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October 28, 2017 12:00 am

Tracking down Cariboo politics

Monday, February 29, 2016 @ 3:45 AM

By Bill Phillips

Politics in the Cariboo have always been a little bit out there.

For example, when Williams Lake city councillor Scott Nelson wanted to give the province a black eye about tire recycling, he called a press conference in front of MLA David Zirnhelt’s office. When the media showed up, we found that Nelson had blockaded Zirnhelt’s office with old tires. Great backdrop for the photo op.

Then there was the time Nelson, this time wanting to drive home the point about size of rocks the sand trucks were depositing on the roads, deposited a buck of said rocks on the council table … covering Mayor Ray Woods in a fine dust. If a mayor could fire a councillor, it would have happened that day.

There’s also the time Coun. Jon Wolbers brought out a samauri sword at council, to smite the opposition. Or the time Cariboo Regional District director Hans Dankel, coming out a meeting where 300 of the 700 people in Lac la Hache voiced their opposition to a development, proclaiming the other 400 people in town supported it.

And let’s not forget Mayor Walt Cobb proclaiming that he would rather see scrap metal taken out into the Chilcotin and dumped somewhere than be stacked in a metal recycler’s yard in town.

And, of course, there was the Cariboo Regional District itself which, when the citizens of Wells were at a public meeting in support of resident Rick Mooney’s battle with the regional government over building permits, rolled in the bulldozers and flattened his house late on a Friday evening.

So when news broke this week that Williams Lake city council wants to inject global positioning chips in prolific offenders, a la every bad sci fi movie ever made, I didn’t bat an eye.

It didn’t surprise me.

The suggestion to implant prolific offenders is just wrong.

However, the move shows the level of frustration Williams Lake council has with a system that doesn’t seem to be able to keep repeat criminals off the streets.

The video of a teenager playing on his new bike in a downtown city park only to be confronted by a couple of youths, one who produces what appears to be a handgun, and steals his bike is disturbing and horrifying.

While it’s hard to understand Williams Lake’s rationale behind GPS implants, it’s easy to understand council’s frustration with the city’s crime problem. Like a lot of communities, there is a small core of prolific offenders who are responsible for the vast majority of crime. We have the same problem here in Prince George that the RCMP detachment tackled, a few years ago, with a plan for officers to be in the faces of prolific offenders. It seems to have had some success.

Injecting people with GPS tracking chips would certainly help the police track people and that’s the problem. It’s too good and too ripe for abuse. We got rid of photo radar in B.C. Imagine getting a speeding a ticket because your GPS implant was tracked going 90 in a 30 zone.

So what can Williams Lake city council do? Strike while the iron is hot. Williams Lake city council got everyone’s attention, now they can get some of the real help the community desperately needs.

Bill Phillips is a freelance columnist living in Prince George. He was the winner of the 2009 Best Editorial award at the British Columbia/Yukon Community Newspaper Association’s Ma Murray awards, in 2007 he won the association’s Best Columnist award. In 2004, he placed third in the Canadian Community Newspaper best columnist category and, in 2003, placed second. He can be reached at billphillips1@mac.com


Ok, if the bleeding hearts don’t like the chip implanted, put the chip in a watch they can’t take off. Have a nice Monday.

    They already have those, they’re called ankle bracelets.

The city doesn’t have a motto . That’s one debate I would love to watch . An apt one could be ” we’re not the wackiest but we’re working on it ! ” .

    Or perhaps ” we’re gonna reinvent the wheel ” .

    “Come see the Williams Lake Stampede, now the 2nd wildest show in the West”. ;)

People make jokes, but there isn’t much real humour in what they are facing. Maybe the prolific offenders have to be run out of town, and have the judges ban them from the municipality.(done in other cases)then if they come back they can just be shown the municipal boundary.

    I agree Jim, there are very serious problems in Williams Lake. I don’t know if deporting is the right answer though. That just means WL’s problem has become someone else’s problem. Maybe more gang related resources could be shifted there, it seems to have helped in PG. Part of the problem with disenfranchised youth is that they see no hope & they have no sense of belonging, both issues can be dealt with. Sending them to jail (gladiator school) makes almost no sense. The other problem is with gang leaders, almost always adult & preying on the vulnerable, them…lock them up & throw away the keys.

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