column was published in the North
Shore News on
Dec. 6, 2000)
Liberals dodge hard line on law and order
By Leo Knight
of the puzzling things to emerge from the election was the
inability of the various parties to nail down the prime minister
on law and order issues.
find this interesting largely because the federal Liberals are
extremely vulnerable on these issues. Look for a moment at the
riding of Justice Minister Anne McLellan in Edmonton West.
the weekend, just days after the election when voters returned
McLellan to the Commons, Edmonton police issued a public
advisory on a sex offender who had just been released back into
the community. The 63-year-old man had served two-thirds of his
sentence when he was released a year ago on mandatory
24 hours he was found in breach of his parole by Edmonton police
and returned to prison to serve the rest of his sentence. No
surprise there. What does surprise is that the man has more than
90 convictions in his storied criminal career. Yes, you read
that right. Ninety.
now he is out again and released into the minister's own riding,
and the police have issued a public warning about the man.
Edmonton police say the chances the man will re-offend are 100
wonder how the father of the girl who will be the next sexual
assault victim of this man will feel about his MP then.
system is powerless to protect the public from a predator like
this. Why? Because your federal government will not address the
it's not just the adult system that is broken in cases like
this. There is a 15-year-old boy in the Mount Seymour area of
North Vancouver who is a virtual one-man crime wave.
the past two years, he has been arrested numerous times and
convicted nine times of criminal offences ranging from theft to
possession of stolen property to break and enter. Each time he
is convicted he is put on yet another period of probation and
more conditions set.
June of this year he was arrested for breaching his
court-imposed conditions and was then given more conditions,
which he will breach again. His mother then sent him off out of
province to live with his grandparents. Within a week their
residence had been broken into.
short time later he was arrested for possession for the purposes
of trafficking. The court released him on some more conditions.
interesting thing here is that in the time the boy was away, the
property crime stats in the Mount Seymour area went way down
while the numbers in the neighbourhood his grandparents live in
went way up. You don't suppose there is a connection, do you?
those of you who haven't had your car broken into or your house
ransacked in the past few months, I suppose I should tell you
this kid is now back in his North Vancouver home. Still, I might
add, being guided by those same court-imposed conditions.
may be those of you who think I am being too harsh when I say
this, but it is reality. Some people are beyond hope. There is
nothing the system can do to change that. Nothing.
be realistic here. Don't you think that at some point prior to
the 90th conviction someone should say, "Hey, lock that
sucker up and throw away the key." And what about our
little friend in Seymour? He's already got nine convictions,
many more arrests and God knows how many offences he never got
caught committing. At his current pace, he should reach the 90th
conviction before he's 25 or 26.
police officer said to me the other day, "Three strikes and
you're out might be a bit harsh, but what about 10 strikes and
you're out. That doesn't seem unreasonable does it?"
to me. But, judging from the way the Liberals dodged the issue
in the election campaign, it does to them.