is about a remote area in west central British Columbia, Canada
called the West Chilcotin. Surrounded by numerous glacial mountain
ranges, alpine lakes teeming with wild Rainbow Trout, and full
of wildlife. Living here goes from no running water or electricity
to spacious log homes with all the conveniences and without
Wilderness Adventures - Nov., Week 1/2007
you would like to see pictures of wildlife, mountains, lakes,
exciting snowmobiling, events and more, and read stories like
'Lake Monsters' - just go into Archives on the lower left side
of this page.
Rolling over an image will give you its description.
Check out the Picture
of the Day.
in the path of yet another weather system making its way
in from the Pacific and this one looks to be a doozy.
Packing a lot of moisture with a direct hit on the Central
Coast, we were also supposed to get some wind, but no
breeze has arrived yet. However, it did start snowing
this afternoon and hasn't stopped in the last couple of
hours. The snow is that really fine, dry stuff
that takes forever to build up, but it is
Unlike the last few days where we've seen at least some
sun, today started out with heavy, grey overcast and certainly
hasn't gotten any better. Supposedly, the weather
folks are calling for freezing rain between here and Williams
Lake through the night and in the early morning hours,
which prompted a quick change in more than one person's
Our temperatures have probably been warmer in the last
couple of days than we've seen in a at least a week, where
it never did get below freezing night before last and
made it up to 7C or about 45 degrees Fahrenheit yesterday.
We went for a walk in the woods and it was actually quite
pleasant when the sun came out. The warm temperatures
the last couple of days might have taken the snow down
a bit but it certainly didn't disappear and I think it's
there for the winter for sure in the woods. It might be
in our yard too. When the snow gets that warm and
then freezes hard like it did last night, it takes a lot
to melt it and forms an ice base on the ground.
Which may also mean we won't get a lot of frost in the
ground this year with the snow insulating it. Suits me.
Shortens up Break Up on the other end of the winter season.
I was over at Eagle's Nest Resort today for lunch. For
any of you that are coming through this winter and finding
us a little short of eating establishments, the
dining room at Eagle's Nest is fabulous. The lunch
menu is very simple but the food is excellent and the
surroundings very elegant. You can check it out at Dining
on the navigation menu to your left. We watched the snowstorm
come in from the dining room windows and I was shocked
to note that Anahim Lake already has ice on much of its
surface. We're not even close at Nimpo. A little
ice along the shoreline in a protected bay, but that's
about it. Although we were talking yesterday
about the dates the ice went on last year. It was exceptionally
early because we had temperatures that dropped as low
as 43 degrees below zero Fahrenheit toward the end of
That got me to thinking that perhaps those temperatures
were responsible for the small beetle invasion this year.
For all the massive numbers that landed on local trees
the year before, there weren't all that many exit holes
this year at all. That would lead me to believe that what
the scientists say is true. If there is a really
fast, hard, cold spell early in the season, the beetle
doesn't have an opportunity to develop the 'anti freeze'
in their system that helps to protect them from cold.
Many of the really big trees were killed the year before
so beetles were forced to go into smaller trees with thinner
bark last fall. They would no sooner have gotten settled
when that cold spell hit. All conjecture of course, and
we can only hope, but it would be nice to
think their populations may have been knocked back a bit.
As you can see, this blog is back on the subject of weather
again....:-) I thought I would back it off and give the
subject of the RCMP a rest for awhile. I have a lot of
work to do so I'm not going to be uploading anything for
the next couple of days, which is also why I'm not continuing
the RCMP articles. Not that I don't have lots more to
say, but there's nothing worse than getting started on
a series and then having to stop in the middle and leave
readers hanging for a period of time. Besides, looking
at the length of the articles below, I've got about a
book there and it'll take awhile for folks to wade through
it all. So for anyone that's just picked up here, if you
want to read the RCMP articles below, start at the bottom
blog and work your way to the top.
For those of you that have already patiently waded
through the whole works, have a great weekend and don't
forget our Soldiers and our Veterans!
The New Face Of The RCMP
sorry for the delay in getting this next article posted.
We had to make a run into Williams Lake yesterday and
that blew most of the day, as usual.
I believe that it was in 1970 that the first RCMP
Detachment office was opened in Anahim Lake by
Corporal L.H. (The name I choose to call him by because
I don't know if he was a Corporal then or not.) My Father
worked in the Williams Lake office and spoke highly of
him as did many of the other Officers that I knew in the
I don't expect it was easy going for Corporal H. when
he first hit this country because he represented authority
and the law, and he may well have been treated initially
with some suspicion. But it's not like this part of the
Chilcotin was completely lawless and the entire community
relied on each other for survival. Corporal H. didn't
come in with jackboots on expecting to change the world
but what he did do was set an admirable example. Because
he was the first here representing authority, and because
he blended so well into the community, (community
meaning not just Anahim Lake but the entire 200 mile stretch
of road between here and Williams Lake) he left
a remarkable impression on people. I don't know of a single
old timer here that doesn't speak very highly of him.
Corporal H. also left a road map of sorts for those RCMP
Members that followed him. The Anahim Lake Office
was a one man Detachment and considered an isolated posting.
One man coming in here with help 200 miles away over a
rough road that generally took eight hours to negotiate,
wasn't going to be a particularly effective policeman
if he pissed everyone off right off the bat. Corporal
H. got to know everyone in the Chilcotin, worked and played
closely with them, commiserated with them, and came down
on them when he had to. You can do that when you
have people's respect, you know. Something our
present constabulary seems to have forgotten. Corporal
H. had everyone's respect, whether they liked him or not,
and I think I can safely say that includes the Native
population. You have to remember that even in the early
70's, the majority of Natives in the area had never even
been to a larger town such as a Williams Lake. While
accustomed to local ranchers, trappers and lodge owners,
I suspect they would have been more than suspicious of
the new cop in town. Don't forget that many of
the Native children had been taken away from their parents
by then and forced to go to the Indian school at Mission
under the watchful eyes of the Catholic nuns and priests.
No matter what spin you put on it, that had to have been
a frightening experience for all tribes across Canada,
especially in the face of the abuse allegations that have
since come up. The Mission School having been one of the
worst, as we now know.
Having set that great example, Corporal H. just made life
a whole lot easier for Members following him over the
years and while it had become a two man detachment by
the time I moved out here in '88, our community worked
well with the RCMP and I think did a lot of the policing
for them. Around about the time I came out Corporal
D.B. was in charge here and was probably one of the all
time best cops I have ever seen anywhere. He became
an active member of the community, organizing dry dances
for the teens, a hockey team and other activities to keep
the kids off the street, raised money for equipment and
was a regular going concern. You couldn't haven't said
a single bad thing about Corporal B. without raising the
ire of whites and Natives alike in this community. He
was much loved and much respected by all and was an excellent
example of how well community policing works.
I don't even know how much actual investigative work he
had to do. Apparently, if something went missing or someone
committed a Break and Enter, Corporal B. was tipped off
immediately as to who did it. Talk about the pinnacle
I know that he asked to stay longer when they were going
to ship him out, and I think they did give him another
year, but then he had to go. It's too bad really, because
things have been going down hill steadily since. I'm sure
Commanders since would use the excuse that it's pretty
hard to live up to such an unusual level of excellence,
but I wonder why not? All it takes is a little effort
to get along with the community. You respect the
community and the community will respect you.
My first exposure to the 'New Breed' was
after I moved back out here in 2002 and worked over at
a restaurant the next summer. I was working with two of
the new Member's wives and upon learning that they were,
my first thought was, "Good God, don't they
vet Members before transferring them out here anymore?"
An RCMP Member's wife is expected to maintain a certain
level of decorum (having been one, I know a few things
about it) and is considered a representative of the RCMP.
That's just the way it is. You get a background check
done on you, make sure you don't have a record, haven't
been in jail, etc. (I'm assuming they still do that, although
nowadays? Who knows?) Particular care needs to be taken
in a small community where locals know you're
the wife (or husband) of a Member.
I have to admit to some wonder at the ability of these
two wives (actually, one wasn't married yet,) to maintain
the hair, perfect nails, expensive shoes, and clothes
straight off the runway. They so obviously did not belong
in the Chilcotin, it was laughable. However, they were
here. The one actually turned out to be a really nice
girl, and though maybe not suited to help her husband
in the community, I think had it been a one man posting,
she would have tried. Her buddy, though, was definitely
not small community material. She was arrogant,
hated the area, hated the people, and made her feelings
pretty clear. Since the number of RCMP Members had by
then been upped to four, I guess she didn't have to make
an effort because they had their own little enclave. I
met the guys and they were actually okay. Rookies and
very young, but okay. However, they made little effort
to get to know people in the community and stuck mostly
to themselves. According to the one Member's wife, she
had no desire to get to know the great 'unwashed' masses.
I know we were all considered too hick and backcountry
for her and perhaps for the husbands as well.
Which is actually kind of funny considering the caliber
of people that live in this area, including not a few
ex-CEO's, and who live here because they want to. There's
more money out here than that little girl can ever hope
to see in her lifetime regardless of what 'class' level
she may think she fits into.
Either way, I think that was only a small indicator
of the attitude that was accompanying RCMP Members being
transferred out here. I know that we all attended
meetings and howled when we found out that the numbers
were going to be going up to six, and our property taxes
would be going up as well to help pay for them. We've
even heard that we may be getting more Members stationed
out here and I can't even comprehend the need for six.
In fact, to get back to that community meeting as mentioned
below, I believe that's the problem with the over policing
here. There are just too many cops and not enough to keep
them busy. So what might be perceived as harassment
is simply too many RCMP Members trying to justify their
existence in an area with a tiny population.
Before, Anahim Lake was a one, and then two man posting,
with the posting only lasting a year. The Members sent
out here had some experience and the willingness to live
in an isolated post. Once they left, they could pretty
much choose their next posting. This wasn't an area that
you sent problem cops, but rather those with an exemplary
Now what do we get? Well, the last Commander
was several months late getting here because as we understood
it, he was under investigation. Rumor had it that it was
for allowing the mistreatment of Natives arrested and
brought in on his Watch. I don't know if that was the
case but if it was true, then you have to
wonder who's idea it was to send him to take command of
a Detachment where half the population is Native. His
year came up and he's gone, but now, the Detachment is
so large that we have a Sergeant who admits he only has
time to do paperwork, and we have a rookie that is being
trained. Excuse me? Why the hell is our small population
paying for a rookie, if he's not considered to be on the
I think that the main problem is that the posting is still
of short duration. If we're now being treated as
a large town, then why isn't the posting duration for
at least five years as it is elsewhere? Because
as I see it, if you're stuck some place for several years,
then you better make an effort to get to know the locals
and work with them. And I think that the RCMP Members
probably would make that effort to be a
part of a community they had to live in for awhile. But
right now, they don't have to. There's enough Members
and their wives for them to have their own little group.
They don't have to interact with locals,
and so they make little effort to do so. As was brought
up at the meeting, they sit behind their high chain link
fences and when they do come out, they're perceived as
a pack of pit bulls out to get the population. I didn't
say that, by the way. A community member did.
So if you're perceived in that manner, you have
an image problem. It doesn't help that the RCMP
has a serious image problem throughout Canada right now.
But as Andy brought up to the Sergeant at that meeting,
"You can't change how people see the RCMP in
the rest of the province, but you have the power to change
how people in our community see you. You have, by your
actions, the ability to change your image here and the
level of respect for your Members." Apparently
that fell on deaf ears as well. As I understand it, there
were two roadblocks in the three day period following
the meeting. There's no gesture of good faith there. That's
almost a deliberate slap in the face. When people
walk away from a meeting feeling that their words have
had no effect at all, and there was no gesture of good
faith, where do you suppose things are going to go from
Well, here's an example.
A couple of years ago we went snowmobiling up in the Rainbow
Mountains with friends. A female Member accompanied us
because as her Watch Commander instructed her, lots of
people in this country snowmobile, accidents happen, and
it would be good if all of the Members were familiar with
the snowmobiling areas. She had never snowmobiled before
but you certainly wouldn't know it. Quick to learn
with good reflexes and excellent balance, she was great
company and a joy to spend the day with. I enjoyed
the opportunity to get to know her and because we rode
identical machines, we raced each other down the mountain
at the end of the day. We only spoke in passing after
that and I never got to join in any other activities with
her, but that experience gave me an opportunity to learn
about her and both Andy and I came away from the day with
a great deal of respect for her. Thereafter, if she had
needed help of any sort, or if she had wanted information
about a lawbreaker that I knew, I probably would not have
hesitated to pass on that information. Nor would I hesitate
with many other RCMP Members I have gotten to know and
respect over the years and that I know respect me. But
if you were to ask me to do a favor for any Member presently
stationed at the Anahim Lake Detachment, even though
I consider myself a good citizen and a law abiding one,
it is highly unlikely that I would give them the right
time of day. I, who have always looked up to, and respected,
authority. If I now feel this way, how do you suppose
people who were never particular one way or another feel?
Can the police expect the cooperation of a populace, and
I'm including all of Canada, that no longer feels respected
by the police, and so no longer respects the police. Because
I feel strongly that this is what it's all about. Respect.
Too many videos taken on a cell phone showing police beating
up a guy. Not subdueing.... beating. Police
going way overboard at a concert. An officer shooting
a kid in the back of the head and then lying about how
it happened. Five policemen tasering an immigrant at the
airport without even making an effort to speak to him
first. A lot of money going missing from the RCMP pension
fund and graft and patronage practiced right at the top.
These, and hundreds of other incidents have not
helped the image of the RCMP in our country. And
unfortunately, I don't see much of an effort being made
to change that image. Now that a non-police officer has
been put in as head of the RCMP until the closet can be
cleaned out, there's obvious resentment. Even our Sergeant
expressed severe resentment at the meeting at the fact
that there wasn't even a real cop at the top anymore.
That's not a good thing. If you don't have respect
for your superiors, are you going to have respect for
local community members that you feel are inferior to
you? The same man told me when he first arrived
that he believed strongly in community policing. I stated
at the time that we definitely needed the RCMP to work
more closely with the community because we are losing
that sense of cooperation and mutual respect that we always
had before. However, I haven't seen any sign whatsoever
that the local RCMP are making an effort in that direction
and the future's looking a little grim.
following is a continuation of articles written about
the RCMP in both our community and British Columbia in
general. If you're feeling lost, I recommend you read
the articles from start to finish from the bottom of this
page and work your way to the most recent at the top.
If you have any questions, concerns, complaints of your
own to pass on, or you're a cop and would like to bite
my head off, please feel free to contact me using the
link to your left.
Several events occurred that brought about the meeting
with the RCMP Member in charge of the Anahim Lake Detachment
a week ago.
Admittedly, some of the complaints had to do with people
drinking at house parties and sadly, when you indulge,
you pretty much play into the hands of the police. So
right or wrong on how things were handled in a couple
of cases, it's difficult to make judgment just for that
The Chilcotin has had hard working, hard partying
people in the country since the beginning of time.
It started out with going over to a ranch hours or days
away for some occasion, usually on horseback, and imbibing
hooch along the way, as well as when you got there. Things
continued that way for years even with the advent of the
vehicle, (don't forget, the vehicle arrived out here long
after the rest of North America!) There was usually little
problem because the roads were always empty of other people,
and if you hit the ditch because you drank too much, you
just kind of hoped it wasn't too cold and you didn't freeze
to death before someone came along to pull you out.
The national drinking and driving laws changed all
that and though change was slower to come to the
boondocks, everyone knows the rules. Many people are aware
that if they attend a house party and they drink, they're
breaking the rules and taking a chance if they try to
drive home. I can remember the police cruising the parking
lots of the bars in Williams Lake twenty five years ago
at closing time looking for impaired drivers. We all expect
that. However, in the case of a couple of over loud house
warming parties just outside of Anahim Lake recently,
I understand that most people stayed overnight to prevent
being picked up for impaired, but that the police were
at the gates of the home the next day, stopping everyone
to see if they had been drinking. I'm not sure,
but that just might be overstepping the bounds.
Be that as it may, that isn't an issue I care to address.
However, one issue I would address if true
appears to be a case of harassment. Apparently, a fellow
coming out to visit one of the people that complained
against the police, explained who he was coming to visit
after being stopped on the highway. Allegedly, when he
replied he had not been drinking when asked, (this was
during the day and the fellow had just completed a long
trip from another province) the police refused to believe
him and pulled him in for a breathalyzer. As I understand
it, he was made to comply with repeating the test four
more times. He was not at all impaired. If true,
this is way over the line and in the fellow's place, I
would be livid.
Something very similar has happened to many of our
tourists passing through. A guide outfitter said
that every single one of his hunters that came through
Anahim Lake this year was stopped and questioned by police.
One from as far away as New Mexico said he had not been
stopped in a roadblock the entire drive until he got here.
A couple of other hunters said they hadn't been stopped
at all going several thousand miles until they got near
Anahim Lake. One resort operator said that they often
have tourists that stay here but drive down to Bella Coola
for the day. Two tourists in one week reported
being stopped both coming and going. Several have
said they will not be returning because they have never
been hassled by police anywhere on their travels to the
extent that they have been here. That has serious implications
for an area that relies so heavily on the tourism industry.
Probably one of the best descriptions of what I
would term mild police harassment, but harassment
nonetheless, was from a young lady at the meeting where
she described being followed for some distance by a local
police vehicle that tailgated her so closely, she could
not see its headlights. The vehicle would drop back, then
it would pull up and tailgate her again. This happened
several times before the lights went on and she was pulled
over. She was immediately asked if she had been drinking
and she replied no, that she had just gotten off work
and was driving home. She had to go through the routine
checks. There was no ticket and no apparent reason for
being stopped so she asked why she had been. The answer
was that she had an N tag in her back window. She stated
she was wearing her seatbelt, wasn't speeding, everything
was working correctly on her vehicle and she had license
and registration and wondered how an N tag could possibly
be reason enough to be stopped. Apparently, the
police officer didn't feel he had to give her any reason
for stopping her.
This seems odd considering......
Several of us from both communities reported to the police
both formally and informally that we strongly suspected
a Grow Op at the south end of the lake. We had a
lot of evidence and good clues to back that suspicion
up, including personal assault, blown Hydro transformers,
a windowless building which was the only one in the country
with no snow on the roof in midwinter, and an outsider
from Vancouver traveling back and forth over there. The
police said that they could not ask to look inside a building
on rumors alone. Yeah, that's a good one. I wonder how
they bust Grow Ops in the Lower Mainland unless they start
with a tip? The police refused to investigate yet a few
months later a large number of pot plants, lighting fixtures,
wire, etc. were found in the Kleena Kleene landfill, and
it was very obvious to the new owner of the property,
and to everyone that he showed the building to, that it
had been a Grow Op.
So what that looks like is that our police are brave
enough to stop a young girl on the highway by herself
for no reason, and harass numerous tourists and
local citizens in roadblocks time after time, after time,
but they're not about to bust a Grow Op. Too much paperwork,
The complaints at the meeting were too numerous to list,
and the complaints I have heard over the last couple of
years also too numerous. While some may date back to people
that have lived in fortunate isolation for many years
and are accustomed to doing as they please, the
large number of very legitimate complaints is extremely
troublesome. And that's just from the white people.
Our Native people are actually quite shy by nature and
will rarely speak out in public, particularly against
authority. And yet from all accounts, they distrust, dislike,
nay... hate! our local constabulary now.
Some of this may stem from the way of life in this country
that the local RCMP are not only not tuned into, but
are not even making an attempt to understand.
You see, natives and whites always had horses out here.
If you didn't get around on a horse, you didn't get around.
You never needed a drivers license or insurance
for a horse and you could go pretty much over
any terrain, which is a necessary ability in this country,
because we don't have much in the way of roads.
When you pack a whole bunch of people onto tiny Reserves,
the resources generally are not there to keep a horse.
No hay meadows, no hay, etc.
Then along came the ATV. The snowmobile, the motorbike,
the three wheel ATV and the fourwheelers. Over a
period of years quite a few people have acquired them
because they are so suited to this country where nothing
else is. Many of the Natives have them and because
you don't need a driver's license or registration to run
them off road, their fourwheeler has replaced the horse,
or their unlicensed old pickup, as the way to get around.
I don't know the numbers, but I would guess that there
are at least half as many off road vehicles, (which include
snowmobiles, motorbikes, etc.) in the region as there
are trucks and cars operating on the road.
The problem starts when you go on the road
with an off road vehicle, and it has been a source
of contention between the police and local community members
for the last couple of years.
There's an extensive series of trails here that were old
horse, game, or wagon trails that snake all over the place.
But sometimes you have to cross the highway or down a
side road to access them. That, of course, is illegal.
I can understand the law, but I don't understand it as
applied here because it really makes no sense. No, you
should not be driving down the highway with
your fourwheeler because of speed, but why shouldn't you
be able to drive down or across any side road? We have
very little vehicle traffic here so you aren't holding
anyone up. The old girl on her electric wheel chair
that drives miles up and down Christiansen Road every
day is far more of a danger to traffic because
she takes up the middle of the road, goes slow, and rarely
moves over. In fact, I'm not even sure she looks in the
rear view mirror that she now has on her wheelchair. Somehow
I'm willing to bet that no local cop has ever had the
nerve to pull her over. Why? The whole sympathy
thing. Awww..... She's in a wheelchair. Besides, if the
police did do it, they'd have the bleeding hearts on them
like flies on manure, and they know it.
But the police do have the law on their side for everyone
else and they use it. Or abuse it, by some accounts. The
underage, and very old, and everything in between,
the Native and non-Native and everything
in between, have for years driven off road vehicles everywhere
to get around. Everyone knows the law. Don't drive on
the road and try to not get stopped crossing the road.
There are extensive ATV trails alongside the highway and
some along the secondaries, but in some cases there aren't
and if you have to go along the side of the secondary
road to Grandma's, your girlfriend's, your buddy's, or
to look for cattle, why can't you? If you're 70
years old and that's how you get to the store for your
groceries, why can't you? The police can make
the case that one Reserve is only a half mile walk to
the store from most houses, while the other is up to two
miles. There are many people that cannot make that walk
because of their knees, their back, whatever. Those same
people often have never held a driver's license and must
depend on family or friends to get them what they need.
There are others on the Reserves that have lost their
driver's license for DUI or some other infraction. They
can't get around unless they drive an ATV. Most of the
time they drive them off road. If they have to cross the
highway on occasion, I don't have a problem with that.
You know why? Because I would much rather keep an
eye out on a fourwheeler crossing the road in front of
me than be in a head on collision with that same guy driving
drunk in a pickup truck because someone impounded his
If you see where I'm going with this, hold up your hand.
Here's some more examples.
As I've mentioned many times, we have an extensive trail
system in back of our place that I walk and that actually
goes out to the highway, follows the highway, and goes
up to Nimpo. One year I took the tranny out of my
truck coming up the ramp off the lake when the truck went
through the ice. By the time I could find someone
to haul the truck to town, find an affordable transmission,
have it installed, and then find a day where Andy, who
was working at the time, could give me a ride in to Williams
Lake to pick it up, was at least a month. Since I was
working up at Nimpo at the time and Andy was using his
vehicle to get to his job, that meant I had to drive the
fourwheeler. That could be accomplished off road almost
the entire way, except at the bridge across the Dean River,
and just before getting to my workplace, I would have
to cross the highway to access the trail on the other
side. What to do?
We have a neighbour that gets to work that way and in
winter can cross the lake, but in summer? Another neighbour
in his late seventies was ticketed for using his fourwheeler
to go to Nimpo Lake to pick up his mail. The police officer
that fined him for driving on our secondary road watched
him pull off the trail along the highway onto our road
knowing full well that he would have to be on it to cross
the bridge over the Dean River. After that he could get
back on the adjacent trail. A few moments on a dusty
gravel road rarely traveled got him a ticket and substantial
fine to help bite into his pension.
I've worked with lots of guys at the mill in summer that
were too young to have a driver's license and so got to
the mill on fourwheelers or motorbikes. That's easy enough
on the back trails during the day when you can see where
you're going but getting back home after evening shift
in the dark is not so easy. Following the roads is much
safer. I knew one young guy that followed the trails during
the day but was afraid to be on the back trail at night
when his shift was over because if his motorbike
broke down, he would have to walk ten miles home in the
dark where there were both grizzly and black bears.
Can't say I blame him for wanting to follow the main road
after midnight. Illegal, yes, but he couldn't ask his
parent to come and get him and his bike at 1:00 AM when
that same parent had to be up for the morning shift. We
aren't in the city and there's no transit system and no
taxi here folks. It's a long way from one place
to the next whether the grocery store, the mail, or your
place of work. For that matter, it would be a long walk
for Andy to come and check up on me while I'm on one of
my walks and seem to be taking overly long to get home.
He could wander around the country for several hours walking,
or take only a few minutes on a fourwheeler running the
back trails figuring out where I was.
For that matter, local area ranchers depend heavily on
ATVs to check on cattle. But if that rancher were to be
caught crossing the highway or a secondary road to look
for or move cattle, they would be breaking the law. That's
ironic considering that cattle and horses can be all over
the highway on what's considered open range for months,
creating an extreme hazard to travelers, but nobody gets
fined for that.
There has been bitter complaint from local community members
who consider that they, their children, or their relatives
are being harassed continuously by the police for driving
off road vehicles on or across the secondary roads or
through Anahim Lake.
I realize that the law is the law. But when is a
law a bad one? Or an inequitable one? Or one that simply
is not applicable to the location in which it is being
applied? Is it possible to bend the law or simply
not apply it in each and every circumstance where no harm
is done, and keep a good balance between the letter of
the law and a reality that is location specific? How
do you go about reaching and maintaining that delicate
Well, it can't be that difficult because most RCMP Members
stationed here for their one year stint since the local
office was opened in 1970 by Larry H. have done a remarkable
job of doing just that. What has changed in the
last couple of years that cause many to look at the local
RCMP as Rambos that set out to deliberately terrorize
them? The RCMP compound and all of the brand, spanking,
new homes that they live in are surrounded by high metal
fences. It's the general consensus that when those
gates open, the police are like a bunch of pit bulls being
released on the general public.
The young lady that I mentioned above that was being tailgated
by police before being pulled over stated that she felt
very strongly that she was being pushed to speed so that
the police could give her a speeding ticket.
That and much else points to a shocking public image
problem and a complete lack of trust in our police
Tomorrow: From 1970 to 2007. The New Face
of the RCMP.
In The Dark
little snowstorm yesterday put us in the dark for most
of the evening. Shortly after nine the power dimmed,
came back on for a moment, and then went out completely.
Probably a snow loaded tree came down across the line,
or one of the lines themselves, for that matter. When
Andy went down to the other end of Nimpo Lake before supper
to help neighbours there fix a private line, he
noted that many of the power lines along the way were
stretched pretty badly with the snow load.
We do have a generator but it isn't set up yet the way
we want it but that will be done soon. In the meanwhile,
we had a nice candlelit evening, as did everyone else
in the community. At least in this part of the country
if the power goes out you still have heat from wood stoves
, and in our case, the lake for water. I certainly would
not want to be in the position of a lot of people elsewhere
that rely on electricity for their heat.
Today has dawned gloriously clear with that deep,
deep blue sky and everything else a glowing white.
There are always some downsides to a good dump of snow
of course. Our neighbour has already made a couple of
passes with his snow plow this morning and Andy is already
out on the Bobcat clearing our yard and driveway. But
otherwise, if winter has to come early, this is certainly
getting bang for our buck!
On to less happy things.
(Continuation of the article of November 01/11/2007
the bottom of this page.)
A little over a week ago members of the Anahim Lake community
had a meeting at the community hall to air their
complaints with the Sergeant of the local RCMP Detachment.
Apparently there were enough complaints from all people,
of all ages, all sexes, regardless of ethnic background,
(meaning it's not just the Natives that are pissed off)
over a period of time, to warrant a meeting.
It all started about three years ago and became most noticeable
at Stampede time. I guess the Detachment Commander at
the time decided he was going to 'clean up' the Anahim
Lake Stampede. Whether on Williams Lake's orders or not,
I don't really know. It's true that it's always
been a bit like the Wild West out here at Stampede time
and that's probably its attraction to a lot of tourists.
And I don't think there's anything wrong with having some
roadblocks in the evening and at night to sort out drunk
drivers but we've always had those. Nor do I think there's
much wrong with keeping liquor in the beer garden and
out of everywhere else because it is a family
But that year the RCMP got pretty extreme and I heard
numerous complaints from all manner of people, including
tourists that said they wouldn't be back. Not
young party goers. No, these were middle aged people driving
rigs worth a quarter million that were getting thoroughly
sick and tired of being stopped in a roadblock in the
mornings and having to wait in line. Numerous people
that weren't even going to the Stampede were fed up with
being stopped constantly, asked if they had been
drinking, asked for drivers license and registration,
and in many cases this was in the middle of the day. On
more than one occasion people at the Stampede watched
the RCMP walking through the parking lot and if they came
across a vehicle with the doors unlocked, they would open
the vehicle and look through it with flashlights for liquor.
I heard enough about the roadblocks in the two days previous
to Stampede that I simply avoided Anahim Lake for the
week and so wasn't directly exposed, but I certainly heard
from quite a few people that they wouldn't be attending
it in future either. The following year the Anahim
Lake Stampede was canceled due to a nearby forest
fire, and frankly, I think because of the behavior of
the police from the previous year. Once word had gotten
around, organizers just didn't want to risk an extremely
low attendance and end up losing money.
Thereafter, I heard nearly everyone from both Anahim Lake
and Nimpo Lake complain vociferously about the daily roadblocks.
People driving home from work at the mill at 2:30 in the
afternoon could expect to be stopped on a regular bases.
Asked for license, registration, seat belt check, where
they were coming from and where they were going, and if
they had been drinking, I think most people were accepting
at first, understanding that a push to get the small
number of locals off of the road that have not had licenses
or insurance for years and drive drunk constantly,
was a good thing. But this was occurring for weeks on
end and the same people were being asked repeatedly for
their identification, sometimes only a couple of days
from the last time they were asked. In a region with a
total population of only about 1,300 people, of which
probably less than half drive, and far fewer on the same
20 mile stretch of road every day, you would think
that the police would remember who had a driver's license
and who didn't. You don't have to live in this
country very long before you recognize who drives what
and know who you're waving to when you pass each other
on the highway. And yet we are not members of a
police force supposedly trained in the 'art' of observation.
When asked why they were being stopped constantly, many
people were told that residents of the Two Mile Indian
Reserve along the highway were complaining of speeders.
Although, one of the Corporals eventually admitted privately
that most of the speeders caught were actually residents
of Two Mile Reserve, so that didn't wash.
Then it seemed the police kicked it up a notch and were
getting really sticky. One infuriated leader
in the community had been stopped and ticketed a huge
cash fine for creeping through a stop sign. It's actually
a stop sign at the Dutchman restaurant where it's next
to impossible to see past the sign to check for oncoming
vehicles on your right. So you have to creep past the
sign to see that the highway is clear before proceeding.
You can stop completely at that point in time, but the
nose of your vehicle is projecting out onto the highway.
No big deal normally, but in winter it is.
You don't stop. You creep and then when you are sure there
are no vehicles coming from either direction, you get
going because you don't want to leave the nose of your
vehicle sitting out in the intersection when it's icy.
If you come to a full stop where it's safe to do so farther
back from the intersection, you can't see past the sign
so that's kind of pointless. If you try to stop and then
take off from where you can see that it's safe to do so,
you will spin out on the ice. So now you're
concentrating on getting your forward momentum, because
you've lost it, because you've come to a complete stop,
and now a vehicle is coming around the corner at you.
Yes, there are corners coming from both directions. That's
why you don't stop. You creep up to the intersection maintaining
momentum at about 2mph where you are going lots slow enough
to stop, but you are able to keep going because the intersection
is clear, (which is about 99 percent of the time, believe
it or not).
It's a dumb way to have an intersection.
We didn't put it there. But we've all become accustomed
to entering it a certain way. Old habits die hard. I stop
in the summer, but not in the winter. In my view, it's
more dangerous to stop in winter than not to. Either way,
this guy got stopped, fined, and the police would not
listen to an explanation. Since then, I understand they've
made it a habit to stop everyone they see for not coming
to a full stop at stop signs. Fair enough. The law
is the law. And yet, as was brought up at the
meeting last week by one fellow recently nailed for not
coming to a full stop, every single day you can
watch a police vehicle run the stop sign behind
the welding shop coming from the Reserve onto main street
in Anahim Lake.
I happen to know that this occurs because I have watched
a police vehicle do it often over the years when I have
been loading groceries into my vehicle in front of the
store. As far as I know, the RCMP Members have always
run that stop sign and apparently still do, regardless
of what law they're trying to uphold. Old habits die hard.
What they don't understand is that they have local residents
frustrated on a number of levels. Locals are
going to notice when you are costing them several hundred
dollars on a ticket but you're too arrogant to clean up
your own act.
I've had few dealings with the RCMP in the area because
I rarely drive to Anahim and often don't go to Nimpo Lake
more than once a week. Once the ice is on Nimpo Lake,
if we have an ice road, I get around that way for at least
three months out of the year. I think Andy was stopped
and questioned at a roadblock at eight in the morning
on his way to the airport to pick up guests of ours this
summer. But other than that, although we've listened with
concern to many of the complaints, we've tried to see
Our biggest complaint along with the rest of the
people in the area is that the number of police out here
is growing larger, yet our population does not warrant
it, and our residential taxes are being raised
to pay for them.
We didn't have a problem until the Country Inn caught
fire up in Nimpo Lake last fall. Our local Detachment
Commander finally arrived on the scene after four water
trucks, equipment, many people with pumps, and everyone
in the community ready and willing to protect the two
businesses on either side as well as the surrounding area,
were getting set up.
It had been extremely dry and the danger of this fire
bomb setting off a forest fire wasn't just possible, it
was going to happen. The pine beetle killed trees around
the property were exploding like torches and something
needed to be done quickly. This 'person', who was
very obviously terrified of electricity and knew absolutely
nothing about it, put up a roadblock and refused
to allow anyone near enough to try to water down or protect
adjacent businesses, propane tanks, and fuel tanks. It
was only a miracle, pure and simple, because none of us
have any other word for it, that saved our community that
night. It sure as hell was no thanks to that arrogant
idiot, for want of a better word.
A meeting with this Commander afterwards revealed clearly
what we had already guessed. He didn't know anything about
power lines, wouldn't listen to anyone that did, and anything
we said pretty much went in one ear, and out the other.
Apparently, to the disgust of most of those that attended,
a very similar attitude was displayed by the present Commander
at the community meeting in Anahim Lake last week.
I'll continue about the meeting in the next article.
Snowstorm Number Two
nearly seven inches of snow in only about three hours,
I decided that's what I needed to be concentrating on.
I had intended on continuing the article about the RCMP
today but it started snowing early this afternoon and
I wanted to get some other work done before the power
went out. Then the battery backup on my computer let out
a bleep and although the power came back on, it looked
to be for an uncertain length of time so I shut everything
Since the temperature is sitting barely above freezing
we're getting those big snowflakes that create heavy,
wet snow. The kind that has so much moisture in
it that it packs under its own weight. Since we
have a steep roof, snow comes sliding off of it with enough
force to shake the deck. As a result, it piles up in a
hurry and if you leave it for too long, you have cement.
Once it started doing that we figured we had better get
outside with our shovels and start clearing decks. We
cleared the small front one, then no sooner cleared the
front deck but the back one had to be redone.
I tried to clear my truck a bit and we had to clear off
the big boat before the canopy collapsed. No sooner had
we finished than Andy got a call from a neighbour at the
other end of the lake. Their power had gone out and they
needed his help to flip the fuse on the pole back on.
That was probably the couple of blips we got here.
I think the snow is letting up a bit anyway. I can see
the island out in the lake now and the thumping from snow
falling off the roof has slowed a bit. Still, this
isn't going to be pretty because I expect enough
will melt in the next few days to make a real mess of
Nimpo Lake was still enough all day for quite a
bit of slush to build up among the reeds near shore.
I saw an immature loon out there earlier today before
the snow started. November third and we still have a loon.
He's a little guy though, and may have been born quite
late, which is probably why he's still here. I watched
him trail from the middle of the lake to near our shore
and he sure was on the lookout and very watchful. It must
be difficult for a single loon that no longer has the
eyes of other loons all over the lake to warn of approaching
Bald Eagles. I'm surprised he's survived on his
own this long. He won't for much longer if he
doesn't think about heading south. Although if you look
up on the right, he certainly doesn't have any problem
I just watched the weather channel for a moment and nearly
the whole province was blanketed by the monster system
you could see out in the Pacific a couple of days ago.
It's passing through on its way to the prairies now and
it almost looks like there might be some clearing behind
it. The jet stream was running right over top of us, which
would explain the heavy snow, but it looks like it might
move north for the next couple of days. Hopefully we'll
see some sunshine tomorrow.
I certainly don't envy the east coast which is just
now seeing the remainder of tropical storm Noel.
Winds are predicted to gust to about 80 miles per hour
with sustained winds of 45mph. Some areas are estimated
to get 88mm or rain which is about 3 1/5 inches of the
wet stuff. Not nice at all. This is already a storm that's
done too much damage and killed too many people. It needs
to go away.
Our dollar hit over 1.07 against the American dollar this
week which I think is a record high. No point in getting
too smug though. A lot of our dollars are going
south of the border where Canadian shoppers can get more
bang for their buck. I understand their frustration
with a lot of the Canadian stores selling merchandise
for so much higher than the value of our dollar warrants.
Most of the stores claim that much of their stock was
bought at old prices and I'm sure that's true in a lot
of cases. However, Canadian stores have been abusing that
excuse for a lot of years and it's not like they haven't
known for the last eight months that the loonie was expected
to hit par by this fall. But I do feel sorry for
some shop owners that generally carry inventory over the
long term. Camera and mom and pop bookstores as
noted on the news come to mind. I'm sure some books in
those smaller bookstores may have been there for at least
a couple of years. And I'm certain a lot of inventory
in camera shops could easily be a year old. I sympathize
with shop owners that are forced to bite the bullet and
sell at cost or a loss or risk losing customers
to cross border shopping and the Internet.
Unfortunately, the long term abuse of the inequity between
the US and Canadian dollar has teed a lot of people off
and no excuse will do now. Canadian stores aren't the
only ones pulling that right now though. I had to renew
my anti-virus online this week and if I did it as a computer
located in Canada, it was going to cost me $13 more if
I renewed in Canadian funds than in American. So I renewed
in American funds meaning I'll save my $13 plus whatever
advantage my credit card company will give me on the exchange.
Since this is one of the leading anti-virus companies
in the world, it seems odd that they haven't changed their
pricing. I can only assume that they are scamming
I'll try to get on with the police article tomorrow. Have
a good Saturday folks. Drive safe!
November Winter Wonderland
barely into November but we're well on our way to a very
nice winter wonderland out there. We kind of figured last
night's snow would stick around once the thermometer started
dropping. It actually got down to -8C here and -9C
or around 15F across the lake last night. Probably
the coldest we've had yet this fall. It didn't get that
much above freezing today but it was really nice in the
sun and a walk in the woods was quite pleasant today with
quite a few squirrel tracks showing up in the snow.
There's another massive system spiraling in from
the ocean directly aimed at us and the north coast.
The south coast is protected from this monster by a weak
high pressure system for now so they shouldn't see the
nasty winds predicted for the Prince Rupert area. I don't
know that it will get all that windy for us but since
Bella Coola has a fair amount of rain coming, I wouldn't
be surprised to see more of the white stuff for us.
I don't actually mind seeing a nice snow like this, even
if it stays. It covers up that ratty black ground and
dead stuff left from a cold fall and just gives everything
a nice, fresh, clean look. Besides, white snow always
looks stunning against a blue lake in what is still pretty
bright sunshine. It's when our sun is pretty watery
and weak looking in deep winter and the lake frozen over
that it looks a little more like the Arctic around here.
We heard last night that the Bella Coola Hill and the
road to Anahim got a fair amount of snow yesterday, leaving
trucks and cars in the ditch. We only got about 2 1/4
inches of snow in the end, but it was still slippery driving
home last night. I'm assuming this means that winter is
here. Oh well, had to happen sometime.
On to things more grim.
We've been following the news on television about a man
that was tasered by five RCMP officers at the Vancouver
airport less than two weeks ago. The man was Polish and
had been stuck at the airport for ten hours after getting
off of his plane. Unable to speak any English, and with
no one to meet him at the airport, over a period of time
he became increasingly restless, and then agitated and
panic stricken. Security guards called the RCMP and cell
phone video shows that less than 24 seconds from the time
they arrived the five cops tasered the man and took him
down. Witnesses say there was no negotiation, no attempt
to talk to the man or to calm him down and he died shortly
after being tasered.
When first watching all of this and without all
of the information, we made a lot of excuses for the police.
Possibly the man had been drinking while he was waiting
for his mother to pick him up, was on drugs, or hadn't
taken his antidepressants. But an autopsy has since shown
that there was no trace of alcohol or drugs in his system.
He was simply in a strange country with no one to translate
for him, his mother obviously did not meet him at the
airport when she was supposed to, and he was scared.
Hell of a greeting upon reaching our country, isn't
This outrageous incident came shortly after a public inquest
into the actions of an RCMP Member that shot a kid from
Houston in the back of the head at the police station.
He had arrested the guy for possessing a beer at a hockey
game and for laughingly giving the cop a false name. The
cop claimed that upon release of the guy, he turned on
the cop who supposedly feared for his life and the cop
was forced to shoot him. Well, the shot in the back of
the skull looked a little suspicious to begin with and
the cop had a long cock and bull story about how it had
happened. An expert showed that the shooting could
not possibly have happened the way the cop claimed it
had. Yet the entire time his department defended
him after investigating him and claimed that all was right
with the system.
This, and numerous other questionable incidents
have left a very sour taste in the mouths of Canadians
all across the country when it comes to their beloved
Mounted Police. I can't say that I blame them.
I was raised to respect authority and have all of my life
had a deep, deep respect for the RCMP. For some time though,
that respect has faltered. Not because of personal dealings,
but because of too many incidents reported by the media
and it's not just words. Many people carry cell phones
with camera capability, and many people carry cameras
with video capability. The RCMP have been accustomed to
investigating their own, sticking together regardless
of results, and we've had no choice all of these years
but to trust them. But in the last few years, there
have been just too many pictures taken and too many videos
that have belied their word.
Case in point. A young man, tired after a long flight,
had just gotten off the plane when he noticed the ruckus
involving the Polish man at the Vancouver airport. The
young man took a video on his camera of the entire incident
which apparently included the voice of one cop asking
another if he could taser the man as they ran by and then
did exactly that. After it was all over and the cops were
questioning witnesses, the young man indicated that he
had the video and agreed to loan the camera and video
to the police. He was specifically promised the return
of the camera and video within 48 hours.
Although the police have finally returned the camera,
they have refused to return the video of the incident
with a spokesman saying that people would get the wrong
impression about the behavior of the attending
police officers that tasered the man, and that all investigations
would have to be done before the video would be returned.
Supposedly, they indicated to the owner of the video that
it could take one to two years before it was returned
The young guy has hired a lawyer and is now taking the
RCMP to court for the return of the tape, citing that
it is his property and the public has the
right to see the video. This, as you can imagine, has
caused quite a ruckus and enormous public outcry causing
the RCMP to back pedal somewhat. The RCMP spokesman has
now claimed that the video will be returned soon. Real
soon. (Presumably this has been said to delay the
court case.) Privately, both of us feel that if
it is returned, parts of it will have been
'accidentally' adjusted or destroyed. That's
almost a given. As a computer graphics expert, I
can assure you that it is very easy to adjust pictures
or video seamlessly, and I am guessing the reason
it is going to take another week to ten days to return
the video is to give time to specialists to do just that.
I never thought I would see the day I would say this,
being as conservative and law abiding as I am, but I think
the judge should require the immediate return of the video
tomorrow morning to prevent any 'adjustment'.
Gee...it's almost like living in a police state, isn't
As the young man suggests, at a time when public
trust in the RCMP is faltering so badly, borrowing a video
willingly lent, and then refusing to return it because
it might make the police look bad, doesn't instill a lot
of trust, does it?
There are a couple of important points here. For one thing,
why did it take five uniformed officers to take down one
confused and scared man? And if there were
five, then why was it necessary to use a taser? If there
was only one officer and things looked like they were
out of hand, maybe I could see it. But five? C'mon!!!
They didn't even try to talk to him or anything else.
Just tasered him 24 seconds after coming through the door.
There is something really wrong with the eagerness to
use those little gems, especially in view of the number
of people that have died from them.
I hailed tasers when I first heard of them as being
an excellent tool in the arsenal of men and women that
have to put their lives on the line every day.
But there have been several incidents throughout North
America in the past year that indicate police are too
quick to use tasers and there are too many fatalities
as a result. Solution, take them away from the police
as you would a BB gun from a child that has misused his
Personally, I think that a lot of the eagerness to use
tasers stems from the moment the height and weight requirements
were changed for those wishing to join the RCMP. That
was a long time ago but we really seem to be reaping what
was sown when those rules were changed.
Watch some of the shows on television such as Cops and
an utterly disgusting Canadian made reality show on called
'To Serve and Protect'. For each vehicle stopped,
you must listen to the police screaming at the top of
their voices over and over again at the driver
they have just stopped and that has just exited the vehicle.
Usually, "Get down, get down, get down." Or,
"Get out, get out, get out......." The litany
just goes on and on and frankly, the cops always sound
terrified. If I were a drug crazed dealer or a bad guy
that just stole a car, I don't know if I would be all
that reluctant to take on one of these uniforms screaming
like a silly school girl. Perhaps they're trained that
way nowadays. Perhaps the repetitive screaming is supposed
to convince the arrestee to do what the police want them
to. Somehow, I don't think the terror was intended
to be included in that training, though.
Does this mean our police are too young, too short, or
too small, to effectively police? What happened to the
huge RCMP Members that I used know in the 70's? The
ones that seemed utterly calm and utterly fearless, even
without pepper spray and tasers? What happened
to rookies working closely with a senior Member for years
before they were permitted to work alone? And what has
happened to just plain talking first and firing later?
Establishment frowns on the use of guns and so eventually
pepper spray was developed and seemed to return remarkable
results. It assisted police personnel in taking down a
difficult arrestee, without apparent long term harm. But
pepper spray seems to have fallen out of favor since the
arrival of the taser. Is it because there's no
risk of pepper spray blowing back in the officer's face?
Or is it because it's so much more fun to watch the victim
bounce across the floor after receiving a high voltage
In any case, the RCMP have a serious image problem right
now that needs to be corrected from within the ranks.
And in the age of communications and technology, that
image problem is being felt even out here. I'll continue
with that tomorrow.
As you can see, it's a new week so you'll find last week's
stories at October
Week Four .
The purpose of this web site is to draw attention to a
remote area of west central British Columbia. It is a
beautiful area that relies heavily on tourism. The search
engines don't know much about the West Chilcotin, Anahim
Lake, Nimpo Lake or any of the other small communities
in the region and I hope to change that! Even as large
as this site will eventually be, there just isn't enough
room or time in the day to fully describe this incredible
country but I am going to try scraping away at the tip
of the iceberg, so join me!
the links, and see what the West Chilcotin is really like!