Sunday, December 26, 2010

Paul Nettleton Backs Clark, Opposes BC Rail Inquiry


Last week I suggested that lawyer and former Liberal MLA Paul Nettleton would be a fantastic person to head a public inquiry into the BC Rail sale.

Of course, given that I understand the concepts of BOTH conflict of interest and real politick, I was only half serious.

Regardless, Paul Willcocks left a message in the comments suggesting that Mr. Nettleton was actually against such an inquiry.

I am going to reprint the letter here, in its entirety, given its public importance and will then comment below:

I have opposed the sale of B.C. Rail and the subsequent handling of this important file by the Campbell administration over many years. As Liberal critic, I opposed the sale of B.C. Rail and called upon my Liberal colleagues to commit to protecting B.C. Rail employees and their families, northern communities and British Columbians.

As an independent MLA from 2002 to 2005, I marched in Prince George rallies protesting the sale of B.C. Rail with scores of concerned citizens. I stood at the head of these groups and shared the podium speaking with heartfelt passion and concern about the B.C. Rail issue.

More recently, as a private citizen and as a lawyer, I have continued to follow the B.C. Rail issue in our courts in the hope that those responsible would be exposed and brought to justice. I share the concerns that many questions remain unanswered.

Where, then, should we go from here?

I support the position of Liberal leadership candidate Christy Clark, who has rejected the call for a public inquiry, insisting that we move forward and put the B.C. Rail matter behind us.

I have worked closely with Clark over a number of years and have confidence in her integrity, on this and other issues. I also believe that Clark would ensure that her administration provides openness, transparency and honesty.

Paul R. Nettleton


Read more:


In real life job I am a reductionist who takes things apart to try and have a look at what really makes them tick.

So, let's take Mr. Nettleton's letter apart, shall we.....

First - Have a look at the first three paragraphs wherein Mr. Nettleton lays out his bonafides as someone who has always opposed the sale of the public railway, who worked with citizens against the sale when the deal went down, and who still has concerns that many questions remain regarding whether or not all responsible have been 'exposed and brought to justice'.

So, given all that, why doesn't Mr. Nettleton want an inquiry?

Well, based on the last three paragraphs of the letter, it all comes down to Ms. Clark and her integrity, which Mr. Nettleton concludes will lead to a future administration of openness, transparency and honesty.

And, for me at least, therein lies the rub.


Because, the fact of the matter is that the very same people who are riding Ms. Clark in her candidacy for the leadership of the Liberal Party of British Columbia are pretty much exactly the same people that rode Mr. Campbell to power.

Furthermore, some of those people are the very same people who helped Mr. Campbell sell the formerly public Railway to people that helped bankroll Mr. Campbell's elevation to power.

Thus, in my opinion Mr. Nettleton is flat-out wrong.

Not because Ms. Clark herself may or may not have the utmost personal integrity.

But rather because there is no evidence, at least in my opinion, that her 'administration' would be any different, in terms of how it is actually run, than the administration of her predecessor Mr. Gordon Campbell.


*Or, as our good friend Mary noted off-line "Knock Me Over With A Feather" Day....
And, try as he might to cleave her off of Mr. Campbell's horsey hide, David Anderson (speaking on Public Eye Radio this morning) cannot magically wave away the fact that Ms. Clark is being ridden by exactly the same jockeys...



Anonymous said...

Given Mr. Nettleton's confidence in the integrity of Christy Clark's questionable characteristics most people would question the standing of Mr. Nettleton's character.

Leah said...

Well. So much for my feeling that Mr. Nettleton had an integrity the Liberals couldn't shake.

Gobsmacked it the word that applies for me.

Anonymous said...

Confidence in Christy Clark's integrity is like carrying flower petals during the middle ages as it was believed the petals' scent stopped the spread Black Plague.

G West said...

Well Ross, I can only add this to what you've written: There is a disconnect between what Mr Nettleton has stated, in a fairly public way, and what he's said in his letter to the Times Colonist...

How can one support 'openness and transparency', not to mention accountability, and NOT BE IN FAVOUR OF A PUBLIC INQUIRY - or at the very least - a complete and thorough document dump of 'everything' to do with the sacrifice (I'm not saying sale ANY longer) of BC Rail on the altar of political expediency?

I think we need to hear some more from Mr Nettleton.

I know he's been a long-standing supporter of Mary's efforts and I can't see this statement as being any kind of a meaningful connection to that support, nor to his previous statements on the subject.

Something, as they say, 'is rotten in the state of Denmark'.

Gary E said...

I'm going to move ahead on this Ross K. And in doing so I'm asking "who got to Paul?" and "how much did it cost?"

RossK said...

Look folks.

I think Mr. Nettleton is wrong.

However, I do not think it is fair at this point, based on all the evidence at hand, to impugn his integrity.

Is it possible that, perhaps, Mr. Nettleton doesn't understand how closely aligned Ms. Clark is with many of the string-pullers in the former regime?


BC Mary said...


I'm glad you've taken up the topic of Paul Nettleton's astonishing endorsement of Christy Clark.

This, I fear, is partisan politics in its rawest form. I can't bear the thought of Mr Clean being caught up in that and tainted -- after all he has suffered at their hands -- after the valiant battle he waged to prevent the mess we're in now.

I need to spend some quiet thinking-time on this, because I just don't get it.

One thing, RossK: the disturbing change of tone between the first half of Nettleton's letter to the editor of Times Colonist, which is pure Nettleton, and the 2nd half which doesn't sound like Nettleton at all.

I have an e.mail to him, no reply yet but then it's a Sunday and for him, a sacred day. There again: he's writing to TC about stinky politics on Christmas Day? That doesn't sound like Paul Nettleton to me.

Grant G said...

Ross K and others....Your answer is written in his Paul Nettleton`s own words...The below is a line from the letter he wrote.

"More recently, as a private citizen and as a lawyer"

Lawyers and prosecutors protecting their own ilk!...Find out who he is a lawyer for, what firm, what connections to his firm are the Basi/Virk BC Rail prosecution teams?

Maybe someone wants to keep their job as a lawyer?

Therein lies your answers...Merry Christmas!

Grant G said...

Nettleton works for {Robson O Connor law firm} in Ladysmith....

That`s a long way from Prince George Omineca....Paul was hired in November/2009..(Meaning he was IN NEED of A JOB!!!!}

I suspect his EMPLOYER has something to do with his letter...

And there is something else at play here...Even if Paul Nettleton doesn`t think an inquiry would bear any fruit why write the letter?

If it was a Falcon/De Jong/Stilwell/Abbot as premier then does Paul want an inquiry?....If Clark was so transparent she would be demanding an inquiry....

Lastly friends...Read the letter, there is no passion in it, it`s like a forced write...Paul doesn`t say there isn`t anything to learn from an inquiry...

Let me give you another example, Christy Clark is pro-trophy bear hunting....Nobody is writing letters to papers agreeing with that, throwing their support on the issue...The liberals will(maybe) raise the minimum wage by 50 cents...Is Nettleton going to write a letter to a paper defending that policy decision?

Open and transparant have nothing to do with it...Paul could have supported Christy Clark without writing a letter, Paul if asked could have said no comment...

And did Paul Nettleton wake up late last week and say.

"Hey, I`m going to write a letter to the Victoria Times paper saying there is no need for a BC Rail public inquiry and offer up support for Christy Clark"

And my last point...No one but a few cultist and internet whackos even know who Paul Nettleton is!....

Would this be news is Ross K wrote the letter the VTC?

Grant G said...

Forgot one thing...Paul Nettleton could back...Falcon/De Jong/Abbot/Stilwell and be opposed to BC Rail..

The NO BC Rail inquiry IS NOT Christy Clark`s issue!

It`s all off the BC Liberals issue!

So in reality, Paul`s letter was a I support Christy Clark endorsement....

Check the lawyer connections


John Sherman said...

"No one but a few cultist and internet whackos even know who Paul Nettleton is!."

So is Grant G calling Ross K, BC Mary, and everyone else (even Vaughn Splammer) internet wackos and cultists?

Grant G said...

Let me spell it out to you John Sherman, if you can`t understand humour I feel sorry for you....

Who is Paul Nettleton as an endorsement? Who will Nettleton bring to Clark`s campaign?...Ya getting it YET....What weight does Nettleton have?...Ask your neighbor if they know who Nettleton is!

I lead you down the garden path and you come back at me with cheesy slop John..Phunmp...

Good Day!

Jon Ghun said...

My guess is that the Nettleton letter is meant to kill two birds , or even three, at one throw.

Firstly, there is the obvious endorsement of Christy which matters to people who are still inside the bc liberal party and getting ready to cast a vote for a leader in-house.

Secondly, this letter kills the possibility of him getting up and taking a stand against the BC Rail Robbery. My guess is that he had little choice after receiving an offer he just couldn't refuse.

Additionally, on the railway robbery, there is also his discouraging deeper influence which he has now brought to bear over the so-called left in opposition. He's almost neutered things.

Too Bad it had to go this way.

RossK said...

No question there is a political aspect to this.

I very much agree that there is some endorsement hunting being engaged in by Ms Clark and her team... It is also important to remember that, in the short term at least, that those endorsements need to have cachet not to the public at large, but to rather to folks who already have, or who are likely to take out, a BC Lib. party membership card in the next few weeks. Finally, it really doesn't matter who knew Mr. Nettleton yesterday (i.e. Sunday) if it gets wurlititzered by the proPundits today, because they most certainly know who Mr. Nettleton is and what he said about the privatization of BC Rail (and BC Hydro) in the past.

Finally, I am repeating that there is absolutely no reason, based on the evidence so far, to impugn Mr. Nettleton's integrity. For example, regarding his current is a very small law shop in a very small town (i.e.Ladysmith on Vancouver Island), which also happens to be his hometown.



paul said...

I don't see this as a particularly big deal, or sinister. Paul Nettleton concluded an inquiry isn't needed or would be unproductive and decided to share his views. He also decided Christy Clark is the best leadership candidate and shared that.
He doesn't make an effective argument for either position, but that doesn't mean he's not commenting in good faith.
My dealings with Nettleton suggest he's a decent, honourable person and nothing in the letter contradicts that. Doesn't mean he's right, of course. I didn't see his views as particularly important either way, but perhaps I got that wrong.

Anonymous said...

It might not be a question of integrity but of logic. How can one share the concerns that many questions remain unanswered yet reject the call for a public inquiry and move forward? How can we move forward without all these unanswered questions being dealt with during a public inquiry? There's also the fact that that the very people that are involved up to their necks in the likelihood that there was corruption involved in the sale of BC Rail, don't want want an inquiry. If they are so innocent of their involvement then let an inquiry reveal the facts and don't stand in the way otherwise it appears as though their motives are suspect.

G West said...

Anon 9:58 am.

Precisely. There is a logical disconnect between Paul Nettleton's words now as opposed to Paul Nettleton's words 'then'.

And, it is perfectly reasonable to suggest that Mr Nettleton - especially in light of his 'apparent' endorsement of a candidate who was up to her ears in the allegedly rigged 'sale' of BC Rail - has created a fundamental problem for himself and for others who have relied upon his judgment, experience and WITNESS in these matters.

Questions, very reasonable questions, need some answers.

One hopes they'll be forthcoming before too long because the man's credibility is in question.

Nettleton did not have to write that letter to the Times Colonist. The fact he chose to do so cannot simply be ignored.

He has injected himself into this debate again and perfectly reasonable people are entitled to draw their own conclusions until he has clarified his position with something a little more comprehensive.

Grant G said...

Exactly G West....Did Nettleton wake up with this sudden urge to endorse Christy Clark with a letter to the editor?...Clark is far more involved in BCRail than say...

Moira Stilwell...George Abbot..Falcon..De Jong...

Christy Clark has the same campaign team Gordo had....Nettleton was kicked out of a Gordon Campbell caucus...He then lost in 2005 to Shirley Bond..

Nettleton could have endorsed Clark and remained silent on BC Rail....He could have said...{There is nothing more to learn,or, it`s too late for that}

What is new in Nettleton`s life?

His Job...He was hired in November 2009.

So don`t bullshit me, it doesn`t make sense, Christy Clark IS Gordon Campbell, and now BC Rail doesn`t matter.

A pay cheque matters!...I stand by my assertions...

"If it doesn`t make sense it isn`t true"

RossK said...

I, also, very much agree with the points made by Anon @ 9:58am.

There truly does appear to be a logic flaw in Mr. Nettleton's letter.

Which, in my opinion, as stated in the original post, makes him wrong.

However, as Paul says, just because someone is wrong does not mean that they do not have integrity.

Now, as to the 'importance' and the 'timing', I agree that it would be interesting to know if Mr. Nettleton's impetus to write the letter at this time was entirely his own....


John's Aghast said...

This is all very interesting but don't think for a second that Campbell's Gang is sitting idley by waiting for Ross, AGT & BC Mary's blogs to bear fruit.
Doesn't it seem likely that there are masive machinations going on to counter the (anticipated)reaction to these blogs? Aside from the 'inner circle' of BC Rail Revulsionists (those that read and comment on these blogs)there doesn't appear to be anywhere near the support for an inquiry as there was to defeat the HST.
I'm worried!

John's Aghast said...

Sorry, I forgot Tielmen and Laila, and a few others. Don't let the bastards grind you down!