by Alok Premjee
Basics Issue #9 (May 2008)
If the amount of homeless people in Canada isn’t enough of an indicator of the injustice in this country, then look to the murder of the homeless man Paul Croutch in 2005 for more proof. On August 31, 2005, three Canadian soldiers beat to death 59-year-old homeless man, Paul Croutch.
Jeffrey Hall, 24, Mountaz Ibrahim, 25, and Brian Deganis, 23, were all charged with second-degree murder in the death of Croutch. Two of them were convicted with manslaughter charges after plea-bargaining and will serve sentences of five and ten years each. The third soldier, Ibrahim, will serve a mere 10 months for his role as an accessory.
A witness who was assaulted as she intervened in the fatal attack told the courtroom that one of the soldiers “shoved his dog tags in my face. He said this gave them the right to kill all derelicts, crackheads, whores and bums. And that I needed to tell all my friends – this was their park.”
If these are how Canadian soldiers feel and treat the marginalized and poor people in Canada, then we can only imagine the hatred they must have towards the peoples they have occupied in recent years in Afghanistan and Haiti. The bigger question is whether these are the attitudes that Canadian soldiers are taught as they are trained to become professional killers. ∗
Rest in Peace, Mr. Croutch