He is the reason that I want to be Prime Minister of Canada.
Because, when I was in grade seven at Richard McBride Elementary School in New Westminster BC – Clifford Olsen molested, kidnapped and murdered more children than he was ever charged with, because the Justice System at the time – much like what was done with Willie Pickton – charge for the minimum number of victims as possible to ensure a life sentence – so as to not create a gold standard for other murderers to surpass.
It’s not because I encountered him and lived to tell – but it is because I was able to face him and not become his victim that I feel an obligation to consider being Prime Minister of Canada.
It’s not entirely because the high school offered a course in career planning and part of that involved entering your work preferences and interests into a computer program called CHOICES that would then crunch through a database of 10,000 jobs and then give you a list of options.
The instructions were to print any results that had fewer than 10 careers.
My first five searches, with all or most of my criteria, unsurprisingly to me but in total shock to the teacher – resulted in zero careers.
I was simply trying to fit too much in – so I had to prioritize and compromise and finally, I was getting jobs for my search results.
The First Result was one job: Prime Minister of Canada.
The next few result lists still had Prime Minister as best suited and Movie Producer as second – other careers included communications/marketing, computer or other sciences, and creative writing/editor – publishing.
I probably still have the dot matrix print outs somewhere.
So the reason why Clifford Olsen makes me want to be Prime Minister is because the Justice System has become a system under which prisoners and accused are ensured a fair trial and that we have actually gone so far as to make the Justice System unresponsive to victims of crime and barely tolerate the families of victims who cannot speak for themselves anymore.
Don’t misunderstand – I am for prisoner rights and safety – and I am even more for the safety of prison guards and administrators – because let’s face it – they are in the prison as a day job – not because they did something wrong.
But I do not see that a system designed to contain the prison population from rioting – by offering “faint hope” of parole, by offering rehabilitation, training and education to allow prisoners the opportunity to become socially capable and responsible citizens upon release – is serving either the prison population or Canadians.
Worse, I do not think there is much justice when the perpetrator of a horrific crime – such as murder – is given every chance possible to become a responsible citizen – and the family of the victim is given no support and no meaningful voice – heck – they are the one who lost a love one – the crime is against that Family more than it is against the Crown or The People.
The loss happened to the family of the victim and they don’t get support that remotely approaches what convicted criminals get – and worse – they have to not only suffer the loss of their loved one – but also have to endure an investigation into their loved one that the impact is often – well, the perp is innocent until proven guilty – so not only do you have to endure the loss of your loved one – but also the idea that they might have brought it upon them self – as appalling an idea that is.
But that’s how it plays in the mind of the family: I have lost my loved one – and this person who is responsible for ending that life – now has to be treated with kid gloves and all kinds of consideration – even when there is little room for doubt – even when the evidence is clear, because one wrong step by police, and the warrant is voided and the evidence is gone from trial consideration.
The need for police procedures and following those procedures is clear. However, I am just going to say this – I would rather Canada have to pay restitution to a wrongfully imprisoned person than allow any obviously by the evidence honestly obtained even if not excessively technically corrected obtained guilty people walk free.
I would reduce the number of wrongfully convicted by ensuring people are not wrongfully arrested at the start or at the least, aren’t taken to trial.
Because the change that I would like to see to the Criminal Justice System is that the police are insulated enough from public and political pressure to not just investigate and arrest whoever is the first good fit.
Remember Clifford Olsen?
My Dad used to jog in Queen Elizabeth Park in New Westminster – probably because he had a beard and because he didn’t have a fancy track suit – the police followed him for a while before Olsen was caught. It was very distressing to know you were being followed by police and weren’t doing anything to warrant it in the best of circumstances so it hasn’t helped by the highly public search for a child killer.
Olsen didn’ t have a beard, the police just had no leads – because when you look at the “solved” murder figures – most murders are solvable because the murderer is known to the victim. Stranger murders, lacking the victim connection, are harder to generate leads or investigation headway.
But that’s not why Olsen makes me want to be Prime Minister.
It was Olsen using the faint hope process and whatever press access he had from solitary confinement – that allowed Olsen to continue to physiologically torture the victim families, and his living victims, specifically and British Columbians generally.
That’s not justice for anyone and it’s an extension of prisoner rights beyond personal safety and Charter Right guarantees.
And if people are so concerned that law abiding gays and lesbians not be given “special rights” – special in this case being the same rights applied meaningfully to the individual circumstance – then I have to wonder – if law abiding gays and lesbians can’t have special rights – why then are criminals and prisoners allowed not only special rights, but vigilant protection of their range of rights by the provincial and federal government?
Why are victims and their families or the families of victims – given the least consideration, protection and the smallest voice? Haven’t they been victimized enough without Establishment marginalizing victims and their families even more?
For a party that rode into Ottawa on a law and order victim rights agenda – the Reform turned CCRAP (remember when they called themselves Canadian Conservative Reform Alliance Party? they shoulda had to have kept that name) to whatever they are now being helmed by Mr. Stephen Harper; I can’t say that the party’s treatment of former MP Chuck Cadman gave me the impression that they cared about victims.
And I am a bit baffled by the Widow Cadman both suing the party for how they treated her husband AND being the Conservative MP in Chuck’s riding – the first riding in Canada to ever elect an Independant MP – Chuck Cadman after he was ousted by the party in favour of another candidate – who – I don’t recall if the Conservative Candidate got any votes, whoever it was.
In any event, although he was originally elected within a party that I am not likely to ever join, Chuck Cadman was an outstanding MP who became the first elected independent and he cast the critical vote that extended the Paul Martin government of that day.
But I don’t have any impression of his widow as an MP. No clue about her whatsoever. I don’t know if no impression is accurate, but I rarely read the local community papers – so maybe someone out there can comment here about Donna Cadman, MP?
It’s all very confusing when you look at the facts absent of context, but context leads to editorial and that often leads to …. probably some kind of lawsuit.
So, I want to be Prime Minister of Canada because I have always stood up against bullies and protected their intended targets from harm.
Which is a little bit what Canada does on an international scale – Canada is Peacekeeping – and we punch above our weight class because we have America to the south who we ride along with.
And Canadians are good with that – we don’t want to run the world, we just want to help make the world run a little more peacefully for everyone.
The world needs more Canada – not Canada the American Lite Edition.
The world needs more of traditional Canada – human rights equality, peacekeeping, universal health care and more.
Because governments should execute laws on behalf of citizens, not execute citizens or enact persecution laws or worse, undermine the existing laws and dismantle the social safety net.
Because it’s a lot cheaper to prevent crime through poverty reduction, legalized marijuana and decriminalized other drugs, through public eduction & health, grants & contributions for small business and fostering a society where everyone’s survival needs are met and the only limit to anyone’s thrive-al needs is down to their own hard work and talent – than to manage crime and build more prisons – aka prisoner universities and Club Fed resorts.
In fact, shouldn’t everyone be concerned that the current government of the day is planning to build more prisons while allowing Canada to no longer be the world’s leader of medical radioactive isotopes?
Shouldn’t everyone be concerned that some of the first things that PM Harper did upon taking office was shutting down the Charter Challenge program and gutting The Department of Status of Women? And slashing arts and community event funding? And now, despite his promise to accept Canadians acceptance of marriage equality, somehow, gay marriage is front page news again?
Do we really want a government who is more interested in imprisoning Canadians than ensuring employment and economic opportunity?
Do we really want anyone as Prime Minister who’s Canada doesn’t include everyone who’s already part of Canada?