The recent case of the Crown vs. Igor Kenk showed us a few things about how the Law operates, but some realizations might come as a surprise to those of us seeking to stay on the right side of the road. As it turns out, our Property Rights are actually upheld in a virtual trust with the Law, and are actually nothing more than a widely held illusion. One that is supported by a very thin and subjectively drawn line. In fact, without any provisions made in our Constitution for assuring the rights to personal property, this line can be drawn anywhere that lawmakers see fit.
At present here in Ontario, the point of demarcation between you and the “ownership” of your property is best demonstrated by a piece of Provincial Legislature called the Civil Remedies Act (CRA). This law loosely stipulates that if something that you consider to be yours can be associated with any criminal activity (not used in an actual “crime” nor resulting from the proceeds of crime, mind you), it is subject to forfeiture under the Civil Remedies Act. Igor Kenk discovered this the hard way of course, in some sort of Karmic backlash, that most people still don’t understand.
When it comes to our personal property, and and it’s assumed worth, we have to remember that life is comprised of all sorts of shared illusions, that are often held together with nothing more than trust and collectively held belief systems. Consider the credit (ie. DEBT) driven basis for our economic systems, that is supported by the idea that everyone will keep paying things down, even if it winds up taking generations to do so. We could even take God and/or the Monetary System for other examples of Trust (ie. faith in the system) but let’s not go there, since neither one of them is really solidly backed by gold reserves anymore, anyhow.
What we can do, is just believe that there are enough chairs for everyone to keep dancing around, and that the music will never stop and force us to take stock of how much ACTUAL value there is in our economy that is largely built on properties that have been valued according to the debt that they underwrite. In this ongoing game of trust, we should also establish how the Law actually supports your ability to retain property under your name, and assure that it can’t be taken away from you…Unless of course your car needs to be commandeered by an officer of the law, or your home happens to be in the path of a new automobile expressway, or if you happen to become “associated” with some criminal activity and therefore fall under the auspicious scope of such provisions as the Civil Remedies Act (CRA) here in Ontario, Canada.
So let’s cover the CRA real quick, so that we can all get right back to our regularly scheduled pursuit of happiness as most people understand it to be…
Property Flaws: Who Owns Who?
As it is only loosely based around the same principals as a U.S. law called the “Proceeds of Crime Act”, the province of Ontario had to create the CRA as a Civil Law to circumvent the Federal mandate over Criminal Law, and achieve the same objectives. The CRA was recently enacted upon in the case of the Crown vs. Igor Kenk, however never actually required a conviction against Kenk in the charges laid against him. In fact, Kenk hadn’t even had his preliminary hearing yet, when the Crown applied to court for a forfeiture of Kenk’s Queen Street store/home, its contents, his tools, all the bicycles, and his two pickup trucks…under the provisions of Civil Remedies Act.
Now most people will simply assert that these are Kenk’s just deserts in light of all the allegations and rumors brought to bear upon him. Unfortunately, this type of mob-mentality not only glosses over the hidden dangers of this legal process (for all of us!), it also demonstrates how easily led we are by the PR driven mechanisms within the Press and Mainstream Media, as well as in the manufactured formation of Popular/Public Opinion. Consider how possible it is for a powerful person (this includes Corporations) to present themselves in the Media in order to create specifically desired Public perceptions. Now consider how easily the weak or disenfranchised could either be buried in obscurity, or easily vilified in a Media/Press that ultimately would serve the deepest pockets.
The Kenk case demonstrated that criminal convictions are not required to enact the CRA, only that a 51% probability be established that property is “tainted”, or associated in any number of ways with criminal activity. Kenk was certainly associated with criminal activity, and convicted a few months later on a few counts of theft, long after he had already succumbed to the effects of a CRA suit filed against him, and forfeited his home, place of business, 2 trucks, tools of his trade, and thousands of bikes and parts.
Nevertheless, since this suit was settled based on circumstantial evidence that simply needed to meet a 51% probability, we can also imagine how other cases could be constructed without the need for an actual conviction. The classic “Mr.Smith Goes to Washington” voiced what we all just presume upon nowadays…Which is just how effectively a well-greased PR machine can destroy credibility, and vilify any targeted personage, and manufacture Public opinion and political consent to serve any powerful purpose.
An important concern about the CRA that is raised by professionals is the legal burdens of countering any claims, and trying to establish the actual Truth, especially in the face of a well orchestrated Media campaign.
To demonstrate how one’s property was not “tainted” through criminal activity would be difficult enough, but the CRA actually makes it almost impossible to secure proper legal counsel as well! First, because the CRA is a piece of Civil Law (rather than Criminal Law), a Defendant cannot qualify for Legal Aide. Since the CRA also lays claim to any or all personal possessions, assets, and funds, any Attorney would be very cautious about taking on a case that could result in their being nothing left to pay themselves with. In short, the money used to hire a proper Defense is likely to be the very same property that the government is trying to confiscate.
Now where the CRA seeks to balance the costs of justice by forcing criminals to pay into the system, nobody would dispute that Justice is being served. However in its sweeping powers, and impersonation of Civil Law, this remediation against criminal activity has exposed one single and glaring oversight in the Constitution, that most Canadians don’t realize. Namely, there is no mention of the word “property” anywhere in our Constitution, and there are no provisions to uphold such an idea as our presumed right to hold our own property, without due legal process to prove otherwise.
So without recourse to the law, we are left to simply trust that we won’t be somehow ensnared in a very wide net if ever the Law wishes to associate us with any criminal charges…Regardless of whether those charges are actually upheld, much less result in a proper conviction.
…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…