Friday, April 12, 2024

Let the punishment fit the crime

Yesterday's story in The Vancouver Sun (Dismissed in 2004, 2 Mounties keep jobs) should be the final chapter in the determined effort by the RCMP to get rid of two North Vancouver members for "trash talking" in text messages to each other using their on-board police computers. That Constables Sat Dhaliwal and Deri Kinsey used inappropriate and offensive language is not in issue.  There is no doubt  they should not have said some of the things they did.  But the knee jerk reaction to fire them was wrong.  So said the Federal Court of Canada in 2007 and has now been upheld by an RCMP adjudication board. I can't imagine how many cops would be left standing if everyone was to lose their job for making an inappropriate comment or using a sexist or racist reference at some point in their career.  Does that make all cops sexist or racist?  Not in the least.  Hands up anyone who has never repeated or listened to a sexist or racist joke.  Ever tell a blonde joke?  That is sexist.  An Irish joke? That is racist.  But it doesn't make you sexist or racist.  It makes you capable of laughing at ourselves. Policing is a tough, emotional job.  You deal with the worst society has to offer on a day to day basis.  The only regular folks police typically deal with are victims.  Everyone else is either a criminal, thug, addict, gangster or smart ass punk.  You learn early on in the game that your...

Unacceptable views

By Bob Cooper It's Day 6 of the protest in Ottawa where truckers have blocked streets around Parliament Hill with their rigs and effectively paralyzed the downtown area. They are protesting the federal mandate requiring truckers (and pretty much anyone else) to be vaccinated before crossing the border. Apart from some bad behavior on the weekend, the protest has been peaceful and I mean really peaceful as opposed to the "mostly peaceful" phrase that CNN & MSNBC anchors used to characterize the riots that rocked American cities for months in the summer of 2020. Despite there not having been one act of violence, the Chief Constable of Ottawa, Peter Sloly, went on TV today and suggested the Army might be called in to clear the blockade, an idea so stupid that even Justin Trudeau recognized it and jumped in front of the cameras to say it just wasn't happening. The only intelligent thing he's done. Like ever. This isn’t about vaccines per se or whether or not it’s a good idea to get vax’d. I weighed all of the pros and cons and made the choice to get double-vax’d along with the booster. A few of my close friends chose not to get vax’d and I respect their decisions as they respect mine. The issue here is choice and whether the government should have the power to force its’ citizens to be injected with medication. If you believe the polls, only about a third of Canadians support the truckers and most people in...

Favours for political donations is corruption

Reaction to my column this week in 24 Hours because of the NDP's intention to give one last big favour to the unions in return for their being the largest donors to the NDP incensed some, all of whom are pro-union and anti-business. Fair enough. I suppose that was predictable. But their aim was off with their pointed shots and rhetorical diatribe. In the first instance, it is the recycling of taxpayer dollars to government coffers, to government workers wages, to union dues to NDP donations that at best creates a conflict of interest so large you could fly a 747 through it. At worst it lends itself to a quasi-legal version of the corruption we are seeing played out in the findings of the Charbonneau Commission in Quebec. In the second instance no comparison was made to somehow say business contributions were good but union contributions were bad. I said the NDP platform released two weeks ago contained a sop to the unions that was nothing more than reward for their loyalty and contributions - card check. Card check is the term for the elimination of the secret ballot in an organization attempt for a union and in my view this will cost all of us a lot of money if the NDP get a majority and try and ram this through. A version of card check used to be the norm in Canada, but more enlightened governments through the 80's and 90's brought in the secret ballot so that all affected...

Predicted recriminations come, but are undeserved

It is beginning to appear as though I am a soothsayer. Which, of course, I am not. But not hours after I said the recriminations would start against the Toronto Police on the one hand saying they didn't do enough when the Black-Blocheads went on their rampage at the G20 conference, and, on the other hand they went overboard and abused human rights etc., blah, blah, blah, the recriminations started and pieces of absurd journalism, like this appeared. Now, first of all, this is a sad excuse of an example of journalism. It is nothing more than a reporting of the propaganda of a collection of socialist wing-nuts. This collection of wing-nuts managed to get an audience with a mainstream media outlet that, in itself, defies logic, is trying to make a meal out of the fact the police did their job. Read this quote carefully and think about it. "Camille, a slight redhead who refused to give her last name, said police then rifled through her possessions and found some black clothing. She also had a lawyer's telephone number scrawled on her arm and an anarchist book in the car." Now, I may be little slow, but, if they had black clothing, an anarchist book AND a lawyer's phone number inked on their arm in case they got arrested, I suspect the police just might have, just maybe, in a pinch, thought they might be intent on committing an offence. I...

Shooting investigation should be cut & dried

On May 16th, 2016, the Independent Investigations Office released a media announcement saying they had cleared the Transit Police officer engaged in fatally shooting a knife-wielding man in the Safeway in Whalley, BC which occurred on Dec. 28, 2014. What could possibly have taken so long in what was, by all accounts, a cut and dried police use of force? Yes, there were a lot of witnesses, but this should make the job easier. Additionally, there was CCTV footage that allowed the IIO to track the armed suspect's movements throughout the store and, as well, the police movements from start to finish. Both officers gave clear statements to IIO investigators which was corroborated by civilian witnesses, forensic evidence and CCTV footage. What does it take for Richard Rosenthal to accept that the police acted appropriately? What could possibly take so long? This should have been done and dusted in weeks not 16 months. The problem is that Rosenthal, the Chief Civilian Director, believes his role is to gather evidence to prosecute police, not to find the truth. On the heels of this, on May 20th, the IIO announced they were conducting a review of their own investigation into the shooting of an armed suspect at the Starlight Casino in November, 2012. This investigation led to the charge of second degree murder against Delta Police Constable Jordan McWilliams, of which much has been written in this space. The charge was stayed last summer nearly 3 years after the incident. It should have never been laid...

Liberties Are Now Situational

By Bob Cooper  “I think Canadians will understand that cabinet confidence is a critical part of our cabinet governance system,” said Attorney General David Lametti. So the waiving of cabinet confidence is extremely rare,” he concluded.  Invoking the Emergencies Act should be even rarer.   Like the Privacy Act, which allows the police to wiretap and intercept private communications, it should only be used when 'all lesser means have been tried and failed, or will fail'.  Both Acts specifically say so.    The Privacy Act only infringes on the liberties of specific individuals for very specific reasons that have to be approved by a judge and later tested in court.  The Emergencies Act removes the liberties of the entire country and is done totally in secret.  The requirement that an inquiry be held any time the act is invoked was designed to remind governments of the seriousness involved as well as provide for accountability after the fact.  The government’s actions make a sham of both.  The government has appointed Mr. Justice Paul Rouleau of the Ontario Court of Appeals as Commissioner and some have expressed concerns regarding his past links to the Liberal Party.  I’m willing to wait and judge the judge on his performance firstly because I want to be fair and secondly, I doubt you could swing a cat in any courthouse in Ontario without hitting Liberal supporters, equally divided among judges, counsel, and those in custody.  The initial handling of the Truckers’ convoy broke every rule in the book.  They tried nothing.  No engagement,...

1 dead, 8 injured in Colorado school shooting

Two students opened fire inside a school in an affluent suburban Denver community not far from Columbine High School, killing a teenager and wounding eight other people before they were taken into custody with no injuries. (CBC)

IIO, police at an impasse

Another story being played out in the Vancouver media last week was also outlining an impasse between the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) and the Vancouver Police Union (VPU). (Family caught in spat between Vancouver police and independent watchdog) That incident occurred on a hot August afternoon in southeast Vancouver in 2015 and ended just across the Burnaby border with the death of 33-yr-old Myles Thomas Gray. That story told of the frustration being felt by the Gray family because the IIO has yet to conclude their investigation into the death and the frustration with the VPD because their members are not cooperating with investigators. The story also quoted Doug King of the Pivot Legal Society who is calling for either changes in the BC Police Act to force the officers to cooperate or for them to be charged criminally in the death to force them to mount a defence. An interesting take for a lawyer for a civil rights organization who seems to think the police are not entitled to the same rights as any other member of the public. This gets complicated by the fact there are no independent witnesses to the events of that fateful day.  The IIO initially designated all the officers who were hands-on with Gray as “subject officers.” This placed all the officers in the position that anything they said could be used criminally against them. Then the IIO realized that because they cannot compel subject officers to provide statements, and there were no other witnesses, they changed the designation...

VPD shooting shows officers’ bravery, IIO incompetence

In the midst of the snow Monday morning and a Vancouver commute already made bad by the closing of the Alex Fraser and Port Mann bridges due to snow bombs and slick conditions, Vancouver Police made matters worse by having the temerity to shoot a man armed with a machete who kept coming at them and ignoring orders to drop the weapon. 29th Ave. Skytrain was then closed and caused all manner of delays. As with most things involving the police these days, there was citizen journalist video posted to Facebook and You Tube within minutes of the events. But as with most of these things, the video doesn't tell the whole story. The incident started at Stadium Station in downtown Vancouver. Police received multiple 9-1-1 calls about a man armed with a machete. VPD were responding to the station and Transit police also responded by jumping on a train heading east. They just happened to jump on the same train but in a different car to their suspect. At 29th, the Transit police called for VPD back-up and one officer confronted the man who was acting angrily, possibly in a drug-induced or mental health related state. The other officer then cleared the train of all civilians. They then tried to talk the man down, to calm him and get him to drop the weapon. One of the Transit officers was a trained negotiator and he tried everything he had to talk the guy off the ledge, so to speak. On an iPhone video...

Quadruple stabbing in Vancouver’s Yaletown

Four men have been sent to hospital with stab wounds following a messy fight in downtown Vancouver’s Yaletown district on Sunday morning.(The Province)

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