The BC Legislature Raids
resulted from search warrants executed on the Legislature of British Columbia
, in 2003 and the associated criminal proceedings and media circus. Justice Elizabeth Bennett
began hearings in BC Supreme in April 2007. The claims made in disclosure hearings spark speculation and conspiracy theories as political observers and online commentators attempted to determine why these searches took place. Comments made on the case by BC Attorney-General Wally Oppal
and questions as to the legality of warrants obtained by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
(RCMP) have raised concerns of a mistrial.
Drug sting "Everywhichway" leads to government aides
According to the RCMP, the Raids arose from information uncovered during a drug sting. In 2003, the RCMP were monitoring Dave Basi's conversations on his home, government, and cellular phones, as well as his e-mails. At that time the police were focused on breaking up a marijuana
smuggling ring between British Columbia
During the police investigation of Basi's activities investigators became interested in Basi's dealings as Ministerial Assistant to then Finance Minister Gary Collins. A second investigation was launched that had no connection to drug related activities but rather to the sale of benefits in regard to the tendering process for the sale of BC Rail..
On September 29, 2004, a series of search warrants was executed at various locations throughout the Lower Mainland and in Victoria. There were four separate applications by the RCMP in 2004 to obtain warrants, and according to the CBC these were executed at nine separate premises including the Parliament Buildings in Victoria. As a result, allegations of bribery were made (including money and the offer of potential employment in return for confidential government information).
BC Rail link
On April 3
, a Justice of the British Columbia Supreme Court ordered the further release of various documents used by police to obtain the search warrants served on individuals linked to the Raids.
Further charges were laid against two Victoria area developers.
Agricultural Land Commission connection
Basi has also been charged for accepting $50,000 in connection with the Agricultural Land Commission
Several of the people cited by online commentators or certain reporters in the story surrounding the raid are politically active people who had come into contact with Basi. Examples include provincial ministers, staff or officials in the Liberal Party of Canada
or the Paul Martin
Search warrants were executed on the home of Bruce Clark, brother of Christy Clark, in December 2003.
The RCMP made it very clear that no elected officials were implicated in their investigation, and also provided a letter to Marissen (Paul Martin's BC Campaign Chair) confirming that he was also not implicated in any way and that they came to his house without a search warrant to seek his help because they thought he might be the "innocent recipient" of emails related to Virk's and Basi's resumes, because it was alleged that they were seeking job recommendations for federal political employment in Ottawa. Basi was an active volunteer for the Paul Martin campaign in British Columbia, who recruited many members of the Indo-Canadian community to the Liberal Party to vote in the leadership process. This has led to rampant speculation and innuendo as government critics attempt to link Basi's activities to federal and provincial politicians and operatives, and spread "guilt by association". Part of this speculation is fuelled by comments made to the media at the time of the raids by the officer in charge, that organized crime and corruption were present in "the highest levels of the government".
In December 2004 three men were charged in connection with this investigation and in 2006 two more men were charged.
Those charged include:
- David Basi
- Robert Virk
- Aneal Basi
- Tony Young
- James Duncan
Legality of warrants
Complications in the case included controversy as to whether the police may have misled a judge in the course of obtaining warrants for the investigation which involved eavesdropping on conversations between the Premier
and the Finance Minister. Twice the warrants were rejected on grounds of privilege, with the third warrant issued without naming the premises, which were the Legislature Buildings.
National news coverage
- Yahoo (April 3, 2006) "Campbell says government officials not involved in latest corruption charges" (Outlines information on new Agricultural Land Commission information)
The players and government background info
- Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (January 14, 2004) "Who's Who in the BC Legislature Raids"
- omniTRAX Corporate Website
- Government of British Columbia "Backgrounder on BC Rail Deal" (Sets out what is at stake)