Premier Christy Clark has instructed Crown prosecutors to televise the trials of alleged Stanley Cup rioters.
This is just this kind of flighty fiat that is making British Columbians of all stripes apprehensive about this premier's style. She's a bit of a capricious gunslinger. Not too fussy about pesky protocol, she prefers picking out something catchy and instructing others to make it happen. She's not a caucus-calming collaborator but a populace panderer.
Of course, this, the latest of Premier Clark's whims, is just the kind of raw meat my colleague and other proponents of public flogging respond to in the most profound of ways.
"Well, they didn't mind rioting in public, so they shouldn't mind being tried in public" Brilliant.
Never mind that televising these trials could inhibit witness testimony and put participants at risk. Don't be concerned that it would encourage showboating by lawyers and judges and give defendants months of undeserved fame and possible future book deals. And forget the considerable cost.
Who cares that justice might be overshadowed by entertainment, as it was in other media extravaganzas such as the Charles Manson trial or the gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Casey Anthony trial?
Don't get me wrong, we were all disgusted with how the Stanley Cup rioters besmirched the image of Vancouver but our disgust is palpable enough, we shouldn't need to publicly bathe them in notoriety.
But Premier Clark, while you're at it, maybe you could instruct prosecutors to televise the trial of the most egregious thing to happen in recent history: the unprecedented raid on the B.C. legislature and the odious BC Rail scandal. Oh, wait, we gave the defendants $6 million in taxpayers' money - maybe we'd better just stick to a televised hate-fest of hoodlums.
I will never forget the 1995 morning at Centennial secondary school when hundreds of students in the student lounge cheered and high-fived at the televised acquittal of O.J. Simpson. The intricacies and strategies of that trial turned a murderer into a folk hero and people cheered as O.J beat The Man on national TV.
I'm happy that in Canada, Clifford Robert Olson and Robert Pickton were convicted and jailed dispassionately, outside the camera's eye, without book deals and with the disrespect they deserved.
Face to Face columnist Jim Nelson is a retired Tri-City teacher and principal who lives in Port Moody. He has contributed a number of columns on education-related issues to The Tri-City News.