GREENSTONE’S SUNSHINE TOUR

Greenstone OPP headquarters & lock-up

Greenstone OPP headquarters & lock-up

Yesterday, driving into town, I stopped for a hiker. I was suspicious. It looked like he had just come from the Greenstone OPP Detachment located on Highway 11 just west of the junction with Highway 584. He was walking toward the junction, facing traffic.

I stopped, rolled down my window. Going to town? I asked. Yes, he was. He belted himself in. Just came from the D.T., he volunteered.  It took me a while but I finally deciphered the code. He was obviously a young man, a native. He was cheerful and sociable.

He waited in the car while I transacted some business at Dan’s General Store. When I returned, he stuck out his hand to shake, and offered his name and home community. I reciprocated. He offered more information: They said I couldn’t stand up straight.

Okay, I meditated on that. Then he said, I puked on my socks. He laughed.

I asked if he was in school. Yes, he was.

116b Starlight Tour book coverAnd at this point, my mind began recalling the scandals of the starlight tours some years ago. Some police officers in various and sundry provinces believed it was their duty to punish drunks and addicts.   They would transport them outside the boundaries of their city and then abandon the victims to find their way back. In some cases the victims were even beaten up. In many cases the hour of the day or night or even the foulness of the weather was no barrier to these uncouth and illegal practices. In some cases, in the dead of winter, victims froze to death. This was happening in Canada.

 

116c Survivor's story

At the time, Greenstone had its own version of this practice. I call it the sunshine tour, for it was considerably less barbaric. Detainees released from the Geraldton lock-up had to find their own way back home. Even in the most foul weather. No one, as far as we know, died. This practice came to public notice and the OPP said they would cease and desist.

Well, judging by my personal experience yesterday, the sunshine tour appears to be alive and well. Downtown Geraldton is 5 kilometres from the Greenstone Detachment. Patrol cars are zipping into Geraldton several times a shift. There is no reason to compel released detainees to foot it for 5 kilometres. If detainees are picked up in Beardmore or Longlac or Nakina, do they have to find their own way home? I don’t know. Somebody in a responsible position should investigate and report. It is not the duty of police officers to punish offenders.

Anyway, I asked my passenger who his teachers were. He named them. I asked him to say hello to the one I knew. He said he would.

Now, what compelled a young man to drink himself into a such a state that he had to be detained for public intoxication? I don’t know. It seems to me that certain public officials should make it their business to find out. Officials in the field of social work and mental health. And it seems to me that police officers should make it their business not to punish such offenders in questionable ways but to refer these victims to health officials. Especially if these victims are, in the eyes of the law, children. I.e., not legally adults.

I dropped my passenger off at the high school. (Now, why did the police not think of that?) He thanked me.

I said, Remember to wash those socks. He laughed.

Image provided.

Image provided.

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About EJ Lavoie

Writer and independent publisher with website www.WhiskyJackPublishing.ca
This entry was posted in BURNING ISSUES, GREENSTONE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to GREENSTONE’S SUNSHINE TOUR

  1. joe nieman says:

    sounds fishy to me, they can’t hold a person under the age of 16. and it don’t matter what color or race no one get a ride home. trust me when I say I am not on either side with this one but I will call bullshit. you got 1 side for a few minutes.

  2. If someone is picked up for public drunken behaviour and have no means of returning to their community , then they should at least be afforded a ride back to the community town limit or given a bus voucher to return there if it is further away . Although it may be embarrassing to some , every effort should be made to contact family or friends to arrange their own transport whenever possible . Turning any person loose in a strange and sometimes hostile environment to fend for themselves is wrong , no matter what their ethnicity . Maybe if this type of behaviour can be helped with counselling or therapy for repeat offenders which often is the case in these situations , then the frequency of such occurences would be greatly reduced .

  3. Charlotte says:

    I love this, tears rolling, and a praise to the Creator for people like you. May The Lord continue to bless your soul. Ahoo.

  4. G S says:

    Cops do this all over Canada, especially the RCMP in Manitoba

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