Michael Bryant has a new book out. Yes, the former attorney general of Ontario, a man tipped to be the eventual leader of the Liberal party and even perhaps prime minster of Canada, has just given us 28 Seconds: A True Story of Addiction, Tragedy and Hope.
Appallingly pretentious and lazy title aside, the main point is that this pampered prince of the liberal establishment was an alcoholic and he is angry that the police treated him harshly and even charged him back in 2009, when Darcy Allan Sheppard leapt onto his car and the young bicycle courier was killed.
Look, when Bryant panicked and when Sheppard died, most of us surely thought it was something, while tragic, that could have happened to anybody.
Bryant did not appear to have acted unusually or unnaturally, though there were some worrying questions to be asked.
He was charged, and then after an investigation told that he was free to go. That is how the system works in a civilized nation and as a former attorney general, Bryant really should know this.
That the police initially charged Bryant with dangerous driving causing death and criminal negligence causing death is also part of that same civilized equation.
It’s the law, and it must apply equally to all — from wealthy lawyers with powerful friends to troubled and broken young men who ride bicycles.
Bryant writes, “It is not unusual for Toronto Police Services to wait weeks (or even months) before deciding how they will proceed with such charges. In my case, the police couldn’t wait a news cycle. I got the opposite of special treatment.”
No you didn’t.
If anything you were treated kindly, and I’d bet the house on the fact that someone like Darcy Allen Sheppard wouldn’t have had the same treatment.
Nor would he have been able to afford the toughest lawyer in town or hire a leading PR company to represent him. You could and did both, Michael.
He also claims the police didn’t interview witnesses properly, yet the police have revealed they have never received a complaint from Bryant or his lawyers about this, and they went to the trouble of bringing in a special prosecutor from outside of the province to guarantee local bias would not influence matters.
Bryant also sounds more than a little smug and artificial when he says he hopes the book brings comfort to others who have struggled, when there’s very little indication of contrition or sorrow on offer — a point emphasized by Sheppard’s adoptive father since the book’s publication.
The fact is, Bryant was a major player in a Liberal party machine that enjoys massive influence within the law, business and media in Canada, and particularly in Ontario.
Some of its senior members have a sense of entitlement that is hideous, and assume they are more significant and important than the rest of us.
Frankly, I may well not have liked Darcy Allan Sheppard very much, but the fact is he is the one who died in all this and the one whose family grieve.
I’m sorry Mr. Bryant, it’s simply not all about you.