Friday, December 31, 2010

RailGate Remainders...Our Top Ten Questions Continued...The Pay-Off


Number 8.

In the fall of 2010 the RailGate trial came to an abrupt halt just as the former BC Liberal government Finance Minister (and David Basi's last boss), Mr. Gary Collins, was about to take the stand.

Both the abruptness and the halt of the trial were facilitated by the sudden announcement of a six million dollar deal that some, myself included, have suggested should be viewed as a pay-off to the defendants and their legal teams.


A lot of attention at the time was focussed on the roles that then Attorney General Mike 'I Bake Cookies!' de Jong and one of his deputies, Mr. David Loukidelis, played in the brokering of that deal.

However, what was essentially all but ignored by the proMedia was the fact that the current Finance Minister, Mr. Colin Hansen, and one of his deputies, Mr. Graham Whitmarsh, also helped put together that deal and, presumably*, approved the actual dollar amounts paid out in the pay-off (which, of course, were not their monies, but instead were ours).

But wait, there's more!

Which is the part that I find most egregious given that it was, to the best of my knowledge, completely ignored by the Lotuslandian proMedia....

Specifically, Mr. Whitmarsh was recently a business colleague of Mr. Gary Collins.

Here is how I described the business relationship between Mr. Whitmarsh and Mr. Collins (and its potential significance) at the time:

....Former RailGate era Finance Minister Gary Collins once worked for David Ho's now defunct Harmony Airways.

....Current Deputy Finance Minister Graham Whitmarsh, who helped Deputy AG David Loukidelis put together the super-secret $6 million dollar plea-copping bonus-baby deal that ensured that former Minister Collins would never have to testify, under oath, in front of transcripts of RCMP surveillance wiretaps, at the RailGate trial, also worked for Harmony back in the day.

But here's something we didn't know, courtesy of Sean Holman's fantastic archives over at Public Eye.....

.....Current Deputy Finance Minister Whitmarsh was 'relieved' of his duties at Harmony on Nov. 30th 2006.

....Former RailGate era Finance Minister Collins resigned from Harmony just one day later on Dec. 01 2006.

Which, in my opinion at least, means two more things.....

....Mr. Whitmarsh and Mr. Collins know each other because they both worked together as executives at the small, locally-based Harmony Airways at the same time.

....It is not unreasonable for a reasonable person to wonder if the government of British Columbia and, more specifically, the Premier of British Columbia under whose pleasure all deputy ministers serve, placed Mr. Whitmarsh in a conflict of interest by having him help work out a super secret deal that ultimately benefitted a previous close business associate.



Here is my question for the current Finance Minister, Mr. Colin Hansen:

"How, exactly, was it NOT a conflict of interest to have Mr. Graham Whitmarsh, who is a former business associate of Mr. Gary Collins, work out a deal that prevented Mr. Collins from testifying in open court, under oath, about his role, or lack thereof, in the (now established) illegal leaking of documents and information to private concerns regarding the longterm leasing of public assets then under the control of BC Rail?"


*I say, 'presumably' approved the dollar amounts because, despite what Rafe Mair suggested at the time, Vaughn Palmer let us 'know' that this would not have gone to mini-Treasury and/or Cabinet for approval due to a (well-designed?) technicality....Now, if true, wouldn't that have been an oh-so convenient cut-out of plausible deniability?.....For cabinet, Mr. Hansen, and the then (and still!) Premier maybe....But, in my mind it makes the potential conflict with respect to Mr. Whitmarsh's involvement all the more significant.....Alas, as noted above this potential conflict appears to have never been raised by the proMedia at the time....



Grant G said...

Don`t forget that Gary Collins(AKA The Trash man) got a vice president-ship at Belkorp and a big extension at Cache Creek landfill...He leaves Government will pension and prospects..

And...The Palmer(Pawn) on today`s cutting ledge show on cknw...

After caller after caller were wanting BC Rail answers(inquiry) and answers on the $6 mil legal defense payoff...

I`ll come back to that in a minute..Prior to that Bill Good got angry at a caller and bemoaned the fact that "there was a complete trial and the prosecutor saw every piece of evidence and there is nothing to be learned from an inquiry"...

I of course laughed...Hmm..1 1/2 witnesses of 40(complete trial?)...Hmmm...And according to Vaughn and Good`s logic...Who needs a judge for any trial, just take the word of a special prosecutor, Bill Good also blamed the defense team for all the delays in the trial...

Back to Vaughn Palmer...Our friend Vaughn then blurted out that the biggest most outspoken opponent at the time on BC Rail ...A Mr. Paul Nettleton last week wrote a letter to the editor where he endorsed Christy Clark and agrees with Christy Clark about no need for an inquiry...The Balderdash echoed the chorus!


RossK said...

Yes, Grant--

The Wurlitzering of the Nettleton Letter, as predicted, has begun.


Won't it be interesting if, say, Ms. Clark wins the Leadership and Mr. Nettleton pops up as a future BC Liberal Party candidate?

The real sad thing about all of this, of course, is the fact that, as was once stated explicitly by a pol who worked for Mike Harris (and little Johnny Baird), they count on proJourno's to fall back on this kind of 'insider' tripe.....Of course, what Mr. Palmer did NOT mention is the fact that the first three paragraphs of the Nettleton letter made it abundantly clear that the cheese is still reeking in his own private Denmark....Sheesh.


Don F. said...

Another aspect of that payment of six million tax dollars to stop this fiasco before it got too serious and too late to turn back was that there never was a breakdown requested on the public's behalf, it was, there you go thank you mam!
We are left not knowing what portion of that money was legal fees, disbursements, and what portion was for the actual bribery that occurred. Does any such document exist or was it just tell us how much and you got it.
The media should have been all over that but not a squeak.
They didn't feel they had to be accountable for one dime. it all happened so fast it couldn't possibly have been on the up and up.
An accounting of that payment should have been demanded on the public's behalf!

Don F. said...

Something I think we all are guilty of, I know I myself have been is that "that' trial was not about the sale of BC rail as such, it was about charges laid against three small players caught up in that sale.
That was the Basi/Virk trial!
Government and Media shout it from the rooftops that we had a trial and maybe we did sort of but it was a trial to determine the guilt of three men charged with accepting bribes and not even all the bribes were associated to BC rail, some were for ALR land in Sooke.That trial wasn't about the sale of BC Rail at all!
There has never been an investigation nor an inquiry about the sale of BC Rail to my knowledge, one that investigates the sale from inception to completion and what took place and by whom! It has never been addressed as a single issue. So for the likes of Bill Good and friend's I think when they say we had a trial that we should correct them and tell them that they are embarrassing themselves because they are talking about the Basi/Virk trial, there has never been a BC Rail trial.
An investigation into the sale of BC Rail must be requested, they can leave Basi/Virk out if they wish, we need an investigation dealing strictly with the sale of the railroad itself with no side tracking or diversions.We must treat it as though we are just staring out!

For What It's Worth said...

So, according to von Pawn: "Whitmarsh, acting on the recommendation of Loukidelis, signed off on all the paper work."

As well, we find Whitmarsh had been a working associate of the former Finance Minister, who was next in the docket awaiting his turn on the stand--to clear things, we can only presume.

Why, surely, this puts Whitmarsh in a CONFLICT OF INTEREST, thus joining him to a whole band of merry bandits who served private interests in obvious breach of their fiduciary responsibility to act on behalf of the best interests of the province.

RossK said...


I do not disagree.

I just want someone in the proMedia who has the access to put it to the Finance Minister directly rather than dancing around technicalities about the ins and outs of miniTreasury burgers.

Or some such goldarned thing.


kootcoot said...

FWIW - This comment has more value. My question is WHO that was involved in the trial DIDN'T have a CONFLICT OF INTEREST? I don't feel comfortable with the OH SO Special Prosecutor, the former AG, the current AG, the new (in)Justice, the RCMP officer leading the investigation, and that is just for starters.

British Columbia - Banana Republic of the North or the land that ethics and honour forgot!