Thursday, January 10, 2008

David Berner on Vancouver's Misguided Drug Policy (Part 1)

What follows below are 4 videos, each running about 9 or 10 minutes. Together, they constitute a speech I gave last week to the Rotary Club, Arbutus branch. This is a speech I have now given to many similar groups.

I cannot thank enough our friend, Robert Werner, who so diligently recorded this event and transferred it to YouTube and DVD.

Soon, these videos will all be avalable as well under the "Addictions Expert" section of

David Berner on Vancouver's Misguided Drug Policy (Part 2)

David Berner on Vancouver's Misguided Drug Policy (Part 3)

David Berner on Vancouver's Misguided Drug Policy (Part 4)

Shocker - Your New Energy Saving Light Bulb will Cost More

Our electricity, in spite of winter storms and blackouts, is abundant and relatively cheap.

But learning that ordinary households are to pay more while corporations have practically been gifted the resource is a bit much.

Singh in Sanctuary

The most tiresome tale of Laibar Singh and his famous deportation order is one of social, political and cultural blackmail.

Hiding an illegal immigrant in a house of worship to claim sanctuary and blocking the road and door are detestable acts.

A man leaves his 5 children in another country and lies his way into ours. When discovered, he is ordered by our soveriegn nation to return to his place of origin.

The fact that he caught a cold or had a heart attack is moot.

The Sikh community who are rallying behind this man might be better served if they rallied behind someone who honors both them and Canada.

Wrong horse, wrong time, wrong fight.

Alex Tsakumis on Carole & Sam in Today's 24 Hours


By Alex Tsakumis'

Rebel With A Clause'

In the aftermath of Carole Taylor's announcement that she will not run for Mayor of Vancouver exists the most compelling evidence that Sam Sullivan isn't simply in deep, dark trouble.There has never been a greater collective deflation of spirit than when Ms. Taylor said that she'll pursue other matters. The one person who would have been 'the natural' at doing the job that has been desecrated further since Larry trotted off to the luxury of the Red Chamber, will not be the one to polish Vancouver's badly tarnished star. Instead, Ms. Taylor will blend her time between familial bliss and corporate challenge.Consequently, Sam Sullivan would do well to look skyward (or is that downward?) and thank whatever or whomever it is that he believes in this week, because had Ms. Taylor run, he and his cabal of resume-advancement lapdogs and yesteryear has-beens would have all been out of work A Taylor run would have certainly helped a couple of Tory operatives working out of the local minister's regional office with their (tax-paid) time management (read: juggling) of federal duties and shilling for Sammy. Then again, every single major position either of the Mayor's personal campaign or that of the NPA is occupied by a prominent member of the Conservative Party. Two of three of his campaign co-chairs are simply window dressing: Mr. Sullivan shamelessly panders to the Asian Community and the meandering 'green movement'. The third co-chair, of course, is, you guessed correctly, another prominent Conservative. Liberals have bolted, en masse, from the NPA bailiwick for the less stormy climes of Vision Vancouver, and rightly so.The viciousness, with which some of the Mayor's local Tory pals were referring to Ms. Taylor in the last month, is surely a contributor to her abrupt withdrawal, too. I received one of those calls myself over the holidays. “Alex, we've got so much s-t on your girlfriend … she's the worst Chair the CBC ever had” (Note to reader: I've never dated Ms. Taylor). Besides, alleging that Carole Taylor was a lousy CBC Chair, is akin to referring to Jesus Christ as a failed carpenter.The Mayor's people know how bad his fortunes are and they will stop at almost nothing to get him re-elected, including tearing someone down - personally. I witnessed this last election, first-hand. The political muskets, loaded with immaterial personal tales about Jim Green, were at the ready. It was sickening.Is it any wonder why Ms. Taylor seemed so willing to save us three weeks ago and now seems repulsed, as we are, by the politics of division and nastiness that the Mayor's team lives for?We could once disagree with one another, politically, without being disagreeable. This notion is what Mr. Sullivan has torn from the heart of this city.Ergo, leaving Vancouverites with a sizable problem: having made abundantly clear how much they would abhor another three years of Sullivan nothingness, what now?

Justice Wallace Craig on North Shore Policing

January 9, 2007
MAKE 2008 a year in which you have your say on the thorny issue of North Shore policing.
Let’s get our three mayors and their fellow councillors out of the wallow of patchwork policing before the municipal elections this autumn.
Before summer days are upon us we must arm-twist municipal incumbents and aspirants alike into declaring whether they will create a civilian constabulary to police the North Shore. And while we’re doing that, our local MLA’s should stand and be counted on the issue.
We need to ferret out the standpoint of each candidate and make sure it is not just a parroting of opinions of senior bureaucrats or the supposed wisdom of outside experts.
Voting is not enough!
With this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity we can produce a collective and democratic decision on policing. In this year you have an opportunity to familiarize yourselves with RCMP paramilitary policing and compare it with local civilian policing. Use shrewd common sense, make your mind up and tell candidates what kind of policing your prefer. If they are uninterested or fail to respond, then go at them with the intensity of a sheep-herding border collie.
We British Columbians, living out our lives in the City and District of North Vancouver, are entitled to be served by an independent North Shore police department in which every constable is our employee and subject to the provincial Police Act.
Beyond that it is time to end the decades-old game of make-believe that “E” division of the RCMP is an actual and controllable British Columbia Provincial Police force.
The British North America Act requires that Administration of Justice be carried out by provincial governments. Administration of Justice includes policing. Yet on a day in 1950 political expediency trumped constitutionality as our provincial government handed over provincial policing to an Ottawa controlled division of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
This constitutional impropriety is still with us. If the overall contract with “E” division of the RCMP is renewed in 2012 for another 20 years it will be more than deceitful and misleading, it will be a pernicious act of ministerial misfeasance.
The past year will not slip quietly away. It was a time of intense exposure of outrageous misadventures and weaknesses in our once legendary national police force, now blundering and top-heavy with bureaucrats in uniform. A musty old paramilitary police force so institutionalized that it has been judged incapable of producing a commissioner from within its highest ranks and is now actually saddled with a civil-servant commissioner. Yet at street level in the City and District of North Vancouver, dedicated RCMP constables go about performing their duties with abilities and skills equal to constables employed by the District of West Vancouver.
A North Shore decision to create a civilian police department will certainly reverberate in other urban communities and trigger the implementation of other civilian police departments. That may force our provincial government to end contracting-out of provincial policing and by 2012 to bring back a British Columbia provincial police force to provide rural policing.
I believe that the decision over policing on the North Shore has ramifications beyond our little hillside. It will catch the attention of the federal government and may well cause the minister in charge of the RCMP to withdraw the force from engagement in urban policing and dedicate it to a less visible role enforcing federal laws.
But for us on the hillside it is a grass-roots opportunity to bring change. You can participate in making a decision on a black and white choice: to continue with patchwork policing; or be gutsy and go with one police force from Deep Cove to Horseshoe Bay, one chief constable, a minimal command structure, all officers working out of the police station at 14th Street and St. Georges Avenue in the City of North Vancouver, all of them bound to comply with the provincial Police Act and its complaint process and the governing presence of a North Shore police board.
This is my eighth column on policing. All of them are posted on my website During the coming months I will write occasionally about police boards, the Justice Institute of British Columbia, the complaint process, and particularly on the cost of policing the North Shore. Contact Judicial Gadfly at or by posting your comment directly on the Writer’s Corner of This column was published January 9, 2007 by the North Shore News.