About a year ago I applied for a licence in my neighbouring province (where I was born, went to school and worked for a while). This was an interesting experience which I should blog about some time. The caper was in addition to having to get a criminal records check, having to be fingerprinted. This was because apparently a sex offender has the same birthday as I do.
I quixotically phoned the agency, knowing that it wouldn’t change anything but I needed to yell at someone on the phone. They were very polite; it was like I wan’t the first person and I went down to my local police station and good fingerprinted. Interestingly enough, so many people need to get fingerprinted now that our police force has a free standing office which does nothing but fingerprint people.
And I wrote this letter.
“Thank you for your letter and for the time your two employees took trying to explain it on the phone. It is nice to know that I am not suspected of being a sex offender.
For your information, I was born in British Columbia, grew up, attended medical school there and practised medicine there. I have practised in Edmonton since 1992 and have been at my current hospital since 1996. I have lived in my current house for over 10 years. I have paid both federal and provincial income taxes as well as property taxes. I have a drivers licence. I recently renewed my passport for 10 years. (I provided a notarized copy to the CPSBC). I have a Nexus card. It is my understanding that every year I have had criminal records check through the CPSA. I also had one when I got a visa to go to Rwanda to volunteer teach. I show up in Google searches of my name. It is not like I have hiding for the past 40 or so years.
I accept however the possibility that during this time, I may have lived a double life involving nefarious activities under another name leading to my acquiring a criminal record. It is also possible that I continued to work and raise a family while incarcerated. An alternative explanation might be that I used my time while incarcerated to learn how to construct a time machine which I used on release to travel back in time and create a new identity.
Seriously I think that people who exploit the vulnerable especially those who abuse children are the lowest form of humanity and if by getting fingerprinted, I could prevent one such incident of abuse, I would happily get fingerprinted every day. The truth is that this policy is not about protecting the vulnerable; it is a make work project for the public safety industry and a cash cow for the RCMP and local police forces. Even the nice lady who spoke with me on the phone acknowledged that this policy has resulted in a huge increase in the number of staff needed to maintain it and one wonders how many nurses or police officers could be employed with the money necessary to employ these people. The other and more concerning issue is that policies like this are primarily designed to give the appearance of doing something about the problem rather than actually doing anything about it.
It further needs to be noted that saying, “we’re only enforcing policy” is a somewhat empty excuse when you are the ones who made the policy. It also sounds very much like “we are only following orders”, an excuse that was deemed invalid around 1945.”