Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The irony of the IIO

“Don’t underestimate the value of irony—it is extremely valuable.” ― Henry James The irony is delicious. Following the November 2012 fatal shooting of an armed hostage taker who had fired shots at the Starlight Casino by Delta Police Constable Jordan MacWilliams, part of the Municipal Integrated Emergency Response Team (MIERT), was charged with murder by the Criminal Justice Branch (CJB) following the incredibly flawed investigation by the then-fledgeling Independent Investigations Office (IIO). How flawed? Beyond belief. They never even interviewed the female hostage who was shot at, dragged and had a gun held to her head in the incident. They never asked for the video from the casino security staff itself who had the whole incident recorded. Casino security staff, who watched events unfold live on monitors and called 9-1-1, burned a DVD for the New West police who asked for and received it. They burned a copy for the Coroner’s office who asked for and received it. They burned a copy for the IIO who never asked for it. Stunning. MacWilliams as one of the first officers for the MIERT who responded to the shots fired/ hostage taking call at the casino. The perpetrator had been waiting for a female casino employee to arrive for work and fired three shots at her before dragging her from her car and about 500 metres down the sidewalk toward the entrance when New Westminster PD units arriving to the 9-1-1 call from casino security boxed him in in the parking lot. The call to the...

Justice System is a charade

For years I have been saying the justice system as it is administered in BC is fundamentally broken. Last week Attorney General Wally Oppal appeared to agree when he said we have to get tougher on habitual car thieves. And who could argue with him? It remains to be seen whether Oppal will back up his words with action that is desperately needed in that one area.But, Oppal would be well-advised to broaden his point of perspective and look at the system as a whole. Yes, car thieves are a huge problem in BC. With a thousand cars a week being stolen by a small group of habitual thieves it’s a no-brainer for Oppal to finally say something needs to be done.But this is British Columbia, a place that is a haven for those who engage in criminal activity.Yes, a haven for the criminal class. A strong statement perhaps, but a very accurate one much to the chagrin of those of us who pay the freight for the system and the price for its failings.The problem is acted out daily in our courts. Some thug is arrested for yet another slap in the face of society and appears in front of a Provincial Court Judge. The judge tsks-tsks for a while then metes out superficial bail conditions to an habitual offender already serving a term of probation, which he ignored, in the naive belief that some new conditions and some finger-wagging will have an effect.It’s a charade and every...

The Fat Lady isn’t singing yet

With everyone pretty much accepting that Stephen Harper and his Conservatives are going to form the next government, word comes in the form of a Decima poll suggesting that although Harper is holding his ten point lead nationally, the Liberals in Ontario have shown something of a resurgence.The fat lady may be warming up in the room next door, but if Ontario goes solidly back to the Liberals, she may never get to take the stage. And that is troubling.The winds of change may be blowing everywhere else in the country but there is still a large segment of the population of Ontario that seems to believe that the status quo is preferable to the legacy of corruption, entitlement and cronyism that has marked the last 12 years of Liberal domination in Ottawa.Incredible.Although there was good news for those of us who want to see an end to the Liberal stranglehold on the country. Harper's Tories have apparently made some terrific gains in Quebec of all places and Harper was there again today to reinforce his message to federalists. Can the Tories elect MPs in Quebec? Hard to imagine, but certainly any path to a majority government requires the support of at least some of the ridings in that province. Certainly Gilles Duceppe seems to have come to grips with the issue and has turned his guns onto the Conservatives.And speaking of guns, a litany of special interest groups and the usual suspects form the left are warning that...
Cops in Cuban paradise in living hell

Cops’ Cuban nightmare continues

As reported last week, the two Vancouver-area cops trapped in Cuba for the past eight months were acquitted of the accusation of sexual assault by a five all-female judicial panel. The accuser declined to attend to give evidence. The only evidence against them at trial was a statement given to a Cuban investigator the night in question. At no time was there any ability to challenge her statement by way of cross examination. (PTC Exclusive)

Privacy rights for escaped con latest corrections joke

Just when you think the insanity in Corrections Canada cannot get any worse, they prove it can. (See Escaped prisoner enjoys privacy rights )As I contemplated that particular bit on nonsense, I received the following from retired Vancouver Police Inspector, Bob Cooper. It needs to see the light of day.Leo [email protected] there is never a lack of horror stories involving Corrections Canada, this one's a beauty. A convicted killer escapes from prison and Corrections Canada is more concerned with his privacy rights than they are about the safety and security of the law-abiding populace. Citing provisions of the Privacy Act they refuse to release his photograph to the news media saying that the inmate would first have to sign a release! If this is even true, which wouldn't surprise me, then the Act is in serious and immediate need of amendment. I rather suspect this is a case of an overzealous bureaucrat taking the most narrow interpretation of the Act, otherwise why would they photograph convicts to begin with? Perhaps for a Before and After version in which the piercings and tattoos are 'photoshopped' out and replaced with gowns and mortarboards demonstrating the success of present day 'enlightened' Corrections practices. Either way this incident speaks volumes about the prevailing attitudes at Corrections Canada brought about by decades of institutionalized liberal philosophy which has held sway since Trudeau was elected. This mindset was articulated by then Solicitor-General Jean-Pierre Goyer who announced in 1971 that...

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....

Cop gets benched for telling the truth

There was a certain inevitability to Calgary Police Service Constable Shaun Horne getting suspended by the department for his outspoken comments after a Justice of the Peace released a career criminal without so much as a "By your leave" to the officer.Horne called the decision by JP Kristine Robideaux a mockery and a joke, which of course it was. After all, the man in the dock had already amassed 65 criminal convictions plus a great many other arrests in cases that he wasn't charged and convicted given the vagaries of a fundamentally broken system.I should add by the way, that after Robideaux released the man over the objections of Cst. Horne, he didn't abide by his conditions and failed to show for his next court appearance. Yeah, I know, big shock huh?Well possibly Robideaux was shocked. But, I suspect no one else connected to the justice system was. Robideaux, as an aside, is a lawyer by profession and also doubles as a board member for the Legal Aid Society. Legal Aid Societies across Canada have been plagued by incredible inefficiencies as they struggle to meet their objectives while being abused by lawyers representing major organized crime figures in complex conspiracy cases. (See Legal Aid System is flawed for more on the subject)Now there's no question that Cst. Horne should not have said publicly what he did. Certainly not in the manner that he did at any rate. That was unprofessional. But the message it sent was bona fide and...

One family’s tragedy underlines flawed system

Yesterday, a BC family buried their dead. Two newly-orphaned kids were brought to the church by members of the BC Ambulance Service, still in stretchers recovering from their injuries.But tears and grief was not the only demonstrable emotion. Indeed, anger at a justice system so fundamentally flawed that a family is missing their son and daughter, two kids are missing their parents and siblings are missing their brother and sister.On Labour Day, a Coquitlam family returning from a wedding in Calgary, was cut down in a head-on collision just east of Golden, BC. Lorene Calder, 43, and her husband Brad 47, were killed. Their kids, Natasha 15, and Justin, 12, were seriously injured in the crash.Certainly, traffic fatalities on our highways always seem to punctuate long weekends, this tragedy was caused by a 19 year old junkie/thief in a stolen car. Dustin Carmichael, the driver of a stolen jeep who plowed into the Calder family was wanted at the time of the crash.Carmichael was caught stealing a car in February 2004 when he was 18 years old. He was sentenced to 60 days and a year’s probation. I am not allowed to tell you about his juvenile record were I to know what it was, nor am I even allowed to confirm whether he had a juvenile record. But, considering no first time property crime offender ever goes to jail in the criminal paradise of British Columbia, I’m going to assume there was a fairly lengthy criminal history.But, to...

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...

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...

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