Prime Time Crime


(Published in the Chilliwack Times Sept  8, 2011)


Summer of discontent


 By John Martin


The summer that looked like it was never going to arrive is wrapping up and another school year approaches. Personally, I've always identified the day after Labour Day as the turning of the calendar rather than Jan 1. Hey, if unionized workers in Greece can collect 14 months salary per annum, I can start the New Year any damn time I choose.

While the weather was less than remarkable, the summer of 2011 was quite unlike any in recent memory. Who would have thought the passing of Jack Layton would be met with the level of grief that it was? That the loss of a politician, who was as partisan and calculating as any other, could be comparable to the death of the Princess of Wales, was frankly, something I would have bet against.

One bet that I would have done much better on, though, was wagering that almost three months after the fact, not a single charge would have been laid in the Stanley Cup riot. Remember Christy Clark ranting about throwing the rascals in jail? Yeah, right. You're a riot Christy. A regular riot.

Oh well. At least we have a lengthy post riot report that cost more than $300,000 and basically absolves everyone of any blame. The Vancouver Sun called it a "polite document." I actually preferred The Province newspaper's summary of the review as a bunch of "blah, blah, blah."

The summer that is coming to an end will forever be in the history books for a Canadian first. The HST referendum was unprecedented as British Columbians threw out a hugely unpopular tax that was brought in under the most deceitful circumstances in living memory. The legislation that gave residents an opportunity to fight back is unique to this province and this, and any future, government is on notice that it's no longer business as usual in Lotusland.

And as summer was coming to a close we also learned, mercifully, that we won't have to go to the polls in a provincial election anytime soon. Notwithstanding the fixed election date legislation, Christy Clark waffled the entire summer about going to the polls early. She claimed she wasn't elected by the people and needed her own mandate to govern.

But the government's own polling likely showed a potential wipe out and the premier thought twice about an early election.

By the way, wasn't that fixed election law brought in to prevent the government from calling or postponing an election whenever it happens to be politically favourable to do so? Just wondering.

Don't expect things to calm down anytime soon, though. The province's teachers have started their job action. It wasn't that long ago the teachers' union blatantly broke the law in their dispute with the province. So there's no predicting how things will work out this time.

A whole whack of other public sector contracts are also up for renewal and by all accounts, things are going to be messy on BC's labour front. Real messy.

All in all, a bit of a rough summer. But it was likely a Caribbean breeze compared to the stormy climate that awaits.

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


Prime Time Crime

Contributing 2011