Thursday, March 08, 2007

Just 5 newspapers in BC report on Basi-Virk trial update

Disappointing to discover that just 5 newspapers in British Columbia bothered to report on the latest developments in the trial of David Basi and Bob Virk, two former provincial government aides charged with breach of trust.

My own newspaper, 24 hours, ran my report from the BC Supreme Court hearing Wednesday, the Globe and Mail ran a report by Mark Hume, who was also there, and the Kamloops Daily News, the Nelson Daily News and the Prince George Citizen ran stories written by Canadian Press reporter Camille Bains.

This according to an InfoMart database search of newspapers conducted this afternoon.

That means neither the Vancouver Sun, the Province nor the Victoria Times-Colonist reported that the most important political criminal trial in British Columbia has been delayed again, or that serious questions were raised about the evidence and about the lack of public access to court documents.

I am also unaware of any radio reports based on reviewing BC radio websites but the story may have been broadcast without being posted on their sites.

One can only hope that this omission by so many prominent media will be corrected shortly.


Anonymous said...

Its absolutely shameful how the Province, the Sun and the Times Colonist who proclaimed these people guilty during the rush to judgement after the raids, have now decided to sit quietly as serious questions are being raised about the investigation and the linkgages of senior investigators to the bc liberals. You are the only journalist that has any interest in following this case and reporting on it. I would take your analysis over Mark Hume any day of the week. You are the only one that has written columns and asked serious questions about this case and why for mysterious reasons the prosecutor won't release documents requested by the defendants. Whats wrong with these papers?? Shame on them!!

Anonymous said...

The greatest danger to our freedoms is a complacent press corps that fails to demand accountability from our public institutions. I shudder to think what would have happened to Arar if he had simply cracked and surrendered to the neglect our national media had shown to him. This case is no different in my opinion.

Bill Tieleman said...

Thanks for the kind comment but I very much respect Mark Hume's reporting on this case and appreciate all the coverage it has received. Unfortunately it has not been given the attention I believe it deserves.

BC Mary said...

I'd like to join the chorus of appreciation for the journalists who do see the B.C. Rail case as hugely important in this province.

CanWest's shabby censorship is a disgrace to a democratic society.

If it weren't for The Globe and Mail (Mark Hume, not Gary Mason) and 24 Hours with Bill Tieleman, plus a handful of independent newspapers, British Columbians would be locked down in a total brain-wash.

As it is, for example, we think that the B.C. Opposition isn't doing its job. But read Hansard and we soon see that their work is solid ... just not reported in CanWest media. And we all know, it's the responsibiity of a healthy media to challenge power, to ask why certain decisions -- like TILMA and the revised Public Inquiry Act -- were made.

In short, a decent media is supposed to stand up for the public interest.

Anonymous said...

It is no surprise our major media outlets are practising self-censorship on Basigate, since most of their editorial board members belong to the same political-social clubs the Basi-Virk-Bornman gang came from.
It is not "good form" to crap all over your golfing or club house drinking buddy.

Anonymous said...

Gary Mason was the only journalist that has been able to get an interview with basi and virk. We should thank Mason for having the gumption to get the interview and for everything he has written about the case. Mason and Bill are the only ones to mention the fact Bornmann, according to documents filed by the defence, made serious accusations against Bruce Clark, the brother of then Deputy Premier Christy Clark. Mary you have to make up your mind, one day you commend Mason and the next day you slam him. Atleast he and Bill are not afraid to look at things from a different perspective and ask some very tough questions. Keep up the good work Bill.

RossK said...

Mr. T--

Perhaps the editors of the media organs you mentioned, all of which are owned by CanWest if I'm not mistaken, might like to recycle this statement from the TC Editor-In-Chief delivered to Mary back in September after an earlier pre-trial hearings:

"There was indeed a pretrial appearance by Basi, Virk et al yesterday. Our reporter staffed the appearance, and nothing of note happened. As is the case in such instances, the reporter consulted with his editor and did not
write a story. When there is news, we plan to report it."

Alternatively, some enterprising reporter might like to ask the same Editor if yesterday's hearing was, indeed, news.



Anonymous said...

I have no problem with Mason's coverage. Like Bill, he has been one of the very few to look at this from a different perspective. There is something to be said for not following "the herd mentality". You are a credit to your profession Bill, don't change!

Anonymous said...


I don't understand why you are concerned that no media reported on this hearing.

I mean nothing really happened - more delays and posturing. Big deal.

Wait till Erik Bornmann et al appear and then you will see everyone clamouring to get ring side seats.

Anonymous said...

There was once a time when the ndp would have delivered crushing blow after blow against a sitting government for a scandal such as the bc rail deal. Sadly the current leader has defanged the pitbulls and is more content to engage in high level debate than engage in brute force politics. I have some advice for the career bureaucrat Carole James, "RELEASE THE HOUNDS"!!! Let your mla's do their job and hold the government accountable. Why are you coaching the fight out of them!! You are the best opposition leader campbell could ask for, no political sense, a complete lack of direction and a leader who puts her best players on the bench!

Anonymous said...

One thing about being a unknown to the reader person, it becomes easy to tell the Leader of the Official Opposition to do certain things. Two of her MLA's were on Voice of BC this week and were careful in their answers. A couple of weeks ago one of her MLA's decided he knew a subject, and made some dumn response about ALR land that was being mixed into a treaty. I do beleive he regrets opening his mouth before his brain was completely engaged.
They do ask a lot of sensible questions in the house but it's a bit tough being a pit bull when the raid and anything connected to it is in front of the courts. And the judge has stated most documents should be released to the public. The judge didn't appear too pleased to have to read a paper from the defence, when she was out of the province.It should have been presented to the judge, in court, not in a newspaper.
I do beleive the same poster would complain if a few of the MLA's got bounched from the house for ignoring the speaker. Or even worse got charged with contempt of the courts, which might be the desire of some folks. Yes I too am down as anon. Never got around to registering o this blog. But I do have a name. It's D.Love of Victria BC. And I figure the guy running this blog can find my email address rather quickly if he so wished. let's cool our jets for a couple more weeks.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous (4:32) you can't be held in contempt of court, this is not a jury trial. The ndp could ask many questions about the lobbyists and their links to the government. This isn't part of any criminal trial. How much did Kieran give to the bc liberals? How much did Elmhirst give, lets not forget the world traveller Bornmann!

Anonymous said...

I had to chuckle when I read your post because I had specifically signed on to your blog to see what the heck was going on with this trial. I have become accustomed to relying on you to keep the public informed.

Anonymous said...

548 talks about contempt of court.

By watching Question period folks would see that the speaker has ruled more than once on issues around the trial, leg. raids. He rules and the members listen or else.

The AG used the'before the courts" method more than once as well. I 'm no legal scholor but I figure the MLA's do get advise from people in the business so I defer to them. There is no jury, I agree, if factr so far nothing much has been resolved or even discussed in the court, but I figure the judge can still get a person nailed to the wall if necessary.
I do recall a few years ago some fellow picketting the court house in Vvancouver one day as he was mad about something. He got 40 days for contempt so maybe you arn't that correct either. WE all seem to be legal experts it wouod appear.

Bill Tieleman said...

Thanks to Eleanor Gregory, Vancouver school trustee, for her comments and to all those adding their views in the past two days.

I'm frankly pleased and surprised that this short posting had garnered more comments than probably anything else I've put online since I started this blog back in October.

It clearly shows that people want information about the Basi-Virk case, regardless of their opinions and politics.

And so they should. This case is the most important political trial we've seen in a long time.

I will continue to report on it extensively in 24 hours and The Tyee in the days and months ahead, and everything I write plus much more will be on this website.

Thanks again to everyone for their encouragement.

Bill Tieleman said...

UPDATE - many thanks to the Vancouver Sun's Vaughn Palmer, who has kindly noted my latest piece on the Tyee on the Basi Virk trial in his column today - Saturday.

Vaughn has also mentioned the work BC Mary has done on her blog.

Anonymous said...

Bill your work speaks for itself. Nobody else has really been asking tough questions and seeking answers. One of the comments talked about the "herd mentality". I agree with the poster, you have consistently refused to pass judgement on people just because the rcmp (nudge nudge, wink, wink) proclaimed them guilty despite one day in court. After all, the rcmp has such an impeccable reputation (see Arar, the shooting of an innocent civilian in Houston, serious allegations of sexual assault against a senior rcmp officer in prince george, the so called trust leak investigation in Ottawa during an election, lets not forget about a famous deck in the summer house of a former premier where the rcmp showed up to execute a search warrant with the media in tow, I could go on and on and on), why wouldn't we believe everything they tell us. The latest bombshell which you reported was the fact a senior investigator debruyckere, according to documents filed in court, has close ties to the bc liberal government. Gee, isn't that interesting, funny how that happened! Which begs the next question, what kind of investigation could this be? Can you investigate senior members of the bc liberal government, the premier and his cabinet ministers if you have these close personal ties?

Budd Campbell said...

For the most part the Central Canadian media do not want to give this story any more play than necessary. They recognize its potential to add substantially to Liberal torments and embarassments over the Sponsorship Scandal.

If they were absolutely sure the Liberals would loose, there would be no problem, just print the works and let the Liberals take care of their own troubles. But the problem is that the Liberals didn't sink out of sight in either 2004 or 2006. On the contrary, the party's base vote showed remarkable discipline, endurance and durability in the face of a truly severe downpour of negative publicity. Any other federal or provincial party in Canada, with the possible exception of the Alberta Conservatives, would have been completely and totally demolished by similar revelations.

The Central Canadian media news managers, in my opinion, are pulling back on the throttle on this story because they are scared to death of a scenario where they have given the Liberal Party a hard time over a scandal that Ontario Liberals perceive as none of their doing, and yet these same Ontario Liberals have beaten the odds again and are back in power and are busy reviewing broadcasting licences among other things.

Anonymous said...

I, too, add my voice to the rest who are appalled at the lack of media coverage of the Basi-Virk trial. This could very well be the single most important story in the last twenty five years or more.
You have done a huge public service for this Province, Bill. Your (surprising) modesty to this end notwithstanding, no one else has covered this story like you my friend.

Bill's garden, Glen's balcony, Mike's bingo-mess, nothing, absolutely nothing will compare to the reverberations that will be felt from Victoria to Ottawa, if any of the answers to the pertinent questions posed put the current West Annex or the previous occupants of Langvin Block into any depth of hot water.

I thought Vaughn's piece was, as usual, excellent. He covered all matters at the fore of this story.

Her Honour Madame Justice Bennett is clearly at her tether's end, and wants to see this matter go to trial without anymore legal voodoo dancing. And good for her.

There is a real interest, or should be, with British Columbians, for the heart of this matter to be, finally, revealed.

Why did we lose our railway? Good question...but the more important one that has emerged is how...