The $1 billion public private partnership for the sale of Crown-owned BC Rail is under investigation by the RCMP for potential influence peddling and fraud, according to a police summary of search warrant information released by the BC courts Tuesday.
According to a summary of the document in the Vancouver Sun of March 3rd, [see Police summary alleges influence-peddling, fraud by Lori Culbert and Jim Beatty] senior employees of the BC government may have been trading confidential information related to the sale of BC Rail in exchange for the promise of benefits or future employment.
The document shows the police investigation lead them to raid political offices in the provincial legislature in December. The summary confirms earlier speculation that the RCMP is investigating potential criminal activity related to the massive privatization of BC Rail.
The privatization of BC Rail has been strongly opposed by the labour movement and community allies. Communities in northern BC fear the privatization will lead to job loss, less community control and a further decline of resource-based rural communities. Now, it appears there may be evidence of criminal activity related to the sale.
These allegations of corruption are only the latest taint of privatization schemes in BC. The Campbell government abandoned the proposed sale of the Coquihalla Highway earlier this year in the face of huge community opposition and the Hospital Employees Union revealed earlier this week that the costs have ballooned for a proposed P3 hospital in Abbotsford a project for which there is only one bidder.
Public private partnerships world-wide have been marred by allegations of corruption, poor process, insider dealings, failed accountability, increased costs to taxpayers and poor risk transfer.