Sunday, July 20, 2008

Zoom, zoom, zoom...NOT!

The news, announced in today's Province, that Oak Bay will be the first city in Canada to allow electric cars on its streets is both welcome and puzzling.

Didn't I just read that Quebec was making the same announcement, the immediate result of which is that the Zenn is stepping up production in its Quebec plant?

And while I welcome electric cars and look forward to seeing more of those then the behemoths we now have on the cit streets, I will look forward to seeing LRT trains running along street tracks on time and every two minutes in rush hour and every six minutes otherwise, just like in many cities in the world.

Our city driving has now become an unmitigated horror.

The only thing worse is the pathetic excuse for public transit. Daily, I am told of twenty and twenty-five minutes waits. Puleeeeeese!

Johnny Mathis - West Side Story

The Rules of Dis-Engagement

Would one of you smart people please explain to me how CBC makes its judgments and determinations when it comes to obscenity and pornography?

Last night, I watched the first hour of Quentin Tarantino's one great movie, "Pulp Fiction." This was before he went completely insane and decided that slashing up a mother in front of her 5-year old somehow constituted entertainment. Before he declared publicly that filming violence made him hard, and he wasn't talking about endurance.

We might ask why the government funded network is showing American movies or any other American thing in the first place, but that's a whole other debate.

Here's my puzzlement.

Every time one of the characters in "Pulp Fiction" said "f___" or some derivation thereof - and they said it every fifth f______ word - the sound track bleeped. So there was a symphonic proliferation of bleeping this and bleep that.

But these words came through, sans censor, loud and clear: pussy, shit.

So can you explain to me the mind set or the Book of Kells that CBC mis-management is using for a doorstop?

Come on, you f______ pussies, explain this shit to me.

p.s. BY the way, it has taken me all these years to notice that Steve Buscemi played "Buddy Holly," the waiter who serves John Travolta and Uma Thurman.

The Good Judge

Judging "Ivory Tower Avoidance" and other follies

LET’S REMIND GOVERNMENT THAT JUDGES AND POLICE WORK FOR US July 16, 2008 SUNDAY July 12, another in a series of blue-sky days; but here I am, hunkered down struggling to meet a Monday morning deadline for this column. Shuttering out uplifting blue skies, I peck away at the keyboard under a couple of dark clouds that hover ominously over our criminal justice system. One is the disturbing release on bail of alleged perjurer Inderjit Singh Reyat, the bomb-maker implicated in the 1985 Air India in-flight explosion. Some time ago Justice Patrick Dohm denied bail for Reyat in a multi-count perjury case arising out of the Air India trial. Dohm based his decision partly on the ground that it was necessary to deny bail in order to maintain public confidence in the administration of justice. I think Dohm reacted appropriately to Reyat’s involvement as a bomb maker in two terrorist attacks in which 331 unsuspecting innocents were killed. The appeal court over-ruled Dohm and released Reyat stating in part that “An informed member of the public would recognize that Mr. Reyat is entitled to the presumption of innocence in relation to the perjury charge, regardless of his past criminal misconduct for which he has already been punished by serving sentences totalling the equivalent of 25 years.” That statement is ivory-tower avoidance of harsh realities. Surely an informed member of the public would disagree with the appeal court judge and say that Reyat is still a dedicated terrorist and would point out that the trial judge characterized Reyat as an “unmitigated liar under oath” concerning the plot to blow up two aircraft. An informed person would surely say that time spent in jail does not in any sense amount to repayment of a debt to society; that there is no such principle in the law; and that it is merely a metaphorical wiping clean of the punishment slate. Reyat will never mingle among us as a rehabilitated citizen of virtue for he can never shed his participation in this massacre. Judges need frequent reminding that as a branch of government they must always be a force in maintaining peace and order in our communities. It is not within their mandate to mollycoddle a self-admitted killer terrorist. After the appeal judge granted bail, she somehow concluded that her judgement, including bail conditions should not be made public, on the basis that an earlier order banning publication of the initial bail hearing precluded publication of the details of her judgement. Wrong, wrong, wrong: Once pronounced a judgment belongs to the public and not to the judge who rendered it. The second dark cloud is the slapstick-like behaviour of a dysfunctional integrated squad of RCMP and municipal police, a mob squad actually. Clouseau-like infighting forced federal prosecutors to short-circuit the mob squads multimillion-dollar investigation of several high-ranking members of the Hell’s Angels. This integrated squad working under the apt name Project Phoenix was part of the Organized Crime Agency of B.C. Its target: some leading Hell’s Angels. However the targets faded away as the first order of business became internal matters. The dominant RCMP squad members turned against the designated lead investigator, a municipal police officer and he was fired. A civil law suit arose from the ashes of Project Phoenix with former lead investigator Allen Dalstrom bringing a wrongful dismissal claim against David Douglas, the former chief officer of OCABC, who fired him; and Kevin Begg, head of the provincial government’s police services division. At present the RCMP seems to have regained its stranglehold on mob investigation with the OCABC being supplanted by a new Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, an integrated team of RCMP and municipal police officers. It is the same game under a different name: the unmanageable RCMP in charge, its operation beyond the reach of our Police Act and law ministers, and worst of all no civilian oversight and no accountability. I am certain that when the Dalstrom suit gets to court it will expose the “we-know-best” RCMP as incapable of working on a true partnership basis with municipal police forces. Hopefully there will be testimony concerning the Police Services Branch of the ministry of the Solicitor General and whether it is stacked with RCMP retirees. In her report of November 2, 2007, The RCMP Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, Dr. Linda Duxbury included the following assessment in her “key conclusions”: “RCMP culture is not one that supports change. Nor is it one that promotes workplace health or provides competitive advantage. “Words that describe the general culture include: paramilitary; hierarchical; … overcommitted; one that declares victory before achievement; overstretched; one that shoots the messenger; risk adverse; defensive; low trust; one of winners and losers; one that gives preference to dealing with issues rather than people; one that under values human resources; cash managed; non aligned; siloed; focused on process and face time not commonsense and output; change fatigued; exploitive …” This ailing organization has de facto control over the future of policing in British Columbia and with the seeming acquiescence of the premier and his law ministers they are preparing to accept another 20-year fiefdom in British Columbia. We must always remind ourselves that we live together under a constitution that proclaims our right to “peace, order and good government.” Yet awareness of our constitutional rights without action will result in our democratic society being turned upside down. Then our coalescence as a law-abiding people will be fruitless as our executive, legislative and judicial branches of government – together with their bureaucratic agents and police – imperiously anticipate our obedience. Soon it will be time to cast our ballot with a vengeance.; Published July 16, 2008 in the North Shore News