What’s up with Canada’s police?
April 8, 2011
Friday morning’s Globe and Mail story about Barbara Lynn Khan and her relationship with Bruce Carson makes me wonder just how politicized Canada’s police forces have become.
It’s one thing for Mounties to serve as bouncers at Harper rallies. Stockholm syndrome no doubt works on police officers as well as on hostages. It seemed to those tossed from the rallies, though, as if the Mounties have become indistinguishable from other Conservative operatives.
It’s another matter entirely when a madame just deported from the United States after serving time for keeping a bawdy house and money laundering, associated with a prostitution ring which used home invasions and theft as part of its business operation, somehow doesn’t come to the attention of the force charged with the security of Parliament Hill. After all, the woman bought a condominium in downtown Ottawa where she became neighbour to three members of parliament. Her co-owner was Bruce Carson, a man with a light security clearance, and yet by all reports in charge of the daily operation of the Afghanistan file for the Harper Government.
It was an RCMP raid, after all, which tipped the balance in the last election when Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli announced an investigation of finance minister Ralph Goodale for irregularities on the income trust file, then followed it up with a much-publicized raid on his office. This created the impression of another major scandal and it was too much for Canadian voters, who boosted Stephen Harper into 24 Sussex. The raid turned up nothing, but the deed had been done.
Zaccardelli, after all, was the man who lied about Maher Arar to U.S. Homeland Security. On RCMP information Arar faced a year of torture in Syria. Zaccardelli also was burned for illegally using Sponsorship funds to buy horses and trailers for the RCMP, but more serious was his attempt to run interference for Mike Harris over the Dudley George murder file.
A look at spending at the G8/G20 summit on one level shows the 1.8 billion dollar expenditure as a massive payoff to police officers and their organizations. It cost $50,000 per cop to put batons on the street for that weekend, much of that in overtime. Toronto police seem to have landed most of the blame for the abuse of protesters in the rain on Sunday, but that whole window-breaking session on Yonge Street the day before just doesn’t pass the sniff test. With 4,000 policemen within a half-mile, how come a small group of agitators were allowed to break windows and set fire to the police car? Could it have something to do with the need for a showy demonstration of unrest to jangle Canadians into support for tough-on-crime legislation?
Or was this poetic justice, retribution for the still-remembered 2006 Liberal attack ad predicting armed soldiers in the streets?
In her column this week Ottawa Citizen Editorial Board member Kate Heartfield wrote that worries about the dictatorial bent of Stephen Harper are grossly exaggerated. She makes a good case. I’m not so sure that Canada’s police forces aren’t ready and eager to serve as Harper’s secret police, though, as they seem all too willing to be the enforcement arm of the Conservative Party machine.