A. Cameron Ward Barristers and Solicitors
A. Cameron Ward
Vancouver BC
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I’m not sure what is more disturbing…the news story reproduced below, or the apathetic shrug the vast majority have on hearing the news that police will stop people engaged in perfectly legal activity (e.g. walking down the street with an unopened bottle of wine) and confiscate their property if not satisfied with the explanation.


VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Vancouver Police are surprised people continue to take booze to events like the Celebration of Light, despite repeated warnings not to.

But there is a way to get back any liquor the cops may confiscate. If your booze isn’t open, an officer will hand you a receipt, sort of like a coat check, so you can take it to the police station later to reclaim your alcohol.

Cst. Brian Montague explains what happens if you don’t go back to get it. “It’ll just be unclaimed property. Like any other unclaimed property, it would get destroyed. Other property is burned, I don’t know if they would add it to the incineration pile but it’s destroyed with other property.”

If your drink is already open, it will poured out in front of you.

Montague says an officer can use his or her own discretion. “I had a situation last week, stopped a man and woman walking down the beach and they had a perfectly logical explanation as to where they were coming from, where they were going to, they were able to provide me with some basic information and I let them proceed on their way, alcohol in hand.”

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When the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry was established on September 27, 2010, many observers felt it might be a waste of time and money.  It concluded its work on November 22, 2012 when the Commissioner delivered his report recommending, among other things, that the “Provincial Government establish a compensation fund for the children of the missing and murdered women” and “a healing fund for the families of the missing and murdered women”.  At this point, more than eight months later, the funds have not been established and the children and families of the missing and murdered women have yet to receive a dime of compensation for the losses of their loved ones.  One could say they have been forsaken yet again by a government that does not care a whit about the disadvantaged and marginalized.

Some others were well funded by the government, however.  When the province’s Public Accounts for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013 were released Tuesday, they revealed that Wally T Oppal (the Commissioner) received $405,000 for the fiscal year, making his total remuneration $839,535 for a little over two years’ work (including $324,267 for 2012 plus $110,268 for 2011).  All this presumably went into his personal pocket, as office, staffing and other resources were budgeted separately.

Commission Counsel Art Vertlieb Q.C. was paid $219,744 for the year ended March 31, 2013.  When added to his payments for 2012 ($483,741) and 2011 ($197,171), he took home a total of $900,656 for his service to the inquiry.

Associate Commission Counsel Karey Brooks did much of the counsel work at the hearings.  She billed BC taxpayers $373,920 for the year ended March 31, 2013, through her law firm Janes Freedman Kyle Law Corporation.  With billings of $482,139 in 2012 and $95,571 in 2011, Ms. Brooks’ firm raked in $951,630 for the duration of the Commission’s mandate.

Mr. Vertlieb’s friend John Boddie, a former Vancouver police officer turned stock promoter who served as the Commission’s Executive Director, apparently received $268,352 for 2013 through billings rendered by his wife’s firm, Paula Boddie and Associates.  Mr. Boddie’s total haul was $668,665 (including $100,506 for 2011 and $299,807), which is not bad for a former beat cop.

When it’s added up, these four- Oppal, Vertlieb, Brooks and Boddie- were paid a total of $3,360,486.  That’s $3.3 million of taxpayers money for the services of just four people, which is a fraction of the total spent on the legions of police lawyers, other staff, experts, office administration, hearing room fees, court reporters etc.  On the other hand, the children and families of the fifty women who were murdered by Robert William Pickton and his associates while the police ignored the disappearances are still waiting for something tangible to come of the whole thing.

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Everyone should watch this video and reflect on what this courageous young man is telling us…

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Yesterday, Premier-elect Clark announced that Suzanne M. Anton, a non-practising lawyer who was admitted to the British Columbia Bar in 1980, would be the province’s new Attorney General and Minister of Justice.  This is a positive development.

In our previous post, we linked the Court of Appeal’s decision in Askin v. Law Society of British Columbia, 2013 BCCA 233, but the decision was subsequently removed from the Court of Appeal’s website.  The Court of Appeal dismissed Lesslie Askin’s appeal from a lower court judgment that rejected her argument that the Attorney General must be qualified as a lawyer.  If the decision reappears, we will provide a new link.

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Premier-elect Christy Clark is poised to announce her new cabinet at 2:00 p.m. today.  Members of the public and legal profession should be watching closely to see who will occupy the important position of Attorney General.  Will the Premier continue to buck tradition, constitutional convention and common sense by installing a non-lawyer as the Attorney, or will she appoint someone with adequate legal training and experience?

The Court of Appeal has now posted its decision in our client Lesslie Askin’s legal challenge, and we have instructions to seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada on her behalf.

In my view, the best candidate for the job would be MLA Andrew Wilkinson.  We’ll see….

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