The Collapse Of Western Society: The B.C. Example

Posted on Saturday, March 21 at 11:09 by Robin Mathews

The Collapse Of Western Society: The B.C. Example.

The “civilized West” (?) has been hit with a hurricane of “crimes without laws”.  So large is the storm that major economic institutions are collapsing or under threat of collapse, and the very social system we live in is imperilled.

“Democracy”(?) has been failing demonstrably.  Elections are increasingly manipulated “entertainment” events. Reasonable economic regulation has been struck down. Elected governments have become – more and more – servants of avaricious corporations, helping them to rob the public. Policing of commercial crime and government breaches of trust has diminished. And in that decaying world the courts give almost no leadership.  They swim in the polluted lake they exist to cleanse.

The whole movement to free banks, market manipulators, credit and insurance operators from principled behaviour has unleashed on the general population a swarm of sleazy operators, free to engage in what is, in fact, criminal activity without laws to contain them.

Surprisingly to some, British Columbia may be as good an example of the global rot as any that can be found near at hand. 

Questions nag … and nag … about the corrupt sale of BC Rail.  Corrupt.  Gordon Campbell made an election promise not to sell BC Rail.  Then the Campbell forces set about, semi-secretly, to break trust, under terms which excluded BC interests and that used a process which two participant bidders described as unfair.

CPR and BNSF withdrew, the latter citing “serious questions of ethics and fairness”.  BNSF (November 24, 2003) also complained of the “failure of CIBC to follow the process that CIBC and the government said would be followed”.

Paul Nettleton, thrust out of Liberal caucus for fighting against the dismemberment of BC Hydro remarked about the sale of BC Rail on January 6, 2004, on CKPG that “the process wasn’t fair.  It wasn’t open.  It wasn’t transparent”.

When, out of a hat, the Campbell forces pulled a U.S. corporation “to complete” a “fairness report” (Charles River Associates), satisfaction was not achieved.  Peter Rickershauser, for BNSF, found the report unsatisfactory on many counts – one of the most obvious: Charles River Associates didn’t bother to interview the bidding companies involved!  Also BNSF recorded that the Gordon Campbell forces did not reveal to bidders a major term of consideration.

That last fact was spotted by the Alberta/B.C. company Ferroequus which refused even to bid because, it appears, it believed it was being misled about government requirements (in order to get lots of bidders who could be said to have “failed” in the bidding?)

A reasonable observer might conclude that the sale of BC Rail was seriously tainted because the Gordon Campbell forces were determined to misrepresent its real state, to pretend it was a huge liability, to organize civil servants, management of BC Rail, perhaps CIBC World Markets, perhaps many others to propagandize, on the basis of “cooked” information, for a sale, and then to sell it to political friends – whatever the cost to B.C.

Over and over, at the time, critics accused the Campbell forces of using accounting tricks to claim BC Rail was losing money and of setting it up, falsely, for destruction.  Paul Nettleton backs up their position.  On January 6, 2004, Nettleton (on radio) told an interviewer this:

“The inner working of the Campbell administration really is all about micromanagement, control over cabinet [and] caucus, with a healthy dose of intimidation.  They certainly tried to intimidate me…. When they failed they resorted to enticement from the highest levels in an attempt to silence me.  The person they used was David Basi.”

In the hand-written pages by Yvette Wells, Director of the Crown Agencies Secretariat, light shines through, revealing a group building a propaganda case for destroying BC Rail while pretending not to do so.  April 17, 2003. “Can we back up debt spiral [at BCR] with evidence?” May 12, 2003. “shouldn’t talk about purchase/sale”.  May 13, 2003.  “Have we made the product sound too good?”  May 17, 2003.  “Some concern that there is a deal with CN – CIBC has dealt well with this not being the case.  Want to ensure this is not communicated.”

They didn’t talk about “purchase/sale”, because orders were out.

On June 6, 2003 (to the village of Pemberton) Gordon Campbell wrote of a “new partnership”.  He wrote on September 3 to the Ferroequus Railway Co. of an “investment partnership with CN”, and on November 25, 2003, again, of “a new BC Rail Investment Partnership”.  On June 8, 2004, Kevin Falcon wrote of “BC Rail’s partnership with CN Rail.”  Examples are everywhere.

BC Rail did not enter a partnership with CN.  All statements of the kind quoted may fairly be considered concerted attempts to mislead British Columbians, concerted activity involving moral breach of trust.

Messages poured in to Gordon Campbell.  One: “This is not a partnership.  It is a total sell-out of a Crown corporation owned by the taxpayers.”  Another: “I didn’t realize you were a liar.” One writer challenged falsifications about the solvency of BCR: “Why do you keep dodging the issue?”  Yet another: “doesn’t it bother you that you were elected based on a complete deception?” Anger at betrayal of trust was expressed over and over and over.

The Gordon Campbell forces charged on, obviously engaging in a betrayal of the electorate. What is more, to maintain the breach of trust the Campbell forces had to engage in heavy damage control – what Paul Nettleton called “micromanagement, control over cabinet [and] caucus, with a healthy dose of intimidation….”

Many people believed (and believe) the sellout was a crime, highly organized and executed.  But they couldn’t get at it because the Campbell forces – many believed – controlled the law, the police, and the courts.  Search as people might, they couldn’t find a law, an instrument they could use to meet the activities of the Campbell forces. The Campbell forces were confident no one would.

There was – no doubt - breach of trust by public officers. That is a primary fact.  As Sgt. John Ward of the RCMP was quoted as saying on December 30, 2003 just after the “raid” on the legislature, “organized crime has many, many faces”.

Then something happened the Campbell forces hadn’t planned for. 
A 20-month investigation by Victoria police and RCMP began to move like a juggernaut.  First a drug investigation, it became a commercial crime investigation, too, and then it landed in the legislature. 

The investigation became so hydra-headed RCMP gave it the name “every-which-way”.  A key contact point in the legislature was, apparently, wire-taps on the telephone used by Dave Basi, powerful aide to the Gary Collins, Minister of Finance.

And, then, on December 28, 2003, search warrants were put in action to “raid” offices of the B.C. legislature, many homes, and offices in Vancouver and on Vancouver Island.  A year later Dave Basi, Bob Virk, and Aneal Basi were charged variously with counts of fraud, breach of trust, and money laundering.

On a BCTV program, December 29, 2003, Keith Baldrey recorded that “Bob Virk [is] in Transportation….  Transportation is  … responsible for the BC Rail initiative and Finance had a larger role … than most … and that’s again where Dave Basi comes in.”

Almost all the other people visited or searched as a result of the warrants – many connected to both the Gordon Campbell and federal Liberals – have had the search warrants involving them all-but blanked out, as protection.  Christie Clark, minister of education and deputy premier, was in line to have her home raided it is alleged.  But it is alleged that Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm reasoned with police to have them telephone in advance and make an appointment to visit. Thoughtful of him.

The “something” that happened obviously galvanized the Campbell forces.  The BC Rail sellout had hit what might be a network involving drug crime, breach of trust by public officers, bribery, money laundering, and perhaps much more. All of it might, perhaps surround, involve, connect to, and be part of – who knows? – the corrupt sale of BC Rail.

The BC Rail sellout had hit “crimes” that have “laws” to meet them – criminal laws.  The Gordon Campbell forces couldn’t stop the charges being laid, even if they wanted to, because there were so many investigators and investigations involved.

Had two kinds of organized crime, acting independently, suddenly met head-on?  Or was one an arm of the larger organized crime network, suddenly trapped in dangerous waters? The Gordon Campbell forces became trapped.  If the three men accused were acting under orders, one might theorize, everything had to be done to prevent trial so that cabinet members could avoid charges against them… and so the government wouldn’t fall.

If the three men accused were acting wholly independently -
still everything had to be done to prevent trial. The digging up of evidence to defend the men would bare the sleaze and manipulation and breach of trust used by the Gordon Campbell forces to sell BC Rail corruptly. It would reveal the network of organization to produce the necessary “crimes without laws” to destroy BC Rail.

The fix appears, then, to have been in.  Now, more than five years after the search warrant “raids” on B.C. legislature offices, the pre-trial hearings concerning the three accused are still limping and stumbling and faltering in the Supreme Court of B.C.

On May 7, 2007 Canadian Press released a story on the charges against the accused more or less presenting the position of the Prosecution.  Putting aside the drug-related events, in “November 2003, police learned that [Dave] Basi was involved in alleged criminal matters related to the sale of Crown-owned B.C. Rail, Winteringham [lawyer for the Crown] said.” [Notice Winteringham doesn’t speak of an “investment partnership” but “the sale”.]

“Bobby Virk, Basi’s brother-in-law, who was an aide to then-transportation minister Judith Reid, is also facing fraud and breach of trust charges while Aneal Basi, another cousin, is charged with money-laundering in the B.C. Rail case.”

“The Crown alleges that between May 2003 and December 2003 Basi and Virk received benefits from lobbyists at a firm called Pilothouse Public Affairs Group in exchange for providing them with confidential government documents regarding the sale of B.C. Rail.”

“Pilothouse was representing OmniTRAX, an American company that was among the bidders for B.C. Rail.”

In the same story Canadian Press reported that Defence counsel “has alleged that [Gary] Collins [Minister of Finance] promised OmniTRAX a ‘consolation prize’ to stay in the bidding to provide [for the Gordon Campbell forces] the appearance of a real bidding process”, and perhaps to drive up the price of BC Rail.  Defence alleges “the RCMP abruptly dropped investigating him [Collins] to focus on their clients” [Basi, Virk, and Basi].

“Winteringham said there was no consensus among police officers as to Collins’s role and that various investigators had different views about whether he was even under investigation.”

This member of the B.C. public who sits day after day in the B.C. Supreme Court to follow the matter, has drawn some conclusions.

(1)  The BC Rail Scandal cases point to a serious break-down of democratic institutions in B.C. As we see, just for instance, Wally Oppal, Attorney General of the Province – “chief law officer of the Crown” – plays every kind of clown to keep information about the corrupt sale of BC Rail from the people of the Province.  Gordon Campbell refuses even to admit questions are being asked. Someone else answers questions directed to him in the legislature.

(2)  The break-down is pointed to over and over again in the pre-trial hearings.

(3)  To me, the Special Crown Prosecutor has failed to advance the process, and has been a party to its delay.

(4)  To me, the RCMP has delayed tediously, and then has disclosed materials requested in ways that are simply unacceptable.  The RCMP has, as I see it, put almost every obstacle in the way of clean and direct reporting of investigation. The RCMP may be said – as I see their role - to have “Robert Dziekansky’d” the whole operation.

(5) To me, almost all agents serving or connected to the Gordon Campbell forces give the impression of obstructing and delaying proceedings – agents for the cabinet, the Liberal MLAs, the RCMP, and BC Rail.

(6) To me, the profound importance of the proceedings should have touched the presiding judge, Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett. I don’t think it has.  Seeing the huge importance and the implications of the BC Rail Scandal, she needed to seize upon the full meaning of ‘the majesty of the law’.  This, after all, is the most important public trial in B.C. history.

BC Rail is a possession of all the people British Columbia that has been alienated by breach of trust.  Allegedly, in part, it has been alienated, too, by criminal breach of trust and – perhaps – by many more actions of criminal breach of trust than we have been allowed to see.

The role of Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett should have been to inform British Columbians regularly and as fully as possible about all aspects of the case.  To me, she has seriously failed to do that. To me, she has seemed to use special care to keep information from British Columbians.

Her role should have been to demand of cabinet, BC Rail, RCMP – on threat of Contempt of Court – that they provide full and open and expeditious cooperation.  Her role should have been to demonstrate in no uncertain terms that – even when a government is involved – the process of justice will move without hindrance. As I see the matter, she has not done that.  Why not?  The very kindest explanation must be, I believe, that like the Roman emperor Nero, she fiddles (with the rule book and precedent and visible delaying tactics) while justice and the social order of British Columbia burn….

Finally, to me, there is a huge irony in the BC Rail Scandal.  The Gordon Campbell forces have used elaborate breaches of trust to dump BC Rail and steal it from the people of the Province.  They have done the same thing, secretly, against election promises, to BC Hydro.  The Gordon Campbell forces, I believe, have robbed British Columbians of billions and billions of dollars worth of assets as well as present and future wealth – without facing a single criminal accusation.  Instead, the spotlight in the Supreme Courtrooms of B.C. is on three cabinet aides who – amidst the flood of dishonesty the Province has been swimming in - are accused of benefitting to the tune of some tens of thousands of dollars.

What better indication can there be of the collapse of a just social order? Three men (whatever their guilt or innocence) are, I believe, being used as sacrificial goats behind whom masters of chicanery, manipulation, greed, and violation of trust posture as guardians of The Good.  And they use - it seems to me - all the institutions devoted to the safety and security of the population to help them in their venal activities.



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