Prime Time Crime


(Published in the Chilliwack Times week of Aug.  8, 2011)


Much ado about nothing


 By John Martin


Forgive me if I don't have an opinion one way or the other regarding the new paint job on the downtown clothing store, The Corner Hut. I thought the downtown core already had enough issues with drug use, prostitution, mental illness, homelessness and other calamities. But no, it seems a brighter than bright paint job is currently the most pressing matter.

There's a lot of these misplaced priorities going around these days.

In Texas they just convicted infamous polygamist and pedophile Warren Jeffs for unspeakable crimes involving his flock in the US and Bountiful BC. Allegations of child sexual abuse in Bountiful have been raised for years. What's the BC response? We commission lawyers to write reports regarding religious freedom.

All across the province we're seeing criminal charges being dropped because there's a shortage of judges and personnel to run the court system. Meanwhile, we continue to fund the BC Human Rights Tribunal to relentlessly prosecute a stand-up comedian who exchanged words with a couple of drunk hecklers.

Thousands of people in the private sector have lost their jobs or seen their income substantially reduced during the global economic slowdown.

People have lost their homes and had to leave loved ones behind in search of greener pastures. But apparently the sky is literally falling because some 700 jobs are on the chopping block at Environment Canada.

And half of those workers will be reassigned!

How is it that the little things; the things that really don't matter in the big scheme, can be so dominant? Consider the HST. It sunk one Premier already and may very well be the deciding factor that topples a government, God willing. Yet the difference between an HST and no HST is a couple hundred bucks a year for most of us.

Quickly, hands up anyone who remembers the B.C. government rescinding that 15 per cent income tax cut they promised last year. I didn't think so. If anything should have buried this government, it was that. Think about it. They promise a huge tax cut. They don't get a bounce in the polls from the desperate announcement, so they cancel it and it's forgotten overnight.

If there was a more pathetic moment in the history of B.C. politics I must have missed it. Yet this HST boondoggle seems to never end and is not over by a long shot.

So, back to the Corner Hut. Clearly, this is an example of busybodies with too much time on their hands. It is absolutely ludicrous that someone should have to consult with the colour police before sprucing up their place of business. But on a list of the top hundred problems plaguing the downtown core-this paint job doesn't even make the list.

John Martin is a Criminologist at the University of the Fraser Valley and can be contacted at


Prime Time Crime

Contributing 2011