Saturday, January 23, 2021

Security budget anger mis-directed

Much is being made about the upcoming international gabfest coming to Toronto later this month. The G8 and G20 conferences will cost around a billion dollars to secure according to media estimates. Which may or may not be true. As an example, every dollar in salary of every member of the Armed Forces or police officer seconded to the events is calculated in that cost. But since they were going to earn those dollars regardless of whether they were assigned to G8/G20 I'm not sure that's fair to account in with those costs. Equally, much has been made about the $2 million man-made lake designed to provide a rural Canadiana backdrop for international media. Turns out the lake will only cost $57,000. The balance is on time, materials and labour to build the media pavilion. But why let the facts get in the way of a good story? A $2 million dollar man-made lake sounds much better to the baying media hordes desperate to inflict damage on a "scary" Prime Minister. This is not to say this isn't a colossal waste of money. At a time when the deficit is running at $48 billion and the national debt is soaring at over half a trillion dollars, I question any public spending that is not absolutely necessary. But, for good or for bad, this country's government had committed to hosting the leaders of the free world and given the current geopolitical climate, we must ensure their well-being. But,the irony is that the bulk of...

The Lunatic fringe

While I would never credit the Anti Poverty Committee with any significant ability to engage in any level of critical thinking, they seem do have outdone themselves today for blatent stupidity. While reading my morning Province newspaper, I came across a newsbrief stating the anti poverty group had planned a march on the downtown office of Vancouver MLA Lorne Mayencourt. According to their website, they are intent on presenting Mayencourt with their "People's Budget." They are demanding that the BC Liberals spend the budget surplus on housing the homeless and raising welfare rates. They are, apparently, planning on "direct action" if Mayencourt doesn't speak to them. They also said the expect the police to respond in a "violent manner." Given their performance last week in the three hundred block of East Hastings, it would be more accurate to say they will do everything they can to force the police to engage them physically. Well, I guess they will get what they want then. Mayencourt will, unfortunately, be unable to meet with them when they show up on his doorstep. He is on holiday in Mexico. Idiots.Leo [email protected]

Police watchdog puts cloud over courageous cops

On Thursday, the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) issued a media statement saying the Acting Chief Civilian Director has made a report to Crown Counsel in relation to an incident involving the Vancouver Police.  Essentially they are saying one or more of the officers involved in a shooting on June 10, 2014 “may” have committed a criminal offence. Yet again, we see the IIO overreach is what should be a cut and dried case. Let’s look at just how cut and dried. At approximately 11:10 in the morning Gerald Mark Battersby, 61, pumped multiple shots with a .357 revolver into 52 yr. old Paul Dragan outside the Starbucks at Davie and Marinaside Cres. As it happened, a couple of VPD officers were just pulling up in front of Starbucks, drew their weapons and challenged Battersby who replied by shooting at the police then fleeing on a bike onto the Sea Wall towards Science Centre. Police gave chase and called for cover units to try and block Battersby from the other side. During the chase more shots were fired. Once at Science World, Battersby was engaged by members of VPD. More shots were exchanged. A female VPD member was trapped in her police car as Battersby shot into it, wounding her with flying glass. Another officer using the police car for cover got caught as Battersby chased him around the car firing as the officer tried to desperately find cover. Battersby was armed with a six shot .357 revolver. He’d already re-loaded at least once,...

Cops do it right despite criticism

In the week since Graham McMynn was abducted the Vancouver Police threw every resource possible at the investigation. The stated “24” investigators working on the case cited in the media reports was thrown out by police as a number, but was no indicator of the actual police resources utilized in this very challenging investigation.A hint of what really went on came on Wednesday morning when over 100 officers mustered in a Vancouver armoury to get briefed on the plan to rescue the young man.During that week as well, the police were hampered in their efforts by some elements of the broadcast news media who simply would not do as they were asked and refused to “blackout” the story so the police could do their job. With a kidnap victim’s life hanging in the balance, one has to question the judgment in those newsrooms.But the story that really stuck in my craw was the piece done by CTV’s Lisa Rossington when she “tracked down” the rental car used by the kidnappers to abduct McMynn. Rossington spoke to someone in the car lot office who said the police had not contacted them, implying that somehow the police were incompetent. Given that the girlfriend of the victim was present at the time of the abduction and was the one who gave them the information about the vehicle, did Rossington really believe that the police wouldn’t have followed up on their only solid lead from the get-go? It strains credulity...

Talk is cheap

The rhetoric is flying fast and furious from politicians of all stripes as the country tries to come to grips with the indiscrimate shooting that occurred on Boxing Day in Toronto. The Prime Minister was fast out of the gate with a bunch of empty words that said exactly nothing about bringing about the type of change necessary to combat the senseless violence. Not that I would expect much else from him, but a real leader would stand up and meet the problem head on. NDP leader Jack Layton got a little closer to the mark with his comments. "These crimes remind us that we must get illegal handguns off our streets in Toronto and across Canada. To do that we need tougher border controls, tougher sentencing for weapons offences and tougher anti-gang policing, prosecutions and sentencing."Sounds good until the very next thing out of his mouth. "We need more effective witness-protection programs and more compassionate victim assistance. We also need to get tougher -- much tougher -- on poverty, unemployment and social exclusion." Uh-huh. More socialist claptrap. I mean really, social exclusion? We are the most inclusive country in the world. Conservative leader Stephen Harper at least seemed to focus on the issue when he said, "I am committed to doing everything necessary to crack down on gun violence, including increasing support for front-line policing; stopping the revolving door on our nation's sentencing system by introducing mandatory prison sentences; enforcing Canada's tough gun control laws; stopping the flow...

Long goodbye has worn thin

It's nice to see the Calgary Sun has finally realized their city's Chief Constable Jack Beaton is long past is Best By date. (With drugs and violence becoming the norm in the new Calgary, it's time to hit the road, Jack. Let us cut short this long goodbye)For several years now I have been writing about the distinct lack of leadership by Beaton to the detriment of the citizens of Calgary and the good men and women of the Calgary Police Service. Oftentimes I have felt like a voice in the wilderness in trying to interest the so-called mainstream media despite a string of cases which showed the Service was in dire need of a real leader. (See All bluster and spin) The crime situation in Calgary has gotten much worse under Beaton's watch. Never mind the increased violence that has accompanied the economic boomtimes, but look at the crackheads now prevalent downtown and in once-trendy parts of the Beltway. The Guardian Angels have now set up shop after its founder Curtis Sliwa took a much-publicized stroll through crack central. Where was the Chief? A good question. He was busy conducting a witch hunt trying to find out which members of the Service had dared be critical of him with the authors of the now infamous websites Standfirm.biz and Code200.com, both now defunct. The result of that childish nonsense was that the cops in Cowtown were doing their level best to keep their heads down. Take the calls, do...

Failed again . . .

A week ago, a story appeared in The Province about a rather innocuous sign of the times - thefts of bags from unsuspecting visitors at Vancouver International Airport.But, what was glossed over was the identification of an arrested suspect in the spate of thefts. Ramon Rafael Montesinos Chavoro, 36, was arrested, charged with Theft over $5000 - an indictable offence in Canada - and released on $5,000 bail. And that’s not posted bail as in real dollars. No, indeed, that means “promised” dollars. Or, in more simple terms, nothing.But, hang on a second, Chavoro is a Mexican national. Is he in Canada legally? And even if he is, why would we allow a foreign national to come here, allegedly commit a series of crimes and allow him to be freed on minor bail conditions?Does he have a previous criminal history in Canada? What about in his home country?This is ridiculous at any level. Made especially moreso since we learned this week, courtesy of the federal Auditor General Shelia Fraser, that the Canadian Border Services Agency had lost track of 41,000 illegal immigrants, most of whom are failed refugee claimants. It seems that in this country it matters not whether you are a failed refugee claimant or a serial criminal, what passes for a justice system in Canada will let you go with little or no restrictions on your freedoms. I must confess I am at a loss here to try and understand...

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...

Disingenuous or Dumb?

Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan is either one of the most disingenuous local politicians in a long time or one of the dumbest.When, in the last civic election campaign it became known that Sullivan had given an addict money to purchase drugs and had driven him around in his van ostensibly because Sullivan wanted to learn more about addiction or some such nonsense, I thought he must be an idiot.But, he managed to run a successful campaign and in the year and a half or so since he has been mayor of Canada’s third largest city, he hasn’t done anything really outrageous or spectacular for that matter.But, his statements in the media yesterday after the media reported that the Drake Hotel, purchased by the city for three times its assessed value, was owned by a numbered company which had Hells Angel East End chapter president John Peter Bryce as the sole company officer, was a surprise to him is outrageous.Notwithstanding any other of the numerous public source reports, last year the Vancouver Sun ran a series about the biker gang called Hells Angels Inc. in which they detailed in depth the various business holdings of the Hells Angels and central to that were the real estate holdings of Bryce and other gang members.Does Sullivan not read front page stories in major media about what is happening in the city he presides over? Equally, a minimum of research by city staffers doing due diligence on the purchase would have uncovered the...

Botched investigation leaves everyone wanting

The RCMP are a proud organization. Sometimes too proud. I say this as a former member who has never shied from praising the Force when they have done well. And I have certainly taken my fair share of criticism when I have identified times when I have been not so proud of what they have done.Certainly, the Force has taken a beating in the wake of the O’Connor report into their handling of the Arar affair, with the baying media hounds screaming for the scalp of Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli. Now, I suppose I should add that I don’t subscribe to the nit-picking done by Mr. Justice O’Connor. I also don’t subscribe to the “poor innocent me” nonsense spewed out by Arar. Whatever the RCMP can be criticized for in their handling of that file, there is no doubt that they had every right to be suspicious of Arar and he is not the innocent victim that he portrays himself to be. Having said that, the Mounties booted the internal investigation relative to the constable who was accused of having sex with underage prostitutes in Prince George, Justin Harris.Harris was never charged criminally with anything largely because there was never any evidence to substantiate a charge. But cops have to meet a higher standard and internal discipline charges were brought against him essentially for that wonderful catch-all, conduct unbecoming a member. Without regurgitating the salient aspects of the allegations, levied by what can only...

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