An Esquimalt municipal councillor’s attempt to shed light on reasons why the township prefers the RCMP has been quashed by his fellow councillors.
Coun. Dave Hodgins hoped his recent request for the township’s policing report to be released by March 1 would be discussed and voted on Jan. 16. It was – behind closed doors during an in-camera council meeting.
During the public session that followed, Mayor Barb Desjardins announced council had passed a resolution that essentially cancelled out Hodgins’ bid.
“Whatever we can release, we have released,” she said. “Whatever we can release as we go forward (after the solicitor general decides Esquimalt’s policing fate) requires another set of approvals.”
If the ministry allows the township to contract RCMP services, some of the broader reasons why the municipality prefers the Mounties may be released, said Desjardins, who has long said the report submitted to the province last June is bound by confidentially agreements with the two proponents.
Hodgins’ request “had a couple of areas that were narrow in focus, and didn’t provide flexibility for the fact that it’s not all in our control,” Desjardins said. “In order for us to release anything and move forward in any direction we have to have that answer from the solicitor general’s office.”
Hodgins said he understands residents’ frustrations.
“It’s a challenge when process supersedes what’s right and responsible,” said Hodgins, who asked that the report be made public “to provide the public with information so that they can be partners as we go forward.”
The ministry is now going over the township’s policing paperwork, but has indicated it will require additional information for which Esquimalt will need to go to the RCMP.
That process will be completed by mid-February at the earliest, Desjardins said.