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Canadians Caught Urinating On War Monument

From Canada.com:

(CP PHOTO/HO - Michael Pilon)   A man is seen relieving himself on the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Saturday, July 1, 2006. In an interview with Ottawa radio station CFRA on Monday, Stephen Harper called it a 'terrible thing to do.' (CP PHOTO/HO - Michael Pilon)

Police seek ‘despicable’ men who urinated on war monument

PM adds his voice to outcry after retired major snaps photos

Shannon Proudfoot

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

OTTAWA – A police investigation has been launched and debate ignited about proper respect for veterans after the publication of photographs of young men urinating on the National War Memorial on Canada Day.

The incident, in which several young men were photographed relieving themselves on the monument around 11 p.m. on Saturday following a fireworks display and concert, was the top item on CBC’s national newscast yesterday and received banner coverage in local newspapers.

Ottawa police described the case as "a priority" and said they intend to charge the men if they are identified. They could be charged under the Criminal Code of Canada with mischief for preventing "the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property," with consequences ranging from probation to a fine or possible jail time, depending upon past involvement with police.

The men could also be charged under the National Capital Commission Traffic and Property Regulations Act or under a city bylaw for urinating in public. According to the NCC, conservation officers would likely hand out a $125 fine for such a transgression.

As of yesterday, lead investigator Detective Mike Walker said Ottawa police had already received three tips about the identity of one of the men, who was pictured on the front page of the Ottawa Citizen, and were hoping for more.

"We have a few ideas on who it is," he said. "Someone who knows the guy will call in."

Sergeant Mike Laviolette, who was called in yesterday specifically to deal with "tons" of media inquiries about the case, said this Canada Day was quieter than most, with just 40 arrests throughout the city. Like the Peacekeeping Monument on Sussex Drive, the war memorial is always "a nuisance area" popular with skateboarders, he said, but NCC conservation officers usually deal with any problems.

"We work on a priority basis, and I’m not certain that sitting someone 24 hours a day in front of the war memorial is the best way to use our resources," Sgt. Laviolette said. He added that city police would begin working with the NCC and RCMP this morning to devise a reasonable way to protect the monument, including the possible use of private security guards.

The outcry reached to the upper echelons of government, with Prime Minister Stephen Harper calling an Ottawa radio station that spent much of yesterday discussing the story. Mr. Harper denounced the "thoughtless" actions of the young men, who were photographed by a retired major concerned about the treatment of the war memorial during the capital’s annual street party.

"Obviously, it’s a terrible thing to do," Mr. Harper said. "Certainly my impression is it doesn’t represent in any way the views of any segment of Canadian society."

David McGuinty, the MP for Ottawa South, did not mince words on the appropriate punishment for those caught urinating, whom he called "the worst of the worst that society has to offer."

"You want to grab them by the hair or by the ears and walk them through the War Museum, to understand just how despicable and disrespectful that kind of conduct is," he said, adding, "You cannot attribute this to drunkenness."

Mr. McGuinty was among the politicians that Dr. Michael Pilon, the retired major who shot the photos, e-mailed last month to ask for beefed-up security around the monument on Canada Day. The MP said no such e-mail had come to his attention, but he would speak to his staff about it today. Mr. McGuinty also vowed to take up the cause of protecting the monument, saying he wanted to bring together military agencies, the chief of police, the NCC and others to find a solution.

A National Defence spokesman denounced the "thoughtless and contemptible acts" perpetrated against the National War Memorial.

"Those few who would desecrate it only show their own ignorance and disrespect, and in no way diminish the vast debt of gratitude owed by Canadians to our veterans," said John Knoll.

"It’s absolutely disgusting — absolutely disgusting," said Bob Butt, the director of communications for the Royal Canadian Legion. "The tomb is a sacred place, the area surrounding it is consecrated as a graveyard. It’s the same as if you went in and urinated on someone’s grave."

Ottawa police say they have identified this man, photographed urinating on the War Memorial. (Ottawa Police Service)

I hope this doesn’t give Mother Sheehan any ideas.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, July 4th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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