In recent days RCMP officers met with and gave information (or disinformation) about major figures in the BC Rail Scandal to a Vancouver blogger, some of which has been (internet) published. The behaviour of RCMP officers is surprising and may be seriously unethical.
A Letter to Gary Bass, RCMP Deputy Commissioner West.
(This letter has been sent to Deputy Commissioner Bass by email and by Canada Post regular mail.)
520 Salsbury Drive
Vancouver, B.C., V5L 3Z7,
February 13, 2011.
Dear Deputy Commissioner Bass:
Almost beyond belief, the RCMP has recently dipped into the “leaks game”. Members of the Force you lead made a move that is completely unacceptable. RCMP may be purposefully ‘using’ an innocent citizen for questionable ends … the disguised political ends of the RCMP.
RCMP apparently contacted a Vancouver blogger, apparently asked him to visit an RCMP office (or visited him), and – in the process of the visit – gave him information of an explosive kind. [Confident, I believe, that the blogger would publish the “information”.]
I will quote the blogger farther on.
But, first, the request that a Canadian visit an RCMP office (or entertain officers) is one which most Canadians probably believe is not extraordinary, although perhaps a little unusual. That would be the case in normal times. These are not normal times. The RCMP in B.C. is under deep suspicion. Perhaps all British Columbians should refuse to appear at any RCMP office (or to accept an RCMP visit) until there is firmly in place an examinable, speedy, efficient civilian oversight body to deal with alleged RCMP wrongdoing.
Until that body is in place the best advice to British Columbians probably should be: “Don’t go to an RCMP office when asked to do so. Don’t invite RCMP officers into your home or workplace.”
One need not question your role, Deputy Commissioner Bass, in the strange set of recent events. You are central to it since officers in B.C. are directed by you to act, or they act with your approval. If that is not the case, the organization is in chaos.
The question about whether the summoning of the blogger was undertaken with the intention of spreading false information cannot be easily brushed aside. That is because you, Deputy Commissioner Bass, are connected to investigations that have caused the public seriously to doubt the honesty and the integrity of the RCMP under your guidance.
As Inspector you went to “the Gustafson Lake Standoff” in July 1995 where you are reported to have coordinated the investigation. I will say nothing about the legion of allegations of RCMP wrongdoing there (that you coordinated?). But – on a film intended to be used for RCMP training purposes, and not intended to get into other hands – Sgt. Denis Ryan speaks of the RCMP’s “disinformation and smear campaign”. And RCMP information officer (later to head up the ‘investigation’ into NDP premier Glen Clark) Peter Montague says – with a smile – “Smear campaigns are our specialty”.
Was the blogger invited to meet RCMP officers recently as part of a “disinformation” campaign by the RCMP to mislead about events in the BC Rail Scandal? Or was he given real information in order to further RCMP political ends in relation to the BC Rail Scandal?
The Gustafsen Lake “standoff”, as you know, where you coordinated activity, resulted in a huge demand for a Public Inquiry – that was never granted.
At the time of the killing of 22 year old Ian Bush at Houston, B.C. by Const. Paul Koester on October 29, 2005 (and a whitewash by Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP’s Paul Kennedy), you were, first, in charge of the major crime division in B.C., and then you were Deputy Commissioner.
A call was made for a Public Inquiry into all the matters concerning Ian Bush’s death. It was never granted.
You were top RCMP officer in B.C., its Deputy Commissioner, when Robert Dzienkanski died (as almost universally believed) at the hands of four RCMP officers in the Vancouver International Airport on October 14, 2007. Your officers did everything to cover up the events of that day. Finally, an Inquiry was held by Mr. Justice Braidwood. He was “harshly critical” of the “shameful conduct” of the officers involved.
You seemed much less shocked at your officers’ “shameful conduct”.
In June of 2010 Richard Peck was named Special Prosecutor to decide if charges should be laid against the men involved.
Nearly eight months have passed ….
You were a high ranking officer of the RCMP in B.C. and then it’s Deputy Commissioner through all of the events called “the BC Rail Scandal”. The investigation by the RCMP, and its response to court orders, were called seriously into question – repeatedly – by the Defence counsel in the Basi, Virk, and Basi case. Indeed, the revelation that the Special Prosecutor, William Berardino, was appointed in violation of the legislation governing such appointments places EVERY action of RCMP investigators after his appointment doubly in question.
A cry is heard across British Columbia for a Public Inquiry of all matters relating to the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to the CNR.
You remain mute.
I suggest you remain mute because one of the main targets of investigation in any fair Public Inquiry into the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to the CNR would be the RCMP … and perhaps the role of the Deputy Commissioner.
I formally requested you to begin a criminal investigation into the actions of all major parties in the transfer. You refused to investigate. And you had the brass to use the standard tactic of law officers avoiding their duty. You wrote that if I could find evidence of wrongdoing, then you might do something.
But now you are faced with your own words. In his October 22, 2010, website submission, [The Real Story], Ian Reid records: (a) that Ken Dobell, deputy to premier Campbell, was shown confidential documents by cabinet counsel George Copley on November 24, 2004 (b) that Dobell was under no oath to keep information he gained confidential, (c) that only the five people accepted by Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm within the protocol could view such documents, and those people were legally bound to confidentiality.
Mr. Dobell could have – and may have compromised the investigation. The documents he was permitted to study (November 24, 2004) were made available to him only three weeks before Finance Minister and major actor in the BC Rail Scandal Gary Collins chose – to everyone’s surprise – to step down from his position.
In May 2008, as Mr. Reid reports, “NDP Attorney General Critic Leonard Krog wrote” to you “to seek an investigation of the violation of the protocol by Mr. Dobell.”
Superintendant G.C. McRae who replied gave incorrect information – claiming, falsely, that Mr. Dobell “would be considered to be a member of cabinet”.
[In passing, I report that when I asked the Attorney General Michael de Jong to act on the matter of William Berardino’s improper appointment as Special Prosecutor, assistant deputy Attorney General Robert Gillen wrote to me, falsely also, to the effect that Mr. Berardino’s appointment in December of 2003 was, somehow sub judice, a matter that couldn’t be addressed because of the Basi, Virk, and Basi matter before the courts.
But Mr. Berardino was appointed more than a year before charges were laid. His wrongful appointment was independent of the court action being pursued. I believe Mr. Gillen’s reply was an intended presentation of what the officers you were coordinating in the Gustafsen Lake Standoff called “disinformation”. And, as in the case Mr. Reid refers to, the case Gillen referred to is over, the matter – even in Gillen’s incorrect reading – no longer sub judice. And yet I have not heard from assistant deputy Attorney General Robert Gillen. Why not?]
Mr. Krog tried again (June 2, 2008). And you wrote back to him, using the same kind of canard as Mr. Gillen used with me. You wrote: “As the very issue raised in your correspondence is actively before the court, I agree with Superintendant McRae that any criminal investigation at this time is premature and not in the public interest. It is my position that we should wait the outcome of the application in this matter before making any final determination with respect to entering into a criminal investigation into this matter.”
Mr. Reid quite properly writes on October 22, 2010, “Well it’s over now”. And he asks where is the “investigation into obstruction of justice and other violations of the Criminal Code with respect to the premier’s office handling of documents at the heart of the investigation.”
He does not add that in the Spring of 2007, Gordon Campbell unilaterally threw out the protocol designed to assure confidentiality of cabinet materials sought by Defence counsel. In a masterful move, Campbell appointed then Deputy Attorney General Allan Seckel to be the sole vetting agent who, said Campbell, would consult with Special Prosecutor William Berardino. Gordon Campbell didn’t add that the two men had been partners and colleagues in the law firm Russell Dumoulin for eleven years! Surely in the light of Gordon Campbell’s outrageous unilateral act – the investigation Leonard Krog called for, and now Ian Reid calls for, is more imperative than ever!
All … all of the above relates to the strange meeting of the blogger and unnamed RCMP officers recently – at which time, in a highly imprudent context, “information” or “disinformation” was given to the blogger about – according to his own words - both the actions of Gary Collins and Kevin Falcon at a critical time in the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to the CNR. What follows is what the blogger wrote in bold black type (which form I won’t reproduce).
The blogger made two separate entries. I place them in an order that is slightly rearranged for the sake of comprehensibility.
The entries follow:
“I met with the RCMP because they were “concerned” about what else I had in my possession. No intimidation, nice and friendly, totally within my right…s. not party to any action so I can have and release what I like. In that discussion I ASKED THEM, repeat I ASKED THEM about the Collins meeting as I was always suspect of the answers provided by Broe and Johnston. To my surprise, I discovered that my suspicions beared fruit. Collins DID NOT offer a consolation prize and Basi was supposed to attend and didn’t.
The RCMP have provided me with evidence that when Collins met with the OT [OmniTRAX] execs in the infamous Villa del Lupo mtng, he pulled any offers off the table.
OT then tried to lobby Falcon and were rebuffed in writing.
When the RCMP informed Falcon of the corrupted process with respect to the Roberts Bank line, he immediately cancelled ANY sale or option to lease, much to the chagrin of the Premier.”
I am concerned that RCMP officers under your administration met anyone, discussed the BC Rail Scandal with anyone, and gave anyone information (which may or may not be true) for – obviously – publication.
What reasonable people may conclude the officers did, in fact, was to take out of context two people – Gary Collins and Kevin Falcon – and “provide evidence” (?) of their innocence and propriety. Reasonable people may fairly conclude that the RCMP has political interest in the well-being of Gary Collins and Kevin Falcon.
A single proof that the matters revealed are “out of context” is given in the paragraph in which the blogger writes that at the meeting at the Villa del Lupo on December 12, 2003 “he (Gary Collins) pulled any offers off the table”. Are we to assume that - in contravention of the law – secret offers pleasing to OmniTRAX were “on the table”? If so, taking them off the table on December 12, 2003 does not change their status in law.
I don’t wish to labour the matter; but the involvement of ALL cabinet members in decisions which are categorically those of cabinet cannot be – somehow – disowned by any cabinet member, after the fact. If members of cabinet as part of policy were involved in breach of trust, in corrupt dealings, in lawless activities in the transfer of BC Rail to the CNR, then cabinet “responsibility” falls on the shoulders of all cabinet members.
That is the practice in parliamentary democracies. That is what the word “responsible” means when we speak of “responsible” government. In effect, the cabinet is “responsible” for honest, upright, and principled behaviour to “the legislature” – containing the representatives of the people.
If through ignorance of policy implications (which a cabinet minister may not claim) or fear of reprisal or other reasons, a cabinet minister supports corrupt cabinet dealings, that minister cannot escape responsibility.
According to the blogger’s report of the meeting with the RCMP, he was informed that when the RCMP investigation of the Roberts Bank spurline negotiations revealed a soiled process (the blogger calls it a “corrupted” process), Mr. Falcon “immediately cancelled ANY sale or option to lease, much to the chagrin of the Premier”.
One can only speculate why (if it is so) the premier felt chagrin (“a feeling of disappointment, failure, or humiliation”). One must assume that the RCMP (or the blogger) is suggesting that the premier wanted a soiled process to continue – a lawless process, in fact. If that suggestion describes the larger milieu, ambiance, state or condition of the process by which BC Rail was transferred to CNR, then it may be strongly argued that any cabinet minister of integrity had the responsibility to resign from cabinet, to report the reason for his resignation to the legislature and the people. and to resume his/her seat as an MLA.
Cabinet solidarity and “responsibility” is a clear matter in our system. That is why, in short, the wrongful appointment of William Berardino as Special Prosecutor by the ministry of the Attorney General was a “cabinet” appointment. The Attorney General, as member of cabinet, was ultimately responsible for the appointment. And the appointment had, in one way or another, to have had full cabinet sanction.
I will not say more about the content of the material quoted.
But I will ask that you to answer some direct questions regarding this whole extraordinary set of events.
(1) Who were the officers who met with the blogger? And on what date did they meet?
(2) Who instructed them to meet with him, and for what purpose?
(3) If they had no power to order him to act in any way whatever, why did RCMP officers set up a meeting?
(4) Did the officers tell the blogger, in effect, that Gordon Campbell wanted the “corrupted” process involving OmniTRAX and the B.C. cabinet to proceed uninterfered with – after the RCMP had investigated and reported?
(5) I request that you provide to the public in general ALL the materials that you provided to the blogger. He claims you “provided” “evidence” of Gary Collins behaviour at the December 12, 2003 meeting at the Villa del Lupo. Please provide that evidence to me and to others.
(6) Please also provide the evidence that Kevin Falcon “rebuffed” “in writing” approaches by OmniTRAX.
(7) I request that you undertake the criminal investigation requested by Leonard Krog and Ian Reid, referred to above, into the possible breach of confidence and its results by Mr. Dobell -and that you do it without any further delay or excuse-making.
(8) Finally, I request that you acknowledge receipt of this letter and that you answer all the questions put to you, and that you provide all the information requested.