Dateline: BOOTH 14, FISHERMANS WHARF MARKET, HAY RIVER, NT.
Sometime shortly after noon, July 22, 2017, a man wearing a police uniform (not identified as Hay River Police, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or Timbuktu Police; just POLICE in large letters across the chest, no visible badges, no other identification of any kind visible or oral) appeared out of seemingly nowhere blocking the entrance into booth 14 at Fishermans Wharf Market. This police-uniform wearing person immediately declared all persons and property in Booth 14 as detained for investigation, and started muttering words that sounded like everyone present was guilty of trafficking in marijuana and did we want lawyers, and if no particular lawyer, then legal aid lawyers would be provided should they be requested. All residents opted for legal aid lawyers for lack of knowledge of what was happening. This did not stop the investigation, but did bring the warning “Anything and everything the detainees said could be used as evidence in a court of law.” At this point no crime had been mentioned, no reason for the raid had been mentioned, and GUILT WAS ASSUMED in a country where the law states that people are assumed to be innocent until proven guilty. The words of the supposed POLICE assumed no such possibility of innocence. The operators of the booth, including a relative visiting from Manitoba, were basically accused of being guilty of trafficking in a narcotic and of being in serious trouble with the law. Was this Canada in the year 2017, or Nazi Germany in the late 1930s or early 40s? For the residents of Booth 14 it seemed like they had gone through a time warp, not like they were conducting legal business in Canada in 2017.
Eventually it was determined that a complaint had been made by an undisclosed member of the public that raw bud marijuana was being sold to members of the public in glass bottles. Two people in the booth readily admitted marijuana in various forms was being sold to the public for legal medicinal purposes, and offered documentation to prove they were conducting legal business, but this documentation was discarded to the side without even being cursorily examined. THIS was an investigation? There appeared to be no sign of investigation, just accusation and detention. Meanwhile, the patrons of Fishermans Wharf Market looked on in amazement as customers of the products being sold at Booth 14 were rudely turned away and threatened with criminal charges if they did not move away RIGHT NOW! Even an innocent child who wanted to witness the action was yelled at with raised voice (child abuse under the law) to get away from the area, with a threat of some fearsome thing happening to the child if it did not quickly disappear from sight. Again, Canada 2017 or Nazi Germany? The latter still seemed the obvious choice. Meanwhile, the visitor from Manitoba was in fear for her continued freedom, and all she was doing was sitting talking to her family members in a perfectly unthreatening way. But threats were hurled her way too, as if she were some common criminal, not a very courteous way to greet a person visiting from another province. No, because she was in the booth at the time of the arrival of the Nazi Stormtrooper, she would be amiss to think she could avoid arrest if the suspected substance was actually found to be on the premises. That was just total lack of courtesy on the supposed police officer’s part, an insult to her otherwise happenstance occupation of Booth 14.
Meanwhile, the two salespersons of the legal marijuana were moved separately out of the booth and interrogated out of eyesight of half the patrons of Fishermans Wharf Market, the other half who were in line waiting to purchase their fish and chips from the end booth getting a much better view of the action than they had previously been getting.
Eventually Mr. Jerry Miller, sole proprietor of the business selling the raw bud marijuana (Would an honest businessman actually be selling raw bud marijuana in such a public place? The officer assured him there were many stupid criminals who would try just that!) was allowed to lead the officer back into Booth 14 for a complete search for said raw bud marijuana in glass bottles. Of course, no such substance was found in Booth 14, and after another officer had contacted the home RCMP of Mr. MIller’s business who confirmed they were aware of said business and that the business had been determined to be completely legal under the ACCESS TO MARIJUANA FOR MEDICAL PURPOSES REGULATIONS attached to the NARCTOTIC CONTROL ACT in 1998 (meaning the sale of low THC medical marijuana direct to the public had been legal for roughly 20 years already) the Nazi Stormtrooper, now safely back in 21st century Canada, took his leave of the premises at BOOTH 14 without an apology but with what he later described as a public handshake to show the patrons of Fishermans Wharf Market that the investigation had been finished and the complaint proven to be baseless.
In a later contact between Mr. Miller and the then identified Officer Beck of the RCMP, Beck informed Mr. Miller that he had bent over backwards to be as courteous as possible under the rules of the RCMP when investigating such a complaint. This admission left Mr. Miller feeling slightly appeased but still in total wonder the Nazi Germany tactics could ever be described as courteous? There is something wrong when the Police services in a supposedly free country such as Canada can look like something right out of Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib prison, or Nazi Germany, and the officer in charge is still trying to used the failed defence of Lt. William Calley Jr. who pled not guilty to conducting the My Lai Massacre of close to 500 innocent Vietnamese villagers in 1968 as just following orders, or in other words just doing my job! The circumstances of conducting a raid of a small home-based business in northern Canada are nowhere close to the circumstances of the above named atrocities, but the principles are still the same, and it is time the RCMP took a look at itself and ask whether it wants to be seen as a public protection service, or an out-of-control police reactionary force. After all, this is Canada 2017, not Nazi Germany.
Just to wrap things up, Mr. Miller was not told who made the complaint, but that it had been made by a prominent citizen of Hay River, and no charges would be laid for public mischief despite the fact the complainant lied by way of embellishment as to what was happening at Booth 14, including stating that many people were complaining, though not one of them had the fortitude to ask the proprietor of the business if anything illegal was taking place there. To the best of this writer’s knowledge, it was ONLY THE COMPLAINANT who was upset, and in his complaint he directly said the proprietor of the booth, Mr. Jerry Miller, had admitted to him raw bud marijuana was being sold there, which is a complete and utter fabrication of the truth. To this writer, that sounds like public mischief and wasting the time of all officers on duty at the time of the raid, leaving no officer available should anything of real criminal intent or purpose have happened at the same time, a definite and intentional misuse of public time and funds for unknown personal reasons.