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,...

Disingenuous or Dumb?

Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan is either one of the most disingenuous local politicians in a long time or one of the dumbest.When, in the last civic election campaign it became known that Sullivan had given an addict money to purchase drugs and had driven him around in his van ostensibly because Sullivan wanted to learn more about addiction or some such nonsense, I thought he must be an idiot.But, he managed to run a successful campaign and in the year and a half or so since he has been mayor of Canada’s third largest city, he hasn’t done anything really outrageous or spectacular for that matter.But, his statements in the media yesterday after the media reported that the Drake Hotel, purchased by the city for three times its assessed value, was owned by a numbered company which had Hells Angel East End chapter president John Peter Bryce as the sole company officer, was a surprise to him is outrageous.Notwithstanding any other of the numerous public source reports, last year the Vancouver Sun ran a series about the biker gang called Hells Angels Inc. in which they detailed in depth the various business holdings of the Hells Angels and central to that were the real estate holdings of Bryce and other gang members.Does Sullivan not read front page stories in major media about what is happening in the city he presides over? Equally, a minimum of research by city staffers doing due diligence on the purchase would have uncovered the...

Tasers aren’t the enemy

On June 23, 2004 Robert Wayne Bagnell died. According to a coroner's jury, he died of "restraint-associated cardiac arrest" due to acute cocaine intoxication and psychosis. And not, because Vancouver police officers used tasers to arrest and control the out-of-control man.According to the report in the Vancouver Sun Bagnell's family were "disappointed" the coroner's jury didn't make any reccomendations. Such as . . .. . . what exactly? Bagnell was the author of his own misfortune and nothing the family says will change that. He was on cocaine over-drive and destructive and violent. The police tried to just keep Bagnell contained until he came down and was more responsive. Circumstance forced their hand and the police opted to deploy tasers, considered non-lethal, to restrain and control Bagnell. As happens sometimes when a taser is used on someone with a cocaine-fired heart, the electrical shock has an adverse effect on their cardio-vascular system. And sometimes when that happens, the already over-loaded heart shuts down. We can debate whether or not that is tragic in a different forum, but suffice to say that in all the cases of this type of thing happening, it was never a result of the taser use, but the result of what the people do to themselves. But the hand-wringers seem to want to blame the police and force them to stop using tasers. The very thing they cry for when a cop under attack by some loser with a knife shoots the transgressor and the...

Media Sheep

Years ago, when John Yorston hired me into the mewsroom of the now defunct Montreal Star, I was taught that jounalists had to question everything and to source what you were being told twice or more. I wonder where that dogma has gone in the mainstream media in Canada today.Last week, Ontario Lieutenant Governor James Bartleman testified before the Air India inquiry that he had seen a piece of raw intelligence that indicated an attack was imminent on Air India and had promptly marched it over to an unnamed Mountie who said he had already seen the intel. Bartleman then said he'd heard about the Air India bombing in which 329 people lost their lives as he was packing the family up to go to the lake for the weekend. And for twenty plus years he said nothing!The Central Canadian mainstream media may swallow this wholeheartedly as is their wont, but please, is there anyone in the real world, who believes that a career bureaucrat who was in the posession of some information that seemed to play out to be true, wouldn't engage in a "cover your ass" exercise by telling someone superior immediately after the event?Give me a break!Bureaucrats learn, very soon after they are weaned from the nipple, that they must engage in an exercise called CYA - Cover Your Ass. Go on, I defy you. Ask any civil servant what "CYA" means and you will hear the response "Cover Your Ass."So, back to the...

Trouble in Paradise

I'd say it's nice to be back from a spring sojourn to Hawaii. But it's not.From Paradise to the reality of the nonsense that we seem to tolerate, without question, in our Deranged Dominion is a difficult transition.First, news out of British Columbia that the three BC Ferry workers on duty on the bridge, that fateful night a year ago, when the Queen of the North ploughed into Gill Island resulting in the loss of the ship and two lives, were fired for not cooperating with the subsequent enquiries. And the oh-so-so-typical Left Coast response that their union will appeal.While I would never attach the phrase ‘common sense’ and ‘union’ in the same sentence, have these idiots in this union lost whatever intelligence they were born with? Two innocent people are dead and a multi-million dollar piece of equipment they were responsible for is on the sea bed as a direct result of their actions. Who, if not the Officers on watch, are responsible?They have demonstrated they have something to hide, hence their non-cooperation. BC Ferries have made them accountable for their actions. I would only ask what took them so long? The union needs to understand this is not the Hill they want to die on.*******************************And then there’s the story of Ontario Lieutenant Governor James Bartleman and his incredible tale that, while a Foreign Affairs intelligence analyst, he spotted something that suggested an attack was imminent on Air India immediately prior to the actual bombing in 1985 that...

Justice is a myth in Canada

It is quite amusing really to hear the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, Beverly McLachlin, say that it's a myth that Canadian courts are soft on crime. It is perhaps frightening to think that she might really believe it. I guarantee that there is not a right-thinking person in this country who is not a criminal, a Liberal or a lawyer who would agree with the perspective spouted by McLachlin. It simply doesn't matter which case you look at in Canada, justice is never done. There is a legal system in Canada, but it can hardly be described as a justice system.It doesn't matter whether we are talking about the courts in Manitoba who are blatently ignorant about the Hells Angels or the provincial court in BC who simply cannot or will not jail habitual criminals for anything longer than a couple of weeks despite dozens and dozens of previous convictions and in the face of the highest property crime rates on the continent, the courts in Canada are failing the citizens of this country day after day. And nothing the Chief Justice tries to spin will alter that fact.A regular reader wrote to me this week after yet another judicial outrage. Here are his comments unedited. ************************************When are we going to learn? When they blow up the CN Tower, the Lion's Gate Bridge at rush hour? Acts of terrorism are acts of war and must be treated as such if we are to have any...

The ‘Thought Police’ alive and well

Following today's appearance by former RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli it would seem that in today's Force, the buck, such as it is, doesn't stop anywhere. Since I first wrote Are the winds of change blowing in Ottawa? I have received email messages from police officers across the country. The men and women at the sharp ends of things in the service of this country are in agreement that something drastically needs to change in the culture of today's RCMP. One writer, I thought, was particularly poignant. I asked for and received permission to reprint his thoughts in this space as long as I witheld his name to protect his career. A sad statement in and of itself now isn't it? Here is his letter to me:**********************************************************************Much ink has been spilled with respect to recent and not so recent revelations of fraud, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the most senior levels of the RCMP. Although it may have been received with some degree of shock by the Canadian public, it’s a fair bet to state that no regular or civilian member of the RCMP would have been surprised by these headlines.The repercussions for the members who dared to speak out also came as no surprise. The words “culture of corruption” and “culture of vengeance”, attributed to members of parliament describing the RCMP, are all too fitting. Truer words have never been spoken. Any member, whether dealing with senior management or low level supervisors have undoubtedly felt the wrath for going...

A dubious decision

Every now and again a court renders a decision that would appear, for all intents and purposes, that the members of that court have lost whatever touch with the reality to which they might have, at one time, laid claim.And then there's the Manitoba Court of Appeal and their incredible - no, unbelieveable - decision, as reported in the Winnipeg Free Press (Hells Angel allowed to chat with biker buddies, says high court), in the case of Hells Angel Shane Kirton who had pled guilty to an unprovoked, vicious assault on an unsuspecting bar patron. And not, I might add, his first go 'round with the law. But, back to the decision at hand. The Court of Appeal overturned the decision of Queen's Bench Justice Holly Beard to impose conditions on Kirton that he refrain from contact with his brother Hells Angels for the duration of his probation. Apparently, according to the Appeal Court, that condition infringes on his right to freedom of association guaranteed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and that the lower court should not have taken judicial notice that the Hells Angels are a criminal organization. Chief Justice Richard Scott said, "It is hard to escape the conclusion that the sentencing judge was led astray by her preoccupation with the accused’s involvement with the Hells Angels.” Oh? And why would she not? They have been found to be a criminal organization by superior courts in Ontario and British Columbia. The presumably well-read justices of...

Are the winds of change blowing in Ottawa?

For your outstanding leadership abilities, your commitment to the advancement of women in Canadian policing, and for your dedication to the effective delivery and management of human resources, wherein you have become an influential role model for all police officers. - 2006 Order of Merit of the Police Forces citation given to RCMP Deputy Commissioner Barbara GeorgeThe trouble with awards is that once given, they cannot be easily taken back. The other problem with national awards is that they are seldom given to those who actually deserve them. Too often they are given for political reasons, to individuals who just happen to be in a certain position or to members of the bureaucracy who tend to exercise some control on these things.Barbara George was just another senior level bureaucrat when the Governor General pinned the award on her chest. What had she really done to deserve it? Difficult to say. She spent a career being a carpet cop and wouldn't have the faintest idea what a real cop does for a living let alone being a "role model" for anything other than a bureaucrat wanting to climb the greasy pole in a federal government ministry.Do I sound disparaging of the now suspended Deputy Commissioner Barbara George? Sorry, I don't mean to. But, right after she was suspended by interim Comissioner Bev Busson following the testimony of several RCMP officers before the Public Accounts Committee concerning abuses of the Mounties' pension fund and their attempts...

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...