Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New Basi-Virk judge says anticipate trial in early January; defence unconvinced

BC Rail corruption case may finally be heard - or not

By Bill Tieleman, 24 hours columnist

The new B.C. Rail corruption case judge says the trial should begin in early January 2010 – six years after police raided the B.C. Legislature.

Justice Anne MacKenzie told her first court hearing since taking over from Justice Elizabeth Bennett that she is intent on moving quickly to the trial of former B.C. government ministerial aides David Basi and Bob Virk for alleging leaking confidential B.C. Rail sale documents to lobbyists representing a bidder.

“You can anticipate that this trial will start in early January - that’s a reasonable assumption,” MacKenzie said.

But defence lawyer Kevin McCullough, representing Virk, was not convinced.

"I don't think disclosure will be completed," McCullough told MacKenzie.

"I do Mr. McCullough," MacKenzie replied sharply.

“This trial was going to start in November 2005,” McCullough pointed out while objecting to MacKenzie’s proposed schedule for remaining defence applications. "Mr. Justice [Patrick] Dohm said it was."

"I don't want to get off on the right foot - I want to be of help to the court," McCullough continued.

"You have been Mr. McCullough - I'd like to hear from the Crown," MacKenzie responded, cutting the defence lawyer off.

NDP MLA Leonard Krog was impressed with MacKenzie’s zeal to proceed.

“The train has a new engineer and she wants more coal in the fire box,” Krog said outside court. “She intends to drive this.”

"You get the feeling this judge is going to take a stronger view," Krog said, while being careful not to criticize Bennett's term in charge of the case. Krog is both NDP critic for the attorney general and a lawyer himself.

But defence lawyer Michael Bolton, representing Basi, was more cautious when asked if the trial will indeed begin in January.

"It all depends on the 11B motion," Bolton said, referring to a defence application that will argue the accused's Charter rights have been violated by not having their trial heard within reasonable time limits.

"Is there prejudice suffered by the accused?" Bolton asked.

The other reason the trial could be delayed - or not take place at all - is the impending decision of the Supreme Court of Canada on the issue of whether a secret witness will be heard under extremely restrictive circumstances.

Special Prosecutor Bill Berardino appealed a decision by Bennett that defence lawyers could be present in court when information about the secret witness or informer was discussed. Berardino objected, saying he wanted only the judge and his team in court, with defence, media and the public barred to ensure the witness was not identified.

Bennett disagreed, as did the BC Court of Appeal when Berardino requested it overturn her decision, leading himto take his appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Supreme Court of Canada heard the appeal in a one day hearing in April but has not yet rendered its decision.

The next court date is October 13 at 10 a.m. with three days set for BC Rail document issues.

December 1 was set down for hearing the Charter of Rights Section 11B application, which is expected to take five to eight days.

NOTE: A version of this story will appear in 24 hours newspaper on Thursday.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Believe nothing BC Liberals say - they don't either, record shows

Broken Promises Pile Up

Add kids with autism to folks double-crossed by Campbell government

Bill Tieleman's 24 hours/The Tyee column

September 29, 2009

By Bill Tieleman

A BC Liberal government will increase emphasis on early childhood intervention programs for families with special needs children."

- BC Liberal Party election platform, 2001

Whether it's cutting autism treatment programs, slashing public libraries, chopping school athletic activities or shutting down arts funding, the B.C. Liberal government has made one thing clear: believe nothing it says.

Last week, Ministry of Children and Families Minister Mary Polak announced that a $5 million early and intensive intervention program for children with autism will be killed in January.

Polak claimed the move came because "we were not seeing any appreciable improvements in the outcomes for those kids" and that the money would be redistributed to increase funding for other autism programs.

But parents of about 70 children in the program furiously disagree with her assessment, saying it's dead wrong.

Victoria mother Nicole Strong calls the BC Liberal move "devastating" for her three-year-old son Isaac.

"For them to say that there would be no appreciable difference when you actually get 13 hours more of therapy [a week] is ridiculous," Strong says.

And then Autism Society of B.C. president Michael Lewis pointed out the additional $2,000 per year redirected from early intervention to other programs barely covers the extra cost that imposing the Harmonized Sales

Tax will have on families using autism services!

This after B.C. Liberals also said in 2005 they would: "Build the best system of support in Canada for persons with disabilities, special needs, children at risk and seniors."

Crushed and discarded

It's the same story everywhere -- Premier Gordon Campbell and his government breaking their word faster than a bull in a china shop turns tea cups into trash.

Here's another
classic Campbell quote from November 4, 2006: "And we also plan to invest in playgrounds and places that celebrate the arts and physical activities."

But now Campbell has cut arts funding almost 90 per cent by 2011, from $19.5 million to just $2.25 million.

Says William Gibson, the acclaimed B.C. science fiction author of Neuromancer: "This is governance guaranteed to rot the fabric of our province's future."

And Campbell's government just eliminated the entire $130,000 B.C. School Sports funding that allows the group to organize athletic programs at every high school in the province.

But don't worry. Education Minister Margaret MacDiarmid says young athletes can cope by: "Doing more walking or dancing or playing in parks."

Said B.C. School Sports executive director Sue Keenan: "We never in our wildest dreams ever imagined this province would cut us totally."

Perhaps that's because while Campbell may believe the words he says at the time, his actions show it's hard to imagine he believes in anything.

Mad about the HST?

My NO BC HST protest group on is now at 125,000 people -- join the crowd!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Former Conservative/Reform MP Randy White joins BC Conservative Party, denounces BC Liberals

News tonight that former federal Conservative Party MP Randy White has joined the BC Conservative Party.

White was an effective if sometimes controversial MP who pushed law and order issues in the House of Commons.

His letter to the BC Conservatives is reprinted below in full.

* * * * *

September 20, 2009

To the membership -
BC Conservative Party

For years in this province Gordon Campbell and the BC Liberals said “if you don’t vote for us you will get the NDP” and perhaps they were right. The situation today is that the BC Liberals are as bad as the BC NDP and neither are acceptable to British Columbia any longer.

It is time for the BC Conservatives to offer our province a true alternative. It is time for quality candidates to be in place one year before the next election and be in every community handing out a better message.

It is time to find us a leader that will motivate a majority of people in British Columbia to believe that both parties in the BC Legislature are out of date and offer nothing but bad spending and more taxation.

I have, after considerable deliberation joined the BC Conservative Party because the platform is responsible, believable and not the status quo and it offers the only alternative that can form a Government.

It is time to give our citizens a positive outlook to the future - something other than more taxes, improper spending and a disregard for the common ordinary resident.

Like many residents of our province I intend to put considerable energy assisting the BC Conservative Party in finding a quality leader, organize constituencies and form the next BC Government.

I spent 13 years in the House of Commons as a House Leader and Critic of various portfolios and can truly say the actions of the BC Liberals today are very similar to the Federal Government that grew out of touch with the populace back then.

The time has come for a renewal in our province and the BC Conservative Party must step up and take the lead.

Randy White

Former Member of Parliament for Abbotsford and Langley
Qualicum Beach, British Columbia


NO BC HST Facebook protest group now over 125,000 members! Thanks to all who have joined!

An amazing milestone was passed today - the NO BC HST Facebook protest group I created now has more than 125,000 members!

NO BC HST only went online at on July 25th of 2009 - and it now has about 30,000 more members than the Vancouver Canucks official Facebook page has fans - 95,000.

NO BC HST appears to be the largest BC-based Facebook page in the province.

Thanks to everyone who has joined, who has asked family, friends, co-workers and others to join and who has commented - the Wall posts alone currently total almost 6,000!

So let's keep up the fight against the unfair HST and make sure the BC Liberal government drops it.

To help with the BC Initiative campaign that could lead to a province-wide petition and vote, please go to Fight HST and sign up to be part of the most exciting grass-roots protest BC has ever seen!


Saturday, September 26, 2009

BASI-VIRK - BC Supreme Court session 9 a.m. Wednesday September 30, October 13 & more

An update for those who follow the Trial That Never Begins - also known as Basi-Virk, the BC Legislature Raid and Railgate.

Defence lawyers and Special Prosecutors will convene in open court on Wednesday September 30 at 9 a.m. for a pre-trial conference meeting with the new judge replacing Justice Elizabeth Bennett - Justice Anne MacKenzie.

The session will not likely last beyond one hour.

Then on Tuesday October 13 pre-trial motions resume at 10 a.m.

In other Basi-Virk news, Globe and Mail columnist Gary Mason threw out a few unsourced tid-bits of some interest on Thursday.

Most potentially interesting, Mason says: "Apparently, there are former government officials willing to testify that Mr. Kinsella was working for CN Rail at the same time he was working for BC Rail."

Mason also reports that: "The court now has a document that suggests Pilothouse officials received detailed information about the BC Rail sale from a cabinet meeting, which was not attended by Mr. Basi or Mr. Virk. We may soon learn the identity of the cabinet minister suspected to be the source of that information."

Lastly, Mason says that Forests Minister Pat Bell and Petroleum Resources Minister Blair Lekstrom will both be a focus in pre-trial hearings because they were in contact as backbench MLAs with Pilothouse Public Affairs during the BC Rail bid process.

Pilothouse lobbyists Erik Bornmann and Brian Kieran are both Crown witnesses against David Basi and Bob Virk, who they are alleged to have provided benefits in exchange for confidential government information. Only Basi and Virk face corruption charges.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tieleman - unspinning the disastrous HST

Bill Tieleman with Bill & Lillian Vander Zalm at Fight HST Rally - Vancouver - Saturday September 19, 2009

Exposing HST myths and misinformation

Bill Tieleman's 24 hours/The Tyee column

September 22, 2009

"I found a lot of the initial anger out there is dissipating as people are getting more information about the tax."

- Finance Minister Colin Hansen, September 19, 2009 on the HST

That's about as believable as the minister's pre-election claim that B.C. would have a $495 million budget deficit. Try $2.8 billion!

So after a great set of 19 Fight HST rallies across the province, including 5,000 people in Vancouver, it's time to expose some of the myths and misinformation being spread about the Harmonized Sales Tax.

[NOTE: You can see my speech in Vancouver - courtesy of AHA Media - on this You Tube clip.]

The TD Bank put out a report on the HST that has been seized on by some as showing the tax won't hurt consumers much and will boost the economy.

A Saturday Globe and Mail editorial states : "Four-tenths of a per cent, the increase that TD Economics predicts in the average consumer-price level as a result of sales-tax harmonization in British Columbia and Ontario, is an acceptable price to pay for greater efficiency and neutrality in Canadian taxation, and greater international competitiveness."

Oh really? Try reading the actual TD analysis: "In B.C., consumers will be subject to a 7 percentage point increase on the tax rate on 21 per cent of their expenditures."

Totally acceptable Globe dudes -- you are too kind!

Or this bit: from the TD analysts: "The tax savings for businesses is lost revenue for the Ontario and BC governments, and the tax revenue needed to support hospitals, schools, and social programs has to come from somewhere. And in this case, it will come from increasing the tax burden on consumers."

Will business really 'pass it on'?

And on what basis does TD Economics still say the HST will help consumers? Try this leap of faith: "There are good reasons to believe the majority of the tax savings by businesses will be passed on to consumers in the form of lower prices."

Oh, right! I remember well how big businesses passed on the benefits of the Goods and Service Tax when it was imposed by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney!

And of course, what's good for big business is good for all of us!

The bitter reality is this: consumers are going to pay an outrageous 7 per cent extra tax on all sorts of goods and services to subsidize the profits of big business.

The HST will add an extra 7 per cent to the cost of restaurant food, new homes, realtor fees, haircuts, gym memberships, airline tickets, massage therapy, bicycles and so many more goods and services that there isn't room to list them.

That means the HST will cost most British Columbians hundreds if not thousands of extra dollars in tax.

And despite paying those extra taxes, not one thin dime from the HST will go to improve health care or education or social programs. Instead it all goes to business tax credits.

If Colin Hansen thinks anger is dissipating he's living in a fool's paradise -- just wait until everyone figures out the HST will really cost them hundreds to thousands of dollars!

So, if by now you're mad enough, join 123,000 people on my NO BC HST protest group on Facebook. And sign up to stop this tax at Fight HST.

PHOTO CREDITS - left - Cassandra; right John Prentice - with thanks!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

5,000 rally in Vancouver against HST in great protest!

- Cassandra photo

Bill Tieleman addresses the crowd

What a great success this afternoon as about 5,000 people turned out in downtown Vancouver to protest against the Harmonized Sales Tax!

And don't believe any media reports that there were "about 1,000" protestors or that the turnout was "disappointing" to organizers - that's completely incorrect on both counts!

The rally outside the new Vancouver Convention Centre featured former BC Premier Bill Vander Zalm, NDP Leader Carole James, Independent BC MLA Vicki Huntington, BC Conservative Party Deputy Leader Chris Delaney, BC Refederation Party Deputy Leader Jordan Braun and a wide range of community and business representatives.

“It takes from the people, the consumers, particularly those who are packing the lunch bucket(s), the seniors, the students, the people that can least afford to pay yet another tax and it's giving it to the big corporations,” Vander Zalm said to huge applause.

“The public is angry at being betrayed by this government and I have to tell you it shows how angry people are when you can get political opponents together,” James said.

"Do you remember the last time a political leader named Campbell was in government and held an election after introducing a new sales tax?" I told the crowd. "Her name was Kim Campbell, the tax was the GST and the result was a
total disaster for the Progressive Conservative federal government."

NOTE: You can see my speech on YouTube, courtesy of AHA Media - many thanks!

There were also anti-HST rallies in 18 other cities across BC.

To see lots more photos and a personal account of the rally from my friend Laila Yuile, go to her great blog.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fight HST rallies across BC! Saturday September 19 at 12 noon - please attend!

Please attend the Fight HST rallies across British Columbia on Saturday September 19 at 12 noon - including the major event in downtown Vancouver outside Canada Place!

I will be speaking at the Vancouver event, which features former Premier Bill Vander Zalm, NDP Opposition Leader Carole James, Independent BC MLA Vicki Huntington, BC Conservative Party Deputy Leader Chris Delaney, BC Refederation Party Deputy Leader Jordan Braun and a wide range of community and business representatives.

This is our first opportunity to make a strong public statement against the Harmonized Sales Tax and the 7% increase in the cost of so many goods and services - with all of the tax increase going directly to big business - not public services.

Here is information about the other rallies across BC:

100 Mile House organizer: Janet Derepentigny
Location: 100 Miler Gear Garage (across from Tim Hortons)

Kamloops organizer: Chad Moat
LOCATION: Spirit Square

Kelowna Organizer: Matthew Reed
LOCATION: The Sails, walk to First United Church
NOTE: Time is 12:30PM for this event.

Nanaimo Organizer - Janet Irvine
LOCATION: Maffeo-Sutton Park, Lions Pavilion
NOTE: Time is 1:00PM for this event.

Oliver organizer - Paul McCavour
LOCATION: Highway 97 near Super Valu
NOTE: This rally begins at 3:00 p.m.

Osoyoos organizer: Paul McCavour
LOCATION: junction of Highway 3 and 97

Penticton organizer: Wendy Dion
LOCATION: The front of MLA Bill Barisoff's office (Main Street)

Prince George organizer: Mike Summers
LOCATION: Pat Bell, MLA office - Central

Quesnel organizer: Martin Eastman
LOCATION: Lebourdais Park
NOTE: This rally begins at 1:00 p.m.

Revelstoke organizer: Vanessa Smith
LOCATION: Grizzly Book & Serendipity Shop

Vancouver organizer: Chris Delaney
LOCATION: Canada Place

Vernon organizer: Miles Lehn
LOCATION: Courthouse Steps

Victoria organizer: Brad Slade
LOCATION: Rear lawn of the Legislature.

Williams Lake organizer: Dave Ligertwood
LOCATION: Boitanio Park, at the Stage

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bill Vander Zalm & Bill Tieleman fight the HST together - Vancouver rally Saturday 12 noon outside Canada Place

Bill Tieleman & Bill Vander Zalm - BC Shipyard Workers protest - 2004

Zalm Hates the HST, too

Why the former Socred premier and I are fighting together on Saturday

Bill Tieleman's 24 hours/The Tyee column

September 15, 2009

"We definitely mishandled the introduction of the HST, which, to me, verifies the fact that we didn't plan on this."

- B.C. Liberal MLA Ron Cantelon

I spent several years doing everything I could to defeat former B.C. Premier Bill Vander Zalm and his right-wing Social Credit government.

But this Saturday, September 19 at 12 noon outside Canada Place in downtown Vancouver, I will be honoured to share the stage with him!

So what happened? Most recently, the outrageously unfair Harmonized Sales Tax, which Premier Gordon Campbell wants to impose -- a tax that will add 7 per cent to the cost of a wide range of goods and services currently exempt from Provincial Sales Tax.

That alone explains politics making strange bedfellows. It's why I am working with Vander Zalm, B.C. Conservative Party Deputy Leader Chris Delaney, business groups and others to fight the HST.

It's why B.C. New Democratic Party Opposition Leader Carole James will be introduced by Vander Zalm, her political opposite on many issues.

But this isn't the first time I've worked with Bill Vander Zalm, B.C.'s colourful and controversial premier from 1986 to 1991.

Against selling out citizens

When the B.C. Liberal government in 2002 suddenly moved to privatize one-third of B.C. Hydro's operations, I contacted Vander Zalm -- which led me to be MC for "A Premier Event" -- a major protest in 2003 featuring Vander Zalm and former NDP Premier Dave Barrett -- together for the first time, with then-NDP House Leader Joy MacPhail, then-Unity Party Leader Delaney and then-Green Party Leader Adrian Carr.

All agreed Campbell's plan was a disastrous reversal of former Social Credit Premier W.A.C. Bennett's brilliant 1961 takeover of privately-held B.C. Electric, showing the B.C. Liberals had abandoned citizens from the political centre, left and right.

Later Bill Vander Zalm joined labour unions, community groups, the NDP and Unity to fight against the $1 billion privatization of former Crown Corporation B.C. Rail to CN Rail -- another giveaway deal that has hurt the province immensely -- and led to the longest and biggest political scandal in decades -- the B.C. Legislature Raid case, and a trial yet to begin.

And finally I was pleased to work with Vander Zalm again when my clients, the B.C. Shipyard and General Workers' Federation, and many others fought the decision by B.C. Ferries and the B.C. Liberals in 2004 to build three Super C ferries worth $542 million in Germany, refusing to even allow Vancouver Shipyards to make a bid on the project.

When Bill Vander Zalm took to the stage at a rally of 500 shipyard workers outside Vancouver Shipyards alongside B.C. Federation of Labour President Jim Sinclair, it was an amazing sight.

But it was also appropriate, as Sinclair pointed out, and as the workers fully recognized.

After all, as premier, Vander Zalm was responsible for the decision to build the highly-successful Spirit of British Columbia and Spirit of Vancouver Island super ferries in B.C. shipyards, creating thousands of jobs and keeping millions of dollars of investment in the province.

Bill Vander Zalm, unlike Campbell and the B.C. Liberals, believes in standing up for British Columbia and its citizens, not selling them out.

Rally Saturday at noon

While I do not agree with him on all things political, Vander Zalm has proven time and again to understand the enormous negative impact of decisions made by Campbell on ordinary British Columbians and to speak out despite pressure from some to remain quiet.

I look forward to working with him and all others who believe the HST is a terrible tax for our province that will hurt our economy, deepen the recession and cost us jobs. This issue is too important to not work together and overcome some political differences so we can defeat it.

So please attend the Vancouver Fight HST rally on Saturday September 19 at 12 noon outside Canada Place, or other events in your area. Find out more about it here.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Democracy Day celebrated - and defiled - in Victoria

Some days you just can't make this stuff up.

First - this news release from Elections BC:


VICTORIA - B.C.’s middle and secondary students are celebrating the second annual United Nations International Day of Democracy, September 15, 2009, by creating a YouTube video about democracy.

Co-sponsored by Elections BC and the Public Education and Outreach office of the Legislative Assembly, the “Democracy on Location” contest invites students to create a two-minute video about democracy in their lives at school, home or with their friends. Student videos are to encourage youth participation in democracy and illustrate the values and principles of democracy.

The winning video will be chosen by Chief Electoral Officer Harry Neufeld and the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, the Honourable Bill Barisoff. The creator(s) of the winning video will travel to Victoria to be interview for Hansard TV, tour the Parliament Buildings and learn more about professional video production and broadcasting.

The contest runs from September 15 - November 15, 2009 and submissions can be viewed on YouTube and Elections BC’s Facebook page at

And then the BC Liberals show how they celebrate Day of Democracy in their own special way:

September 14, 2009

Ministry of Attorney General


VICTORIA – Attorney General Michael de Jong made the following statement today regarding the Province’s appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision on Bill 42, the Election Act:

“Counsel for the Attorney General have been instructed to advance the appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that struck down those provisions of the Election Act (Bill 42) that restricted advertising by third parties in the period immediately prior to the campaign for scheduled Provincial general elections.

“The appeal is being advanced in order to obtain a ruling and direction from the highest court in British Columbia on the constitutionality of restrictions on third-party advertising in the context of determined or scheduled election dates.

“The Supreme Court of Canada has already ruled that advertising restrictions are constitutional during the campaign period. Canada’s highest court has said limits on candidate, party and third-party spending are not only permissible, but may be necessary for truly fair elections. However, the decision of the B.C. Supreme Court suggests British Columbia cannot constitutionally restrict spending outside of the writ (campaign) period. In the Province’s view, this decision does not advance the interest of fair elections. Therefore, we are seeking further guidance from the B.C. Court of Appeal.

So there you have it - students making a video about Democracy and the BC Liberals trying to save the sorry Gag Law they introduced to stifle Democracy before the 2009 election!

Welcome to BC!


BASI-VIRK: Justice Bennett rejects defence request for Patrick Kinsella documents, testimony in her last appearance in case

Judge sides with BC Liberal insider Patrick Kinsella in dismissing defence bid to obtain his documents, force testimony

By Bill Tieleman, 24 hours columnist

In her last appearance as judge in the Basi-Virk corruption case Justice Elizabeth Bennett has dismissed defence applications to obtain private documents from B.C. Liberal Party insider Patrick Kinsella and have him testify in a pre-trial disclosure hearing.

"This will be the last time you'll see me on this case," Bennett told defence and Crown lawyers at B.C. Supreme Court, where she has presided over lengthy pre-trial hearings going back to early 2006.

Bennett has been promoted to the B.C. Court of Appeal and will be replaced by Justice Anne MacKenzie.

But before leaving Bennett dashed the hopes of defence lawyers for ex-B.C. Liberal government aides David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi, who face corruption charges related to the $1 billion privatization of B.C. Rail in 2003.

Lawyer Michael Bolton, acting for David Basi, said outside court that while the defence is disappointed with Bennett’s final rulings, they plan to call Kinsella as a witness and again ask the court to order production of his private documents.

“The defence still views Mr. Kinsella as a key figure in this matter,” Bolton said. “This application will without question reappear before the new trial judge.”

In her ruling Bennett said that despite defence allegations Kinsella may have been working for both B.C. Rail and its eventual buyer CN Rail at the same time, no evidence was produced to back that claim.

It was learned earlier this year that Kinsella was paid $297,000 by B.C. Rail for “business advice” from 2001 to 2005.

But Bennett said that if Kinsella did indeed work for CN it would open the door to defence applications.

“I remain firm that if Mr. Kinsella worked for both firms it has relevance to this case,” Bennett said. “That would make [his] documents likely relevant.”

Bennett also made a ruling that Kinsella’s lawyer James Sullivan had obtained transcripts of earlier hearings in the case in violation of a court order that they not be given to potential witnesses, but blamed the transcription company for the error, not Sullivan.

Bennett ordered production of a list of people who gained access to the transcripts be released to the defence.

Bolton called the transcript decision “very important” to the defence. Sullivan was not in court to comment.

NDP MLA Leonard Krog said Kinsella should not be breathing easier despite today's ruling.

"The judge may have closed the door on the defence today but highlighted that matters around Patrick Kinsella may be revisited," the NDP critic for the Attorney General said. "I am confident this isn't the last we'll hear on matters related to Kinsella and his involvement in the sale of B.C. Rail."

A version of this story will appear in Tuesday's 24 hours newspaper.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

BASI-VIRK - decision in BC Supreme Court Monday September 14 at 9 a.m. on Kinsella documents

Outgoing Justice Elizabeth Bennett is scheduled to rule on a defence application to gain access to the private records of BC Liberal Party insider Patrick Kinsella at 9 a.m. on Monday September 14 at BC Supreme Court.

Kinsella, the BC Liberals' 2001 and 2005 election campaign co-chair, was employed by BC Rail as a consultant for $297,000 over four years - including the key period when the $1 billion privatization took place.

Those records, it should be noted, are not the BC Rail documents which have also been requested.

I have unfortunately missed a few court appearances during my summer holidays - including word that the new trial judge replacing Bennett will be Justice Anne MacKenzie.

My legal sources tell me that MacKenzie has a background as a federal Department Of Justice drug case prosecutor prior to her appointment to the bench and a clear understanding of criminal law cases - which must be good news to the defence.

Mind you, few if any current BCSC justices could match the criminal justice background of Bennett.

That said, MacKenzie has her critics, most notably the RCMP over a case involving the Hells Angels and drug possession charges that resulted in a controversial acquittal of a full patch member.

"I am very, very disappointed," RCMP Chief Superintendent Bob Paulson, who headed the police operation, told CTV News. "I strongly disagree with the judge's decision."

The RCMP's estimated $10 million investigation had lasted more than two years and failed in its attempt to categorize the Hells Angels as a "criminal organization".

MacKenzie has also been the judge responsible for the extradition hearing of self-proclaimed "Prince Of Pot" Marc Emery on US drug trafficking charges.

I will be in BC Supreme Court for the decision and will post a story here when I have an opportunity later in the day.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bill Tieleman speaks at public forum on BC HST with NDP MLAs - TONIGHT - Thursday 7 p.m. at Vancouver Public Library

Tonight - Thursday September 10 - I will be speaking at a public forum on the HST from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Vancouver Public Library Central branch at 350 West Georgia Street hosted by NDP MLA and finance critic Bruce Ralston, and five NDP MLAs from Vancouver.

The meeting is in Alice MacKay Room, downstairs in the VPL.

NDP MLAs Adrian Dix, Mable Elmore, Jenny Kwan, Spencer Herbert, and Shane Simpson will all be in attendance.

Please attend and show your opposition to the BC HST!

And I will also be speaking at the major rally on Saturday September 19 at 12 noon outside Canada Place in downtown Vancouver with former BC Premier Bill Vander Zalm, NDP Leader Carole James, BC Conservative Party Deputy Leader Chris Delaney, BC Refederation Party Deputy Leader Jordan Braun and others.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

BC Liberals become Inglourious Basterds after HST, budget deficit fiasco, public service cuts

Inglourious Basterds!

Voters' New Name for BC Liberals as Campbell's ratings dive after HST and massive budget deficit

By Bill Tieleman

8 September 2009

Bill Tieleman's 24 hours/The Tyee column

"Quite frankly, the taxpayers in this province have had enough. They have watched as this government raised taxes. They have watched as this government ran up a debt at an unprecedented rate."

- Colin Hansen, as opposition MLA, July 2, 1996

After they sprung a Harmonized Sales Tax they said they wouldn't consider, tabled a budget deficit six times bigger than they swore to and slashed public services they promised to protect, there's only one way to describe Premier Gordon Campbell's and his B.C. Liberals.

Inglourious basterds!

It's why a new Ipsos Reid poll shows that 72 per cent of British Columbians believe Campbell and Finance Minister Colin Hansen "intentionally misled" voters during the May election.

And it explains why 75 per cent polled in an Angus Reid Strategies survey don't want Campbell to run again for premier -- including 51 per cent who voted B.C. Liberal only four months ago -- giving the B.C. New Democratic Party a decisive 45 per cent to 31 per cent lead.

It's also why my Facebook protest group No BC HST now has over 118,000 members -- that's a huge number and a stunning increase of over 24,000 since I went on holidays three weeks ago! If you haven't yet joined, please do so.

France's HST: Don't go there

The response to the HST, the massive $2.8 billion deficit -- it was supposed to be $495 million -- and health authorities cutting thousands of surgeries pretty much guarantees that Campbell's tenure as premier ends long before the 2013 provincial election.

But regardless of Campbell's political fate, it's now critical that British Columbians demand the HST be dropped immediately.

I've just returned from Paris, where I have seen the future of the B.C. HST and it isn't a pretty sight -- France has a punishing 19.6 per cent version of the HST.

Like the proposed HST, the French Taxe sur la Valeur Ajoutée, or TVA, is a value added tax that is regressive to lower income earners -- since a much higher percentage of total income is paid in sales tax on basic expenses.

That means one-fifth of the total price of most goods and services is sales tax, discouraging consumers from spending money and creating jobs.

And when the B.C. Liberals propose an HST of 12 per cent anyone but a fool can see that rate is the floor, not the ceiling, for future HST rates. The French TVA is a harbinger of things to come -- unless the HST is killed.

Protest rally September 19

That's why I strongly urge you to attend a major rally against the HST featuring former B.C. Premier Bill Vander Zalm, NDP leader Carole James, B.C. Conservative Party deputy leader Chris Delaney, independent MLA Vicki Huntington, B.C. Refederation Party deputy leader Jordan Braun and others on Saturday September 19 at 12 noon outside Canada Place in downtown Vancouver.


Thursday, September 03, 2009

Tieleman from Paris - I have seen the future of HST in Europe - and it is very ugly!

Just a brief posting from Paris before I return to BC on Sunday - I have seen the future of the BC HST qnd it is not a pretty sight - a 19.6% tax on everything!

The regressive TVA tax here is a brutual one that hurts all consumers but lower income earners most of all.

Much more on my return about the HST and the disastrous BC Liberal budget - and thanks to posters for their patience - I did not have Internet access for extended periods during my trip.