Tough On Crime...But What About The Causes Of Crime?

I have to get this off my chest, but first, the following caveats:

1.) I recognize and appreciate the very, very tough job the police do.

2.) An adequately-funded police force is essential and politicians who cheap out on this are rats.

3.) A good cop is more than worth his or her weight in gold.

Okay...so an unamed but reliable source I know quite well had a friend graduate from Saskatchewan Police College today and as a result this person attended the graduation ceremonies.

And this individual of my acquaintence was irked by the pro-Saskatchewan Party speech given by one of the commencement speakers, Saskatchewan Police Commission Chair Mitch Holash.

Holash reportedly told graduates how lucky they were to begin their careers after the last provincial election, when there's been a change in the Saskatchewan government's direction. He spoke about a "paradigm shift", and now there's more resources for police (apparently he used the word "blessed")

This implicitly suggests the NDP were poor supporters of the police by comparison.

I have a few problems with this pro-Sask. Party propoganda. First, sending an underhanded political messageto graduating students is a crummy thing to do, period--whatever the speakers' political affiliations, or the fact that they're a political appointee or whatever.

Second, I'm not at all convinced the Saskatchewan Party will be more effective supporters of law enforcement than the NDP were--and if they are, a chunk of the credit has to go to the economic boom that really only got rolling in the last three years. We all recognize the Sask Party government waltzed into office in a sweetheart situation. Let's see what they've built with it after four years.

Third, this speech really rankles because the Saskatchewan Party government seems, to me, to lean towards an overly-simplistic understanding of crime, making them less effective than the NDP were. If you're really serious about reducing theft, vandalism and violence, you need to address the factors that help create it: poverty, unemployment, racism, hopelessness.

I don't think Sask Partiers generally get that.

One of the first things the Sask. Party did after coming to power was yank funding from Station 20 West in Saskatoon, a planned inner city centre that would've brought health and other services to a stressed community. Of paticular note was the plan to set up a grocery store in the centre.

For a lot of reasons, large grocery chains like Safeway and Superstore don't set up shop in inner cities, and this creates a situation where lower-income households have a hard time buying food. This grocery would've filled a critical need by providing local, affordable groceries to a community that can't neccessarily just hop into a car, drive to a box store and buy $200 worth of groceries for a week.

Premier Brad Wall called to Station 20 West a "mall" and said government shouldn't support malls. The result: poor families in a high-risk neighbourhood have a hard time buying healthy food for their kids.

Wall didn't get it. And because he didn't get it, a community with high crime rates lost an important facility that would've made it stronger.

Fighting crime isn't just about hiring police and sending them out to catch bad guys. You fight crime by building resilient communities. So far I've seen nothing to suggest the Sask. Party will be better at that than the NDP were.

And that means police graduates aren't waltzing into a community where they have more support from government. If anything, it really means they have less.

Trek Of The Day: Final Frontier

I saw Star Trek last night, and if for some reason you want my opinion you can read it here.

More importantly, today is the last day for Trek Of The Week, my lame-o linkfest celebrating the release of the new film.

It's Friday, and hopefully we're all heading out for drinks and par-tay-ying tonight, so what we need is some Shatner style rawk to set the mood. Here's a fan-made video of the rawkenest song the Shat ever recorded. Footage is from Star Trek: the animated series.

Play it loud, play it repeatedly and dance, dance dance like Checkov drunk on girl-drinks.

UPDATE: No longer links to the wrong damn video.

Downtown Plan Released

The much anticipated Downtown Neighbourhood Plan: Walk to Work is available in full on the city website. As mentioned in Prairie Dog: the Paper, it will go before Planning Commission on May 13 and, if approved there, before city council on May 25.

Don't know how anyone was supposed to find this. It was very well hidden. The link supplied above will save you the trouble of hunting.

If you get a chance to peruse its many pages, let us know what you think.

Six In The Morning

1 MAYBE NO ONE WILL NOTICE IF WE PAY WITH SMALL BILLS Dwain Lingenfelter's NDP leadership campaign not only bought party memberships for people who didn't know they were joining the New Democrats, it paid for those memberships in $10s and $20s. Some might suggest this was an attempt to make it appear these voting memberships were purchased by individuals rather than campaign staffers. But no worries, Lingenfelter is co-operating with the investigation. (Leader-Post)

2 CHEQUE'S IN THE MAIL Saskatchewan residents who've lost their jobs wait longer for EI benefits than residents of other provinces, well, that sucks. (StarPhoenix)

3 CROSS-BORDER COOPERATION Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall signed a carbon capture agreement with Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer yesterday, read about it here. (CBC)

4 I THINK THE PHRASE YOU'RE LOOKING FOR IS "CIVIL WAR" A half-million Pakistanis are running from furious fighting in the north-west part of the country. How's the war against the Taliban going, again? (Guardian)

5 MAYBE WE SHOULD BE BAILING OUT THE WORKERS, NOT THE COMPANIES? JUST A CRAZY THOUGHT The Canadian and Ontario provincial governments are pushing the Canadian Auto Workers for more, more, more concessions, because everyone knows there's no time to kick a union around like in the middle of an economic crisis caused by the incompetence of the world's so-called business leaders. Not to editorialize or anything. Yeah, and by the way? This round of cutbacks is targeted at retired auto workers. So sure, let's cut Gramdma's pension because GM's CEOs can't run a business, why not. Go capitalism! (Globe And Mail)

6 JUDY BLUME HAS ENEMIES? Beloved children's author is apparently receiving death threats because she supports Planned Parenthood. Where's my credit card, I think I have a donation to make... (School Library Journal)