Sometime back in early 2009 I was thinking about Patrick Kinsella. About Patrick Kinsella and BC Rail to be precise.
Kinsella, it seemed, had a finger in just about every major project approved by the government of his close friend Gordon Campbell. The two-time chair of the BC Liberal campaign never registered as a lobbyist but Kinsella was rumoured to be in and out of government offices on a regular basis.
The rumours about Kinsella’s involvement in BC Rail were extensive. During the BC Rail trial it was said he arranged meetings between CN and the government. He advised BC Rail on privatization others said. But there was no conclusive evidence that he was involved in both camps.
In 2009 I worked with the crack NDP research team to try and nail some of these rumours to the wall, particularly his role with BC Rail. But no record appeared to exist of a payment of any kind outside of the BC Rail corporate offices.
And then I remembered that there was one other repository of corporate financial records I had access to: the Legislative Library. And sure enough it was there, the one publicly available record of almost $300,000 in payments over three years to Patrick Kinsella for his ‘advice’ on privatization.
The contract was untendered. And questions about it went unanswered as the BC Liberals resorted to an unconvincing claim of sub judice to cover-up the involvement of the BC Liberal campaign chair and lobbyist extraordinaire in the sale of BC Rail to one of the Gordon Campbell’s largest financial backers.
Here’s the current Health Minister Mike DeJong on Kinsella’s situation in 2009: “The honourable member chooses to make allegations that derive directly from information and material that are squarely before proceedings at the Supreme Court of British Columbia. It is, therefore, inappropriate to answer”.
When Stone Wally Oppal failed, it fell to the stonewall master to back him up.
As Gary Mason observed after the still unexplained plea bargain, those questions remain unanswered because the current Premier is continuing Campbell’s policy of refusing to answer questions and hold a Public Inquiry into the corrupt sale of the railway to a major Liberal contributor.
They also remain unanswered because media outlets refuse to look into the whole stinking mess after the trial was shut down by a suspect plea bargain.
Hundreds of thousands of pages of BC Rail related documents collected for disclosure during the Basi Virk trial now sit in government offices.
No media outlet that I’m aware of has sought disclosure, although many jumped at a small one-sided package carefully prepared by the Special Prosecutor which purported to show the government itself was innocent of any corruption.
All it really showed was the Prosecutor’s case.
So I filed an FOI request for all the documents released by the government to the defense during the disclosure process. And I’ve received the first batch, about 700 mostly innocuous pages. Another 728 pages were completely redacted. Blank.
Even with the somewhat dubious redactions there’s some very interesting revelations. I wrote yesterday about the fake ‘lease’ process. Over the next few days I’ll write about a shocking disclosure regarding the role of Patrick Kinsella.