(This column was published in the North Shore News on Nov. 15, 2000)


Gangsters free to roam in Canada

By Leo Knight

FRIDAY'S W5 show presented an interview with former Sicilian Mafiosi, Francisco deCarlo, who painted a picture of lenient laws, prison play pens and overworked, under-funded police organizations as the reason Canada is the destination of choice for many of the world's most powerful gangsters.  


The message is not new, but it was interesting to hear a high-level gangster admit it publicly. What was also interesting was the prime minister's response to the comments and the show.  


"We passed a law on these problems," Jean Chrétien said, as if that was all that was needed. But, Le 'tit Jean couldn't let the stupidity rest at that.  


He had to continue, "We changed the laws, for example, for those who belonged to organized crime that it is more strict for them for parole and so on. I can go through a long list," bragged the PM.  


He then went on to stress that his government had given an additional $500 million to the RCMP to "fight organized crime."  


One hardly knows where to begin to show what a bunch of horse crap these statements by Chrétien really are. But, horse crap they are.  


Let's start with the $500 million. Last year, an independent audit was done of the national operations of the RCMP by a major national accounting firm hired by the government. The report recommended the Liberals must provide over $540 million in additional annual funding just to restore the force to "minimally acceptable levels." Chrétien shorted the RCMP by over $40 million then claimed the money was given to the fight against organized crime.  


Much of the money was eaten up in the previously negotiated wage increases for the RCMP which had its wages frozen for six of the seven years of Chrétien government. A large segment went to recruiting and training new members of the force to fill the nearly 500-member shortfall, courtesy of the same Liberal government. So much for putting $500 million into the fight against organized crime.  


The "laws passed," Chrétien referred to were amendments to the money-laundering legislation forcing financial institutions to report suspicious transactions -- something every other country in the G-7 has had for years and have been clamouring for Canada to enact. The only other law was the so-called "anti-gang" legislation, C-95, which to date has yet to yield a single successful prosecution.  


Bragging that he has "... changed the laws, for example, for those who belong to organized crime that it is more strict for them for parole," is such utter claptrap it defies logic that any politician would try and defend this as a good example of his record in the fight against organized crime.  


There is not a major criminal organization in the world that does not have significant operations in Canada today. Many criminal leaders have sought and obtained refuge in this country. They control their global empires from within the confines of our nation and the prime minister says "we have passed a law on these problems," and shrugs the criticism off.  


Consider this quote from Superintendent Ben Soave, the RCMP officer who leads the joint forces operations in Ontario and the man responsible for taking down the leadership of the Cuntrera/ Caruana organization in Toronto last year: "Canada is heaven for Mafiosi of every sort," said Soave. "The laws we have, far from scaring them away, encourage criminals to come to Canada."  


The mobsters and the police agree. But not the prime minister. He shrugs and says the problem is solved because they have passed laws and made it stricter for organized criminals on parole.  


Complacent, complicit or incompetent, that is the real Liberal record on organized crime. It is for you to decide which.  






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