The comedy of parliamentary life
Back in November 2001, jailers finally had to admit that my life was in danger and decided to transfer me to British Columbia for angioplasty. Jailers thought that such a transfer might attract attention of the media, so they prepared MacAulay for possible question: "Why is CSC transferring this inmate to British Columbia?" They recommended MacAulay to respond:
1. I cannot comment on the specifics of an inmate's case.
2.CSC has a legal obligation to provide offenders with essential health care services.
3. This case is no different than any other.
The last response is a bloody lie. Have I not made all that "noise" everywhere, they would have killed me very quietly and very professionally. When I was housed at the hospital of Matsqui jail, in the next room there was a young prisoner dying of leukemia. Jailers were pumping into him all those liquids, which made him terribly sick and nauseating. He never complained, he demanded nothing, and he died on Christmas Eve. He was in his twenties.
When I was transferred back to Quebec on January 25, MacAulay received yet another briefing with a similar question and exactly the same answers. The funniest part of the comedy was played around April 10, 2002, when Journal de Montreal has reported that a judge has denied me my request for transfer to British Columbia. The only truth in the report was that I indeed was in court at that time, the rest was a lie: why would I ask a judge for a transfer if I just have returned from B.C.? Nevertheless, CSC has prepared for MacAulay a possible question and this time 5 possible answers. The possible question was: "Why did CSC denied this inmate from being transferred to British Columbia?" Possible answers:
1. I cannot comment on the specifics of an inmate's case.
2. This case has gone before the courts.
3. The decision to place an offender is based on
- security requirements
- programming needs for rehabilitation
- access for (sic!) cultural and religious reasons(sic!)
4. All offenders are housed in a facility appropriate to their security level and programming needs.
5. This particular case is no different.
The truthful response would have been: the offender has already been in B.C. and the newspaper report is false.
One may ask here, why did not the media report about my transfer to B.C. and why did they make a deliberately false report that I was denied my request for a transfer? The answer is very simple: to report, that I was transferred and that the procedure I requested was done, was to admit that I was right and jailers together with Quebec doctors were wrong. This kind of reporting our "free" media just can not do: a convicted murderer is never right in anything.
The case in US attracted a lot of attention: a man allowed his friend to drive drunk, and this drunk has killed himself and another man. The man was accused of murder. This is as stupid as charging of bartender who served the drinks. The fundamentals of criminal law requires that there would be a criminal intent: it should be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused intended to kill. Luckily in this case, the common sense prevailed and the accused was acquitted.
This society suffers from jail-mania: the only response to all wrongdoers - jail. Tax evasion - jail, fraud - jail, served drinks - jail. Why? Are not there other means to right the wrongs? There is no dispute that a bartender should not let a drunk customer drink again, of course the man should not have let his friend to drive drunk, etc. What should be done about it? Compare 2 options. Option one: the man goes to jail, he is no longer paying taxes and the taxpayer pays to keep him in jail. Option 2: he is fined or ordered to pay a lot of his salary to the family of the victim for the rest of his life.
Clearly, option 2 is better monetarily, but which option would deter people more? When a person goes to jail serves his time and gets out, he does not talk about his time in jail, so majority of population would not know about him. A person, who got "life sentence" of paying fine, would whine for the rest of his life to everyone thus deterring people.
Jail should be reserved for one purpose only: protection of society against violent offenders, who if released are likely to injure or kill someone. Here is one example: a drug addict needs money to buy drugs; he commits a break-and-enter, he is arrested and sent to jail. He serves his time, gets out, he is still drug addict, he still needs money, he commits another crime, he is back in jail. Another option: instead of sending him to jail, give him as much drugs as he wants free of charge, provide him with basic necessities and he will never commit another crime. I assure you that the second option is much cheaper. To all the puritans shouting that this option would send a wrong signal, my response is: consider the alternative.
Some time ago, a couple in Ontario has managed to steal from banks about $150 MILLION. At first, they ran to US, then they came back and surrendered to police. They served about 1 year in minimum security jail, and got an early parole. Not bad for $150 MILLION! And here is an alternative: fine them $300 MILLION, confiscate all their money and possessions, make them work and repay as much as they can. There is no point to keep them in jail: they present no danger to society. The best deterrent in non-violent crimes: crime should not pay.
Old Soviet Union and Western civilization
If in 1979, when I had emigrated from the USSR, someone told me that later on I would write a piece describing something related to the USSR in a positive way, I would call that individual crazy: I was so sure that the USSR was the worst country on the planet. I was wrong. Having lived in Canada for almost 23 years, I see the picture better.
1. We see all the time on TV the refugee camps in numerous countries ravaged by war. I lived in the USSR during much more devastating war: World War Tens of millions of people were displaced among incredible devastation. My family became refugee from day one. What was different about USSR, there was not a single refugee camp anywhere in the country: local people took the refugees in their homes. Those who had an apartment or a house moved to one room leaving other rooms for refugees. It was as simple as that.
While my father joined the army, my mother with 2 small children had to move twice: first to Cheboksary and then to Kirghizia. Each time, local population which accepted us were neither Russians nor Jews, and they shared with us whatever little they had. I see on TV contemporary refugee camps and I am wondering, why does not the local population accept the refugees in their houses?
2. Family ties. It is almost permanent feature on every family sitcom: either a child wants to move back with parents and parents do not want it or parents want to visit their married children and children are doing their best to avoid the visit. It is funny here, because it is to great extent true. It would be considered offensive in the old USSR because it was just not the way parents and children communicated there. I knew that my parents would always welcome me and my brother back should we need that. There were no baby-sitters in the USSR: grand-parents would consider it an insult.
There was no such thing as foster parent. Let us face it: a person (foster parent) is given certain amount of money in exchange for taking care of a child. Is not it obvious that a conflict of interest is present: the less money is spent on the child the more money is left for the foster parent. One should not be surprised that children are abused and neglected by foster parents. This institution of foster parenting was introduced for one reason: it is cheaper than official orphanage.
In the old USSR, a child was coming to orphanage only when he had no relatives at all. If something happened to parents, an uncle, an aunt or grand-parents would always take care of the child, no matter how dire was their own situation. It would be considered extremely shameful, if a child had to go to an orphanage when close relatives were alive. Here there are numerous cases of children living with foster parents when close relatives are alive and well. I can not understand that.
3. Women shelters. I often hear complaint here that there are not enough shelters for abused women. There were no women shelters at all in the USSR, and it did not mean that there was no wife abuse. The difference there was that every abused woman knew that she will always be welcome at her parents’ house or at her siblings’ house, no matter how small and crowded it was. It is astounding to me to hear women complain that they have nowhere to go while their parents are still alive and their brothers and sisters live in the same city.
4. Sibling relationship. When in 1949 my father was transferred (he was a military doctor and the army did not want to let him go) to the city of Ivanovo, there was no place to live for us, so my mother with 2 children went to her sister near Leningrad. Her sister was also a medical doctor and she lived in 1 room with her 2 children. Her husband was taken away by KGB in 1937 and killed. There was no running water, no electricity and no toilet there. We lived together for over a year until my father has managed to rent some place for us. We also lived together in Kirghizia during the war, two families in the same room.
Later on, my cousin finished school and needed to enter a University. Being Jewish, it was next to impossible to be admitted in Leningrad, while it was much easier in Ivanovo, so he came to live with us. Our apartment had 1 bedroom with 2 beds, where I and my parents slept, one dining room, where my brother slept on a sofa and my cousin slept on a cot, which was set there for the night and folded during the day. He lived with us for 5 years until he finished the university, and I assure you that no money ever changed hands. My mother was taking care of him as if he was her third son. How much of this kind of relationships can you count here?
5. Criminality. There were many crimes in every city in the old USSR, but the type of crimes was very different. I could be beaten up and robbed if I walked late somewhere, but my mother could walk any place any time, nobody would touch an elderly woman. Children were playing everywhere unsupervised, and I have never heard a single case of child abduction. Metro station was the safest place to be, I have never heard of a single crime committed inside the metro.
6. Police brutality. There was not a single case of Soviet police (militia) shooting anyone, beating with clubs, using attack dogs or tear-gab for a very simple reason: in Soviet time, militia had no weapon, no clubs, no tear-gas or any other kind of weapon. Militia was also not allowed to punch people or beat them up in any other way. If you watched Chinese militia, they are still this way - no weapons, no clubs.
7. Violence in sports. Never in my life I have seen one Soviet hockey player punching another during a game. Some people say that contact sports are such that it is impossible to control oneself. This is nonsense: Soviets could. The reason is very simple: the fans here start cheering during a fight, while Soviet fans would not tolerate a single case. If someone started a fight during competition, that would be his last sport appearance.
8. Patriotism and brainwashing. While in the USSR, I thought that these 2 were brought there to an extreme, but I must say that Soviets were not as extreme in U.S. School day in Soviet schools started as it should: with learning, not with a brainwashing patriotic recital of some pledge. There was never any anthem singing or playing during any national sport competition. There were no flags on private homes.
Please, do not tell me how bad is everything in Russia now: contemporary
Russia is not the old USSR.