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Punishing the many for the sins of the few has become the Great Canadian Way. With each newly passed law, Canadians discover themselves guilty of a myriad of offences they never even knew existed just a generation ago.
As a lawful Canadian firearm owner I first came across this notion of "the many must be punished for the sins of a few" mentality when Canada passed Bill C-68 into law, giving us Canada's Firearms Act.
The sole function of that law was to criminalize every gun owner in Canada for the crimes of one lunatic, Ghamil Gharbi, in Montreal in 1989.
Wendy Cukier or one of her cohorts actually said in the news at the time that "the blood of 14 dead women was on the hands of every Canadian man" or something like that. I wish I'd kept the news report, because I'd love to roast whoever it was that said that line with their own stupidity.
Maybe even charge her with a hate crime under our Human Rights Code. Oh, wait, I can't do that. I'm a white male. I have no human rights!
But alas, I once again derail my train of thought... so back to the point.
The latest round of "punish the many" comes in the form of forcing people who drive cars to pay for their gas before they actually pump it into their vehicles.
You see, ALL GAS THIEVES are vehicle drivers, if not owners. Every single time someone steals gas, it's with a vehicle! The logic is unassailable!!!
Since all gas thieves drive vehicles, clearly they are all guilty until proven innocent.
Here in British Columbia there was a horrible crime committed in 2005. A young man, Grant De Patie, had the audacity, the temerity even, to try and stop a thief from stealing $12 of gas. Grant was doing what he thought was right, namely stopping a thief.
Stopping thieves is the right thing to do, whenever and wherever we find them.
Unfortunately the tragedy of Grant's case is that the moron stealing that $12 of gas felt it was worth killing Grant over. The moron drove away, dragging Grant De Patie seven and a half kilometers to his death. I cannot imagine being dragged underneath a car for 7 kilometres. That has got to be one of the most horrific ways to die imaginable.
WorkSafe BC had the gall to actually blame Grant for his own death. They issued a report that said Grant failed to follow company safety regulations, and that if he'd done that he would have remained safely inside the gas station.
Even the owner of the Esso station whose property Grant was trying to protect, Barj Dhahan, blamed the young man for his own death.
As an aside, I've often worked in Maple Ridge and have probably filled up at that very station numerous times on the way home from late-night shoots. Never stole the gas once. Imagine that. (Note to self: find out the location of that gas station and make sure I NEVER go there again.)
How come nobody is blaming the little puke that actually killed Grant De Patie? Why are they all, from gas station owner to government, lined up to blame the man who got killed?
It boggles my mind.
Darnell Pratt, the moron who actually drove the stolen car with the stolen gas inside it, was eventually found and brought to trial. He's proving himself to be quite a piece of work too. He was granted statutory release despite being found drinking in pubs and violating the terms of his half-way house parole, and in 2009 he was sent back to prison after violating the conditions of his statutory release.
That's good. I'm glad Grant's killer was found and is in prison. It's where he should be. I hope he rots there for a long time yet.
That brings me back, finally, to the point of this rant. Big Government and their insatiable need to punish the many for the sins of the few.
The solution to Grant's death from a Big Government perspective is, shock of shocks, to pass a law punishing every driver in British Columbia for Grant's murder.
BC Labour and Citizens’ Services Minister Olga Ilich announced on October 5th, 2007 that "Grant's Law" would take effect February 1th, 2008, forcing every vehicle driver to pay for their gas first, no matter the time of day or night.
Gas stations loved it, of course. Gas thefts had become a cost of doing business, and they wanted it stopped.
They didn't dare implement the plan themselves, of course. Consumers wouldn't stand for it, so they lobbied Big Government to do it for them. Big Government was happy to oblige.
The sad and stupid part is that this idea of punishing the many for the sins of the few, at least when it comes to gas thieves, has spread to Alberta and is gaining traction there.
In Alberta, just like in BC before Grant's tragic death, gas stations lose money to gas thieves all the time. They too want to force motorists to pay before pumping. They too don't dare implement it on their own accord because consumers won't stand for it.
They've turned to the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police for support, and to help them have the government do their dirty work.
Police are happy to go along with the notion because it gives them one less thing to do. They will no longer have to cope with calls from gas stations reporting gas thefts.
Edmonton Police Association boss Sgt. Tony Simioni was quick to toss out the quip that "tens of millions of dollars have likely been lost across the country in recent years" investigating gas thefts.
The Red Deer Advocate wrote, "It further says that mandating pre-payment technology would provide a level-playing field for all service station providers."
Yes, there's the thing, isn't it. The gas companies are off the hook. They don't have to deal with consumer wrath because they can, with a clear conscience, say "Hey, don't blame ME for the hassle and inconvenience! The government did this, not me!"
And so it goes... the government passes one more law that implies we are all guilty... even when we're not.
Why do we tolerate this crap?
Just a thought... maybe governments at all levels should stop taxing the taxes on gasoline so the price of gas was actually reasonable. Last time I looked at the stupid sticker on a gas pump, it said over 50% of the cost of gas is TAX.
Gotta love Big Government. They have the answers (and the taxes) for everything. I especially love the taxes ON the taxes...
End of Rant.
P.S. Just as I was finishing my rant, Laurence Manzer sent me a link to a story from the Moncton Times & Transcript, showing this lunacy is gaining traction in New Brunswick too. Wear a hooodie? You ain't gettin' gas.