Tuesday, July 10, 2007

 

The RCMP Act is clear, said Annie

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Lately, Canada has needed Anne McLellan back in Parliament. I hate to admit that I never much liked the lady. Something about the way she talks, starting many of her sentences with "In fact ..." as if whoever she's speaking to had just uttered such a preposterous stupidity that, "In fact, the truth is ..." Then gasping and over-emphasizing, as if reading from a big blackboard to very small children, she would state her irrefutable point of view. Maybe she really was reading from the great blackboard in her memories of being Assistant Dean of Law at University of Alberta (Edmonton).

There's no denying she took on tough assignments in the government of Canada, first as federal Minister of Justice for 5 years (1997-2002), then when Paul Martin was sworn in as Prime Minister of Canada on 12 December 2003, he named Anne McLellan his Deputy Prime Minister. In her spare time, Ms McLellan seemed to have no problem also administering the newly created Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, which now occupies Stockwell Day full-time.

So, like her or not, Anne McLellan has smarts of the kind we need right now with the RCMP under attack. She is someone worth paying attention to. So here's what she, as Minister of Justice, said one day in the House of Commons when the perennial subject came up of controlling the R.C.M.P. to prevent our ears being sullied ever again by discouraging public complaints about them. Here's Annie's brisk statement:


In fact, I would hope that nobody in this House would suggest that any government, of whatever stripe, should involve itself in the operational details of the national police force. There are too many shocking examples of other countries around the world where police forces end up being directed by governments or political parties, and it is not a democracy.

As far as I am concerned, the RCMP Act is clear. The administration and day to day operations of the force are left up to the commissioner and his officers, his assistant commissioners and others across the country.

But the big Question persists: does it make sense that the media is stomping all over the RCMP these days, while at the same time everyone is supposed to Support Our Troops in far-off Afghanistan? Why aren't we supporting our para-military RCMP troops here at home when we expect them to risk life and limb for us??

So yes to Public Inquiries when all else has fails. But yes, also, to the R.C.M.P. whose loyalty we count on every day.

The July 9 edition of CTV's "The Verdict" (available on-line) brought forth many important facts and factors relevant to the current disquiet in Houston B.C. Two points stood out:

* Paula Todd saying, before the interviews began, that as a lawyer she had known and worked with many R.C.M.P. and had the highest respect for the force in general. In my view, things have escalated to the point where that needs saying ... often.

* New information about the Ian Bush tragedy. Who knew that it was RCMP Constable Koester's lawyer who forbade him being interviewed for 3 months? And that Koester's civil rights guaranteed him that right to remain silent? And it was Koester's lawyer who demanded the questions in writing before he allowed his client to speak?

Then Todd said, "In my experience, when the RCMP wanted something, they got it." And that's when they described Ontario's S.I.U. Unit -- an independent group -- which would've been called in immediately to sort this out.

What, then, would Anne McLellan say about anybody trying to discredit the whole RCMP in general, over any single unresolved tragedy? It's fair to ask,also: isn't it possible that some people would like to see RCMP testimony in upcoming trials also being discredited?

In fact ... don't they always say "Support the Troops"? I figure that includes our domestic para-military troops. The Royal Canadian Legion certainly includes the RCMP in its ranks.

Anne McLellan wouldn't say this, but I think that either we stop harassing the whole national police force, or maybe we should forget about calling 911 ever again.

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Comments:
Justice Bennett in her most recent decision slammed the rcmp for not giving documents to the defendants and for hiding evidence that they were investigating Gary Collins. The judge was also very critical of the rcmp and their links to campbell and the bc liberals.

Don't you see this as political interference?? The judge said that briefings were held "at the highest level of the rcmp" in their investigation of gary collins etc. Your statement that "some people would like to see RCMP testimony in upcoming trials also being discredited" is silly to say the least. The rcmp in BC have proved time after time they are out of control, this was the case for Glen Clark and its the case now. The judge, yes the judge slammed the rcmp and did so based on behavior that is outrageous if not criminal.
 
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Tom,

you rather make the point for me, don't you think?

Thanks for joining in. I'm not trying to place a burr under your saddle but I am really wondering if you think each faction (I tried to identify 7 factions) involved in the B.C. Rail Trial, should be publicly checked for flaws?

We haven't even done that to the 3 accused. Should we?

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In my opinion only the three accused, like Glen Clark, were presumed guilty the very second this affair began. I want to know about the corrupt lobbyists? There's a question worth asking. How come the people who admitted to bribes were not only never charged but allowed to continue to lobby and do who know's what else.
 
Mary,

I think there are enormous problems with the RCMP. Many of them, to my way of thinking, stem from the paramilitary nature of the organization and manifest themselves in terms of the hierarchical pecking order nature of that beast; many more problems seem to flow out of a training system that is apparently inadequate to current needs while still others seem to flow from a cost-cutting mentality and jurisdictional confusion that arises out of the fact that its officers and men are paid by the Federal Crown to do the work of Provincial law enforcement (often - as in the case of the Houston tragedy and the recent Sechelt embarrassment) without any of the vital and necessary ties to local communities that effective ground level policing requires.

Sadly, I think this may have gone too far and the whole program needs to be tipped on its head.

Provinces should be encouraged to go the Quebec and Ontario route - set up their own locally recruited and trained forces to do provincial law enforcement and primary investigation and turn the RCMP into a professional 'national' force with the training and expertise (and the separation from local politics which would have prevented the debacle in this case) required in the 21st century.

Despite my affection for the 'traditions' of the stetson and red serge, I think that simply 'supporting' the troops in this case may not actually do the trick.
gw
 
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Tom,

I can only speak for myself and The Legislature Raids web-site when I say that not even the accused were ever pre-judged as guilty here.

I don't think I've seen such a serious accusation anywhere else either. Can you name a source?

gw, I agree that "simply" supporting the troops, i.e., the RCMP, may not actually bring about the changes in oversight we'd all like to see. And not even the family pooch can thrive under constant insults and whacks.

What's worrying, too, is that the new civilian commissioner appointed to head the historic RCMP is another kick in their teeth, suggesting that there's no Mountie worthy enough to lead these troops.

Who the heck is our Minister of Justice at the moment, anyway? And what correctional measures is he/she advocating??

Your suggestions sound good ...about the separation of provincial/federal jurisdictions.

Maybe if the Members of Parliament weren't on summer holidays ...

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omg ... headline in The Globe and Mail:

Stockwell Day pleads with RCMP to accept civilian head

omg ...

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Mary - I am guessing that you don't read the G&M on a regular basis. Their headlines are usually phrased in a manner to place the worst possible emphasis on anything that the conservative government does.
Other headlines (CTV for example) state that Day has asked (not pleaded) for cooperation from the rank and file.
You should have, through your extensive research, realized that the mainstream MSM is all liberal all of the time - had this been a liberal government decision it would have been heralded as "an innovative approach" to policing and the praises would have been front page headlines.
Sometimes you just have to consider the source.
DWT
 
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DWT,

Thanks, but if this is a test, you just flunked.

Our household gets doorstep delivery of The Globe and Mail on a daily basis (except Sunday) and let me tell you, it is Stately Conservative through and through. It's steady-as-she-goes even with its biases. I go nuts when I see those editorials by Tom Flannagan from U. of Calgary. But next thing, I see a column by Linda McQuaig. Best of all, after reading The Globe and Mail, nobody ends up feeling as if they need a hot shower.

Mainstream media is "all Liberal all of the time" you say?? Holy Cow, where have you been? Don't you remember when the owner of the National Post (very Conservative) sued the Liberal Prime Minister of Canada?

Look up the word "Socred" and then Reform ... then Canadian Conservative Reform Party (CCRAP) ... then Democratic Something or other ... then the Alliance Party of Canada ... then Stephen Harper ... and if you can remember all that, then you're on solid ground when you say "Sometimes you just have to consider the source."

Next thing, you're going to tell us that there's a leftwing bias in the MSM. [Cue the hysterical laughter.]

Mind if I ask your age?

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'Next thing, you're going to tell us that there's a leftwing bias in the MSM. [Cue the hysterical laughter.] '

Apparently you and I don't read the same editions. You have noted several times that the MSM seems to have no interest in reporting on this trial. One person at the G&M , once in a while is not "reporting". You have more in one day than the newspapers have published in weeks. I find it hard to believe that you wouldn't see the "enabling" of the liberal party (federal and provincial) by the media. I call it a left wing bias, (G&M, CBC, TorStar - wife of a liberal party insider is their political correspondent) are the worst.
Take a moment one day to look at the comments posted on the (allegedly moderated) G&M website when the headline pertains to anything conservative - I think you will be unpleasantly surprised at what they allow.

DWT
 
DWT ...

"Take a moment one day to look at ..."

Give me strength.

But the light is beginning to dawn: when you say "liberal party" maybe you refer to the other wild grouping of Socred, Reform, Alliance, Old Conservative, and a few Liberals in B.C., whose leader is Gordon Campbell??

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When you start quoting Anne McLellan, you're in serious danger of losing credibility...
 
anonymouse 7:05,


How so?

I quote a former Law professor speaking on the legitimacy the RCMP Act ...

What's to lose credibility about?

Enough with this Bag-over-the-Head School of Political Science where nothing said by a different clique, can be thoughtfully considered.

If you ask me (and I know that you didn't), I'd say Adversarial Politics is the root of many problems in our society.

It's like the two psychologists who got into the same elevator. One psychologist turned to the other and said "Good morning!" And the other thought, "Hmmm. Now what did he really mean by that remark?!"

And another thing. (Don't get me started ...) Have you noticed that there's no such thing as a completely bad person? And wouldn't it be so much easier for the rest of us (saints that we are) if we could say that so-and-so is an absolute and total stinker? Well, he probably isn't. Horrible thought? Or a hopeful thought.

Anyway, Landslide Annie is welcome at my campfire, if only on her pre-election creds. In fact ...
 
DWT
The key here, since it needs to be spelled out to you, is the actual words of the RCMP Act:

In fact, I would hope that nobody in this House would suggest that any government, of whatever stripe, should involve itself in the operational details of the national police force. There are too many shocking examples of other countries around the world where police forces end up being directed by governments or political parties, and it is not a democracy.

As far as I am concerned, the RCMP Act is clear. The administration and day to day operations of the force are left up to the commissioner and his officers, his assistant commissioners and others across the country.
(Anne McClellan)

Now, whether one likes Anne McClellan or not, whether one sees her as 'liberal' or conservative or not (and remember she sat in an Alberta riding) the central point here is that we need a 'professional' national police force that does NOT take political direction or see itself as a POLITICAL actor in this country. This is far more a problem for the politicians like Stephen Harper and Paul Martin, not to mention their predecessor, who see very little wrong with running the Force out of the back office of the PMO.

This particular website has to be concerned about that aspect of the RCMP's behavior in this case (directed however from Victoria) because there is at least the prima facie appearance of political interference concerning the actions and behavior of some members of the commercial crime branch of "E" division.

The only people who are putting their credibility on the line are those who pretend those circumstances aren't at the heart of this case; or those who pretend that even federal Liberals like Anne McClellan can’t say things that make sense from time to time: Which seems to be, given your comments, to be what you believe.

The truly sad fact is that the current administration of justice in this province has a very dark cloud over it because of this case, among others. Whether or not the entire circumstances surrounding political corruption in this province come to light in the next month or two, or are buried forever, is the question this blog has concerned itself with. The behavior of the upper echelons of the RCMP, including some senior officers affection for publicity, spin, and the limelight is a part of the Basi, Virk case and its investigation from the beginning.

That doesn’t mean that it is not still entirely true that the majority of officers and men of the RCMP are still doing a difficult job carefully, legally and well – despite the dyspeptic attitudes of a former sports journalist at the very definitely conservative Globe and Mail.
 
"You have more in one day than the newspapers have published in weeks." anonymous

. . . & may we all 'High Five' BC Mary - hip hip hooray for that someone really cares about the truth!

"In fact, I would hope that nobody in this House would suggest that any government, of whatever stripe, should involve itself in the operational details of the national police force." ~ Ann Anne McClellan

g west- good points:

"The behavior of the upper echelons of the RCMP, including some senior officers . . ." . . .
those include Asst. Dep. Commissioner Gary Bass - right? If my memory serves me - & sometimes it short circuits - the Solicitor General Coleman's Asst. Dep. got on the hot line to order that the RCMP forget about pursuing the investigation into Min. Gary Collins & his political pals vacationing at the time in Maui; yet the Inspector in charge, DeBruyckere WANTED to continue the sleuthing.

& further g west:

". . . there is at least the prima facie appearance of political interference concerning the actions and behavior of some members of the commercial crime branch of "E" division."

You are much wiser than I so with that in mind, I pose the following question:

"Given the less than Honorable antics of the head honcho Zaccardelli (Sp?) of the RCMP who recently was forced to resign, isn't it possible that ADC Gary Bass gave the political marching orders to the Commercial Crime section re: NOT investigating Collins & his buddies in this little circle of bandits?"
 
P.S. I meant to write above:

"Solicitor General Coleman's Asst. Dep. got on the hot line to Assistant Dep Commissioner Gary Bass" with his order . . . according to the pretrial evidence.
 
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