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When I opened the Vancouver Province this morning and turned to the editorial page I thought Wendy had thrown some strange potion into my cereal, as I read:

“And what sort of a government do we have in BC when our top justice official, Attorney-General, Mike DeJong, can agree to pay the crooked officials’ million legal fees as part of a deal between a supposedly independent special prosecutor and the defense lawyers? What is the point of hiring an independent prosecutor in the first place, if at the end of the process the attorney-general – a a politician in the very government whose integrity the case brings into question – will be needed to approve such a massive carrot in the plea bargain”.

The Province then asks. “Have the payment of lawyers’ fees ever before been part of such an arrangement?”

The answer comes right from the Campbell government which, when Glen Clark was charged with a criminal offense, said they would pay the lawyer if he won, not if he lost. Under this precedent, the accused should not have had a penny paid by us the taxpayers.

The following is now clear – this bargain wasn’t made by Mr Berardino, the special prosecutor and his role was really a conduit between the Campbell government and the accused. Mr Berardino says that the deal was solely his. That, (forgive the legal jargon here) is bullshit. Clearly he didn’t have authority, on his own, to shell out this money but had to get that from DeJong, the attorney-general. Just as clearly, that authority had to come from cabinet, which is to say, Premier Campbell. Premier Campbell knew what the deal was and I suspect that he initiated the settlement proceedings.

This leads to one conclusion and one conclusion only – indeed I suspect that most people would agree – this trial ended because the next steps were to call witnesses that would badly hurt an already terminally wounded government.

To me there can be no doubt that this settlement was politically motivated.

I also have looked at this from a lawyer’s point of view.

Why would you stop a trial that has gone on when the end is in sight?

If it became clear that the accused would not be convicted then it would be the duty of Crown Counsel to stay the proceedings but that’s not the case here. Mr Berardino must have interviewed a number of future witnesses, including the former Finance Minister, Gary Collins and the Premier himself. If he knew from these witnesses that they were going to help the accused, he was bound by ethics to disclose this to their lawyers. One must, therefore, infer from this that the Crown witnesses to come, that is to say Messrs Collins and Campbell plus, no doubt other government insiders, would hurt the accused. With this reasonable and logical inference – and the decisions of the accused to cop a plea reflected this – then clearly Premier Campbell knew that it was time to bail.

If one does not assume that, one must assume that Mr Berardino, entirely on his own, made a deal where the accused would have all their legal fees paid and not go to jail and the government would have to pay $6 million dollars then after he had made the deal he told them what he’d done. If you believe that happened, I have a dandy bridge you might like to buy.

The only sensible conclusion one can come to is that this was not a legal decision and that that the government made a political decision to save the little that’s left of their bacon.

Of course there should be an investigation into the entire BC Rail issue.

When I finished the foregoing I felt a sense of emptiness then I realized what was bothering me – it wasn’t anger, and it wasn’t just embarrassment, though I certainly feel that.

No, for the first time in my life I felt thoroughly ashamed of my government.


Here’s a non political story that is a political story too.

Carole Taylor is to become the new Chancellor of Simon Fraser University for a three year term. I don’t believe that Ms Taylor woukld take that on if she had any interest in getting back into politics which vaults Diane Watts, the mayor of Surrey, into the favourite’s role in the contest for Pinocchio’s job. I think Ms Taylor knew enough about the BC Rail case to know it would stick to anyone who’d ever been part of a Campbell government.

By the same token, Ms Watts may well think that she really doesn’t need to voluntarily accept the poisoned chalice that is the leadership of the BC Liberal Party.

More and more the vacuum at the centre enlarges begging for a party of the middle will happen.

13 Responses to “What really happened with Basi-Virk”

  1. Laila Yuile says:

    God help us all should Dianne toss her hat in. Talk about going from the frying pan into the fire!

    As a resident of the city for the last 7 years or so, I have seen the media embrace her as wholeheartedly as they have done so, with Campbell. What alarms me is how much the media already shuns any newsworthy item that paints her, or her iron-fisted administration, in an unsavory light. ( Surrey is again on the TOP 10 Most Dangerous Cities list, per Macleans, yet not much was made of that, or why it remains on the list yearly, and while the media paints her alleged gentrification efforts in Whalley as revolutionary, they fail to even address that in doing so, she simply created a crime ridden slum in Newton, known as the new Whalley to locals. Even the Surrey board of Trade took her to task for failing to hire more police to address the issue, since no one wants to do business in areas around Whalley and Newton )
    She is well known – as was Campbell – as a developers best friend, and as a recent urban studies student once mentioned to me: ” Surrey has become one large concrete ghetto “, in reference to the massive mega home housing developments that blanket large areas of the city.

    Long have I detailed the facts and reality of Surrey’s neighbourhoods, and I see beyond the sparkling smile and family-friendly persona she works hard to project – what remains is Campbell in a skirt.

  2. Terrence says:

    I agree with your great post, Rafe.

    And, I too, am ashamed of a government. In the past, I have been indifferent, and sometimes, scornful; but never embarrassed.

    Gordo and company are embarrassingly dishonest and corrupt.

  3. Steve says:

    What a joke. If it wasn’t so sad it would be funny.

    Who are really the crooks here? Gordo must still be in his cups. Not since his drunk driving conviction has he been more of an embarrassment. I guess past performance really does predict future performance. Still showing errors in judgment. And who gets to pay for these lapses? Yes sir, you and me. My mantra is recall, recall , recall, recall..BC Rail…HST…recall..IPP’s..recall….Fish Farms..recall..Health care..recall…

  4. Roger says:

    what is particularly surprising is that they are agreeing to pay the legal fees of the guilty, but are pursuing the reimbursement legal fees for person who have been not guilty, re: Air India suspects. I suggest this should bolster their case that the can not afford.

  5. Norm Farrell says:

    It appears though that a settlement has been under discussion for some time. Campbell and his crew had to decide on the least damaging option.
    1. Throw in the towel by staying charges and paying all defense costs;
    2. Continue to be embarrassed by revelations from the trial and probably end up with an acquittal that would have them pay all defense costs;
    3.2. Settle for convictions with hand slaps, “house arrest” that is anything but strict and, in practice, unenforceable.

    Were I advising the Liberals, or you were Rafe, the third option would be the preferred route for them. The benefit is that most evidence will disappear permanently. No worry about Carole James’ promise to hold an inquiry.

    Now they just have to tough out the controversy until their news machine changes the subject. Look for big changes in healthcare and education. The school system makeover has been on hold for a while. It will exchange one fight for another and put BCR into the background.

  6. Jeff Taylor says:

    This court case only cements what I’ve been saying for a number of years now; we live in a country that is not really all that free and democratic. A great example of this is the behavior of the Federal tax collectors when you hear of the lives of ordinary Canadians ruined because someone in the tax dept has decided that the person is guilty – even before they begin to try prove their case. Same should be said when Govt’s receive either directly or indirectly campaign contributions from chemical companies and or fish farm organizations and suddenly chemicals and fish farms are just fine for us Canadians. Now, it would seem, all levels of Govt’s seldom seem to be working for the ‘people’ that elected them in the first place, but for their own self interests. These are scary times in Canada. I fear that in the next decade or so, today’s injustices and back room deals will look like child’s play.

  7. Gravey says:

    Basi-Virk
    Hey Rafe, sure wish we could hear your voice on the radio. I would love to hear you tackling this issue on the radio. At least there would be some investigative digging, not like the milk toast radio personalities we have now. In these times, we need your voice more than ever! I’m sick at the way the Liberals are ruining our province, for the sole benefit of staying in power. Like you, I am ashamed and embarassed with Gordo and his cronies corrupting the province. If this keeps up, we will have our own local revolution and I want you to lead!

  8. Jonathon says:

    Rafe, you hit the nail on the head.

  9. Dana says:

    You know Rafe I would pay more attention to you as a critic of this government if you hadn’t been quite so eager a participant in their ascension to power in the first place.

    I well remember you back when the Liberals were still in opposition and you were still on NW telling everyone that the next guest after the break would be Gary Farrel Collins who would “…clear all this up for us”. From him we would learn the truth, yeah right, I said to myself, that’s sure to be a disinterested analysis.

    Examples abound of your exuberant cheer leading for this gang of crooks. And there *were* people back then, lots and lots of us, who knew that this crew would be bad news for BC. You dismissed us as kooks and worse.

    I’m glad you’re here swinging for the walls now, believe me. Every little bit helps.

    But still, there’s nothing quite as poisonous as the venom of the apostate.

  10. Joey2U says:

    You got most of it Rafe. I wonder if you or anybody else will figure out the rest before this now illegitimate government destroys all the remaining evidence?

  11. Trailblazer says:

    Can the non disclosure clause , signed by Basi & Virk, be reversed with a change in Government?

  12. Hixxville says:

    Has it been shown that Basi & Virk signed a non-disclosure agreement? I would be more convinced that the evidence makes them look like such dumbasses, they’d be the ones wanting to keep things quiet.

  13. Richard says:

    Well Put
    From the beginning this trial seemed to be a conflict of interest. The defense was stalling on every front, which by itself is what is expected. What is not expected is that the prosecution also seemed to be stalling at every opportunity. The government who is supposed to represent the people were putting up as many roadblocks as possible, including destroying emails and who knows what other evidence. As long as it remained in courts the Campbell Government conveniently avoided having to talk about all the lies and deceit involved with the sale of BC rail and continued selling off the public assets of BC at will.
    I suppose it should come as no surprise to anyone that over seven years with all the involved parties being on the same side of this cover up and spending 18 million dollars of public money to orchestrate this sham of a court process . The out come was doomed to be underwhelming.
    It is no wonder that the justice system is perceived to be so corrupt.

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