No good deed goes unpunished…your Canadian government at “work”

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http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/11/01/karen-selick-the-folly-of-civil-forfeiture/

In 2001, I appeared before a committee of the Ontario legislature and predicted that Bill 155 — the province’s proposed “civil forfeiture” law — would violate the property rights of innocent individuals. The government passed the bill anyway, and other provinces soon followed suit.

These civil forfeiture laws — which few Canadians have even heard of — allow provincial governments to seize property that has allegedly been used in crime, or may constitute the proceeds of crime, even if nobody has ever been charged with, let alone convicted of, a related offence.

One unfortunate victim of Ontario’s law is Margaret Reilly of Orillia. Following in the footsteps of her father, an Anglican priest who operated a youth hostel for many years, Mrs. Reilly has worked with disadvantaged people from a young age. Her husband Terry, an insurance broker, shared her concern for the needy. He sat on the local housing committee, aiming to remedy the city’s homelessness problem.

Together, the couple tried to provide private housing for disadvantaged individuals in two rooming houses that they owned. They improved the houses and brought them up to fire code. Most of their tenants were referred to them by social workers, but sometimes even Orillia’s mayor would send people. The tenants were poor, uneducated and often on welfare. Many had addiction or mental health problems.

The Reillys actively assisted their tenants, driving them to detox centres and occasionally offering them employment. But some of the tenants apparently continued to use illegal drugs. Some may even have sold illicit drugs from their rooms. The Ontario government labelled the properties “crack houses” and claimed that the rents received by the Reillys — most of which came from tenants’ welfare payments — were “proceeds of crime.”

Related
B.C.’s Civil Forfeiture Office can seize and sell citizens’ property — without so much as a criminal charge being laid
Marni Soupcoff: Ontario’s civil-forfeiture racket
In September 2008, heavily armed Ontario Provincial Police officers swooped in and seized the properties. The government got an order to “manage, preserve and secure” the houses, pending a trial to determine whether it would get to keep them.

Instead, the government has allowed the properties to degrade into a dilapidated state over the past six years. The Reillys’ private detective took photos proving that the drug dealing was ongoing, and possibly even more prevalent, under the province’s management. The province finally boarded the houses up three years ago and now complains about the expense of “maintaining” them.

Despite the squads of armed police officers at its disposal, the province was unable to prevent illegal activity in these houses, but somehow expected the landlords to do so. Police would go there armed “to ensure the safety of [the] officers,” but the landlords were supposed to evict the same tenants who frightened the cops without any backup or weaponry.

Mrs. Reilly did in fact seek an eviction order for three tenants, but the Landlord and Tenant Board denied it. I’m not surprised. I’ve seen tenants smirk out of a courtroom after a judge gave them yet another chance that their exhausted landlord was unwilling to grant. How many times was Mrs. Reilly supposed to try to evict her more problematic tenants before concluding that the system wouldn’t let her?

And who enabled these tenants to maintain their unemployed lifestyle while dealing drugs in the first place? The provincial government did, through its welfare system. The same government that then expected two private individuals to clean up the mess it had created, the same government that now proposes to steal Mrs. Reilly’s property because she couldn’t do what the province itself failed to do.

Recently, a judge held that the properties are to be sold, even though the trial still has not been held to determine whether Mrs. Reilly should get them back. In their current state — described by the government lawyer as “filthy,” and so bad that the government’s asset administrator donned a “hazmat suit” to enter — they won’t fetch much.

I suspect this particular mess may have had more to do with Orillia’s plan to renovate its downtown — by constructing a new library and civic square — without paying the compensation that normal expropriation procedures would have triggered. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been squandered on legal fees on both sides, and more will be spent on the trial.

This is the result of a law that was sold as a means of fighting organized crime and assisting crime victims. Sometimes it’s very rewarding being able to say “I told you so,” but this is one case where it’s hard to take much satisfaction over having been right 13 years ago.

National Post

Karen Selick is the litigation director for the Canadian Constitution Foundation.
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From an Unspeakable Horror…the smallest of kindnesses

In the past few days, a Canadian jury found the perpetrator of one of the most horrorific,narcissistic crimes imaginable guilty. I do not wish to glorify that monster by repeating his name here.

The victim’s shell-shocked father came from China to watch every second of the trial of the man who brutally murdered his exchange-student son. He received justice but no apology from the monster.

What isn’t well-known that the father was brought to Canada for the trial by a Canadian law firm. The law firm, which played no part in the trial, had no role whatsoever and had nothing to gain, paid for the father’s trip over, his stay here, and arranged for daily translators so the father could follow the trial. The firm had one of its lawyers take the father to lunch every day in Chinatown and even took up a collection to treat him to a Habs game.

I wish to thank them for the effort (although I’m sure they will insist it was no effort at all).

Kids Playing With Guns….Canadian Style

A better way for cops to deal with young men holding guns….

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http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/nb/news-nouvelles/releases-communiques/14-12-22-121516-eng.htm
9-1-1 call about firearm confirmed as replica gun, Moncton, N.B.

2014/12/22

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Codiac Regional RCMP is reminding the public of the importance of the proper handling of replica firearms after an incident at a public park in Moncton on Sunday.

Police officers responded to a complaint on December 21, 2014 at approximately 4:30 p.m. of two males with a handgun in a public park. The 9-1-1 call also reported that the firearm was being pointed towards a person.

When police arrived on the scene, one of the males pointed the weapon towards a police officer. The officers took cover and pulled out their service pistols. The officers ordered the two boys, ages 14 and 15, to drop the weapon and lay on the ground with their arms outstretched which they did.

No one was hurt and it was determined that the firearm the youths were handling was a type of airsoft gun, made to look like a legitimate firearm.

“The public is quick to call police when they see someone holding a firearm in public,” states Staff Sergeant Mark Janes of the Codiac RCMP. “These types of guns are not toys. As police officers, we have to assume that the weapon is real and take necessary action to protect ourselves and the public. This is a potential life and death situation and it is fortunate in this case that no one was hurt. ”

Police met with the youths’ parents and destroyed the replica firearm. The police are also asking parents to be aware of what their children may have and ensure they are using such items in a responsible and safe manner.

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http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/12/23/joe-oconnor-tragic-police-shooting-of-armed-teens-that-didnt-happen-says-a-lot-about-canadian-city/

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http://xl96.com/news.asp?mn=14&id=478&cc=35&pg=1

Mounties Draw Guns At Moncton Park

Codiac RCMP say pellet guns that look like real firearms are not toys and need to be properly handled. The warning comes after a potentially deadly situation on Sunday at a Moncton park. Responding to a 911 call at a park off West Street, Mounties had to seek cover behind a car and pull their service pistols on a couple of teen aged boys, after one of them pointed an air soft-type gun at them. The boys, aged 14 and 15, were ordered to drop the weapon and lie flat on the ground. Staff-Sgt Mark Janes says the members had no idea the gun was a fake and acted appropriately. Janes says officers spoke to the parents of the boys and have decided not to lay charges. The gun, however, has been destroyed. Janes says the message they want to send to parents is that these weapons are not toys and they should not be used in a public place where people can mistake them for real guns.

You gotta have heart!

About a decade ago, I wrote an opinion piece for a local newspaper explaining my own personal reservations about organ transplants. The main thrust of the article was against enforced organ donation, but I touched on the emerging evidence that donor recipients were receiving not just a physical organ, but parts of the donor’s actual consciousness. The newspaper’s editor only very reluctantly published it, stating that she was once a science reporter and had never heard of such claptrap.

That was almost ten years ago and I was interested to see a national newspaper now reporting the phenomenon as mainstream thought. Oddly, the main person in the article was from the very city I’d published my original article in.

The link to the recent newspaper article and a copy of my first article are below.

http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/12/12/heart-transplant-recipients-can-face-serious-distress-from-post-surgery-identity-issues-study-suggests/

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HOME > THE KINGSTON WHIG-STANDARD > OPINION COLUMNS Thursday, August 24, 2006

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I’ll decide what I want to do with my organs, thank you

Darvin Babiuk
For: http://www.thewhig.com/

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Opinion Columns – Thursday, August 17, 2006 @ 09:00

First off, I want to be perfectly clear that I don’t need your kidney. A heart, maybe. A brain, absolutely. As far as I know, courage can’t be transplanted. What I definitely don’t need is anyone, in or outside government, making decisions about my body parts for me.

The last I heard, there were four separate bills before the provincial legislature that have the purpose of increasing the likelihood people will donate their organs for transplant after their passing. The one that bothers me is the one that would legislate “presumed consent;” that is, every single organ in every single body would be available for harvest unless the corpse in question has explicitly stated otherwise – on the correct government form, no doubt. Probably in triplicate.

Let me get this straight: Billing that presumed consent for cable TV payments created such an uproar a decade ago that the practice was made illegal, yet we’re going to allow presumed consent for something as personal and important as organ transplants? Then we’re going to ask the same kind of body – government – that gave us the sponsorship scandal and the gun registry to oversee it?

Combine the sterling government oversight record with modern-day body-snatchers and the scene in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life might not be so fictional: You know, the scene in which two doctors arrive at a man’s apartment, hold him down and extract his liver, since he’s signed his donor card. Before they’re done, having also convinced his wife of the importance of organ donation and her own insignificance, she happily agrees to donate hers, too. In the modern-day version, we’d just have to make the doctors Communist Chinese and the “donors” adherents of the Falun Gong group.

I haven’t always felt this way. When younger, I would have been happy to have someone have my brain if I passed away. God knows, I didn’t use it much. Spleen, corneas? Take them too. What did I need them for where I was going? (My kidney was another matter; it was working overtime). To this day, I tell my wife to stand my corpse up beside the garbage when I go. I just hope she waits until I’m dead. What I don’t do is sign off on organ donation when I renew my driver’s licence.

What changed? Well, to begin with, marriage. I married into a culture that does not look kindly on such a thing. In fact, it is forbidden. So, first of all, there was the realization that other people, religions and philosophies have other ideas about the topic: strong ones. Then came medical evidence that suggests memory, cognition and personality (the soul?) don’t just reside in the higher organs of the nervous system but also at the cellular level in all tissue. There are case studies documenting such eye-opening reactions as a male patient who got a woman’s heart and soon was bothered by his new preference for the colour pink and a desire to wear perfume, and a health-conscious dancer and choreographer who suddenly became aggressive and impetuous, with uncontrollable urges for fast-food chicken nuggets; these traits were uncharacteristic of her but turned out to be eerily similar to traits of her male organ donor. What happened to these patients was not just personality change but change that closely matched the organ donor’s personality. If this were just the result of drugs or stress or coincidence or new vitality achieved through the transplant, as some would have us believe, the change wouldn’t specifically match the donor.

A wise philosopher (OK, comedian George Carlin) once riffed about how, as an Irish Catholic, he’d been told all his life that the single most important task he had was to save his soul. “Save your soul” came from the pulpit. “Save your soul” came from Sunday school. “Save your soul,” the nuns repeated as they whacked him across the knuckles with a yardstick. “That’s all we want, your immortal soul,” the good Father in the confessional would say.

“Uh-uh,” Carlin replied. “No way. You can’t have it. I’m saving my soul.” And the Catholics were after it.

Here in Kingston, we already have people having to retire against their will and health workers having to take flu shots against theirs. Some would say we even have a mayor who is going to give us an entertainment centre whether we want it or not. Are we now going to have Queen’s Park telling us it will take our body parts and decide what to do with them?

Sheesh! Where I’m going, even the devil has to have permission to take your soul. Apparently Big Brother doesn’t want to, which makes one wonder which is more evil. I’ll decide what to do with my kidney, liver and spleen, thank you very much. Because I’m “saving” them.

I will take that brain, though, if anyone has a spare one.

Darvin Babiuk is a member of The Whig-Standard’s Community Editorial Board.