Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

Virk lobbed 'softball' questions at Gordo: Lawyer

Premier Gordon Campbell had his own Joe the Plumber in the form of Bobby Virk.

The jury heard at the BC Rail corruption trial Thursday that Virk was known as "Bob from Burnaby" because he'd often call in to radio shows to lob softball questions at Campbell during the 2001 provincial election, despite the fact he was involved in the Liberal campaign.

"You don't think that's deceptive?" defence lawyer Kevin McCullough asked Campbell's chief of staff Martyn Brown.

"I think it's a perfectly acceptable political practice," Brown replied. "The BC Liberals are not unique in this. It's all about getting a message out. That's the nature of a radio call in show, anyone can call in. I don't think there is anything wrong whatsoever with Bob Virk, or any member of the BC Liberal party, saying 'I'm Bob and here is my question.'"

After the election Virk was hired as a ministerial aide in the government, as was co-accused David Basi.

Brown said he told government employees to stay off the air, but encouraged them to get other supporters to call in.

Despite that, McCullough said Basi - now a ministerial assistant - had called into a radio show where Campbell was a guest to ask "softball" questions during the sale of BC Rail in 2003.

Brown testified he had no knowledge of that.

The trial continues.

Matt Kieltyka is a reporter with 24 Hours.

Find more in:

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus