Thursday, November 29, 2007

United Way Implicated In "Political Psychiatry" Comparable To China

United Way of the Lower Mainland has been linked to “political psychiatry” comparable to that practiced in China and the former Soviet Union, according to the ad hoc group Canadians Opposing Political Psychiatry [COPP].

Accusations of political psychiatry began after a police complaint was lodged by Ron Dumouchelle, CEO of United Way of the Lower Mainland, in Dec. 2002 against a Vancouver woman. Dumouchelle wanted police to press the woman -- we'll call her the whistleblower -- to stop making a Report on United Way available to major donors. Dumouchelle would eventually admit to police that he knew this was "not a criminal matter" and that he had recruited them because the civil court process would be too slow for him. His police complaint, though, resulted in Constables Lee Patterson and J.P. St. Amant writing a police report rife with fabricated and misrepresented evidence on Dec. 18, the day they met with Dumouchelle and anonymous witnesses at United Way Campaign headquarters. (See earlier post, "Fraudulent Evidence Found in United Way Police Complaint".)

The whistleblower fought back.

She faxed St. Amant a memo announcing her intention to seek a fraud/public mischief investigation. She sent a copy of the memo to Dumouchelle. Inspector John de Haas of the Vancouver Police had told her she was entitled to request a public mischief investigation. St. Amant labeled the faxed memo, "the Public Mischief letter". It is the actions of Dumouchelle and St. Amant, though, in response to the "public mischief letter" that have led to accusations of political psychiatry.

A problem for United Way and the VPD: the whistleblower knew her rights

In addition to the whistleblower's assertion in the "public mischief letter" that she intended to seek an investigation into fraud and public mischief, she made reference to her earlier assertion that she would be exercising her right not to speak to police. That assertion had occurred via a voice mail she left for St. Amant on Dec. 20 in response to police hounding her by showing up at her door, talking to her neighbor, and leaving voice mail messages for her. St. Amant received the voice mail, told Dumouchelle about it and made notes on it in his Dec. 21 report: “[Whistleblower] called BC Civil Liberties and was instructed not to talk to police.” St. Amant appeared to initially recognize that right, noting in his report that he had left the whistleblower a response voice mail: “PC 2010 stated that [whistleblower] is free not to talk to police ….” But even after the whistleblower's refusal to talk to police, St. Amant remained under pressure from Dumouchelle to stop the circulation of the Report on UW which Dumouchelle felt could reduce campaign donations.

Dumouchelle may have been nervous about the whistleblower's intent to seek a criminal public mischief investigation as he wasted no time in trying to reach St. Amant after learning of it. The two had a telephone conversation about the "Public Mischief letter" on Boxing Day, according to St. Amant’s report dated Dec. 26th. “These guys had barely digested their Christmas dinner,” exclaims the whistleblower, “when they were on the phone talking about me.”

“PC 2010 returned call from Dumouchelle whom advised PC 2010 that he received a copy of the Public Mischief letter as well.”

Car 87 visit arranged under fraudulent pretenses

Just minutes after his Boxing Day conversation with Dumouchelle, St. Amant was on the phone arranging a visit to the whistleblower’s home by police “Car 87”. Car 87 is a marked police car staffed by a constable and a psychiatric nurse. They are granted the extraordinary power to disregard an individual’s civil liberties and enter their home to assess them for “apprehension” to a mental hospital. “How convenient,” says the whistleblower. “I’d invoked my right not to speak to police and Car 87 was a way they could circumvent that right." But there was one problem: this case did not come anywhere close to meeting the criteria for a Car 87 visit.

Car 87 visits are restricted by legislation to individuals at “imminent” risk of physically harming or killing themselves or others. This fact was confirmed by Jan Fisher, Director of Client Relations at the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, in a telephone call about a similar case a month earlier, a call which was taped by an advocate and passed on to Canadians Opposing Political Psychiatry. Fisher added that Car 87 is for “extreme emergencies” in which “the public” is at risk of physical harm. This confirmation by Fisher supports the whistleblower's claim that Car 87 was ordered under "fraudulent pretenses".

Prior to the Car 87 visit being ordered, St. Amant, Patterson, and Dumouchelle had repeatedly confirmed, according to the police report, that the whistleblower posed “no physical risk”. Constable Patterson wrote in his Dec. 18 report, “No signs of direct threats or suggestion of violence to person/property.” After a conversation with Dumouchelle, St. Amant noted in his Dec. 18 report that Dumouchelle “agrees” that safety “is not perceived as an issue.” St. Amant reiterated this point in his Dec. 21st report after a follow up conversation with Dumouchelle: “No safety concerns….” In fact Constables Patterson and St. Amant, in their typewritten reports based largely on conversations with Dumouchelle, stated 15 times in the week prior to arranging the Car 87 visit that the whistleblower posed no safety risk.

One entry made by St. Amant on Dec. 21 is adequate though, according to the whistleblower, to substantiate her position that the Car 87 visit was ordered under fraudulent pretenses: “At this time there is no evidence to substantiate [whistleblower] being a physical threat.” That was five days before Car 87 was ordered. What could possibly have occurred over the next 5 days to justify ordering a Car 87 visit on Dec. 26th? Just one thing is on record as having occurred: Dumouchelle and St. Amant received a fax of the “Public Mischief letter” from which they first learned of the whistleblower’s intent to pursue a criminal investigation into the unfounded police complaint and accompanying falsified evidence.

Until the “Public Mischief letter” left Dumouchelle and St. Amant in a jam, St. Amant repeatedly noted in his report that he and Dumouchelle agreed that the proper “strategy” for dealing with the whistleblower would be a civil court injunction. In fact, five days before Car 87 was ordered, St. Amant reiterated in his report, after a conversation with Dumouchelle on Dec. 21, that a civil court injunction would be the “appropriate” approach to handling this case. Even at the moment Car 87 was being ordered on Dec. 26, Dumouchelle continued to view an injunction as the appropriate approach but was frustrated by the fact that one would not be delivered quickly enough, according to St. Amant's report. “If these guys thought I'd be receptive to an injunction," says the whistleblower, "they must have seen me as a sane person."

Dumouchelle's stated preference for an injunction was not the first indication that he viewed the whistleblower as sane. In another entry in his Dec. 21 report, St. Amant wrote: “Dumouchelle wants [whistleblower] to know that the Battered Women’s society is only a small portion (receiving funding) from the United Way.” The content of this entry – ignore, for a moment, the poor grammar and oddball use of parentheses – reveals that Dumouchelle and St. Amant saw the whistleblower as somebody who could be reasoned with, in other words, a sane person.

Whistleblower alleges that the Car 87 visit was politically motivated

The fact that the motivation for ordering the Car 87 visit was political is supported by the fact that the sole evidence turned over to Car 87 was the “Public Mischief letter” in which the whistleblower had stated her intent to seek a criminal investigation. “What better way to send me a message,” says the whistleblower.

Targeting her for a Car 87 visit, the whistleblower believes, was also an attempt to ensure that she would not be taken seriously when pursing a public mischief complaint. St. Amant wasted no time in ensuring she had a Car 87 record on the police computer system where any officer formally taking her public mischief complaint would see it. On Boxing Day, he wrote:

“PC 2010 forward recent letter from [whistleblower] to Car 87 and has requested a
memo be placed for Car 87 concern. PRIME report updated…PC 2010 request an assessment of [whistleblower] by Car 87.”

The term “PRIME” refers to the police computer system. St. Amant made this entry despite having confirmed that there was nothing in the whistleblowers medical history to indicate that she had ever been treated for psychiatric issues.

There is no doubt that a Car 87 visit can severely harm a targeted individual’s credibility. Even if cleared, a targeted individual is left with a “DISTURBED PERSON” notation adjacent to their name on the police PRIME computer system – for life. But here’s the catch: the targeted individual is never actually cleared. The best outcome the targeted political activist can achieve is that the Car 87 psychiatric nurse puts a check mark beside the section of the official form indicating that the individual is not a candidate for apprehension “at this time.” At this time. “COPP is right,” says the whistleblower. “This is the way dissidents in China are treated.”

Dumouchelle was waiting for an update after the Car 87 visit

The whistleblower was outraged to learn from the police report that Dumouchelle at United Way was waiting to be briefed after the Car 87 visit. She had read the following passage entered by St. Amant in his Dec. 26 police report as he was ordering the Car 87 visit:
“PC 2010 advised Dumouchelle that police are continuing to attempt to make
personal contact with [the whistleblower] and will advise when they have in order
to inform her of events and make an assessment as to her well being.” [italics added]

The whistleblower says, “My rights are being overridden and a United Way bureaucrat is waiting for an update.”

Dumouchelle was quoted as providing the reason for the Car 87 visit

It is going to be difficult for United Way to adopt a ‘blame the cops’ defense in response to accusations of an unfounded Car 87 visit that had the earmarks of political psychiatry. After once again noting that Dumouchelle had expressed concern that the civil court process could not meet his need to quickly silence the whistleblower, St. Amant finished the sentence by revealing that it was Dumouchelle who had provided the reason cited for getting Car 87 on the road: “Dumouchelle stated he…is concerned about her “cyclical” letter writing indicating possible mental illness.” Dumouchelle was directly quoted as using the term “cyclical”.

Odd. In an internal document dated just three days earlier, Dec. 23, Dumouchelle had detailed his concerns about the whistleblower. He made no mention of cyclical letter writing or cyclical anything.

The claim of “cyclical” letter writing was left completely unsupported in the police report. No evidence of cyclical letter writing was filed in the Police Property Office or given to Car 87 staff – despite the fact that this was the sole reason provided in the police report to justify the Car 87 visit. Only one document, the “Public Mischief letter” that the whistleblower had faxed to St. Amant and Dumouchelle, was turned over to Car 87 and filed with the Police Property Office.

The “Public Mischief” memo could hardly be considered evidence of cyclical behavior on the part of the whistleblower as this communication had been solicited by St. Amant. He had left his fax number at the whistleblower’s home and hounded her to make contact with him; he’d even asked her neighbors to have her contact him. She communicated in writing for her own protection, she says, because by this time she had read the falsified evidence in the police report, an issue she had raised in the “Public Mischief” memo.

The only thing cyclical in this case, says the whistleblower, was the “run around” you got at United Way if you lodged a complaint. That’s why the Report on UW was made available to donors with a request that they ensure the issues were addressed.

After quoting Dumouchelle’s term “cyclical” on Dec. 26 as the basis for the Car 87 visit, St. Amant then paraphrased the same claim of cyclical letter writing on the following page with the same date – but added a new twist: “The structure of letters and pattern may suggest Mental Health concerns….” Again, this claim was left entirely unsupported, no examples were given. So the DTES Enquirer combed the written material in the file in search of structural flaws. None were found. The Report on UW was well organized, with subheadings for each separate complaint that women and men coming into contact with the battered women’s organization had brought forward. All complaints were illustrated with examples. The form letter sent to corporate donors making the report available was succinct and well organized.

Illegal Release of Whistleblower's Medical Records

When a police officer orders a Car 87 visit, Health Authority personnel are required to review the targeted individual's medical records and tell the officer whether they are considered to pose a physical risk. That's all. Privacy legislation strictly prohibits the release of specific details of medical records. But privacy leglislation was ignored in this case.

Intimate details of the whistleblower's physical body were entered in St. Amant's report, copied verbatim from her confidential medical records. Any police officer involved in processing her complaint of fraud/public mishief against Dumouchelle and St. Amant could be expected to read this as well, the whistleblower points out. "I can count eight people in the police department alone who have had access to it," says the whistleblower.

"The whistleblower holds United Way partially responsible for the fact that interactions between Health Authority personnel and St. Amant resulted in confidential material being entered into the police report. It is unlikely that St. Amant would have even had contact with the Health Authority, she says, if Dumouchelle hadn't "played the mental illness card".

Above photo from TV series, "Car 54 -- Where are you?"

Car 87 -- Where are you?

Shortly after the Car 87 visit was ordered, a marked police cruiser parked in front of the whistleblower's home and created a spectacle for the neighbors. "It was just after Christmas," says the whistleblower, "I think it was Boxing Day." The lights on the police car flashed for at least 20 minutes. "The red and blue lights on the top were circling around and around, like there was some major emergency." Her buzzer rang relentlessly. She peeked out and saw an officer, "not too tall, Hawaiian-looking" straining his neck to look up at her window.

The lights in her home were off at the time. "They must have thought there was nobody home," she says. She didn't speak to them as she had already made it clear to St. Amant that she was invoking her right to remain silent.

Arranging a Car 87 visit to her home during the Christmas holiday period compounded the "mental cruelty" of this exercise, says the whistleblower. The holiday period is one in which people are likely to have friends and family visiting, thereby maximizing the possibility that she would be humiliated when Car 87 showed up to perform an assessment for apprehension.

Cease and Desist letter

When the whistleblower obtained a copy of the updated police report from the a VPD Freedom of Information officer shortly after Christmas, she learned that she had been targeted for a Car 87 assessment for having written the "Public Mischief letter".

And she saw no sign that there was going to be an end to this "harassment". On Dec. 29, St. Amant re-iterated his Boxing Day entry in his report, "Letter referred to Car 87 for continued follow up as per request." On the same page, St. Amant noted that he had forwarded the file to the Harassment Unit "for further investigation" -- despite his earlier claim that this was "not a criminal matter." In his next entry on the page, St. Amant noted that the whistleblower was expected to continue to make the Report on UW available to donors "in early 2003" -- leading to accusations by the whistleblower that this new investigation was politically motivated. It is noteworthy that at the top of this page of the report, St. Amant did not follow protocol of entering an "OFFENCE" to be formally investigated. "Because he knew there was none", says the whistleblower.

The whistleblower had had enough.

A Cease & Desist letter was sent to Acting Sergeant Hatchman who was supervising St. Amant and Patterson. At that point, the whistleblower says, the "harassment" stopped.

Unfinished business

There is plenty of unfinished business in this case. It has been five years now and United Way has done nothing to make amends to the whistleblower for their role in the alleged political psychiatry. "They could start by helping me get the Car 87 record expunged," she says. "As long as political psychiatry is on my record, it's going to be on their record", she says. "They better get used to it."

And donors better get used to it too. Because the whistleblower is not letting them off the hook. In her view, donors that were listed as witnesses on the first page of the police report -- President of the Toronto Dominion Bank, Canada Safeway, Revenue Canada, Canadian Red Cross, Canada Post, Westminster Savings -- must take responsibility for lending their names to an "unfounded" United Way police complaint that spiralled out of control.

Shoe Day at Sally Ann

A poster on the Downtown Eastside announced that if you arrived at the Salvation Army last Thursday wearing an old pair of shoes, you could exchange them for a "reconditioned" pair.

Some of the running shoes the Sally Ann gave away on Thursday looked new, some looked very slightly worn. There were running shoes for both men and women, and black leather shoes with thick rubber soles for men as well. There were free socks for everybody too.

But the shoe give away seemed to be an excuse for the Sally Ann to get your foot in the door -- so that medical personnel could get a look at your feet.

They had nurses inside and, according to the poster, a doctor. When people arrived, they were immediately asked if they wanted a foot bath. One woman said they cut the cankors off her feet. Another woman said they told her that he feet indicated that she might have diabetes.

If you didn't want a foot bath, they didn't pressure you; they let you go ahead into the free shoe section.

The poster was misleading in that it announced that people could come between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to get the free shoes. Truth is, they didn't have enough shoes to last anywhere near that long. At 10:20, they were telling people that there would be none left by 1 p.m. One woman went in at about 10:40 and said she got the last pair of size 9 women's runners.

It wasn't too hectic inside the shoe give away room which generally functions as a shelter, because they only allowed five people in the door at a time. Everybody else had to wait in a line up on the sidewalk.

A few of the women trying on running shoes looked like they were a little high. A couple of the men were talking about criminal charges they or their pals were up on. One joked with the receptionist, "Do you charge by the meter or the foot?" She laughed, and he laughed even louder at his own joke.

I didn't see anybody leaving with major brand name running shoes on their feet, just the cheaper brands.

An older woman digging through boxes of shoes kept telling people not to dig for their own shoes, that she would do it for them. She seemed stressed.

Speaking of charity:
United Way Implicated in "Political Psychiatry" Comparable to China

Welcome to the Rude Job Fair

Everything was orange at Pathways today. I walked over to Pathways at Main & Hastings this morning with a friend who intended to use one of their public-access federal government computers. It was 11 o'clock but there was a line up. Unusual. When the door man suddenly unlocked the door and people began filing in, I could see orange table cloths and staff wearing orange t-shirts.

Welcome to the job fair.

So the woman with me asked the door man in an orange t-shirt, light brown curly hair, and glasses with somewhat dated rims, if the computer room was open, "like a regular day." He sniped, "Well, I think it's pretty obvious that it's not a regular day." The computer room the woman was asking about is tucked in a corner at Pathways, very popular with local people, but people were obviously not going to be allowed to use it today.

I told the woman that I had found the guy rude. "He was rude", she said. She then pointed out -- and it's not the first time I've heard this -- that if you talk back, if you stand up for yourself in Downtown Eastside facilities that cater to the poor, you get labeled a troublemaker and it can cause you problems when you come back.

Welcome to the poverty industry.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Carnegie Teacher Gets Wallet Stolen

Early this week, Carnegie Learning Center teacher, Betsy Alkenbrack, had her wallet stolen. She had apparently stepped out of her office, located just off the Learning Center classroom, when a man slipped in and grabbed the wallet.

When the man first walked into the Learning Center, a volunteer monitor, Rick, spotted him and asked if he could help him. The man responded that he was just looking around. That is not unusual as people are free to walk in and out of the Learning Center, which attempts to create an open, minimal barriers, environment to make residents of the Downtown Eastside underclass feel comfortable. Rick saw the man stepping into Alkenbrack's office and then coming out, but he thought she was in there.

After discovering her wallet stolen, Betsy got on the phone to cancel her credit card numbers.

Generally, Alkenbrack and the other teacher in the Learning Center, Lucy Alderson, keep the office door locked. "Every time Lucy came out of that office, I would see her with her keys in her hand locking up," says one past Learning Center student. "I didn't see Betsy around as much; I don't think she works there every day."

The wallet got stolen just before welfare Wednesday, a time when many Downtown Eastside residents are flat broke.

This is not the first theft in the Learning Center. About six or eight months ago, a young man working for Vancouver Community Net was temporarily posted at the Carnegie Learning Center which has three VCN computers, along with three Vancouver Public Library computers. He had a nice laptop. But he wasn't street smart at all. He would leave his laptop on the table and walk across the classroom and sit helping somebody at a computer -- with his backed turned. Suddenly it was gone. The young man was traumatized. He never returned.

A couple of years ago, a new computer printer was delivered and before staff had a chance to bolt it down, some body walked out the door with it.

On the positive side, the taxpayer is not being ripped off at the Carnegie Learning Center as often as they used to be. Learning Center staff who had been criticized for too often locking the doors of the Learning Center, using the excuse that a volunteer didn't show up, have been earning better marks recently. They kept the Center open every day welfare week, generally one of the worst weeks for closures.


Read more school news on the DTES Enquirer:
International Boycott of Vancouver High School Diplomas Concealed by School Board

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Man Asks Woman For Date At Carnegie, Gets Barred 1 1/2 Years Later

John, a member of the Music Program at Carnegie, was recently barred for something he claims he had done a year and a half ago. He had asked Sindi, the Assistant Volunteer Co-ordinator, for a date.

Sindia apparently told the Volunteer Co-ordinator, Colleen Gorrie, and then others got involved and John got barred.

Board member Rachel Davis, a.k.a. Rosetta, who is also a member of the Music Program, started asking questions -- just as she had asked questions when Bill Simpson was barred for allegedly blogging. John was reinstated.

One question raised here is: Why the double standard? When a female worker at Carnegie was accused of serial sexual relationships with vulnerable clients, she was never genuinely investigated. Witnesses weren't contacted. In fact, Director Ethel Whitty acted as though the people who spoke up were the problem.

Another question: Since Sindi and Colleen lock the doors of the computer room on a semi-regular basis, claiming that they couldn't manage to get a volunteer, couldn't their labour time have been put to better use?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Shigella Outbreak Not Helped By Carnegie Cafeteria Filth

There is an outbreak of Shigella, a rare food-borne bacteria, amongst people using Carnegie Center. Center staff are aware of this and have posters up in the washrooms and cafeteria reminding people who have diarreahea, stomach cramps, or fever to wash their hands thoroughly. The posters specifically mention diarreahea with blood in it -- that is a key sign of Shigella.

A Carnegie staff person has also given a handout on Shigella to members who are sick or know someone who is. It is mentioned on the handout that Shigella is highly contagious. It is so contagious in fact that it is recommended that people avoid sharing the same toilet with a person with diarreahea from Shigella.

But Carnegie is failing where it counts. Last evening, they didn't even have clean trays in the cafeteria. If a person needed a tray to carry their dinner and dessert and drink to their table, they had to use a tray that somebody else had eaten off of. When people put their food on a tray and walk to a table in the Carnegie cafeteria, they often leave it on the tray as they eat, as it is common for the tables to have remnants of other people's food on them.

One individual who was diagnosed with Shigella last month, after eating regularly at Carnegie Center -- although this person cannot be certain they got it at Carnegie -- was shocked to learn that people are being expected to use other people's dirty food trays. "I was really sick for two weeks but it's been five weeks now and I'm still not totally over it," this person says. "They need to clean that cafeteria up." Carnegie just got an expensive new dishwasher, another concerned member pointed out.

At least one staff person does make an effort to keep the cafeteria tables clean. Members report seeing Jacquie wiping down tables, but many of her fellow CUPE members seem reluctant to do this job, claiming that it should be done by "volunteers".

A Carnegie member reported seeing a food server wearing rubber gloves, and operating the cash register as well, pick up a piece of food and put it in her mouth with her fingers. Then a customer ordered a piece of banana bread and she picked it up with the same hand that had just been in her mouth. Generally, cake at Carnegie is wrapped in cellophane but on this occasion the member says, the server "reached into a bag to get it." The member knows this food server -- who "volunteers" and is paid in food vouchers -- and says she is a drug abuser.

Public Health officials are tracking Shigella in the Vancouver. Time for them to swoop down on the Carnegie Center cafeteria and enforce stricter health standards.

The problem of the Carnegie cafeteria being unclean is an ongoing one under the administration of Director Ethel Whitty. The Downtown Eastside Enquirer has mentioned this and other inadequate provision of services previously, and drew the ire of Whitty who at one point was involved in a "witch hunt" at Carnegie to find tattle-tale bloggers.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Paul McCartney - "Maybe I'm Tazed"

by Dag

Maybe I been tazed by the way you love me all the time,
and maybe I'm afraid of the way I believe you.

Maybe I'm tazed at the way you pulled me out of time,
you hung me on the line.
maybe I'm tazed at the way I really flee you.

Baby, I'm a man, maybe I'm a lonely man
who's in the middle of something
that he doesn't really understand.

Maybe I'm tazed at the way you're with me all the time,
Maybe I'm afraid of you.

Maybe I'm tazed at the way you help me sing my song,
Right me when I'm wrong-
Maybe I'm tazed at the way I really need you.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

RCMP Taser Elderly Stroke Survivor

Did you hear the one about the RCMP shooting the stroke survivor with a taser gun? It's true.

John Peters, 68, suffered a stroke in 1990. He is blind in one eye, hard of hearing, and has neurological problems which affect his speech. But the RCMP added to his problems last Monday by shooting him with a Taser gun in Kelowna, B.C. Like Robert Dziekanski, the Polish immigrant who died at Vancouver airport, Peters was tasered twice.

But unlike Dziekanski, Peters survived to talk about it. In fact, seeing Dziekanski dying on video after being tasered prompted Peters and his wife Ann to speak to CHBC Television in Kelowna (the interview aired on Nov. 16, 2007 on the Vancouver sister station, Global TV) about their experience. The 5'6", 145 lbs. Peters still has nightmares about the tasering and doesn't ever expect to entirely get over it. "This is probably going to haunt me for the rest of my life", he said.

Guess what Peters had done to deserve to get tased twice? He and his wife, Ann Peters, had just finished their paper route -- they deliver a Kelowna newspaper three mornings a week -- and he was picking her up at a coffee shop in downtown Kelowna when he double parked. An RCMP officer was writing him a ticket when Peters objected and drove off. Less than a block away, Peters realized he had made a mistake and stopped his car.

But the Mounties know how to deal with a double parking bandit. An RCMP officer approached Peters in his car and punched him on the side of the head. "I felt a punch...and then the next thing I knew, I was staring at a Taser. And then I got tased."

Ann Peters recalled seeing the officer "with his Taser out" and hearing him say, "I'm going to Taser him."


It happened quick, she says, "Just like that, I mean, there was no hesitation." Her husband had not even gotten out of the car yet, she pointed out.

To add insult to injury, literally, the RCMP charged Peters with assaulting a police officer, obstructing justice, and resisting arrest. But Peters says he never hit the officer. The couple doubt they will ever regain their trust in the RCMP

John Peters believes that what these officers need to develop is "people skills". Ann Peters agrees, "Not Taser first, ask questions later."

Think John Peters experience is unusual? Think again. Canadian Press reviewed 563 cases of taser use by the RCMP over a 3 year period and found that in 3 out of 4 cases, the suspects tasered had been unarmed. Canadian Press obtained the data, according to CTV News on Nov. 18, 2007, from reviewing partially censored documents from the RCMP. Their conclusion was that tasers are being used by the RCMP as a weapon of choice and that they are quick to use them on low risk suspects.
Want to read another police abuse story, one that occurred in conjunction with United Way? Click on this link:

Friday, November 16, 2007

For Better Or For Worse Cartoonist to Divorce

It wasn't for better or for worse after all. Lynn Johnston whose "For Better Or For Worse" comic strip is based on life with her husband, Rod Johnston, and their two children, intends to divorce.

"He fell in love with somebody else," the cartoonist known to a hundred million newspaper readers across North America, told the Chicago Tribune. "It had been over a long period of time," she said, pausing and adding that it had come as a surprise to her. In fact, she had been planning her retirement to spend more time with her retired dentist husband. Instead he left in April 2007 and she expects to be divorced by April of next year.

In an interview with CBC on Nov. 2, 2007, Johnston was asked about the separation. "I can't believe it happened, but it did," she said, holding back tears, not entirely successfully. "People change...feelings change," said Johnston who is now roughly sixty years old, and all you can do is wish them well. She added, straining to keep her voice stable, that the separation was being handled with "graciousness" and "care".

Johnston's children have not disappointed her though. "I'm just thrilled with my children, the fact that they are adults and they're not in jail," she said laughing. The fact that Kate and Aaron are both "my best friends" makes her feel as though she succeeded as a parent. She describes them as "happy, mature, strong, wonderful people." Kate is an art student, a potter, and Aaron works in television. She raised both her children with Rod Johnston, although Aaron was a product of her first marriage.

Johnston, who was raised in North Vancouver, lives in Corbeil in Northern Ontario, Canada. She moved there with her children and husband who became a flying dentist with his own plane.

In recent years, Johnston has developed a neurological disorder which at times causes a tremor in her arm. For that reason she has an assistant to help with drawings for her comic strip. But she told George Stroumboulopoulos on the CBC's, "The Hour", on Dec. 5 that the disorder is now in remission, which "is wonderful".

Johnston is winding down her comic strip for which she had a 20 year contract. She feels out of touch with "the new electronic age and all the new vocabulary...and the way kids dress and talk." She fears she would begin to come across like a 60 year old who didn't know what she was talking about.
Thinking of donating to United Way? Read "Fraudulent Evidence Found in United Way Police Complaint" on the Downtown Eastside Enquirer.

Farnworth Teary Over Tasering

Mike Farnsworth was teary-eyed on Wednesday night on the 11 o'clock news in Vancouver. It was when Global television was asking people for comments on the just released video of the taser gun death of polish immigrant, Robert Dziekanski, at the Vancouver airport.

First a Global reporter showed the video to Vancouver lawyer, Cameron Ward. Ward looked momentarily shaken after watching the video but he went on to comment. He pointed out that police – there were four RCMP officers standing with the victim when he was tasered -- seem to be using tasers to subdue people without having to touch them.

Then a reporter turned up at the office of Mike Farnsworth, NDP public safety critic, and played the video for him. After watching it, Farnsworth was so shaken that he had difficulty commenting; he couldn't seem to get the words out. Tears were leaking out and he was trying to hold them back. The camera crew left. But they continued to point their camera through the plate glass window of his office. As Farnsworth turned away, he could be seen putting his thumb and forefinger over his tear ducts, the way people do when they are trying to stem the flow of tears and don’t want to be seen crying.

"He’s a feeling person," I thought. He had watched a man being killed in front of his eyes and it bothered him. It was then that I moved closer to the television to read his name in the caption, "Mike Farnworth, NDP Public Safety critic".

The American therapist Arthur Janov has commented on the importance of electing officials who have not lost their ability to feel. A friend of mine, who has read everything Janov's ever written, explained his view that optimal intelligence involves the intellect working in conjunction with the feeling side of the person. Operating on intellect alone, having "fled to your head", won't cut it. If a politician has lost his ability to feel, if he's making decisions but unable to feel empathy with the people affected, Janov says, we're in trouble.
A quick example of people in positions of authority who have lost their ability to feel: the RCMP officers standing with Dziekanski when he was shot with a taser gun. Dziekanski was writhing on the floor in agony, clutching his chest, obviously not going anywhere, and one of the officers orders, "Hit him again!" Another officer shoots him again.
Thinking of donating to United Way? Read "Fraudulent Evidence Found in United Way Police Complaint" on the Downtown Eastside Enquirer.

Monday, November 5, 2007

CNN Duped by Insite Spokespersons

Last week, CNN did a 3 minute story on Insite, Vancouver's controversial supervised drug injection site. They were duped.

As Insite spokespersons listed key benefits the facility brought to the community, they trotted out the same old, same old. They claimed that Insite had resulted in the reduction of discarded used needles in parks and school yards.

What did they leave out? The fact that there are hundreds of needles discarded on the Downtown Eastside every day but people are paid to quietly walk around and pick them up. That's the main reason there is a reduction in needles on the street.

In fact, in a previous post, the DTES Enquirer pointed out that one needle-collector told us that he had picked up about 200 needles discarded in a pile of garbage in an alley less than a block away from Insite.
According to a Dec. 8, 2006 Vancouver Sun article, "Our Four Blocks of Hell", 8,300 intravenous syringes were found within four blocks of Insite over a three week period by an independent City work crew. The work crew, accompanied by bylaw and police officers, had been assigned the task of cataloguing litter and garbage in the four blocks surrounding the intersection of East Hasting and Columbia St. -- that's the intersection closest to Insite -- from Aug. 14 to Sept. 8, 2006. That means 8,300 people chose not to walk the short distance to Insite. They instead chose to toss their needles on the ground or in the garbage bin in the alley.

Not only are needles being picked up on the Downtown Eastside by a range of publicly-funded workers, needle-drop boxes have been installed in recent years in alleys, on park fences, and in public washrooms on the Downtown Eastside. Street workers with buckets regularly empty these boxes.

Spokespersons are lying by ommission when they cite fewer needles on the streets as a key benefit of Insite. Rule of thumb: if people lie about one thing, they are likely to lie about another.

For the real story on the massive number of discarded needles being collected daily on the streets of the Downtown Eastside, see "Vancouver's Other Olympic Sport".


Thinking of donating to United Way? Read Fraudulent Evidence Found in United Way Police Complaint on the Downtown Eastside Enquirer

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Questions Carnegie Would Rather Dan Not Ask

Dan Rather, formerly the news anchor at CBS, is doing a story on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. He has reportedly been examining issues such as poverty, homelessness, and drug addiction, including the supervised drug injection site, Insite.

There are questions that the Carnegie administration and other Downtown Eastside povertarians would rather Dan not ask. They would rather he have a 'don't ask' policy on certain issues, just as they have a 'don't tell' policy.

1. CAPP is Hypocritical when it comes to the Homeless:
Jean Swanson of the Carnegie Community Action Project [CCAP] is a media go-to person on issues of poverty and homelessness. In fact, she briefed the United Nations representative who was just in town. But Swanson was silent when her colleagues in CCAP supported the barring of homeless man, William "Bill" Simpson, from Carnegie Center.

Simpson was elected, by largely low income people, to the Board of the Carnegie Center in June 2007 and, two weeks later, was delivered a letter by Carnegie Manager Ethel Whitty barring him from the entire building indefinitely. Whitty told him that he would not be allowed inside even for Board meetings. Simpson was accused in the letter on City letterhead of operating a website which "features links" to the Downtown Eastside blog.

Swanson and her CCAP colleagues are conspicuously quiet month after month when this homeless man stands outside Carnegie on the sidewalk as Board meetings take place inside.

2. Povertarians in the "socialist experiment" of the Downtown Eastside have turned into "blog burners" with the support of City Hall

Months before Simpson was barred from the entire Carnegie Center, he was barred from the Carnegie Learning Center on the third floor. He was told by Co-ordinator/teacher Lucy Alderson that it was because he had blogged on the Downtown Eastside Enquirer blog. Alderson had been criticized on the blog for too often locking the poor out of the Center. Roughly eight months later, Whitty completely 'disappeared' the issue of Simpson blogging. She announced at a community relations meeting that he had been barred from the Carnegie Learning Center because he was "not a student". He was in fact a registered student with a man named Chad as his tutor. (Chad later resigned over the Simpson barring, calling Carnegie's treatment of the poor "oppressive".)

Earlier Whitty had personally interrogated a volunteer at Carnegie about who he might have seen blogging. Whitty damaged his relationship with his best friend by attempting to get him to turn her in for blogging. She is not a blogger. Whitty also allowed her staff, Dan Tetrault, Rika Uto, and Colleen Gorrie to separately question this volunteer about who was blogging, leading to accusations of a witch hunt. The guy ended up suicidal.

Whitty also repeatedly slandered DTES Enquirer bloggers at public meetings, claiming that they were engaged in "defamation" and "character assassination." Never once did Whitty provide an example of this -- because none exist.

Board member, Sophia Friegang, announced at a meeting that the blog was well within the boundaries of "free speech". She believed that a "mistake" had been made in barring Simpson. [Friegang later resigned from the Board over this issue.]

In two separate issues of the Carnegie Newsletter produced by CCAP, Simpson was libeled. In an issue this summer, Editor Paul Taylor accused Simpson of writing "sadistic" material, "slime", and having gotten himself elected to the Board through fraud. Taylor later printed a retraction. In a previous issue, Taylor called Simpson -- in that issue, he didn't name Simpson but people knew who he was referring to -- a "blog bozo" and other names.

Earlier Simpson, who supported the DTES Enquirer blog, had kidded Taylor, "Finally, some free media on the Downtown Eastside." Taylor is notorious for censoring any submissions to the newsletter that do not jive with his own hard left political views.

3. Where did the first Insite Report go?
During the first year Insite operated, reporters with questions about its success were constantly told by then Mayor Larry Campbell to wait for the report that would be produced based statistics collected internally. The report was indeed produced based on the first year of operation. Campbell told the media that he was disappointed that the report did not show more dramatic results. The report revealed that Insite staff claimed to have saved just one life. And Campbell, a former coroner, admitted when pressed that they could not even be certain that they had even saved that life; the individual may have survived without intervention.

Where did that report go? You never hear about it now.

4. Insite is part of a Medical-Industrial Complex eroding Civil Liberties on the Downtown Eastside

There is big government money coming into the Downtown Eastside. Every day a swarm of workers arrive from other neighborhoods to collect pay cheques in the lucrative poverty industry. But the emerging medical-industrial complex -- the interfacing lucrative poverty industry and the medical industry on the Downtown Eastside has resulted in the erosion of civil liberties.

Povertarians create case files at every opportunity. The case file economy has gotten so out of control that speaking up about a political issue can get a Downtown Eastside resident a visit from Car 87 -- a police cruiser which carries an armed constable and psychiatric nurse -- and tagged with a mental health smear that remains on their record for life. Car 87 assesses people for "apprehension" to a mental hospital and is supposed to be reserved for people at "imminent" risk of killing themselves or others. Car 87 tactics on the Downtown Eastside have been compared by the ad hoc group, Canadians Opposing Political Psychiatry, to tactics of political repression employed in China.

Carnegie Center street workers and nurses who roam the Downtown Eastside handing out clean needles have been compared to the KGB. A paper trail obtained by the DTES Enquirer reveals allegations outstanding with the Health Authority since 2004 that they worked with VPD Detective Dormand to track a woman intending to publicize Car 87 abuses on the Downtown Eastside. [The abuses publicized were well supported with documenation.] Medical
confidentiality was also disregarded by Dormand and the street workers.
The woman became a target of Dormand immediately after she faxed a letter to the office of Ida Goodreau, CEO of the Health Authority, indicating a determination to seek full accountability for Car 87 fraud and abuse. Half an hour after faxing the letter, the woman received the first of a barrage of voice mail at her unlisted home phone number from Detective Dormand. He revealed that he was under pressure from the Health Authority lawyer at Bull Housser & Tupper. The woman saved the voice mail from Dormand, alleging that the messages were "harassing" and clearly intended to intimidate her into silencing herself. One of the last voice mails from Dormand is alleged to be "tantamount to extortion". There has never been an investigation into the alleged role of the Health Authority in influencing Dormand's conduct, which included the offer of a deal which would see Car 87 documents destroyed -- documents which just happened to be evidence against the Health Authority that the woman wanted criminally investigated. Did I mention that Goodreau's office is the ultimate overseer of Insite.

Players in the poverty industry play dirty. It is a big money game. The stakes are high. Messages that come out of the neighborhood are controlled -- which is why blogging is such a threat -- and povertarians are ruthless with anybody who deviates from the script.

For more on the medical-industrial complex on the Downtown Eastside see:

5. Why is Insite a family affair?
Insite, the supervised injection site on the Downtown Eastside, is run by the Portland Hotel Society. That would be Mark Townsend and his wife Liz Evans and her sister Sara Evans.

Left-wing Member of Parliament (federal) Libby Davies was a proponent of Insite and guess who turned up working there? Her only child, Leif Erickson.

And then there is Member of the Legislative Assembly (provincial) Jenny Kwan, whose husband, Dan Small, turned up as Director of the Portland Hotel Society.

It will be interesting to see if Dan asks inconvenient questions rather than airing the dog-eared script of the povertarians.


Thinking of donating to United Way? Read Fraudulent Evidence Found in United Way Police Complaint on the Downtown Eastside Enquirer

Saturday, November 3, 2007

CUPE Still On Strike

CUPE is still on strike. The strike was supposed to have been over last month. But the poor are still being locked out of services on a semi-regular basis at Carnegie Center.

Last Thursday, a Carnegie member went to the Computer Room on the 3rd floor of Carnegie, just after 2 p.m. and found it locked and in darkness. The excuse was that there was "no volunteer" to sit in there to sign-in people and kill time by web surfing. Never mind that Director Ethel Whitty, who makes $104,000 a year, and her entourage of staff have offices just a few meters from the Computer Room.

Whitty retaliates if bloggers mention the locked doors and the word "Whitty" in the same sentence. She makes slanderous remarks at public meetings about bloggers engaged in defamation and character assassination. She never provides examples.

On Friday, a Carnegie member went to the Learning Center just after 2 p.m. and found students being evacuated by teacher Lucy Alderson. There was a volunteer receptionist there, Jack, but the highly paid Alderson said she wanted two volunteers. She didn't have them so she closed shop. Witnesses don't recall Alderson lifting a finger to find a volunteer. There are CUPE members on staff who are paid to co-ordinate volunteers, but they too let the Learning Center close. Rika Uto, a CUPE member who plays a supervisory role in relation to the Learning Center, was present that day but that didn't prevent the doors from being locked. These people are well paid and just got a 20% raise (that's what it works out to with compounding). So why aren't the jobs being done?

On Saturday after noon, the Learning Center was shut tight and in darkness again. Unlike during the week, it is the sole responsibility of CUPE members on Saturdays to keep the Learning Center open. On Saturday evening, when the Computer Room was scheduled to be open from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., people arrived to find it locked and in darkness.

These are not the only examples of doors being locked at Carnegie over the past month. The DTES Enquirer has been told that doors are being locked on a semi-regular basis.

What is Ethel Whitty, who takes her orders from City Hall, doing about the problem of CUPE members dragging their asses? She is writing PR material that covers CUPE asses . Look at what Whitty read to a crowd at a by-election and Board meeting on Thursday evening -- that would be just hours after Downtown Eastside Residents had found the Computer Room locked -- in the Carnegie Theatre:

"Staff have returned to work with enthusiasm and good will and quickly resumed providing the services they love to offer."


Thinking of donating to United Way? Read Fraudulent Evidence Found in United Way Police Complaint on the Downtown Eastside Enquirer.