Why Christy Clark Sees no Need for Railgate Inquiry


There’s the old saw, “if a husband sends his wife flowers for no reason, there’s a reason.” So be it with the BC Rail scandal – if Christy Clark, Deputy Premier at the time of the “negotiations,” or “fix,” choose to suit, sees no reason for a full-fledged investigation into the mess, there’s a reason. The same applies to the other candidates for Liberal leader who were in cabinet at the time.

The reason an investigation must take place is to see if there was a crime, or more than one crime committed. I do not say that there was criminal activity, besides those of ministerial aides – but to discover the truth is critical so that if there was a crime it is disclosed and disposed of, and to remove the stain of suspicion that presently exists and may or may not be unfair.

Take for example this salient fact that arose out of the Basi-Virk case – two men close to a minister and reporting to him have admitted that they committed a crime. The logical question to arrive at is simple: if these aides committed crimes while doing work on a minister’s instruction, did that minister commit a crime?

The minister, of course, was Gary Collins, then Minister of Finance. Mr. Collins was not given the opportunity to clear his name because Crown Counsel, Bill Berardino, QC, settled the case on the eve of Mr. Collins’ appearance on the witness stand. Presumably Mr. Collins was on the list of ministers for a reason and one can assume that the Crown didn’t want him to demonstrate the innocence of the two accused.

You will remember the Sherlock Holmes story where he mentions to Watson about the dog barking at the scene and when Watson says, “but Holmes, no dog barked,” and Holmes replies, “Quite. Why didn’t the dog bark?” One can apply this to Gary Collins. For several years, whenever BC Rail was mentioned, Mr. Collins’ name came into the conversation as the minister responsible. Why did he never deal with the suggestions that he may have been up to no good? Isn’t that what you would do in his place?

And, when Mr. Collins was spared the witness box, why wouldn’t he then make it clear that he personally was clean, even though his employees weren’t. Isn’t that the natural thing to do? Isn’t that what you would do?

The same applies to the Premier, who was scheduled to give evidence after Mr. Collins. He might be forgiven for refusing to talk earlier – though I don’t see why – but surely he owes it to his colleagues, his supporters and, yes, the public to demonstrate that he’s not, well, a crook.

Cabinet has been silent. I don’t listen to kissy-ass radio so I’m not sure what Ms. Clark has said, but I’m advised that this has not been a big time topic on her show (though I am told her replacement Mike Smyth is taking up the issue and has given his predecessor a thorough grilling in her old time slot).

The media has a huge amount to answer for. People like me can do editorials based upon suspicions, but we have no large newspapers, TV, or radio stations to do investigations for us. I ask the columnists in this province if they applied the same standards of accountability to the Campbell government as they did to the NDP governments of the nineties. I don’t expect any answer much less an honest one.

The sale of BC Hydro in itself was a disgrace. The dream of WAC Bennett that we the citizens would get ferry service even though our community was too small to make a profit, rail service to open up the province, postponing profit, and a power company that would provide cheap power domestically and industrially has been shattered by this government.

The very least the public can expect is that these rotten decisions were made and administered honestly.

BC Rail simply doesn’t pass the smell test.

There must be a royal commission and one suspects that the politicians who resist the notion because there is no reason to, like the husband, don’t want us to put that decision to the test.


About Rafe Mair

Rafe Mair, LL.B, LL.D (Hon) a B.C. MLA 1975 to 1981, was Minister of Environment from late 1978 through 1979. In 1981 he left politics for Talk Radio becoming recognized as one of B.C.'s pre-eminent journalists. An avid fly fisherman, he took a special interest in Atlantic salmon farms and private power projects as environmental calamities and became a powerful voice in opposition to them. Rafe is the co-founder of The Common Sense Canadian and writes a regular blog at rafeonline.com.

6 thoughts on “Why Christy Clark Sees no Need for Railgate Inquiry

  1. Interesting………..Christy Clark was asked
    if she will revist B.C. Rail and she says it’s
    a possibility, but I say unlikely.

    An article on a website called “Sihk Philosophy”
    indicates that a previous Lib. political operative
    and one of the Bassi boys and was one of the Indo-
    Cdn. organizers led by bassi on behalf of Paul Martin,
    was gathering support for Christy clark in the rich
    South Asian community, Surrey B.C. and other areas
    across B.C.
    It’s all about Power and money and definately not
    about “the people.”

    One must look way beyond the candidate, but, who
    puts the candidate into power and what their objectives
    really are!

  2. the news media and reporters in general are gutless to say the least :1- harpers buy off of the liberals for 50 million dollars to jam HST down our throuts,GET WITH IT WE THE PEOPLE OWN THE ENVIORMENT AND RESOURCES,as for more taxes BIG buisness WILL pay, we the people own the resources,and for FLARITEY AND TAX BREAKS FOR MULTINATIONAL CORPS. STICK IT UP U KNOW WHERE,WE HAVE THE RESOURCES THEY NEED TO MAKE ” PROFIT”,THEY WILL COME HERE REGARDLESS AND CREATE JOBS WEATHER OUR TAX RATE IS THE SECOND LOWEST IN THE DEVELOPED WORLD OR THE LOWEST. give IT UP FLARITEY U AND YOUR GOVERMENT,GET OUT OF BED WITH INDUSTRY, WE THE PEOPLE.goodby federal conservitve gov.austalvesta b.c. LIBERALS

  3. The salient point is not that criminals got away with something.

    It is that if this perversion of justice is left un-remedied, then criminals can get away with anything.

    It is much more than individual crooks, a government or a whole railway.

    The justice system is vital. It has to be protected and upheld. And because it must be seen to be done, the bit-players must be prosecuted.

  4. One can hardly call Vaughn Palmer a political journalist. His main function these days is to maintain the revenue stream from government advertising, by holding the oppositions feet to the fire.

  5. I am ignorant of who Bob McClelland is and his role in bc politics. Would liek background info on him. Google turns up nada.

    As for BC Rail. I have not doubt that not all the criminals have been accounted for.
    And the fact that Clark, Falcon, De Jong want to sweep this under the rug is shameful. But Rafe there many blogs and commentators that are asking the same question: What the hell has happened to Journalism in this province.

    This statement nails the problem:
    “I ask the columnists in this province if they applied the same standards of accountability to the Campbell government as they did to the NDP governments of the nineties. I don’t expect any answer much less an honest one.”

    They are a shameful bunch are they not. They have turned into lapdogs of Government: most specifically of Campbell. Despicable.

  6. Somewhere there may be a TV clip of Vaughn Palmer interviewing, I believe, Bob McClelland. I am positive that it is the first and only time that Vaughn Palmer ever upset anyone or that Bob McClelland had ever given anyone the bum’s rush. Bob McClelland was in the midst of moving into a new home. The cameraman was shooting from the sidewalk through the front door. Vaughn was deep into the home talking to McClelland. Large rolls of carpet were in the front hallway making for treacherous exit and egress. All of a sudden Vaughn spun around running for his life handling the obstacles better than any linebacker I have ever seen. Mike to mouth and said in hasty mid-borne flight,” Do you not want to talk about this?” If this clip can be unearthed after all these years it will be well worth the search. I remember two.

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