Monday, May 7, 2012

A false notion of the purpose and end of law

A replay from June 2010 that seemed to me worth repeating because, after almost two years, Vaughn Palmer, the Vancouver Sun's main pundit, finally noticed the BCR scandal keeps BC Liberals mired in rough and unpredictable terrain.

Weekend is a time to reflect on broad issues and to search for connections between insurrectionist tumult in the streets of Toronto and genteel actions of scrubbed and styled actors in room 54 at the Supreme Court of British Columbia. On one hand, we have the disaffected and the disconnected convulsing in faithless anarchy. On the other, are the faithful privileged, purporting to be servants of justice but, in fact, securing patrician values and fruitful self-interests.

Political corruption behind the sale of BC Rail seems, to the political classes, not to be criminal because it was government business as usual. The billion dollar sale that was not a sale also turns out not to be worth a billion dollars given that taxpayers must return over $600 million to the buyer. But, the sale that wouldn't happen, happened exactly as contrived. What didn't go according to plan was hiding the details. (Competitive protection for CN, you know.)  In the same way, competitive bidding for multi-billion dollar contracts was eliminated. Thus, the Highway 1 Port Mann bridge proceeds as contrived, placed in the hands of Liberal friend Peter Kiewit Sons Co. As did the contracts for Liberal associates to plunder BC Hydro, the approvals to displace our wild fishers with foreign aquaculture, the insiders and friends who deplete remaining farmland to build little boxes made of ticky-tacky.

That the Basi/Virk case exists is merely accidental, part of the fraud exposed when RCMP stumbled across it in a drug investigation usually confined to the underclasses. Like a fetid odor, the railway case lingers, despite the efforts of handshakers to contain it; circumscription that included departures of key ministers, appointment of a 'Special Prosecutor' of questionable qualification, repeated legal arguments, interminable delays, an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, a threatened stay of prosecution, records destruction and recasting of the leading judicial role.

Throughout six and a half years following the RCMP raid on legislative offices, despite much problematic and incriminating information known, old media pretends there is little worth telling in the story. Instead, they encourage a ubiquitous fog. Pundits deride new media as Vaughn Palmer did when he said on CKNW, "Nincompoops ranting in their underpants is the term for people blogging, for me." Yet new media is where the connections are made between facts and suppositions.

So, how does this link with outpourings of violence and vandalism in Toronto this week? I don't for a moment suggest those who planned and participated in undisciplined attempts at street coercion are worthy of a moment's respect. Many are adrenaline fueled joyriders lacking the neurobehavioral systems necessary for self-control although trusting Canadian police to leave them unharmed. They are playing a thrill game and only pretend to address issues to improve the world. They have so little regard for the purported messages, they won't attach their names and faces to the appeals. Instead, the cowards appear with identities disguised.

However, these anarchists choose rowdy disorder to address the public because they have few means to carry on public discourse. The traditional media, already in the hands of corporate elites, maintains roadblocks to viewpoints contrary to media interests. These complacent "professional journalists" cast disdain on new media and pretend the alternatives provide only voices of loony fruitcakes. There is no more outrageous example of gatekeeping than three Canwest Newspaper writers denying Robin Mathews accreditation for the Basi Virk trial. The man has probably written and published more words on this - perhaps any - subject than the accreditation committee together. Instead of raising their own game, they would deprive Mathews of rights to collect information, including notices that hearings will or will not proceed.

In the press, letters to the editor are selected, even commissioned, to maintain control of subject matter. Op-ed writers come from the political right or extreme right. Occasional center-left submissions are allowed but only if they come from safe, predictable contributors.

Radio broadcasters that conduct call-in shows, like CBC and Corus, ban certain callers and erect subject screening barriers and kill switches to ensure that voices of dissent are largely kept silent.  Of course, in-studio guests are chosen to suit the agenda. For example, who does CKNW feature for the final promotions before HST takes effect? Micheal and Gordon Campbell, Michael Levy, Colin Hansen, Mike Klassen, Fraser Institute reps and leaders of businesses that stand to benefit by the massive shift in taxes from corporations to consumers.

As demonstrated above with the Basi Virk case, when held accountable, the ruling system rumbles, spins its wheels mightily, pretends to take action without giving up a thing. When officialdom does wrong, millions can be spent by the elites in questing for explanations but, in the end, the culpable walk free and the public purse stands emptier.  Do we really need almost 12 years to examine the death of Frank Paul or seven years to review the crooked sale of BC Rail. They held WWII in less time.

The highest judge in Canada, Beverly McLachlan, spoke outside her courtroom with words apparently lost on players at the Supreme Court of BC.
"Justice may be being done, but it is not necessarily being seen to be done, and justice must be seen to be believed. Law is central to democracy. The public thinks that law and democracy are about justice, that justice is about fairness.

"...the intensity of the public's disaffection is now so palpable that it has started to affect the profession's own perception of its professionalism.

"...our independence does not absolve us from the responsibility of listening and being open to the possibility that the public's suggestions and criticisms are relevant. We cannot, of course, accede to every request for a response just because it comes from the public, but
neither should we decry every criticism as irrelevant just because it had never occurred to us before, or came from an unfamiliar source, or met with no support from our colleagues. Justice may be blind, but the public is not.

"...The effect of our exaggerated contentious procedure is not only to irritate parties, witnesses and jurors in particular cases, but to give to the whole community a false notion of the purpose and end of law."
Given the discredited system of Special Prosecutors, this particular prosecutor's ties to Liberal politicians, the destructions of documents, the long delays and the refusal of the court to conduct itself openly when it can, the Supreme Court of Anne MacKenzie presents a false notion of the purpose and end of law.

Doing so feeds the distrust that enables vanguards of the disaffected to form mobs on the streets and I am left in contempt of this court.

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  1. Excellent commentary Norman, as always.

    But, if the SCoBC isn't going to listen to the highest ranking Justice of Canada...what hope do we have of EVER correcting the corruption in this province - from the top on down? The stench grows daily, yet nothing there a law that allows the public to prosecute those who abdicate their responsibility when it comes to this kind of thing?

  2. The stench is widespread and it comes from the court and the media and, most particularly, from a corrupt political class in British Columbia.

    There is a strange near-connection between the libertarians and minarchists managing BC Liberals and the anarchists rioting in the streets of Ontario. Neither supports orderly, active and effective government.

  3. I had a gut feeling that these were connected but I hadn't made the connection of the dots in such a clear way.
    Thank you.

  4. It is my contention that BC & Canada has evolved into a bureaucratic Corporatist State or a somewhat benign (for now) Fascist state.

    The political and bureaucratic classes run the show, as our so called democracy is nothing more than a charade, having Soviet style 'show-case' elections every 4 years or so.

    The police and courts protect the bureaucratic and political elites and have themselves been absorbed into the ruling elite.

    Notice the high salaries and perks offered to politicians, bureaucrats, judges and police? When Translink's chief spin-doctor is paid $160,000+ a year to spread TransLink speak, one know immediately that the ruling elites are building a pyramid of state control.

    At this point in time Canadian society is at precipice and I don't think it will survive as the myth of Canada will soon dissolve into political gangsterism, when the ruling elites controls all.

    What we see in Toronto are the anti-hero's of 'Globalism' rioting to embarrass the elite classes, but of course they are protected by the police, who want to safeguard their own way of life.

    I'm afraid Canada will implode very soon into 3 or 4 countries all under the domination of the USA, just like what is happening in Belgium today.

  5. Interesting comment. It is worth considering why the Harper Government chose to hold this meeting in this place, in this fashion. It was theater, with two partners, willing to clash, each for their own purpose. We all know that international negotiations are done beforehand by low profile functionaries. In most cases the conference ending joint communique is written in advance. The leaders could communicate by video conferencing or they could meet in an easily defended site well away from a city and complete the photo opportunities with pool cameras.

    Does the federal government think its position is strengthened by standing up to a threat, real or manufactured?

    A billion dollars for security? Why? Whose interests were served. How many community water wells could have been constructed in Africa with that money?

    One other thing. Are these leaders telling us that public spending must be curtailed the same ones that said two years ago that trillions of public dollars needed to be spent?

  6. This is one of the best blog posts I've run across in a long while. Certainly the connection you see between the "Black Block" and what passes for "due process" in BC is accurate.

    However I wonder how many of the members of the "Black Block" are/were also members of say the OPP or Toronto Police. It isn't like similiar BS hasn't happened before, like at Montebello. Only this time even they were smart enough to change their footware.

    I look forward to the upcoming inquiries and potential civil trials coming up as a result of the alleged treatment of journalists and other "trapped" bystanders. I can be optimistic about some kind of actual due process occuring too, as these trials won't be held in Courtroom 54 at Robson and Smithe - maybe there is still a courtroom in Canada that functions.

    Chief Blair spiels on about how they were responsible for "protecting" property. Well, I didn't see much property protection going on, it appeared to me that they ALLOWED property damage to occur, perhaps to justify their bloated Billion Dollar Plus budget.

    I mean come on, both Pittsbugh and London, England provided security for similar events for less than 1/10 of that, and while Pittsburgh may have some strategic advantages with their rivers to define secure areas, London is a rabbit warren and makes Toronto look like Kamloops.

    The security budget for this event lasting less than a week equalled or surpassed that of the Olympics in Vancouver and they (The 5 Ring Circus) were spread over the whole southwestern corner of the province and lasted almost a month and by necessity involved not only big shot VIPs but much more PUBLIC participation, as in the audiences for the events and games.

    I think it was just part of the setting up of the police state that is becoming necessary in the ongoing abandonment of democracy. Those like the Harperites and the Campelloids aren't so dumb that they don't realize that someday the people will wake up and realize they aren't free anymore, and the police will be armed, organized and ready to deal with it - MAYBE! Perhaps people should get ready to deal with them - and not in what passes for phoney courtrooms.

  7. The post-demonstrations show and tell organized by the Toronto PD certainly demonstrated a willingness to create their own reality. They haven't figured out that new-media makes liars look bad because the real story gets around quickly.

    For example, the bamboo "weapons" seized on the street were paper lantern holders taken from two men carrying decorations to a Pride picnic. (Bamboo skewers in a BBQ drawer might be considered concealed weapons.)

    Or, the crossbow, arrows without points, plastic hammer, chain mail vest, foam swords and shields were taken from a group holding a medieval reenactment scene in a park.

  8. I actually saw on TV, two eastern M.P's saying, Harper is a fascist and too stubborn to work with. BC citizens are under no illusions, we know Campbell is a dictator. Most people see, Campbell is really a Conservative, flying under a Liberal flag. We know, the HST isn't called, the Harper Sales Tax for nothing. It is obvious, Campbell is Harper's boy. BC people see, Campbell and Hansen as, liars, deceitful, corrupt, thieves, cheat to win, promise breakers, sneaky and underhanded, one a criminal. The BC Liberals are full of, hate, spite, vendetta's, arrogance, juvenile games, aversion to truth and very poor of characters. We see a very likeness, of Hitler in Campbell. Hitlers henchmen, came from the dregs of society. Hitlers propaganda minister, allowed no bad press of Hitler. Too many simualarities to list. Our young Canadians soldiers, in WW11, were blown to hell, so we wouldn't have dictators in Canada. What a waste of young lives. The hipocrisy, of Harper and Campbell, going to Holland, to attend the service, for the young soldiers, who died to Liberate them, from the fascists. Two of the worst dictators in Canada. One of my own brothers, helped Liberate Holland. That pair of scum, had no business attending those services. They did not belong there, what-so-ever.

  9. Well said then, and right on the mark now. Thank you Norm. There’s something about the truth: it endures, and will always come out.

    What hurts, and is never more evident than in our province these days, is that even those who are professionally obligated to reveal it are busy looking the other way or worse.



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