Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The RailGate 8000: Was The Fix In From The Beginning?



The Railgate 8000 has revealed that Canadian Pacific was really, really upset about the fix, allegedly, being in for Canadian National from the start.

Bill Tieleman has the story, and here's his lede:

Canadian Pacific Railway alleged that the "actual value of the bids" in the $1-billion privatization of B.C. Rail in 2003 were known by winning bidder Canadian National and others before a decision was made by the B.C. government, according to newly released confidential government documents.

The explosive allegation was made in a letter to Ken Dobell, Premier Gordon Campbell's then-Deputy Minister, on Nov. 17, 2003 - just eight days before the sale of B.C. Rail to CN was announced.

The letter is part of 8,000 pages of documents ordered released by B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett last week in response to an NDP court application.

The information was obtained through Freedom Of Informatio
n requests by defence counsel acting for David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi, three former government aides facing corruption charges related to the sale of B.C. Rail.

CPR dropped out of the bidding, calling the process "unfair" because it believed the B.C. government leaked confidential B.C. Rail information to CN, giving that company a clear advantage in preparing its bid.

Now we're pretty sure that BC's ever diligent proMedia will soon be all over this story (ha!), but before that happens we thought it might be worth revisiting just how much money the Canadian National Railway has 'donated' to the BC Liberal Party of Premier Gordon Campbell since the deal went down.

Here are the numbers, directly from the Elections BC Website:

(click on image to view full size)

And the total, so far (before this election cycle has even kicked in).......

More than $125,000.

Which I would guess some at CN, and perhaps even its chairman, Mr. David McLean, might think is a small price to pay.

For something or other.


Sharp-eyed folks (and/or Railgate Cult members), please take note of the very fine public servant who received the letter from CP who would later go on to make decisions about the release of cabinet documents to the court in the run-up to the Railgate trial before he even later moved on to become a content consultant extraordinare and wearer of many hats.


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