Thursday, December 20, 2007

JUdge Wallace Craig's Latest from the North Shore News

December 19, 2007
THE long and ominous shadow cast by men who beat, rape and murder brings fear and uncertainty to women in ways rarely experienced by men.
Since I began my journey in 1931, Vancouverites have lived through many changes and turbulent times – some sudden and dramatic, others gradual but pervasive.
Along the way a rising tide of violence towards women in Canada reached Vancouver. At first it came slowly, spreading insidiously through homes, schools, the workplace and our streets and byways. Then, in the 1960s, with the dawning of individualism, self-indulgence, consumerism and notional equality for women, a trickle of violence towards women began to surge. Now it is at high slack with no sign of ebbing.
In my twenty-six years on the bench at 222 Main St., I watched this rising tide of violence towards women, dismayed by the failure of the court to confront it with determination and deterrent sentences. Rather than speedy trials and significant sentences, offending men were able to manipulate plea bargained soft landings in a special court euphemistically referred to as “disposition court.”
I remember the late 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s, times when women were safe in their homes and protected in public. Today a woman is as likely to be attacked in her home as on the street, and in public there is no comfort for a woman who ventures alone into an underground parking lot or onto a wooded pathway in a park.
Making matters worse, by the 1970s too many obsessive sociopaths had transfigured their violence into stalking women they wanted to control. This posed such a threat to women that Parliament responded, creating a new offence of criminal harassment.
Today our society has been struck by a thunderbolt of condemnation expressed in stark words on the front page of the Dec. 10 issue of the Province.
Robert Pickton Guilty of Six Counts of Second-Degree Murder. We Let These Girls and Women Down in Life. We’ve Now Let Them Down in Death.
Six murders committed serially leads to only one conclusion, by rational inference if necessary, that they were planned and committed purposefully in a horrifically sadistic manner.
A serial killer seeks his victims one by one, sequentially and, unless clearly insane, is engaged in the most evil of planned, sadistic, and deliberate first degree murder.
The jury verdict that Pickton committed second degree murder was flat out wrong.
Pickton is not insane – rather he is the embodiment of evil in its most sadistic incarnation.
“We let these girls and women down in life” can have only one meaning: that the continuing and sporadic disappearance and presumed murder of the most vulnerable of women, drug-addicted street prostitutes – mainly young aboriginals – beginning in the 1980s and increasing in the 1990’s – was a terrible crisis of enormous proportion.
What did successive mayors and council members of Vancouver and chiefs of police know and do about the missing women of Skid Road? They must tell us under oath why the malevolent vortex of our anarchic Skid Road was allowed to swallow up the most defenceless of women. It verges on malfeasance and that alone cries out for a formal inquiry.
“We’ve now let them down in death,” says to me that the horror of Skid Road remains unchanged and may even be worse for women of aboriginal ancestry. The Province quoted Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs as saying “I am so angry that our women have been treated like second-class citizens yet again with these second-degree murder verdicts. … Regardless of the outcome of this trial and regardless of whether the trials (concerning) the other 20 women go ahead there needs to be an inquiry. The whole issue was ignored and dismissed for so many years, even though fingers were pointed at the Pickton farm.”
Yet we must not be deluded into believing that an inquiry will bring real change to our hellish Skid Road.
Only our premier, Gordon Campbell can do that.
Mr. Premier, the Pickton case is a Mississippi gamblers buck-handled knife, signifying who decides the game to be played and who alone deals the cards; hence the saying “the buck stops here.” A buck-handled knife bearing the initials “Willy” is now on your desk Mr. Premier. You are the dealer. No more shuffling of cards.
Here’s a few aces to be dealt face up, right now.
· More detoxification facilities and adjunct residential treatment in and out of Skid Road.
· Insist that the federal government amend the Criminal Code to make it an offence for prostitutes to work the streets. This would enable police to take our most neglected and brutalized of young girls and women off the street; and before the much touted community court set to begin in 2008. Remember, it was the removal of the old Vagrancy C section from the Criminal Code that began the parade of drug-addicted street prostitutes forlornly teetering about on high strolls, low strolls, and kiddy strolls where they immediately became and remain prey for freaky, violent and amoral johns.
· Insist that the federal government create a specific “johns” offence, a hybrid summary conviction offence targeting street johns found in the company of street prostitutes with punishment ranging from a minimum of 30 days to a maximum of 180 days without any opportunity for parole.
Mr. Premier, the Pickton case is a last call to society. Act now; get tough.
We must stop this open-air public market in which vulnerable girls and women are so easily taken away by freaky johns, sadistic street sociopaths and murdering psychopaths.
We will always remember the missing women of Skid Road, particularly whether the buck-handled knife remained on your desk, Mr. Premier, or was passed into limbo.
Contact Judicial Gadfly
or by posting your comment directly on the Writer’s Corner of

Mazel Tov! Tanti Auguri!

Congratulations are in order to 2 very different groups:

1. The Anglican and United Churches deserve recognition for their bold and thoughtful message to the provincial government that real markers must be set on environmental damage. They have called for a carbon tax that might help industry cut back on its regular spew.

I think this is a responsible and useful and important role for the church. More!

2. The Sun's week long coverage of the madness of alcoholism has been excellent, and today it's telling of the Alcoholics Anonymous story is first-rate.

May all the misbegotten pseudo-scientists, Svengalis, doctors and politicians looking for a silver bullet read this and recognize the achievement of this extraordinary social asset that continues to operate quietly in out midst and turn millions of clean and sober human beings back to real life.

NPA Messes with the Rules

The NPA wanted more "ambassadors" on the city streets. The cost is almost $1 Million.

The other councillors didn't want to spend taxpayers money on what constitutes a private security force, when we need more police.

Needing a vote of 8 yeses, Council changed the rules and renamed this travesty as a "single source contract," which requires only a simple majority. They got it and they passed this questionable gift to Genesis Security.

The Courier did a superior job of covering this story.

And who should be at the centre of this ugly maneuvering at City Hall?

Kim Capripants, who threatened, "There's the opportunity to do this right, or we can do it the hard way."

Add "Bully" to the list of Kim's growing roster of skills.

Exit Strategies Praised for Hookers

The Sun argues in a recent editorial that a second Pickton trial would not serve the public interest.

I don't agree with them, but I am cheered to see that they argue further that the money would best by spent on exit strategies for prostitutes and treatment for the psychiatric and addiction problems that plague prostitutes.

I hope they don't get the hate mail that I received for saying exactly that on Sunday.

I guess it's all in the way you say things.

The High COst of Politics

I love the juxtapostioning of opposing or complimentary stories on the same page in newspapers. I am sure that layout editors do this as a kind a marvelous prank.

On the left hand side of Tuesday's Sun, a story about political appointees getting mighty raises. Useless ciphers like the CRTC and the Immigration & Refugee Board (and we all are grateful for the wonderful jobs all these folks are doing) are receiving very generous Christmas bumps.

On the right hand side of the same page, the Human Rights tribunal determines that for years, nurses, as a class of people, have been discriminated against and could be owed hundreds of million s of dollars in back wages for doing the same tasks that doctors do and being payed a fraction thereof.

Even "Old" Progress Bothers the BCTF

It is taken until December 2007, for Alberta and BC to agree that teachers from one province can work in the other.

You would have thought that this kind of housekeeping in a so-called nation would have been taken care of 80 or so years ago.

Yet, the BC Teachers' federation is still kvetching, "Oh, this will lower standards."

As if standards could get much lower.

Singhing the Blues Away

Mr. Singh will probably be deported soon.

The 2000 ardent supporters who held up business at YVR only a few days ago have vanished.

Turns out, Mr. Singh and his "cause" were largely unwitting pawns in a sick game held by terrorists, who have since found more fallow fields.

We are a comically tolerant nation.

Yet, we are not laughing.


What a strange mix of feelings I have about David Radler's sentence of 29 months.

This will happen when you actually know someone.

We are hardly friends. I met the fellow twice, found him to be a "character," combative, brilliant, funny and oddly kind and thoughtful.

If he has already returned or forfeited $100 Million, that is almost a statement saying, "I earned too much and possibly not the right way."

While I don't condone his actions or apologize for him in any way, I wish him a reasonable survival or all that has happened and will happen in the coming months.

Johnny Cash- Ring of Fire 1968