One of the crime scenes

Sunday, April 23, 2006

“E” Division - Press Release:

On December 29, 2003, E Division of the RCMP issued a press release concerning the raid on the Legislature the previous day.

One paragraph from the release reads:

(Sgt. John).."Ward said that in the course of a recent 20-month organized crime / drug investigation by the RCMP and Victoria police, information on various matters not directly related to the specific case was discovered. That new information, combined with information directly linked to the organized crime / drug investigation, resulted in police securing warrants to search offices of non-elected staff members at the BC Legislature as well as the home offices of two individuals living on the Lower Mainland and the offices of a private company doing business in Victoria and Vancouver."

The rest of this release can be found here.

BC Mary recommended this article by Bill Tieleman published May 10, 2005.
Spiderman in a Web of Intrigue, in the Tyee, and Vive le Canada, for three places to my knowledge.
"Erik Bornman’s nickname is Spiderman but the former top Paul Martin aide is now stuck in a sticky web of intrigue that includes the tainted $1 billion BC Rail privatization deal, drug trafficking, influence peddling and the impending high-profile trial of accused ex-BC Liberal ministerial aides David Basi and Bob Virk.

How did Bornman, a well-connected BC and federal Liberal operative, become the crown’s key witness against his former friends Basi and Virk in the trial arising from the dramatic police raid on the BC Legislature in December 2003?"

Some background on one of the main characters outside of the cousins.

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

BC Mary also alerted me to this article on the Blog

Paying Attention.

On April 5, Paul Willcocks posted this on his blog:

A quick guide to the legislature raid twists and turns

VICTORIA - Things are getting weirder and weirder in the great legislature raid case, with a fresh wave of information and even new influence-peddling charges.
Claims that top Liberal political aides were flown to an NFL game by lobbyists, and that developers paid big money to get property eased out of the Agricultural Land Reserve - it all sounds like a plot for a bad movie.

the rest of the posting is here.

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Mr Basi, Mr Virk, you have options
submitted by BC Mary

As Dave Basi and Bob Virk approach their trial date on 5 June 2006, do they dream impossible dreams of a "Not Guilty" verdict? Are they expecting to be protected by powerful politicians? Or ... are they living in fear of becoming scapegoats who must carry the full load of blame for others who profited from things that went wrong in government?

It can't be an easy time for Basi and Virk or their families. So what are their options? More

Their primary option, of course, was the honourable one: no deals, no hanky panky, no problems. But for some reason they became convinced that the road to political success was paved with fraud, influence peddling, breach of trust, accepting bribes, and money laundering. Basi and Virk were not angels.

So now, everything depends upon how politically valuable these former ministerial aides still are.

They entered the B.C. Legislature as part of the Gordon Campbell regime and from Day One, they knew every political detail worth knowing: everything about the Gordon Campbell government, every decision, every important discussion, every going-out and coming-in. Their on-the-spot knowledge extended far beyond their Ministries of Finance and Transportation, beyond the B.C. Legislature, into the electoral process, right up into the Prime Minister's office. Top-rank aides like these are walking encyclopedias. Or time bombs. But are they unique? No, they are not.

Basi and Virk are not the first to be arrested and charged with allegedly accepting bribes to help sell off British Columbia's public assets. Consider Robert E. Sommers, a popular B.C. Cabinet Minister (1952-1956) under Social Credit premier W.A.C. Bennett.

Of course, Sommers made no small error. As Minister of Lands & Forests, he accepted bribes for granting a perpetually renewable Timber Sale Licence for half of the largest temperate old growth rain forest on earth, to a major B.C. forestry company (MacMillan Bloedel). Again, in 1956, he granted logging rights to B.C. Forest Products for the other half of this prized region known as Clayoquot Sound.

These licences alone were extremely valuable. The forest companies made huge profits on the sale of shares issued after each licence was granted -- before even a single tree was harvested. Soon B.C. Forest Products sold out to Fletcher Challenge, who sold to International Forest Products (Interfor) ... while, during the 1970s, clearcutting tripled in Clayoquot Sound.

The big money being made by corporate friends meant that taxes and royalties flowed freely into Socred government coffers. It is difficult to believe that this sweet situation developed without the knowledge and participation of many others besides the Minister of Forests.

Like Basi and Virk, Sommers was no career criminal. He had been a popular school principal in Rossland before entering politics. As Forestry minister, he stood out as a jewel in the Socred line-up of used car salesmen and bulldozer operators. Sommers was merely ambitious -- for himself, for his government.

It was extremely embarrassing for W.A.C. Bennett's newfangled Socreds, so recently elected on a specific promise that religious men like himself would free British Columbia from corruption. His Minister of Forests became a very big smirch on Wacky's lily-white new angel wings. What was a premier to do?

There was no denying the crime, not after the irrefutable old "Bull o'the Woods," the Liberal Opposition M.L.A. Gordon Gibson Sr. became the first accuser of Sommers. That put the handwriting on the wall: the Minister of Forests would have to pay the full penalty to ensure Wacky's triumphal escape.

Premier W.A.C. Bennett was thought by many to have been a political genius. It really was a marvel, how a small-town hardware merchant and former Progressive Conservative back-bencher suddenly got so smart that he could tap-dance like a madman, and pull his inexperienced Socreds through such a disgraceful chapter of government. The fact is: he did drag them through intact, although disheveled and besmirched.

Sommers alone took the blame, grumbling pathetically for the rest of his life that he had received no thanks, no apology, no reward for his selfless dedication. All Sommers received was jail-time during which, in the final irony, his wife worked in a sawmill to support their family. Basi and Virk should deeply ponder these points.

At Clayoquot Sound, there developed a 13-year period of intense conflict: blockades, court battles, confrontations in the woods, as people tried to stop the clearcut degradation of the rare rain forest which is home to the white Spirit Bear.

In 1996, the First Nations found a successful compromise when they invited all stakeholders to discuss peace and to pursue the development of a U.N. Biosphere Reserve proposal.

October 1996 saw 133 countries support the U.N. designation. Cloyoquot Sound -- about the size of Prince Edward Island -- became a U.N. Biosphere Reserve.

Why didn't Robert Sommers do the sensible thing 40 years earlier, and tell all he knew about his co-conspirators? Did he think the god-fearing Premier Bennett would reward his loyalty? Bennet never did. Sommers became an embittered, lonely man.

Basi and Virk don't need to make the same mistake. They should know that their best bargaining chip is their knowledge of the corruption within the B.C. Legislature. Unlike Sommers, they can turn this to their own advantage -- and to B.C.'s advantage too.

Surely British Columbia -- through their lawyers, the Special Prosecutor, and the B.C. Supreme Court -- could develop an honourable plea bargain which would give Basi and Virk a new start in life, and would give B.C. the fresh start it desperately needs as well.

These two men may not be angels; but the reality is, they hold information of great value to the public interest. Perhaps the people must give a little, to get this information. Without it, the people must do battle again, as they did over Cloyoquot Sound.

British Columbia needs to know who did what crimes, how, when, why. Most especially, B.C. needs to know if organized crime is involved in our legislature.

The Criminal Code of Canada makes it clear that there are 3 types of bribery offences: to offer a bribe, to pay a bribe, to accept a bribe.

Rumour has it that those who allegedly offered and paid the bribes haven't been arrested and charged, but are being given preferential treatment in return for their testimony for the prosecution.

Basi and Virk must consider this. If their former colleagues do testify against them in B.C. Supreme Court (once again selling their information for personal gain) ... isn't it only fair that Basi and Virk should reveal their secrets too? For some kind of benefit ... to themselves.... but primarily to the public interest?

Basi and Virk were not angels. They did wrong. But without a doubt, others participated in those nefarious schemes. The people of B.C. should focus on these two men who are the key observers ... the ones most able to help us understand the whole sordid story of how we lost B.C. Rail, and more. Much more. Perhaps we should prepare to help them ... to help us.

Mr Basi, Mr Virk: that's the option. If you decide to put things right for the people of British Columbia, that way lies honour.

Surely it can't be the final legacy of Bennett and Sommers: that there's no stopping political corruption in this province?

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Sunday, April 16, 2006

To: British Columbian
"Police also visit the offices in Port Moody of Mark Marissen, Martin's campaign manager in B.C. Police say Marissen might be the "innocent recipient" of key documents."

I did some research this evening and have to acknowledge you were right in your comment regarding the nature of the police "visit" to the home of Mark Marissen and Christy Clark. The above quote comes from CBC News Online published September 14, 2004. Thank you for pointing out the error.

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Friday, April 14, 2006

Why David Basi is important to us.
Contributed by: BC Mary

When police entered the B.C. Legislature with Search Warrants on a quiet Sunday morning, 28 December 2003, they made history. Never before in Canada had police breached the sanctity of the people's parliament.

Public shock deepened over 6 days. TV News cameras had shown the 20 uniformed sergeants carrying 32 boxes of confidential cabinet documents away from the B.C. Ministries of Finance and Transportation. But no premier, no prime minister stepped forward to explain the meaning of this shocking event. Both Premier Campbell and Prime Minister Martin simply said, "I know nothing." More

Had it not been for RCMP Sergeant John Ward, the public would have been adrift. But Ward spoke directly to the people of British Columbia, recognizing the public's need to know. As if he knew nobody else would tell us much.

He said a drug probe had triggered the raid on the legislature. He said that the suspects are alleged to have been involved in an organized crime network exchanging BC marijuana for U.S. cocaine which was then sold throughout Canada. The public later learned that cocaine profits buy guns - guns for the international arms trade selling into Afghanistan for example.

Sgt Ward estimates $6 billion a year is sucked out of British Columbia in marijuana traffic alone. Organized crime has so much cash, it's weighed, not counted; money-laundering is a major concern for the criminals.

Sgt. Ward added "... the spread of organized crime in the past 2 years has been like a cancer on the social and economic wellbeing of all British Columbians ... it has reached critical mass." There's so much more to this story.

" ... the rot is deep and ugly," wrote Robin Mathews in The Columbia Journal. "It suggests devious tampering with the very fundamentals of B.C. and Canadian democratic society."

Since the raid, almost two dozen criminal charges have been laid. Dave Basi and Bob Virk, two former high-level aids in the ministries of Finance and Transportation, face 12 indictments, 9 of them linked to the bidding process for BC Rail operating rights. New charges have been added against Basi concerning property at Sooke, BC, removed from the ALR for development. There are 10 drug-related charges against eight individuals.

David Basi, was a senior government aide to Gary Collins, Minister of Finance. Basi and his brother-in-law, Bob Virk, are charged with influence peddling, accepting a bribe, breach of trust, and 2 counts of fraud over $5,000. Basi was hoping for a Chief of Staff appointment with the new Paul Martin administration.

Aneal Basi, Dave's cousin, also faces a charge of money-laundering. It is not clear yet, if the sale of B.C. Rail was compromised or who may have offered money to influence the sale.

Constable Ravinder Singh Dosanjh now suspended from the Victoria police force, is charged with obstruction of justice in connection with this investigation. [Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun.]

Three B.C. Cabinet Ministers have resigned (Christy Clark, deputy Premier; Judith Reid, Minister of Transportation, and Gary Collins, Minister of Finance at the time of the police raid; Clark & Collins have left politics completely, they say.)

David Basi had a top-level insider's knowledge of every decision made in the B.C. Legislature. He had influence over both the provincial and federal wings of the Liberal party in B.C. A passionate supporter of Paul Martin, he'd been deeply involved in ensuring that several B.C. ridings returned Martin delegates. Liberal membership jumped from 4,000 to 37,000., a $330,000 annual boost in revenue.

Norman Spector and Gordon Gibson both made the connection that the kind of organization employed by the Martin forces “requires minions and millions. Even if rumours of drug money prove false,” TV commentator Spector said in January 30, 2004 Sun, “$12 million is an awful lot to raise for a leadership campaign.” Spector refers to “membership lists that include dead dogs - and people who can’t speak English, haven’t paid for their membership, and don’t know they’re members of the party.”

All B.C. ridings except one were "Martinized." A former Liberal executive officer added, in the December 29 Sun, that “They wouldn’t have had Herb Dhaliwal taken out without the Basi Boys.”

Elections Canada has warned that those who engage in “bulk purchase of party memberships could face fines and jail terms of up to five years.” If that places David Basi in peril, it also places Paul Martin, Gordon Campbell, and their Liberal campaigners in peril. The electoral process itself is in peril. This is why David Basi is so important to every British Columbian. And to every Canadian.

The Liberals "admit privately, the B.C. business is a time bomb for Prime Minister Martin. Up to now, the raids have been virtually ignored by media east of the Rockies ..." [Thomas Walkom, Toronto Star, 24 Feb. 04]

Properly understood, the threat is to the nation's ability to govern itself. British Columbians need to know whether Organized Crime is at work within their government.

"The topic is too radio-active to touch," one Sun reporter told me.

In his book about organized crime operating out of Vancouver, Terry Gould says " ... Interpol was now issuing warnings to the press and national law enforcement agencies that the criminal underworld seemed to be entering a new phase, one that darkly mirrored the transnational corporations leading the way in the trend towards "globalization." [Paper Fan, p.244]

Another book, The Road to Hell by Julian Sher and William Marsden, describes biker crime in Canada. To understand what organized crime means to the ordinary citizen even in Canada, these are basic reading.

The United Nations has warned the world that organized crime -- once it gains a foothold in any country -- is capable of destroying a nation's sovereignty. When that happens, the UN says there's no going back.

Citizens know there's something wrong. The public is not stupid, not apathetic. But they're frustrated when they want to find out what's really happening, and how to respond intelligently.

Saddam Hussein was arrested a week before the RCMP raided the B.C. Legislature. Was his case simpler than Dave Basi's? No. But Saddam came to trial weeks ago ... while British Columbia is still waiting to hear Basi & Virk's side of this story. It's been 2 years and 3 months.

What were the police looking for when they raided the B.C. Legislature? Was the sale of BC Rail legitimate? When other public assets were sold, were those deals tainted? Can the democratic process function if the public is kept in the dark?

It looks as if the next chapter of the RCMP's historic raid will begin with the trial of Dave Basi, Bob Virk, and Aneal Basi in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on 5 June 2006.

If you can't be there, be here. Watch for further reports.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Dramatis Personae:

Sometimes it's difficult to tell the players without a program so with this post I will provide a brief roster of those involved in this affair to date.

The Charged

Udhe Singh (Dave) Basi - On December 28, 2003 he was a ministerial aide to then Finance Minister Gary Collins. His office was searched and boxes of documents hauled away by the RCMP. The next day he was fired by the government. In December of 2004 he was charged with numerous counts including influence-peddling and breach of trust. More charges were laid against him last week on the same day that most of the information in the warrants to search the Legislature were released to the public. These new charges related to land that was removed from the ALR near Sooke. More

Bobby Singh Virk - Brother-in-law to Dave Basi, on the day of the raid he was a ministerial assistant to then Minister of Transportation, Judith Reid. His office was also a target of the RCMP search. He was suspended with pay the next day. This different treatment compared to Mr. Basi's firing caused inquiring minds to wonder what the government knew that wasn't being shared with the public. He was fired in December 2004, when he was also charged with multiple counts involving influence-peddling and breach of trust.

Aneal Basi - A cousin of David Basi, he became involved in the case in December 2004, when he was charged with two counts of money-laundering. He was a public affairs officer in the Ministry of Transportation until the charges were laid, after which he was fired.

The Lobbyists

Also served with search warrants on December 28, 2003 were the offices of the lobbying firm
Pilot House Public Affairs Group. Erik Bornman and Brian Kieran, partners in the firm at the time are involved, but not charged. Mr. Bornman is scheduled to be a witness at the upcoming trial slated to begin on June 5. It appears that offering a bribe is okay, as long as you don't accept any bribes, or are willing to turn state's evidence.

Others of Interest

Also visited by the RCMP that day was the home office of Mark Marissen who runs Burrard Communications and is heavily involved in Federal Liberal political organizing. His wife Christy Clark was the deputy-premier in the Campbell government at the time. She has since retired from the public political sphere except for an unsuccessful bid to win the NPA mayoralty nomination for the recent civic election. It was too easy to paint her as an outside interloper from Port Coquitlam for her bid to have much traction.

Gary "ferret" Collins, who was Minister of Finance and Mr. Basi's boss at the time of the raid had since stepped down as minister in December 2004 and did not run in the 2005 election. He is busy being the CEO of Harmony Air Ways.

Judith Reid, Minister of Transportation at the time, was unceremoniouly dropped from cabinet a month after the raid on the Legislature. She chose not to run for re-election in 2005, citing a desire to return to the private realm and spend time with her grandchildren.

I should re-emphasize that to date the police have maintained that no elected officials are under investigation and there has been no wrongdoing alleged by any politicians or parties. Inquiring minds however find it strange that those close to this investigation have chosen to leave the public arena at this time, especially after all those years in opposition. Mr. Collins bailed on the Finance Ministry just weeks before having the opportunity to deliver a "balanced" budget!

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If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about the answers.
- author Thomas Pynchon

Raid information demands questions - and answers

For Example:
For example, why are the only individuals charged with crimes Indo-Canadian, while all the individuals who allegedly gave bribes and accepted confidential government information are Caucasian and not charged?

Why are provincial lobbyists Erik Bornman and Brian Kieran from Pilothouse Public Affairs now crown witnesses in the trial? Why were neither Bornman nor Kieran charged when police documents allege they paid bribes to Basi and Virk?

The rest of this article can be read at: Vancouver 24 hours

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Sunday, April 09, 2006

An Open Letter to David Basi and Bob Virk
Contributed by: Coyote
Scheduled for Trial in June, 2006


Mark Hume in the April 25, 2005 edition of the Globe and Mail wrote, “ The biggest political scandal in Canada may not lie in Quebec, where the Gomery Commission is laying bare a tawdry tale of misdirected funds, but in British Columbia where a conservative judiciary is suppressing information about alleged drug dealing, money laundering, and influence peddling.”

I am sure that there are none more intimately familiar with this issue, of course, and its details than yourselves-, knowing even what we may never know fully. (The last I heard you are both scheduled to go to trial on these particulars sometime in June of this year.) The allegations involving, or at least the search warrant ITO (Information to Obtain) released by the police in September of 2004, says that your old compatriot Erik Bornman offered you help in obtaining $100,000 a year jobs with the Federal Liberal government, in exchange for obtaining confidential information about the BCRail deals.   More

Count three in the Information to Obtain of this December 21, 2004 indictment against yourselves, David and Bob, also alleges that you “…accepted from a person who has dealing the the government rewards, advantages and benefits being money, meals, travel and employment opportunities without having received the consent in writing of the head of the branch of government of which he is an official, contrary to Section 121 (1) of the Criminal Code.”

Bruce Clark, the brother of the former BC Liberal Deputy Premier to Gordon Campbell at the time of the raids, Christy Clark, according to the same police ITO, was also believed to be in possession of information obtained from you, specifically David Basi,regarding the sale of BC Rail’s Port Subdivision at Roberts Bank, another privatization deal worth between $70million and $100 million. Indeed sufficient credibility was given to this information that the BC Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon was forced to cancel the sale after the RCMP said an ongoing criminal investigation revealed the process of this sale was tainted by “advisors” to a bidder obtaining confidential information.

Actually even, the sworn ITO statement by RCMP Corporal Andrew Cowan states that, “I believe that Clark received documentation pertaining to a Request for Proposal and presentations regarding Roberts Bank. I believe that Clark has had meetings with Basi and received these documents from Basi.”

By the by, perhaps as ironic to yourselves as myself, Bruce Clark was returned to an executive position with the Liberal Party of Canada in BC, in charge of finance. Perhaps as just a measure of the contempt these people hold public concerns here anyway. Which contempt you may share, I do not know.

In any case the greatest and final irony to yourselves has got to be that the key witness against yourselves for the Crown is your old buddy/associate, Erik Bornman, well connected BC and Federal Liberal activist, and a registered provincial lobbyist for Omnitrax, the US based rail company that was bidding for BC Rail against the winner who finally emerged out of all the intrigue and attempts to save face and cover butts CN Rail and CP Rail. (Who, as you both of course know, had previously dropped out of the bidding because of what it said was a clear breach of “fairness” in the process due to other bidders receiving confidential information.) And I’m assuming the two of you already know, though the public reading this may need to be brought up to speed, that your old pal Erik was also a registered lobbyist for the Employers Forum of BC, the Council of Forest Industries (COFI), Western Canadian Shippers Coalition, the Broe Companies Inc (Owners of Omnitrax), the BC Real Estate Association, Famous Players, the Certified General Accountants Association of BC, and Cap Gemini Ernst &Young.)

Were I you, I would certainly now be thinking eh, oh what a tangled web we weave? Funny on one level, but not another, for sure.

In any case, the intrigue, double dealing and layered levels of criminality involved here I could go on and on with, but really I just want to “jog” your memories and connect us to sufficient events here that I can talk to you on quite another level, and in quite another direction. You will know as much and more than I about all this layering of private enterprise, crime and Liberal Party corruption, of course, which many of us ordinary citizenry know very little of and can scarcely imagine as a consequence of our relatively sheltered and naïve lives. Though, through the scamming off of heretofore “public assets” by these “private interests” which you seem to have served, we are coming to know. we as “the public” are now certainly the poorer, thanks to yourselves and the machinations of others, including such as Erik Bornman himself, I have no doubt, this latter whom will walk away now virtually untouched and squeaky clean, even after now testifying against yourselves.

Which must certainly be a piss off at some level for you two, leaving something of a bitter taste in your mouths, as mere bit players here, I am sure, and certainly it must rankle and leave a wish for revenge there in some dark corner of your hearts. It sure as hell would me.

Which is really why I wanted to write this open letter to yourselves, in the hopes that it can somehow be gotten to you to read, and to invite you to listen both to that dark little voice which I know I would have there, screaming out for revenge against the at least skewed “incomplete justice” of your situation, where you are now to be the sacrificial lambs, while the much bigger fish that are there to fry, we both know, walk away to enrich themselves in another corruption scam another day. Eh? It really has got to be eating away at your souls at some high level? The huge injustice done here that will never see the light of day.

Unless…. Unless there is a way which two birds can be gotten with the one stone here.

First, as a person with some sympathy for your position, for we all sometimes come up short of our potential, I invite you to redeem yourselves, by reaching into yourselves to what I hope is some existing fundamental degree or level of honesty, which most of us, at least, like and need to see ourselves in. Redeem and address the larger community and public interest here, by exposing the rot we both know is at the heart of this largely bullshit “democratic” and haughtily superior “private enterprise system” of economy and governance deal making that is akin to criminality. I do not naively urge you to entirely ignore your lawyers, who have their own interest no doubt, and presumably yours at some level, and one does certainly not spend unnecessary amounts of time in jail or incur family destroying court and other costs I know, but nonetheless… There is a balance which may be struck here, depending how deep you are already standing in the shit, which may not yet do that much harm to your own interest, and yet may advance as well or enlighten the community or public one as well. Within the extent to which it is possible for you, I ask that you do the “right” thing, enlighten the public to these scams and outright rip-offs that have been going on against their interests and to their harm-, and at the same time afford an opportunity to scratch that “revenge itch”, which certainly has to be there as well.

Anyway, think about it David and Bob Virk. There is a need for justice for us, the public, for sure. But also for yourselves, not?

Anyway, think about it. Take as many of these shysters down with you as you can. Look after yourselves, of course, but also… to the degree it is possible for you.

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Some Hansard for Some Humor

Having a government whose main agenda is relieving the people of British Columbia of their common public assets, their birthright as it were, really isn't funny - but sometimes we have to laugh just to keep from crying or going hunting for two legged game. Anyway I was perusing some Hansard from the Spring of 2004 this afternoon and thought I would share some nuggets with the folks.

One thing I did learn right away is that politicos really like to use the word "basis." Doing a word search for Basi in Hansard will find "basis" too many times to count.

Anyway here are some nuggets from March 2, 2004. I will just hit some highlights of question period and leave out all (or most) of the calls to order and interjections. More

J. Kwan: Here's what we know from the release of a summary of the search warrants. In the course of a proceeds-of-crime and corruption investigation involving the Minister of Finance's top political aide, David Basi, the RCMP uncovered a conspiracy involving Mr. Basi; the ministerial assistant to the Minister of Transportation, Bob Virk; and well-known Liberal insider and lobbyist Erik Bornman. That conspiracy offered personal benefit in return for inside access to information related to the privatization of B.C. Rail. Soon after the raids were executed, the Solicitor General assured the public that the integrity of the B.C. Rail deal was in no way compromised. How can he possibly stand by that statement today?

Hon. R. Coleman: I am disappointed that the member, who would have read the summary of the warrants today, chooses to use the names of people when the warrants actually only refer to "Official 1," "Official 2" and "L 1." They do not refer to any names. The fact of the matter is that I know the B.C. Rail deal was processed properly through the executive council of this government, and I have all the confidence in the world that deal was done properly.

I'm sure that Jenny Kwan was chastened because Mr. Coleman was disappointed.

J.Kwan: Indeed, the report itself speaks of leaks and potential competitive advantage. We've raised that in this House before. The former minister wouldn't answer them then. Perhaps the new Minister of Transportation has the courage to tell this House: what was the source of those leaks, and what did they contain.

In January of 2004 Judith Reid was dropped from cabinet. She announced that she would not run in the 2005 elections in order to return to the private sector and spend time with her grandchildren.

J. MacPhail: Interesting that the Premier won't stand up and answer these questions, that he puts up the very person whose office is tainted by this.
What we do know is that the fairness report said that there were leaks and that there was allegation of a competitive advantage, and this government wouldn't release it. We also know that this government's top political aide to the Minister of Finance is being charged with influence-peddling. David Basi is…

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Order, please.

J. MacPhail: …being investigated for influence-peddling.


J. MacPhail: The top…. Oh, the government takes comfort in that.
When his office was raided, the Minister of Finance told the public that Mr. Basi was not involved in government business, including the B.C. Rail deal. We now know that isn't true. Indeed, according to the police, the alleged corruption in the Finance minister's office is tied directly to the sale of B.C. Rail and other government business. This went on right under the nose of the Minister of Finance, and he claims to know nothing.
Well, we know he stepped down eventually, just before his chance to introduce a "balanced budget." I have that in quotes because it seems to me that the balanced budget included a fairly large equalization payment from Ottawa - could it be Liberals helping Liberals, even though I know they aren't that related, though they share a lot of the same people. Like David Basi, Mark Marrisen, Bruce Clark, Erik Bornman and I could go on, but I won't. At least not now.

There's lots of interesting exchanges during question periods, perhaps next time I'll share some of the questions regarding the difference in treatment received by Basi and Virk regarding their employment. Lots of questions, so few answers. For inquiring minds it's a good thing that Basi and Virk are claiming their innocence. There would be nothing like guilty pleas to insure that we would learn little more than we know now.

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Saturday, April 08, 2006

Brief Summary to Date

For those who might stumble across this blog, and wonder what it's all about I will give a short summary in this post.

On December 28, 2003, while most British Columbians were still digesting their Christmas dinners and getting ready for New Year's, a giant posse of RCMP descended upon the Legislative Assembly in Victoria armed with search warrants. They were there to search the offices of provincial ministerial aides David Basi and Bob Virk.   More Mr. Basi was the aide to then Finance Minister Gary "ferret" Collins and Mr. Virk was the aide to then Transportation Minister Judith Reid. Both ministers chose not to run in the last election and are no longer members of the Legislature. The horsemen used dollies to roll out boxes of files which were then loaded into vans, and then they drove away. A number of other locations were served the same day including the home of yet another minister.

Here is some background from

Although the Liberal government claimed no knowledge or involvement, for some reason one aide was suspended with pay while the other was fired. Some people wondered why the different treatment, but little or no information was forthcoming. The mounties denied they were investigating any elected officials however.

After refusing a media request to unseal the warrant in January 2004, in March 2004, B.C. Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm of the B.C. Supreme Court released a summary of the sealed warrants, which said the police were investigating a possible breach of trust in the sale of B.C. Rail. In September of 2004 Justice Dohm released the documents, but with eighty percent of the text redacted. There was enough not blacked out to indicate that the investigation involved the two aides and the government's plan to privatize BC Rail.

Documents detail allegations
CBC September 10, 2004

Then on December 22, 2004 formal charges of fraud, breach of trust and demanding benefits in connection with government business. David Basi's cousin Aneal Basi was also charged with one count of one count of fraud and one count of breach of trust by a public officer, for allegedly laundering money accepted by David Basi.

former government aides charged - CBC December 22, 2004

Though some people were wondering if anything more would ever come out, finally at the end of March 2006 Justice Elizabeth Bennett ruled that the information, excepting some regarding witnesses at the upcoming trial should be released. After a few days to edit "in the interests of a fair trial" the documents were finally released to the public on Monday, April 3. The same day more charges were laid against David Basi in relation to possibly influencing decisions about the release of land from the Agricultural Land Reserve for development near Sooke, on Vancouver Island.

With the release of the warrant information and the trial, by judge alone, expected to start in June, this whole affair is beginning to come to life after overtwo years of dormancy. Mr.Basi and Mr. Virk both intend to plead not guilty and maintain their innocence of the charges, as is their right. One other individual, Mr. Basi's cousin Aneal Basi also faces two charges of money laundering related to these affairs.

New criminal charges against David Basi and new information released Monday raise troubling new questions about British Columbia's largest and longest-running political scandal - the "raid on the legislature" case.

Thus reads the beginning of an article in the Tyee by Bill Tieleman published April 4, the day after the information in the documents was released to the public. It was the on the comments board to this article that the idea of this blog was born.

For those with a masochistic streak and an eye for detail here are links to the warrants themselves. These are in Adobe Portable Document Format and require either Acrobat Reader or some equivalent program.

Warrant for the original raid on the Legislature

Warrant for the later allegations including Denver Monday Night Football Trip

Basi, Virk warrant information released
-from the CBC for April 3:

That's all for tonight, Jovo is back playing and the Canucks are beating the Flames.

Update on the hockey game:
The Canucks almost let this one get away, allowing the Flames to come back in the third from 2-0 and tie it up. In overtime Morrison won a battle for the puck near the Flame blue line,
Carney carried it in and passed to Naslund who gave it to Jovanovski who got the winner - a good game for Jovo, especially for his first game back in months.

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The Beginning

Good Afternoon all, thanks to the inspiration of BC Mary over at the Tyee I've been getting this blog put up this morning. Hopefully this will provide a place to get people and information together relevant to the events related to the investigation into suspicious wheelings and dealings in our Legislative Assembly. This investigation exploded into the public realm right after Christmas 2003 and then for the most part remained dormant ever since until recently when Judge Bennett finally released some of the information contained in the search warrants executed on the Legislature December 28, 2003.   More In future postings I will try to provide a chronology of what has happened to date and try to follow the events to come. I invite those who think this is important to forward relevant material to the e-mail address near the top right. Also I welcome any sincere individuals who would like to join the team. I don't see this as a personal blog. Also, this doesn't preclude the possibility of getting a domain and hosted website and may just be a place to begin. I will be hoping to hear from other interested parties.

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