Thursday, February 12, 2009

BASI-VIRK - BC Liberal MLAs caucus sends lawyer to block FOI disclosure of MLA communications

MLA talks not public: Lawyer


February 13, 2009

A lawyer representing the B.C. Liberal MLA caucus made a first appearance Wednesday at the B.C. Legislature raid case, asserting that communications between MLAs are not subject to disclosure from a defence Freedom of Information request.

Lawyer Ed Montague told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett that his appearance was solely due to an FOI request filed in July 2007 by lawyers representing David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi - three ex-government aides facing corruption charges related to the $1 billion sale of B.C. Rail.

Kevin McCullough, Virk's lawyer, said the FOI requests will ultimately be determined by Bennett, not the FOI Commissioner, because criminal charges are involved.

"Mr. Montague's clients took the position that their documents were not subject to FOI," McCullough said.

Montague said his "only involvement is regarding FOIs that may involve communications between members [of the Legislature]."

Basi's lawyer Michael Bolton disclosed that another defence FOI includes demands for cellphone records and datebooks of cabinet ministers and government staff.


The pre-trial hearing on FOI records resumes on Thursday February 19 for two weeks in BC Supreme Court.



Anonymous said...

I have a difficult time trying to understand why communication between cabinet ministers should be secret. I am paying a lot of money for them to do their job and I would like to know what they think. In fact I believe I have the right to know what they say. They only exception perhaps would be in personal matters. If the conversation is about policy, then we should know where they stand. Cut the secrecy!

Anonymous said...

If a single exculpatory window cannot be opened to a criminal court, then procedural rights of the accused - viz answer in defence - are breached to the point where prosecution is oppressive. Oppal was picked for AG - prior to his election - because they know he can suppress a B-V-B trial by ordering those who ride shotgun on his behalf, to sandbag disclosure demands, by right.

The B-V-B case will be like the Mulroney matter. It will be dropped and the legal fees of the accused will be paid by the public. Then, we will see disclosures that confirm that the criminal case was founded. By then, all culpable parties will be on OAP.

DPL said...

How many lawyers are involved in this case? The costs to date end up being paid for by the BC taxpayers, unless of course somebody is finally found guilty.

MLA's talking to each other shouldn't be the same as Cabinet Confidentiality. But even sometimes the Cabinet stuff has
appeared in courts. The Judge will be making the decision not some hired gun by a few MLA's.

Thanks again for keeping us up to date Bill. Do you ever get any down time from your assorted duties?

BC Mary said...

Many thanks for being there, Bill, otherwise it's possible that the public would never know about this development.

If I read this correctly, Ed Montague is arguing for a protective barrier of secrecy to be erected between the government and the people who elected them.

Surely this latest government lawyer didn't mean that only Basi, Virk, Basi should be blocked from using F.o.I. How fair is that? I think it means that they'd like to keep us all in the dark and uninformed.

I think it means that BC Liberals are willing to violate the most enlightened basic principle of parliamentary rule: that the people are sovereign.

The BC Liberal MLA Caucus doesn't even seem to care people in the public gallery on Wed., Feb. 11, 2009 would plainly see another government lawyer employed at this treacherous work. At public expense.

Wouldn't a responsible government be reassuring British Columbians that they are doing everything possible to clean up the province instead of hiding the evidence?

This latest attempt at secrecy is made even worse, when documents are needed by their own former employees.

I hope that Basi, Virk, and/or Basi will be so outraged that they begin to tell the BC Rail story as they lived it, all up close and personal. I think it would do wonders for them, for their future, and especially for the people of B.C.


Anonymous said...

So much for transparency. This is a sham! Wally Opal should be ashamed by this. His master, when sober, seems to have so much control. Maybe its time for the "mainstream" media to show up. Ha! They have no balls.

Anonymous said...

As I understand it, the issue is how many times the MLAs have been in contact with lobbyist's and how they handled those contacts.

We know that the Government refused to come clean on the dealings with Patrick Kinsella, surely there is information that the Government would hide rather than be transparent.

Anonymous said...

Jeez, the whole Basi Virk trial is full of information that Campbell would rather hide.

That's the central theme of this miserable parody of justice.

henripaul said...

legalized abuse of process is occurring before our eyes ,and what do we do, sit and watch.
The lawyers will screw with and screw up our system. If, the lawyers were so God Dam smart why then, are we in this world wide financial mess? After all its mostly ,if not all lawyers who are at the helms of the Governments ,Chairman of boards, CEOs, The Stock Exchanges,Heads of brokerage houses,In charge of the World monetary fund, etc,etc.

I recall hearing a few years back, a U.S. Congressman Lawyer, mention that Sonny Bono, (Sonny was the late husband of Cher) was not up to the challenge to be in the Congress, as he wasn't a lawyer, and they were there to make the laws.( in other words Sonny the layman was not smart enough to be in their presence)

What will the future hold for us here BC? Armed personal guards, to protect those leaders that have sabotaged the will and freedom of those of us who were honest and ignorant enough to believe in the rules of fair play, fair treatment of and by the Law.
Only a fool could be oblivious as to how much the people are disgusted with the government here in BC, along with the Judiciary, the RCMP for abusing and killing so many of our fellow citizens. The economy is tanking.
This B.C.Government is going to achieve something no other government has achieved here, a civil uprising, not necessarily large or all at once but in little pieces from many sectors, which will eventually undermine this despot and send him and his cronies running for asylum and protection to thier foreign bought friends. I can feel it coming, just as I feel the weather changes in my arthritic bones.

Anonymous said...

Well there is certainly a lot of "verbal texting" going on between this latest Basigate piece and the Where's Wally Crime Wave item from earlier this week.

But utimately all it is just "bitching", and Gordo and his neo-con friends know it.

So until the citizens of BC are prepared to do more than bitch and "waste" 20 minutes every four years in a voting booth nothing will ever change.

The formerly enslaved citizens of the Warsaw Pact states like . . . Poland, Hungary & East Germany were prepared more than once over 50 years to . . . take the fight for freedom to the streets.

I challege our puck-heads to put down there remotes, their beers, their joints and their celeb gossip-magazines and start earning their phoney freedoms.

Freedom is more than wasting your time worrying about the Canucks going to the play-offs, its reminding by "other means" our supposed leaders that they work for us . . . not their Swiss bank accounts.


Anonymous said...

Seeing as how there are 119 days before the next provincial election, and the fact that there is a gag law in place..... are we permitted to discuss this issue at all? OR is the larger question really is the blog administrator permitted to allow us to discuss the issue?

Anonymous said...

As far As I read the obscene gag law it is diected at how much money is spent. It doesn't cost anything to post on a blog. Correct? But then who knows what the gaggers really intended.

North Van's Grumps said...

We are about to embark on another provincial election and I have one question to ask..... Wouldn't it be easier for the BC Government to state what may be discussed during the election rather than having goon squads manning All Candidate Meetings reporting to the EMCEE that the question is out of order?????

Just what media type .... Editor... is going to take on the job of being the go-between in interpreting what is legal and what is not legal for the public to discuss. For heavens sake, not even columnist Vaughn Palmer of the Vancouver Sun doesn't knows the answer to that one and he has direct ask to the finest lawyers that the newspaper can muster.

BC Mary said...

Today is Monday February 16, 2009 and I've just discovered that there's a BC Supreme Court listing for the Basi Virk File #23299 for today.

Reason given: Application for records in possession of the Province of British Columbia.

Bill's information -- that a 2-week hearing begins on Thurs., Feb. 19 -- must be an extension of whatever is going on today.

It amazes me, how people are supposed to fulfill their responsibilities as good citizens by following this case as it develops. God knows, there's nothing in the newspapers.

But just watch, when somebody in the media does get around to reporting on the Basi Virk / BC Rail Case, they will be referring to the public as uncaring and "apathetic". JeeZ.

Chopped Liver, is more like it.


BC Mary said...

UPDATE at my blog:

There was no Basi-Virk today. The listing for File #23299 (Basi Virk's file) was first on the Public Access Supreme Court Criminal List this morning, 16-Feb-2009 but later vanished.

Robin Mathews explains more, at:

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to seewho
will be running for a very corrupt
liberal gov as they relate to all the taxpayers of BC. They are the worst trash ever to darken the halls of the legislature in Victoria. If the NDP had been in power for the last 8 yrs the Sun,Province,Times Colonist, CTV, CKNW. Global, The Fraser Institution and their inmates.and all the neocons outlets would have some anti NDP garbage on the tv's and Radio every day. Remember Glen Clark and Dave Stupich? Come on CKNW get with it. When you control 70% of the news you can cover up 70%of what's going on in Victoria.
I'm a first time commentator but
the liberals have to be taken to task.

Anonymous said...