Constituional lawyer, Karen Selick, exposes the criminal behaviour of law-enforcement agencies addicted to "proceeds of crime."
Selick's presentation to the
Standing committee on Justice and Social Policy
Bill 155 is one further step down the already slippery slope that Canada is taking towards becoming a police state. This bill will give the government a stake--a very big stake--in the continued existence of organized crime. Money is a big motivator, whether for individuals or for governments. This bill promises to pour money into government coffers. In effect, it will make the government a senior, silent partner to organized crime. Once government can seize the proceeds of crime, or assets suspected of being used in a crime, it will become addicted to that source of funds, just like any junkie. Then we'll never be able to repeal this law, no matter how much evil we see it doing, no matter how many police officers or judges it corrupts and no matter how many innocent people lose their houses, their money or even their lives.
Ontario Wants to Put Grab on Property Rights
In fact, for everyone except the government departments and police forces that have been raking in billions of dollars annually, the U.S. experience with asset forfeiture has been one long nightmare. It has seen the wrongful confiscation of property from vast numbers of innocent people who can't afford the legal fees to seek the return of their assets, the deaths of innocent people in seizure raids, the diversion of police resources away from non-gang-related crimes that don't produce financial rewards for the police, and the corruption of police officers.
Go Ahead, Make Our Day
So there should be plenty of money left over to beef up the budgets of the Ontario Crown and police departments and to go into cabinet’s slush fund.
What’s wrong with this picture? It will mean that crime does pay—for the state and its minions. It will add a flock of respectable citizens—judges, lawyers, police officers, bureaucrats--to the burgeoning number of people whose livelihood depends upon the continued existence of organized crime.
Furthermore, it will distort the priorities that law enforcement officials will attach to different types of crime. Why send officers out to investigate some trivial purse-snatching, burglary or car theft when their time could be spent sniffing out drug proceeds which will end up in police department coffers? Then we can hire more officers and sniff out more drug proceeds, and so on, and so on.
Civil Remedies Act Will Harm the Innocent and Corrupt the State
These abuses have spawned many attempts to reform U.S. laws. But suddenly a different problem rears its head. Police forces frequently receive a cut of whatever they seize. A 2001 study showed that “a substantial percentage” of the 1,400 American police forces surveyed had become “dependent” on confiscated assets as part of their budgets.
In effect, the state becomes addicted to snorting up the proceeds of crime. Instead of protecting citizens from crime, the state becomes like the criminals’ silent senior partner, sharing in the illicit profits. Its focus could easily shift from putting criminals behind bars to a “catch and release” policy that keeps the money flowing in. http://www.karenselick.com/CCF090903.html
DISCLAIMER: BruceMontague.ca is maintained by friends and
supporters of Bruce Montague.
It is NOT an official mouth-piece for Bruce
Montague's legal defense.