On Hornby Island on July 29, my wife and I were on our way to our host’s residence at around 10 or 11 p.m. when we were stopped by some police officers who were conducting a roadblock to intercept drivers under the influence of alcohol.
We didn’t understand what was wanted and thought that the officers were directing traffic because of an accident. We slowed to a slow walking pace but did not immediately stop until an officer stepped in front of our car.
I received the rudest treatment I have ever experienced. I am 82 years old; my wife is 72. We were the only people in the car.
A bright flashlight was directly focused into my eyes and kept there throughout the interview. I suppose this was to prevent me from identifying my interrogator. I was continually shouted down when I tried to speak, accused, threatened, bullied and insulted.
I realized that I was not dealing with an officer of the internationally famed RCMP but with a heavily armed, psychopathic bully who felt his authority had been challenged and who might be on the edge of losing control.
From recent news reports I knew that this was occasional behaviour in the RCMP these days, and that if he chose, he could shoot my wife and myself with his sidearm or taser, make up a suitable lie, swear to it in court and be exonerated.
This sobering thought penetrated my outrage. I prefer that my wife and I be alive rather than causes celebres.
I said absolutely nothing, took a very deep breath and blew into the tube. I guess the test proved I had not been driving under the influence of alcohol.
I was abruptly dismissed. No apology was offered.
This event was a bitter pill for me, since I had been invited to Hornby Island by the festival committee to speak at the gala for the 30th anniversary of the festival — of which I happen to have been the originator back in 1981.
I was also profoundly saddened. I had been raised on legends of the RCMP as the finest police in the world only to be subjected to discourtesy that would have shamed the Gestapo.