At the beginning in late 1993/early 1994, the politics of targeting Brian Mulroney would have been understandably tricky to the incoming Liberal government given that Mulroney had just served for nearly nine years as a majority-government leader; however the new government soon got a change of guard at the helm of the RCMP when in February 1994 Prime Minister Jean Chretien announced the resignation of RCMP commissioner Norman Inkster to take effect in June, while justice minister Allan Rock was busy with other Liberal priorities such as banning discrimination of homosexuals. 169
Appointed by Mulroney in 1987, Commissioner Inkster largely enjoyed a trouble-free seven years leading the RCMP, with a big part of the blames for controversies the RCMP was entangled in – particularly during 1988-90 over possible political biases in the Richard Grise affair (about certain timing in corruption investigation near the 1988 election time) and in the Doug Small affair (investigation into a 1989 federal budget leak) – shouldered by his second-in-command, deputy commissioner Henry Jensen. 170
But within the RCMP, Inkster was perceived by some as uninterested in political investigations or even yielding to high-level political pressures: when the Airbus Affair investigation broke into the news in late 1995 it was revealed that back in 1990 when Commissioner Inkster ordered an inquiry by Ontario Judge Rene Marin into RCMP handling of a corruption investigation on Tory Senator Michel Cogger, at the time part of the initial 1989 Airbus-Mulroney investigation had been hidden under the Cogger case for fear of Mulroney government interference. 171
The price of Inkster’s resignation was high in early 1994: in November 1992 Mr. Inkster who had served from 1988 to 1991 as vice president for the Americas in the International Police Organization (Interpol), was elected as president of Interpol for a 4-year term – only the second Canadian to ever hold the top international police job. 172
Imagine what kind of clout in the international law-and-order arena the new Chretien government would lose with the departure of RCMP Commissioner Norman Inkster, whose Interpol appointment had been praised by the RCMP as “a great honour for Canada” and for the RCMP, even if within the RCMP there were different opinions about the Interpol: while Inspector Claude Sweeney, head of Interpol’s Canadian branch, was enthusiastic about the benefit of computerized information hook-up in the plan, others pointed to examples of concern, such as in Venezuela where Interpol was expected to help track dissidents as criminals, or former Interpol drugs committee chairman Manuel Noriega, the Panamanian leader indicted in 1988 in the United States on narcotics charges, or former Interpol president Jolly Bugarin, crony of Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, widely accused of a cover-up in the killing of Marcos opponent Benigno Aquino in 1983. 173
On the other hand, by early 1994 Mr. Inkster never publicly expressed support for stricter gun control (as a quick survey of the press archives would reveal) despite passion for it from the new prime minister expressed during the election campaign; Allan Rock’s first public talk of tougher gun-control law started in April 1994 two months after announcement of Inkster’s resignation, and in contrast to Inkster the new RCMP commissioner Philip Murray in June on the day before taking over the job publicly expressed strong support for a full handgun ban suggested by Allan Rock. 174
It is also interesting to note that Commissioner Inkster’s intent to resign was announced in February with departure in June, much like Mr. Mulroney had done a year prior as prime minister. 175
The point is that if the change of guard at the RCMP gave the Liberal gun-control drive crucial momentum, it likely also bolstered whatever Liberal plan there was to pursue Airbus Affair investigation against Mulroney.
Even more intriguing is the fact that back on November 10, 1992 when Mr. Inkster was named president of Interpol, he got the job without competition: he became the only candidate when a second nominated candidate – from China – withdrew in favour of him. 176
Now that’s worth pondering: with Mr. Mulroney’s diplomatic clout among western leaders, Mr. Inkster likely had been agreed upon by them; but a Chinese government non-compete gesture at a time when the June 4, 1989 violent military crackdown on Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests was still fresh in people’s minds? 177 That had to be the result of some deal from Mr. Mulroney.
What is personally interesting is that the day when Norman Inkster was acclaimed president of Interpol happened to be the day when I first sent written press releases to the media – especially CBC-TV in Vancouver – criticizing Mulroney’s leadership in general and his conduct in the Charlottetown constitutional process, which had recently ended with the failure of the Charlottetown accord in a national referendum (an accord and failure previously discussed in the context of the role of David Cameron, husband of Stevie Cameron, in the Diane Wilhelmy affair).
In one of the press releases on this date, November 10, 1992, I called for B.C. Tory MPs to support their caucus chair Stan Wilbee who had publicly demanded a leadership review, I stated that a cabinet restructuring proposed by Mr. Mulroney should not be the priority but rather the priority was Mulroney’s fitness as prime minister, and I demanded that constitutional affairs minister Joe Clark give a public account of the damages to national unity and to the economy inflicted by the Tory government’s constitutional misadventure. The quote below is from a copy of my old press release – disclosed to me in an October 1, 2003 RCMP personal-information disclosure: 178
“Mr. Stan Wilbee, MP for Delta, B.C., has spoken out publicly, criticizing Mr. Mulroney’s leadership and requesting a province-by-province Tory leadership review. The B.C. Tory MPs should speak out now in support of Mr. Wilbee, reaffirm their confidence in him as the B.C. caucus chair, and defy Mr. Mulroney’s threats of retaliation by means of cabinet restructuring or by any other means. … the most pressing issue facing the country right now, that of Mr. Mulroney’s fitness as the prime minister. … Before taking up any new tasks, Mr. Joe Clark needs to give the people of Canada an adequate explanation for the recent Charlottetown constitutional fiasco and a satisfactory account of the full extent of damages the latest constitutional adventure of the Tory government has done to both national unity and the economy.”
History as it happened has been that Mulroney’s leadership never became an issue of debate within the ruling Progressive Conservative party, though a few short months later in February 1993 Mulroney announced his resignation to take place in June; no accounting of the party’s constitutional policy was ever done, or if it mattered, as in the coming election the party was nearly wiped out.
As it happened, I also sent a copy of this press release to BCTV (then part of the CTV network, today part of the Global TV network). In the morning of the day of the B.C. Tory caucus meeting to discuss the fate of Stan Wilbee as caucus chair (November 17, 1992 as per press archives), who had drawn up a letter of resignation to hand in for his challenge of Mulroney, 179 I phoned BCTV to follow up on my press release and told a news staff member about the caucus meeting in Ottawa, who replied that BCTV would send a camera crew there; later that day when I called again (likely in the afternoon) the same staff member said the camera was there right now; but when I called back the day after I sensed disappointment on the part of this BCTV news staff member, probably because it wasn’t as I had told him that the B.C. Tory MPs might turn against Mulroney’s leadership.
Regardless, I was disappointed that BCTV did not report on the caucus meeting it had camera footage on. Brief press reports indicated that Stan Wilbee’s resignation was rejected by the caucus and days later Dr. Wilbee, a medical doctor and chair of the House of Commons subcommittee on health issues, also launched a parliamentary investigation on the HIV-tainted blood supply issue. 180, 181
No detail of what transpired in that B.C. Tory caucus meeting has ever been reported by the media, but I have pieced together a scenario of known events starting from the loss of the Charlottetown constitutional referendum on October 26, 1992 to Mr. Mulroney’s February 24, 1993 announcement of resignation, as follows.
First, heading into a Tory national caucus meeting on October 29, 1992, Stan Wilbee and Bob Horner, MP for Ontario Mississauga West, were the only Tory MPs questioning Mulroney’s future as leader in the wake of the defeat of the Charlottetown accord; but Horner was quickly silenced by the support others, particularly justice minister Kim Campbell, expressed for Mulroney during that meeting. 182
Immediately, Kim Campbell, MP for B.C. Vancouver Centre, requested Wilbee to resign his B.C. caucus chair position for the reason that Wilbee’s view on leadership did not represent other B.C. caucus members. 183
But then the November 17 B.C. caucus meeting rejected Wilbee’s offer to resign as caucus chair; after that, Wilbee no longer called for a leadership review and would only state that Mulroney was unpopular in Western Canada but was better than leaders of the other parties: 184
“He is unpopular in the West, but once you get into an election campaign, where people start to compare leaders, I think that he comes out far and away above the rest.”
Wilbee said the above on January 31, 1993 after a national caucus meeting in which all were read “the riot act” not to speculate on leadership, by Mulroney personally. 185
But before that, in early January there was a cabinet shuffle and Joe Clark indeed kept his constitutional affairs job (and was given a new cabinet-committee position), and the press wondered why he was staying on a “nothing job”; Kim Campbell got the best “plums” to become defence minister and veterans affairs minister. 186
Also before that on January 18, Al Horning, Tory MP for B.C. Okanagan Centre (Kelowna), who earlier had praised Mulroney (“still head and shoulders ahead of” other party leaders) in a way similar to what Wilbee now did, took over as the only Tory MP to publicly challenge Mulroney, saying Mulroney should step down and predicting so. 187
The discontent was spreading in January before it was gagged by Mulroney at month’s end, as a The Vancouver Sun article, “Minority dreaming of a Blue heaven after purge-a-Tory”, quoted Tory House leader Harvie Andre as stating on January 25 that there was a minority in the party and among the MPs who wanted Mulroney to step down: 188
““There is no grassroots sense that the leader must go, but they all read polls too and certain people are undoubtedly worried about whether we can win or not,” Andre said in an interview Monday.
”However, I don’t think that’s anywhere near the majority, that’s a minority at this point.”
Andre adds that given Mulroney’s unpopularity and the government’s standing in the polls, the prime minister is no doubt contemplating his future.
”Goodness knows, he’d be inhuman if he weren’t thinking about it.””
The news article reported that a dozen Tory MPs during a caucus meeting over the weekend actively called for Mulroney to make his intention clear – though apparently in early 1993 as in late 1992 only one Tory MP (in each case from B.C.) openly challenged Mulroney’s staying as leader.
His warning to Tory MPs apparently worked, Mulroney became feisty and fiery during much of February, predicting a third-term majority under his leadership, calling it “triple crown” and taunting opposition leader Jean Chretien with it in the House of Commons. 189
On February 20, just one day after Mulroney said he would seek re-nomination of MP candidacy in his riding, Mulroney’s long-time leadership rival Joe Clark, a former prime minister originally from Alberta, announced he would retire by the next election but in the meantime would continue with constitutional affairs – he had been hoping to negotiate a self-government accord for the Metis people. 190
On February 24, Brian Mulroney announced his intent to step down in June after a new leader was chosen.
Stan Wilbee immediately resumed his criticism, stating Mulroney “has become a lightning rod for everything that’s bad”, and, “Sometimes you have to start with a clean sheet”; as well, Kim Campbell confirmed that she had been harbouring leadership ambition while Mulroney pondered his future: 191
“People have approached me and my staff offering support. My position is that there wasn’t a campaign until the prime minister made a decision to retire”.
Kim Campbell turned out to be the biggest winner – and the biggest loser – of the ambiguous, non-open pressure waiting on Mulroney’s decision, as she would be crowned Mulroney’s successor (i.e., without a lot of competition) and become the first female prime minister after having been the first woman as justice minister and as defence minister 192 – a real “triple crown” – but she would also suffer the worst electoral defeat in Canadian history at the hand of the Chretien Liberals.
Adding insult to injury was the fact that Campbell would lose her own MP seat, to Liberal Dr. Hedy Fry, former president of B.C. medical association and the first woman of color to be in the cabinet; the Vancouver area also elected Raymond Chan, the first Chinese-Canadian cabinet member, and Herb Dhaliwal, later the first (Sikh) Indo-Canadian cabinet minister and the one accompanying Chretien to the Sikh Golden Temple in India to celebrate their 10-year victory anniversary. 193
As for the issue of native self-government rights, although the incoming Liberals and the outgoing Tories each agreed with the native people on their implementation in principle, the Tories held the view that there was no constitutional guarantee given the defeat of the Charlottetown accord, whereas Jean Chretien was firm on not holding “divisive” constitutional negotiations Mulroney had liked to do (which Pierre Trudeau called “can of worms”), preferred to focus on the economy, and announced a federal government agreement with the provincial governments that the native rights were already in the existent Constitution; however this Liberal constitutional position was not acceptable to Ovide Mercredi, national chief of Assembly of First Nations. 194
The lesson from the above digression into the circumstances leading up to Mulroney’s decision to step down in February 1993? Brian Mulroney is never the loser – be it your luck or your bad luck.
Also note that Mulroney’s appointment of John C. Major of Alberta – a lawyer in the law firm Bennett Jones Verchere headed by Mulroney’s tax lawyer and financial trustee Bruce Verchere and a friend of Karlheinz Schreiber – to the Supreme Court of Canada happened on November 13, 1992, i.e., amid the tension of Stan Wilbee’s call for a leadership review, and that back in 1983 Schreiber had been involved in political maneuvers to oust Joe Clark and bring in Mulroney as Tory leader (the topic has been discussed in previous Notes, with attention to the fact that Justice Major later took early retirement on Christmas Day 2005 ahead of his turning 75 on February 20, 2006 – a date when my late father would have turned 73).
During that time, Kim Campbell’s oppressive stand against Stan Wilbee was consistent with her loyalty to Mulroney’s legacy as Tory leader.
For the core of her campaign team Campbell used many of the controversial figures who had helped Mulroney win his 1983 leadership, persons such as Frank Moores, who as discussed in previous Notes had served on the Air Canada board and whose role in the 1988 Airbus purchase had been questioned by the media, Guy Charbonneau, Tory senator and a known central figure dealing with money in Mulroney’s political circle, David Angus, another Mulroney appointee on the Air Canada board who had also provided Tory party funds for Mulroney family’s expenses exposed during the 1987 “Guccigate” publicity, and Peter White, a Conrad Black associate who had had a hand in the Richard Grise affair as Mulroney’s principal secretary in 1989 – a scandal regarding possible RCMP political bias in favour of Mulroney at the time of the 1988 election. 195
Campbell was unwilling to distance herself from Mulroney despite projecting herself as wanting to change the way politics was done – even when confronted by CBC broadcasters Peter Mansbridge and Pamela Wallin at a Prime Time News interview on March 25, 1993, she refused to say why her policies would be different from Mulroney’s and strenuously defended the Mulroney government’s $5-billion CH-101 helicopter-purchase plan she had involvement in as defence minister. 196
According to author Murray Dobbin, no later than in early December 1992 Kim Campbell had actually made a ‘secret’ arrangement with Mulroney to succeed him, while Canadians were in the dark about whether Mulroney would leave: 197
“When Brian Mulroney met in early December 1992 with his Quebec lieutenant Marcel Masse… Mulroney asked Masse to take on the task of chaperoning Campbell around Quebec and organizing a few private dinners to introduce her to key business people, journalists, artists and other opinion makers. Masse agreed. And Campbell’s silent run for the leadership was underway.”
“… at a time when Canadians were still wondering whether Brian Mulroney would really resign, the man himself was already preparing Campbell for the crown and offering her the entire palace entourage. Masse would not only organize a series of private dinners for Campbell, but he would bring with him to Campbell’s side the entire organizing team that had helped Mulroney win the leadership of the Tory party.”
Any secretive maneuvering between Mulroney and Campbell in late 1992 should have raised suspicion that Mulroney wanted to pre-empt Joe Clark altogether – not just the prospect of a Clark comeback as leader but Mr. Clark as the ideological counterweight to him in Progressive Conservative politics – as there were serious media speculations that Clark might have a good election chance as leader should Mulroney step down. 198 Subsequently, Mulroney’s announcement of pending resignation came on February 24 several days after Clark’s February 20 announcement of his intent to retire.
Despite “attractive” private-sector job offers, and turning down Mulroney’s offer for him to become Canadian ambassador to the U.S., Mr. Clark (who was still an MP) and wife Maureen McTeer soon became professors at the University of California, Berkeley – my alma mater of graduate study as previously mentioned in the context of author Chalmers Johnson – with Mr. Clark at the same political science faculty Dr. Johnson had been in and Mrs. Clark joining the public health faculty; within a few short months an election-defeated Campbell would join Clark in the academic world, going to teach at Harvard University. 199
In November 1992 Stan Wilbee and Joe Clark were not the only potential victims of Kim Campbell’s ‘loyalty succession’ ambition: I myself was likely an actual victim.
The reader may notice that next to the “Nov. 10” date of the RCMP copy of my old press release quoted earlier, is a (RCMP) date stamp of “Nov 30 1992”, and within a line of fax mark at the bottom of the page – at the right-hand side slightly obscured by another (RCMP) date stamp of “Oct 21 1993” – the date of “11/30/1992” can be seen (the RCMP stamps and the line of fax-mark are on every page).
It turned out that in the morning of November 30 I had faxed several previous press releases – attached to a cover note – to the local constituency office of MP Kim Campbell in whose riding I was a resident, and in the afternoon two RCMP officers, one of whom introducing himself as Sgt. Brian Cotton, a detective from the UBC detachment, were in my city apartment to take me to UBC Hospital for a psychiatric assessment (and committal), citing something related to my prior dispute with my former employer UBC and the RCMP (a lawsuit by me had been mentioned at the start of the above-mentioned press release) as well as concern with my persistent communications with the CBC.
To the hospital, Sgt. Brian Cotton accused me of having “paranoid ideation”, and some UBC Hospital psychiatrists then determined my thinking as “delusional” and of “persecutory type”. But as everyone can read a copy of my fax received by Kim Campbell’s local MP office got into the hand of the RCMP on that same day – and not even by fax as there isn’t a second fax-mark line on this RCMP copy.
Police simply would not act this closely and quickly on a non-emergency mental-health case in apparent disregard for proper rules or conflict of interest: the officers were outside their normal jurisdiction area of UBC, the RCMP and UBC were defendants in a civil lawsuit by me over that prior dispute, and Sgt. Brian Cotton also rejected my response of going to the nearby Vancouver General Hospital for a ‘neutral’ assessment, citing pre-arrangement at UBC.
For the reader unfamiliar with the background of politics, before becoming a Tory MP Kim Campbell had been also a UBC faculty member, a lawyer at the law firm Ladner Downs, chair of the Vancouver school board, executive assistant to B.C. Premier Bill Bennett of the Social Credit party, and a Socred member of the B.C. legislature; she was originally from Port Alberni, B.C. 200
Within three weeks a mental-health review panel ordered my release. But in mid-January 1993 (days before Tory MP Al Horning came out saying Mulroney should step down), I was again under psychiatric committal – this time by Vancouver Police action – and again within a few weeks I was released by a review panel, in mid-February with Brian Mulroney still talking about winning a third majority.
To refer here to this part of history of personal efforts to help bring down Mr. Mulroney is not to accuse then RCMP Commissioner Norman Inkster of having-forged/forging deals with the devils, but to show that the RCMP played political roles – in my personal experience in particular.
While Inkster’s resignation in 1994 was expected to give the Liberal government a fresh start in gun control at home, it also took place amid the Liberals’ retreat from its election promise of higher priority for international human rights, to focus on the economy and business; and as if that had not been enough, prime minister Chretien’s first official foreign visit – to Mexico instead of traditionally to the U.S. – in March 1994 was marred by the assassination by gunshot of Mexican presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio (of the Institutional Revolutionary Party that had ruled uninterruptedly for 65 years) just before Chretien’s arrival, by a large and angry mob shouting “out” while Chretien attempted but failed to pay respect to the body of the slain, and by a rare type of rebuttal of Chretien’s notion that Mexican democracy and Canadian democracy were just different types – from Subcomandante Marcos of the rebel Zapatista Army of National Liberation in a jungle interview in Chiapas, Mexico. 201
Subcomandante Marcos’s criticism of Chretien was voiced at a time when Canadian native leaders had been expressing support for more rights (including land-title rights) for the Mexican Mayans in light of swift acceptance of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by the new Chretien government – an agreement that had been negotiated by the Mulroney government and had contributed to its unpopularity, and one that Chretien during the election campaign had talked about renegotiating. 202
To the Chretien Liberals who were shifting governing focus from human rights to trade, the concern from all this Mexican violence seemed to be security – in Canada there had already been similar angry crowd of unemployed construction workers in his hometown (riding) of Shawinigan shouting at Chretien and smashing a window of his constituency office – but on the other hand the security should not hinder a prime minister who took pride in being “close to the people”, according to solicitor general Herb Gray who would review the PM’s security arrangements with RCMP commissioner Norman Inkster and foreign affairs minister Andre Ouellet. 203
Such could only add momentum to the gun-control drive being launched by justice minister Allan Rock, and prime minister Chretien personally announced on the last day of a high-profile Liberal party convention in mid-May in Ottawa that he would instruct Allan Rock to proceed with stricter gun-control legislation to be introduced in parliament in the fall, after the convention unanimously endorsed a resolution on tougher gun control – sponsored by the National Women’s Liberal Commission. 204
Several days afterwards Chretien was at the Winnipeg convention centre attending a high-profile Liberal fundraiser, and there were not only around 200 native demonstrators outside chanting “We want jobs”, but also 29-year old Earl Kevin Jans wandering about in the convention centre and arrested for wanting to see the prime minister while carrying a pistol-like crossbow and three arrows 205 – proof that a handgun is not always necessary, given the precedent that with crossbow and hunting arrow Montreal student and author Colin McGregor had killed his estranged wife Patricia Allen (a Revenue Canada lawyer and daughter of retired RCMP assistant commissioner George Allen), on November 13, 1991, i.e., one year before the Stan Wilbee and John Major events near the end of the Mulroney era, and nearly two years before the Chretien era began. 206
Back in 1991 several weeks after Patricia Allen’s death, the Mulroney government’s weaker gun-control law that had been stimulated by the December 6, 1989 Montreal massacre – killing of 14 women at Ecole Polytechique (engineering school of the University of Montreal) by gunman Marc Lepine – passed the Senate on the eve of the massacre’s two-year anniversary (after it had passed the Commons earlier). 207
Fortunately for Chretien, by the fall of 1994 gun control would not be the only political issue stirring controversy with passion as Stevie Cameron’s major book exposing corruptions in the Mulroney years was scheduled for the same fall season; there were both excitement and nervousness awaiting for the upcoming fall books on Pierre Trudeau and Brian Mulroney: 208
“Last year McClelland & Stewart’s big fall book was Pierre Trudeau’s own memoir, which sold more than 200,000 copies. This year it’s deja vu all over again, when M & S brings out the second volume of Trudeau And Our Times, by the Governor-General’s Award winning team of Christina McCall and Stephen Clarkson. Subtitled The Heroic Delusion, it takes up the former prime minister’s career after the ‘74 election. A hot political book, awaited with trepidation by some, is On The Take: Greed And Corruption In The Mulroney Years by Stevie Cameron (Macfarlane Walter & Ross). Another book that will make Conservatives uncomfortable is The Poisoned Chalice: How The Tories Self-Destructed by David McLaughlin (Dundurn)”.
Some people were nervous also because, in Stevie Cameron’s view, with the departure of the Mulroney era’s corrupt reputation – which had been akin to Richard Nixon’s – also went the (first elected, but formerly controversial as mentioned in earlier Notes, and) reform-minded Speaker of the House of Commons John Fraser, while the return of the ‘heroically delusional’ Trudeau brought back the “secretive, institutionalized club” of Major-General Gus Cloutier – Sergeant-At-Arms of the House of Commons and an old friend of Jean Pelletier and Jean Carle now running Prime Minster Jean Chretien’s office. 209
In late October 1994 Stevie Cameron’s book on the Mulroney years came out and became an instant bestseller: it portrayed a damning picture of the greed, crime and corruption in the political circle associated with the Mulroney government, and of Mulroney turning a blind eye to the grease around him while living his extravagant lifestyle at the expenses of the party and the government; coming out around the anniversary of the Tories’ historic election debacle it served as a reminder how democracy could go wrong. 210
But Cameron presented little hard evidence Mulroney himself had done anything seriously crooked or criminally wrong: a story about a $4-million trust fund set up by some Montreal businessmen for Mulroney’s retirement was categorically denied by Mulroney and by Tory senator Marjorie LeBreton, while a brief section on the Airbus Affair went unnoticed by the media. 211
Nonetheless, controversies over risks of publicizing the Mulroney-era problems abounded: publisher Gary Ross went public about break-ins at the publishers’ offices attempting to steal Cameron’s manuscripts, Cameron was reported to have received intimidation through a family member, and a Vancouver man, Michael Lee Mitton, quoted in the book as a former fraudster in a sting operation for an RCMP investigation into the Mulroney government’s Mafia link, also told the media he feared for mob revenge on his life. 212
The RCMP also announced they were studying the book, much to the delight of solicitor general Herb Gray. 213
While Cameron’s book was proving to be lacking hard material on Mulroney, around that time the Chretien government was retreating from a possible handgun ban due to opposition in the Liberal party to tougher gun control, and to stronger homosexual-rights protection; a universal gun registry, expanding from an existent one for handguns and restricted weapons, now became the main gun-control issue Chretien was stumping for, and even that did not appear assured. 214
At this juncture, a critical shot in the arm turned out to come from the shooting of an abortion doctor in Vancouver: while reading a Time magazine and waiting for breakfast at home Dr. Gary Romalis, a gynaecologist who performed abortions at the Vancouver General Hospital but who did not consider himself an abortion activist, was seriously wounded in the thigh by one of two AK-47 assault rifle shots fired from the alley through the kitchen window on November 8, 1994. 215
The shooting of an abortion doctor was the first of its kind in Canada – after several recent shootings that had killed two U.S. doctors – and it drew condemnations from prime minister Chretien and B.C. premier Mike Harcourt who were on an Asian trip in Shanghai, and got justice minister Allan Rock to rally the medical community to support tougher gun control; momentum from the public outcries contributed to the inclusion of a ban on military-type assault weapons in the gun-control measures unveiled by Rock on November 30, 1994 (a military-type assault weapon, Ruger Mini-14, had also been responsible for the deaths of the 14 women in the Montreal massacre in December 1989). 216
The Romalis incident also inspired a B.C. inquest jury to make recommendations on tighter access to guns, who were looking into the shooting death of North Vancouver family physician Dr. Verne Flather by David Roger Henderson on April 22, 1992, who had had no criminal record or record of mental illness in his police file when purchasing guns, and who was found not criminally responsible and locked up at the B.C. Forensic Psychiatric Institute in (Port) Coquitlam for chronic paranoid schizophrenia. 217
Here is what became personally interesting about the Gary Romanlis incident, beside the coincidence that Allan Rock’s gun-control measure was introduced on the second anniversary of my faxing documents critical of PM Mulroney to MP Kim Campbell and the coming of RCMP officers led by Sgt. Brian Cotton to take me to psychiatric committal at UBC Hospital: Dr. Romalis had also communicated earlier to justice minister Kim Campbell, about threatening phone calls to him; Sgt. Brian Cotton rejected my suggestion to go to the nearby Vancouver General Hospital for a ‘neutral’ assessment, which happened to be where Dr. Romalis worked; in January 1993 when I was taken to my second psychiatric committal, by the Vancouver Police, I was initially sent to Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) after the police asked me to get a referral from my family physician Dr. James Lai, and there I was detained for only two days (and transferred to UBC Hospital for several more weeks until a review panel released me); then again in October 1993 Vancouver General Hospital did not keep me for long, only several days, after I had been certified at UBC Hospital and transferred there – I was discharged without a review panel on election day 1993 (an RCMP file-review date stamp, “Oct 21, 1993”, in the RCMP copy of my old press release sent to Kim Campbell quoted earlier, happened to correspond to the timing of this third and very brief psychiatric detention).
Understandably the reader may not think of the above various coincidences as striking enough.
The mid-January psychiatric committal through Dr. James Lai’s referral was actually more official (and interesting): I was arrested by the Vancouver Police in the downtown CBC building for refusal to leave after I said no to a staff-only (i.e., non-news) interview offer from a producer-type and insisted that my story get to the news; once arrested, a charge was filed instead for harassing phone calls to “staff at the newsroom of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation” (i.e., the many phone calls I had made prior to attending the site), which was the first criminal charge I ever faced; the police then recommended a psychiatric committal based on information from a UBC Hospital psychiatrist, and the Crown had me appear in front of Judge William J. Kitchen to have the charge stayed (as court record shows); 218 a police officer then told me that if I could get a referral from my family physician I could go to VGH, or I would be sent to the ‘Colony Farm’, i.e., the Forensic Psychiatric Institute (where they sent the killer of family physician Dr. Verne Flather as mentioned earlier).
Some personal-information disclosure materials show, 219 that my family physician Dr. James K. Lai cooperated with the police but he did not like doing it; later in August 1993 he was approached for cooperation by the Vancouver South Mental Health Team (VSMHT) for a related matter, and he told them I was “very healthy” and declined to participate further, according to VSMHT notes:
“Dr. Lai – Doesn’t see him often. Only treats his medical problems. No psychoactive medications. Dr. Lai says that Mr. G is very healthy & doesn’t feel that he could contribute much to a CC. He is willing to continue to deal with medical problems”.
In the same page were listed names of various psychiatrists (mostly to do with UBC), and noted that the matter was up to forensic psychiatry:
“Was ref. to F.O.S. – may not have seen him yet”.
“F.O.S.” stood for Forensic Outpatient Service (or forensic outpatient clinic), part of the Forensic Psychiatric Institute; the comment sort of implied that once the justice system became involved community psychiatric supervision was already an easier way out.
The reader now may feel that my personal experience could be politics-related, but still it had nothing to do with Dr. Gary Romalis.
In the New Millennium, Dr. Gary Romalis again received a threatening call though he was no longer based in Vancouver General Hospital, and was attacked with a knife and wounded on July 11, 2000 in the Seymour Medical Clinic where he worked. 220
If the reader has guessed again now you may be right: this time Dr. Romalis was a member of my (former) medical clinic chaired by my family physician Dr. James Lai; the day after the attack a phone call was placed to the Vancouver Sun newspaper on behalf of a “Baby Liberation Army” claiming responsibility 221 – but by the fall of 1997 I had left Vancouver and in 2000 I was working in Silicon Valley in California (see my January 29, 2009 blog article, “Greeting the New Millennium – nearly a decade late”).
Neither of the two cases of serious attacks on (the life of) Dr. Gary Romalis has ever been solved.
169. Stephen Bindman, “Top Mountie to turn in his badge, says force needs periodic renewal”, February 5, 1994, The Vancouver Sun; and, Tom Arnold, “Rock to outlaw discrimination of homosexuals”, February 22, 1994, The Gazette
170. Patricia Poirier, “Bilingual Westerner named new commissioner of RCMP”, April 1, 1987, The Globe and Mail; Patrick Doyle,“Top Mountie misled his chief, MPs informed”, December 13, 1989, Toronto Star; “Embattled Mountie to quit: Two controversies dog veteran Jensen after 37-year career”, December 22, 1989, The Vancouver Sun; and Jim Bronskill, “Ex-RCMP commissioner cleared in ’89 budget leak investigation: Norman Inkster acted properly, complaints body rules”, February 24, 1998, The Ottawa Citizen
171. Carolyn Abraham and Doug Fischer, “RCMP feared political meddling: The Airbus contract investigation was just one of the probes members of special unit hid from their elected bosses by filing them under other cases”, December 8, 1995, The Windsor Star
172. John Picton, “Norman Inkster: A boy from Saskatchewan about to become world’s top cop”, November 1, 1992, Toronto Star; and, “RCMP boss new Interpol president”, November 10, 1992, The (Hamilton) Spectator
173. Timothy Appleby, “Inkster acclaimed as Interpol head; RCMP leader takes over troubled agency trying to combat global crime”, November 11, 1992, The Globe and Mail
174. “Stricter gun controls”, January 4, 1994, Toronto Star; “Mountie chief firm on crime-control tasks: Concerns voiced over weapons as thousands grieve for officer who was shot to death”, June 23, 1994, The Vancouver Sun; and, “RCMP chief supports ban on handguns”, June 23, 1994, The Windsor Star
175. Rosemary Speirs, “Mulroney steps down after 10 years as Tory leader ‘I have done my best’”, February 25, 1993, Toronto Star
176. Stephen Bindman, “RCMP Commissioner Norman Inkster has been chosen…”, November 10, 1992, CanWest News; and, “RCMP chief Inkster to be world’s top cop as head of Interpol”, November 11, 1992, Toronto Star
178. Copy of supplementary press release sent to CBC-TV Vancouver, dated November 10, 1992, discussing a public call by B.C. Tory MP caucus chair Stan Wilbee for a Tory leadership review, the question of Brian Mulroney’s fitness as prime minister after the failure of the Charlottetown constitutional accord, and the need for a satisfactory account of the “constitutional fiasco” from constitutional affairs minister Joe Clark
179. “Tory MP calls for leadership review”, October 29, 1992, Toronto Star; Peter O’Neil, “Renegade Delta MP Stan Wilbee pays price for questioning PM”, November 12, 1992, The Vancouver Sun; and, Jes Odam, “Wilbee passes supporters’ gut check”, November 16, 1992, The Vancouver Sun
180. “Wilbee to head tainted-blood probe”, November 28, 1992, The Vancouver Sun
181. Stan Wilbee and Chuck Cook, MP for North Vancouver, had been the only two Tory MPs openly opposing the Charlottetown constitutional accord forged by the Mulroney government, but Cook viewed a leadership review as divisive; Cook, a long time smoker, soon died of lung cancer on February 23, 1993, the day before Mulroney’s announcement of resignation; see: Peter O’Neil, “Delta Tory Wilbee no cabinet wannabe”, October 30, 1992, The Vancouver Sun; Stewart Bell, “Controversial Tory MP for North Vancouver dies of cancer at age 66”, February 25, 1993, The Vancouver Sun; and, “OBITUARY: Charles Cook North Vancouver MP ‘always spoke his mind’”, February 26, 1993, The Globe and Mail
182. Julian Beltrame, “Tories cheer PM to lead on: Mulroney set for election”, October 30, 1992, The (Kitchener-Waterloo) Record; and, Patrick Doyle, “Caucus rallies around ‘extraordinary leader’”, October 30, 1992, Toronto Star
183. Peter O’Neil, “Renegade B.C. Tory attacked for anti-PM stand”, October 30, 1992, The Vancouver Sun
184. Terrance Wills and Peggy Curran, “Mulroney won’t comment but MPs insist he’s staying”, February 1, 1993, The Gazette
185. Graham Fraser, “PM reads riot act to cabinet Rumours, ministers’ manoeuvring undermining Mulroney’s leadership”, January 30, 1993, The Globe and Mail; and, Julian Beltrame, “In or out? PM lets soap opera go on”, February 1, 1993, The Ottawa Citizen
186. “Federal Cabinet Shuffle: No constitutional affairs, but Clark keeps his job”, January 5, 1993, The Globe and Mail; Jeff Sallot,, “Federal Cabinet Shuffle: Plum jobs raise Campbell’s profile; Two portfolios let minister control combined budget of $14-billion”, January 5, 1993, The Globe and Mail; and, Don McGillivray, “Shuffle reveals a dithering PM faced with unpalatable choices”, January 7, 1993, The (Hamilton) Spectator
187. “Tory MPs rally behind leader in wake of accord’s defeat”, October 29, 1992, The Vancouver Sun; and, “Mulroney will resign in 4-6 weeks, B.C. Conservative MP predicts”, January 19, 1993, The Vancouver Sun;
188. Julian Beltrame, “Minority dreaming of a Blue heaven after purge-a-Tory”, January 26, 1993, The Vancouver Sun
189. Terrance Wills, “I’m going for the triple crown, PM says”, February 2, 1993, The Gazette; and, Rosemary Speirs, “Tory campaign centres on PM Mulroney on road to 3rd win, chief insists”, February 19, 1993, Toronto Star
190. “Native cause called priority”, February 6, 1993, The Windsor Star; Canadian Press, “Ottawa to negotiate Metis self-rule”, Febuary 17, 1993, Toronto Star; Julian Beltrame, “Mulroney in election mood; PM to seek nomination in Quebec riding again”, February 20, 1993, The Ottawa Citizen; and, Brian Laghi, “It’s official: Clark calls it quits; But he’s not retiring from national unity efforts”, February 21, 1993, Edmonton Journal
191. Peter O’Neil, “Race is on for PM hopefuls: Mulroney’s successor to be chosen in mid-June”, February 25, 1993, The Vancouver Sun
193. Jeff Lee, “Fry still in state of shock over defeating Campbell”, October 29, 1993, The Vancouver Sun; “PM should boost minority candidates”, March 23, 1997, Toronto Star; and, Kim Bolan, “Sikhs celebrate 100 years of progress”, October 11, 1997, The Vancouver Sun
194. Hubert Bauch, “National unity will improve under Liberals: Trudeau”, November 11, 1993, The Gazette; and, Jack Aubry, “Governments OK self-rule for natives; Indian leaders want agreement in Constitution”, February 2, 1994, The Ottawa Citizen
195. “The patronage tango”, March 21, 1985, The Globe and Mail; William Marsden, “Mountie put off Grise raid to avoid influencing vote”, November 22, 1989, The Gazette; Jim Brown, “PM aide’s statement to Mounties queried”, November 23, 1989, The Vancouver Sun; Murray Dobbin, The politics of Kim Campbell: from school trustee to Prime Minister, 1993, James Lorimer & Company; and, Stevie Cameron, “Mr. Mulroney’s money”, January 27, 2008, Stevie Cameron’s Blog
196. Murray Dobbin, ibidem
197. Murray Dobbin, ibidem
198. Julian Beltrame, “Clark or Campbell could rescue the Tories”, October 31, 1992, The (Kitchener-Waterloo) Record; “GALLUP POLL: Voters favor Clark at Tory party helm”, December 3, 1992, The Windsor Star; Edison Stewart, “Suddenly, a comeback by Clark not so crazy”, January 25, 1993, Toronto Star; and, John Dafoe, “THE WEST Thinking the unthinkable: Joe Clark as the next Tory leader”, February 6, 1993, The Globe and Mail
199. Robert Russo, “Clark considers private job offers; He rules out seeking to replace Mulroney”, January 13, 1993, The Gazette; Robert Russo, “Clark begins new UN job in Cyprus: Former PM charged with finding way to end strife betweenGreeks, Turks”, July 12, 1993, The Vancouver Sun; and, Lisa Wright, “Campbell’s brave new world Former leader Harvard lecturer “I’ve always said when one door closes, another opens.” – Kim Campbell on Dec. 13, 1993, the day she quit as leader”, March 12, 1994, Toronto Star
200. Portia Priegert, “Campbell continues meteoric rise in politics”, January 9, 1993, The (Kitchener-Waterloo) Record; and, Don Hauka and Ian Austin, “Kim Campbell at a glance”, February 25, 1993, The Province
201. “PM picks Mexico for first visit”, February 24, 1994, The (Kitchener-Waterloo) Record; April Lindgren, “Mexico in turmoil as Chretien visits; Top candidate for presidency assassinated”, March 24, 1994, The Ottawa Citizen; Shawn McCarthy, “PM jostled by Mexican mourners Angry crowd mobs Chretien at funeral home”, March 25, 1994, Toronto Star; Dave Todd, “A deaf ear?; Chretien under attack for indifference to human-rights crises elsewhere”, March 26, 1994, The Gazette; and, “Marcos has a few words for Chretien”, April 16, 1994, The Vancouver Sun
202. Daphne Bramham, “On the border: The free-trade deal is intended to improve the lot of Mexicans. But critics worry it will bring more poverty, pollution and health problems: Mexico: despite new industry and promises, old problems remain”, October 16, 1993, The Vancouver Sun; Jonathan Ferguson, “Did Chretien get a good deal? PM caved in, critics say; others hail a ‘deft move’ on improving energy and water provisions in NAFTA”, December 3, 1993, Toronto Star; Rick Mofina, “Native leaders support Mexican rebels; Violence over lost land understandable though not condoned, Mercredi says”, January 8, 1994, Edmonton Journal; “Mercredi champions rights of Mayans”, Jan 31/Feb 13, 1994. Volume 11, Issue 23, Windspeaker, Canada’s National Aboriginal News Source; and, Kevin Dougherty, “Ex-PM Sings ODE To NAFTA: Mulroney concedes trade deal key to Tories’ unpopularity”, March 2, 1994, Financial Post
203. Edison Stewart, “Angry mob jostles PM in his home riding”, March 19, 1994, Edmonton Journal; Robert Russo, “Angry construction workers jostle Chretien during visit to home town; Protesters smash glass door during rally against cuts to UI”, March 19, 1994, The Gazette; and, Joan Bryden, “PM’s security to be reviewed following incident in Mexico: Solicitor-general concerned after viewing TV footage, newspaper pictures”, March 26, 1994, The Vancouver Sun
204. “Chretien promises tougher gun control”, May 15, 1994, hosted by Wendy Mesley, Sunday Report, CBC Television; Terrance Wills, “Tougher gun control promised PM seeks bill by fall”, May 16, 1994, The Gazette; and, Bob Cox, “PM promises new gun law by this fall”, May 16, 1994, Kingston Whig-Standard
206. “Woman killed by crossbow”, November 14, 1991, The (Kitchener-Waterloo) Record; Claude Arpin, “The Crossbow Killing; They were in love. She left him. Now she’s dead”, November 23, 1991, The Gazette; and, Keri Sweetman, “Ouch! These toys are too much, parents’ group says”, February 6, 1992, The Gazette
207. David Vienneau, “Gun law a ‘tribute’ to 14 victims Senate gives bill speedy passage on the anniversary of massacre”, December 6, 1991, Toronto Star; and, “Timing of gun bill called fitting”, December 6, 1991, The Vancouver Sun
208. Judy Stoffman, “New books season full of promise Excitement from CanLit favorites and newcomers”, August 31, 1994, Toronto Star
209. Stevie Cameron, “CLOSE UP Master of His Own Myth”, January 8, 1994, The Globe and Mail; Jane Taber, “Get off the bus, Gus, your friends are back”, March 4, 1994, The Ottawa Citizen; Charles Gordon, “Too late to dig up the Tory dirt?”, July 17, 1994, The Ottawa Citizen; and, Beverley Slopen, “Cameron’s book top secret”, August 27, 1994, Toronto Star
210. Hubert Bauch, Andy Riga and Paul Wells, “Mulroney ignored corruption: author”, October 25, 1994, The Gazette; Les Whittington, “Book on Mulroney shows how vulnerable democracy is”, October 26, 1994, The Record; Marg Langton, “’Mila a shopaholic’ Mulroney’s biographer speaks out”, November 18, 1994, The Spectator; and, “Fall Literary Review: The Globe and Mail national bestseller list”, November 26, 1994, The Globe and Mail
211. Susan Delacourt, “Mulroney denying book’s assertion of $4-million fund on leaving office; Former prime minister fighting back against allegations”, October 25, 1994, The Globe and Mail; Jane Taber, “Little beyond hype in Mulroney book”, October 26, 1994, The Ottawa Citizen; and, David Frum, “Cameron book fails to come up with real proof”, November 5, 1`994, Financial Post;
212. Ross Howard, “Publishers allege harassment; Mulroney era book due out next week”, October 21, 1994, The Globe and Mail; and, Peter O’Neil and David Baines, “Key source in Mulroney book ‘fears for his life’”, October 25, 1994, The Vancouver Sun
213. Joan Bryden and Maurice Crossfield, “Mounties checking Mulroney expose; Tells of sting operation aimed at Tories”, October 27, 1994, The Gazette
214. Sarah Scott, “Rock mulls total ban on handguns”, September 22, 1994, The Gazette; Bob Cox, “Liberal MPs demand freedom: Promises of free votes have been forgotten”, October 11, 1994, The Record; and, Tim Harper, “Every gun will be registered Chretien vows”, October 22, 1994, Toronto Star
215. Robert Matas and Miro Cernetig, “B.C. doctor hit by sniper Gynecologist who does abortions had received threatening call”, November 9, 1994, Robert Matas, “Police step up protection for doctors Vancouver physician in serious condition”, November 10, 1994, and, Robert Matas, “Shooting ‘unbelievable,’ B.C. doctor recalls He says he’s no abortion activist, ‘just a quiet little guy…minding my own business’”, December 15, 1994, The Globe and Mail
216. Doug Fischer, “Liberals agree to compromise on gun control”, November 4, 1994, The Spectator; Carol Goar, “Chretien calls shooting of doctor ‘deplorable’”, November 10, 1994, Toronto Star; “Violent talk behind a shooting”, November 11, 1994, Edmonton Journal; Maxine Ruvinsky, “Universal registration of guns a possibility”, November 12, 1994, The Record; Graeme Hamilton, “Rock looks to doctors to back gun control bill; Hints at universal registration”, November 12, 1994, Edmonton Journal; Rosemary Speirs, “PM vows not to yield to foes of gun control; Canadians ‘tired of the violence, murders,’ he says”, November 30, 1994, Toronto Star; David Vienneau, “Ottawa to ban deadly firearms ‘Canadians don’t want to feel they need a gun for protection’”, December 1, 1994, Toronto Star;
217. John Colebourn, “Daughter hails advice of jury: Doctor killed by mental patient”, November 30, 1994, The Province
218. Copy of Vancouver Provincial Court record on January 15, 1993, showing a charge of harassing phone calls was signed by a justice of the peace on information from police officer R. Gentile, and then stayed by Judge W. J. Kitchen at the request of Crown counsel D. Mulligan. Press archives show Judge Kitchen dealt with the following cases of news interest around that time: Ben Parfitt, “Pharmacist pleads guilty in drug death”, December 23, 1992, The Vancouver Sun; Greg Middleton, “Jailed 45 days for gunbattle”, April 25, 1993, The Province; and, Clare Ogilvie, “Wife guilty in blast to groin”, July 23, 1993, The Province. Judge Kitchen recently also dealt with Nation Hockey League violence including the career-ending hit on Steve Moore by Todd Bertuzzi, see: Neal Hall, “NHL star appears in court: Hockey player charged with on-ice assault of Steve Moore”, August 27, 2004, The Windsor Star; Rod Mickleburgh, “Bertuzzi pleads not guilty in unexpected court showing”, August 27, 2004, The Globe and Mail; and, Gordon Clark, “Expected Bertuzzi discharge raises troubling questions about B.C. justice”, December 22, 2004, The Province
219. Copy of Vancouver General Hospital admission record page on January 18, 1993, showing transfer from family practitioner Dr. J. K. Lai for “Delusional Disorder”; and, copy of Vancouver South Mental Health Team note page in August 1993, quoting Dr. Lai as saying that I was “very healthy”
220. Kim Bolan, “Romalis attacked again: Abortion provider survives stabbing at Seymour clinic”, July 12, 2000, The Vancouver Sun
221. Robert Matas, “Romalis colleague tells of suspicious call”, July 15, 2000, The Globe and Mail; and, Kim Bolan and Lori Culbert, “Romalis considers future after attack: Praising his years of work, fellow doctors at the Vancouver clinic where Garson Romalis was stabbed earlier this week say they don’t expect him back soon”, July 15, 2000, The Vancouver Sun