Thursday, November 30, 2006

Bill Tieleman on Voice Of BC Saturday at 10 a.m or Sunday 2 p.m. on Shaw Cable 4

There will be two re-broadcasts of the live Voice Of BC show from last Thursday November 30 with host Vaughn Palmer of the Vancouver Sun and guest Sara MacIntyre of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

The show rebroadcasts on Saturday at 10 a.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Please tune in.

Paul Martin's BC Boys Back Stephane Dion in Liberal Leadership Battle

Key BC Liberals helped Paul Martin overthrow Jean Chrétien and take control of the party.

Now many have joined another team.

By Bill Tieleman

Published: November 30, 2006

"Once you hear the details of victory, it is hard to distinguish it from a defeat."
-- Jean-Paul Sartre

Canada's bloodless coup -- the one that saw a Liberal prime minister who won majorities in three successive elections deposed by his chief rival -- took place thanks to some tough organizing, thuggish behaviour and a ruthless rejection of compromise.

By the time Paul Martin had become prime minister, evicting Jean Chrétien from 24 Sussex Drive, the field of battle had been littered with the political bodies of those who stood in his way.

British Columbia was a key province in the Martinites' war for control and his lieutenants here were bloody-minded in the extreme.

Now that the Martin regime has collapsed and a new Liberal leader is about to be chosen, where are those lieutenants now? Which leadership candidates are they now giving whispered advice and organizational muscle? And are there any echoes of the Martin effort to dethrone Chrétien?

That campaign was extraordinarily nasty. Listen to Warren Kinsella, the former Chrétien aide and political commentator, who almost quit the Liberal Party over one B.C. incident in 2002:

"It was the night that Mr. Martin's British Columbia apparatchiks took over the riding association of former cabinet minister Herb Dhaliwal, knowing (a) Mr. Dhaliwal was out of the country, and (b) his wife was dying of cancer."

"I've witnessed a lot of political thuggery, but I had never before seen anything as disgusting as that. It was only a friend in Ottawa who talked me out of quitting the Liberal party, on that night."

So far, the dirty tricks and malevolent manoeuvres haven't sunk quite that low. But the public drubbing of Mason Loh, the B.C. chair for former Ontario NDP premier Bob Rae's campaign, by the forces of Michael Ignatieff, the Liberal front-runner, certainly set the tone.

Loh, a prominent Vancouver lawyer and Queen's counsel, was forced to resign after allegations were made by the Ignatieff campaign regarding the legitimacy of new members signed up by the Rae troops.

But in the end, it was Ignatieff's gaffe, not Loh's. As the Canadian Press reported Nov. 6: "Michael Ignatieff's front-running Liberal leadership campaign was dinged $1,000 yesterday for making unsubstantiated accusations of fraud against chief rival Bob Rae."

Interestingly, given the complaints about Count Iggy's tactics, not one of the key B.C. Martinites is working with his campaign.

Here's where the major Liberal players have landed on the new leadership game board:

Mark Marissen

He was Martin's top lieutenant here and half of what was once B.C.'s top power couple. His wife, Christy Clark, is a former deputy premier to the B.C. Liberals' Gordon Campbell.

Marissen is now the organizational brains behind Stephane Dion, who came fourth in the first round of delegate selection, but could be the eventual winner of a multi-ballot battle royale on Saturday, Dec. 2.

As Dion's National Campaign Director, Marissen is trying to regain past glory and show that he is no one-trick Martin pony.

Alex Tsakumis is no friend of Marissen or Clark -- whom he strongly opposed in her run for the Vancouver Non-Partisan Association nomination for mayor against Sam Sullivan in 2005.

In fact, he claimed in an April memo to NPA members that: "Mr. Marissen's ego can't handle how they blew it against Sam, so here they are with an effort to lay the groundwork to take over this board by 2007. All to save a spot for Christy in 2008. They destroyed the federal Liberal party and now they want to destroy the NPA. Should we let them?"

But Tsakumis has apparently mellowed out. He more recently says that Marissen is "arguably the best organizer in the country, across all parties."

Marissen has been part of some controversial Dion moves, including the inexplicable decision to welcome nationalist cult hero David Orchard into his campaign.

Orchard, a rabid anti-free-trader, is a former Progressive Conservative. He ran for their leadership in 2003 and cut a written deal with now-Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay that promised MacKay would never merge the Tories with the Canadian Alliance. Faster than you could say "Belinda Stronach," MacKay double-crossed Orchard.

But is having a loose cannon like Orchard working for you smart politics?

We'll find out shortly.

Erik Bornman

Now the most controversial player in the game, Bornman is scheduled to testify early next year as the Crown's key witness against former friends David Basi and Bob Virk, the fired ministerial aides he is alleged by police to have bribed in exchange for confidential government information on the $1 billion B.C. Rail privatization.

Bornman, an amateur photographer, B.C. lobbyist and former Paul Martin aide, became known as "Spiderman" for his late 1990s break-in to B.C. party headquarters, where a federal membership list allegedly resided.

After completing a law degree at the University of B.C., Bornman headed to Toronto where he was articling with McCarthy Tetrault, the prestigious law firm that gave $118,000 to Paul Martin's leadership campaign.

But media reports caused him to withdraw and he recently postponed a hearing by the Law Society of Upper Canada into his "good character" after a complaint was lodged against him in relation to the Basi and Virk case.

Bornman has not surfaced at any of the leadership campaigns, but his communications consultant and ex-Liberal staffer brother Roy Bornmann (Erik has spelled his name with alternatively one or two "n"s while Roy uses both) is a stalwart of the Ken Dryden campaign.

David Basi

Basi's hands are full trying to make a living while fighting charges of fraud, breach of trust and influence peddling related to the Dec. 28, 2003 police search of the B.C. legislature. Basi was also charged in April with additional counts of breach of trust over allegations of his involvement in efforts to remove land near Sooke from the Agricultural Land Reserve.

But Basi was previously one of Marissen's top soldiers in the Martin campaign while working as then-finance minister Gary Collins's ministerial assistant. In fact, Dhaliwal blamed Basi personally for the takeover of his riding association.

"I was quite concerned that people from Victoria were involved in meddling in my riding," Dhaliwal told Burnaby Now. "I was the senior minister for B.C. who was working closely with the premier, and they had their own political staff trying to undermine me. I find that incredible."

Basi's cousin Aneal Basi, charged with money laundering, is also a federal Liberal Party donor and supporter.

Neither Basi has been officially linked to any current leadership candidate, but David Basi did reportedly show up to vote at his Saanich-Gulf Islands federal delegate selection meeting in late September.

Bob Virk

While less high profile than Basi, Bob Virk was another Paul Martin campaign soldier in the takeover efforts, while working as then-transportation minister Judith Reid's MA.

Virk and Basi were both allegedly being promoted by Erik Bornman for lucrative political staff jobs in Ottawa in exchange for providing confidential government info on the B.C. Rail deal for Bornman's lobbying client OmniTRAX.

If you doubt that this case has dragged on, consider that since the legislative raids in 2003, Virk has become a father twice.

Jamie Elmhirst

Currently president of the Liberal Party of Canada in B.C., Elmhirst has what have to be uncomfortably close connections to the legislature raids.

The office of his former lobbying firm, Pilothouse Public Affairs, was searched by police. And his Pilothouse partner, former Vancouver Province columnist Brian Kieran, is another key Crown witness in the case against Basi and Virk. He'll take the stand along with fellow Pilothouse lobbyist Erik Bornman.

Elmhirst has joined forces with old pal Mark Marissen and endorsed Stephane Dion for leader.

Bruce Young

Young is one of those adaptable types able to transform from a lobbyist for fish farms, private health care clinics and other corporate interests one day to being a key staffer providing neutral advice to the prime minister the next.

Young, a Marissen rival in the Martin camp, was the prime minister's senior advisor for British Columbia before joining Earnscliffe Strategy Group, a favourite supplier to Martin as finance minister, in September 2004.

Young is now a key B.C. backer of Gerard Kennedy, sitting in third place after the initial Liberal membership vote, but generally viewed as not able to win.

Kennedy's other supporters in B.C. include Senator Larry Campbell, the popular former Vancouver mayor; Tex Enemark, a longtime provincial deputy minister in the Social Credit days and a federal Liberal stalwart; Prem Vinning, the short-lived advisor to premier Gordon Campbell, who was caught using a phoney name to call in to a talk radio show with the boss; and, Hill & Knowlton lobbyist Steve Vander Wal, a former aide to federal Environment Minister David Anderson, the "godfather" to many of the Martin troops.

Bruce Clark

Another of the people integrally linked to the legislature raid who is also still a Liberal Party of Canada in B.C. executive member. Clark is brother to Christy Clark, brother-in-law to Mark Marissen and a former top Paul Martin fundraiser.

Clark's home office was searched by police, who allege in unproven police search warrant "Information To Obtain" or ITO documents that documents related to the cancelled B.C. Rail Roberts Bank privatization deal that was worth $70 million were passed by Basi to Clark. Clark does not face any charges.

Not surprisingly, Bruce Clark is another enthusiastic supporter of Stephane Dion.

Bill Cunningham

The cherubic former pro-Martin president of the federal Liberals in B.C. and controversial parachute Liberal candidate in Burnaby-Douglas in 2004 and 2006 has joined pal Marissen in the Dion camp.

"I have a lot of time for Billy Cunningham," Paul Martin once said. Will Dion feel the same way?

So the final score going into the Liberal leadership convention shows that by a considerable margin, the Stephane Dion camp has attracted the most former Paul Martin supporters, while Michael Ignatieff has been shut out.

Whether that is a good or bad thing will be clear on Dec. 2.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Roasting Liberal Chestnuts on an Open Fire?

Alternative Views on Federal Liberal Party Leadership Convention

If you don't think you're getting the straight deal on the federal Liberal Party leadership convention that started today, why not check out some alternative source of information online?

The Tyee , where I often write, has re-activated its Election Central section to provide some different takes on the Lib-Fest.

For a look back at the Liberal disaster that started with the bloodthirsty Paul Martin leadership campaign, check out my Tyee piece from this January that looked at the aftermath of the battle to overthrow Jean Chretien in British Columbia.

And there's much more there, with new items daily.

For a humorous poke at the Liberals and their problems in Quebec, those cheeky New Democrats have put together an annotated map of Montreal, site of the convention, titled: "Liberal Party of Canada Map of the Scars" and indeed it is.

From the location of Paul Martin's foreign-crewed Canada Steamship Lines headquarters to the offices of GroupAction - the ad firm responsible for Sponsorgate, it's all there.

The NDippers have also put together a "Liberal Lemon Quiz" and turned Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen loose on the Libs with a blog from the convention.

Of course, not to be missed on this or any other important political event is my good friend and 24 hours colleague Sean Holman's website Public Eye Online!

Lastly, this humble blog will attempt to make a few cogent comments throughout the proceedings from our snowy Vancouver vantage point.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Weather Permitting - Tieleman and Spector on Bill Good Show CKNW AM980 at 9 a.m. Wednesday

The Monday Morning Quarterbacks take to the field Wednesday morning at 9 .m. on CKNW AM 980 - weather permitting.

Altogether now - No Snow! No Snow! No Snow!

Top Federal Liberal Leadership Candidates All Abandoned Something Very Important

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Column - News, Views & Attitude

Tuesday November 28, 2006

Questions of loyalty


Leaders must pick causes they won't abandon easily, remain committed despite setbacks, and communicate their big ideas over and over again in every encounter.

- Rosabeth Moss Kanter

This weekend the Liberal Party of Canada chooses a new leader it hopes will become prime minister - by encouraging enough voters to abandon the Conservatives, NDP and Bloc Quebecois.

But each of the top three leadership contenders has abandoned something very important to get where they are today.

And federal Liberal delegates have to judge whether what these candidates abandoned makes them unworthy to be their leader.

Michael Ignatieff abandoned Canada itself for more than 30 years to teach in England and the United States. Despite being somewhat a stranger in his own country, Ignatieff is the frontrunner.

Ignatieff has also abandoned many of his former principles. Although he positions himself as progressive and a defender of social justice, he supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq under George W. Bush's leadership.

And in a frightening argument, he wrote that: "To defeat evil, we may have to traffic in evils: Indefinite detention of suspects, coercive interrogations, targeted assassinations, even pre-emptive war."

Then there's Bob Rae, who abandoned the party he once led. The former Ontario NDP premier and Member of Parliament now pledges loyalty to the Liberal Party he previously trashed.

Can Liberals really believe that a man who disowned his last party will be true to his next one?

Can they forget his disastrous record as premier, where he alienated both left and right, business and labour with his policies and performance?

And Rae, who racked up record Ontario deficits, can't be helped by his leadership campaign easily borrowing $845,000, including $720,000 from his brother John Rae, a Power Corporation executive. "We're not worried about that at all," Rae told the Globe and Mail last week.

Stephane Dion has somewhat abandoned his own province - or nation - of Quebec. Dion is seen as an outsider there, an Ottawa federalist who came in second to Ignatieff in the leadership delegate vote on his Quebec home turf.

Dion also disagreed with the overwhelming majority of Quebec Liberals - and Quebecers generally - on their desire to recognize Quebec as a nation.

Gerard Kennedy should have benefited from all this. But despite having the third most delegates on the first ballot, Kennedy seems abandoned by his party.

Yet Kennedy should be the obvious choice. Young, energetic and a life-long progressive Liberal with no Jean Chretien or Paul Martin baggage, Kennedy's major flaw is his less-than-fluent French - the easiest problem to fix.

But if Liberal delegates choose Ignatieff, Rae or Dion they face a serious challenge convincing Canadians their new leader can be trusted not to abandon them, because it's happened before.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Green Leader Elizabeth May loses but wins in London by-election defeat, coming 2nd to Liberal winner

Elizabeth May won't be going to Parliament but sends a scare into NDP, Liberals, Conservatives in by-election loss

Federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May failed in her prediction of an upset win in the London North Centre by-election Monday night, but I doubt she's crying too hard in her beer.

The Greens' vote went up 5-fold in the race won by the Liberals - and the Greens stole the most votes from their environmentally friendly rivals - Jack Layton's NDP.

But the vote totals for all three other parties were down Monday night, with the NDP dropping the most, almost 10% over the January 2006 federal election, while the Liberals and Conservatives dropped about 5 points each.

May made suprisingly major gains for the Green Party by capturing second place over both the Conservatives - who ran controversial former two-time London mayor Dianne Haskett - and the NDP. Liberal Glen Pearson won the riding with just 35% of the vote in a very split vote.

Haskett's defeat in the riding held by former Liberal MP Joe Fontana for 18 years is a blow to both the Conservatives and right-wing social conservatives.

The evangelical Haskett, who was once strongly criticized by Ontario's Human Rights Commission as mayor after she refused to declare a gay pride event in London, spent the last 6 years in Washington, D.C. working with the American Republican Party and a Christian group while completing a masters of law degree. She campaigned on re-opening the issue of same-sex marriage, which she opposes.

Winner Pearson is a left-wing Liberal who is a director of the local food bank and a human rights worker.

NDP candidate Megan Walker, another community activist, is executive director of a shelter for women in London and a former city councilor.

Final results from Monday's federal by-election (percentage of vote in brackets):


253 of 253 polls reporting 38,123 of 89,139 registered electors (42.8 per cent)
2006 2005
Glen Pearson, Liberal: 13,287 (34.9) (40.1)
Elizabeth May, Green: 9,864 (25.9) (5.5)
Dianne Haskett, Conservative: 9,309 (24.4) (30.0)
Megan Walker, NDP: 5,388 (14.1) (23.7)

BC Liberals Play Blame Game on Homeless, Mentally Ill

November 27, 2006

'We're finding there's less services'

24 Hours exclusive


The B.C. Liberal government is launching a public-relations campaign to avoid being blamed for rising homelessness and mentally ill people on the street, internal government documents obtained by 24 hours indicate.

And a group representing people with mental and physical disabilities is appalled.

24 hours obtained a Ministry of Employment and Income Assistance presentation made by Deputy Minister Cairine MacDonald this month to legal advocates in Vancouver.

The ministry's presentation highlights as "myths" the results of a series of controversial restrictions on income assistance introduced by the government in recent years that poverty advocates say severely limit benefits and eligibility.

The "reality," according to the ministry, is more help for those in need.
But the B.C. Coalition of People with Disabilities says government policies have increased homelessness and poverty.

"It really dismays me when I see a presentation like this," said Robin Loxton, the Coalition's Advocacy Access Program Co- Director.

"We're finding there's less services for people and it's harder to get support," Loxton told 24 hours. "People's experience is that it's a harsh system with burdensome requirements and arbitrary rules."

Another prong in the government's public-relations strategy is to roll out a separate advertising campaign on buses and SkyTrain to encourage hiring people with disabilities.

Ministry Communications Director Richard Chambers confirmed Friday that MacDonald made the presentation and said a new "public awareness" campaign aims to find work for 13,000 people with disabilities by 2010, a 10 per cent increase over current employment levels.

Chambers said the effort, including the website, will have a minimal cost due to donated space for posters on transit.

But Loxton, who wasn't at the presentation, said government spin isn't dealing with the crisis.

"I think the marching orders are 'go tell a good news story.' One has to conclude the government's getting some pressure over homelessness and panhandling issues," he said.
Loxton said blaming deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill for the increase in street people is wrong.

"It's not deinstitutionalization that's put people with mental disabilities on the streets, its restrictions on disability benefits," Loxton said.

Chambers disagreed with Coalition criticism, saying: "Homelessness is [a] complex problem with many causes."

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Snow cancels Monday Morning Quarterbacks Tieleman and Spector on CKNW AM 980

BREAKING NEWS - As they say on CKNW AM 980 - our regular Monday Morning Quarterbacks political discussion has been cancelled due to ongoing coverage of the Lower Mainland snow storm.

We'll be back next Monday to talk about the results of the federal Liberal leadership convention.


Monday on the Bill Good Show I will be talking with Bill and Norman Spector about federal politics with the upcoming Liberal Party leadership convention, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's surprise motion on Quebec as a nation and provincial politics - the brief Legislative session to appoint a new Representative for Children and Youth and the new private emergency room planned for Vancouver, plus your calls.

Tune at on AM 980 or go to and listen live.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Basi Virk BC Legislature Raid Case Postponed Again

By Bill Tieleman

The oft-delayed BC Legislature raid case has been once-again postponed.

Charges against former BC government ministerial aides David Basi, Bob Virk and communications staffer Aneal Basi will not likely be heard until late February or early March.

BC Supreme Court defence lawyers and the Special Prosecutor agreed to delay a pre-trial update scheduled with Justice Elizabeth Bennett for today until December 18 at 9 a.m.

That means the previously slated trial start date of December 4 is off.

With pre-trial motions and a voir dire on the admissibility of wiretap evidence and issues of Parliamentary privilege surrounding some evidence, plus the Christmas holiday break, it seems highly unlikely the trial could begin before March 1.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Norman Spector sues Vancouver Sun in continuing Belinda Stronach "bitch" word controversy

Life's a bitch and then you sue....

Norman Spector, political commentator, former top aide to Brian Mulroney and Bill Bennett and my colleague on the Bill Good Show on CKNW every Monday at 10 a.m. is suing the Vancouver Sun over comments made about him by columnist Daphne Bramham in the paper on Saturday November 18.

Here is his news release - you be the judge on whether it's a good idea.

November 22, 2006

Columnist and political analyst Norman Spector has filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court of British Columbia suing the owner, publisher, editor-in-chief and a columnist of The Vancouver Sun for libel as a result of a column published in Saturday’s Vancouver Sun.

The Statement of Claim alleges that the Defendants published or caused to be published statements that were false and malicious about comments that Spector made on the Bill Good Show on Oct 30th and again on November 6 respecting Ms Belinda Stronach, MP.

The defamatory passage is set out in a column written by Sun columnist Daphne Bramham under the title “We Live in a Sexist, Misogynist Society” and reads:
“Klein's verbal abuse of Stronach followed former ambassador Norman Spector's repeated references to Stronach as a "bitch" on a Vancouver radio show. The former adviser and confidante to both a prime minister and a premier sanctimoniously tried to bluster his way out of it, claiming that he was using an arcane definition from the Oxford Dictionary meaning treacherous behaviour. I've not been able to find it in any of the versions of Oxford I've consulted.”

Spector alleges that the Vancouver Sun knew full well that he was relying on the authority of the Oxford English Dictionary when he made his comments, that it was not some definition he invented or discovered after the fact and that the Sun knew that OED does define the word “bitch” in its modern usage to refer to a “malicious or treacherous woman” exactly as Dr. Spector told his listeners.

From Victoria, where he resides, Spector stated, “as a columnist myself, I regret having had to take this action; but this column is a direct attack on my credibility and my reputation as an honest and forthright political analyst. I was telling the truth and the Sun is making me out to be a liar and I simply cannot let that column stand unchallenged.”

Spector asked for a retraction and apology on Sunday and again yesterday but the Sun has to date failed or refused to apologize.

The Statement of Claim seeks an array of damages but Spector stated that any damages he is awarded will be donated to charitable causes.

Spector has retained Vancouver lawyer Joseph Arvay Q.C to act for him in this case.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Tieleman on Nightline BC on CKNW/Corus Network 8:30 p.m. Tonight - Wednesday Nov 22

I will be appearing on Nightline BC on CKNW AM 980 and the Corus Radio Network tonight at 8:30 p.m. with host Mike Smyth to talk about BC politics, the NDP opposition and today's sitting of the Legislature to appoint a new Representative for Children and Youth.

Tune in - call in.

Erik Bornmann - His lawyer's request to adjourn hearing into admissibility to Law Society of Upper Canada

(Re: Adjournment)

TIELEMAN NOTE: This is the submission made November 21, 2006 to the Law Society of Upper Canada by Bryan Finlay, Erik Bornmann's lawyer, requesting an adjournment of his admissibility hearing to the Ontario bar.

The disciplinary hearing panel, called as a result of a complaint against Bornmann's "good character", agreed to delay the hearing until July 3, 2007. See my earlier posts on this hearing for background.

November 21, 2006


The Law Society has requested an adjournment of this Hearing until the conclusion of the criminal trial in British Columbia.

Erik Bornmann has asked throughout that this Hearing proceed without delay because until the issue of his good character is determined, his professional life is on hold. It is important to note that this Hearing is the result of Mr. Bornmann reporting himself to the Law Society.

As a result of the criminal proceedings in BC and Court orders which were made there and which were a direct result of motions brought by both the Crown and defence in British Columbia, the hearing here must be held in camera if it is to proceed now.

Our motion for the Hearing to be held in camera was necessitated by those Court orders. This has nothing to do with to Erik Bornmann's views or interests, rather he would prefer that this Hearing proceed in public.

Erik Bornmann has given much thought to not only his position, but also to the public interest in this Hearing as to his good character. If at all possible, it should be conducted in public.

As a result, Erik Bornmann agrees that this Hearing be adjourned to allow for the criminal proceedings to proceed first in BC, so that this Hearing can be carried out in public. This will also enable the Panel to have full and complete access to his evidence at that trial as well as to all the other witnesses in the criminal proceeding.

While this will result in Mr. Bornmann's professional life being held in abeyance for a time, he believes this to be the right and proper course of action on his part at this time.

The criminal proceedings were commenced by an indictment dated January 28, 2005. We are prepared to consent to an adjournment to permit the criminal trial to take place, which is now scheduled to commence January 2007. Erik is to be called as a witness in the spring.

Consequently we would ask that this hearing be adjourned to July 2007 to set a date. It may be that if the criminal trial is further delayed, there will be a need to proceed with this Hearing without further delay.

Erik's professional life cannot be held in abeyance for years.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Tieleman on BC NDP opposition losing its direction

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Column - News, Views & Attitude

Tuesday November 21, 2006

NDP tripping over its own feet


I cannot help it if every time the Opposition are asked to name their weapons, they pick boomerangs.

- Iain Macleod, British Conservative politician, 1959

B.C.'s New Democratic Party opposition has lost its sense of direction.

Instead of heading towards government, this past week NDP leader Carole James ended up in Taiwan of all places, on a free junket bought and paid for by a foreign government and foreign businesses.

While James and fellow travelling NDP MLAs Bruce Ralston and Norm Macdonald understandably want to pay attention to the Asia-Pacific region, the optics are just plain awful.

How does the NDP explain its worthy goal of election financing reform - to ban business and union donations - when it willingly takes a trip paid for in part by foreign corporations hoping to influence party policy?

And with the B.C. Liberals the most corporately funded party in Canadian history - an astonishing $10 million of the $13 million raised in 2005 came from business - the NDP has a popular issue that could also kill the Liberals' financial advantage.

Instead, they've gone for the $20,000 trip - one that has no relevance to British Columbians concerned about overcrowded hospital emergency rooms, child poverty, homelessness, drug addiction or other important issues.

A series of NDP political blunders have resulted in the Gordon Campbell B.C. Liberals enjoying a big advantage over the NDP in recent polls, despite narrowly avoiding defeat in the May 2005 election.

The Liberals took 46 per cent versus 42 per cent for the NDP in that vote.

But in late September Ipsos Reid gave the Liberals a 47 per cent to 37 per cent lead over the NDP, and even that is an improvement over the 51 per cent to 35 per cent result in a June poll taken after public sector unions signed new contracts.

The NDP's troubles started last November when it supported MLA pay raises and pensions in a backroom deal with the Liberals that set off a firestorm.

Then this summer the NDP rolled over when the Liberals gave senior bureaucrats and political staff big pay raises - up to $45,000 for assistant deputy ministers.

When Campbell announced in October that all projects over $20 million with provincial funding must be considered as public-private partnerships, the NDP yawned instead of yelling, issuing a mild news release three days later.

NDP voters want action, not acquiescence.

Carole James is an effective, personable and persuasive leader. James demonstrated in the 2005 election debate and in the Legislature since then that she can clearly best Campbell.

But if James and her MLAs don't figure out how to be a strong opposition and hold the Liberals feet to the fire instead of burning their own, they will be sitting on the wrong side of the Legislature for many years to come.

Hear Bill Tieleman Mondays at 10 a.m. on CKNW AM 980's Bill Good Show.

Erik Bornman drops bid to become lawyer - for now

November 21, 2006

Bornman pulls law society application

By BILL TIELEMAN, 24 HOURS newspaper

Erik Bornman, the key Crown witness in the breach of trust case against former government aides David Basi and Bob Virk, is no longer attempting to be admitted to the Ontario bar as a lawyer.

In a surprise move late yesterday, the Law Society of Upper Canada announced that Bornman's application will be withdrawn at the admission hearing today in Toronto.

"Both sides will be making a joint submission that the matter be adjourned," Society communications director Lisa Hall told 24 hours.

The hearing into Bornman's "good character" resulted from a complaint to the Society. Police allege Basi and Virk were bribed by Bornman, then a lobbyist, to obtain confidential government documents related to the $1-billion B.C. Rail privatization.


Hall could not say if or when Bornman could reapply to be a lawyer but the Law Society had planned to ask that the hearing be adjourned until the trial had been concluded.

Bornman’s lawyers wanted the media and public excluded from the hearing or a publication ban imposed.

Vancouver lawyer Dan Burnett said in an interview that his client, Global Television, was planning on arguing against such a ban or exclusion had the hearing proceeded.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Erik Bornman's bid to become lawyer may not happen anytime soon

November 17, 2006

Bornman bid for Ontario bar postponed


Erik Bornman, the former lobbyist and Paul Martin aide turned key Crown witness in the B.C. Legislature raid case, may not be admitted to the Ontario bar as a lawyer anytime soon.

Bornman, who is scheduled to testify against former government aides David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi in a breach of trust case starting Dec. 4 in B.C. Supreme Court, articled as a law student in Ontario.

Bornman faces an admissibility hearing by the Law Society of Upper Canada starting next Tuesday in Toronto and is attempting to have the public and media excluded. The hearing follows a complaint to the Law Society about Bornman's "good character" - a requirement for admission.

Bornman is alleged in unproven police documents to have bribed David Basi and Virk to obtain confidential government documents related to the 2003 B.C. Rail privatization.

But late yesterday the Law Society announced on its website that it will request Bornman's hearing be adjourned "until such time as the Student Member testifies at the trial . . . . or the criminal matter is withdrawn or otherwise concludes."

Bornman was an aide when Martin was finance minister. He is a former executive member of the federal Liberal Party in B.C.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Don't pave paradise farm in Maple Ridge!

November 14, 2006

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Column - News, Views & Attitude

Leave the farm alone


Hey, farmer, farmer, put away that DDT, now! Give me spots on my apples
But leave me the birds and the bees, please! Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got till it's gone?
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

- Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi

The B.C. government and TransLink want to pave a little piece of organic paradise - a blueberry farm in Maple Ridge - and put a road right through it.

It makes no sense at all.

Farmers Ting Wu and his wife Risa Lin own Formosa Nursery, a certified organic 18.6-hectare farm which has been growing blueberries for 30 years.

Now the province and TransLink want to run an access road connector to the new $808-million Golden Ears Bridge right through Formosa's productive farmland.

That's stupid enough as it is.

But what's really crazy is that the Wu family has only asked that the province and TransLink move the connector just 30 metres south and use a gazetted road allowance owned by the government - literally saving the farm.

Despite an easy solution, provincial B.C. Liberal Agriculture Minister Pat Bell and TransLink still say no - they will expropriate the land and paving will start in days.

So on Thursday a rally on the farm brought together former Social Credit Premier Bill Vander Zalm, New Democrat MLAs Corky Evans and Michael Sather and a host of environmental groups to fight the destruction of prime farmland for no good reason.

"It cuts through our heart," Ting Wu told 24 hours Thursday. "Just move the road 100 feet. It's a reasonable thing, a compromise."

"I hope they can see this," Wu said. "It's really stressful, even more now. We can't continue if the road goes through."

Vander Zalm and Evans make a surprising pair to ride to the rescue, coming from both the political right and left.

But Vander Zalm told a crowd of 100 that he and Evans are of one mind on this issue - leave the farm alone.

Evans said it's ironic that Formosa isn't a case of a farmer applying to take land out of the Agricultural Land Reserve to develop it.

"This is not an issue where the farmer wants out. This is an issue where the farmer and the farmer's parents and the farmer's children want to farm," Evans said. "The government should support the farmer. If the minister of agriculture won't do it, he should resign."

The Wu family will make one last appeal on Friday to TransLink's board of directors - they've been given just five minutes to save the farm where they've been producing food for 30 years.

For more info:

Hear Bill Tieleman Mondays at 10 a.m. on CKNW AM 980's Bill Good Show. Website:

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Defence scores big win in BC Legislature Raid case disclosure application

By Bill Tieleman

Defence lawyers for David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi scored a major win in BC Supreme Court today when Justice Elizabeth Bennett ruled in their favour, ordering significantly increased disclosure of evidence.

Justice Bennett’s oral ruling was a blow to the Crown but also to the RCMP, whose conduct was found to be lacking.

The ruling means defence lawyers Michael Bolton, Kevin McCullough and Patrick Boyle will gain access to the “project room” where over 100,000 pages of evidence are stored in the aptly named “Project Every Which Way” investigation.

Justice Bennett ordered that the defence be allowed into the project room, where they will be able to ensure that all evidence relevant to the defence of their clients have been disclosed.

But the defence will not be allowed to review evidence unrelated to the breach of trust case charges, including evidence obtained by police in the original drug charges investigation that accidentally uncovered the allegations of influence peddling in the $1 billion BC Rail privatization deal.

“The law is clear…” Bennett told the Court, that disclosure of evidence is critical to the defence of the accused.

“I do not accept RCMP objections to the defence entering the project room,” she said. “Many of the descriptions are vague or have no details at all.”

“The defence are merely seeking to be present for the inventory of evidence,” Bennett continued. “This right is a constitutional one. It is set out in Section 7 [of the Charter of Rights]”

Bennett criticized the failure to adequately disclose electronic evidence, though she noted that “the Crown has worked diligently at disclosure” and specifically said she was not rebuking Special Prosecutor Bill Berardino.

“It may be the first electronic disclosure for these [RCMP] officers, however electronic evidence has been used for at least 10 years, case law shows. I’m not sure why many of these problems haven’t been resolved, for example, the lack of a proper search engine,” Bennett said.

Bennett then went on to laud the defence lawyers.

“The defence have demonstrated they are not on a fishing expedition. It was due to the diligence of the defence that these problems were disclosed,” Bennett said.
Following Justice Bennett’s ruling defence and Crown fired shots back and forth once again.

“My learned friends haven’t produced a stitch of the materials they promised to produce by this time,” said McCullough, who represents Virk. “My friend hasn’t been able to make any of the deadlines he set for himself.”

Berardino rejected McCullough and Bolton’s complaints, saying he was merely two day behind schedule due to problems with preparing information on the proceeds of crime evidence for the defence.

Following a break where the Crown and defence conferred on process, Berardino told Bennett that access to the project room would begin the following Monday or Tuesday.

He gave an estimate of 10 days as an approximate length of time to undertake the inventory but said both sides would report their progress at the next pre-trial hearing, scheduled for 9 a.m. November 24.

Bennett raised the possibility of further delay in the trial, currently scheduled to begin December 4.

“We will address on November 24 if we can proceed on December 4,” Bennett said. “It will be very unfortunate if we lose the dates in December.”

“There is a public interest in having this case heard, for everyone’s sake,” she said.

Outside the court McCullough and Bolton were all smiles with the decision.

“We’re pleased with it. It’s a step by step case,” McCullough said.

Bolton added that: “We expect to begin on December 4 with preliminary applications in respect of the wiretap evidence.”

And he noted that the RCMP project room inventory could be challenging.

“We actually don’t have any concept of what’s there until we get there,” he said.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Nightline BC on CKNW - Lineup for Monday November 13 - 2006 with Bill Tieleman

Online live at

7 to 9 p.m. Monday November 13, 2006

With Guest Host Bill Tieleman sitting in for Michael Smyth

Here's tonight's line-up - please remember it can change before air time





Thursday, November 09, 2006

BC Legislature Raid Revisited - New Info from Disclosure of Evidence Hearing

Leg Raid Hearing Intrigue
What we learned about star witness, rail deals, RCMP conduct

You can also view the article and comments here:

By Bill Tieleman

Published: November 9, 2006

"Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There's no better rule."

-- Charles Dickens, Great Expectations, 1861

We know a lot more about the Dec. 28, 2003 police raid on the B.C. legislature following last week's four-day B.C. Supreme Court hearing into a defence application for disclosure of evidence.

But we still don't know nearly enough to figure out what the hell happened or why it's taken almost exactly three years to get to the still-planned Dec. 4 trial date for former B.C. Liberal government ministerial aides David Basi and Bob Virk and former government communications staffer Aneal Basi.

The disclosure hearing provided lots of fascinating teasers as to what the trial might expose -- from police surveillance of then-finance minister Gary Collins as he dined with a U.S. bidder for the privatization of B.C. Rail in a fancy downtown Vancouver restaurant to a defence question as to why the $1 billion B.C. Rail deal itself wasn't cancelled.

There's also new evidence from both in and outside the courtroom about Erik Bornman, the controversial former lobbyist and ex-Paul Martin aide. Bornman has turned Crown witness against Basi and Virk, who police allege were bribed by Bornman, leading to breach of trust charges against them.

And defence lawyers raised for the first time the possibility of a mistrial or a miscarriage of justice as they argued for more disclosure.

Every which way, indeed

And yet like a Russian matryoshka nesting doll, there's always something more underneath that changes the picture dramatically.

The biggest challenge for both journalists and the public -- not to mention Justice Elizabeth Bennett, who will preside over the case -- is in following what is undoubtedly the most complex political scandal British Columbia has ever seen.

To get some idea of the scope of what the RCMP call "Project Every Which Way," consider that there are more than 100,000 pages of evidence, including dozens of wiretap transcriptions, interview statements, police notes, bank statements and tax records of the accused and untold government documents.

The police organizational chart alone was said in court to have filled several walls and included even embattled RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli, whose approval was needed for wiretaps involving questions of Parliamentary privilege.

Justice Bennett, who acquitted former B.C. premier Glen Clark in 2002 in another high profile breach of trust case, herself said at one point in the proceedings on Oct. 30 that she would: "Probably be a very good juror because I don't remember any of the media reports on this case."

Having attended a good portion of the four-day hearing, it's easy to have some sympathy for not only the judge -- who will rule on the disclosure application on Nov. 14 -- but all involved.

Yet this case is critically important.

It involves allegations of influence peddling in a $1 billion privatization deal, wiretapping that accidentally included Premier Gordon Campbell, intentional police surveillance of the finance minister, allegations of police misleading a Supreme Court justice and much, much more.

So to try and find some discernable direction that helps explain "Project Every Which Way" it's best to break down the new information into component parts.


The Crown's key witness, Erik Bornman, was once again the subject of considerable speculation in the defence lawyers' application for disclosure of evidence.

That application, filed by Bob Virk's lawyer Kevin McCullough, David Basi's lawyer Michael Bolton and Aneal Basi's lawyer Joseph Doyle, provided new information about Bornman's upcoming central role in the trial.

Bornman was nicknamed "Spiderman" after entering a locked federal Liberal Party office -- which allegedly contained the B.C. membership list during the time of the leadership battle between Paul Martin and Jean Chretien -- through the ceiling.

Bornman was registered as a lobbyist for OmniTRAX, the U.S.-based rail company that bid for B.C. Rail against eventual winner CN Rail. Another bidder, CP Rail, bailed out of the bidding because it claimed there was a "clear breach" of fairness in the process, due to other bidders receiving confidential information.

Bornman is alleged in police documents to have provided bribes to David Basi and Bob Virk in exchange for confidential government information on the B.C. Rail bidding process. Those allegations were made in a police "Information To Obtain" search warrant application made public previously and have not been proven in court.

Belated disclosures alleged

The defence application filed Oct. 30, 2006, states that the special prosecutor, Bill Berardino, provided a disclosure package to the defence on Sept. 16, 2005 that "included a number of significant materials which had previously not been disclosed."

Among them was, the application states, "A previously undisclosed 25-page statement taken from Erik Bornman from Dec. 28, 2003."

McCullough pointed out in B.C. Supreme Court that Dec. 28, 2003, was "the day of the searches. It obviously should have been disclosed previously."

On that day Bornman's home office for lobbying firm Pilothouse Public Affairs in Vancouver was also searched by police, as was Pilothouse's Victoria office run by lobbyist and former Vancouver Province political columnist Brian Kieran, who will also reportedly testify as a Crown witness against the accused.

[Pilothouse closed down in the months following the raid, to be replaced by K&E Public Affairs in 2005, a joint venture of Kieran and Jamie Elmhirst, currently president of the Liberal Party of Canada in B.C.]

In April 2006 Kieran announced his "inevitable retirement" after a well-paid career lobbying the B.C. Liberals and before that, the B.C. NDP government on behalf of major multinational forest companies and others.

As The Tyee reported at that time, a large volume of information related to several search warrants was released to the media, including allegations that Bornman and Kieran paid almost $30,000 to the accused in exchange for confidential government information on part of the B.C. Rail deal. K&E also appears to have closed shop.]

Questions linger

There are many questions arising from the disclosure that Bornman made a 25-page statement to police.

Why would Bornman make such an extended statement to police the very day his home and business were searched?

Did he have legal counsel present?

Had Bornman been aware previously of the police "Project Every Which Way" investigation?

Did Bornman make an offer to turn Crown witness that very day, or even previously?

Or did "Spiderman" fold like Superman on ironing day in the face of police pressure?

None of these questions can be answered before the trial but they raise intriguing possibilities.

Faces legal hearing

Bornman was also creating news while the court proceedings were being heard.

I reported on Nov. 3 in 24 Hours that Bornman will be under the scrutiny of the Law Society of Upper Canada in Toronto starting Nov. 21, where the budding lawyer faces a special admissibility hearing on his request to be admitted to the bar.

Global TV's Keith Baldrey has since then reported that Bornman's lawyers are attempting to have the Law Society hearing held in private despite common practice that such proceedings are open to the public and media.

In 2006 Bornman was a $1,300 per week articling law student at the prestigious law firm of McCarthy Tetrault, which donated $118,000 to the 2003 Paul Martin Liberal leadership campaign that Bornman was a player in.

But in July 2006, Bornman resigned his post following an unknown person laying a complaint against him with the Law Society, as I reported exclusively in 24 Hours Aug. 1.

The Society has a "Good Character Requirement" that asks if the applicant has been involved in criminal proceedings, fraud or other misconduct.

One of Bornman's Toronto lawyers, Nikiforus Iatros, refused comment when I contacted him Nov. 2.

McCarthy Tetrault's Communications Director Doug Maybee said in an e-mail to The Tyee Nov. 8 that Bornman has not returned to his student articling position at the firm, leaving open the question as to where he might be articling.

The other lawyer working for Bornman, according to Law Society documents, is Bryan Finlay, Q.C., a senior counsel at WeirFoulds LLP.

Finlay has also represented WestJet in litigation with Air Canada, the Toronto-Dominion Bank in an $80 million case and a high profile 1995 defamation case in the Supreme Court of Canada representing an unsuccessful appellant in Hill v. Church of Scientology.

WeirFoulds corporate slogan is: "Gain and protect advantage."

2. B.C. RAIL

On Nov. 25, 2003, little more than a month before the Legislature raid, Canadian National bought B.C. Rail for $1 billion in one of the biggest privatization deals in Canadian history.

The deal was extremely important politically for B.C. Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell -- and it broke his 2001 election promise not to sell the longtime Crown corporation.

Campbell was keen on privatizations and public-private-partnerships or P3s as a means of reducing both the size of government and government debt.

The B.C. Liberals fudged the sale, calling it a renewable "lease" in which the province retained the rail line itself and rail bed. But it was soon learned that the 60-year lease -- giving British Columbians just $16.6 million a year to give up their profitable railroad -- could actually be renewed for up to 990 years -- giving the Liberal's "New Era" promises a new meaning.

But the B.C. Rail privatization first announced on May 13, 2003, was at one point on the verge of collapsing.

Dwindling bidders

There were just three bidders: Canadian National, Canadian Pacific and U.S. railway giant OmniTRAX, based in Denver, Colorado.

Then in a private letter to the B.C. government sent Nov. 21, 2003 -- just days before CN was announced as the buyer -- Canadian Pacific dropped out of the bidding, claiming that CN had been given confidential government information unrelated to the Basi-Virk case, leading CP to believe that the government's handling of the B.C. Rail sale was "extremely prejudiced".

"By allowing CN access to B.C. Rail's customers at a time when CPR was prohibited by its confidentiality agreement from contacting such customers, the province has, whether intentionally or not, provided CN with an unfair competitive advantage," says the letter -- obtained by the Vancouver Sun through a Freedom of Information request -- and sent by CP's lawyers to a CIBC consultant handling the bid for the B.C. government.

That left just two bidders -- CN and OmniTRAX. Were OmniTRAX to drop out as well, the B.C. government's vaunted privatization of B.C. Rail and the alleged "competition" to provide taxpayers with the best deal would be shot.

And CN, who gave $60,000 to the B.C. Liberal Party in the two years before the 2001 election, could look like it low-balled its offer, knowing there were no other bidders.

So, as at least one possible defence theory may go, there was huge pressure on B.C. government officials to keep OmniTRAX in the bidding.

Basi was ministerial assistant to then-finance minister Gary Collins, while Virk was ministerial assistant to then-transportation minister Judith Reid.

Could that pressure have resulted in someone authorizing government information to be passed along to OmniTRAX to encourage their continued participation?

Again, only the trial can answer that speculation.

Roberts Bank riddle

The second part of the B.C. Rail equation is that a second, smaller privatization of the Roberts Bank Port Subdivision was cancelled in March 2004 by the B.C. government after the RCMP said the process was compromised by the leak of confidential information.

OmniTRAX, in a consortium with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, CP, and CN were all bidders on the Roberts Bank rail line, estimated to be worth up to $70 million.

According to a police search warrant ITO sworn by RCMP Corporal Andrew Cowan, the residence of Bruce Clark -- a federal B.C. Liberal executive and brother to then-deputy premier Christy Clark -- was searched because:

"I believe that CLARK received documents pertaining to a Request for Proposal and presentations regarding Roberts Bank. I believe that CLARK has had meeting with BASI. I believe the items sought will be found at..." Bruce Clark's Vancouver home address, the ITO concludes.

It should again be pointed out that the ITO contains unproven allegations that have never been tested in court.

At the defence disclosure application hearing that began Oct. 30, 2006, lawyers McCullough, Bolton and Doyle state that on Dec. 8, 2005, they received: "a number of significant materials which had previously not been disclosed, including:

"The notes of Superintendent McRae from the period of Dec. 18, 2003, through March 10, 2004. These notes contain a significant detailing of communications between the RCMP and the Senior Government officials with respect to the decision to cancel the bidding process for the Robert's Bank Port Subdivision, the subject of Count 10 on the Indictment herein."

It was at this point in the hearing that McCullough posed the question on the main B.C. Rail deal itself.

"The Roberts Bank count -- the bid is cancelled. That's a very, very significant issue. Why cancel Roberts Bank and not B.C. Rail?" McCullough asked.

Like many other questions raised, it has so far gone unanswered.


The defence disclosure application challenged the actions of both the RCMP and the Special Prosecutor in this case, challenges that Bill Berardino vigorously rejected for the most part.

And while some agreements were reached in court between the defence and prosecution by hearing's end, Justice Bennett will still render a decision Nov. 14 on the application request that defence lawyers gain access to a top-secret "project room" where the RCMP stores its evidence.

But whatever the decision, the defence application hearing has thrown a light on a series of unusual RCMP activities, as well as other information coming to attention outside the court.

Media leaks and RCMP house buying

One intriguing hint was thrown out when the defence said it had requested "Inspector Zack's missing report into media leaks" in its application and earlier that they sought a "report prepared by Insp. Zack into the media links [sic] and media strategy."

The defence lawyers wrote that: "Inspector Zach's media report dealt with the considerable number of media leaks in this case. These leaks resulted in significant publicity, especially with respect to the raid of the Legislature. Such publicity had a profound deleterious effect on the fair trial rights of these accused persons."

Other complaints by the defence include failure to provide some of the notes of several RCMP officers involved in the investigation when requested.

These notes, since received, included those of Corporal Andrew Cowan, who swore the Information To Obtain search warrants and is a key investigator, a Sergeant Buerk, who they say plays "an active part" in the case and was involved in the effort to have Erik Bornman become a Crown witness.

"Sgt. Buerk's notes were not provided. How could the Special Prosecutor be unaware that Sgt. Buerk's notes were not provided, given that Sgt. Buerk is present for the April 5, 2004, meeting between Sgt. Finner and Cpl. Cowan wherein Sgt. Finner's notes indicate that a discussion is held and an agreement is made that Bornman will be treated as a witness? Is there a more important meeting?" reads the application.

House deal

But if the Supreme Court was hearing important information on the RCMP's behaviour, other odd facts surfaced outside.

Corporal Cowan, as has been previously reported, has had the unusual experience of buying a house from David Basi's family in 1999, including dealing directly with Basi and, according to Basi, raising issue with problems found at the house.

In addition, a consultant who was considering hiring David Basi in 2004 has told The Tyee and some other media outlets that Cowan visited him at his home along with another officer, making it clear it would be a mistake to continue having a working relationship with Basi.

Cowan told The Globe and Mail he couldn't comment on these allegations because the case is before the court.

And for the first time, Basi lawyer Michael Bolton suggested Crown and RCMP handling of the prosecution could result in an application for a mistrial, raising the possibility that the case might never be heard in court.

On Oct. 31 Bolton spoke of a failure to disclose evidence and a lack of proper inventories of that evidence -- subsequently strongly disputed by Berardino -- and then told Justice Bennett that: "This is a prime example of a case that's a serious candidate for a miscarriage of justice or a mistrial down the road because of the failure of disclosure."

Privilege issues

Then there's the challenge of parliamentary privilege affecting much of the evidence gathered for the prosecution.

As has been previously reported here and elsewhere, the wiretapping of David Basi's government-issue cell phone only happened after the RCMP had been twice turned down by judges concerned about the privilege question.

On the third attempt the defence alleges that the RCMP did not tell the judge hearing the wiretap application that two earlier applications had been rejected or that the address indicated on the application was in fact the street address of the B.C. legislature.

B.C. Liberal Attorney-General Wally Oppal, himself a former B.C. Supreme Court judge, expressed his concern about the possibility that police had misled a judge and that Premier Campbell had been intercepted speaking to Gary Collins on the wiretap.

"I don't know whether they mislead the judge. It would bother me if they did," Oppal said. That led to New Democrat MLA Leonard Krog, a lawyer and opposition critic, to tell Oppal to be quiet if he doesn't want to be the cause of a mistrial.

"High profile prosecutions have failed in the past because politicians felt compelled to make comments in public that were later deemed prejudicial," said Krog.


So, given the massive amount of evidence, the complexity of the issues, the privilege question, the admissibility of wiretaps and a host of other vexing problems, can one realistically expect the trial to being on Dec. 4?

After all, this has probably been one of the most often delayed trials for a major case in B.C. judicial history. Even getting any of the search warrant information released took almost a year.

But Michael Bolton, David Basi's lawyer, told The Tyee outside the court on Nov. 2 that while there will be more delays, Dec. 4 still stands.

"Certainly we'll be starting something -- the Crown's privilege claims," Bolton said. "The first week of January we'll have a voir dire [a mini-hearing on contested evidence] on the admissibility of wiretaps and the authorization to intercept."

Meanwhile, at least one of the key players in the case isn't letting the pressure get to him.
Crown witness Erik Bornman has a new website featuring his amateur photography and noting his enjoyment of "food, wine and independent film."

And apparently while not yet a lawyer and while facing an admissibility hearing in front of the Law Society, Bornman claims in his bio online that he has: "has actively participated in...the provision of pro bono legal service to the public."

If and when this trial ever happens it will be standing room only at B.C. Supreme Court.

Related Tyee articles:
Leg Raid Case Lurches to Life
Erik Bornman: Spiderman in a Web of Intrigue
Premier Scrambles to 'Restore Trust'

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Tieleman takes on Spector for using B-Word with Belinda Stronach

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Column - News, Views & Attitude
Tuesday November 7, 2006

The case of Belinda and the B-word

When a man gives his opinion he's a man. When a woman gives her opinion she's a bitch.

- Betty Davis

It's simply inexcusable to call Liberal Member of Parliament Belinda Stronach - or any other woman - a "bitch" on the radio.

But surprisingly that's exactly what veteran political commentator Norman Spector did Oct. 30 and again yesterday on CKNW's The Bill Good Show when discussing the story of Conservative cabinet minister Peter MacKay and Stronach's past relationship and MacKay's apparent reference to her as his former "dog."

I was on the air with Spector for our weekly segment and immediately objected to his language, as did several male and female callers.

It didn't matter. Spector repeated the B-word and defended his use of it, creating a national news story.

Spector is no radio shock jock. Rather, he is former chief of staff to Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and former deputy minister to Social Credit Premier Bill Bennett. He has also been Canada's ambassador to Israel.

But despite a wealth of experience in politics and diplomacy - which I respect - Spector said:

"You know, I'm not in politics. I can say it. I think she's a bitch. It's as simple as that. And I think that 90 per cent of men would probably say she's a bitch for the way she's broken up [retired hockey player] Tie Domi's home and the way she dumped Peter MacKay. She is a bitch."

I interjected right away:

"Well, Norman, I think you're taking a lot of liberty there. We don't know what happened in the Tie Domi case. We do know that she broke up with Mr. MacKay. And we don't call [Vancouver South Liberal MP] Ujjal Dosanjh or [Liberal leadership candidate] Bob Rae or others names like that.

"So I don't think that's a fair characterization. I think it's fair to say you don't like her politics. And I don't either personally. But I think that crosses the line."

Please don't confuse my objection to Spector's comments as "political correctness" - the fact is that Spector's language simply violates politeness and common decency.

It also is another unhelpful comment that will dissuade good women of all political stripes from considering elected office when we need more than the pathetic ratio in Parliament of just one in five MPs being women.

With views like Spector's is it any wonder that when women legislators are in the media it is far too often talking about themselves instead of their political views?

Lastly, isn't it ironic that I'm the left-winger defending family values and appropriate language while Norman Spector, the conservative, is using the B-word like a rapper and making unproven allegations about a woman's sex life?

Norman Spector should apologize.

Hear Bill Tieleman Mondays at 10 a.m. on CKNW AM 980's The Bill Good Show. Website: e-mail: