The ‘enemy’ IS corruption. Period.* update below main blog

2019 came in like a lamb in comparison to the way it left, following the great storm of 2018…and recent storms have left most of us sodden if not downright flooded.

It’s not the stormy weather that brings me here though, even as I watch the dark day outside get darker. It’s a comment I saw online recently calling any Green party supporter the enemy. It was all in regards to the Nanaimo election, but it kind of shed a bit of light as to how extreme the rhetoric still is….and how misguided.

The ‘enemy’ is not limited to a political party…the ‘enemy’ of the people is corruption.


And that ‘enemy’ did not disappear just because the Liberals are in opposition. Why?

Because corruption doesn’t begin or end with a political party. The kind of corruption we have in BC-like Quebec- relies on a large and insidious network of people who make it possible. For all this money laundering and drug activity to occur at the level demonstrated by the likes of Sam Cooper, Sean Holman and others like Dermod Travis, people in high positions of influence had to be involved or informed. It could not occur without staff paid off to open doors, exchange goods or cash and turn a blind eye. It’s simply ludicrous to think that one or two or even a half dozen prosecutions would stop it or even make a dent. ( I remind you now of two recent cases that ended with charges stayed)

For every fall guy who takes a rap, there are an endless supply to take his place. This is a lucrative underground industry. And oddly enough in the midst of all these casino money laundering stories, the province expanded gaming with the BCLC approval of a new casino in Ladner…go figure, it’s another Gateway operation.

This is why I can’t fathom Horgans hesitance to call a public inquiry, as detailed in this excellent piece below.

And as has been pointed out here for nearly a decade, there is ample reason to expand an inquiry to the public sector and government. BC Lottery Corporation is a government institution. Gaming revenue in the province has been tainted by dirty blood money. A portion of gaming revenue goes to community and non profit grants. Nothing is left untouched by this…nothing.

Horgan is dead wrong about what the public wants. I believe every single family touched by the seemingly unstoppable flow of drugs and cash into BC wants one. I believe everyone who believes in justice wants one. And it will be the only way to get all the answers as to how and why it has been allowed to flourish.

To accept anything less than a full Charbonneau style inquiry in BC, is to become complicit in the very corruption we need to stamp out. In fact you might as well send out written invitations to every other crime syndicate….because that’s the message it sends

** a comment from Tyr in the discussion below hits exactly what I was trying to convey here, but in a far more concise manner. Adding it here so it does not get lost.

” You have replaced the driver of the bus with another driver. The direction of the bus and the stops it still doesn’t make, are the same.

Valid points of corruption are lost in the din of chastising a specific party and calling it out for actions that continue with the new regime. By the same yardstick, those valid points are lost when party affiliation is stronger than common sense.

The best route is to expose the facets of the system that foster corruption, greed, nepotism, and chicanery, and demand that they be changed. Some blame the police, some blame the govt, some blame the laws when in fact they are all intertwined and dependent on each other. The police may not be corrupt, however starving them of funds and resources to investigate what should be investigated results in the same issue, non investigation/prosecution.

Reducing corruption to political threads and bickering is in fact feeding the corruption by not exposing the problems and demanding action. In the past in some countries, major inquiries have changed processes for the better. There is however a few caveats that must be adhered to. You have to have a completely independent staffing of such an inquiry. It must be free of ethical paucity and mental infirmity. The inquiry must have the power to subpoena witnesses, documents, and evidence. It must have the power to find contempt. It must have the legislated power to enact regulations.

Time for the public to focus.”

To know what is right and not do it is the worst cowardice. ~ Confucius

This is not a good week for the RCMP.

Nor is it a good week for the friends and family who loved Robert Dziekanski, and Orion Hutchinson.After all the time that has passed since their respective deaths, neither family have had a visit from that sweet lady, justice. And why is that?

I’ve spent a good amount of time thinking about both cases in the last several days, and the only thing to come from it is an ever-increasing feeling of frustration, and failure.

Frustration that in both cases,although the circumstances are quite different, the individuals involved in the incidents have failed to do the right thing.

Failure because the RCMP are the only defenders we have in Canada – barring municipal forces. The public depend on them both to maintain law and order and protect us, as their motto would suggest :  ” Maintains le Droit.”  Directly translated it means ‘ Maintain the Right”, (of the Crown )although it is often construed as ” Maintain the Law.”  Using this motto in reference to the deaths of Robert Dziekanski and Orion Hutchinson, it does make me wonder exactly whose rights did they maintain? While Cpl. Robinson was off-duty at the time of his involvement in Orion’s death,I feel his actions have a direct impact on his credibility as an officer of the law. His choices and actions on personal time call to his judgement as a member of the RCMP.

If the public feels they can not trust actions  or judgement of the RCMP, if they have lost confidence in the force as a whole, because of the actions of a few, the system has failed.

If even one person hesitates to ask for help when they need it because they are concerned about what might transpire, the system has failed.

When the public as a whole,are forced  into the position of  even having to consider whether or not an officer is telling the truth when he gives a ‘ statement of fact’, the system has failed. And to some extent, we have failed right along with it by accepting the status quo without question.

The mission and the values represented by the RCMP on their website is admirable, but in reality,meeting the expectations they have  set for themselves has become nearly impossible in light of the two incidents mentioned above.

CORE VALUES OF THE RCMP – Recognizing the dedication of all employees, we will create and maintain an environment of individual safety, well-being and development. We are guided by:

  • integrity
  • honesty
  • professionalism
  • compassion
  • respect
  • accountability

COMMITMENT TO OUR COMMUNITIES – The employees of the RCMP are committed to our communities through:

  • unbiased and respectful treatment of all people
  • accountability
  • mutual problem solving
  • cultural sensitivity
  • enhancement of public safety
  • partnerships and consultation
  • open and honest communication
  • effective and efficient use of resources 
  • quality and timely service

Clearly, something has gone terribly wrong  in what has been often recognized as one of our most noble Canadian organizations,because in the end, they remain accountable to no one but themselves. Even the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP have no ability to enforce changes on the way the RCMP operate. They can make recommendations, and often do, but no one can force the RCMP to accept them. Worse yet, the RCMP have demonstrated on several occasions that they can and will refuse to cooperate with CPC investigations and recommendations.

Clearly, the RCMP need a refresher on their core values and commitments to our communities – that is, if they expect to restore what little confidence the public may have left in the members. A little housecleaning in management and some restructuring would go a long ways. However, in the end, the single act that would restore more faith in our national police force than anything else, would be to simply do the right thing in cases like the ones mentioned above.

I’ve always taught my children that no one is perfect. We make mistakes, we screw things up sometimes, and occasionally shit just happens and you have no control over it. But it is what you do after the shit happens that matters. They know that the right thing to do is acknowledge the screw up, the wrong, or the crime and take the consequence, no matter how hard it is to do.

Why? Because that’s what people with integrity, values and compassion do. Moral courage has become a rarity, in these days where people are more shocked by someone telling the truth, than someone who lies and conceals. The RCMP seem to have become more concerned with saving their own skins than ” maintains le droit.”  

As much as they may deny it, there appears to be two codes of  law and morality in this country; one for the RCMP, and one for the private man.  It brings to mind a Japanese proverb: “The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the conduct of one hour. ” I think I speak for many when I say I will never forget the death of Robert Dziekanski, and Orion Hutchinson, nor the actions of the officer/s involved in either.

It is time for the RCMP to  publically acknowledge the failings of the organization, and of many officers within it. Then, and only then, will there be a place for a new beginning, a new start, and perhaps- just perhaps- justice for all.

Commentary- former Judge Wallace Gilby Craig sounds off on Shoestring Policing and Mousy Leadership

I’ve been an admirer of Wallace Craig and his writings for some time, and am very pleased to bring you a reprint of his latest column, with his permission. He tells it like it is.


August 6, 2008

IN his 1970 novel Mr. Sammler’s Planet, Saul Bellow foretold New York City slithering into criminal and social disorder.

Bellow recognized that under the madness and criminality of a dangerous minority of New York society “there persists, powerfully too, a thick sense of what is normal for human life. Duties are observed. Attachments are preserved. There is work. People show up for jobs. It is extraordinary. They come on the bus to the factory. They open the shop, they sweep, they wrap, they wash, they fix, they tend, they count, they mind computers. Each day, each night … (through) anguish, boredom; such discipline, such strength for regularity, such assumption of responsibility …”

Bellow’s portrayal of instinctive good behaviour by ordinary folk serves as a definition of the bedrock of public interest.

Whenever you are troubled by something done by our government or any politician just think about our constitutional right to “peace, order and good government” and decide whether the action or inaction is in the best interest of the general public.

Wrap them in a straightjacket of accountability and wring out of them every fact and circumstance.

By way of example, consider a recent exchange of e-mails between North Shore resident George Burns and Solicitor General John van Dongen.

On May 9, Burns e-mailed the minister stating his concern over a recent acquittal of a member of the Hells Angels and a Macleans magazine article entitled How B.C. Became A World Crime Superpower. Two months later Burns received a lengthy reply. It is bafflegab.

Van Dongen began by fobbing off the matter of drug trials as a federal responsibility without acknowledging that he is responsible for policing all criminal matters within our province.

In the liberal spirit of explaining and excusing criminals, the minister launched into fall-back rhetoric that crime is often linked to social problems and the need to continue searching for causes of crime (something above and beyond the fact that crime and drug addiction is a chosen pursuit of most criminals).

The issues raised by Burns were ignored as the reply became political double-talk: “Nonetheless, I must take exception to your contention that there is no political will to deal with crime in the province. Where this province has the legislative jurisdiction to act, we have.”

Thirteen “initiatives” were cited including including: 400 more police since 2003; traffic fine revenues returned to municipalities; creation of an integrated gang task force (without mentioning that there has been no consequent reduction in gang crime); and a Strategic Justice Partnerships Division to reduce crime by tackling the causes of crime.

In this rapid fox trot through a collection of boilerplate the minister (or an aide) touched lightly on the revolving door of sentencing, the menace of crystal-meth, civil forfeiture, safer streets, lauded the several-year-old Vancouver drug court (without saying how few addicts it deals with), lauded the still-to-be-born Vancouver community court, described the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit dealing with organized crime (without mentioning the fact that infighting between Mountie and Municipal police members caused federal prosecutors to abort a trial of a major case against the Hell’s Angels).

Van Dongen ended his letter with medicine-show exaggeration: “I firmly believe that our approaches to crime are not ‘band-aid solutions;’ rather they are some of the most innovative and leading means with which to combat crime in the country.”

That unfounded optimism requires government-issue rose-coloured glasses.

                       *                 *                 *                 *

B.C. has no jurisdiction over contracted RCMP

In British Columbia the solicitor general is charged with administering all matters under the Police Act. It is his pre-eminent duty to attack gang crime with a vengeance and be equally active in fighting street disorder, drug trafficking, violent crime and property crime. Anything less threatens our right to be reasonably safe in our homes and in public against violence and property crime.

Today, while there is growing public controversy concerning overdue changes to the Police Act, not a word is being spoken in outrage over the fact that the Act brings only municipal police under the jurisdiction of the solicitor general.

The majority of police officers in British Columbia are in E Division of the RCMP. They perform their duties under 20-year contracts as our British Columbia provincial police. They also do municipal policing under special contracts in many urban centres including our own city and district of North Vancouver.

Under contract but not under provincial jurisdiction, E Division does what it chooses to do with not even a by-your-leave to our solicitor general or mayors and councillors. Working under authority of the federal RCMP Act and an Ottawa command structure, they are virtual untouchables.

Indisputable proof of this is the disgrace of the Dziekanski death and its aftermath as the force blunders along with no intention of inhibiting the use of Tasers.

That disgrace deepened when Commissioner William Elliott submitted to being clinically tasered to demonstrate the weapon is harmless. He certainly didn’t wander around his office for eight hours before being jumped by four officers and driven to the floor for a bit of tasering.

I maintain that all police in British Columbia should be subject to the Police Act, employed by and accountable to elected civilian police boards and under the jurisdiction of a fully independent complaint process that carries with it the power to investigate and discipline.

We are in a time that cries out for leadership of the kind New York City was blessed with in the 1990’s. But all we have is fence-sitter Attorney General Wallace Oppal and bafflegabber Solicitor General John van Dongen.

Making matters worse is the silence of Premier Campbell concerning whether there is a handshake done deal to grant E Division another 20-year contract beyond 2012.

In 1994, Wallace Oppal, then a commissioner, authored Closing the Gap, a voluminous tome on our policing needs. It has much greater relevance today.

Throughout his work as commissioner, Oppal knew that he dealing with an abrogation of the province’s constitutional duty to administer civil and criminal justice; a first order principle from which all else flows.

As a matter of conscience and in the public interest it is the solemn duty of our attorney general to lead public discussion on this issue. If the premier won’t let him speak freely then Oppal should do the honourable thing and resign.

Dziekanski’s death is a wake-up call to get our policing house in order.

Anything less is contrary to the public interest.

                                *                 *                 *                


Published by the North Shore News on Wednesday, August 6, 2008.;

The Great Debaters

I admit it, I am a complete movie snob. I just cannot sit down and waste time watching the majority of the box office crap that are passed off as blockbuster hits. I need a movie made with thought, and one that challenges the mind and spirit.

The Great Debaters does all that – and more. Denzel Washington and Forrest Whittaker take you through 124 mins of thought provoking, awe inspiring struggle and verbal jousting, with a keen undertone surrounding the deeper issues of racism , justice and civil disobedience running through it . The remarkable thing about the movie is that it is inspired by the true story of professor/poet Melvin Tolson, who inspired, coached and motivated a group of black students from an African American college in the deep south to become one the most  elite debate teams in America in the 1930’s.

The movie follows both the personal struggles and victories of the team, and its members, who fight to dispel the myths and beliefs regarding blacks in the south  during that time period. Oddly enough, I found myself thinking several times during the debate scenes, how far we’ve come, and yet how far we still have to go. The debates surround social issues of welfare, justice, law and civil disobedience. How remarkable that in nearly a century, we still debate the same issues, with the same arguments, with the same passion as those  who lived in that volatile era.

This is a must see, for everyone, and for every student in high school. The art and skill of debate- and it certainly is both an art and a valuable skill in life – has been lost for the most part. No longer in our schools do we teach the way to present either side of a debate, on any issue. We do not teach our children to find their voices and have confidence in their thoughts and beliefs. Most can spit the facts out, but ask them to reason with you and you’ll be left with an open mouthed, google eyed look of surprise. The spirit of debate remains alive, for the most part whittled down to its weakest form , existing in Internet forums where anonymity gives power and safety to those who have no confidence in their own views.

I could go on, but just go and rent the damn movie, and perhaps watch it with your teens or pre-teens. I believe this film has the power to change the course of a life.

Ahh, my life for a good debate…..