Monday, March 02, 2009

CN, others knew "actual value of bids" for BC Rail before $1 billion privatization, CP Rail alleges in confidential government documents

B.C. Rail bids known: CP

By BILL TIELEMAN, 24 HOURS March 3, 2009

Canadian Pacific Railway alleged that the "actual value of the bids" in the $1-billion privatization of B.C. Rail in 2003 were known by winning bidder Canadian National and others before a decision was made by the B.C. government, according to newly released confidential government documents.

The explosive allegation was made in a letter to Ken Dobell, Premier Gordon Campbell's then-Deputy Minister, on Nov. 17, 2003 - just eight days before the sale of B.C. Rail to CN was announced.

The letter is part of 8,000 pages of documents ordered released by B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett last week in response to an NDP court application.

The information was obtained through Freedom Of Information requests by defence counsel acting for David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi, three former government aides facing corruption charges related to the sale of B.C. Rail.

CPR dropped out of the bidding, calling the process "unfair" because it believed the B.C. government leaked confidential B.C. Rail information to CN, giving that company a clear advantage in preparing its bid.

The letter from Marcella Szel, CPR vice-president strategy and law, says that its "market intelligence" showed "that CN was speaking directly to B.C. Rail shippers about their bid, with what we must consider the approval of the [B.C. Rail] Evaluation Committee, since the confidentiality agreement clearly stated no such discussions were to be held without consent."

"This feedback included the marketplace being aware of the actual value of the bids," Szel told Dobell.

The letter was sent three days after a Vancouver Sun story Nov. 14, 2003 speculated CN would be announced as the winning bidder - a story that CPR says the government leaked.

The documents show that both CP Rail and Burlington Northern Santa Fe - which was supporting the bid of OmniTRAX - sent letters to the B.C. government in November 2003 bitterly denouncing the leak of confidential B.C. Rail information to Canadian National, the eventual winning bidder.



Anonymous said...

Yawn -

If NDP was doing the tender, they would not even have allowed the other 2 from bidding because they are American or have ties with Bush.

Get a life.

There is no evidence that the gov leaked the info (if it were leaked). Any clerk could have leaked it. This is what happens when a government is in the railroad business. They should not be in this business in the first place.


NRF said...

Participants knew the BC Rail bidding was rigged, decided in advance. We cannot be surprised since that is the preferred method of Gordon Campbell's Government on transactions of considerable size.

Small contracts are awarded with stringent rules to ensure "fair and open tendering." Large contracts are separated from that process and dealt to friends and associates.

Anonymous said...

Could the leak simply have been a signwriter who was busy working on another one of those Photo Ops that Gordon Campbell embraces so much. Or, maybe it was printer, who was busily preparting the documents that the various BC Liberal politicians needed to read from while standing at the podium, as winners.

Anonymous said...

Ha, ha, ha, the smoking gun, but will CanWest Global or Bill Boring go with it; feature it?

Nope, Nada, Not a chance.

Gordon Campbell and his cronies have gotten away with it because the major media will not report it. Remember Glen Clark and his Sun-deck or his hunting knife? Small potatoes compared with $1 billion BC Rail.

Teflon Gordo is Teflon because the media will not hound him, will not report negatively on him. The only Newspaper to date that told the real story of Gordo's 'Maui Wowie' was Potvin's wee "Republic".

BC is in an age of total corruption, by politicians, the media, and big business. History will just shakes its head on recent events.

coaster said...

OOPS.... I hope the spelling is correct on the 24 Hours headline!

coaster said...

This must be grounds for a public enquiry. I wonder why CP has not pursued legal action... if nothing else, violation of the confidentiality agreements.

Anonymous said...

Another Olympic scandal that actually is proceeding to trial, that our Liberal cabal may be concerned about (and the foriegn press) - the case for compensation due to Canada Line deception and devastation - March 16th set for a three week trial.

Every level of government, and all partners in this project vs. families who had their livelihoods ripped out from under them.

Best Place on Earth?

March 16th - BC Supreme Court.

Agatha Christie said...

You're a 'journalist', yet your blog is full of evidence of your own bias. Nice pictures with your NDP overlords. News and opinion are not the same thing.

DPL said...

Sleazy bunch running this province.
Wonder what Krog will be asking questions about today in the house?

There must be more gems of information in those 8000 pages.

Who leaked the emails, well let's not blame the spear carrier messenger, but the folks who did the emails. CP Rail as well as the BC tax payers got the shaft. No comment says Stone waaly, its before the court. Anazing just how much of this governemtns actions end up before assorted courts

Bill Tieleman said...

I must say I'm enjoying the nasty comments on my blog stories from BC Liberal apologists - are you working from home or are you in Legislature Room 223? :)

Gazetteer said...


Speaking of bias, just how much money has CN given to the BC Liberal Party since the deal went down?

Oh ya, here it is.


baxman said...

A David G McLean donated $2450.00 to the Liberal Party of BC in 2006.
Could this be the same David G McLean who is CEO of CN?

Dawn Steele said...

Yah, I had the same thought scrolling down the comments Bill - definitely a new pattern for your blog and very predictable. Took me back to the expose a year or two back on how the Liberals would stack the talk show lines with staffers pretending to be average joes making flattering comments about the leader.

I'm OK with critics genuinely challenging you when partisanship gets the better of you, but the vacuous attacks from transparent plants are really creepy.

Anonymous said...

C'mon Bill there is election fever in the air and the BC Liberal Media Spinners are earning some of the pay they are receiving.

Always try to Attack!! Isn't that the method on that memo??

Keep on reviewing those docs!

Bill Tieleman said...

FOOTNOTE - I've just checked my "Network Location" stats and I'm pleased to report that visits from "Province of BC" have rocketed into 3rd place and now surpassed Rogers Cable, Uniserve, Sympatico, Coast DCC Net and everyone else!

Only Shaw Cable and Telus Internet subscribers are visiting in greater numbers than provincial government users!

Thanks all and keep coming back!

Province of BC said...

I don't think there is anything to be amused about in any of these posts! I am not amused.

BC Mary said...

Thanks for the chuckle, as we imagine all those devotees rushing with their tiny pails to put out the latest spot-fires.

This morning, Times Colonist was busy explaining to us (see Les Leyne's column, "BC Rail Case buried in political trivia") that the 15 folders of secret documents have ... (nudge, nudge) ... no significance. Yeah, right.

Only The Globe and Mail seems willing to tell us how Extreme Media Monitoring was (is?) going on in Premier Gamble's government 24 hours a day, 7 day a week ... I was shocked. Shocked, I tell you.

I mean, is that even legal -- in an open and democratic society -- to be using public tax-money for political purposes? to tell us that Black is White, or Green? Secretly?

And then -- moving right along -- telling us about budget deficits?

OK, I maybe exaggerate. But maybe it's time to start asking the really big qustions. The tough questions. Let's hear some deathbed confessions from CanWest before they expire.


ROSARIO said...


North Van's Grumps said...

I just love Election BC's PCS files that fit nicely into a spreadsheet for quick calculations. As Gazetteer points out at 10:04am

Eg. Canadian National Railway contributions to the BC Liberals has been:


On October 21, 2008 the Principal Officer for CNR, one DAVID MCLEAN, made a double payment of $4,000 in other words $8,000.

I wonder why?

Ahh yes, there was two By-elections in October 2008 for Vancouver-Burrard and Vancouver-Fairview, where the NDP won both.

NRF said...

The Mclean Group has been allied to provincial government insiders for years. Their interests coincide. Other than rail, examine the film production industry. Vast sums are spent or foregone by the BC government and Mclean is a large beneficiary inside the industry. Mind you, real estate developers have always gone hand in hand with politicians. I repeat my suggestion that land development is key to the BCR sale.

Anonymous said...

1. Now we are really beginning to see why your office and your computer were broken into those many months back, Bill. They were scared, and they had a right to be. Keep up the good work and Illegitimi non carborundum - ever.

2. BC Mary, I imagined our own Lady MacCampbell, saying, "Out spot(-fire), out!"


Anonymous said...


on the private flight to Beijing was Canaccord Capital chairman Peter Brown, a VANOC board member who has together with his firm donated hundreds of thousands to the B.C. Liberal Party.

Gazetteer said...

Have to wonder....

What is it with trolls and perspiration?