Saturday, July 09, 2011

RailGate Reality Check...It's All In The Perceptions


Robin Mathews has a very good piece up at Mary's wherein he, as someone who was in court nearly everyday, gives his opinion on how the 6 million dollar deal went down, what it really meant for both the accused and the accusers, and where it came from.

The entire post is well worth the read.

But I want to highlight one point that Mr. Mathews has made a number of times before:

"...The appointment of (Special Prosecutor) William Berardino by a ministry whose Attorney General (Geoff Plant) had been Berardino’s (law) partner and colleague for seven years and whose Deputy Attorney General (Allan Seckel) had been his (law) partner and colleague for eleven years was plainly, outrageously wrongful....."


Mr. Mathews offers up a number of reasons why this appointment was wrong, many of which are based on his (i.e. Mr. Mathews) opinion of intent.

I cannot vouch for that opinion.

However, it is my own opinion that the original appointment of Mr. Berardino was wrong, if only from the point of view that it placed the Special Prosecutor in the position of being in a perceived conflict of interest. Furthermore, as the role of the particular Deputy Attorney General involved in the original appointment grew, often in leaps and bounds, the case could be made, in my opinion, that the potential for a perceived conflict also grew significantly.

All of which is interesting given how that potential has never been considered seriously by the proMedia, in either direction, given that the Deputy AG involved was ultimately catapaulted into the old Premier's office and then, when the new Premier moved in, was catapaulted out even more suddenly with the heftiest of hefty severance parachutes of $549,776 strapped to his back.

Which brings me to my final point regarding the potential for a perceived conflict which came not in the first, but instead in the last, act of the RailGate affair.

And that is the case of the Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr. Graham Whitmarsh, who together with the then Deputy AG David Loukidelis, made the call, last fall, to payout six million dollars from the public purse to bring the RailGate trial to a sudden end.

Why, in my opinion, had the good Mr. Whitmarsh, been placed in a position where he could potentially be perceived to be in a conflict of interest?

Because he recently worked at the same firm, not a lawfirm mind you, but instead at a now defunct Airline, that former Finance Minister, Mr. Gary Collins also worked at.

Why does that matter?

Well, don't forget, it was the good Mr. Collins, who was scheduled to appear as a witness, under oath, at the RailGate trial just before the six million dollar deal went down.

And who, allegedly, started the ball rolling on that deal?

Why, it was none other than that the very same, and very fine, Special Prosecutor discussed at the top of this post.


And my point here is?


Enterprising members of the proMedia need not to wait for Auditor General John Doyle to pass judgement on the six million dollar deal based on potentially privileged information that may never see the light of day.


Because there is all kinds of information lying around under the blazing hot July sun that they could use as a starting point to get to the bottom of this thing right now.

For example, why doesn't some sharp young reporter call Mr. Whitmarsh up and ask him, straight-up, if he ever worked directly with Mr. Collins at Harmony Airlines? Alternatively, they could call up Mr. Collins himself. Or, how about calling up their boss at the Airline back in the day (eg. 2006) and ask him if he ever had Mess'rs Collins and Whitmarsh work on projects together back then.

Then again, that particular former airline magnate may have other things on his mind at the moment that reporters might want to ask him about as well.




BC Mary said...


Wow ... wow ... wow!!!


ron wilton said...

I suppose Berardino will be appointed 'special' prosecutor to Ho's cases and Anne MacKenzie will be the judge.

RossK said...


It's all in the public record - much of it at your place.



I dunno about that....However, would it really surprise you if one of the juniors was appointed.


Anonymous said...

Too bad this is all fiction because the law is that special prosecutors are not appointed by a deputy attorney general and cannot be appointed by a deputy attorney general.

RossK said...


And, as Mr. Mathews stated in his piece, the appointment was through the Ministry.

Are you suggesting that the appointing Attorney General made the appointment decision in a vacuum and did not consult his Deputy regarding this appointment when he, and the AG that followed him, clearly relied heavily on this particular Deputy on many matters pertaining to this case over the years?

I would suggest the opposite was the case. And what supporting evidence would I offer to support my suggestion?

Well, the Premier himself, Mr. Gordon Campbell, made it clear just how involved this particular Deputy AG was, on the floor of the legislature, in response to a direct question from then Opposition Leader Ms. Carole James in May of 2007:


C. James: I certainly would expect that the Premier's office will be involved in deciding documents to go forward and not go forward. We've heard discussion previously about cabinet confidentiality and other questions that sometimes come up.

My question would be to the Premier. Will he commit to releasing documents without invoking privilege?

Hon. G. Campbell: Again, I would go back and say that obviously there are issues with regard to cabinet confidentiality that must be and would be considered in these issues. Having said that, my goal and the objective of the government throughout has been to proceed with an unfettered and, frankly, independent process.

There's a special prosecutor in place, and I will not be involved in those discussions. That has been delegated to the Deputy Attorney General, and he will make those decisions as he sees fit.


If I am demonstrably wrong in any of this, please feel free to point how, specifically, that is the case. Credible supporting evidence would be most appreciated.

And again, please note that that my point here was about the potential for perceived conflicts.



BC Mary said...


um, err ... something, something, something about David Ho (of Harmony Airline) in Vancouver Supreme Court for a pre-trial hearing on Friday, July 15 ...


RossK said...




Anonymous said...

the answer is section 7 of the Crown Counsel Act. Neither the Attorney General or the Deputy Attorney General have any role in appointing a special prosecutor. It is the Assistant Deputy Attorney General who appoints special prosecutors. If the AG or DAG do get involved they would have to publish directions to the Assistant Deputy Attorney General in the BC Gazette. Check the Gazette. There are no directions. Your theory is false.