Friday, September 06, 2013

What happened in High River is going to end badly for someone within the RCMP.

In a letter to Alberta's official opposition Wildrose Party, an official with the RCMP says officers did what they felt was necessary but "did not take operational direction from any elected officials or public service employees to enter in private homes"  (link)

Read that last part again: The RCMP "did not take operational direction from any elected officials or public service employees to enter in private homes"

That is quite the admission. The RCMP entered locked private homes without a warrant and seized personal property ( This is not about guns. The property seized, had it been computers or even vacuum cleaners, is irrelevant) on their own without direction from any elected official or public service employee.

Unfortunately for the RCMP the only law in Alberta that would allow them or anyone else to undertake such extraordinary actions is the Alberta Emergency Management Act (AEMA  (read the entire act for yourself) and the act very clearly states that such actions must be authorized by someone who is an "elected official or public service employee."*

Powers of Minister in emergency:
19(1) On the making of the declaration and for the duration of the
state of emergency, the Minister may do all acts and take all
necessary proceedings including the following:
h) authorize the entry into any building or on any land,
without warrant, by any person in the course of
implementing an emergency plan or program;

c) acquire or utilize any real or personal property considered
necessary to prevent, combat or

alleviate the effects of an

emergency or disaster;

It reads 'the Minister may authorize' something, not 'the Minister automatically does authorize'. There are no extraordinary powers given directly to the police anywhere in the act and in fact the word "police" is nowhere to be found in the act, and any such powers available to the police require that the Minister authorize their use. Without that authorization, there are no special powers. Also note that it says 'any person'. The Minister may authorize, the fire dept, the postman or even his crazy Uncle to do any of those things listed in sec 19 as he (they) deem necessary, it does not have to be the police and in fact there are very good reasons why the word 'police' was omitted from the AEMA and why they were not given any specific powers.

Note also that in the AEMA is the requirement for a paper trail which it seems the RCMP do not have.

Proof of authorization
If the Minister authorizes a person to carry out a power or duty
of the Minister under this Act as the Minister responsible for this
Act or as a local authority and the authorization
(a) is made in writing,
(b) purports to be signed by the Minister responsible for the
Municipal Government Act
or the Minister responsible for
the Special Areas Act, and
(c) states that the person named in it is authorized under this
section to carry out the power or duty set out in the
written authorization,
that written authorization or a copy of it shall be admitted in
evidence as proof, in the absence
of evidence to the contrary, of
that person’s authorization to carry out the power or duty without
proof of the signature or official character of the Minister.
RSA 2000 cD-13 s3;2007 c12 s4;2010 c5 s2

It is this simple. Warrantless entry and property seizures require written authorization and either that written authorization from someone who is allowed to do so exists or it does not exist. If it does, let's see it.

Somebody screwed up big here and while many want to blame the Redford government for this, it appears that the RCMP are responsible for the mess in High River and I suspect that it will not end well for somebody in the force. Heads will roll.

Not that the Redford government has much to be proud of on this file by having this happen under their watch and now by desperately trying to downplay the entire gun grab and divert attention away from themselves by claiming the opposition are playing politics and scare mongering. Redford's bizarre attempt in the face of facts to create an alternative reality and Minister Doug Griffiths use of the F-bomb yesterday show just how worried the PCs are about this issue and unfortunately also shows that they would rather continue play political games by downplaying the incident and dismiss the legitimate concerns of Albertans all to protect their own skins. There is little in their actions to date to be proud of and even though the RCMP look to be at fault here, the attempt by the PC's to make this political rather than worrying about possible breaches of law against the people of High River doesn't make them look any better than the RCMP here.

*The act reads "the Minister" but in the case of a local declaration of emergency as was the case in High River (the local state of emergency was declared in High River on June 19, 2013 at 7:04AM) the 'local authority' in this case the mayor and council have the same authority as the Minister with regards to authorizing the extraordinary powers listed in section 19.



Anonymous said...

So for 8 days the RCMP and presumably the CAF perused the homes of citizens on the order of a Staff Sgt. ..?..

Anonymous said...

old white guy want's to know how many guns have been returned ti their rightful owners???

Ardvark said...

The CAF has said that they did not seize any guns and I believe (could be wrong) did not enter into people homes. They did help the RCMP transport to the homes but did not enter them. Anyone know otherwise?

"Police say half the 560 guns seized during High River flood have been returned."

Anonymous said...

"To uphold the right without fear or favor"
Breaking and entering, theft, wandering around peoples homes in their muddy boots.
The RCMP's behavior is way out of control, whoever is responsible needs to lose his job and pension.
Red Ali's nothing to see here folks is sickening.
As for the juvenile "F" bomb who does Doug Griffths think he is?
People want answers not silly juvenile antics is he perhaps related to the Trudeau clan?
Cheers Bubba

Ken Moore said...

A key word is "operational". To me this implies there was direction from Government (the board) and action by the RCMP (the executive). How can Alberta's government have this view of their electors as wild ravening animals that cannot be trusted?

Unknown said...

Welcome to the police state!

fernstalbert said...

This illegal search and seizure was a test case - to see if the police authorities can willfully and without penalty administer law on their own terms. Where is the oversight - the rule of law - there is none in Alberta. The Redford Conservatives are cowed and currying favor with the police. I used to think that the police should be supported - however it is important for citizens to challenge and where possible use the power of cell phone videos to out those that take the law into their own hands and reshape the country into a police state.

Anonymous said...

The Redford government, right after the election signed a 20 year contract with the Federal government for RCMP police services. It was done to counteract the Wildrose policy of policing ourselves via a provincial police force.

From the subsequent police actions in High River, it appears that the Alberta government is NOT running Alberta, the RCMP are. Now that is embarassing for Redford, isn't it?

I've also wondered why Turner Valley, Bragg Creek, Black Diamond, the Sarcee reserve on the west side of Calgary, Siksika reserve and the evacuated parts of Calgary were not subjected to a "boot in the doors" policy to rescue puppies, kittens and grandmas. Plenty of people own long guns in every one of these towns and cities and reserves.

Why only High River?

The suggestion that the RCMP did it on their own and only in High River doesn't cut it.

Anonymous said...

I originally thought the Redford Government was not to blame, but their actions of late have me changing my mind... Yes, RCMP are wrong but who gave them the order to do so. Same thing happened in New Orleans home when Katrina hit, we just never gave Calgary Flooding a name.

Anonymous said...

The RCMP has proved time and time again that they LIE when cornered. They will spend billions to protect their so-called reputation. Redford ordered this to take place make no mistake and the wildrose better raise a huge stink and get to the bottom of it. As for the RCMP terrorists they need to be booted out of municipal policing in every corner of the country.

Anonymous said...

The CAF assisted the RCMP to commit an illegal act.

Once they knew the RCMP was kicking in doors and they continued to assist them they became just as guilty as the RCMP.

The RCMP officers who broke into the homes should be prosecuted just as zealously as any low life punk. This goes for the CF members who assisted them as well.

The people of the Town of High River should inform their town council that they want a new municipal police department organized and recruited and the RCMp officers of High River should be told "You had better request a transfer because you're not working here anymore".

Then spread the word loud. This is what happens to RCMP detachments when they abuse their power: the offenders will be charged and all their co-workers at the detachment will be looking for jobs.

Anonymous said...

Well, the way Ma Redford's team operates lately, they cannot trust vote them back next go - round.

NeoLuddite said...

Nurse Redford has never missed a photo-op with law enforcement types dressed in full uniform. By my extrapolation she implicitly established and re-enforced the us vs. them mindset. No need for explicit orders - The pack mentality was already fully permissioned at a high level.

Joe said...

So I wonder what plum government job is in the offing for said 'unnamed official'. I also wonder if Sgt Renfrew has been in touch with Sgt Pepper as to what to do when you are made scapegoat of a corrupt political machine such as was Jean Chretien and is Alison Redford.