Saturday, January 29, 2011

The United Nations...



I had to head over to the North Shore today.

Without the VW (notso)Microbus.

Which meant that I had to ride down to Waterfront Station.

And while I was waiting for the Seabus I sat on the steps and read yesterday's NYT cover story on the Olmert/Abbas negotiations and wondered if maybe, just maybe, pols that are in real trouble for doing stupid, corrupt things sometimes attempt to make things right by doing the really right thing.

And then I looked up from the dead-tree/no-kindle version of the paper and noticed that I was surrounded by the entire youth wing of the United Nations.....

Snow Board Division.....



Saturday, January 15, 2011

We Only Do.....


Big work build-up at the moment...So...Please consider this a kinda/sorta Mama Mea Half-A-Cuppa regarding the recent relative know...The usual stuff...


Sunday, January 09, 2011

The New Project Is....



I have no idea if any of the results will ever see the light of day.

But the first offering, called 'Where The Open Doors Go', debuted today at Trout Lake.

And nobody screamed or covered their ears.

And that included the dogs too.

Last year it was 'Busking'....The inspiration for this new project comes from these folks who played at our house recently and who, get this, wrote a song a day for most of last summer....
Now, it might seem weird for somebody to pick up such a new found musical obsession, especially when you're my age and your voice is at least hundred times as shakey as, and maybe a hundred times less real than Bruce Berry's ever was...But, as I explained to my old friend G., who taught me few Neil songs (and a whole lot more) way back when we worked at summer camp together, it's actually kind of exciting in that weird, dive-right-in-because-you-don't-know-any-better teenagery kind of way...


Wednesday, January 05, 2011

George Abbott's Limited Hangout On RailGate


Well, well, well....

If you weren't really paying attention you may have come to the conclusion that one of the horses running in the middle of the BC Liberal Party Leadership Race pack, Mr. George Abbott, actually called for an inquiry into the selling-off of BC Rail yesterday.


Mr. Abbott most definitely did not call for a wide-ranging inquiry into what really went down when the real deal was done.

Instead, Mr. Abbott suggested that he might be amenable to a narrowly-focussed inquiry that looked ONLY into the 6 million dollar pay-off that put a sudden stop to the Basi-Virk-Basi trial just when it was getting down to brass tacks.

Dharm Makwana best described what Mr. Abbott really said in 24 Hrs. Here is his lede:

George Abbott is only willing to dig so deep into the B.C. Rail scandal.

At a press conference announcing his policy platform in Vancouver Tuesday, the B.C. Liberal Party leadership hopeful said he would not entirely close the door on a full-scale public inquiry on the influence-peddling affair. Instead, he would rather focus government’s attention on the taxpayer funded $6 million settlement paid to cover the legal expenses of David Basi and Bob Virk.....


There are two things worth considering here.

Number One....The other horse running in the middle-of-the pack is Mike de Jong, who most definitely WAS involved in, at the very least, the approval of the pay-off.

Number Two...Why, precisely, would one of Mr. Abbott's political advisors, a fine fellow named Mr. Mark Jiles, who is also a principal in the most excellent strategic communications firm known as the 'Progressive Group' along with one of Ms. Christy Clark's political advisors, Mr. Patrick Kinsella, counsel his horse to call for a wide-ranging inquiry into anything and everything concerning the sell-off , including the terms and, most especially, the deliverables of this particular contract?

It is worth noting that, according to Mr. Vaughn Palmer, the good Mr. Kinsella advised Ms. Clark during her doomed attempt to win the NPA's mayoral nomination r way back in 2005.
Meanwhile...... Ron Obvious once again attempts to eat Chichester Cathedral AND simultaneously swallow the limited hang-out.... Hook, line and sinker.


Monday, January 03, 2011

RailGate Remainders...Our Questions Continued...The Demand.


Number 7.

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.


To the best of our knowledge the current BC Liberal government Finance Minister, Mr. Colin Hansen, has not yet answered our Question #8 wherein we asked him, Mr. Hansen, to explain how, exactly, having a former business colleague of Mr. Collins who is now a Deputy Minister assigned to the current Minister (ie. to Mr. Hansen) was not in a conflict of interest when he (ie. the current Deputy Minister) helped put together the deal that ended the trial abruptly such that the former Minister (ie. Mr. Collins) did not have to testify, under oath.

One question we do not have to ask, however, is whether, if he had testified, the former Minister (ie. Mr. Collins) would have been asked about a dinner he had with the then heads of the American railway company OmniTRAX, whose money was being used to bribe Mr. Collins' former aide, the now convicted criminal (as the still current Premier, Mr. Gordon Campbell noted), Mr. David Basi, on Dec. 12th, 2003 (ie. less than three weeks before the Raids on the B.C. Legislature).

Why do we know that Mr. Collins would have been asked about this dinner at the trial if he had testified under oath?

Well, because during the pre-trial, way back in February of 2007 (ie. when there was still no court-imposed publication ban) we were told that the RCMP had surveillance tapes of that dinner. Here is the story from that time according Neal Hall writing in the VSun:

The RCMP conducted a "massive" surveillance operation to spy on a meeting involving former finance minister Gary Collins as part of the investigation that led to the 2003 raid on the B.C. Legislature, according to court documents filed Monday.

An application for disclosure by the defence in the case says the RCMP engaged in a "massive surveillance operation" to document a Dec. 12, 2003, meeting involving Collins and executives from OmniTRAX, a company that had been bidding in the sale of BC Rail but did not win.

"The surveillance included undercover operatives both inside and outside the restaurant and extensive video surveillance and tracking of the parties," read the 32-page application submitted by the defence....

As you can imagine, at the time there was much conjecture about what was said and, perhaps more to the point, what may have or what may not have been on 'offer' at that dinner at the finest-of-the-fine Villa del Lupo restaurant between Mr. Collins and the OmniTRAX executives.

So, given all that, it is not surprising that a few weeks later the good Mr. Collins, through his lawyer Mr. Clark Roberts, demanded the full release of all the Villa del Lupo dinner tapes.
Here is how Mark Hume reported on that story in the The Globe in the Spring of 2007:

Former finance minister Gary Collins yesterday called on the Crown to release any police surveillance material it has of him from a 2003 meeting with U.S. business executives concerning the government sale of BC Rail.

Speaking through his lawyer, Clark Roberts, Mr. Collins said if the police did tape his meeting with OmniTRAX Inc., a company that failed in a bid for BC Rail, it should be made public because it will only prove that he did nothing wrong while handling the $1-billion sale of the state-owned rail line.

"If there is any surveillance, Mr. Collins says it should be disclosed because it will completely reveal that he wasn't involved [in any wrongdoing]," Mr. Roberts said......


Given that, thanks at least in part to the actions of a current Deputy Finance Minister (ie. the good Mr. Graham Whitmarsh, who not long ago worked with the former Finance Minister at the most excellent, but no longer operating, David Ho-owned Harmony Airlines), the heat is now off due to the pay-off, we would like to ask Mr. Collins the following question:

"Are you, Mr. Collins, still demanding that the Crown Release the Villa Del Lupo Wiretaps, in full, that recorded your conversation with the heads of OmniTRAX, in December of 2003...

....Yes or No?"

Still need more background?....Well, despite what he may or may not be saying now, even the good Mr. Vaughn Palmer wondered aloud, in the public prints, about what may or may not have been going down way, way back in late 2006.
Finally, given the timeline, there may (or may not) be some stuff that could come out (very soon?) in certain 'memos', which appear to have, perhaps, been written by the good Mr. Basi himself, that may or may not relate to a certain series of phone calls he (ie. Mr. Basi) allegedly had with co-convicted former government aide Mr. Robert Virk on or about Nov. 17, 2003 that, allegedly, focussed on OmniTrax and certain, potential again alleged 'offerings'....It is worth noting that these alleged phone calls, and purported records relating to them, were reported on previously in the public prints, again based on something raised at pre-trial, back in December of 2007...We wrote about that then un-bylined CP story, and its potential implications, at the time, here.


Sunday, January 02, 2011

Our Busking Year....Week 52....The End.


This is it folks...

This time it's Bigger E and me (with a wandering Rosalita) out at Iona Point as the sun sets on a cold, crisp New Year's Day, 2011.

The song is called 'I Bid You Goodnight' which is a traditional gospel song done by lots of folks, most notably perhaps the Neville Brothers.

Here we do the Mic Christopher/Glen Hansard busking version which was filmed for posterity by our good friend Donal Scannell in 2001 before Mr. Christopher passed away far, far too soon.

Rather than link to it, we offer it to you here because, as you can see by the tagline in the header to this place, it served as a major inspiration for our Busking project in the first place....

Thanks everyone for your encouragement....Damn....My kid sure can sing.