When we took a break from the Hansard Blues for Question Period yesterday, the Soup Nazi had just sat down to so his colleague the Honorable Wally Oppal, Attorney General could take over the challenging task of finding ever new ways to say nothing. Now as an attorney general, Mr. Oppal is competing at an elite level, Alberto Gonzales managed to find new ways (or just repeat himself) to say I don't recall for the whole day under increasingly impatient grilling by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Estimates vary from just over seventy to over a hundred times that "Torture Boy" managed to say "I don't remember" depending on which variations one counts. In the end his whole day of testimony came down to in short form - "I don't have a clue just what happened, but I am sure that none of it was "wrong."
Surely Mr. Oppal could do as well for just a hour or so under the gentle "coddling or poaching" (as opposed to grilling) of the tame NDP opposition or can he? Well to carry on in the same manner as Hansard Part Uno lets return to the Blues themselves.
(Once the tumult had calmed to a low roar........Wally managed to say:)
Hon. W. Oppal: That might be news to members of the opposition. Allegations are often made. Evidence is often led, but evidence often isn't factual. It may or may not be proved. But it's not proper for those questions to be raised in this House and for anybody to comment on those. As lawmakers, we should be painfully aware of that. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY (annotated by kootcoot) and exaggerated by kootcoot]
Hon. W. Oppal: This is the same question, so I'll give the same answer.
(it wasn't actually the "exact same" question, but......)
J. Horgan: Well, it's a sad, sad day in British Columbia when you can't ask the Premier of the province what his staff do for a living. The taxpayers of British Columbia….
(the two questions above prompted Wally to tag Gordo who jumped back into the ring to deliver some campaign speeches about how wonderful BC truly is under the BC Lieberals )
Keep in mind that this is the same Wally Oppal who according to Scott Sutherland of Canadian Press said last October that.....
he is concerned that an RCMP wiretap recorded an innocent phone call between Premier Gordon Campbell and his then-finance minister in 2003, slightly before police raided the legislature in late December.
Wally Oppal, a former B.C. Appeal Court judge, said Wednesday that his office has not been asked to consider the matter officially. "But it's obviously something we're concerned with," he said on his way into a weekly cabinet meeting.
Oppal said it's relatively common that wiretaps often record lawful conversations and do not contribute to gathering evidence of a crime.
"That's always been the problem with the wiretap sections of the (Criminal) Code, people who are entirely innocent of any wrongdoing are caught in the intercepts," he said.
(do you think that the FBI caught John Gotti's wife making an appointment with her hairdresser - should they release the Teflon Don if they did?)
He said he was troubled by reports the RCMP may not have been entirely up front about the fact the wiretap warrant was for a government phone.
"I don't know whether they misled the judge," said Oppal, who as a judge said he authorized many wiretaps. "It would bother me if they did.(BTW, It bothers me that it took about two years (until safely past the election) to release the information in the warrants. And what about those documents Robin Matthews is still waiting for?)
"Keep in mind this is an invasion of privacy of phone calls that are lawful in every sense (and) if something is altered without the consent of a judge then that's something that is a matter of concern."
While Oppal expressed his opinion, the province's solicitor general, responsible for the RCMP in B.C., was reluctant. (interesting)
"These are matters that are playing out in court as we speak and I think are best left there," said John Les. (this is starting to sound familiar)
One does tend to wonder why it was so appropriate for the AG to be expressing his opinion all over the place while John Les stuck to the party line. After the Gord carried the ball for awhile, Jenny Kwan, formerly one half of the previously seemingly more effective opposition of two took the floor, necessitating the Premier to tag his AG to jump back into the fray.
J. Kwan: It is very unfortunate that the Premier has displayed, in my view, complete contempt for British Columbia's…
Mr. Speaker: Members.
J. Kwan: …loyal opposition in asking these questions. These questions are legitimate. Liberal staffers have been caught with media manipulations for the government's political gain in the past….
Mr. Speaker: Members. Members.
J. Kwan: It is legitimate to ask the Premier whether or not any of those kinds of activities are continuing today. Will the Premier commit in this House to launch a full investigation into this matter? And will he confirm for members of this House that none of his staff are engaged in media manipulation for his own personal political gain
(Notice that Jenny was asking the Premier a question, but notice who answers, it's a bird, it's a plane, no it's the Consigliere)
Hon. W. Oppal: Yes, the names are not before the court. Those names are not before the court. But any six-year-old who reads the newspapers would know that all this arises out of the trial that's now being conducted in the Supreme Court.
Apparently even issues to do with Prem Vinning and his activities back in 2005 are related to "The Trial." I guess having "everything" off limits due to the ongoing "trial" is the next best thing to having war powers, and fortunately, I guess provinces can't declare war on anybody, except for their own citizens. Mr. Oppal managed to stonewall the rest of this attempt to elicit information with such gems as:
Hon. W. Oppal: You know, we don't conduct "investigations" while trials are going on......
Hon. W. Oppal: ..............All of those are matters that have arisen out of the Supreme Court trial that is presently going on in Vancouver. The member opposite can say what he wants — that this doesn't arise out of the trial. We don't conduct investigations that are parallel to trials.
Hon. W. Oppal: Well, if the question has been asked 19 times, it's been answered 19 times.
(Saying "It's before the courts, thus I can't comment" is more of an evasion than an actual....you know....ANSWER.....and 19 times is really a conservative estimate.)
The so-called cloud that the member speaks of is a cloud that's over on that side of the House. I can assure the House that there's no cloud over this side of the House.
(I'm starting to get it now, the cloud is on the opposition side of the House. The NDP actually gave away BC Rail, while the Premier was drinking and driving and allegedly philandering on Maui)
I could include many, many more of Wally's weasel words, but it's already getting pretty darn redundant. NDP member S. Simpson thought maybe another line of questioning might prove more likely to be productive. Fat chance, different questions same old answers, though from the Premier himself rather than the AG.
DISCLOSURE OF DOCUMENTS ON
SALE OF B.C. RAIL
S. Simpson: We know that the integrity of the Premier's office and of this government is in shambles, and it's unravelling more every minute in this question period as they deny information. In the court proceedings today…
Mr. Speaker: Member.
S. Simpson: …counsel for Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk made it clear that they will be seeking disclosure in the coming days for documents that this government is withholding. The counsel is making the assertion that those documents will confirm or deny that the B.C. Rail oversight committee, made up of senior cabinet ministers from this government, was aware of the discussions of a consolation prize in the B.C. Rail deal.
My question is to the Premier. If the Premier is so sure and clear that these are false allegations, will he commit today to release all of those documents to the defence?
Mr. Speaker: Excuse me.
Mr. Speaker: Members.
Hon. G. Campbell: At least on this side of the House, we believe in the rule of law. (ROTFL).......
We will not taint that process.(is that a promise Gord? Like "We will not sell BC Rail) We will encourage the prosecution to be to the fullest extent of the law. I'm sure the defence will provide their defence, and we will not in any way taint that process, so we can get to a resolution that every British Columbian can count on.
Mr. Speaker: Members. Members.
[End of question period.]
The sad thing, or one of them, is that we pay these people and provide the venue for this nonsense. Gordon Campbell had a real winner during one of his shifts serving as the Wall of Stone. Maybe I will need to start referring to Gordy and Wally as a tag-team, known as what else, the Wall of Stone.
Hon. G. Campbell: The independent review which is taking place into the substance of the e-mail that was written by the third party will be fully public. It will be available to the public, subject to freedom-of-information and privacy protection legislation
I was wondering if Gordon is referring to the new FOI legislation just rammed through the House this spring under which the results of so called "Public Inquiries" don't even have to be shared with the whole cabinet, much less the public? Just wondering!