Martin just doesn’t get it

Prime Minister Paul Martin’s proposed ban on handguns is further proof that he just doesn’t get it.Crime is a huge problem in this country. Certainly the bodies falling on the streets of our cities is cause for concern, but this is no more a solution to gunfire on the streets than the gun registry was a solution to a lunatic misogynist like Marc Lepine.Criminals have it easy in this country. All criminals – from shoplifters to Mafia kingpins and all stops in between. There are no meaningful consequences for committing crimes in this country. It is no more complicated than that.Justice, such as it is, takes far too long to be delivered and when decision is finally rendered, it provides no solace for victims nor protection for the public. But, and more importantly, neither does it provide deterrence or punishment for the criminal. Well, nothing meaningful anyway.Giving a street thug probation for breeching a probation order is not justice. Yet, that is the practical reality every day across this country. What about jail you ask? Not in this country. It is exceptionally difficult to go to jail in Canada for anything short of homicide and even then I’m still shaking my head at the conditional sentences given to the street racers convicted of criminal negligence causing death for killing Irene Thorpe.If Martin really wanted to attack the proliferation of gun crime in our streets all he need do is amend the Criminal Code to tell the courts what to...

Harper takes advantage of Martin’s delirium

I realize it’s early in the campaign yet and far too soon to be making any predictions, but it certainly seems that Conservative leader Stephen Harper has seized the momentum out of the blocks.Thus far he has unveiled a new plank of the Tory platform every day including his promise to trim two points off the hated GST, something that resonates with most, if not all Canadians.Prime Minister Paul Martin has stumbled out of the gate and even taken the first weekend off to regroup. But before he limped back to 24 Sussex, Martin came out with one of the most inane comments ever uttered in any election campaign in this country’s history.This appeared in a “brief” in yesterday’s Ottawa Citizen:Martin Makes His Pitch to Asian Canadian Voters"Sometimes election campaigns can travel to so many cities and towns in a day it gets hard to remember what time it is or where you are. But Prime Minister Paul Martin appeared to forget what country he was in yesterday. During a series of interviews with Chinese media organizations, Mr. Martin attempted to explain to the interviewer how important the Chinese Canadian community is to the country. In fact, he announced that Canada has geographically moved its borders to be closer to them. "What we really are saying is we're a major Asian country," Mr. Martin told Omni TV, to roars of laughter from the Canadian media watching the interview."Canada a major Asian country? Geographically moved our borders to be closer...

Throw the bums out

If the first day of the new federal election campaign is any indicator, this is going to be a nasty fight. On CKNW’s Bill Good show before the Prime Minister even got to Rideau Hall to ask for the dissolution of Parliament, Mark Marissen, the Liberal Party of Canada campaign director in BC, came out swinging at the scariness of Stephen Harper. He evoked all the usual nonsense – the Tories are controlled by the religious right; gay marriage will be banned; women’s right to choose will be revoked.Clearly the Liberals are heading into the campaign bereft of anything remotely resembling an original idea. They stole our money then spent the days leading up to the non-confidence vote in the House trying to bribe us with what was left of it. I don’t know what’s more shocking. That they would try such an obvious ploy or that there are still voters in this country who would let them get away with it.The Liberals have proven at every turn that they are a tired, spent force as a government. Paul Martin played politics to a fare-thee-well to cling to power. He crawled into bed with Jack Layton to get his budget passed last spring and even bribed Belinda Stronach with a Cabinet post to turn her back on her party and her boyfriend. And then, when the opposition began demanding an election after the first Gomery report, he had the temerity to say he wouldn’t play politics, he was...

Liberal posturing fails to get at root of gun problem

Federal Justice Minister Irwin Cotler's announcement on manadatory minimum sentences for gun crimes proves yet again that they just don't get it. On the face of it the Liberals need to show they can be tough on crime. After all, with Mr. Justice Gomery's final report due in February we will be going to the polls within the next six months whether or not the opposition can force an election earlier. And, any announcement from this government that appears to do anything to stem the rising tide of violent crime is welcome. But realistically, Cotler's most recent foray into the debate about manadatory minimum sentences is nothing more that political posturing. And the Liberals can posture with the best. The real issue is the illicit drug trade and the turf wars that go along with it. Organized crime in its many forms is at the centre of all of this and any attempt to deal with the gun violence in our cities needs to recognize this at the outset. And it is on the issue of organized crime that this government fails miserably.Look at the report released by FINTRAC last week claiming they had identified over $2 billion in suspected money laundering and terrorist financing. Hey, that's great guys! Now, if you don't mind, could you answer this: What have you done about it?The short answer is nothing. They claim to have made 142 disclosures to law enforcement. Great. Now what are they going to do with it without...

Justice Minister dishes up more of the same

Justice Minister Irwin Cotler had the opportunity to do something positive to stem the rising tide of crime in our cities this week with Bill C-70, the act designed to amend the Criminal Code to restrict the blindly stupid use of conditional sentences in our provincial courts. But, as with everything this Liberal government does, he booted the opportunity. The bill does nothing it is being touted as doing. Nothing.And for some reason, MADD is applauding this sleight of hand by Cotler. After generating over 30,000 names on a petition to get the fed's attention on this issue, they are pleased when he says he is doing something about it, but does nothing. Conditional sentences were first foisted on an unsuspecting country back in the mid-90s. Ostensibly, the concept was to give judges an alternative to jail in cases that were non-violent in nature and where there were circumstances that indicated the accused would benefit from a non-custodial sentence. In concept, it was still meant to follow the other provisions on sentencing in the Criminal Code in which the protection of the public was a salient factor. But something happened along the way to allow the courts to give conditional sentences for all manner of crimes even manslaughter. Despite calling this Bill an "initiative to restrict the use of conditional sentences for violent crimes," it doesn't.Apart from banning the use of conditional sentences for anything terrorism or organized crime related, this new Bill C-70 gives judges all the wriggle...

Liberal sleaze laid bare

Pure unadulterated sleaze.If there was ever any doubt that the Liberal Party of Canada was corrupt to the core, yesterday's release of the testimony of Jean Brault, Paul Coffin and the Sultan of Sleeze, Chuck Guite, ought to have removed the blinders from even the most naive of the editorial board of the Toronto Star, the unofficial organ of the federal Liberals. Depictions of gifts, benefits and Formula One tickets are bad enough, but the direction made by Guite to make a $50,000 donation to Quebec Liberal leader Jean Charest's campaign and recover the money by padding govenment contracts shows the core corruption that ought to even make Paul Martin blush with embarrassment. But it won't. Martin and his cronies are already planning how to spin the next election which is supposed to be called after Justice Gomery releases his report which is sure to be damning. Wait for it, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper will continue to be painted as "scary" and Martin will cluck his tongue about how "unacceptable" the advertising scandal is and how he took action when he finally found out about it. And the editorial board of the Toronto Star will fall in lock-step with Martin and his corrupt government. Again.The picture illustrated by Adscam is depressingly familiar. The Liberals give out dubious contracts to friends and cronies worth millions and a portion of the money gets funnelled back back in various Liberal election war chests which is used to ensure they can remain in...

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 Knightleo@primetimecrime.com

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...