BC Rail: $6 million and a non-disclosure deal suppresses evidence

‘It’s all over.  All the evidence is in.  It shows the BC government acted properly and it was only two rogue staffers that caused any problem with the sale of BC Rail’.

That’s the Ian Mulgrew/Gordon Campbell version of the BC Rail trial.

And it’s bullshit from beginning to end.

Gordon Campbell we get.  Bullshit is his coin of the realm.  But Mulgrew?  Astonishing.  It’s as if the forces of darkness have entered his head and are controlling his thoughts, his typing even.

Let’s take a closer look at the argument, because it’s the government’s argument and in democracies you question the government’s argument in order to get to the truth.

Here’s the nub of it according to Mulgrew.  “The Liberals were going to be cleared according to what went down in court… For six years the public has been kept in the dark and subjected to the most provocative and unsubstantiated rumours imaginable, primarily that the Liberals used sleight of hand to flip a $1billion plus public asset to their corporate friends at CN Rail for a bargain basement price.  No proof of that materialized”.

And here’s how it’s bullshit.  After two witnesses the Liberals were well on their way to a devastating result because some proof of their sleight of hand had materialized.  As BC Rail Board member Brian Kenning reluctantly testified under cross-examination, leaks and favouritism towards CN dogged the process from day one.

And, as Mulgrew knows, the defence was just getting going.  With Gary Collins due to take the stand questions about influence peddling, meetings with Omnitrax and other sordid episodes were likely to be asked in cross-examination, all supported with wiretap and other evidence disclosed by the government following Justice Elizabeth Bennett’s disclosure rulings against the government.

The sheer chutzpah of Mulgrew’s view is evident here.  He’s asking you to forget that the Special Prosecutor and government, with their offer backed by $6 million in cash, bought a halt to the trial – the only place the evidence could come out.

Mulgrew and Campbell know full well that there are hundreds of thousands of pages of evidence gathered by the defence, ruled relevant by the former judge.  That’s on top of wiretaps that capture government ministers, media members as well as David Basi and Bob Virk.  And Mulgrew also knows that the defence was going to deploy it.  In fact they already had, presenting Kenning and Brown with evidence of government leaks favouring various proponents that can’t be attributed to Basi or Virk.

But now the evidence won’t see the light of day.  Because the government put a stop to the trial.

In that light the government’s part in the deal is truly troubling.  Not only did they sweeten the Special Prosecutor’s offer with $6 million.  They insisted on a non-disclosure clause.

If Mulgrew is to be believed there is no need for a non-disclosure, because there’s nothing to disclose, all the evidence is out.  But that’s not the way the BC Liberals see it.  They made non-disclosure a condition of its monetary offer.

Mulgrew concludes that “the so-called trial began in May but we heard from only two witnesses and most of the time was eaten up by a non-stop display of courtroom bickering and legal squabbling.  What was worse for the defence is that those first witnesses stuck to the government’s story, unwavering…”

How would he know?  Mulgrew wasn’t in the court, as far as I could see.  If he was he would have known that the legal squabbling that ate up time was mostly a result of attempts by the Special Prosecutor to limit the defence’s ability to cross examine.

And he would have known that the government’s witnesses destroyed their credibility with their inability to remember anything that happened from 2001 on.

But more importantly he would have known that the government’s deal – with it’s 6$ million payment and non-disclosure clause – had its genesis in the failure of the Special Prosecutor to limit the defence’s questioning.

That ‘squabbling’ took place in late June and has never been reported on because of the publication ban.  But it’s there, I believe, that we see the beginning of the end, as the government and Special Prosecutor realized the trouble they were in.

More later.

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8 Responses to BC Rail: $6 million and a non-disclosure deal suppresses evidence

  1. RossK says:


    Given Mr. Mulgrew’s track record, I really do have to wonder if someone, or something, ‘got to him’.

    It’s like Cliff Robertson said in the Parallax View….

    “What if they don’t print it?”


  2. RossK says:



    Three Days of Mr. Campbell’s Condor.



  3. Dave says:

    msm can’t be in the courtroom #54 all of time, because they’re busy covering other crimes against society that do go to their end without plea bargaining taking place by the government. But, because of the Accreditation process, journalist who’s full time job is being a journalist, being an investigative journalist, with an open mind to all possibilities, they share their information in-house, even that which is covered by the publication ban, to be used at a later date when the trial is over, by others.

    The trial is over, and the nonsense that msm writes of now, is pure, unadulterated hearsay of what transpired during the publication banned times.

    “Hearsay is information gathered by one person from another concerning some event, condition, or thing of which the first person had no direct experience. …”

    Its one thing for bloggers to copy from the MSM of what is published in the daily newspapers, its quite another thing when a Journalist does it, and implies he was there.

  4. PG says:

    Once again Ian, you are writing from a point of fact whereas Mr. Mulgrew is simply stating the governments position. Don’t forget that Wally Oppal is a friend of his and may be fuelling this spin.

    Shame. The Vancouver Sun continues to disappoint.

  5. John says:

    This all seems reasonable, but then why did Basi and Virk agree to plead guilty? If they had so much great evidence ready to present, why did they agree to this deal? If they were confident of victory then they would have been exonerated and had no legal debts.

  6. Will Hartman says:

    Ian. I have a one quibble with an otherwise excellent post.That’s your assumption that Mulgrew and The Sun are something more than just a mouthpiece for Gordon Campbell.For seven long years they have tried to bury,obfuscate,and in every way minimize the impact of biggest corruption scandal in BC history.This wasn’t just about some politician doing a shady land deal.This was about the sale of one of this provinces most precious assets,one that has been used by politicians of all stripes to promote economic and social development throughout BC.And yet,when you talk to folks on the street they just seem to shrug and say so what.I can’t help but think that the media,particularly The Sun,had a huge role to play in this.

  7. Dave says:

    A lot of people, the public, seem to forget who was on trial. For the Defendants they knew who’s name were written on the charges, and it wasn’t the government.

    The Defense lawyers had demolished the first two Crown Witnesses credibility by showing that the Chief of Staff couldn’t remember anything; and the Director for BC Rail, and his fellow 5 Board members, deciding on a $6.4 million contract by writing on blank pieces of paper that CIBC World Bank, as the investment banker, should win, and without it going to tender. Hmmmmmm. The Board did the right thing afterwards, they had CABINET sign off on their untendered contract.

    Kenning didn’t see anything wrong of accepting, 3 or 4 times, the luxury of sitting in a private booth to watch the Canucks play hockey at GM Place at the expense of CIBC WORLD BANK. “I never thought about it.” He said its done all the time. Its how business is done.

    Here the Board members sit, receiving huge sums of money, far in excess of those Defendants accused of accepting under $100,000 and it doesn’t take much to convince anyone in the Court Room that the Crown’s case was in jeopardy. You can forget about the SP claim that his case was okay, he was going through damage control.

    Next up, Gary Collins. and the tape recordings.

    I don’t believe that Basi and Virk will ever be exonerated, not in the public’s mind, certainly not in the politicians minds. The best they can do is go for a name change (which can be done in accordance with the plea deal and the sentencing, they have to tell the Court of their intentions).

    The Defense lawyers, the Defendants made the right move at the right time, nothing to right a book on though, at this stage. Give it 990 years!

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