Union blasts Esquimalt over policing decision

Union boss says decision reeks of ‘pre-election grandstanding’

The union representing Victoria’s uniformed police officers is questioning the timing of Esquimalt’s announcement last week that it prefers the RCMP over the Victoria Police Department to service the community.

The announcement was made after the close of the municipal candidate nomination period on Oct. 14, when it became official that Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins had no competitors in the election race.

That reeks of “pre-election grandstanding,” said Tom Stamatakis, president of the B.C. Police Association, which includes the Victoria City Police Union.

“Maybe if that announcement had been made earlier where there was an opportunity for a bit of a dialogue or a bit of a debate, who knows, maybe someone with a different perspective would have announced their intention to run against the mayor.”

Esquimalt’s decision, which would take more than $6 million away from VicPD’s annual budget, could lead to 30 to 40 job cuts for the newest officers, said Stamatakis, who is concerned the announcement is damaging officer morale.

“It’s brutal,” he said. “It’s very disconcerting. They don’t know what the timing of this is.”

He takes exception to the suggestion “that the service these members provide isn’t adequate or that, from a cost perspective, the citizens in Esquimalt aren’t getting a good deal.”

But Esquimalt residents and councillors say the union president is taking things too far.

“Barb (Desjardins) did not bring this on,” said Esquimalt council watchdog Rod Lavergne. “(Esquimalt’s decision) was forced out.”

“This was done the end of June,” Coun. Meagan Brame said, noting the Esquimalt Policing and Law Enforcement Advisory Panel’s decision was submitted to the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General on June 30.

“We were as baffled as everybody else as to why all of a sudden this did the whole blow-up thing,” Brame said, adding the panel and council didn’t want to reveal the choice before Solicitor General Shirley Bond made her decision.

“Why upset an apple cart when it might not fall over or it might, nobody knows,” said Brame. “Until it’s said and done and signed, there is no guarantee.

“Had we stayed quiet we would have been blamed of secrecy. We are darned if we do and darned if we don’t.”

It also shouldn’t come as a surprise to the police union and Victoria’s mayor and police chief that Esquimalt prefers the RCMP over VicPD, given the township’s issues at the Victoria Police Board level.

“If Victoria is surprised by this, where have they been?” Lavergne said.

Just Posted

Victoria city councillors advocate for better measures to reduce sexual violence in downtown bars

A motion coming to council this week asks for more action from liquor establishments

Downtown Victoria businesses cite parking issues as top challenge

A report put forward by the Downtown Victoria Business Association asked owners for input

Pair of Saanich fires, including one that resulted in a death, remain under investigation

Saanich Fire expect to wrap up investigation into Richmond Road Tuesday

Wind gusts turn away cruise ships from Victoria harbour

Weather conditions make docking difficult for large ships

Tips from BC Ferries for travelling this Canada Day long weekend

Tips from BC Ferries for smooth sailing this Canada Day long weekend

Video shows fireworks shot at swan in Alberta

Alberta Fish and Wildlife is investigating the incident in Grande Prairie

WITH VIDEO: Two endangered marmots released on Vancouver Island

With three new pups born in May, two more Vancouver Island Marmots… Continue reading

Surrey RCMP raises Pride flag amid din of protesters

There were about 30 protesters on either side, and 20 Mounties doing crowd control

Should B.C. get rid of Daylight Saving Time?

The province wants to know, as state governments down south make the move

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Canadians crash out of Women’s World Cup in 0-1 loss to Sweden

Canada missed a chance to tie the game on a penalty shot

Four-year-old boy assaulted at B.C. soccer game

It happened at a weekend tournament in Ashcroft

Two bear cubs saved near Revelstoke after mother hit by car

Conservation officers trapped the cubs and transported them to a wildlife sanctuary

Heroism medal for B.C. woman who tried to save wheelchair-bound man stuck on rail tracks

Julie Callaghan awarded Carnegie Medal from U.S.-based foundation for ‘extraordinary heroism’

Most Read