By Mike Archer. Our institutions in Abbotsford seem to have, at best, only a passing acquaintance with Canadian law or, for that matter, the requirement that they abide by it.
It is a miracle that the preponderance for City politicians to either ignore their own bylaws, act completely outside of their constitutional jurisdiction or flagrantly ignore the laws of the land, has not got the City into more law suits than it already has.
I suspect that, were the full truth known about just how many laws and bylaws our City has broken were ever published, it would be enough to land several individuals as well as the taxpayers of Abbotsford in a whole lot of costly hot water.
One has only to look at the hornet’s nest of law suits in which City and the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) are engaged with Pivot Legal Society over their treatment of the homeless to get a taste for what may be ahead.
And then there’s Tim Felger.
Tim sits at the juncture where the right wing desire to have everybody obey the law and its desire to enforce the prohibition against soft drugs like marijuana run into each other.
Felger, who was arrested in one of the flashiest, most dramatic and public arrests in Abbotsford, has had all charges against him repeatedly thrown out of court, both in Abbotsford and in Mission, because the police bungled the job.
The evidence they collected, according to Felger and all of the judges who have heard his cases, was improperly collected and thrown out of court. Unwilling or unable to learn from their mistakes, the crown has adjusted the charges against him and wants to proceed with a new trial. Felger has now been allowed to make an oral presentation, along with his co-accused, to the Supreme Court of Canada to argue against their right to do that.
We’ve asked before why APD Chief Bob Rich seems to be obsessed with Tim Felger. We also asked if Bob thinks he’s cop or a politician.
How many kicks at the proverbial can do the cops get at doing their job? How many times can the cops keep pursuing someone who has had charges against him thrown out? How many chances do they get to get it right?
Felger may be unpopular among the elderly and the conservative members of this community. Based on the amount of time and effort they have devoted to driving him out of the community, he is certainly unpopular with the APD and some in the business community. The old power structure has no time for him …
But should we be prepared to abandon the rule of law, the rules of evidence and the constitution in order to rid ourselves of someone with views which are unpopular with the minority who are in power? Is this a correct or even legal use of our police force?
Turn it around for a minute.
If a young, liberal, modern group of councilors was ever able to get elected in Abbotsford, would it be appropriate for them to devote as much time and police energy and effort to enforcing some of the white colour crime which goes under-reported in this community?
Would it be appropriate to send S.W.A.T. teams clad in balaclavas in to wealthy people’s houses with news reporters along to take photos of politicians who may have broken the Municipal Charter? What about community leaders with securities and exchange problems, trading and investment irregularities or any of a number of legal and regulatory problems which some feel ought to be better enforced or reported.
The APD thought it appropriate to treat Felger that way and all they managed to accomplish was to get him charged with possession.
Like him or not; agree with his views on prohibition or not; Tim Felger is fighting an important battle for your rights to be left alone by whatever power structure happens to have the upper hand at City Hall. With all of the clamouring for change going on in advance of this November’s election, some in the current (or past) power structure(s) might want to think things through as the Crown and the APD seem intent on pursuing Felger until they receive another embarrassment on top of what they’ve already been handed.
All this for a charge of possession …