calgary defence blog
A Defence lawyer's perspective on issues in criminal law
Did Calgary's Mayor Violate the Civil Rights of People Convicted of Crimes?
Tagged Criminal Defence BlogApril 27, 2016
Let me start by saying how ridiculous it is that what is apparently the greatest legal crisis facing Calgary today centers around a ride sharing app. It's not that I don't appreciate how much of an impact Uber (and other companies like it) can have, and I'm aware that technology is going to continue revolutionizing our society in the coming decades just as it has for the past two centuries or more.
But courtroom battles and headline news that drags on for more than a year...it seems a bit much, doesn't it?
Then, of course, our esteemed Mayor Nenshi had to go put his foot in his mouth while taking a Lyft ride in Boston, gleefully telling his driver (while audio and video was being live-streamed to the rest of the world) how horrible Uber was and how many nefarious criminals Calgary's city government had secretly snuck past Uber's background-check process.
There are more than a few problems with comments Mayor Nenshi made, not least of which is the complete inaccuracy of his boasting. According to clarifying statements made by he and others after he realized his comments had gone public, only one person previously convicted of a crime had actually been used to test Uber's vetting procedures, not the many different people Nenshi bragged about.
More important on a larger scale, though, is the Mayor's tone while speaking about his fellow Calgary citizens who may or may not be guilty of crimes, and his attitude towards accessing their records and contacting them to be part of a secret city program simply because they have been convicted of crimes. Calling them, "these people," he says he never wants to know them, doesn't know why anyone in his government knows them, and says "nobody will ever tell me" how those convicted of crimes were contacted to be a part of this uber-secret Uber sting.
That sting never actually happened, it turns out, but Calgary's mayor seems perfectly willing to entertain the idea of an abuse of power and misuse of government office—having lackeys use means he doesn't even want to know about (implying their illicit or at the very least unethical nature)—to identify and contact people who are simply trying to move on with their lives following a criminal conviction, and to coerce them into involvement with a senseless and unimportant "investigation" that doesn't concern them in the slightest.
Our mayor has apologized for his choice of words and his exaggerations, but I have yet to hear an apology for how he spoke about the people of Calgary who have been convicted of crimes, or for his dismissive and even abusive attitude towards their rights as human beings. Everyone deserves—and is legally entitled to—a chance at a different life after a criminal conviction and after a sentence is served. Attitudes like Nenshi's have no place in Calgary, and certainly not in Calgary's leadership.
Need an Advocate? Contact a Calgary Defence Lawyer Who Cares
If you've been accused of a crime in the Greater Calgary Area, the attitude of many of our city leaders means you could be facing an uphill battle. If you'd like to speak with an experienced Calgary defence lawyer who isn't afraid to tackle any challenge head-on, please contact me today.
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