Saturday, November 17, 2007

Still Skidding After All these Years

The Rt. Honourable Brian Mulroney is back in full form, full of 'piss 'n vinegar' in defence of his reputation as Canada's 'greatest' Prime Minister.

This time after a public inquiry was announced to look into his relationship with German 'entrepreneur' Karlheinz Schreiber. The aforesaid businessman, currently being 'held' in Canada while a deportation order is appealed, has just remembered that he gave his dear pal $300 000 in cash to do some middleman stuff for him. He claims he wants a refund because Brian didn't carry through his end of the 'deal'.

A court ruled a week later that there was no impediment to the 'Kinder from Kirchenhausen' going back to face fraud charges in his homeland. Meanwhile the 'boyo from Baie Comeau' who had forgotten to mention the cash payments at an earlier time when he denied having any business with Schreiber, wanted a public inquiry to 'clear his name'. That last denial got him $2.5 million to cover 'legal fees' in a case that had something to do with 'pay offs' for airliner sales managed by Schreiber. Writers have posited that it happened, but the ironclad proof isn't there. The only guys who know what happened and how, with any degree of certainty are the two in the news right now.

And it looks like one of them might not be sticking around for the inquiry. No witness? No case. It's debatable whether the Harper government will want to spend millions on another protracted hearing which might prove to hold some political embarrassments for the Tories. Or whether they'll let Schreiber take a long overdue one-way trip to Deutchland and hope he keeps his fat mouth shut. I daresay the former PM would prefer that, and another apology.

I wouldn't trust Schreiber as far as the fat man could be tossed by an octogenarian. Mulroney, if those billets doux that came out in the media are to be believed, is, at least guilty of lying down with swine. If he doesn't like the smell of pig crap now, tough. Karlheinz seemed to be more than a passing acquaintance.

On the Skids

When you're on the way down, it seems that misfortune piles on misfortune in a karma pay-back of sorts. And so it is with Canada's RCMP.

The latest bead on the forces rosary of peccadilloes happened in Vancouver Airport recently.

A polish immigrant who didn't speak english and who had been acting badly after a 10 hour wait in the 'secure area of the airport was tasered by RCMP and died as a result.

Investigations are pointing up a number of problems that happened that day. Lack of a polish speaker, poor security, logistics etc in the secure area, inadequate security training and an overpowering police response ... all leading up to a needless death. The man's mother who was in the terminal to meet him was sent ho9me by airport personnel who didn't realize the man was being held after his arrival from Poland. No one who spoke polish was available although onlookers told authorities they thought he was speaking Russian, apparently no Russian speakers were available either.

Initial reports of police conversation about using the taser before they approached the man were rebutted by police sources. They were unaware hat the incident had been taped by an onlooker and that video has recently surfaced. It shows the officers deploying the taser within 30 seconds of approaching the man, who is knocked down and tasered again before being 'subdued' by 4 officers.

It seems that Canada's national police force is becoming noted for professional bungles and spectacular funerals. On the scale of of screw ups they're not where the Airborne Regiment got to, yet. But given the great wheel of Karma, they've could have a few more embarrassments to get through to atone for a century of pomposity and prevarications. the RCMP needs a culture-readjustment that it won't get from within.

The civilian appointed to head the force seems to be cruising down to pension, or something since he has remained well off the radar since he took the job.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Some Guys Really 'Slay' Me

One of the recent bits of entertainment in our local rags was a murder story involving a retired cop. The 'Wills case' amazed readers in the Toronto area - not with its revelations or bloodthirstiness, but with the bullheaded stupidity of this former 'peace officer' and the way he planned and managed the side show that was his murder trial. He was ultimately found guilty. And then the rest of the story came out.

Wills had been a member of the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force when he met and had an ongoing affair with Linda Mariani. The affair ended, the trial uncovered, when he bashed her head in with a baseball bat and stuffed her body into a plastic garbage can for later disposal. Her putrefying corpse was discovered some 4 months later behind a phony wall.

At the trial Wills portrayed himself as a lothario, a genius, a superlative business mind, a great wit, raconteur, family guy, good cop, ordinary Joe, nice guy and dedicated man. He also came across and a bully and an ignorant lout which may be closer to the real him, but he's probably too vainglorious to realize that. His testimony of the relationship and the events of the 'noche triste' ran two weeks in court. He tried pinning the blame on her husband and denied all knowledge of the woman while she rotted in his basement. He claimed she fell, hit her head and died. The storage was part of a lovers' pact to inter each other at a cottage property. He didn't explain how the rope came to be tied around her neck, or the baseball bat included in 'the garbage'. The judge 'bent over backwards' to accommodate his antics.

Afterwards it was learned that confession (to his sister, and a friend) evidence was witheld from the jury by some legal sleight of hand when they were listed as defense witnesses but never called. It also came to light that Wills had divested himself of all his property, signing a number of properties and his police pension over to his ex-wife. So, as a pauper, Mr. Wills undertook to mount his own legal defense. The judge realizing that without advice, Wills was apt to do something that would cause a judicial ruling that might give rise to a later mistrial. So legal assistance was ordered by the court and paid by legal aid. Wills worked through seven lawyers in the course of the trial and his defense cost the public well over 3 million dollars.

They say there's a sucker born every minute. Wills makes everybody look like a sucker. After his appeal, no doubt he'll be afforded special protection in prison due to his former profession. Maybe he can develop some malady that will have him on the 'farm' on light duties with lots of regular exercise, conjugal visits and day passes. Somebody is just stupid enough to give it to him.