Re: RARA-AVIS: Canadian Noir

From: Kerry J. Schooley (
Date: 14 Apr 2007

At 11:35 PM 12/04/2007, you wrote:

>Late note: Hamilton? I wrote an outline that was based in Kelowna!
>Half the first chapter had to explain where it was and what it was...

I had a great uncle who operated a successful business school in Kelowna. Ironically they were socialists, active in the CCF and then NDP. They can't have been all that good at politics, because Kelowna kept re-electing the avidly right-wing Social Credit premier W.A.C.
(Wacky) Bennett, who ran the local hardware store. The politics of B.C. make an excellent environment for noir.

Hamilton on the other hand has a long history of organized crime- Ontario's mafia was basically organized out of Hamilton on the back of Rocco Peri's bootlegging operation during prohibition days. His successor made his bones working for New York's Bonnano family during Montreal's gangland wars in the '50s, but still had the support of Buffalo's Magadino family when he returned to take up power here in The Hammer. I think his first prison term was in Auburn NY, for his part in setting up the famous French Connection drug traffic between Marseille and NYC. Johnny Pops was murdered about a dozen years ago. It was believed he'd become vulnerable, suffering from early-stage Alzheimer's disease. Local mobsters were sent up as being responsible for the hit, and that's when the bikers took over organized crime in Ontario.

Hamilton was also home to the national president of the Hell's Angels, who I think had risen through the ranks of one of the city's street gangs (a training school for many local gangsters.) He's currently in prison for murder, among other crimes in connection to Montreal's biker wars, where over 200 people were killed fighting for control of the Quebec drug trade.

Political corruption in Hamilton? Where to begin, but that's where we start to turn a blind eye. At the early stage of the Angels' push into Ontario, they held a "convention" at an historic hotel in Toronto. Someone phoned the now ex-mayor who came down for a photo-op, shaking hands with the bikers. Everyone excused him as having been duped. He wasn't the sharpest tack in the box, but still, I doubt he did much without a paid administrator or two guiding him around. His administration was tossed as a result of a public spending scandal.

Still, as I and you say, all this and more is viewed as exceptional, as in not characteristic. If there are fewer murders in Canada than in the US, it's because more of us quietly toe the line. Just my opinion.

Best, Kerry

------------------------------------------------------ Literary events Calendar (South Ont.) The evil men do lives after them

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 14 Apr 2007 EDT