By Stanley Tromp, Vancouver Sun,
Hundreds of incensed constituents flooded Premier Christy Clark's email inbox in the days after the June 15 Stanley Cup riot.
Many proclaimed the rioters' guilt, demanded harsh punishment and called for public forms of shaming in emails to the premier obtained by The Vancouver Sun under the Freedom of Information Act.
Those email writers are likely among those applauding the premier's actions this week. In Monday's throne speech, Clark demanded prosecutors advocate for television and radio access to the courts during the coming riot trials.
When the criminal justice branch, independent overseer of criminal prosecutions, resisted the request, Attorney-General Shirley Bond announced she would invoke a rarely used power of her office to overrule the branch.
Clark elaborated on her position in the legislature on Wednesday saying: "The reason we've made this request is because those criminals committed those crimes in public."
Critics counter that this amounts to the premier prejudging the guilt of the accused, and casting a political shadow over the court proceedings related to the riot.
The premier's office was unavailable to comment.
Of the hundreds of emails, only one writer advised restraint: "In watching the response from social media, I do think we also need to mitigate the backlash. We have a justice system that deals with this type of issue in Canada - it's not up to individuals. I do get concerned about people being fired for being on an image, without due legal process or context."
But most writers called for jail terms, hard labour, community service, firings, blacklisting, revoking of passports and driver's licences, and more. They pledged votes for the premier if she took a harsh stance, and warned of the political consequences of leniency.
COMMENTS, SOME WHIMSICAL, INCLUDED:
. "For God's sake, have your government show some guts and take action. It goes without saying you would get a herd of votes."
. "Everyone admired the statement you made on TV. We need an Iron Lady in B.C. I nominate you. Please be our Iron Lady."
. "Do whatever you can to see that the minimum, with no parole, sentence these criminals get is two years in prison."
. "I fully support the idea of publicly shaming those that were involved with the riots. I look forward to seeing the names and faces of these people published in glorious colour across the media spectrum."
. "Love the fact that you want to put them in the spotlight! Brilliant!"
. "Why don't you encourage judges to get creative? Perhaps ankle bracelets and house arrests during large events in Vancouver?"
. "I simply wanted to say thank you for taking a tough stance on those responsible for the riots. I knew we voted for the right premier."
. "Why don't you charge these major idiots as being terrorists under the Terrorist Act?"
. "Whatever happened to accountability? My son believes that Judge Begbie's justice be brought back!"
. "In terms of community service, I feel it would be totally appropriate for the vandals to be issued distinctive garb and be put to work scrubbing the streets of our city on their hands and knees. Their location in the performance of this service should be posted on popular social media so that those who are interested can bear witness to and encourage their efforts."
. "I know it would be hard to exile them out to a remote island (like that of Survivor) so they could learn discipline and have a taste of hard life, but this is a very tempting option."
. "At the risk of sounding draconian, we need a swift response. Stocks in Robson Square would be a good beginning."
. "Can you put pressure on the judges to sentence rioters to mandatory service in the Canadian Army? They want excitement, blowing things up - send them to Afghanistan."
. "Public lashings would be nice. Please! Madam Premier, take a stand and fight for our civility."
. "Disgraceful conduct by many last night! The police showed much more restraint than I would have - and I'm a quiet reserved granny."
. "Dear Premier Clark, aka. Momma Orca: We got sharks coming in and out of our territory messing things up for the pod, and it's time Mama Orca sends a message. And if you do, you got my vote!"
. "Thanks for allowing me to vent, love the hair!"
(Read more emails at vancouversun.com)