Archive for June 2009
News items ran this week trumpeting that Canada was the methamphetimine production capital of the world and honorable mention was given to our position as the Ecstasy capital as well. Many media outlets clucked their Holier-Than-Thou tongues about this as though it was something new. Well, it isn’t and not by a long shot.
Warnings have been going out for at least 15 years that the media has written about or been otherwise informed about. Yet, higher purpose papers like the Globe & Mail seem to have just discovered this nugget of information as evidenced by their main editorial on Friday.
There is nothing new or magical about this. In the past 15-20 years Canada has become a major drug producing country on a parallel with Columbia. We just don’t have the sweaty jungles.
But we certainly do have the violence that goes with that territory. And we have seen the intimidation attempts on law enforcement and participants in the justice system.
How did we get here?
Well now, there’s a question. And the short answer is the lurch to the political left this country has taken in the past forty years.
In the ’70s the rule of law was that evidence, no matter how gained, was admissible. Now, a bloody murder weapon found in the hands of an accused can be excluded as evidence for a myriad of procedural issues that have nothing to do with justice and everything to do with lining lawyers’ pockets.
Equally, in the ’70s, if you committed a serious crime there was a reasonable chance you were going to go to jail. Not anymore. It is nigh on impossible to go to jail in Canada, despite what the left would like you to believe. Yes, the courts still send people to jail for things like murder and kidnapping and sometimes armed robbery and sexual assault. But that’s about it. And then, typically not for very long. Commit any property crime, even one that has a penalty of up to life in prison and see if you go to jail for any length of time.
You will likely get a conditional sentence. Or, if you have about 100 prior convictions you may actually get a short custodial sentence. Maybe.
The reality is that our justice system is a joke to criminals. They know they can do whatever they want with impugnity. Murder is cheap in Canada. Property is not really yours and all your efforts to get ahead and make a better life means nothing against the rights of the Bobby Logans of the world.
Ah yes, Bobby Logan, junkie, thief, ne’er do well and all around waste of good oxygen. He’s back in the news after yet again being arrested for . . . SURPRISE! . . . . a series of residential B & E’s.
Regular readers will recall a series of pieces I wrote in 2002 about Logan and how the system failed him and his many victims time and time again. Well, nothing has changed in the intervening years. He has been in jail for short periods of time. He has been on bail conditions, probation and all manner of court imposed rules. None of which, I might add he has followed. And that, in itself, is nothing new.
Logan has been before the courts more times than Carter has little liver pills and has progressively been treated less and less seriously by the courts. This 44 year old man, and I use the expression in the loosest of terms, needs to be incarcerated for the rest of his waste of a life. If, for no other reason than to save all of his future victims, also known as protecting the public which is one of the sentencing considerations the law says the judiciary must consider in sentencing. But they rarely do.
The legal industry created by Pierre Trudeau with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that is anything but, is to blame. It is why organized crime has taken to Canada like fleas to a bloodhound. It is why we are in the same class as Columbia or Afghanistan as drug producing nations. And it is why we need to actually get tough on crime not just whimsically piss and moan about what a problem it is.
And, at the end of the day, it is why we need to tell the political left that we have had enough. And while we are at it, we probably need to tell the current government to reclaim their rightful place on the right side of the political spectrum instead of buying into socialist nonsense for political expediency.
Bobby Logan is an example of why this needs to happen fast.
The Braidwood Inquiry into the Taser death of Robert Dziekanski has been ongoing for the past five months or so. In the interim period we have heard more than enough about the structural failings of our national police force. We have also heard ad hominen attacks against the four police officers involved who set out from home on that fateful day just determined to do their jobs. They have been called thugs and murderers and all manner of hysterical epithets.
I have tried to keep the arguments on both sides balanced by stating discussions of the actions of the members involved in the response to Dziekanski’s violent behaviour need to be separated from the way the RCMP handled the aftermath.
The response by the four members involved was within the guidelines for the Use of Force set out by the RCMP and within that, the members acted appropriately. Criminal charges of murder or criminal negligence or attempts by the media to pillory those members for their response that night are simply not warranted.
Could they have spent more time trying to reason with Dziekanski or otherwise settle the situation? I think the response to that question is an obvious “Yes.”
But not doing so does not make them murderers or thugs.
But, saying that is not akin to agreeing with the RCMP’s media relations strategy or its response as the public sought to find the truth.
Nor am I trying to justify the apparent discrepancies in the follow up investigation. Nor am I backing the policy of the RCMP relative to the use of a conducted energy weapon in potentially violent situations. I believe those are all separate arguments.
Having said all of that, I am troubled by how the RCMP has positioned itself in this. The public has a perception that the RCMP is lying or trying to cover up something. If that perception is allowed to grow and build, then the inherent credibility of every serving member who does his and her best on a daily basis is threatened. Perception is, after all, reality for those who hold it.
This is not a “do over” situation. Credibility, once lost, is nigh on impossible to regain. If the public believes the RCMP has lied to cover up the actions of its members in one case then every case and every statement becomes suspect.
There is no question that the RCMP has some problems in this starting with the original statements to the media going through the decision by a senior Mountie not to correct inaccurate versions of events released to the media in the early days to the discrepancies in the attending members’ recollection of events.
But those need to be separated from the response to Dziekanski’s actions.
Now we have the latest sequence of events in the petitioning of the BC Supreme Court to limit Judge Braidwood’s ability to find misconduct of the attending members.
The members involved have a right to defend themselves. And they have a right to use whatever means the law allows. But the optics are not good.
The arguments in play are viable. What are the parameters of the inquiry? Here is the original announcement.
On the surface, at the least, findings, such as Braidwood is trying to suggest are in play, are beyond his parameters.
As far as the other main argument that a BC authority has no ability to direct anything against a federal police officer may hold more water. The RCMP are not subject to the BC Police Act or the authority of the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner. They are subject of the authority of the RCMP Act, a piece of federal legislation.
This is a double-edged sword at best. While it is true that the RCMP are not treated the same as the Vancouver Police Department when a complaint is laid, it is also true that they are acting as the municipal or provincial police depending on where they are assigned.
An argument in this vein may well serve the interests of the members but one can hardly see how it serves the interests of the RCMP in the face of the credibility issues they already face in the aftermath of the death of Robert Dziekanski.
And did I mention that the contract between the RCMP and the Province of British Columbia is coming due in the next couple of years? The troubling matters in this case continue to build.