By Mike Archer. It was embarrassing enough watching the BC media have a collective orgasm over the fact that it seemed they finally had a real, terrorist, CNN- might-even-show-up type of story to cover as police apparently managed to foil an “al-Qa’ida inspired” plot to bomb the BC Legislature on Canada Day.
It was more concerning to watch our Christy Clark rush to the microphone (perhaps wondering if Barrack, or Steve would see her in the news clips) telling us that the heart of the democratic process had targeted and that our politicians had stood strong and continued collecting their pay cheques “undeterred and undaunted.”
Apparently unable to resist the urge to get in on the fluffing, Abbotsford MLA and Finance Minister Mike de Jong told the Abbotsford Times, that “the foiled domestic terrorist plot demonstrates both the effectiveness of national and provincial law enforcement to prevent threats to the public and the strength of democratic institutions.
“Despite the announcement, business got underway at the legislature on Tuesday and continued on as usual, unaffected by fears or concerns about security, he noted.”
Wow. A local angle on a provincial story with international possibilities.
Now that everybody in local politics and the local media have finished making this story into something it wasn’t, things get a little more murky and complicated.
I was struck by the incongruity in the initial reports which seemed to, at the same time, be playing up both the ‘shocking, dangerous, terrorist bomb plot’ aspect of the story and the ‘trust us nobody was ever at risk’ aspect of the story. I had a few questions nobody else seemed to be asking:
- If nobody at the legislature was ever at risk, why did they make such a big deal out of it?
- If they were in complete control at all times, how did they allow multiple bombs to be planted around the Legislature on Canada Day?
- If they were in complete control all along, why didn’t they shut the plot down ?
Well, it turned out other people were asking some of those questions and more. People such as BC Civil Liberties Association Policy Director Micheal Vonn, who has asked how two marginal people, who appear to have had neither the emotional ability, intellectual capacity, nor the financial means to accomplish such a long term and complicated task, managed to pull it off.
- If the police spent five months working with these two suspects why didn’t they just convince them to not build a bunch of bombs and blow up the Legislature? Aren’t police supposed to be in the business of crime prevention?
- Who had the idea to a) make the bombs, b) plant them at the Legislature, c) do it on Canada Day?
- If police were in control every step of the way, who built the bombs?
- How did these dirt poor suspects get the money to a) buy the required materials while paying to have their methadone delivered to their basement suite and, b) travel to Victoria?
There are a lot more questions which will have to be answered but, at first blush, the possibility of two vulnerable people being coached into committing a crime they would not have been able to commit without the encouragement and assistance of the police, is certainly something which needs to be addressed.
Is it possible these two marginal people were taken advantage of by the police and entrapped into a long, detailed and elaborate plot, which neither one of them could have come up with themselves, and then provided with the financing, logistics and transportation in order to pull it off so that police could arrest them with the cameras rolling?
These are serious questions which must be asked and answered. If any of what the BC Civil Liberties Association is concerned about actually happened, then it is doubly disturbing that our two most senior elected politicians, Christy Clark and Mike de Jong, seem to have thought it was more important to rattle off a quick election-style speech for the media rather than launch an investigation into whether or not the police overstepped their bounds.
If they did, then Mike’s reported statements about the incident proving the effectiveness of national and provincial law enforcement to prevent threats to the public and the strength of our democratic institutions are words he will wish he hadn’t uttered so quickly.
Because, if the police did entrap these people, then the incident proves the exact opposite of Mike’s claim. If they entrapped these people, then the police were, in effect, the real threats to the public and the strength of our democratic institutions.
It is an important distinction and, if it turns out that the police entrapped them, it will be important for Mike to take back his words of praise in just as public a fashion as he made them. Just so we know he understands the difference.
‘BC Police Plant Bombs At BC Legislature With The Help Of Two Vulnerable Citizens’ would be a much more difficult headline to make such a rousing speech about the police and the strength of our democratic institutions.
Let’s hope that isn’t what we find out when we start asking those questions our politicians and media forgot to ask.
* Photo is from the Abbotsford Times and was used to adorn their story about Mike’s pronouncements on our democratic institutions.