So let it be written…
What the heck?
The new Mounties promised for Surrey are here. No, they’re not, yep they are, no they’re not.
Trying to make sense of the back-and-forth from people who are supposed to be running stuff in this city and country is like watching tennis.
We’re getting vertigo, already. Surrey’s need for more Mounties is nothing new. People have been calling for more officers for decades now. The latest campaign is in response to Surrey’s recordbreaking homicide rate two years’ back, compounded by the "hockey mom" case in Newton and of course the recent shootings.
Surrey’s NDP MPs Jinny Sims and Jasbir Sandhu have been relentlessly pounding away at the Conservative government, demanding more police officers for Surrey and a timeline for when they’ll arrive.
On June 11, Canada’s minister of public safety told the House of Commons that the deployment of the first 20 of 100 "is already underway" and "that boots are already on the ground."
Nina Grewal, Conservative MP for Fleetwood-Port Kells, said the other 80 officers "will soon follow" because "our government will not stand by and allow our citizens to live in fear." Stories are then written about this.
During a press conference on June 15, Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner told reporters the "contractual timeline" to have the new officers here is within 12 months of approval being given, which she said happened recently.
Then on June 18 former Surrey Liberal MP Sukh Dhaliwal, who is campaigning to get his old job back, charged that the Conservative government has been "caught in a lie" about Surrey RCMP’s new "boots on the ground" because Surrey RCMP Chief Superintendent Bill Fordy confirmed the number of officers deployed has not changed.
I asked Fordy about this, by email, but he didn’t reply. I instead got a call from Sergeant Dale Carr, who is in charge of the detachment’s media section. Carr told me the comment Dhaliwal attributed to Fordy "is NOT correct" and that Fordy "has not made a statement on this issue."
"I can say the Commanding Officer of E Div (BC) has confirmed that the deployment plan for new officers requested by Surrey and approved by the Government of Canada is well underway," Carr told me.
At about the same time, news stories were published reporting that Surrey hasn’t received its new Mounties despite what the federal government said. Hepner was identified as the source, reportedly confirming that the 20 have not arrived and Surrey’s number of Mounties stands at 703.
Archived news reports indicate that on July 1, 2014, Surrey had 703 sworn Mounties.
So you do the math. What a freaking mess. The military has a phrase for such situations and it prominently features the word "cluster." I won’t say what the other word is because this is a family newspaper.
Woe to Canadians, present and future, if this is the new standard of open, transparent communication.
This is good government?
Children run better lemonade stands.
Get a grip, people.
…So let it be done.
Tom Zytaruk is a staff writer with the Now. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org