What’s up with the RNC?

Work in progress By Ivan Morgan

For the last little while there’s been a hullabaloo in the local media about a police therapy dog. The racket is about what she is supposed to be doing, or what people would have her do.

She’s a dog. Her name is Stella. She makes people happy. She has been trained to comfort people. My little terrier does that naturally. He’s everyone’s buddy.

According to DNA research, humans and dogs have a special relationship that dates back almost 12,000 years. They were our companions long before horses, cats or other large mammals were domesticated. 

This is not a new technology. Dogs are not complicated. Nor is our relationship with them. That’s one of the joys of being friends with a dog.

This is not a story about the dog. The dog appears to be fine.

This is a story about humans, secrecy, RNC arrogance, and about something else we are clearly not being told. It is, ahem, a dog’s breakfast.

The RNC has professional communications staff. Surely, they must know that telling journalists to butt out is, excuse the metaphor, not going to throw them off the scent. In fact, any good journalist would be like a dog on a bone on this. When top dog RNC Chief Patrick Roche issues a silly release telling us, in essence, let sleeping dog’s lie, and the minister refuses an interview, that’s a red flag. They must know the press is not going to call their dogs off.

OK, I’ll stop now.

People started asking questions about why Stella wasn’t doing any more community visits. Where’s Stella? Some intrepid journalists filed access to information requests to find out why the dog was not being used as an RNC ambassador in the community anymore. They established she wasn’t, and they asked the chief why.

He won’t say. Or he doesn’t care to say. Or he thinks its none of our business.  The minster of justice, who we elect to oversee the cops, won’t comment either, other than a bland e-mail saying nothing.

Am I missing something?

Those who think this story is about the police dog are barking up the wrong tree (oops, sorry. I said I’d stop). This is about something else.

The police have long needed an overhaul. They are changing, but at a glacial pace. Retired MHA Gerry Rogers (full disclosure, I worked for her) wanted to change the name from the police force to the police service. She felt there was a lot in that simple word change. I agree. The RNC is supported by public money, and they have an obligation to answer to the public. Obviously, investigations and such must be private, but on matters of policy and public relations, they should not be allowed to tell us to mind our own business. Are they using the fact government cannot interfere in their operations to quell a public relations issue? A staffing issue? To stifle criticism?

In my career I have had my run ins with the cops. Not the rank-and-file frontline folks, they seem hard-working and dedicated. But the brass? That’s another story for another day.

I am not trying to diminish the role of the police dog, or the story, but there are far more important issues facing the RNC. The drug addiction problem in this province is epidemic. Organized crime is bringing lethal drugs into this province. It’s creating addicts, it’s ruining lives, it’s creating more crime. It’s killing people. Sex trafficking, fraud, the list goes on.

Roche has said the dog is being used internally. Huh? Are things that bad at the cop shop? By stonewalling, Roche is just digging himself a deeper hole. Why is this such a fuss? 

The RNC and Chief Roche need to come clean about what’s going on with the dog, fix the problem and get cracking on the more important files. Is the dog and her trainer overwhelmed? Get another dog.

Then there’s another racket about RNC horses. Seems the place has gone to the dogs (Okay. I have a problem.  I’ll work on it).

Ivan Morgan can be reached at ivan.morgan@gmail.com

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