Fourth Part. The RCMP Raids on B.C. Legislature Offices (Dec. 28, 2003)
Date: Thursday, November 23 2006
Fourth Part. The RCMP Raids on B.C. Legislature Offices (Dec. 28, 2003)
The Tide of Corruption. The Soiled Milieu.
Disclosure of evidence has been chaotic. Judicial delays and fumblings – as well as inadequate availability of court records - have been inexcusable. Coverage by the private corporate monopoly press and media has been grossly inadequate (especially by CanWest monopoly publications which are ardent supporters and “cover-up” organs for the Gordon Campbell government).
On September 29 the trial for counselling the making of false report held to examine former police officer Ravinder Singh Dosanjh – a background person in the larger criminal investigation – was concluded. We still await his sentencing. Who is delaying? For what reasons? Meanwhile, the Attorney General, Wally Oppal, appears to be publicly grand-standing on any issue that may undermine and/or draw attention from the Basi, Basi, Virk trial.
A key witness, self–admittedly involved in an act of bribery at the heart of the Basi, Basi, Virk activities is going uncharged because - it would seem - of a deal or deals made regarding his status as a Crown witness. What were the deals? Eric Bornmann is a EuroCanadian, even, perhaps, with blue eyes….
His story is told by Gary Mason in The Globe and Mail (for B.C.) on November 18. Oho! say a few people. Things are heating up because the press is finally getting on to the story. Maybe. Maybe not. For if, as I say, Vaughn Palmer is “Gordon Campbell’s personal representative at the Vancouver Sun”, Gary Mason is ” Gordon Campbell’s personal representative at the Globe and Mail”. By the merest chance, the Mason story about Eric Bornmann takes attention away from the Gordon Campbell cabinet and away from highly placed Liberals outside the legislature…or it nearly does.
Out of those matters and many more – the political circumstances, the series of events leading to the raids on legislature offices of two Gordon Campbell cabinet ministers, and the long, long, drawn out legal proceedings since 2003 – might bring any Canadian to believe a significant attempt is afoot to pervert justice. And not primarily in relation to Basi, Basi, and Virk. Rather, the question surfaces - is an attempt afoot to pervert justice in relation to some cabinet ministers, some of their associates and contacts outside the legislature – all of whom should have been closely investigated, publicly reported upon, and - if appropriate – charged? We hear almost nothing about them.
Put simply, in another way, what was the Gordon Campbell cabinet doing hiring into intimate association with top cabinet officers and Liberal Party officials outside the legislature men who could engage in activities that eventuated in serious criminal charges being laid against them? Did the people hiring for cabinet make a huge mistake? Or did they make no mistake at all?
At this point the colour of Eric Bornmann’s eyes may have relevance. The people charged in relation to all the issues connected to the raids on the legislature offices share ancestry with those originating – as people used to say – “East of Suez”. Are we to see that as coincidental? Or are we to see it as planned? In the vast and turbulent arena involving, among other things, the dirty sale of B.C. Rail, the vigorous activity of dubious party membership gathering, alleged money laundering, the cancelled sale of the Roberts Bank rail spur, bribes allegedly offered and bribes allegedly received, alleged illicit drug activity, and alleged illicit breaking of agricultural land protection codes – are we to believe that only people with ancestry located “East of Suez” engaged in activity allegedly criminal? Or should we believe that those men are being so presented, with great care, in order to protect others from (to put the matter delicately) West of Suez?
Are we to believe that all the “blue-eyed” EuroCanadians present in that turbulent arena acted prudently within the law? We know that Eric Bornmann didn’t, and we know that he – unlike Basi, Basi, Virk, and Dosanjh – faces no charges of wrong doing.
Those who believe it is unfair to jump to conclusions are correct. In a period of honest government that enjoys a reputation of integrity, suspicions of the kind I have floated here might be heard uttered at a low level in discussion, but only as part of the scene that no one takes very seriously.
But this is not such a situation. The Gordon Campbell government is neck deep in moral breach of trust, violation of policy promises, enactment of sleazy and deceitful legislation, disinformation and questionable advertising, and active sell-out of the trust and wealth of British Columbians.
To suspect the Gordon Campbell government of attempting to undermine just investigations, the laying of charges, and fair pursuit of legal remedies in the history following the legislature raids is not, in my opinion, an option. It is a fundamental necessity.
The Gordon Campbell government promised not to sell B.C. Rail, kept secret all negotiations to sell, lied to the legislature about terms of sale, and permitted such rancid behaviour to develop that – on the recommendation of police forces – the sale of the spur line to Roberts Bank had to be aborted. That, after the dirty, dishonest sale of B.C. Rail, which took from British Columbians a vital, publicly-owned, and effective part of B.C.’s infrastructure. The sale of B.C. Rail is a source of important allegations in charges that have been laid.
Other allegations which involve drug related activities could connect to Liberal Party bulk membership scams and the “influencing” of candidacies. The question arises: who – more influential and powerful than the three men charged – were connected to those activities? Was Gordon Campbell himself?
Gordon Campbell himself, according to Judy Tyabi Wilson, floated to the leadership of the B.C. Liberal Party on a sea of newly-signed-up Sikh members who didn’t even have to appear for the leadership vote or to identify themselves over the telephone other then with a pin number assigned with membership. Perhaps it is fair to quote Tyabi Wilson. In the contest that gave Gordon Campbell the leadership: “The [Liberal] party was … unable to ensure that the hundreds of new members, whose names were signed up and accorded post office box numbers, even exist[ed]….”
(Judy Tyabi Wilson, POLITICAL AFFAIRS, Horsdal and Shubert, 1994, p. 235)
A pattern emerges. It involves (1) the destruction of Gordon Wilson as leader of the B.C. Liberals in the early 1990s and the ascendancy of Gordon Campbell. (2) It involves what I call “the fraudulent investigation, trial and destruction of Glen Clark, B.C. NDP premier”. (3) It involves the strange rise to NDP premiership of Ujjal Dosanjh who appeared (to me) to give away the election before beginning work for the Liberal Party very soon after. (4) It involves the dirty sale of B.C. Rail, (5) the destruction of B.C. Hydro, and (6) the present, gigantic fraudulent giveaway of B.C.’s water energy to private corporations (many U.S.). (7) It involves – with particular relation to B.C. Rail, B.C. Hydro, and the giveaway of B.C. rivers – secrecy, deceit, and legislation to curb and/or to deny democratic powers and rights.
The pattern provides a case-study of what I have called elsewhere in these columns the arrival of “the New Fascism”, a displacement of democracy by the rule of private corporate capitalists (many from outside Canada) supported in fraud and deception by police, the courts, private corporate wealth, monopoly journalism, and cabinet executives in power.
The Gordon Campbell government promised not to privatize B.C. Hydro. In order to work a breach of trust by deception, it froze B.C. Hydro, divided it into three parts, and has forced the tiny third part called B.C. Hydro to end any increase in energy production and to purchase any new energy power from private corporate entities. The Gordon Campbell government is in the process of giving those private corporate entities the water power energy owned by the people of British Columbia.
To further its breach of trust, the Gordon Campbell government has given a third of B.C. Hydro to an Enron scandal-connected entity called Accenture. The contract with Accenture to run B.C. Hydro’s metering, billing, and financial services exists in a secret contract deliberately withheld from British Columbians. The secrecy of the contract is assured by legislation which should be, if it is not, unconstitutional.
Almost certainly, a part of that secret contract gives the right to Accenture employees to use vehicles marked “B.C. Hydro” so that British Columbians won’t know the B.C. Hydro they believe operates no longer exists.
The third division of B.C. Hydro is formed by the creation of the so-called “transmission” section, said by the Campbell spokespeople to be wholly owned by British Columbians. Except it is constructed to by-pass all B.C. priorities in order to serve private owners, to supply the expensive U.S. market, and to force up B.C. electrical prices.
As if that weren’t enough, the Gordon Campbell government (through the frozen B.C. Hydro) is in the process of granting licenses for dirty coal-fired electrical generating plants in Princeton and Tumbler Ridge. B.C. doesn’t need coal-fired plants. But the Campbell government intends the multi-billion dollar river resource energy of B.C. to be owned by and directed to U.S. sources. British Columbians can have expensive, needless, dirty coal-generated electrical energy – where it can be found. (Neither Vaughn Palmer nor Gary Mason nor any of their Globe and CanWest Media fellow journalists have written a word about those major issues in B.C. life. Are those journalists bribed? Coerced? What?)
Because of the (just described) dishonesty and corruption of the Gordon Campbell government, is it fair to ask if that government might come under suspicion of doing everything in its power to protect people in the ever-enlarging circle of deceit that exploded in the legislature raids and the charges arising out of them?
Can even the Special Prosecutor in the Basi, Basi, and Virk trial come under suspicion? Involved in the chaos of evidence disclosure which is still unsettled two weeks before the allotted trial date, and in the judicial delays, he is an appointee, in effect, of the Gordon Campbell cabinet. That cabinet has become famous for time-serving, cynical, opportunistic appointments. For example, consider….
To the new national health council, Campbell appointed his anti-medicare brother-in-law. To review the - probably criminal – negligence in the scandal-ridden ministry of Children and Families, Campbell’s cabinet appointed proven hack Ted Hughes whose earlier APEC Report is a disgrace and is followed by an equally disgraceful Report on the Children and Families scandal. A chief recommendation of Hughes (who cut short his investigation) was that there should be no further investigation and no criminal investigation should take place.
Responding to the staggering and scandalous toll of forestry deaths as a result of the Campbell erasure of the forestry safety code, the cabinet appointed as new forestry ombudsman a former, defeated cabinet colleague whom the electorate had very obviously removed as unsuitable to serve the B.C. public.
Are we to believe the appointment of a Special Prosecutor in the Basi, Basi, and Virk case (a case connected to Gordon Campbell cabinet ministers and the dirty sale of B.C. Rail) was made with the single goal of achieving fair, transparent, just, and spotless results? If Defence is to be paid heed to, the Special Prosecutor’s role has not contributed to those kinds of results.
I have already reported that the Supreme court system of access to public documents – directed by Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm – is a disgrace to a democratic society. Dohm was, earlier, dubiously involved in what I call the fraudulent investigation and trial of Glen Clark, former NDP premier. (I have repeatedly called for a Royal Commission level investigation into the whole, odious set of events.) It is Justice Dohm who has kept information from the public on the legislature raids and their aftermath.
Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett, just by coincidence, has become (out of some 100 B.C. Supreme Court judges) trial judge for the Basi, Basi, Virk case. She was, as we know, the trial judge in the Glen Clark case. That case involved millions of dollars of investigation expenditure over many, many months. It eventuated in a very long, long trial which resulted in Clark being declared innocent but only after he had been destroyed politically and his party had been severely crippled – by the investigations and the court case conducted against him. “Democratic” means and the legal system, played out in the B.C. Supreme Court, were used to cripple democratic society in British Columbia, perhaps irreparably. Like it or not, Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett sat on that trial which I (not alone by any means) believe should never have been held. Did she have a special role?
A chief investigating RCMP officer in the Glen Clark fiasco, Sergeant Peter Montague, just happened to be a known Liberal supporter, previously wooed by Gordon Campbell – one source says on at least two occasions - to accept a Liberal nomination. On March 22, 1999, Time Magazine commented:
“Last week, journalists learned that Peter Montague, the head of the crime unit that conducted the search on Clark’s house, was invited by Gordon Campbell back in 1997 to run in the riding of Surrey-White Rock in an up-coming provincial by-election….” (Judi Tyabi Wilson, DAGGERS UNSHEATHED, Heritage House, 2002, p. 132)
Sergeant Montague happened, before that, to figure prominently in the 1995, probably criminal, activities of the RCMP during the disagreement at Gustafsen Lake between a few dozen First Nations people and combined RCMP and Canadian military forces. The operation was marked by large areas closed to journalists and serious allegations of media manipulation, in which Peter Montague was named. During that operation, Montague is on record as saying of the RCMP that “smear campaigns are our specialty”.
From the Gustafsen Lake disgrace Montague moved to the Commercial Crime section and position of a chief investigator in the case against Glen Clark – who was referred for investigation to the RCMP from Gordon Campbell’s constituency office.
When Peter Montague retired a few years after the Clark trial, journalists attended his retirement luncheon. Among them were John Daly and Gary Hanney who covered the RCMP (search warrant) “raid” on Glen Clark’s house. They not only attended the retirement luncheon, but they also presented Montague with a retirement gift.
Something is wrong, deeply wrong. The Defence in the Basi, Basi, Virk case have given an indication that they will argue a mistrial should be declared when (and if) the trial is held. In the previous column on this subject I asked if lawyers in the courtroom are puppets moving on invisible strings. By that I meant are some of them doing their best, trying to win their case with hard work, determination, and honesty, without knowing they have been set up, their actions prepared for them without them even knowing it. If a mistrial is declared in the Basi, Basi, Virk case – or if it is aborted for some other reason – will the end of the trial come about because the reason to end it has been carefully placed in the way of Defence counsel by forces least expected to do such a thing?
And if it is carried through to an end, will that be because the gentlemen with ancestry located “East of Suez” have been so insulated from the active, political community in which they worked that they can safely be handled without bringing into question the implicated, blue-eyed others from more virtuous birthplaces found West of Suez?
[Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on November 24, 2006]