"Don't you ever stand for that sort of thing. Someone tries to kill you, you try to kill 'em right back!"
-- Malcolm Reynolds

Opinion poll

So the results of the Ipperwash inquiry are in, and the commissioner took the time in his 1500 page report (Dear God!) to point out that he thinks Mike Harris did in fact utter the ill-worded slur. So I’d like to ask all those PAI members out there: How many of you think Mikey did it? And as a follow-up, how many think it is appropriate for the commissioner to even give an opinion about whether it was said or not? My own position: Yes, and no, respectively.

5 Responses to “Opinion poll”

  1. Here’s a rich comment on reader’s views on the CBC website about the Ipperwash inquiry findings:

    “Mike Harris and The OPP are racist? I could have told everyone that for free.”

  2. Good one! :)

    Hmmm… I am curious as to how the commissioner determined that Mikey did in fact say it. I haven’t come across that.

    As to the commissioner commenting about whether or not it was said… well, in this particular case, I think it is somewhat relevant, as you can imagine that the former Premier being the authority figure that he was must take a large amount of responsibility for setting the tone of the actions that followed. So I think it is appropriate for the commissioner to voice an opinion, because it potentially has such a huge bearing on the case.

    But as I said, I wonder what evidence the commissioner has for making the determination that Harris “uttered the slur”. Maybe it’s pretty good evidence, I’d just like to know what it is. Guess I’ll be sifting through a 1500 page report… OK, I don’t need to know that badly! :)

  3. A good point – I suppose in that sense it is relevant. Maybe there were other ways to say that he set up a racist attitute, without actually saying, ‘you know what folks, I think he really did say it.’ Even in court, the jury is never required to say WHY they think someone is guilty. Just that they are. It’s a question of the weight of all the evidence. You never hear them say, ‘I believe that Dr. Mustard stabbed the woman 14 times, not 16 as the expert witness would have you believe.’ It’s very interesting, really. (At least to me.)

  4. Until you brought it up, it hadn’t even crossed my mind that it might not be appropriate for the commissioner of a public inquiry to make such a judgement. (It seems relevant and connected to the issue at hand to me.)

    Any chance you’d elucidate us as to the nature of your objection?

  5. All in all, I’m not sure what concrete plans will come of this. Former Premier Mike Harris giving an apology? Unlikely. A shift in how land claims disputes are processed? Unlikely within the next decade. An improvement in how such disputes are dealt with? Hopefully…

    My main gripe with this enquiry is not the content itself, but where the Canadian government is putting its priorities. In this case, the provincial incoming new government ordered the inquiry, and I don’t recall much public pressure around it (though I could be wrong on this account: I confess this is my recollection only, and perhaps I need to review my history). In another case, over 300 people die in Canada’s biggest terrorist attack in history, and the federal government barely bats an eye. Things get wonky in the courts, the two most likely suspects walk, and the RCMP destroys invaluable taped evidence because they didn’t have a Punjabi interpretor at the time, and somehow figured these tapes wouldn’t be of use, so tossed them… And it takes a friggin’ PUBLIC OUTCRY to get the government to order an inquiry?!?!?!?

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