starting @ $50,000
With summer underway, though it isn't very summery today, and looking after Mary's blog I often run short on time for surfing the 'net looking for info on all the corruption and silliness in Victoria, at Robson and Smithe, Ottawa and elsewhere so I really appreciate it when some of my readers alert me to articles and such I might otherwise have missed. This article, last updated on July 1, from the Globe and Mail covering the most recent day in court with the Man without a Memory on the stand is such an example.
I've gotten beyond the point of being surprised that the Toronto Star and in this case the Globe and Mail often have better coverage of the BC Rail Corruption Trial than the local bird cage liners. The local excuse for a press pretty well ignored the issue as much as possible before the draconian publication ban imposed by (in)Justice MacKenzie, with NO request from either party, and now feels their information black out is almost a patriotic duty and exercise of public responsibility. In Bureaucrat ‘cozy' with lobbyist, lawyer suggests Tamsyn Burgmann writes (emphasized parts mine):
A top government bureaucrat was offering help to lobbyists working for a BC Rail bidder while the public sale was under way, a defence lawyer alleged Wednesday at the political corruption trial of three former government workers.
Defence lawyer Michael Bolton read out in court part of an e-mail about information exchanged between a member of Pilothouse Public Affairs and the then deputy minister of finance Paul Taylor while they were on a fishing trip.
“Paul was making it clear he will be there for us,” writes lobbyist Brian Kieran to his colleagues, after describing how Mr. Taylor tried to get the lobby firm work with a car dealer association in August, 2003.
At that time, Mr. Kieran and his colleagues were also working for Colorado-based OmniTrax, one of three bidders for the Crown-owned BC Rail.
The former government workers on trial in B.C. Supreme Court are accused of taking bribes from the firm in exchange for confidential government documents.
The e-mail, entered Wednesday as an exhibit, mentions a meeting Mr. Taylor had with Glen Ringdal, president of the B.C. Automobile Dealers Association. It states the government official told the man he would have to pay about $50,000 a year for good government relations work.
In an e-mail reply later that same day, Pilothouse’s Jamie Elmhirst replies, “Yah, well I could come up with this kind of great intel too if I lived next door to a blabby deputy minister!”
Mr. Kieran has been named as an upcoming key witness for the Crown. His colleague, Mr. Elmhirst, had left his position as a ministerial assistant with the B.C. government to join the lobby firm only 23 days before the e-mail was written, Mr. Bolton told court.
It's been obvious to me for years that in British Columbia we get the governance we can afford to purchase rather than what we vote for - but lately it would seem more and more British Columbians are getting the picture. Unfortunately it seems the Campbelloid forces, knowing their time at the trough is nearly up, are embarking on a scorched earth policy to steal as much as they can in the little time left before a flock of them are recalled.
On Wednesday the topic of just who in government knew about the upcoming raid on the Legislature and when they knew it also came up. Even though mere days, or at most a few weeks before Finance Minister Collins' dinner at Villa del Lupo with Omnitrax execs had been monitored by police posing as waitpeople and other customers, before the raid it was agreed that it would be announced that NO ELECTED OFFICIALS WERE BEING INVESTIGATED. How and why that decision was made in such a short time frame is as mysterious as why Bobby Virk and David Basi were dealt with differently in the immediate aftermath of the raid, even though NO ONE including the Premier (duh_posedly) had a clue what was going on! In the excerpt below I will bold only when Mr. Brown's favorite and most OVER USED weasel words come up as they do over and over and over again whenever he is on the stand.
Earlier in court, Mr. Brown testified he learned on the same day of the search that the solicitor-general had been co-operating with an RCMP investigation into the matter. However, he didn’t know how far in advance Rich Coleman had been assisting police, he said.
Mr. Brown was asked if that would have been the normal method for police access to the legislature.
“You do know ... that the Speaker (of the House) is the one who decides if police officers should have access to the precincts of the legislature?” Mr. Bolton asked.
“I actually know that now, I didn’t know that at the time,” Mr. Brown replied.
Mr. Brown also said that on the day of the political offices search, he was told ahead of time that the RCMP would tell the public no elected officials were being investigated.
“I don’t remember how that came up, the point was made very emphatically,” Mr. Brown said, adding that both Mr. Coleman and the RCMP told him that’s how the news of the unprecedented search would be announced.
Mr. Bolton alleged the decision on the announcement was part of an agreement struck because the government had helped police, but Mr. Brown replied he didn’t remember.
People in the province are starting to worry about whether or not Martyn Brown will be able to remember how to get home after not recalling anything all day on the stand. It is also somewhat unsettling knowing that the top bureaucrat in BC, the Premier's Chief of Staff, doesn't seem to have the ability to remember ANYTHING at all. Or is something else at play here, like an effort to avoid committing perjury?