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Thursday, March 03, 2005

Four RCMP Down

Breaking: CTV

At least four RCMP officers are not responding to their radios after conducting a raid on an alleged marijuana grow operation in northwestern Alberta, says Alberta Solicitor General Harvey Cenaiko.

"They don't know whether that's a malfunction of the equipment or what yet, but it's a very serious situation,'' said Cenaiko.

He added that gunfire was continuing.

And our marijuana decriminalizing legislators would have us believe that the safety of the public depends on arresting hotel owners for smoking violations, getting unhelmeted bicycle riders off our dirt trails and warrentless entry into the homes of dog owners.

Radio is currently reporting are that all four are dead. (A reporter on the scene is reporting this as overhearing the information - it's not official. He also claims that a RCMP has "punched" a CBC reporter.)

Background links on Canadian grow-ops:

"The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police estimates that the number of illegal grow-ops in this province has increased 250 per cent. Revenue could hit $12.7 billion."

Realty Times - How can you tell if there's a grow-op house in your neighbourhood.

More details are emerging - this was not a raid, per se, but the intentional killing of four junior officers who had been posted to guard the property until evidence gathering could be completed in the morning. The owner returned to the scene to, for all intents and purposes, execute them.

Posted by Kate McMillan on March 3, 2005 | Permalink


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I know this is probably insensitive, but I really wonder if the high powered rifle was registered.

Posted by: ld | 2005-03-03 4:40:12 PM

Nothing like a little FUD spreading eh?

The legislation on marijuana currently before the House only decriminalises possession up to 20g.

Me thinks the dudes with the growops might still be breaking the law.

Or would you rather fill up our jails with a bunch of half baked teenagers and hippies?

Posted by: Chris Alemany | 2005-03-03 4:46:41 PM

Encouraging consumption (the net effect of removing consequences) is not going to encourage grow-ops?

Posted by: Kate | 2005-03-03 4:55:13 PM

Well, continued aggressive crack-downs hasn't made them go away either, Kate, and never will.

When was the last time we heard of a raid on a moonshine distillery gone horribly wrong?

Posted by: Jay Jardine | 2005-03-03 5:09:47 PM

Agressive crack down hasnt stopped them simply because there is very little punishment when they do get caught. If you make a thousand bucks a day and pay out one hundred in fines chances are you will continue working. A society that cracks down on cigarette smoking but encourages pot smoking is a just a little twisted in my estimation.

Posted by: MikeP | 2005-03-03 6:38:12 PM

Kate, as far as I know the federal government is not imposing smoking bans on hotels, forcing people to wear bicycle helmets or banning dog breeds. Don't you know the difference between federal and provincial levels of government?

Although I oppose decriminalizing marijuana or other drugs, I see some good in legislation that doubles the sentences for cultivation and trafficking.

Your gauche attempt to score political points from this tragic event is disgusting. Shame on you.

Posted by: Ed | 2005-03-03 6:47:09 PM

Hi Ed. Or should I say... NORMAN!!!

Posted by: The Monger | 2005-03-03 6:57:04 PM

Mike P, do you think the US has been anymore successful in stamping out the drug trade with its more draconian sentencing policies?

Its quite amusing to see conservatives moaning about government bike helmet / smoking / dog breed bans and then going into full conceptual meltdown when it comes to the production and consumption of a particular plant.

Legalise it, and the marijuana trade will be no more violent or intrusive than the sugar trade.

Posted by: Jay Jardine | 2005-03-03 7:01:06 PM

This pretty much does it for me. Four police officers are killed in the line of duty and we turn it into a political debate. This is exactly what the left does in the U.S. when it comes to U.S. combat deaths.
I think that we are showing a lack of class here, to put it mildly. Sadly, I think that is all too common on the internet, and as a very average person, I fail to see how what goes on here would interest or appeal to other very average people out there.
For my part, I'm going to cast my lot with the competitive MSM, and avoid this website in the future.

Posted by: Jeff Eirich | 2005-03-03 7:16:41 PM

Perhaps I should have added an "anger and disgust" tag to that post.

Jeff - here's an example of the misplaced priorities of our Canadian legal system - a few weeks ago a hotel owner in Weyburn, Saskatchewan decided to challenge the smoking ban.

Police accompanied the health inspectors who arrived on the scene to serve tickets - in all, there were more enforcement officers sent to that hotel to ticket unarmed citizens than RCMP officers at that disasterous grow-op raid.

It's almost as though a decision has been made that real criminality is too difficult to combat, and so it's simply easier to create a new, more managable criminal class and go about enforcing those laws, instead.

Posted by: Kate | 2005-03-03 7:38:50 PM

The difference being Jay that laws against marijuana cultivation are in place, so the police have to act on them. Laws for Bike Helmets, smoking and dog breeds are not, so we have to decide if they are needed or not.
Personally I would not want a grow op next door to me, but I guess to each his own. But then I dont worship at the altar of libertarianism either.

Posted by: MikeP | 2005-03-03 8:29:25 PM

Jeff - I could not disagree more.

Oh, the horror some people feel when there is an outbreak of PUBLIC DEBATE on issues that ARE OF CONSEQUENCE . Lets all pretend there are no contentious issues here and that people's opinions don't matter(certainly not gun control, the drug war, the consequences of legalization, the death penalty for crimes of violence against officers of the peace, what role the justice system played in any of this, to name but a few, overarchingly the role of the state in your life).

Here's an idea - perhaps the effect of debate on these issues may lead to measures which render less likely such tragedies. Nah. let's defer to the MSM. A fitting tribute to these unfortunate public servants who, all to frequently, your beloved MSM turns on upon the faintest allegation of improper conduct and who are quickly ignored by their careerist superiors and politicians. To be sure, all solutions should be left to our betters in the MSM .

Yes indeed, run, run to the MSM, top-up on the free flowing opiates, settle in and enjoy your narcotized state, a mere spectator in the fate of the country. Why think, just receive conventional though demonstrably wrong, opinion ? Why submit ideas or opinion in the marketplace of ideas? Just let Mansbridge and crew think for you. Do not, under any circumstance, think for yourself, and at all costs, be sure to suppress all political expression. I f you like to leave things to your betters...don't complain when you don't like the results. Canada is in the mess that it is in today precisely because people do not speak up. So why withdraw from debate because you don't like the opinions expressed?

The left here in the US garners criticism for its use of the deaths of soldiers to mischaracterize their mission (support the troops, bring them home - that kind of tripe), when everybody knows they want the troops to suffer massive casualties in the hopes of a Bush defeat and more generally an end to vigorous US military action in its self interest (now fading in the ether / the ashes of the UN). BUT nobody would challenge their right to cite statistics, or advocate their opinions, merely that they are profoundly dishonest about their love for the troops (you know, you express opinion, you should be willing to enjoy the praise or suffer the criticism, if you care at all).

"Ed" - how does this tragedy raise jurisdictional questions(like Ottawa respects the powers accorded the Provinces anyways - I guess you live in a different Canada than I did, you know, readily identifiable by the plethora of private health clincs)? Do you think the your public servants at the Federal level are any less eager to regulate every element of your condition / life than the provincial bureaucrat is or that such a result is somehow benign if it originates in Ottawa?
Certainly was not my experience.

Posted by: S'Echappe | 2005-03-03 8:51:53 PM

I have a suggetion.

Why not postpone the political debate until after you've called the local RCMP detachment, offered your condolences, and found out how to contact the detachment of the officers who died today.

I called my local detachment and they said not to contact the local detachment -- it's too early and they're busy with the investigation.

Why not take a little time out of respect for the families nd friends.

Posted by: KevinG | 2005-03-03 9:33:06 PM

Or, alternatively, why not take a little time to make sure you aren't making a fool of yourself. The "grow op" at Rochfort Bridge was also full of stolen cars, so the police presumably would have been present regardless of the legal status of marijuana. The press, police spokesmen, and politicians have all covered themselves in ignominy by making today's crime a putative marijuana issue--not to mention bleating about "organized crime". How organized, exactly, could one guy be? Does it mean in this context that he was a really good shot?

And yet Kate managed to top everyone by blaming pot decriminalization--while simultaneously denouncing the nanny state. [--head explodes--]

Posted by: Colby Cosh | 2005-03-03 10:25:43 PM

Cosh: "[--head explodes--]"

[x] send pics

Posted by: Kate | 2005-03-03 10:30:53 PM

While I feel for those poor cops, maybe this is a good time to remove the Federal cops from Alberta. The RCMP's contract should be terminated and replaced with the Alberta State Police.

If we ran things ourselves, our cops would be better armed and equipped to deal with events like this. The RCMP here is stretched too thin, and incapable of providing better security. This is what happens when the federals run things - Ontario gets the lion's share of support, even with their OPP. As always, we can do better without federal/Ontario interference.

When we do form a state police force, its officers (NOT constables) should swear allegiance to Alberta, not Canada and its Queen.

Whatever Paul Millionaire, the Rich man from Tronna, says, I will not join him in mourning for those cops. He has done nothing but harm Alberta with his incompetence.

Posted by: Scott | 2005-03-04 2:28:13 AM

There is a debate necessary for every tragedy, but a lot can be gained by time and a little respect.
And I guess I'm not surprised that Scott would use this as a pretext for one of his brain dead rants. He tosses off one pathetic reference to the "poor cops" and then jumps on to his usually fantasy of the 51st state.
Scott, I don't think your problems have anything to do with being an Albertan. I think you're just an idiot, gradually drowning in your ignorance and anger.
I might be just a damnned Easterner, and I live within 50 miles of the CN tower, but at least I've got enough class to show some respect for people who were policing your province.
And yes, this pretty much does it for me and this website.

Posted by: nazz jones | 2005-03-04 4:56:23 AM

"And yes, this pretty much does it for me and this website."

Good! We don't need your kind around here.

Have fun in Tronna, where the cops are the criminals. Even their mayor doesn't like them.

They may have been federal cops, but they were members of our community and will be given a proper hero's burial. We respect people in Alberta, but Ontarians do not. I've seen your awful society - cold, heartless, brutal - and want nothing to do with it. So leave us in peace and never return.

Posted by: Scott | 2005-03-04 8:37:58 AM

Any one who grew up in small town Alberta, as I did, understands the utmost respect we have for the RCMP in this province.

However, I have to go along with Scott on this one. When we see that the latest federal budget includes closing the RCMP crime lab in Edmonton, while keeping ones in Manitoba and Saskatchewan open, just what message do you think we're getting from Ottawa? And the money they're saving? A paltry $1.2 million a year. That's enough to keep the gun registry running for all of two weeks, and that's only if Anne McLellan comes through on her election promise to actually cap gun registry costs at $25 million a year. A gun registry which would have done nothing to stop this horrid event - the assailant had a semi-automatic assault rifle. Now tell me the Liberal government doesn't have priorities that are all screwed up!

Posted by: TimR | 2005-03-04 10:23:31 AM

There doesn't seem to be much stomach for discussing uncomfortable issues in stark terms these days. Yeah, the situation in particular has little to do with some of the tangential discussions, but that doesn't mean the discussions aren't worthwhile.

Posted by: lrC | 2005-03-04 11:31:16 AM

All respect to the dead.

There is a scandal here and it is the incompetence of whomever was in command. One man takes out 4 RCMP officers. One takes out four. Explanations are in order. I doubt that any will be forthcoming, unfortunately for the families of the dead and also for everyone else.

Posted by: keith | 2005-03-05 5:16:39 AM

What has Canada learned from America's experiment with alcohol prohibition?

There was a time when Canada was content to profit from America's stupidity. Now a days it appears Canada wants to simply join in.

Posted by: M. Simon | 2005-03-05 5:39:50 AM

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