When I first filed the charges against our sitting Prime Minister and then Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, I realized I would come across as being a little naïve. However, I wanted to stick a pin into that moment of time so it would be recorded and remembered. What I didn’t expect was the extents to which I would have to go to raise public awareness of the issue. I’ll summarize this briefly and to the best of my ability as this is the last piece to contextualize the tweet and the day I was pulled in.
Charges were filed with the RNC on the 21st of July. At the time, open war was being waged by the Ukrainian military and mercenaries from the West against the separatists in the East. The media was filling airtime with speculations of Russian weaponry being used to down MH17. Meanwhile, Gaza was being brutally assaulted by Israel. The story received minor coverage compared to the events in Eastern Europe.
Social media outlets like Twitter were a different story altogether. Videos, pictures and horrifying cries of damned souls being bombarded and executed were a near constant barrage, interspersed with periods of relative quiet. Even those periods of quiet were filled with prayers for salvation from those the rest of the world had abandoned to their fate.
I started the Change.org petition the weekend prior to filing the charges to advise others to step forward and file similar charges within their own jurisdiction. I did this in the hopes of speeding up the process, but local police they contacted refused to acknowledge the issue as presented.
Thursday the week after I filed the charges, I finally received a call from a RCMP officer in St. John’s, NL. He informed me he would be driving out the next day, August 1st, and wanted to bring me down to the station to discuss the charges. I met him at Tim Horton’s and we drove to the station where he brought me into the conference room instead of a standard interview room. I know the difference in this particular station as I’ve been inside their interview rooms four times since and am quite familiar with their standard layout and practices. This first encounter was quite unusual. You should also note that prior to these events, I have had no real professional contact with the RCMP or RNC. I didn’t even have any traffic fines on record, my last ticket for missing a stop sign being back in 2003 or 2004.
The officer informed me that the video was being considered a policy direction and that my only option to see foreign policy change was to vote. Charges were being dismissed and there would be no follow up investigation. When I asked how genocide could be considered a foreign policy directive and whether or not anyone properly investigated the Israel-Palestine situation, he suggested I file a complaint if I didn’t believe they’d done their job properly. At that point I left before my growing outrage made me say something insulting or unprofessional, then walked home.
My first response was to update people who were following through the petition and on Twitter. I was pretty upset at the way the entire issue had been handled. I wondered how anyone could think that these kinds of immoral actions in inciting war and genocide could be justified in the eyes of God and the law. Section 27 of the Rome Statute, to which Canada is a signed and ratified party, denies the use of governing policy in crimes pertaining to genocide, yet this was the excuse offered by the RCMP.
I began to wonder what kind of system could have arisen to allow these kinds of abuses to go unchecked. How could a nation traditionally known for peacekeeping suddenly become such an overt warmonger yet not be called to account for its actions? I resolved that as someone who had borne witness to the problem, I was duty bound to see it through to the end. To simply ignore it was to forsake my soul to apathy and fear of an unlawful authority.
Most of the information regarding that time is stored within this blog and the Change.org petition. There’s a blog post titled ‘The Problem with Canadian Federal Politics’ that examines a lot of what I was seeing on the world stage back in November.
Here are some of the highlights:
I took the advice of the RCMP officer who’d brought me in to dismiss the case and filed a complaint with the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP on the 5th of August, once their offices were open after the long weekend. They received and accepted the complaint that the officer “Failed to conduct a thorough and complete investigation into allegations, of criminal misconduct, including, but not limited to, advocating genocide (sec. 318 CCC).”
The Commission for Public Complaints mailed out their formal complaint notification on the 6th of August of 2014. I received my copy late the following week, but not before an interesting action was taken by the government. The Monday after the complaint had been filed, at 6:30am in the morning, Global News released the news that the Commission replacing the one I’d just filed a complaint with was now being required to take a lifetime gag order. Anyone working for the new commission would now be required to take a lifetime oath of secrecy, the violation of which could get them 14 years in prison.
For example, if someone working for this new commission were to provide information to the media regarding a complaint that was being investigated, despite that information being in the public interest, that informant could be dragged off to 14 years of prison.
This made me a little worried. I entertained the thought that perhaps the formal complaint appearing on a certain Minister’s desk on Friday afternoon was sufficient to provoke such a response early Monday morning, but kept biding my time. I did email the Public Safety Critic for the Liberal Party, Wayne Easter, as he’d voiced his opinion on the matter, but he never responded.
I wrote letters to all the Premiers and Regional Chiefs prior to the Premiers Conference in the summer. The full text is available at this link (https://www.change.org/p/intlcrimcourt-arrest-harper-for-inciting-genocide/u/7943135). Not one of them responded either.
I received my first documented response from the RCMP at the end of August to inform me they didn’t even review the video as their letter says no evidence was provided to support the basis of the charges, despite the YouTube link being included in the charges I filed.
On September 22nd 2014, I contacted the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP to ask about the status of my complaint. As it stood, I hadn’t been contacted by a single police officer.
During the wait for the RCMP to acknowledge the complaint, following the dismissal, non-response of Premiers, Aboriginal Chiefs and a horde of other MPs I emailed directly, I decide I would have to hatch a new plan to try and see justice upheld. One of the issues I’d flagged with the letter I’d written prior to the Premier’s conference was that the repeal of Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act in June of 2013 was exacerbating both Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in the wake of the Israel-Gaza war. Section 13 prohibited hate speech online. Unlike alcohol prohibition, this one was actually good for society. As Premiers, they had the power to use the notwithstanding clause of the Charter to restore the repealed section. When I realized I’d been completely ignored, with not so much as a follow up email, I decided I’d have to use the tools that had been provided as best I could.
I began trying to get myself flagged on Twitter to have to speak with the RCMP. Unable to just walk into an RCMP office and request charges be re-filed, I had to come up with a new way into the system. A backdoor, if you will. I would have to walk a fine line between establishing a psychological profile through Twitter that might get me pulled in as a possible criminal with showing that no mens rea existed to carry out these idle threats beyond raising RCMP awareness of needed action.
Newfoundlanders might recognize the situation as something that might arise on a long boat voyage in days gone past. Working closely with people on long sea voyages requires strict social discipline. It wouldn’t be uncommon for someone to blow their top and utter threats in the heat of a moment. Everyone on the boat might hear the argument between two people and this would bring the social order established on the boat into disarray. To remedy the situation, both parties would be brought before the Captain in the standing room of the boat. He would act as the judge of the issue. If the offending party was unable to control themselves enough to speak their mind at this point, they were likely tossed into the brig for a portion of the voyage. Being able to speak calmly, eloquently and displaying appropriate restraint while before the Captain was as much as psychological examination as a legal one. The Captain was required to assess the possibility of a danger to the wellbeing of his crew. Simply uttering idle threats without a connection to violence would likely have been a common occurrence on longer voyages, especially with newer crews. After all, the phrase ‘swear like a sailor’ didn’t exist just because seafarers have developed an unusual way of affirming oaths on a Bible.
In short, I was going to attempt something that could end with me thrown in jail. As I was up against a government that was openly advocating for genocide and war, I thought it worth the risk.
To establish that the threats were idle and spoken out of anger, I limited myself to tweeting them while watching CPAC and listening to the speeches of MPs. The first one that got me pulled in was in regards to comments I made directed at Greg Rickford as he explained to Parliament how they wanted to reform Canada’s nuclear energy policies. Reading over his Bill, the implication arose that this would open the door for the proliferation of nuclear material in Canada and reclassified facilities as operators. After seeing how close this government’s ties were with the growing Ukrainian crisis and their requests for nuclear armaments, I uttered an idle threat out of anger, desperation, bitterness and frustration. I still managed to make it a joke about his greasy Hitler hairstyle.
It didn’t take long for that to gain the attention of the local RCMP, but that first meeting was a little more nerve wracking than the last as I didn’t know what to expect at all. They called me up out of the blue and requested a meeting. I offered to meet them at Tim Horton’s and we arranged it for the following day. They met me in and unmarked vehicle in the parking lot and gave me a pat down to make sure I wasn’t armed. Then we drove to the RCMP station for an interview. Unlike the last time I was there, this time I was brought into the Interview room with a camera instead of the back conference room.
Once the tweet at issue was presented, it was easy to recall the circumstances under which I’d ‘uttered’ it, in a moment of anger in response to a perceived threat by someone advocating for a return to the Cold War logic of the build up of nuclear armaments. I perceived this to be an indirect threat against my friends and family. After that issue had been cleared up, while still on camera for the interview, I presented the interviewing officer with a copy of the charges as originally filed. I explained to him that I was trying to get their attention to get the information into the system and that no follow up had been made on my formal complaint months after it was filed. Not even a letter had been issued at this point acknowledging the complaint. They informed me that they had no knowledge of the complaint and that as no charges were being pressed, they couldn’t conduct any follow up information on the information I was providing. They released me with a warning to stay off CPAC.
Shortly after this first meeting, I was called in again by the RCMP. Different officers were interviewing me this time. Again for uttering threats, but this time still stemming from tweets made when I was initially trying to get their attention. I knew I had to walk a fine line to establish the right psychological profile, so I’d since kept my tweets to a certain level of vulgar response without making direct threats. But this one had come from when I was initially trying to get their attention, so they had to follow up on it anyways. I walked to the RCMP station this time, taking with me a copy of the formal complaint. I don’t remember this specific tweet, but I remember it being easy to contextualize. All my specific tweets at politicians were made while they were speaking live on CPAC, in response to their actions. I wasn’t planning any attacks and they had no reason to believe that attacks were pending. I had some good discussions with the officers and once again was informed that they could take a copy to add to the file but not follow up on it as no charges were being pressed. Without charges pressed, they couldn’t investigate the issue. They also informed me that I should avoid angry live commenting about CPAC on Twitter in the future as if they had to talk to me a third time they might have to press charges. They did inform me that while my methods were unusual, they appreciated the respect and candor I was offering in coming in of my own free will and speaking without a lawyer present. The usual reaction they received when contacting the public regarding comments made towards politicians on Twitter were insults towards themselves and more threats. They told me there was usually no real follow up possible to place in their reports beyond that they’d tried to contact the person involved who usually denies everything or refuses to discuss the issue. I thanked them for listening to me, promised to avoid further idle comments on CPAC Parliamentary coverage, and went on my way back home.
On the 18th of October, after these two meetings with the RCMP had been completed, I finally received a follow up call from a further RCMP officer about my formal complaint. We scheduled a meeting for the following week on the 22nd of October at 9:30AM.
When I walked to the RCMP station that morning I had no awareness of how much was going to happen that day. I went in with my BlackBerry Playbook, my Z10 and some papers. I spoke with the officer again in the interview room regarding the complaint, showed him the video and walked him through the transcript. I also discussed the context of the Israel-Palestine and Ukraine situation and showed him some of the other propaganda material being distributed by the government that seemed to contain strange subliminal elements. We ended our discussion; he informed me that he’d continue his follow up investigation and file a report in the near future. I walked home.
On the way home, I learned of the situation emerging in Ottawa with the shootings through Twitter. I witnessed the fear coming out of people on Twitter as reports came in of multiple gunmen across the Ottawa area around Parliament Hill. A friend would later tell me of a commercial he saw on CNN while following their live coverage. The ad was a UPS commercial for a fictional company named the ‘Gunderman Group.’ The name of the company features prominently on the screen several times in the video, but what jumped out at him was how much of a coincidence to see a commercial featuring ‘Gun man group’ in a commercial as CNN was doing its best to terrify its American audience into believing that an entire squad of terrorists had attacked Ottawa.
As the situation cleared and the facts about the single shooter, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, were released to the public, I was completely blown away by the situation. I couldn’t even bring myself to update the petition with information regarding the latest meeting with the RCMP. As with Mr. Don Dunphy, at the time I felt as though I was being presented with a version of me that could have been, had I made different choices in my life. Where I was advocating lawful submission to the process I was undertaking, Michael had chosen to take the law into his own hands in opposition to everything I stood for. Even his long hair looked similar to mine. Pull a bandana up over my nose and I’d probably look just like him from the famous picture with the shotgun. The timing of the event was what truly shocked me though. As I was sitting down with the RCMP for my interview, he was recording his final words onto his cell phone. As I was walking home from my meeting, he had killed Corporal Nathan Cirillo and stormed to his death in Parliament, frightening the bejesus out of everyone there.
When I finally did speak on the matter on my petition, I made sure to make it known that I have always advocated for lawful action. The Jewish, Muslim and Christian faiths all advocate following the law of the land within whose borders you reside. That even if religious interpretations of all Abrahamic faiths pointed to our current government being The True Enemy of all truly living humans and the planet we live on, they also say they will not meet their ends by human hands, but through legal action in a court of law. Anyone curious as to what I’m referring to can check ‘Daniel 7:26’ for the specific reference. You’ll also find his dreams of the unholy 10 province nation under a Crown (Canada) that would arise in the Last Days. You can find a cross reference in the second chapter of the Qu’ran, or any part of the book of Revelations that refers to ‘seals’. Seals aren’t just a sea mammal or the wax impression of a ring; they’re also legally binding documents.
While I stayed active on Twitter to try to keep interest in the petition alive, I was also developing a side project. For the most part, the majority of the volume of my tweets was simply the petition link cut and pasted over and over again. I’d just find an active hashtag that was throwing out lots of unique names and cut and paste the petition to plant a seed in as many new people as possible to try to spread the word as far and wide as I could. This was the most frustrating process in the entire experience. I wasn’t glued to Twitter, but the Z10 wasn’t designed for cut and pasting. Some days I’d just sit in front of my PC and do the cut and paste routine enough to get temporary locked, then switch to my phone for regular twitter discussions for the rest of the day. Occasionally my Twitter seeding would bring in a troll, and I’d exercise my new right to online hate speech without uttering threats, just hateful vulgar insults. All of them unfortunately no longer prohibited by Section 13 in Canada.
All of this occurred while I was waiting for the RCMP to file a report and deliver their letter of disposition towards the issue. As of the writing of this post, I still haven’t received any further updates on the complaint.
In the meantime, I kept working on my business and my research and my experiments with my miniature pot plants. I could think of no other legal option other than simply waiting until I was visiting a friend one evening in December. I’d been listening to someone discuss how he would have to appear on marijuana possession and possible trafficking charges in court the following day. He asked for advice, I told him he’d be better off asking a lawyer, but if he was providing to a medical user with a registered condition who was unable to get a prescription he could try saying he was facilitating. This backwards Newfoundland medical and legal system creates criminals for fear of either Doctor or Patient being stigmatized for prescribing or using marijuana medicinally. A charter challenge in favor of medical marijuana user’s right to access might actually help remedy the situation.
While I was thinking about Charter Challenges, I started wondering if there might be a way to challenge the process that was established by reporting an act of inciting genocide. After a few discussions with local lawyers and a more established constitutional law advisor, I made a decision. I drafted up a rough, and flawed, originating application for my Charter Challenge and went down to the Supreme Court house and tried to file it. I ended up missing a section and had to walk home, called for advice, updated and then filed again. The originating application was created on December 19th, 2014. I mailed it out to the Attorney Generals of Newfoundland and Canada the same day. The one that went to Ottawa arrived just before New Year’s, the one destined for St. John’s disappeared without a trace.
I didn’t really know what to expect when the day arrived to appear in Court. I put on a good suit, packed up a couple of notepads with some notes and a Bible I’d found left behind in an abandoned camp outside Pasadena. I appeared at the Court with the attorneys representing the Attorney Generals appearing by phone. I remember forgetting to say ‘M’lord or Justice’ when asked my name. The attorneys for the other side suggested that service hadn’t been completed properly. The judge offered that if they attorneys both had copies, they could consider themselves served. As they’d been declaring themselves to have been unprepared to argue the case, they requested a day to prepare arguments. The Justice told me to have my arguments submitted to the Court by March 2nd, with the responding attorneys having until the 9th.
I spent the next few weeks trying to figure out how to write my arguments and properly file the documentation. Then I wrote three drafts and submitted them to people on the petition, this blog and on Twitter. I accepted all intelligent feedback from interested individuals and finalized the initial document. I went ahead and submitted it a week early. The attorneys responded on the 9th.
Their response? The Court wasn’t even allowed to hear my argument. I had no standing. I hadn’t been charged with a crime, so I couldn’t say my rights had been violated to contest that crime. I wasn’t an elected official, so I had no defined public interest standing that the court should accept. Based on a system of common law precedence, the Charter Challenge should be simply dismissed and I should pay the lawyers for the government for their time.
The unfortunate problem with their argument is that they were largely correct. I hadn’t filed affidavits pertaining to the nature of the offense I’d mentioned. I could discuss the nature of the offense if the judge was allowed to hear the case, but based on the system of precedence it was likely I wouldn’t even be allowed to speak on the matter.
At this point I had to enact Plan B.
This would lead me up to the events of March 18th, the day I uttered the tweet that resulted in my house being searched by the RCMP, my devices being seized and my small supply of unlicensed, medical-grade, research marijuana being destroyed. This occurred while I was being unlawfully detained and missing the court appearance for my Charter Challenge. It wasn’t the same tweet that got me unlawfully detained on April 7th.
Interesting times we live in, eh? A few words on the Internet can turn your whole life upside down and inside out.
The next post in this series will be ‘My Life of Certified Insanity (Day 1).’