speaker: Members. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]




S. Simpson: The matter that is before this chamber is the integrity of the Premier's office, the highest office in this.… We know that the Premier's chief adviser, Mr. Kinsella, is now up to his knees in this. We now know from today that Martyn Brown was a key adviser on this. We have to believe the Premier knew about this. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

So the question to the government is this. If this government cares one whit about its integrity, if it cares one whit about the integrity of the Premier's office, it will tell us today: what was the role of the Premier's office? What was the role of Martyn Brown, and what was the role of Patrick Kinsella? Anything less is more cover-up by the Liberals, trying to cover up their past. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. M. de Jong: The member may choose to be selective about what aspects of an independent judiciary he chooses to respect. I will not. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. M. de Jong: The member may choose to be selective about what aspects of an independent judiciary he chooses to respect. I will not. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

S. Simpson: I do have a supplemental. Last time I checked, the Premier wasn't under investigation by the courts, unless somebody over there wants to tell us different. This is about the Premier's office. This is about the conduct of the government. You've been hiding and hiding from this, hiding behind this court case, refusing to talk to British Columbians. It's time for some honesty on that side — just once, an honest statement, an honest answer. This borders on corruption. Where is it? Answer the question. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Mr. Speaker: Member. Member. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]


Mr. Speaker: Members. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Member, I'm not going to allow those statements again. Will you please withdraw those words that you just said. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

S. Simpson: I withdraw. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

J. Kwan: The issue of integrity and public trust may not matter very much on the government side but it matters very much to British Columbians. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]


Mr. Speaker: Members. Members. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Continue, member. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

J. Kwan: British Columbians deserve answers. The integrity and trust of the Premier and the Premier's office is in question. Today we learned that the Premier's friend, an insider, campaign manager for the Liberal Party, Patrick Kinsella, was working with the Premier's chief of staff, Martyn Brown, to assist CN in this corrupt deal. What instructions from the Premier did Martyn Brown give to Patrick Kinsella? Will the government now tell British Columbians the real truth? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. M. de Jong: I realize that it may be inconvenient for the opposition, an opposition increasingly desperate at this point in time, to await the proper unfolding of a judicial proceeding. I realize that that may not fit within… [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]


Mr. Speaker: Members. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. M. de Jong: …the narrow scope of their political agenda. But respect for concepts and principles as basic as an independent judiciary require us to do just that, and await the outcome of a trial that is before the Supreme Court of British Columbia, and that's what we intend to do. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

J. Kwan: What's inconvenient is for this government to tell the truth to British Columbians on what exactly happened between Patrick Kinsella, Martyn Brown and the Premier and the CN-B.C. Rail deal. That's exactly what's inconvenient. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

The fact is that the integrity and public trust of the Premier's office, of this government and of the Premier ought to be paramount. That should be the guiding principle this government should use to lead their answers. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Let me just quote again, Mr. Speaker. "Patrick Kinsella received a call from David McLean, who in essence told him the deal was at risk. Anything they could do would be appreciated in CN's view. Needed now. Kinsella talking to Martyn for immediate support." That's a direct quote. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

What support was given to CN through Patrick Kinsella? Tell this House and tell British Columbians the truth. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. M. de Jong: The opposition's persistence in pursuing this line of inappropriate questioning is surpassed only by the vigour with which we on this side of the House will defend the principle of an independent judiciary. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[End of question period.]