Thursday, March 26, 2009

Basi-Virk Bombshells: Defence alleges Kinsella, CN + Gordon Campbell met on BC; Kinsella worked for CN & BC Rail at same time; govt suppressed FOIs


Defence lawyers in the B.C. Legislature raid case made a bombshell allegation Thursday that Premier Gordon Campbell met with BC Liberal 2001 election campaign co-chair Patrick Kinsella and David McLean, CN Rail's Chair, to discuss the $1 billion B. C. Rail deal before CN was announced the winning bidder.

Reading from a briefing note seized by police search warrant from Pilothouse Public Affairs, lobbyists for CN rival OmniTRAX, lawyer Kevin McCullough talked about problems CN might face with tax implications of the deal.

“This was disclosed face to face with the premier, David McLean and CN’s B.C. political advisor Patrick Kinsella,” McCullough quoted the document.

"The premier never wavered, even from the last election, from his intent to sell B.C. Rail," McCullough read. "Conscious of his tenuous political situation post-Maui [where he was jailed for drunk driving in early January 2003] he assured northern communities the province would retain track ownership."

But, McCullough said, this promise meant CN could not take full advantage of tax credits.

McCullough, reading from other emails and documents disclosed to the defence in the case of three former government aides facing corruption charges, also alleged that Kinsella was working for both CN Rail and B.C. Rail in the period prior to and during the sale of B.C. Rail to CN. Kinsella was paid $297,000 by BC Rail during that time.

McCullough said the B.C. Rail deal almost collapsed months after it was signed November 25, 2003 - leading to a May 19, 2004 intervention by Kinsella to Campbell's Chief of Staff Martyn Brown at McLean’s request.

“On the 19th of May [2004] Kinsella is the point man for CN, he calls Martyn Brown to say they have to do anything they can,” McCullough said.

And McCullogh, representing former ministerial aide Bob Virk, alleged in court that senior government Deputy Minister Chris Trumpy and then-B.C. Rail Vice-President Kevin Mahoney worked together to "stifle" a Freedom Of Information request to access the transaction documents in the B.C. Rail deal.

The B.C. Liberal government is exercising "sub judice" - that the matter is before the courts - to avoid questions when it is convenient but ignores it for its own purposes other times, McCullough also told Justice Elizabeth Bennett.

Special prosecutor Janet Winteringham objected to McCullough’s argument on sub judice but Bennett cut her off, saying: “I’m not sure your role and function here – you’re the special prosecutor."

"There's a reason special prosecutors are appointed," Bennett concluded, no doubt referring to their role as being outside politics in prosecuting cases involving political figures.

B.C. Liberal House Leader Mike De Jong refused in the Legislature this afternoon to answer opposition questions about the revelations.

"The honourable member chooses to make allegations that derive directly from information and material that are squarely before proceedings at the Supreme Court of British Columbia. It is, therefore, inappropriate to answer," De Jong said in response to a question from NDP MLA Mike Farnworth.

The opposition used its entire question period to pepper the government with the allegations raised in court but neither Premier Gordon Campbell nor Attorney General Wally Oppal were present for them, leaving De Jong to take them all.

Outside the court NDP MLA Leonard Krog was scathing about the information disclosed.

"This deal was going off the rails and that the so-called 'consolation prize' becomes much clearer," Krog said, referring to the defence theory that OmniTRAX, the only bidder left in the sale other than CN, was offered a consolation prize of BC Rail's $70 million Roberts Bank Port Subdivision.

That privatization was cancelled in March 2004 when police informed the government the process was tainted.

Krog also said in relation to the main BC Rail deal that: "The premier's right hand, political advisor and old friend Patrick Kinsella is there working both sides of the streets."

Outside court defence lawyer Michael Bolton, representing former ministerial aide David Basi, said Kinsella was a critical link in the privatization of BC Rail.

"What we have indicates that Mr. Kinsella was a very pivotal person in the BC Rail deal," Bolton said. "Material today indicates he was doing work for CN and BC Rail."

McCullough also read emails obtained in disclosure of evidence between BC Rail executives and top government officials.

One email dated July 7, 2004 concerned a column written by Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer about possible problems with the BC Rail sale to CN running into problems.

The email was from BC Rail VP Kevin Mahoney to Deputy Minister Chris Trumpy, who was a government appointee to the BC Rail deal Evaluation Committee.

"Mr. Vaughn Palmer of the Vancouver Sun had written an article that contained what appeared to be confidential information - that he wouldn't otherwise know," McCullough said, going on to read the email into the record.

"Subject: Palmer. Mahoney: Where does Palmer get his stuff?"

Trumpy replied 36 minutes later, McCullough said.

"Trumpy: What is your phone number now?"

"Mahoney: The old one whill get you here but the new number is 678-4748."

McCullough suggested that response was designed to make sure the conversation about Palmer's source of information was not in emails that could be later accessed.

"The defence says 2 + 2 = 4," McCullough said. "The article is about whether the BC Rail deal is in trouble."

"One of the issues in this case important to the defence is that one of the allegations is that the accuse were leaking things," McCullough said. "Leaking is how the government controls its political agenda. This isn't an individual rogue act - it's systemic, it's part of the plan."

NOTE - A shorter version of this story will run in Friday's 24 hours newspaper.


RossK said...


So the CNR BCR connection was made in open court?

b/w Mr. Mason's Globe column this really is a bombshell...


Anonymous said...

Well now I can see why there wasn't a huge photo - op with campbell holding a "bigger then life" cheque for one billion dollars from CN. It seems the connection was to hot, as well as to close for them, and would surface as not legal. Well done gordo, have another drink, you will need it!

Anonymous said...

Now we're getting somewhere...and NOT a moment too soon.

Pete's Viewpoint said...

"- Patrick Kinsella was working for both CN Rail and BC Rail throughout the period prior to and during the sale of BC Rail to CN in a bidding process. Kinsella was paid $297,000 by BC Rail during that time;"

If this isn't a crime, then its gross conflict of interest...both Campbell and Kinsella are the poster childred for corruption and cronyism at best, and at worst - should be behind bars at the crowbar hotel

Anonymous said... this is extremely dangerous ground for this Premier and his govt:

Patrick Kinsella "intervened" to keep the BC Rail deal from collapsing at the instructions of David MacLean?

While at the same time, Patrick was collecting a fee from the other side as well?

Have I got this right?

I so, Patrick was giving advise to the govt on how to proceed on the deal and receiving payment and synchronously doing David's bidding for him...

So, question to anyone even remotely connected to a business: Would you use the same consultant as your vendor/purchaser?

Of course not.

No wonder the Premier doesn't want this trial to see the light of day.

Anonymous said...

Wow! It's about time, but the sordid story is finally emerging...

RossK said...

No Prem or Stonewally in Ledge during QP today......



Anonymous said...

Is it still possible we will have the great Lieberal appologists on CKNW (Baldry, Palmer and Bill Boring)tell us this odesn't mean a thing.

Anonymous said...

No accountability = No change!
What is it going to take to get rid of the Liberals and replace them with someone more responsible.

NRF said...

In the end, we will learn that Campbell, Kinsella and McLean are wrapped tightly in more than just the BCR business.

BC Liberals Suck said...

Here are some additional questions:

How much did Kinsella get paid by CN to lobby GC's Liberals for the privatization of BC Rail?

Where is the forensic audit? Let's follow the money trail, because I'd be willing to put money on it that there is a thorny path to where that money ended up.

Where are the RCMP in this, oh yeah, they were investigating? Whatever happened to all of their investigations? We know Crown approved charges against Basi-Virk & Basi on this, how on earth did this investigation lead to Campbell?
Did the RCMP investigate Campbell's involvement in the BC Rail "sale"? Was there a special investigator assigned to look at the Premier's role in all of this? How about Kinsella's?

We're heading into an election in less than 2 months, we deserve to have these questions answered. This is about upholding the office of the Premier and the very government of BC.

Anonymous said...

My God!

Can the NDP take advantage of this? Do the public care?

It seems, the writ is going to be dropped in a big bang.

The fuse is lit, to BC's greatest scandal!

Anonymous said...

Pretty good questions in non answer question period. Mike DeJong was doing his serious lawyer act. Nice to see Martyne brown's name come up a few times. wonder what next week will bring in question period. Gordo doesn't show up in the house but is vocal on TV waving his arms around trying to impress the folks.

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of the last half of All The Presidents' Men.

We really have a cancer here and its not just in the Premier's Office.

This province is being run by people morally and ethically no different from the Bacon Brothers or the UN Gang.

Sadly, the Aspers and CanWest/Global BC will make sure that the truth never gets past Dennis Skulsky's rectal passage.


Anonymous said...

Seems the RCMP have backup off big time from their investigations of the whole sordid affair... at whose "suggestion"? Why is the Special Prosecutor not acting "as being outside politics in prosecuting cases involving political figures." ... but acting on BEHALF of the Gordo clan? It's all very strange. It looks like the noose is starting to get tighter and tighter around the necks of some who thought they were beyound the law. Somebody gonna get a real big hurt!

Anonymous said...

Isn't Chris Trumpy the guy who just retired ? The defence should have him in court next. He can't claim cabinent privacy can he ?

Anonymous said...

Premier avoided the Legislature despite being in Victoria for an awards ceremony. Must have made for interesting small talk over the cheese and crumpets!

For Immediate Release


March 26, 2009
Office of the Premier


VICTORIA – B.C.’s exceptional public service employees were the focus of a ceremony this evening hosted by Premier Gordon Campbell, where they received a Premier’s Innovation and Excellence Award acknowledging their creativity and dedication.

“Tonight’s event celebrates the very best of the best,” said Premier Campbell, who presented awards at the provincial event in Victoria.

NRF said...

Justice Bennett gave a very precise warning to the special prosecutors. They act for the crown, not for Campbell's Government. Their duty is to elicit truth, without regard for consequences to political masters.

The judge no doubt also has in mind the pending appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. Winteringham's associate Bill Berardino has already hinted that if Justice Bennett's secret witness ruling is upheld, he might drop all charges.

The Special Prosecutor has been warned today implicitly. Campbell, Kinsella and the McLean Family are not Berardino's clients. If he drops charges to save them embarrassment, his professional standing is at risk.

Anonymous said...

These emails that are coming out don’t seem to be the type that would necessitate cabinet privilege and cause the thing to drag along the way it has.

The cabinet through the special prosecutors really slowed things down and for what? Sure, it is embarrassing to be such a fxxx and have the world know.

But do you have to bring justice to a crawl. It is interesting to see how power and government work though and to think that this is just one file among many.

Anonymous said...

This is a nasty case involving quite a few Liberals -- with tentacles reaching to Federal Liberals. What is shocking is that there has been minimal coverage. EVEN in Vancouver, you are not getting much coverage of the court case. It has been going on for a while and about the only way to track activity is through some bloggers that have been watching what's going on. It is a shameful indictment of the elite political class, whom many -- despite this -- will continue supporting. Press is partly responsible, but so is a complacent electorate.

Anonymous said...

Dec. 28, 2003, a day to mark on our calendars as to when the police were forced to raid the offices of the BC Liberals. Boxes upon boxes of documents were seized. One would think that the government of the day would be busy shredding everything they had in their possessions that had anything to do with BC Rail, but no, or at the very least, have a "second set of books".

Or is that what the emails are, a "second set of books"? There are the official press releases and then there are the "briefing notes"; there is the Premier going on television and telling Northern BC that this is what's going to be happening with the Revitalization scheme, and SHOCK upon SHOCK, CN Rail hadn't received the memo prior to the announcement. In walks Kinsella to settle the process down, whether it be on the CN Rail desk, BC Rail desk or the Premier's Desk..... well I've got news for Mr. Kinsella, he's not an unelected member of Cabinet (which the Premier could do), he's not protected by Cabinet Privilege although it seems he has been, he's a lobbyist, he's a campaign manager, he's a businessman, he's fund raiser for the BC Liberals.

Has anyone asked why Elections BC's PCS program only goes back to the beginning of 2005 to see how much monies CN Rail contributed to the BC Liberals during the 2001 - 2004 era?

CN Rail contributions from 2005

The answer: The donation records are there, but not digitized to the point that each and every record can be lumped together at a click of a button.

The fiancial documents are photographs of hand written information which means, much like the disclosed/seized documents that are contained in the binders released to the Defense and the NDP, each photo has to looked at, and tallied.

NOTE: you might want to look at specific dates as to when CN Rail made contributions to the BC Liberals

Bill Tieleman said...

I can quickly tell the last poster that from 1996 to 2000 CN Rail gave the BC Liberals $39,987.

The Elections BC info is available online as you say but only in PDF format and you have to find CN Rail in the hundreds of pages but it's mostly alphabetical.

Anonymous said...

I told five people I know about this scandal and all they could say was that they could care less. What is wrong with people ? What does it take ?

Anonymous said...

Bill Boring and the cheerleaders are still telling us that the BC rail story is not worth anything.

Anonymous said...

Nobody cares...that's kinda the point. Bill, please do something interesting...

Anonymous said...

Listened to Bill Boring, Palmer and Baldry - no big deal - not an official trial yet - all hearsay!

God, if it were the NDP, all hell would break loose! It shows how much of our media in in the pocket of Gordo and his pals and why no one takes the Sun or BCTV seriously anymore.

No wonder the drug gangs think they can do what they want, because the Libs. have flaunted the rule of law; it's like the wild west.

What we need is 'hangin' judge!

Anonymous said...

On the donations, an interesting way to search is on the name David McLean, who is the chair of CN and a very close personal friend of Campbell. MacLean donated 143,907 to the BC liberals between 2005 and 2008, both in his capacity as the owner of Vancouver Film studios and Chairman of CN.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the amount of donations made by CN Rail (or its executives) to the BC Liberals:

Anonymous says that the data only covers 2005 to 2008;

Bill says there is data that covers 1996 to 2000;

Anonymous(2nd) agrees to 2005 to 2008 and gives the number$$$

But there does seem to be a gap in reporting of donations between 2001to 2004, to which Bill has stated that its a long process, hundreds of pages.

Wouldn't it be nice to know on what dates CN Rail contributed to the BC Liberals during the take down of the Legislature buildings and the following year in which Kinsella was brought in to settle matters down?

I'm not suggesting that there was anything untoward happening, but........ the data is there, much like the data that the NDP researchers found in the library.

Anonymous said...

I guess its shaping up to be a bad week for our sociopathic Premier and his two-faced Attorney General.

I hear StoneWalley is very upset with today's BC Supreme Court overturning of Premier Norman Bates' anti-3rd party advertising election law.

If StoneWalley was to lose his seat (we can only dream) he would have to find real work . . . likely as a mouth-piece for the Bacon Brothers or the UN Gang.


Anonymous said...


get a life all NDPers.

Maybe you want to explain why the BC Hydro union is taking AVERAGE salaries of $100,000 per employee per year?

That they generate power at 0.6 cents a KWh and sell it to the hapless ratepayer at 8 cents 1500% profit. What a lucrative "business".

Anonymous said...

If you don't stifle the "Yawn" comments all that will happen is the public will search for more give-aways that the BC Liberals have done by "generating" another BC Rail like scandal, so keep the comments coming Anonymous (from deep withing the bowels of Victoria)

BC Hydro wages are Misleading at best

Anonymous said...

While the subject of BC Rail sale burns the telephone lines between the BC Liberal government and their party headquarters, the new campaign managers are deftly trying to avoid the heat from the ALC where the blundering Commissioners have been given marching orders on when not to vote when it comes personal property, family property and business freinds adjacent to their own.

Something about there being a perception of conflict of interests. LOL

"Land commission stumbles

Times ColonistMarch 27, 2009

British Columbians place great trust in agricultural land commissioners, the government appointees who decide what must stay farmland and what can be developed, often at great profit for the owners. Condos, even with the economic slowdown, are more lucrative than cucumbers.

So it is shocking that the Agricultural Land Commission has operated without even the most basic rules to guard against conflicts of interest.

Anonymous said...

So Yawn I guess you think that the "paltry" sums of money being mentioned don't warrant comment? I always thought it was the motive not the price tag that mattered.

Kam Lee said...

Unfortunatly, Baldry, Good, and Palmer, kneeling in front of gordo, mouths full of him, will continue to defend their masters. They have no balls. All are looking to be appointed to the senate. It's about time a real reporter appear on the radio, in the papers, and on television. They are all cowards! Down with the drunk, give us back our province!

Anonymous said...

Milo (read P.K.) Minderbinder, in the novel Catch-22 took out a contract with the Germans to bomb the Allies in Italy. At the same time, he held a contract with the Allies to defend against German bombing. He also bought eggs at 5 cents a dozen and sold them for 3 at a profit. The stuff of fiction you say...

Deep Throat said...

Mr. Premier, its Clark Roberts here…let me in.

Oh, hello Clark.

Mr. Premier, it’s really dark in here why don’t you open your office blinds after all it’s a beautiful Victoria sunny day outside…

No, no Clark, I like it this way. So Clark, can I get you a drink…how about one of my famous double martinis.

That’s okay Mr. Premier it’s a little early for me today…Mr. Premier I came to let you know that many of your MLA’s are concerned about you…especially when you didn’t even show up for caucus this week…I got even more concerned when I e-mailed your private e-mail address and it bounced back as not available.

Clark, please keep that “under your belt”, I told James in Estimates back in May 2007 that I wasn’t aware of that e-mail address so I don’t want anyone to know that I mislead the Assembly and I certainly don’t want Bolton and his pit bull, McCullough trying to get their hands on those e-mails…as you know, some are of a very personal and private nature.

Mr. Premier, I am also very concerned to see that everyone who had something to do with the BC Rail deal now seems to be living in silos…I think that this is very dangerous for you…I was talking to Patrick last week and he said that all his friends including you have abandoned him then he mumbled something about you deriving personal benefits and the fact that he knew you liked to fly on the CN corporate jet and that you had even done so before the sale of BC Rail to CN.

Clark as you well know when it comes to the BC Rail trial; "I am not following it very closely...the prosecutors are doing their job, I'm sure the defense is doing their job...and I won't have anything at all to say about it until it is complete...That has been my position from the outset"…besides last week’s revelations will be forgotten by the end of next week.

Well, Mr. Premier, I am not so sure…perhaps you will have to consider replacing Martyn as a way of separating yourself from the scandal…as you well know I have told you repeatedly that there is a cancer in the Premier’s Office…by the way where is Martyn…I am told that he has also not been seen around here lately.

Martyn…yes that’s true Clark, he has been busy elsewhere…boy, I could use another drink…Clark are you interested yet?

No Mr. Premier, its still to way to early for me…but back to those silos…as you well know Wally also disappeared late last week and I am concerned that he will no longer stand up in the Assembly and defend you from the Opposition attacks…in fact, he told me that he was no longer willing to lie for you.

Well #&^*#%...after the election I will have to find a new AG anyway…you know he actually believed those polls that we had done for him on the Richmond riding…what a pompous, naive SOB

Yes, Mr. Premier.

Otis Krayola said...

This would be a 'bombshell' if any of the MSM were to run the story, but (aside from Mason in the Globe) nobody's putting it out there.


Anonymous said...

re: Deep Throat 12:28pm and Clark Roberts

I have a story for you about during the 1997 federal election, Clark Roberts running for the Grits in Saanich boasted about his deep western political roots and how his "dear old dad" founded Western Canada Concept back in Manitoba in the 1970s.

As a federal Grit with a bit more mileage and war stories than little Clarkie . . . I suggested he stop telling that tale since WCC also used to spray-paint nasty things on Jewish gravestones too.


A. G. Tsakumis said...

Those who will not cover this trial must have a VERY bad memory.

Rafe Mair once took a very complicated mess surrounding a Premier's personal property and parlayed it into one of the biggest and longest running stories in B.C. news history.

As a follow up, he took an even more complex national unity discussion and parsed it enough that the edges and guts were splayed for everyone to appreciate. You could understand because he was up every night polishing that sword that delivered a thousand cuts the next morning. He delivered. He wasn't lazy, or afraid.

But Christy ("where's Hamish?") didn't hesitate to take unbelievable cheap shots at Rafe at Bill Good's roast, she can't talk about it...and Bill Good doesn't believe in it...nor do his producers.

I comment on NW and the only two people willing to give it a whirl are the impeccable Jon McComb and the incomparable Sean Leslie. Kudos to them.

And then, there are people who I respect immensely, who are not covering this trial. And it saddens me that someone will get away with something.

At the very least, there are some significant ethical breaches that emanate from this trial.

And they all have one common denominator.

The Premier.

RossK said...


Could it be that Mr. Mair's ability to do these things is, perhaps, one of the reasons he is no longer on commercial radio?


Anonymous said...

looks like DP has something on this government. stonewally didn't look to good today in QP and certainly did not like to answer questions to the media.

why doesn't stonewally's staff keep him in doing "house business" according to their own playbook in dealing with the media.

A. G. Tsakumis said...


No, not at all. Rafe came off air because he stayed on too long and his behavior was, well, entirely inappropriate. You've got to separate the greatness of Rafe with the latter years. He made radio in this town. ANYONE with a successful show, even ten years from now, will owe at least part of that to Rafe. But he started in on fish farms, endlessly, losing three fourths of his audience in the process.

But, like anything in life. You have to know when to call it a day. And Rafe STILL thinks he could carry a show better than anyone, and that just ain't the case.

Everything good, eventually goes. Rafe was the best--without parallel.

It will take someone with great talent to finally assume the mantle.

Anonymous said...

Raif Mair the ultra-rightwing goon was fired for a number of reasons.

But hey, I have never met a leftwinger who doesn't like a fascist demagogue and populist.

Anonymous said...

AGT--Ever go fishing when our oceans were alive with fish? I doubt it, some battles are worth fighting no matter the cost,when there isn`t one FFFFiiinnnnggg wild salmon left then what.
Gee,I guess someone should of spoke out.
What is important is nature working,without mankind screwing it up.
Fish farms where there were originated in Europe they have now gotten rid of them,how FFFFiiinnnngg stupid are we,would it affect your life if there were no farmed fish to buy?
No it wouldn`t,the wild salmon feed the birds,the trees,the bears.

Not some chemical/ground up fish pellet farmed fish that has to be starved in the last month of it`s life to flush out the chemicals and anti-biotics.
Bon appetite AGT--Moron

A. G. Tsakumis said...

Anon 1:03am:

Posting after you've done a cap of heroin or smoked crack is not conducive to productive, or lucid, commentary.

Rafe Mair was never ultra-right wing, nor was he let go for anything related to his programming.

The fact remains, he stayed too long and when you start to believe your own fame, all heel breaks loose.

And it did. Pity.

RossK said...


There certainly were reports about, as you call it, 'inappropriate behavior'.

But lost three-quarters of his audience?

Certainly not when the fine folks at Corus fired him in '03 after he said that they 'knew the price of everything and the value of nothing' (a charge he has since repeated with reference to the current provincial government).

Here's Rod Mickleburgh's report from that time.

Now, there was an audience drop off when he went down to the bottom of the dial, but those numbers are hard to truly compare (type 'Mair' into browser search box) to the old Giant'98 days, given the disaster that the dial bottom dwelling was at the time.

Regardless, your suggestion that Mr. Mair's defense of the environment is an important contributing factor to his removal from the airwaves, I would most humbly suggest, actually supports my argument.

Now, could Mr. Mair still carry an entire show by himself? Like you, I'm not so sure. But he can still kick butt on political panels.