By: Dan Laxer
I’m not really going to take too much of a stand on the camouflage pants that members of our police force have been wearing, because I’ve kind of stopped caring. I mean, it’s good for a laugh. But the last time I took notice of anything the protesting police have been doing was late last summer when I spotted one police cruiser completely decaled-over to the point where, other than the rooftop lightbar, any other indications that the vehicle was in fact a police cruiser had been obscured. I looked at the officer driving the vehicle as if to say “Oh, no you di’int!” And she nodded her response “Oh, yes I did!”
But—and I’m sure the Police Brotherhood would hate to hear me say this—the whole police pension thing is, like, so five minutes ago. I’m at the point where I don’t even notice their pants anymore (not because they’re camouflage; I can still see them, but I digress).
But remember, we have a tough-talkin’ mayor at City Hall. And Mr. Coderre has drawn a line in the sand. Over this line, he seems to be saying at every turn, you do not cross! Former Mayor Jean Doré’s funeral is coming up next week. He passed away, earlier this week, after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He is being remembered, today, as the man who brought Jean Drapeau’s reign to an end, who opened up City Hall to the citizens of Montreal, brought democracy to the political process, made it more inclusive, and made City Hall more efficient. He may not have been a great mayor, but he was a darned good one, as far as hindsight is concerned. His death comes just days after Jacques Parizeau’s burial, where the Montreal police officers assigned to the detail sported their protest pants instead of their real uniforms. And if Mayor Coderre has anything to say about it, such unabashed and blatant disrespect will not be tolerated again. So he’s called upon the Police Brotherhood to see to it that they dress appropriately for the funeral of a former mayor. The Brotherhood at first said, simply, that they’d think about it. And to their credit, they agreed. But the red ball caps stay.
They recognize that, for the sake of decorum and respect, the kind that they’d expect in the unfortunate event that one of their own might fall in the line of duty, it’s a good idea to don their formals. They can go back to their play pants after the funeral. And maybe even seize the opportunity to hit the press, again, with a renewed reminder, in the wake of Sherriff Coderre’s line in the sand, of their pension issues. It’s not likely the citizenry will react with awakened sympathy, mind you. Indeed, firefighters, ambulance drivers, and municipal security squads have all stickered their vehicles over, creating a distinct and palpable wall between us and them. But if they can show us that they do indeed have a human side, we might be persuaded to listen. We might not agree. But we might listen.
We may yet one day see the police in their uniforms on a regular basis again. But I don’t really care if we don’t. All I want is for those charged with the protection of our fair city and her inhabitants to be respectful.