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Debate surrounds council decision to stick with RCMP

By Tara Clow Mar 19, 2024 | 4:45 PM

There was a tense discussion over policing at this week’s Moncton city council meeting.

A motion to approve six recommendations from the Perivale + Taylor policing services study and keep the Codiac Regional RCMP passed 6-5, with much debate surrounding Monday’s release.

Coun. Daniel Bourgeois felt more background should have been provided to the public during this week’s meeting. He requested an amendment to the motion for the public to be consulted first before a final decision was made.

His amendment, though, did not receive a seconder on city council.

Bourgeois also questioned those who voted in favour at a previous Committee of the Whole (COTW) meeting, wanting an explanation as to why they felt the public shouldn’t be consulted.

“I’m a little, I guess, aghast or at minor indignance at having to explain publicly why I voted for, in support, at the COTW. I’m a little taken aback that we would all get asked to explain ourselves on a yay vote,” Coun. Marty Kingston responded.

Coun. Bryan Butler stressed it should not have been an RCMP versus city police vote. He explained that it was just a case of wanting more information.

“My biggest thing is that we don’t have members being burned out all the time because there’s not enough money. These are things that I take personal because I spent 34 years in policing and when I read the Perivale and Taylor report, as much as I know about policing, I still found there were so many questions that had to be answered,” Butler said.

“When I asked, do we have an adequate police force, and they [Codiac Regional RCMP] said no, that’s a scary thing to hear that you don’t have adequate police. Citizens need to know that they feel safe.”

Mayor Dawn Arnold agreed that safety is a priority, but felt a decision had to be made.

“I think we’re all compassionate about the safety and security of our community. That’s why we hired an independent expert in July 2022, at a cost of $266,000, to give us their expert opinion on the best value and the best service for our citizens, and they consulted many community organizations as part of this, lengthy, lengthy process,” said Arnold.

“Is there a perfect police service? I don’t think so.  The question here is how do we make it better, that is our goal. We are elected officials, it is our responsibility to do this. That’s our job. My point of view is to take this expert opinion, implement it, and make the service that we have even better.”

“Listen, democracy is democracy. If six vote to say hey, listen, we don’t want no more information, we’re satisfied with it, that’s democracy and I’m happy with that. All I’m saying is, we have to give answers to the public,” Butler added.

The five councillors to vote against the motion were Bryan Butler, Paul Richard, Charles Léger, Daniel Bourgeois, and Shawn Crossman.

In a further motion, council voted in favour of a public meeting with the commanding officer, Codiac superintendent, Codiac Regional Policing Authority, and the tri-community councils to discuss the implementation of the recommendations of the report and the future of public safety in the community.