Critics of Surrey RCMP slammed by top RCMP officer
The Officer in Charge of the Surrey RCMP Asst. Comm. Dwayne McDonald fired back at people who have criticized RCMP officers in Surrey and the plausibility of a full Surrey Police Force swaying RCMP officers to leave for the force.
During an awards speech at the 23rd Annual Surrey RCMP awards, he called criticisms unfair, and reaffirmed RCMP officers’ ability to fight crime, saying they’ve been doing it for decades and will continue to do so.
A&W is once again leading the charge when it comes to plant-based foods.
Following the success of its Beyond Meat Burger, A&W is set to test out plant-based chicken nuggets in Canada starting today.
While plant-based, A&W does note on its website that the Nuggets will be cooked with vegetable oil using the same fryers as it’s chicken items’
The nuggets will be provided through a partnership with Lightlife, a meatless product producer, for a limited in stores across Ontario and British Columbia. Should sales go well; A&W has said it would be happy to retain the item after its promotional period.
“We can’t resist our new Plant-Based Nuggets and we can’t wait for guests to taste our delicious new nuggets for themselves,” Susan Senecal, President, and CEO at A&W Canada, said, according to VegNews.
“Nuggets are fun to eat and fun to share and we think Canadians will be very impressed with our new plant-based nuggets for lunch, dinner, or any time in between.”
The nuggets will be made from peas, wheat flour, and fava beans. They will be sold for $5.99 for a six-piece or $8.99 for a 10-piece.
Richard Lee, a veteran Liberal MLA from British Columbia, has spoken out about the Chinese government, saying that they detained him, and that they are actively interfering in Canadian democracy, according to Global News.
Lee stated that upon arriving in Shanghai airport in 2015, the Chinese police improperly detained him, separated him from his family, stole and searched his B.C government phone before forcing him to go back to Canada.
Since this incident, Lee said that China’s interference in Canadian democracy has only gotten worse. They are, according to Lee, attempting to control Chinese-Canadian politicians and immigrants, so to protect Beijing from foreign dissent.
Richard Lee was the Liberal MLA for the riding of Burnaby between 2001 and 2017. Lee sent a letter to both Trudeau and Freeland, detailing his detention and subsequent allegations. Lee did not hear back from the Liberal government for a year.
At the time, however, Lee chose not to alert the public to the Chinese government’s actions due to his fear that it would damage an already frayed relationship between the two countries.
Lee cited consular warnings that stop Canadian politicians from speaking out against China, as well as the continued detention of Canadian citizens, as evidence that China is undermining Canada’s sovereignty.
Ravi Kahlon, a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) in British Columbia, wants to crackdown on “racist and hateful behaviour” in the province.
How might this crackdown look in respect to public policy? Ticketing.
“I understand that some jurisdictions have implemented new, non-criminal sanctions to deter this behavior such as ticketing,” writes Kahlon in a letter to Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth. “I would be grateful if your ministry could determine what options might be available to better deter perpetrators.”
Throughout the month of November, there have been a number of articles written on the topic of stopping racism in British Columbia due to the province launching the Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network. This network is the result of Kahlon’s work on dealing with racism within the province.
What is this network exactly? The BC government explains its purpose and goals on their website.
The Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network will offer a multi-faceted, province wide approach with greater focus and leadership in identifying and challenging racism. The program will connect communities with information, supports and training they need to respond to, and prevent future incidents of, racism and hate.
This all sounds de rigueur of left-leaning governments in Canada in the current year as they embark on a neverending quest to defeat racism and hate in our provinces and, more broadly, our country.
However, the proposal of a non-criminal sanction — a ticket — for committing acts of racism is something new and without definition.
Of the three articles I read on the idea of ticketing racists, it wasn’t clear what misconduct would result in someone being ticketed.
In a Global News article, Kahlon is quoted as saying, “People are afraid in their communities. They know that these hate groups are organizing in communities.”
In a Star Vancouver article, he told the reporter, “What we heard was quite disturbing; lots of incidents of racism, hate, and hate groups starting to organized in communities throughout the province.”
Even the news release by the BC government on the anti-racism network cited a rise in hate crimes in Metro Vancouver but didn’t go into specifics about statistics.
What constitutes racism in Canada has been a hot topic since March of 2017 when Iqra Khalid, the Liberal MP representing Mississauga — Erin Mills introduced Motion-103 Parliament.
M-103 called on the government to “condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination,” and asked the government to “recognize the need to quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear.”
Opposition to M-103 was strong among the conservative opposition. There were nation-wide protests sparked by the vagueness of what defined “hate and fear”, and the singling out of Islam as a target group of said ill-defined hate and fear.
Why definitions are important
Being called a racist can have massive social and economic ramifications. These ramifications would undoubtedly be exacerbated with the addition of a ticket.
Without knowing what constitutes an act worth ticketing, it’s irresponsible of Kahlon, his fellow politicians, or the media to even consider supporting his proposal no matter how virtuous its proponents make it seem.
Beyond (and more important than) the details of the Kahlon’s inquiry into ticketing racist behaviour is the clear encroachment on Canadians’ civil liberties — namely our right to free expression and free assembly.
It’s become fashionable in Canada to deny certain groups their right to conscious and expression.
Justin Trudeau’s Liberals tried to block pro-life groups from accessing federal funding for summer camp programmes. Granted, this decision was eventually overturned because of the backlash the Liberals received. But for a while, it was a reality.
Then there was the French-Canadian comedian, Mike Ward, who was fined $42,000 by the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal for a joke that offended a mother and her son.
And don’t forget the de-platforming of people like Jordan Peterson, Faith Goldy, Maxime Bernier, and just about everyone who works at The Rebel.
Sure, de-platforming isn’t a government directive, but it is a tactic being used by left-wing groups that’s made its way into the mainstream. Politicians are now looking to capitalise on the growing distaste some loud segments of the public have for free expression.
Just last month, hundreds protested the decision of the Toronto Public Library to allow “transexclusionary radical feminist” Meghan Murphy the right to speak at one of their locations.
The mayor of Toronto, John Tory, publically decried the event. Other councilors followed suit.
If we don’t clearly define what is allowable speech in Canada — or more poignant to this discussion, what defines racism and hate speech — we’re going to continue to see this tete-a-tete happening between the public, media and politicians.
We’re going to continue to see poorly defined concepts used to dictate public policy.
We’re going to see distrust build among and between cultural, religious, and racial groups.
Look no further than the anti-Israel protests that occurred at York University this week. Protesters screamed at Jewish students to “Go back to the ovens”, according to witness accounts, among other antisemitic chants.
If its Muslims directing that hateful language at Jews, is it in violation of M-103? Is it hate speech? Is it a ticketable offense in BC if Kahlon’s idea becomes a reality?
And if we answer yes to all of those questions, what will that do to relations between the Jewish and Islamic communities?
We can look globally to the Middle East and even parts of Europe to answer those questions.
To be clear, I am not saying direct calls to violence shouldn’t be punishable. I’m not suggesting there are no limitations to one’s freedom of expression. I am simply asking for these concepts to be better defined.
Definitions are of the utmost importance when it comes to law and public policy. Given the rather fragile state of Canada’s societal cohesion right now, there ought to be extraordinary caution taken when drafting policy that may curtail one’s expression.
No one in Canada wants what happened at York University to be seen as acceptable. On the other hand, no one wants undefined terms legislating what speech is acceptable and what speech ticketable.
A trial underway in a Nanaimo B.C. courtroom this week is attracting controversy and strong opinions on both sides of the issue, as it forces school officials, the media and the public to reluctantly confront the question of what constitutes “religion” in the public sphere. The case of Candice Servatius v. School District No. 70 (Alberni) is about whether a public school can require children to participate in a spiritual ceremony, or in a ritual that appeals to the supernatural realm.
In September of 2015, Candice Servatius received a letter from the principal of John Howitt Elementary School (JHES) in Port Alberni, B.C., stating that JHES would be hosting a Student/Classroom “Cleansing” performed by a member of the Nuu-chah-nulth, a term used to describe fifteen related First Nation tribes who live on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island. The school’s letter described in detail how the cleansing ritual would “cleanse” the classroom of “energy” and cleanse the “spirits” of the students. The letter claimed that without cleansing, the classroom and even the furniture would harbour negative “energy” and would not be safe until the “energy” was “released”. Smoke from sage was fanned over the bodies of children, including Mrs. Servatius’ daughter, who was required to participate in this ritual against her will. Several months later, an aboriginal prayer was offered to a “god” at a school assembly that children were required to attend.
Skye Ryan, a reporter with CBC affiliate CHEK news, writes that the practice of Nuu-chah-nulth spirituality is “on trial” and implies that Mrs. Servatius is opposed to aboriginal spirituality. Ms. Ryan’s story largely ignores the court documents, which make it abundantly clear that the only issue on trial is whether public schools can impose spiritual rituals on children in the classroom.
If Mrs. Servatius is successful in her court action, the Nuu-chah-nulth will not lose any freedom to practice their spirituality, ceremonies and rituals, nor will public schools cease to teach about aboriginal history, culture and practices, including aboriginal beliefs. If the court rules in favour of Mrs. Servatius, the only difference will be that children are no longer compelled by the state to be present and participate in spiritual ceremonies, prayers or rituals. This is the only just result in a pluralistic society that includes a wide variety of spiritual beliefs and practices, including the complete absence of such beliefs.
In her story, Ms. Ryan quotes Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council President Judith Sayers complaining about smudging being banned from schools. But Ms. Sayers herself has given evidence that in Nuu-chah-nulth practice, smudging is always entered into by consent. Neither Mrs. Servatius nor her daughter consented to this young girl participating in the ritual in the classroom.
Another aboriginal leader, Harry Cadwallader, testified that learning about smudging is different than being smudged. Mr. Cadwallader agrees that children can learn about smudging in a number of different ways: “You can be shown a demonstration. You can be shown a video. You can be read a description.” Mr. Cadwallader has testified that “the infusion of aboriginal culture, content, language, history, of understanding, as a methodology to improve the success of aboriginal students and raise awareness of all students about aboriginal people” can be accomplished without compelling children to be smudged against their will. This evidence was entirely absent from Ms. Ryan’s story, although it was publicly available in filed court documents.
Ms. Ryan further reports that the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is a “right-wing” organization, perhaps hoping this might somehow make Ms. Servatius’ claim worth dismissing out of hand. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is not a “right-wing” document, and the Justice Centre works to uphold the Charter freedoms of all Canadians, regardless of where on the political spectrum they might reside.
If Ms. Ryan believes that defending freedom of religion (which includes the right not to be compelled to participate in spiritual practices) is “right-wing”, she is fully entitled to express that opinion. But Ms. Ryan should do so by way of an opinion editorial, and not insert her personal beliefs into what is supposed to be a straight news story. As the Canadian Association of Journalists Ethics Guidelines puts it: “We clearly identify news and opinion so that the audience knows which is which”.
The two Justice Centre lawyers in court in Nanaimo this week, Jay Cameron and James Kitchen, were not available to be interviewed for Ms. Ryan’s story, and they referred Ms. Ryan to me, also a lawyer. Ms. Ryan did not contact me, yet claims in her story that “Neither Servatius or her lawyers would be interviewed.” I was, and remain, available to be interviewed, but as of this writing Ms. Ryan has declined to contact me for comment.
Court cases, by definition, involve two competing “sides.” It behooves an objective media to remember that.
Lawyer John Carpay is president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF.ca), which represents Mrs. Servatius in her court action against School District 70.