Today’s Poll

Opinion: So Premier Clark wants jail time for all the rioters?

By Contributor
June 21st, 2011

Jail Time? And how does she plan to do that?

You know, there really isn’t much that could still be said about the riots that hasn’t been already, so I’m not even going there.

But there is only so much I can take of Premier Christy Clark trying to look important and outraged, particularly in the face of all the cuts and closures the BC Liberals have made in the last 10 years, and particularly in the face of the most recent cut that did occur on her watch. 

I’m talking about the recent cuts to sheriffs services that have left many courtrooms without alternative but to close for lack of security and safety for the courtroom participants, and was first made news during the playoffs to little press – until after the Stanley Cup games were concluded.

Seriously, someone, please explain to me how she works, because I can’t even wrap my head around this one. The only explanation can be that while she was busy gabbing up the lines on NW, she missed a few facts about what her beloved Liberal party did for justice in this province, the same justice she is now vowing will be had.

“No more slaps on the wrist!” she says in this Sun article by Jeff Lee. 

Yes, she is fully aware the courts are backed up, she claims.

However, I don’t know if she knows the prisons around here are full, or that hundreds of victims are still going without justice because their offenders are getting conditional discharges because there is no room to send them to jail.

So, I figured I would help our premier with a little reality check, and this one isn’t from her old pal Bruce Allen. This one is on my dime.

Christy, is your office door closed now? Good. Because you need to pay attention without any distractions. Come really close and lean in now. Ready? Remember, the ears don’t listen and the brain doesn’t retain if your mouth is moving, right?

Now, please understand that I truly would like to see justice served in every case resulting from this riot that should never have happened in the first place. I really would, just like I would like to see justice served for the person/people behind all the missing women from the downtown east side and the highway of tears.

Just like I would love to see justice for every woman murdered, maimed or beaten by her husband or lover, the vast majority of which receive no jail time and no lasting record.

Or how I would like to see justice in the case of Susan Heyes, who is beginning another battle supported not this time with lawyers, but by the people in this province who love and believe in justice and doing the right thing — something your government, and the caucus who surround you, know little about. Of this I am certain.

Do you know why I speak with such certainty, Christy?

Because on the Liberal’s watch of the last 10 years they have ruled the province, they have closed 24 of 68 courthouses in BC. Twenty four – can you imagine?

Oh wait, you can. Think back hard now, Christy, think hard. That’s right, that happened in 2002, to meet the budget targets for 2003/2004, and you were sitting in the legislature. You would have known all about this, but I think you kind of forgot – or at least hoped we all did (Reason #96 on my 100 reasons the BC Liberals must go).

Yes indeed, those were part of your glory days, weren’t they Christy? Sliced and diced both the education ministry and the ministry of children and families better than the Sham-wow, Slap Chopper dude, while you were in power (reasons at this link as well), but I digress.

As a result of those closures, trial wait times in some areas have increased to years, which often results in the accused being released from all charges because of the right to a speedy trial.

Yes, imagine that. In some areas, drunk drivers have been let go — no foul — because her government closures gave defense lawyers a gleeful reason to ask the Crown to dismiss charges. Aren’t you proud, Christy, you were right there in the legislature when all this happened. You were a part of the Campbell cuts (cue Shiny Happy People by REM).

But wait, that’s not all. Since 2001, the Liberals have closed — that’s right, closed — 10 prisons (reason # 94). Which is part of why so many people are wandering the streets who should be in jail, or are being handed non-punitive conditional discharges like wifebeaters get.

Now, I don’t know about you, but what’s worse: tossing over a porto-potty, or smacking your wife in the head? Hmm, methinks you don’t even really care Christy, since you cut sheriffs services right after getting into power. People who care, don’t cut vital services.

Now, you would think your fellow Liberals in the legislature would have figured out the justice system in BC was headed for disaster, but oh no. Nope, someone came up with the idea that the poor people really didn’t either deserve legal aid, or it didn’t matter, because the Liberals, most who still stand beside Christy Clark on stage at media events, went on to make massive, unprecedented cuts to legal aid, leaving the province’s most vulnerable abandoned, and that includes those needing assistance for custody and access issues (reason # 93, 92, 91, 90, 89, and 88).

Wow. This doesn’t look good for you Christy, you were still on board when many of these cuts took place and you stood beside Premier Gordon Campbell with a big cheesy smile on your face as you looked to the man you admired. Yes, we know how far you will go now to distance yourself, but some of us not only remember, we documented those lowy moments of yours as a new MLA.

Yes, there needs to be justice for those people that hurt others, rolled cars and destroyed and stole with wanton abandon. But it will not be swift, nor sure, nor should it come before the thousands of others who have been waiting to see justice, such as those still waiting in the Surrey Six, the missing women or any of the other people who Lady Justice has denied a visit.

Justice isn’t served on your beck and call, Christy, and your “concern” is a slap in the face of every person in this province — again.

Frank Dane once said, ”Get all the fools on your side and you can get elected to anything.”

That worked for you in the leadership race, but rest assured, Christy, that the rest of us British Columbians are no fools. While your memory appears to be embarassingly short, our’s are long and bright with hurt painted during the Liberals decade of deceit.

Crime doesn’t pay… and neither do your politics.

This column originally appeared on I’m Laila Yuile ,And This Is How I See It. Reprinted with permission.

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