Wednesday, December 12, 2007

One for the Fifth Estate

Major kudos to Vaughn Palmer and to the power of the press in the latest turn in the case of the children's watchdog.

The Liberal government refused last week to give Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond the money she needs to do her job. They refused because she had the courage to reveal how inadequately we are serving the 15,000 children in our care.

Now, thanks to Palmer's column, they are about to reverse themselves.

They will meet again.

She will present her budget again, and they will approve it.

It's a shame when governments can only do the right thing after they are exposed for doing wrong.

It's a thing of beauty to see the press bring about such changes of heart - as if governments had heart.

Wally Does Something!!!

Attorney-General Wally Oppal has stopped acting for a moment - shaking hands, slapping backs, looking solemn when the occasion demands it - and actually ACTED. This is banner news, indeed.

As reported in this morning's Province, the AG has called for a second look at those hideously inadequate sentences for the pigs who put Michael Levy into a wheelchair and hell for the rest of his young life.

Here's the whole story:

Attorney-general orders review of sentences in Michael Levy case

Jack Keating, The ProvincePublished: Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Attorney-General Wally Oppal Tuesday ordered a review of the aggravated-assault sentences given two young offenders who attacked 18-year-old Michael Levy and left him a quadriplegic.

"I think when a person walks out of a courtroom and laughs at the judge's decision that maybe the judge didn't get the message to the particular offender," Oppal told Global News. "And in those circumstances, I think the sentence deserves to be reviewed."

Oppal was reacting to news footage that showed Tuan Minh Nguyen, 18, and his friends entering an elevator after his 20-month conditional sentence and then an outburst of laughter being heard when the door closed.

Michael Levy was left a quadriplegic after the attack

"I'm ecstatic," Deborah Levy, Michael's mother, said of the review announcement. "What they got, I thought, was totally unjust. There was no justification whatsoever."

Mike Farnworth, the NDP's justice critic for public safety, also called for Crown counsel "to very seriously consider an appeal" of the sentencing by Judge Kenneth Ball in Surrey Provincial Court

"Family members and the public are understandably outraged at the sentence," said Farnworth. "This was a brutal, senseless crime that very nearly resulted in a death."

Levy was attacked by at least three teens during a dance at the Tynehead Community Hall in Surrey on Oct. 28, 2006. He was punched, pepper sprayed, hit over the head with a bottle and hit in the back of the head with an axe, severing his spinal cord.

Nguyen admitted punching Levy and Robert Alexander Green, 18, was given a three-year sentence to be served at the youth custody centre in Burnaby for hitting the teen with a bottle.
The third teen, who wielded the axe, will be sentenced Jan. 23.

"They're laughing at what they got," said Deborah Levy. "They're laughing at their sentence. That is a slap in the face to us. To Michael and I. Also to the judge."

"These guys are straight cowards," said Michael Levy. "You can't get any worse than that."

Who's the Turtle Now?

"To move forward, you have to stick your neck out, but it's nice to have a hard shell."

Words to live by.

For newspaper columnists, talk show hosts, bloggers and The Whistleblower of the Year, Gord McAdams.

After 34 years on the job and on the day of his retirement, the despicable creeps at the Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management (???) changed the locks on his doors and told people not to come to his retirement party or to associate with him.

Who's their HR advisor?

For the whole story from this morning's Sun, click here.