Murder charge against cop makes no sense

In the wake of the madness in Ottawa, the words heroes and courage were being much bandied about. And as they should. We have all seen the video shot by the Globe & Mail reporter showing police officers with weapons drawn moving toward the sound of gunfire and then dozens of rounds being fired leaving Parliament’s attacker dead. It is part of the job for police to move to danger while the rest of humanity instinctively moves away from it. On the face of that alone, courage is needed. Two days before, a Delta police officer, Const. Jordan MacWilliams, was charged with 2nd degree murder resulting from an incident on Nov. 8th, 2012 at the Starlight Casino in New Westminster. The charge is chilling. MacWilliams at the time, was a member of the Integrated Municipal Emergency Response Team. They had been called to the casino after shots were fired and an agitated man was holding a woman hostage. Police contained the scene and isolated 48-yr.-old Mehrdad Bayrami who was waving around a pistol. As the five-hour stand-off dragged on, police tried numerous things to bring an end to it, including negotiators and deploying a robot equipped with a phone in an attempt to start a dialogue. A decision was made to try a non-lethal approach to arrest Bayrami using a ‘flash bang’ and Arwen guns, which fire large plastic projectiles. MacWilliams was designated “lethal” and positioned using an armoured police vehicle for cover. His job was to take the shot if the non-lethal approach went...

Media spin doesn’t reflect reality

In the past 48 hours a number of media stories have popped up saying the Prime Minister Stephen Harper "hid" in a closet during the terror attack on Parliament Hill Wednesday. Twitter was alive with those affected with Harper Derangement Syndrome (HDS) tweeting and retweeting  the stories gleefully. The suggestion obvious that the PM was scared and a coward. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Prime Minister was moved into the nearest place of sanctuary by aides once shots were being fired outside the caucus meeting room. Period. Any suggestion that this was anything else is pure nonsense. As someone who has spent time on the Prime Minister's security detail I do have some knowledge on the subject unlike some of the vitriolic tweeters gleefully pointing at these cheap journalistic shots. The Prime Minister's security detail has increased in the days since 9-11. But the one thing that didn't change was that they left the PM at the House of Commons and he was free to move between the House, Caucus meetings and his office without the encumbrance of his security detail. So, on Wednesday when an Islamic nutter killed a soldier guarding the War Memorial and took a run at the centre of our democracy, the Prime Minister's security detail was not in the building but waiting nearby outside Centre Block. In the caucus room the Prime Minister is the chairman of the meeting, but there are more people in there than MPs. There are a number of staffers and aides...

Clearing up media misconceptions in Surrey murder case

When the RCMP announced at a press conference last week they had made an arrest in the tragic murder of 17-yr.-old Serena Vermeersch in Surrey they initially didn’t the name of the man they had arrested citing a publication ban which they believed was in place. They wanted to. They even delayed the press conference for an hour while they sought clarification from the courts. They went with the announcement of the arrest but did not provide the assembled media with the name of their suspect while still awaiting a response to their question surrounding the publication ban. (The press conference can be viewed here) The Officer In Charge of IHIT explained the process when discussing why they were not, at that time, providing the name of the suspect. (It starts at the 2:01:54 mark in the video) Later that afternoon, at 3:40 p.m., once they obtained the clarification they sought, S/Sgt. Jennifer Pound issued a release identifying Robert Lee Caissie, 43, as the man charged with the murder. At no time did the RCMP say there were not identifying Caissie over privacy concerns as some have reported. Now that we have that clear, let’s look at some of the other misconceptions that have been tossed about willy-nilly in the media. Caissie served his full 22-year sentence. As it stands, there is no provision in Canadian law for Corrections Service Canada to hold any offender for one day longer than the sentence provided by the courts. That is why he was out in the...

Favours for political donations is corruption

Reaction to my column this week in 24 Hours because of the NDP's intention to give one last big favour to the unions in return for their being the largest donors to the NDP incensed some, all of whom are pro-union and anti-business. Fair enough. I suppose that was predictable. But their aim was off with their pointed shots and rhetorical diatribe. In the first instance, it is the recycling of taxpayer dollars to government coffers, to government workers wages, to union dues to NDP donations that at best creates a conflict of interest so large you could fly a 747 through it. At worst it lends itself to a quasi-legal version of the corruption we are seeing played out in the findings of the Charbonneau Commission in Quebec. In the second instance no comparison was made to somehow say business contributions were good but union contributions were bad. I said the NDP platform released two weeks ago contained a sop to the unions that was nothing more than reward for their loyalty and contributions - card check. Card check is the term for the elimination of the secret ballot in an organization attempt for a union and in my view this will cost all of us a lot of money if the NDP get a majority and try and ram this through. A version of card check used to be the norm in Canada, but more enlightened governments through the 80's and 90's brought in the secret ballot so that all affected...

Are guns to blame?

The shootings at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, CT, were shocking. Everyone feels that viscerally. But the rush to blame guns and the gun culture in the US is, at the very least, only a part of the issue. In the first place, none of the guns used in this incident were illegal and nothing that President Obama has done with his nearly two dozen Executive Orders would have changed that. Secondly, there has been precious little discussion about the impact that mental health had in this case.  Relatives have said the shooter was on some form of medication for "depression." So, we can assume some sort of psychotropic prescription pills. The more we look at other similar events it would seem a pattern emerges. A law enforcement friend sent me the following chart. While I haven't personally verified all of the information, I did have a look at a sampling and it seems accurate. Regardless, a pattern emerges that bears discussion. The Sandy Hook shootings have ignited a gun debate that is polarizing America and is causing politicians to do something for no better reason than to be seen as doing something in the midst of the debate. But new legislation or Executive Orders, no matter how well thought out, will only guide the behaviour of the law abiding. And no matter where you stand in the gun debate, this chart indicates what the real debate should be about. The prolific use of psychotropic meds is a relatively recent phenomena. It goes...

A compliant media and the Emperor with no clothes

Last week CNN was describing the developing story in the Middle East, the escalating battle between the Israelis and Hamas in Gaza. While the anchor Soledad O'Brien got the essential story line right, she neglected to tell the whole story. According to the CNN narrative, the latest violence was initiated when the Israelis took out the Hamas military leader as he was being transported in a vehicle and then posted the cockpit video on YouTube. Well, yes they did track and whack him and yes, he deserved it, and yes, the IDF did post it to YouTube. But what the irrepressible O'Brien neglected to mention is that in the preceding two days southern Israel was hit by over 100 rockets fired at them from Gaza by Hamas. A campaign undoubtedly directed by the man killed by the IDF. In the *quid pro quo* world that has become Israel's survival routine, what would you expect? But apparently it doesn't fit CNN's narrative. Better to just leave it out of the story so Israel can be painted as the aggressor. So much easier then to allow Islam's useful idiots to call for the Israeli's to stop "murdering innocent civilians." In this latest action, Twitter has been used as an information tool or spin tool by both sides. Admittedly though, it was the Palestinian side which was outed for using a photo of an injured Syrian child from a different conflict posted on the internet days earlier as an "example" of Israel's...

A second term?

US President Barack Obama is many things.  Unfortunately, one of those things is not being a good President.  In fact, he may well go down in history as one of the worst, if not the worst, presidents to hold the office in history.  And yes, in saying that I have considered the tragically ineffectual administration of Jimmy Carter.Obama has been in office for three and a half years and has done little to improve his nation's struggling economy, the jobless rate or indeed, the prospects for America in the years ahead. Never mind the security of the world given his fumbling of the Iran nuclear issue or the uprising in Syria. His kissing up to the Islamic world while thumbing his nose at the Israelis undermines decades of American foreign policy.He has done what he could to enrich his supporters such as the environmentalists and the unions.  Quick question: Who has visited the White House since Obama has been in office the most?  The SEIU President has been a guest of Obama over fifty times in three and a half years. Now considering the SEIU gave Obama almost $30 million for the 2008 campaign one has no difficulty seeing access to POTUS as the reward.In the 40's and 50's there was a saying, "What's good for General Motors is good for the USA."  Obama seems to believe the saying should be, "What's good for General Motors' unions is good for the USA"Knee jerk statements based on his own prejudices...

A second term?

second term.doc Sent from my iPad

West destroying themselves

Ten years after 9/11, much of the free world paused to remember and remind us to "Never forget." It truly is hard to forget that day for those of us old enough.  It was one of those history-making days that transcended everything running parallel, like the day JFK was shot or the landing on the moon for the first time.   But as I reflected on that day I was struck by a dichotomy; how far we have come in defeating the enemies of the West and how it may not matter if politicians don't get their head around our spending problem.   The people who hijacked those planes were bent on their mission to ultimately destroy America and the West.  In many ways they needn't have bothered.  We have been destroying ourselves from within for a long time. Unless and until western governments get control of their fiscal deficits, they will accomplish what Osama bin Laden and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed never could. We simply cannot afford to support so many politically correct causes and sacrosanct programs such as our healthcare system.   Equally, we cannot afford the ridiculous demands of groups like the BCTF and other public sector unions in their contract talks.  Where in the world do they think the money will come from?   The unions who drive the debate of the left in this country seem to think that there is no end of money available if we only tax the rich more.  Oh, and those damn corporations. And most especially banks and...

Report supporting police ignored by most of media

Dr. Christine Hall, an experienced emergency room physician, released a report earlier this month detailing her findings from a study of incidents when the police interact in a violent manner with the public. You likely haven’t heard of Dr. Hall or her study. The bulk of the mainstream media ignored her largely because she found that despite all the interactions police have with members of the public, less than one tenth of one percent turned violent and in most instances the police are restrained in their response and do not use excessive force. And unfortunately, supporting the police, for the most part, is not what is done in the mainstream media. It’s unseemly. After all, the police keep secrets from them. They must be covering something up. Oh dear, whatever will David Eby of the BC Civil Liberties Association do now? His delusional perception that all police are jack-booted enforcers of the Establishment has been - horrors - wrong! Eby is still perplexed why there haven’t been any complaints to his organization about police brutality during the Stanley Cup riot of June 15. Hint: the police were very restrained and the knobs weren’t. Most of Vancouver wished the VPD might have been a little less than professional and would have got some societal payback for every embarrassing waste of good oxygen who took part in that shameful event. But the VPD, as an organization, is made up of professional men and women who...