Written by Robin Mathews
The B.C. election draws near....
The Mainstream Press and Media are hard at work ... campaigning for the re-election of the Christy Clark neo-Liberals. Refusing throughout the four years of the (BC Rail Scandal) Basi, Virk, and Basi case to report the most important revelations (and covering up where possible), Mainstream Press and Media are now attempting to foil the proposed Inquiry by working to defeat the NDP.
The Mainstream Press and Media have helpers with their campaign against the B.C. New Democrats. Their most effective helper is the B.C. New Democratic Party itself, which has decided that informing the public in an election period is bad taste, impolite, confrontational, unworthy of nice people.
Every statement made by Christy Clark could be met by truth that wipes her out. She violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom as Education Minister by imposing a dirty contract on teachers. She was deputy premier through all the filth that became the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to CNR. She oversees BC Hydro – that hasn’t had its accounting approved of by the Auditor General FOR TEN YEARS. She sits on the biggest accumulated budget deficit in British Columbia history.
She is in bed with the Mainstream Press and Media in B.C. She dominates a pile of fake book-keeping accounts that attempts to hide millions in debt and deficit. She appoints the worst manipulators out of giant corporations and the Stephen Harper swill-pot. I could go on … and on … and on.
The public forgets, and needs to be reminded of facts – especially amidst the brainwash spray of amnesialogical pre-election non-truth pumped out by the Vaughn Palm-reading Mainstream Press and Media. Real, honest, fair campaigning is about telling the truth concerning the government in power, informing the voting public, giving them facts about mismanagement, cronyism, cover-up, bad policy, illegitimate activity, as well as announcing good policy.
The NDP thinks it will float into power without informing the B.C public about why a change of government is absolutely essential. Maybe it will float into power….
“And then”, say the faithful among the NDP, “we will have an Inquiry into the foul transfer of BC Rail to the CNR.” Will we?
Canadian Public Inquiries are not what they used to be. Now they are, very often, expensive cover-ups, manipulated in two ways to end with confetti and streamers and drum-rolls – and NO RESULTS. The first destroyer of an Inquiry is its “terms of reference”. The second destroyer is the person appointed as Chief Commissioner.
Think: the Scandal that made Stephen Harper set up an Inquiry (2009) into the financial relation of Brian Mulroney and lobbyist Karlheinz Schreiber was most visible regarding the $21 million apparently placed in Schreiber’s hands to buy (Air Canada) business for European Airbus. RCMP suspected Mulroney may have been a recipient.
The Justice Jeffrey Oliphant Inquiry cost taxpayers close to $13 million. Justice Oliphant appears to have been honest. But, maybe he should have rejected the “terms” of the Inquiry. He was forbidden to ask about the $21 million and the relation of Mulroney/Schreiber in the Airbus deal! He was forbidden to express any conclusions regarding civil and/or criminal liability. Justice Oliphant reported that he made special effort to conform to that requirement.
How was he gagged? Stephen Harper appointed Conservative president of the University of Waterloo David Lloyd Johnston to set up the terms of reference for the Inquiry. Johnston effectively gagged the Inquiry and Justice Oliphant – so successfully, that a little later Stephen Harper (one might conclude) appointed Johnston to be his personal errand boy and messenger, giving him the name Governor General of Canada.
The B.C. Missing Women Commission of Inquiry used its Chief Commissioner (2010 to 2012), in my opinion, to destroy the possibility of any genuine results. Costing $9 million the Inquiry was headed by Wally Oppal former judge, former Attorney General, etc. etc. etc.
Not long before being appointed to the Missing Women Inquiry, Oppal attempted as Attorney General to get a case started against the so-called Bountiful (B.C.) Bigamists. He began with the Crown Prosecutors office where none wanted to take a case because of real doubts about its constitutionality. So Oppal went to independent Special Prosecutors. Richard Peck refused to act, recommending a court ruling on the constitutionality of such a case. Oppal went to Len Doust – who gave the same advice. Oppal went to Terence Robertson who agreed to act in the case.
Wally Oppal was violating – in grand fashion – the use of prosecutors and Special Prosecutors by shopping and shopping to get (what I believe was) a political advantage for the Gordon Campbell government: a show trial of “real bad guys”.
In court, the case beginning, the accused told the judge of Wally Oppal’s antics. Madam Justice Sunni Stromberg-Stein stopped the trial and threw it out. But not before saying Wally Oppal went Special Prosecutor shopping and that the appointment of Terence Robertson was “unlawful”. As former judge and Attorney General, Wally Oppal was responsible for knowing his actions were outrageous and – as Justice Stromberg-Stein said “unlawful”.
Wally Oppal should never again have received any kind of public appointment in British Columbia – which may well have been the reason he was made Commissioner for the B.C. Missing Women Inquiry. Many observers believed they watched him guide the $9 million Inquiry away from any subject that would imperil the powerful or implicate more than only Robert William Pickton in the murder of unnumbered women at the Pickton Farm.
Another B.C. Inquiry of note was the Braidwood Inquiry into Taser death and into the Robert Dziekanski death at Vancouver International Airport in 2007. Mr. Justice Braidwood, Commissioner, appears to have been perfectly honest. His Inquiry cost $4.5 million. It ran until 2010. Both Braidwood and the B.C. Coroner Service declared the death was due to repeated tasering and the strange circumstances of confrontation with four RCMP officers. The Coroner Service declared the death a homicide.
Mr. Justice Braidwood left it to the Prosecution services of B.C. to decide whether to lay charges and which charges to lay. Richard Peck was named Special Prosecutor to manage the matter. It took Richard Peck nearly a year to read the Braidwood Report (?) And then he decided there was not enough evidence (?) to lay any charges relating to physical violence – despite the findings of both Braidwood and B.C. Coroner Service.
Richard Peck decided (as was blatantly clear in the Commission transactions) that perjury charges should be laid against the four RCMP officers. That was in May of 2011. In October of 2012 – eighteen months later - Robert Dziekanski’s mother expressed alarm that no trial had taken place. But now we have dates: RCMP officer Bill Bentley will begin trial on June 3, 2013, officer Robinson on November 22, 2013, officer Rundell on January 13, 2014, and officer Millington on February 11, 2014.
A former RCMP and CSIS officer suggested to me that when he watched the film made by the witness of the tasering of Robert Dzeikanski in 2007, he believed criminal charges against the four officers would be laid within a week. But in such matters, a Commission of Inquiry serves justice ever so much better than a fair trial conducted expeditiously before the public. It is now five years and six months since Robert Dziekanski was killed in Vancouver International Airport.
Who is betting the trials of the accused men will begin as announced?
The NDP (about to be) established Commission of Inquiry into the BC Rail Scandal will, doubtless, have to bring Gordon Campbell back to B.C. for questioning. He is political kingpin in the corrupt transfer of the railway. He is presently Canadian High Commissioner in London. The Commission of Inquiry will have to question Christy Clark who was deputy premier during the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to CNR. It will have to question many cabinet ministers who were in place between 2001 and 2005. William Berardino who was illegitimately named Special Prosecutor in the affair and on the case against Basi, Virk, and Basi will have to be questioned – as will the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General and assistant Deputy Attorney General who improperly appointed him.
The Commission will have to question Board members of BC Rail as well as the civil servants who set up the methods of destroying the value of the railway. The Commission will have to question RCMP officers who refused to investigate Gordon Campbell and his associates. It will have to go through thousands of pages of (dirty?) evidence of RCMP ‘investigation’’. RCMP partisanship and bias were declared as the Search Warrant “raid” on B.C. Legislature offices ended in December, 2003. RCMP announced that no elected person was being investigated. From 2003 to 2010 RCMP spent millions of dollars entrapping Basi, Virk, and Basi – lower level Sikh appointees. As Defence counsel said, the three men were “targetted” and “tailored”. And as one of the accused men said to me: “the elephant in the room in this trial is race”.
BC Rail and Gordon Campbell cabinet records will have to be studied. Etcetera. And maybe Dave Basi, Bobby Virk, and Aneal Basi may be able to shed some useful light on the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to the CNR. All that and more will surely happen, unless ….
Unless a bland, do-nothing, carefully chosen, ineffective person is appointed as Commissioner of the Inquiry, and unless strange and cloudy terms are set out asserting things like … that no elected representative may be questioned and no person ever connected to or employed by BC Rail may be questioned and no police officers may be questioned and that no one from CNR or any of the other interested bidders may be questioned.
In that way a wonderfully expensive and completely useless Inquiry could be held and, forever after, the NDP could say “we were the party that dared challenge the powerful criminals involved in the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to the CNR. We held a Public Inquiry!”
Commissions of Inquiry are set up for many, many reasons – one of the rarest reasons is to find out honestly, expeditiously, and fully what the public wants and needs to know, and then to act swiftly against criminals and other wrongdoers involved.
The honest reasons for such Inquiries are often smothered – but the B.C. NDP is about to show what a rare and honest political party it is and what it can do as government to have a Public Inquiry with real power, real independence, real investigative effect, and genuine integrity. And let the criminal charges fall where they may….
Written by Robin Mathews
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