Sunday, October 25, 2020

A broken organization

As an organization, the RCMP is functionally broken. I have said this before and say it again.  Last week a letter came to my attention written by a serving member of the RCMP. The letter was striking in that it was addressed to the Prime Minister and the Public Safety Minister who is responsible for the RCMP.  The author of the letter signed his name but I won’t use it for the purposes of this discussion. I have confirmed he has 23 years service and is serving in BC. I am also told his father served and was a 33 year veteran. He was, I am told, involved in two shootings, both of which were deemed justified.  The author praises the courage of Janet Merlo, Catherine Galliford and Krista Carle, who tragically committed suicide last week. These ladies, among others, have been at the forefront of the public complaints and lawsuits talking about the sexual harassment and bullying they faced as members. Carle’s suicide underlines the problem, chief among them is the denial, foot-dragging and lack of leadership that has existed and still exists in the RCMP.   The author says in discussing them, “The manner in which their complaints were handled provides a clear insight into the lengths that some in senior management have and will go to in an effort to isolate, discredit, demoralize and financially destroy those who dare to challenge them. I can tell you that these strategies are still very much in play by RCMP Management today. Management refuses...

Truth no defence for targetted police force

Many years ago when I joined the RCMP, it was a proud organization, albeit one rife with tradition and more than a little out of step with the times.  In those days, I referred to the Mounties as "100 years of tradition unhampered by progress."  To a degree that remains the same.  And, at the same time, the RCMP has struggled to reinvent itself to be more relevant in a changing world. In my early days in the RCMP training academy in Regina I began to learn about that tradition and proud history.  I became part of a family that I will never quite be separated from no matter how much water passes under the bridge.  Indeed, I had dinner last summer with Terry David Mulligan, the ageless DJ who has made a career for himself in rock 'n roll presenting and promotion.  Mulligan, as a young man was also a Mountie and during dinner we didn't so much talk of music, past, current and future, but of our like experiences in the Mounted Police. And it is that bond, born of running all over Hell's half-acre until you earned your marching orders and swimming with bricks and drill hall abuse that allows two people with disparate backgrounds to share a laugh and story about a challenge accepted and passed that will never go away. But part of that is the angst felt watching the media devour the RCMP over the Taser incident at Vancouver International...

IIO investigative delay “unacceptable”

Yesterday the IIO's Chief Civilian Director (CCD) Ron MacDonald released his conclusions into the circumstance of a police involved fatal shooting near Slocan, BC on October 13, 2014. Yes you read that right, 2014. The Commanding Officer of the RCMP in BC, Deputy Commissioner Brenda Butterworth-Carr promptly released a statement decrying the long delay. “The protracted nature of this review is unacceptable,” she said. The incident involved a manhunt in the mountains of the back country near Slocan, the town itself in lockdown for nearly five days. Think of it as a mini-Boston in the hours after the marathon bombings. Where this started was the police attending a rural location to investigate a dispute/possible assault call. They were met with an armed man who exchanged shots with police and fled into the back country. She continued, “This was a dynamic and dramatic series of events that has forever changed the police officers involved, a community and a family which lost a loved one. The techniques used and the resulting time delays in determining the circumstances compounded the trauma and severely limited the ability of many to move forward. The police officers were consistent in their participation in the IIO BC investigation and remained professional throughout the lengthy process. However, the delays have contributed unnecessarily to a state of extended uncertainty and stress that could have been avoided.” In his final report on the case, MacDonald, the newly appointed CCD  said this: “This investigation has taken an unfortunate length of time. This resulted from operational pressures within...

The King is Dead. . . Long Live the King

The Chief Constable of the Calgary Police Service, Jack Beaton, has served notice that he will not seek an extension of his contract and will retire as of December this year when his current deal expires.Big deal.Jack Beaton has been an ineffectual Chief and his departure announcement underlines that. We now have to bear witness to eight or so months of a lame-duck leadership after seven years of a lame-brained regime.After several months of Beaton musing out loud, indicating to all who'd listen, that he was open to a contract extension and being deafened by the silence, he has now announced his retirement. But not without talking about his availability for other potential Chief's jobs. Sorry Jack, no takers.Since being appointed Chief Constable of the Calgary Police Service, Jack Beaton has been a resolute failure in my opinion. He claims successes such as G-8 but frankly that's nonsense. G-8 in Kannaskis was the end result of a lot of pre-planning by the RCMP, CSIS, the Armed Forces, private security and the Calgary Police Service. Yes, CPS had a role, but frankly the role was limited as the main action was an hour west of the city.Having said that, I did think their tactical, rapid response of CPS members on the 8th Ave. mall at the McDonald's restaurant was poetry in motion. Some of the more radical elements of the looney left tried to do a "takeover" by moving quickly from the main protest group and we're thwarted by the...

The real price to be paid for a travesty of justice

Earlier this week the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the appeals of RCMP members Benjamin "Monty" Robinson and Kwesi Millington and both began serving their sentences, two years less a day and 30 months respectively after totally undeserved perjury convictions. As I have said previously, this is a travesty of justice. The four RCMP officers who attended a disturbance call at YVR in October, 2007 which resulted in the death of Polish traveller Robert Dziekanski, were just doing their jobs and now are both in prison. I'm disgusted. There's a lot of blame to be thrown around here, but none of it is on these members. They were failed by the seniour leadership of the RCMP and failed badly when they would not say publicly that these four officers acted according to their training and RCMP policy. They were failed by the Braidwood Commission of Inquiry into the death of Dziekanski when Mr. Justice Thomas Braidwood failed to take into account the forensic video analysis of Grant Fredericks which showed demonstrably that the four members were telling the truth and the baying media hounds hadn't a clue. Yet he sided with the hounds. They were failed by the gutless politicians who had their own agenda that had nothing to do with justice and the truth. Of the four, two were acquitted at bar and two were convicted. The two white officers were acquitted. The First Nations member and the black member were both convicted and now jailed. I am not making a specific accusation...

Under-support equals under achievement

Well, now that the summer’s over it must be time to get back at it. Summer’s end also marks the end of the Beijing Olympic Games. While I was on vacation I posted a quick hitter suggesting that Canada’s efforts in these Summer Games was less than stellar. I got accused of being everything from a fascist – although that one’s not particularly new – to being anti-Canadian. I thought that one was a bit rich. Are we supposed to live in this over-taxed, under-achieving nation of naval gazers, this land of two founding notions and say everything is fine lest we be accused of being anti-Canadian?What did we do at the Olympics? Sure there were some great individual achievements. I stayed up very late one evening enraptured by the race Simon Whitfield ran in the Triathalon. And the women’s diving was outstanding especially with the silver won by Emilie Heymans.And then there was Priscilla Lopes-Schliep winning Bronze in the women’s 100 metre hurdles – outstanding. The race for the gold medal captured by the men’s eight in rowing, the heavyweight event of the Olympic regatta, was gripping.But realistically, our federal government contributed a grand total of $8 million to our Olympic effort. It’s going to double for the next games. Big whoop. Australia, a country of similar size and GDP spends over ten times that. Oh, and they won 46 medals in this Olympics compared to our 18. In fact they won nearly as many Gold medals as...

More needless death

Another man is dead because of a couple of habitual car thieves. When do you suppose, will the politicians in power in Ottawa finally understand that something needs to be done?How many innocent people need to die before the lib-left finally figure out that habitual criminals need to be jailed not coddled.If the tragedy at Mayerthorp wasn't the impetus for change, what pray tell me, will be? But the outrage after that seems to have died down and like the story out of Richmond, BC today shows, more people are dying at the hands of people the justice system could have, and should have, dealt with.Leo Knight

Jack be nimble

I'm left even more puzzled by the explanation provided by Calgary Police Chief Jack Beaton for his trip last week to the People's Republic of China.Beaton told Calgary listeners of QR77 that he was amazed that members of the National Police didn't speak English. He said that going over, he expected about half the force would speak English. No, really, he actually said that.So, what other reason could there be for saying something that blindingly naive?He says he was over there on behalf of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. Okay. Who paid? The Chiefs or the taxpayers of Calgary?The trip was, ostensibly, having to do with "community policing" and Beaton was going to do some recruiting and "spreading the message" while in the most populous communist country on Earth.Community policing huh? That to me sounds as dubious as recruiting for a Canadian Police Service in a corrupt, communist country with a largely peasant population that is for the most part, uneducated and monolinguistic.In China, the National Police are the enforcement arm of a totalitarian state whose citizens are not allowed to exercise any of the basic freedoms we cherish in Canada.Community policing? Give me a break.So, what is this really all about? I don't know, but it smells a whole lot like a poorly thought-out justification for a public servant globe-trotting on a meaningless junket.Leo [email protected]

It’s the little things that matter most

For those folks who have wondered where I have been in the past couple of weeks, I took a break and went down to the desert in Arizona to do a little golfing. Well, more accurately, a lot of golfing.And one of the things that really struck me in the Phoenix area this trip was the cleanliness and the efficiency of their road system and their traffic enforcement. The first day I arrived, I was driving from the airport on one of the freeways when I noticed a flash of light in the opposite direction. At the merge point of an entrance to the freeway was a bank of cameras looking at oncoming traffic with strategically placed strobes and cameras to capture the rear license plate of vehicles caught doing something outside the parameters of what is allowable.Interesting, I thought. In various jurisdictions in Canada we have tried photo radar and it always required a manned vehicle to set up, program, monitor and take down the system. Yet, here was a completely unmanned system, permanently installed causing people to follow the rule of law. In Canada, it wouldn’t last a week before someone would shoot it up or otherwise render it inoperable.A couple of days later, while walking to a restaurant in Scottsdale, I noticed a red light camera set up at the intersection of Shea Blvd and Scottsdale Road, both major arterials. But unlike the red light cameras we use in British...

Tilting at windmills with effect

I have just finished reading an advance copy of Paul Palango's new book: entitled Dispersing the Fog: Inside the Secret World of Ottawa and the RCMP.  Palango, who is no stranger to anyone interested in the RCMP and the problems that have befallen this national icon, walks the reader through a series of cases that have dominated the news headlines. From the Mahar Arar debacle through Project Sidewinder and up to the murder of the Mayerthorpe Four, Palango looks carefully at the reasons the RCMP keeps taking it on the chin.But it is so much more than a look inside the travails of Canada's national police force.  It is really an examination behind the scenes and the politicization of the RCMP to suit the needs of the real power behind the throne in Canada and he lays bare the systemic corruption that has everything to do with power and money for a small group and little or nothing to do with what is right for the country.  Palango methodically strips away the layers of obfuscation and lays bare the fabric of lies that ultimately ensures the RCMP can never be what Canada really needs of our national police force. I have long described the RCMP as 133 years of tradition unhampered by progress and Palango nails it as he takes the reader on a roller coaster ride through some of the biggest headlines of the last decade.  The book, published by Key Porter Books, will be in bookstores in...

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