Sorry to interrupt the normal RE news-flow.
Today, you, the tax-payer have had your nose rubbed in the dirt. Two Government appointed civil servants, Dave Basi and Bobby Virk were charged and pleaded guilty to fraud and breech of trust in relation to the BC rail sale in 2003.
The big deal was the legal fee, which the Government picked up the tab for....$6 MILLION!!!!
The Auditor General wanted to look into the lawyers billings in detail and find out how such a humungous bill arose and today Chief Justice Bauman said .. no you don't! that would infringe upon client lawyer confidentiality. WHAT???!!
Lets looks at this logically, shall we:
We have two Government employees , who have admitted to committing fraud, we have their legal fees picked up by the tax-payer (while fighting crown Counsel which we also pay for!) Now the Government watchdog wants to find out why the bill was so high, and the reason he can't find out is because of the secret code between the criminals and his lawyers who billed the huge fees??
Does that make sense?
Lets work out the Math:
Even if every scrap of work was done by a senior lawyer at $300/hour. At $6 Million. We are looking at 20,000 hours of work. At 40 hours a week...that's TEN YEARS OF BILLABLE WORK!! With no holidays or days off.
Yes I know many senior lawyers bill $400-500/hour or more. BUT please don't tell me a lot of this work wasn't done by juniors billing less.
Also who is watching the till and bargaining? This Government has been nickle and diming the teachers and other groups, it SHOULD be demanding a great deal from private contractors. A fixed fee. Lots of other organizations bargain fixed legal fees or a ceiling, why not the Government.
And we will never know if the $6 Million was padded or fair? We don't know if a minister okayed the payment or some junior clerk just paid the invoices every month until it added up to $6 Million. I read that there were over 30 similar cases paid for by the Government. By not allowing the Auditor General access to the information, the Chief Justice has closed the door on any accountability.
Crazy eh? Pay $6 Million to defend two guilty Government bozos and don't allow any oversight from the auditor.
We need a strong legal system or we end up like all the countries where people are being jailed for no reason, but the implication of this decision seems that if the Government is paying the bill go for broke!!
BTW- who were they selling the information too. Shouldn't there be some arrests on the receiving end too??
Talking of convicted criminals....
This convicted felon has a new job, though it seems he has moved from pontificating about how we should run our country to sex toys and yoga. Sounds positively awful.