Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Senior Conservative John Reynolds slams federal Liberal Party over BC President Jamie Elmhirst staying in office after being subpoenaed in Basi-Virk

January 31, 2007

Senior Tory slams Grits over Elmhirst


Senior federal Conservative John Reynolds is criticizing the federal Liberal Party for the "embarrassing" failure to remove its B.C. branch president after he was subpoenaed to testify in the breach of trust case against former provincial government aides David Basi and Bob Virk.

Reynolds, the former Member of Parliament for West-Vancouver Sunshine Coast, said Tuesday that lobbyist Jamie Elmhirst should not have continued as Liberal Party of Canada B.C. president after he was subpoenaed on Oct. 4, 2006.

24 hours disclosed Monday that Elmhirst was under subpoena for over three months before he quit his party position on January 15, 2007.

"It's embarrassing for their party. A person in that situation should step aside - there's no question about it," Reynolds told 24 hours. "You always have to do what's best for your party."

"If nothing else, you don't need the president of your party as a witness," said Reynolds, who co-chaired the national Conservative 2006 election campaign.

Elmhirst, a former aide to B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell and ex-federal Liberal cabinet minister David Anderson, was a business partner of Erik Bornmann and Brian Kieran in the now-closed Victoria lobby firm Pilothouse Public Affairs. Bornmann and Kieran are crown witnesses against Basi and Virk in the trial starting April 2.

In an interview last week with 24 hours Elmhirst denied the subpoena was a factor in his resignation and refused to answer if and when he had informed the Liberal Party of his role as a witness.


But Ontario Liberal Senator Marie Poulin, the national Liberal Party president, was unaware Elmhirst had been under subpoena while serving as its top B.C. executive.

"I did not know. He might have told the party and he might not have told the party. I am not aware that he has or hasn't." Poulin told 24 hours Monday.

But what Elmhirst did or did not tell the Liberal Party’s B.C. branch remains a mystery, as repeated calls and emails to Executive Director Mark Grant from 24 hours were not returned.

Reynolds comments echo those of Duff Conacher, coordinator of the citizen advocacy group Democracy Watch. “The members of the party certainly have a right to know,” he told 24 hours last week.

See earlier stories on this website below.


Bill Tieleman said...

Readers of this blog may be interested to know that this story from 24 hours is currently the lead item on Bourque Newswatch.

Bill Tieleman said...

I have been forced to reject several comments due to the potentially problematic nature of their contents.

I warn again that these matters are before the courts, that a presumption of innocence is a hallmark of our justice system and that all posters should be extremely accurate about their words.

There have been numerous allegations, including those in search warrants and in documents released and discussed in BC Supreme Court - but nothing has been accepted or proven as fact at this point.

Anonymous said...

Good for you Bill. Elmhirst is a witness in the basi virk case. In search warrant documents released by the court his former partners have alleged they paid bribes to government officials. The question for me is this, what exactly is Elmhirst going to say in court. I don't think he has been subpoenaed to provide evidence that basi and virk liked to sip tea in fine china. This information raises questions Bill troubling questions.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that some folks work on the theory. " Hang em now and have the court case later." I figure we should sit and wait for the case to be heard.

Budd Campbell said...

Bill, I think this story clearly has more relevance in BC than it does across the country, but still, it is a federal political story by definition. Elmhirst resigned from a postion with the national Liberal Party.

Yet a quick search of the CBC site shows no mention of this story. The same goes for the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail, with the exception that the electronic globe has some Tory blogger roundup by a guy named Doyle who did mention the 24 Hours story.

Why are the Central and Eastern media so thoroughly disinterested in this development? At a time when Dion's campaign is going to be run by Marissen, surely a resignation in the BC offices of the Federal Liberals, for this kind of reason, is at least worthy background news.