Christy Clark cleared in BC Rail investigation
Jim Beatty, ctvbc.ca
Published Wednesday, February 16, 2011 5:14PM PST
Documents obtained exclusively by CTV News on one of B.C.'s longest-running corruption scandals show there was no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Christy Clark.
For more than seven years, there has been a cloud of suspicion over the heads of several B.C. politicians who were publicly accused of directing a campaign to leak sensitive government documents related to the $1-billion sale of BC Rail.
But court documents released by B.C. Supreme Court on Wednesday detailing Crown and police evidence reveal no evidence linking Premier Gordon Campbell or then-deputy premier Christy Clark to any wrongdoing. Clark is the current frontrunner in the race to be B.C.'s next premier.
"All along, this has been something that people with a political agenda have been trying to drag me into," Clark said Wednesday while campaigning in the Okanagan. "Those people have a political agenda; they're not speaking about reality when they throw all this mud."
Former ministerial aides Dave Basi and Bob Virk are currently under house arrest in Victoria after pleading guilty to breach of trust; Basi also admitted to accepting a bribe. As part of their defence, they claimed they were simply acting on behalf of their political masters.
The evidence reveals a very different story. Thousands of pages of police wiretaps, interviews and daily logs show Basi and Virk were strategically leaking government secrets to lobbyists in lieu of money, trips and the lure of employment opportunities.
The documents suggest they were operating on their own and there is no evidence they were carrying out orders for anyone else, as they alleged.
In one recorded conversation, Basi tells Virk he needs more documents.
"Do you have any paper? Find something juicy," Basi asks Virk, who is going to a meeting to discuss the Roberts Bank Rail line.
Later, the two are passing so many documents, they lose track.
Virk says to Basi: "I can't even remember what I gave you, seriously."
The case began in March 2002 as a drug investigation but quickly spread to a breach of trust case. In December 2003, the police conducted an unprecedented raid on the B.C. legislature offices of Basi and Virk, along with six other locations.
Police also recorded nearly 7,000 calls on Basi's home phone and taxpayer-funded cell phone. Many of the calls are linked to the covert leaking of sensitive BC Rail documents and arranging bribes.
But many other calls are with cocaine dealers. At one point, Basi even arranges for a woman to provide sexual services for a friend whose help he needed in acquiring a political membership list.
"She'll be putting out like you wouldn't believe, pal," Basi tells the friend. "I'll say 'Look, keep that guy happy.''"
When the trial ended last fall, more controversy was created when the B.C. government agreed to pay the $6-million legal bills for the two guilty men. The political opposition and at least one Liberal leadership candidate have called for an independent inquiry into how and why that happened.
The material was released by the court following an application filed by CTV News and the Globe and Mail.