Sunday, February 27, 2011

A tad premature to say Premier-Designate. First Christy Clark has to be an MLA representing a Riding

The only thing right on this BC Liberal Party blurb today is the capitalization of " Our New Leader" which sounds something like the old broken promises promises of a "Our New Era".

She can't even look the camera in the eye, let alone the public and keep a straight face.

Most politicians believe its bad luck, maybe even smugness, to call  the fall of the shot, before Voters have a change to cast their ballots.   MLA Christy....

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Accreditation Process for Journalists re: BC Supreme Court Policy on Recording Devices

UPDATE as of February 24, 2012 Link to "Accreditation Process......" has been updated.  The designated journalists has changed hands.  This is a New Link

Journalist Accreditation Process
In June of 2002, the Supreme Court adopted the following policy regarding the use of recording devices inside courtrooms:
1.       Accredited journalists may be permitted to bring recording devices into Supreme Court courtrooms to record the proceedings, so long as:
a.       the use of recording devices is not disruptive to the proceedings;
b.      does not impose additional expense upon the court; and
c.       such recordings are used for the verification of journalists' notes only and are not broadcast, copied or used in any other way or for any other purpose.
2.       It remains within the discretion of the trial judge to exclude recording devices in a particular case, or for a particular portion of a trial.
3.       This policy permits the use of recording devices by accredited journalists in courtrooms only, and not in other areas of the courthouse.
Journalists wishing to take advantage of this policy should first contact one of the members of the Accreditation Committee which is a committee of journalists that has been established to oversee the accreditation process.  Journalists will be required to sign an undertaking acknowledging that they agree to abide by the policy described above.  

The members of the Accreditation Committee are:

Ian Bailey
The Globe and Mail ( B.C. Bureau)
Phone:  604-631-6652
Terry Donnelly
CBC Radio News
Phone:  604-662-6908
Petti (Peg) Fong
The Toronto Star (Vancouver Bureau)
Phone:  604-739-1917
Keith Fraser
The Province
(604) 683-2817

Neal Hall
The Vancouver Sun
Phone:  (604) 605-2067
Jane Seyd
North Shore News
Phone:  (604) 982-8764
Stephen Smart
CBC News
Phone:  250-382-4368

The old way
Accreditation Process for Journalists re: Supreme Court Policy on Recording Devices

In June of 2002, the Supreme Court adopted a policy to allow accredited journalists to take recording devices into B.C. Supreme Court trials in order to assist them to report accurately on the proceedings. The Public Affairs Committee has now finalized an accreditation process for journalists. Each journalist wishing to bring a recording device into a Supreme Court courtroom must first sign an undertaking that they have read and agree to abide by the following policy adopted by the Court:
1. That the Supreme Court’s policy excluding recording devices remains in place, except that accredited journalists may be permitted to bring recording devices into Supreme Court courtrooms to record the proceedings, so long as:
a. the use of recording devices is not disruptive to the proceedings;
b. does not impose additional expense upon the court; and
c. such recordings will be used for the verification of journalists' notes only and not be copied or used in any other way - in particular that they not be broadcast.
2. That it remain within the discretion of the trial judge to exclude recording devices in a particular case, or for a particular portion of a trial.
3. That this policy permits the use of recording devices by accredited journalists in courtrooms only, and not in other areas of the courthouse.
A committee of journalists has been established to oversee the accreditation process. The  members are:
Terry Donnelly
CBC Radio News
Phone: 604-662-6908

Keith Fraser-
The Province
(604) 683-2817

Petti (Peg) Fong

The Toronto Star - Vancouver Bureau Chief
Phone: 604-739-1917

Neal Hall
The Vancouver Sun
Phone: (604) 605-2067

Jane Seyd
North Shore News
Phone: (604) 982-8764

Stephen Smart
CBC News
Phone: 250-382-4368
c: such recordings will be used for the verification of journalists' notes only

3.......   in courtrooms only, and not in other areas of the courthouse

c:   If an Accredited Journalist is NOT in a court room eg. #54 but in another court room eg. #53 covering that trial or not even in the Court House, he can't use another accredited journalist's recordings as though they were his own to write his story from.   The point of having a recording device is so that a journalist can VERIFY his notes to the recording.   An outsider would have no notes!

    recordings can only be made from within a Court room eg. #54, and not in other areas of the courthouse.  Which means, and you have to be there to see the Accredited Journalists in action while using their recording devices... the devices are not visible.  Its not like they have a red flag or red light that pops up every time their recording devices are turned on.  Its the old saying here.... Out of Sight, Out of Mind.

Then there is the Publication Ban that is imposed every time a Jury is not present eg. the Basi Virk Trial.  Are the Accredited Journalists recording devices taking down every spoken word, if not to be used immediately, then to be used later, after the Publication Ban is lifted.

"Journalist Accreditation Process   2006

The Public Affairs Committee chaired by Mr. Justice Williamson has revised the Accreditation Process for Journalists which allows accredited journalists to bring recording devices into the Supreme Court’s courtrooms for the purpose of verifying their notes. The revised process creates a three year accreditation term. At the end of the term, those journalists wishing to continue to bring recording devices into the courtroom must renew their accreditation."
  This is pretty clear, highlighted in bold above..... verifying their notes!     

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Prime Rate hasn't been moving up or down, according to CIBC, since September 9, 2010

UPDATE: September 22, 2011 at bottom

This statement hasn't changed over at Elections BC:

The Post from December 2, 2010 hasn't changed either.  The Prime Rate was supplied by the principal banker, CIBC, to the Province of British Columbia. The photo below said it was "Updated on Sept 9, 2010" for September 9, 2010

CIBC Historical Effective Prime Rate, another nail in the coffin of the BC Rail trial

Today's snapshot of the CIBC Historical Effective Prime Rate says it was "Updated on December 13, 2010 for September 9, 2010.   Today is February 21, 2011 and the Prime Rate hasn't budged either up, down or sideways for five long months which I guess we can take it to mean that we should be thankful, or maybe the Finance department for the BC Government hasn't been updating their records.

Here we are, and with the help of this graph, it shows we have been moving "sideways" since September 2010


Five year overview from 2006 to 2011:
If anyone is looking for the 9% Indemnity Prime Rate on this graph, it would be just about in the middle of the black border to the right of the phrase "Interactive Chart" coloured bar in RED.

The going rate in April of 2004 when BC Rail was sold to CN Rail was 3.75%

Sunday, February 20, 2011

In one week the BC Liberals will be doing a massive update at the public's expense , photo ops for the new Premier

Every time we click on something related to the B.C. Government, the happy, smiling, face of Gordon Muir Campbell comes to the fore.   And why shouldn't he, he is the Leader of the BC Liberal Party, he is the Premier of the Province.   But, he was elected for four years, not less than two years.  He's not leaving because of ill health.  He's not leaving because he lost an election.  He's leaving because the Public "lost sight of what is important........:    
Campbell said he was resigning “to return public attention to what is important to British Columbians – their jobs, their families and how government can best support them.” He said that “when public debate becomes focused on one person, instead of what is in the best interest of British Columbians, we have lost sight about what is important. When that happens, it’s time for a change.”                       Hill & Knowlton  - InfoQuick

"Campbell’s resignation presents unique challenges for the BC Liberal party. The party was formed in Campbell’s image after he took its reigns in 1993. It lacks the infrastructure of typical political parties and does not have an independent brand awareness that other parties enjoy." Hill & Knowlton  - InfoQuick
Nov. 3, 2010
Office of the Premier

With the BC Liberal Party electing a new Leader, why should the public be footing the bill for all the work that government employees will be doing just to change the face of the Government?

The larger problem is a recurring one.   No matter how much the public is chastised, blamed, for focusing on one person in government, the only option for the government is to elect a new leader so that the Public can focus on one person again.   Just get rid of the HST.

If the HST had never been brought in or if it had been raised during an election when the opportunity had presented itself as a PLANK for the BC Liberal Party, Premier Gordon Campbell may not have got past Two Terms or he might have made it to the Third Term but without an HST to fill the coffers of the poor unsuspecting Public.   But then we all know from the BC Rail deal that it wasn't for sale, but later "loaned" for 990 years for a lump sum one year payment of a Billion Dollars, and even that number is still questionable.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

BC Supreme Court and BC Provincial Court Access Policy - Ban not lifted for BC Rail documents

UPDATE January 5, 2012  Link to Lindsay Kines is broken, however this will do in its place. 
SNIP....The Times Colonist also found that a number of courts were violating high court decisions, as well as provincial guidelines, by blocking access to unsealed search warrant documents.
In some cases, a reporter or member of the public was required to know the date and location of a search before the court would allow access to the information. In other cases, courts were failing to maintain files of unsealed warrant information for public viewing.
The court policies clarify that the public has a right to look at unsealed search warrant documents. The Provincial Court guidelines also require that each courthouse maintain an up-to-date public access file for easy viewing.  .... SNIP

As to the second LINK, it too has disappeared, BUT,    BC Mary, at her blog, did do a quote of the important pieces ...of "One Issue left to close BC Rail case - who pays legal bills?"
The Vancouver Sun on Saturday had two articles, one  under the heading of "Courts" - "Documents under ban now available to public" on page A3 by Lindsay Kines, the second on page D3 Editorial page written by someone from the Editorial Board consisting of Fazil Mihlar, Harvey Enchin, Craig McInnes, Peter McKnight, Patricia Graham, and Kevin Bent under the heading of "One Issue left to close BC Rail case - who pays legal bills?"

"The public will have a greater opportunity to scrutinize court decisions and obtain key documents under new access policies released this week by two B.C. courts." - Lindsay Kines

"While diehard conspiracy theorists won't be satisfied , the latest batch of documents from the B.C. Rail corruption trial are conclusive evidence that no public inquiry is needed into whether there was any political involvement in the case beyond the rogue aides who have now pleaded guilty."  Editorial Board Vancouver Sun
 The ability for the public to have access to scrutinize court decisions doesn't, however, apply to the documents that the Accredited Press have, when it comes to the BC Rail trial because the Judge in that case made the point on February 16, 2011 that it was for the MSM eyes only!

What the public does have here is a new Access Policy coming into effect on February 28, 2011, that will NOT be retroactive.

BC Supreme Court  dated February 11, 2011
Court Record Access Policy February 11, 2011

The last issue to be discussed, according to the Vancouver Sun, is who pays the legal bills.  Perhaps the second from the last question is "Why was the trial drawn out for so long, which contributed to a large degree to the sky rocketing legal bills?" and was that a factor, from day one, that brought about the deal being struck just when the trial started to produce some answers.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

There's jobs to be had at Elections BC over the next few months, and into 2012

HST Initiative Vote will either be settled by the voters in September, or soon after the dust has settled in the BC Liberal Party camp.   One way or another, the HST was the catalyst that forced Premier Gordon Campbell to resign as the Leader of the BC Liberal Party.  Funny though isn't it, all that fanfare, cameras rolling by the press of a Leader resigning from his Party.  What's it going to be like when Gordon Campbell tenders his Premier resignation, and to whom?   Will the cameras be rolling then, or will it be a private affair?

District Electoral Officer
and Deputy District Electoral Officer

List of Current Vacancies
District Electoral Officer and Deputy District Electoral Officer
Current as of January 7, 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011

Its that time of year again, and Doubly so, because of the Leadership Races

I read somewhere that the Leadership hopefuls for the B C Liberal Party have a spending limit of $450,000, each.  Must get a might confusing for the Financial Agents, separating the Annual finances of an MLA from that of a leadership race.  Are donations being made to the MLA?  Need help?  Elections BC to the rescue at their websites!

Electoral Finance News Letter from Elections BC - 4 pages in all
Page 4

Page 2

Are contributions still being done in coinage?   Has donations ever been done in coinage in the last decade?

Is Elections BC using subliminal messaging, by suggesting coins as an example of donations?

How about adding a bit of colour to their brochure like this:

"To help in your understanding of the reporting
requirements under the Election Act, Elections BC offers
financial agent training sessions before the March 31
filing deadline. These sessions are generally held in the
evenings or on weekends.

If you are interested in attending a training session,
please send an email to: Your feedback will
help determine the time and location of the sessions.

A notice with the dates and locations of the sessions will
be sent to all financial agents registered with our office
and be posted on our website (
Please check our website regularly for more information."  - Elections BC

Saturday, February 12, 2011

BC Finance Miniser Hansen didn't see the HST on his Radar; as the BC Health Minister, can it be said that he didn't see the HST on his CT scan

After the last election was over, the Deputy Minister of Finance told the Finance Minister, and the Premier, that things were not going very well for the BC Treasury while they were away winning their MLA seats, and before the public could say harmonized sales tax???, the BC Liberals brought in the HST.

The Finance Minister, Colin Hansen, said that the HST wasn't on his Radar before the election, but the Deputy didn't need a Radar, all he had to do was read the numbers while the race was being won without the Public having the facts.

Here it is February of 2011, Friday the 11th, the Best Place on Earth, to make another announcement by the  BC Liberals, and this time its the Finance Minister trading hats for the Health Minister portfolio (while Kevin Falcon is away) to let the public know that since October, of 2010, there's been a problem in 3,400 CT scans and ultrasound interpretations in two health districts, Abbotsford and Powell River.

Health Officials told the Ministry of Health on February 4th, a Friday.  The Ministry of Health worked through the weekend and then the Ministry staff (Deputy Minister) briefed the Minister on Tuesday February 8th.  For three more days of hand wringing, Health Minister Colin Hansen finally steps up to the microphone and says that there's been a probe launched and it will be ready in six months.    The Deputy should have just waited till Thursday afternoon and maybe the probe could be delayed for seven months.

What is with these all powerful Deputy Ministers?  Who are they to decide when to brief a Minister, or.... is it true what is being said, that all of the Deputy Ministers report to the Premier's Office and then they are told when to tell their Ministers?

Two Deputy Ministers decides amongst themselves, in late October, to terminate a trial.

The Premier tenders his resignation in November.

Kevin Falcon tenders his resignation as the Health Minister in December.

And all awhile no one knows that Health officials are beavering away with a small problem!

Will someone from the BC Liberal Government step up and explain just what the hell is going on here!  Who's running this province?  The Premier? Health officials?  Deputies?  Its certainly not the Ministers.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Extinguishments of $6 million debt deal for Basi and Virk was done by whom to kill the BC Rail trial?

I can't remember, was it the Attorney General of British Columbia who forgave Dave Basi and Bobby Virk's legal fees debt to the Province of British Columbia, or was it a couple of  Deputy Ministers who did it?

Highlighting in BOLD is mine:

"7.3.13 Extinguishments   (Under Revenue Management- second folder of three)
1. The responsible minister must authorize all submissions for extinguishment. Proposals must be forwarded for review to the Minister of Finance, through the Financial Management Branch, OCG, prior to submission to the Lieutenant Governor in Council.
2. The Minister or the Deputy Minister of Finance, or the Assistant Deputy Minister, Provincial Treasury, pursuant to BC Regulation 269/92, can conclude a settlement agreement or compromise settlement to forgive some or all of a debt or obligation not exceeding $100,000. In addition, the following CLMB officers have authority to conclude a settlement agreement to forgive some or all of a debt or obligation (principal plus interest) to the following limits:
the director – $40,000;
a manager – $20,000;
a collection officer – $10,000.
3. A ministry may accept a compromise settlement of a debt only after approval by Legal Services, Ministry of Attorney General. A portion of the original debt can be extinguished under the terms of an agreement.
4. Annually, ministries must submit statements of debts extinguished during the fiscal year, together with supporting documentation, to Financial Reporting and Advisory Services, OCG, for Public Accounts reporting purposes."
 The maximum amount of debt is One Hundred Thousand Dollars and it looks like this:
                                                   $   100,000
Six million dollars looks like this:   $6,000,000, so where's the Regulation that covers $6 million.

The pecking order of who gets to do what when it comes to Extinguishments goes something like this:

Responsible Minister - Attorney General
Forwarded through - Financial Management Branch, OCG
Forwarded to Lieutenant Governor in Council (Cabinet)
Forwarded to - Minister of Finance

However "a settlement agreement or compromise settlement to forgive some or all of a debt or obligation not exceeding $100,000" can be done if it is pursuant to BC Regulation 269/92 (which dead ends because the hidden link to the Regulation reads like this but you end up here shifty bast....   But in the paragraph it lists off who can execute BC Regulation 269/92 and they are "The Minister or the Deputy Minister of Finance, or the Assistant  Deputy Minister, Provincial Secretary".   Not a hint of the Deputy Minister to the Attorney General and yet it was the Deputy Minister of Finance and the Deputy Minister of the Attorney General that stopped the trial in its tracks.

And if you're wondering what the "Financial Management Branch, OCG" is the OCG stands for its the Office of the Comptroller General.

All these people within the various departments of the BC Liberal Government, while the BC Rail trial was being heard by a jury, suddenly up and decides that it was in the best interests of ... taxpayers... to stop the trial.    Hmmmmmm.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Here's a thought for February 16, 2011 and the BC Rail trial documents, a mere 4 days away

Its not just the Globe and Mail that is making an application to have access to all of the documents that almost saw the light of day during the trial of David Basi and Bobby Virk and Aneal Basi, the rest of the horde of media are clamoring for the same information too.

"Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie said she will hear the Crown’s application next month, and at the same time she will consider an application by The Globe and Mail and CTV for release of documents filed as evidence in the case."   Globe and Mail

February 16, 2011   Vancouver Supreme Court, and lets all cross our fingers and hope that the proceedings won't happen in the same room as the last go around.  Poor sound quality, poorer visibility.

February 26, 2011  BC Liberal Party will be voting for their new Leader to be the new Premier (that only happens on the same day if the new Leader is an MLA)

Ten wonderful days between Wednesday February 16, 2011 and Saturday 26, 2011.

Ten days for the media to be writing about the BC Rail Documents.

Ten days for the public to mull over what was never released.

Ten days of more deliberations by the Court and nothing, and I mean NOTHING will be revealed till after we have a new Premier and the other one is gone.

But I have one small question to ask here, yes the public knows that "The Trial" with regards to the sell off of BC Rail is over for Dave Basi and Bobby Virk, but will the Standing order still be in force on February 16, 2011, the one that forbade all Witnesses (including RCMP Officers) from attending the proceedings?

Its one of those rare situations where the Judge now finds that the Court and the Defendants are in possession of evidence that might possibly lead to more charges being laid, and  not against Dave Basi or Bobby Virk.

There will be no Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm to get out his huge black pen........ or will that duty now fall on Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

October 18, 2010 Last day of the BC Rail Trial: Why were the RCMP in Attendance?

Its been said here before, by many others too, why has the AG Courts Service Branch kept the public in the dark on all trials in Vancouver (perhaps even the whole Province), by not creating a Singular On-line Schedule (instead of the DOUBLE ONEs) so the public could have attended the high profile Basi Virk trial, also known as the BC Rail Trial on a daily basis, on time.

On the very last day, October 18, 2010, the Court room was packed with the Press, 7 RCMP officers and not very many of the public (we obviously didn't get the email memo) for such an auspicious moment to witness the guilty pleas of two defendants, with the third defendant having his charges Stayed.

I received a history lesson today that left me wondering just what happened so suddenly, so unexpectedly, on October 18, 2010.   Why were there so many high profile RCMP officers inside Court Room #54, when there was a STANDING order from the Judge that said otherwise:

"....In the case of Mr. Collins, he has a lawyer here every day. As best I can read in the newspapers, he's speaking for Mr. Collins," McCullough told Justice Bennett in asking that any witnesses for the subsequent trial be banned from attending the disclosure hearing.

McCullough also noted the presence of an RCMP officer who will be called to testify in the trial as one of the investigators.

"There will be a ban from here on in -- any witness cannot be in the courtroom," Bennett ordered immediately."
- Bill Tieleman  May 4, 2007

From the Vancouver Sun there's this photo of the Defense team, and their clients, walking down the stairs to the Glass wall to the waiting reporters outside of the Court House, and who's that standing to the left in the photo?

"Kevin DeBruyckere. RCMP One of the lead RCMP investigators in Project Everywhichway, amazingly Inspector DeBruyckere is also by coincidence the brother-in-law of B.C. Liberal Party executive director Kelly Reichert.

DeBruyckere disclosed that information to his superiors in March 2004, but defence lawyers have strongly argued that his relationship is a conflict of interest that should have had him removed from the case, but have not at any point alleged any impropriety on the part of either DeBruyckere or Reichert."
Bill Tieleman  Dec. 29, 2008

Seems straight forward to me, Publication Bans are imposed, a little cardboard sign is left standing on the Clerk's desk near the Judge so it could be read by all, but you'd think that either someone would be standing with a Checklist (photos included) to ensure that no witnesses would enter the Court Room, or there would be a sign indicating there was Witness Ban along with a Publication Ban of who wouldn't be allowed into Court Room #54 at the door.

On or before October 18, 2010 who told who what when?   and did the Judge not take note of the, ummmm, indiscretion of a Court ban having been possibly broken or was it all over except for the shouting, long before the public was informed?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Did anyone miss the story of Clark changing course on the HST on A2?

I would have made the headline say   "Clark Flip Flops on HST".  One contender said that Clark is adopting the Kama Sutra of HST positions to which Clark shot back that it was the government that did the Kama Sutra on the HST.       (Eighth paragraph down in the link)

Kama Sutra????? what is it when politicians use it?


This is a family blog, therefore what I can show you, about Clark's HST flip flop change of course, is this:

Flip Flops

Source of Photo: Google:  third line down in the Link.

Google hasn't scanned all the world's libraries let alone the BC Government shelves


In a Vancouver Sun report today, the BC Liberals will be opening up a decade of closed doors governing, to become transparent.  That's two words from the New Era election promises of 2001 {"open" and "transparent"} that seemed to have only showed up now, on their radar, because of the success of FOI requests at BC Ferries which started flowing four months ago.

Google hasn't had much success either.  For instance there's plenty of documents squirreled away by the BC Liberal Government in its various websites, but who is to know which is new, which is old, which is torn.... sorry ... Shredded, its before the courts.  ooops!   Case Closed.

A search for Freedom of Information BC Government on Google results are terrific.  Taking the first hit in Google has us arrive at For the Record, and if you look at the http across the top it shows the word DEMOCRATIC three times, and I have to say this, its FAR from democratic as you can get, in an open and transparent government.

"British Columbia is a leader in access to information and protection of privacy and has one of the strongest freedom of information legislation in the country. In fact:"
In fact its only in this morning's Vancouver Sun newspaper that the doors to OUR information might be made available to us.

Across the top of  "For the Record" there is an opportunity for the visitor to seek out and Search for more information on such a topic as     Freedom of Information    and before you get too excited, there's this result:
"about 321,297 results found, grouped by location, sorted by relevance"
 I added the comma in the number.

 Three Hundred and Twenty One Thousand, Two Hundred and Ninety-Seven results

But take a deep breath here.  Pause for a moment.   Which Ministry is this?   Mining?  and between researching this Post topic seven minutes ago, and then creating this Post topic, there's been an increase of found hits to the tune of:

"about 321,327 results found, grouped by location, sorted by relevance"
 Three Hundred and Twenty-One Thousand, Three Hundred and Twenty-Seven.   An increase of 30 in seven minutes.

Just how many government employees are working to put more and more information under the protection of Freedom of Information?

Can anyone keep up to the amount of "Freedom of Information" hits solely done by the Mining division in the BC Liberal Government, or is this a job that's even too tough for Google to delve into.


UPDATE for Google: February 6th, 2011  Example of political interference between the Public and the BC Judicial system:

"British Columbia

Where to find out more about British Columbia courts:

If you click on the above link "Ministry of the Attorney General website", which has taken me two weeks to find, it appears that the BC Liberal government and its PBA staff have taken steps to ensure that their new marching orders are that the out-going Premier is always Front and Centre or has El Gordo kicked out MLA Barry Penner as the Attorney General of BC today?  The link above says its the Ministry of the Attorney General Website that will be providing information, not some dead end source starting at square one:

Truck Loggers Convention 2011???   What!

The "Where to Find out More about BC Courts" contains seven links altogether.   One is no longer in service; five others do link to the proper source, but how can the public keep up to pace with this provincial government and its ever changing websites if the ordinary person can't go click on a link without ending up at a Truckers Convention when all that he wanted to do was to find information on Court Services?