column was published in the North
Shore News on
Sept. 13, 2000)
commissioner no political patsy
By Leo Knight
editorial in the National Post suggests newly appointed RCMP
Commissioner Giuliano "Zack" Zaccardelli's comments at
a press conference last week were alarmist.
a point they are correct.
when Zack told the country that our sovereignty is under threat
from elements of organized crime trying to corrupt our political
system, he was right on the money. The fact that he could not or
would not provide the assembled media hordes with specifics to
back his claim is incidental to his position and should not be
construed by the National Post or anyone else as anything
other that what was intended.
information should not come as a shock to regular readers of
this humble space. Last week I discussed the Sidewinder debacle
and interference from the prime minister's office into the
investigation conducted into just that specific problem.
those of you who missed it, Zack said last week at a press
conference, "For the first time in this country, we are
seeing signs of criminal organizations that are so sophisticated
that they are focusing on destabilizing certain aspects of our
society," he told the assembled media.
are criminal organizations that target the destabilization of
our parliamentary system," Zaccardelli said to the
astonished press corps.
he was pressed for details, Zack was caught in a difficult
position. "It is not fear-mongering in the least. I can't
give you, obviously, specific details, but we clearly have
information that indicates that criminal organizations,
sophisticated criminal organizations, as part of their strategy
is not only to maximize their profits through illegal
activities, but it is also, in doing that, in maximizing their
profits, where they can attempt to try and corrupt and try to
destabilize situations," he explained.
comments, in my view, are not alarmist, as the National Post
claimed. Rather, they are significant in that they are factual
and the last thing the Liberal government wants to hear said
publicly. And this is what is truly interesting.
the past 10 years, since the days of former Commissioner, Norman
Ingster, the office of the Commissioner of the RCMP has been
politicized like never before in the storied history of the
force. Courtesy of Brian Mulroney, who made the position into a
deputy minister rank, the politicians have compromised the
independence of the Mounties.
this is why things like the Sidewinder situation occur. When the
head of the federal police force must answer to a Minister of
the Crown, an elected politician, then the very real probability
of interference to suit political purposes is the natural and I
would argue, inevitable result.
in saying what he did, has served notice that he will be
independent and will not bend to political pressure from the
prime minister's office. At least, that's what the first actions
he has taken are indicating.
will tell if he can maintain the same position when budget time
read with amusement the story out of Washington DC, indicating
American lawyers are getting upset with their collective
reputation and are urging law schools to put more emphasis on
their ethics classes.
I wouldn't presume to be adversarial towards lawyers, but
realistically, they belong to a profession it is de rigeur
to poke fun at. Theirs is the only profession to have its own
category of jokes. Let me share a little story with you proving
truth is often stranger than fiction.
in Alberta, an Edmonton lawyer tried to get reinstated by the
provincial bar. He got a collective raspberry for his efforts.
Thhggggggh! And well deserved I might add.
see, four years ago, he was approached by a 14-year-old hooker
who wanted him to represent her, on legal aid, on a morality
the initial meeting, he propositioned the young girl who, for
money on the street, would provide sexual favours to anyone.
But, she drew the line at boinking her lawyer. Even a
14-year-old street 'ho has more moral fibre than that.
insisted and the young, dare I say, lady, went straight to the
vice cops who arrested her and blew the whistle instead of the
vice guys, barely containing their glee, wired up their witness
and sent her off to meet with her amorous attorney.
the conversation from outside the hotel room the generous
lothario had sprung for, the detectives waited for the right
moment in time to announce their presence. While not exactly
catching the salacious solicitor in flagrante delicto,
when the door came in, the obviously excited barrister was
standing, or hopping might be more accurate, on one leg
attempting to shed his boxers.
ever efficient vice cops, camera in hand, managed to capture the
Kodak moment perfectly. The would-be lover looked somewhat
startled as he gaped directly into the law's lens.
lead detective called the senior partner in the man's firm and
suggested he might wish to be aware of the quandary. "Too
bad. So sad. In jail. Send bail," or words to that effect.
gasping when he learned of his protégé's predicament, he
advised the giggling detective to tell his prisoner to seek
legal advice from other places. Evidently loyalty was not a
lawyer was ultimately defrocked by the Alberta Bar hence his
recent appeal and application for re-instatement.
A police officer's lot is not always a happy one, but some days make it all worth while.