A farmer near Spiritwood, Sask. says she isn’t surprised at recent calls to expand people’s right to defend their property with force.
Rural councillors voted Tuesday to have the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) lobby the federal government for more leeway when it comes to self-defence.
Delores Buckingham spoke with Saskatchewan Afternoon’s David Kirton Thursday, giving an account of a recent incident on her property.
Buckingham said she came home with her husband Mal to find a pair of men in the process of stealing fuel, tools and groceries.
“Right in broad daylight. We were gone from home for an hour and came home and caught them in the act,” she said.
Buckingham said one of the men brushed past her on the driveway, muttering something about needing gas, while her husband was talking to the other man in the yard.
The farmer didn’t understand what was going on until she noticed two large bags of meat lined up at the door of their workshop, next to several of her husband’s tools.
Realizing they were being robbed, she yelled to Mal to call police.
That’s when the two men allegedly tried to get away in their vehicle, while Mal attempted to block the driveway.
“They tried to run him down, and went around him and took off,” she said.
Buckingham said her husband decided to hop into their car and follow the men.
Realizing her cellphone was still in her purse inside the vehicle, she said she went out to the road and flagged down a passing driver so she could call 9-1-1.
“One of the first things the dispatcher asked me was, ‘(Are) there weapons involved?’ I said, ‘No, but I certainly thought about it,'” she said.
Buckingham later learned her husband was also on the phone with police as he followed the suspects.
She said Mal tailed the vehicle to a dead-end road, where he pulled over as police cruisers arrived at the scene. She said the alleged thieves turned around and barrelled past the officers’ vehicles.
Buckingham noted roads were icy at the time, but she still wasn’t impressed learn police weren’t able to catch the men.
“This is just our little opinion — that the police didn’t put forth the effort that was required,” she said, noting neighbours saw the suspect vehicle go by before disappearing down the road.
With the incident behind her, Buckingham said she and Mal are still having trouble getting back into their usual routines.
“It’s just a very invasive feeling. You’re just wondering at night, ‘Is there going to be somebody else driving back into my yard?'” she said.
Buckingham said she and her husband support SARM’s recent motion 100 per cent.
“People that are living in rural areas can’t leave their property. When the police are called, they aren’t getting any satisfaction,” she said.
Federal, provincial officials reject motion
Earlier this week, Saskatchewan Justice Minister Gord Wyant said (link:http://www.cjme.com/?s=rural-crime-frustration-palpable-dont-ta…) the province wasn’t interested in seeing changes to Canada’s self-defence laws.
That position was echoed in a statement from federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, who wrote Wednesday evening:
“While the frustration expressed in SARM’s resolution is understandable … the approach it suggests has failed to produce good results in other jurisdictions.”
Goodale described Wyant’s statement on the matter as “thoughtful” before going on to write, “policing functions need to be performed by trained professionals.”