Columns

Building a bridge over sluggish water

Allan Fotheringham August 25 1997
Columns

Building a bridge over sluggish water

Allan Fotheringham August 25 1997

Building a bridge over sluggish water

Columns

Allan Fotheringham

Daryl Duke is back in Canada after another tour of the Orient and he’s in an animated fry. Daryl Duke flirts with 70, has the enthusiasm of a teenager and energy burbles out his ears.

He invented an evening talk show on CBC TV before New York ever thought of it, he started the first independent television station in Vancouver, he went to Hollywood and made movies such as Taipan. He’s done it all. Nothing surprises him.

It does not surprise him that Canada is so slow. It just infuriates him, drives him wild. Another trip through Hong Kong and China merely fuels his fury.

“Nothing ever changes here,” he semi-shouts. “You get off the plane and a sludge-like air overtakes you. It’s like walking in molasses.” Nothing ever changes. The Quebec debate goes on, as it has for decades, cen-

turies even. The West hates Toronto.

The Maritimes meander. Ottawa seems to be on Valium.

Duke sits in his West Vancouver retreat on the cliffs looking out to Japan. Guess what the new Vancouver debate is? How to find a replacement for the three-lane Lions Gate Bridge that links the zooming north shore communities with the city itself. (Why anyone would build a three-lane bridge, with no one figuring out how to utilize the middle lane, is one of the greater mysteries of our lifetime.) Forty years ago, editorial writers at The Vancouver Sun were in furious debate about what to do with a three-lane bridge. Today, they are arguing the same thing. The only thing that has changed is the identities of the editorial writers.

In Hong Kong, Duke fumes, they had the same problem—linking the island with the mainland. There are now high-speed tunnels under the harbor, paid for by tolls. You never notice, thanks to Hong Kong’s freeway system, whether you’re zooming along under water or above it. Hong Kong just gets on with it.

It’s what drives Duke nuts. Hong Kong has an energy level equal to that of New York City. Its skyline is more spectacular than that of Manhattan. The ‘Tigers” of the Orient—Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, Korea—are the economic whiz-kids of the Pacific. And Vancouver can’t figure out a 40-year argument over a bridge.

There is a Canadian disconnect between its population and its rulers. The revolution that is Reform in Western Canada—taking over Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition role in the House of Commons thanks to only four provinces—is one indicator. The proof of the disconnect is now in process in British Columbia, the most disgusting example of government stupidity this scribbler’s eyes have ever witnessed.

Clifford Olson, an animal disguised as a human being, has been flown at taxpayer expense from Quebec to British Columbia to plea—this defies Orwell and Kafka—for parole after murdering 11 children. It is not enough that he’s allowed back in British Columbia. He’s smuggled in under heavy guard to the Vancouver suburb of Surrey, where he committed one of his gruesome crimes and where a 12-member jury will be selected from some unfortunates among the 130 citizens picked at random for the jury pool.

No doubt they will hear, once again, the details of how Olson liked to drive nails through the brains of his young victims while he was sexually violating them. This will help newspaper circulation, but not justice, nor respect for the fools in government who allow this outrage.

Olson, clearly a sick madman, is asking for early release from his minimum 25-year life sentence under Section 745 of the Criminal Code—the so-called faint-hope clause. It allows, for some strange reason, first-degree murderers to apply for a reduction in their parole terms after serving at least 15 years. Olson isn’t a first-degree murderer. I He’s the most perverted serial killer in Canadian history who has been driving

prison authorities to distraction with his incessant manipulations of the system, phone calls and letters to compliant reporters, the self-obsessed Manson of Canada who has learned how to work the system.

The “select team” of senior “corrections officers” who will guard Olson through this travesty have been given “psychological briefings” to learn how to deal with a kid-killer who has a history of “befriending” his guards.

Front-page pictures show fuzzy shots—rather like Diana on the Riviera—of the creep being shepherded by “heavily armed” security police carrying “high-powered rifles.” He will be shielded in court by bulletproof glass. Just like Adolf Eichmann in Israel. He’ll love it.

There is not a faint hope in hell that Olson will be granted his wish for parole. All it will do is drag once again into grief the parents of 11 children who live in the neighborhood and have been tormented for 15 years now by the constant media attention paid to a nut who has to take his exercise in prison alone because it is certain he would be killed by his contemptuous fellow prisoners.

They have their own standards. The “correctional” authorities of this country have none, when they allow this disgrace. It’s why there is a disconnect, a population that doesn’t trust its rulers.