Fighting a war with a water gun: Manitoba facing meth crisis

WINNIPEG—Dane Bourget never thought his life would spiral into addiction. But when his roommate brought methamphetamine into their home, it started a decade-long journey in and out of treatment centres throughout Manitoba.

Passenger plane stolen

SEA-TAC AIRPORT - At about 8pm Friday Sea-Tac Airport officials said an airline employee conducted the unauthorized takeoff with no passengers onboard.   Alaska Airlines officials said this involved a Horizon Air Q400.  Pierce County deputies tweeted that the plane had crashed into Ketron Island. Two military F-15s chased the plane but was they were not involved in the crash.  Police said the man in the plane was a 29-year-old Pierce County resident who acted alone.  (KIRO 7)

Assault on city

GHAZNI - Afghan forces were still battling the Taliban in parts of Ghazni on Saturday, a day after the insurgents launched a multi-pronged assault on the eastern city.  The Taliban claim to have seized parts of the city and to have killed local officials.  The city of about 140,000 people was in lockdown for the second day as residents stayed indoors and reported sporadic gunfire. The highway from Kabul to Afghanistan's southern provinces, which runs through Ghazni, is still closed.  (AP)

Google tracking your movements

SAN FRANCISCO - Google wants to know where you go so badly that it records your movements even when you explicitly tell it not to.  An Associated Press investigation found that many Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even if you've used privacy settings that say they will prevent it from doing so.  (AP)

Dumping raw sewage

Toronto, like the vast majority of Canadian cities, doesn't monitor real-time data of sewage leaks into lakes, rivers or oceans. As a result, it's unknown how much raw sewage flowed through overflow pipes when the storm overwhelmed the city's treatment facilities.  Environment Canada does require municipal governments to report annually how much untreated wastewater is spilled, but settles for calculations that are based on computer models, rather than specific data of actual events.  Data provided by the federal government shows in 2017, municipalities reported 215B litres of raw sewage were spilled or leaked without being treated.  (CP)

Police homicides by the numbers

Police officers across the country handle some of the most dangerous situations in our society on a daily basis. Since 1975, a total of 284 police officers have died on the job. Of these, 101 were homicide victims, while 88 were killed in vehicle accidents. (CBC)

Broken RCMP means broken people

This week, a serving member of the RCMP sent a message to the Prime Minister of Canada complaining about the actions of the Commissioner of the RCMP. Yes, you read that right. I have never heard of such a thing.  The author is one of the YVR Four who was scapegoated by the Force.  I have written much about their case, included the fact they were scapegoated, thrown under the bus, and two of them served jail sentences for doing their job.  And the RCMP knew that all along. In a May 2008 report examining the actions of the RCMP in the October 2007 incident at YVR in which Polish traveller Robert Dziekanski lost his life, the authors spent more than 1200 pages examining, primarily, their communications failures and errors after the event. But, throughout the document it clearly states the members were in the lawful execution of their duties and acted according to their training and the use of a Taser (CEW) was appropriate.  Indeed, in the report it links to an email written to the Commanding Officer, Deputy Commissioner Gary Bass in November 2007, a month after the incident which says all of that.  Yet, they never said that publicly. They never defended their members despite the withering media criticism, the subsequent Braidwood Commission, the Special Prosecutor appointment, the prosecution of all four members and the conviction and jailing of two of them. They never came to their defence despite knowing all along they did nothing wrong. The author of the complaint requested...

A broken organization

As an organization, the RCMP is functionally broken. I have said this before and say it again.  Last week a letter came to my attention written by a serving member of the RCMP. The letter was striking in that it was addressed to the Prime Minister and the Public Safety Minister who is responsible for the RCMP.  The author of the letter signed his name but I won’t use it for the purposes of this discussion. I have confirmed he has 23 years service and is serving in BC. I am also told his father served and was a 33 year veteran. He was, I am told, involved in two shootings, both of which were deemed justified.  The author praises the courage of Janet Merlo, Catherine Galliford and Krista Carle, who tragically committed suicide last week. These ladies, among others, have been at the forefront of the public complaints and lawsuits talking about the sexual harassment and bullying they faced as members. Carle’s suicide underlines the problem, chief among them is the denial, foot-dragging and lack of leadership that has existed and still exists in the RCMP.   The author says in discussing them, “The manner in which their complaints were handled provides a clear insight into the lengths that some in senior management have and will go to in an effort to isolate, discredit, demoralize and financially destroy those who dare to challenge them. I can tell you that these strategies are still very much in play by RCMP Management today. Management refuses...

Common sense judgement

In the wake of the discussion last week of the manslaughter charge against RCMP Cst. Jason Tait, as a result of his actions stopping a drunk driver who was refusing to stop, let’s consider some things. He took the action he took to protect the citizens of Castlegar. He did his duty at great risk to himself, much like police officers do every day across this country. Things happen in the blink of an eye and police have to react to what is unfolding with two objectives; to eliminate the perceived threat and to protect life, which includes their own. Tait was charged by the Criminal Justice Branch (CJB) three and a half years after the event occurred. It took the Independent Investigations Office nearly two years to do their investigation and a further 16 months for CJB to review it before filing a criminal charge against Tait. That is unconscionable. I think to appropriately consider this, it is instructive to look at the decision of the now retired Provincial Court Judge Donald Gardner in the prosecution of Delta Police Cst. Vicken Movsessian who was charged with careless use of a firearm after another lengthy IIO investigation.  The incident happened on Nov. 7, 2013 and the court decision was rendered in December of 2016. Suffice to say it has been underreported. The officer was seconded to CFSEU, a Joint Forces Operation working organized crime. On the night in question, CFSEU had surveillance on a vehicle they believed contained a gang member wanted on over...

RCMP officer charged with manslaughter for doing his job

Two days ago the Criminal Justice Branch released  information saying that as a result of an investigation by the Independent Investigations Office into a police involved shooting that occurred “during an attempted traffic stop on January 29, 2015," RCMP Constable Jason Tait of the West Kootenay Traffic Unit was now charged with manslaughter. There was precious little other information. All the media reporting I could find on the original incident at the time yielded little more. An attempted traffic stop? There’s got to be much more to the story. So, I started poking around to try and find out what happened. It turns out the man who was shot, Waylon Edey, 39, who lived in Yahk, BC had been drinking in a Nelson bar and was so drunk he was cut off by the bar staff. They told him not to drive or they would call the police. He told them to “Go f**k themselves.” He got in his pick up truck and bar staff called 9-1-1. The next call comes from staff at a drive-thru restaurant who report Edey is drunk and has open liquor in his vehicle, a 5,000 lb. Ford F-150 and is heading toward Castlegar. Tait was off shift and had just arrived home. He’d heard the call but didn’t think too much about it until his supervisor called him and requested he assist looking for the reported drunk driver. Now, it should be noted that Tait was a member of “Alexa’s Team” a select group of 335 police officers, who...