Like a runaway freight, calls for a BC Rail probe are unstoppable

More than a week ago I indicated that I wanted to rethink my lack of enthusiasm for a public inquiry into the sale of BC Rail.
I have done that and I have decided that I must reverse myself and support calls for such an inquiry.
For the benefit of all the conspiracy buffs out there I can happily report that neither my original position nor my subsequent change of heart have been influenced by my legions of fair weather friends in the provincial and federal Liberal parties. They all stopped calling five years ago when it became a matter of public record that their little darling Erik Bornmann had betrayed me and the rest of my Pilothouse team with a secret $25,000-plus cheque writing spree. Perhaps they all felt guilty by association. 
Because the BC Rail trial ended abruptly and with so many questions dangling unanswered there has been an outcry, particularly from the NDP, for a full public inquiry into the $1 billion sale.
Most political observers believe the charges against David Basi and Bob Virk masked a far more vital issue about whether the sale process was tainted like bad meat. Having been at the epicentre of this mess in one way or another since 2002, I have had no hesitation stating my belief that the sale of BC Rail represented a colossal failure of public policy process.
I did not get a chance to tell my story in a privileged courtroom environment. Nor did I have the pleasure of watching a select few twist like skewered rats on the stand. Nevertheless, I originally took the position that a public inquiry would take place up to 10 long years after the fact and cost taxpayers upwards of $6-$8 million … perhaps without a satisfactory outcome.
I also believed, and still do, that the person who can really shed light on this affair is outgoing premier Gordon Campbell and that he will not willingly relinquish the privilege of cabinet secrecy in an inquiry.
Further, I have criticized MLA George Abbott’s call for a “retired judge” to conduct a narrowly focused inquiry into the government’s decision to pay the $6 million tab for the Basi/Virk legal fees. My position was and is simple: No judge is going to be so constrained. Certainly there would be an obligation to follow the evidence deep into what I have called “Pandora’s railway trunk.”
These factors influencing my earlier thinking have not changed. But, they have been trumped by the reality that very important questions have been left unanswered as a result of the unanticipated guilty pleas that stopped the trial dead in its tracks.
Was the process fair? Was the fix in? Certainly, information coming to my client OmniTrax at the time from the North American railroad community and material I reviewed supported the theory that CN was being fast tracked to victory. This is borne out by an eleventh hour letter to government from bidder CP in which the railway company abandoned the bidding process because it deemed that process to be discredited.
Even though I have no power to make an inquiry happen, I do not wish to be perceived as being opposed to those questions being answered.
However, any inquiry that does not get to the heart of the matter, the efficacy of the sale, will be a waste of time. This could be the case unless the government of the day frames specific inquiry terms of reference that are wide enough to allow for disclosure of cabinet discussions around the sale. Only then can we get at the truth.
I know … born at night but not last night. The New Democrats, should they form the next government, will make such an open-ended inquiry priority No. 1. The Liberals, should they form the next government, will not. I get it.
Can the NDP resist the temptation to turn this into a vendetta of circus-like proportions? I doubt it.
Will the Liberals resist growing public demand for such a process? I expect they will try.
These realities notwithstanding, as a key player in the BC Rail saga, I am obliged to support calls for an inquiry and to engage in it fully and freely should it come to pass.

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