Smuggled rum bought a farm and truck

Grandfather Best Bootlegger SAN

A Family Confession

by Donald Best

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

As we discuss what is ethical behaviour and all the shades of right and wrong, I have a family confession: both my father and his father were bootleggers during the Depression and throughout World War II. Even as a decorated Chief Petty Officer during the Battle of the Atlantic, my father made considerable profits from smuggled rum and canned hams.

It could be fairly argued that smuggled rum and canned hams provided the financial foundation for several successful Best family businesses in Prince Edward Island and Ontario in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. Indeed, it could also be said that the profits from bootleg liquor kept many a PEI family from starving during the dirty thirties. This, of course, was unbeknownst to the Women’s Christian Temperance Union wives (including my grandmother), who provided meals for the poor at the Freeland Presbyterian Church.

Profits from rum running also repaired the Freeland Presbyterian Church after the 1935 fire. Grandmother and the other womenfolk weren’t aware of the source of the re-construction funds even until they day they died. To this day my dear Aunts have no knowledge of this truth unless they read this post. Some family history is, to now, a male tradition.

The point of all this is that right and wrong, rule of law, ethics and law-breaking are not always a black/white either/or situation. Simple either/or solutions are not always possible in the real world.

That said; is is okay for lawyers to lie to the courts? Is it okay for police officers to illegally accept money from lawyers to work illegally for one side of a civil dispute?

Yes, there are shades of grey… but some behaviours can never be excused or explained away.

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