Protecting yourself from your child or Employee on drugs

I practised law for 15 years. A good part of that was acting as a defence lawyer for people involved in the drug trade. I learned a lot more about the effects of drugs than I otherwise would have.  I met people that had drug problems, came to know their families and loved ones, and occasionally came to love some that had those problems.

Drug addicts lose their sense of morality. Outrage! How can you say that?? Well, I’ve seen people I really like, kind, considerate people, get into drugs. I’ve seen them steal money from their parents or employers including the ones that gave them that “last chance”, steal equipment to sell, steal the family car, steal lifesaving medication, attempt to take title to parents homes… well, it’s a long list. So here’s my short article on What should I do if my employee or child has become addicted to drugs.

Sure signs of it:

1. Falling off the roadmap – disappearing for days.

Normal people don’t do this, and they don’t do it to just to “get their head on straight”. Disappearing for a few days at a time is a huge red flag. Think 5 thousand people in Tiananmen square. It’s that many red flags.

2. Stuff going missing.

When more equipment or tools are being ordered, but seem to be missing, you’ve already missed the start of it. Small thefts go unnoticed very easily in a family or employment situation. If you’re able to track or determine with certainty that a theft has occurred there is a very good chance that it’s not the first one. Remember also that there are very few coincidences in life.

3. Odd or urgent needs for money.

Where someone has been stable for some months, even if at a low wage, and suddenly needs a loan, right away, this is a red flag. Where someone has a good wage and needs a loan right away, that’s a huge red flag. Needing that loan urgently, where money hasn’t been an ongoing issue, is a change, and it’s a change in general financial conduct. People don’t usually change that. Loaning money at times like these is a donation, but it’s not a donation to the employee or kid. It’s a donation to a drug dealer somewhere. That $20, or $100 won’t be enough though. $100,000 won’t be enough. God can’t make enough money to satisfy a habit or “get me enough to get by so I can get off it”.   There’s not enough money in the world to “pay off the people that are after me”.  There really is no upper limit or stop point. On the other hand, there are people who are constantly needing loans because they just can’t manage their affairs. This isn’t a change for them. You should avoid them too.

4. Urgent needs to be away, inexplicable absences.

I saw a crane operator storm off a worksite at 7:30 in the morning, yelling that he “can’t put up with this bullsh##”. Crane operators are very well paid. Was he really that upset with something that had occurred by 7:30 a.m.? No. No one who is stable and normal is storming off that early in the day. What was he really doing? He was creating a way to get off site to go get some dope. An hour into the workday is a very tough time for addicts. They might have slept some for the workday, but an hour in lets the sleep and drugs of the night before wear off, and the cold reality of no drugs checks in. By now, for them, the state of no drugs looks pretty bad.

5. Explanations that just don’t “sound right”.

Most people have a sort of internal barometer when it comes to the stories of others. You may not be able to put a finger on exactly what is wrong with a story you hear from someone right that second, but there’s a good chance there’s a little nudge going on in your head, a little “hmm, that’s odd”. That nudge is good sense talking to you. This might check in an hour after the conversation, but if you think about it, what other conversations seemed significant an hour later? It stayed or hovered in your mind an hour later because there was something wrong with it.

6. Sudden changes in appearance/manner.

Hard drugs have super hard effects on the body. Apart from the actual effects of the drugs, hard drug users stop taking care of their body. Significant weight changes are a possible indicator when considered with the other signs. Weight change coupled with manner changes are a huge red flag. Kid/employee excitable and moving constantly or getting angry in a flash? That would be a giant flag.

How to Protect Yourself!

Okay, so you’ve formed the conclusion that your star employee or you kid might be addicted to drugs. My gosh, horrible, now what? HURRY. HURRY HURRY That’s what. By the time you have formed this idea you can be certain that things are a whole lot more addicted than you might think. If you’re thinking “they’ve gotten into drugs” it’s more likely that they are absolutely swimming in drugs, focused on it every moment, and can’t wait to get more. They will start working very quickly to liquidate what they can, particularly once they realize the money train may dry up.

1. Cancel any credit cards or gas cards they have.

Credit cards and gas cards are a way to have actual cash, or to buy stuff that can be sold.

2. Lock down bank accounts that they could have access to.

If there’s a joint account of some kind, get the money out of it. If it’s a joint account they have as much right to it as you do. If the money is not there anymore, they can’t take it.  If they know your bank codes go to the bank and change them.   If you have a chequing account and they might have had access to your cheques go to the bank and get another account.

3. Get the keys back to anything you readily can.

That includes vehicles, portable locks or trailers, family vacation property, storage compounds or heavy equipment. If it has a lock and key you’d rather they didn’t have the key. Everything will be stripped, even the stuff that has almost no value, just on the off chance it might have some value.

4. Retrieve any family or company vehicle they may be using.

If you have a set of keys, get a friend to drive you to the vehicle and jump in and take it. Store it well away from where your employee or kid can get it back. If you don’t have a set of keys, arrange for a tow truck and plenty of security. Vehicles are a big trigger point as they are the way to go get drugs, or to make money to buy drugs by selling drugs or stealing and fencing property.

5. Retrieve valuable personal property where possible.

If the employee or kid has things like computers for business purposes, get them back quick. The valuable company or family computer that was $1500 or 2K new will sell for $20 to $50 on the street.

6. Contact any suppliers you may have

Your employee or kid may contact them with news of a new job or project and buy equipment. They then sell that equipment. This can be pretty weird stuff, almost anything, so make sure you contact every single supplier.

7. Contact any rental companies you may have accounts with.

Your employee or kid can rent equipment and then sell it.

8. Cancel their company/family phone.

You may be desperate for contact, but that contact is all smoke and mirror words. All of the words you hear are words of manipulation to get more money for more drugs. In the meantime the phone is costing you money, and being used to buy more drugs, or even worse, being used to sell some drugs to buy more drugs.

9. Get the locks changed.

There’s a desperation for money, and a broad examination of where things of value might exist that is going on. If you have a compound, or trailer, or outbuilding, your special someone in these circumstances has been thinking about what’s in it. Get the locks changed on your house, compound, storage shed, you name it. They’re coming for your stuff, don’t make it easy.

10. Electronic surveillance/alarm systems

There is all kinds of software and hardware out there that is reasonably priced and will buzz your phone when motion is detected. Electronic surveillance/alarm systems can alert you to what’s actually going on right that moment, giving you a chance to stop it, or form a record for later criminal charges, or at least inform you who is stealing your stuff. Note that later criminal charges don’t help you too much to actually get your stuff back.

11. Report criminal offences.

If you can’t get your vehicle back, or the kid/employee has already gone and charged things up at the store when not authorized, report it to the police. They may pull over the vehicle while it’s being used for other criminal activity, and your vehicle can at least be recovered. Where the kid/employee has charged up purchases, it’s important for your insurance claim to have a police file number, and it’s not doing a favour for the kid/employee to insulate them from their actions. Experiencing actual consequences is how we learn.

12. Listen to the actions, do not listen to the words.

Words are smoke. They have no substance. Actions are what you can rely on. People addicted to drugs have a really intense mission going, and they’re trying everything they can to keep that supply happening. While saying how much they love you (giving words) they’ll be taking money out of your till or purse, or asking for a loan (taking actions). While confirming that they’re really on it, looking out for you or your business, you’re seeing that they didn’t pick up the groceries from the store, or missed meetings with other companies or subtrades or just didn’t show up for lunch when they said they would. People who are stable do not just no show for lunch. Actions day to day count, words are smoke.

13. Manage the message.

You should not be trying to assassinate the person whether employee or kid, but on the other hand you should not be trying to insulate them from their actions. It’s perhaps better not to say “Employee XX is a drug addict”, as then you step into mean spirited labelling of drug addicts. Instead, you might say “Employee XX is not as reliable as they used to be, and we’re moving on without them”. If you’re really solid in your conclusions, there’s no harm in being honest if you decide to. “Employee XX stole from me” is not libel if it’s true.

14. Record Serial Numbers.

While the police are not exactly out there shaking down the bad guys and getting stuff back, they do occasionally bust a large scale stolen property operation or some high as can be drug dealer driving around with a ton of stolen stuff in his car. That’s the time you might actually get your stuff back if you tracked the serial numbers. The down side is that this is usually months or years after the fact, the stuff might be wrecked, and you have to report it to your insurance company who will want to recover from you anything they have paid.

15. Nothing is too small.

Got some Canadian Tire money in your glove box, or your mom’s “kinda” gold chain in your jewellery box? Both are gold to someone on the wrong side of dope. For them, it might be cash to the dope dealer, or the pawn shop, or …..

After all that, you may be thinking what the heck could they be coming for next? Well, almost anything. Watch for notices of any kind coming in the mail, if you’re named in any lawsuit of any kind that pertains to your child or employee be sure and respond to it.  They may have been out there running up your credit, or making contracts in your company name.   If you don’t respond to those lawsuits you may end up with judgements against yourself or your company.

What now??

These situations are horrible to deal with. There’s a foundation of trust established over the course of years that is tottering. Don’t let it totter, it’s over, give it a push. Then move to protect yourself, and try not to be vengeful. Love your loved one and respect your employee, but in these circumstances, watch and rely on only the actions.

They’re ready to get straight, they’ve hit rock bottom

Rock bottom is the most elastic place on earth. I’ve heard this one so many times, and invested my heart in it, and seen it go wrong. The thing is, everyone wants to believe in their loved one or guy/girl they’ve come to trust. When you see them in a complete wreck, and they’re saying all the words (remember words are smoke), “I’m at rock bottom”, “I’m dead”, “I can’t do this anymore”, “I’ve hurt the people that I love”, they think they mean it. I hope so anyway. Or maybe it’s just more of the manipulation. I hope not. In any case, the result is that new surge of hope, and then there might be the trip to get some new clothes to go to rehab with, so they don’t have to feel like crap all the time, or maybe the new electric toothbrush, because your loved one’s teeth have gotten trashed from the drugs and maybe that will help (it won’t). A bit of money while they’re at rehab would be great right, so they can get snacks? At this point, if you’re inclined to put in any money, make it actual goods, not cash, and make it small enough that there is zero value on resale. This may seem like you’re not investing in their future. That’s what they’ll tell you. They’ll say you don’t trust them, that you’re not putting any faith in them.  They’ll tell you this as they get out of the car, and instead of going in the door of the rehab centre they go around the side, and over the fence, and disappear for 6 months. Any cash or goods you gave them of course gets sold off in a heartbeat.

Hey, they’re straight now! 🙂

Damn, I’m really sorry to write this mini-chapter. I’ve been there, I’ve experienced it, and I’ve acted many many times for those who have. There’s all the excitement of the loved one newly out of rehab. They look great! So healthy, a bunch of weight put back on, skin looks great, a real vitality shining through. They’re back! A new boyfriend or girlfriend might have come on scene, there’s hobbies, maybe they’re into the gym regularly.  Outstanding!  Maybe your loved one or employee has started work, they’ve got the new job or position, they’re really working hard, and bringing a whole new attitude. I can’t say what the numbers are, but there is a very high risk of relapse. When everything seems really great, and you give them a ride to work, they get out of the car, wish you a great day, and don’t even make it to the front door. They’re gone, and you realize they stole some money out of your wallet before they went, or took something you had left from your mom or dad that had passed away. They’re going to get drugs, and they need some way to pay for it.  Maybe your son or daughter found an apartment, got steady with welfare or a job, and you take them out to get all the stuff that a kitchen should have. A few days later you drop by, and it’s all gone, everything is gone from the apartment, and the kid is gone. They needed the money, and sold or “gave away” (in exchange for sharing some drugs) everything you paid for. They needed some drugs.  You’re left wondering what drove them off the edge.  Why did they throw all that progress away?  Things were going so well!  Why???

This one is really hard to get your head around. Everything can seem great. There’s nothing going wrong, it all seems like a stairway to nothing but up. But somehow, for some reason that I’ve never understood, there’s a decision, and that decision is… “I need some dope”.  It’s not based on some reason like “my girlfriend cheated”, or “my boss was a jerk”, or “I got hurt”.   These are all events that happen to everyone.   It’s based on a decision that is … “I need some dope”.

Be very careful in these stages. Invest extraordinarily carefully. Invest only as much as you’re prepared to see walk down the street to the local drug dealer. Have in mind that he or she (your local drug dealer I mean) needs money too, and would like to live life high on the hog and use lots of dope too. You may want to support that, or you may choose not to??

Be careful, guard your heart as best you can, and your wallet and savings even better. You can invest your heart lots of times, but your savings will run out eventually I assure you. It’s not hopeless. It’s perhaps not hopeful, but it’s not hopeless.  Don’t give up, but do try to move forward, and do what you must to protect yourself.

Lynching and Donald Trump, how dare he???

Wow.  I’m astounded.   Today the President of the United States of America tweets :

So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal right,”  All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here – a lynching.  Bu we will WIN!

Poor little victim really thinks he has it that bad?  He’s talking about an impeachment process that has hearings, and hearings, and hearings.  These are quasi judicial proceedings, involving reasoned discourse, public hearings, testimony, cross examination, all in a process that is enshrined and perhaps mired in the rule of law.  There are many procedural protections.   That’s what due process is!  IF there is a decision to impeach the President, he’s ….. out of a job.  That’s it.  Unemployed.  I think that Donald Trump can get through that.  He’s comparing himself, in this process, to the circumstance of a lynching??  WHAT????     A lynching involves no rule of law.   It’s a dark of night affair with no procedural protections, no right to representation for the victim, no hearing meaningful or otherwise, and a rope, and utter terror, and a very dead person hanging from a rope, left to inspire terror in others.


No more Mr. President   vs    Dead on the end of a rope

Poor little victim indeed.


What’s a dumptruck? – Again, lets get terminology right.

19.10.05  The other day I hear that a lawyer I know has been referred to as a dump truck.   It seems pretty likely to me that the speaker has some misunderstandings as to what “dump truck” means.  Soooo, let’s talk about it a bit.  I’m good with some street slang.  Some of it has some worthwhile meaning to it.  “Bad action” for example has some excellent depth.  Today though, we’re talking about “dump truck”.   So what’s a dump truck?

“my lawyer told me that the case is pretty strong against me, and he thinks a guilty plea is a good move, what a dump truck”.   Nope.  You’re missing it.  Not understanding dump truck at all.  This is called good legal advice.  You should listen closely to what your lawyer is saying.   Is the case against you a strong one?  Think now, don’t rely on some story that a 5 year old wouldn’t believe, take a moment to really look at the case against you.     Ask your lawyer what’s strong about it.  If he or she can tell you, it’s probably a good idea to listen to it.

“my lawyer told me that I’ve been such a jerk that they’re not willing to work for me anymore.  What a dump truck”.    Nope, still missing it.  Dumping you as a client is a smart move for the lawyer, because if you’re being a jerk now, it’s not likely to get better.  By the time your lawyer says this, it’s pretty clear to them that you’re incapable of hearing, accepting or understanding good legal advise anyway.

“legal aid said that the lawyer I wanted won’t take my case.  What a dump truck”.    Yeahhhhhhh, still missing it.  If the lawyer you wanted won’t take the case there’s likely good reason for it.  It may be because you’re a complete jackass, but not necessarily.   Instead,  your lawyer may already be too busy, or have a conflict of interest.  A conflict of interest is way too long a story to explain to someone who says something like this, so I won’t bother.  I will say that when the lawyer you wanted says they have a conflict of interest, they’re doing you a favour.  You should learn to accept things gracefully.

“I know a  lawyer who almost never takes a case to trial.  No one I know has had a trial with this lawyer, and when I ask this lawyer if they ever run trials they have different explanations, but at the end of the conversation it seems like there’s never any trials going on for this lawyer, . … what a dump truck”  Bingo!  You’ve got it!  A dump truck is a lawyer who never, or extremely rarely, takes a case to trial.  When talking about a criminal lawyer, if I’m not seeing 6+trials per year, then I’m seeing a guy or woman who’s gotten afraid of the trial track, or never got comfortable there in the first place.   If they’re afraid to run a trial, the crown gets a feel for that too, and that lawyer loses the ability to effectively negotiate.  If the crown does not think that the lawyer is willing and ABLE to really test their witnesses, or the evidence, they have no reason to be concerned about what kind of shi&&y case they have to wobble forward.   A lawyer who has lost the willingness to take things to trial has lost half their arsenal.  It’s a bit like the big kid at school who’s afraid to fight.  Once the sharks get the smell for that…. it doesn’t go well.

While I’m here, lets talk about trials on criminal files.  On private files, where the client is actually paying the freight, the client gets the idea pretty quick of how much money a trial is worth.  Just because it’s thick money does not mean that the lawyer is willing to run the trial.   Ask around, and ask the lawyer.   “Have you run any trials this year?” if asked respectfully, is not unreasonable if you’re getting the idea that trial was never on the table.  On legal aid a lawyer gets a lot less.  That said, lawyers on a legal aid file make more money running trials than pleading out.  It’s usually more in the financial interest for the lawyer to run the trial than not to.  But trials are hard, incredibly focused, and time consuming to prepare for.  Trials involve some very personal effort, and they can be too much for some people, who should not be practicing criminal law.   It’s okay to to ask, but ask carefully.  The question is pretty close to saying “are you afraid to fight” and you might get a pretty strong response.  That said, if you’re asking…. well.. something is not right, and you should get that sorted out with your lawyer before progressing much further.





Maxime Bernier is outright mean

It’s 2019.09.15.  The federal election is on.  I’m not a member of any party.  I don’t get paid by any party.   I don’t like a lot of aspects of party politics.  BUT, I do pay attention to what the politicians say, and sometimes, it’s no go.

Greta Thunberg is a 16 year old girl who has managed to capture the world stage with a number of climate change pronouncements.  I don’t know if she’s right.   Climate change seems to be an undeniable fact at this point.  I was a pretty slow adopter.  Chicken Little and the sky is falling doesn’t call out to me a lot, but when the vast majority of modern day science is shouting “stop doing what you’re doing!” it’s a good idea to at least look long and hard at what you’re doing.   I have, and I have seen that a lot of what we are doing is not sustainable over the longer term.   Enter now Maxime Bernier, of the peoples party of canada.  (I didn’t add capitals to that, deliberately.)   I’m not a political guy, but when an adult male who is presumably educated, says:

4/ is clearly mentally unstable. Not only autistic, but obsessive-compulsive, eating disorder, depression and lethargy, and she lives in a constant state of fear.

Well, that’s low.  That dirty.  That’s wrong.  She’s 16 years old you &..*.   Who the heck are you to take a low blow at a 16 year old girl??  Take a shot at her arguments sure, but don’t be calling her names, and don’t be throwing some kind of blame at her for challenges she might face.  Deal with the issues, don’t attack the person, and most of all you sack of XXyz, don’t attack a child.

A peoples party of Canada volunteer came to our door today.  She’s a nice lady, and I appreciate the challenges of going door to door.  It’s tough, and a lot of people can be pretty rude.  I tried to be pretty nice to her, but did say that given Maxime’s comments about Greta, I wouldn’t be voting for them.  Her reply, and I’ve heard this on the news, is that Maxime believes that Greta is a puppet of the climate change movement.   Okay, I appreciate this concern.   But to call a 16 year old girl mentally unstable??  wow!   To throw around the other labels in an effort to smear her???  Really??   Not in my Prime Minister.


Hitchbot makes it to Victoria

I see on the news that the device known as hitchbot (sort of a walking computer looking thing, without having any real mobility) has traveled across Canada.   The couple that sent it on its way, by setting it up on the side of the highway with its thumb out, hoped that it would have numerous rides on its way, and it did.  An interesting social experiment I think, though an experiment of what I’m not entirely sure.

The above posting was made on August 18, 2014. As of August 3, 2015 I am informed that Hitchbot was torn to pieces while in Philadelphia, USA. What the he&& is wrong with people?


Odd advertising practices of Vernon Restaurants

So on August 18, 2014 I was down on Kal Lake Road in Vernon, BC , and wanted to order some pizza.   I of course consider Uncle Dave’s pizzeria, which is located on Kal Lake Road.  I go online to have a look at their menu, and I can’t.  I can’t even find a website, let alone a menu.   I look online at (a great site that I use a lot) and see some good reviews for a place called Margheritas Pizza.  Again I’m interested, and click on a link for their website.  It seems that their website no longer exists, or perhaps never did?   It’s pizza, it’s an order it to your home sort of thing, and yet there’s no online presence at all?   I’m pretty sure that they have access to the internet from the shop, or at least have personal web access accounts, why not set something up through those?  I dunno, just seems a bit odd.

Finally I order from Uncle Dave’s – Two “meat Eaters”.   45 Minutes later, only one shows up.  I was very clear when I ordered, I wanted two, not one, two…      Sigh.  By this time I’m a bit frustrated, and refuse the order.

I decide to order from Jim’s Pizza  (which is further away, but has a good web presence, and I’ve ordered from them before – it arrives (both pizza’s!) in about 35 minutes.  Thanks guys!

Is it just me? London Drugs? What happened?

So on friday I go into London Drugs in Vernon.  It’s a good store, or I’ve always thought so, and I’m there to get a TV.   My TV broke, and Claire wants to get another TV.  So do I, but I’m not exactly a person of means these days!  In any case, we go to London Drugs to get a TV that is on sale and is listed in the flyer that just came out.  It’s the first day of the sale.   We ask for the TV referred to in the flyer, and we’re told they don’t have any, none came off the truck.     This is disappointing, but the sales fellow very helpfully checks to see if any other stores have some.  They do!  Great!, how long till it’s here?   The answer… a week?  Yep, a week.  I’m not living in the wilderness here, the nearest other London Drugs store is about 45 kilometres down the road.   Okay, we are willing to go pick it up.  The salesman very helpfully calls the Kelowna store, and arranges for one to be held for us.  Great service, thank you!  But…. why doesn’t the store have one of the TV’s that is in the flyer?   I ask to purchase the floor model of the on sale item, it looks to be in good shape (I’m looking for a price reduction as it’s not in a box and has been running for who knows how long), but I’m told he can’t make that arrangement.     Alright, we’re set.  We’ll go on sunday.

Sunday comes….  we get to the store, and they have the TV.  Fantastic.  That transaction goes well.  But… (why is there always a but??)   I’m also wanting an extended phone cord.  About 15 feet or so.  I go to that department, and there’s a spot for 6 foot ones, and a spot for 12 foot ones, both well populated with stock, but the spots for the next two sizes up are completely empty.   What?  There was a run on long phone cords on this particular day?  This seems unlikely.  When I encounter stores with a lot of empty spots where stock is supposed to be I become concerned about what’s going on at that store.   A big part of what lures me to brick and mortar stores (instead of the at home easy shopping bonus of ebay!) is the availability of the item right then, not later, not when it comes in, but right now.  When that’ not there, as it was not on two shopping inquiries most recently with London Drugs, I’m left wondering..  What happened??  But…..

Yes, there’s really another but!   A few days later I drop by London Drugs to return a battery.   I’d been by to get one for my mom’s telephone.  The clerk was very helpful, but the battery that we thought would work didn’t fit.  Don’t get me wrong here, the sales clerk did a great job, excellent customer service, but I had to return the thing.  I was okay with that.  On entering the Vernon store, I saw a large sign over a counter, saying “returns and exchanges, customer service”.  It’s a really big sign.  I get in line behind someone who seems to be purchasing all their groceries for the month.   That’s okay.  Then I get to the counter, and say I want to return something.  The clerk looks at me, looks at the item, and says “you go to electornics for that”.  I say “I want to return it.”  She says “you go to electronics for that”.   Why the heck did I just stand in a line under the sign that says returns and exchanges??  I dunno, maybe I just don’t get these things.

Public Washrooms – what is the attraction?

I’m at Save on Foods in Vernon, doing some grocery shopping.  I kind of like grocery shopping.  It helps get some meal ideas going, gets me out amongst people, it’s a good activity.    I’m finding that I need to use the washroom, and no, it’s not just to wash my hands.    Now I don’t know about you, but I usually do not think all that favourably about public washrooms.  They are often dirty, unkept, but it’s the people that drive me over the edge!  Yes, it’s the people that drive me over the edge.   The ones that use the public washrooms I mean!

How about the guy at the Provincial Campground that was sitting in the only stall, with a little boy waiting outside (who was looking more and more distressed to use the washroom) and me, while he..   yep, was reading the newspaper.   How do I know he was reading the newspaper?   I looked through the little gaps in the panneling.   What!  Great Scott, you peeked?  Yes, you’re darn right I did, and I saw this perfect twit sitting on the only stall reading the newpaper,while people are lining up to use it.   (Okay, he’d didn’t get to sit there for much longer at all, but the point is that he was doing it!)

And then there’s the guy at the gas station.  I agree, gas stations are just the worst, but if you gotta go that’s how it is.  I wait at the door, and wait, and wait and then I start pounding on the door.   If I’m standing outside in a state of extreme discomfort I’ll be darned if I’m having someone sit in a state of comfort on the other side of the wall.   After a lot of pounding, this urchin walks out.   He`s in another world, but he`s out.  I`m desperate, and there`s no time for chat, so I charge straight in, and there`s blood.  Yeah.. blood, dude`s been shooting up.   You complete a**, you`re getting high to feel good, or feel better, or whatever, (doing a thing you choose) while I`m a prisoner of my own innards standing outside that stupid door waiting for you?!?  I’d really rather that he ws doing his thing at the park bench rather than hogging the only washroom available.   I think perhaps using the washroom is about the most self centred thing that people ever do.  You may be the brightest person in the world, but if you’re needing to pee, you have one thought, and one thought only… I’ve gotta go!

I digress, what about my experience at the Vernon Save On Foods Washroom?  Well, I made my way to the far end of the store, really having by this point an urgency to attend to the washroom and…. it was signed as “Out of Order”.   That’s the guys door.   I try to be resourceful, and look to the Women’s door.  I beleive that women have a number of the same bodily functions that I may have.    AND…’s signed…. “Out of Order”.     I look around, and there’s not a soul, not a person or any stripe or description, moving in the area.    Cripes guys, you’re running a business where a thousand plus people a day come in your doors.   Every single one of them has various bodily functions that are percolating away, and both of your bathrooms are out of order??  When my bathroom at home goes “out of order”  I get on it immediately.  I fix it.   Have you ever been to someone’s house and been told the bathroom is out of order?   Are you kidding me??  FIX IT!!!  There’s really not that many things you can do to fix a bathroom, and all are pretty readily accessible to the most untrained of persons.    Leave a plunger near the door and I’ll fix it for heaven’s sake!

I don’t know when someone fixed the washrooms at Save On Foods ..  I really couldn’t stand around, and… I had to go

City of Vernon and Professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) – We’re a little bit safer


It’s a sunday afternoon as I write this.  I’m watching some Professional MMA (UFC) on Sportsnet 360.  It’s a great card, some well known fighters and some up and comers.  It’s also about one month after the Mayor and Council Members for the City of Vernon, British Columbia, Canada voted to pass a bylaw to prevent Professional MMA events in the City of Vernon.  You can find the bylaw here.

I’m a fan of MMA.  Great stuff, a growing sport, getting lots of television coverage, and clubs springing up all over teaching the skills that are the foundation for it.   It’s great to see.

As I understand it, in large measure this move to ban Pro MMA in the City of Vernon was based on the representation of Reg Burgess, the Superintendant of the RCMP in Vernon.  They (Vernon RCMP) say that they are concerned about links to organized crime associated with Pro MMA.  These are secret concerns, in that we as members of the public don’ t get to hear them.  They are disclosed to council only, by way of a closed door meeting.  Have there been criminal convictions associated with those running Pro MMA, or amongst the fighters?  Although Criminal convictions are a matter of public record, we don’t hear that these are the basis for Mr. Burgess representations on behalf of the RCMP in Vernon.  Soooo, I guess his concerns are based on unproven things?  Hunches, conjecture??  I dunno, it’s all too clever for me.   As a citizen, I’m just glad that they’re looking out for it and for me.   But…. I’m watching these MMA Professional fights, almost 5 hours of them, and they were held in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Yep, right here in Canada!   I’m worried about those citizens, the ones in Halifax!   Are they aware of these risks, the ones that the Mayor and Council for the City of Vernon were able to identify?   Were the Mayor and Council of Halifax informed of these terrible risks, that must prevent the holding of a Pro MMA event?

I watched the whole show, really enjoyed it.  Other that the fights in the ring I didn’t see any trouble.  I also havent’ heard in the news of any riots or other activity (hmm, I guesss because it’s not a hockey game??) occuring in the stadium or on the streets afterwards.  As I watched, I observed that Boston Pizza was a sponsor for the match.    I’ve seen Jim Treliving,  an ex RCMP officer, whom I understand to now be the CEO of Boston Pizza on the Dragon’s Den many times.    He’s a pretty straight up guy and really tries to help out the new business people that appear on the show, and I know they sponsor a lot of teams all over Canada.  Another sponsor was FRAM.   I think they make oil filters?    Scotia Bank was also a sponsor.   Scotia Bank is certainly a reputable company, they even sponsored Cricket teams, including Canada’s National Team (a subject very near and dear to my girl’s heart).

So I’m left wondering, does this sea of criminality in Professional MMA not extend elsewhere?   Or did the RCMP in Halifax not see fit to inform Council there?    What are the specifics of these concerns?   I dunno, this is for the members of council in the City of Vernon to figure out, and the Mayor too.  I’m just left knowing that I’m a little bit safer.  I think??   Hmm. I dunno?


Update:  2018.09.15   I hit the press a bit when I spoke up about this bylaw.   I had not wanted to.  In fact I really tried to avoid it- head down, look at the floor, come a bit early and just take your seat.   But since then I’ve been a bit haunted by comments like one from J. Pratt (whom I’ve never met) who said:

J. Pratt

• 4 years ago

Did everyone miss the irony of the fact that the only person to speak in favour of MMA events is someone with ties to organized crime?

That’s what he said. I’ve thought about this at some length, and to this I reply:

I have considered some of the comments here for some time. Wow, almost 4 years in fact. That may seem a little petty, not having much else to focus on in life? I’m not suggesting that I’ve non-stop been thinking about this, but when people come out with clever and anonymous comments those comments have an effect. I think an explanation is in order. I was well aware of the parallels that could be drawn as I made the comments that I did before city council. When I went to this council meeting I had hoped to be as anonymous as I could. I didn’t wear a sign or badge that said “gang lawyer”. I walked in quietly, tried to keep my head down in case anyone recognized me, and didn’t plan on saying anything. I had heard that city council was going to vote on a matter that concerned me, being a ban on professional mixed martial arts. Now say what you will about gangs and mixed martial arts, but I just don’t see them as being synonymous. Apparently the police in Vernon do. They are concerned enough that they make a secret presentation to council that got this whole thing started. We don’t get to hear what the concerns that they had are, that’s all “in camera”, meaning you’re never able to know it. I just heard they were having a vote to ban any MMA professional bouts in Vernon, and I thought “hey I like MMA, I think it’s a heck of a sport.” I’ve watched hundreds of matches on the TV, and have been able to attend one while on holiday in Mexico. I had tried to attend another in Vernon but the match didn’t go ahead. I believe the reason it didn’t go ahead was a lack of ticket sales? In all of those matches that I’ve watched I’ve never seen a gang symbol of any sort that I recognized. I haven’t heard any slogans/phrases that seemed to be associated to gangs, not a single one. There was never, at the close of hundreds of matches that I’ve watched, an announcement of the victory of this or that gang. I hear more gang associated stuff from professional wrestling, and no one in the world ties anything of meaning to that. The ghost of Al Capone did not call me up and say “hey, gang lawyer who’s been disgraced publicly, run down to city hall and try to oppose this bylaw that prevents our gang fund raising.” What kind of strategy would that be?? It in effect undermines the very thing you’re trying to accomplish?? Yes, I knew that. I’m not dull witted. So I went to the council meeting with every intention of being as anonymous as I could, but hoped to be in silent support of whoever might speak up against what I see as a really misguided and discriminatory bylaw. I sat quietly in my seat, I got there early as I thought that the mixed martial arts clubs in town (small struggling businesses to be sure, no sign of gang involvement that I’ve been able to detect) might put in a good presence and I wanted to be able to sit down as my back hurts if I stand for too long. I had thought there would be some lengthy debate. What happened….. No one showed up and no one stood up. Not one person spoke up. They asked if anyone had comment and there was complete silence. None of the members of Vernon city council said anything in opposition, none of the pubic said anything, silence. I looked around, and looked around, and the time to make any reply was about to be gone, so I stood up. I knew full well the parallels that would be drawn. I expected that I may well be recognized and ridiculed due to the “gang lawyer” association, but I really thought this bylaw was discriminatory and misguided and surely someone should say something???? So I did. I spoke for about a minute and a half, and talked about how I enjoyed the sport, and that there were clubs in the city that practised this very sport, to become skilled, and in some cases become professional, and how the money that was involved was so very small at the level that we would see here in Vernon, not ever even coming close to covering gym costs, and it fell on utterly deaf ears. The “in camera” presentation by the RCMP apparently had devastating effect. I was not asked a single question. No one else stood up and spoke, and Vernon city council voted 100% in favour of the bylaw, and there’s not been a professional mixed martial art bout in Vernon since then.

So there’s my explanation. I don’t see too much that’s “Ironic” in that, but I guess if you’re desperate to find it and very clever maybe you’ll get there. I note that there has never been, to the best of my knowledge, a professional mixed martial arts event in Vernon, so the whole thing is a bit of a tempest in a tea pot I guess. The one that tried failed due to a lack of ticket sales.

Update 2019.03.26

Good news.  The City of Vernon council looked again at this issue.   They voted to rescind the ban on these events in Vernon.   They invited the current chief of the RCMP in Vernon to offer comment.  She advised that she had investigated the theory of organized crime being involved in MMA and found it not to be the case.    The Vernon Morning Star did a good article on it.   I’m left with a question though.   Was “organized crime” ever actually involved, and if so, did they leave?  Why did they leave if they left?  Perhaps because, as I had advised counsel when I spoke up the first time around, these events struggle like mad just to pay the bills.  There is no huge bundle of money available.  Sure, when you’re hitting pay per view it’s a different story, but these events in towns the size of Vernon, they struggle.    Hence the reason that organized crime never was involved in these events.  On what basis did the police assert this involvement in the first place?  We won’t know, that’s a secret meeting that no one is allowed to know the contents of.    But the assertion sure didn’t stand the passage of time.


Update 2019.08.24

More good news.  An MMA event was hosted in Vernon on Saturday August 24, 2019.  I was not able to attend but my mother did.  She’s 74, but thought that at the first sign of gunfire or organized crime activity she could make a break for it.   This was not the first time my mother had attended an MMA match, and she’d never noticed any organized crime activity, but she was ready.  After watching almost the entire event she went home.   She noticed absolutely nothing that appeared in any way criminal, or connected to organized crime.  It was a sold out house, and there were some pretty good matches.

Secret Investigations of Secret Suspects with Secret Witnesses

I was reading a news report today,  from the Canadian Press.  You can find it here:

It was a story about the federal goverment having a plan to expand the powers CSIS presently has, so as to guard against terrorist threats here in Canada.

What particularly bothered me was the following:

“The federal plan to bolster security powers follows a recent statement from the RCMP that the national police force has about 63 active investigations on 90 suspected extremists who intend to join fights abroad or who have returned to Canada.

Extending protection for informants could mean defence counsel and even judges would never have the right to question human sources who provide information on behalf of CSIS in court proceedings — such as when the government attempts to deport a suspected terrorist using a national security certificate.”

Does this read a little like Mcarthy’ism?   What’s it take to get on this list of persons to be investigated?   What sort of real test is applied?   This does not sound like the stuff of a free and democratic society to me.  It sounds instead like skulking about by boys with a bit of authority, and a real vested interest in finding targets.    Canada and the US have each had a long history of Mcarthyism like conduct.   I am saddened to see that we continue to repeat it.

For a primmer on Mcarthyism, here’s a nice wikipedia article: