This weeks column for 24HRS Vancouver: Money needs to be restored to starved justice system

This week, Kathryn and I didn’t so much duel, as we did bring light to a big issue in British Columbia that has yet to make an appearance in any campaign to date.

The question this week is: What should the next government do about crime?

Oddly enough, crime is an issue that hasn’t been spotted yet on the election radar. Frankly, I find that troubling because as Kathryn accurately points out in her column, B.C. has a major crime problem.

In fact, several B.C. communities have regularly placed on the annual list of the country’s most dangerous cities issued by Maclean’s magazine. Surrey is nearly always among them – it’s currently in the top 10. As a Surrey resident, I’m not looking forward to seeing the ranking based on this year’s statistics – murders have hit double digits in the first four months of this year, the majority of them related to gangs. My hometown of Prince George is currently holding down the top spot on the list with a population of less than 100,000. Kelowna has had several appearances on the list as well.

Geographically, B.C. has become a hub for organized crime and drug trafficking because of easy access on the coast to both the U.S. and an international port. With it comes the trickle-down impact of crimes associated with those activities. Beyond gang-associated homicide and drug trafficking, addiction issues often lead to property crimes, petty thefts, assaults and general altercations. Clearly, it’s not a simple issue and there certainly aren’t any simply solutions or B.C. wouldn’t have the dubious honour of hosting so many cities on Maclean’s list.

Consider this: during the last 10 years, the BC Liberals closed 24 out of 68 courthouses to meet budget targets, closed 10 minimum and medium security prison facilities, and shuttered several Legal Services Society offices across the province….


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35 Comments on “This weeks column for 24HRS Vancouver: Money needs to be restored to starved justice system

  1. imo, It starts at the top and works its way down through the whole system. Money/favours buys lawyers, politicians at all levels, cops, brokers, bankers. I’m not talking about the little guy at the bottom.
    What is it going to take? I’m not sure, but there is something wrong with our society. Too many I know just don’t want to hear it, talk about or try and change it. They’re happy in their own little worlds and don’t want to get involved.

    Something I read long ago … (sorry Laila for the length.)
    “First they came for the communists,” he wrote, “and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.”
    They have so much, but they want more. It has been made all too clear that they will gut your life, your rights, your everything, in order to get what they want, and what they want is absolute and total control.
    Mr. Niemoller wrote his poem decades ago. It might read like this today:
    First they declared corporations were “people,” and I didn’t complain because I’m already a person.
    Then they made unlimited money “speech,” and I didn’t complain because the American Dream says I’ll be rich someday, too.
    Then they commandeered the means of production by shipping our greatest strength – manufacturing – overseas, because they don’t have bothersome unions over there, and I didn’t complain because WalMart has cheap stuff.
    Then they bought Congress so they could write the laws, and I didn’t complain because I can’t be bothered to vote.
    Then they bought the Supreme Court so they could cement their rule, and I didn’t complain because I don’t have time to pay attention.
    Then they bought the news so they could convince everyone it’s always been this way, and I didn’t complain because it’s always been this way.
    Then they manhandled an election and I didn’t complain because I’m not from Florida.
    Then they lied us into wars and I didn’t complain because I’m not a soldier, or an Iraqi, or an Afghani.
    Then millions died for profit and I didn’t complain because the graphics on the news were totally awesome.
    Then they started locking people up because they said they could and I didn’t complain because nobody locked me up.
    Then they started spying on everyone because they said they could and I didn’t complain because I’m a real American. (Canadian)
    Then they came for the worker, but thanks to supply-side trickle-down economics, I don’t have a job.
    This truth is self-evident.
    quote Mussolini directly: “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”

    • Nicely put, Curt! Deserves wider circulation (though you could shorten it some without lessening its impact). Neimoller’s is all the more powerful for being succinct.

  2. Curt, you captured the issue perfectly, much better than just whining about courtrooms closing. Laila, it’s not the poor, strangled justice system that’s at fault. It is lawyers who write the rules of the game. The politicians just rubber stamp the laws. Our laws are orchestrated behind the scenes by lawyers pulling strings, the enforcement of the laws is also dictated by lawyers who write the laws that permit the police and others who wield authority to get away with… well, pretty much anything they damn well please.

    Look at these two stories about who’s really running the show here in BC especially, if you want to know why “justice” is being starved, and the deadly effects this has for the average citizen:

    The point isn’t that one political party or another is “starving” the system, it’s much more insidious than that. It’s the dispensers of justice and law enforcement who are responsible for what Curt so accurately describes, “It has been made all too clear that they will gut your life, your rights, your everything, in order to get what they want, and what they want is absolute and total control.”

    Why? Simple, it’s very lucrative for lawyers and the state to be able to strip whole swaths of the citizenry, especially the elderly whose lifelong savings are there for the picking: Being able to wield unfettered power is the means by which this is done, and the icing on the cake for those who enjoy power.

    It’s not more money that’s needed, it’s a wholesale turning around of increasingly unaccountable and corrupt ruling elites, especially the legal, medical and law enforcement industries, and their hand-maidens, the politicians. Canada has degenerated into a mess of corrupt officials at every level. Throwing money at courthouses is just simplistic, superficial thinking – the kind that media is good at dishing out, thereby helping to keep the citizens in the dark.

    Kudos to Curt for speaking out so eloquently and with great insight.

  3. This has been on my radar since the Liberals did it. Completely short-sighted actions with long term consequences, which seem to be the way they operated for the last 12 years.

    Since those in the system get rich regardless, there seems to be no concern that cases regularly get tossed for Charter violations. Combined with the social problems caused by other cuts the system just gets bogged down more and more.

  4. Well the next government may end up being part of the crime situation as the previous was. I often look up well used terms in a dictionary and the definition of “justice” does not resemble what we have now. Fees for lawyers are astronomical for the average or less financially fortunate and of course business ie corporations can write off their legal help.
    One of the things to look at are the constant issuing of lenient sentences, dismissing of charges, looking to details that have no real bearing on a case. Most judges were at some time, defense lawyers. Prosecutors are also in need of a review. Who decided NOT to charge Adrian Dix, when in Premier G. Clark’s office, forged documents on govt stationery to try to protect Clark from a casinp licence scandal. Basi/Virk got off after they admitted guilt in their part in the BC Rail fiasco.
    The key part, the indemnity agreement is still kept from us. What happened that the Prosecutors rolled over on this one and further the govt decided not to go after our 6 million in defense funding.
    One change in this direction is to ensure the duely charged mount their own defense and deal with that AFTER the court rulings. It seems that when the govt takes donations, interferes with due process, that they are complicit.

    • Dix did not forge any document, which is why there was no charge. That word is all about Liberal spin. Back-dating a memo is not forgery. The prepared document he wrote contained all the pertinent information. An investigation eventually led to charges against Clark, in which he was found not guilty.

      • Totally wrong and that is what is wrong with Govt. He did make a memo a few days after to try to help the Preem. The date was the CRUCIAL part of the story and Dix did this deliberately. I call that forgery. Don’t you know that Dix CONFESSED to doing it. walked with 70,000 of our money.
        Clark resigned if don’t remember. Typical NDP/Lib behaviour from you .deny, deny, deny, then justify.

        • Yes, you are totally wrong again. The memo was written and the contents were accurate. The only inaccurate part was the date, which he back-dated. He resigned as a result. How is that related to charges being laid? You’re saying he resigned so they didn’t lay charges?

          Dix got $70,000, but at least he put in years of service. I think it was wrong since he resigned. But compare that to the severance handed to Cristy Clark’s’s Chief of staff Ken Bossenkoel for only a few months on the job and resigned following an alleged groping incident. But details were hidden by a mysterious non-written investigation.

        • Wake up Mosko.. the WHOLE issue was ABOUT THE DATE to protect Glen Clark. The date was everything in the memo and Dix wrote in the wrong date on purpose. He also ADMITTED THIS.
          Dix deliberately back dated the memo. This deliberate attempt to deceive the police is a forgery.
          He was never charged and should have been. You are wrong about Dix resigning, he was fired and this of course was a ploy of sorts to make it look like Dix was punished. He should have been charged, convicted, sentenced, and not be allowed to run as a candidate. You are blinded by your defensive position.

        • Well, the fact you have already determined he should have been charged, convicted, sentenced and never run for office pretty much shows where you are coming from. Due process means nothing, just your determination of guilt and dogmatic insistence he is unable to learn a lesson from his actions. Must be nice to be infallible.

          Did you hold that same moral stance when the sitting premier was actually convicted of drunk driving but refused to resign? Did you continue to vote for him?

        • Again your bias and wrong thinking come to the forefront. You seem to “assume” that I am a liberal. Again you are WRONG. The reason dix was let off was the government of the day protected him. Of course Dix should have been charged but as evident in the Basi/Virk affair they got off too. Should the ex Preem have been charged when drunk in Haawaii.. well I think he was.
          When you attempt to discredit me, in effect you do it to yourself. I want proper legal justice to be done and Dix should obviously have been charged but govt interference seems to have taken place. Keep defending Dix and your colours get brighter and more obvious.

        • As per your comment.. “Due Process” is NOT having authority to avoid due processes as you note. Obviously there was govt interference as in the BC Rail fiasco. I don’t hide behind anything and you and your exalted Dix should not either.

  5. like wakamole another pops up .Maybe it will be sold as to “pay for legal system improvements”.?

    • As an Independent candidate it appears I was the first to open discussion on legalizing marijuana. This is in concert with the courts, enforcement and the medical profession. Legalizing this plant would free up an enormous amount of court time, free police to go after the serious crime problems we have, and allow very therapeutic use of this plant. Partys won’t touch it because they can’t figure out vote % and so will not act on this idea..?what representation?

      • I applaud anyone trying to buck the system and run as an independent, but your inability to understand the written word and interpretation of logic makes you the same as any party politician. You say and believe what you want, make assumptions to fit your argument and make specious arguments.

        Good luck, anyway.

        • I learn much from ignorance like yours. I am not swayed by bs as you are, I majored in English, Grammar, Social Psychology so I understand you. Your insults are much like what would be heard from a fox in the chicken house. Please don’t bother with a reply as it just exemplifies your lack of understanding and your weakness to party jargon.

        • I have no party loyalty other than despising the current Liberal government. I encourage people to vote for anyone of their choosing, except Liberal candidates.

          You claim Dix wasn’t charged because the government of the day protected him. If you know something nobody else does please elucidate. The government of the day somehow wanted and managed to protect the assistant, but couldn’t keep the Premier from being charged?

  6. In 2001 the third largest city in the province,Burnaby, lost it’s courthouse. Gordo and his crew loathed Corrigan and his crew and shut ‘er down. Policing costs went way up due to cops shuttling defendants to PoCo and vancouver courthouses. Go figure!

    • Decriminalize marijuana… free up hundreds of hours of expensive court time, engage medical applications to the dismay of the drug lobby, allow the police to go after the serious crimes and not minor issues with MJ

  7. What’s your view in regards to today’s 24 front page? Should be interesting.

    • You mean 24Hours “wrapper” !
      The desperation of the Liberals is palpable.
      The ‘wrapper” is an insult to voters intelligence……..
      24Hrs recieves its money ONLY from advertising.
      Quite a coup to land that fat juicy ad!!!!!!!
      It still wont work.
      The libs are toast.

      • By its own nature, media as per 24 Hours needs revenue and ads are the source. 24 Hours does not necessarily agree with any ads and says so. I may not agree with 24 Hours editorial content but I’ll sure as hell defend their democratic right to say so. Consider the out right lies and bs we get from the Liberals, should we vette that? What the Partys say may determine their fate, who gives us the most deception and makes it sound the best?

  8. Laila ! Dont do anything crazy like quit 24Hrs just because the Advertising dept and the Editors prostituted themselves to the Liberals.
    The only way to defeat the “machine” is from INSIDE the machine! 🙂

    • Laila knows best what is good for Laila… if you don’t know, she is very independent in her thoughts and factual conclusions. You don’t really think she can be “influenced” do you?

      • Hi everyone – sorry to have missed the discussion but its been an incredibly busy week with things popping up all the time that need to be handled, and I am working on a story right now as well.

        Gary and nonconfidencevote are both correct.

        I have nothing to do with the ads or anything other than my column, The Duel, with Kathryn.

        While I was dismayed to see the style of the ad,and did share this with my editor,I have enjoyed working for 24Hrs and have never had any editorial influence to alter or change anything I have written. In fact, because my site is clearly listed on my authors page, my column brings a lot of attention to my work here and the number of readers has grown phenomenally because the column is carried nationally as well.

        Certainly, I am sure the Liberals would really love for me to quit 24 hrs, therefore not drawing the attention of over 100 thousand + commuters to my site and the extensive work I’ve written about on the Liberals and others in government.

        Quite frankly, I think it’s quite hilarious that the Liberals had to resort to buying a wrap ad like that to try and change the negative narrative being communicated by the media on Clark all over. Certainly it didn’t help them, everyone I talked to thought it was the most pathetic ad the Liberals have ever run.

        And I am sure they are looking forward to my column next Monday.

        • I cant wait.
          Christy deserves everything that is coming…….
          As they say, ” Payback is a Bee-yatch”

  9. Sorry nonconfidencevote: Laila & Bill T.’s cred will seriously suffer if they don’t step away and condemn this shameless shilling!

    • How has Laila’s credibility has suffered in any way from this?
      I’m fairly certain the editors (if you want to call those hacks that) dont consult Laila everytime the get a controversial advertisement. Or ANY advertisement.
      They screwed up. Case closed. But look at the free publicity they have now. TV, radio, all talking about 24 Hrs……..
      Not her fault. Nor do I blame her for the blatant Liberal attempt at propaganda during an election campaign. The Liberal party should be fined for false and misleading advertising.
      But I wonder how much loot 24 Hours raked in with this stupid stunt?
      Perhaps 24 Hours should carry a warning like cigarette packages.
      In this case the warning should be half the front page and say:
      May Contain the Truth

    • I’m sorry you feel this way, macadavy. My years of hard work independently speak for themselves and that hasn’t changed,I continue to share excellent work here and elsewhere.

  10. The 24 Hours ad may have cost $15,000.00 ? Chicken feed to the deep pockets the Liberals supporters have…..Keep pumpin those dollahs fellas! Nothin better than seeeing suckas bet on a losing horse……..