Oversight of Police and Security Services

Written by Harold McNeill on March 15th, 2015. Posted in Police Notebook, Editorials


Web Source Photo:  A barn burning in May 1972, was just one event in a series of criminal acts committed by Canada’s Security Service in the decade following enactment of the War Measures Act after the “October Crisis” of 1970.

March 1, 2016 (8200)
October 1, 2017  (8400)

Concerns about Bill C51 and other terror Bills introduced since the “September Crisis” of 2001, follow a pattern similar to that of 1970 when domestic ‘terrorists’ challenged the Governments of Canada and Quebec. During that ‘crisis’ the Federal Government also turned loose Canada’s elite Security Service to act in a manner they saw fit.

So began a campaign of harassment, dirty tricks, illegal arrests, criminal acts and dozens of nefarious deeds that went far beyond the original intent of the law. Many at the highest levels of the RCMP and Government were aware of what was happening, but did nothing to reign in the Security Service. It was a decade of illegal police action that led to a break-up of the RCMP Security Service.

 If anyone thinks our National Security Agencies – CSIS, CBSA and the Federal arm of the RCMP is above such tactics today, they would be wrong. There are plenty of examples since September 2001 and it has taken place because there is a wilful lack of oversight and because laws passed since 2001 including proposed laws such as Bill C51, support what might otherwise be illegal in Criminal Law or, at the very least, violations of personal privacy.  In the United States, because of ongoing controversy, the Patriot Act (passed a week after September 1, 2001) was allowed to lapse on June 1, 2015. Whether it will be renewed or not remains an open question.

(Detective-Sergeant Harold McNeill, Retired)

Note: If you wish to skip the background discussion surrounding police, security services and terror, go straight to section #4 for the summary of events that followed invocation of the War Measures Act in 1970.

Note:  Part 11 is now complete.  Link here to: Conspiracy to Bomb the B.C. Legislature: The Grand Illusion as just one example of what happens when the security service is given free reign to act in a manner they see fit.  That manner often acts more in favour of the Government and Security Service interests rather than in favour of the general good.  As an example, after the judge overturned the jury conviction one of her final statements regarding the RCMP action in the case read: “They were clearly overzealous and acted on the assumption that there were no limits to what was acceptable when investigating terrorism,” the judge stated. “Within their ranks there were warnings given and ignored.”

Link here to Part III: Conspiracy to Rob the BC Ferry Terminal at Swartz Bay:  Part III provides the details of a traditional conspiracy investigated by traditional police agencies without having to resort to the manufacture of evidence in order to build the case.

Part 1

1. Introduction

As debate continues on Bill C51, some might wonder why I speak so strongly against Bills like this being rammed through Parliament. Friends have jumped on me, telling me I am sticking my head in the sand and that we are all at risk if we don’t take extraordinary action. Others have used stronger words and many have bought into the deluge of ‘terror’ related stories that dominate media reports and government press releases. According to recent polls, Canadian citizens sit about 50 -50 with Conservatives being more supportive and the NDP and Liberals being less so. Considering what’s at stake those are not very encouraging statistics.

Just in case a few think this post is just another swipe at the Conservative Government, you would be wrong, While it causes me great concern as to how the terror card is being played, the last time this level of fear-mongering about ‘terrorists’ took place, another party was in charge and it brought the RCMP and other police services to their knees.

I grant my critics this: There are bad people in the world and some can certainly be defined as terrorists, yet those people (terrorists) by no means thrive in our society, nor do they present the daily threat they are made out to be. This post will explain my thinking after having lived through that previous time when Canada invoked a very nasty law in order to deal with a few domestic ‘terrorists’ who threatened the peace and quiet of Quebec.

This post is about how the Security Service spent nearly a decade committing criminal acts and other dirty tricks not only because of that threat (in the early part at least), but also just because they could.  After the threat of the FLQ ‘terrorists’ was over, they targeted a whole variety of groups considered to be left leaning or “un-Canadian’ just as is being done today (e.g. Muslims, Environmentalists, etc.).  Is it possible our present Security Service might resort to similar tactics? Given the right set of laws, unqualified government support and a few more tenuous terror cases, you bet they could.  I had a front row seat at that earlier time as every police department in Canada had training sessions on how we could use the War Measures Act.  I was a Patrol Constable at the time.

2. Terrorism in Canada

Over the decades death by a terrorist attack in Canada is very rare and until the two recent killings carried out by so-called “lone wolves”, the only major attack was the bombing of Air India Flight 189 in 1985 that claimed 329 lives. On the other side of the coin, between 1985 and 2014, about 18,000 Canadians were killed in criminal attacks. Included in those deaths were a few mass killings like that carried out by Marc Lepine at the École Polytechnique in Montreal in which 14 women died in 1989 and Willie Pickton, who slaughtered 50 for more women over a ten year period commencing in the 1990’s. These guys were truly terrorists of the first order (More at: Abducted the First Twelve Hours and Advocating Terror to Become a Crime).

The recent killing of eight RCMP officers also falls into the category of senseless murder by deranged individuals.  Given the current stance on terrorism, one could easily make a case that the murder of 1000 aboriginal women and girls over that same 30-year period is an extraordinarily large number within a single segment of society. Those cases may be well deserving of special attention, an issue that will be discussed in an upcoming post. Now back to policing and our Security Service.

Over the past few years I have written several stories of my experience in chasing down, arresting and charging a number of bad people. A few of the worst are now serving life sentences and contrary to a recent Bill introduced in Parliament, for most life in prison really does mean life. For those paroled or repatriated to their home country (after 15 or 20 years ), I supported the decision. Even at points when I wavered, I maintained a strong belief in following the laws I swore on oath to uphold and the court decisions that defined how police should act in specific instances. It is my considered opinion that in spite of some downturns, our system of policing (and justice), based as it is on a British system as first devised by Sir Robert Peel, a Tory turned Liberal, is among the best in the world. But, to be sure, our police have occasionally fallen off the rails, none more so than those attached to the Security Service.

Until 1984 Canada’s Security Service was housed within the RCMP and while the old Security Service agency did much excellent work, for various reasons (e.g. political pressure, arrogance, lack of oversight, etc.) members began breaking the law even as they sought to enforce them. Many otherwise good men (mostly men back then) began to let the ends justify the means. Before delving into their transgressions, I will first explain some of the conditions under which police worked back at the beginning of my career in 1964, as this played a role in why things can suddenly go sideways even with the best of intentions at play.

 3. Policing in the 1960’s and 1970’s

In 1965 I was one of the lucky ones assigned to attend a Police Training Academy at a time when many police officers were dumped on the street Harold McNeill 1965with little or no formal training. Even at that, in my first year on the force and before attending the Vancouver Police Academy, I was sworn in, given a notebook, ticket book, uniform, gun and car and hit the streets largely on my own. It was a scary time and if no senior officer was present on a call, I had to resort to my best judgment.

Photo (1965): Taken at the time of my graduation from the Vancouver Police Academy.

During those years, in all police agencies including the RCMP, oversight was primarily internal. For Patrol Constables like myself, our immediate supervision was handled by a Patrol or Traffic Sergeant. Above him, depending on the size of the force, were the demigods called Inspectors or Superintendents and beyond that, god himself, the Chief Constable. Heaven help any whose presence was ordered on that man’s well worn carpet.

Needless to say, every force or detachment was then as it is today, only as good as the administrators who hold the reins of power and are charged with maintaining discipline. For those in the larger forces, and that included the RCMP, many supervisors had their own sideline interests that detracted from their work interests.  From 1940 through 1960, most large forces faced regular internal challenges with corruption, favouritism, poor working conditions, low wages and a number of other ills that led to low morale. But, after a number of inquiries, changes in leadership, better training, better pay and working conditions brought about by stronger labour unions, things began to improve. However, even with those improvements the police, particularly the RCMP, remained insular as far as government oversight or public scrutiny was concerned. The press might tackle them, but it was often to no avail.

In BC there was no Police Complaints Commission (OPCC), no Police Complaints Commissioner (BCPC), no Police Act, No Human Rights Code and no overriding Charter of Rights and Freedoms (there was the 1960 Bill of Rights, but it was pretty much a background item). The RCMP were particularly insular as they were the Federal Force, had a storied history that dated back to the Pacific Northwest Mounted and senior supervisors far removed from the work of the rank and file. As far as oversight was concerned the RCMP were largely unassailable just as were the larger City Forces across Canada.

Also, in my early years, there was no wiretap legislation and surreptitious entries in search of evidence while not a common practice, was used when other investigative techniques failed. In short there was little to protect individuals or organizations from intrusions by the state and many of the worst intrusions during those years was sanctioned by the state as it was (in the early part at least) during the September Crisis of 1970.

If police wanted to listen in on a conversation it was a simple as climbing a telephone or placing a listening device in a home, car or other location. What they (we) were looking for were tips that would point towards physical evidence that could be used to build a case and if nothing showed up, we would just cut the line and move on. There was no judicial oversight, no lawyers, no real supervision and we were most often given a free hand. Results were what counted, not methods. Wiretap information was just that, information and when referenced in a search warrant read “from a reliable source”. Seldom was wiretap evidence used in any court case.

4. Domestic Terrorism and a slide into Criminal Action

Everything took a turn for the worse in the 1970’s when the RCMP Security Service (the precursor of CSIS and CBSA) began to commit serious criminal acts in furtherance of their investigations. While local City and Municipal Police along with members of RCMP Detachments often skirted the law while investigating local crimes, they seldom involved themselves in committing serious crimes in order to gain needed evidence. That was not the case with the Security Service. Their laissez-faire system came to a crashing halt in December 1976, when an investigative reporter with the Vancouver Sun, John Sawatsky, documented more than 400 break-ins having been conducted by the RCMP in search of evidence in various cases.

Mr. Sawatsky “also documented how the RCMP Security Service had conducted a systematic campaign throughout the 1970s to subvert organizations in Vancouver deemed to be a threat—those espousing communist or far-left leaning politics. Sawatsky later remarked how, for the most part, the RCMP members who were involved in the dirty tricks weren’t bothered by the illegality of their deeds. He wrote: “Illegal activity was accepted with enthusiasm since it was exciting, was good for one’s career and contributed to the fight against communism. (Security Intelligence Review Article: Scroll to the McDonald Commission)

It was a story that rocked the RCMP to the core and was the beginning of the end of their hold over the Security Service. The Vancouver Sun series and various Royal Commissions would eventually reveal a number of criminal acts that took place through the 1970s that lead to dozens of criminal charges against members of the Security Service and others. While the wrongdoing reached the highest levels of the RCMP and government, it was rank and file, those who were tasked with carrying out the acts, who took the hit.

The revelations that flowed out over that 15-year period would rival that which rocked the United States after the break-in at the Democratic National Committee Watergate Offices in 1972. That single break-in, no doubt the tip of an immense iceberg of criminal acts committed by police and other agents of government, eventually led to the resignation of President Nixon in 1974, the only sitting President to ever be turfed from office.

Within Canada and the United States it was a decade to remember in terms of the tyranny that can be exacted by government and government agencies and officials when they decide to skirt the law in pursuit of the ‘greater good’ or whenever they can convince a naïve public that murderous hoards are knocking at the door or have already been let in.  The Politics of Fear, it seems, has always sold very well.

Following is a summary of a few Canadian cases that were eventually admitted to by the RCMP and various Federal Ministers of the day. I clearly remember the time, for, as a policeman, the revelations were astonishing in that they brought every police force in Canada into disrepute. The following list is sourced from the Internet and is by no means exhaustive as City and Municipal forces of the day, had to deal with their own scandals.

The revelations about the RCMP led to a massive revamp of our Criminal Law relating to search warrants, wiretapping, search and seizure, spying  and covert operations:

(Note: A number of the links included below were picked up on the Internet postings and some appear to have been broken or otherwise disrupted.  Some indicate the facts are in dispute, but on my reading of the incidents and my recollection, they seem to be fairly accurate.(hdmc)

1. April 1971, a team of RCMP officers broke into the storage facilities of Richelieu Explosives, and stole an unspecified amount of dynamite. A year later, in April 1972, officers hid four cases of dynamite in Mont Saint-Grégoire, in an attempt to link the explosives with the FLQ. (a Quebec domestic terrorist group).

2. In 1971, RCMP chief superintendent Donald Cobb oversaw the infiltration of FLQ cells with federal agents, and the releasing of a fraudulent “Manifesto” on behalf of the La Minerve cell, calling for increased violence.

3. Perhaps the best-remembered scandal, on the night of May 6, 1972, the RCMP Security Service burned down a barn owned by Paul Rose‘s (a terrorist of the day) mother in Sainte-Anne-de-la-Rochelle, Quebec. They suspected that separatists were planning to meet with members of the Black Panthers from the United States. The arson came after they failed to convince a judge to allow them to wiretap the alleged meeting place. This was later admitted by Solicitor General Francis Fox on October 31, 1977.  Staff Sergeant Donald McCleery was involved in the operation, and today runs his own “investigation and surveillance” company.

4. In 1972, it was suspected that there was a Soviet infiltrator in the ranks of Canadian intelligence. Suspicion initially fell upon Leslie James Bennett. With Bennett’s personal leftist politics, and past acquaintanceship with defector Kim Philby, he was pilloried as the most likely suspect by the RCMP themselves, although the RCMP was asked to investigate Bennett by James Jesus Angleton of the CIA. The accusations and interrogations by the police led to the breakdown of Bennett’s marriage and early retirement.In the 1980s it was discovered that the mole had actually been Sergeant Gilles Brunet, the son of an RCMP assistant commissioner.

5. It wasn’t until the following year that it was uncovered that the October 6, 1972, break-in at the Agence de Presse Libre du Québec office, had been the work of an RCMP investigation dubbed Operation Bricole, not right-wing militants as previously believed. The small leftist Quebec group had reported more than a thousand significant files missing or damaged following the break-in. One RCMP, one SQ and one SPVM officer pleaded guilty on June 16, 1977, but were given unconditional discharges.

6. In 1973, more than thirty members of the RCMP Security Service committed a break-in to steal a computerized members list of Parti Québécois members, in an investigation dubbed Operation Ham. This was later admitted by Solicitor General Francis Fox on October 28, 1977. John Starnes (RCMP), head of the RCMP Security Service, claimed that the purpose of this operation was to investigate allegations that the PQ had funnelled $200,000 worth of donations through a Swiss banking account.

7. A similar break-in occurred at the same time, at the office of the Mouvement pour la Défense des Prisonniers Politiques Québécois.

8. In 1977, the Quebec provincial government launched the Keable Inquiry into Illegal Police Activities, which resulted in 17 members of the RCMP being charged with 44 offences.

9. In the same year, a Royal Commission was formed by Justice David McDonald entitled Inquiry Into Certain Activities of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to investigate allegations of vast wrongdoing by the national police force. The inquiry’s 1981 recommendation was to limit the RCMP’s role in intelligence operations, and resulted in the formation of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service three years later.

10. In 1974, RCMP Security Service Corporal Robert Samson was arrested at a hospital after a failed bombing – the bomb exploded while in his hands, causing him to lose some fingers and tearing his eardrums – at the house of Sam Steinberg, founder of Steinberg Foods in Montreal. While this bombing was not sanctioned by the RCMP, at trial he announced that he had done “much worse” on behalf of the RCMP, and admitted he had been involved in the APLQ break-in.

11. On April 19, 1978, the Director of the RCMP criminal operations branch admitted the RCMP had entered more than 400 premises without warrant since 1970.

12. March 6, 1981, …  The 451 page report of Jean Keable, commissioned by the government of Quebec to look into police wrongdoing following the October crisis, outlined that paranoia gripped the police forces after the Crisis. He claimed that there had been unprecedented interference into the lives of individuals by the security forces. He proposed that guidelines be defined to avoid such abuses in the future and that limitations be placed on the police regarding security matters….the most damning finding was that after the October events, the Montreal anti-terrorist police so clearly controlled the FLQ that “in 1972, we (the police) were the FLQ”. On the Keable Inquiry and report, see Dominique Bernard, La Commission d’enquête sur les opérations policières en territoire québécois: portée réelle et limites du Rapport Keable, Mémoire de maîtrise (science politique) Uqam, 2008, 179p.

13. For a full chronology of the FLQ Crisis go to:  Chronology of the October Crisis, 1970, and its Aftermath

In my opinion these cases, and they are fairly recent in the history of our country, make the point that when a government begins to rapidly raise public fear about a specific people or group of people as “threatening our way of life”, that government can easily make itFLQ and Canadian Troop Movements seem necessary to employ extraordinary investigative measures.

Photo Right (Web Source)  Canadian troop troop movements during the surrender of the Chenier Cell in Quebec.

That was certainly the case at the time of the FLQ October Crisis  in 1970, which led to the Liberal government invoking the War Measures Act. Was it necessary? It is clear the RCMP Security Service was in full support and responded by committing all manner of illegal acts.

It is interesting to note the War Measures Act was only in play for six months (October 1970 – May 1971) while most of the crimes committed by the Security Service happened in the years following (after the FLQ had been brought to heel). As far as I can tell, most of the legislation currently in place or proposed (Bill C51) do not have a fixed expiry date as these Bills are intended for ongoing use in the coming decades whether needed or not.

If any have ever watched the grave looks on the face of the RCMP Commissioner and Government Ministers at recent press conferences you will get the feeling that the situation we face is dire indeed. Those looks speak to the heavy load our leaders carry in trying to protect the citizens from the most horrendous consequences and they do not shy away from reminding you and me of the Nazi’s in Germany and the Holocaust.  It is fear-mongering of the worst sort.

5. Moving towards a new crisis in the Security Service

Today the government, media and security agencies are promoting a ‘war on terror’ in almost exactly the same fashion as the government did back in the 1970’s. This is being done even though the number of ‘terror’ related incidents is far fewer than the crimes being committed in Quebec during the FLQ crisis.  Granted, terrorist acts are presently being committed in war torn countries on  a regular basis, but that requires a completely different response than the actions being taken on the home front. If we must go to war to defeat a dangerous and demented foreign enemy such as ISIS, let’s have that debate and if it is agreed, move ahead with boosting our military commitment in a meaningful rather than a symbolic fashion as we do today.  Today’s military action is just window dressing where terror or threats of terror in another land is used to justify political ends on the home front.

As the current terror trials unfold it has become painfully obvious those charged with contemplating terrorist events would not have made very good criminals. Every one of them stretching back to the Toronto 18, would have been turfed out of the  mafia, biker gangs, triads and others who have worked for decades in building solid criminal enterprises (Ref Note #2). I do believe organized crime figures in Canada must be applauding government efforts as that effort is taking a lot of heat off gang activity.  This is what happens when outliers are given a platform that should be reserved for serious criminals and gangs.

Never-the-less, for those so called terrorists contemplating dangerous actions, they could just as easily been caught using traditional investigative means (fully discussed in Advocating Terror to Become a Crime) . While our Security Services need to be diligent in keeping watch for those contemplating a crime in Canada, that does not mean we must abandon the protections put in place to prevent police and government from overstepping the bounds as they did in the 1970s and as they have been doing since the beginning of the “September Crisis” of 2001.

If Bill C51 is passed, as I expect it will unless there is a huge public backlash and the Conservatives begin to drop in the polls, you can rest assured our security services will be pushing the limits as they look for new “threats” to follow however tenuous those threats might be. With various built-in ‘loopholes’ and “relaxed” oversight, those limits will be tested just as they were in the 1970’s and again, as then, innocent people and groups will be caught up in the security net. This time around, however, the police and security service agents will be operating under laws that allow nefarious deeds to be committed as a matter of course.

Harold McNeill

Link here to:  Dispensary Raids Galore (the first part of this editorial)

Link here to RCMP Commissioner on the Wrong Track (the second editorial)

Note 1:   In Part 3 (above) a number of BC Provincial Statutes were named as being in place to hold police (RCMP, City and Municipal) accountable for their actions. Provincial legislation has no force and effect on police officers and others assigned to a federal roles (e.g. RCMP Federal, CSIS, CBSA, Government and VIP Security, etc.).  While there are some Federal Statutes, most do not apply to services being conducted in secrecy.  Oversight must be built into the specific Acts and unless it is well hidden, Bill C51 does not create much oversight. As federal activities are cloaked in secrecy there is little the public will ever know unless it suddenly blows up as it did in the late 1970’s.  A good example is the Maher Arar case of a few years back.

Note 2:  Having watched the video’s presented at the terror trial taking place in Vancouver, it becomes clear the two accused, John Nuttall and Amanda Korody, were no match for the skilled Undercover Operators working the case.  While evidence was presented showing the two accused being given opportunity to ‘back out’ of the plan, that offer, depending on how it was presented, could actually serve as encouragement to continue.  Think for a moment of the simple reverse psychology used in the children’s story of Brer Rabbit and the Briar Patch.   The intention of my next post is to write about a conspiracy to rob the BC Ferries Terminal Office at Swartz Bay, to see how a traditional conspiracy evolves and the types of evidence needed to convict the perpetrators.  I think you may find the comparison interesting.

In the Nuttal/Korody case I rather expect defence lawyers will be taking a close look at the methods UC Operators used.  While UC operations can be used to great advantage, the danger always exists they can become a motivating factor in promoting the crime (if not yet committed) or in having someone confess to something simply to impress the UC operators. Look back to the terror cases in the 1970’s for a reference how completely involved the UC operators became. In terms of Bill C51, it may be UC Operators will need to tread carefully or, in the right circumstances, they might themsedlves be charged with “counselling” or “promoting” terrorism.

Updates on Terror Trial in Vancouver

The March 25, 2015, report in the Times Colonist of the ongoing trial of Nuttall and Korody to get a sense of how these two were just putty in the hands of a very capable UC operators. Read “Officer scolded Nuttall…”

The Vancouver Sun of March 26, 2015, provides a chilling account of how the UC operator, in a fit of anger, threatens Nuttall to get on with getting a complete plan together.  After months a cajoling with little produced and costs mounting the UC Operator, the lead investigator of a 240 man RCMP regular and civilian members is clearly losing his cool and, in no uncertain terms, tells the suspects get moving or else.  At one point Nuttall breaks into tears.  Read the Sun Report here: Accused Bomber feared being taken out.

June 2, 2015 UPDATE.  Nuttall and Korody found guilty on two of four counts by the jury, but defence counsel has asked for a “stay” in sentencing until a Judge can determine whether ‘entrapment’ played a role in the investigation.  This case is not over by a long shot.  Also, for reasons yet to be explained, the Judge in the case peremptorily entered a stay on one of the charges.  The Judge also soundly criticized defence counsel on a number of points and even considered calling a mistrial.

As for the VIA RAIL trial that has now been sent to the Jury, it is interesting to note that jury is now in it’s ninth day of deliberation in a case that was apparently straight-forward.  Given the questions being asked by the jury, I rather suspect they have the same concerns as many about how the UC Operation was carried out and why it took the RCMP and Security Service almost a year to collect evidence of a plan to de-rail a train.  This case was also discussed in Advocating Terror to Become a Crime.

Note 3:  I really need a good proof reader to go over articles such as this.  As English is not my strong suit and errors slip by even after re-reading a post several times. An example was the word statutes in which I left out the second “t”. A typo, but even after re-reading several times I did not see it until it was drawn to my attention.. I know how to spell the word and have used it a thousand times in my life, yet in typing quickly, letters get missed or misused and they disappear from my vision.  Also, a critical eye given content and flow would also be of great assistance.   If you have an interest, perhaps we could collaborate on some of the stories that hold interest to you. Cheers,  Harold


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  • Mike Fedorowich

    September 1, 2023 |

    I have gone through the above noted text and have found it quite informative.
    I am a former member with several law enforcement agencies from across Canada.
    I worked in the First Nations service under the authority of the RCMP with the over sight of the OPP. My law enforcement service was conducted under the authority of the Nishnawbe – Aski Police Service in North West Ontario the Louis Bull Police Sevice in Hobbema AB, the Kitasoo Xaixais Police Service in Northern in side passage on Swindle Island, the Lac Suel Police Service North West Ontario and the Vancouver Transit Authority Sky Train Police Service. I’m presently dealing with an RCMP member for falsifying a report against me for a road rage event. Court case is finished and the charge was dropped but I have an on going complaint with the member and have forwarded to the WATCH DOGS IN OTTAWA FOR the RCMP review and consideration. I believe the said officer is in violation of his oath of office and should be held accountable for falsifying his RTCC all the while dragging me through the court system here in Nanaimo. RCMP continue to stonewall the appeal but Ottawa and the crowns office are still looking into the matter. if your able and find the time or the interest in this very brief introduction, I would very much like to speak with you and would be grateful to hear any wisdom that may come across from your end. I served with First Nations Police Services for ten years in isolation and six years with Transit Police out of New West Minster. I do value and appreciate any time you could spare to chat for a bit on this particular subject matter. Respectfully with out anger but an open mind, Mike Fedorowich Nanaimo BC 250 667 0060

  • Harold McNeill

    February 28, 2022 |

    Hi Robert, I do remember some of those folks from my early years in Cold Lake (Hazel was my aunt and our family spent many fond times with Uncle Melvin, Aunt Hazel and Family. I knew Lawrence and Adrian. Having read a half dozen accounts it is clear their were many false narratives and, perhaps, a few truths along the way. I tried my best to provide an even account from what I read. Cheers, Harold. (email: Harold@mcneillifestories.com)

  • Robert Martineau

    February 25, 2022 |

    Its been a long time since any post here, but its worth a shot. My Grandfather was Hazel Wheelers brother Lawrence, and son to Maggie and Adrien. Maggie Martineau (nee Delaney) is my great grandmother. The books and articles to date are based on the white mans viewpoint and the real story as passed down by the Elders in my family is much more nefarious. Some of the white men were providing food for the Indians in exchange for sexual favors performed by the Squaws. Maggie was the product of one of those encounters. Although I am extremely proud of my family and family name, I am ashamed about this part of it.

  • Julue

    January 28, 2022 |

    Good morning Harold!
    Gosh darn it, you are such a good writer. I hope you have been writing a book about your life. It could be turned into a movie.
    Thanks for this edition to your blog.
    I pray that Canadians will keep their cool this weekend and next week in Ottawa. How do you see our PM handling it? He has to do something and quick!
    Xo Julie

  • Herb Craig

    December 14, 2021 |

    As always awesome job Harold. It seems whatever you do in life the end result is always the same professional, accurate, inclusive and entertaining. You have always been a class act and a great fellow policeman to work with. We had some awesome times together my friend. I will always hold you close as a true friend. Keep up the good work. Hope to see you this summer.
    Warm regards
    Herb Craig

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Hi Dorthy, So glad you found those stories and, yes, they hold many fond memories. Thanks to social media and the blog, I’ve been able to get in touch with many friends from back in the day. Cheers, Harold

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Well, well. Pleased to see your name pop up. I’m in regular contact via FB with many ‘kids’ from back in our HS days (Guy, Dawna, Shirley and others). Also, a lot of Cold Lake friends through FB. Cheers, Harold

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Oh, that is many years back and glad you found the story. I don’t have any recall of others in my class other than the Murphy sisters on whose farm my Dad and Mom worked.

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Pleased to hear from you Howie and trust all is going well. As with you, I have a couple of sad stories of times in my police career when I crossed paths with Ross Barrington Elworthy. Just haven’t had the time to write those stories.

  • Howie Siegel

    November 25, 2021 |

    My only fight at Pagliacci’s was a late Sunday night in 1980 (?) He ripped the towel machine off the bathroom wall which brought me running. He came after me, I grabbed a chair and cracked him on the head which split his skull and dropped him. I worried about the police finding him on the floor. I had just arrived from Lasqueti Island and wasn’t convinced the police were my friends. I dragged him out to Broad and Fort and left him on the sidewalk, called the cops. They picked him up and he never saw freedom again (as far as I know). I found out it was Ross Elworthy.