2003 – Canadian Crime In Review
Get over it: Canada’s as violent as the U.S.
Ok, so I admit I have a bias for Quebec crime, but just to show I can be fair and balanced, I will leave off any mention of arsonist-cum-murderer Angelo Colalillo, M.D. impersonator-cum-murderer Richard Bouillon, knife enthusiast Guy Croteau (say, doesn’t Croteau mean “cut” in French? Ironic, eh? ), object of police fabricated evidence Hugo Bernier, or good-old-fashioned serial killer William Fyfe. Oh and contrary to Court TV, the trial of the new millennium has nothing to do with a kiddie diddler named Michael: it’s all about a little Angel named Mom.
So here are my top ten stories from 2003 demonstrating the violence and corruption of the great white north:
1. Newfoundland’s Ouchie
A former chief justice of the Supreme Court is asked to investigate why so many wrongful-murder convictions have occurred in Newfoundland. Asked to probe the cases of Gregory Parsons, Ronald Dalton and Randy Druken, former chief justice Antonio Lamer stated there may be a “systematic failure of the system or, maybe it was just three individual boo-boos.”
2. Deep Throat Probes the Prairie
Saskatoon hit the big time when the Washington Post reported the plight of Darrell Night, a 37-year-old member of the Cree Nation who was driven to the outskirts of town and left for dead in the freezing cold by two members of the Saskatoon police force. “Get the fuck out of here, you fucking Indian”; that’s how officers left Night, who managed to survive the three mile walk back to the city. The force is now under investigation since several frozen aboriginal bodies have turned up in the area where police left Night.
3. Human Remains Discovered in Dartmouth Quarry
In August, RCMP confirmed that human remains were found in a rock quarry outside Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Investigators were at a loss to say who the remains belonged to; was it a 15-year-old boy missing since 1995? A former Hells Angels member missing since 1999? My guess is it’s one of the countless young women that have gone missing from the Halifax area – in the past 15 years many turned up in wooded areas, while others have disappeared without a trace.
4. Vince Bevan? Is anybody home?
It is a tragedy that graduate student Ardeth Wood went missing from downtown Ottawa in the summer of 2003 only to turn up dead along a riverside biking path. But the real story here is how Ottawa chief of police, Vince Bevan still can’t solve this crime. You remember Bevan – he’s the one who let Karla Homolka plea bargain her way out of a life sentence. How someone can blow the Paul Bernardo case then get PROMOTED to chief of police is beyond me.
The scuttlebutt around the Nation’s Capital is that police were aware of a serial rapist operating along the biking paths of the Ottawa river long before Ardeth Wood disappeared. Now the case is stone cold and Bevan isn’t talking.
5. Toronto The Very Bad
10-year-old Holly Jones disappears from her downtown neighborhood. Later pieces of her body are found floating in luggage along the shores of Lake Ontario. Police arrest 35-year-old Michael Briere, a software developer who lives near Holly’s home. These things aren’t supposed to happen in Toronto.
6. Cecilia Zhang – “Parents may breathe a little easier”
So said police in the wake of the abduction of the nine-year-old child, confident that Zhang was part of a ransom plot and not abducted by a sexual predator. Shaken by the murder of Holly Jones, authorities didn’t want Toronto to break into total panic. It’s been over two months now and police still can’t find Cecilia.
7. Ridgway vs Pickton – Can We Get A Recount?
On December 18th, Green River serial killer Gary Ridgway is sentenced to life in prison after confessing to the murders of 48 women over the past two decades. The murders set a record for serial killings in America, but Ridgway may have a rival – up the road in British Columbia, pig farmer Robert Pickton is charged with seven additional murders, bringing his total charges to 22. Pickton is reputed to be Canada’s worst serial killer, possibly responsible for the murders of over 60 prostitutes from downtown Vancouver.
8. Edmonton’s Missing Women
Not to be outdone by their neighbors in Vancouver, Edmonton has its own missing women. A task force from the Western province has been handed 123 cases to investigate in relation to the unsolved murders of 20 area prostitutes.
9. Etiquette 101:
If you throw a party, don’t forget to invite the guests!
In November, Justice Canada hosts a victims of crime conference. Dubbed, Lessons Learned from Victims of Crime the event was unique on two accounts:
1. It was the first of its kind in Canada.
Left to explain the gaff of the Ministry, then Deputy Justice Minister Richard Mosley was given a deus ex machina when outgoing Prime Minister, Jean Chretien swiftly promoted him to the Supreme Court. Talk about your exit strategies. Let’s hope future conferences will be more inclusive.
10. Nutcase Watch
December 31, 2003 – Only 553 days left until Karla Homolka is released from prison.