Last week, in honor of Canada Day, I decided to whip off a list of The Top Ten Reasons We Here in The Great White North Should Be Both Proud and Ashamed of Being Canadian.
However, I soon realized that it wasn't something that could simply be whipped off in a few minutes, so I decided to take a few more days to think about it and here, finally, is my official list of the top ten things I love and hate about this country:
"Couldn't help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land
Where justice is a game"
- Bob Dylan, "Hurricane"
Imagine, if you can, a justice system where justice is, in fact, part of the system.
Imagine a country where those in a position of power and authority can actually be held to account when they abuse it. A place where cops not only can't get away with beating on innocent people, but where those innocent people can in fact fight back in self-defense without finding themselves in prison convicted of "resisting arrest" and "assaulting a police officer".
Whether you've been following the sad, tragic tale of Robert Dziekanski's brutal death at the hands of those four RCMP officers at Vancouver International Airport back in October 2007 or you're simply concerned about police brutality in general, you absolutely have to watch Terry Milewski's fantastic piece that aired earlier this week on CBC's flagship nightly news program, "The National" (see link below).
Specifically, everyone needs to see the interviews with Tunney Moriarty and Al Clarke, two retired RCMP officers who have a combined 61 years on the force between them. We're talking about two people who spent most of their working lives serving in the RCMP, but who now feel so incensed by the Dziekanski case and, particularly, the way it's been handled by the force that they feel they have no other choice but to speak out and speak up. And have they ever! These guys are a real inspiration.
Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died
Leonard Cohen, "Everybody Knows"
Cowards. That's the one word that continuously comes to mind when I hear about these out-of-control cops and their tasers.
There have been numerous cases of these weapons being unleashed on harmless victims in recent years, but I think two cases in particular highlight just how cowardly some police have become.
You who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears
Bury the rag deep in your face
For now's the time for your tears
Bob Dylan, "The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll"
The cops who brutally attacked newly-arrived immigrant Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver International Airport on Oct. 14, 2007, tragically causing his death, will face absolutely no criminal charges. That's right, none.
A year ago when I wrote my sad and angry piece, "Kill, Duck and Cover: The RCMP Rant", I was outraged and sickened, but at least I knew that, with the video evidence the whole world had just seen, there would eventually be some sort of justice for Dziekanski and his heartbroken mother, Sofia Cisowski. But, sadly, I was wrong. There will be no justice. None whatsoever.
Anyone who watched the news here in Canada tonight now knows just how the RCMP works. I'm not simply talking about the video that was released today showing exactly what happened to Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski last month at Vancouver International Airport - how four cops killed him without provocation - no, I'm also talking about the web of lies and deceit that goes into the standard RCMP cover-up.