Friday, July 03, 2009

Victoria Times-Colonist demands Premier Campbell launch independent public investigation into missing BC Rail - Basi-Virk emails

Today the Victoria Times-Colonist demanded Premier Gordon Campbell launch an independent public investigation into the disappearance of years worth of emails between cabinet ministers regarding the sale of BC Rail - emails sought by the defence in the Basi-Virk case.

The Times-Colonist says it has the potential to become the largest political scandal of the decade.

This is a most welcome development - one can only hope more organizations and individuals make the same demand - which originated with the NDP opposition.

Here's part of the
Times-Colonist editorial, with a link to the whole item.

* * * * *

Missing e-mail inquiry needed


Victoria Times Colonist

July 3, 2009

New Democrat Leonard Krog is right. Premier Gordon Campbell should order an independent, public investigation into the apparent loss of four years of e-mails regarding the sale of B.C. Rail.

The destruction of the provincial cabinet and executive staff e-mails from 2001 through 2005 was revealed last month in the B.C. Supreme Court, where three former government employees are being tried in a corruption case. The charges against them were laid in the wake of police raids on the legislature in December 2003.

Justice Elizabeth Bennett has ruled that the e-mails of 15 MLAs and former MLAs dealing with government and the Pilothouse lobbying firm and sent in 2003 or 2004, are likely relevant to the case. This week, she granted a defence application to get the records.

There is still a problem with the e-mails of the premier and cabinet ministers. Court has been told that the government's backup tapes are only kept for 13 months and those e-mails are gone.

Given the importance of cabinet discussions -- especially on matters such as the B.C. Rail deal -- that statement would indicate the government's information management system needs a complete overhaul.

Less important government documents are still available, after all. Why were the B.C. Rail ones destroyed? And why were at least some of them destroyed after the legislature raids, when there was no doubt the matter would be going before the courts? Did no one think these e-mails might matter?

.....This has the potential to become the largest political scandal of the decade. Even if those e-mails have all been destroyed, the government should still take steps to stop further losses.


Eleanor Gregory said...

Good for the TC. I hope other media outlets follow.

G West said...

My, isn't that special...Do you suppose the Times Colonist is read by those compromised skeptics in the legislative gallery - Baldrey and Palmer?

Given their effusions about this whole thing being little more than something for conspiracy buffs and whackos to waste their time on I think it would be kind of interesting to hear their reactions...

The CEO is being kind of quiet these days Bill, don’t you think?

blaffergassted said...

That's a Canwest newspaper!

DPL said...

Thanks as usual for passing along the editorial from the T/C today. Now the judge has talked about certain emails and the local paper and now your blog, maybe just maybe Saint Gordo will decide its' time to fess up. All those emails wern't eaten by someones dog. We live in a strange political system.
Good questions as usual on Voice of BC this week

Anonymous said...

Vaughn Palmer is on vacation, seriously.

Anonymous said...

Amazing . . . after five + years (and of course just after the election) BC's beautiful mainstream media have become angry about BASIGATE!

Have these butT-kissers no shame ??!!


Anonymous said...

But don't you lefties always blame Canwest and mainstream media for being "biased" and part of some vast right wing conspiracy theory ?

How can it possibly be that Canwest owned TC can side with the NDP ? What will the NDP conspiracy crowd say now ?

Anonymous said...

Probably will be treated like lobby reform.

Anonymous said...

Siding with the NDP!

What ARE you talking about?

It's the PEOPLE of British Columbia the editorial is talking about - they're the ones being cheated and taken for fools - the fact we're now living in a culture where ethics and the rule of law, telling the truth and being accountable and responsible now COUNT FOR NOTHING is the problem....

It should be a concern of every citizen - not just the editorial board of the Times Colonist...the NDP can't save this province - only the people can.

Anonymous said...

"What will the NDP conspiracy crowd say now ?"

It's about bloody time?

Anonymous said...

The T/C's "Pravda" editorial is simply an attempt to isolate itself from future fallout should Basigate ever get into a full-blown trial.

And consider that the T/C's "Isvestia" piece happens only weeks after the election, the Campbellites can still look forward to at least three years of good news propaganda from BC's FREE-RIDE Press.

The T/C should stick to what it does best . . . covering breaking news from the Oak Bay Tea Party.


DPL said...

For a long time people have been commenting on the lack of news media coverage on the RC Rail deal. Some have written chastizing assorted media folks for not spening more time on the issue. The often media response was the lack of movement in the court as the usual"Before the courts" statement from the now no longer in politics used to get rattled off so often. Now the T/C actually writes an editorial asking for the same things others have asked for, only to be rebuked by a few folks. Sure they work for CanWest but interst is rising so let's not shoot the messengers.The subject has been raised a number of times on TV in Voice of BC, in the Globe and Mail and of course this blog. Some folks will not be satisfied with a court actually getting some other folks sworn in and hopefully some resolution. Tar and feathers will be needed to satisfy some folks. Keep reporting Bill and we will continue to follow your blog as the place to go to find out the latest on this long in the tooth saga.

DPL said...

Hi Bill
I don't wish to fill your website with repeated comments on any subject but thought you might be interested in this letter in the T/C today(Saturday)

Government record policy overhaul urged
Times ColonistJuly 4, 2009
Re: "Missing e-mail inquiry needed," July 3.

For a decade now, I've been urging successive governments to modernize the B.C. government's records and information management, root and branch. Government is becoming more digital by the day, so it's more important than ever to tackle this challenge and do it now.

It's not a vote-getter, but it's critically important that government information be accessible in order to ensure openness and transparency and to enable government to serve the public in a timely and cost-effective way.

If we want 21st-century government, government has to ensure that its information management isn't vintage 20th century.

David Loukidelis

Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia

Bill Tieleman said...

Thanks very much DPL - your comments are always welcome here!

Anonymous said...

Thank-you Bill!!! If it weren't for your documentation of the court proceedings and BCMary's website I would know nothing of this shameful travesty against the people of regard to B.C. Rail sale and transfer of lands to CN,( sorting out the relevent and lack of the important material BEFORE there even is a trial since 2003???)of Basi-Virk .
Hear this, Justice delayed is justice denied, Mr. Campbell, because I know you have people monitoring this website.Until Mr. Campbell comes clean and supplies the original e-mails he is denying justice.
I do not read the Vancouver Sun/Province or any other CanWest rag which is just there to "manage" and distract public opinion from the important issues of our regions.

islandcynic said...

David Loukedelis's letter is laying blame on the antiquated record keeping system. Now lets not jump to conclusions here. It is entirely possible that this information has been deliberately erased, and an enquiry needs to be done asap. How is the public going to get this? The fox is guarding the henhouse....

Anonymous said...

Norman Farrell said...

Vaughan Palmer has reported various negative details of the BCR affair. He just hasn't done so with passion or any sense of outrage. Business writer Harvey Enchin has been a rah-rah type for the railroad sale, promoting that shamelessly and blaming the old "bloated and overpaid" workforce for "insurmountable problems." Enchin pays no respect to the economic and social development aims of Bennett the elder and successors when the PGE/BCR was expanded. But then, bean counters do focus on beans.

The worst of the major media on the BCR story (and others) IMO is the omnipresent Keith Baldrey. Details here:

Anonymous said...

Hi Bill
Honduras has refused the entry of am ex President.I didn't catch his name but he was told he would be charged with TREASON if he reentered Why do acts of TREASON exist in other counties,but not Canada? In my opinion there are governments and corporations that should be charged with acts of TREASON here in Canada.
I would welcome comments on why
Campbell is not being charged with TREASON. Which is #1The crime of betraying one"s country and #2 Any
betrayal of trust.
He and his government certainly qualify.

Gary L. said...

How could all this cover-up have been going on under the former A.G. Wally Oppal's watchful eye? He is such "an affable dinner speaker" says Bill Goode, Christy Clarke, Michael Smyth, and other people in the know. I guess that just wasn't enough qualities to get the job done.

Skookum1 said...

"We can't comment, it's before the courts...and we're too busy getting rid of the evidence - before we are...."

kootcoot said...

"Anonymous said...
Vaughn Palmer is on vacation, seriously."

Let's see, Gordon Campbell seems to be on vacation as well. Could they be together somewhere working on Vaughn's upcoming columns of puffery for the looters and polluters?

And Norm who singled out Squirrel Cheeked Baldrydash as "The worst of the major media on the BCR story (and others)" hit a home run! I will also give Baldrydash extra style points for overall smugness!

from a certified BC Rail "cult" member!