As the Provincial and Municipal politicians dutifully follow behind Mr. Trudeau, like gulls to a BC Ferry, their hands grasping at the dollar bills gracefully floating through the air behind the wake of the woken Prime Minister. With a spring in his step Mr.Trudeau bounces along, freshly shaven, oblivious to all but the CBC paparazzi. Ms. Freeland, scurries behind at a respectful distance trying to put the hose of monies spewing forth in some semblance of a thought out policy. Destined for at least another election to be the gal with the shovel behind the elephants in the political circus.
Besides making the world go round, money of course is the best harbinger for a nearing election. Trudeau and his crew apparently now confident that they can keep it to a one issue election —the issue being how well they dispensed (no questions asked) monies during a time of “crisis.” There is the secondary issue of climate change nipping at the politico heels but that is more controversial, being that it is still difficult to sell an electric F-150 to the oil patch worker or convince many in the general public that paper straws at A & W is the most efficient way to attack our 1% world portion of greenhouse gases.
Every election, police organizations and their card carrying officers have always been required to walk a fine political line. Police officers are dictated by political norms to be apolitical. They are told not to express their views or get involved politically, but it is a line which has been crossed many times. Active police officers have even tried to run for political office. But for the most part they are supposed to stay uninvolved, enforcers of the law, not makers of the law.
Where you do see officers taking off their officially issued blinders and actually get involved with that pesky public is when they retire or resign. Then they are then able to find their voice. Some have even risen to great heights; usually propelled by a puffed up policing career and resumes filled with Queen Silver Jubilee medals. There is the likes of the illustrious Bill Blair in this country, or the Democratic front runner for the mayor of New York, Eric Adams, who is a former police officer, who has no compunction against championing his relatively brief stint with the NYPD.
The burning question now though– is who should a cop vote for if in fact Mr. Trudeau calls a Federal election? Should they vote with their head, heart, or wallet? Is the young cop of today a different voter than the more predictable officers of the past, those whose favourite colour has always been blue.
Traditionally the old cops were the poster children for law and order, right over wrong, all answers black and white. No colours or shades of grey cluttering up a polar argument. He or she did wrong — therefore he or she must pay goes the dictum.
So when it comes to the current law and order issue, what is different between the parties? Can the police officer find a clue in who to support by examining the platforms of the political parties?
Mr.Trudeau is clearly soft on most crime issues, well to be completely accurate, all crime issues. He takes a knee on Parliament Hill or apologizes to the Indigenous for one wrong after another on a continuous basis.
In fact, if you go to the official Liberal party platform, law and order as an issue is nowhere to be found. In their 72 plus page document, crime and the issues that flow from it do not even appear. You could interpret this two ways. Everything is perfect in the policing world or it simply doesn’t warrant attention from the myopic Liberals.
Mr. O’Toole (who?) who leads that dynamic Conservative Party has only one issue that comes close enough to be called a law and order plank in his platform. That is priority #2 if you are following along. They want to pass an anti-corruption law for no other reason than they think they can then go after the Liberals in Ottawa. So, this historically and tradition law and order party have no promises or political planks to deal with such issues as the growing rural crime, cyber, white collar and organized crime or the insufficiencies in the courts. Nothing even warrants a “promise” or a policy change.
Then there is Mr. Singh and the New Democratic Party. As this is being written if you go to their “platform” site you are greeted with the message “we are in the process of updating this page”. It is truly hard to imagine the NDP running anything in this country with any level of success.
If a cop would like to get financially comfortable, maybe one should be tempted to go towards the NDP. After all, they are the Victim party; everyone suffers, everyone is misunderstood, each of us a victim of some form of discrimination. They believe that everyone is under “stress”and is wistfully dreaming of a fixed annual salary. Their reasoning is that the government is the best positioned to take care of us all and bring us all to a peaceful harmony. If they obtained power, an admittedly unlikely prospect, then all officers could theoretically argue, with little effort, to be suffering from PTSD. A medical pension for life would not be far behind. Everyone would be calm in their self induced altered state. There would be no need for police or mood rings.
The Green Party? Ya, you’re right, not a chance. They are even having trouble keeping their newly-elected leader Annamie Paul around. The former tree hugging leader Elizabeth May now doing her best impression of American Sniper, aiming directly at the new leader. Not enough medical marihuana on Vancouver Island to ease her discontent.
So, even in this year of defunding the police slogans reverberating through the corridors of policing, none of the parties are interested in law and order issues. So where is the dedicated copper wrapped in concern for his country and the Canadian flag supposed to turn?
Should the Mounties follow their leader Commissioner Lucki to the ballot box. Clearly, at least publicly, she is about as Liberal as you get. It served her career and it preserves her current job to be the doppelgänger of any preeminent Liberal politician. Maybe she is also aiming for a Senate seat too.
Is it possible she is a closet conservative and in her fevered dreams she wishes for a rejuvenation of Stephen Harper? Possibly she is tired of spending her lunch hour wandering Sparks Street Mall looking for anyone of colour to pull into the recruiting office. We may never know, so in that sense, we can not let her be the guide as to how one should vote.
What if the police were to vote with their wallets? If that was the case there would be no contest. The Liberals would be the uncontested winners, hands down. They just gave the Mounties a 23% raise. Is this enough to garner all those Red serge types to go “ahhh, he’s not that bad” and biting their tongue, cast that X for the Liberal candidate. These new young Mounties are more career focused than those of old, advancement is important, money is more important. Pension is still God. If the Conservatives got into power and come face to face with the actual debt and deficit would they not be looking for ways to cut back. Government pensions have been a traditional target and that would have the Mounties wringing their hands in worry. Would the Conservatives cut off the thousands of Veterans benefits now going to retired Mounties with poor hearing or a bum leg?
Ramblings aside, as the election draws near, it is truly disturbing how little choice exists. The parties and their platforms are almost indistinguishable except for the size of their political wallets. As a country we seem to be in desperate need of a new broom. But, who would dare to step forward in this era of examination, this era of Tik-Tok and Instagram tailored speeches. No one who has stood at the barricades or formed an opinion would make it through the electoral political filters now in place which regulates speech and action.
To expect the largely publicly funded 5th Estate to establish some sort of fire break between what the politicians promise and what they deliver is apparently just wishful thinking.
Thomas Jefferson famously said “the government you get is the government you deserve”. Really, what did we do to deserve this? Have Canadians become sheep? Soft in the middle voters, all hoping for that government pension and lulled into a sense of mediocrity? Has our need to not offend given us a government we deserve?
The cop out answer (pun intended) to not voting is often said —“they are all the same anyway”. That’s too easy.
We need to vote, cops and all Canadians need to find their voice. The police in this country, as in all countries, is a true reflection of the held values that can be found within their boundaries. We need to like what we see.
Photo courtesy of Flickr Commons by Liz West – Some Rights Reserved
6 thoughts on “Casting a Blue Ballot”
Great piece, Peter. Your last sentence encouraging members to vote is heartening and necessary. The choices are almost generic. But with our national debt reaching unheard of heights, we are probably headed for some hurtful times, whoever is at the helm. Where is Mr. Carney when we need him.
I’m a bit of a political junkie. I helped the local candidates during the last federal and provincial elections. I access about 6 different news sites every day.
I can say with complete certainty that I can have meaningful political discussions with at most 5 % of employees in any given detachment I have worked at.
Most police officers are clueless about the state of the nation. Totally politically ignorant. They are as bad at discussing politics as they are at discussing financial matters.
So, I have given up trying to debate anyone at the detachment about politics. Or residential schools. Or the stock market. Or Covid. Or world affairs. Or religion. It’s just too frustrating.
I’ve analyzed the situation over the years and have come to the conclusion that the general ignorance in the membership, on any subject besides perhaps sports, is due to how little they read. I had a discussion with one corporal and I think he said he’s only ever read 2 books in the last 10 years. This is reflected in the quality of their report writing.
I’ll vote for the conservative member in my riding. I am disappointed that O’Toole is the leader. I initially thought he would do a better job than Scheer. He lacks the drive, wit, enthusiasm and passion necessary to confront the other leaders on serious issues. He needs to get out in the public eye continuously but he won’t. I have a hard time nailing down his platform. However, the conservative party should be more willing to do something about the deficit that threatens to collapse the economy in a few years and that’s my biggest concern.
Another spot on analysis.
Peter….Thanks again for your insightful and articulate post as well as your (IMO) very accurate summation on the “State of the Union” of the current state of Canadian Politics. I fit into the “old school” slot you speak of where everyone in our Society has a moral duty to measure a Politicians promises against common sense and good sound governance….especially when it comes to fiscal responsibility and accountability. The present Intellectually challenged “Leader” we have as Prime Minister has superseded the progressively inept incompetence of his father. The RCMP of today is not the Police Force most of us served in during the 60’s, 70’s 80’s’90’s and into the 2000’s to present. Solving Crime, protecting citizens and serving communities doesn’t even create a blip on the radar screen of the new wave inclusive Police management Policies that prevail today. The Present Day Commissioner of the Force sold out long ago and hope for change is clinging now by a single finger tip! Frankly I’m beyond caring…..