Fear of retribution north of Smokey

A fleeting moment on CBC radio this morning pointed to a disintegration of the social fabric in rural Nova Scotia that ought to be more clearly on our collective radar.

Jim Morrow, proprietor of Victoria County’s only newspaper and CBC Cape Breton’s volunteer “party line” correspondent at municipal council, declined to name the public members of the newly created Victoria County Police Advisory Board.

Justice Minister Ross Landry created the board to serve as liaison between the RCMP and the County Council. Host Steve Sutherland asked who was on it.

Morrow: I don’t know if I should really say that, because some of the issues they are dealing with are… the issues north of Smokey, with the arsonist and that kind of thing, and there’s a lot of fear and trepedation out there are we don’t want to pinpoint one individual over another.

Sutherland: Hmmph. So the members of the police advisory board are not going to be made public?

Morrow: I would imagine they would be, but I’m not going to be the one that’s going to do it.

Sutherland: What’s your concern, Jim?

Morrow: I’m afraid of some retribution. There’s a lot of retributive justice North of Smokey and people are very frightened down there to step forward or to point fingers because the retibution can be quite desperate. Right now you cannot get insurance on a house – new house – north of Dingwall, there is no building starts. the real estate is dead north of dingwall becasue of the types of actions that are taking place down there.

Maybe what’s needed is not police advice but policing. Arson has been a problem for two decades in northern Victoria County. Is there another part of Canada where a law enforcement failure of that longevity would be tolerated?