Thursday, May 20, 2010

RailGate Pushback....Responding To Mr. Brown....


Yesterday, when defence attorney K. McCullough suggested that the bidding for BC Rail was tainted by the fact that CP Rail pulled out early after screaming that the fix was in (and with good reason), Mr. Gordon Campbell's chief-of-staff Martyn Brown responded that a so-called "Fairness Advisor" had scrubbed all the 'taint' away.

I beg to differ.


Because I read the 'interim version' of the Fairness Advisor's Report more than two years ago . As a result, I wrote the following post, wherein I pointed out what I believe to be a fatal error of omission that was committed by the "Advisor" in it's rush to complete it's taint-scrubbing mission in the final days before the BC Rail sale/not sale was announced in the Fall of 2003.


Please be advised.......
Any and all redactions marked by ******* ,below, were inserted into the text to ensure that no pre-trial publication bans were harmed in the writing of this post.

RailGate Resurrected - Hansard Strikes Back! (From Dec 16, 2007)


Late last week British Columbia government lawyer Mr. ****** ****** selectively cited from a May 2007 legislative exchange between his boss, Premier Gordon Campbell, and Opposition Leader Carole James which he then used as a prelude to making the following bizarro-world statement of ******* *******:

"You can fully co-operate and still take a principled stand and we are taking a principled stand on

******-******* **********."


Given that Mr. ******* and, presumably, his boss* have decided to use Hansard to justify actions that, on the face of them, make little logical (and, perhaps, no *****?) sense at all, we thought we would do the same.

We begin with a passage dug up by frequent Railgate citizen commentator 'Lynx' that we have cited before and which Mary has posted up this morning.

It is an exchange between then Opposition Leader Joy McPhail and then Transportation Minister Judith Reid from Nov 19, 2003. It took place just after CP Rail had pulled out of the BC Rail bidding process kicking and screaming about information leaks and improprieties (ie. CP was essentially saying that the 'fix was in'):

You can read the entire exchange between Ms. McPhail and Ms. Reid from the official Hansard legislative transcript here but, like Mr. ******, we have decided to be selective to make a point that we hope is somewhat less bizarro-world than his was:

J. MacPhail: Today we learn that the Canadian Pacific Railway has pulled its bid for B.C. Rail, casting a cloud over the whole process. We've also learned that the only other non–CN bidder, Omnitrax, has expressed concerns about the fairness of the process to the Premier. A report into that process released earlier this week identifies two leaks from B.C. Rail. In one case, data were sent to a party that should not have had access to it. Can the Premier tell this House what was leaked and to whom?

Hon. J. Reid
: Indeed, we've worked very hard on a process that is fair and equitable and have worked very diligently with the proponents. The (interim) fairness adviser's report…. The fairness adviser is Charles Rivers Associates, which is a very reputable firm, and that firm has stated that the process established and implemented by the province, the evaluation committee and its advisers was fair and impartial.

Please note Ms. Reid's linkage of 'process' and 'proponents' - the latter being the firms involved in the bidding process cited by Ms. McPhail in her original question (ie. CP Rail, OmniTrax and CN Rail).


Because in making such a linkage Minister Reid was telling Ms. McPhail, the legislature, and the current owners of BC Rail (ie. the people of British Columbia) that a 'Fairness Advisor's Report' from an outside firm from Toronto said that everything was on the up and up with the sale of our (ie. not Ms. Reid's) Railway.

It is also important to realize that Minister Reid did NOT say that, at least at that time, that the so-called 'Fairness Advisor' had only released an 'interim' report.

Additionally, Ms. Reid did NOT tell Ms. McPhail, the following - which is a statement that is bolded and outlined right up front at the beginning of the interim report (warning - pdf) (note added in 2010 reprint proof - please note that the link is no longer active...Imagine that!... But if you'd like a copy to call your own, just Email me from profile page....RossK).

"Note: At the time at which this report was submitted, the transaction process was not yet complete. Thus, our observations and findings are based only on the steps that have occurred to date. Also, we have not interviewed the three finalist proponents so their comments and views are not represented in this document."

All of which strongly suggests that this was, at least in its interim form, little more than an 'ostrich' report.

And ostriches, with heads buried in sand, have no idea what really happened.

Especially when they (and/or their paymasters) don't want them to.

But we digress.....

Regardless the prior intent, the important (and unarguable) point here is the following: Regardless the 'process' that had been put in place, Ms. Reid and the government she worked for really had no idea if the 'proponents' had been dealt with fairly or not because their 'Fairness Advisor' did not even talk to them (ie. ALL the "bidders" involved).

Finally, it is important to once again note the exact date that of that ancient history exchange between Ms. McPhail and Ms. Reid.

It occurred on Nov 19, 2003.....

Which was six days BEFORE the big winner in the BC Rail deal was announced.

And it was also one month BEFORE the Raid on the British Columbia Legislature occurred.

Thus, if a reasonable person were so inclined, it would not be unreasonable for that person to conclude, perhaps, that the government of Mr. Gordon Campbell has been trying to pull the wool over the eyes of everyone concerned from the very beginning.

Which has us wondering if the time has come for us** to invoke our own '*******-****** ********'.

Is Perry Mason still available?

*More on our musings about who Mr. Copley is working for and what Hansard has to say about that coming soon.
** Why? Because it was us (ie. we, the people of British Columbia) who actually owned the Railway when this deal was going down.
One last thing: Thanks to the superior searching skills of citizen commentator GWest and an anonymous commentor over at Paul Willcocks' place, a copy of the 'final' Fairness Advisor's report has finally been found (details over at Mary's place also - what a resource her site is becoming!). Given that the final report is 139 pages long it will take us a bit of time to wade through it before we can comment in full......



Gary E said...

Ross, if memory serves me correctly, wasn't there some other sort of disclaimer on the INTERIM report about the government suits having to peruse the report before CRA could release a final report? Or was that a statement by the Gov't as reason for not releasing it on time?
Too bad I didn't have a printer back then because that statement, wherever I read it my my first proof that there was a cover-up.

cfvua said...

Ol' Brownie must not be earning his keep if he doesn't make it his job to know who the big liberal "contributors" are, either to ensure unfettered decisions or ensure that all decisions do go the way the party wants them to. One more illustration of top level incompetence and indifference to internal meddling. I mean after all it was only a $Billion dollar deal, why would anyone get involved??? If folks a thousand miles out in the wilderness on the other side of the Rockies can smell this one it must reek in Victoria. Great work on getting out the grim details of this case by all. We are just beginning to see the tip of the iceberg.

RossK said...


You are correct sir


It's that plausible deniability thing, no matter how truly implausible....Me, I'm pretty sure the limited hangouts will start anytime now....


kootcoot said...

"The (interim) fairness adviser's report…. The fairness adviser is Charles Rivers Associates, which is a very reputable firm, and that firm has stated that the process established and implemented by the province, the evaluation committee and its advisers was fair and impartial."

If I recall correctly the actual individuals who performed the so-called "fairness" review were subsequently "no longer with CRA" and CRA seems to use this as some form of plausible denialbilty for the questionable aspects of their findings - in other words "oh they don't work here anymore, so we can't be responsible for their work!" And that's Charles Rivers and Associates story and they'll stick to it, even if it isn't all that full of "truthiness."

RossK said...


Didn't know about that...will go digging....thanks.