Saturday, April 20, 2019
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More needless death

Another man is dead because of a couple of habitual car thieves. When do you suppose, will the politicians in power in Ottawa finally understand that something needs to be done?How many innocent people need to die before the lib-left finally figure out that habitual criminals need to be jailed not coddled.If the tragedy at Mayerthorp wasn't the impetus for change, what pray tell me, will be? But the outrage after that seems to have died down and like the story out of Richmond, BC today shows, more people are dying at the hands of people the justice system could have, and should have, dealt with.Leo Knight

Business as usual for the Godfather of the House

What really amazes me is that even in disgrace, former Liberal cabinet minister, Quebec party bagman and quite possibly the most corrupt politician this country has ever seen, Alfonso Gagliano, was able to extract a $500,000 loan from an obscure arm of the federal government called Farm Credit Canada to buy a vineyard, apparently.Gagliano was the central figure in the Adscam debacle which ultimately undid two Liberal Prime Ministers, though both deny that essential and plainly obviously fact. He was also named by FBI snitch and career mobster Frank Lino, as a "made" guy and member of the Bonnano crime family.  Is it true? I don't know. But I do know that he had much to cozy a relationship with Augustino Cuntrera when he was the accountant for some companies of the family dubbed the "Rothchilds of the Mafia."  He was also a founding member, along with Cuntrera, and on the executive of a "club" called the Siculiana / Cattolica Eraclea Society in the 90's.  I also know that Lino had no reason to lie at that point.Gagliano came out denying it all in the media claiming Italian discrimination.  Really, it's all a plot against the Italians.  He threatened a lawsuit, but none was forthcoming.  One suspects that was because he could never allow himself to be cross-examined on the question.  Unlike our Human Rights kangaroo courts - oops sorry - tribunals, in civil court the truth is an absolute defence.Well, the "Godfather" of Parliament no longer has his...

Spin City

I'm trying not to get too excited about the prospect of a Conservative government. And in this last week of the campaign I have to admit I am harboring more than a little trepidation that something very weird is going to happen to derail the momentum the Tories seem to be gaining.In the dying days of the campaign PM Paul Martin is still relying on the "Harper is scary" message that proved so successful in the last campaign. But that is so 2004. And as the polls are showing, this is not.NDP leader Jack Layton is still barking about tax cuts to "banks and oil companies" as though there aren't any other idustries out there who employ people and are chaffing under the tax burdens levied by the Liberals to provide the dollars they can steal.Today, Paul Martin was in Vancouver appearing before the Board of Trade ostensibly to talk about about crime, an issue resonating with most voters. But no, crime wasn't on his radar screen. He went on about if Harper is elected then he will cut the precious social programs the Libs seem to think are precious to Canadians. Really.From a personal point of view I'd look forward to any government, Conservative or otherwise, that would rid this country of nonsense programs liked the gun registry and state mandated indoctrination centres. . . .sorry, day care facilities.And don't get me started on the moribund health care system that even the Supreme Court has recognized...

Companion lost

I cried a lot today.I know, I know, I’m a big tough guy. But today I had to put down my beautiful German Shepherd, Holmes, after 12 and a half years of being my unconditional friend and companion.We are masochists us dog owners I think. We know we will outlive our pets and we get the gut-wrenching inevitable end such as I experienced today. Yet we will do it again and again.Holmes was a terrific dog. I got her when she was just six weeks old. And walking her in those days down around Second Beach in Vancouver illustrated what a chick magnet she was. Or I suppose any puppy really. But damn, she was cute.My friend John Daly, the BCTV, now Global, reporter was responsible for her improbable name. She was little ball of fluff when he first met her. The first words out of his mouth were “Yo Holmes” and thus she was named.I spent a lot of time with her in the early days. She learned all the usual commands plus a few more. When she was told to “get busy,’ she went off the beaten path and did her business in an area where no living creature would likely tread. I remember a day when she was ill and had diarrhea. I had to go out for the evening and was concerned about the state of the house upon my...

Citizen journalism lacks context

By now we have all seen the video of the Victoria police breaking up a nasty fight in the downtown core and during the arrests one police officer is seen kicking two different men.  On the surface, the video looks damning of the officer who has since been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. But on closer inspection it is clear that in the first situation an officer is struggling with one man trying to get him secured and the officer wearing the yellow jacket kicks the individual to get him to stop struggling.  The second is similar in that you can see one officer trying to get handcuffs on the individual who, I should mention, is 6'5" and 250 lbs.  The kicks are delivered in the context of securing that individual with handcuffs.  As soon as the man puts his left hand behind his back, ostensibly in surrender, there are no further blows struck and the handcuffs are applied. And here is the problem in a nutshell.  The police are allowed, by law, to use as much force as is necessary to execute their duty.  When they do, they must be prepared to justify that use of force and they are criminally responsible  for any excessive force.  The police know this and accept it as part of their job.  The test in each and every case is the key. For the purposes of this test, it is impossible to judge simply based on the video.  Whether this officer was justified in...

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...

Chief wrong . . .again

Calgary Police Service Chief Constable Jack Beaton has suffered yet another defeat in his attempt to stifle any and all criticism of his regime and all that is wrong with that department, with the ruling that the presiding officer in the disciplinary proceedings against Cst. Taufiq Shah lacked the jurisdiction to hear the matter. And that, as a direct result, the five charges against Shah were " a nullity."Beaton will no doubt be apoplectic about this. Right from the get-go he has displayed a ham-handedness in the way he has handled the criticisms levelled by a website, standfirm.biz and its successor, code200.com. In the Fall of 2004 the website standfirm.biz first appeared and actually lasted only about a week in the public domain. It disappeared almost as suddenly as it had appeared. It was manifestly critical about senior management of the Calgary Police Service, but most especially about Chief Jack Beaton, calling him a "rotten apple" and saying management was corrupt. About a month or so later, the site re-invented itself as Code200.com, which is the CPS code for Officer needs Help.Code200 was a little toned down from Standfirm, but the intent was clear - Beaton was the single biggest problem within the service.Well, as time and Beaton would demonstrate, despite thirty or so years of policing, he had not the typical skin like a rhino hide, but, more like that of an infant recently expelled from the womb. Beaton enlisted the services of a close and former associate,...

The hypocrisy of the higher moral ground

Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier’s public humiliation became complete with his resignation this week for being careless with cabinet level briefing papers that he evidently left at his former girlfriend’s home. Was that stupid? Oh, absolutely and undeniably. And he has paid forfeit with his job. And that is as it should be.But the sanctimonious bleating by the Liberal Opposition is really wearing a little thin. No, more than a little thin.The femme fatale in this sordid and tawdry movie, Julie Couillard, is basking in her 15 minutes of fame. It seems rather career, if not life-threatening to engage in any meaningful intimate association with this Black Dahlia. But all of that notwithstanding, the spectre of any Liberal MP barking about the risk to National Security considering the ties to the Libs of all manner of dodgy people they were happy to stand shoulder to shoulder with is not only absurd but insulting.Where does one start?Consider the demands that Mme. Coulliard should have been vetted by the Mounties before Bernier’s ill-advised dalliance. Uh, excuse me, but didn’t the RCMP try and stop the appointment of since-disgraced Minister of Public Works and ultimately Ambassador, Alfonso Gagliano to Executive Council because of his direct ties to members of Italian organized crime? And didn’t the powers that be in then Prime Minister Jean Chretien’s office ignore those warnings, much to their ultimate chagrin?Gagliano always tried to dispute his connections to organized crime figures as...

Time to go

The job of Chief Constable of a modern police service is a difficult one. The occupier of the office has to be one part politician, one part police officer and one part masochist. In Calgary, it would seem, that Chief Constable Jack Beaton has managed to get and keep the top job without any of the required skills.Having met Beaton, I am pretty sure he is not an idiot. So, why does he keep doing and saying such idiotic things?Without delving too deeply into it, let’s take a peek at the past few days.The Calgary Police Association this past week released the results of a poll of its members which said, in a nutshell, that the rank and file had no confidence in the leadership of the Calgary Police Service and that the vast majority wanted a new chief to be recruited from outside the service.Pretty stunning stuff really. Beaton has been, frankly, an embarrassment to the taxpayers of Calgary with some of the idiotic things he has said publicly. Where to start? Hmm…well there was the lunacy he spouted about not thinking that police officers in China wouldn’t be able to speak English He apparently found out this little gem of the incredibly obvious when he was in China on an indefensible junket. . . sorry, recruiting drive.. I mean really. . . .if you actually thought that and found out the reality when you went there, would you admit how stupid you were publicly? Jack Beaton did.The...

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....

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