Prime Time Crime  

(Prime Time Crime exclusive Aug.  9, 2007)

Yosemite Sam Takes On the Celestials*

By Bob Cooper



Last election Sam Sullivan and his party, like so many of their predecessors, lied their way into City Hall on the back of the Vancouver Police Department promising to give the VPD the resources they needed to make parts of the city livable again.  Once elected, like so many of their predecessors, they promptly screwed the Department saying there were other priorities and other ways they could spend money to reduce crime.  Puts one in mind of the saying “I’d sooner have a sister in a whorehouse than a brother in politics”.

Since then, I’ve been waiting to see how these innovative geniuses planned to spend money to reduce crime and disorder and tonight I got my answer on the 6 o’clock news.  It seems that His Worship and the city are now in Supreme Court going after (wait for it):

-  The Hell’s Angels?

Of course not.  They’re purchasing buildings from them at 3 times market value.

-  Second-Hand Shops buying and selling stolen goods?

 Of course not.  They licensed them in the first place

 -  OK, Drug Dealers, Organized Crime figures, Idling By-law violators?

 No, no, and no.

The answer is the Falun Gong, currently the scourge of South Granville St.  For those who are unaware, the Falun Gong is a religious movement which has been branded as a cult and outlawed in China.  Their followers claim persecution at the hands of the PRC government and 6 years ago began protesting outside the Chinese Consulate on Granville St.  They have maintained a continuous silent vigil consisting of a single protester outside the Consulate since that time and have built a small wooden structure to protect the individual from the elements.

About a year ago in the process of rolling out his plan to appoint a ‘Civil City Commissioner’ (who needs more cops when you have a ‘Civil City Commissioner’ striking terror in the hearts of uncivil louts from beer parlors to rugby pitches) His Worship declared that Vancouver City By-Laws were going to mean something and where better to start than with the Falun Gong.

Where better indeed.  Leave aside the festering eyesore of the Downtown Eastside.  The only City of Vancouver By-Laws that get enforced down there are against decent people whose parking meters run out.  The junkies and crackheads cross against traffic lights and J-walk across 6 lanes of traffic screaming and swearing at anyone with the temerity to honk at them.  The cops gave up issuing tickets because the city wouldn’t issue warrants when the tickets were ignored.  City By-Laws?  Even most violations of the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drug and Substances Act are ignored down there.

In contrast to the peaceful nature of the Falun Gong protest, over the years I’ve stood at the site of protests where all manner of violations and criminal acts, including violent ones were taking place right in front of us while spineless bosses ordered us to stand fast and do nothing.  Citizens would demand to know why we weren’t taking action and all we could do was shrug.  This lawlessness ran the gamut from labor disputes to any left-wing cause you could think of.  Get a parade permit?  Forget it, just take over the streets at rush hour.  The police won’t do anything except escort you.  The weak leadership is somewhat understandable given that bosses in the past who took action were often vilified by politicians for having done so.  The other reality was that should things escalate there were seldom enough cops available to quell the situation.  Here in Left Coast Vancouver, might makes right.

On the news tonight, no one bothered to ask His Worship what the cost of this legal battle was to this point.  Ask anyone who’s ever been divorced how much a trip to Supreme Court will set you back.  Then multiply that by a few hundred thousand.  Tax dollars squandered in a cheap political stunt to go after a group that represents a lesser threat to public order than the average lawn bowling league.

I carry no brief for the Falun Gong but it seems to me that they are engaged in a protest that is perfectly lawful with the exception of the structure.  Even the structure does not block or impede pedestrian traffic.  People and vehicles enter and exit the Consulate grounds all day unmolested.  While many consider them a group of oddballs I doubt most of them start their day with a shot of whiskey or allow crackheads to smoke up in their vehicles.

*Celestials was a popular turn of the century phrase used by newspapers and others to refer to Chinese people.

Prime Time Crime

Contributing Writers