Monday, April 19, 2021

The hypocrisy of the higher moral ground

Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier’s public humiliation became complete with his resignation this week for being careless with cabinet level briefing papers that he evidently left at his former girlfriend’s home. Was that stupid? Oh, absolutely and undeniably. And he has paid forfeit with his job. And that is as it should be.But the sanctimonious bleating by the Liberal Opposition is really wearing a little thin. No, more than a little thin.The femme fatale in this sordid and tawdry movie, Julie Couillard, is basking in her 15 minutes of fame. It seems rather career, if not life-threatening to engage in any meaningful intimate association with this Black Dahlia. But all of that notwithstanding, the spectre of any Liberal MP barking about the risk to National Security considering the ties to the Libs of all manner of dodgy people they were happy to stand shoulder to shoulder with is not only absurd but insulting.Where does one start?Consider the demands that Mme. Coulliard should have been vetted by the Mounties before Bernier’s ill-advised dalliance. Uh, excuse me, but didn’t the RCMP try and stop the appointment of since-disgraced Minister of Public Works and ultimately Ambassador, Alfonso Gagliano to Executive Council because of his direct ties to members of Italian organized crime? And didn’t the powers that be in then Prime Minister Jean Chretien’s office ignore those warnings, much to their ultimate chagrin?Gagliano always tried to dispute his connections to organized crime figures as...

Justice failed

I'm stunned. I have seen all manner of stupidity and hand-wringing social engineering nonsense coming from our courts in Canada, but nothing I had previously seen prepared me for the blatent nonsense which emanated from the BC Court of Appeal in the case of American accused murderer Vernon Maurice Walker. Walker is accused of shooting a man in a Seattle alley in June , 2005. A witness picked him from a photo array of six individuals. But this identification wasn't good enough for Mr. Justice Ian Donald. Unbelieveably, he actually believes it was his duty to pontificate on the legitimacy of the photo identification and decided to release this 'alleged' murderer.Walker came to Canada betting on the lenient criminal justice system in the hope that he would be able to hide from American justice after 'allegedly' committing a murder. And, just to prove his intentions were well-placed, Mr. Justice Donald gave credence to him with his flagrantly stupid judgement.Yes, stupid. For I cannot fathom what great leap of mental gymnastics could possibly lead the supposedly learned judge to reach the conclusion that an eyewitness is not good enough to meet the test of whether there is a case to be met in the jurisdiction the murder was committed.And that is the point. It is not within the purview of Mr. Justice Donald to determine guilt or innocence. But rather, it was his duty to determine whether there was sufficient evidence to have the individual placed before a court in...

Political revenge or justice?

Last week the RCMP announced a single charge of Breach of Trust by a public official against Vice Admiral Mark Norman, the former second in command of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). The investigation was conducted by the RCMP’s National Division, the section responsible,ostensibly, for “sensitive and international” investigations. This is the same section that conducted the investigation of Senator Mike Duffy in the Senate expense scandal. The problem is that it reeks of politics and seems to have little to do with justice. Norman had in his portfolio oversight of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy which was intended to be the replacement of the Protecteur class of naval supply ships. While the project had been underway for several years, a series of incidents led to the premature decommissioning of the HMCS Preserver and the HMCS Protecteur in 2014. The government of Stephen Harper understood the problem of not having our own naval supply ships. There aren’t any gas stations in the middle of any ocean. That meant our navy was limited in how far our ships could travel. The navy scrambled and rented a supply ship from the Chilean navy for the Pacific, but that was a limited arrangement. They were in the process of negotiating with Spain for a supply ship for the Atlantic coast but that never came to fruition. The Harper government changed contracting regulations that allowed them to do a sole-sourced contract when operational necessity merited. They then entered into an agreement with Davie Shipyards to convert...

Justice denied for innocent cop

The case of former RCMP Constable John Hudak is more than a little troubling. Hudak’s story, called Branded for Life was told on CTV’s  W5 . Hudak was a small-town cop, a Mountie involved in his community who was accused of sexual assault by a local nurse, Mildred Johnson, 58. By all accounts it would appear as though the investigation was botched early on and in reality, it should have clearly determined that the complainant was either wrong, or more accurately, deliberate in a false accusation of a man who had spurned her attentions.Hell hath no fury and all that, but this case literally screams out that the man in this case is clearly not the predator and the woman clearly is. Unfortunately, all too often the system is too politically correct to get its head around that concept. Any allegation of a sex assault should be treated seriously. But, as any investigator of sex crimes will tell you, the majority of complaints they get are unfounded or vindictive. That’s not a popular statement but it is very accurate.As much as the ultra-feminist movement would have us believe that men are evil predators, the reality is that women are by far and away, more dangerous in the way they use the public perception to gain either an advantage or vengeance. While this certainly doesn’t pretend that some men aren’t sexual predators, it also doesn’t automatically assume the woman making the complaint is telling the truth. In point of fact, as...

Reality at odds with picture being painted

Any job in emergency services is tough enough without being obstructed by another branch. But the more I dig into the bizarre St. Patrick's Day (night) incident in downtown Vancouver involving members of the Vancouver Fire Department in conflict with the police, the more troubled I become.Firemen are heroes aren't they? That's the image of them rescuing people from burning buildings and all that stuff. Well, it's true, sometimes they are heroes. And sometimes they die trying to do their job. But, for the most part their job is routine, mundane and relatively unskilled. It doesn't take big balls to polish the chrome on a fire truck.The police have an inside joke about firefighters, with the saying: “there are only two jobs in the world you can earn money in bed.” And from a cop's perspective out in the mean streets, slugging it out with the drunks, meth heads, crack heads and other denizens of the dark, that can be a little frustrating. But, when a cop just doing his job, winds up slugging it out with an allegedly drunk off-duty firefighter and finds himself put at risk by the other attending emergency service workers, well, that's entirely unacceptable.Yet, that is apparently what happened on St. Paddy's Day in Vancouver. But, never mind the actions of the allegedly drunken off-duty fireman and his yapping whelp, it is the actions of the on-duty firemen at the scene I have a bigger problem with.The alleged drunks were in a car that...

A long, hot summer

Sorry I haven't posted for a while, but I have just returned from a most welcome respite golfing the fine tracks in the Okanagan. But the nose is firmly back on the grindstone now. I couldn't help but notice the news today that the black-clothed buttheads have resurfaced in Edinburgh and wasted little time in attacking the police deployed in the annual charade that surrounds the G8 meetings. Wait for it. Today's clashes were only the beginning. Gleneagles is, unfourtunately a little too close to civilization to be holding the annual meeting of the leaders of the free world. This has become an all too frequent event and the accompanying riots are too much to take. And watch as the mainstream media refer to the anarchist buttheads as "protestors" as though they were there to actually there to do anything but attack the police and then whine like petulant children when they get what they were asking for - a proper ass kicking. Remember Svend in Quebec City? "Waaaaahhhhh . . . a rubber bullet put a hole in my pants!" Now, don't misunderstand me, I don't give a fig when they get their ass kicked nor do I care that they get it at all. What I do care about are the cops on the front lines who have to exercise all possible restraint as these perfectly good examples of oxygen wastage plan their mayhem while the media plays along instead of calling it what...

Connections show no apology deserved

I wonder when the media is going to get off the back of the RCMP in the Mahar Arar affair? Now it is clear from documents tabled in court (Globe & Mail, Nov.03, 2006) that Arar had a connection to the cadre of Khadrs, our very own Canadian jihadists. We already knew he was connected to Abdullah Almalki, himself trying to gain sympathy as a “torture victim” of Syria.What is clear to me is that the RCMP had every right – no – every duty to consider Arar a terror suspect and include him in their investigation.. Almalki, according to Khadr the Younger, was connected to Khadr the Elder, also known as “al Kanadi” (The Canadian) to his al Qaeda pals. At the very least, the Mounties had every reason to believe that Arar was a suspect and needed to be investigated. In the days post-9/11, they also had every reason to share information with the US authorities. I believe that neither the RCMP nor Canada owe Arar an apology for anything. If in fact, he is totally innocent, then perhaps he should be more careful who he associates with. If he is that desperate for an apology, perhaps he should ask the people who actually imprisoned him and allegedly conducted the torture, the country of his birth, Syria.Leo [email protected]

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...

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]

Unrevising History

A reader, a retired Calgary police officer, wrote to correct something I had said about outgoing Calgary Chief Jack Beaton. Somehow the word had gotten out in the flurry of news pieces about Beaton announcing his decision not to seek a contract extension, that he had been Calgary's longest serving Chief Constable. I got the information from a column written by the always entertaining Licia Corbella of the Calgary Sun. The information, wherever it came from initially, is inaccurate. Chief Brian Sawyer, who served from 1973 to 1984 and by all accounts was a good one, served much longer. He came from the Mounties in Victoria to take the top job. It was he who brought in such crime prevention initatives such as Crime Stoppers and Blockwatch. Sawyer retired from the police in 1984 and went on to become the provincial Ombudsman.But there are a few others who held the office longer than Beaton too. Chief Samual Patterson served for nine years from 1941 - 1950 and Chief Lawrence Partridge served from 1952 to 1964 and probably brought about the most change to the Service than any other before or since. And those are the modern day chiefs who served in the office longer than Beaton.Thomas English served from 1891 to 1909 as Chief Constable of the fledgling police service. But the longest serving Chief was David Ritchie who held the office from 1919 to 1941. Ritchie was a decorated war hero when he took the top...

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