GUEST COMMENTARY – THE MOUNTIES KICKED IN HOW MANY DOORS IN HIGH RIVER?
Were there 754 forced entries or 2,010? Cost to taxpayers so far: $2.3 million!
By Dennis R. Young | November 16, 2015
On September 5, 2013, Wildrose MLA Danielle Smith held a Town Hall in High River, Alberta to shed some light on the forced entries into what we thought were a few hundred homes by the RCMP and the unwarranted searches of and seizures from those homes. S/Sgt. Ian Shardlow told the crowd: “We started to collect the information, we basically solicited people to come forward with the complaints and the numbers are correct it’s around nineteen hundred, I’m going to suggest it will probably stop before two thousand.” The High River Detachment Commander was almost right. We now know, thanks to the Office of the Information Commissioner and a year and half wait, that High River residents actually filed 2,010 complaints caused by the RCMP’s unnecessary and unwarranted actions in High River homes following the flood.
You will remember in the ‘Interim Report’ concerning the High River forced entries, unwarranted entries and gun grab, the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP stated: “In the process of carrying out these emergency plans, RCMP members entered 4,666 homes, and forced entries into more than 754 of those homes.”
We all knew it was more – but 1,256 more?
It was harder than pulling hens teeth to get the truth out of the RCMP. I filed my first Access to Information Program (ATIP) request with the RCMP on June 22, 2014, asking for a summary report of the number of damage claims and repair costs. I thought after a year that all the data should be readily available. I was wrong. In October, I was told by the RCMP ATIP advisor that they didn’t really have any records on damage claims or costs. I filed a complaint with the Information Commissioner. On November 13, 2014, I filed another ATIP request with the RCMP asking for a copy of each of the 1,900+ damage claims filed with the RCMP by High River residents. In March 2015, the RCMP assessed me search fees amounting to $3,150. I filed another complaint with the Information Commissioner about the assessment of exorbitant fees for what I knew had to be mostly electronic records. Still the RCMP refused to cough up the information I requested. The Information Commissioner took the RCMP to Federal Court and the Court decision was rendered on March 31, 2015: “the Act and Regulations do not prescribe the application fees to the modern concept of electronic records.”
The Information Commissioner intervened again with the RCMP on my behalf in September 2015 and the RCMP finally admitted that they had a summary report with the information about the damage claims (a report the RCMP insisted didn’t exist in response to my request in June of 2014). I agreed to modify my request and instead of insisting on copies of the 85,000 pages of High River damage complaints now printed out and taking up 16 file boxes, I agreed to take a copy of the summary report that was immediately available. I finally received this report on November 12, 2015, a year and a half after I made my original request.
Preliminary analysis of this summary report on High River damage claims filed with the RCMP in High River shows:
- High River Damage Claims filed: 2,210 (825 claims no amount showing)
- High River Damage Claims Still Open: 330
- High River Damage Claims Still Under Review: 275
- High River Damage Claims Denied: 3
- Damage Claims Sent to the Town of High River: 1,651
- Total Amount of Damages Claimed by Residents: $2,592,682.81
- Total Claims Recommended for Payment by RCMP: $2,511,630.64
- Average Damage Claim: $1,871.97 (where amount claimed is available)
- Largest Single Claim: $201,870.57
- Second Largest Claim: $65,880.11
- Third Largest Claim: $33,475.40
Question: Wonder what the RCMP did to these three homes to cause so much damage? Another ATIP request coming up.
So how much has all this RCMP door-kicking cost taxpayers (so far)? For this I had to file a request with Alberta Municipal Affairs under the Alberta Freedom of Information Act (FOIP). On October 1, 2015, Municipal Affairs provided a response providing me with a spreadsheet with the following details:
- Claims Filed and Paid: 1,498
- Total Amount Paid by the Province: $2,356,530.91
- Average Claim: $1,573
- Largest Single Claim Paid (to date): $63,001.06
Here is the explanation for the RCMP forced entries and resulting damages provided in the RCMP Complaint Commissioner’s Interim Report: “During the initial searches to protect life, the team scribes were directed to record specific information, including the number of homes damaged, which was 754. Following the flood, detachment members investigated more than 1,900 complaints of property damage. Some of that damage was attributable to other causes, such as the flood or suspected break-ins. Nevertheless, there are a significant number of homes which appeared to have been forcibly entered, but for which there was no accounting in the RCMP records. Again, because of the lack of records, it is impossible to determine how many times the damage was the result of the home inspection teams’ forced entry after the initial searches to protect life. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that, in some instances, RCMP members forced entry into buildings while conducting escort duties of the home inspection teams.”
Here are just a few questions the RCMP Complaint Commissioner’s Interim Report on High River didn’t answer:
- Why wasn’t this information about the exact number and cost of the damage claims reported in the RCMP Public Complaints Commission Interim Report?
- Why did the RCMP force the Information Commissioner to take them to court before releasing this summary report? What else are they hiding from the public?
- Who gave the order for the RCMP to kick in doors to High River homes and why?
- Why did the RCMP keep kicking in doors when RCMP reports tabled in Parliament show they resulted in not even one person being rescued or helped?
- How does the authority to enter ‘buildings’ without warrant in the Alberta Emergency Management Act override the Charter of Rights and Freedoms?
- Why didn’t the Alberta Bill of Rights, the Canadian Bill of Rights and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protect the rights of the residents of High River?
- Why was the authority to order unwarranted entries of High River homes under the Alberta Emergency Management Act not properly delegated?
- Why hasn’t anyone apologized to the residents of High River for illegally entering their homes, searching their homes without warrant and seizing their private property also without warrant?
- What is being done to address the dangerous consequences of the RCMP’s illegal acts when polls show that fifty percent of High River residents will refuse to evacuate in the event of another emergency?
- Why did police in thirty other flooded Alberta communities not have to resort to kicking in a single door to a person’s home?
- What steps have been taken to make sure that this never happens again in any community in Canada?
Let’s all hope the RCMP Complaint Commission’s Final Report on High River will be released soon and provide answers all the unanswered questions. If the Commission won’t or can’t answer all these unanswered questions, then which level of government will do the right thing and call a judicial inquiry?
CSSA COMMUNIQUE REGARDING BEOWULF MAGAZINES | November 18, 2015
Despite some recent social media surrounding Beowulf magazines, the CSSA is confirming that there has been NO BAN on the sale of these magazines in Canada by either the R.C.M.P. or the Minister of Public Safety at this time.
All 50 Beowulf firearms FRT numbers remain listed as legal with a five-round capacity, and retailers should continue to sell these products at this time:
- #121656 Alexander Arms
- #124566 Alexander Arms
- #128962 MGI
- #122716 Stag Arms
- #136602 VLtor Arms
A recent letter from the R.C.M.P. addressed to Aztech Armoury in response to a denial of their International Import Certificate for these magazines was shared via social media and has caused widespread speculation that the magazines themselves have been banned. This was a private letter to one company regarding one shipment, not a Special Bulletin.
The CSSA continues to work with the office of the Minister of Public Safety regarding this issue and will release further updates as needed.
WE’RE STILL LOOKING …
Do you want to tell your children and your grandchildren that you were “on the front line” protecting their rights?
Team CSSA is working to re-energize and re-focus our corps of volunteer regional directors. Would you like to be part of our exciting new RD Program and help represent Canada’s greatest firearm organization across the nation?
It will require some definite, but modest, time commitments. Time well spent with friendly firearm owners representing the Canadian Shooting Sports Association. If you’re interested, please send an email to Christine Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org
THE PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD – WE NEED YOU!
The CSSA is reactivating our letter-writing teams. This group of articulate scribes is needed to counter inaccurate or biased media with fact-based points of view. Our previous letter-writing team was very effective in helping Canadians understand the many problems with the now deceased long-gun registry. Some basic training is provided. As well, this group will also be schooled in Access to Information requests and how to properly prepare and submit them on the CSSA’s behalf.
If you are interested, please send an email to Christine Scott at email@example.com.
HELP SUPPORT THE GREAT WORK THE CSSA DOES TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS. DONATE HERE
THE STATE DOESN’T TRUST YOU (By John Robson | National Post | November 16, 2015)
If you should happen to cast a beady, skeptical eye at the state in Canada today, you may get a nasty surprise. A beady, skeptical eyeball staring right back at you. This is no time to blink.
It doesn’t matter whether the government in question has a friendly, smiling face or a cold scowling one. It doesn’t trust us. Not in big things or small. Not our competence or our compassion.
It doesn’t trust us to carry a bailing can in a boat without a rule and a threatened fine. It doesn’t trust us to laugh off dishonest political ads. It doesn’t trust us to eat sensibly. It suspects us of lurking bigotry and predatory greed. It doesn’t trust us to protect ourselves and our loved ones from harm of virtually any kind.
The state constantly insists we are too stupid to know what is good for us.
Put aside, briefly, the tendency of government regulation to be counterproductive. Never mind that people find nutritional information labels confusing. Focus on the fact that they’re there because the state thinks those of us who sell food are trying to fill customers’ tummies with rubbish, and those of us who buy it are too weak and gullible to make sure stores sell wholesome things.
It’s not even true. One food chain after another is moving toward hormone-free, routine-antibiotic-free meat because we are still grownups who think about what we’re doing despite persistent state efforts to infantilize us. But the effort persists, and justifies maintaining and intensifying our skeptical scrutiny of Big Dietician.
The situation is more than a little surprising in historical perspective. In Canada, as in Britain from which our political culture and system sprang, citizens controlled the government, not the other way around. We had the right to mistrust the state. It did not have the right to mistrust us.
Nowadays that presumption has been turned on its head. From rules about salt in food to bicycle helmets to the height of railings on decks, the state constantly insists we are too stupid to know what is good for us. And endless limits on free speech and free association say we are too mean to be left to play nicely together.
It might seem paradoxical to say we are too dumb to eat by ourselves but smart enough to vote for Big Dietician. But of course the political system is hedged about with all sorts of rules, like restrictions on campaign finance, to restrain our stupidity or malevolence … for our own good, of course.
One crucial aspect of this reversal in citizens’ relationship to the state is on the right of self defence. In Canada, in theory, you’re still allowed to protect yourself. But you’re increasingly denied the necessary tools, not just guns but even pepper spray, that you could buy routinely three generations back. And if you do defend yourself in an emergency, the executive branch, in the form of the police, may well use its discretion to make your life surprisingly miserable in ways they too rarely do for those who initiate predatory violence.
It did not use to be this way. Despite obtuse rhetoric from the chattering classes, the right to self-protection has belonged to free people in the Anglosphere since, literally, the end of Roman Britain. It was always a mark of servile status to be denied arms, including under slavery in the United States. And servile is bad.
The right to carry weapons was cherished by those who settled this country, including First Nations. It was cherished by Upper and Lower Canada rebels who forced the British authorities to grant responsible self-government. It was cherished by citizens turned soldier in both World Wars, who grew up hunting and handling guns as tools worthy of respect in the hands of people worthy of it. And just because “it’s 2015” doesn’t mean we are no longer competent to make our own decisions in the supermarket, in the public square and when danger threatens.
That’s why Brigitte Pellerin and I, following the success of Magna Carta: Our Shared Legacy of Liberty, are crowdfunding a documentary on the traditional Canadian right to bear arms. It’s not just about guns; it goes back to swords, spears and arrows. It’s about being strong and free, independent and self-reliant.
A FIREARM LEGAL DEFENCE SUCCESS STORY – POLICYHOLDER SAVES $14,000 IN LEGAL FEES
Alexi’s business was subject to a surprise inspection, and was subsequently charged under the criminal code with improper storage of one of his personal non-restricted firearms on the property. The allegation was that the trigger lock was not on, and the firearm was stored in an unlocked room. Alexi faced a $5,000 fine and the loss of his firearm license.
DAS Canada, the insurance underwriter for Firearm Legal Defence, appointed a lawyer who was confident from the outset that they would be able to make a robust defence. The lawyer represented the insured in court on several occasions, and all of the charges were withdrawn. If Alexi did not have a Firearm Legal Defence policy, he would have had to sell his firearms to financially support the case that would have cost approximately $14,000 in legal fees.
“I signed up for the [Firearm Legal Defence] policy from the minute I saw it. It was a no-brainer. It is the responsible thing for you to do for yourself, for your family and for other gun owners. I would have had to sell my firearms to get the financial support to continue with my case.” – Alexi K.
A Firearm Legal Defence policy will:
1) Protect you from costly legal fees
2) Allow you to defend your rights as a gun owner
3) Plus, it gives you unlimited access to our Legal Advice Helpline, whereby you can ask any legal question – whether it be firearms related or not.
Are you covered? Click “Buy Now” for immediate peace of mind.
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For more information on Firearm Legal Defence and policy details, Click here.
MINISTER OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS MANDATE LETTER (By Prime Minister Justin Trudeau | Office of the Prime Minister | November 4, 2015)
From the letter: “Take action to get handguns and assault weapons off our streets by working with the Minister of Justice to strengthen controls on hand-guns and assault weapons, including by repealing some elements of Bill C-42”
REBEL MEDIA – GUN CONTROL IS A KEY ITEM IN TRUDEAU’S PLAN, MANDATE LETTERS SHOW (By Brian Lilley | Rebel Media | November 14, 2015)
The Liberals promised more gun control and now that we’ve seen the ministerial mandate letters, we know gun control is key to his plan. The letters to Justice Minister Jody Wilson Raybould and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale both mention taking action on guns. They speak about getting handguns and assault weapons off our streets, strengthening controls on handguns and assault weapons and repealing some elements of Bill C-42. Which parts? The parts that made life easier for law abiding gun owners to transport their firearms to the range or their hunt camp.
Click on the link to view the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJY4x37OaY4
Thanks for keeping up the fight Brian.
CANADA IN THE ROUGH – BACK COUNTRY MOUNTAIN CARIBOU
While sleeping beside a glacier-filled lake, Keith and the crew climb thousands of feet in elevation each day to chase mountain caribou on top of the world. With breathtaking views and amazing wildlife encounters, Keith hunts hard for an elusive big bull in one of the most remote locations on the planet.
See the teaser: http://www.canadaintherough.com/back-country-mountain-caribou/
Canada in the Rough can be found on OLN, WILD TV, and CHEX. For a full schedule, visit: http://www.canadaintherough.com/schedules/
DONALD TRUMP ON PARIS MASSACRE: ‘NOBODY HAD GUNS BUT THE BAD GUYS’ (By Colin Campbell | Business Insider | November 14, 2015)
Real-estate mogul Donald Trump argued on Saturday that the terrorist attack in Paris the previous night would have been “much, much different” if people there had been armed.
“When you look at Paris — the toughest gun laws in the world, Paris — nobody had guns but the bad guys. Nobody. Nobody had guns,” Trump said at a presidential campaign rally in Beaumont, Texas.
“They were just shooting them one by one,” the Republican presidential front-runner lamented.
Most of Friday night’s violence occurred at Paris’ Bataclan concert venue, where attackers opened fire and then took hostages. Authorities said at least 89 people were killed there.
Trump did not say what exactly would have been different if Parisians had gun rights, or that the 129 people who authorities have said died in the series of attacks would have been saved. However, he suggested that right-to-carry laws would have helped to stop the attackers, who were armed with machine guns and explosives.
“I’ll tell you what. You can say what you want, but if they had guns — if our people had guns, if they were allowed to carry — it would’ve been a much, much different situation,” he said to cheers.
Trump then noted that much of the gun violence in the US occurs in cities that have strict gun laws.
“I hear it all the time,” he said. “You look at certain cities that have the highest violence, the highest problem with guns and shootings and killings. Chicago as an example, toughest gun laws in the United States. Nothing but problems. So our country better get smart, because we’re not smart right now.”
He also said the Paris attacks clarified how “insane” it would be for the US to take in a large number of Syrian refugees fleeing the violence there.
GOODYEAR FIRES CMP DISTINGUISHED SHOOTER AFTER FELLOW SHOOTER VISITS HIM AT WORK (By Steve Johnson | The Firearm Blog | November 12, 2015)
David Waters, one of the top shooters in Australia, competes regularly in high-power shooting competitions in the USA. In 2008 he became the first non-US citizen to be awarded the Distinguished Rifleman Badge by the CMP
A mechanical engineer by profession, he has worked for Goodyear in Australia for the past 12 years until earlier this year when he was fired.
A friend of his, an inexperienced shooter named Liz from his target shooting club, visited him at the Goodyear Corporate Headquarters. She wanted advice on how to fit an accessory to her target rifle. He had expected her to bring the accessory, but she also bought the rifle.
In the car park David told her to put the rifle, which she had removed from the car (minus the bolt and magazine), back in the car. Someone called the police after seeing her holding the rifle. Sixteen police officers arrived on the scene. The police searched the car and she was charged on a technically to do with the transport of ammunition (although the charge is likely to be dropped).
David was suspended without pay and called in a week later for a meeting with Goodyear HR. His friend, Australian Senator Leyonhjelm attended the meeting at his request. An hour later he was fired on grounds that “his conduct had significant reputational impact on the company”. Two days ago Senator Leyonhjelm made a speech recounting the events in the Australian Senate.
Goodyear Australia have managed to tarnish the international Goodyear brand over what amount to a non-event. It is my hope Goodyear HQ in Ohio take note of this incident and instruct their subsidiary to right its wrong.
LOOKING FOR UPCOMING GUN SHOWS AND MATCHES? Visit our website at: https://cssa-cila.org/upcoming-events-matches/
PETITIONING HERB COX, SASKATCHEWAN MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT: HANDGUN HUNTING SEASON IN SASKATCHEWAN
We would like a handgun hunting season in Saskatchewan as well as all licensed trappers allowed to carry pistols. Handguns are safe short-range firearms and we would like to have a handgun season or be included in the muzzloading crossbow season for large game. We would also like the opportunity to hunt small game and game birds with a pistol. This would be a unique opportunity for Saskatchewan to draw in many additional resident and non-resident hunters. The Minister of Environment is able to create this season that can be enjoyed by all hunters across the province. Mandatory training before purchasing a handgun in Canada exists so there would be no need for additional training before participating in the season. Due to a back injury I can no longer hunt with a how and would enjoy this close in hunting opportunity and many others would flock to Saskatchewan to take part, which would bring in tourist revenue. I urge all potential hunters interested in partaking of this season to give the Ministry of Environment a call at 1-800-567-4224 and ask about the upcoming season.
Sign the petition:
THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
The CSSA is the voice of the sport shooter and firearms enthusiast in Canada. Our national membership supports and promotes Canada’s firearms heritage, traditional target shooting competitions, modern action shooting sports, hunting, and archery. We support and sponsor youth programs and competitions that promote these Canadian heritage activities.
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