Gary Mason

Meddling in affairs of wizards

Returned from a quick visit south of the border, I cast the one good eye over news of recent days. There is a target rich environment but I couldn’t decide on a focus point. Like a bibliophile stranded in Hay-on-Wye or Montolieu, there is too much from which to choose.

Instead, I’ll deal with these stories after more thought:
  • New evidence emerges to demonstrate that administration of police and criminal justice in this part of the world is flawed, if not fatally corrupt. Cpl. Monty Robinson rests at home after involvement in two separate homicides. He remains on full pay pending his court appearance for a relatively minor charge. So do other shamed RCMP officers who collect salaries while posted to the swelling detachment in Limbo. At the moment, I can’t add to what Gary Mason wrote at the Globe and Mail.
  • Meanwhile the Harper Government fires Paul Kennedy, Commissioner for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, the man who told us that institutional resistance to real accountability remains intact and barely mitigated. We should not be surprised because the Tories did likewise to Peter Tinsley, the military police complaints commissioner. His sin was wanting to investigate unlawful treatment of Afghan detainees. Harper’s Government, like other dishonorable ones, will conceal, distort and falsify before it admits imperfection.
  • The possibility that Lewis Carroll designed the templates for Canadian political parties, thus giving us Harper and Ignatieff as Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Liberals who practice Conservatism, Conservatives who squander the heritage of generations still to come and putative progressives fixed indeterminate, except for the I’m-all-Right-Jack rump reminiscent of classic Ealing characters.
  • That America is a nation to be loved and despised. The land of Martin Luther King and Barack Obama is also the land of Fred Phelps and Rush Limbaugh. After Gwen and I attended a memorial in Portland for a recently lost, brave, thoughtful and empathetic friend, we were stopped at a Washington State roadblock. Grim-faced police were seeking Maurice Clemmons, the cowardly career criminal who cold bloodedly murdered four peace officers and fled with help from murderous associates.
  • Politicians who promise that “pass-through” savings will protect consumers from the multi-billion dollar impact of HST extensions don’t reside in this world. They say we can rely on competitive market forces to moderate prices. Sure, as it does now. By example, I priced a few things in Portland, where no sales taxes are added. A Panasonic Blu-Ray player on offer from $130 to $150 U.S. is listed in Canada at $300. A Canon Speedlite flash available at $429 in Oregon can be purchased from Canon Canada for $630. A hotel room is offered in Portland at $110 while its equivalent can be enjoyed in the same chain’s Vancouver location at $160. An 8-year driver’s license in Oregon costs $34, a 5-year license is $75 in BC. We must remember that competition never moderates anything unless it is real, not illusory.
Tuesday, instead of blogging, I spent the day with two small grandsons. The three-year old helped make crepes for lunch. He can crack eggs with one hand, a skill I’ve never mastered. Of course, I had to pick out egg shells and mop the milk and sweep the flour. But, it went reasonably well and next time, we might eat the crepes.
So that’s why I didn’t write yesterday. It’s near impossible to work up any authentic rage when you spend a day playing with happy toddlers while the parents aren’t there to criticize your technique.

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