For weeks I’ve puzzled over how to achieve the holy grail of bc left-of-centre blogging – how to get the HST debacle and the Basi Virk trial into the same story, even headline.
Today is my lucky day.
The Holy Grail moment happened on my walk to court this morning to hear the guy from CIBC World Markets take the stand. I wasn’t feeling so good so the walk was really a slow stumble. As I came up to the corner of Nelson and Hornby I saw the horde of cameras, mics and a few notepads surrounding… whoa, those teeth, so white… Bill Vander Zalm.
Holy Grail Bingo! Thank you Zalm. I worked hard to defeat you but I’ll admit you are hot right now.
As I stood there a friend explained what was happening. The anti-hst forces were filing there own case arguing that the HST is an unconstitutional tax because it was brought in by a Cabinet order without legislative debate. The case, explained Zalm, was spurred on by last week’s last minute, save-the-government hail mary court case paid for by the same old business alliances that “validate” all Liberal policies no matter how bad.
The most interesting thing to me about all of this was the involvement of one of the best advocates in Canada, Joe Arvay. In an odd way this is a re-match. Peter Gall is behind the pro-government business funded case. Arvay is the lead on Zalm’s case challenging the constitutionality of the HST.
The last time Arvay went up against Gall, Arvay won hands down and the BC Liberals ended up on the short end of the stick. Bill 29 was struck down by the Supreme Court and the government was stuck with an $89 million bill owed to the workers screwed by the government’s illegal action.
I’m thinking it’s an even bet if it ever gets that far this time. But the reality is that the petitioners have already won as Gall and company have given a big boost to the anti-government sentiment and they’ve also managed to sweep up big business in it. Here’s some advice for next time; when the BC Liberals call, you’re washing your hair.
As the cameras left and the Zalm was finishing, I walked up the stairs to Courtroom 54 and the let-down that often awaits. The trial started 40 minutes late and by noon it was clear that the jury wasn’t going to be hearing anything today. As I left court it seemed as if the real trial will resume – with jury – tomorrow at 11:15.
Later today, I heard that Bill Tieleman was badly shaken up in a serious accident on the way back to the trial. The best chronicler of the corrupt BC Rail deal, we should all send Bill our good wishes.