Friday, March 30, 2012
Musical Chairs in
...Corrupt British Columbia.
by - Robin Mathews
The phrase “like rats leaving a sinking ship” can’t help coming to mind with the switch of MLA John van Dongen from his role as seventeen-year Liberal loyalist to a new, shiny incarnation in the Conservative Party of B.C.
Mr. Van Dongen crossed the B.C. House this week, (March 26, 2012) joining a Party he didn’t represent to get elected. He hasn’t signified that he’ll resign and run as a Conservative to validate his seat. And he was welcomed by John Cummins, B.C. Conservative leader, happy to have him – in fact unelected – sitting in the legislature as a Conservative (the only).
One journalist reminded Cummins that his position when in federal politics was that “House Crossers” should resign and re-run. Cummins, it seems, had forgotten….
British Columbia’s governing alliance – at least since the Second World War – has frequently been formed of all things Right of the CCF/NDP. (Keep the raging Socialists from getting their hands on political power!)
Except the B.C. NDP is, now, far from Socialist, let alone “raging”, as corporate lap-dog Adrian Dix makes clear on almost every public appearance. He will take power in 2013 … and British Columbians will hardly notice the change.
Embattled Boadicea, Liberal premier Christy Clark, said van Dongen’s move will only help the NDP. True. But not for any reasons she wants to offer. Mainstream Media voices say there will be no more defections. We’ll see. Even van Dongen’s leaving lets the NDP say that any rotten apple that falls from the Liberal tree is grabbed up and hugged to John Cummin’s bosom. The more they fall and are hugged into the Conservative Party, the more the NDP can say “Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Try to tell them apart.”
If there is one thing British Columbians are growing certain of, it’s that the Liberal Caucus, one and all, have to go. Cummins and Co. know that. But if the leaving Conservatives-playing-Liberal try to tuck themselves into the John Cummins creation, that Party will lose, too. Tough choices for John Cummins. Where do the hard rock Conservatives who are in the Gordon Campbell/Christy Clark party go…? Today Kevin Falcon [present Liberal finance minister and a natural for the Conservative Party] says he is thinking of stepping aside in 2013, the dailies tell us.
The Party that wants to hold power for 25 years will begin with criminal investigations into BC Rail, BC Hydro, BC Ferries, Public Private Partnership Infrastructure deals, River Energy contracts … to start. That will reveal the heaving, corrupt, steamy stew that is B.C. A Party that sets about – really – to clean will stay and stay in power.
But sell-out, greed, fear, and love of power will probably prevent that from happening.
Which brings us back to John van Dongen. He has crossed the House in search of purity. A known Fraser Valley Christian, he knows his New Testament (Matthew 7:7, Luke 11:9).
“Seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
The Liberal leader, Christy Clark, he has said – in and out of the legislature – has not faced the need for change, has not been a good administrator, has not been honest about the BC Rail Scandal, has not been transparent about the outrageous payment of “$6 million in legal fees [paid to Defence], completely contrary to government policy”. Those are legal costs paid for convicted Dave Basi and Bob Virk by government, with cabinet approval, to slam shut the BC Rail trial and – many believe – save the skins of (a) major cabinet operatives, (b) private corporate dealers in on the scam (c) the BC Liberal government and Party.
Van Dongen does not, of course, mention the $10.7 million paid to the Special (Crown) Prosecutor whose illegitimate appointment invalidates ALL the Crown’s work in the Basi, Virk, and Basi matter. No one, so far, will touch that burning brand.
So deeply is John van Dongen moved by the spirit of purity, so beset is his conscience by moral perturbation that he has hired North Vancouver lawyer Roger McConchie to review BC Rail matters involving Basi, Virk, and Basi and then to advise him.
That might be called “Gilbert and Sullivan in Hell”.
Regulars in the nearly four year Basi, Virk, and Basi pre-trial/trial grew familiar with Roger McConchie. He appeared whenever the Globe and Mail (and like others) wanted to contest publication bans and other kinds of restrictions on information. He spoke always for what we name “the Mainstream Press and Media”. I have no remembrance of him speaking meaningfully and directly on behalf of British Columbians, the public, you and me … insisting on our right to see all documents on public record. I may be wrong.
At the end of the trial, as has been pointed out, Mr. McConchie reviewed ‘thousands’ of Prosecution documents with the Globe and Mail in order to get release of the material “to the public”. Why the release was set up … and made … is hotly contested. It was not a release of all materials, by any means. And it was not a release to the public.
Some say, and I believe them, that the release “to the public” was a complete sham, a piece of theatre, “smoke and mirrors”. It was, in fact, a release of selected material to a chosen few, dependable, insider, tamed Mainstream journalists.
It was made, I believe, to smear the two convicted men (who seemed to be getting off very, very lightly), Dave Basi and Bob Virk. And it was made, I believe, to throw up a smokescreen in front of the major wrongdoers in cabinet and in corporate boardrooms.
Those are strong allegations. They have a history. Observe:
Out of the corrupt fog called “the administration of justice” in British Columbia, the B.C. Supreme Court has set up (and maintains) a completely (in my judgement) fraudulent process. It is called “the journalist accreditation process”.
Under the eye of a Supreme Court judge a committee of Mainstream journalists ”serves” the Court, to vet anyone wanting journalist status in B.C. Supreme court trials. “Approved journalists” may take recorders into the court and may examine all materials placed “on public record”.
(1) All Canadians should be able to do both things in our “democratic”, “Open Court” system. They are denied their citizenship by corrupt courts, as I see it.
(2) The Mainstream Media committee members are servants of the Court and so contaminated. They both work for the Court and are – as representatives of “a free press and media” - supposed to criticize the Court and judges freely when they deem such action necessary. They live in conflict of interest.
In the nearly four years I attended the Basi, Virk, and Basi process, not one Mainstream Press and Media journalist EVER criticized a judge, though occasions inviting legitimate criticism were frequent.
(3) The fraudulent process permits the Mainstream Journalist committee to pick off their rivals. For nearly three years I reported things the Mainstream Press and Media journalists wouldn’t touch or were ordered by their bosses not to touch. When I applied (because I was forced to do so) for “accreditation” as a journalist after three years of steady reporting of the pre-trial, I was denied accreditation by journalists I had been showing up for three years as failing to do their job.
(4) My application to Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie (who was handling the case) was ignored. Instead, a court officer informed me I could – in fact – appeal a judgement made by court non-persons (journalists) acting on behalf of the court. I could apply, pay money, go through what is, in fact, an appeal process – without any certainty of being approved. I refused to have anything to do with such galloping Banana Republic fraud.
(5) The effect of the process is that the relation of court, judges, and Mainstream Press and Media is too close. One may feel – watching sensitive events in court – that each is “looking after” the other.
To my knowledge, Roger McConchie, the Law Society of B.C., the Canadian Bar Association, as well as the Canadian Judicial Council all are completely content with that “system”. It is plainly an affront to democratic freedom and the rule of law. Not one of them has spoken out publicly against it.
John van Dongen is employing Roger McConchie to advise him on matters involving the Basi, Virk, and Basi case, the payment by government of their Defence costs, and – who knows? – the possibility of involvement by premier Christy Clark in the shady and nefarious dealings that led to the accusations against the three accused. Defence counsel hinted at such a possibility in pre-trial hearings years ago.
Such is the passion for virtuous government felt by former cabinet minister and present MLA John van Dongen that he has hired Roger McConchie at his own expense!
Let us look back at John van Dongen’s seventeen years of loyalty to the B.C. Liberal Party.
He was there when co-chair and fund-raiser David McLean worked on Gordon Campbell’s 1996 campaign – and was major fund-raiser later, it is said. That is the David McLean who was president of CNR when BC Rail was “delivered” to CN in 2003-04. Mr. van Dongen didn’t seem, then, to have a moral qualm.
Mr. van Dongen was in cabinet while BC Hydro was being ripped apart. The Auditor General of B.C. hasn’t approved B.C. Hydro accounting practices for ten years! Mr. van Dongen – to my knowledge – never has asked a question on the matter.
He was there when a relation of Gordon Campbell was embroiled in a scandal in the ministry of Children and Families, was removed, was covered for, was whisked to trial in Prince George on a completely different charge – while something like $400,000.00 was “written off” by the ministry. Mr. van Dongen said nothing … asked (as far as I know) no questions of anyone.
He was there when BC Ferries was looted as a cash cow, transformed, and stripped of any responsibility to British Columbians. He was there when David Hahn, U.S.-sourced BC Ferries president, was revealed to have an annual salary of one million dollars a year! Not a word from Mr. van Dongen that I remember.
Mr. van Dongen was there in cabinet when – it is alleged – Gordon Campbell and his team went consciously to work to dessicate BC Rail, to destroy its profitability, and to make it look, falsely, a losing operation. He was in cabinet when those actions – which I believe constitute criminal breach of trust – were being carried out.
Mr. van Dongen didn’t – it seems – suffer even a slight moral twinge.
He was in cabinet in the first years of staggering revelations and allegations of high-level corruption made by Defence counsel in the Basi, Virk, and Basi BC Rail Scandal pre-trial hearings. He was an MLA for the full trial and its outrageous conclusion, a conclusion blessed by the illegitimately appointed Special Prosecutor and the sitting judge, Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie.
Through all those years and those highly dubious events … and more … John van Dongen remained silent. Silent.
Now he is no longer silent. Now he wants to find answers. Now? Why? The $6 million paid to Defence counsel of Dave Basi and Bob Virk was approved of by the Gordon Campbell cabinet. Does Mr. van Dongen want to pull Gordon Campbell down, now, from his eminence as Canadian High Commissioner in London? After nearly two decades of van Dongen faithful, silent loyalty?
Does Mr. van Dongen want to find ways to implicate Christy Clark in the lower levels of alleged BC Rail Scandal bribery, BC Rail information leaking, and related actions? If he could do so, that would wipe the B.C. Liberals in 2013 … for certain.
We are in murky depths here. Much more is happening than meets the eye.
Conservative voices in British Columbia are making themselves heard, are revealing that beneath their Liberal hides Conservative hearts are beating, and that they despise Liberal premier Christy Clark … that they want to get her.
Like gays ‘in the closet’ for twenty years, these Conservatives want to go on a huge Conservative PRIDE parade. They are mad, too. Christy is in the embrace of Stephen Harper – their ideal Conservative. They want to be in his embrace. They want to be able to reveal their real selves, their real neo-liberal, (neo-fascist?), public servant-hating, robocalling selves, standing in Stephen Harper’s shadow. Christy has taken Stephen’s aides and agents into her circle. Christy, the dumb Liberal, (they think) is playing Conservative, is schmoozing (in photo ops) with Stephen Harper. Liberal Gordon Campbell shouldn’t be Canadian High Commissioner to the Court of St. James! A Conservative should be in that post!
How can B.C. Conservatives break the unholy alliance between the Christy Clark Liberals and the Stephen Harper Conservatives? How can they get a British Columbia which is more Conservative than the ruling party in the House of Commons? By making Christy Clark too hot for Stephen Harper to handle. Even, perhaps, by making Gordon Campbell too hot to keep in London.
These are dark and murky depths, but they are the place where real struggles for power go on. John van Dongen has just announced that the Liberal/Conservative struggle for power on the Right has begun in British Columbia. All the media and pundit talk about John van Dongen’s virtuous desire for a cleansed political landscape is wonderful, refreshing, heady, Springtime intoxication. He may really want a cleansed political landscape … after all power on it is possessed by Stephen Harper-style British Columbia Conservatives.
We – who are not B.C. Conservatives – can only watch (and cover our backs). The Chinese curse is upon us: we live in interesting times.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
.......My Bad, Sorry to all you friends of Mary's Blog.
Anyway, thanks to Grant Gough who e-mailed me about three comments of his, I went and looked in the comment folders, both spam and the real stuff (sometimes they get mixed up, but the spam is generally in Cyrillic characters these days) and will update the notification process so anyone commenting can expect to see their comments appear in a more timely fashion now. I released about thirty to forty on various postings, so if you've been wondering why you weren't published, you probably are now.
Sorry for the hold-up..........(kc)
Alex Tsakumis, (premier) Christy Clark,
......... the RCMP, and the BC Rail Scandal.
One of the tough, dedicated bloggers on the BC Rail Scandal (and other Gordon Campbell/Christy Clark government “activities”) is Alex G. Tsakumis. He has uncovered much that British Columbians wouldn’t have, and known, without his work.
His recent (March 22, 2012) interview with “a confidential source within the RCMP’s troubled Special ‘O’ Unit” is tantalizing. It opens more questions than it answers. And it seems to have some mistakes that make the interview ... uneasy ….
Out of the interview certain matters are placed in highlight that British Columbians may have forgotten – and that is good because the whole matter is torturous and labyrinthine. But error appears to be introduced into the presentation which – if so – is really regrettable for the same reason. The whole story is too complicated to support errors that confuse the picture.
In addition, Mr. Tsakumis (to this observer) accepts too readily RCMP statements, and he doesn’t report what appears to have been a much too close relation between the Special Prosecutor, the RCMP, and “the court”.
Of key importance to remember are some points made by Mr. Tsakumis. (1) The Crown Prosecutorial Counsel, following the RCMP announcement early after the raid on legislature offices on December 28, 2003, alleged that no elected officials were under investigation (or, implied, had been).
Defence counsel revealed early in pre-trial that Gary Collins had been under investigation and surveillance before the raids. He was dropped from investigation near the time of the (wrongful) appointment of William Berardino as Special Prosecutor.
(2) Mr Tsakumis underscores the allegation that the release to the press of police documents (in the hands of the Prosecution) concerning the three accused was partial and limited. Very near the end of the trial and its cleaning-up (?), the Globe and Mail and others sought and received access to some documents.
Defence argued strongly before Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie that the release to “public record” should mean just that and anyone should be able to scrutinize the limited release. Janet Winteringham (prosecution) and Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie agreed that only selected journalists [“accredited’] could see the released documents. That decision supports claims like the one of Mr. Tsakumis that the documents served to smear the accused and exonerate Christy Clark.
Those are very important matters.
In a slip that is misleading, Mr. Tsakumis reports that both “Basi and Virk were accused of accepting bribes from Bruce Clark (Christy Clark’s brother) ….” They were accused of accepting bribes from Erik Bornmann. Bruce Clark has never been accused of any breach of law.
Erik Bornmann was made a “star” witness for the Prosecution and provided with assurance he would not be charged. He never testified because of the dramatic and rushed closure of the case through the now infamous “deal” that was made, many believe, because the Gordon Campbell/Christy Clark forces couldn’t survive a full and fair and complete trial of the accused.
The “confidential source inside the RCMP” apparently reports that Gary Collins (then house leader and minister of finance) was not giving the accused information about cabinet “direction” during the lead-up to the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to the CNR. The ‘confidential source’ asserts that “Collins confirmed that fact several times under oath”.
That statement is puzzling. I have checked and checked and cannot find an occasion when Gary Collins was answering questions “under oath”. He did not testify in the aborted trial and, even, gossip said, because he was next on the list the trial thundered to an unexpected close. General knowledge is that Gary Collins never faced questioning “under oath”. I may be wrong, but I don’t think I am.
In fact, during pre-trial hearings Defence counsel suggested that there may have been a close relation among Collins, Basi, and Virk, especially since Gary Collins met top officials of interested OmniTRAX at the Villa de Lupo restaurant in Vancouver at a sensitive time. The alleged bribes to Basi and Virk came, allegedly, from one of the lobbyist group which was working for OmniTRAX, though that corporation denied any connection whatever with the ‘transaction’.
Involvement in the matter of information leaking involving (present premier) Christy Clark was hinted at by Defence in the pre-trial hearings. She was not only minister of education at the time but also deputy premier. She was, as well, one of the people to be served with a search warrant at the time of the raid on legislature offices. Defence suggested more than once that leaks may have come from higher sources than Basi and Virk, and may, indeed, have come from Christy Clark.
Her brother, Bruce Clark, was also named in a Search Warrant and his residence searched. Confidential cabinet papers were said to be found at his residence, but no action in law was ever taken against him.
The residence of Christy Clark and her (then) husband Mark Marissen was also “search warranted”. The process provides for surprise appearance of RCMP officers (as at the time of the “raid” on the legislature) to investigate without pre-announcement. But (then) Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm is alleged to have stopped the police from surprising the Christy Clark/Mark Marissen household. He made police telephone the Christy Clark/Mark Marissen residence and announce their coming visit. To no one’s surprise, nothing was found when the police arrived and chatted with Mark Marissen.
Two other matters in the March 22 Alex Tsakumis presentation are troubling. He appears too ready, perhaps, to accept what his “confidential source inside the RCMP’s troubled Special ‘O’ Unit” tells him. That source is either surprised at silence or suggests RCMP officers are under orders to be silent about evidence revealed. “They know” he says. “But they have to cover it up.” He says in relation to the allegation that Christy Clark was feeding information to the Pilothouse (lobbying) Kieran, Elmhirst group: “That was so obvious, but our guys just looked the other way, I guess.”
And, again, referring to the alleged guilt of Christy Clark, the RCMP connection says her behaviour “has some of us wondering why we didn’t press her hard at the time of the sale.”
The answer is pretty clear. Mr. Tsakumis writes himself: “the RCMP investigators AND the Special Prosecutor’s Office … denied that any politicians were under serious suspicion or actual investigation…” As the Defence argued repeatedly in the pre-trial/trial period: “the fix was in”. That means there was, Defence alleged, a “tailoring and targetting” in the case, and the RCMP had to be a party to that process. It did not “press hard” on any investigation but the one being tailored and targetted.
The apparent innocence of the RCMP “confidential source” about the RCMP role seems almost “put on”. We remember that Gary Bass former head of the B.C. RCMP refused to investigate the Gordon Campbell group in the matter of the BC Rail Scandal. Was the refusal a part of the tailoring and targetting?
Also a little strange is the neglect by Mr. Tsakumis of the improper appointment of William Berardino as Special Prosecutor. One would think Mr. Tsakumis would jump on that fact – because it might well suggest that Christy Clark was being protected from the start. Mr. Tsakumis describes Mr. Berardino as “BC Liberal supporter and donor”. He doesn’t point out that Mr. Berardino was appointed in flagrant violation of the legislation governing appointment of Special Prosecutors.
Appointed by an Attorney General’s ministry in which Geoff Plant, Attorney General, had been his partner and colleague for seven years and Allan Seckel, Deputy Attorney General, had been his partner and colleague for eleven years, Mr. Berardino’s freedom from partisanship as representative of the “Crown” could not be defended for ten seconds. In fact, his appointment throws the whole process of more than seven years into invalidity.
If Mr. Berardino was anything but completely independent, then it may well be alleged that he worked with RCMP from the beginning to tailor and target BC Rail Scandal investigations and accusations. If that is the case, any confidential RCMP informant must be looked at with very critical eyes. Especially if he seems to suggest there were bad eggs but a lot who wanted justice really done. If there were RCMP officers who wanted justice really done, they successfully kept that fact from the British Columbia public.
Mr. Tsakumis, I suggest, would have to wonder about the charges laid by William Berardino a full year after the raid on legislature offices. He would have to wonder about the strange sealing of the Search Warrant documents issued at the time of the raid. He would have to ask hard questions about RCMP “tailoring and targetting”. He would have to wonder if ANY information given confidentially by ANY RCMP insider could be offered for valid reasons.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
My Friend Mary.
I first first noticed this lady who called herself 'BC Mary' on the comment threads over at 'The Tyee'.
For all kinds of reasons.
And not just because we had similar world views.
Instead, what really interested me was the way she engaged the other commenters on those raucous threads in a meaningful way.
Just to be clear though, Mary never mollycoddled, backed-down, or suffered fools gladly. But she was always willing to listen if she decided that someone was speaking openly and honestly, regardless their point-of-view. Then she would ask them for evidence to support it.
And when she started her own blog she did the same thing with her own commenters.
And, as I was soon to learn, she did it with everyone.
And that included members of the media as well as members of the legislature.
And it included other bloggers.
Bloggers like me.
Because, as much as Mary did online at the 'The Legislature Raids', she did even more off-line.
I always loved hearing from Mary.
I always loved hearing from Mary.
She was so darned collaborative that it was impossible not to be enthused by everything she suggested.
And she suggested a lot.
And she got folks together.
A lot more.
She also asked for help and advice early and often.
About all sorts of things.
One particular time she worked tirelessly with a gaggle of bloggers, commenters, and all manner of folks in the know that she had assembled, to vet a rumour.
It was a rumour that arrived on our doorsteps pretty late in the Basi/Virk saga, and it was a potential bombshell.
But it wasn't really all that plausible.
So Mary ran it down tirelessly over the course of a long weekend, and in the end we all decided not to bite.
And we were all the better for it.
Which is just my way of letting you know that Mary showed us that we could be self-correcting and we could try to get things right.
Right from the start.
I know that criticisms have been levelled in some quarters that what Mary did was 'just' cutting and pasting.
Which is ridiculous on a whole lot of levels, but I will just deal three of them here.
First, Mary wanted her site to be a living library were folks could go to get all sorts of information on Railgate that they could then sift through to find what they, themselves needed.
Second, and very importantly, in addition to the archiving Mary also broke stories of her own, sometimes thanks to her legion of Anon-O-Mice on the comment threads, sometimes thanks to her contributors, and sometimes thanks to her own off-line digging. Just ask Ian Mulgrew, Lucinda Chodan, or Gary Mason, to name a few.
Third, Mary also inspired others to go off and break their own stories. All kinds of those were from Robin Mathews, of course. But the one I remember most came from Laila and G.A.B., who beat the proMedia like a gong for about a week when they realized and published the true significance of something that popped-up in the pre-trial courtroom just before the gag order came down.
So, here's the real thing.
The really hard thing about losing my friend....
Which is that, unlike most of the folks that will greatly miss the online 'B.C. Mary', I actually got to meet the real Mary Mackie in person.
And it was one of the most fun, rewarding and, yes, inspiring things I have ever done.
It was late on a Friday afternoon.
And the work week was all done.
And I was 2,500 miles from home.
But I did not rush back to Pearson to climb back into the cigar tube as fast as I could, which is my usual way of doing things.
Instead, I strolled out of the downtown Toronto core with my bag slung over my shoulder and I went to visit Mary.
Her grandson was there at the house with her, and he was magnificent to put up with us for the next couple of hours as we talked, and talked, and talked some more about everything under the sun. Mostly we talked about Mary's cherished British Columbia - its people, its natural beauty, and its public institutions, all of which she held in the highest regard after a lifetime spent there doing all kinds of the most interesting things.
Then she asked me all about my family and, especially, what my kids were up to. After that it was her family. Then, and only then, did we talk a little about her illness.
Actually, I'd already given Mary as much advice as I could on that score given the business I'm. But on that particular day she didn't want advice. Instead, she just wanted to tell me about the great care she was getting at Princess Margaret Hospital, and how fantastic our Canadian medical system, that we all built and still own, still is.
After that we finally got down to brass-tacks and talked about the details of RailGate and all that needed to be done, and who had to be contacted, and what we thought really went down, and what we could still do to really and truly find out.
What, ultimately did go down, I mean.
Did I mention that this was a lady in her 80's who, on the afternoon that I stopped by for a quick visit, out of the blue, already knew she had terminal breast cancer?
Did I mention that this was one of the most inspiring things I have ever been a part of, ever?
Mary and I kept on corresponding until very recently.
Even though, over the last few months, I knew she really wasn't well.
I knew things had become really difficult for her when she told me last fall that she didn't like to talk on the phone anymore because her failing body just got in the way in a way you couldn't tell on-line or by Email.
And even after that he was still leaving me comments and sending me Emails through January and into February.
Which is fitting of course, because the comment threads, where the real action and discussion are, really were her favourite.
As were her commenters.
In fact, here is something she told one of her very best favourites, GWest, by Email, just before she died:
"...I'd love to think that one day, when my screen goes quiet completely, the commenters will come out and fill the space with what THEY know ..."
And here, finally, is the last thing I must to tell you about Mary, which is something very personal.
You see, she would never call me by real name, years after she knew it.
Instead, she always called me by my screen name, RossK, because, as she told me once, that is how she thought of me, with a descriptive term of endearment in front of it (which I won't bother to tell you about because hurts far too much to type, much less say).
And with that I must close.
Because, while I will always miss and love you B.C. Mary, I will never say good-bye.
Tuesday, March 06, 2012
DEBATES OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
MONDAY, MARCH 5, 2012
L. Krog: I rise today to ask the House to pay its respects to the passing of one of British Columbia's most courageous citizen journalists, a woman who was a harsh critic of the B.C. government, particularly around the sale of B.C. Rail, and also critical of yours truly, in the role that I played in criticizing the government. She was a well-known blogger. A defender of democracy, she feared no power. I'd ask the House to pay its respect to the passing of B.C. Mary — Mary Mackie.