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CONTRIBUTION · 17th October 2011
BC Mary
It was one year ago: BC Rail trial ends after deal reached

BC Mary comment: Today is a sad anniversary. It was a year ago that BC Supreme Court brutally shut down our chances of hearing testimony, under oath, as to how BC Rail slid from public ownership into private pockets in a deal already proven corrupt. One year later, is a time to review The Great BC Rail Train Robbery ... a time to remember that such a crooked deal can't be OK until the citizens - the legitimate owners - say it's OK ...

and it just so happens that citizens across the world, at this very time, are saying we must take back what is ours. For British Columbia, that means finding some other ways to uncover what happened to BC Rail ... to undo the harm done. To take back what is ours.

This column, written at the time of the shocking shut-down of the BC Rail Trial, is a good reminder ...

BC Rail trial ends after deal reached

by gary mason

Vancouver— Globe and Mail Update

Published Monday, Oct. 18, 2010
Last updated Tuesday, Mar. 15, 2011

A political corruption trial that has dragged on for years, cost millions of dollars, and threatened to draw back the curtains on the backroom dealings of the B.C. Liberal government came to a sudden conclusion Monday in B.C. Supreme Court ... {Snip} ...

The astonishing development comes on the eve of what was expected to be explosive testimony by former finance minister Gary Collins. Mr. Collins was going to be the first of several high-profile political figures who were scheduled to take the stand in this case. The defence had hinted there was a chance Premier Gordon Campbell was going to be called to testify, along with a long list of politicians past and present. Mike Farnworth, the B.C. opposition's house leader, said the biggest corruption case in the history of the province has ended with a whimper. The New Democrat said the questions of the public must still be answered.

“It stinks,” he said. “The air needs to be cleared and there should be a public inquiry to get to the bottom of it.”

{Snip} ...

While the charges against the accused were entered in early 2004, the trial didn’t begin in earnest until this past spring. Much of the time before that was eaten up in pre-trial hearings, with the Crown and lawyers for the accused sparring daily over the release of literally hundreds of thousands of documents related to the case.

In 2009, the judge who presided over the pre-trial hearings and who was supposed to hear the case, Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett, was promoted to the B.C. Court of Appeal, which necessitated a new judge, Justice Anne MacKenzie, taking over in the spring of last year. But even after the trial got underway this past May it was continually getting bogged down for one reason or another – a sick jury member, a sick defendant, voir dires, summer holidays ... {Snip} ...

With a file from The Canadian Press

Read the full column here
Participatory Democracy
Comment by barryeng on 17th October 2011
This is exactly why we need some form of participatory democracy in British Columbia . . . so this type of corruption cannot happen again.

The disgust over the HST, and the resulting referendum against it were in part, due to the populance's disgust over the BC Rail scandal. In fact, I believe that had the BC Rail scandal not happened, the BC voters could have opted to keep the HST, good or bad. It was not just the HST that caused Campbells low popularity but everything else he had done. In this case the HST was just the final straw, and the BC Rail scandal probably had a lot to do with it.

The referendum on the HST was a good start toward better participatory democracy. A way to further that start would be to support candidates in municipal elections who advocate such principles.