Dear Tom: Canada Sucks Too

One of our longtime followers, Tom, occasionally posts that we overlook the things that aren’t all unicorns and Skittles in Canada.  Ergo, some details on one of our shittier sides and it’s happening in Thunder Bay.

To help our American readers, Thunder Bay is up at the top of Lake Superior, past Duluth and Grand Marais.  It used to be Fort William and Port Arthur but was amalgamated into Thunder Bay decades ago.  It is simply gorgeous up there, but there are problems.

The Thunder Bay Police and the Civilian Police board are under separate provincial investigations for all kinds of badness.  The police chief was charged in May for obstruction of justice.  TBay as a city has the highest rate of hate crimes in Canada, at least according to Statistics Canada.

A further band of shit-mist fell on Friday as the mayor, Keith Hobbs (an ex-cop) was charged with two others, including his wife, with extortion and obstruction of justice and a reminder that charged does not mean convicted.  But if it smells like shit, looks like shit and tastes like shit, it’s probably shit.

Being a ‘northern’ community, there is a racial tone to things with a large and deservedly vocal First Nations community.  Seven young First Nations kids have lost their lives between 2000 and 2011, three accidental according to the Coroner, but four were of “undetermined” causes, the linkage being the cops have dismissed a missing First Nations teen as just another missing Indian kid.  Ontario’s Office of the Independent Review Director – is already investigating the charges of systemic racism within the department.

We’ll add to that the Special Investigations Unit is looking into the death of another First Nations man, a couple of days ago, who died in a Thunder Bay Police cell.

So, Tom, yes, things are not rosy up here.

However, this where Canada differs:  We talk about it.  We acknowledge it.  Then we work to fix it.  It might not be fast, it might not be complete in every way, but we do it, no matter how much it hurts all of us.





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