Prime Time Crime
(Published in the Abbotsford News week of Aug. 15, 2004)
Why Newsrooms call it the Silly Season
Having just returned from a couple of weeks enjoying the delights of our southern neighbours in the Excited States, I have been catching up on the news in BC and Canada in my absence.
Now I know why newsrooms usually refer to this period as the silly season. How else to describe the following?
Several reports about brutal crimes and career criminals carried comments from the always-unidentified brain-dead wusses who sit on parole boards in this rapidly deteriorating country of ours. As far as these anonymous fools are concerned, virtually no offender who appears before them, other than maybe Clifford Olson or Paul Bernardo, is likely to re-offend, so they send them back into society where they so often repeat their crimes of rape, theft and murder, much to the amazement of the parole board members! At this rate, watch for Clifford and Paul to be out with their own reality TV show soon.
Then came the report of the main fraternal organization for lawyers deciding it was the perfect time to slip in their little surprise bit of news. They want it to be acceptable, and not illegal or even immoral, for lawyers to have sex with clients without penalty for their actions.
Now I'm as broadminded (no pun intended) as the next guy, but imagine if doctors, counsellors and teachers (some of whom have already proved that they think it is OK) follow the lawyers lead? Given the almost universal lack of ethics among members of the legal profession already, this add-on to their acceptable rules of behaviour is not really a surprise; but surely we as a society wont just sit back and let it happen while we simply say, Tsk, tsk? Or will we?
Then there was the news from Mr. Silly Season himself, the man who may have invented the term, to describe his 1986-1991 term as Premier of this once-great province, Bill Vander Zalm. There was the radical right-wing redneck religious zealot, Our Bill, standing cheek by jowl with labour leaders and socialist politicians to denounce the current provincial government over not shoveling money to BC shipbuilding unions for the long overdue and much-needed new ferries to connect the Mainland to Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Reasoned thinking has it that Ol Bill's permanent tan was fading, and he was prepared to do anything to shine another spotlight on himself.
The upside-down nature of the country was also clearly defined with the harsh manner in which 30-year-veteran Liberal sleazebag/cabinet minister André Ouellet was punished for his cavalier yearly waste of taxpayers money, as he slimed out of office just before being sacked as head of Canada Post. And then he was guaranteed a pension of more than $115,000 per year, wait for it! of taxpayers money.
And last, but far from least, there's the news about former one-issue-wonder NDP Burnaby MP, Svend Bling Bling Robinson, who stole jewellery worth about $65,000, and came clean, complete with phoney tears only after the RCMP let him know he had been caught on videotape. The bauble was destined for his boyfriends pinkie, so it truly was an episode of sex, lies and videotape. Oh goodie, another reality TV show is in the cards!
Give me strength! I need another holiday!
Veteran B.C. journalist/broadcaster John Pifer may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.