Prime Time Crime

(Prime Time Crime exclusive July 20, 2009)

The joy of Big Government

By Bob Cooper



In a previous column (Total madness) I referred to the attempt by activist groups to have the Vancouver Police Board order the Department to cancel hundreds of City By-Law tickets issued in the Downtown Eastside.  Now the same groups have disrupted a City Council meeting with the same demands.  Their disrespectful behavior was rewarded by 3 of their fellow travelers on Council, namely Councilors Jang, Meggs, and Reimer who met with the protestors and pledged to have the tickets withdrawn.  If successful, I suppose the cops would be left with the option of either not enforcing any by-laws between Cambie Street and Campbell Avenue or running a ‘means’ test before writing anyone up.  Or someone could rein these 3 in and give them a civics lesson on the impropriety of politicians interfering with police operations.  It’s not only highly improper but an attempt to obtain an extra-judicial stay of proceedings for political purposes could be viewed as a criminal offence.

Chief Chu?  Your members wrote those tickets lawfully, a lot of times in lousy weather, and probably took a lot of abuse doing their duty.  They deserve your backing.  Silence or closed door discussions are no longer an option.

My wife owns a commercial building in the 100 East Pender.  It once housed a very successful restaurant and nightclub that her father ran from 1975 until the mid 1990’s when the City and the VPD began a more ‘enlightened’ approach to the Downtown Eastside heralding the deterioration of the area to the point that numerous Chinatown business owners including my father-in-law, simply gave up and closed down.

The other day my wife received a letter from City Hall informing her that City inspectors had noticed graffiti on the rear of her building and that if the graffiti was not removed within 10 days they would have it removed and send her the bill.  In the Downtown Eastside the law only applies to decent people who work for a living, contribute to society, and pay taxes (in this case some of the highest taxes in the city).  The ‘special people’ are exempt.  The letter went on inform her that the prompt removal of graffiti results in the reduction of crime.

If there was one bit of truth in that statement the place would look like Robson Street as the City has been harassing business owners with this policy for years with no corresponding downturn in crime.  Honest people have no shrill, left wing groups to lobby for them so they become easy targets for the ‘big government’ social engineering zealots at 12th & Cambie.  Under the Criminal Code she is a victim of the offence of Mischief but our Commissars have decided that she should bear the responsibility for it.  Or else.

As a good citizen my wife will comply with the law, although she’s having difficulty finding tradesmen who are willing to enter that alley.  One crew she’d hired a couple of weeks ago to do repairs at the rear of the building was pelted with urine & feces by the residents of a hotel across the alley.  Another contractor has informed her that she’ll have to pay for one more man so that he can watch the vehicle while the others remove the graffiti.

Oh, and remember those needle-exchange boxes they installed in Skid Road alleys at taxpayers’ expense?  Seems the addicts have figured out how to use them to boost themselves up in order to reach ledges and break into buildings through the roof.  God bless Harm Reduction.

Then we’re told it’s going to cost tens of millions of dollars to build ‘social housing’ on some of the most expensive land in the city.  The people who worked so hard in order to purchase condos there must be wondering why they bothered.

Finally, the ruling by the Privacy Commissioner that Barwatch clubs have no right to scan the identification of patrons as a precondition of entering the club.  This program has been largely responsible for the reduction in shootings and other violence in Vancouver nightclubs by discouraging the patronage of gangsters.  It’s also been a great asset in investigations when crimes are committed.  It occurs to me that a club is a private business and has a right to set criteria and limitations on who it admits.  No one is forced to enter.  These bars have partnered with law enforcement and shelled out a lot of money to protect their staff and patrons and to do the right thing.  None of which matters to the Privacy Commissioner, who enjoys the same ‘arms length’ relationship with reality as Councilors Jang, Meggs, and Reimer.

It all puts me in mind of a quote by President Ronald Reagan who said that one of the scariest phrases you’ll ever hear is “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”.

Prime Time Crime

Contributing 2009