By Chris Sorensen - Thursday, October 7, 2010 - 0 Comments
With Ford set to retire the Crown Victoria, automakers are battling to build the next generation police car
For the first time in more than a decade, Dennis Simcoe won’t be able to simply pick up the phone and call Ford Motor Co. when it’s time to replace one of Edmonton’s 230 Crown Victoria police cruisers. That’s because Ford, which currently boasts 70 per cent of the North American police car market, is finally retiring the aging, tank-like police car next year, creating unease among police departments and an opportunity for competitors to step in. “It’s a very well-performing police vehicle,” says Simcoe, who oversees fleet operations for the city of Edmonton and already sounds a touch nostalgic for the Crown Victoria. “You can pound on them and they still keep ticking.”
For Ford, though, the “Crown Vic” lost its commercial appeal a long time ago. Built in St. Thomas, Ont., the car has been relegated to police and taxi fleets since 2007 after Ford decided the consumer market for big, rear-wheel-drive sedans had all but disappeared, save for a handful of Florida retirees. Even taxi companies are moving away to smaller and more fuel-efficient cars. And police departments, although important and high-profile customers, only buy about 60,000 of the roughly $30,000 vehicles a year in total—not enough to justify a dedicated assembly line.
Ford is now attempting to convince police to move to a car based on its front- and all-wheel-drive Taurus platform, as well as a sport utility vehicle, promising performance benefits that stem from modern vehicle stability systems and the improved fuel economy of a smaller but still powerful V6 engine. “We can add that advanced technology and maybe change the way people think about police cars,” says Marisa Bradley, a Ford spokesperson.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, September 3, 2010 at 4:25 PM - 0 Comments
The one question Michael Ignatieff most noticeably punted at the St. Catharines town hall I attended last month had to do with police actions and civil liberties during the G20 conference in Toronto and here—setting aside our previously stated concerns about the use of analogy in political rhetoric—Doug Bell wonders where the Liberals are on this issue.
The largest mass arrest of Canadians in history and the Grits primary concern is that the cops were overwhelmed. It would be as if Martin Luther King in his letters from the Birmingham jail wrote to Police Chief “Bull” Connor complaining about the stress he was putting on his department’s German shepherds.
At a wintry moment in the history of Canadian civil rights, the Liberal Party is AWOL.
Police actions that weekend are now the subject of a rather large class action suit, while Toronto police chief Bill Blair has conceded that the kettling of 250 people on Queen Street was perhaps not resolved expeditiously enough.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 9:05 AM - 0 Comments
The Ontario Premier gets comparative.
In a closed-door meeting with MPPs on Wednesday, McGuinty deflected questions from members unhappy at the heavy-handedness of police in dealing with protesters—and the government’s complicity in failing to correct the mistaken impression officers had been given more powers.
“He told us, ‘Just remember, the same guy who gave us the Charter also gave us the War Measures Act,’” said one startled MPP, noting the premier also refuted calls from several members to strike a public inquiry into the G20 debacle.
For the sake of comparison though… Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 11:57 AM - 0 Comments
Mark Donald writes of his experience in the midst of the G20 madness.
I am writing this account on the morning of July 1 – Canada Day. I do it not in an effort to smear or merely embarrass the police services, but to remind them as forcefully as I can that both they and I must seek the same goals – the preservation of a free and democratic society. It is surely the job of the police to keep us safe. But, we must remind ourselves that the founding principles of this nation were not simply granted by the beneficent state; they were expanded, renewed, and agitated for by the actions of ordinary people. The sooner we as Canadians remind ourselves of this great truth, the sooner will stop regarding peaceful protesters as prospective terrorists, and the sooner both civilians and police will see themselves as what they really are: partners in the ongoing project that is our nation.
Quietly, an independent review of police tactics has apparently been launched.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, July 2, 2010 at 11:05 AM - 13 Comments
On Monday, in an interview with the Globe, Toronto police chief Bill Blair seemed relatively unconcerned by the suggestion that any public trust had been lost over the weekend. Two days later, in conversation with Christie Blatchford, Mr. Blair is decidedly more philosophical.
“One of my greatest concerns about this – there’s a lot of noise right now, but in the longer term, we’ve worked really hard to demonstrate [our belief in] human rights and civil rights …We’ve worked really hard to build respectful relationships with people with whom we’ve not always had great relationships.
“I’m very concerned about losing that,” he said.
“The trust between us is absolutely critical to keep in the city and it’s also the right way to do business, and so losing any element of that trust, any setback in that, any suggestion that we’re less than committed to maintaining and upholding human rights and civil rights, of treating diverse communities and marginalized people disrespectful is really fundamental.
“So we have a lot of work to do.”
Adam Radwanski, meanwhile, has assembled a brief history of the much-disputed five-metre rule.
By macleans.ca - Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 9:40 AM - 0 Comments
British Columbia: Police continue to search for a 30-year-old man who allegedly doused four staff members at a Real Canadian Superstore with bear spray in early June. Police say the man, who attempted to pay with a fake gift card, was being removed from the store by security when he pulled out the can.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 9:00 AM - 86 Comments
With more than 1,000 people arrested, the G20 is seemingly the largest mass arrest in Canadian history. The Toronto police are happy to showcase the seized weapons and condiments, but now concede the “secret” “new” “law” never really existed. The mayor is displeased. The Star gets a look at the infamous detention facility. Two Post photographers talk about their time there. A Globe reporter writes about her experience at Queen & Spadina. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association says police action was, at times, “disproportionate, arbitrary and excessive.” Amnesty International wants an independent review. Mark Holland demands answers. The NDP has questions too.
By Rachel Mendleson - Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 2:00 PM - 5 Comments
Knife-related crimes are on the rise in urban areas
In Saskatoon, says police Chief Clive Weighill, “knives, swords and machetes are the weapons of choice.” In the ﬁrst 10 months of 2009, Saskatoon police documented 299 knife-related incidents. Though that number is down from previous years, Weighill says the proliferation of such weapons in urban settings is increasing. So he wants to give police across the province the power to conﬁscate knives.
The Criminal Code prohibits carrying concealed weapons, or weapons dangerous to the public peace, but a knife worn in the open can only be seized if police have reason to believe it has been—or will be—used in a crime. Weighill is pushing for what he calls “proactive” legislation, which would provide “non-criminal intervention”—the weapons would be conﬁscated but no charges would be laid. But the proposal is troubling many. “Knives are everywhere. We use them at work. We use them in our cars,” says Glen Luther, a law professor at the University of Saskatoon. “How can you ban knives without coming to grips with the fact that they’re used lawfully by people from all walks of life?”
According to Luther, the kind of legislation being proposed by Weighill would be highly subjective in its application. It suggests, he says, that “police can tell the difference between someone who is up to no good, and who [isn’t].” And he fears that giving police “a massive amount of discretion to decide when they’re going to enforce the law” could lead to racial proﬁling—a claim Weighill dismisses as “absolutely ridiculous.” Says Weighill: “The increase we’ve seen involving street weapons crosses all cultures and ethnic groups.”
By Ken MacQueen and Jason Kirby - Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 9:00 AM - 12 Comments
Violence turns the locals against anti-Olympic protesters
Vancouver, a visiting writer once remarked, “can dress up and act quite sophisticated when she wants.” Never has the city looked as chic as it did last week, with streets festooned in the colours of an Olympic celebration and lineups for star-studded parties winding around its city blocks. But when masked protesters descended on the downtown core on the first day of competition—smashing windows and spray-painting cars—Vancouver flashed another side of her multi-faceted personality: one that likes to drop the gloves.
No sooner had the black-clad demonstrators broken windows at the Bay department store and TD Tower than average folks began abandoning the safety of hotel rooms and waterfront condos to defend the city’s honour. “These people are trying to cause damage to Vancouver,” said 29-year-old Jon Reisenger, a Canadian who lives in Spokane, Wash. “The less of this mess the news media can see, the better it is for Vancouver.” Reisenger, who came to the Olympics as part of an organization that provides product discounts for athletes, spent his morning righting the newspaper and mailboxes the protesters had overturned and dragged into the street. At times, he verbally sparred with the marchers, laughing off their threats to do him harm.
One group of angry residents managed to isolate a male demonstrator who had a green bandana over his face. “I came out here and I did good,” he said defiantly. “And I’m going to go home tonight and sleep like a baby.” “Why don’t you take off that mask if you’re so damned proud?” someone shouted back. And with that, the protester stormed away.
By Jonathon Gatehouse - Saturday, February 20, 2010 at 1:40 PM - 4 Comments
The huge, and well-lubricated crowds gathering downtown have police worried
All those pre-Olympic worries about whether the laid-back West Coasters would show their pride and welcome the world have been put to rest—with a vengeance.
Nothing I have witnessed in three prior Olympics compares to the crowds thronging the streets of downtown. From very first thing in the morning, until well after closing time, sidewalks and public places are jam-packed.
During daylight hours the vibe has been fun, with lots of tourists and families with small children. At Robson Square, home of the BC Pavilion, people are lining up for eight hours for a 30-second zip line run, high above the crowds. Near the International Broadcast Centre, the Olympic flame was already a huge draw, despite the less-than-ideal viewing conditions. And once word spreads that VANOC quietly replaced the chain-link fence with plexiglass in the wee hours of this morning, look out.
The bars are packed all day long and filled with friendly ribbing as Canadians diss foreign visitors about the day’s performances and vice-versa. National colours, painted faces and flags as capes are the order of the day. (My favourite get-up so far was a guy in a kilt with a t-shirt reading “Opening Ceremonies Hydraulics Team.”)
But as the evening progresses things are getting a little ugly. Last night, the vast pedestrian mall on Granville Street seemed more like a riot waiting to happen than a street party. The crowd—young and homegrown (at least it sure smelled that way)—was closer to legless than tipsy. And there was a distinct edge to the pro-Canada celebrations.
Vancouver Police were out in force, gamely trying to dissuade people from drinking in public. But in contrast to their colleagues on the day-shift, the cops seemed tense, moving about in large, unsmiling groups, obviously girded for trouble.
Now comes word that the V.P.D has asked the Integrated Security Unit, the 10,000-strong, RCMP-led force in charge of venue security, for a hand in managing the crowds. It’s a wise decision.
By Charlie Gillis - Saturday, February 13, 2010 at 8:03 PM - 52 Comments
Vancouver police strategy of passive enforcement is letting the air out of the protests. For now.
It was dubbed the “heart attack march.” The idea, said one demonstrator, was to clog the main arteries of downtown Vancouver “like a Big Mac clogs the ones in your body.”
Did it work? Well, traffic on Georgia Street did grind to a halt yesterday as about 200 protesters worked their way from downtown Vancouver to the West End, tipping mail and news boxes. The Lion’s Gate Bridge closed briefly, briefly cutting off the north side from downtown.
And the troublemakers inflicted a bit of damage, smashing windows at the TD Tower and the Bay department store—a corporate emblem of the Games as official supplier of the Canadian team apparel. Some of them defaced transit buses; others kicked cars. One masked demonstrator spray-painted the anarchy symbol on the side of an SUV carrying Olympic officials.
Still, a few cracked panes and some bemused motorists falls a long way short of what the organizers of this morning’s disruption must have envisioned. For months, a whole spectrum of protest movements have been promising to turn these Games into a platform for their assorted causes, from aboriginal land rights to homelessness. A few warned they’d get nasty if the police got in their way.
Yet so far they seem to be spinning their wheels, running up against public indifference and a platoon of riot cops who resolutely refuse to be drawn into confrontations. Seven demonstrators found themselves in handcuffs today while workmen quickly arrived to fix the broken glass on the damaged buildings. By noon, the Bay was back to selling it’s trademark maple leaf mittens.
The restraint of police answers in part one of the big questions hanging over the Games. Would these Olympics be defined by images of masked kids sacking the city and riot police knocking heads together?
If current trends hold, the answer is no.
The potential for ugliness was certainly there. With cops milling on street corners, and around the main Olympic sites, there was a discernible tension in the air. That tension rose after yesterday’s attempts to mar the torch relay and opening ceremonies. A couple of officers were hurt by flying bottles and sticks, testing the resolve of their colleagues to keep calm.
Today’s confrontations, said some of the young people on the ground, were a deliberate attempt to step up the stakes after last night’s more passive marchers ran up against the barricades well short of BC Place, where the opening extravaganza took place.
Using social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, ringleaders called on the faithful to strike on the first day of Olympic events, and warned participants to brace for trouble. “It was advertised as a bit more militant,” said Jasmin Mujanovic, a 23-year-old marcher told Maclean’s. “As you can see, the police made a large presence and put a stop to that.”
They did so using classic divide and conquer strategy. As the initially large mob of demonstrators marched up Robson Street toward downtown, waving a black anarchy flag, about two dozen police with shields suddenly rushed out from a side street. They formed a line across the street, blocking anyone from passing (several women carrying yoga mats were stopped and had to convince officers they weren’t with the protestors).
The standoff lasted about 20 minutes, protestors dancing, beating drums and playing a trombone while police maintained their human wall. Finally, without any apparent warning the police in the middle charged forward, pushing many of the protestors back down the hill. Meanwhile a group of bicycle police swept in and created a new line, with half the protestors now on the outside chanting “Let them go.” The police repeated this tactic until the protestors were fragmented into small groups. Some fled, a few were marched away in handcuffs.
More striking still was the open hostility the demonstrators encountered on the street. Jon Reisenger, a Canadian who lives in Spokane, Wash., followed the group, righting the newspaper and mailboxes the protestors overturned, snapping back at insults the marchers hurled his way. “These people are trying to cause damage to Vancouver,” shrugged the 29-year-old marketing manager, who came to the Olympics as part of an organization that provides discounts for athletes. “The less of this mess the news media can see, the better it is for Vancouver.”
Angry members of the public challenged one male demonstrator who had a green bandanna over his face. “I came out here and I did good,” he said defiantly. “And I’m going to go home tonight and sleep like a baby.” “Why don’t you take off that mask if you’re so damned proud?” someone shouted at him. He stormed away.
As with many anti-globalist, anti-capitalist marches, it was hard to make out a specific cause from the group. Lauren Gill, wearing a blue cloth badge reading “Fuck You and your Fucking Olympics,” said she supported the march but “I don’t support violence.” She said she was marching as part of a group of “feminist abolitionists” opposed to the sex trade industry. “That message wasn’t heard today,” she said because of the violence.
Another man in the crowd carried a giant placard saying,”Free Leonard Peltier,” in reference to the American native activist who is currently serving a double-life sentence for the murder of two FBI agents.
“If you want to put a banner to it, it’s social justice,” said Mujanovic, who travelled from York University in Toronto to participate in the protests. “There is a number of issues people are concerned about. Housing is a big one. Civil liberties are another. There’s also the destruction of the environment that happened as a result of all the venue and infrastructure that was built up for the Games.”
In any case, between the police tactics and the poor public reception, the demonstration slowly broke up into small bands of protesters darting through alleyways, in many cases texting their comrades in an effort to regroup.
All signs suggest they need a new strategy. The city’s police chief, Jimmy Chu, said today he and his officers are intent on prizing away the harder, “criminal element” who “hide within the legitimate protestors.” But the window smashers and spray-painters are about the demonstrators only hope of attracting much attention.
Which means the stakes are about to go way up in Vancouver. Or way down.
with files from Ken MacQueen and Jason Kirby
By Jen Cutts - Thursday, November 26, 2009 at 11:40 AM - 1 Comment
Pittsburgh police used a similar device during the G20 meetings
(Update: The Vancouver Police Department announced on Nov. 17 that it would disable the LRAD’s tone-emitting feature. A press release reassured the public that if Vancouver police “ever decided in the future to explore alternative uses for the device, the VPD would develop appropriate policy and training.” The BCCLA has responded by saying, “They’ve made the right call by taking this use-of-force option off the shelf.”)
Is it a sonic weapon? Or a super-powered megaphone? Either way, a B.C. human rights group says the Vancouver Police Department’s recent purchase of a long-range acoustical device (LRAD) in advance of the 2010 Olympics is an outrage.
The LRAD 500 is a portable device about the size of a searchlight that, according to its maker, American Technology Corp., can carry a voice a distance of 300 m in a crowd. More alarming, it can emit a beam of sound that reaches 146 decibels at one metre away. That’s like standing near a jet engine at takeoff, says Maha Atrach, an audiologist with the Canadian Hearing Society, and would cause pain and could lead to hearing loss. The B.C. Civil Liberties Association fears that what it is calling a “sonic gun” will be aimed at protesters during February’s Games.
Vancouver police say they bought the LRAD to “communicate more effectively in open-air conditions,” but spokesman Const. Lindsey Houghton acknowledges its sound-blasting function could be used “if it means keeping the public safe.” Police in Pittsburgh used a similar device to control protesters during September’s G20 meeting.
The BCCLA is comparing the LRAD to police use of Tasers, recently at the centre of a costly inquiry into the 2007 death of Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver’s airport. “Are we not doing things backwards again, by introducing a weapon to the streets first and then discussing policy and safety later?” asks executive director David Eby. American Technology Corp. insists their product is not a weapon, but can support police in dispersing protesters and potentially prevent the use of force. The company recently announced orders from the U.S. Army Reserves of over US$2.75 million.
By Colby Cosh - Saturday, November 21, 2009 at 4:59 AM - 20 Comments
Patricia Treble’s short piece about Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the publicity-hogging Faulknerian nightmare who runs law enforcement in Maricopa County, Arizona, mentions in passing that
recently, a defence lawyer complained that, while her back was turned in court, two ofﬁcers riﬂed through her privileged legal documents and even managed to photocopy some pages. The sheriff’s ofﬁce insisted that the men, who were caught on video, were examining the papers for contraband.
Unfortunately, no text description is adequate to capture the surrealism of bailiffs stealing documents from a defence lawyer in open court. It’s really the kind of thing you have to see for yourself. And even then you might not believe your eyes.
Reason magazine justice crusader Radley Balko has context, along with an update, wherein the gonzo weirdness of Maricopa County gets weirder still.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, November 6, 2009 at 10:49 AM - 46 Comments
Strolling casually around the House of Commons foyer yesterday, Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan happens upon a group of reporters. A delightful exchange of pleasantries follows.
Question: How long have you had the report from the Commissioner of Firearms?
Hon. Peter Van Loan: The report from the Commissioner of Firearms has to be tabled tomorrow which it will be. I know that some information – some information on it will be coming out shortly. Some of it has already been released in the public accounts. The one that I know has attracted some interest is the number of times that the police access it which is close to three and a half million times. What’s very interesting about that statistic is of those three and a half million times only 2.4 percent of the time is it actually information about the registration of a long-gun that would eliminated by the long-gun registry. If the bill to eliminate the long-gun registry is passed and becomes law, 97 percent of the times that the police utilize that information from the firearms centre would continue to be in place because of course the bill does not eliminate the requirement for licensing of gun owners and only, as I said, 2.4 percent of those queries had to do with information related to long-gun registration.
Hon. Peter Van Loan: I am referring to the 2008 statistics. And what’s more interesting -
Hon. Peter Van Loan: If I could finish, what’s more interesting -
Question: You haven’t answered my question once yet though.
By Michael Friscolanti - Thursday, October 29, 2009 at 1:00 PM - 3 Comments
A motorist told to ‘get the plate’ of a dangerous driver sped into trouble
To quote the justice of the peace, “this is a highly unusual case.” It all began in the early morning hours of Feb. 24, 2008, when an Ontario man, Taki Christopoulos, was driving home from his cousin’s house in downtown Toronto. As his blue BMW headed north of the city, another driver pulled up beside the car, extended his middle finger—and waved a gun. Here’s the really unusual part: when Christopoulos phoned 911 to report the incident, the operator told him to “get the plate” of the other vehicle. So he hit the gas pedal.
Unfortunately for him, a traffic cop noticed both cars barrelling down the freeway… and pulled over the wrong bad guy. Christopoulos was charged with “chasing”—a violation of Ontario’s new stunt driving law—and lost his licence, and his bimmer, for seven days. Continue…
By John Parisella - Monday, July 27, 2009 at 3:06 PM - 24 Comments
Why it was important the President spoke up about the incident involving Henry Louis Gates
An African-American president and a high-profile case involving allegations of racial profiling certainly make for a powerful mix. The arrest of Henry Louis Gates should have been a regrettable one-day news story. But Barack Obama’s intervention at last week’s press conference helped escalate it into a matter only a meeting between the parties at the White House over beer—with the president himself as conciliator—could be expected to resolve. Talk about over-dramatization!
Obama was right to meet the national press on Friday afternoon to bring the temperature down and correct the trajectory of his earlier remarks. After all, his comment rendering a judgment on the Cambridge police actions (“[they] acted stupidly”), prefaced by an admission that “he did not have all the facts” was sure to send shockwaves. Conservative commentators, led by Rush Limbaugh, quickly pounced and condemned Obama’s remarks, while the local police union adding that an apology would be appropriate in the circumstances. The so-called bully pulpit evidently has its advantages, but it also comes with constraints.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, July 21, 2009 at 1:18 PM - 98 Comments
Stephen Harper, June 6, 2008. Ladies and gentlemen, I try to get off of Parliament Hill as often as possible to attend functions like this. It helps me to keep in touch with the issues that really matter to Canadians, and one issue I hear about time and time again, whether it’s among Canadians old or young, whether it’s in the East or West, in English or in French, is unacceptably high levels of crime. Everywhere I go I hear the same refrain: “Prime Minister, please crack down on criminals, get guns, gangs and drugs off our streets, stop behaviour that threatens our property and our persons, make our communities safer.” It’s a reasonable thing to ask of government. It’s one of the most fundamental reasons, maybe the most fundamental reason, the government exists, especially in Canada, a country that was founded on the principle of peace, order and good government … It’s one thing that they, the criminals do not get it, but if you don’t mind me saying, another part of the problem for the past generation has been those, also a small part of our society, who are not criminals themselves, but who are always making excuses for them, and when they aren’t making excuses, they are denying that crime is even a problem: the ivory tower experts, the tut-tutting commentators, the out-of-touch politicians. “Your personal experiences and impressions are wrong,” they say. “Crime is not really a problem.” I don’t know how you say that. I don’t know how you tell that to the families of the victims we saw on the screen today. These men, women and children are not statistics. They had families, friends, hopes and dreams, until their lives were taken from them … Obviously we cannot undo these travesties, nor can we erase the pain and suffering that they cause. But there is something we can do and that we must do, and that is to get serious about tackling crime in this country … What we’re doing, ladies and gentlemen, is starting to overhaul a system that’s been in place. In fact, we’re starting to overhaul a system that has been moving in the wrong direction for 30 years.
Statistics Canada, today. Police-reported crime in Canada continued to decline in 2008. Both the traditional crime rate and the new Crime Severity Index fell 5%, meaning that both the volume of police-reported crime and its severity decreased. Violent crime also dropped, but to a lesser extent. This was the fifth consecutive annual decline in police-reported crime.
By Nicholas Köhler - Thursday, May 14, 2009 at 9:20 AM - 3 Comments
Impaireds are up and Bozek wants the new sergeant out
One day last fall, RCMP Sgt. Ron Russell, the top cop in Wynyard, Sask., stopped in at a local barbershop for a haircut when he noticed the owner and his friends indulging in a whiskey. “Are you closed?” asked Russell, who notes the law permits a proprietor to drink in his business only after hours. “Er, yeah,” said the barber. Russell left without a haircut and reviewed the legislation; the next day, he stopped in again to advise the barber he should lock his door next time he drinks. It was just one in a series of by-the-book pronouncements that have earned Russell a reputation as the east Saskatchewan town’s Dudley Do-Right—and it’s making the local bar owners angry.
Since last July, when the sergeant moved to town, the number of impaired driving charges and liquor licence violations have more than doubled; indeed, drunk driving charges in the area rose from 29 charges in 2007 to 48 last year. Russell admits more people are being charged because he’s being more vigilant, but he can’t figure out why that’s upsetting people. Now, “people are just coming in and having two or three drinks, then taking a box of beer home,” says Russell. “We actually think that’s responsible.”
By Michael Friscolanti - Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 11:20 AM - 9 Comments
Do street racing laws actually violate the Charter of Rights?
If nothing else, Ontario’s new “street racing” law has made for some amusing police blotter. There was that heavy-footed firefighter who had his emergency vehicle impounded for seven days (he was off-duty when a North Bay cop clocked him at 70 km/h over the limit). Another driver nabbed in the same part of the province also lost his wheels for a week—as did the speeding tow truck driver who came to impound the car. And then, of course, there was Antonio Talarico, the 26-year-old who made headlines across the country last month when his Infiniti G35 was spotted tearing down a Toronto highway at a whopping 250 km/h. His first words after being pulled over? “I’m sorry.”
The Ontario Provincial Police certainly isn’t apologizing. Or laughing. The force says the tough new street racing penalties—including possible prison time for anyone caught driving more than 50 km/h over the limit—are doing exactly what they were designed to do: save lives. In 2008, the law’s first full year on the books, fatalities on OPP-patrolled roads plummeted by almost one-third (from 451 to 322), and in the first three months of 2009 there were 17 speed-related deaths, a 29 per cent drop from the same period last year.
By selley - Friday, October 31, 2008 at 2:35 PM - 7 Comments
Must-reads: …Christie Blatchford on the David Frost trial; Colby Cosh on what to do
Must-reads: Christie Blatchford on the David Frost trial; Colby Cosh on what to do with murderers; Richard Gwyn on the global economy; Dan Gardner on young jihadis; Lorne Gunter on Tasers; Susan Riley on the cabinet shuffle.
Brave new world?
With Stephen Harper’s cabinet successfully shuffled, it’s time to play cards.
The Globe and Mail‘s Jeffrey Simpson seems fairly pleased by Harper’s choices, calling Steven Fletcher’s promotion “heartwarming” and well-deserved, appreciating the redeployment of Peter Van Loan and John Baird to less partisan positions and suggesting if anyone can strengthen the Conservatives’ woeful climate change plan, it’s probably Jim Prentice. His one lament is that the cabinet “contains not a single multicultural Canadian, despite the impressive Conservative gains in some of those communities.” (This seems a tad unfair to Bev Oda, we have to say.)
The National Post‘s John Ivison likens the new dream team to “a Volvo—safe and reliable but not particularly sexy,” and designed to instil confidence in its owners (i.e., Canadians). He didn’t promote anyone “beyond their level of competence or experience,” in other words, and “prudence” was the guiding principle for the major portfolios that got shuffled. Ivison doesn’t quite buy the party spin on Prentice’s appointment, however—i.e., that “his reward for having done a good job in a difficult portfolio, is another difficult portfolio.” He’s “said to be unhappy with the move,” for one thing, and “reduce[ing] emissions without harming the energy industry” is less “difficult” than it is “impossible.” Ivison still believes Prentice’s leadership ambitions, or Harper’s perceptions thereof, played a role.
By Philippe Gohier - Tuesday, August 12, 2008 at 7:33 PM - 0 Comments
If you don’t already read Megapundit…, you really should. This morning’s edition included
The ministry, which oversees police and fire departments across the province, presides over a police culture that all but winks at police shootings of unarmed civilians. The department acknowledged in mid-2007 that 53 civilians had died in police actions across Quebec since the start of 2005 – an annual average of 20. That’s right, 20.
Aubin was, of course, writing about the riot in Montreal North last Sunday. Like Aubin, I was struck by the number of police incidents where someone ends up dead. Twenty deaths per year at the hands of cops seems like a lot, so I did a little digging to find out what the figures were like elsewhere in the country. To my surprise, the figures in B.C. and Ontario are no less shocking.
By selley - Monday, April 28, 2008 at 1:58 PM - 0 Comments
Must-reads: Doug Saunders on “re-Talibanization”; Scott Taylor on Rick Hillier’s successor; …James
Must-reads: Doug Saunders on “re-Talibanization”; Scott Taylor on Rick Hillier’s successor; James Travers on our crumbling democracy; David Olive and George Jonas on air travel; Greg Weston on the in-and-out.
Law and Order: Canadian Criminal Intent
In which rowdy hockey fans put cops to the test, star chambers impose human rights orthodoxy on unsuspecting Christians and the Supreme Court vows to keep dogs out of our backpacks. Continue…