Better late than never

The ink was barely dry on a column I published last night wondering how the Liberal Party of Canada would handle the revelations about West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast MP Blair Wilson when, scant hours later, the Libs announced on their web site that he was done. And no, I am not claiming there is any connection. I'm just surprised at the speed of it. During the Jean Chretien era, allegations such as this would have been met with denials, obfuscation and more denials until the country lost interest or got pummelled into submission. Not this time it seems. Although, I am a little surprised that the Liberal Party is claiming that this is the first they have heard of allegations of impropriety about Wilson. I first wrote about him in January of 2005 and Terry O'Neill wrote on the subject in the Western Standard in the spring of 2006. So it is a little disingenous to claim this is new. But, better late than never I suppose. Wilson should never have been the MP for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast. There was more than enough information about him as a business failure and alleged con man going back into the '90s. But, for the Libs it seems none of it matters until it appears as a front page story in the mainstream media. While I applaud the action taken by Stephane Dion, it is still long overdue. Leo [email protected]

Raging debate or raging lunatics?

A couple of weeks back a provincial court judge on Vancouver Island earned himself a rebuke from a charter member of the legal industry sitting on the bench of the BC Court of Appeal when he wrote in a written response to a defense submission requesting yet another slap on the wrist for his client by way of a Conditional Sentence Order or CSO. The judge, stricken with an unconscionable fit of common sense, said: "CSOs, as I have said repeatedly, have become little more than glorified probation orders . . . it is hard to imagine them having any effect on an offender except as a matter of inconvenience. "It is hard to imagine, as well, that these sentences have any credibility with the public."The Court of Appeal judicial tribunal evidently thought that bit of overt logic was beyond the purview of a lowly PCJ and said the comments were "not appropriate" and could "potentially undermine public confidence in the judicial process."What, in sweet Fanny Adams, are they drinking up there in the Court of Appeal Chambers? Do they actually believe that the public has any confidence whatsoever in the judicial process? Here’s some flash traffic for the silk-gowned elitists: The public has absolutely no confidence in the judicial process. None. Zip. Zero. Nada. The only people who have confidence in the system are the habitual criminals, gangsters and drug dealers who know the system will visit few, if any, consequences upon them time after...

Damned if they do . . .

I see that students at UBC are "outraged" by a couple of members of the RCMP who showed their human side instead of acting like jack-booted brown shirts. I mean really, have these self-aggrandizing twits nothing better to do?And why in the world hasn't someone in the RCMP told the student newspaper and any other media outlet thinking this is a real news story to take a hike?It seems the Mounties pulled up to a group of students who were partying at a bus stop back in July. A number of the youths, if not all, had open liquor, an offence under the Liquor Control and Licensing Act, a provincial statute. The police officers could have written summons' for each of the students, arrested anyone being uncooperative and charged them with obstruction or simply carted a bunch of them off for being drunk in public. But they didn't.No, they did their job by getting them all to empty out their glasses and bottles and joked around with the students. You know, like real human beings.We've seen it all before. If the police wade into a situation like that and try and "hard ass" the youths, a fight will evolve, people will go to jail and the police will inevitably be criticized by these self-same holier-than-thou jerks for being heavy-handed. This time they did what they had to do and did it without laying a single charge or putting anyone in jail. And they are still being criticized. Cops expect...

Pomp and circumstance when a quiet farewell would do

"Friends applaud, the Comedy is over". - Ludwig von BeethovenTomorrow is the transition day of the administration of the Office of the Chief Constable of the Calgary Police Service. And to judge by the statements made in an interview with the Calgary Sun's Rick Bell, the new chief is going to bring a tough new attitude to policing that city.But, lest you think that the outgoing Chief Jack Beaton will be going quietly, uh, well, not so much.Apparently Beaton has commissioned a Change of Command parade with all the pomp and circumstance possible. Including, I am told, the Ceremonial Unit, which does a foot drill demonstration complete with formal uniforms and all the trimming including white gloves. And, are the fine men and women who voluntarily serve in the Ceremonial Unit happy to show up for Jack's parade? Uh, no. I am told that NCO commanding the unit had to send out an email ordering all members to attend. I am also told the email said, "All members of the CU (trumpeters included) will be required for this event."Hmmm, what about those folks who are scheduled to be patrolling the streets protecting the citizens of Calgary? No problem. "If you have any issue getting the time off, let me know . . .the Inspector will deal with them . . .otherwise all are expected to attend," concluded the email as described to me.So, the officers who are being paid to work will be diverted from their regular tasks and...

Jack’s last gasp

As if to underline how inneffectual he was as a Chief Constable in Calgary, Jack Beaton has served Michael Bates, the lawyer for Cst. Taufiq Shah, with notice that he will file an application with the Court of Queen's Bench to overturn the Police Act hearing and ruling made by Edmonton Police Supt. Logar. (see Chief wrong . . .again )How many times does Beaton have to get beaten over the head with something before he understands it? He was wrong to do what he did. He overtly tried an end run around the Police Act and he got caught. And Logar said so in his judgement. Since the dismal failure to prosecute Shah, who was primarily the victim of racism, (See What's up Jack? ) Beaton has had his long goodbye cut short by the Police Commission . . .finally. His replacement, Rick Hanson is due to be sworn in October 1, 2007, less than two weeks after Beaton served notice on Bates. Unbelieveable. As against that, I suppose it's probably a fitting way for Beaton to go, by making yet another ham-fisted attempt to get revenge on Shah for daring to be critical of Beaton's administration with the web site and its successor Let it go Jack. For just once in your troubled tenure, couldn't you show a little class and just go quietly?Leo [email protected]

Privacy rights for escaped con latest corrections joke

Just when you think the insanity in Corrections Canada cannot get any worse, they prove it can. (See Escaped prisoner enjoys privacy rights )As I contemplated that particular bit on nonsense, I received the following from retired Vancouver Police Inspector, Bob Cooper. It needs to see the light of day.Leo [email protected] there is never a lack of horror stories involving Corrections Canada, this one's a beauty. A convicted killer escapes from prison and Corrections Canada is more concerned with his privacy rights than they are about the safety and security of the law-abiding populace. Citing provisions of the Privacy Act they refuse to release his photograph to the news media saying that the inmate would first have to sign a release! If this is even true, which wouldn't surprise me, then the Act is in serious and immediate need of amendment. I rather suspect this is a case of an overzealous bureaucrat taking the most narrow interpretation of the Act, otherwise why would they photograph convicts to begin with? Perhaps for a Before and After version in which the piercings and tattoos are 'photoshopped' out and replaced with gowns and mortarboards demonstrating the success of present day 'enlightened' Corrections practices. Either way this incident speaks volumes about the prevailing attitudes at Corrections Canada brought about by decades of institutionalized liberal philosophy which has held sway since Trudeau was elected. This mindset was articulated by then Solicitor-General Jean-Pierre Goyer who announced in 1971 that...

An empty defence

Now, I have nothing but the greatest respect for such storied members of the defense bar as Peter Ritchie, but really, the defense of stupidity for alleged mass murderer Robert "Willie" Pickton? Well, I suppose even a drowning man will reach for any piece of driftwood.I'm not entirely sure "stupid," which, I believe, is a more than apt description of Pickton, is a sufficient defence for the DNA of scores of women found on his property. I mean, really, what kind of an idiot would think that it is just a coincidence that DNA of two murdered women would be found in the same place, let alone six or twenty six missing women?We shall see in the coming days what exactly the defense of the apparently indefensible will be, but stupidity? Any port in a storm I suppose . . . .The big hanging question for me in this is not whether Pickton is guilty, but who is the 2nd serial killer? Because, as sure as God made little green apples, there is another shoe to drop in this file.Leo [email protected]

Perceptions are skewed

It's heartening to know that Vancouver is, yet again, the world's most liveable city according to the Britmag The Economist. Also, according to The Economist, one of the reasons for the selecetion is that the crime rate in Vancouer is low. Really? Oddly enough, in the same week, the Vancouver Police Chief Constable Jim Chu held a press conference to state publicly that the crime rate (specifically property crime) was too high and that the Department had to go the extra mile in hiring a hundred new recruits in the coming year.Anyone who is a regular visitor to downtownVancouver doesn't have to be reminded that the property crime rate is too high. The chunks of broken glass at their feet is reminder enough. The Vancouver Board of Trade has made the issue the subject of at least two major reports and presentations of which I am aware. But, a significant issue nonetheless.In every aspect and in every study, Vancouver is the property crime capital of North America. So, the world's most liveable city? Methinks not.Leo [email protected]

Long goodbye has worn thin

It's nice to see the Calgary Sun has finally realized their city's Chief Constable Jack Beaton is long past is Best By date. (With drugs and violence becoming the norm in the new Calgary, it's time to hit the road, Jack. Let us cut short this long goodbye)For several years now I have been writing about the distinct lack of leadership by Beaton to the detriment of the citizens of Calgary and the good men and women of the Calgary Police Service. Oftentimes I have felt like a voice in the wilderness in trying to interest the so-called mainstream media despite a string of cases which showed the Service was in dire need of a real leader. (See All bluster and spin) The crime situation in Calgary has gotten much worse under Beaton's watch. Never mind the increased violence that has accompanied the economic boomtimes, but look at the crackheads now prevalent downtown and in once-trendy parts of the Beltway. The Guardian Angels have now set up shop after its founder Curtis Sliwa took a much-publicized stroll through crack central. Where was the Chief? A good question. He was busy conducting a witch hunt trying to find out which members of the Service had dared be critical of him with the authors of the now infamous websites and, both now defunct. The result of that childish nonsense was that the cops in Cowtown were doing their level best to keep their heads down. Take the calls, do...

Moderated comments

While I like to let anyone have their say with comments, I have had to remove the commments from my most recent post on the nullification of charges against Calgary Cst. Taufiq Shah. There are a number of reasons, but chief among them is that posted comments need to remain within the laws of Canada. This includes libel and other aspects of priviledge. Please guide youselves accordingly folks. I want to be able to offer the ability to post unmoderated comments, but I simply cannot when someone says something that crosses the line. I hope you all understand. Thank you for your cooperation. Leo [email protected]