Monday, August 2, 2021

Justice Minister dishes up more of the same

Justice Minister Irwin Cotler had the opportunity to do something positive to stem the rising tide of crime in our cities this week with Bill C-70, the act designed to amend the Criminal Code to restrict the blindly stupid use of conditional sentences in our provincial courts. But, as with everything this Liberal government does, he booted the opportunity. The bill does nothing it is being touted as doing. Nothing.And for some reason, MADD is applauding this sleight of hand by Cotler. After generating over 30,000 names on a petition to get the fed's attention on this issue, they are pleased when he says he is doing something about it, but does nothing. Conditional sentences were first foisted on an unsuspecting country back in the mid-90s. Ostensibly, the concept was to give judges an alternative to jail in cases that were non-violent in nature and where there were circumstances that indicated the accused would benefit from a non-custodial sentence. In concept, it was still meant to follow the other provisions on sentencing in the Criminal Code in which the protection of the public was a salient factor. But something happened along the way to allow the courts to give conditional sentences for all manner of crimes even manslaughter. Despite calling this Bill an "initiative to restrict the use of conditional sentences for violent crimes," it doesn't.Apart from banning the use of conditional sentences for anything terrorism or organized crime related, this new Bill C-70 gives judges all the wriggle...

A press release worth reading

Daily I see press releases from various RCMP and municipal agencies. Most are routine and frankly, dull. But every now and then one comes across something, a story of the human condition that is wonderful. Such is the case with this little missive from of all things a traffic cop, an occupation not ususally blessed with a sense of humour. I was once asked by a Sgt. if I would take a transfer into traffic. I politely declined telling him I simply couldn't because my parents were married. But, Cst. Chris Noble of Ponoka traffic Section in middle Alberta seems to be a rarity. Allow me to share with you, intact, his press release of earlier this week. No further comment required. Leo [email protected] ***********************On November 24 , 2006 at 1715 hrs Ponoka traffic Services received a complaint of an erratic driver South bound on the QE II near Ponoka. The complainant stated the brown Oldsmobile cutlass he was following was weaving all over the road, tailgating, and cutting other motorists off. The complainant supplied a license plate number and a subsequent police records check revealed that the registered owner of the vehicle was wanted by Sylvan Lake RCMP for failing to pay a $2875 fine for not having insurance on his vehicle.Since the vehicle was not speeding the police asked the complainant if he could remain in visual contact of the vehicle and provide police with a play by play of its location. The complainant was happy to...

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...

RCMP officer charged with manslaughter for doing his job

Two days ago the Criminal Justice Branch released  information saying that as a result of an investigation by the Independent Investigations Office into a police involved shooting that occurred “during an attempted traffic stop on January 29, 2015," RCMP Constable Jason Tait of the West Kootenay Traffic Unit was now charged with manslaughter. There was precious little other information. All the media reporting I could find on the original incident at the time yielded little more. An attempted traffic stop? There’s got to be much more to the story. So, I started poking around to try and find out what happened. It turns out the man who was shot, Waylon Edey, 39, who lived in Yahk, BC had been drinking in a Nelson bar and was so drunk he was cut off by the bar staff. They told him not to drive or they would call the police. He told them to “Go f**k themselves.” He got in his pick up truck and bar staff called 9-1-1. The next call comes from staff at a drive-thru restaurant who report Edey is drunk and has open liquor in his vehicle, a 5,000 lb. Ford F-150 and is heading toward Castlegar. Tait was off shift and had just arrived home. He’d heard the call but didn’t think too much about it until his supervisor called him and requested he assist looking for the reported drunk driver. Now, it should be noted that Tait was a member of “Alexa’s Team” a select group of 335 police officers, who...

Election thoughts

As I write this it seems as though the country in going to have a change in government. Unfortunately, the Conservatives have not been given a majority government but a minority of some twenty or so seats. How, given the corruption, cronyism and blatent disregard for democracy, has the Liberal party managed to retain over 100 seats in Parliament? However, it is not all bad news in this deranged Dominion. Convicted jewel thief Svend Robinson seems like he has been given the bum's rush in Vancouver Centre. May he never darken our doorstep again. And speaking of that, from a personal point of view, I won't miss the Prime Minister Paul Martin either. There was a time when he seemed to hold the future of this country in his hands. But, his thirst for power nearly destroyed the Liberal party from within. And frankly, that thirst for power overshadowed whatever merits he may have had for the job of Prime Minister. And so farewell and adieu.The Tories have had a major breakthrough in Quebec. Gille Duceppe and the Bloc have lost a few seats. And with that, a small glimmer of hope appears in the fight for national unity.It is also inconceivable to me that Don Bell has been re-elected in North Vancouver. Albeit, Cindy Silver is a political neophyte with virtually no profile, it seems bizarre to me that a man who personifes everything that is wrong with the Liberal party could attract enough voters to regain his...

An empty defence

Now, I have nothing but the greatest respect for such storied members of the defense bar as Peter Ritchie, but really, the defense of stupidity for alleged mass murderer Robert "Willie" Pickton? Well, I suppose even a drowning man will reach for any piece of driftwood.I'm not entirely sure "stupid," which, I believe, is a more than apt description of Pickton, is a sufficient defence for the DNA of scores of women found on his property. I mean, really, what kind of an idiot would think that it is just a coincidence that DNA of two murdered women would be found in the same place, let alone six or twenty six missing women?We shall see in the coming days what exactly the defense of the apparently indefensible will be, but stupidity? Any port in a storm I suppose . . . .The big hanging question for me in this is not whether Pickton is guilty, but who is the 2nd serial killer? Because, as sure as God made little green apples, there is another shoe to drop in this file.Leo [email protected]

Holidaaaaaaaze . . . .

Well, the weather outside was indeed frightful, no matter in which part of the Deranged Dominion you reside.  I had the distinct pleasure of spending an unscheduled three days in Edmonton in a particularly sub-arctic chill after our plane wasn't allowed to land at a snow-bound Vancouver airport, uncharacteristically up to its knees in the white stuff.And, I must admit, I certainly did not understand the efforts of the Vancouver media to pillory Air Canada because of the weather.  The talk shows and the newspapers were filled to excess with examples of how people couldn't get home or wherever, and somehow it was Air Canada's fault and Westjet, which handles a fraction of traffic that Air Canada does, was somehow beyond reproach.  In the space of four days, major airports Pearson, Halifax Stanfield, YVR then Pearson again then YVR again, got blasted with snowstorms so severe that Environment Canada called the phenomena "Storm-a-geddon." And somehow that was Air Canada's fault?  Flights were delayed all over North America over the Christmas period.  But the media seemed to focus on Air Canada.  One has to wonder at the critical thinking abilities of the mainstream media.  Are they so focused on whatever their political agenda is that they are unable to ask critical questions?Unfortunately, the answer is yes.Despite the several days warning preceding the extreme weather, officials at YVR didn't see the necessity to bring in extra de-icing fluid.  No, really, I'm not kidding.  Flights were delayed at YVR because the airport...

Media Sheep

Years ago, when John Yorston hired me into the mewsroom of the now defunct Montreal Star, I was taught that jounalists had to question everything and to source what you were being told twice or more. I wonder where that dogma has gone in the mainstream media in Canada today.Last week, Ontario Lieutenant Governor James Bartleman testified before the Air India inquiry that he had seen a piece of raw intelligence that indicated an attack was imminent on Air India and had promptly marched it over to an unnamed Mountie who said he had already seen the intel. Bartleman then said he'd heard about the Air India bombing in which 329 people lost their lives as he was packing the family up to go to the lake for the weekend. And for twenty plus years he said nothing!The Central Canadian mainstream media may swallow this wholeheartedly as is their wont, but please, is there anyone in the real world, who believes that a career bureaucrat who was in the posession of some information that seemed to play out to be true, wouldn't engage in a "cover your ass" exercise by telling someone superior immediately after the event?Give me a break!Bureaucrats learn, very soon after they are weaned from the nipple, that they must engage in an exercise called CYA - Cover Your Ass. Go on, I defy you. Ask any civil servant what "CYA" means and you will hear the response "Cover Your Ass."So, back to the...

More positive signs of change at the IIO

Earlier this week the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) released a report that analyzed their investigation in the Nov. 8, 2012 police involved shooting at the Starlight Casino in New Westminster by Delta Police Cst. Jordan MacWilliams.  The analysis was conducted by retired RCMP Supt. Doug Kiloh who has much Major Case Management (MCM) experience but he also had expertise in ERT tactical procedures. Which, I might add, no one involved in the actual investigation had. On October 20, 2014 MacWilliams was charged with second degree murder. The charges were finally stayed on July 14, 2015. Regular readers will know that much has been written on this case in which I was very critical of the IIO’s investigation and questioned their competence in many aspects and on many occasions. The Delta Police Association wrote a letter of complaint to the IIO essentially saying their investigation was flawed and also questioned their competence. The IIO, to their credit, then commissioned the review by Kiloh. Kiloh’s 15 page report is very critical of the IIO but does note that in the intervening time a number of things have changed. But he also makes a number of recommendations involving training, investigative techniques, evidence management, MCM protocols and enhanced training. Kiloh also focused on two salient events from the IIO investigation. One was that investigators never spoke to the female taken hostage that morning. I surfaced her and interviewed about six months after the charge was laid against MacWilliams. I also surfaced the fact that the IIO never asked...

Talkin’ Shop

Interesting to see that the Chiefs are meeting in Calgary at their annual knees-up and bun toss hosted this year by Jack Beaton. Even more interesting is the CBC story headlined on Prime Time Crime saying a significant topic of discussion will be how to stay out of trouble. ( Police chiefs meet to talk controversy)Considering the morass Calgary Chief Beaton has immersed himself in this last year or so, one hopes he attends all the seminars and pays special attention to the speakers. But, in the event he dosen't, allow me to provide some free advice.If a bunch of serving members file lawsuits against another, senior police officer alleging fraud and other criminal offences, take it seriously, investigate the matter thoroughly and in the interest of protecting the police department's public image, place the officer under the cloud of suspicion on suspension until the matter has been dealt with and the officer has either cleared his or her name or the matter has been proven.This simple piece of advice also extends to other allegations like racism practiced by senior officers to subordinate staff. Or, for example, if another senior officer points a gun at a subordinate officer, don't try and sweep the incident under a rug. I know this sounds basic, but Beaton's history in the top chair seems to have missed some of these more rudimentary points.Oh yeah, there's another simple way of keeping out of harm's way for a senior police manager - tell the truth....

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