Obviously government employees must feel secure when in the midst of their official duties. They must know that they won’t be threatened in the line of duty, particularly when policies or actions are unpopular with the public.
However, there’s no question that the Ministry of Environment overreacted when it contacted the RCMP about a town hall meeting in Spallumcheen April 14 over the Hullcar aquifer and high nitrate levels.
“Out of an abundance of caution, staff alerted RCMP prior to the community meeting to advise a meeting would be occurring April 14 regarding a contentious issue in the community,” the ministry states.
“This is a standard, precautionary measure government takes.”
But staff safety aside, pursuing law enforcement suggests that the ministry doesn’t take the residents seriously and only sees them as a bunch of rabble-rousers.
Now the RCMP showed restraint and didn’t attend the meeting, but if officers had, residents could have felt intimidated enough not to speak out, as is their democratic right, and question the government.
In the end, no one wants civil servants threatened physically or verbally but an over zealousness for safety could ultimately lead to the government losing touch with the public they are supposed to represent.