Saturday, December 30, 2006

Hang ‘em high

The biggest story of the day is, without a doubt, the execution of the Beast of Baghdad, Saddam Hussein. Try as I might, I can’t seem to get terribly worked up about it.

In the hours after photos and video of the hanging were rocketing around the internet, Sweden, Switzerland and the Vatican all issued statements decrying the execution of a man that was directly and indirectly responsible for millions of deaths. I don’t get it.

Ever since they dragged his lice-bitten ass from a rat hole it was clear his days were numbered. The only mystery was why it wasn’t done in the forecourt of one of his former palaces and broadcast on big screens around the country.

Saddam was little more than a bully. Only he took the bullying to violent extremes. Think of Joe Stalin without the finesse.

All the lefties, hand-wringers and anti-American types lined up and in unison began decrying the barbarism of the execution. It’s amazing they don’t get nosebleeds, so high up on the higher moral ground they claim to be perched.

The best one though had to be the American lawyers who had petitioned a US Judge to halt the execution because - wait for it - Saddam still faced a civil suit in America. Perish the thought the Iraqis might hang one of history’s most prolific mass murderers before he could play in the great American pastime.

The media hand-wringers were prominent and fast out of the gate. (Around the World, Unease and Criticism of Penalty – New York Times) (Saddam's hanging stirs death penalty controversy – Reuters)

The only thing missing was another Globe & Mail story invention “raising questions” about the righteousness of Saddam’s execution. (Here’s an example of how the Globe takes a non-story then writes it as though there is really something to it: Questions emerge as Kingsley quits Elections Canada post)

No, this one was simple. Fortunately, the Iraqi legal system didn’t have twenty years of built-in appeals available to the Butcher of Baghdad.

And, no matter what the New York Times wants you to think, the hanging of Saddam Hussein was the right thing to do and the world will not lament his departure.

Leo Knight

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

No time for boasting

In the days just before Christmas, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair made headlines (Blair boasts victory over city gun crime - National Post, Dec. 21, 2006) by claiming that his force had achieved a victory in the battle against gun crime. Blair cited rapid response unit tactics as the primary reason that unrelated homicides were down nearly half from the record setting year, 2005. He also brought with him stats that showed the number of shooting occurrences were down from 237 to 198 and the total number of shooting victims were also down from 321 to 276.

He boasted that the Toronto successes were being studied by other police forces seeking to achieve similar results.

Unfortunately, less than 48 hours later, headlines screamed (Guns blaze across city ) that Blair may have been a little premature in his pronouncements. A day before Christmas, in a 24 hour period, one man was shot dead in a dispute and six others were wounded, including two innocent passers-by, in separate incidents.

To be sure, Toronto has improved in 2006 over the previous year that culminated with the Boxing Day gun battle in a downtown mall that resulted in the death of 15 year old Jane Creba.

But realistically, the numbers have declined this year to more traditional levels and seem to show that while in 2005 there was certainly a spike in handgun violence, the problem is far from being solved.

I take no issue with a Chief wishing to do a little personal horn-blowing when things are showing an improvement. But, realistically, things are so bad in Toronto that some housing projects are virtual "no go" areas for anyone who isn't armed to the teeth, and, I include the police in that statement. There are neighbourhoods where Jamaican gangs seem to operate with impunity as family after family mourn the loss of loved ones to the violence that underlines the drug trade.

As an example, check out this video called "Firewar" that was posted to Youtube on Dec 17, 2006. This is a neighbourhood, Jane-Finch, that is out of control and bordering on anarchy. Note the gangsta' chatter as the two sides battle each other with fireworks and bottle rockets. Note also the size and age of some of the participants. Then, picture them a couple of years older with guns in their hands. Then note how long the "battle" goes on and nowhere do we see the police. Why? Largely, I would bet, because no one who lives in that complex would bother to call them. And that speaks volumes.

Bear in mind, that this video is linked on a community web site that ostensibly extols the virtues of their neighbourhood. Some virtue.

There are over 70 identified street gangs in Toronto, the majority of which are comprised of black, inner-city youth that no one seems to want to talk about, succumbing to political correctness. And that statement doesn't even deal with the other aspects of organized crime such as outlaw motorcycle gangs like the Hells Angels, the firmly established Mafia or the Asian organized crime groups that are very prevalent throughout South Western Ontario.

I think, if I were Chief Blair, that I would be very subdued and measured when talking about gun and gang activity in Toronto. At best, Toronto police are barely keeping their head above water. At worst, they are gradually losing control of that city. I wouldn't be boasting.

Leo Knight

Friday, December 22, 2006

Jack be nimble

I'm left even more puzzled by the explanation provided by Calgary Police Chief Jack Beaton for his trip last week to the People's Republic of China.

Beaton told Calgary listeners of QR77 that he was amazed that members of the National Police didn't speak English. He said that going over, he expected about half the force would speak English. No, really, he actually said that.

So, what other reason could there be for saying something that blindingly naive?

He says he was over there on behalf of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. Okay. Who paid? The Chiefs or the taxpayers of Calgary?

The trip was, ostensibly, having to do with "community policing" and Beaton was going to do some recruiting and "spreading the message" while in the most populous communist country on Earth.

Community policing huh? That to me sounds as dubious as recruiting for a Canadian Police Service in a corrupt, communist country with a largely peasant population that is for the most part, uneducated and monolinguistic.

In China, the National Police are the enforcement arm of a totalitarian state whose citizens are not allowed to exercise any of the basic freedoms we cherish in Canada.

Community policing? Give me a break.

So, what is this really all about? I don't know, but it smells a whole lot like a poorly thought-out justification for a public servant globe-trotting on a meaningless junket.

Leo Knight

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Lunatic fringe

While I would never credit the Anti Poverty Committee with any significant ability to engage in any level of critical thinking, they seem do have outdone themselves today for blatent stupidity.

While reading my morning Province newspaper, I came across a newsbrief stating the anti poverty group had planned a march on the downtown office of Vancouver MLA Lorne Mayencourt. According to their website, they are intent on presenting Mayencourt with their "People's Budget." They are demanding that the BC Liberals spend the budget surplus on housing the homeless and raising welfare rates. They are, apparently, planning on "direct action" if Mayencourt doesn't speak to them.

They also said the expect the police to respond in a "violent manner." Given their performance last week in the three hundred block of East Hastings, it would be more accurate to say they will do everything they can to force the police to engage them physically.

Well, I guess they will get what they want then. Mayencourt will, unfortunately, be unable to meet with them when they show up on his doorstep. He is on holiday in Mexico.


Leo Knight

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Judicial musings right on point

The comments of Calgary Police Constable Shaun Horne have stimulated a lively debate over the problems with the justice system in this country. Horne said the system is a "mockery" and a "joke" and got slapped by the weak-kneed management of his department for his trouble when he was suspended a week without pay.

Lost in the discussion this week were the comments by Court of Queen's Bench Justice Pat Sullivan when sentencing Barrett Darr, 22, for cold-bloodedly leaving his 17 year-old girlfriend to die in a ditch after he rolled a stolen SUV.

When sentencing him to 33 months in prison, Mr. Justice Sullivan said something that speaks to exactly what it was that caused the frustration in Cst. Horne to boil over. In referring to the easy ride Darr had been given in his many previous trips through the revolving door of justice, Sullivan said, "Maybe if we hadn’t been so soft in the beginning, maybe if the judiciary had tightened the harness earlier on, perhaps we wouldn’t be here today."

Almost a throw-away line really in the sentencing hearing, but oh, so terribly telling.

The justice system has been getting softer and softer to the point where it is very hard to do something egregious enough to actually go to jail. Conditional sentences have become all too common in our criminal courts with the advocation of house arrest seen by the chattering classes as a suitable replacement for jail.

Mr. Justice Sullivan got it exactly right in his musings if not in the actual term he gave Darr for his crimes. Cst. Horne's frustration with the system caused his outburst, but it is not without merit and Mr. Justice Sullivan underlined the point.

Leo Knight

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Cop gets benched for telling the truth

There was a certain inevitability to Calgary Police Service Constable Shaun Horne getting suspended by the department for his outspoken comments after a Justice of the Peace released a career criminal without so much as a "By your leave" to the officer.

Horne called the decision by JP Kristine Robideaux a mockery and a joke, which of course it was. After all, the man in the dock had already amassed 65 criminal convictions plus a great many other arrests in cases that he wasn't charged and convicted given the vagaries of a fundamentally broken system.I should add by the way, that after Robideaux released the man over the objections of Cst. Horne, he didn't abide by his conditions and failed to show for his next court appearance. Yeah, I know, big shock huh?

Well possibly Robideaux was shocked. But, I suspect no one else connected to the justice system was. Robideaux, as an aside, is a lawyer by profession and also doubles as a board member for the Legal Aid Society. Legal Aid Societies across Canada have been plagued by incredible inefficiencies as they struggle to meet their objectives while being abused by lawyers representing major organized crime figures in complex conspiracy cases. (See Legal Aid System is flawed for more on the subject)

Now there's no question that Cst. Horne should not have said publicly what he did. Certainly not in the manner that he did at any rate. That was unprofessional. But the message it sent was bona fide and it is high time that the purveyors of so-called justice heard it. As a side note, Horne's defense team tried to subpoena the good lady JP, but that was quashed by somebody higher up in the administration of the provincial courts. Perish the thought that the officer should be able to mount a mitigating defense against the three discreditable conduct charges levied against him.

As another side note, the presenting officer, Inspector Paul Manuel, is the same fellow who was the duty officer the night members of CPS executed the now-infamous search warrant on the home of Nancy Killian Constant which started her beleagured six-year journey to get justice. An allegation of neglect of duty, following the investigation conducted by Inspector Brian Whitelaw, was levied against Manuel in that case for failing to properly review the warrant before authorizing the officers to enter the home late at night.

And clearly he failed in his oversight duty, as evidenced by the return of the empty warrant and the subsequent revelations about altering of notebooks to support the Information to Obtain. In my opinion, there is no possibility a thorough review of that warrant process, in the manner claimed by Chief Jack Beaton, was conducted, assuming the reviewing officer's competence. As I have said before (Stench from apparent police cover-up won't go away) the grounds in the ITO were thin at best and in other jurisdictions would not have been sufficient for a warrant.

Apparently Constable Horne, while right in his assessment of the justice system, didn't have the friends in high places needed to ensure he paid no penalty for the transgression of telling the truth.

Leo Knight

Friday, December 08, 2006

Liberal MP un-spun

A regular reader copied me on a letter sent to Liberal MP Raymond Chan after reading his criticism of Stephen Harper’s government. Here it is, unadulterated, untainted and best of all, uninhibited. Enjoy.

Leo Knight


YES!!!! Finally a government that ‘get’s it’. You use the word ‘wasteful’ in your narrative and that’s exactly what most of these programs have been (other than for the purpose of employing friends and advancing the cause of the Liberal Party)

$5 million cut to the Status of Women Canada – Good beginning.

$10 million cut to the Canadian Volunteerism Initiative – ‘Volunteerism’ means exactly that. Not government pork-barreling

$18 million cut to the Literacy Skills Program – I thought we already funded schools?

Canadian Court Challenges Program – Completely cut – Best decision of all

“Beefed up Military presence on the West Coast” – I know that after decades of ruining this country’s once-proud military, this drives you libs mental (I remember your pathetic ad “Troops, on our streets” that probably cost you the last election). Put the combat aspect aside for a moment and just consider what would happen if a natural disaster such as the long-overdue earthquake were to hit the Lower Mainland? Our nearest help (other than Reserve Units) used to be at Chilliwack which was bad enough. Now, thanks to you lot, it’s in Edmonton and would have to come out here by road (if aircraft couldn’t land). Remember how long it took to get the U.S. Army into New Orleans? And they were a lot closer. Without a huge mountain range.

Mr. Chan, I know it’s old-fashioned, but I happen to believe that I can spend my money better than the government can. I want government to provide public safety institutions (police, fire, military, prisons) and to fund them effectively which Liberals never have. I want certain other essentials such as Medical, Dental, Hospitals, Education, and a Basic social safety net that’s designed to be temporary, not for generations to live off. Beyond the essentials, I want nothing but freedom. If enough people in this country feel the Status of Women should exist, then they’ll support it and it will. I want the freedom not to support them because they’re nothing but a politicized special interest group that hates men in general and the United States in particular. Same goes for the rest of these groups. They duplicate, in many cases, the work of privately-funded groups that already exist and the private sector will always do a better job than government in running just about anything.

You say they’ve cut $55.4 million from youth employment programs. Cut $55.4 million????? How much was spent to begin with and what sort of ‘programs’ does it support? If they’re not real jobs then it’s just more welfare. When I was 17 I enrolled in a ‘youth employment program’. It was called the army and the government already funded it. I came out of it a lot better prepared to further my education, get a good (real) job, and pay taxes. The only cheque I’ve ever taken from the government has been a pay cheque.

I spend enough tax money electing governments that pass laws. I don’t feel like throwing good money after bad to pay lawyers for the Court Challenges Program to launch frivolous suits against the government always on behalf of liberal-friendly special interest groups. As a matter of fact, why is it that billions of tax dollars are pumped into the Dept. of Indian Affairs each year and the Auditor-General is not allowed to examine how that money is spent? Please tell me why this is a sacred cow? Can you imagine what could be done if that money were spent properly where it’s needed? Based just on the cuts list above the government could turn around and give each Canadian one million dollars. Think about that. Each person now has one million dollars and good luck to them. No more need for all of the programs the liberals have invented to buy votes and waste our money for decades.

You assert that the Conservative government is demonstrating “blatant political opportunism”. What a statement from a member of the party that invented the practice.

I sincerely hope the photo of you flipping burgers is a portent of the fate of all Liberals after the next election.

Bob Cooper
Richmond, BC

Friday, December 01, 2006

A press release worth reading

Daily I see press releases from various RCMP and municipal agencies. Most are routine and frankly, dull. But every now and then one comes across something, a story of the human condition that is wonderful.

Such is the case with this little missive from of all things a traffic cop, an occupation not ususally blessed with a sense of humour. I was once asked by a Sgt. if I would take a transfer into traffic. I politely declined telling him I simply couldn't because my parents were married.

But, Cst. Chris Noble of Ponoka traffic Section in middle Alberta seems to be a rarity. Allow me to share with you, intact, his press release of earlier this week. No further comment required.
Leo Knight

On November 24 , 2006 at 1715 hrs Ponoka traffic Services received a complaint of an erratic driver South bound on the QE II near Ponoka.

The complainant stated the brown Oldsmobile cutlass he was following was weaving all over the road, tailgating, and cutting other motorists off.

The complainant supplied a license plate number and a subsequent police records check revealed that the registered owner of the vehicle was wanted by Sylvan Lake RCMP for failing to pay a $2875 fine for not having insurance on his vehicle.

Since the vehicle was not speeding the police asked the complainant if he could remain in visual contact of the vehicle and provide police with a play by play of its location. The complainant was happy to oblige as he would seemly be in his own version "To Serve and Protect" just with out the cameras.

With the assistance of Red Deer Traffic Services the suspect vehicle was located. After it was determined the driver was not impaired he was arrested for the outstanding warrants and whisked off to the Remand center. However not before receiving a ' Follow to Closely" charge and oddly enough another charge of "Operating a Vehicle on a Highway Without Insurance". He will be appearing in Ponoka Provincial court on January 11 and chauffeured in a fully insured, customized, Provincial Sheriffs prisoner van from the remand center to the Ponoka Court House while serving his 60 days in custody for the unpaid fine.

The passengers saw his 24 flat of beer , less what he had consumed, poured out roadside and he received a $287 ticket for consuming in a motor vehicle.

Cst. Chris Noble
Ponoka Traffic Services

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Good press for a good cop

It's nice to see VPD Sgt. Keiron McConnell making headlines (Club face-offs cut gun crime - Vancouver Province Nov. 26, 2006) for all the good work he does, instead of the tempest in a media tea cup created by some disgruntled, dickless wonder whingeing about McConnell holding some piece of human excrement's head up for a photo.

McConnell is a good cop and a man's man. In some ways the last of a dying breed. When you see the politically correct in Edmonton creating a talking shop to examine police ethics (Police to tackle ethical practices - Edmonton Journal Nov. 26, 2006) at a time when gun violence has reached unprecedented levels and that city has become the murder capital of Canada, it clearly demonstrates what policing has become.

These days young Mounties, for example, are taught in recruit training that they can "opt out" if they believe a call is too dangerous. Seriously.

But opting out is not in the lexicon for cops like McConnell. Too bad there weren't more like him and fewer happy to sit around talking needlessly about ethics.

Leo Knight

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Tax man finally shows up in OC battle

The extraordinary announcement of the successful conclusion of Operation Colisee by police in Quebec and Ontario is stunning. Not just because they took down members and associates of the Rizzuto crime family, including patriarch Nicolo “Nick” Rizzuto. Nor is it stunning that they have arrested 73 of them with warrants fro 17 more.

But, largely because this project was done with the full involvement of Revenue Canada investigators and they are actually going to seize assets of the mobsters.

For years the police have been trying to get CCRA to take an interest in organized crime files to little or no avail. Especially when it came to taking on the Hells Angels, the tax guys were conspicuous by their absence. Too scared was what the cops were saying.

Using income tax law to go after organized crime is a tried and true method, dating back to the days of Al Capone. Not so in Canada, at least until this week anyway.

Organized crime may use legitimate fronts for their various endeavours, but make no mistake about it, the vast majority of their money is dirty and untaxed. It’s about bloody time CCRA got engaged in a game they have for too long ignored.

Leo Knight

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Wrong target in Media sights

So yet another firestorm has developed with the ravenous media knee-jerking their way into condeming the Vancouver Police Department based on nothing more than an anonymous email tipster to BCTV on Global. (Click on Internal Investigation to see the video story)

Is there a photograph of five members of VPD posing with a suspect in the jail. Apparently, according to Insp. Rollie Woods in a press conference called late Tuesday afternoon. And?

The officers involved were members of a downtown patrol squad and at least one a Sgt. in the Firearms Interdiction Team. By definition they have a difficult and dangerous job. In practice they go after guns and the bad guys who carry them. When they make a good arrest, they celebrate their efforts. And?

So they took a souvenir photo. And?

The suspect in the photo, as with anyone ever seen with a coat or newspaper they try and hide behind doing the perp walk, isn't too pleased with his situation. Gee, I wonder why? In this case, a 40 year old man and a career criminal with 69 criminal convictions was caught by the police and now stands charged with multiple offences including carrying a concealed weapon.

By the way, that is 69 convictions, not 69 arrests. The number of arrests is much higher.

Despite the 69 convictions and the many more arrests and spending a life that takes from society not contributes to it, the suspect is afforded something the police are not - the presumption of innocence.

Was the suspect assaulted during the arrest? I don't know and neither does the media with their holier-than-thou headlines. The process to investigate this allegation is in motion and we should let it take its course. The rush to judgement of the police is shameful. Moreso, the targetting of a good cop, in this case the Sgt. of the squad was identified but not the others, all the while ignoring the fact that the suspect in that photo should not have even been on the streets to get caught, yet again, by the cops who were actually protecting the rest of us, is all to predictable.

Leo Knight

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Hypocrites need to move on

The very-public saga of West Vancouver PD Constable Lisa Alford has taken on a life of its own. The smug self-rightousness of the media in the way they have pursued this officer and the Police Department has been filled with their own unique brand of hypocrisy.

Alford was involved in an motor vehicle accident a year ago after consuming alcohol at a social event in the West Vancouver police station. Following the MVA, she was arrested and charged with driving under the influence.

She accepted her responsibility at every step of the way. She pleaded guilty, ready to take whatever punishment was her due. She never sought, nor did the system offer, any slack or preferential treatment. She didn't seek any "alternative measures," adult diversion, a healing circle or claim it wasn't her fault because, Boo-hoo-hoo, she wasn't breast-fed as a child.

No, she made a bad error, admitted it and took her punishment like a man . . .well, so to speak.

Now the Chief Constable is being made to do a Mexican Hat Dance simply because the optics are bad. And, some smug, self-righteous commentators are actually calling for a "full independent inquiry. "

Damn the expense, Man! The cops were drinking!

Now, it needs to be said that the event was a social function and didn't involve on-duty officers. But please, to suggest that we should have a "full independent public inquiry" because there was drinking going within the confines of a police station where many people have their offices and work? Oh please.

To what end? What might we learn from that? That the West Vancouver police sometimes hold parties in the station? Well the Chief has already confirmed that. I'll let you in on something else too. The Vancouver Police have wet messes within their walls too. Lest you think the Mounties are pure, they too have wet messes in many of their facilities including E Division Headquarters. And oddly enough, police officers sometimes have a cocktail or two in those messes when one of their own is retiring or getting promoted. And I have been present when members of the media, lawyers, judges and yes, even the occasional politician were only too happy to partake of the cops' hospitality.

So what?

I have been to a great many receptions at lawyers' offices too. And, God knows, I have been in conferences in news rooms where a bottle of Scotch was pulled out of a desk drawer during the session.

Drinking isn't illegal. Irresponsible drinking is. Constable Lisa Alford made a mistake and unlike much of society these days, she took responsibility for her actions and paid the consequences, putting a blemish on an otherwise pristine record. That should end the matter. And, like anyone else, she should be allowed to get on with her life.

Leo Knight

Friday, November 03, 2006

Connections show no apology deserved

I wonder when the media is going to get off the back of the RCMP in the Mahar Arar affair?

Now it is clear from documents tabled in court (Globe & Mail, Nov.03, 2006) that Arar had a connection to the cadre of Khadrs, our very own Canadian jihadists. We already knew he was connected to Abdullah Almalki, himself trying to gain sympathy as a “torture victim” of Syria.

What is clear to me is that the RCMP had every right – no – every duty to consider Arar a terror suspect and include him in their investigation..

Almalki, according to Khadr the Younger, was connected to Khadr the Elder, also known as “al Kanadi” (The Canadian) to his al Qaeda pals. At the very least, the Mounties had every reason to believe that Arar was a suspect and needed to be investigated. In the days post-9/11, they also had every reason to share information with the US authorities.

I believe that neither the RCMP nor Canada owe Arar an apology for anything. If in fact, he is totally innocent, then perhaps he should be more careful who he associates with. If he is that desperate for an apology, perhaps he should ask the people who actually imprisoned him and allegedly conducted the torture, the country of his birth, Syria.

Leo Knight

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Botched investigation leaves everyone wanting

The RCMP are a proud organization. Sometimes too proud. I say this as a former member who has never shied from praising the Force when they have done well. And I have certainly taken my fair share of criticism when I have identified times when I have been not so proud of what they have done.

Certainly, the Force has taken a beating in the wake of the O’Connor report into their handling of the Arar affair, with the baying media hounds screaming for the scalp of Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli.

Now, I suppose I should add that I don’t subscribe to the nit-picking done by Mr. Justice O’Connor. I also don’t subscribe to the “poor innocent me” nonsense spewed out by Arar. Whatever the RCMP can be criticized for in their handling of that file, there is no doubt that they had every right to be suspicious of Arar and he is not the innocent victim that he portrays himself to be.

Having said that, the Mounties booted the internal investigation relative to the constable who was accused of having sex with underage prostitutes in Prince George, Justin Harris.

Harris was never charged criminally with anything largely because there was never any evidence to substantiate a charge. But cops have to meet a higher standard and internal discipline charges were brought against him essentially for that wonderful catch-all, conduct unbecoming a member.

Without regurgitating the salient aspects of the allegations, levied by what can only be charitably described as “questionable sources,” Harris challenged the formal tribunal convened under the auspices of the RCMP Act, saying they failed to bring the action against him within the prescribed one year time frame the guiding legislation requires. The sitting tribunal really had no choice but to grant a dismissal given the facts in the case and the timeline involved.

Without question the RCMP knew of the allegations long before they were brought against Harris. In point of fact, they brought in their so-called “Anti-Corruption Unit” and they commenced investigations into the lives of as many as, nine serving police officers. Wives, girlfriends, family members were all questioned without regard as to whether the allegations were actually true.

Lives were damaged. Reputations ruined and all without a scintilla of proof. And, at the end of the day, nothing. Just a half-hearted attempt to bring a service court offence against a constable years after the fact and long after the allegations were raised.

It was amusing to watch the media hordes scramble to interview Cameron Ward, the anti-police legal crusader. Ward scoffed about the police protecting their own and how the member got off on a technicality. Funny, I’ve never heard Ward, nor any other member of the defence bar for that matter, complain when they get murderers and rapists off on technicalities . . . time after time after time.

The witch hunt got the RCMP nothing in this and in the process, a hell of a lot of trouble was caused in the private lives of several members. I don’t condone breaches of the law or procedure by police officers, but neither can I support the manner the RCMP went about this either.

Leo Knight

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The madness in Montreal brings out the liberals

The madness in Montreal yesterday was tragic. On this morning after the shootings, the final tally of dead and wounded has yet to be made. The crime scene is still taped off and investigators are still interviewing witnesses and trying to make sense out of the mayhem.

It didn’t take long for the hand-wringers to come out drawing parallels to the 1989 misogynistic killings at L’Ecole Polytechnique also in Montreal. Some media outlets, were somewhat veiled in their headlines such as: Woman killed by gunman at Montreal College. The implication being obvious.

Hard on the heels of that, the liberal media tried to raise the issue of the Tories killing the bloated, expensive and totally ineffective long gun registry. Notice the quote in the piece by Lucienne Robillard, a senior member of the Liberal Party, which starts off, “As a woman in Montreal . . ..” One wonders if the writer of the report is being paid for his party political piece?

Fortunately for the beleagured taxpayers of Canada, the guns used by Kimveer Gill yesterday were legally obtained and registered just like the pandering Liberals envisioned.

And once again, the gun registry has proven it is totally useless. When will the liberals finally get it and finally shut up? Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day has tabled legislation to kill the ineffective, bureaucratic registry. One hopes, even with the minority government and the tenuous hold on power Stephen Harper’s government has, that the House will allow Day’s Bill to pass when Parliament sits again this Fall.

Leo Knight

Friday, August 04, 2006

Court decision proves system is broken

As accustomed as I am to seeing the blatent stupidity of our justice system, I was unprepared to read that Kelly Ellard, the convicted killer of 14 year old Reena Virk 10 years ago in Victoria, is being granted an appeal to seek a new trial, her fourth in this case. And just to make sure my gag reflex was working, Mr. Justice Ian Donald agreed to allow her to do it on the public teat.

To his credit, Justice Donald at least recognized the case is “notorious.” But still, this case has had every detail examined in the media, in court three times and in the blogosphere. This isn’t a “whodunit.” Ellard was there and an active participant in the brutal killing of Virk. Ellard has played the system like a fiddle and the charade continues unabated by common sense.

At what point will the system say enough is enough? Well, never, apparently.

Ellard is a stone-cold killer. She is also an habitual, albeit small-time, criminal. She has not spent one meaningful, productive moment in her life as far as I can tell. She is incorrigible and on top of all of that, she is very violent. When she gets out of prison, she will immediately return to her former life. On that, you can make book. Bet the farm in fact.

To be sure, Ellard is entitled to mount a defence and an appeal if she feels she has, after three kicks at the cat, somehow been unfairly done by. And she is entitled to ensure her rights are not abused by the system. But please, this is now becoming an abuse of process and the public should not have to pay for it.

Ellard would have us believe everyone is lying except her. Which, of course, is nonsense. The first conviction was overturned by the BC Court of Appeal because she was asked 18 times in cross-examination why the myriad of witnesses would lie. Even though that was the salient part of her defence, the Court ruled the Crown couldn’t ask the question so many times.

And yes, I thought that decision was fundamentally flawed as well. But, nevertheless we are now at this point where the Legal Services Society had declined to pay for any further legal action and the court has ruled in favour of wasting yet more taxpayer money on this frivolous action.

I had no doubt our criminal justice system is absolutely dysfunctional and broken. This latest decision merely confirms that opinion.

Leo Knight

Monday, July 31, 2006

The public deserves the truth about crime

In a story in the Vancouver Sun (Crime stories frighten public – Monday, July 31st, 2006) the RCMP Communications section has authored a memo suggesting the police should be releasing less info to the media because too many crime stories on the front pages frighten the public.

Given that the Lower Mainland leads the continent in property crimes and organized crime marches on virtually unimpeded, perhaps the public should be a little afraid.

The other amusing part is the suggestion that the RCMP is being too free with information. As a former member of the Force, where even member to member information sharing is frowned upon, the concept that the RCMP gives out too much information toppled my gyros.

But I digress.

For years the police have always distrusted the media and for the most part, vice versa. That is not to say those considered positions of mistrust were misplaced. One only has to look at the actions of CTV during the Graham McMynn kidnapping to understand why the police mistrust the media.

But, having said that, it seems to me that those types of situations could be avoided if the police worked harder to foster better relations with the media. The suggestion by this report obtained by The Vancouver Sun flies in the face of that aim.

At the end of the day, the police represent the public and do what they do in our name. How is it therefore responsible to keep us in the dark because the truth might frighten some readers?

I can almost see Jack Nicholson in Red Serge screaming, “The truth! You can’t handle the truth.”

I would suggest the vast majority of the public, though they may not like the stories telling them what is happening to their neighbourhoods, can certainly handle the truth. Indeed, with property crime running rampant, is it not malfeasant to not advise them? How can people take steps to protect themselves if they cannot appreciate the nature of the threat?

Anyone who does not have their head planted firmly in the sand – and those from StatsCan – instinctively knows crime is rising and the justice system seems powerless to protect the citizenry from becoming a victim.

(As a side note, readers should check out Scott Newark’s examination of the question of crime rates and the fudging of the numbers to delude the population. It is featured on the Contributing Writers section of Prime Time Crime.)

Equally, it seems to me that since the police are trying to do so much more with less, doesn’t it make sense to keep the public very much in the loop with what is happening on our streets? After all, the only way to get the attention of the politicians who allocate tax dollars is to have them think the public really cares about something. Educating the public to the reality of rising crime in our cities and towns is just the sort of thing that might get people angry enough to phone their MP or MLA demanding action.

Crime is a major problem in this country. Trying to shield the public from the fact is not the right way to go. It’s not the crime stories that frighten the public, it is crime itself.

Leo Knight

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Things the Police would like you to know

A few years back I wrote a column entitled A few simple rules to live by. It contained some common sense rules devised by a California Assistant District Attorney called “How not to get shot by Police.”

A retired VPD member, Mike Windle, sent me another common sense list put together by an American street cop. It was too good not to share.


Your 5 year old kid getting pushed down by another 5 year old kid is NOT a police matter; talk to the other kid's parents, not the police.

If your kid won't do his homework or do his chores, 911 is not the answer.

If a cop causes a car accident we usually get a ticket, and sometimes we get suspended. When is the last time you got 3 days off (without pay) for rear-ending a guy at Wal-Mart?

We know you've had more than two beers. When I've had two beers, I didn't hit six parked cars, drive my car through the front doors of a Toys-R-Us, pee my pants or pass out at a traffic light.

When you see an emergency vehicle behind you with its lights and sirens on, pull to the RIGHT, and stop. We are usually required to pass cars on the left.

When you're driving in the fast lane and you see a cop behind you, don't go 5 MPH under the speed limit. We are not impressed by how safe of a driver you can be, we're trying to go help someone (or catch that guy in the SUV that just cut you off). Safely move over and let us pass please.

If you get a warning instead of a ticket from a motorcycle cop, go buy a lottery ticket, because you've already beaten the odds.

When you see an officer conducting a traffic stop, or with a suspect in handcuffs, it is generally not a good idea to approach him and ask for directions. If you do, don't expect the officer to be nice when he tells you to get lost, and don't expect the officer to take the time to explain.

Here's how to get out of a ticket. Don't break the law.

If you drive a piece of crap, that is why you're getting pulled over.

In one week I pulled over 10 cars for minor traffic violations. 5 out of 10 had no vehicle insurance. 3 out of 10 had suspended driver's licenses. 2 out of 10 had warrants. 1 out of 10 had felony warrants. 1 was a known sex offender with his 12 year old niece in the car without her mothers knowledge.

If you've just been pulled over doing 70 in a 35, do not greet the officer with, "What seems to be the problem, officer?"

We get coffee breaks too.

When you're the victim of a burglary, take the time you spend waiting for the officer to find the model number and the serial number of the stuff that was taken.

Some cops are just jerks, but take heart in the fact that other cops don't like them either.

If it's nighttime and you're driving a vehicle with tinted windows and I pull you over, it's not because of your skin color. I usually can't tell if the vehicle even has a driver until the windows rolled down.

Every time you hear on the news about people running away from a crazed gunman, someone's son or daughter in a police uniform is running TOWARD that crazed gunman.

Yes, it's true, cops usually don't give other cops tickets. Think of it as an employee discount, perk or benefit. Other cops are family and you wouldn't give your brother a ticket if you were a cop either.

If your local police agency has a helicopter, everyone knows it's loud and annoying, but did you know it can cover the same area as 20 patrol officers and safely chase criminals that are driving 90 MPH through city streets. Many times the guy has no idea it's there and slows down.

Police work is.... writing reports.

If you rob a gas station you're only going to get about $100, but I get to see a K9 dog use your arm as a chew toy. For all I care you can keep the $100.

In one year of patrol work in a large city, only about ten minutes would be cool enough to be on the television show Cops.

Every traffic stop could end in gunfire, but we have to be polite and professional until that time.

I've taken about the same amount of men and women to jail for domestic violence, so NO, it's not always the man.

People love fire fighters.

If the light was yellow, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Cops know you pay taxes and that your taxes pay cops' salaries. Cops also pay taxes, which also pay cops' salaries so, hey, this traffic stop is on me. Now sign here; press hard. There are four copies.

Police Officers...our job is to protect your butt, not kiss it.

Leo Knight

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Stench from apparent police cover-up won't go away

The story that broke in the Calgary Herald this morning is remarkable for a Canadian police department in this day and age.

The piece written by staffer Suzanne Wilton, details a memo written by then Inspector, now Deputy Chief Jim Hornby of the Calgary Police Service to then Deputy Chief Rick Hanson.

The first paragraph of the memo is striking:

“As per our conversation, I have a situation where I believe an officer’s notebook has been modified improperly that may bring the Service into disrepute. This surrounds an application for a search warrant and the grounds required to obtain it.”

Especially troubling is the fact that the warrant was returned empty. In other words, the warrant to search for a grow-op was granted based on information that was, at least in part, fabricated and the police found nothing. Which isn’t terribly surprising given the family who lived in the rented house are Joe and Jane Six-pack who run a small business refinishing furniture not growing marijuana. They don’t even use marijuana.

The raid occurred in September of 2000, nearly six years ago. Since then, the mom of the family, Nancy Killian Constant, has been desperately trying to find answers to determine why members of the Calgary Police Service forcibly entered her home at gunpoint and ordered her and her family to the floor.

She has gone through the police complaints procedure, the Law Enforcement Review Board and has launched a lawsuit. And so far, she hasn’t even received anything that might resemble an answer, let alone an apology.

The memo, a “smoking gun” that clearly demonstrates the Calgary Police knew they screwed up badly, was written by Hornby in December of 2000, three months after the events and still the management of the police department are dodging and obfuscating refusing to admit they were wrong.

This is unbelievable and this is wrong.

The search arose out of a landlord / tenant dispute which the landlord, Rocco Terrigno and his son, Michael, attempted to bully their way into their rented house late at night after the kids had been put to bed. Killian Constant’s husband blocked the Terrigno’s path and Michael tumbled backwards over a plant on the front steps.

He called the police alleging he had been assaulted. The police officer who attended, Cst. Ian Vernon, was a rookie. Despite the fact there was clearly no evidence to support a charge of assault against the husband, he was charged by Vernon with assault. This charge was later dropped by the Crown as it should have been.

A couple of days later Vernon got a warrant, supported by an Information to Obtain that alleged grounds that can only charitably be described as thin. I have read the ITO and in my opinion the warrant should not have been granted. There’s not a chance in hell that it would have been in Vancouver, but recognizing that Calgary is a different jurisdiction, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say the grounds were thin.

Now we know of this memo from Hornby which says that Vernon altered his notebook to aid in obtaining the warrant. So, we go from thin grounds to fabricated evidence and six years later the Calgary Police Service still won’t say they are sorry for forcibly entering a family’s home late at night, ordering a family to the floor at gunpoint and finding absolutely nothing.

A review of this file has since been ordered and Inspector Brian Whitelaw has now laid a variety of service offences against a number of officers involved in the obtaining and executing the warrant. Those allegations have yet to be heard and certainly those officers, including Vernon, Hornby and Vernon’s supervisor, Sgt. Carl DeSantis, who counseled Vernon in how to put together his first ITO, are entitled to mount a defence.

Having said that, the stench from this just will not go away unless and until Killian Constant gets some answers and finally hears an apology. And every day that passes without that diminishes all the good things the hard-working members of the Calgary Police Service do day in and day out.

Leo Knight

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

No surprise in lack of success in OC war

The revelation by RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli that we are not being effective in the fight against organized crime should not come as a surprise to anyone.

When Zaccardelli rose to the position as the top cop in the country, his first message was that organized crime was the biggest threat to Canada. At the time, in September 2000, Zaccardelli astonished the assembled media at his first press conference when he said: " For the first time in this country, we are seeing signs of criminal organizations that are so sophisticated that they are focusing on destabilizing certain aspects of our society."

"There are criminal organizations that target the destabilization of our parliamentary system," Zaccardelli said to the astonished press corps.

Not that they should have been astonished given things like Project Sidewinder and the obvious cover-up by the Liberals to ensure the country stayed ignorant of the threat and their failure to act upon it. For the record, the Libs denied any cover-up and then underlined that with a whitewash by the civilian oversight body SIRC. But, that's a little like believing neither the Prime Minister nor the Finance Minister knew anything about the Sponsership scandal. And to quote LBJ, that dog won't hunt.

But however zealous "Zack" may have been coming out of the gate, he was quickly educated in just how political his office has become. With the ink barely dry on the newspapers reporting his comments, Zaccardelli was summoned onto the Prime Minister's lush carpet and put in his place. My sources tell me he was kept waiting outside the office for a lengthy period of time like a naughty schoolboy waiting outside the principal's office.

Whatever direction he wanted to take the fight against organized crime he was stymied by a corrupt political party that would never allow the Force to take the gloves off. Sure, the RCMP achieved some successes. But organized crime in this country is a multi-billion dollar enterprise. Any real success can only be achieved with a very, very large financial committment and the balls to say "Go get 'em."

And the Liberals were to busy stealing our money to let the Mounties have any of it to go after the bikers, gangsters and triads in any meaningful way.

Leo Knight

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Biker bust reveals truth

The arrest on the Friday of Hells Angel Villy Roy Lynnerup, 41, at Vancouver International Airport is yet another example that the bikers are anything but good ol' boys who like to party hard and ride Harleys.

Allegedly, Lynnerup was inexplicably carrying a loaded handgun in his carry-on luggage right next to his colours depicting him as a full-patch member of the White Rock chapter of the world's biggest biker gang when he was trying to board a plane to Edmonton.

How he thought he'd get the gun through airport security is a whole other question.

But Lynnerup is not just another biker. Police believe he is the Sergeant at Arms, a senior position in every Hells Angel chapter, for the White Rock chapter. Sources say he was carrying notes from Hells Angels officers meetings in the bag as well, leading them to speculate that he was heading to a high level meeting with other senior members of the club.

The Hells Angels have long maintained they are not a criminal organization. Their propaganda machine fuelled by their charitable toy runs and the like. But, even though the police have had only limited success in breaking up their criminal networks, taking a gun to a high level meeting certainly seems to tell a different story.

Leo Knight

Friday, April 14, 2006

Cops do it right despite criticism

In the week since Graham McMynn was abducted the Vancouver Police threw every resource possible at the investigation. The stated “24” investigators working on the case cited in the media reports was thrown out by police as a number, but was no indicator of the actual police resources utilized in this very challenging investigation.

A hint of what really went on came on Wednesday morning when over 100 officers mustered in a Vancouver armoury to get briefed on the plan to rescue the young man.

During that week as well, the police were hampered in their efforts by some elements of the broadcast news media who simply would not do as they were asked and refused to “blackout” the story so the police could do their job. With a kidnap victim’s life hanging in the balance, one has to question the judgment in those newsrooms.

But the story that really stuck in my craw was the piece done by CTV’s Lisa Rossington when she “tracked down” the rental car used by the kidnappers to abduct McMynn.

Rossington spoke to someone in the car lot office who said the police had not contacted them, implying that somehow the police were incompetent.

Given that the girlfriend of the victim was present at the time of the abduction and was the one who gave them the information about the vehicle, did Rossington really believe that the police wouldn’t have followed up on their only solid lead from the get-go? It strains credulity well past the breaking point to even contemplate such a notion a week into the kidnapping.

And, let’s face it, saying that on the six o’clock news sends an entirely contradictory message to the kidnappers than what the police and the family were trying to get out which was to get the kidnappers to make contact. And in this, she placed McMynn’s life in further danger.

The Vancouver Police proved all the doubters and armchair quarterbacks wrong. They conducted an effective, successful investigation in the most trying of circumstances in the desperate attempt to save an innocent life.

The media and the police both have their role to play in a democratic society. Those roles need not always be at odds with each other. Especially when lives are at stake.

Leo Knight

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Irresponsible media hamper police investigation

The media attention on the kidnapping case of a young Vancouver man has been like nothing I’ve ever seen in this type of case. It may also have harmed the police investigation and made it much more difficult for the police to bring about a safe, successful resolution.

Late Tuesday morning, Graham McMynn, 23, a UBC student, was snatched off a street in broad daylight by armed Asian gunmen, leaving his distraught girlfriend screaming for help on the street. By early afternoon CTV news had a microwave truck positioned outside the McMynn home. A news crew from Global was on the scene as well, but they chose to be much more discreet.

In short order radio station CKNW were broadcasting news of the kidnapping, admittedly with few details.

Police asked that the media sit on the story knowing full-well that in kidnapping cases their ability to control the information known to those responsible is critical.

That evening, the debate raged in newsrooms throughout Vancouver, whether to go with the story or not. Responsible newsrooms like BCTV on Global, CBC and The Province made the right decision.

CITY TV decided not to go with the story on their six o’clock broadcast, but had a reporter ready to do a “live hit” if the other stations went with it. CTV ignored the pleas from the police and led with the story so CITY did their live hit ten minutes into the newscast.

With the actions of CTV, the damage was done. The next day all the other media outlets were in overdrive with coverage of the scant details and clamouring for more. That afternoon, VPD held a press conference to try and quell the coverage

Two days later with coverage of the story now abounding, the family put out an emotional plea to encourage the kidnappers to make contact. It appears as though the barrage of media coverage gave them cold feet.

How this will end up is anyone’s guess. The Vancouver police are throwing every possible resource at the investigation. But without contact from the kidnappers their ability to negotiate a settlement is severely hampered.

While I don’t know the motives for this kidnapping, it has all the hallmarks of a kidnapping for ransom case. Indeed, elements of Asian organized crime use kidnapping of wealthy people as a significant revenue source in their day-to-day illicit activities. Most you never hear about, or you hear about after the fact, when the case has been successfully concluded.

Typically, the gangsters contact the family of the victim in short order making a ransom demand and tell them not to involve the police. Equally, the police use a media blackout to reinforce the idea that the kidnappers and the family are negotiating a “business transaction.”

It seems highly likely that the broadcast media coverage of this event has derailed the plans, however misguided, of the kidnappers. One can only hope that tragedy will not be the result.

Leo Knight

Sunday, April 02, 2006

When is an investigation not an investigation

So, what’s with the RCMP saying they are investigating the sinking of the Queen of the North one day and then getting all wussy about it the next?

Yesterday, The Province reported they had begun an investigation into the sinking. Reporter Matthew Ramsay quoted Sgt. Ken Burton saying, “The RCMP is running a parallel and concurrent investigation. We are exploring all the circumstances surrounding this unfortunate event.”

Sounds pretty unequivocal to me. But then the day the story appears, BC Ferries boss David Hahn denies any such thing and calls the story “reckless” and RCMP media flak Sgt. John Ward says they are only at the stage of determining whether they will do an investigation.

But, when asked if the Province story was wrong, Ward had this to say: “I don’t think you were wrong. I don’t think Burton was wrong.”

So, which is it? Is the RCMP back-pedalling because Hahn didn’t like the inference that someone at Ferries had done something criminal that led to the ferry sinking and the apparent loss of two lives?

While we can’t discount the possibility of some type of equipment failure, it seems pretty clear to me that the tragedy was likely the result of either human error or human misconduct. The first would not be criminal, the second would. With a boat on the bottom and two people missing and presumed drowned, if there is a possibility of criminal behaviour being the cause, the RCMP are duty-bound to investigate regardless of what David Hahn thinks.

This is no different than any other type of sudden death investigation in that end. The police investigate and make a determination. If that determination is criminal in nature then the process follows that line. If not, then the matter is closed from a police point of view.

And let’s be clear about this. The ship struck a rock in a channel that it has been sailing through for decades. How did that happen? Because whatever the answer to that question is, is directly responsible for the deaths of two people.

And that is a police matter.

Leo Knight

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Justice denied for innocent cop

The case of former RCMP Constable John Hudak is more than a little troubling.

Hudak’s story, called Branded for Life was told on CTV’s  W5 . Hudak was a small-town cop, a Mountie involved in his community who was accused of sexual assault by a local nurse, Mildred Johnson, 58.

By all accounts it would appear as though the investigation was botched early on and in reality, it should have clearly determined that the complainant was either wrong, or more accurately, deliberate in a false accusation of a man who had spurned her attentions.

Hell hath no fury and all that, but this case literally screams out that the man in this case is clearly not the predator and the woman clearly is. Unfortunately, all too often the system is too politically correct to get its head around that concept.

Any allegation of a sex assault should be treated seriously. But, as any investigator of sex crimes will tell you, the majority of complaints they get are unfounded or vindictive. That’s not a popular statement but it is very accurate.

As much as the ultra-feminist movement would have us believe that men are evil predators, the reality is that women are by far and away, more dangerous in the way they use the public perception to gain either an advantage or vengeance.

While this certainly doesn’t pretend that some men aren’t sexual predators, it also doesn’t automatically assume the woman making the complaint is telling the truth. In point of fact, as I said, the majority of complaints made to police are either unfounded or untruthful.

And that is what is truly puzzling about the Hudak case. The woman involved has a history of making unfounded allegations of this nature. Yet the RCMP apparently never checked the woman’s background. Why not?

Equally, DNA evidence seized form Johnson’s couch proved to be a mixed sample and the male portion was not from Hudak. And, in the course of the investigation, Hudak took a polygraph which concluded that he was telling the truth.

Hudak’s detachment commander protested in vain to the Mountie brass that they were prosecuting an innocent man. Yet, the prosecution soldiered on.

Hudak was ultimately acquitted in a courtroom he should have never been in except as a witness in the mischief case against Mildred Johnson, a prosecution that will likely never occur.

But Hudak will always have the label ‘sex offender” attached to him even though he was acquitted.  Once accused of that sort of crime, the stigma is always there.

Why was Hudak charged when there was essentially no evidence against him and a mountain of evidence to indicate Mildred Johnson was fabricating the allegation?

Most likely it was simply because he was a cop. And this is something that has always bothered me.

It is true that the police must be held to a higher standard and as such, they must be purer than Caesar’s wife.  But, they should also not subject to a prosecution when the evidence doesn’t support it.

It takes balls for a police chief or other senior police management to stand up and back their members publicly when it is the right thing to do. And I’m not talking about covering up inappropriate behaviour as we have seen more often than I’d care to admit.

No, I’m talking about doing the right thing when it is appropriate. And it is just that testicular fortitude that was missing in the senior management of the RCMP in the Hudak case.

Leo Knight

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Harper's bold moves show promise

Despite the incessant whining from the lib/left, and I include the bulk of the mainstream media in this, I think newly-minted Prime Minister Stephen Harper is off to a pretty good start.

He made some moves in the wake of the election of his minority government that will serve to unite the centre-right of the country politically and at least give his Conservatives the chance to be more than a political flash-in-the-pan.

Harper knows that the Liberals need to re-invent themselves after ten years of Martinite/Chretienite blood-letting. Without seats among the tongue-clucking classes in the three major urban areas of the country, he addressed these gaps by appointing Michael Fortier and David Emerson to cabinet posts.

Fortier is a major Tory political force in Quebec and Emerson is a well-respected businessman first recruited by Paul Martin in one of his infrequent moments of clarity.

The floor-crossing of Emerson has created an outcry from the lefty/unionist types in the blue collar riding of Vancouver-Kingsway, but really, I fail to see why it should be still on anyone’s radar screen this long after the appointment.

Yes, Emerson was elected as a Liberal. But frankly, Emerson is far from a Grit true-believer. He is still the same man the riding elected only now he has a seat at the cabinet table. If the trendy lefties in Vancouver Kingsway are so worried that the “scary Harper” might unleash his “hidden agenda” upon an unsuspecting population, aren’t they in a much better position to monitor that with a member in cabinet?

They are squealing like scalded cats but really, it’s much ado about nothing. Emerson will represent his riding ethically and responsibly, the hallmarks of his career at every turn thus far. And the sanctimonious whining from those who simply won’t move on is getting ever more tedious.

Fortier is an equally bold move. With a beachhead in Quebec, Harper moved to further align the federalist segment of the population that he needs to blunt the ambitions of the separatists who believed they were on a winning path to another referendum when the Liberals were caught inflagrente dilecto (yet again) only this time, with Adscam, it was more than anyone could stand.

True, he wasn’t elected and was appointed to the Senate in order to have him in Cabinet. While that may seem at odds with the democratic ideals of the Conservatives, it was a very pragmatic short-cut to bring the Quebec federalists on board. Or, at least, giving the Tories a chance to get them on board.

Make no mistake about it, Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe saw the demise of the Liberals as a chance to re-energize his foundering separatist movement. With the electoral beachhead and the appointment of Fortier, Harper is demonstrating that the Tories are the logical alternative to those in Quebec who wish to see this country remain as a single entity.

It’s very early in Harper’s mandate and the upcoming budget and Throne Speech will be the real litmus test to see if Harper is the real meal deal or doomed to be a footnote in history. But frankly, his first few weeks have shown he is prepared to be bold and decisive.

Leo Knight

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

'Skids' clean up needs support

I'm more than a little heartened to see Vancouver Police Inspector Bob Rolls talking tough about cleaning up the world's largest open air drug bazaar, the Downtown Eastside. Or, as it was known when I walked a beat on its mean streets, " The Skids."

But talk is cheap. And the real test of this is whether the courts, the Crown and the Department itself, will withstand the inevitable pressure they will face as they proceed with their stated "zero tolerance" policy.

When I first set foot on the "beat" in the Skids it was a different job. In those days, in the early '80s, the beat was a coveted job. It was only given to those officers who had proven themselves in patrol cars to have the right stuff.

In those days, the beat squad in the Skids was totally self-driven in terms of the work that was done. We weren't responsible for radio calls and our work as part of the 12 man crew was totally self-generated. We went out and found the bad guys and put them in jail. In some ways it was a much more simple life. Within hours of a new guy arriving on the beat he was challenged. Not in the way the word is used today, but in the manner of the Wild, Wild West. To see how tough you were. One of the local street thugs would throw down the gauntlet and you either picked it up and hit him with it or you didn't last for much longer on the beat. That was just the way it was.

But, in those days we ruled the streets. There was no such thing as junkies using in plain view or dealers advertising their lethal wares blatantly on every street corner. No, in those days the junkies and dealers hid from the police.

Then something went awry. Maybe it was when we started referring to the dealers, users, muggers, rapists, thieves and assorted buttheads as “clients.” Maybe it was when we started swallowing the so-called “Four Pillars” nonsense that allowed the assholes to take control of the streets.

But the bottom line is that we let the streets get away from us. And by us, I mean the police. And that is the essential question in the message being sent out by the VPD. Will the department back those officers who pick up the gauntlet and smack some Honduran crack dealer in the chops with it?

Because, like it or not, that is what is required. And PIVOT and VANDU need to be told that their bovine scatology is irrelevant. A junkie makes a choice and the result is not a “social issue” but a crime issue. And there’s the rub.

No one, as far as I can see, is prepared to tell these groups to get stuffed. And that will be an issue when VPD tries to clean the streets of the ubiquitous junkies and death dealers that have been given a free pass in the Skids over the past 10-15 years.

Leo Knight

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Move on please

Is it just me, or is the media making a mountain out of a molehill on the David Emerson defection to the Tories?

And then there was the comments by the gone but not missed, former Prime Minister Paul Martin yesterday. He's astonished apparently, that someone he plucked out of the private sector with promises of a cabinet post would have been plucked from the Liberal backbences by the promise of a cabinet post.

Why he would wait more than ten days to tell a disinterested country that he's "astonished" is anyone's guess. But frankly, Martin is yesterday's man and few, if any, are interested in his opinion on anything.

And today NDP leader Jack Layton is swanning into Vancovuer to "make sure the matter doesn't die." Give us a break Jack. Everyone in the country, with the exception of the liberal media and the looney left has come to grips with why it was done and, agree or not, has moved on. There's nothing left to be gained in trying to engage the nation this extended period of political flagellation. Move on. For God's sake, move on.

Leo Knight

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Is the Chief Justice afraid of change?

It was interesting to see the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada trying to cling on the last vestige of Liberal domination on the Canadian political scene by chiding Prime Minister Designate Stephen Harper not to "politicize" the appointing of a new Justice to the top court.

It is hard to imagine the process being any more political given the appointment is at the sole discretion of the Prime Minister. And, as evidenced by more than a decade of very liberal Liberal appointees, the PM will appoint someone who has a similar vision to that of the person doing the appointing.

Madame Justice Beverly McLachlin seems to think that the status quo is just ducky and is evidently afraid that Harper will appoint someone who doesn't share their soft on crime view of the country.

Let's be realistic, the decisions of the SCOC are the reason crime is running rampant across this country. A couple of cases readily come to mind like R v Feeney and R v Stintchcombe. These are glaring examples where the SCOC came to conclusions that have not only defied the logic of the average person, but dramatically hampered the prosecution of criminals and altered forever the ability of the police to do their job.

In her "advice" to Harper, Madam Justice McLachlin said, "And I think in order to preserve the public confidence in the impartiality of the courts, we should avoid politicizing it," McLachlin said.

Well that's certianly interesting. Does the learned judge actually believe that Canadians have any confidence in the impartiality of the courts?

I think not. Canadians perceive that the court system is designed to do everything to protect the rights of the accused and does precious little to protect society and the victims of crime. That is hardly a perception of "public confidence."

Stephen Harper has long been an avocate for change in the way judicial appointments are made in this country. He has spoken out in favour of de-politicizing the process and making appointees subject to the scrutiny of Parliament. Whether some form of scrutinizing committee of MPs will work or not is another discussion especially when you look at the Alito hearings in the US Senate these last few weeks. But at least Harper is talking about change. Which is more than can be said about the Chief Justice.

Leo Knight

Monday, January 23, 2006

Election thoughts

As I write this it seems as though the country in going to have a change in government. Unfortunately, the Conservatives have not been given a majority government but a minority of some twenty or so seats.

How, given the corruption, cronyism and blatent disregard for democracy, has the Liberal party managed to retain over 100 seats in Parliament? However, it is not all bad news in this deranged Dominion.

Convicted jewel thief Svend Robinson seems like he has been given the bum's rush in Vancouver Centre. May he never darken our doorstep again.

And speaking of that, from a personal point of view, I won't miss the Prime Minister Paul Martin either. There was a time when he seemed to hold the future of this country in his hands. But, his thirst for power nearly destroyed the Liberal party from within. And frankly, that thirst for power overshadowed whatever merits he may have had for the job of Prime Minister.

And so farewell and adieu.

The Tories have had a major breakthrough in Quebec. Gille Duceppe and the Bloc have lost a few seats. And with that, a small glimmer of hope appears in the fight for national unity.

It is also inconceivable to me that Don Bell has been re-elected in North Vancouver. Albeit, Cindy Silver is a political neophyte with virtually no profile, it seems bizarre to me that a man who personifes everything that is wrong with the Liberal party could attract enough voters to regain his seat. Such is life in Canada.

But, on the positive side, we have a new government, one that is unfettered with cronies demanding favours. It is up to Stephen Harper to show the country he has the mettle to be what many of us hope he can be.

Leo Knight

Sunday, January 22, 2006

A cross country look at Editorial positions on Election 2006

A regular reader suggested that we provide a compilation of editorial positions on Election 2006 from across the country. Here then, in no particular order, is what we have found.

Leo Knight

National Post

Whatever happens on Jan. 23, Stephen Harper deserves credit for bringing the conservative movement in Canada to this point. As recently as 2003, conservatives were split between two bickering parties with very different cultures. It is a testament to his strong leadership that the party now appears so united and professional. Throughout it all, Mr. Harper has been subject to criticism -- not least, from us -- in regard to his style and tactics. He has borne such criticism with dignity, and has diligently kept to his message that this country can do better. He has certainly convinced us. And we hope he has convinced Canadian voters as well.
National Post editorial

The Gazette

The Liberal Party has failed, seriously and ignobly, on the principal issue of the day. For this reason, if no other, it is time for the Liberals to go.

The 2006 Conservative Party offers a program that can work very well for Quebec as a part of Canada. Given the Liberals' disgraceful abuse of the sacred trust of national unity, it's time for Quebecers to join their fellow Canadians in supporting Stephen Harper and the Conservatives.
The Gazette editorial

Ottawa Citizen

The Citizen has come out in support of the Conservatives. Unfortunately, their online editorial is hidden behind a subscription wall.
Ottawa Citizen editorial

Windsor Star

If your Canada includes Quebec, then your Canada cannot include another Liberal government under Prime Minister Paul Martin.
Windsor Star editorial

Edmonton Journal

It is time for change in Ottawa. It is time for a new government with fresh ideas, a different coalition of supporters and an entirely new cast of characters who are not wedded to the status quo and are not seduced by the notion that what's good for them is what's good for the country.
Edmonton Journal editorial

Calgary Herald

Therefore, having offered Canada capable people, sensible, moderate policies, and a credible promise to bring integrity to government, it is our hope Canadian voters reward Stephen Harper's Conservatives with a majority government on Monday.
Calgary Herald editorial

Vancouver Sun

It is time for a change in Ottawa.

Harper and the Conservatives have been slow to earn our trust. Even six months ago, they seemed desperate for power and focused solely on an angry, negative message. They provided little sense that they represented an alternative with which Canadians could feel comfortable.
Vancouver Sun editorial

The Province (Vancouver)

In the likelihood of a Tory minority, a British Columbia electoral map dominated by Conservatives with a smattering of New Democrats would serve us well.

It would also send an even stronger message to the Liberals -- now is the time to sit in the penalty box and think about how you got there.
The Province editorial

Victoria Times Colonist

We've been given enough promises from all three parties now that we should no longer be swayed by attack ads or dismayed by other mistakes that are sure to be made. We should use these last few days to look at the Liberal record and compare it to what the Conservatives have offered. We should examine the issues that separate the two.
Times Colonist editorial

Halifax Chronicle Herald

Mr. Harper’s strategy, to run a campaign focused on offering Canadians new policy choices, appears to have put him in the best position to win Monday’s election. The Conservative leader did well in the debates by staying unruffled by attacks of Mr. Martin and the other leaders. The tragic shooting in Toronto on Boxing Day amplified the Conservative message on getting tougher on crime, while the populist Tory pledge to cut the GST seemed to appeal to many people.
Chronicle Herald editorial

Ottawa Sun

The Liberals, by their actions and their attitude, have given up the right to govern just as surely as the Conservatives have earned the opportunity to put their plans into action.
Ottawa Sun editorial

Toronto Sun

After 12 years of Liberal rule, there is so much more important work to do, from fixing health care, to developing an adult relationship with the Americans, to rebuilding our military, to cementing the ties that bind our nation together, which the Liberals have frayed by their arrogance and corruption.

It's time to kick them out and give Harper and the Conservatives a chance to repair the damage the Grits have done.
Toronto Sun editorial

Toronto Star

Sadly, despite all efforts to portray himself as a changed, more moderate leader, such rhetoric smacks of the old Stephen Harper, one who barely two years ago lashed out at Liberals for allegedly stacking the courts with liberal-minded judges in a move to approve same-sex marriage.
Toronto Star editorial

Edmonton Sun

Prime Minister Stephen Harper. It has a nice ring to it. And that's the result that we want to see tomorrow night when the votes are counted
Edmonton Sun editorial

Calgary Sun

It appears Conservative Leader Stephen Harper is set to become our next prime minister and that's great by us.
Calgary Sun editorial

La Presse

En cette ère de soupçon, les électeurs se méfient des politiciens qui dissimulent leur véritable sensibilité. En taisant sa sympathie naturelle pour les Américains, le premier ministre a creusé sa propre tombe. Parce que les électeurs canadiens ne sont pas juste conviés à choisir une plate-forme électorale, mais aussi un homme d'État au jugement sûr, ils vont sans doute pencher pour un vrai conservateur plutôt qu'un faux libéral.

(translation) In this era of suspicion, the voters are wary of the politicians who dissimulate their true sensitivity. By concealing his natural sympathy to the Americans, the Prime Minister dug his own tomb. Because the Canadian voters are not just invited to choose an election platform, but also a statesman with sure judgement, they undoubtedly will lean for a true conservative rather as a false liberal.
La Presse editorial

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Fat Lady isn't singing yet

With everyone pretty much accepting that Stephen Harper and his Conservatives are going to form the next government, word comes in the form of a Decima poll suggesting that although Harper is holding his ten point lead nationally, the Liberals in Ontario have shown something of a resurgence.

The fat lady may be warming up in the room next door, but if Ontario goes solidly back to the Liberals, she may never get to take the stage. And that is troubling.

The winds of change may be blowing everywhere else in the country but there is still a large segment of the population of Ontario that seems to believe that the status quo is preferable to the legacy of corruption, entitlement and cronyism that has marked the last 12 years of Liberal domination in Ottawa.


Although there was good news for those of us who want to see an end to the Liberal stranglehold on the country. Harper's Tories have apparently made some terrific gains in Quebec of all places and Harper was there again today to reinforce his message to federalists.

Can the Tories elect MPs in Quebec? Hard to imagine, but certainly any path to a majority government requires the support of at least some of the ridings in that province. Certainly Gilles Duceppe seems to have come to grips with the issue and has turned his guns onto the Conservatives.

And speaking of guns, a litany of special interest groups and the usual suspects form the left are warning that a Harper government would wreak all manner of havoc.

Phil Fontaine, leader of the Assembly of First Nations was moaning in the media about Harper not being fully behind the Kelowna native deal reached in November. Then there was EGALE, the gay rights group saying: "If Stephen Harper goes ahead with his plan to reopen the divisive equal marriage debate, it will lead Canada into a legal swamp."


And then there was the Canadian Climate Coalition who are worried that a Harper government would back away from the Kyoto accord orchestrated by Martin mentor and bribe-taker Maurice Strong. They accused Harper of moving Canada "into the same camp as U.S. President George W. Bush."

Anytime one of these left wing loons wants to discredit the Tories and Stephen Harper they invoke the name of the US President as though he is evil incarnate.

And Paul Martin was busy today shooting at all comers but couldn't resist yet another wild accusation that Harper has a "hidden agenda." I am really getting tired of that one. I only wish Martin would.

There are only a few days remaining until election day. The curtain may be ready to fall on a government bereft of ideas and riddled with corruption. But, the fat lady is still only warming up her vocal chords.

Leo Knight

Monday, January 16, 2006

Spin City

I'm trying not to get too excited about the prospect of a Conservative government. And in this last week of the campaign I have to admit I am harboring more than a little trepidation that something very weird is going to happen to derail the momentum the Tories seem to be gaining.

In the dying days of the campaign PM Paul Martin is still relying on the "Harper is scary" message that proved so successful in the last campaign. But that is so 2004. And as the polls are showing, this is not.

NDP leader Jack Layton is still barking about tax cuts to "banks and oil companies" as though there aren't any other idustries out there who employ people and are chaffing under the tax burdens levied by the Liberals to provide the dollars they can steal.

Today, Paul Martin was in Vancouver appearing before the Board of Trade ostensibly to talk about about crime, an issue resonating with most voters. But no, crime wasn't on his radar screen. He went on about if Harper is elected then he will cut the precious social programs the Libs seem to think are precious to Canadians.


From a personal point of view I'd look forward to any government, Conservative or otherwise, that would rid this country of nonsense programs liked the gun registry and state mandated indoctrination centres. . . .sorry, day care facilities.

And don't get me started on the moribund health care system that even the Supreme Court has recognized as flawed.

More tomorrow. . . .

Leo Knight