The Sledgehammer and the Peanuts…

As Justin settles into his darkened library in the night, blanket over his knees, alone with his thoughts– in a MacKenzie King moment, his father whispers to him from the darkness– haunting, possibly taunting him. Pierre Trudeau, the deceased former Prime Minister spirit shadowing his young son the high school teacher and latest Prime Minister; as his lesser equipped son try’s to find out how to remove a Peterbilt from in front of the Centre Block.

The Emergencies Act? Really son, you think that this is comparable to my day when I was facing the FLQ”

“Dad these people are “terrorists”.

“well not really son, …those Quebec bastards in October of 1970 were real terrorists..or at least that was the way they were acting. They kidnapped people and even killed a Provincial cabinet minister. They were actually plotting the secession from Canada.”

“but these guys Dad, they are not like us, they are all white supremacy extremists, you know the type, redneck roughnecks from that middle part of Canada.. they even put a ball cap on the statue of Terry Fox… and those damn horns…the noise Dad, the noise…besides the media are all over me, comparing me to you, portraying me as ineffectual and weak.”

“Yes son, I hear them, but let’s face it you are not me. You know I always hoped you would become more like me than your mother. But, if it will make you feel better, go for it. Keep in mind, you can’t let up if you want to stick to this narrative, you need to keep using those words of insurrection and occupation, that they are a threat to national security. Let’s face it, this doesn’t really meet the definition of a national emergency. Keep referring to them as Nazi’s, nobody likes a Nazi. You will be alright in the end because by the time it goes through a week in the House and the Senate, everything will be long over, and you can at least look decisive and not really have to face any of the negative consequences”.

“True… thanks Dad I feel better now”.

Other than being visited by the ghost of his political upbringing, there can be no better explanation for Mr. Trudeau Jr. to now step up. Clearly he does not know history and maybe he hasn’t even read the Emergencies Act, after all it has never been used before, so why would he. What he did know was that he was getting angry with “those people”, he was getting angry that no tow truck drivers would cooperate, he was getting angry with the media egging him on questioning his ability to govern and his toughness. He was getting especially angry that people around the world were paying attention to the dispute in Canada; how was it possible that the enlightened leader of Canada could be being called out, dispelling the Canadian utopian image.

Even Grandpa Joe called from the U.S. to say, hey get on with it, those cars need their parts.

To understand the Emergencies Act, one must first understand its predecessor, the War Measures Act.

The War Measures Act which gave broad powers to the Federal government was to be instituted as a “declaration of war, invasion or insurrection”. Which would explain the Liberals deftly referring to an “insurrection” all the time now. The need for WMA and its imposition came about only three times. During WWI, WWII, and during the 1970 “October Crisis”.

During WWI, between 1914 and 1920 it was enacted to intern Ukranians and some other Europeans, who were declared “enemy aliens”. It also allowed them to disallow any person who had membership in a “socialist or communist organization”. We have since apologized for our behaviour.

It was used during WWII to intern the Japanese. We have since apologized about our behaviour then too.

And it was used in October 1970 to thwart the Front du Liberation de Quebec, who kidnapped James Cross and Pierre Laporte. Laporte was later found murdered. The FLQ were making demands and pushing the Province secession from Canada. The Army invaded the streets of Montreal and by the end of it 465 people were arrested without charges and eventually released. The law effectively removed the need for habeas corpus.

The War Measures Act in 1970 was not without dissenters. The NDP leader Tommy Douglas said the that Pierre Trudeau was using a “sledgehammer to crack a peanut”, and the separatists argued that they were criminalizing the separatist movement. To this day, the decision to enact at that time was dividing. This may explain why Yves Blanchett last year asked for apologies for the enactment of the War Measures Act for his fellow Quebecers. (This would also explain why the Premier of Quebec is now saying that he wants assurances that the Emergencies Act will not be employed in Quebec.)

Ironically, when it was discovered that the RCMP may have exceeded their authorities during this time of the War Measures Act implementation, they ordered a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Certain Activities of the RCMP; known as the McDonald Commission. After a lengthy inquiry the McDonald Commission recommended a curtailing of the War Measures Act, which led to the production of the now in the news Emergencies Act.

The new now apparently gentler Emergencies Act, which has taken its place and is front and centre in the news of today, lays out four criteria for its implementation.

  1. a public welfare emergency
  2. a public order emergency
  3. an international emergency
  4. a war emergency.

In the regulations you will also find that in order for conditions to be met for the implementation of this Emergencies Act, it has to be pre-determined that “the existing laws of Canada are not effective in addressing the situation”

If any of the above criteria are met, and that is a big if. this Act would allow the government to “ban gatherings” around such things as national monuments and the legislatures” , and to make there be “protected places” such as Justin’s house. It would “prohibit public assembly… other than lawful advocacy or protest or dissent”. It would allow the government and the banks to determine who was providing funds through platforms such as GoFundMe and the like, and it would allow the government to freeze the bank accounts of those that contributed.

So as we examine the criteria, does this constitute a public welfare emergency? Across this nation is the welfare of the public in danger. Well, if not that then, is this a public order emergency? Is there a need for public order across this country? Do you now feel threatened sitting in Vancouver, in Calgary, in Halifax right now? Maybe in Ottawa off Bank Street, but now this protest into its third week and slowly being dismantled has been determined as a public order emergency? Is this a threat to all Canadians or just to the shrill folks of the Ottawa Police Board?

In terms of the criteria in points 3 and 4. Neither of the latter are applicable.

So how do we explain this ongoing lunacy?

Is the infringement of human rights a legitimate concern? If the answer is yes, why is it that the Prime Minister refuses to meet with them? He clearly went down the political path of labelling them, speaking down to them, and could not personally relate to them. He orchestrated this dialogue and thus put himself nicely in a diplomatic box. His stubborn attitude and ego is keeping him there.

To explain this lack of dialogue, he had to turn up the heat to prove that these people were illegitimate. The convoy raised a great deal of money during their trek to Ottawa, so they even went after the GoFundMe page, and the page folded to that political pressure.

They went after the fringe players that are always drawn to any type of anti-government protest. Lets face it, all protests draw the lunatic fringe. When the indigenous were protesting did they go after the flags they were showing, the tearing down of statutes they were orchestrating, or the multiple torching of churches? Did they examine those involved in the Indigenous protest and seek out the radical few on Twitter or Instagram? Did they stop any funding to the Indigenous?

Do you think Black Lives Matter has a few radical elements? Do they think the environmental protestors had not radicals. Of course, they all do. So what makes this different?

The police in all this are in the usual difficult position of trying to smoothe out a litany of missteps by our illustrious politicians. The “progressive” Ottawa Police chief resigned. The Ottawa police board has now fallen apart as the politicos are throwing around recriminations and in-fighting. The Federal Liberals have been trying to direct the investigation of the convoy from the outset, even trying to direct where the trucks should be parked but most importantly effectively orchestrating the us versus them dialogue with inflammatory language and accusations. (Yesterday in Parliament Trudeau accused a Jewish Conservative member of being in favour of the Nazis—in the category of you can’t make this up)

Are the existing laws of Canada not sufficient to quell this “uprising”?

It seems that when pushed the police are charging people and arresting people and towing away some vehicles. So the laws are there, but the willingness to enforce, and the resources to enforce are in short supply–lets face it they underestimated the support this convoy would generate.

Do you think it is coincidence that this convoy has been compared to the January 6th uprising in the United States, which the Democrats in that country are working hard to try and prove that Trump was trying to overthrow the duly elected government. Similar claims of right wing Aryan nation types abound in that dialogue too. Proof of it is far less compelling.

Now the government is pointing to four individuals who have been arrested and charged with “plotting to murder RCMP officers” and nine charges of mischief and weapons offences against nine others. The police press release says that they launched into an “immediate and complex investigation to determine the threat and criminal organization”. The group of four conspirators, all of whom work for a lighting group in Calgary, had “three trailers” associated to them and a warrant was duly executed. In it they found 13 long guns, a handgun, body armour and a machete along with ammunition.

This could require some thoughtful dissecting. It was acknowledged that the conspiracy to commit murder of the RCMP officers stems from, in the police wording, that this group had a “willingness to use force if any attempts were made to disrupt the blockade”.

Not for a moment do I think that these are unwarranted charges. If they were planning to bring out the guns if the police moved in, they should be prosecuted and the police applauded for cutting off potential violence.

My only question is the portrayal of the investigation as a discovered attempt for insurrection and a “conspiracy to commit murder”, planned resistance being far different legally and morally, then planning to go out to kill police officers.

Looking at the background of those charged and the various ages of those involved, one also wonders whether this would constitute a normal person’s version of a no named “criminal organization.”

It all just makes you wonder where all this ends up when it goes through the inevitable court siphon.

But Trudeau, Freeland, and Mendocino know one thing.

The majority of Canadians according to the latest poll want the convoy to end, and they don’t mind if some people get hurt.

68% of Canadians felt that they wanted the military and the police to do so by force.

Just 26% of Canadians thought that they wanted a negotiated settlement.

Paradoxically 54% a slight majority are not impressed with the politicians.

Maybe the people of this country who have been willing to set aside their civil rights in the fight against a virus, comprised of a generation of individuals who have never faced a real crisis such as war, are now more willing to take it out on others. The media portrayal has indeed worked while to be fair, even some of the journalists were thwarted when asking for the evidence. The overall effect however has been an us versus them, good versus evil. The always right against the perpetually wrong.

It is time they say, and clearly believe, to unleash the power of the government on the people who disagree and dare to voice those concerns.

In this writer’s opinion, this is a sad and dark day for Canada. Not for the actions of the police but for the actions of the politicians carried out by the police.

If things go badly in the next few days, and people get hurt, including the police, my guess is that years from now, we will be apologizing once again. The police are now facing an intransigent group, a cornered dog that has had rocks thrown at it for three weeks, and now is facing clubs being swung at its head. Some may bar their teeth and snap back even though a leader in the convoy said that if approached they will take a knee.

My hope though is that in a few years this will not be remembered, the overtime cheques will have been duly paid, and we are left with this having been a tempest in the teapot. One albeit, that was totally avoidable. All we needed to do was listen.

Then all the restrictions will be off– something the convoy wanted from the beginning.

Photo courtesy of Hailey Sani of Flickr Commons – Some Rights Reserved

Breaker, Breaker…got your ears on Justin?

I will admit at the outset, that anything that tends to shake up the political minions of Ottawa, usually makes me feel a little better. Don’t get me wrong, I like Ottawa, went to University there, strolled the Sparks Street mall with the polyester suited crowd of government workers on lunch. Enjoyed the tax funded parkways and museums.

Ottawa is the leading “government town” in this country where roughly 40% of the employees work for the Federal government. It is therefore a town that caters and kneels at the feet of the Liberals. This week they are shaken, scared by the coming to town of the dishevelled, those unwashed “anti-vaxxers”.

The government mandarins are usually safely ensconced in their Ikea designed home offices, family dog at their feet, who are in no hurray to actually go back to work –are now feeling “threatened”. Those damn incessant horns disturbing their Apple watch controlled sleep patterns.

They are our 21st century landed gentry, while the honking truckers represent the medieval farmers storming the barricades. During this Covid shutdown, their productivity sliding, this Federal government work force has actually grown in size. Some of them have actually obtained pay raises; unimpaired by the pandemic restraint on others, their economic well-being never being threatened, their safety guaranteed by being able to live in their new bubbles.

It was ok to make a vaccine exemption for the truckers, for two years, when the initial threats against the food chain delivering your loaf of bread and the steady same day delivery of Amazon packages were being threatened. But now, the political thinkers surrounding Mr Trudeau and Mr Biden in the U.S., now they feel the time is right, now is the time to impose further restrictions. All while the rest of the world is going in the opposite direction.

How dare a group of outsiders (meaning middle income mostly rural working class people and farmers) challenge this current and righteous aristocracy. After all, they are the enlightened, they are the believers in science, a science only which they can properly interpret. They who are now demanding vaccines for children less than five; they who are open to the idea of fining anyone who dares to show up at a hospital having not been vaccinated; and they who want to limit those that don’t vaccinate from the ability to function in daily life. No restaurants, movies, no ability to travel, or special events for you. And if you are working for the Federal government you will be fired unless you agree to let the government inject you with a vaccine. How dare anyone question the logic of restrictions and their haphazard and diverse application.

The overall justification for three years of lockdown is to protect us, but the justification for the vaccine is vacillating. It now protects you from getting really sick from Covid. It doesn’t stop you from getting Covid.

Ignore the mental health concerns, the increasing rate of suicide, the losses of years of education, the thousands of cancelled “elective” surgeries. Ignore it all.

Make no mistake about it, this convoy of largely blue collar workers has touched a nerve. They are pressing on the accepted and acceptable narrative nerve. How dare they challenge these enlightened that form a minority government in Canada. How dare they confront the social democratic changes which Canada is now undergoing and the massive growth in government oversight and regulation. The government now tinkering with control of the message and forms of communication and ones ability to speak freely. Think of Bill C-51.

“Public safety” is our new God. A risk free society the ultimate goal.

So to the barricades the Liberals march, the dutiful media close behind, relaying their portrayals of the ignorant protesters, seeking those afraid of the bellowing air horns, believing it plays well to their albeit quickly disappearing audiences. The Liberals don’t want to fight as they are really not good at confrontation, they are after all appeasers by heart and by trade.

The media on the other hand welcome a fight, they raise the January 6th storming of the Capitol as a comparison, after all nothing draws viewers like violence led by clearly evil minded people.

Ironically and a point often missed is that the “anti-vaxxers” who are being portrayed as right wing radicals, uneducated, ignorant, fringe members of society, daring to drive their big rigs into the heart of woke society in Ottawa. They are not actually anti-vaccine. The vast majority of the people involved have been vaccinated. This misstatement of the issue on a continual news loop is disheartening and dishonest.

The convoy is about “restrictions” and the imposition of those restrictions which is having an adverse affect on their ability to work and to feed their families. It seems to be a legitimate gripe, at the very least it seems to be a discussion worth having.

But the Liberals and their supporters have made a call to arms, there is no turning back, they have already determined that these protestors are not worthy. They have established their position and they are not going to sway from it. After all, they are not Indigenous, they are not members of Black Lives Matter, they are not protesting members of the LGBTQ community. They have no standing like these other groups. Clearly, they are also not likely Liberal supporters, so they are patently irrelevant.

So how do the the Liberals and their followers do battle? Through innuendo, false narratives of impending violence, searching out the fringes of the movement for the ill-advised comment, the inappropriate flag carrier.

They are searching out the outliers knowing that the fringe of any group is always off-side, ill-tempered and wanting to foment upheaval. That is why they are called “the fringe”. The larger group tolerates them, but ignores them for the most part.

The police reaction to all of this?

First and foremost one must understand that if you want to find a “woke” police department, you probably came to the right city in Ottawa. You could have picked Toronto, or Vancouver as well, but Ottawa has to be the most firmly entrenched group of the politically like-minded. The police chief and those surrounding him immediately took the side of what they surely believed was the side of the righteous.

The language of those in government went straight to inflammatory, and the Ottawa Police Chief followed suit with Chief Peter Sloly espousing his “surge and contain strategy” to stop this “very dangerous protest”.

“This is putting our city and our residents at great risk”.

He intimated that there was “reason to believe that money from the U.S. is helping the anti-vaccine mandate”. The Ottawa Deputy-Chief Trish Ferguson, before the convoy even arrived in the city, said that they were “preparing for a range of risks” from “counter demonstrations” and “interfering with critical infrastructure” to “criminal activity”.

As of this writing the Chief clearly languishing in his 15 minutes of fame is saying that he may call in the Army to dispel the protestors. He is continually calling on an increasing police presence, more Provincial police, city police, RCMP and the RCMP Emergency Response Team. There is constant oblique references to domestic terrorism, funding from the outside, social media disguised as intelligence. No evidence is ever presented.

The Prime Minister of our country was not “going to be intimidated” by the protestors. This after having being “moved to a safer location” for security reasons. Trudeau continues to refuse to meet with the protestors saying that they are “an insult to truth”. They are a “fringe minority” although no explanation as to how this fringe raised $10 million GoFundMe dollars in a couple of weeks.

For two days the media searched out the radicals, the violent among the protestors, there big discoveries the unfurling of a single Confederate flag and the fact that someone had put a ball cap on the statute of Terry Fox. They hit the jackpot when someone raised a Nazi flag.

As it turned out though the protestors were using it as an illustration of the Nazi’s mistreatment of the Jews as similar to their rights being removed( not a good comparison for sure) but the media outlined it as Nazi’s being involved in the protest. The baseball hat on the statute of Terry Fox was a desecration according to the apoplectic media commentators equal to the burning of a cross on a front lawn.

There was a story that some people danced on the Tomb of the unknown soldier. Not a good image, but there was little coverage of the the fact that convoy members then formed a ring around it to keep out some of their “fringe” players.

So Trudeau marched to the podium, armed with the latest media evidence. Trudeau grasped and gasped at the “…Nazi symbolism, racist imagery, and desecration of war memorials… “.

Let us compare this to other protests.

When 2,000 aboriginal protestors marched on Ottawa on December 12, 2021 making demands under the “truth and reconciliation commitment” as part of the “Idle no More” movement; saying that “we are not going to back down” to the gathered media, what did the government do. They agreed to meet with the protestors, saying they “are constitutionally entitled to” meet with the government. The media reported that the march “remained peaceful” even though it too had “shut down a major downtown street”.

When Black Lives Protest hit Ottawa, Mr. Trudeau waded into the crowd, and then took the opportune photo moment to take a knee with the protestors who had as a rallying cry the defunding of the police.

When more recently the Mohawks in Ontario and Quebec stopped and burned rail lines there was nothing but talks of conciliation.

As this becomes a week long protest, as sympathetic demonstrations are happening throughout the country, the media breathlessly awaits the confrontation. In Vancouver today, the media is warning people of the threat of violence, before a supportive convoy from Langley to Vancouver had begun; saying that the convoy would be driving by three hospitals. The hospital unions began warning their staff, not to wear their scrubs in case they be singled out for violence. The absurd inferences almost laughable.

This is first and foremost a convoy of ordinary people. An ordinary people who are completely frustrated, alienated and trying to struggle with the proper words when faced with a barrage of microphones and cameras. They go to work, go to the local Tim Hortons for the “double double”, and maybe even the local bar at the end of the day. Their lives are not glamorous, their social calendar was once filled with taking kids to soccer fields or hockey games and for the last two years we have robbed them of their ability to lead those lives, and even more importantly their chance to financially survive. At times they can be rough around the edges but they are also what keeps this country going, even during Covid. They don’t like Trudeau though, but then again he doesn’t like them.

Mr. Singh for his part is for the working man, just not these workers.

Mr. O’Toole flip flopped on the convoy issue, part of the reason he lost his job this past week. There is no other voice for the protestors.

This is not a fringe element. The GoFundMe page, which the government and the police pressured to shut down was the 2nd largest raising of money in Canada since the tragic Humboldt bus crash in Saskatchewan.

So we have a government and their supporters; in favour of censure; in favour of restricting individual and collective liberties; in favour of a controlled media message (bill C-51); and in favour of police actions which reflect their wishes. Does it sound vaguely similar to other countries.

Could it be any clearer that we are at a dangerous place right now and the police are in a even more dangerous place?

The police management in this country are now fully politicized. No longer the neutral upholder of laws, now the perpetrators of selective enforcement. The target of that enforcement fully determined by political winds and and the social media that drives it. Police normally survive on good faith and a sense of fairness and being a neutral arbitrator. Under this generation of police leaders they have badly strayed.

All this could have been averted, de-escalated at the very least by Mr. Trudeau. The protestors are Canadians and the very least he could do is listen to what they are trying to say. Meet with them. Don’t be scared. They also have a constitutional right to be heard.

The decried polarization of the U.S.-between the right and the left, urban versus rural, disadvantaged versus advantaged, the educated versus the uneducated is now being grown in the little petrie dish of Canada. I am not so sure Canadians in general have thought this through.

And for the citizens of Ottawa, when night falls, put your Ipods on and listen to some soothing water sounds of the Rideau canal, it will help you sleep and awake fully refreshed for another day of Team calls and committee meetings.

Photo courtesy of Zarina Petrova via Flickr Commons – Some Rights Reserved

Commissioner Lucki and Her New (but Old)”Strategy”

This headline and announcement came on January 26, 2021, relayed to all members of the RCMP in the form of a Commissioners Broadcast. One would have thought on first glimpse that finally there was finally some addressing of the multiple concerns now facing this organization. Had the Chief Executive of your National Police Force finally awoken from her semi-slumber to finally deal with some of the many issues plaguing the boys and girls in red? 

Well you would be both right and wrong. You would be right in assuming that there is in fact a new announced strategy. You would be wrong in thinking this was a strategy that was new in terms of goals and or objectives. You could also be right if you paid it little heed and put it in the category of the never ending pablum which continues to spill forth from Ottawa.

There will be a very select few within this vast organization who will be nodding their heads in affirmation of this new “strategy” but we would be equally safe in saying that those that would applaud this new development are not the same people that are working the night shifts in Coquitlam or Burnaby tonight.  So what is it?

 Is it a strategy to deal with recent gun violence?  No.

 Is it a strategy to deal with the lack of ability to recruit new members? No. 

Is it a strategy to deal with the current salary structure of the RCMP? No. 

Rather “today is an important day for the RCMP” because on this date, the RCMP has launched (with the fanfare of an Elon Musk Space X rocket) the “Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy”.  If this was not enough excitement, she also announced that this strategy would also be part of the “Vision 150 Agenda”.  Most of you will have to admit that you have no idea what Vision 150 is, but apparently this is a good thing so nod your head approvingly.  

Not only is this a “new” strategy; but it is a “LIVE” strategy.  (Someone will have to explain to me how a strategy takes on the qualities of a human being—but remember that this is coming out of Ottawa –the generator of all acronyms and inanities).

We should also note, that neither the RCMP in general or Ms. Lucki in particular came up with this strategy on their or her own. This is not an original thought. No, they admit, this strategy came from “consultation” with the National Council for Diversity and Inclusion; other Federal employee “networks”; and “policy centers with direct impacts on EDI”.  One could cynically translate this to mean that this policy was being pushed down to the Mounties– causing them to now on bended knee genuflect before those very busy gods of correctness.

According to the announcement, “this robust and comprehensive strategy introduces fundamental changes to the RCMP’s systems that will allow us to promote an inclusive organization that values diversity and serves employees and communities with dignity and respect”.

“It also focuses on identifying and reducing workplace and service delivery barriers for Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (believe it or not, even this has an acronym BiPoC) women, persons with disabilities and members of LGBTQ2+ communities”.

It goes on. “The EDI strategy identifies clear, concrete and transparent actions under four “pillars” that will embed equity, diversity and inclusion into the way we think about, and perform all aspects of our mandate.” What are those four pillars you ask:

-Provide Leadership and Governance

-Be Clear, Accountable and Transparent

-Enhance Awareness and Education

-Change Culture and Transform. 

You will be forgiven if none of these general life statements mean anything to you. It is the language of LinkedIn resumes, supervisor assessments, or senior RCMP executive speeches. Does anyone remember Mission Statements? This is a similar exercise. It says a lot, but its beauty in its crafting is that it says nothing. 

 They are going to “review workplace policies and practises through an “EDI, GBA+ and anti-Black racism lens to combat systemic racism”. (Remember when Ms Lucki didn’t’ think there was systemic racism and then within 48 hours recanted—she clearly has now been fully indoctrinated into the cult of goodness)

Even more specifically, there will be more “representation on selection boards” and they will be establishing “talent development plans for occupational groups with low diversity”. They will be “linking EDI goals to Performance, Promotion and Compensation”. 

As said before, this will all be aligned with “Vision 150”, a description of which you can find on the government website, that is if you have endless mindless hours and a propensity to like watching paint dry. If you dare to dive down on this government site you will find a Vision 150 “tracker”, which is divided into the four “pillars” once again. Deeper still, you will find a “tracker” for each program that is being initiated. 

It is here where you will see most of the proposed programs such as; the increase in body cams, further training in cultural understanding and diversity, a number of programs which involve consultation with the Indigenous and Indigenous women, promotions to advisory boards of various minority representative groups, and oversight programs in the major crime areas. There is even a program designed to hire civilian investigators in the area of financial crimes. 

There is an uncomfortable dystopian feel to all this. A new type of Republic of Gilead. The RCMP has even created the ominous sounding position of “Special Designated Officer for Diversity and Inclusion” and named Nadine Huggins as its first leader. Ms. Huggins of course, is “looking forward….to bring a results oriented approach to establishing an inclusive workforce and workplace.”  

One could make an educated guess as to the eventual goals of Ms. Huggins with a quick check of her resume. Her masters thesis was entitled: “Canadian Nationhood and the Identity Discourse: Incorporating Minority and other Groups”. In this thesis she refers to the French and English as the “Charter groups”  and all others make up the “marginalized”. Her Twitter universe is filled almost entirely with all the requisite black lives matter tweets or tweets on reconciliation and inclusion. The Federal government has always been her home, and all her jobs have a heavy emphasis on Indigenous representation and working at such things as the Taskforce on Diversity and Inclusion. Ms. Huggins fits the woke stereotype and her solutions will be patently obvious and predictable.

None of this is news. These policies of inclusion have been around for decades, although the terminology has changed. Affirmative action to inclusion and diversity, the French and English in this country are no longer the founding nations, now according to Ms. Huggins they are the “Charter groups”. The RCMP have been flying gay pride flags over detachments, holding diversity and inclusion detachment strategy sessions for quite some time. The RCMP in other words have been “awoke” for some time.

Forty years ago, discussions in RCMP management circles were concerned about how physical requirements for admission often precluded those coming from the Asian community. To address this problem height and weight requirements were altered and a point system was developed. The pendulum then swung towards the need to recruit females in the late 1970’s and 1980’s and the physical training was changed to accommodate. 

The solutions then were the same as now, greater inclusion and representation which almost always translates to more hiring and promotion. The only difference in this strategy from those of thirty years ago is that the target beneficiary for greater inclusion keeps moving and that marginalized pendulum has now reached its full arc.  

One can not argue that the idea of greater representation of the Canadian mosaic in policing is a wrong-headed idea. It is not. The flaw is in the belief that the barriers are “systemic” within the current system. They are not, that is only an easy and convenient simplification. The barriers are much more complicated and broader in scope. Culture, language, education, and economic well being are much greater contributors to a lack of entry and inclusion. 

The other blemish in these simplistic academic theories is the fundamental assumption that policing– meaning in its simplest form, the investigation of crime and the enforcement of laws can be bent by a cultural, colour or gender bias.

The conduct of investigations are based on simple concepts and on answering the five w’s. Techniques can change, but ultimately, all investigations follow a practised format based on experience which form a type of checklist. Straying from the orthodoxy would be rare. The checklist is largely unaffected by cultural or ethnic influence.

The creation and passage of laws is done by the duly elected in the various legislatures and the Federal Parliament. They laws are based on a perceived or pre-determined need by those elected representing the citizens at large. It is highly subjective.

However, enforcement of those same laws is objective and should be by its very nature, immune from influence by outside factors.

If these future strategies are aimed at infusing cultural or gender differences into the course of an investigation or imply choices in enforcement of those laws –we are going to find ourselves in a very dangerous neighbourhood. 

As this next chapter begins, one must realize that this strategy is a pure, made-in Ottawa “strategy”, and as such it will have little to no impact on the general population of the RCMP involved in day to day operational policing. What it is doing is enshrining for the future years a gender and culture check-list for promotion and advancement.  That is already in full swing, so this “strategy” is only serving to codify and legitimize advancement based on factors other than competency. 

This is a long bumpy road but is largely an academic exercise being played out by mandarins in the hushed halls and padded conference rooms of the Ottawa cognoscenti. The topic is in the wheelhouse of Commissioner Lucki, fitting nicely into her comfort zone and is likely part of her bid to retain her job. However, it is unlikely to be part of the conversation at one in the morning when uniformed officers are hunched over their 7-11 coffee.

Photo Courtesy of Serge Saint via Flickr Commons – Some Rights Reserved