Do the ends justify the means?
Almost two years ago we exposed back room collusion to concoct evidence for CBSA officers in Immediate Roadside Prohibition investigations.
It’s a catastrophic failure of government to understand their obligation in a democracy.
This was the tip of the iceberg with respect to the covert shenanigans that take place in government offices dealing with the IRP scheme. It was important because it provided a glimpse into the mindset of these people. Essentially they’ve concluded that their goal (preserving the IRP scheme) is so important that they’ll cross all sorts of ethical boundaries to that end. In other words, the mindset is that the ends justify the means.
This type of thinking is corrosive to a democratic society and, in fact, it’s the antithesis of a society governed by law. Which brings us to where we are now.
This incident should have triggered an inquiry. Ian Mulgrew wrote a stinging piece tying it with a Supreme Court decision that had just been released. Two former Attorney Generals told me that it should lead to resignations, discipline and maybe the suspension of the IRP scheme to protect the integrity of government and our justice system. In the end, however, the Government was able to shrug it off. You see, for many voters and some less sophisticated commentators the ends justify the means. Nobody was disciplined. The cops weren’t even sorry about being caught, which is usually the only thing they seem to be sorry about when caught falsifying evidence.
Two years later we continue to dig and accumulate evidence.
What have we collected? What can we share?
A massive amount of stuff. Some of it is too complicated to try to explain to journalists or judges or even here on our blog. Some of it requires so much background knowledge that we doubt anyone outside of our IRP team would really understand it, even if we could pull it all together and show all of the connections. Some of it we’re prohibited from telling you because of rules that specifically govern lawyers. Other things we can’t tell you about because of legal rules that shut us up.
Having said that, we continue to show you some of what we can here on our blog, i.e. the tip of the iceberg.
Our past predictions
Four years ago we said that the IRP scheme was a revolutionary law and that these revolutions are inevitably bloody and foolhardy. Looking back over our history with the IRP scheme, our concerns have been justified and our predictions and assessments have been verified.
It’s a catastrophic failure of government to understand their obligation in a democracy. Unreliable evidence, punishment before any sort of hearing, a hearing stripped of the known and accepted methods of determining facts, a secretive tribunal, incomplete or selective disclosure, a tribunal that makes up rules to deprive defences and limit arguments while making up its own evidence for certain ends — we’ve laid that all bare here on our blog. This is what the BC Government types think is appropriate. Because for the BC Government, the ends justify the means.
It’s a significant problem any time that a government concludes that they’re gonna strip people of legal rights because in their mind the ends justify the means. Any student of history can list off example after example of the catastrophic results of this type of myopia. When a significant portion of the population suffer the same flawed thinking, as lawyers we place our hope in the courts.
Whether the courts agree with us and provide a remedy hinges on the evidence we can present.
With the IRP scheme some of the evidence is too complicated to try to explain to a judge, some of it requires so much background knowledge that we doubt anyone outside of our IRP team would really understand it, some of it we’re prohibited from telling the court because of rules that specifically govern lawyers and other things we can’t reveal because of legal rules that shut us up.
Do the ends justify the means?
Any system that punishes people harshly before a hearing, relies on questionable evidence and lacks fundamental truth-seeking features cannot be justified regardless of the ends. The back-room shenanigans just make it that much worse. That it continues to exist is not support for the view that the means are somehow justified. They’re not. It’s more correctly viewed as a flaw of our particular democracy.
Our struggle is really just beginning. Over Christmas we re-jigged to deal with Kyla’s recent Supreme Court success regarding new evidence in an old IRP case and RoadSafetyBC’s policy decision not to give you your disclosure unless you pay first.
Our success rate tells us that our methods are effective. So in 2016 we’ll keep at it.
We’re in this to the end.