Friday, March 06, 2009

Time to become a reporter

The New Democrats have posted most of the 8,000-odd pages of material released to the defence in the B.C. Rail sale corruption case here . It's your chance to be a reporter. Spend some time, find something interesting and post it as a comment, or somewhere else. Wikijournalism, you could call it.


NA said...

Paul, I have read your columns for years, and enjoy your willingness to be fair and balanced. I am profoundly disappointed in the response of the major media outlets to this story. It seems they often talk about it, but tend to focus on the aspects which don't really surprise us, or matter very much. the recent columns by Les Leyne and Michael Smythe are a case in point. We aren't really surprised that the party in power has a plan for "spin". We could probably conclude that both major parties do it. It is interesting, but not germane to the real issues in the case.
But what it allows the media to do is say "we covered it", without probing the real issues. That's why the work of people like Bill Tieleman and BC Mary is so valuable. However, we really need the story to be told by the conventional media, because the majority of the somewhat attentive public relies on these outlets for the "important" news.
So, while it is encouraging that people like me can now explore the documents, and comment publicly, it won't be enough, without somebody in the mainstream taking the leap and laying it all out. I also think that everything about this case points to a Liberal party that is terrified that this will "hit the fan" before May.
So I hope you will also add your very credible voice to the latest turn in this issue.

Anonymous said...

In response to 11:16pm. The problem with Bill Tielman and BC Mary is that both are significantly partisan individuals and as a result carry little credibility outside of leftist circles. It is fairly obvious that this has become a “hail mary” political strategy for the NDP hoping; rather praying that the 8000 documents and the issue can become a political gift horse.

What is missing is the fact that Basi and Virk are clearly initiating a political defence strategy designed to stall; delay; and confuse the trial in an effort that it will one day be thrown out of court because it has become too timely and complex to be resolved. People like Tielman, BC Mary and the NDP play right into this strategy.

So far Basi and Virk have made nothing but unsubstantiated allegations and produced no credible evidence whatsoever. I spent an hour reviewing some of the NDP posted court documents and urge others to do the same. It is clearly obvious this has become nothing more than a massive fishing expedition as part of a basic legal strategy.

Until there is some factually backed up real evidence this trial has become a game of political football and most of the legitimate media have better things to report on. The NDP’ers can keep praying for political salvation over this trial but they also have to consider the fact that it might just be that Basi and Virk could be guilty as charged

Anonymous said...

No matter what is revealed in these 8000 pages of documents, the BC Liberals will say: 'we cannot comment on issues before the courts'. [StoneWally will be earning his nic' - and losing his seat - on this issue.]

Does the BC Liberal's stance have ANY basis in law? Could someone point me to decisions where a court has NOT explicitly stated a gag order, yet a participant has been punished for their comments. Thanks.

BC Liberals Suck said...

To Anonymous 8:13 AM,

Clearly you are some sort of media spy/hack for the Liberals, your comments lack any kind of truth, credibility or integrity.

It is in fact the Province that has delayed the most important corruption trial in BC's history. One that quite clearly involved not only the Premier, many of his inner circle folks, but also major players in the federal Liberal party. This trial could bring down both parties, there isn't a doubt in my _non-partisan_ mind about that. And, were all of the facts to come out, this case could also bring down the RCMP for their involvement and conflict of interest in this particular case.

The Province's lawyers have followed marching orders and earned their very large salaries very well by pulling out ever trick in the book to stop disclosure from coming out. They've attempted to subvert centuries of English common-law by seeking to call witnesses and bar, not only the defense, but the defendants themselves from hearing said evidence and cross-examining it. That is offensive to all people of Canada and that is the BC Liberals doing.

It is very, very clear, the defendants know where the bodies and skeletons are buried. Anyone who has worked in government ever, but particularly in the last 8 years knows there are mass graves of skeletons hidden away by this government, but not so hidden they can't be discovered. Because in their monumental arrogance and rank stupidity, and/or salacious incompetence, there are many, many paper trails to follow on the many scandals of the BC Liberals.

As taxpayers, we have a right to know before we head to the polls on May 12th 2009 just how much the BC Liberals have spent of tax payer money on legal and other fees to stop the Sale of BC Rail/Raid on the Legislature from going foward. It is in the public interest for that information to come out.

Gazetteer said...


You're on!

Me, I'm starting with Binder #8

(for reasons that are explained at my place).

Will be be back soon with full report....



BC Mary said...

To Anonymous 8:13,

Thanks for noticing my work at The Legislature Raids, but I don't think you've been reading what I do, so just let me correct one important thing.

I am not a member of any political party. I've been very particular about that and it hasn't always been easy because the sale of BC Rail wasn't a neutral or non-political issue itself.

Yes, I do hold Gordon Campbell responsible for the sale of BC Rail. That doesn't make me a member of any political party. It just means I was born in BC, lived all my life in BC, and care a lot about what's going on in BC.

I figure we're all in this together ... we all need answers to those 27 questions posed by Vancouver Sun right after the raids. We can't afford to be attacking one another.

I want anyone interested in BC Rail to feel comfortable visiting my web-site. Anyone. OK?

The awkward part of this, however, is that the Campbell Government did sell BC Rail, therefore it's as if the Campbell Government is on trial along with Basi, Virk, and Basi. We can't pretend otherwise.

Please understand that I can't pretend not to be deeply angry about that, either. I'm a British Columbian. And that's enough.


Anonymous said...

BC Mary. I didn’t say you were a member of the NDP; I simply pointed out that your commentary in this matter; much like Bill Tielman’s comes across as being extremely partisan. Let me guess; you are next going to claim that Tielman is the most non partisan “reporter” in BC next.

To 12:09 PM I can assure you I am anything but some big city Victoria Liberal spin doctor. I live in rural in BC and just like everyone else I would like to see this trial get dealt with and out in the open. I think you raise a good point; Basi and Virk as top level political aides would know where all of the skeletons are buried after 8 years; this is my point as well. Why have these individuals not produced a single shred of credible evidence that backs them up ? If you look through the documents that the NDP posted it is clear they are on nothing but a massive fishing trip simply to delay and further complicate the court proceedings. This is simply a legal tactic; usually used by big corporations to throw tons of paperwork at the little guy in order to make his life more difficult and expensive in the court proceeding.

I will say I don’t buy you global conspiracy theory but I suppose with the X Files off the air you have to move on to something.

What I don’t get is how so many leftists and NDP cannot see the obvious legal strategy at play here being used by Basi and Virk. Delay, delay, delay through fishing expeditions and allegations. I was merely pointing out in their zeal to try and receive some sort of political victory through this trial they should also be more objective and consider just maybe that Basi and Virk might be guilty as charged.

It’s all well and good that you so called “non-partisan” experts have already a assigned a “guilty” verdict but as I mentioned, you really do loose credibility when you do that. Personally I am looking forward to hearing the evidence from the Crown. If it is irrefutable that Basi and Virk are guilty I wonder if you “non partisan” experts will be as quick to issue apologies as you are to assume quilt.

BC Mary said...

Good morning, Anonymous 8:56,

What a wonderful message! Seems a pity to knock holes in every paragraph you wrote but why not, it's Sunday.

A thought occurred to me after replying to your earlier comment about how BC Mary's "extremely partisan" commentary causes a loss of credibility.

I agree 100% that partisanship does cause distrust and loss of credibility ... and that's why I don't do it. I concentrate on the topic of B.C. Rail as seen through the Basi Virk developments.

If you looked at my blog, you'd know that it's a collection of 954 published items from every journalist who mentions Basi, Virk, Basi, or BC Rail. I write maybe 5% of the total, as introductions and the occasional editorial.

I search 4 daily newspapers each morning. Any mention of Basi Virk or BC Rail, and the article is picked up and posted to my blog as a significant collection for future researchers.

So the postings are written by Keith Baldrey, Neal Hall, Vaughn Palmer, Mark Hume, Keith Fraser, Paul Willcocks ... the whole roster ... It's true, they are somewhat biased ... but are they NDP? I don't think so.

And what, may I ask ever so politely, is wrong with being a New Democrat? Approx. 50% of British Columbians are just that, and I imagine they get pretty sick of being slagged.

The thing which tells me that you haven't visited my blog, is where you say that we "non-partisans" have already assigned a "guilty" verdict. That's truly offensive because I've fought that issue over and over ... and always against the notion of flippantly tossing off a verdict which can affect somebody's life.

But next you tell me that we should "consider just maybe Basi & Virk might be guilty as charged". Sorry, that's not my job. Or yours.

The big questions for us are: How did we lose BC Rail? Is there criminal activity in the BC Legislature?

So please drop in and have a look around:

Leave a message and join the discussion. Just be prepared: NOBODY will ask you what political party you belong to.


Anonymous said...

BC Mary,

Thanks for your response. I think there are really two issues at play. One is the long term lease of BC Rail and the other is did Basi and Virk engage in corruption in this process.

Let’s state the obvious; much like Campbell promised he would not tear up HEU contracts; once elected he turned around and did exactly what he said he would not do. Same story for BC Rail; you can play the Kevin Falcon game and try to split hairs over the difference between a long term lease and an actual sale and while there are some legitimate differences; the end result is that Campbell did not act in the spirit that he led voters to believe he would with respect to BC Rail. These are all legitimate discussions and worthy of political debate.

Where my frustration comes in is with Basi and Virk. It is clear that these two are very shrewd and clever political operatives. They know all of the political overtones to this case and they are (in my opinion) using these political overtones to manipulate and ultimately delay the trial process as part of a frequently used corporate legal strategy.

What bothers me in this case is that people such as you and Bill Tielman seem to consistently overlook the obvious political manipulation of this trial by Basi and Virk and gloss over the fact that thus far they have produced no credible evidence in their defence and continue to engage in an ongoing fishing trip.

It is my view that those who disagree with the BC Rail decision are attempting to use the trial as a political football mostly for partisan political and or ideological purposes. It constantly amazes me that people such as you and Tielman seem incapable of acknowledging that Basi and Virk are wasting a huge amount of the courts time and while they are certainly being successful in embarrassing the Liberal government (hence what I submit is the real reason why people like you and Tielman cover this trail so obsessently) they consistently fairly to produce any evidence that suggests they are NOT guilty as charged.

That is basically my perspective on this. And I am sorry; but I really do not for a moment see you and people like Bill Tielman as being non-partisan in any sense of the word. I do see people like Vaughn Palmer as being non-partisan. Hence why people like Vaughn Palmer have the immense amount of respect that they have; and those that do not; as you have noted; lack credibility.

paul said...

Just a thank you to all for keeping the discussion respectful and focusing on the issues, rather than the imagined motives of other participants, or for that matter of the people involved in the actual case.
I, for example, doubt Dave Basi is dragging this out, but certainly don't think anyone can make that claim with authority. And I do note that the justice has criticized the Crown for failing to disclose evidence in a timely fashion, not the defence for seeking it.

BC Mary said...


You have never looked at my blog, have you? You don't have the faintest clue what you're talking about, do you?

So it's a waste of time for you to continue blaming me for things which aren't there ... and an even bigger waste of time for me to explain again how my blog works. Your mind is closed and in a free society, that's your choice.

Are you, by any chance, one of the 225 staff members of the Public Affairs Bureau who get paid to advocate for Campbell?

You seem to think my job is to be judge and jury over the unfortunate men who are accused in the BC Rail Trial. An intolerable thought.

You overlook Bill Berardino trying to prevent Defence from hearing all the evidence. You overlook Bill Berardino running up the expenses by going to BC Court of Appeal in search of secrecy ... then to the Supreme Court of Canada (1-day session on April 22, 2009).

Bill Berardino is the Crown Prosecutor. How in the world can you say that Defence is causing the delays??

Sorry. Read The Legislature Raids. Then maybe we can talk. As for Bill Tieleman -- please talk to HIM -- why are you complaining about him to me, for heaven sake.


DPL said...

The whole excercise is to see if the sale was a giveaway, why the ledg was raided, (something never done before), and who if anyone is guilty of anything. The judge , when the pretrial is over will hear the evidence and make a decision. That may or may not satisfy everone or anyone. It could go the the BC Appeals Court level up or eventually the Supreme Court of canada. No matter what political stripe of anyone following the events , lets not forget it's tax payer money covering the trial costs and it was tax payer money that was involved in the railway sale. Was it a great bargain for us, or the railway? Oops my mistake, it's only leased for close to one thousand years. But justice delayed makes everyone a bit antsy.

Anonymous said...

BC Mary,

Just to clarify; I am not blaming you for anything. I was merely passing along my perspective that I do not find you to be a credible non partisan individual in the same sense as I would Vaughn Palmer.

I have also commented over my point of view that I believe your “coverage” has lacked the perspective that indeed Basi and Virk may well be guilty and their legal defence strategy has been to further delay and complicate the proceedings

As for Tielman, I was not complaining about him; simply stating the obvious; he is a blatantly partisan individual masquerading as a “non partisan” member of the media; hence why he lacks any credibility outside of leftist circles.

I have now wasted another hour perusing over the documents on the NDP website. If that is not a glorified fishing trip in your books on the part of Basi and Virk I would be curious to hear what is.

The upside is that the trial slowly bogs along and maybe by 2012 it will reach some type of finality. Until then we can continue to respectfully debate the merits (or lack thereof) of this case.


Anonymous said...

Anon...various times and various comments
Re: Partisanship and BC Mary

I'm afraid I'll have to agree with BC Mary on this one...perhaps you HAVEN'T actually read the material on the TLR (The Legislature Raids) website...if you had, you'd have noted very early on that Mary's position about the guilt or innocence of Dave Basi and his friends has been unequivocal.

One of the few disagreements Mary has had about the coverage (such as it is) of a particular journalist was with Gary Mason. It concerned Mason's column of Dec 23 2006 in the Globe and Mail. That column, entitled 'There's Nothing To These Charges' made the case that Basi, Basi and Virk were the innocent victims of this whole drama.

If you think that BC Mary has, in any way, supported that point of view I suggest you go to her website now and read her reaction to Mason's story - and her reaction to ANYONE who ever posted a comment there which suggested anything other than that her objective has been, from the beginning, that the accused get a fair and timely hearing of the charges against them.

She has also taken the position that there has been information withheld from the people of British Columbia and that the main stream media have not covered themselves with glory in their coverage of the case.

I urge you to take some time and have a close look at the facts and the content on BC Mary's website and I'm quite sure you'll change your mind.

Thanks for the opportunity Paul, I appreciate it.

BC Mary said...


One last question as I try to understand the logic of it all:

If you met Bill Tieleman on the sidewalk in your neighbourhood, and he told you that your house was on fire, (suppose you could even see smoke in the sky near your house), would you find him credible? or would you wait until Vaughn Palmer told you?

Certain facts are, in themselves, important to you no matter who tells you.

Everyone should analyze what they hear, what they read.

I would be grateful (and I mean this seriously) if you can help me understand why certain voting patterns would cause you to reject everything a person writes on a topic of great importance to you.

It would help me in my work to know that. I bet Paul Willcocks would love to know too.


Gazetteer said...

My first pass at the front half of Binder #8 is here.



Anonymous said...


J. MacPhail: A longtime Liberal Party fundraiser is Patrick Kinsella. He is the lobbyist for CN. Has the Premier or any of his ministers met with Mr. Kinsella and representatives of CN?

Hon. G. Campbell: I don't have an answer for that. As the member opposite knows, if she wants to know about specific meeting times with either myself or the minister, she can do that through freedom of information.

J. MacPhail: My gosh, I didn't think he would refer me to that, because I'm going to get into freedom of information and this government's record on that.

Question: Was Kinsella working for both CN and BC Rail?? The Premier did not answer this question as he has been ducking questions all along this sale of BC Rail