Letter - OPP actions didn't go far enough

The Regional

July 15, 2009

I find it puzzling that the OPP, and the provincial courts, can go around patting themselves on the back today about the great job they did arresting members of the Powless clan from the illegal smoke shop on Ernie Palmer's farm just south of Caledonia.

First of all, they may have removed three lawbreakers from the illegal smoke shack, and ceremoniously "banned" them from the premises, but the reality is that they only managed a token effort, as usual, and the shack remains and is still actively selling illegal cigarettes.

Why didn't they show up with more than just a larger number of officers? Why didn't they bring a flatbed, or tow truck, or something of that nature to remove the smoke shack? Isn't that what is at the center of this issue?.... because as soon as "Boots" was removed, another bunch of Powlesses showed up to keep the business going!

Why weren't they immediately arrested and removed? Why weren't police stationed at this site to ensure that business was stopped?

On a related note, why didn't they close down immediately on Canada Day the other "new" smoke shop operation that was set up near the hydro towers on the Hwy. 6 Bypass, instead of helping that Mr. Powless make his illegal operation safe? It's been reported in some of the local papers that the OPP visited Art Powless while he was setting up his operation and instead of arresting him on the spot, which they should have done, asked him to "cut the grass, and make his parking area large enough so that no one would have to back out onto Hwy. 6 and cause a safety issue". Can you believe that!

Furthermore, why, when the Crown attempted to ban "Boots" from the area as they did to Gary McHale who, to date, has never broken any real laws, did the judge say that was "too harsh" and still allow him full access to the area? I wouldn't doubt that "Boots" is even now planning to set up another new smoke shack somewhere else. Wouldn't you, if you knew the "punishment" would be so ludicrous?

I could go on and on with the "why's", but it would be too long to fit this editorial page.

Are we now starting to see the double standard here that has turned the Caledonia area into the Wild West, with no sheriff to be found?

The OPP continue to be a joke and a waste of taxpayers' money in Haldimand County, and until their attitude and the way they execute their sworn duty changes, neither will this writer's opinion, and the general opinion of all who live in this area.

Mark Delio, Caledonia