The conversation descended into mud-slinging, with my Councillor trying to score points against me by referring to my "political soapbox" and bringing my affiliation with the Green Party up. He then suggested that I was engaging in "abnormal" behaviour when I revealed that I sometimes walk outside at night, maybe on my way home from work, or to visit a coffee shop. Apparently, in his judgement, pedestrians should consider themselves targets for police activity if they're out walking at night. But if you're driving around in a car, that's ok because....well, I've no idea why that's ok.
Anyway, I wanted to document this because I'm troubled by this exchange for a number of reasons. This man is an elected official in my community - in fact, he's my ward councillor at the moment. His flippant disregard and disrespect for Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, along with his support of an activity which has been described by the Ontario Ombudsman as being "illegal", and which the provincial government is taking action to stop - that's problematic, but I'm not sure if it really is based on his misunderstanding of the "random" nature of carding. Perhaps he's been getting bad advice from someone whom he knows who is an Officer with the Peel Police, who chimed in on this thread to state clearly that carding isn't random - which to me is unbelievable, because it suggests that at least in his mind, the Police are targeting individuals to stop and "check" - people who might just be walking home from the coffee shop at 3 in the morning - an example of an activity an individual might be engaged in which would elicit a carding response from the Peel police officer.
I'm troubled by the fact that my Ward Councillor believes that I engage in abnormal behaviour. I'm troubled too by the number of times that he and others here tried to pretend to know how I felt about a particular issue based on...well, nothing really. And I'm troubled by my Ward Councillor bringing the Greater Sudbury Police Service into this discussion, which seemed to me like an attempt to suggest that our police force engages in random police checks - something that I've not heard that they do, by the way - in an attempt to imply that I am somehow anti-police.
Ya, I'm just troubled tonight. If you're one of my regular readers, you may just wish to move on. I just wanted to document this exchange somewhere publicly, because it's been removed now from the Valley East Facebook Group, and is no longer available for public consumption. I want people to see what I wrote - in defence of my Police Service and ethical policing everywhere. I want people to realize that I support our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. And I want people to know that I don't think it's abnormal to be walking around the City at 3 in the morning because sometimes that's just what you've got to do - or what you want to do - especially now since the Council which Robert T. Kirwan is a member of - authorized 24 hour shopping in our City.7 hrs
SHOOTINGS ARE UP AND THERE ARE MORE GUNS ON THE STREETS OF TORONTO
Before the anti-carding legislation was presented, people were afraid to carry guns with them on the streets. Now, if a police officer approaches a suspicious character, he can just tell the police officer to take off. Many police officers are seeing the impact of this legislation and the statistics are quite revealing.
Shooting occurrences are up 61% over this time last year — 118 compared to 73 in April of 2015.
Shooting victims are up 31% — 146 compared to 111.
Homicide is double last year’s count at this time with 26 — 16 of those from the barrel of a gun.
While many who support the anti-carding legislation will argue that that may be other factors that have produced this spike in violence, front line officers will tell you that hardened criminals in gangs are no longer afraid to carry a gun with them since they can refuse to allow a police officer to talk to them. In the past, these same people would store their guns back at their homes or headquarters. Now they carry them.
This summer will be a true test so we will see if the numbers continue to rise.
(Opinions expressed in this blogpost are my own, and should not be considered consistent with the policies and/or positions of the Green Parties of Ontario and Canada)