Russell Wangersky: A Conservative wolf in sealskin clothes
In St. John’s on Thursday morning, Tory leadership candidate Kevin O’Leary slipped into an apparently borrowed sealskin coat to make one more connection when speaking with the locals.
Policing will be on everyone’s mind, for more reasons than one.
Locally, more of a business matter, we’ve just learned that Stellarton has decided to forgo at this time its quest for an alternative to its current policing service. No doubt we’ll hear more on that later.
On a level with far graver tones, Canadians were shocked to hear of the fatal shootings of police officers and ensuing manhunt in Moncton, N.B.
Our sympathies go out to the families of those RCMP officers, to their friends and fellow personnel.
In addition, we can only imagine what citizens of Moncton are thinking and feeling about an incident that saw public areas closed and people keeping close refuge in their homes. The comment often repeated during this tragedy has been: this is not the kind of thing that happens in Moncton.
But it did. And it should have people everywhere thinking hard about the public’s relationship with officers and their local police force. Just last month we observed Police Week, established in 1970 as their means to connect with communities and raise awareness about services they provide.
That connectedness makes policing work at its best.
Fortunately, most police duties are relatively routine and peaceful. But many are noting, here is an example of how officers are potentially putting their lives on the line when answering a call.
Many other discussions will arise from this incident in regard to the suspect: such as the availability of mental health services and what’s in place to help identify people who are on the edge of personal trauma, who pose a danger, and getting that information to authorities.
Again, community plays a key role.
This incident is certainly not grounds to panic about our safety and security. But it’s a reminder that we must not be complacent. We don’t expect ‘it’ to happen here, but we need to be aware that it could. The best prevention is a cohesive, observant community and everyday communication with our police.