April 17th, 2024

Stern action needed


By Letter to the Editor on February 11, 2021.

Editor:
The issue of illegal surveillance of then Environment Minister Shannon Phillips by two Lethbridge police officers has been reopened. Comment in the press and by MLA Phillips has focused on questions of public trust. That, to me, misses the most important point.
The officers spied on Phillips and those meeting with her, posted photos and hostile comments on Facebook, improperly looked up licence plates and plotted traffic stops to harass attendees.
Every citizen pursuing lawful activities has the right to protection from such police actions. But Shannon Phillips was no ordinary citizen — she was a Minister of the Crown. These uniformed policemen sought to harass and intimidate Ms. Phillips and those meeting with her because they disagreed with environmental policies of the NDP government the people had elected.
Their actions were petty, unauthorized by superiors, and likely aimed mostly at impressing their pals in the off-roading “right to ride” community. (One does wonder if the offenders would have been so comfortable harassing a politician, and so casual in boasting about it online, had the Minister not been female, in a government led by strong women.)
However, it is actually a dangerous thing when members of our armed and uniformed forces start to think it’s OK for them to try to subvert government decisions. That’s the start of an erosion of democracy that must not be tolerated.
It’s a slippery slope, an attitude that we the police (or the army) are the true representatives of the “real” people, not those elected by them. In various places it has led to police resisting civilian orders, disdaining women in power, choosing to protect some types of people more than others, harassment of candidates, intimidation of voters, rioters storming the Capitol on Jan. 6 while some elements of law enforcement stood aside, and ultimately coups to oust elected governments entirely.
I don’t mean to read too much into this seemingly small incident, but stern action is called for. A clear message needs to be sent that police must be neutral upholders of the law, and not act to subvert the people’s democracy they serve.
Tony Pargeter
Lethbridge

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Citi Zen

Perhaps Phillips should come clean here; why was she holding a clandestine meeting with possible stakeholders at a private venue, instead of being transparent and meeting in a public venue. Does she have property in the area under discussion? There’s more to this story than is being reported.
Time for some real investigative journalism, Herald!

buckwheat

Previous info indicated the meeting was at a local restaurant downtown. This i would believe to be a public venue. If it was government business it may have been conducted at her office or another private venue. Either way confidentiality to be maintained.

Fedup Conservative

Do you mean how Ralph Klein conducted business in a bar and arrived at the legislature stoned as lawyers pointed out to us.
Have you forgotten how he threw a book at a page in the legislature while in a drunken state and was forced to apologize to him. What about him throwing coins at homeless men in a homeless centre while once more stoned out of his mind.

I had known him since the early 1960s and I certainly knew what a jerk he was.
His father and daughter both tried to help us vote him out and I think his mother did also. I know she wasn’t very happy with him.

John P Nightingale

A CC to QUANON would be helpful. They love this logic!

Guy Lethbridge

It’s pretty simple really. Distill this down to Police Members using Police resources to further a personal agenda. That can never be right.

biff

a copy/paste from my entry to the news release, but i feel it may speak to the sordid affair that is well referred to by tp. excellent letter, thanks.
happy that the two rogue, law breaking cops – Keon Woronuk and Jason Carrier, who each reportedly admitted to several breaches of the Police Service Regulation – are having the tiny “penalties” they received reviewed. unfortunately, it is sad to learn that asirt is doing the investigating…we all know how that goes: this should be an another of their official whitewashings of policing crimes, and an official acknowledgement of the “appropriateness” of the “penalties”/pat on the backs already awarded.

Chmie

Excellent letter, to be spayed on by law enforcement is abhorrent and should be investigated to the fullest.

Southern Albertan

This, and other ‘dirty’ police actions, does not do anything for trusting the police, in general.