Recommended reading

As many of our astute readers know, the Basi-Virk picture show got underway yesterday. Unfortunately, because those court proceedings are taking place in Vancouver rather than Victoria, your humble organ isn't able to indepedently report on the case. But we recommend reading our colleague Bill Tieleman's comprehensive coverage of the trial, which is featured today in 24 hours and The Tyee - as well as on his own blog.

18 Comments

Tieleman has some very effective research-assets and probably knows more about what really is happening than many of the Basigate's "cast of plumbers".

True, but isn't he just a little bit biased?

Canine de Rouge--

What, exactly, do you find to be biased?

Mr. Tieleman's reportage, or his sources?

Looking carefully at that linked piece in The Tyee, I cannot find evidence of bias as it appears to be a pretty straight-up report, with follow-up (ie. responses, or not, from the principals involved).

What's interesting to me about this is what has not been reported in the mainstream media (ie. you hear a lot about one Pol whose surname begins with the third letter of the alphabet, but very little about the other whose name begins with the same letter).

This is not about Bill Tieleman or Sean Holman or any other journalist but about the Basi-Virk trial.

Let's try to be more grown up about this, perro rojo, yes?

Yes - this is about the Basi-Virk BC Rail Trial.

Just many more questions about lobbyists and the government. I remember Michael Smyth who put it best that ...lobbyist were leg humping every government MLA they could.

I guess the humping days may be over....

Thanks for the reference Sean and more than happy to address Red Dog's concerns. I never hide either my background or my general support for the left-side of the political fence.

But I don't let that lead me astray when reporting and I believe that my past political experience is a big help in following important and complicated political stories like this one.

I've been on this case since the beginning and have broken many stories on the investigation and wide cast of characters.

Anyway, feel free to dispute my personal views but facts are facts and that's what I'm reporting. And if I make a mistake, I will always correct it promptly.

Trying to prevent a reporter from getting into the dirt of political scandal of a government is like trying to prevent ants from getting into a picnic by pouring sugar on the ground.

Admittedly, Bill Tieleman is a friend, who I respect very much.....there are many reasons for this, not limited to, but certainly including the fact that he is a first-rate jounalist. He understands the difference between proper research and (qualified) opinion. His comments, thus far, on the Basi-Virk case are appropriate and factual.

Besides, he knows if he stepped out of line, I'd have to hammer him :-)))

He's the second best political pundit in the Province.....Norman Spector being first.....

Norman Spector being first.....

*pfftt* Norman Spector.

An over rated once-was.

At least Spector tells it like it is.

Have to give him credit for that.

In reading Bill Tielman's columns about Basi and Virk, they seem to be fair and balanced and not
on a left wing diatribe (used to read that kind of stuff when Stan Persky or Alan Garr was writing
things, but gave up on both of them).

The BC Rail Tale. This will be interesting.

By the way, Bill..

Nice playoff beard.

I read Tieleman’s report on day one of the trial and found it to be fair, balanced, and non-partisan. Pretty much standard defense lawyer 101 stuff as in blame the RCMP and everyone else my clients are innocent. Should be an interesting trial. Can’t believe it takes three years for these things to get going.

"read Tieleman’s report on day one of the trial and found it to be fair, balanced, and non-partisan. Pretty much standard defense lawyer 101 stuff as in blame the RCMP and everyone else my clients are innocent."

Very true. If they were truly innocent, nothing
would have happened and both Basi and Virk would
still have their cushy easy to work jobs and the
taxpayers would be spending huge amounts of money
on a court case that should exist in the first place.


This is going to evolve into the usual influence
and power.

You'll see more bad power plays and poor penalty
killing than you saw in the last Canucks/Dallas
game.

Bill The T.'s commentary will be interesting.

I am wondering if, besides sending a spin-meister to watch the proceedings, the Federal or BC Liberal parties are represented by lawyers at this trial? Is the Executive Council of the Govt of BC, the Premier's Office represented in case this trial starts unearthing material that affects government policy? Is the Liberal Party of Canada in BC represented in case testimony about Basi or Virk's nite time political jaunts starts to affect the organizations corporate reputation?


"Lawyers for former provincial government aides David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi dropped several bombshell allegations in B.C. Supreme Court yesterday, alleging a top B.C. Liberal Party staffer told Premier Gordon Campbell about an aspect of the David Basi investigation.

Virk's lawyer, Kevin McCullough, also alleged that former B.C. Finance Minister Gary Collins was under police investigation in November 2003, before the B.C. Legislature was searched by police Dec. 28 that year.

Collins immediately denied the allegation Tuesday, telling Canadian Press that police have said he was never under investigation. McCullough claimed in his defence disclosure application that the RCMP had "acted in bad faith" by telling the media that no elected officials were under investigation when they "knew full well they were investigating Mr. Collins in November."

It should be noted that these are simply allegations and that they remain unproven in court.

The Crown has also not had an opportunity to reply.

McCullough also alleged in court that Campbell was informed by B.C. Liberal Party executive director Kelly Reichert in June 2005 that RCMP were forwarding a report to Crown counsel on David Basi's alleged "media monitoring" contracts with the B.C. Liberal Party.

Campbell was not in the Legislature yesterday afternoon and was unavailable for comment. The B.C. Liberal Party did not return an inquiry by press time.

McCullough told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett that the Crown counsel report came because: "One of the investigations of Mr. Basi was whether there was any wrongdoing regarding the media monitoring contracts with the Liberal Party."

McCullough called the "media monitoring" contracts "a highly political effort to sway public opinion through the use of radio shows and other events" without providing further details.

McCullough pointed out that RCMP Inspector Kevin DeBruyckere "was and still remains the brother-in-law of Kelly Reichert" although he did not, at any point, allege any impropriety on the part of either DeBruyckere or Reichert." (from 24hrs)

I can't beleive that these people think their is not a conflict here. Of course their is. And now the stage has been set for a mistrial.

Jim Van Rassel

"I am wondering if, besides sending a spin-meister to watch the proceedings, the Federal or BC Liberal parties are represented by lawyers at this trial?"

No, just lawyers for Basi, Virk and the Crown

"Is the Executive Council of the Govt of BC, the Premier's Office represented in case this trial starts unearthing material that affects government policy?"

It would be highly unusual since niether the
Executive Council, the Premier's Office are defendants in this case and therefore would not
be having legal participation in the trial.

"Is the Liberal Party of Canada in BC represented in case testimony about Basi or Virk's nite time political jaunts starts to affect the organizations corporate reputation"

Again, no since only lawyers for the plaintiff
(Crown) and the Defence (Basi and Virk) are legal
participants in the trial. It would be highly unusual for an organization to have participatory
legal representation since none are named, and
reputations are a matter of opinions to those who care.

The defense intends to argue that those aides were acting on instructions from their political masters. They were not freelancing.

So the court is hearing about a government that went to enormous lengths to preserve the semblance of a viable bidding process for the railway."

I could go on. How high will this go? If you have the time please read Vaughn Palmer piece in the Vancouver Sun. 04/21/2007 pg A3

The Legislature Raid: Legal proceedings veer into political waters. A Fabulous piece of writing.

Jim Van Rassel

"It would be highly unusual for an organization to have participatory legal representation since none are named, and reputations are a matter of opinions to those who care."

Thanks for this reply from Bulford T. Justice, but with respect I am not fully satisfied. I can understand that lawyers for the provincial or national Liberal parties, or the BC Exec Council and the Premier's office, could hardly ask for official standing as they might at a public enquiry. But I am wondering if they have some trained legal eyes in the room keeping an eye on possible consequences and giving their clients 'heads up' warnings and advice.

Hey Jim,

"I was only following orders" is a defence that is seldom successful, as history well shows.

What's interesting about all this is that almost all the press generated to date is about stuff unrelated to the alleged crime: that people accepted money and privileges in return for valuable commercial information.

All the rest of this stuff -- like "media monitoring contracts" and RCMP press statements about Gary Collins, are irrelevant to the guilt or innocence of the accused.

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