RCMP have always used dirty tricks to ‘get their man’
BY RATTAN MALL
SURREY Mayor Doug McCallum got a clear mandate from Surrey voters to proceed with replacing the RCMP with a municipal police force – and that is what he has been pursuing in a professional manner.
But Councillor Linda Annis – the sole Surrey First candidate to win after she ditched her own party’s stand on development in Rosemary Heights at the last minute, stunning her own party’s candidates – seems hell-bent to sabotage that mandate using all kinds of tactics.
Sources told me some time ago that she had also reached out to two Safe Surrey Coalition councillors including Jack Hundial, a former RCMP officer, to sabotage McCallum by raising issues of transparency and costs at this stage and even demand a referendum. She was also being helped by Surrey Board of Trade (SBOT) CEO Anita Huberman and some former senior RCMP officers.
The events since then have shown that this was all apparently true.
Hence, there is widespread suspicion that the RCMP bosses are using these individuals to whip up some kind of hysteria against a Surrey police force.
As you will read later in this article, the RCMP have always been playing dirty tricks. I exposed the RCMP big-time during the Air India bombing investigation when they didn’t hesitate to tell lies in dealing with two parole requests of Inderjit Singh Reyat – something that I just didn’t expect of the RCMP.
Later I exposed the RCMP time and time again as they viciously went after then-solicitor general Kash Heed, a highly respected South Asian role model, because he wanted to introduce a regional police force to replace the RCMP in B.C. Heed was exonerated, but the RCMP succeeded in destroying his promising political career.
THE latest round in the Surrey municipal police force fight was sparked off when the mayors of Vancouver and Surrey announced on February 25 (as reported last week in The VOICE) an agreement between their cities in which Vancouver would “provide technical assistance for the development of a transition plan designed to help Surrey establish a local police department.”
That set off alarms in the pro-RCMP lobby group in Surrey that then launched an all-out attack on McCallum.
Huberman told the media that the Surrey Board of Trade wrote to Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth to discuss the city’s plan, saying that the “uncertainty about costs and the lack of public engagement is very concerning.”
That Huberman has always been close to top RCMP officers in the city is no secret. She mistakenly seems to believe that she can override the democratic process.
Hundial and Annis also approached the media with the same theme – it was indeed a well orchestrated move by the pro-RCMP lobby that apparently has no respect for the democratic mandate McCallum received.
Councillor Hundial knows very well that he only won in the civic election by joining McCallum’s party and agreeing to support a Surrey Police Force. Now he is busy sabotaging McCallum as well as the people who voted him into power with a solid majority.
But McCallum fought back this week and exposed Hundial in particular in a statement to the media.
McCallum noted: “Our platform was abundantly clear, and the public was overwhelmingly in support of what we said we would do on its behalf, if elected.”
He added: “On the night this new Council was sworn in, Council voted unanimously in favour of cancelling the contract with the RCMP and moving ahead with a municipal police department. For critics to now say that there is a lack of a mandate or public consultation for Surrey to have its own municipal police department shows little to no regard for our most basic democratic principle of respecting the will of the people.”
McCallum also pointed out: “Councillor Hundial, a retired 25-year RCMP officer, ran on that commitment and pledge to carry it out if elected. The voters entrusted us to deliver on our promises and that is a trust that Councillor Hundial is now breaking. I have no intention of breaking my campaign promises or the public’s trust.”
The mayor also noted: “While the City would be responsible for the Federal Government’s 10% contribution to officer salaries, the City would recoup $20 million in administrative costs that is currently paid in the RCMP contract. The costs associated with the transition to a Surrey Police Department are still being finalized as we work on finishing our report for the Solicitor General.”
THAT some senior RCMP officers in BC could be up to their dirty tricks again will not come as a surprise to me as I have exposed their lack of ethics time and time again since the late 1990s.
In 1998, I received a tip-off that the RCMP were ready to lay charges in the sensational 1985 Air India bombing case. Someone leaked me a February 1998 letter from the head of the Air India investigation team at the time – Inspector Gary Bass – to the warden of Matsqui Institution for then-bombing suspect Inderjit Singh Reyat’s bail hearing. Reyat was in a position to get bail and the RCMP were desperate to keep him in prison as they were pressuring him to reveal the names of those who had asked him to make bombs that were placed in luggage on two Air India flights.
Bass’s letter claimed: “The RCMP court brief (Air India case) will be presented to Vancouver Regional Crown Counsel next month (March 1998) for charge approval. The investigation has taken years to complete due to various extenuating circumstances, however, I assure you that the court brief along with evidence packages are near completion. The Air India Task Force will recommend that Mr. Reyat and the chief accused persons be charged with Conspiracy to Commit Murder (Air India and Narita bombings) along with other crimes.”
The RCMP were highly embarrassed as mainstream media went crazy about my story, demanding an explanation from them.
Then, a year later, when Reyat’s review came up again, I did another exclusive story that was picked up again by mainstream media a few days later.
In a letter dated March 4, 1999, Cpl. R.G. Ginn of the Air India Task Force wrote to the warden of Matsqui Institution about Reyat not registering a 357 Magnum revolver that was found at his residence in November, 1985. They said the officer investigating the case “felt that the parole board members should also know that it was determined that the owner was an East Indian from Yuba City, California” and that “in August of 1988, an attempt was made on [Punjabi publisher and journalist] Tara Singh Hayer’s life by an assassin using another revolver also registered to the same person.” The letter added: “In the event that you or the parole board members may not be aware of this information, it is hereby provided to you.”
Needless to say, the letter had the desired result: it kept Reyat in jail. How convenient it was to suddenly come up with this information that the RCMP had all along at just the right moment!
That’s how things are manipulated in Third World countries – and that should NOT happen in Canada!
In any case, the RCMP ended up bungling up the whole Air India case and Bass ended up blaming one of Reyat’s lawyer for not cooperating with the RCMP! Isn’t a defence lawyer supposed to protect his client – not hand him over to the cops?
(Incidentally, I have no sympathy at all for all those involved directly or indirectly in the Air India bombing plot, but I will not support an abuse of process or power by the state.)
IN April 2011, writing about the vicious manner in which the RCMP tried to discredit then-solicitor general Kash Heed in then-Premier Gordon Campbell’s government, I wrote: “The RCMP should end its shameless harassment of former solicitor general Kash Heed now that after all their desperate attempts to find something against him have failed miserably as a special prosecutor has exonerated him in an investigation into his 2009 election campaign in the Vancouver-Fraserview riding.”
But the RCMP wouldn’t stop trying every dirty trick in their book to nail Heed and I kept exposing them left, right and centre. One of my articles [in January 2011] was titled: “Are RCMP Out To Get Kash Heed For Wanting To Replace Them With Regional Police Force Or … ?”
The RCMP even tried to cause divisions in the ruling party by leaking out Heed’s personal emails in which he had criticized some of his colleagues! Indeed, the RCMP is always ready to stoop as low as possible to achieve their goals.
Earlier, the RCMP rattled by my write-ups got an official spokesperson whom I had known for years to call me up to assure me off the record that the RCMP were not after Heed and that they, in fact, hoped all this would go away. He said my articles were read by the whole South Asian community and so he was reaching out to me.
The spokesperson told me that he in fact had asked one of the investigators if any senior RCMP officer had instructed him to do this or that and he had replied that if any officer had tried to interfere, he would have told him to get lost. He said that he just wanted to assure me that the Mounties had nothing personal against Heed.
But then Barinder Sall, who was the campaign manager for Heed in the Vancouver-Fraserview riding, confirmed to Vancouver Sun columnist Ian Mulgrew that the Mounties were out to get Heed.
Sall told Mulgrew: “The police come to you and say, ‘we’d like to talk to you, see what you have … give up your buddy, [we’re] not interested in you. Give him up.’ I didn’t give anybody up.”
That was something that I had been pointing out time and time again since 2010 when this whole affair started and now Sall had confirmed it!
As I wrote back then: “There is NO WAY that the investigating officers would have told Sall “give up your buddy, [we’re] not interested in you” without instructions from the VERY TOP!
Yes, that’s how the RCMP operates.
MCCALLUM has taken a firm stand on both a Surrey police force and another SkyTrain line – not LRT – for Surrey just as he had promised the people of Surrey who elected him with a solid majority.
Huberman has NOT been elected by the people of Surrey – she is in her position because of those who have deep pockets. That is just fine, but she should know where to draw the line, to put it very politely.
As far as councillors Annis and Hundial are concerned, they have made it abundantly clear that they are firmly in the pro-RCMP camp and will use any strategy to sabotage McCallum.
(Incidentally, Surrey RCMP’s Officer in Charge, Assistant Commissioner Dwayne McDonald, is a highly competent officer. But this is not about him.)
There is no harm in having either the RCMP or a municipal police force as far as I am concerned – but if the people of Surrey voted to try another form of police and trusted McCallum to put it in place, that is the democratic and legal way. If McCallum and his team botch up the process, then Farnworth as Public Safety boss of the province can veto a municipal police force.
But in that case, Farnworth and his NDP better have a very good case to use that veto or they will definitely lose seats in Surrey – and the BC Liberals will be back in power in the next election.
Premier John Horgan told me some weeks ago: “Mr. McCallum will have to demonstrate to Mike Farnworth, the Minister for Public Safety, how a changing from an RCMP force to a municipal force will be cost-effective and meet the needs of the community. That’s up to him to explain to us, not the other way around. And he understands that; I had a good conversation with him on that.”
Terry Waterhouse, General Manager of the City of Surrey’s Policing Transition, told me back in January that the process for transitioning to an independent municipal police service from the Surrey RCMP is “going well” and the Ministry of the Solicitor General has been “exceptionally cooperative. We’ve had several meetings and conversations and we are very pleased with their support.”
And McCallum told me that he doesn’t think the appointment of RCMP Deputy Commissioner Brenda Butterworth-Carr, as the province’s new director of policing in March, will cause any problem. Butterworth-Carr in her new role will be advising Farnworth about approving any plan for an independent Surrey municipal police force.
So let’s wait and see how things shape up.