Above the Law: The Crooks, the Politicians, the Mounties,
and Rod Stamler
NON FICTION BOOK REVIEW
Title:Above the Law: The Crooks, the Politicians, the Mounties,
and Rod Stamler; by Paul Palango; McClelland & Stewart;
ISBN: 0-7710-6929-4;hardcover, 314 pages, $29.99
Reviewer:A.T.Connellan, "This year there'll be a half-dozen or
so important books published for concerned Canadians. Above
the Law should rank at, or near the head of the list."
Stamler Probed Corruption In High Places
Possessed of a keen intellect, firmly grounded ethics, and an
inquisitive nature, Rod Stamler built on the force's superb training
to become an exemplar, a Mountie's Mountie, in what is arguably
one of the finest police forces in the world.
Above the Law is not so much the Rod Stamler story as it is author
Paul Palango's assessment of the erosion of the Royal Canadian
Mounted Police that took place during Stamler's years of service.
He provides the window, Palango the account. It's a deeply
disturbing chronicle, and one that caring Canadians had better pay
Palango is to be commended for bringing this story forward. In the
words of colleague Geoffrey Stevens, he's "a rarity, a journalist who
actually cares, and cares deeply, about the probity in public office."
The illusions of many Canadians were dispelled in the 1970s when
Rod Stamler became known by his work in the newly-formed
Commercial Crime Branch. His investigations and prosecutions in
bid-rigging on the salvage of the Irving Whale, fraud in the dredging
of Hamilton Harbour, the infamous Sky Shops affair, and the activities
of organized criminals John Papalia in Hamilton, and the Vincent
Cotroni family of Montreal brought him to media attention.
Stamler believed "that authority ran from the bottom of the force to
the top," and that the rule of law was paramount. In Stamler's book no
one was above the law. In the late 1970s and 1980s the federal
government decided differently, and so began the process by
politicians for the subversion, and subjugation of the RCMP. The tale
is chilling, the consequences ominous.
Palango's pages are populated by a who's who of connivers and
twisters, in and out of the houses of financial power, and the provincial
and federal governments. The hangers on, the fixers, and the spineless
are named, and their duplicity mercilessly exposed.
Above the Law sounds the alarm and underlines the danger to all of us
when any police force is co-opted by the political process. Paul
Palango makes a cogent and compelling case for the re-vitalization of
the RCMP, and the restoration of its effectiveness by establishing a
distance of independence from the political process.
This year there'll be a half-dozen or so important books published for
concerned Canadians. Above the Law should rank at, or near the head
of the list.
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