A Vernon committee’s bid to have the RCMP recognized provincially with a special day each year is growing.
Vernon RCMP Day committee chair Martin von Holst announced at Vernon City Hall, in front of about 30 guests Thursday, that more than 1,000 names had been gathered on a petition to have Feb. 1 each year declared RCMP Appreciation Day in B.C.
“We started the petition in October and carried into November,” said von Holst. “We also sent letters to every MLA in B.C. as well as every community that has an RCMP detachment, and we’ve been getting quite a bit of positive feedback.”
The committee formed to acknowledge Feb. 1 each year as a day to honour and recognize the men and women of the RCMP for their dedication and service.
Joining von Holst Thursday from the committee was secretary Guy Bailey, who passed along the petitions to Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster, a former RCMP auxiliary member.
Also on hand were North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold and Vernon Mayor Victor Cumming.
It was on Feb. 1, 1920 that the Parliament of Canada created the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, combining the Northwest Mounted Police (founded 1873) and the Dominion Police (1868).
Feb. 1, 2020 is their 100th anniversary.
Cumming said the RCMP is a tremendous iconic symbol Canada-wide.
“We all know they’ve been doing this a long, long time,” said Cumming. “We hope it will continue, and this is just one little thing we can do to indicate to both our citizens and our visitors the significance of the RCMP.”
Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP Supt. Shawna Baher and a handful of members attended the ceremony. Baher, a 28-year veteran of the force, is touched by the idea.
“I know a lot of the work we do sometimes doesn’t get the best publicity, but the members do a great job, they’re all hard-working for the communities,” said Baher. “Even this thought of coming up with an RCMP is just an honour.”