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Robin Mathews, Vancouver BC, January 5, 2015
Unrestrained Police Brutality: Policy of the Canadian Conservative Government.
Tory tears for ‘Victims Of Crime’ dry up quickly when the criminals are State Employees: police officers at all levels. [Remember the billion dollar G20]
Police violence in Canada is virtually unrestrained against innocent people. Punishment for brutal assault by police officers on innocent and/or mentally damaged people is almost non-existent. In Ontario, Toni Farrell, was brutally attacked by a police officer, Sgt. Russell Watson, and permanently crippled. Recently interviewed on CBC Radio, Toni Farrell reports she had interceded to stop violence against another woman and was gratuitously and viciously attacked by the officer.
He has been cleared by the Special Investigation Unit in Ontario; she has been provided no remedy of any kind.
Perhaps the Poster Police-Violence-Event (there are too many others to enumerate) for British Columbians is the alleged murder of Robert Dziekanski (2007) in Vancouver International Airport by four RCMP officers.
That story, very, very briefly, involves alleged collusion in the RCMP (all up the ladder) to obfuscate and confuse. It involves the release by an ordinary person of a video which proved RCMP testimony was false and fabricated. (RCMP conduct throughout has been brazen and unconvincing.) It involves “the Braidwood Inquiry”, lasting from 2008 to 2010, drawing conclusions negative to the RCMP. It involves the appointed Special Crown Prosecutor, Richard Peck, taking almost a year (!) to read the Braidwood Report and act upon it.
His decision to lay charges for perjury against the men – and not for assault is – to this observer – totally unconvincing. In 2015, the perjury trials go on and on and on and on ….
Four men who many are sure should have been charged with First Degree murder or Second Degree murder or manslaughter within days of Robert Dziekanski’s death in 2007, in 2015 - eight years after the event - have good chances of beating the perjury charges against them since the charges are, many believe, ridiculous in the first place and totally inappropriate. Quite apart from the question of justice violated, tortured, and trampled upon, the whole issue has needlessly cost British Columbia taxpayers, by now, what has to be millions of dollars.
That is the B.C. Poster Police-Violence-Event.
The others? Most of the other cases in which police officers should almost surely be charged with offences of having criminally attacked people are rapidly handed (in B.C., Ontario, Alberta, and Nova Scotia, for instance) to The Independent Investigations Office, the Special Investigations Unit, etc. (names differ). They are offices which – like the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP – give every indication of being anything but “independent”, and of having been set up to prevent the rule of law from operating against people the State uses to further its interests and the interests of the large private corporations that give government its marching orders.
Having had recourse to the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP more than once, I have concluded it is purposefully constructed to frustrate any genuine attempt to seek fairness and clarity in citizen relations with the RCMP. Its arrogance, secrecy, and contempt for the Canadian public are hard to believe and experience. Attempts to make contact with the Commissioner of the RCMP result (in my experience) in his complete refusal to engage … usually even to acknowledge communication.
The recent (Conservative government) history of RCMP Commissioners is worthy of a Gilbert and Sullivan opera.
Guiliano Zaccardelli (2000-2006) is famous for allegedly entering the 2006 election campaign on behalf of the Harper Conservatives. In mid election – against all previous convention – he announced a criminal investigation of the Liberal minister of finance - who was declared innocent after the election. Many commentators attributed success for the Conservative Party at least partly to Zaccardelli’s ruse.
Despite Zaccardelli’s apparent loyalty, the Conservative cabinet couldn’t save him from accusation of perjury before a parliamentary committee, and for allegations of something like duplicity in the Maher Arar case … and so he “resigned” and was disappeared out of Canada.
The next permanent Commissioner was a bald political appointment of a non-police officer out of the highly partisan office of Stockwell Day. Willliam Elliott (2007-2011) distinguished himself by being seen (inside) as less than competent – and bullying. He marked himself over the Robert Dziekanski death (murder?), by telephoning three of the men involved in Dziekanski’s death – to sympathize with them, without making any effort to contact Dziekanski’s grieving mother.
Ellott’s loyalty to Conservative Party ideals could not save him either. Though it took two uprisings of RCMP senior officers to remove him, even Stephen Harper couldn’t save him. Elliott, too, resigned and was disappeared out of Canada.
Is it possible the Conservative cabinet then decided to seek someone for Commissioner who would be docile, dumb, diffident, and undistinguished? Whatever their criteria, they came up with Bob Paulson, an eminently malleable appointment. Not long after being appointed, he was informed that he could not give a public speech or make public comments unless they were vetted by political representatives of the Conservative Party. From what one can gather, he submitted to the order with grace and (to the Conservatives) attractive humility. To assert proper independence (and credibility), he should have publicly rejected the order.
Bob Paulson will probably not try to garrott a leading non-Conservative politician as Guiliano Zaccardelli is said to have done. But he has given no evidence whatever that he will do, or has done, anything of serious use to the Canadian people.
Nothing gives a clearer picture of the RCMP’s craven relation to the Conservative government than the almost wholly mock operation of the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP (which works in close cooperation with the Force). It is but one of the showrooms and possible models for Provincial “Independent” offices of investigation into police impropriety. Any who wish to see deeply into the Conservative government’s anti-democratic practices and intentions need only study the actions of Commissioners of the RCMP, the behavior of the Force, and (in my judgement) the almost complete fraudulence of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP.
Speaking to a B.C. legislature Special Committee in 2010, Richard Rosenthal of the B.C. Independent Special Investigations Office told the committee he has a reporting relation with the attorney general and the minister of justice, a “strong working relationship” with the ministry of justice and regularly confers with its assistant deputy minister. In effect, the B.C. Independent Investigations Office, he was saying, is not independent. It is a servant of what many British Columbians believe is a corrupt government steeped in dirty deals and thinly buried crimes.
When Kinder Morgan, for instance, needs police officers to arrest demonstrators on Burnaby Mountain, it doesn’t want officers who feel betrayed by their superiors and so show themselves unwilling speedily and effectively to carry out the wishes of the Giant Corporation. Those police officers need to know that whatever criminal activities they engage in on behalf of the Big Corporation on the mountain - or on the street, unrelated, brutally attacking innocent people, those activities will be whisked out of sight of the public and erased by the Independent Investigations Office.
[In fact, RCMP officers did falsely arrest over one hundred people on Burnaby Mountain. All charges against the demonstrators were dropped, but the officers were not charged or acted against for False Arrest. Why not? Where was the Independent Investigations Office??? Does it believe police officers can falsely arrest, stuff into paddy wagons, transport, and charge Canadians without grounds in order to please a giant U.S. corporation? Apparently. That enormous invasion of Canadian rights and freedoms without a whisper from the B.C. Independent Investigations Office goes far to prove the truth of my overall argument here.]
The British Columbia government couldn’t find a British Columbian – or a Canadian from anywhere - ‘suitable’ (?) to head the B.C. Independent Investigations Office. And so they hired – at something like a quarter of a million dollars a year – someone from the U.S.A. Governments who DON’T WANT their servants to have deep roots in the community (for obvious reasons) appoint “experts” from somewhere else. They are more likely to “take orders” and to do what they are told without complaint.
Does anyone reading this column believe that a foreigner, carefully selected and brought into Canada and paid a quarter of a million dollars a year by his employer – the B.C. government - will do anything but work to please that employer? In addition, the Independent Investigations Office employs over thirty people besides Richard Rosenthal, the U.S. appointee head. (Think of the cost!)
Its Executive Committee of four possesses one former police officer, and two civil servants seconded to the Committee, seconded from jobs with the Christie Clark government! It has no one from the First Nations community, or from a B.C. union, or from a botched police investigation, or with rich experience in a Canadian civil liberties organization - or from anywhere that might produce someone with an “independent”, deeply insistent and inquiring mind.
That organization pushes aside the rule of law and “independently” investigates police brutality (when a police officer looks guilty of brutality, and needs shielding). Would it not be simpler, and more just, to charge a violent police officer, and within weeks find out, in established and conventional court, if he or she has acted criminally?
The present system, I insist, is a luxuriously expensive smoke and mirrors con-job to pretend justice is being done when – outrageously - justice is being consciously and intentionally denied and the rule of law perverted.
Start with RCMP Ottawa Headquarters and The Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, and work through provincial police forces and their various sham, “independent” bodies that ‘regulate’ and ‘discipline’ violent police activity. The general picture, I believe, is of the luxuriously expensive construction of fraudulent “oversight” bodies designed to cover for police criminals, to shut up their victims, to dumb-down a trusting public, and to provide barriers to any serious reform of police forces and police violence.
Look for your favourite Opposition Party’s clearly stated position on these problems and on the urgent need for root and branch Reform of Police Activity in Canada. Look, and look, and look … and look for it.
Who says we don’t need a new, tough, people’s political party?
- Robin Mathews, Vancouver BC, January 5, 2015
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