Be opinionated, first be informed

In response to my earlier post about crime statistics, a person using the name “Harald” submitted this comment:

Try not to forget that the NDP brought casinos to BC, and most of the casinos in BC were built under the NDP. Then there was the scandal with Glen Clark and his issuance of a casino license to a buddy.

Crime issues can also be blamed on the fact that judges are letting people off who should be put away.

We pay plenty in taxes, more than Alberta, yet Alberta has half the rate of BC.

Personally, I believe that the problem here is all the whiny, politically correct, do-gooders who think all someone needs is a big hug and they’ll be nice afterwards.

Apparently the reader hasn’t seen a tagline I use for this site. It’s repeated today as the title of this article.

My reaction to Harald’s comment follows.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan once wrote:

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.


BC’s first destination casino, 1999

In his contribution, Harald offers opinions but these are certainly not based on fact.

In 2001, BCLC had 18 gaming centres in operation, all of them modest in scale. In 2017, the number was more than 40, with betting products offered in nearly 4,000 other retail places. Additionally, BCLC has been promoting internet gambling in the last few years and now has hooked about 400,000 online bettors.

Before Liberals left office, there were numerous large casinos under development, including locations in Kamloops, Penticton, Delta, Vancouver, Victoria and elsewhere.


Parc Vancouver, 2017

The latest, Parc Vancouver, is a $600,000,000 facility where $100,000 hands are not unusual. It offers private gambling rooms, high limit slot machines and, as a way of subverting the city’s restrictions, gaming tables with three times more gamblers than common.

Despite BC now taking a smaller share of their revenues, government income from casinos neared $2 billion in 2017, while the share was less than a half-billion in 2001 when Liberal Gordon Campbell came to power.

By any measure, it is absurd to pretend the huge gambling industry in BC today is the work of anyone other than Campbell/Clark Liberals.

A better descriptor than “scandal” for the prosecution that had Glen Clark’s political enemies drag him into court is “travesty of justice.” Anyone can read the more than 25,000 word judgement by Justice Elizabeth Bennett but her conclusions were clear. She found specifically that Clark exercised NO influence over the North Burnaby Inn casino application that interested Dimitrios Pilarinos.

Judge Bennett also determined that Clark did not breach his oath of confidentiality and he did not accept a benefit from Pilarinos or commit a breach of trust as his accusers alleged. He was explicitly found NOT GUILTY.

In those days, I knew Justice Bennett and even traveled with her on a road trip supervising teenage hockey players. She was intelligent and observant and much respected by all, including the boys whose plans for misbehaviour we surreptitiously ruined one night, after a few sneaked away to prowl the streets. One teen tried to challenge Ms. Bennett but quickly regretted his impertinence.

I’ve read more than a few Supreme and Appeal court judgements written by Elizabeth Bennett and she deserves admiration for her legal work. It will not surprise me if she joins Canada’s top court when Trudeau appoints Justice Beverly McLachlin’s replacement.

When obtuse people like the comment writer complain about “whiny, politically correct, do-gooders” influencing criminal prosecutions, I wish they would study a little criminology and review history.

In earlier days, England’s justice system sentenced children as young as 7 years to execution after felony convictions.  Until the 19th century, pickpockets and lessor offenders faced capital punishment.  In the USA, jails for dangerous people are harsh yet American incarceration rates are climbing and they are five times levels in the rest of the world.

In the mid 19th century, British Columbia hanged chiefs of indigenous people for resisting cession of their ancestral homelands.

Today in Canada, the numbers of indigenous people in custody is embarrassingly high. Maclean’s reported in 2016 that while 4% of our population is indigenous, they are 36% (female) and 25% (male) of provincial and territory prisoners and 23% of federal institution inmates. If tough treatment of offenders is effective and not destructive, why are percentages rising for the group most harshly treated by Canadian courts?

No thoughtful person wants criminals given a hug and encouraged to re-offend. This kind of assertion is typical of Trump supporters. They know the President lies and distorts; they just don’t care because he reinforces closely held beliefs that are based on emotion instead of fact.

Typically, reader comments found here stand at a much higher level than Harald’s. I doubt he bothered read any of them. Facts make some people uncomfortable.

Categories: Gambling, Indigenous, Justice

6 replies »

  1. Well if all we had to read was Postmedia and all we had to watch was Global then we would probably share the same opinion as all of the Neo-Liberal party of BC supporters. I voted for Gordon Campbell twice because i believed the swiftboating of Glen Clark. But i did my democratic duty to stay informed and saw the true horror of crony capitalism at its finest with the BC Liberals.The problem with the democratic political system’s around the world imo is that business moved in when the public tuned out. Business has no place in government because business is for profit while government is for service to the public. Until we turn of the tables and chase the money lenders from our temples of democracy there will always be money grubbing scum bags looking to steal the public wealth and people that will support them by rote.


  2. This site is like a breath of fresh sanity. Harald sounds like a paid troll meant to spread disinformation. Paid to spread confusion. Sad.


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