To the federal government lawyer and the RCMP for the late disclosure last week of damning evidence at the Robert Dziekanski tasering death inquiry.
Lawyer Helen Roberts, acting on behalf of the cops, was reduced to tears when she dropped the bombshell that poisoned the probe, and left the head of the inquiry, Commissioner Thomas Braidwood, boiling mad.
“I find the delay in disclosing this material to the commission to be appalling,” he said, then ordered the hearings to continued Sept. 22.
Roberts had every reason to weep. It was a colossal screw-up. At what was to be the final day of the inquiry she admitted there was late evidence that put doubt the testimony of the Mounties involved in the deadly tasering of a confused Polish citizen at the Vancouver International Airport.
The “smoking gun” was an email exchange between two senior Mounties that disclosed the officers responding at the airport had planned to use Tasers if he did not co-operate. The officers testified that using Tasers was never discussed prior to arriving.
Worse yet, top cops sat with lips zippered, aware that what fellow officers were saying under oath wasn’t what they understood had really transpired.
RCMP Commissioner William Elliott gave a casual brush-off to late disclosure of such a key piece of evidence, dismissing it as mere “oversight.”
This hearing has made a mockery of the very foundation upon which our society rests under a free and democratic society — fairness, honesty, openness and compassion. Our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, that demands all rights must be afforded equally without prejudice, has been brought into disrepute.
To Red Deer’s Native Friendship Society for organizing the first-ever Turtle Awards saluting contributions by the First Nation, Metis and Inuit community.
Canada is a Nation of diverse cultures. It is of great importance these cultures continue in their traditional ways, yet understand that change must also play a part in its livelihood.
The Turtle Awards demonstrate exactly that. They honour aboriginal people who have blessed our community while holding onto traditional ways.
Earlier this week, 16 people were honoured at the awards ceremony. Among them were teachers, students, service providers, entrepreneurs, musicians and athletes.
Their comments and experiences were inspirational and uplifting to the 70 to 80 people attending.
Amanda Ens, the aboriginal initiatives co-ordinator for Central Alberta Child and Family Services Authority summed up the ceremony by expressing the importance of community. Quoting aboriginal Shining Arrow, she said: “If you have 100 people who live together and each one cares for the rest then there is one mind.”
Ens said that is an accurate representation of Red Deer and area, with people of different backgrounds who have one common goal in mind to make things better.
Rick Zemanek is an Advocate editor.