If there’s one thing we’ve learned from BC’s anti-pipeline protests on Burnaby Mountain it’s that Simon Fraser University has some seriously nutty professors. Nuttiest of all is English professor Stephen Collis, a man who writes poetry glorifying street violence like the Toronto G20. Then there was biology professor Lynne Quarmby (now a Green Party candidate) who claimed not to be a radical, while sharing the stage with the nuttiest of bedfellows.
Today we introduce another nutty SFU professor who has followed a long tradition of Burnaby Mountain protesters making lame and disrespectful attacks against the RCMP. Unfortunately, as entertainment value goes, Tim Takaro’s attack was horribly unoriginal- a carbon copy of Lesslie Askin’s September, 2014 incident, where the 71 year old woman was visited by the RCMP after being seen taking pictures of Burnaby Mountain’s oil storage tanks.
Like Askin, Takaro took his tale to the media after being contacted by the RCMP. Investigating Askin, there doesn’t appear to be any reason they’d worry about her. But what about Tim Takaro? Are there any red flags they should be concerned about?
Interruptum Per Prandium: A Phone Call From The RCMP
On the afternoon of March 11th Professor Takaro was enjoying the fruits of his academic lifestyle lunching with his family at the Vancouver Island resort town of Tofino. Takaro claims that their lunch was interrupted when someone from the RCMP rang his daughter’s cell phone. After a second attempted call from an unidentified number his daughter answered and then passed the phone to her father. They then asked him questions about an incident when he was seen taking pictures near Kinder Morgan’s oil tank facility on Burnaby Mountain.
One of the first things most Canadians would probably do at this point is to try and figure out who they’ve been associating with that would attract the RCMP to visit them. But Takaro, fresh from an interview with Global TV about the Vancouver port fire, instead used the opportunity for shameless Lynne Quarmby style self-promotion.
Interviewed on CBC radio, Takaro explained how he went up to Burnaby Mountain on the afternoon of the 11th and walked around taking pictures. He explained how incident began when he approached Kinder Morgan’s oil tank farm. The security guard (rightly or wrongly) told Takaro that he’s not allowed to take pictures of the facility- they both thern went on their own ways.
Burnaby RCMP explained how they tracked him through his car’s licence plate, and asked him to confirm if he participated in last year’s protests against Kinder Morgan – he confirmed to the CBC that he was “up there several times”. They also asked him if he was “involved with any incidents”.
It’s a fair question, there were some hardcore extremists up on Burnaby Mountain. The arrests of David Suzuki’s family and Grand Chief Stewart Phillip were stage managed by Harsha Walia – Canada’s most prominent supporter of activist violence. Suzuki’s grandson Tamo Campos publicly declared he was above the law because the pipeline is being “on stolen native land”.
But Takaro isn’t a revolutionary extremist, right?
Nutty Professor, Radical Friends:
This is the point of the story where it’s helpful for journalists to do their research – you see, professor Takaro is closer to the revolutionary world than the articles about his call from the RCMP indicate.
As part of his work studying climate change Takaro has worked with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a radical left think tank at the heart of the revolutionary community. The best example of the CCPA’s wackadoodle mindset is how they gave a youth award to none other than Harsha Walia. They also recently sponsored her speaking tour- exposing youth across the country to her dangerous brand of extremism.
That said, understanding Takaro’s connections with militant extremists, Walia is probably a bit milquetoast to a man of his experience. The Nicaragua Dispatch describes Takaro as a “former internationalist” (people who came to assist the Sandinista army) who worked in a war zone health clinic in Jinotega. A book titled The Killings In Northern Nicaragua says he was there working with the Unitarian-Universalist Service Committee.
Takaro made friends with another volunteer named Benjamin Linder duing his time there. Linder was an engineer who marched through the jungle carrying an AK-47 (followed by armed Sandinista militia) building dams for the revolution. Linder was reported to be the only American ever killed by the Contras- Takaro says he was tortured, a family member disagreed. In 2012 Takaro travelled down to Nicaragua with his children to recognize the anniversary of his friend’s death.
So, Was It Wrong For the RCMP To Contact Professor Takaro?
Okay, so here we have a nutty professor, from a university with many other nutty professors, working with a nutty NGO that gives awards to a nutty pro-violence professional protester, with a history of working with counter-revolutionary forces. Do you think that the RCMP had a good reason to make a simple phone call?
Many of Professor Takaro’s supporters are probably yelling out loud “bullshit!” at this point- and you know what, they’re absolutely correct. The reality of the situation is much less exciting than Sandinista forces and a faux-revolutionary Downtown Eastside race baiter. The RCMP’s case can be whittled down to two words- due diligence.
You see, any time a report is made to the RCMP that someone was skulking around an oil tank farm taking pictures – particularly in a situation like Burnaby Mountain where a wide variety of extremist nutters got involved – heads would roll if nobody checked it out and something really bad happened.
Basically, Professor Takaro’s story was a non-story. But, thanks to Stephen Quinn at the CBC, many people have lost several minutes listening to his cheap excuse to pitch his political message about climate change. That said, let’s hope that the RCMP were aware of all the other reasons that should have compelled them to talk to the professor- he has some strange bedfellows…