|FTLComm - Tisdale - September 13, 2000|
|When I was a little boy mother gave me a serious dressing down for referring to a
policeman as a "cop", not only was the term slang, but she felt it was
improper for me to refer to someone who should be respected in a demeaning manner.
I was told he was a "policeman" or "officer" and that "cops"
were something that we saw on "Merican" movies. My mom was right.
On Monday morning as Sheila Coles of the CBC morning radio show talked to a teenager about Regina students protesting the job action by Saskatchewan teachers the girl either flubbed the word or I misheard her as she said the word "police officer" and it got me to thinking. "When was it that we all stopped calling member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Peace Officers."
Yesterday I went over to the RCMP headquarters in Tisdale to take these pictures for this story and encountered to members of our local RCMP detachment. I ask them when was that they stopped calling themselves Peace Officers. The answer was quick and to the point.
"We still call ourselves Peace Officers" came the reply from one and the other responded immediately.
"That is how we are referred to in the code, we are referred to as Peace Officers."
I wanted to talk to them more about this topic but they were off on their patrol and neither show more than polite interest in talking to me. After all being a Mountie in the last few years has not been a friendly relationship with the press. Among the protesters in Vancouver were journalists, a CBC reporter and a CBC camera man whom the sirely and violent commanding officer wadded into with pepper spray. This event is burned in everyone's memory because it was played over and over on television and was so shocking that "Peace Officers" would appear in such a violent and antisocial behaviour. What is even more disconcerting about that event is that the hearing into it and actions taken by the administration of the RCMP seems to not only condone the behaviour but endorse it as standard operating procedure.
There are so many issues that we all need to work out, many of them related to my mother's little lecture with her five year old son. We live in Canada and we have Peace Officers. We don't have "law men", "cops", "pigs", "bears," "smokies" we have instead "Queen's cowboys". Unlike the law enforcement agents we see on "Merican" television our Peace Officers act on behalf of her majesty. This concept is not an easy one to understand but look at it this way, we live in a constitutional monarchy, all lands are under the control of her majesty, the roads we drive on are the Queen's highways and it is her responsibility to see to the "peace, order and good government" of the land. When someone endangers the lives of others, or acts against the law, the charges are brought against the suspected perpetrator by the crown, in "Mercan" courts the charges are laid by the victim. If you are attacked, the Queen's representative will decide if charges are warranted and you are only a witness to the offense
When you consider this difference you discover the reason why our society is remarkably different from the one we see on television and in movies.
When the civil war ended, the United States had a lot of unemployed soldiers causing trouble and it was decided to put their killers to work and send them out West to destroy the aboriginal population. Some aboriginal people fled the slaughter and came into Canada for refuge. Fearing that the US would send its massive forces North the government of British North America sent a Peace keeping force to Fort Walsh in Western Canada, the North West Territories, these Peace Officers would later become the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Over a century later they are still here, doing their duty to serve and protect.
It is time for us to move on, forgive the SOB who pepper sprayed our fellow citizens in Vancouver and redeem the honour of our hand gun totting, armoured vested servants among us. From now on let's refer to them by what we want them to be - Peace Officers.