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Friday, April 16, 2004

Moments ago

Just stepped out to the local corner gas station/convenience store to pick up a couple of liters of milk. As I approached the store, I saw police cruiser parked between the front door and the pumps. I quickly turned and took a peak at the fellow sitting in the back. He looked like he was in his late-twenties, thin, decently combed hair, moustache, bomber jacket. He stared straight ahead, showing no emotion (as court reporters are in the habit of saying). There was no one else in the cruiser; the engine was running.

Inside at the counter, a cop was taking statements from the employees. As I approached the counter with my milk, I caught a few details of what went down. The guy in the car allegedly tried to run out with a Twinkie and a chimichanga. The manager had caught him. In answer to the policeman's question, the manager said, no, this fellow had not been caught trying to do this before at this gas station.

As the clerk, whom I've spoken with before and who’s been there about a year, rang up my purchase, I said, "Pulled a Svend Robinson, did he?"

The clerk then paused and said, quite seriously, "You know? I've known Svend for 20 years, and that's really out of character."

Of course we were both talking about Svend “Lord-of-the-Rings-Das-Rheingold-with-this-ring-I-thee-wed” Robinson’s recent woes in the news, and mentioned already below.

The cop then started asking the clerk questions so I didn't get to pursue the matter and find out how he knew Svend. Maybe I will when I run out of milk again.

As I left, I noticed the thief in the cruiser still hadn't moved. The kind of empty trance he appeared to be in made me doubt he'll get the same sort of outpouring of sympathy from the people who know him that Svend is from his ideological supporters. If the Twinkie thief stands in front of judge and says, "Look, I fell down six years ago and hit my head, and I think that's why I did this," for some reason I assume that'll go in one of the judge's ears and out the other.

Walking away, I suddenly thought of Jack Ramsay (in the news recently when his 25-year-old son died). I don't recall a whole lot sympathy for that MP after his conviction--particularly from the left who expect sympathy now for Robinson--even though he was convicted of an offense (sexual assault of a young native girl) that occurred thirty years previous while he worked as an RCMP officer on a native reserve. Hey, that's a high stress position. No one cut that Reformer any slack. He was what when the incident occurred? 23? 24? Well, Svend was in a high stress positon, a position of reponsibility and he's a whole lot older and should know better, just like Ramsay should have when he was half his age.

Then, as I crunched through the April snow, I thought about my sister. Years ago, when she just got out of high school, she worked as an undercover store security officer, nailing shoplifters. What I gathered from her was that most people who were caught stealing did it for the thrill. They didn't actually need the stuff they were trying to rip off. Many of them were carrying enough money to pay for the their booty. It occurred to me that maybe Svend just went looking for a new heart-pounding thrill and got caught. An incredible opportunity presented itself and I, a man of many parts, now gentleman thief, will go for it. Exciting!

Ever since his public support for the suicide of Sue Rodriguez, I've considered Svend Robinson a blight on the Canadian social and political landscape. Yes, he is human. Yes, no one is perfect. I don't care if he goes to jail. Whatever his problems are, I thought as I turned the corner into the alley that runs by my door, I just want him to go away.

Posted by Kevin Steel on April 16, 2004 | Permalink


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But Svend returned the ring... it's not like he "pulled a Jack Ramsay" and ruined someones life by sexually assaulting them.

And really... Most 23 year olds know that sexual assault is wrong. It's not like you can call a crime of that nature youthful indiscretion.

Posted by: Kelsey | 2004-04-16 12:29:09 PM

While I have no time for Svend's politics and would have loved to see him defeated in the next election, I am sorry to see him brought low by something this stupid.

Posted by: Jay Currie | 2004-04-16 12:34:57 PM

Brock's correction of my post was deleted at his request.

Posted by: Kevin Steel | 2004-04-16 12:48:58 PM

Yeah Svend returned the ring because he knew that eventually once the security checked all their camera tapes he would have been found out.
This was a case of self-preservation. Its better to confess to the crime, rather than having the police at the door arresting you. This way,too,he gets to hold his news conference and pull the victim act. Typical Robinson.
Its not like he "pulled a Jack Ramsay and ruined someone elses life by sexually assaulted them." Ruined her life. Really. From reading some of the reports in the newspapers on that incident I definitely have a hard time with that statement.

Posted by: Mike P | 2004-04-16 1:26:56 PM

Oh please.

You really equate somebody who is obviously having serious mental problems and did something very embarrasing to himself - for which he got caught nearly immediately and very publicly admitted - with the rapist?

There are two aspects to Ramsay's rape that make it particularly repugnant. The rape itself - AND that it was done while he was serving as a member of the RCMP.

Is the logic here that because Svend is going to get sympathy for his crime because of this stress - ergo - Ramsay should get sympathy for his rape?

This is exactly why Alliance gets so much flak from the canadian public outside of their own little circles in Western Canada.

This really sick little habit of pointing to anything that other politicians do and saying as much as "See - We Aint So Bad - Look at the other Party and it's members and what they've done"

It's juvenile and sad.

BOTH acts are criminal. Both acts indicate serious ethical problems by the people who engaged in them.

Lets stop playing the Liberal Game of constantly lowering the standard of what is and isn't acceptable behaviour in basic standards of conduct. Shall we?

Posted by: Meaghan Walker-Williams | 2004-04-16 3:37:12 PM

Miss Walker-Williams, you have inflated the case against Mr Ramsay to rape. In fact he was convicted of attempted rape through a trial that was totally flawed. In fact he never laid a hand on this woman. What he did do was repulsive, but no more so than the theft and the act which Mr Robinson is now putting on to fool people like you. Again if Mr Robinson deserves sympathy for emotional problems then Mr Ramsay should be accorded equal sympathy for going through a flawed process and having people like you think he committed rape. Or do you believe that attempted rape is the same as the actual rape?

Posted by: Mike P | 2004-04-16 6:49:36 PM

As far as I read the matter - he went on trial for rape and unlawful confinement. He was found guilty of attempted rape. The conviction was overturned and a new trial was schedualed. A new trial date was set - and then Ramsay admitted guilt to attempted rape. Correction - let me cite my source...According to the Calgary Herald,March 26th 2002 - he pleaded guilty to indecent assault.

So it was 30 years, and a trial later before the creep actually admitted his guilt.

Maybe Svend should have followed his lead and played the politicians game of deny deny deny - right up til the end and 30 years later admit it - and then pretend later that it wasn't the case.

From what I heard on the moccasin telegraph, other Indian women were going to come forward when it looked like the guy was going to skate - hence the real reason he didn't want it to go back to trial. His "I touched her - but then turned away and felt disgusted with myself" wouldn't hold up. That is if he wanted to maintain a shred of good public image and convince the rubes that he was actually just a poor-down-on-his-luck decent fellow done wrong.

Basically he saved the Crown some time and expense by pleading guilty - but did it in a much sneakier way than Robinson did. It has still left some people (yourself obviously included) with the impression that the rape never occured.

I don't believe him.

Gotta give Svend some credit - I doubt very much that Mr.Robinson will come out next week with some kind of statement that he didn't actually steal the ring, that despite what he admitted he just pawed it and fondled it.

Sure - Robinsons politics suck - but he seems to be twice the man that Ramsay is.

You want to equivocate between the rape charge and the attempted rape conviction. That is your perogative. The matter of difference between Rape and Attempted Rape - was one of whether or not Ramsey was able to penetrate her. (according to CP Wire Service Nov 24th 1999) -

The victim insisted that Ramsey had difficulty penetrating her.

If he had been able to penetrate her - it most probably would have been a rape conviction.

He just groped her and attempted to penetrate her unsuccesfully. Seems the only thing that saved Ramsey from 10 years in prison was his own impotence. Lucky indian girl - it could have been a lot worse. But I suppose that 15 year old girl should be happy that he didn't take her out in sub-zero temperature and drop her off in a remote location to freeze to death.

Sorry - my bank of sympathy is clear out of funds for Jack Ramsey.

Posted by: Meaghan Walker-Williams | 2004-04-17 2:14:01 AM

I am really not asking for sympathy for Jack Ramsay but I am certainly not giving any to Svend Robinson. Mr Robinson admitted guilt immediately because he knew the cops already had the goods on him. And of course he knew if he came out with a good sob story and made himself the victim he would have the public on his side. Looks like it worked. Not sneaky, huh?
As for Jack Ramsay, maybe he didnt let the case go any further in court because he couldnt afford it. You use all the right cliches Miss Walker-Williams but you dont make a very good case. In Canada in sexual assault cases the man is guilty until proven innocent, his identity is made public, hers is not, its strictly his word against hers,reasonable doubt does not enter into it. Her past history is forbidden fruit, so the man has no way to prove his innocence. But in this case the final outcome was he plead guilty to indecent assault, not Rape.
As for leaving Indians out in the cold to freeze to death, I would advise you to read the article in the latest edition of the Western Standard. Its in all likelihood a lot closer to the truth than what you have been lead to believe.

Posted by: Mike P | 2004-04-17 6:43:47 AM

Today's NatPost reported that the RCMP asked the auction house to refrain from contacting svend. So the cops knew svend did it. What was there to investigate? This leads me to believe that svend was disingenuous in his confession.

Svend got caught. Was told to hand back the goodies , did so and that was supposed to be the end of it. Svend figured it would come out so he pre-emptively called a news conference and shed some crocodile tears. He never said he was sorry, he never ruled out a return to politics. This guy has the moral acumen of a liberal.

Posted by: Peter Salvalaggio | 2004-04-17 1:46:50 PM

I just wanted to point out that the post that I was originally responding to was about a guy wondering why Ramsey didn't get a lot of sympathy - and why Svend did.

As to your other comments.

First - Yes it is true, that legally Ramsey is innocent until proven guilty. But, I would remind you that it is still OK, even in Canada for people to pass judgement on individuals who commit crimes.

For instance. Willie Pickton - who has killed oodles of women (big surprise many of them are native prostitutes just like the women in the Ramsey case) and seemingly dumped bits of their bodies at his family pig farm, is, in my view most probably guilty as sin. If you choose to really believe that somebody like that is "not guilty" until it's proven in court, as I said before in my post, that is entirely your perogative.

What I find most disturbing about your post is your attempt to claim if the public knew more about the girl involved then Ramsay would not have been found guilty. Can I remind you that she was only 15 years old.

Wake up my good man!
Even if she "wanted it" or "asked for it" - or whatever sick justification people might want to give to Ramsay's action - SHE WAS NOT AN ADULT.
To boot - he was a police officer - and his actions even interpretted in the very best light indicate an extremely disgusting breach of trust.

I'm sorry, but I don't buy into the whole idea that some evil conspiracy was afoot in this matter. If anything - Ramsay got off lightly for his crimes- both admitted or not.

I have just a small amount of empathy for Svend. Not that this justifies or excuses his criminal act. It's most obvious to me that the guy is having a complete and total nervous breakdown. Worse still he's doing it on Nationwide TV.

As for the "Starlight Express" as it's reffered to in Indian Country - where Cops take Indians out to remote locations and drop them off to freeze to death - Are you, or is the Standard claiming that it didn't happen?

You know - if that's the case then I suppose that I'm really not interested in the Western Standard.
I have little time or patience for the kind of weird journalism that "The Report" used to engage in when dealing with Aboriginal issues. I thought Ezra would do a better job than Byfield. I sincerely hope that this is the case.

Posted by: Meaghan Walker-Williams | 2004-04-17 2:18:07 PM

Miss Walker-Williams I am not excusing Jack Ramsay. Yes what he did was repulsive, but was it rape? No. As for the story in the Western Standard, the two cops who did jail time for leaving this guy out in the cold, basically dropped the guy off where he asked to be dropped off. There is more to it than that but you will have to read it.

Posted by: Mike P | 2004-04-17 2:47:06 PM

"What I find most disturbing about your post is your attempt to claim if the public knew more about the girl involved then Ramsay would not have been found guilty. Can I remind you that she was only 15 years old."
The list I mentioned in my other comments pertain to any sexual assault trial in Canada,not necessarily to the Jack Ramsay case.
If you read my posts my objection was to your use of the word Rape.

Posted by: Mike P | 2004-04-17 3:51:30 PM

megs sweetie, i need to talk with you. please call me because its very important (306) 978-4628. SL

Posted by: Sharon | 2004-09-07 3:54:24 PM

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