Pubdate: Wed, 14 Jan 2004
Source: Revelstoke Times Review (CN BC)
Copyright: 2004 Bowes Publishers
Author: Colin McGarrigle


The lack of details being provided by the provincial government over
the police raid on the B.C. legislature buildings Dec. 28 has the
Green Party of B.C., the New Democratic Party (NDP) of B.C. and the
provincial media screaming for answers.

The incursion was executed on the offices of Dave Basi, a ministerial
assistant to Finance Minister Gary Collins, and Robert Virk, an
assistant to Transportation Minister Judith Reid by the RCMP and
Victoria Police.

Police have stated that the raid was due to a 20-month investigation
surrounding drugs and organized crime in B.C., but have sealed the
search warrants.

The homes of the two senior political assistants were also searched,
as well as a public relations firm and other private homes, including
the homes of Education Minister Christy Clark's brother and husband.

Basi was fired shortly after the search warrants were executed and
Virk has been suspended with pay. Neither the government nor the
police will comment on what they were looking for, or what they have

Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Wendy McMahon said in an e-mail
interview with The Echo that it is not the government's job to give
the information to the public.

"Speculation is often far worse than actual facts. Unfortunately this
is a police investigation, which I understand has been going on for
some time. It will be up to the courts and the investigators to inform
the public when they are sure they will not compromise the
investigation," stated McMahon.

However, in an interview with The Echo, Green Party leader Adriane
Carr said the Liberal government has broken a promise it made when

"I think that it's an absolute travesty to democracy," said Carr on
the government silence. "The promise that the Liberals made for
transparent and honest government with integrity is what appealed to a
lot of people and frankly, that has been betrayed," stated Carr.

NDP Opposition MLA Jenny Kwan said that she has found the reports of
the raid disturbing and that Premier Gordon Campbell should explain
why Basi was fired.

"The most recent news that Mr. Basi has been fired would indicate that
at least one high-level political appointee has either admitted to, or
been found to have done something that compromised his
responsibilities to the public," said Kwan.

"I know the Minister (Collins) has said that if everything is resolved
and if the police find that there was nothing whatsoever, if Dave
(Basi) is cleared then he thinks he is entitled to come back," said
McMahon, who reiterated that no charges have been laid against Basi or

Large provincial media outlets have applied to the B.C. Supreme Court
to have the details of the search warrants released to the public, but
Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm has set the case over until Jan.

"Saying that they (Liberal Government) don't know anything about the
investigation, I just can't believe that and I don't think that the
public believes it," Carr said. "There is some reason why Basi was
fired and Virk was suspended and they are not divulging that
information to the public."

"They have to come clean eventually. If they don't, it's going to be
forced by the media or it's going to be part of the due process of the
investigation. The longer they delay, the more it will erode the trust
in government and tarnish the Province of British Columbia," she continued.

McMahon disagrees with that statement and suggested that she is not
worried about the government's reputation.

"I don't feel that the police raid will damage public confidence in
the provincial government. I am sure there will be opposition of some
kind by some people, but in speaking to people over the past week they
have told me they recognize that this has nothing to do with any
elected officials," she stated.

Premier Campbell has yet to make a public statement and was
vacationing in Hawaii at the time of the raid on the Victoria offices.

Police say no elected officials are under investigation.
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