Western Standard

The Shotgun Blog

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Broken Social Scene on the G20 protest

Independent powerhouse group Broken Social Scene has put together an interesting mash-up of a video put together by an annonymous fan, and their song "Meet me in the Basement." From the YouTube description:

This video was made as a response to the G20 Summit in Toronto June, 2010. The rest speaks for itself.
It was sent to us by a lover of our music who wants to remain anonymous.
We are very proud to share this mash-up with you.

- Broken Social Scene

Our commentary on the G20:

WS Poll: Should there be an inquiry into the police actions at G20?
It's complicated to be a law & order conservative
Randy Hillier vs. Tim Hudak on the G20
Randy Hillier: G20 crackdown reeks of tyranny
Tim Hudak swings and misses on G20
I was just harassed by Toronto Police
What happened in Toronto on Saturday?

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on July 17, 2010 in Crime, Current Affairs, G20 | Permalink | Comments (0)

English Defence League protest is turning violent


A protest in Dudley, England by the English Defence League has turned violent. It is difficult to know exactly what is going on, but updates are appearing here.

Those updates are disturbing:

"People lying in road after being run over, blood everywhere."


"There is anger that the West Midlands Police have obstructed all the negotiations to set up this demonstration, have caged the EDL attendees like animals, have stood by while they were attacked by Muslims, and joined in on the beatings. This is the police force who investigated the film crew from Channel 4 who made “Undercover Mosque”.

From the Dudley News:

Despite EDL leaders promising today's protest would be peaceful, a group of around a couple of hundred supporters tried to get down The Inhedge, as they tried to make their way into the town centre and the Unite Against Fascism counter protest.

Twenty people have been arrested for offences including possessing an offensive wapon and disorder, as security fencing was pulled down and a drainpipe was ripped off the wall of the nearby solicitors as police dogs were bought into to control the unruly crowds who were shouting abuse at officers and journalists.

Some EDL members also started a sitting protest, which was broken up by officers and police dogs.

Police medics were also called in to attend injured EDL members who were caught up in the violence, with two needing treatment for head injuries, and one for a leg wound.

h/t: Blazing Cat Fur


Posted by P.M. Jaworski on July 17, 2010 in Crime, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (12)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

G20 shenanigans: Forced vaccinations and no note-taking

CBC's Kady O'Malley tweets her surprise at a ruling by a Toronto justice of the peace that there will be no note-taking at bail hearing for G20 protesters. Susan Clairmont, of the Hamilton Spectator, expresses her outrage:

Everyone is allowed to take notes in court.


But the other day a Toronto justice of the peace decided to make up his own rules. He banned "note-taking" in his Etobicoke courtroom where bail hearings were being held for G20 protesters.

It was the latest -- and most ridiculous -- in a series of bizarre steps taken by court officials to build a big fat wall around the whole judicial process for accused demonstrators.

So much for an open and transparent court system. So much for accountability.

And speaking of Kady, did anyone else catch her account of what MP Maria Mourani of the Bloc claimed at committee on July 12th? Here's an excerpt from Kady's live-blog of the G8/G20 security inquiry at Public Safety (found at the 4:53 p.m. mark):

Huh. I think it's safe to say that Mourani's allegation that some detainees were vaccinated against their will managed to wake up the media table. For tuberculosis, apparently. Not heard that one before. Anyway, her party wants to see the committee begin its investigation this fall, and exhorts her colleagues to "shine a light on this."

Forced vaccinations? Against tuberculosis? This allegation is either crazy-talk, or outright crazy, if true. But I haven't seen or heard anyone repeat it, so I'm going to guess it's the former, until someone produces some evidence of the vaccinations.

In related news, we asked you on Tuesday whether or not you thought there should be an inquiry in the police actions during the G20.

With nearly 1,000 votes so far, the "No"s are leading three-to-one: 72% (672) say "No," with 28% (264) saying "Yes."

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on July 15, 2010 in Canadian Politics, Crime, Current Affairs, G20 | Permalink | Comments (15)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

WS Poll: Should there be an inquiry into the actions of police during G20?

Here's a little (unscientific, but fun) poll related to, for example, this debate between Tim Hudak and Randy Hillier:

To see the map, that screws up our blog formatting, but is interesting to look at, check below the fold:

Posted by westernstandard on July 13, 2010 in Canadian Politics, Crime, Freedom of expression, G20 | Permalink | Comments (14)

Friday, July 09, 2010

Ontario Ombudsman to investigate G20 security regulation

Here's a welcome press release from Ombudsman Ontario:

Ontario Ombudsman André Marin today announced he is launching an investigation into the origin and subsequent communication of the controversial security regulation passed by the province prior to the June 26-27 G20 summit.

The investigation, to be conducted by the Special Ombudsman Response Team (SORT), will examine the involvement of the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services in the origin of Regulation 233/10, made last month under the Public Works Protection Act to apply to parts of downtown Toronto near the summit meeting site – and the subsequent communication about it to stakeholders, including police, media and the public.

The Ombudsman’s office has received 22 complaints relating to the G20, including several alleging that a lack of transparency and public communication about the regulation led to an atmosphere of secrecy and confusion and contributed to violations of civil liberties. “The complaints we’ve received so far raise serious concerns about this regulation and the way it was communicated, and I think there is a very strong public interest in finding out exactly what happened and how that affected the rest of the events of the G20 weekend,” Mr. Marin said.

The investigation is expected to be completed within 90 days, Mr. Marin said. Anyone who has a complaint or relevant information is asked to call 1-800-263-1830 during business hours or complete an online complaint form at www.ombudsman.on.ca.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on July 9, 2010 in Canadian Provincial Politics, Crime, G20 | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thursday, July 08, 2010

A soldier's comment on the police actions at G20

Rob Breakenridge tweeted a link to Justin Beach's blog, who took out a comment from the Torontoist by a self-described Canadian soldier abroad.

To repeat the warning from Beach: We can't be sure whether or not this person is actually a soldier, or just a really good writer. But, either way, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter whether or not he's a soldier, since the upshot of his comment -- the argument about how a police officer ought to behave once they don their uniform and how the police ought to have reacted -- rings true to my ears.

(But, assuming for the moment that this is a comment from a bona fide military man, how does the law & order conservative deal with this complication? Do we side with the police, as Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak has done, or do we side with an argument from a military man?)

So here's the comment, in its entirety, from "Eric J," below the fold (with my highlighting):

As a serving member of the Canadian Forces and a combat veteran, I can say with absolute clarity and conviction that i am disgusted by the actions of the supposed "other half" of our nations security, the civilian shield to the army's sword. I managed to fight and win battles while vastly outnumbered, against a heavily armed, mobile, guerilla force with as few as 10 fellow Canadians. 10 Canadian taxpayer funded and trained, government employees fighting and dying to prevent the lawlessness and injustice the so-called Black Bloc seems only too willing to promote. 10 Canadian ambassadors (because that is what you are when your wear and salute your nations flag) that knew their jobs and acted as consummate, trained professionals in all things, which incidentley is why i am alive to type this. The enemy we fought was entrenched within a civilian population and knew only too well the problems that could be created by putting innocent Afghans in the center of the conflict. So as is our duty and our job we let them bait us and let them crow and then when we had a shot we took it WITH NO CIVILIAN CASUALTIES. How could I know? Because we were the medical center for the region and we visited the villages regularly.

Knowing when to apply force and how to apply it can be a very simple thing when you assign value to the thing you are leveraging that force against. Am I prepared to kill the human being who is placing the IED or recoiless rifle that will kill three of my brothers? 3 of my fellow Canadians who have answered the call to defend what we so often take for granted half a world away? Without pause yes, and I will for the rest of my life, I took an oath that does not end with a contract.

When you put that uniform on you are no longer John Smith of Toronto. You are a member of the Canadian Forces, just as you are a Royal Canadian Mounted Police Officer, or an Ontario Provincial Police Officer. A government employee who's mandate and training is to PROTECT the public. Not to protect themselves from threats within the public. It is their job as the civilian arm of our nations security to be the blue line between those that would see our way of life burnt to it's end and the Canadians who see more than a simple flag.

Instead they formed a black wall and responded to WORDS with unrelenting, armed and often random VIOLENCE.

I don't care if Osama Bin Laden himself is hiding on Queen Street like Waldo... you don't just drop an airstrike on the village.

You PARTICULARLY don't do it after the entire village sang Oh Canada in fear.

I understand the effect of an unsuspecting ambush tactics to confuse and demoralize... but when the first three ranks of 'protestors' are waving peace signs standing outside the gap wearing American Apparel and drinking starbucks... I might tailor my tactics accordingly.

People have said that they 'understand' why Police might have been on edge due to the events of the day before...


I understand that i watched friends die and then the next day went out and did my job with the professionalism expected of someone who claims to serve his country and as in holland i gave chocolate to children while the engineers rebuilt.

When you back people into a corner... they will fight and sell their lives dearly to escape.

The 'kettle' is a useful tactic to isolate 'riot ringleaders' but with even minor coordination it can simply be turned into a turnstyle type processing operation as opposed to a way to jack up arrest counts to justify budgets and manpower.

Too little too late from the Police especially after the complete lack of presence as the city they are paid to protect, burned the day before.

A number of extremely reputable journalists and civilian truth mongers have been given unprecedented ability to expose the absolute incompetence of both the police leadership and of the individual line trooper.

This is as sure a black stain on their official colors as it was a death knell to the Canadian Airborne after one of their members killed a Somali boy. I would hang my head in shame if i affected any part of Sunday's riot operation, willing or not.

I have a relative who was caught up in the crowd. Just a student who is young and wants to take inspired photos, and does it damn well. He was detained (not arrested) But I have seen his footage and i am disgusted.

I did not put my life on the line and watch my best friends take their last breath to come home and watch the largest gathering of law enforcement this country has ever seen... cowed to the point inaction as the city and its citizens endure the wanton destruction to their homes and business, only to have it answered by a heavy handed and indiscriminant hammer blow against quite possibly the very same people they so utterly failed to help previously.

I understand that to put a riot line in front of the black block may have caused injuries and violence.

Well... they asked for it. Says so right on their sign.

Guess what else. That's why you took the oath of service to your country. If you don't want to get injured on the job... be a yoga instructor.

Excuses are quite common apparently everyone has one. I would advise anyone reading this to write their local MP and ask what your government is doing to police it's members and policies that have utterly failed in their duty to this country.

I was in the city all weekend and if i had a dollar for every group of 6 police officers i saw sitting on corners shooting the shit... I would probably have enough to hire a ten man infantry section for the weekend to lead the police through some drills, of how to serve the nation they are sworn to defend.

This should not be taken as a sweeping assault on the police as i even have a few relatives and many friends among their ranks. But just as I would not stand for injustice within my own house... I will not stand for it in theirs.

I have met countless officers who uphold our laws with dignity and professionalism. I would gladly give my life for anyone of them.

What will not stand is when under the guise of 'security' police are given sweeping powers with no chance of reciprocity, the need to explain themselves or chance to defend against bullying tactics employed on a peaceful gathering of my country's citizens.

I don't give a flying squirrel if they were threatening, or there were reports of weapons. You have full body armour and shields. Suck it up. Besides, you should be happy. Bricks move a lot slower than bullets.

I support our law enforcement as i support our troops. But my support is not a blank cheque to be held cheaply against the values and rights you trample as surely as you stepped on our flag. You will find me a tenacious opponent and one now who wants to know just how that cheque i did write you was used... and i think after saturdays impotence and sundays ignorance someone has to pay the piper...

and this time, it won't be me.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on July 8, 2010 in Crime, Current Affairs, Freedom of expression, G20, Military | Permalink | Comments (30)

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Tim Hudak swings and misses on G20

Tim Hudak swings and misses, for the second time, in my book.

His first strike is the HST nonsense. Even though every serious free market and taxpayer-friendly organization in Canada -- from the Fraser Institute to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation -- is making the case that the HST is better than the current system, Hudak has decided to make it a big election issue. That's too bad. And strike one.

Strike two is this somewhat disingenuous column in the Sun entitled "Don't blame cops for G20 mayhem." Here's a little excerpt:

The downtown core of Toronto was turned into a conflict zone by a group of lawless hooligans a little more than a week ago.

These reckless thugs were not in Toronto to protest a legitimate political cause. Instead they are part of a circuit of criminals who travel to international summits with one goal in mind — to destroy property, incite mayhem and terrorize law-abiding citizens.

Sadly, in the wake of the violence, a number of usual-suspect special interest groups are attempting to pin blame, not on the hooligans, but instead on our police services or the federal government.

But it wasn’t frontline police officers who spent a weekend smashing in storefront windows, and it wasn’t federal government officials who torched police cars.

I don't want to step on Adam Radwanski's wonderful take-down of Hudak's points, or Mike Brock's, but let me just summarize my own grumpiness with this column:

1. Why do legitimate criticisms of police overreach and overreaction get converted into a general statement about all of the actions of the police in Toronto?

The beefs we at the Western Standard have with the police are targeted to two things: Particular actions of particular officers, and a general concern about the lack of action on Saturday.

We're obviously furious with the alleged particular actions of particular -- let's just call a spade a spade, shall we? -- uniformed thugs and criminals against our own Mike Brock. But we're similarly unhappy with the treatment Kathy Shaidle and BlazingCatFur received. And then there's this doozy. A 57-year-old man with a prosthetic leg has it allegedly removed and is allegedly kicked and punched as well?

Pay close attention here, because this is an excerpt that should have everyone, deferential or antagonistic to police, hopping mad:

“The police came up to us and said, ‘Move!’ so I tried to get up,” said Mr. Pruyn, who lost his left leg above the knee 17 years ago in a farming accident.

“I fell back down and my daughter yelled out, ‘Give him time. He’s an amputee.’ I guess the police thought I was taking too long ... then all of a sudden the police were on top of me.”

Mr. Pruyn claims his head was kept on the ground by an officer digging a knee into his left temple while other officers yanked at his arms.

“One of them was yelling, ‘You’re resisting arrest’, but I wasn’t resisting anything. I couldn’t move.”

He says police then ordered him to start walking, but when he informed them that he couldn’t get up because his hands were cuffed behind his back, an officer grabbed his prosthetic leg and “yanked it right off.”

And just in case you think this is all still within the realm of proper police procedure, consistent with the obligation every government employee has to treat each of us with dignity:

“Then he said, ‘Hop!’ but I told them I couldn’t because it hurts for me to hop on my right leg,” Mr. Pruyn recalled. “Then the cop said, ‘OK, you asked for it’ and two officers grabbed me under my armpits and dragged me away from Queen’s Park towards the police vans.”

Mr. Pruyn says five Toronto police officers then arrived and carried him the rest of the way, threw him on the ground and allegedly “gave me kicks and little punches and saying I was resisting arrest and that I had a weapon.”

Defend those actions. Not the response to the burning of police cars or the property damage which we here, being good free market, private property-loving libertarians, similarly think is indefensible.

Now I say "alleged" for good, legal reasons. But if you were to ask me who I personally believe in each case, I side with Mike Brock, Kathy & Blazing, and John Pruyn (who, by-the-by, is a Revenue Canada employee) over any of the relevant officers. This will remain my attitude until I see some evidence to counteract this presumption against the specific officers. And, damnit, if my blood doesn't boil over at just the thought that Canadian police officers might be guilty of a single one of these allegations.

And why didn't the police do something on Saturday? It looks like they infiltrated the thugs and criminals who were planning on vandalizing property and smashing up Toronto. And it appears to me that something could have been done on Saturday to prevent a great deal of property damage. But nothing was done until Sunday, in what can fairly be called a police temper tantrum -- a massive overreaction utilizing, holus bolus, every available legal and legal-status-yet-to-be-determined police tactic.

2. Relatedly, our concern here is not with the thugs and criminals who smashed up the place, but precisely with the law-abiding citizens who got caught up in the police overreaction. People like Mike and Kathy and Blazing and the man with the prosthetic leg and the countless others who got rounded up in mass arrests and were treated to the indignity of not getting enough water and having to pee in a toilet with the front door off.

Basically, our concern is with the apparently and alleged unlawful activities of the police. You don't get immunity from the law just because you don a fancy hat and fancy outfit. Of course, we might think that the overreaction is understandable, that the rest of us, put in similar circumstances, might similarly overreact. But, two points, for one, they're the professionals, trained for precisely these sorts of conflicts and situations. If they can't handle it, strip them of their fancy uniform and allow them to pursue some other profession more in keeping with their temperament. And, secondly, the understandableness of a breach of the law is relevant only in the sentencing phase of a trial, not to the question of guilt. We might ameliorate a sentence on the grounds that, well, emotions were high and police were pissed and there's all these rugrats running around disrespectin' "authoritah". It is not relevant to the question before us -- that of whether or not police broke the law.

3. Finally, it is customary to address yourself to the best arguments, and to the arguments with the most going for them. Your column fails to address the arguments of Rob Breakenridge, who probably has the best piece on this issue all around, or Mark Steyn or our own Mike Brock (although we wouldn't be so presumptuous as to think that you ought to have read the Western Standard before putting pen to paper).

That's two strikes, but the inning is far from over. You've got none out, and Randy Hillier has already hit a homerun for your team, as far as I'm concerned.

Brush yourself off, and be prepared to issue a statement if and when an inquiry into this whole sordid mess materializes. The statement could still put you in good stead with the frontline police officers and law & order conservatives whose votes you're probably going to, or hoping to, garner. Just distance the ordinary and fundamentally decent frontline police officers from the few thugs who got carried away and started arresting and petrifying the ordinary and fundamentally decent citizens of Toronto (or elsewhere).

A few bad apples don't always spoil the bunch. And that's as true of frontline police officers as it is of the protesters.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on July 7, 2010 in Canadian Provincial Politics, Crime, Freedom of expression, G20 | Permalink | Comments (12)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Mike Brock and Stephen Taylor at the G20 protest


News from Mike Brock's and Stephen Taylor's twitter accounts is that the protest is turning into a bit of a riot just now. The picture on the right was retweeted by Stephen Taylor just a few moments ago. This is the second police cruiser on fire that I'm aware of.

What follows are the live tweets from both Mike and Stephen:

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on June 26, 2010 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (33)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Illegal Photo Radar AGAIN

Who are these knucklehead bureaucrats that run the Winnipeg City Police?

Earlier this year there was a huge blow up in Manitoba about construction zone photo radar tickets being issued when no workers were actually present in the construction zone. Manitoba Provicinal Court judge Norm Sundstrom ruled that:

Although the drivers had exceeded the 60 km/h limit, they were not going faster than the regular 80 km/h speed limit for that particular roadway. With no workers present, the regular speed limit should apply

This court ruling has not been challenged or over turned, and the crown chose not to appeal the decision. The government also decided that they would not refund anyone who paid the illegally issues tickets.

Yet last weekend, Larry Stefaniuk of Wise Up Winnipeg.com and Traffic Ticket Guru.com caught the Winnipeg Police Service breaking the law by using photo enforcement in a construction zone when there were no workers present!

More evidence that not only does the government not follow their own rules, and are looking for cash grabs, but that they can break the law and nothing at all will happen to them.

Here's an idea. How about the Winnipeg police Service spend their time dealing with the gangs and violent activity in Winnipeg where there are real victims, and leave peaceful people alone.




I welcome feedback and I ask for civility in the exchange of comments. Vulgarity is discouraged. Please express yourself creatively with other language. We discuss ideas here, attacks on a person are discouraged.

Posted by Freedom Manitoba on October 15, 2009 in Canadian Provincial Politics, Crime | Permalink | Comments (36)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Cops Are Drug War Victims

So states a Washington Post op-ed. Here is an interview with the authors of that op-ed, one of which is a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.




I welcome feedback and I ask for civility in the exchange of comments. Vulgarity is discouraged. Please express yourself creatively with other language. We discuss ideas here, attacks on a person are discouraged.

Posted by Freedom Manitoba on September 18, 2009 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (66)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Brothel Bust

Prostitution, the act of having sex for money, is not illegal in Canada, nor should it be. But most of the acts surrounding consensual sex for money is illegal;

Last week in Winnipeg, two people were charged with running a brothel.

A number of rooms within the residence were being rented to sex-trade workers for illegal sexual activity, police said. As well, one of the occupants of the home was allegedly involved in the sex trade and directly involved with the other sex-trade workers by way of booking appointments for the consumers, police said.

This sounds like a business to me, a business run on consensual sex.

"These individuals were acting in a sense almost as managers. They were running a facility, and not only were they running the facility, they were benefitting by way of allowing individuals to attend and use the residence for sexual acts," alleged police spokesman Const. Jason Michalyshen.

And now those folks will move to the street, or another brothel. These actions don't stop prostitution, it just makes criminals out of the participants. This was a home that offered controls and a safe environment for people to do their business, moving it to the street provides much more risk to the people involved.

Because of the prohibited activities that surround prostitution it is difficult to engage in it without breaking any laws. Perhaps that is the purpose that some of these moralists have, to make it more difficult and force their morals onto other people. While it might do that, it doesn't stop people from participating in it, just makes it more dangerous.

Perhaps you don't approve of prostitution, that is fine, don't participate in it. Consensual sex is the business of those people involved in the transaction, whether it be for cash, for popularity, or whatever motivations people may have. If you expect the freedom to choose who you have sex with, then you need to afford others that same freedom, no matter their motivation.

As is often heard, people in the neighborhood where this home was located were unaware of the illegal activity.

(Neighbor Shelly )Mure said Stiles Street is quiet and family-friendly and that she was surprised to hear of the arrests.

Tanya Warrikow grew up on Stiles and described it in the same way as Mure. It is because of that quiet, safe feel that she returned there to raise her own family. But news of the brothel has tainted that image.

If brothels weren't prohibited then they could set-up as legitimate business in non-residential areas; doing that in the current climate is difficult.

With all of the gang activity and real criminals in Winnipeg, the Winnipeg Police Service continues to investigate and go after people involved in consensual so-called "crimes" such as the sex trade, and you and I are forced to pay for it.




I welcome feedback and I ask for civility in the exchange of comments. Vulgarity is discouraged. Please express yourself creatively with other language. We discuss ideas here, attacks on a person are discouraged.

Posted by Freedom Manitoba on September 12, 2009 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (5)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Curfews in Killarney

The town of Killarney Manitoba has seen a recent rise in vandalism in the town of 3300 people and a curfew for people 17 years old and younger has been proposed in order to deal with it.

"They're out jumping around on rooftops on Main Street; they've been dancing around on a few vehicles," (Mayor Rick Pauls) said. "We've had some of our picnic tables and park benches thrown into our lake."

Sounds like some laws are being broken there. If there are already laws being broken, then why the curfew? Shouldn't these folks be handled for the crimes they already committed?

This is a lazy way to police people. It punishes the many for the acts of the few, which is not fair nor just. It also marks everyone in that town of a certain age range as a criminal, which is collectivist and disturbing. Individuals are causing the harm, not entire age groups.

Plus, the government has no right to tell entire age groups that they can't be in public. This is public property, they own a piece of it. Why the cut-off at 17? It's because 18 is an "adult" and for some reason they feel that they can pick on people under 18, but oh no, once you're 18 you are magically transformed into an adult and have personal responsibility.

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms says;

2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: (c) freedom of peaceful assembly

Unless of course, you are aged 0-17 and live in Killarney Manitoba.

Posted by Freedom Manitoba on August 24, 2009 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (67)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Traffic Enforcement Quotas

There have long been rumours about police forces having "quotas" with regards to the number of tickets handed out for various traffic infractions. The Winnipeg Police Service recently told their officers that they need to keep up with writing traffic tickets in order to sustain past revenue levels.

Police Chief Keith McCaskill confirmed Friday that a memorandum was issued to all members of the force, including tactical squad members, reminding them that traffic enforcement is part of their duties.

Revenue from traffic tickets has dropped 70 per cent this year compared to 2008, said the chief.

While this isn't so much a confirmation of quotas, it does demonstrate that the police aren't as interested in public safety as they are about revenue collection. An example is given in the same CBC article of motorist Chris Albi, who was dinged with an $800 bill for doing nothing but peacefully driving to work.

Winnipegger Chris Albi isn't impressed with the fundraising initiative. She got three tickets Friday morning.

Albi was on her way to work a local food bank when she saw the flashing lights from a police cruiser in her mirror. The officer approached the car and Albi confessed she probably had rolled through a stop sign, and she told the officer that probably her insurance had expired at midnight the previous night.

The officer issued three citations in all and the whole affair took more than 40 minutes.

"If police are trying to build rapport with the community, well … there was no flexibility, not really any discussion," said Albi.

The tickets totalled about $800.

So who did Albi hurt by rolling through a stop sign, and by having expired insurance? In reality no one was harmed. By giving her $800 in tickets no one was prevented from being harmed either; but she has been victimized by the state demanding nearly $1000 from her for not obeying their arbitrarily enforced rules. Having expired paperwork is not a crime against any living person, it is only a crime against the concept of the state, which demands that you have the paperwork "or else".

No victim, no crime.

I love comments. I ask for civility in the exchange of comments. Vulgarity is discouraged. Please express yourself creatively with other language. We discuss ideas here, attacks on a person are discouraged.

Posted by Freedom Manitoba on August 12, 2009 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (77)

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Kids Driving Cars and the Nanny State

Cops are going after a man in Quebec who let his 7 year old son drive the family car with several members of the family inside, including what looks like a 3-4 year old girl. The father posted the video on YouTube and it has led "authorities" to investigate the man.

In the following CBC report, they say that the father has come out and "apologized" and mentioned that his son never went over 40km/hr, that it occurred 2 years ago, and that they were on a deserted back road. This man has also said that he is willing to meet with police to discuss the matter.

That is a mistake. The police are saying that if it did actually happen 2 years ago that it wouldn't be possible to lay any highway code violations. BUT, it is not too late for Quebec's Child Protection Services to get involved. Not only was a 7 year old driving, but no one on camera was wearing a seat belt and the young girl in the backseat was not in a car seat. By talking to the Police they have the possibility of admitting something that will lead CPS to come in and take their kids away. It is the Nanny State telling you how to live, and if you don't do what they want then they will hurt you.

Which leads me to this point; who was harmed by this act? No one was harmed, it was a family prank. Was it negligent? Maybe. Was it dangerous? Maybe. Is it my business to tell these people what to do with their lives? Nope. Is it the governments business? Well, they will make it their business, that is a result of the Nanny state, because bureaucrats know better than you do what you should do with your lives.

I love comments. I ask for civility in the exchange of comments. Vulgarity is discouraged. Please express yourself creatively with other language. We discuss ideas here, attacks on a person are discouraged.

Posted by Freedom Manitoba on August 5, 2009 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (18)

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Greyhound bus killer will spend another year in mental ward

Vincent Li, the man found not criminally responsible for beheading Tim McLean on a Greyhound bus last summer, will be locked up for at least another year, but his incarceration will be subject to a yearly review:

Carol deDelley is absolutely right.

"This whole situation, pardon my French, has been bull----. We've never received justice throughout this whole thing and I'm not sure we're ever going to. So we'll fight for it," the mother of Tim McLean told the Winnipeg Sun Wednesday night.

Her comments followed news that Vincent Li -- who was found not criminally responsible for the brutal killing of McLean last July aboard a Greyhound bus -- will remain locked up inside a mental health ward, under heavy security, for at least another year.

John Stefaniuk, head of the Criminal Code review board that heard Li's case, also said the 40-year-old who suffers from severe schizophrenia will be heavily monitored if he should leave the facility and will be accompanied by staff workers and peace officers at all times.

The ruling is no surprise because all of these suggestions were made by Li's psychiatrist at a hearing held this week. The only other choices the board likely had were to release Li outright with no conditions, or some kind of a conditional release.

To add to the "kangaroo court" feel to this whole thing, Stefaniuk said the board is expected to take several months before even deciding if the reasons for their ruling will be made public.

The fact that Li will get a yearly review to determine whether he's well enough to be released highlights the justice system's failure to protect ordinary Canadians. This policy of protecting the perpetrators of crime over the rights of victims and the public is an extension of the Trudeau government's policy of stressing rehabilitation, even if criminals have the potential to claim more innocent victims.

"Too many Canadians… disregard the fact that the correctional process aims at making the offender a useful and law-abiding citizen, and not any more an individual alienated from society and in conflict with it.… Consequently, we have decided from now on to stress the rehabilitation of individuals rather than protection of society," said Liberal Solicitor General Jean Pierre Goyer in the House of Commons in 1971.

38 years later, we are faced with a justice system that is seemingly unable to provide Tim McLean's family with any sort of justice whatsoever. First, we were unable to convict Mr. Li of murder for this horrible crime. And why? Because he successfully used the mental disorder defence, claiming he was not criminally responsible for his actions. In other words, it's not his fault because he's insane. Of course he's insane! Sane individuals don't go around decapitating people. In cases like this, insanity should be an obvious fact, not a defence.

If this wasn't bad enough, McLean's family will have to relive this every year. They will also have to face the prospect that Li will soon be released into the community, where he could easily snap and force some other innocent family to face the same hardship. Is it not time to start putting public safety and victims rights before the rights of those who would murder innocent people?

Posted by Jesse Kline on June 6, 2009 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (14)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Is abortion a mental illness?

I believe most mothers no matter the circumstance want to love their children. And that it is highly unusual for a mom to bear a child and not love that child. This is in part why abortion is an affront to women...to their dignity and personhood, because it denies what is natural and normal–sex, leading to pregnancy, leading to children.

So when a baby is born, and the mom immediately kills that baby of her own volition, what am I to understand?

I have a couple of different responses swimming around in my head (along with the cold virus that hit yesterday):

She should be blamed and take responsibility.

She must be mentally ill to do such a thing.

Or she is following the abortion-friendly culture we have? Five minutes before birth in a sanctified legal clinic and this would not be in the news.

(Cross-posted to ProWomanProLife)

Posted by Andrea Mrozek on April 22, 2009 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (57)

Monday, February 09, 2009

Are B.C. judges too soft?

Are B.C. judges too soft? When violent criminals receive house arrest, and when chronic thieves with scores of convictions find themselves on the streets again and again to commit the same crimes over and over again, it's no surprise that many British Columbians certainly believe so. But this new study, commissioned by the B.C. government, suggests judges in Canada's westernmost provinces are not out of step with those in the rest of the country.

A pertinent declaration from the report's executive summary: "We are left, then, on the one hand with the belief held by many that sentences in British Columbia are more lenient than sentences in Canada as a whole. On the other hand, we have presented detailed date in our full report which...suggest otherwise."

Well, then, maybe it's true that courts throughout the country are too soft on criminals. We await a detailed report into this...

Posted by Terry O'Neill on February 9, 2009 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (6)

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Selective prosecution of illegal 'conjugal unions'

The B.C. government announced today that is is charging two Morman polygamists under Section 293.1.ii of the Criminal Code of Canada, which makes it illegal for anyone to enter into "any kind of conjugal union with more than one person at the same time, whether or not it is by law recognized as a binding form of marriage..."

Does this mean B.C. Attorney General Wally Oppal is now preparing to crack down on straight "swingers" clubs and gay bathhouses too, both of which, by definition or practice, facilitate "conjugal union with more than one person at the same time" -- in some cases, quite literally at the same time?

Something tells me that Oppal won't open that can of worms; it's much safer, it seems, to tackle a religious cult whose male leaders have been likened to child abusers.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on January 7, 2009 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (5)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Australia's gun laws don’t reduce homicides or suicides: study

New research on Australia's gun laws published in the Sydney University journal Current Issues in Criminal Justice examines the strengths and weaknesses of a series of papers on Australia’s firearms legislation, and highlights “best-practice approaches to evidence-based policymaking.”

What is the conclusion of the report? Two things. First, there is no evidence that gun laws save lives. Second, “anti-gun extremists” rely of flimsy evidence.

According to study co-author and International Coalition for Women in Shooting and Hunting (WiSH) chair Dr. Samara McPhedran, "the studies all point in the same direction - no impact on firearm homicide, and no conclusions about firearm suicides because non-firearm suicides were also falling."

The report challenges the methodology of the available research on Australia’s gun control laws. "Sound policy relies on the quality and weight of the evidence. Our study shows that quality and weight of evidence does not come from ‘flimsy evidence appearing real.’ This is a predictable trick of anti-gun extremists, who present flawed conclusions designed to cause fear,” concluded McPhedran.

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on December 15, 2008 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Friday, December 12, 2008

Prison Parenting Program: Can you be pro-family and pro-incarceration?

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) is calling on the B.C. provincial government to reinstate the mother-child program at the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women.  The prison parenting program was cancelled in April of this year. 

British Columbia’s Representative for Children and Youth has called for the reinstatement of the program and a legal action has been launched on behalf of five incarcerated women affected by the program’s cancellation.

Megan Vis-Dunbar with the BCCLA today said “The loss of the mother-child program in correctional facilities is an unjustified infringement on the rights of both the parents and the children.  Apprehending newborns from female inmates causes serious harm to the child’s psychological and emotional development and profound psychological stress to the parent.  In addition, these harms disproportionately affect Aboriginal women and children because of the over- representation of Aboriginal women in Canadian prisons.”

When mothers are incarcerated the Ministry of Children and Family Development apprehends the children when family members are not available to take on the responsibility. According to the BCCLA, woman often have to take legal action to regain custody of children who have been placed in foster care during their incarceration.  Under the BC Child Family and Community Services Act , a child under five years-old who has been in temporary care for over 12 months automatically becomes a ward of the state and may be put up for adoption.

“The loss of this program is devastating to vulnerable families.  Single mothers who are incarcerated must have the option of being able to reside with their infant children.  Anything less is inconsistent with our commitments under the UN Declaration of Rights of the Child, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” said Vis-Dunbar.

The question, of course, is whether or not the incarcerated mothers are fit to parent. Non-violent criminals who run afoul of the law may be fit to parent, while violent criminals may not.

Separating children from their parents, however, must surely only be done as a last resort.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on December 12, 2008 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Police personnel and expenditures grow, crime solving performance flat: StatsCan

According to Statistics Canada data released today, Canada had just over 65,000 police officers as of May 15, 2008. Following a period of general decline throughout the 1990s, police strength has generally increased over the past decade. At 196 officers per 100,000 population, the 2008 rate was 1% higher than in 2007 and 8% higher than a decade earlier.

Over the past 10 years, all provinces recorded increases in their police strength, with the largest being in Newfoundland and Labrador (+21%) and Nova Scotia (+17%).

Saskatchewan and Manitoba reported the highest rate of police officer strength in 2008 while Alberta and Prince Edward Island had the lowest.

Since 1998, all 27 census metropolitan areas, except for Victoria, recorded increases in police strength. The largest gains were reported in Sherbrooke (+26%) and St. Catharines–Niagara (+23%).

In 2008, Thunder Bay had the most police per 100,000 population, followed by Saint John and Regina.

Among the nine largest metropolitan areas, rates of police strength were highest in Montréal and Winnipeg.

The number of female officers increased at a faster pace than their male counterparts, continuing a trend that began in the mid-1970s. Canada had just over 12,200 female officers in 2008, up 3% from the previous year. The number of male officers increased 2%.

Women accounted for almost 1 in every 5 officers in 2008, compared with about 1 in 8 a decade earlier.

The per-capita increase in police personnel has done little, however, to improve crime solving performance. In 2007, police solved 37% of crimes reported to them, compared with 35% a decade ago.

After adjusting for inflation, police expenditures rose for the 11th consecutive year, reaching $10.5 billon in 2007, or $320 for every Canadian. To put this security cost in perspective, private alarm companies charge between $120 - $360 per year after a one-time charge for installation.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on December 12, 2008 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Kopbusters, that's who

My good friend Tom over at Fr33 Agents reports on a recent reality TV show aimed at watching the watchers. Or, less cryptically, a web-based reality show that attempts to expose illegal police searches and other police activities.

Writes Tom:

In another great example of the levelling power of technology, Barry Cooper, the colorful ex-drug cop turned drug legalization advocate is promoting a new, web-based reality show called KopBusters. The premise of the show according to the KopBusters website (housed at Cooper’s Never Get Busted Again site) is to make sure that police officers follow the Constitution and other relevant laws during drug raids or other instances where police abuses often occur.

Their first program highlighted an apparently illegal search of a home by the Odessa, Texas police.

Here's the set-up from the Kopbusters website:

KopBusters rented a house in Odessa, Texas and began growing two small Christmas trees under a grow light similar to those used for growing marijuana. When faced with a suspected marijuana grow, the police usually use illegal FLIR cameras and/or lie on the search warrant affidavit claiming they have probable cause to raid the house. Instead of conducting a proper investigation which usually leads to no probable cause, the Kops lie on the affidavit claiming a confidential informant saw the plants and/or the police could smell marijuana coming from the suspected house.

The trap was set and less than 24 hours later, the Odessa narcotics unit raided the house only to find KopBuster's attorney waiting under a system of complex gadgetry and spy cameras that streamed online to the KopBuster's secret mobile office nearby.

KopBuster's attorney, Adam Reposa, was handcuffed and later released when eleven KopBuster detectives arrived with the media in tow to question the illegal raid. The police refused to give KopBusters the search warrant affidavit which is suspected to contain the lies regarding the probable cause.

Here's the video, streamed live over the internet:

Local CBS-affiliate picked up the story, and spoke with Barry Cooper:

For more on the story, click on over to Tom's post. He's got a great round-up of libertarian reaction to the Kopbusters, and some more context.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on December 11, 2008 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday really is: Wal-Mart trampling and Toys R Us shootings

Today is "black Friday" in the U.S., a day when retailers try to sell enough items to get "in the black" (as opposed to be "in the red") when final sales numbers get added. It's supposed to mark the first day when retailers go from losing money, to making it. And that's a good thing.

But when I hear the moniker "black Friday," I can't help but think that it refers to some sort of calamity or disaster. And today's black Friday is really turning out to be something of a disaster after all.

Earlier today, news reports came out about an unruly and chaotic crowd at the Valley Stream, Long Island Wal-Mart. When an employee started to open the doors, the crowd surged and trampled the employee to death. The AP reports:

A Wal-Mart worker was killed Friday after an "out of control" throng of shoppers eager for post-Thanksgiving bargains broke down the doors at a suburban store and knocked him to the ground, police said.

At least four other people, including a woman eight months pregnant, were taken to hospitals for observation or minor injuries, and the store in Valley Stream on Long Island closed for several hours before reopening.

Nassau police said about 2,000 people were gathered outside the store doors at the mall about 20 miles east of Manhattan. The impatient crowd knocked the man to the ground as he opened the doors, leaving a metal portion of the frame crumpled like an accordion.

And now we hear about a shooting at a Toys R Us in Palm Desert, California that left two men dead. The authorities are not releasing much information at the moment, although it doesn't look like the incident is shopping-related. Here's the AP:

Two people were shot to death in a crowded toy store on Black Friday in a confrontation apparently involving rival groups, city officials said.

Palm Desert Councilman Jim Ferguson said police told him two men with handguns shot and killed each other. Ferguson said he asked police whether the incident was a dispute over a toy or whether it was gang-related. He said police told him they were not going to release further details until the victims' relatives were notified.

"I think the obvious question everyone has is who takes loaded weapons into a Toys "R" Us?" he said. "I doubt it was the casual holiday shopper."

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on November 28, 2008 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Sunday, October 19, 2008

More Gun Totin' Facts

Scott Dagonstino, a contributor to Xtra magazine mentioned concealed carry weapons in this past week's issue - unfortunately, not positively. My response to Xtra is posted below:

I think it is Scott Dagonstino who lives in a Hollywood fantasy with his view towards firearms in his article “Open Season on Homos”- where he referred to my discussion of concealed-carry weapons permits.  I couldn’t help but notice the irony of the headline of an article in the same Xtra issue, “Hate crimes laws ineffective – Sentences are no deterrent to bashers”.  So there we have it, reliance on government to protect our community does not work.

I would like Scott to put aside his Hollywood images, as well as his emotions and look at the facts of allowing carry concealed weapons (CCW) permits and how they are a proven deterrent to criminals:

After passing their concealed carry law, Florida's homicide rate fell from 36% above the national average to 4% below, and remains below the national average.  In Texas, murder rates fell 50% faster than the national average in the year after their concealed carry law passed.  Rape rates fell 93% faster in the first year after enactment, and 500% faster in the second.  Assaults fell 250% faster in the second year.  In fact as the number of firearms owned by citizens has been increasing steadily since 1970, the overall rate of homicides and suicides has not risen.  Crime has decreased faster in the 47 states that have CCW permits.

David Miller is advocating a citywide gun ban, and petitioning for a nationwide gun-ban.  Let us look at what would happen if that became a reality:

Washington D.C. has essentially banned gun ownership since 1976 and has a murder rate of 56.9 per 100,000. Across the river in Arlington, Virginia, gun ownership is less restricted.  There, the murder rate is just 1.6 per 100,000, less than three percent of the Washington, D.C. rate. In 1968, the U.K. passed laws that reduced the number of licensed firearm owners, and thus reduced firearm availability.  Their homicide rate has steady risen since then.  Ironically, firearm use in crimes has doubled in the decade after the U.K. banned handguns.  Australia and New Zealand have reduce restrictions on firearms after crimes when up.  An unarmed population is a helpless population.

If self-anointed GBLT leaders and activists are serious about reducing hate crimes, discussing CCW permits should be on the table for discussion.  CCW laws prevent 2.5 millions crimes in the U.S. every year.  Every day 550 rapes, 1,100 murders and 5,200 other violent crimes are prevented by just showing a gun.  In less than 0.9% of these instances is a gun actually fired.  The facts speak for themselves, like the slogan for the Pink Pistols - armed gays don’t get bashed.  When will these leaders put their emotions and far-left agenda to the side, and put their GBLT community first?


Chris Reid
"Controversial" former Toronto Centre
Conservative Party Candidate

Posted by Chris Reid on October 19, 2008 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (19) | TrackBack

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Canadians question Harper Conservatives' drug strategy

If Stephen Harper is serious about reducing violence and organized crime, he should be working towards repealing marijuana prohibition, not imposing minimum sentences for possession.

Red Deer's CHCA News has the story:

Posted by Kalim Kassam on October 4, 2008 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (70) | TrackBack

Sunday, September 28, 2008

How to Handle Hate Crimes

Frankly, I hate the phrase "hate crime."  I don't like the idea that we ought to distinguish crimes from one another based, simply, upon the identity of the victim or, as a class, based upon the motivation for the crime.  Assaulting someone because you don't like their face seem to me to be morally equivalent to attacking them because you don't like their race.

Where motivations ought to come in, I would say, is in considering punishments.  That's one of the real tragedy of our justice system - is that judges don't have the freedom to impose creative punishments.

For example, in the case of this latest gay bashing in Vancouver, I think that one can make an ideal case for corporal punishment.

Let's face it - prisons don't really work.  People don't learn anything because they spend a brief amount of time locked up.  The way to deter this from happening in the future is to sentence the perpetrator to a public flogging on Davie Street.

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on September 28, 2008 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Friday, August 29, 2008

Feds “invests” $20 million to stop the unregulated trade in tobacco: Natives and the smoking poor disproportionately affected

When health related news is released by the Minister of National Revenue, you can be quite sure that revenue, and not health, is what is really at issue.

National Revenue Minister Gordon O'Connor today announced a $20 million “investment” over the next four years to “combat contraband tobacco and its damaging effects on the health of Canadians.”

Since contraband tobacco has no more “damaging effects on the health of Canadians” than taxed and regulated tobacco, my guess is that the “damaging effects” are on government revenues.

On July 31, Minister O'Connor announced that that he and the provinces had come to a settlement concerning tobacco smuggling. Imperial Tobacco and Rothmans, Benson & Hedges were forced to pay $1.15 billion to the governments in fines and civil settlements for their role in “aiding persons to sell or be in possession of tobacco products manufactured in Canada that were not packaged and were not stamped in conformity with the Excise Act and its amendments and the ministerial regulations,” between 1989 and 1994.

Yes, that’s right, tobacco companies were found guilty of selling tobacco without giving Gordon "Mad Dog" O'Connor and the Capital Hill gang a taste of the action.

This $20 million announcement is intended to put an end to this kind of unregulated commerce.

O'Connor said “Contraband tobacco negatively affects all Canadians and our Government is determined to fight the problem.”

But contraband tobacco doesn’t negatively affect all Canadians.  In fact, it positively affects low income smokers who can spend significantly less on tobacco and, thereby, spend significantly more on other priorities.

In his column “Support Native resistance,” libertarian scholar Pierre Lemieux wrote:

Cigarettes manufactured and sold on Native reserves are priced as low as $6 per carton. This compares to more than $65 elsewhere in the country, the outrageous legal prices being due to federal and provincial taxes....

It is thanks to the Natives that five or ten per cent of the population can purchase affordable cigarettes and that the smokers of legal cigarettes are not taxed even more....the Natives are helping to satisfy...consumer demands.

This Conservative crackdown on unregulated tobacco commerce is an attack on Natives and the smoking poor -- and it's a misallocation of law enforcement resources.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on August 29, 2008 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (25) | TrackBack

Thursday, August 28, 2008

ELFs and ALFs strike again

Canada's most persistent domestic terrorists have struck again, this time in B.C.'s Fraser Valley.

See also my Western Standard story of two years ago, describing how these outlaws had spent the summer running riot in Ontario.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on August 28, 2008 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Western Standard exclusive: Investigative reporter and documentary film maker exposes the ongoing injustice of the Stonechild case

In February 2000, 25-year-old Jason Roy contacted the Saskatoon StarPhoenix to report the results of his “visualization exercise” nine years early in 1991, during which he claims he remembered seeing Neil Stonechild in a police cruiser the night before the aboriginal youth was found frozen to death in 1990.

On Friday, August 29th, investigative reporter and documentary film maker Candis McLean will reveal, exclusively for Western Standard readers, a report on how this unsubstantiated, decade-old personal account of the Stonechild incident from Roy, a juvenile delinquent who was admittedly drunk at the time, destroyed the careers of two Saskatoon cops.

Speaking out for the first time, former Saskatoon police chief Dave Scott is calling the Stonechild case “the biggest injustice ever perpetrated in this province.”

McLean first covered the Stonechild case for the Western Standard in December 2004 in “Case (not) closed.” In June, the Stonechild case was in the news again when the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal dismissed an application to throw out the results of the public inquiry into the freezing death of Stonechild. The two police officers implicated in the death had sought to quash Justice Wright’s conclusions about their role, saying it was outside the scope of the investigation. Larry Hartwig and Brad Senger were fired from the Saskatoon Police Service after the inquiry's report was released.

Some legal and law enforcement experts believe “Justice Wright…chose to overstep the boundaries of his mandate and to draw conclusions he was not entitled to draw.”  They also question the evidence used to build a case against Hartwig and Senger in this highly charged political inquiry.

Don’t miss “The Stonechild stink test” investigative report by Candis McLean and retired Saskatoon Police Service Cst. Larry Lockwood.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on August 28, 2008 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Conrad Black Appeal Denied

I haven't read the court order, but this story suggests that the 7th Circuit denied a rehearing by the original panel and an en banc rehearing also. That would mean, as the story points out, that the only avenue left is an appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States. The odds of that happening are very slim, but we won't know for sure till the cert denied is issued.

When I have spoken about the Black case, many Canadians, including non-supporters of Black, express their shock that he could have been convicted. I usually reply by expressing my shock at their shock!  This is because, unfortunately, the trend towards overcriminalization (as many have called it) of corporate and regulatory law started over 60 years ago. The Supreme Court of the United States abolished the ancient substantive safeguard of mens rea (as opposed to the procedural safeguards in the Bill of Rights) for regulatory crimes in United States v. Dotterweich. Mens rea, which means "evil mind", or basically the intent to commit the crime, was an ancient requirement that no man may be charged with and convicted of a crime unless the state could prove that he intended to commit the crime and actually did it.

In the Dotterweich case, the manager and president of a company was criminally charged when his company shipped adulterated and mislabeled drugs in interstate commerce even though the president did not personally know of the violation. The Court upheld his conviction, and admitted that the abolition of requiring intent might visit hardship upon those whose “consciousness of wrongdoing [is] totally wanting,” but went on to justify this new rule by stating that when “[b]alancing [the] relative hardships, Congress has preferred to place it upon those who have at least the opportunity of informing themselves of conditions imposed for the protection of consumers.”

So that is how it all starts - the poor hapless consumers! The state can essentially justify anything it wants to do in the name of the poor hapless consumers. (I always wonder why no central-planners get charged when there is a government screw-up like the latest bad meat breakout.)

For more on why mens rea is important, you can read my (and my co-author Craig Lerner's) Regulation piece here.

Posted by Moin A Yahya on August 21, 2008 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

85-year-old pulls out pistol and forces intruder to call 911

Waldacameron No, really:

An 85-year-old woman boldly went for her gun and busted a would-be burglar inside her home, then forced him to call police while she kept him in her sights, police said.

"I just walked right on past him to the bedroom and got my gun," Leda Smith said.

Smith heard someone break into her home Monday afternoon and grabbed the .22-caliber revolver she had been keeping by her bed since a neighbor's home was burglarized a few weeks ago.

"I said 'What are you doing in my house?' He just kept saying he didn't do it," Smith said.

After the 17-year-old boy called 911, Smith kept holding the gun on him until state police arrived at her home in Springhill Township, about 45 miles south of Pittsburgh.

The boy will be charged with attempted burglary and related offenses in juvenile court, Trooper Christian Lieberum said. He was not identified because of his age.

"It was exciting," Smith said. "I just hope I broke up the (burglary) ring because they have been hitting a lot of places around here."

Too bad the media doesn't always report on thefts, assaults, etc. prevented by the private possession of guns. But good on Ms. Smith and her .22.

*The photo is of Walda Cameron, a different grannie with a different beef--she shot a cardinal and wrote about it in Newsweek. Walda was a regular-old anti-gun liberal until the cardinal started harassing her. Then she got a gun.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on August 20, 2008 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (17) | TrackBack

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Frontline drug warriors are losing faith in prohibition. Are there any true believers left?

Tony Smith is a retired Vancouver cop and a spokesperson in Canada for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). Founded on March 16, 2002, LEAP is made up of current and former members of the law enforcement and criminal justice communities who are opposed to drug prohibition. Many of LEAP’s 10,000 members were on the front lines of the war on drugs and today have the passion found only in a convert to reform what they believe is a broken system.

While people like Smith are rare, they are not entirely new to the Canadian political scene. Canadians may remember Vancouver cop Gil Puder. Puder died of cancer in 1999 at the age of 40, but not before making his mark in the movement to end drug prohibition.

While still a member of the Vancouver Police Force, Puder made a presentation called "Recovering Our Honour: Why Policing Must Reject the War on Drugs" at a Fraser Institute conference in 1998.

Puder was threatened with discipline from his employer for his participation in the drug conference, and the Fraser Institute drew criticism from some of its conservative supporters, including sitting Reform Party Member of Parliament Art Hanger, now a Conservative representative.

In the end, though, the Fraser Institute published “Sensible Solutions to the Urban Drug Problem” in 2002 which included a posthumous contribution from Puder.

This watershed publication challenged the Canadian conservative movement to rethink the war on drugs, making opposition to prohibition at least a tolerable eccentricity.

To learn whether or not the political climate today is better or worse for drug law reformers like Tony Smith, however, you’ll have to read “Canada takes a LEAP forward in drug reform advocacy” here.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on August 14, 2008 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (48) | TrackBack

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Stockwell Day, electronic ankle bracelets and the war on drugs

Gps_device When Minister of Public Safety Stockwell Day announced this week that the federal government is launching a pilot program in September to electronically monitor federal offenders, I didn’t know quite what to think.

On the one hand, they are criminals. On the other hand, GPS ankle bracelets sound Orwellian.

I immediately asked the BC Civil Liberties Association for their perspective. I was told they have “no comment at this time” and to “try back in couple of months.”

Fair enough, I guess. They want to do their research and watch how the program develops.

Not to be deterred, I asked Dennis Young, the Leader of Libertarian Party, for a quote.

Young said “I don’t have a problem using technology to keep track of criminals. I would only insist that the program be restricted to dangerous, violent offenders. Who do the Conservatives plan to monitor once the pilot is done? Do we know the scope of the plan for federal offenders?”

Good questions.

The program will start modesty with the tagging of 30 parolees in Ontario. If any of the subjects violate their curfews or go places they are not supposed to go, the GPS ankle bracelets will alert the authorities.

AHN reported that “Day said the 30 prisoners would include a mixture of sexual and serious offenders.” Not your run-of-the-mill criminals.

The Nova Scotia provincial government has been using electronic monitoring ankle bracelets since 2006 and, according to a Canadian Press story, only about “55 people on conditional sentence release are wearing the ankle bracelets out of about 500 or so former inmates charged with everything from sexual offences to fraud.”

So it looks like the ankle bracelet monitoring program has been used with some restraint so far.

So should civil libertarians be concerned?


I spoke to the operations director Mike Smithson with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition this morning who argued, speaking primarily about the US situation, that the electronic monitoring of federal offenders may be an unintended consequence of the war on drugs. As we fill our prisons with drug offenders, law enforcement is forced to come up with ways to monitor violent criminals they can’t afford to house. The electronic ankle bracelet is a good solution to the problem of overcrowded prisons, but does it allow politicians and law enforcement to ignore a bigger problem -- the failure of drug prohibition?

Posted by Matthew Johnston on August 13, 2008 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (31) | TrackBack

Thursday, August 07, 2008

PETA goes way over the line

This is barely believable.

PETA--People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals--has a brand-spanking new campaign in Manitoba. They plan on publishing the following full-page ad:


From PETA's blog-o-moral-equivocation:

"This tragic incident will certainly leave scars on the minds of the other passengers and the victim's family and friends. While it isn't every day that a human is violently attacked and eaten by another human, it's worth noting that it is the norm for many people not to give any thought to the fact that restaurants are serving flesh that comes from innocents who were minding their own business before someone came after them with a knife. How amazingly and conveniently compartmentalized the human mind is…

"To stress this very point, PETA will be running an ad in the Portage Daily Graphic comparing the similarities between this gruesome bus butchering and the acts of cruelty and killing performed every day by the meat industry."

Yeah. Rabbit = person. Got it. Eating human beings = eating cows. Same thing, no difference. Check and check. Got some more moral enlightenment for us backward barbarians? Publish ad comparing the brutal murder and eating of a human being to eating animals about two weeks after the event? (I don't know exactly when they'll place their ad) Okay, mmhmm, sounds good.

Even Warren Kinsella gets this right: "These people are scumbags."

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on August 7, 2008 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (35) | TrackBack

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Money and cocaine

The police usually use dogs to sniff for drugs. When a dog identifies you as a possible target, the police are justified in stopping and searching you (I am simplifying here). But what if I were to tell you that most cash has traces of cocaine in them? What does that do to the validity of dog sniffs? Basically the cash we carry contains traces of cocaine, so good luck the next time a dog wags at you - it could just be the cash in your pocket!

Posted by Moin A Yahya on August 6, 2008 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Death Penalty: A Winning Issue for Harper

If Stephen Harper wants to win a majority government, he should promise to bring back the death penalty.

Read the reactions to the brutal murder committed by a Chinese migrant in Manitoba last week. Pushing for the death penalty – in limited circumstances – in response to this would be a popular move that would spur discussion well outside of political circles.

I mean, let’s get real – this is a debate that we want to have. The death penalty for head hackers? Yes, or no. Frame it that way, and it’s a winning issue. Let the Liberals, the NDP, the Greens, and the Bloc explain the inherent human worth of something that cuts people’s heads off and starts eating them.

Yes, I know that some people here are against the death penalty on basic principle. Either because they believe that killing is wrong or, alternatively, because they believe that the state shouldn’t have the power to kill.

But, come on – when you stab an innocent man on a bus, hack off his head, and then begin to eat parts of him in front of the police, you deserve to die. Even if you, unlike me, subscribe to some theory that holds that all human lives have intrinsic value, I submit to you that the continued existence of a creature such as Weiguang Li deprives the human race of some measure of dignity. Monsters such as this should be written out of the human race as a collective means of reaffirming our own humanity. When applied to someone like that thing, or to Robert Pickton, or to Paul Bernardo, or to Clifford Olsen (or to whoever is setting loose all of these human feet that keep washing up), the death penalty is a wonderful and life-affirming thing. It is a way of expressing a collective judgement that some things are unworthy of being deemed human.

The power of death – in limited circumstances – over beasts is a power that the state, as the force collectively empowered to exercise certain rights on our behalf – absolutely ought to and must have. I submit to you that, if we were acting by the laws of nature, the natural and just thing to do would have been for the other passengers on the bus to arm themselves (or, ideally, already be armed) and to kill Li right there on the spot. That they did not do so is a reflection of the social contract – we have signed away our individual rights to use force for the purposes of extracting justice and invested them in the state. The state, as a matter of natural law, has not only the right – but also the duty – to kill people who in the state of nature would be justly killed.

This is a power – and a right – more fundamental than others. The basic reason for the existence of the state is the regulation of violence. In the state of nature, man will justly kill man for many causes – and other men will recognize the justice of those causes.


In a basic moral sense – whether one subscribes to a utilitarian, Kantian, or whatever view of the world – killing for cause can absolutely be justified. Indeed, while – obviously – it is easy to justify killing someone like Li or Olsen from a utilitarian point of view (they have no further use to anyone, they cost money to maintain, killing them prevents them from potentially harming others), it’s also easy to justify it from other moral points of view. I have no objection to a universal agreement that people who hack other people’s heads off on buses be killed.

Yes, I realize that I’ve wandered wildly off-track from where I began. If you’re one of my four regular readers, you’re probably used to that by now, though.

I continue to fail to understand why conservative politicians in Canada have failed to run on the crime issue. Almost everyone in this country agrees that our justice system is grotesquely lenient. The most recent poll I can find on the issue suggests that 44% of Canadians support the death penalty for people convicted of murder, with 52% opposing.

That, by itself, I should add is enough to form a majority if an election was held along those lines. But, I think, we need to look even deeper than that – given what we all know about polling. The question asked here was, “Do you favour or oppose the death penalty for people convicted of murder?”

Suppose if, instead, you asked the following question, “Do you favour or oppose the death penalty for those convicted of multiple murders, the murder of children, or particularly heinous murders where the guilt of the murderer has been established through either DNA evidence or the testimony of multiple witnesses?”  Frame the question that way and, I expect, you’d get a shift of at least ten points in support.

Remember, Harper doesn’t need to win a majority of votes to win a majority. Somewhere in the range of 40% is the magic number. Given that – and given the division of the other parties – the optimal strategy for Harper in an election isn’t to run on issues where there are relatively minor differences and people argue over which particular plan in the best. The best way for Harper to win a majority is to come up with a connected collection of issues where an interlocking 40% of Canadians feel basically the same way and to hammer away on those issues – thus throwing up a Berlin Wall between that part of the country and the powerless majority, who can squabble forever about how to divide up that 60% of the vote.

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on August 3, 2008 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (53) | TrackBack

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Ric Dolphin Writes Again

Although loath to use another of those horrible words  concocted by the geeks  who, sadly, have inherited the world, there seems to be no avoiding it. I now have a "blog" which I shall endeavor to update at least every Monday and which you are invited to visit at, ricdolphin.com
Be aware that, unlike when I wrote for Western Standard magazine, I am not being  censored for language. I am also not specifically writing about politics, although the subject may be broached on occasion.  Be assured, however, that I shall never  use "blog" as  a verb.

Posted by Ric Dolphin on July 9, 2008 in Aboriginal Issues, American History, Books, Canadian Conservative Politics, Canadian History, Canadian Politics, Canadian Provincial Politics, Crime, Current Affairs, Film, Humour, International Affairs, International Politics, Media, Military, Municipal Politics, Religion, Science, Television, Trade, Travel, Web/Tech, Weblogs, Western Standard, WS Radio, WStv | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Thursday, June 26, 2008

SCOTUS on guns and self-defense

The Supreme Court of the U.S. has issued the following ruling in the D.C. v. Heller case:

In a 5-4 decision, the Supremes ruled that the second amendment is an individual right, rather than some sort of collective "militia" right, to bear arms. Trigger locks and other measures that make it difficult for U.S. citizens to defend their "hearth and home" (to use Scalia's language) are unconstitutional. Americans can now defend themselves without having to ask the potential robber/rapist/murderer etc. to wait a little bit while they unlock their safe, re-assemble their gun, and load it with bullets that they've locked up in a separate safe over there by the microwave in the kitchen.

You can judge by my sarcastic remark at the end that I'm as happy as can be about the decision. Listening to Rush Limbaugh tell me news about the decision elicited a "woo hoo!" from me just as the Tim Horton's guy was handing me my coffee. He thought I was happy about the coffee. Which I was. But not as much as the ruling in this decision.

It is, however, yet another 5-4 ruling, splitting the "conservatives" and the "liberals" on the bench. This, of course, is going to lead to even more handwringing about who gets to be on the Supreme Court in the first place, and about the theoretical orientation--especially the various theories of interpretation--of potential SCOTUS appointees. So it goes, I guess.

SCOTUSblog commentary on the decision:

"the Court concluded “we find they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weaons in case of confrontation” — in other words, for self-defense. “The inherent right of self-defense has been central to the Second Amendment right,” it added.

The individual right interpretation, the Court said, “is strongly confirmed by the historical background of the Second Amendment,” going back to 17th Century England, as well as by gun rights laws in the states before and immediately after the Amendment was put into the U.S. Constitution.

What Congress did in drafting the Amendment, the Court said, was “to codify a pre-existing right, rather than to fashion a new one.”

That last quote is interesting. According to the court, there was a pre-existing (natural?) right to self-defense that Congress recognized in the 2nd amendment.

You can read the full decision, in a PDF courtesy of SCOTUSblog, here.


"1. The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.

"2. Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose... The Court's opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms...

"3. The handgun ban and the trigger-lock requirement (as applied to self-defense) violate the Second Amendment... Similarly, the requirement that any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock makes it impossible for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional."

Here's Cato on the decision.

Bob Levy, Cato scholar, says:

"Heller is merely the opening salvo in a series of litigations that will ultimately resolve what weapons and persons can be regulated and what restrictions are permissible. But because of Thursday’s decision, the prospects for reviving the original meaning of the Second Amendment are now substantially brighter."

Here's reaction from various people on the decision.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on June 26, 2008 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Friday, June 06, 2008

Disarm the gun hobbyists!

Imagine heavily armed Olympic athletes roaming Bay Street to hunt down innocent and helpless Torontonians in a sick game these monsters are calling “biathlon.”

Or imagine gangsters menacing our neighbourhoods and “kickin' it old school” with Civil War-era revolvers and muzzle-loading muskets.

This is the nightmare world from which Toronto Mayor David Miller wants to spare us.

The Western Standard has none other than Gerry Nicholls on this story. Read “Disarm the gun hobbyists!” here.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on June 6, 2008 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (56) | TrackBack

Friday, May 23, 2008

Mass detention of religious minorities in Iran - First Bahai's and now Christians

I've been busy dealing with the fundraising stuff recently but it doesn't mean that the important news should be ignored or set aside. Unfortunately, Tehran's Amir-Kabir University independent news website informs us (in Persian) that as many as 10 newly Christian converts have been detained in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz where a suspicious blast killed several people in a mosque. The Amir-Kabir Univ's website mentions that the Islamic regime of Iran is now trying to tie these ex-Muslims to that bombing and prosecute them. As you know the penalty for either of those two so-called crimes in Iran is death.

The Iranian regime's recent detention of Bahai's leadership also demonstrates the evil nature of this Islamofascist establishment that has hijacked and abused a once proud nation since 1979.

Posted by Winston on May 23, 2008 in Crime, Current Affairs, Religion | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Monday, May 12, 2008

Monkey business

Radio-news coverage of the memorial for a dead monkey named Jocko filled the B.C. airwaves on Sunday and even generated a front-page news story today in Vancouver, complete with a large photo of two distraught women.

Jocko was killed when, allegedly, thieves broke into his cage during a robbery which resulted in the supposed "kidnapping" of his mate, Mia.

But, hey, I'm thinking that if the media are going to treat this crime as if its victim was human, then they should go all the way. This means that they should not rule out as a suspect the one "person" who had motive (escaping an arranged marriage), the opportunity (at night, when no one was watching) and is now missing (on the lam, no doubt!).

Therefore, unless Mia steps forward to clear her name, she must be considered the prime suspect!

Posted by Terry O'Neill on May 12, 2008 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Monday, March 10, 2008

Cruel and unusual punishment?

Marc Emery's plea bargain with the U.S. government has hit a wall--the Canadian government is telling him that they can't do what Emery wants, which is to allow him to serve five years of his ten-year sentence for selling marijuana seeds to U.S. consumers in a Canadian prison.

Why not? According to the news stories, it's because that punishment is "too harsh" for Canadian standards.

This is a huge admission. It basically helps Emery's argument against extradition, if it comes down to that. The government has admitted that, when it comes to selling marijuana seeds, the penalties doled out in the U.S. are outside of what Canadians should be willing to accept. And since the extradition treaty specifically exempts those Canadian citizens who are subject to extradition but face penalties that would "shock the conscience" of Canadians, or who would face "cruel and unusual" punishment, this statement by the Canadian government sounds an awful lot like a pre-amble to a reason not to extradite.

I asked Emery about this, and here's what he said, "The Canadian Prosecutorial Service says the deal ties the hands of a judge, but my lawyers are saying a judge can decide when a convicted person can get parole (even put a date on the earliest parole application) . The Americans are waiting on the CPS to agree with my lawyer."

He also pointed me to this piece by Ian Mulgrew in the Vancouver Sun about a recent BC Court of Appeals decision that said that selling marijuana seeds is worth a one-month jail sentence at most. Writes Mulgrew: "If anyone needed evidence, this decision exposes the fundamental unfairness of what is happening to Emery."

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on March 10, 2008 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Thursday, March 06, 2008

I Opened the Paper

I opened the paper today, to read the Vancouver Province's series on drunk driving and was shocked to see a face I recognized looking back at me.

I went to Middle School with that girl.  What I remember of her is that she was religious - and that she got caught smoking during the "30 Hour Famine" (an event which I thought was ridiculous then, as I do now).

She was a nice girl.  As I recall, a bit of a goody-goody (save the aforementioned bit), but kindly.  I don't think I ever saw her again after that (I went to a different high school than most of the people I went to Middle School with).

Actually, it's particularly sad - as one of the first things which sprung to mind when I thought of her was that she seemed to be particularly close with her mother.

Sad, but also enraging:

The day after the crash, Aaron Forrest, 31, turned himself in to police. Court was to hear that after fleeing the wreckage, he swam the Nanaimo River to fulfill his quest to buy drugs. Forrest admitted that on the day of the accident, he was not in a sane state of mind, and had checked himself in to hospital the evening before after a two-day cocaine binge.

Oh, and I found this little bit which, for some reason, the Province didn't mention:

Before being charged with the deaths of the two women, Forrest had been convicted of dangerous driving, driving without insurance, possession of narcotics, assault, fraud, and other driving-related infractions.

First of all, the guy is thirty-one now.  That would make him twenty-nine at the time of the crash.  I count at least three indictable offenses on that list of crimes - it's insane that we let people like this roam the streets and kill people.

Indeed, they gave him just four years for driving down the road at one hundred and fifty kilometers an hour for forty-five minutes while high on drugs.

Actually, that's not exactly true - they gave him less because of, "the man’s relatively young age, guilty plea, supportive friends and family, and the fact that investigators had not proven drugs were a factor."

Yeah - you know why they didn't prove the drugs were a factor?  Because he fled the scene of the crime.

It's one of those things which can only make me mutter, "this stupid country..."

How much respect can we have for a government which lets criminals roam free and barely punishes them for killing two absolutely innocent people - and which uses its resources to harass Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant?

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on March 6, 2008 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (22) | TrackBack

Monday, March 03, 2008

Home-grown terrorists

BREAKING NEWS: A banner left at the site of a well-planned arson attack, which has destroyed at least three homes on a Street of Dreams outside of Seattle this morning, indicates the Earth Liberation Front is behind the crime.

Readers may remember my Western Standard scoop of September 2006, when I revealed that attacks by the radical environmental group had caused at least $3 million damage in Ontario that year.

UPDATE:  KING-5 TV reports, "The Street of Dreams arson coincides with the trial of Briana Waters, an alleged Earth Liberation Front member accused of torching the UW horiticulture center in 2001."

Here's a link to an LA Times story on the arson attack, which is now estimated to have caused $7 million in damages.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on March 3, 2008 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Friday, February 29, 2008

Go directly to Jail. Do not pass GO...

Imagine a country that locks up roughly one per cent of its total population. About one in a hundred gets handcuffed and carted off behind bars. Craziness, right?

Imagine that that country is, of all places, the United States of America.

No, I'm not kidding. According to a recent Pew Report, slightly more than one in a hundred Americans is locked up. Those staggering numbers become more worrisome when you look at the breakdowns--one in 30 men in my age bracket (20 to 24-year-olds) can't go to the local cineplex or go to the supermarket or to the local pub when they want, and a barely-believable one in nine black males in the same age group can't.

Men, incidentally--and will feminists please perk up and pay attention, thank you--are 13 times more likely to get tossed in the clink as compared to women (although the women's prison population is increasing at a clip comparable to the relative proportion of women entering college compared to men). But, never mind, we live in an anti-woman North American culture and blah blah breast implants blah blah Barbie blah blah Gloria Steinem and so on.

Why the massive lock up?

It's not because crime has gone up, notes the report. And it's also not because more people are getting caught. Rates of various crimes have remained relatively constant. They explain the mass imprisonment on a scale never-before-seen in liberal democratic countries as a result of a willingness to toss even minor offenders behind bars, and a rise in "three-strikes-you're-out" laws that extend what would otherwise have been shorter stints. They don't mention this in the press release, but the amount of people widdling chess pieces out of soap for marijuana-related "crimes" is shameful.

It's one thing to be tough on crime. It's another to be, uhm, insane.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on February 29, 2008 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Thursday, February 21, 2008

R. v. Yoshida: The Tale of the Parking Lot

I fought the Queen – and I won.  And, in some cases, perhaps you can win too.

A year and a half ago, I was cited for violating Section 144(1)(b) of the B.C. Motor Vehicle Act, which forbids “driving without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway.”  In English – I was charged for driving clear across a mostly-empty parking lot on my way to work in the morning.  Frankly, I thought it was a stupid ticket.  It was a clear August day.  It was early in the morning.  The sun was out.  The section which I cut across was pretty much totally unoccupied.  I was travelling at, maybe, thirty.  The RCMP Constable claimed that she thought it was closer to forty.  I doubt it.  I also doubt that, in a span of two hundred or so meters, that the difference between thirty and forty can be reliably attained from simple visual observation.

Anyways, as I said, I was prepared to fight the case out on the merits.  I don’t think I did anything wrong – and I mean that in a legal sense, not merely in the sense that I admire Winston Churchill’s habit of driving on the sidewalks when necessary out of his conviction that he was far more important than ordinary people.  In particular, I think that I had solid ground for reasonable doubt both because I doubt if the cop would have been able to enumerate the supposed persons that I posed a danger to.  As well, it appeared to me that he Constable stopped me by following the exact same path across the parking lot as I did.  But, as it turned out, none of that was necessary.

Instead, I prevailed by relying on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  Yes, in general I’m not a fan of what that document hath wrought but, in this case, it saved me something like $500.

From when I got the ticket, on August 31st, 2006 (quota, anyone?) to the trial, close to eighteen months elapsed.  Therefore, I made an application for a stay of proceedings on the grounds that my right to be tried within a reasonable time, as contained in Section 11(b) of the Charter had been violated.

This wasn’t a shot in the dark.  In R. v. Askov the Supreme Court ruled that a delay of eight to ten months from charge to trial was appropriate and that, as delays extended beyond that point, they become increasingly hard to justify.  Further, they ruled that delays resulting from inadequate resources weigh against the Crown.  Since, in this case, the only factor (at least that I’m aware of) delaying this case was the lack of institutional resources, these facts tended to weigh in my favour.

However, a few years later, in R. V. Morin the Court raised the burden a little bit – holding that he accused, In order to prevail on an 11(b) motion must demonstrate some sort of prejudice arising out of the delay.  In this particular case, I felt that this definitely existed – since there were numerous witnesses to the incident at the time but, by the time a trial was scheduled more than a year later, I couldn’t find anyone with a confident enough recollection of the incident to testify in my defense.  Moreover, in a case where detailed facts would have mattered a great deal, any testimony that either the Constable or myself could have offered would have been, for the most part, to recap our own notes from the time of the incident.

Now, I wouldn’t encourage anyone to make frivolous motions.  But, I would suggest that the Crown has both a legal and moral obligation to dispose of matters in an orderly and rapid fashion.  It should not take a year and a half to deal with an ordinary traffic ticket.  If you have one that’s taking that long, I recommend copying my practice and seeking a stay of the charges on the grounds that the delay has violated your rights.  After all, it can’t hurt.

In order to properly make the application, I had to write it up and deliver it to the court, to the BC Attorney General, and to the Attorney General of Canada.  I’m told that people have done this by fax and ordinary mail but, not wanting to take any chances, I sent mine registered.  A few days later, I got a letter from the Department of Justice telling me that they wouldn’t be intervening in the case.

So, today, I went to court for the first time in my life.  Frankly, I was a little bit nervous – especially when I found that, while most the traffic cases where scheduled in one courtroom, I was set for another room whose docket was filled with longer-form items.  I became even more concerned when I saw that, rather than the RCMP Constable, there was a Crown lawyer to argue the case.

But, when I got up, the Crown Counsel told the Judge that because the combined time of arguing the application and following it with the trial would force the trial to be scheduled for some time even further into the future, the Crown was going to stay the charge.  Boom.  I won.

The lesson to be had – always stand up for your rights.  Don’t bow down before the state, especially when the state is wrong.  Perhaps if more people would fight their tickets on a consistent basis and do so using a sound and aggressive strategy, the tactic of using traffic policing as a method for revenue generation would stop working and instead police would be freed up to arrest actual criminals – like the drug gangs waging war upon eachother across the Lower Mainland.

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on February 21, 2008 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Concealed guns in Utah

CNN writes about Brigham Young University, and the students that carry guns to class. BYU, named after one of the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon), is in Utah, the only state that currently allows guns on all campuses.

Those who choose to carry, and who spoke with CNN, insist that they are doing this both to prevent mass shootings on school grounds (like the Virginia Tech incident), and to defend themselves.

Other students are worried. They think only "officials" should carry guns, and not their fellow students.

But no one seems to mind student parking lots. No one seems to mind the fact that college students drive to their classes. This, in spite of the fact that a car can be used as a weapon.

But never mind. Guns kill people, after all, and cars do not. People who drive cars can kill other people, but guns have magic metaphysical properties. Unlike knives, baseball bats, cars, and arsenic--which require human agency in order to actually kill someone else--guns can somehow do this all on their own.

When it comes to guns, the problem isn't the person with the finger on the trigger, and a complex assortment of mental states like intentions, desires, preferences, and so on, it's the instrument itself that is to blame. Sort of like the Great Ring of Power, put a gun in your hand and you're five minutes away from calling it your precious.

Of course I'm kidding. But you wouldn't think this reading the anti-gun literature, or listening to the anti-gun crowd. They're convinced that if we remove the weapon, we'll remove the crime. That if we can just ban guns on campus, suicidal lunatics will heed the signs that say "no guns allowed," even if they are, uhm, suicidal lunatics.

Might as well just post a sign that says, "no suicidal lunatics on campus," or "no one with murderous intentions allowed within 1,000 feet of this campus." It will surely have the same effect. (And just to be perfectly plain, since no stupidity is stupid enough for some bureaucrats and activists, the effect would be no effect at all. It would be ineffective. So you can, dear statist, put away the note you just made to yourself to get a petition started about banning insanity on campus.)

The only plausible argument is this: Spot a gun on someone, and you can report him or her and have them caught and escorted to the police station for carrying a gun in a no-gun zone. But, really, has this been effective? Canada is a country-wide no-gun-on-campus zone, and we're not immune from school shootings, in spite of the fact that people with the right outfits and hats signed the right pieces of paper and filed those papers in all the right ways that make something illegal.

Even if someone spots a gun, will they have time to contact the authorities?

And if they realize that they don't have time, how will they stop the lunatic before their lunacy flowers? Will they recite something out of the Rosie O'Donnell handbook of effective anti-gun tirades? Just what do the anti-guns-on-campus people propose to stop someone determined from carrying a gun onto campus--in spite of the existence of a law, and in spite of clearly marked signs that clearly say that guns are not permitted on campus--and shooting people? Can someone draw me a plausible scenario where an anti-gun law is effective, as compared to permitting ordinary people--like you and I, dear reader--to come to school packing heat?

Says a Canadian in the article:

"Rob Morrison, a BYU student from Ontario, Canada, doesn't think that having guns on campus would necessarily stop a potential killer.

"The people that do it want to commit suicide anyway," Morrison said. "But it would give students a chance to defend themselves, and at Virginia Tech, it could have ended sooner than it did."


Posted by P.M. Jaworski on February 21, 2008 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (26) | TrackBack

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Resurrecting the death penalty?

Just when it seemed that the death-penalty debate in Canada was all but dead, Ipsos-Reid has conducted a poll on the subject, whose results have been summarized in this morning's Vancouver Sun. Here's a link to the full release on the two-week-old poll.

That such a poll was conducted in the first place is interesting. But even more interesting are the poll's results, which show that a solid majority of Albertans and British Columbians--and a slim majority of Ontarians--want the country to reinstutute capital punishment.

It's an issue that my old B.C. Report colleague, Robin Brunet, explored in this recent story, which used the conviction of serial killer Robert Pickton as a catalyst to explore the subject.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on February 14, 2008 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (25) | TrackBack

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Compendium of Conservatives on Drugs

No, no, don't worry. I'm not about to out all of the conservatives who have gone ahead and smoked the reefer or snorted the cocaine or got a little high on prescription drugs. This isn't a post about hypocrisy. Instead, it's a post about all of the conservatives who have seen fit to urge an end to the war on drugs.

The war on drugs is a disaster. And it is unjust. And this law is insane. And it is a waste of money. And it is a big government program. And it is a nanny state program. And it is all of those things, and more.

Some time in the not-too-distant future, you will agree with me. The daily deluge of policy papers, academic scribblings, op-eds, medical journal findings, and public opinion polls which all point in a similar direction is bound to have an effect on you. If not today, then tomorrow. And if not tomorrow, then a week or month from now. And if you still think it a good idea to incarcerate pot smokers and growers 20 years from now, you will change your mind 20 years later. But the longer it takes for you to change your mind, the longer will this disaster of a policy continue. The longer will we have to put up with lives utterly ruined and destroyed by this policy.

This post is aimed at small- and big-c conservatives. At those who are conservative philosophically, and those who support the political party. It is not really intended for anyone else, since the authorities I cite, and the instances I give are tailored to convince conservatives, not liberals, socialists, and so on.

Thoughtful and intelligent conservatives agree that the war on drugs is a lost cause, and the source of a massive amount of injustice, crime, and loss of life (in both the literal, and figurative sense).

Milton Friedman, a hero to most conservatives, not only thought the War on Drugs is a failure, he thought it immoral. When I asked him, citing a 1972 Newsweek article where he supported the legalization of drugs, if he still felt this way, his response was an unequivocal "Absolutely!" Hard drugs too?, I asked. "Absolutely." What about ethics?:

PJ: Now you also said in that same article that this was an ethical issue as  well.
MF: Absolutely—I've just said it—what right does the government have to tell me what I may put in my mouth? If the government has the right to tell me what I may put in my mouth, why doesn't it have the right to tell me what I may put in my mind? There is, in my opinion, no government policy that is as immoral as drug  prohibition...
(Friedman and Freedom, March 15, 2002)

Friedman headlined a list of 500 economists who supported a Marijuana Policy Project report, written by Jeffrey Miron of Harvard, urging American legislators to legalize marijuana. You might recognize some of these as heroes, too. The report says:

"The report shows that marijuana legalization -- replacing prohibition with a system of taxation and regulation -- would save $7.7 billion per year in state and federal expenditures on prohibition enforcement and produce tax revenues of at least $2.4 billion annually if marijuana were taxed like most consumer goods. If, however, marijuana were taxed similarly to alcohol or tobacco, it might generate as much as $6.2 billion annually.

The fact that marijuana prohibition has these budgetary impacts does not by itself mean prohibition is bad policy. Existing evidence, however, suggests prohibition has minimal benefits and may itself cause substantial harm."
(Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition, June, 2005)

But Friedman, strictly speaking, was a libertarian, not a conservative. Although he was, and still is, a hero to both, you might think of him as having been only conservative by overlap. Would you say the same of the National Review? You probably have the magazine bookmarked, if you're a Canadian Tory. Here is the hallmark publication of the conservative movement proper. No chance of finding many libertarians sympathetic to this magazine, which is more likely to spit on libertarians as make common cause with them. But they don't spit so much when it comes to drugs. Instead, they support legalization:

"...it is our judgment that the war on drugs has failed, that it is diverting intelligent energy away from how to deal with the problem of addiction, that it is wasting our resources, and that it is encouraging civil, judicial, and penal procedures associated with police states. We all agree on movement toward legalization, even though we may differ on just how far."
(War on drugs is lost, Feb. 12, 1996)

Was the good ship S.S. NR rudderless? Was William F. Buckley, the founder and steerer, in the background pulling his hair as his editorial board veers away from his considered judgment? Was Buckley outvoted on the issue, and the magazine presented an opinion vastly different from his? Not even close. Here's Buckley himself:

"I leave it at this, that it is outrageous to live in a society whose laws tolerate sending young people to life in prison because they grew, or distributed, a dozen ounces of marijuana. I would hope that the good offices of your vital profession would mobilize at least to protest such excesses of wartime zeal, the legal equivalent of a My Lai massacre. And perhaps proceed to recommend the legalization of the sale of most drugs, except to minors."
(Ibid, a speech before the NY Bar Association)

The Economist doesn't flinch from the subject. The magazine most likely to be found on the shelves of intelligent conservatives and libertarians (amongst a host of others who are serious about economics) agrees: The War on Drugs is a bad idea.

"The best answer is to move slowly but firmly to dismantle the edifice of enforcement. Start with the possession and sale of cannabis and amphetamines, and experiment with different strategies... Move on to hard drugs, sold through licensed outlets. These might be pharmacies or, suggests Ethan Nadelmann, director of the Lindesmith Centre, mail-order distributors...

"John Stuart Mill was right. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign. Trade in drugs may be immoral or irresponsible, but it should no longer be illegal."
(Set it free, July 26, 2001)

Meanwhile, here in Canada, the newspapers conservatives are most likely to subscribe to urges legalization. The National Post has issued at least two editorials in favour of legalization. One, simply titled "Time to Legalize Pot," says:

"Marijuana legalization has long been the subject of academic debate. The time has come to turn conjecture into law. Canada's police, judges and prosecutors have better things to do with their time than track down those who produce and consume a substance no more dangerous than alcohol and tobacco. We should begin the decriminalization of marijuana by immediately reducing the punishments that can be imposed for its possession to modest fines -- and start thinking about how to regulate its use."
(Time to Legalize Pot, April 1, 2000)

And here's a snippet from "Pointless Prohibition":

"The only sensible course of action is to end the pointless prohibition of a substance that is neither more dangerous nor more addictive than alcohol or tobacco, and one that has reportedly been smoked by more than 10 million Canadians at some point in their lives... It's time to make official what Vancouver's authorities have evidently already accepted, and legalize marijuana." (Pointless Prohibition, Sep. 7, 2004)

The Ottawa Citizen, another staple in the conservative newspaper diet, ran a series of four editorials urging an end to the war on drugs. Here are some excerpts:

"Too often, our political culture equates legalizing drugs with being soft on criminals. But it is criminalization, not legalization, that guarantees wealth and power for gangs and pushers. We will argue Monday that it need not be this way."
(Decriminalizing Drugs, April 12, 1997)

How appropriate is this first line in light of the recent Tory announcements about "getting serious" about drugs?... Here's more:

"The recent history of drug enforcement, both in Canada and the United States, is largely a record of failure. Tax dollars are lavished on enforcement. Police powers are expanded at the expense of civil liberties. Criminal gangs grow richer. And drug use goes on regardless."
(Decriminalizing Drugs II, April 14, 1997)


"But people constantly engage in any number of activities that, like drug use, physically endanger only themselves but risk inflicting emotional trauma on others should something go wrong: scuba diving, skiing, driving Highway 401. Others may be traumatized when sons marry outside the family religion, daughters form sexual relationships with other women, or parents divorce. With harm stretched beyond its original, liberal meaning, almost any activity that attracted a vociferous lobby group and applause-seeking politicians could be outlawed. If we are to have a free society in any meaningful sense, J.S. Mill's great liberal maxim must be re-invigorated, but with the original, narrow definition of harm intact. And Canada, secure in the knowledge of what is right in a free society, should allow its citizens to make their own decisions about whether or not to use drugs."
(Decriminalizing Drugs III, April 15, 1997)

And in the conclusion of the 4-part series, the Ottawa Citizen puts nails in what should have been a coffin:


"The history of drug use confirms that we will never live in a drug-free society: Too many people inevitably just say yes. But we can have a society in which the worst effects of drug addiction are minimized, and those who are addicted are helped. We can have a society where mafia and biker gangs are not made rich and powerful by the ban on drugs.   

Most importantly, we can have a society where the criminal law reflects not expediency and prejudice but principle. We can work toward a society clearly and consistently founded on the great liberal maxim of John Stuart Mill, that: "The individual is not accountable to society for his actions, insofar as these concern the interests of no person but himself.""
(Decriminalizing Drugs IV, April 16, 1997)

Stephen Easton, writing a Fraser Institute policy paper, thinks the enemy (drugs) has won. That's right, the Fraser Institute, Canada's most important free market think tank, the place most likely to draw the smartest and best conservatives (and libertarians) in this country.

“If we treat marijuana like any other commodity we can tax it, regulate it, and use the resources the industry generates rather than continue a war against consumption and production that has long since been lost... It is apparent that we are reliving the experience of alcohol prohibition of the early years of the last century.”
(BC's marijuana crop worth over 7 billion annually, June 9, 2004)

The Cato Institute has many friends in conservative circles. But they have been fierce on the issue. They support the legalization of all drugs. They've issued plenty of policy documents, but I will cite just one:

"By now, there can be little doubt that most, if not all,           "drug-related murders" are the result of drug prohibition. The same type of violence came with the Eighteenth Amendment's ban of alcohol in 1920. The murder rate rose with the start of Prohibition, remained high during Prohibition, and then declined for 11 consecutive years when Prohibition ended.[2] The rate of assaults with a firearm rose with Prohibition and declined for 10 consecutive years after Prohibition. In the last year of Prohibition--1933--there were 12,124 homicides and 7,863 assaults with firearms; by 1941 these figures had declined to 8,048 and 4,525, respectively...

In spite of the greatest anti-drug enforcement effort in U.S. history, the drug problem is worse than ever. What should be done now?... The status quo is intolerable--everyone agrees on that. But there are only two alternatives: further escalate the war on drugs, or legalize them. Once the public grasps the consequences of escalation, legalization may win out by default."
(Thinking about drug legalization, May 25, 1989)

There's plenty more where that came from.

Still think the war on drugs is a good idea? You swim against the tide of considered conservative opinion, my friend.

Soon, you'll be swimming alone.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on January 29, 2008 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (45) | TrackBack

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Crimes & misdemeanours

Kenny vs. Spenny is a really, really dumb show. Produced by Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the libertarian duo responsible for South Park, it's a show about two Canadians who get into stupid competitions with one another like who can fart the loudest, who can go the longest without using their arms, and first one to talk loses, and so on. The loser suffers some sort of humiliation, but you don't need the details. The show is filmed in Canada and, in the credits, thanks the government of Canada and the government of Ontario for their financial support (I could go on a rant about this, but I won't.)

There is one episode, however, that I found particularly interesting. It's called "Who can commit more crimes?" That's the premise, and the contest. Turns out a whole pile of nonsense counts as a crime nowadays, and the fact that you may have broken some laws without even knowing it is worth talking about. What follows is part 1 of 3 embedded. There are links for parts 2 and 3 if you decide you want to watch the whole episode.

Click here for Part 2

Click here for Part 3

(Why do we have so many dumb laws?)

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on January 27, 2008 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack