Monday, January 29, 2007

Former Liberal Party of Canada in BC President Jamie Elmhirst was subpoenaed to testify in Basi-Virk trial 3 months before resigning

January 29, 2007

Former Liberal president to testify


The president of the Liberal Party of Canada's B.C. branch was under subpoena for over three months to testify in the upcoming breach of trust trial of former provincial government aides David Basi and Bob Virk before resigning his position in January.

Lobbyist Jamie Elmhirst quit as president Jan. 15 but was subpoenaed by police Oct. 4, 2006 to testify. His letter of resignation to the party makes no mention of the subpoena, instead stating he was leaving to concentrate on his business and upcoming wedding.

Elmhirst, a former aide to B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell and former federal Liberal cabinet minister David Anderson, was a business partner of Erik Bornmann and Brian Kieran in the now-defunct Victoria lobby firm Pilothouse Public Affairs.

Both Bornmann and Kieran will testify as crown witnesses against Basi, Virk and B.C. Liberal government communications aide Aneal Basi in the trial starting April 2.

On Dec. 28, 2003, the same day police searched the B.C. Legislature and other locations, a search warrant was executed on Pilothouse offices.

The charges allege that David Basi and Virk were bribed to provide confidential information on the $1-billion privatization of BC Rail to Bornmann, who was a lobbyist for OmniTRAX, one of the bidders. Aneal Basi is accused of money laundering.

Information obtained by 24 hours shows police served Elmhirst and Kieran with subpoenas Oct. 4, 2006 while Bornmann was subpoenaed on Sept. 28, 2006.

In an interview with 24 hours Elmhirst denied the subpoena had anything to do with his resignation as president.

"My reasons for resigning are contained in my letter," he said.

When asked if he informed the Liberal Party of Canada that he had been subpoenaed to testify in the Basi-Virk trial, Elmhirst said: "I don't have any comment on that."

But a national citizens' watchdog group says federal Liberal Party members should have been told about Elmhirst's upcoming role as a witness in the trial.

"The members of the party certainly have a right to know," Duff Conacher, coordinator of Democracy Watch, told 24 hours from Ottawa. "It's not something in that type of leadership position that should be kept from party members."

Elmhirst served as LPCBC president for two years.


Elmhirst took over as senior partner from Kieran on April 1, 2006 after Pilothouse was renamed K&E Public Affairs.

A variety of clients paid Elmhirst to lobby the provincial government in 2006 according to the Lobby Registry, including the New Car Dealers of BC, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, the British Columbia Association of Optometrists and the BC Dental Hygienists Association.

Elmhirst joined Mark Marissen, Paul Martin's former top BC supporter, in endorsing Stephane Dion for leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. Marissen was Dion's National Campaign Director for the campaign and is now co-chair of the Liberal Party's National Election Readiness Committee.

For more on the BC Legislature Raid case, related Tyee stories:

BC Leg Case Lurches to Life
Erik Bornman: 'Spiderman' in a Web of Intrigue
Leg Raid Case: New Charges, New Questions
Premier Scrambles to 'Restore Trust'Raids: How Big a Scandal?


Anonymous said...

Why am I not surprised about your story Bill! This raises even more troubling questions about this whole affair. It seems obvious to me Elmhirst will be supporting his former business partners Kieran and Bornmann who have both admitted to bribing public officials. Finally why wasn't Elmhirst upfront with his own executive. Good work Bill.

BC Mary said...

Good information, Bill. You must wonder, at times, why it's about as
easy to obtain these facts as it is to pull hens' teeth.

I often wonder about OmniTRAX ... they, in the end, didn't get much for their efforts to participate in the bidding on BC Rail. But why are they so silent. Oh. Right. There's still Roberts Bank in the future ... maybe.

Many thanks.


Budd Campbell said...

More intesting information, Bill. Clearly, there is a lot of federal exposure in this case.

I wonder if I can persuade you to consider another Liberal's activities, those of Perley Holmes. The Dion people are embarassed now to have had him as a supporter, which is understandable. But their nervousness about the whole thing suggests there is more to come.

Anonymous said...

I went to school with Jamie and Erik. I'm not surprised in the least that Erik has ended up in this puddle, but am disappointed that Jamie has. He was made of better stuff. He was up to antics in school too, sure, but I wouldn't expect him to still be doing it ten years later.

Anonymous said...

He is TESTIFYING. Not charged with anything. In real life that is a good thing to do.

Anonymous said...

I am quite aware he is testifying. I am also quite aware that you don't have to be charged with something to have negative aspersions cast in your direction. Not everything is a criminal offence. The notion that someone is squeaky clean simply because they haven't been charged, or proven criminally guilty, is hogwash. Ask Ron Goldman. Indeed, sometimes the reverse can also be true.

The fact is that Jamie Elmhirst has found himself a partner and compatriot of people who have been accused of doing very questionable, and even criminal things. That, my friend, is not a good position to be in.

Anonymous said...

Elmhirst was subpoenaed to testify. Don't make it sound like he volunteered out of the goodness of his heart.