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Aug. 14: Letters to the editor Add to ...

Passport purgatory

The detention of Suaad Hagi Mohamud, based on her passport photo and aided and abetted by the Canadian consulate, is an outrage ( Escape From No-Man's Land - Aug. 13).

My passport is an example of the original photo being transformed, in the process of being affixed, from a reasonable likeness to a darkened, distorted state that certainly cast doubts on my identity. In the right circumstances, I, too, could become the unwilling guest of a foreign state.

One can only conclude the government is often incompetent and sometimes uncaring when Canadian citizens are detained abroad.

Dennis Casaccio, Annapolis Royal, N.S.


Much to my vexation, I have noticed that the picture on a $20 banknote in my wallet no longer resembles the Queen. (Her right lower lip is all wrong.) Should I worry that the Bank of Canada could confiscate the note, punch a hole through it, and indict me?

Jaydeep Chipalkatti, Winnipeg

Policing the RCMP

Despite the fact the RCMP welcomed the report from the Commission for Public Complaints, agrees with a number of its findings, and that I am on record saying we would prefer never to have to investigate our own members, your headline stated the force rejects the report ( RCMP Reject Watchdog Report On Internal Investigations - Aug. 12).

The RCMP finds a great deal positive in the report. We are proud it concludes our members' conduct was professional, timely and free of bias in all the investigations reviewed. Our concerns centre on the methodology that led to some of the conclusions, and the practicality of some recommendations. The report reviews cases, some more than seven years old, using the lens of new criteria developed for the report.

Based on those criteria, it calls RCMP conduct inappropriate in some cases. Considering the CPC's findings that our officers' conduct was free of bias in all of these cases, that is strong language indeed. It creates an inaccurate picture.

We have always supported having others investigate the RCMP where there is a regime in place to do so. However, time is critical and in some remote areas, it can take a day or more to fly in officers, let alone identify an available team from another force. The report's concerns and recommendations about national standards will be addressed in new RCMP policy and we are anxious for the government to introduce legislative reform. As I have so often said, the RCMP strongly supports enhanced independent oversight and review.

William J.S. Elliott, Commissioner, RCMP


In the shooting death of Kevin St. Arnaud by an RCMP officer, the RCMP investigated themselves and found no charges were warranted. At a subsequent inquest, the officer's evidence that he acted in self-defence was contradicted by five witnesses, including another RCMP officer present at the shooting, and by forensic experts.

In the in-custody shooting death of Ian Bush, the RCMP investigated themselves and found no charges were warranted. Inexplicably, Mr. Bush's body was not refrigerated and was allowed to decompose prior to an autopsy being conducted. A blood splatter expert testified at an inquiry that the incident could not have occurred in the manner the officer testified it did. The officer wasn't formally interviewed until three months after the incident.

These are but two examples of the RCMP investigating themselves. I won't even mention the unfortunate Robert Dziekanski. The chair of the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP disagrees with the force's policy that investigations into its members have to be handled like any other and is quoted as saying police "are held to a higher standard."

Based on the St. Arnaud and Bush investigations, if the RCMP are really held to a higher standard than civilians, it's a wonder they've ever recommended charges against anyone.

Michael Kennedy, North Vancouver

Red-Tory tosh?

Lawrence Martin says Prime Minister Stephen Harper's move to the left has "validated" Red Toryism ( The Resurgence Of The Red Tory Brand - Aug. 13). Isn't it a little soon to make such a statement?

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