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Basi-Virk trial: Dirty tricks against fish-farm protesters?

A defence lawyer in the Basi-Virk trial has raised the possibility of a "rent-a-crowd" being paid $100 a person to oppose fish-farm protesters in 2003, according to recent news reports.

As summarized in The Legislature Raids blog, local and national media have reported a claim by defence lawyer Kevin McCullough that the first Campbell government paid people $100 each to stage a counter-demonstration against a rally opposing fish farms in November 2003.

Martyn Brown, chief of staff for Premier Gordon Campbell, was quoted in the reports as saying he had not known about it and would not have sanctioned it.

Alexandra Morton, having just completed her Get Out Migration walk to Victoria, linked to a Globe and Mail article on the allegation and wrote:

If it is true, there is no reason to expect the salmon farming issue to ever be resolved. You might want to contact government and ask if your tax dollars were used in this manner to disrupt a democratic process concerning a public resource.

The charge against the government, made by a defence lawyer, has yet to be supported by any evidence.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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