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