Above the Law: The Crooks, the Politicians, the Mounties, and Rod Stamler


NON FICTION BOOK REVIEW  

405 words 

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 
attention to.

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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