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The Sound of Silence

Skeletons found in cars pulled from Oklahoma lake

In 2013, six skeletons were found in two different cars pulled from a lake in Oklahoma. Eventually it was determined the cars were from two different missing persons cases. The first car was linked to the disappearance of three adults in 1969 (ages 69, 58 and 42) . The occupants were last seen after asking for a “push” to get the car started. The second car was associated to three high school friends who disappeared without a trace in 1970. The driver was sixteen years old and his two friends were eighteen.

Oklahoma law enforcement accidentally found these vehicles as they were testing new sonar equipment. The cars were found in twelve feet of water. So one has to wonder: How many other cars with skeletons and decomposing bodies are at the bottom of lakes across North America?

This is a legitimate (if grim) question. In Canada, 977 adults and 151 children are listed on the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains web site. These numbers are likely lower than the actual numbers of missing persons across Canada. First, the web site is only a year or two old. Second, the NCMPUR database relies (as it must) on submissions from investigating police agencies, coroners and medical examiners. No submission, no listing in the database.

RCMP pleads not guilty to four labour code charges in Moncton RCMP shootings

The RCMP has pleaded not guilty to four labour code charges in Moncton RCMP shootings. The charges include:

  • Failing to provide RCMP members with appropriate use of force equipment and related user training when responding to an active threat or active shooter event.
  • Failing to provide RCMP members with appropriate information, instruction and/or training to ensure their health and safety when responding to an active threat or active shooter event in an open environment.
  • Failing to provide RCMP supervisory personnel with appropriate information, instruction and/or training to ensure the health and safety of RCMP members when responding to an active threat or active shooter event in an open environment.
  • Failing to ensure the health and safety at work of every person employed by it, namely: RCMP members, was protected.

The Meiorin Test

Another point about my case.  This is the first decision in Canada where the Meiorin Test has been applied to political belief.  See paragraph 286.

I can speak again

Today the BC Human Rights Tribunal issued its decision in my case: Bratzer v. Victoria Police Department (No. 3).

The decision is a victory for employee rights in British Columbia. Here is a brief summary of key points:

• The Tribunal determined that employers have a duty to accommodate the political beliefs of employees (paragraph 323).

• The Tribunal recognized that the protection offered by the Code for political belief includes not only the belief itself but also the manner of expression (paragraphs 274 and 276).

• The Tribunal ruled that employers cannot force their employees to ask for permission in advance of expressing their political beliefs (paragraph 401).

• The Tribunal recognized the right of police officers to participate in political advocacy and in the affairs of a political party (paragraphs 321 and 386).

• The Tribunal found the actions of Chief Jamie Graham (retired) were motivated by his antipathy toward “left wingers” (paragraphs 122, 123, 218, 220, 223, 224, 349, 320, 350, 351, 394 and 424).

• VicPD has been ordered to pay $20,000 for injury to dignity, the highest ever award for a political belief case in Canada (paragraphs 437 and 438).

It’s been a long road. Thank you to my family, colleagues and friends for all their support.