Anyone who has any interest whatsoever in angling cannot help having heard about incidents of assault on Asian anglers over the past year.
The Stray Caster went to a report in the Edmonton Journal online to read something with a little distance and less hysteria than the Ontario media and various provincial groups have been providing.
As usual, there are two sides to every story, and then, most likely, somewhere in between lies some truth.
Of course, once a few Asians were attacked, the politically correct crowd clambered on board with a vengeance. They sought police officers trained in hate crimes to examine what is going on. It was simply assumed the attacks were racially motivated.
The Stray Caster states categorically that he does not believe there should be any such thing as hate crime. There might be hateful people, there might be, and likely are hateful criminals, but crime is crime is crime. It does not matter what someone is thinking when he smacks someone else in the nose. Assault is assault, is assault. Determining whether someone hated someone else enough to whack them in the nose is impossible to really determine, and even trained judges have to guess.
Presumably, one would have to have at least a strong dislike, but detecting hate crimes requires Thought Police. Anyone who has heard that term before knows it comes from George Orwell’s 1984, where the government determines how people are permitted to think. Pray we have not reached that level in Canada – yet, anyway.
The Stray Caster finds it most unfortunate that some have attacked Asians and call it “nipper tipping.” Such derogatory terms are disgusting, and demean the speaker, and not the people being attacked. A person who uses the term is ugly.
There have been a number of incidents reported from last year. That Journal report said on April 27, police said a 13-year-old Asian teen was thrown into a lake while fishing at night. Nearby, a 72-year-old white man had his fishing gear damaged. There were no injuries reported. On July 22, a middle-aged Asian couple who were fishing, had their car damaged and windshield smashed. On Aug. 6, police reported an Asian man was pushed into Lake Simcoe while fishing. That case is currently before the courts.
The victims, apparently mostly Asians, have every right to be upset. Nobody should have to endure such attacks.
And then there is the other side of the coin. The Stray Caster has also heard that a number of angling groups are sick and tired of seeing their environmental and stream and lake work such as fish stocking go down the drain because illegal anglers ignore the rules, take whatever they catch, and to Hell with the regulations.
The Stray Caster recently received an email from the Eastern Ontario Outdoorsmen Association (EOOA) an affiliate of the Ontario Landowners Association. They are appalled by the lack of action by the Ministry Natural Resources in the latest incident of illegal fishing by anglers in Westport.
The groups stated that Minister of Natural Resources Donna Cansfield heard testimony from angry and concerned Westport residents at a public meeting this April, of hooded people fishing illegally from dark to dawn. The email stated, “These same intruders then scurried around in the dark of night, entering private backyards, and unabashedly using the premises as a bathroom. After four years of complaints of illegal activities, not one charge has been laid by MNR or OPP.”
The group added, “Ontario Human Rights Commissioner Barbara Hall had the gall to call Westport a ‘racist town.’ In reality, Westport survives on tourism from around the world.”
The group’s president, Bob Leonard, suggested, “Ms. Cansfield needs to call for an independent investigation to restore credibility to the MNR, and explain why they have imposed 5,500 precautionary regulation changes to the fishing industry, while at the same time, turned a blind eye to illegal fishing.”
And there you have it in a nutshell.
Are there ethnic groups that disobey the rules? Of course there are. The Stray Caster has spoken to numerous officials of governmental organizations who will admit that – just not for the record. The Stray Caster does not blame them one bit. Their jobs are at stake, and nobody wants to face the Human Rights Commission complaint. Winning there is a Phyrric victory.
Are there ethnic groups that obey the rules? Of course there are. But, does one bad apple tar an entire group? The Stray Caster would suggest that, in some minds, it does. He has even heard a list of the top five ethnic group offenders from a government worker who insisted on anonymity.
Clearly, the real problem starts and begins at the Ministry of Natural Resources. First, the provincial government should give its officers the last part of that name, and provide it with enough resources to properly police fishing and hunting.
That would, soon enough, end angry attacks.
The Stray Caster believes that when it comes to racism, some groups might be hiding behind the anglers’ groups. If angling violators of all nationalities and races are charged when they fish illegally, nobody will feel the need to become a vigilante to protect a fishery or private property.
Thus, anyone who attacks innocent anglers deserves those few years in the slammer for assault, and we don’t care if the person assaulted is white, red, black, yellow, or polka-dot.
Crime is crime is crime. Let the punishment be just, swift, and harsh. Maybe such behaviour won’t be repeated.