Back in the Summer of 2008 the world changed in a big way for alot of people, but most especially for the infamous Igor Kenk. For years, this ill-reputed merchant and bike-mechanic had been notorious not just for his rumored deeds and corrosively incisive views on Society, but also as a magnetic force for street urchins and anyone else who felt disenfranchised in a world driven by the pursuit of happiness through possessions and consumption. In his visible role as a raving misfit on the edge of a bustling Queen West scene in Toronto, and a sneering purveyor of cheap transportation to anyone who would doubt his wisdom, Kenk became personified as twisted street prophet. Foretelling doom for Western Culture with its unbridled growth through the exploitation of resources, and the fallacies of credit/debt fueled economic expansion at all costs.
Then, just as the markets were starting their tumble, Kenk was finally arrested…After years of apparent apathy by the Toronto Police Service, the law finally cracked down on him with a single sting operation. This raid not only served notice to Toronto’s Citizens (and bike thieves) that the police were suddenly eager to make a big public splash with their newfound interest in bike theft, but the raid also set off a legal chain of events that would make a very critical point of Canadian Law more obvious to anyone who was interested in why Kenk actually forfeited his stash of bikes. Namely, that the Civil Remediation Act (CRA) shows us that none of us actually hold any inalienable rights to own or posses our property.
Although the seizure of Kenks own “property” was widely supported by a Public thirst for blood and retribution, since it was all presumed to be stolen anyhow, this case also demonstrated that the Canadian Constitution does NOT make direct provisions for ANYBODY to have any rights to the property that most people pursue in the course of their lives! As Igor Kenk soon found out, what almost all Canadians still presume to be their defensible right to own property is in fact a legally supported illusion. Ownership of belongings is a virtual/legal relationship between you and your possessions that the law supports only indirectly, and which it can revoke at any time under many open-ended provisions. In this case, under a piece of provincial civil law called the Civil Remediation Act (CRA)…A law meant to seize assets from criminals, but which doesn’t even require a conviction, or even a preliminary hearing in order to be enacted upon!
This legal brainchild is modeled in principal on the Proceeds of Crime Act that was originally conceived to serve in the War on Drugs south of the border, and meant to recover legal costs for victims. That this concept was invented in the same country that gave the world over-leveraged credit default swaps and collateralized debt obligations, should be of no immediate concern, but rest assured that more research will be come to light as we look to the Land of the Free for any fallout from such legal strategies. in the meantime, let’s see how this card plays itself in Ontario
Here in Canada, to circumvent the Federal mandate over Criminal Law, this little known legal maneuver is actually enacted at he Provincial level under Civil Law. This powerful legal playing card might have become more obvious to the Public during the lengthy Kenk Saga, however the criminal drama being played out upstaged this Civil technicality, and the results were just perceived to be a thief losing his stolen property. Realistically, at that point most people were also too busy staying afloat after the financial world nearly capsized under the weight of poorly secured credit, which was exacerbated by the derivative driven greed of bankers, financiers, and property managers. While most people watched value evaporate off of their own bank statements, and debated liquidating their remaining assets, nobody was actually taking much notice of any subtle details of what the word “property” actually meant in teh eyes of the Law…Especially in a highly leveraged world where ‘book value’ could be erased overnight anyhow.
Some Sociopaths will bank on the gradual collapse of civilization by investing in Petrochemical Giants, and the security/military suppliers that support those interests. Other degenerates will hoard bikes, and trade in scrap metal. While others will simply presume that cash is a worthless symbol, and count on the collapse of monetary systems through the accumulation of gold, to assure their survival against the end of life as we know it. Meanwhile, the CFO’s of Auto-Giants, Banks, and Utility companies were content to simply wrap themselves in TARP funds, or cash in on the Publicly funded bailouts or blue-collar incentives in order to suddenly start scrapping old cars and fridges, digging up our roadways, and upgrading privately held Public infrastructure via the Public Purse, in order to stimulate the purchase of new cars or “energy saving” appliances with the proceeds. Through this almost religious re-affirmation of the need to purchase and posses (for the good of the economy no less!) there was one important fact about our basic property rights that almost everybody (but Igor Kenk and a handful of legal professionals) have remained entirely oblivious to…
Would you like to learn about why the Government can seize your property even if you haven’t been convicted of a crime? Or do you think that this provision in the law can only impact a criminal?
…a continuing saga
The Law can leave us feeling like Justice isn’t always served…The saga of Igor Kenk as Toronto’s “most notorious bike thief” provides us with multiple views on how to cure this, and other the Ills of Society…
The Public has now seen its first case of Property seizures, that led to forfeitures, that led to misunderstandings about the actual crimes…and left us wanting more Justice…For ALL!
The thousands of bikes and parts forfeited by Kenk and donated by the Crown to serve a Public Good might not be enough to satisfy the Public’s sense of justice, but at least it’s a good start. Luckily there’s MUCH more to this story than we can receive from official sources…
The vilification of Igor the Terrible has been underway for years, and this is the first of many reasons why popular ideas assure that Justice may never be served…