Clayton Ruby, defense counsel, and Svend Robinson after sentencing
Edmonton - Friday, August 13, 2004 - by: Ron Thornton Marriage, Be It Same Sex, Same Family, Same Harem


  Al Pacinoís character in "And Justice For All" was right. The justice system is indeed out of order. The case of poor Svend Robinson still brings a tear to my eyes. A British Columbia judge thought that the former NDP M.P. had suffered enough for stealing an expensive ring, so much so that after some community service this good man of the people will not only get away without any jail time, he wonít even have a criminal record. I mean, all he did was steal a "bauble, a trinket, a ring", according to the judge, albeit a trinket worth $64,500, or more than most Canadians earn in a year. He did not run in the last election, giving up his job of 25 years, and we should feel compassion over this
"gut-wrenching tale of a man who has achieved much more than most."
  Yes, your honor, and the years most of us spend being honest, working in the trenches, paying outrageous taxes while trying to make ends meet, and raising children isnít worth spit in comparison, but I digress.
  Poor Svend. How he has suffered. He gets sent on a taxpayer-funded trip to Scotland as a political representative of Canada despite no longer being a Member of Parliament. In just three years, at age 55, Robinson will collect an $86,663 yearly pension for his time spent in our service. He steals a ring and the poor dear gets hired by the B.C. Government and Service Employees Union to settle unresolved grievances by public employees. I wonder if any of them might involve theft?
  Imagine if it had been you who walked off with that "bauble", if it was you on the surveillance tape, if it was you who turned yourself in only after it was evident you had already been caught red handed. Me thinks the outcome might have been a bit different, with you being the one with good reason to be somewhat depressed. Justice, it would appear, is a multi-tiered system, where the influential and the connected are judged far differently than the rest of us schmucks. It is any wonder that many have come to view our systems of justice and politics as nothing more than a massive, oozing, conjoined oil slick.


Maybe one day we might reform the system so that judicial candidates will be publicly vetted in order that we might discover to whom is being handed such an influential yet virtually unaccountable role. One day we might reform our laws so that they might again reflect our repulsion for those whose actions betray the trust of their fellow man. Then again, considering we continue to elect those who perpetuate the system, if not make a mockery of it, then maybe we are just getting what we deserve. I am sure a former parliamentarian like Svend would agree.


Ron Thornton

  Windsor Star, Ex-Mp and admitted thief Svend Robinson on NDP-sponsored trip to Europe funded by taxpayer (pdf) July 16, 2004, Windsor Star
  CBC, No jail time for Svend Robinson, August 6, 2004, CBC News



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