British Columbia: Solicitor General Dairy Farmer John Les interview
Barry Artiste, Now Public Contributor
The Vancouver Sun's Observations of BC's Solicitor General and Top Cop John Les statements to the media in the recent crimes and murders comitted in the Lower Mainland have finally made Front page news.
John Les our "Out to Lunch" Solicitor General whose previous non police or justice experience I featured in my Now Public story dated May 12, 2007 titled "Before they were BC's Political Stars" John Les our Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General was a partner in dairy operation, Realtor, Owned successful land development company.
Based on all this past experience doesn't that leave all of us with a great deal of confidence in our justice system and public safety?
My Final Thought
So perhaps after reading the story below confirming my continued efforts to put this man out to pasture, finally Vancouver Sun readers efforts in ridding us of incompetance will come to fruition. If not, then the next election surely will.
Les's reaction feeble as gang violence escalates
Blaming woeful legislation and judicial system not good enough amid rising crime and growing body counts
Ian Mulgrew, Vancouver Sun
Published: Monday, October 29, 2007
Gang violence has everyone's attention in the Lower Mainland, but the politicians who matter don't seem to care.
Solicitor-General John Les says that in spite of the recent carnage, our patchwork quilt of police agencies is a fine security blanket.
The problem, in his view, is judges who don't keep bad guys off the street and Ottawa for not passing tough-on-crime laws.
"If we keep going the way we're going, we're going to see more of this mayhem in our communities," he fulminated last week.
But I think Les should be hoist on his own petard.
Look in the mirror, Les, if you want to see someone complacent about gangs and shedding crocodile tears.
The Criminal Code has provisions to deal with multiple murderers, contract killers and organized crime -- maybe not perfect laws, but laws that are there nevertheless.
It's Les's job to see those laws are enforced and he's done a woeful job of it, looking at the bodies piling up in our restaurants, on our streets and in our apartment buildings.
I think the solicitor-general is out to lunch, for instance, on the need for a regional police force -- gangs that ignore municipal boundaries are one good reason.
Our record here is staggeringly bad. Few gang crimes across the Lower Mainland result in charges, much less convictions.
There are reasons -- witness intimidation not least among them.
But we also have only about 60 integrated gang officers -- roughly one for every two gangs, if you believe police intelligence on the rise of such criminal groupings.
And remember, the trial demands on those officers saps their operational strength even further. Is it any wonder we rarely see an arrest in gangland killings?
We obviously don't devote enough resources to this problem and the split between Vancouver city police and the rest of the Lower Mainland on the matter is serious.
Sure, there also are other measures to combat this scourge we need to consider.
But what is happening in this metropolis is no different than has happened elsewhere.
Jurisdictions that claim any kind of success usually have bought into a basket of solutions that focus resources and attention on gangs.
In California, gangs have plagued Los Angeles for more than a quarter-century. The city spends roughly $78 million a year on gang prevention and intervention programs.
New York maintains a 240-man gang unit!
Some states have started to use injunctions to prevent gang members from socializing with each other or to keep them from certain areas of town.
We do that now with some street traffickers before the courts, banning them from stretches of Hastings, for instance. And we did it with street hookers years ago -- prohibiting them from the West End.
Perhaps it's time to consider a similar approach in terms of identifiable gangsters and local night clubs.
Everywhere, tougher penalties for gang activity such as drive-by shootings as well as legislation targeting gang leaders and those who recruit gang members are on the books or the agenda.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper's omnibus anti-crime legislation is aimed in large part at gun-toting gangsters.
Les's bluster about his federal counterparts and the courts really was so much wind.
There are other measures we should consider as well.
Like many people, I think we should make currently illicit substances such as marijuana legal and regulate drugs in a different fashion to stop the incredible subterranean cash flow they generate for thugs. But that won't eliminate gangs.
Drug trafficking is only one of their criminal pursuits. There is much more.
Use the money saved busting pot smokers to chase people with guns and phoney debit-card machines.
Obviously, cracking down on gangs by itself won't work, either -- as happens right now, others will take the place of those we lock up.
Let's face it -- the burgeoning number of gangs indicates unfortunately a deep well of angry, alienated young men who find a need met in belonging to a violent, lucrative fraternity.
Sociological programs need to be there, too.
That is what the American experience teaches.
We know there are not enough of those in the Lower Mainland -- be they addiction services, after-incarceration support or other government-funded aid.
There is much more Les could do, much more his government could do.
Fiddling seems a poor policy choice, with the body count mounting.