Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It's not Basi or Virk on trial now - it's Premier Gordon Campbell's personal integrity

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Column

Tuesday March 24, 2009

B.C. Rail deal comes back to haunt Libs

By Bill Tieleman

There’s a sinister way of looking at this – that the government was playing politics with this deal the whole time.

– Defence lawyer Kevin McCullough on the B.C. Rail sale

Let’s make one thing clear – the B.C. Legislature raid case, the $1 billion privatization of B.C. Rail in 2003, the corruption charges against three former B.C. Liberal government aides – those are now secondary.

A far more important issue is at stake – the integrity of the premier of British Columbia,Gordon Campbell.

For those who have either failed to cover or follow the charges against David Basi, Bob Virk or Aneal Basi, saying it’s too complicated, too long ago, too trivial or just so what – none of that matters anymore.

Campbell must answer questions about his personal role and his government’s actions in selling B.C. Rail to CN Rail for $1 billion in a purportedly open bidding process.

The premier’s closest political advisor, Patrick Kinsella – co-chair of both the 2001 and 2005 B.C. Liberal Party election campaigns – is alleged in a court of law to have been working for both B.C. Rail and CN at the same time.

Those allegations by defence lawyers, repeated in the B.C. Legislature by New Democratic Party MLAs, must be answered.

We already know that Kinsella was paid $297,000 by B.C.Rail in $6,000-a-month instalments from 2001 to 2005. And Kinsella, as a private consultant, can work for both parties in a transaction – there’s nothing illegal in that.

But Campbell, the premier of the province, has an obligation to tell taxpayers if these allegations are true or false – before the May 12 election.

Campbell has an even greater obligation to respond to defence allegations in court – based on information from lobbyists for another bidder who are now key crown witnesses – that the premier personally met with Kinsella and David McLean, the chair of CN Rail, before the deal was announced.

True or false? If true, why did the meeting take place?

Was the B.C. Rail deal discussed?

Did Campbell know that Kinsellawas working for B.C. Rail or what he was doing for them?

Was Kinsella there on behalf of B.C. Rail or CN or both?

Did Campbell know who Kinsella was representing when he called the premier’s chief of staff Martyn Brown on May 19, 2004 to try and save the billion dollar deal with CN from collapsing?

Was it B.C. Rail or CN or both? Not only is Campbell’s excuse that he can’t comment on a matter “before the courts” convenient – it’s fundamentally wrong.

Campbell has commented before when it suited his purposes.

This time it’s more important – it’s not the Basi-Virk case that is in jeopardy– it’s Gordon Campbell’s personal integrity.



Anonymous said...

Did Kinsella have a hand in writing the documents that Judge Bennett has marked "consolation prize" in her July 17, 2007, inventory of two boxes of seized evidence; the legislative review cmte briefing documents dated October 1, 2003, and/or the BC Rail Q&As from October 22, 2003?

These documents, associated with top level decision makers, are dated well before wiretaps allegedly caught Basi discussing a consolation prize with either Virk or Omnitrax.

NRF said...

"...selling B.C. Rail to CN Rail for $1 billion in a purportedly open bidding process."

That should read: ...selling B.C. Rail to CN Rail for a purported $1 billion in a purportedly open bidding process.

Could the auditor general confirm exactly what CN was obliged to pay? Was there ever a big lump of cash received by British Columbia or is the billion dollars smoke and mirrors?

Anonymous said...

Given the cosy relationship the BC Liberals have had with various Lobbyist's over the last eight years, I wonder how many campaign teams and campaign managers are being placed on the BC Liberal election team?

We already know that one lobbyist is managing the campaign of the Premier - Canada's National Brewers Western region president Greg D'Avignon. (Credit to Publiceyeonline)

Who else will be behind the scenes for the BC Liberals?

Anonymous said...

Question: Mr. Premier, can you please tell us how long you have known Mr. Kinsella?

Answer: I can't answer that its before the courts?

Question: Mr. Premier do you know Mr. Kinsella?

Answer: I can't answer that its before the courts?

Question: Mr. Premier does Patrick Kinsella reside in Vancouver?

Answer: I can't answer that - its before the courts.

Question: Mr. Premier did the BC Liberal Party ever receive donations from CN Rail or Mr. David McLean or Mr. Patrick Kinsella?

Answer: I can't answer that - its before the courts.

Question: Mr. Premier did you ever meet with Mr. Patrick Kinsella at his residence, have dinner with him and discuss the BC Rail deal?

Answer: I can't answer that - its before the courts.

Question: Did you ever meet with David McClean and Patrick Kinsella and discuss the BC Rail deal or CN?

Answer: I can't answer that - its before the courts.

Question: Do you know where Patrick Kinsella lives, have you ever been to his house and had dinner there with any cabinet ministers such as Rich Coleman?

Answer: I can't answer that - its before the courts.

What a pathetic man this premier has become, a shell of his former self, when bombastic prouncements would spew out of his mouth about accountability, openness, honesty and integrity. I almost forgot the now infamous promise "we will not sell bc rail".

In the US this type of answer is know as invoking the 5th Amendment - namely "I refuse to answer that question because what I say may incriminate me".

Please remember this people, our glorious premier can't answer the questions because he knows the answer will seal his fate. So we continue this tap dance with the strategy being very simple - get to May 12/09. Thats all that matters, that date. Get to the election and win it!

How pathetic and sad this man has become.

DPL said...

Question period today, Tuesday was more of the same. Seems Kinsella had a hand in many companies pockets. Everything is before the courts.
Stone Wally was arrogant as usual taking all questions except the last one. Mike DeJong did that and was never even close to the question asked. They are going to go out and do great things for BC,ect ect, till finally the Speaker said question period was over Rather pathetic performance, as no Minister would stand and deliver, except DeJong who was a jerk when I first met him years ago, and of course is convinced he is brilliant by his sarcastic performance. King Gordo of course never rose from his seat. After all he has a flunky or two to do the talking. Open accountable government? Not in your wildest dreams

Anonymous said...

NRF : Yes, the auditor general has confirmed the payment from CN and accounted for its disposition...you can find the details here:

In the Public Accounts for 2004/05 - Note 33 Significant Events, you will find a detailed description of the effects of the transaction on the Province's Accounts. This note can be found at the following link:
http://www.fin.gov.bc.ca/ocg/pa/04_05/PA_2005_Summ.pdf Summary Financial Statements Page 44/58 of the web version (page 66 of the Public Accounts).

In that detailed note you will find reference to a dividend payment made to province totalling $443 million. That dividend payment was used to repay a previous investment the Province made in BC Rail of $110 million, and the remainder of $333 million was recorded as a dividend from a self-supported Crown Corporation on the Consolidated Revenue Fund Statement of Net Revenue by Source. This statement can be found at the following link:
http://www.fin.gov.bc.ca/ocg/pa/04_05/PA_2005_CRF.pdf Consolidated Revenue Fund Extracts Page 5/10 of the web version (page 93 of the Public Accounts) - Contributions from Crown Corporations and Agencies - Other Self Supported Crown Corporations

You may also find the information contained on the Statement of Financial Position for Self Supported Crown Corporations and Agencies and the Summary of Results of Operations and Statement of Equity for Self Supported Crown Corporations and Agencies useful. BC Rail is reported under the Transportation heading. These two statements can be found at the following link:
http://www.fin.gov.bc.ca/ocg/pa/04_05/PA_2005_Summ.pdf Summary Financial Statements Page 54-55/58 of the web version (pages 76-77 of the Public Accounts).

Anonymous said...

And, NRF, that didn't come from the Public Affairs Bureau either - though for the life on me I can't understand why BC Rail and the Government have been so reluctant to publish the information.

It almost seems that they've become so slavish in their fascination with secrecy that they are unwilling to acknowledge 'anything' about this case and its background.....


Don't you think?

North Van's Grumps said...

To Anonymous who said...
"NRF : Yes, the auditor general has confirmed the payment from CN and accounted for its disposition...you can find the details here:"



Please comment again.

Anonymous said...

should be:


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link on Public Accounts for 2004/05

However.......there's always a However....

Page 44 of 58 "The proceeds from the BC Rail/CN Rail Transaction were used to repay all outstanding debt due to the province at a cost of $510 million. The province, HOWEVER, still retains the associated external debt and, as a result, the debt has been re-classified as tax-supported debt. The proceeds were also used to pay $443 million dividend to the province. The balance ($50 million) was retained by BCR to pay transaction costs and fund future corporate requirements ........."

Anonymous said...

NVG - try this:


Should work perfectly - let me know if it doesn't.

Anonymous said...

Well, thanks to previous posters, this is the first time that I've been informed of this:

"The Revitalization Agreement has an initial term of 60 years and gives CN the option to renew the lease for an additional 30 years AT NO COST TO CN, and allows for further extensions to the term of the Revitalization Agreement SHOULD BCRC NOT EXERCISE ITS OPTION TO REPURCHASE THE RAIL OPERATIONS."

I've never heard about the repurchase option before.

Anonymous said...

Oh I didn't say a word about the propriety of what was DONE with the proceeds - just confirmed that the big bundle 'o cash did arrive - and then disappear again...you have to run your skip trace a little deeper to figure out exactly what WAS done with the beans once the cow had been sold.

But, don't ask too many questions, or the CEO will tell you 'It's before the Courts!'

As for that category of tax-supported total debt, I think you'll find, all told, it's in the neighbourhood of $55 billion big ones.

And if you don't believe me, have a look at what Craig McInnes said in the SUN -

God knows what it's up to now.


Anonymous said...

Gordon Campbell's personal integrity isn't in jeopardy because he's never had any integrity

Anonymous said...

shit i dont know what to think anymore ,is there no shame is it open for a free for all what the hell is going on in this province,and the federal government is stooping to the same tactics ffs when is all this crap going to stop! stop stealing my ficking money and keep asking for more I just dont have any to give this is a message to all politicians of all stripes! for the love of christ leave us alone and put all liars and thieves where they belong in jail. No wounder there no trust in public institutions,they are protecting the very thief's that are robbing us blind not only now but for years to come,( generations)we can all see it but the courts and there authorities do nothing about it they just involve themselves in the ripoff whats this all gonna cost at the end and it was all helped by the media to boot aid and abetted by them shame on all of them if everybody acted this way we would all become slum dogs we better wake up because thats what they want . Who are they? All the pricks involved in this conspiracy yes conspiracy!