Justice System is a charade

For years I have been saying the justice system as it is administered in BC is fundamentally broken. Last week Attorney General Wally Oppal appeared to agree when he said we have to get tougher on habitual car thieves. And who could argue with him? It remains to be seen whether Oppal will back up his words with action that is desperately needed in that one area.But, Oppal would be well-advised to broaden his point of perspective and look at the system as a whole. Yes, car thieves are a huge problem in BC. With a thousand cars a week being stolen by a small group of habitual thieves it’s a no-brainer for Oppal to finally say something needs to be done.But this is British Columbia, a place that is a haven for those who engage in criminal activity.Yes, a haven for the criminal class. A strong statement perhaps, but a very accurate one much to the chagrin of those of us who pay the freight for the system and the price for its failings.The problem is acted out daily in our courts. Some thug is arrested for yet another slap in the face of society and appears in front of a Provincial Court Judge. The judge tsks-tsks for a while then metes out superficial bail conditions to an habitual offender already serving a term of probation, which he ignored, in the naive belief that some new conditions and some finger-wagging will have an effect.It’s a charade and every...

Canada needs relief from the Liberals

The Canadian Taxpayers' Federation joined with various other political activists and a few Conservatives on Parliament Hill on Saturday to protest high gas prices. Or, more accurately, to protest the oppressive taxes charged on top of high gasoline prices."Let's work to ensure that consumer anger becomes voter anger and that this is an issue in the next federal election," said John Williamson federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation at the rally.Considering that taxes from all governments make up about 45% of the price of a litre of gas it seems to be a significant point that relief for consumers would best be provided if the leeches that masquerade as our federal government would back the taxes off even if only a little.But Finance Minister Ralph Goodale threw cold water on that request when he said lowering taxes would only provide minimal relief. But the kicker is what he followed that up with when he said the money would be better used by Ottawa and poured into federal programs.Really Ralph? Like what? Another Adscam? Perhaps an expansion of the Gun Registry? This is exactly the attitude that underlines why this country is in the state it's in. Why we're the highest taxed country in the G8 and businesses are taxed higher here than in any country in the world save and except the Communist country of China for God's sake.This country needs relief from the Liberals and more of their "programs." Leo [email protected]

One family’s tragedy underlines flawed system

Yesterday, a BC family buried their dead. Two newly-orphaned kids were brought to the church by members of the BC Ambulance Service, still in stretchers recovering from their injuries.But tears and grief was not the only demonstrable emotion. Indeed, anger at a justice system so fundamentally flawed that a family is missing their son and daughter, two kids are missing their parents and siblings are missing their brother and sister.On Labour Day, a Coquitlam family returning from a wedding in Calgary, was cut down in a head-on collision just east of Golden, BC. Lorene Calder, 43, and her husband Brad 47, were killed. Their kids, Natasha 15, and Justin, 12, were seriously injured in the crash.Certainly, traffic fatalities on our highways always seem to punctuate long weekends, this tragedy was caused by a 19 year old junkie/thief in a stolen car. Dustin Carmichael, the driver of a stolen jeep who plowed into the Calder family was wanted at the time of the crash.Carmichael was caught stealing a car in February 2004 when he was 18 years old. He was sentenced to 60 days and a year’s probation. I am not allowed to tell you about his juvenile record were I to know what it was, nor am I even allowed to confirm whether he had a juvenile record. But, considering no first time property crime offender ever goes to jail in the criminal paradise of British Columbia, I’m going to assume there was a fairly lengthy criminal history.But, to...

All bluster and spin

While sipping on a Sunday morning coffee, I just about spit it out over the infernal cat when I read the Calgary Sun's "blow job" on that city's Chief Constable Jack Beaton. ( Top cop to focus on gangs)Quite apart from anything else, it seems quite disingenous for the Calgary Sun to refer to the tumultuous tenure of Beaton given that the paper has virtually ignored the main story in its entirety for the past eight months to a year. It's a funny thing really, a major metropolitan daily acting as though everything was fine and dandy in the city police service despite the majority of police officers expressing in a survey that they had no confidence in its management, despite a variety of criticisms against the senior management including formal complaints and civil suits filed against the chief himself. The rest of the media in Calgary covered the bullying tactics of Beaton as he exercised extraordinary methods to silence the authors of a website critical of him. Once complete, then Beaton conducted a witch hunt to further silence people who had the unmitigated gall to email the website authors. The witch hunt even attempted to reach right into the office of the Minister of Jutice. But not the Calgary Sun. It's extraordinary really. And now they give mere mention of the sordid chapter in a piece extolling the virtues of the Chief as Beaton finally allows there is a gang problem in that fair city. That's rich. Calgary...

Fighting back against the Hells Angels

Friday's raids on properties belonging to the Hells Angels East End chapter were a welcome shot across the bow of the outlaw biker gang.Well, welcome for most honest law-abiding citizens I should say.I listened this morning to Vancouver Chapter member Rick Ciarnello flapping his gums on CKNW on the Peter Warren show. For the most part he got a shellacking from callers only to have the blustery biker call them "stupid" for calling it as they saw it.But Ciarnello, for all his propaganda, did make a good point when he refused to equate his club members with members of the federal Liberal party. The Libs are currently embroiled in the Sponsorship scandal that clearly defines the systemic corruption that has come to epitomize the Liberal Party of Canada.Smart on his part I suppose. Despite the hundreds of murders attributed to the Hells Angels in this country, not to mention the arrests in chapters across the country, any suggestion that the Hells Angels were somehow comparable to the federal Liberals was somehow beneath him.The day after the search warrants were executed we were treated to the vision of long-time East End member John Peter Bryce wailing and whining about the fact the police hit the clubhouse hard, using big tools to open the metal reinforced doors. Bryce whined that there were people there who would have opened the door if asked.Well, whatever. The Hells Angels use hang-arounds, puppet gangs and prospects to provide security for the clubhouses. The chances...

In a world gone mad

As I watched events unfold in the UK this past week, I couldn't shake the feeling the world has truly gone mad.In Gleneagles at the G8 conference, events pretty much unfolded as predicted in last week's entry. The anarchists, waited for what they perceived as the right time and attacked the police lines.The police, ready as ever, repelled the assault and made a couple of hundred arrests over the course of three days.The media consistently referred to the anarchists and mayhem-makers as 'protesters.' They are nothing of the kind. Sir Bob Geldof called for a day of protest. Many thousands answered the call, lending their voice and their presence in support for the cause. They are protestors.People who hide behind balaclavas, armed with tire irons, bottles, rocks and petrol bombs are not protestors. They are thugs and need to be treated as such, especially by the media who seem to think they are the victims.As it was all unfolding according to script, the unthinkable happened in London. A series of bomb blasts turned the city into absolute chaos, shutting down the transit system and leaving 55 dead and hundreds wounded.The world was horrified. Well, except for the followers of radical Islam and quite likely the anarchists who were arrested in the violence at Gleneagles. They of course will blame Tony Blair for blindly following Bush into Iraq and whatever other nonsense their moribund brains come up with.There seems little doubt that al Qaeda factions were responsible. There is also...

A long, hot summer

Sorry I haven't posted for a while, but I have just returned from a most welcome respite golfing the fine tracks in the Okanagan. But the nose is firmly back on the grindstone now. I couldn't help but notice the news today that the black-clothed buttheads have resurfaced in Edinburgh and wasted little time in attacking the police deployed in the annual charade that surrounds the G8 meetings. Wait for it. Today's clashes were only the beginning. Gleneagles is, unfourtunately a little too close to civilization to be holding the annual meeting of the leaders of the free world. This has become an all too frequent event and the accompanying riots are too much to take. And watch as the mainstream media refer to the anarchist buttheads as "protestors" as though they were there to actually there to do anything but attack the police and then whine like petulant children when they get what they were asking for - a proper ass kicking. Remember Svend in Quebec City? "Waaaaahhhhh . . . a rubber bullet put a hole in my pants!" Now, don't misunderstand me, I don't give a fig when they get their ass kicked nor do I care that they get it at all. What I do care about are the cops on the front lines who have to exercise all possible restraint as these perfectly good examples of oxygen wastage plan their mayhem while the media plays along instead of calling it what...

The freedom to know

It's high time our courts got rid of the ludicrous publication bans that are preventing Canadians from know what is going on in our names.As proven in the Gomery Commission hearings, the media has changed and information has a way of getting out regardless of what the starched shirts want to see happen. The news is no longer disseminated on broadsheet pages. It's digital, it's fast and it's everywhere. Information is king and efforts to slow or stop the flow are doomed to fail.And so what? Our courts have traditionally tried to contain information within the four walls of the courtroom on the basis of ensuring the accused gets a fair trial and the public's mind is free of any information which might bias their way of thinking.But, can that argument really be made with any credibility any more? Look at the Michael Jackson case for the best argument that refutes the court's position. Jacko may be whacko, but despite all the publicity he wasn't found guilty.I can't imagine how there could have been any more publicity about that case both before and after the trial started. The web site The Smoking Gun even managed to get documents posted that the mainstream media had tried and failed to obtain. Anyone on the planet could have found out all the evidence including the details of the previous settlement with the other boy long before the first jurror was picked. Yet, the system worked as it was designed to do and...

Standing up for what is right

The media have adopted the Police Complaints Commissioner's report (Blue Curtain: VPD has fostered 'culture of resistance' -- critics) as their new cause clebre. Unfortunately, Vancouver Police Constable Jamie Graham has yet to come out and call it for what it is - a hysterical piece of nonsense. So, I will.For whatever reason, the Vancouver media seem to think the so-called Pivot Legal Society has a shred of credibility. They don't. The fifty or so wild allegations made by them have been roundly and soundly refuted by numerous police investigations including the investigation by the RCMP that the commissioner, Dirk Ryneveld, uses as the basis for his accusations.In reality, the RCMP investigation report said it had a problem with nine of the complaints in that there were procedural issues and a possibility of a lack of co-operation on the behalf of some VPD members, not that any of the complaints were substianted. That was it. And that seems to be what has Ryneveld in high dudgeon. And I say "so what?"Right from the get go, it was obvious the Pivot accusations of kidnapping and torture were so much hyperbole that no thinking person should have taken them seriously. But the media did and for whatever reason, apparently still do.The Vancvouver Sun in its story linked above, takes great pains to regurgitate cases that have already been resolved and judged appropriate behaviour such as the so-called 'Riot at the Hyatt' and the Jeff Berg case. Were they so short on...

Talkin’ Shop

Interesting to see that the Chiefs are meeting in Calgary at their annual knees-up and bun toss hosted this year by Jack Beaton. Even more interesting is the CBC story headlined on Prime Time Crime saying a significant topic of discussion will be how to stay out of trouble. ( Police chiefs meet to talk controversy)Considering the morass Calgary Chief Beaton has immersed himself in this last year or so, one hopes he attends all the seminars and pays special attention to the speakers. But, in the event he dosen't, allow me to provide some free advice.If a bunch of serving members file lawsuits against another, senior police officer alleging fraud and other criminal offences, take it seriously, investigate the matter thoroughly and in the interest of protecting the police department's public image, place the officer under the cloud of suspicion on suspension until the matter has been dealt with and the officer has either cleared his or her name or the matter has been proven.This simple piece of advice also extends to other allegations like racism practiced by senior officers to subordinate staff. Or, for example, if another senior officer points a gun at a subordinate officer, don't try and sweep the incident under a rug. I know this sounds basic, but Beaton's history in the top chair seems to have missed some of these more rudimentary points.Oh yeah, there's another simple way of keeping out of harm's way for a senior police manager - tell the truth....