calgary defence blog
A Defence lawyer's perspective on issues in criminal law
Changing Campaign Finance to Catch Calgary's Real Criminals
Tagged Criminal Defence BlogFebruary 22, 2016
I'm not always enamored by the Calgary Herald or its headlines and apparent opinions, especially when it comes to the Calgary Police and the overall legal and criminal justice landscape we Calgary citizens have to contend with. Sometimes, though, someone on their staff lets something slip through that I find myself mentally applauding, and given how frequently I "call them out" when I dislike what they have to say, it's only fair that I have them a nod of respect when they pull their heads out of...well, you get the idea.
A recent opinion piece from Calgary's premier media outlet makes an impassioned and highly-rational plea for changes to Alberta's far too liberal campaign finance laws. My regular readers might raise an eyebrow at my calling anything "too liberal," but bear with me.
This article points out that despite the recently passed Bill 1, which prohibits direct donations by corporations and other such entities to political parties and campaigns, the flow of money into Alberta's politics is still far too free and far too copious to give us the robust democracy full of diverse voices we both need and deserve. Individuals are still allowed to donate nearly twenty times the federal limit to local and provincial parties and campaigns. Corporations (and labor unions, and trade groups, and other "special interests") are still able to donate to supposed third party advocacy organizations that choose to support a given candidate, party, or platform.
In other words, this bill doesn't do much of anything to check the control the wealthy wheel in Alberta's politics and government.
It shouldn't be any surprise that the Calgary Police go after small-time alleged criminals like street level drug dealers and hundreds—thousands, even, across Alberta as a whole—of responsible adults who choose to use certain illicit substances. The more impoverished and vulnerable members of our society are more likely to be arrested for petty crimes while the known fraud and other malfeasance of certain corporations and key high-wealth individuals remain unpunished or at best lead to fines that hardly make a dent in the profits of unethical behavior.
Our election system favors the monied and that has direct and profound effects on the daily lives and and lifetime opportunities of everyone living in Calgary and throughout Alberta. The drastic difference between Alberta's campaign finance and contribution rules and the rules in place at the federal level is hugely detrimental and completely indefensible, and we need some brave and principled legislators to commit themselves to restoring our democracy.
I'm not tossing my hat in the ring—not today—but as a citizen of Calgary I will continue to call for the changes we need while defending those who have been victimized by a system that has long been stacked against them.
A Calgary Criminal Defence Lawyer With a Big Picture Perspective
I work hard to ensure that all of my Calgary criminal defence clients are treated with the respect and compassion that all human beings deserve, and I also understand how the larger criminal justice system can ignore your individuality and treat you like just another speck on the police radar. That's why I'm so passionate not only about defending my clients, but about changing the system that creates my clients in the first place. For a free initial consultation, please contact me today.
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