Thursday, December 29, 2005

Martin spins to defend Minister under the gun

Prime Minister Paul Martin's spirited defense of embattled Finance Minister Relph Goodale is admirable in his loyalty to a trusted lieutenant but certainly nothing but an attempt at spinning a bad situation.

While speaking to the media, Martin said, "I believe that an investigation, as does he, will clear the air -- including the allegation as to whether or not a leak actually took place. The RCMP have said that there is no evidence of wrongdoing on Mr. Goodale's behalf, his office or his department."

One has a very difficult time believing the RCMP would advise the Prime Minister of something as definitive as that just as the investigation is beginning. How could they possibly know what evidence they will or will not uncover when they have not yet begun the investigation?

Martin's spin is nonsense and designed to deflect the calls for the resignation of a Minister under the cloud of a police investigation.

In the British parliamentary system, the Minister is responsible for the actions of his or her department. Traditionally, the Minister should fall on his sword should there be wrongdoing uncovered in the ministry. Equally, should that Minister be under a cloud of suspicion, then he or she should resign pending reinstatement when that cloud is lifted.

But, it would seem that only happens with an ethical government. That apparently does not include the government of Paul Martin.

Leo Knight

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Talk is cheap

The rhetoric is flying fast and furious from politicians of all stripes as the country tries to come to grips with the indiscrimate shooting that occurred on Boxing Day in Toronto.

The Prime Minister was fast out of the gate with a bunch of empty words that said exactly nothing about bringing about the type of change necessary to combat the senseless violence. Not that I would expect much else from him, but a real leader would stand up and meet the problem head on.

NDP leader Jack Layton got a little closer to the mark with his comments. "These crimes remind us that we must get illegal handguns off our streets in Toronto and across Canada. To do that we need tougher border controls, tougher sentencing for weapons offences and tougher anti-gang policing, prosecutions and sentencing."

Sounds good until the very next thing out of his mouth. "We need more effective witness-protection programs and more compassionate victim assistance. We also need to get tougher -- much tougher -- on poverty, unemployment and social exclusion."

Uh-huh. More socialist claptrap. I mean really, social exclusion? We are the most inclusive country in the world.

Conservative leader Stephen Harper at least seemed to focus on the issue when he said, "I am committed to doing everything necessary to crack down on gun violence, including increasing support for front-line policing; stopping the revolving door on our nation's sentencing system by introducing mandatory prison sentences; enforcing Canada's tough gun control laws; stopping the flow of illegal guns at our borders; as well as supporting community programs for youth at risk. I will have more to say about this in the days to come."

I suspect they all will have more to say on the issue in upcoming days. And what they say will be telling as the events in Toronto have propelled crime up the list in election issues. Only Harper seems to have grasped this fact thus far.

Leo Knight

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A Christmas filled with horror

The news started breaking around the supper hour on Boxing Day. By this morning the full horror of what happened in a busy shopping area in downtown Toronto was clear. Two groups of rival thugs started tossing shots at each other with the streets full of people taking advantage of the best shopping day of the year.

When the smoke cleared, seven people had been shot and one was dead, a 15 year old girl out shopping with her family. An innocent victim of the escalating insanity dead with her whole life in front of her. It is absolutely outrageous.

These little pissants don't give a damn about the rules of a civilized society and it is way beyond time we recognized that in this country and started doing something to take back our streets.

We should all be sick and tired of the pablum we are being spoon-fed telling us that our sad excuse of a justice system is working. We are constantly being told that these scumbags deserve more chances and that jail doesn't work because they will be eventually let out.

I call Bullshit!

When a 15 year old girl can't go shopping with her family without getting shot, something is horribly wrong. And that something is the concept that the rights of the accused supersedes the rights of society to be protected. The concept of lawyers and the judiciary worshipping before the altar of the Charter in this country must stop.

Vancouver has the highest property crime rate on the continent. Surrey and Abbotsford, both suburbs of Vancouver, are number one and three respectively for the highest rates of car theft in North America. Toronto is setting historical records for the numbers of shootings and the number of handgun related deaths this year is twice the previous record. Edmonton is having a banner year in homicides and gang violence in Calgary is at an all time high.

The proliferation of organized crime is out of control and the government has done precious little to stem the rising tide.

Enough is enough.

We are in the middle of a federal election and the main issue in this country should be crime and the protection of society not whether or not Stephen Harper would call a free vote on gay marriage. Who cares if two men want to call themselves married? As long as the churches in this country can follow their respective doctrines and not be forced to participate, who really cares? This is not a campaign issue, it's a red herring put out there by a government bereft of ideas or morals.

We all have an opportunity in front of us to send a message that the status quo is not acceptable. And I'm not talking about the theft of millions of dollars by the Liberals.

No, I'm talking about demanding our politicians understand their primary duty is to protect the population as a whole and not just special interest groups, friends and party workers. They should then tell us exactly how they are going to do that. And then, and only then, consider whether they deserve your vote.

Our country is at a crossroads. This is not a left or right issue, this is a right and wrong issue. It is wrong to let the criminals do as they please, to snub their noses at society and then get no barriers placed in front of them to halt their criminal behaviour.

The murder yesterday of an innocent teenaged girl in Toronto is so outrageous it should wake up even the most somambulent of voters. I want to hear what everyone running for public office is going to do to fix a horribly broken system.

Enough is enough.

Leo Knight

Thursday, December 08, 2005

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 do and not let those ermine clad wonders on the Supreme Court bench tell the country what is good for us. Take back the country from the liberal social engineers who are convinced that all people will fit their image of what a good person is and will change their evil ways if given enough chances.

Commit a crime with a gun? Simple solution, you go to jail for years, not days. You don’t get a conditional sentence. You don’t get to piss about on probation. This is no different than stopping a puppy from peeing on your carpet. The puppy sees some consequences for his actions and eventually the behaviour is modified until it is acceptable.

Handguns have been tightly controlled in this country since 1934. According to StatsCan, two thirds of all gun related homicides are committed with handguns and 84% of those are committed with unregistered handguns. The Liberals have spent $2 billion on their stupid long-barrel gun registry and what has that achieved? Nada, nothing, zilch. Any legislation to further control handguns will not prevent one single, solitary death. But, knowing Martin it will probably cost a lot of money and employ a lot of bureaucrats who can speak both official languages.

Martin doesn’t get it and he never will.

Leo Knight

Sunday, December 04, 2005

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 to Asia? Has he lost all touch with reality?

Harper has been strong thus far in deliberately and methodically saying what a Conservative government will do. Martin is musing about Canada’s place in Asia? The 60’s were apparently good to him.

Then there was NDP leader Jack Layton in Vancouver on the weekend trying to justify having a convicted thief on the slate when he actually said disgraced former MP Svend Robinson was an example in his behaviour.

"Svend has a long history of serving his community and standing up for people on many issues, and I think his behaviour, given what happened, has been exemplary and Canadians and his voters will certainly understand that and appreciate that," said Layton in response to reporter’s questions.

Really? Well, this Canadian voter does not understand that. Robinson got caught stealing a woman’s diamond ring worth over $50,000. He claimed he had some type of brain cramp. Well, whatever. He stole and got caught. The last thing this country needs is another thief in Ottawa. The Liberals have provided enough of them.

This election was driven because of the systemic corruption in the federal Liberal party. The combined opposition said the government lost its moral authority to govern. If ethics is the primary issue, one wonders how Layton can possibly defend the actions of Robinson with a straight face. But then again, Paul Martin thinks we are no longer on the North American continent.

All in all, it would seem, a good week for Stephen Harper.

Leo Knight

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

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 too busy trying to govern.

The vapid Liberal spin in the past couple of weeks is insulting to any Canadian with a lick of common sense. The latest is that the Tories have got into bed with the Bloc and thusly threaten the nation. What tripe!

The opposition is made up of three parties and a handful of independents. For their own reasons the parties agree they lost confidence in a government bereft of a moral compass. That is hardly climbing into bed with anyone for any nefarious purpose.

Indeed, it is the Liberals and the corruption that was demonstrated in the Sponsorship scandal that ultimately is threatening the federation. Couple that with the appointment of Jean Lapierre, founder of the BQ, as Minister of Transport after the last election and it is the Liberals who threaten Confederation. But that doesn’t fit their spin now does it?

The Liberals will try and convince you that Stephen Harper is the boogeyman. Martin will try to sell himself as the only logical choice because they are the “devil you know.” Well, we do know them. They are the party of corruption, of patronage, of entitlement and the party of scandal.

It’s time to throw the bums out.

Leo Knight

Friday, November 11, 2005

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 the resources to actually investigate it?

And this is where the rubber meets the road in all of this. The RCMP are essentially the only organization that has the capability to do organized crime investigations. Municipal forces are focussed on meeting the demands for service in their various communities and are unwilling to commit any of their scarce resources to long-term, expensive investigations into organizations that don't recognize or respect borders.

That leaves the Mounties. There are a couple of special sections such as the CFSEU in Ontario, Quebec and now in BC as well since they usurped the Organized Crime Agency (OCABC). But they are small sections with limited budgets. To follow money laundering information such as FINTRAC provides, requires a large team of dedicated investigators, surveillance units, electronic intercepts and time. A lot of it. These investigations take more than a year on average and that is just to go after one of the 142 disclosures made by FINTRAC.

The bottom line is that the police are barely making a dent in organized crime in this country. The drug trade and the profits it generates for organized crime far surpasses any efforts the police are able to mount. And that leads to a lot of competition for control in the streets. And that leads to guns in the hands of street level gang-bangers, used by the real players as cannon fodder in the bigger game.

If Cotler and his colleagues really wanted to make a dent in gun crime, they would produce some initiatives to give law enforcement the tools and resources to actually wage a war against organized crime instead of only being able to engage in superficial skirmishes.

If they actually wanted to do something. But they don't. As best I can tell, all they want to do is cling to power.

Leo Knight

Sunday, October 30, 2005

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 room they need to ensure the status quo is maintained when he wrote in the phrase, "exceptional circumstances." Perhaps MADD forgot to read that part or maybe they actually trust these guys.

In many municipalities, voters are gearing up for local elections next week. Listening to talk radio and reading the papers, it seems quite clear that crime and high taxes are the main issues this time around. Admitedly, it is the federal government that can do the most on those two issues .

Unfortunately for the voters, the last election was hijacked by the spin doctors and they managed to convince the electorate that the election was all about protecting public health care and Stephen Harper was scary. And a majority of Canadian lemmings bought it.

There is another election coming soon. The Liberals are gearing up for it already and the bill introduced by Cotler is designed to convince the country that they are getting tough on crime. But, when one actually scratches beneath the surface, it's clear it is the same old stuff. All sizzle, no steak.

One hopes the electorate, and MADD, figure this out before the writ is dropped.

Leo Knight

Saturday, October 15, 2005

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 power to continue the cycle over and over and over again.

And make no mistake about this, Adscam is only one method the Liberals used to accomplish this. In fact it seems to me it was only a small part of it.

Mr. Justice Gomery described the practice quite accurately when he said, "If it was a drug deal, it would be called money laundering.” Remember that the scam was overseen by Alfonso Gagliano the former accountant to Augustino Cuntrera, the de facto head of the Caruana - Cuntrera crime family and that observation becomes particularly more poignant.

And Adscam was only a piece of chump change compared with the so-called 'Shovelgate' scandal where $3 billion was administered through the HRDC ministry in dubious grants and sponsorships and job-creation projects to Liberal friendly groups, companies and organizations. A scandal that spawned, I might add, 19 separate criminal investigations and has seemingly disappeared off the radar screens.

Neither former Prime Minister Jean Chretien nor the current PM ever called a public inquiry into that scandal despite the fact that it involved more than ten times the amount of money in question in the Adscam scandal. I guess for Paul Martin, that was "acceptable."

But it really doesn't matter what program were talking about. The Liberals are all about staying in power to funnel taxpayer money to their friends and insiders who then launder the money back to the Liberals who use it to aide their re-election aspirations.

Their modus operandi has been laid bare by the testimony made available in the Gomery Inquiry. But don't for a moment believe that Adscam was isolated in any way, shape or form.

Leo Knight

Sunday, October 02, 2005

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 judge instinctively knows it. Yet, they play their role without complaining about the futility of it all.

Allow me to give you an example. On July 2nd a young man was walking home from his girlfriend’s house in Richmond. He got jumped by six young men. Men he had never seen before and to whom he had absolutely no connection.

He was pepper-sprayed, kicked, beaten and stabbed. In spite of his injuries, he was able to call 9-1-1 and the RCMP dog unit that responded tracked down and arrested Patrick Gregory Adamczewski, a 19 year old criminal frequent flyer. He was charged with attempted murder. Charges, I might add, which were later reduced to aggravated assault and assault with a weapon. Lesser charges, but still, one would think, serious.

Note that these were not the oft-described “non-violent” offences for which the system routinely activates the revolving door on the front of the courthouse.

Adamczewski was arraigned and released on bail with the usual condition to keep the peace and be of good behaviour among other things. His mother showing a faith only a mother could, put up a $25,000 surety to secure his release. He ignored the court-imposed conditions to no one’s surprise.

On September 2nd he was arrested. When he was brought before a judge on the new charges, and despite his history, much of which I cannot tell you about to protect the young man’s privacy, he was again released on bail.

And with that, the courts, yet again, failed in their duty to protect the public.

Leo Knight

Sunday, September 25, 2005

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 Knight

Sunday, September 18, 2005

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 no one’s great surprise, Carmichael committed an armed robbery while on probation. He got 14 months for that particular transgression. He then escaped from custody and got another four months tacked on.

He was also a junkie who stole to feed his habit. Crystal, crack it didn’t matter. In June he promised the parole board that he’d be a good boy and take counseling for his drug habit. They believed him and let him out ten months before his sentence was due to expire.

As was entirely predictable, Carmichael ditched his counseling before it was complete and went to ground. He was supposed to live with his grandmother on his release. Well, he neither showed there nor at his probation officer’s office. A warrant was issued for his arrest and with that, the parole system wiped its hands of an habitual thief, junkie and convicted armed robber.

Less than two weeks later, while driving a stolen Jeep, Carmichael killed the Calders, put the Calder kids in critical condition and killed himself and his girlfriend, also 19.

The tragedy here is gut-wrenching.

A spokesperson for the parole board tried to mitigate their responsibility in this by saying if they hadn’t let him out into counseling, he would have been released anyway at the two-thirds point in his sentence. True, but the Calders would still be alive and Carmichael would have eventually breached his conditions anyway.

But even that observation seems trite.

The problem is the way the system treats habitual criminals like Carmichael. True he was only 19, but his history clearly showed there was no hope for him. And minor sentences like 14 months for armed robbery let alone the original 60 days for stealing a car, continue to be as ineffective as the parole board’s hand wringing.

And probation on top of probation on top of probation for someone who has clearly demonstrated a total lack of concern for any restriction put upon him by the courts is wrong, wrong, wrong.

Brad Calder was a family man, a hard worker and a sports coach for kids in his community. He was a productive member of society. He and his wife are just the latest victims of a liberal experiment in social engineering that continues to prove its fallibility.

Will they never learn?

Sunday, July 31, 2005

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 has had a "gang" problem for a number of years now. Ask any police officer. Indeed, ask any police officer involved in organized crime investigation in either Edmonton or Vancouver and they will tell you of the triangle of organized crime between those cities.

It' s all about drugs and it's all about the power and money that go hand in hand with drugs. To suggest, as Beaton does in the story, backhandedly, that the police will easily handle the problem is naieve in the extreme. To further claim that they will do it as they handled the Hells Angels is frighteningly ridiculous.

The Calgary Police Service merely won a battle in a much larger war against organized crime and the Hells Angels when they successfully concluded an investigation that resulted in the arrest of a few patches. The city expropriated their clubhouse and forced its relocation. That is all.

The war against organized crime is being fought on many fronts by many brave men and women. The gang problems that arise in all cities is merely a by-product of the bigger war. It needs to be recognized and fought properly and never trivialized.

I take no issue with elements within the media that want to support law enforcement. No one in the media defends the police more than yours truly. But, to ignore significant and substantial criticism in favor of lobbing softballs at a problem that grows daily is merely playing sap to the problem itself.

Leo Knight

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Fighting back against the Hells Angels

Friday's raids on properties belonging to the Hells Angels East End chapter were a welcome shot across the bow of the outlaw biker gang.

Well, welcome for most honest law-abiding citizens I should say.

I listened this morning to Vancouver Chapter member Rick Ciarnello flapping his gums on CKNW on the Peter Warren show. For the most part he got a shellacking from callers only to have the blustery biker call them "stupid" for calling it as they saw it.

But Ciarnello, for all his propaganda, did make a good point when he refused to equate his club members with members of the federal Liberal party. The Libs are currently embroiled in the Sponsorship scandal that clearly defines the systemic corruption that has come to epitomize the Liberal Party of Canada.

Smart on his part I suppose. Despite the hundreds of murders attributed to the Hells Angels in this country, not to mention the arrests in chapters across the country, any suggestion that the Hells Angels were somehow comparable to the federal Liberals was somehow beneath him.

The day after the search warrants were executed we were treated to the vision of long-time East End member John Peter Bryce wailing and whining about the fact the police hit the clubhouse hard, using big tools to open the metal reinforced doors. Bryce whined that there were people there who would have opened the door if asked.

Well, whatever. The Hells Angels use hang-arounds, puppet gangs and prospects to provide security for the clubhouses. The chances of a wannabe allowing voluntary entry to a police officer knocking on the door asking "by your leave", into a clubhouse are somewhere between slim and bugger all.

But we'll allow Bryce his make-believe world. But I suppose he has to play "let's pretend", after all, one of the individuals caught in the latest police dragnet was his own son. It would seem the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree.

But at the end of the day, Bryce's bleatings are just that. The Hells Angels, as an entity, may not be a criminal organization as a whole. In fact, the outlaw motorcycle gang operates in a cellular structure with individual members running their own "business" and using their gang status as their ultimate weapon of intimidation to ensure their "business" is successful.

But much of that may be little more than semantics. The police in BC have served notice in this investigation that the bikers do not have immunity from the law. They also said in their actions, that they will not be intimidated. That was their message to John Peter Bryce and his brother members when they smashed their way into their fortified clubhouse.

Leo Knight

Sunday, July 10, 2005

In a world gone mad

As I watched events unfold in the UK this past week, I couldn't shake the feeling the world has truly gone mad.

In Gleneagles at the G8 conference, events pretty much unfolded as predicted in last week's entry. The anarchists, waited for what they perceived as the right time and attacked the police lines.

The police, ready as ever, repelled the assault and made a couple of hundred arrests over the course of three days.

The media consistently referred to the anarchists and mayhem-makers as 'protesters.' They are nothing of the kind. Sir Bob Geldof called for a day of protest. Many thousands answered the call, lending their voice and their presence in support for the cause. They are protestors.

People who hide behind balaclavas, armed with tire irons, bottles, rocks and petrol bombs are not protestors. They are thugs and need to be treated as such, especially by the media who seem to think they are the victims.

As it was all unfolding according to script, the unthinkable happened in London. A series of bomb blasts turned the city into absolute chaos, shutting down the transit system and leaving 55 dead and hundreds wounded.

The world was horrified. Well, except for the followers of radical Islam and quite likely the anarchists who were arrested in the violence at Gleneagles. They of course will blame Tony Blair for blindly following Bush into Iraq and whatever other nonsense their moribund brains come up with.

There seems little doubt that al Qaeda factions were responsible. There is also little doubt the blasts were designed to cause maximum terror and maximum commotion especially when the bulk of the country's security apparatus was busy in Gleneagles with the G8.

This type of attack may be all that's left to them. In the post 9/11 world, security, especially on the North American continent has been substantially improved. What Mohammed Atta and his cohorts were able to achieve that horrible day is very unlikely, if not impossible in today's world.

US and coalition forces as well as security forces from around the world have captured or killed many of the leaders of al Qaeda. The primary battle front in the War on Terror is in Iraq. But that doesn't mean the enemy has no ability to bring the fight to other countries. The events of this week clearly show that the enemy, though wounded, is still very, very dangerous to Western civilization.

We, in the west, including Canada, are at war. We have been since the fall of 2001. The enemy are the believers in radical Islam. They can attack anywhere, anytime. And they will remain dangerous until they either give up, which is unlikely, or are eradicated as a threat.

For some reason our politicians seem to think that same sex marriage was the most important issue facing the country this summer. And they have managed to lead the lapdog media into believing that too. To accept that, as they have done, shows how delusional they really are in this mad world.

We in Canada, have yet to experience a terror attack on our shores. But it will happen sooner or later. That seems as inevitable as the sun coming up tomorrow or Paul Martin lying to suit his position of the day.

Martin and his Liberals are governing during a time of war. The first and primary duty of any government is to protect its citizenry. We have seen no sign of that from them as they chirp and harp about the right of gay people to marry.

If governing is all about priorities, in this world gone mad, it is hard to believe - nay, conceive even - that our government cannot see the how badly they are failing in their duty.

Leo Knight

Monday, July 04, 2005

A long, hot summer

Sorry I haven't posted for a while, but I have just returned from a most welcome respite golfing the fine tracks in the Okanagan. But the nose is firmly back on the grindstone now.

I couldn't help but notice the news today that the black-clothed buttheads have resurfaced in Edinburgh and wasted little time in attacking the police deployed in the annual charade that surrounds the G8 meetings.

Wait for it. Today's clashes were only the beginning. Gleneagles is, unfourtunately a little too close to civilization to be holding the annual meeting of the leaders of the free world.

This has become an all too frequent event and the accompanying riots are too much to take. And watch as the mainstream media refer to the anarchist buttheads as "protestors" as though they were there to actually there to do anything but attack the police and then whine like petulant children when they get what they were asking for - a proper ass kicking.

Remember Svend in Quebec City? "Waaaaahhhhh . . . a rubber bullet put a hole in my pants!"

Now, don't misunderstand me, I don't give a fig when they get their ass kicked nor do I care that they get it at all. What I do care about are the cops on the front lines who have to exercise all possible restraint as these perfectly good examples of oxygen wastage plan their mayhem while the media plays along instead of calling it what it really is.

From the petrol bombs, the tire irons, the rocks and bottles, the cops are going to see it all. And when they take action you will listen to the poor "protestors" whine and whimper about the brutality exercised by the men and women paid to protect society. And the media will eat it up.

Oh yes, I've seen it all before. . . APEC, Seattle, Quebec City, Genoa. The story is always the same. Only the locations change. When it didn't happen was at Kannaskis. It was too remote with security controlling the access so that the buttheads would have had to befriend a grizzly bear to get near. The attempts that were made in Calgary were thwarted by the excellent efforts of the Calgary Police Service to, literally, cut 'em off at the pass every time a stunt was attempted.

Oh yeah, and there was the meeting in China where none of the buttheads showed up because there, they would have really met with treatment unlike anything they now claim as police brutality.

Leo Knight

Sunday, June 19, 2005

The freedom to know

It's high time our courts got rid of the ludicrous publication bans that are preventing Canadians from know what is going on in our names.

As proven in the Gomery Commission hearings, the media has changed and information has a way of getting out regardless of what the starched shirts want to see happen. The news is no longer disseminated on broadsheet pages. It's digital, it's fast and it's everywhere. Information is king and efforts to slow or stop the flow are doomed to fail.

And so what? Our courts have traditionally tried to contain information within the four walls of the courtroom on the basis of ensuring the accused gets a fair trial and the public's mind is free of any information which might bias their way of thinking.

But, can that argument really be made with any credibility any more? Look at the Michael Jackson case for the best argument that refutes the court's position. Jacko may be whacko, but despite all the publicity he wasn't found guilty.

I can't imagine how there could have been any more publicity about that case both before and after the trial started. The web site The Smoking Gun even managed to get documents posted that the mainstream media had tried and failed to obtain. Anyone on the planet could have found out all the evidence including the details of the previous settlement with the other boy long before the first jurror was picked. Yet, the system worked as it was designed to do and a jury rendered its verdict.

Can anyone say that his rights were abused by the phalanx of publicity? Hardly.

It's long past time the antiquated and moribund justice system in Canada allowed itself to join the rest of the world in the new millenium. A good start would be in the Pickton case. The trial against the accused serial killer is soon to start and the arguments about the publication bans are taking too much time and costing everyone too much money. Most especially the taxpayer.

The media will cover the case. The Blogosphere will report on the facts and rumours. But, at the end of the day, 12 people will responsibly do their duty no matter what has been said, broadcast or reported.

Leo Knight

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Standing up for what is right

The media have adopted the Police Complaints Commissioner's report (Blue Curtain: VPD has fostered 'culture of resistance' -- critics) as their new cause clebre. Unfortunately, Vancouver Police Constable Jamie Graham has yet to come out and call it for what it is - a hysterical piece of nonsense. So, I will.

For whatever reason, the Vancouver media seem to think the so-called Pivot Legal Society has a shred of credibility. They don't. The fifty or so wild allegations made by them have been roundly and soundly refuted by numerous police investigations including the investigation by the RCMP that the commissioner, Dirk Ryneveld, uses as the basis for his accusations.

In reality, the RCMP investigation report said it had a problem with nine of the complaints in that there were procedural issues and a possibility of a lack of co-operation on the behalf of some VPD members, not that any of the complaints were substianted. That was it. And that seems to be what has Ryneveld in high dudgeon. And I say "so what?"

Right from the get go, it was obvious the Pivot accusations of kidnapping and torture were so much hyperbole that no thinking person should have taken them seriously. But the media did and for whatever reason, apparently still do.

The Vancvouver Sun in its story linked above, takes great pains to regurgitate cases that have already been resolved and judged appropriate behaviour such as the so-called 'Riot at the Hyatt' and the Jeff Berg case. Were they so short on real material that they had to raise the illusion of scandal by lumping those cases in?

At the Hyatt, a crowd of activists attacked police lines and tried to break through into the Hyatt where then- Prime Minister Jean Chretien was speaking. The police resisted and held their lines. In the process a couple of the attackers got smacked as they were attacking the police. Not hard enough in my opinion.

In the Jeff Berg case, everyone glosses over the fact that he and his buddies had just committed a home invasion and Berg refused the orders of police constable David Bruce-Thomas who tried to arrest the gang at gunpoint. Berg attacked Bruce-Thomas and lost the fight. In the struggle, Berg took a blow to the neck that he later died from in hospital. Boo-hoo. But Bruce-Thomas did absolutely nothing wrong and was vindicated at every legal turn Berg's sister could throw at him.

And yet, somehow these small handful of concerns have got everyone in the media (and Ryneveld) thinking there are systemic problems. Talk about hysteria.

In 2003, for example, the VPD had 558,182 reported incidents. A similar number occurs each and every year. And through all of those, a mere handful are deemed to have been handled inappropriately. There are more problems and errors with every issue of every newspaper in this country.

Are the police perfect? Hardly. Are you?

The police do a tough enough job when we just look at the normal day to day stuff. Factor in the cesspit that is the Downtown Eastside and the job is nigh on impossible. Every day, every shift, the cops there are abused, spit on, assaulted, insulted and offended. Yet, for the most part they hold their temper and do their job professionally and appropriately.

Fifteen years ago, when I walked those streets, it was bad enough. I couldn't even begin to count the number of times I had to fight violent, abusive people. Down there, you have to prove you're tough or you cannot do your job. It's not as sterile as the boardrooms of various news organizations. Down there it is reality. I salute the cops who still do it day in and day out.

The critics need to remove their rose coloured glasses and close their personal agendas. And the Chief needs to come out and say that.

Leo Knight

Friday, May 27, 2005

Talkin' Shop

Interesting to see that the Chiefs are meeting in Calgary at their annual knees-up and bun toss hosted this year by Jack Beaton. Even more interesting is the CBC story headlined on Prime Time Crime saying a significant topic of discussion will be how to stay out of trouble. ( Police chiefs meet to talk controversy)

Considering the morass Calgary Chief Beaton has immersed himself in this last year or so, one hopes he attends all the seminars and pays special attention to the speakers. But, in the event he dosen't, allow me to provide some free advice.

If a bunch of serving members file lawsuits against another, senior police officer alleging fraud and other criminal offences, take it seriously, investigate the matter thoroughly and in the interest of protecting the police department's public image, place the officer under the cloud of suspicion on suspension until the matter has been dealt with and the officer has either cleared his or her name or the matter has been proven.

This simple piece of advice also extends to other allegations like racism practiced by senior officers to subordinate staff. Or, for example, if another senior officer points a gun at a subordinate officer, don't try and sweep the incident under a rug.

I know this sounds basic, but Beaton's history in the top chair seems to have missed some of these more rudimentary points.

Oh yeah, there's another simple way of keeping out of harm's way for a senior police manager - tell the truth. I know, I know, pretty simple stuff. But you'd be amazed how often this simple rule of thumb seems to be foreign to certain members of the police establishment attending this conference.

The media, in whatever form, is not to be feared any more than the truth itself. Every organization, regardless, has its problem child or children. The law of averages is what it is. When a bad apple is discovered in the barrel, acknowledge it. Deal with him or her fairly and appropriately and then tell the public what you have done. You'd be surprised how supportive the public would be if you treated them like intelligent people.

The police do not need spin doctors. Doing the job of protecting the public speaks for itself. Every police officer subjects his or her self to danger every shift and their actions don't need to be spun. Equally, if a rogue officer screws up, explain the facts and show the public what you have done to rectify the situation, discipline the transgressor and take steps to ensure there is no repeat performance.

The cops at the sharp end of things need to be supported in any senior manager's actions, discussions and decisions. Protecting the bad apples and supporting the carpet cops is not the way to earn the loyalty of the street cops who do the hard work day in and day out.

Being a leader in a police service is all about being everyone's Chief, not feathering the nest of one's cronies. It's about being fair. It's about working hard, day in and day out to make your city a better place and to support the cops who will walk into hell to make the city a safer place.

As with any high profile public position, the Chief will have supporters and detractors. But, the job is about rising above the fray and doing one's best to fulfill the obligations to one's oath of office.

Oddly enough, if, as a chief or other senior police manager, you follow these simple steps, you do not need to hold conferences to discuss ways to keep the mud off your shoes. You manage properly not to walk in it.

Leo Knight

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Plus ca change

"Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first." - Ronald Reagan

Like many of you I was glued to a TV during the vote in the House of Commons today to see if it might actually be possible to topple the most corrupt government this country has ever seen. And, just for the record, I include the BC NDP Glen Clark government in the '90s, in the analysis prior to making that statement.

But, at the end of the day, the Prime Minister Paul Martin suceeded, after doing everything in his Faustian gymnastics to cling to the reins of power. And I, like many of you, had to work to stifle the gag reflex as I watched Chuck Cadman do the unthinkable.

Now, let me say at this point that I have a tremendous amount of respect for Chuck Cadman. And, I don't say for a moment that he succumbed to any amount of bribing from the desparate Liberals. But, I cannot, for the life of me, understand why he turned his back on doing the right thing for this country.

At least Cadman can claim the higher ground in doing what he did by claiming he followed the wishes of his constituents. It is not the case for the rest involved in the travesty foisted upon this country.

Whether we are talking about the shameless budget change to the tune of over $4 billion to buy the affections of NDP Leader Jack Layton, or the office of a cabinet minister to purchase the services of the latter day Mata Hari, Belinda Stronach, the actions are clear. Paul Martin, would do anything, pay any price, to hang on to the power afforded to him in the office of the Prime Minister.

So why is it that the politically deluded seem to think it is Stephan Harper who is power hungry?

Equally, how is it that the mainstream media have portrayed Harper as making a "deal with the devil" in siding with the Bloc Quebecois in voting against the systemic corruption and theft of taxpayers dollars? Not utilizing the Bloc's 54 seats to try and stop the insanity of the Liberal corrupt chokehold on this nation is not climbing into bed with the separatists as has been painted by the Liberal spinners, but is nothing more than the reality of the Opposition trying to rid this nation of a cancer. To not consider the option would mean the Liberals might as well have the majority this country would not give them.

Unfortunately they failed. And the thieves will continue to have their hands in our wallets as they steal our money and waste it on ridiculous socialist causes or funnel it through to Special Interest Groups that achieve nothing more than having their constituents give over their vote in return for Liberal lolly.

On the same day as this travesty in faux democracy played out in Ottawa, Her Majesty the Queen, was paying tribute to the four Mounties who made the ultimate sacrifice in Mayerthorpe last March, doing their job in service to this country.

Belinda Stronach claims she jumped into bed with the thieving Liberals out of a sense of duty for her country. She doesn't have a clue. Have another read of the quote from Ronald Reagan at the top of this to understand what she was actually doing.

She collected her lolly as the newly-minted minister responsible for HRDC, and ironically, for the ethical monitoring of activities following the Gomery report.

I am truly disgusted by the lot of them.

Leo Knight

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Another good cop held down

You're kidding me! What, is the Winnipeg Chief Constable taking lessons from Calgary's Jack Beaton? The story headlined on Prime Time Crime about the Staff Sergeant going from hero to zero for not telling some biker schmuck that some other schmuck said someone wanted him dead is another example of an out of touch chief making what appears to be a knee-jerk decision to avoid criticism and instead inviting more. Unfortunately, he seems to have hurt a good cop in the process.

Does Jack Ewatski actually expect that every time a cop hears some asshole in custody blows his mouth off about so and so "is a marked man" or "he's gonna get it" or whatever nonsense comes out of their flapping gums, that the investigator has to go running to the guy and tell him what the jagoff said? Give me a break.

What's with chiefs named Jack?

Quite apart from anything else, bikers, wannabee gangsters, wiseguys and pretty much anyone else involved in organized crime knows that somebody wants to kill them and pretty much, sooner or later, someone will. Or they spend they waning days in jail. It goes with the territory. And frankly, society doesn't miss them when they get whacked from this mortal coil.

So, why destroy a good cop's career over something like this? Unless there's a lot more than meets the eye in what has been published in the media on this file, the Winnipeg Chief is doing a disservice to not only the member involved, but to the citizens of the community he serves.

And for what?

Leo Knight

Thursday, May 12, 2005

The bath is getting crowded

Well, as witch hunts go, Calgary Chief Jack Beaton certainly doesn't hold back. The story headlined on Prime Time Crime's front page today, Chief won't give up the hunt demonstrates just how out of control he is.

Is it possible he does not realize that by his actions he is proving the Standfirm group were accurate in their assessment? They talked about bullying and retribution and failing to adhere to the Core Principles espoused, but apparently not practiced by this chief.

I was in Calgary yesterday and had to covertly meet with a couple of Calgary cops. They described a climate of fear pervading the department. Members are trying to burn off lieu time hours, taking days off, calling in sick, leaving early and generally doing anything to avoid the Beaton freight train. Said one officer, "Paranoia is running rampant in HQ with many trying to avoid the Chief and his deputies at all costs. "

And it didn't stop there. "The climate of fear and terror in CPS is enormous. I've never seen anything like it in my life!" And why? Because Beaton can't take criticism that certainly appears to have been well-founded. And, he is proving every day just how accurate that criticism was.

And what's with the President of the Calgary Police Association? Let's take a look at the quote attributed to him in the Global stoy. Here's the quote:

"There appeared to be about 15 people that were regular contributors," says Koenig. "Now, 15 people out of 2,200 employees is a pretty small amount and they were the same complaints from the same people. If we were to see a couple of hundred different names on there, then there would be cause for concern but at this point it does seem to be a rather small group."

Well, in the first place, I would wonder how he knows there are only 15 people involved. Certainly, that number has never been discussed in any other forum. Inside information perhaps? And what does he mean when he says if there were a couple of hundred it would be a different matter? He had well over 400 responses to his own survey last summer that showed 70 per cent had lost confidence in the chief and senior management.

I think it is also interesting that any police association is prepared to stand by when senior management are conducting a witch hunt and apparently, is prepared to say 15 members are not a cause for concern. It's a bloody great concern and Koenig should be roasted by the membership for his malfeasance in not standing up to this bullying style of management. Or perhaps I should say cooperation. For it certainly looks to me like he has rolled over and allowed Beaton to scratch his belly like an old hound dog.

As an aside, where has the Calgary Sun been in all of this? To the best of my knowledge they have barely noticed this story. Why? Every other member of the mainstream media has covered the story and the Calgary Herald, A Channel and CBC have even committed their lawyers to getting the files unsealed. What happened to the Sun's duty to the good citizens of Calgary? Or are they drinking the same bathwater as Beaton and Koenig?

Just asking.

Leo Knight

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

What's up Jack?

"A real leader faces the music even when he doesn't like the tune."
- Anon.

I really don't get it.

Calgary's Chief Constable, Jack Beaton, has acted like a petulant schoolboy right from square one in his dogged pursuit of those behind the websites critical of his administration. And even in his hollow victory first announced in this space on Friday, when his pressure tactics finally caused webmistress Jann Vahey to capitulate and make a deal to get out from underneath the potential financial ruin a battle against City Hall might necessitate, he issued a press release saying he wasn't done yet. The witchhunt apparently, is far from over.

In the intervening days, a police constable, Taufiq Shah, has come forward and admitted that he delivered the offending criticisms published by Vahey and in doing so, painted a huge target on his back for a vindictive Chief.

Shah has filed previous complaints against a patrol Sergeant and the Chief for failing to appropriately investigate the matter. He has been on stress leave for far too long as a result. He doesn't want to be, but what choice does he have?

He was subject to racist taunts, called things like "terrorist" and "sand nigger." He even had a service weapon pointed directly at him by a superior officer, I'm told, in the parade room of the station. One hardly wonders why he might not feel entirely comfortable with strapping on a nine mil and going through a door hoping his sergeant has his back.

Shah has a Muslim name and he is brown skinned. But, in reality he is a Morman and travels annually to Utah, to Salt Lake, where the tabernacle of his religion sits. He is a family man, married to the fiercely defensive Rhonda. They have four kids. He worked in patrol and just wanted to do a good job protecting the citizens of his city and providing for his family.

Shah was pronounced fit for duty after being on disability. He tried to go back, but the Service insisted he see the department counselling service who immediately said he wasn't fit for a full return to duty. He was going to regular counselling to deal with the stresses and threats he felt.

Today, according to a police officer I spoke with, one day after he came out publicly, Shah went to his regular counselling session and was sent home.

This is how Jack Beaton defends the hard-working men and women who toil in the mean streets protecting the citizens? Which, I might add, would seem diametrically opposed to the stated "Core Values" of the service itself. But that is all just semantics I suppose.

The real battle now that Shah has clambored out of the closet of fear, comes from Beaton continuing to try and identify the other officers who also contributed to the information pool that Shah wove into the editorial content posted on the internet that drew Beaton's rage. And, so too, I suspect, the four officers who were interviewed by CBC's Rick Boguski in shadow and with their voices altered.

Beaton said he wasn't done in the wake of the Vahey settlement revelations. Shah stood up in front of the assembled media and said, "Enough."

But I fear nothing but full retribution, not "healing" will be enough for Beaton. For whatever his public personnae has been thus far in his reign, the good citizens of Calgary "don't know Jack."

Leo Knight

Saturday, April 30, 2005


I do apologize folks, but some anti-cop jerk who had plagued the previous Forum has reared his ugly and stupid head again. Ergo, I had to delete the comments on the "A deal done" post. For those of you who had well-thought comments to add, I apologize. If the cop hater continues to intrude on this site, he can expect a harassment complaint filed with the police and a subsequent lawsuit. He knows I know who he is. There are any number of websites and boards that are run by the sort of people who share his views. This is not one of them.

Leo Knight

Friday, April 29, 2005

A deal done

Today StandFirm webmistress Jann Vahey signed off on a negotiated deal to end the civil action taken against her by Calgary police chief Jack Beaton. Essentially, she signed a letter apologizing the the members of the Calgary Police Service if anything said on the original Stand Firm website offended anyone.

Later this afternoon, media lawyers successfully argued the case for unsealing the Anton Piller order and related documents. The "gag" order on Vahey has also been lifted and she is now able to speak to the media. I have also learned that she will be seeking further investigation into the allegations of racism, cronyism and other matters she had been airing on the internet. Vahey is also seeking an audience with Alberta Solicitor General Harvey Cenaiko with a view, she says, to generating interest in a public inquiry.

Vahey says she was pressured into signing the deal because there was a fixed time line to have the deal done of noon today, two hours before the hearing began to unseal the file. She may call it pressured, but to me it sounds a little more like blackmail. Any "do this or else" has that connotation.

And in the end it was the "or else" that forced Vahey's to acquiesce. She could have fought the chief and his ham-fisted ways but the legal bill to do so would have forced her into the poor house. No such bother for Beaton though, not with the good citizens of Calgary funding his vendetta.

Not opened by the courts though were the affidavits illustrating the investigative process utilized by Beaton and his bully-boy tactics. Why, is an interesting question.

It could be because Beaton needs to conceal the methods employed to "out" Vahey because they may have been questionable. It leaves us to wonder if the resources of the police were at any time used in this civil matter or indeed, if any illegal methods were used to identify Vahey. We don't know, for example, if any private communications were intercepted.

According to one reporter present at the hearings one of the reasons is because there are further Anton Piller orders being contemplated. Really!

If true, look for some cops to get unwelcome knocks at their doors. So too, according to one source, a prominent member of the broadcast media who interviewed four officers in shadow in a CBC news report. Evidently, the shadow may not have been enough to protect those men from the vendetta-driven chief.

The agreement may have been signed off by Vahey and Beaton, but the witch hunt is far from over it seems.

A real leader would recognize there are problems and morale issues. A real leader would immediately start a process to heal the divisions and fix the problems. A real leader would engage all the stakeholders in the process and get buy-in from all affected parties. But, that's what a real leader would do.

I'll leave you to decide if engaging in a vendetta against critics by a man in a high public office is an example of a real leader.

Leo Knight

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Using a sledgehammer to swat a Gnat

With the gag orders in place it is hard to get any information on what is happening with the outrageous action by Chief Jack Beaton in searching and seizing a computer from Jann Vahey who ran a website critical of his management.
Even normally loquaicious lawyers are behaving like Trappist monks.
However, if one diligently keeps one's ear to the ground, it is usually possible to at least get a glimpse into the situation. It is after all, a police department and cops do like to talk.
With the pressure from the media heating up, including a lead editorial in the National Post headlined Calgary's Strongman, my sources tell me a move is afoot from within the Police Commission to get Jack to put this matter to bed. And promptly too, I'm told. The black eye the Service is getting arising from this sordid affair, is getting darker with each media hit.
Negotiations are apparently ongoing, with Beaton pushing for a quick closure and admission of wrongdoing by way of an apology to the Service at large. Considering Vahey was defending the Police Service from the ham-fisted management of Beaton, that is rich indeed. I also believe, though I can't get anyone to confirm it with all the respective gag orders in place, that Beaton has demanded Vahey appear before a select group of police officers and answer their questions.
If I were Vahey, I sure as hell wouldn't do it. A bunch of Beaton sycophants would no doubt be assembled who would then grill Vahey on the identity of any serving police officer who may have helped her or emailed support comments to her. The expression 'Star Chamber' comes to mind.
No, instead, if Beaton had a shred of respect for the Service he claims to be protecting, he would offer any officer who wishes to attend such a session, the opportunity to show up and participate. I suspect Vahey and her lawyers would jump at that chance to settle this then. But that wouldn't serve Beaton well now would it? He might actually have to listen to the very police officers who have lost all confidence in his leadership and spawned the original website critical of him at the outset.
Equally, he would also invite members of the media to demonstrate that he is actually doing something positive and cathartic instead of destructive and vengeful. But then, that would actually take a real leader and Beaton has clearly demonstrated with his actions in this that he has precious few real leadership qualities.
Beaton has also been taking heat from the media for using public money to fund his witchhunt. I'm betting his next move will be to claim he will recover any and all public money, including that paid to his old pal Bruce Dunn to "investigate" this matter. Here comes that sledge hammer to swat at that nasty gnat again.
My sources in the department also tell me that the guys are all walking on egg shells, while trying to keep their heads down to avoid the withhunt being conducted. Meanwhile, media lawyers are getting their heads and cases together to get the order sealing the application for the Anton Piller order lifted. Other media outlets are taking steps to protect their source information and identities as the witchhunt inevitably spreads from inside the department, out.
This sordid mess isn't getting any better as it ages.
Leo Knight

Sunday, April 17, 2005

And on it goes

In the days since I first reported on the Calgary Chief Constable's outrageous use of the civil courts to stifle criticism of his administration, the mainstream media seem to have gotten the whiff of scandal in their nose.
Broadcast media stories have appeared on Calgary's A Channel and CBC as well as the CBC National has picked it up. Conspicuous in their absence on this story is the Calgary Sun and Global TV.
In the interim, the Chief has come out of hiding and given an interview to CBC's Rick Boguski in which he said he was just trying to protect the morale of the police service.
Really? If that was his aim, then why won't he lift the stifling traffic ticket quota of 20 "stats" per month off the patrol division? Because I can tell you that one thing has got the rank and file perpetually angry at the management of the CPS. But that is such a small thing really. Unless of course, you are on the receiving end of a cheap ticket issued so a patrol officer doesn't get "negative attention" from his supervisor.
But there's so much more affecting morale in the Calgary Police Service that using that as the driving factor for attacking the publisher of a website critical of the Chief is laughable.
This whole sordid chapter in the history of the once-proud force would be laughable were it not such a serious breach of the fundamental freedom of speech inherent in any democracy. But this Chief would trample that right and he must be stopped. And that is no laughing matter.
Tomorrow, lawyers for various media outlets will be making application to the courts to have the offensive order sealing the civil documents lifted. Let's hope the courts have more sense in hearing that application than the judge who actually enabled Chief Jack Beaton to make mince meat of the Charter.

-Leo Knight

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Doing what is right

As the Gomery Inquiry uncovers layer after layer of Liberal dirt and it becomes clearer to every Canadian that the word corruption is synonymous with the name of the "Natural Ruling Party," we need to understand there are a couple of other areas of abuse at play in our country also worthy of our attention.
Not the least of which is taking place in Calgary as the Police Chief, Jack Beaton has outdone old Uncle Joe in ensuring voices of criticism are muted. The story from the Calgary Herald on Saturday, featured on the front page of Prime Time Crime, tells how the chief dusted off a seldom used civil court ploy, called an Anton Piller order, to search the private home of the woman believed to be behind two websites critical of him and his administration.
(I will be writing on this subject in a column to be published tomorrow.)
Beaton is doing everything in his power to not only mute the criticism, but, in my view is embarking on a witch hunt to ferret out those members of the Calgary Police who dared cooperate with the webmistress or indeed, ever had any email communication with her or the site.
Rank and file members of the Police Service in that city have long been critical of things like the favoritism shown "certain" members, or the shading of incidents like a police car being fire-bombed by a jealous ex-lover of the officer's mistress, a Sergeant pointing a service weapon at a junior constable as a "joke" and a myriad of other embarrassing events. But more to the point, there were allegations of cover-up involving a substantial fraud perpetrated on members of the service by another, senior officer. (See Police Held to a Higher Standard)
The RCMP were called in to investigate after an internal investigation failed to turn up enough evidence for a criminal charge which has since been filed.
The court order in the website case has been sealed and the webmistress gagged by order on application by Beaton. This ensures no scrutiny is placed upon the Chief's office in this sordid mess. And that is very wrong.
On April 18th in Ottawa, the Federal Court will hear the case of former RCMP Cpl. Robert Read in his latest effort at clearing his name after he was fired by the RCMP for 'Disgraceful Conduct.' His sin? He went to the media to raise allegations of corruption at the High Commission in Hong Kong after the senior members of the RCMP refused to listen to him and, as well did officials in the Department of Justice.
For those who have been following the Gomery Inquiry, it will come as no surprise that the allegations of corruption involved the government of Jean Chretien.
Read was ordered reinstated by the External Review Committee of the RCMP. The Force for its part, refused. Read will take his appeal of the decision not to reinstate him to the Federal Court.
Leo Knight

Saturday, April 02, 2005

More stupidity from the Bench

The story out of Edmonton about the Queen's Court Justice Lawrie Smith dismissing a case against a scumbag, sorry, alleged scumbag, because the cop was "following his hunch" is outrageous.

Smith said, "Rather than use his head to honour the laws of this country, he (the officer) chose to follow his hunch." Let's see, the scumbag, sorry, alleged scumbag, is known to police as a gangbanger and dope dealer; he wasn't wearing a seatbelt so the officer used this as his reasonable grounds to stop the vehicle; the scumbag, sorry, alleged scumbag, couldn't speak properly because he had something jammed in his cheek; there were three other scumbags in the car with him. So, the cop investigated further and go figure, it turned out the scumbag, sorry, alleged scumbag, had eight spicballs secreted in his mouth. Surprise!
Gee, what a lucky hunch! Oh yeah, did I mention he was also known to police as a gangbanger and at the time of his arrest he had a handgun on him. Surprise! Hey, good hunch officer!
What nonsense. The cop was using the law to give him grounds to make the stop. He then found other grounds to make a search just as the law requires. Once done, he found what he knew he would all the while because the guy's a scumbag - sorry, sorry, alleged scumbag.
It's called good police work. Something this Judge, apparently, wouldn't recognize if it jumped up and bit her pampered posterior.
Leo Knight

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

More needless death

Another man is dead because of a couple of habitual car thieves. When do you suppose, will the politicians in power in Ottawa finally understand that something needs to be done?

How many innocent people need to die before the lib-left finally figure out that habitual criminals need to be jailed not coddled.

If the tragedy at Mayerthorp wasn't the impetus for change, what pray tell me, will be? But the outrage after that seems to have died down and like the story out of Richmond, BC today shows, more people are dying at the hands of people the justice system could have, and should have, dealt with.

Leo Knight

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Air India - Demand for Public Inquiry

I'm a little puzzled by these incessant demands for a public inquiry in the Air India case.

Are they hoping to find out who did it? Trust me, Malik and Bagri are intrinsically involved in the conspiracy in my opinion even if the courts ruled the Crown did not prove its case. It's a far cry from being adjudicated "innocent." In Scotland there is a third verdict available called "Not Proven." That might have been a far better verdict in this case.

What else might they learn? That CSIS and the RCMP didn't speak to each other? Wasn't that the very reason for the creation of CSIS? Because the MacDonald Commission decided the Mounties handling federal law enforcement and national security was a clash of interests.

Everyone's so concerned about the destroyed wiretaps. They should perhaps have a look at the legislation governing CSIS. The agency took the action the law requires of them. So what else is there? What other reasons are there to waste $20, $30 or 40 million?

Certainly, there are none that I can think of. Any suggestion by some of the members of the Indo Canadian community that the result might have been different had the majority of people in the plane been white is ludicrous in the extreme. Especially when the purveyors of that argument throw in the "R" word.

If anything, some credence might be given to he argument but only because another community likely would have cooperated more fully with the investigators than the Sikh community did in the months and years immediately following the terror attack on Flight 182.

The RCMP did what they could in all of this. The Crown did their best given the limitations of an uncooperative community. And, the right people were in the dock. One wonders what might be learned by calling an expensive and redundant public inquiry.

Leo Knight

Saturday, March 26, 2005

The Injustice System

Since the tragic shootings in Mayerthorpe, the country has been paying some attention to the sad state of our justice system. It won't last unfortunately, but for the moment at least Canadians appear to be opening their eyes to some of the issues at any rate.

The story on the front page of PTC about the criminal history of James Roszko is truly a sad condemnation of our criminal justice system. Unfortunately, that story is not all that unique.

A regular reader, CJ, who is a police officer and can't post under his real name as a result, wrote a piece this week about an alternative to the usual methods of crime prevention. It's called Incarceration. It's available on the Contributing Writers page of PTC and I'd suggest you give it a read.

While a bit extreme in that you simply cannot and should not jail everyone, the concept of incarceration is simply no longer applicable in this country no matter how many times the young offender comes to the attention of the police. It's been said the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) really stands for You Can't Jail Adolescents. It would be funny were in not so horribly accurate.

The real problem in this country is one of accountbility. Years of successive "soft on crime" liberal governments have given the criminal classes, who start their activities as teenagers, absolutely no reason to change their behaviours. Simply put, there are no consequences for criminal behaviour and therefore no reason to correct or change that behaviour. Look at the mental meanderings of that goofy spokesman for the Border Services Agency in the story on the front page today. What absolute nonsense yet it is raised up the flagpole for the moronic media to salute.

I was speaking to a couple of Vancouver Police officers involved in policing the Skids the other day. The situation with the Honduran crack dealers is a terrific example of what is wrong with our justice system. The VPD refer to their efforts as the policing version of the game "Whack a Mole." Again, it would be funny were it not so true.
Leo Knight