Canadian Prime Minister Entangled In BC Drug Scandal
Despite a publication ban, details are beginning to leak out on a scandal that may make Adscam look like childs play for Paul Martin’s beleagured minority government. Globe & Mail (free registration);
The biggest political scandal in Canada may not lie in Quebec, where the Gomery inquiry is laying bare a tawdry tale of misdirected funds, but in British Columbia, where a conservative judiciary is suppressing information about alleged drug dealing, money laundering and influence peddling.
Because of restrictive court orders that are keeping search warrants and other material secret, little has been made public about the B.C. case that led police to raid the provincial legislature in December of 2003.
In some of the few documents released by the courts, [lead investigator] Cpl. Cowan alleges that Mr. Basi, then an aide to the B.C. finance minister, and Mr. Virk, then an aide to the B.C. transportation minister, traded secret government information about the pending $1-billion sale of BC Rail, in an attempt to get jobs with the Liberals in Ottawa.
Cpl. Cowan states that during the investigation “Erik Bornman . . . an associate of Basi’s became a person of interest . . . Bornman promotes Basi and Virk with recommendations pertaining to jobs with the federal government, with the knowledge that their credentials are fabricated or exaggerated.”
Mr. Bornman was the operations manager for Mr. Martin’s campaign in British Columbia and was the director of communications for the federal Liberals on the West Coast. Prior to that, he was a political assistant to Mr. Martin when the Prime Minister was finance minister.
There are more links to the Liberals.
Cpl. Cowan states that Mark Marissen and Bruce Clark were among those interviewed by police and he describes them this way: “Marissen is responsible for the B.C. hiring pool of Paul Martin’s transition government . . . Clark is a fundraiser for the Paul Martin campaign and the federal Liberal Party.”
Cpl. Cowan states that Mr. Marissen told police: “He ran Paul Martin’s leadership campaign in British Columbia.
There are drug connections, as well.
Mr. Basi was a busy political operative in British Columbia. He helped the federal and provincial Liberals organize and had a reputation of being able to sign up lots of new members fast. At one point, he helped Mandeep Singh Sandhu become a director of the Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca federal Liberal constituency.
Mr. Sandhu was charged last September with conspiracy to traffic in marijuana. Charged at the same time, with possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking, was Mr. Basi and six others.
So there you have it. Drugs. Money. Political connections. Police raids in the legislative precinct. Lists of names being sent to Ottawa for jobs in Mr. Martin’s government
Last year, Conservative MP John Reynolds asked the government to provide assurances that drug money wasn’t used in Mr. Martin’s leadership campaign, which in British Columbia involved a remarkable recruiting drive that signed up 36,000 new Liberal members.
“Where did all the fundraising money come from?” asked Mr. Reynolds, who, like many British Columbians is still waiting for an answer to that and other questions.
Via Andrew Coyne who has lengthier exerpts.