Prime Time Crime

(Prime Time Crime exclusive Mar.  4, 2012)

Broken Faith

By Bob Cooper


I had a beer with Alex Tsakumis the other day and mentioned that if Christy Clark is driven from office by the Jaspal Atwal affair I’ll have known two people who have brought down a BC Premier (the other being my wife’s irrepressible ‘auntie’ Faye Leung).  Alex has stepped into the breech and done the heavy lifting on a scandal largely ignored by mainstream reporters who work for agencies that have become a little too fond of BC Liberal advertising dollars.  Notable exceptions who have shown a lot of courage and maintained their integrity are Kim Bolan of the Sun and Michael Smyth of the Province along with several Indian media outlets.

Clark’s supporters are now desperately trotting out various stooges and apologists who are trying to minimize the situation by saying that Mr. Atwal has paid his debt to society so what’s the big deal?

As far as discharging his debt, many would argue that doing 5 years on a 20 year sentence leaves a few years in Accounts Receivable.  That aside, at the expiration of his sentence, Mr. Atwal is entitled to be at large and that’s all he’s entitled to.  The clock doesn’t reset to zero and we don’t just pretend his crime didn’t happen.

The ‘big deal’ is the impression of government that is left with the Indian community, particularly the newer arrivals.   A member of a murderous, fanatical terrorist organization convicted of shooting a visiting Indian cabinet minister is taken on by the political machine of a candidate for leadership of the ruling party and put in charge of organizing events and signing up new members and to no one’s surprise he signs them up in record numbers.  Imagine him showing up on your doorstep and telling you that he’s been active in BC politics since his first assassination attempt in 1986 and he’d like you to buy a Liberal party membership and vote for Christy Clark. I mean who’s going to say no to this guy?  It falls just short of outright extortion.    

Now the whole community sees the Premier publicly thanking this notorious gunman for putting her in office.  What kind of faith or trust are they going to have in the institutions that are supposed to protect them from the Jaspal Atwals of this world?  Given the level of graft they were used to in India most of them must just shrug and wonder why they left.

The FBI has a Public Corruption Squad in every major Field Office and we’ve long reached the point where the RCMP needs to do the same and start becoming very proactive about it.  



Bob Cooper is a retired Vancouver policeman.  He walked a beat in Chinatown and later worked in the Asian Organized Crime Section and the Homicide Squad.



Prime Time Crime

Contributing 2012