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.