Sad (police) state of affairs...

You might have seen the Globe and Mail story on RCMP intelligence reports suggesting Sierra (along with Greenpeace and Tides Canada) are contemplating unlawful activity around petroleum infrastructure. I’m pretty sure Tides and Sierra are not, and Greenpeace might be thinking about erecting a banner somewhere.

Frankly, this kind of stuff coming from “intelligence” sources seems to be more about pleasing the intended readers in government than being truthful or realistic. In fact, most of the allegation and misinterpretations come from random internet searches.

I used to get angry every time this sort of thing happened, but I’ve grown older and (perhaps) a bit wiser?

This time I looked beyond the accusation and read what the report said. The police used words such as “assert”, “they believe”, “perceived environmental threat” and “promote a one-sided version of the actual event” with regard to climate change.

In policing terms, there is a lot more to be concerned about when it comes to climate change. It's not just protesters the RCMP needs to be thinking about. The RCMP is an institution we will depend on as climate change causes more frequent and more severe storms. Only last week the RCMP was criticized for not having a clear plan for seizing unsecured fire arms during the 2013 Alberta floods.

Climate change is something we know--not something we “assert”. This understanding is based on science and not on anything else. It's a real threat--not “perceived", and the threat is, in fact, getting more significant every day. Clearly the RCMP has not kept up and does not understand what is coming their way.

I could have gotten angry yesterday. Had I, an opportunity to reach out to an important institution would have been missed. Lemons into lemonade, I say.

Instead, I wrote to RCMP Commissioner Paulson and offered to provide workshops on the urgent issue of climate change to him and his officers so they can understand why so many of us are exercising our rights to free speech and assembly.

After all, one of Sierra Club Canada Foundation’s objectives is education on environmental issues, so we have offered to provide climate change workshops to the RCMP.

I’m not naive enough to believe RCMP Commissioner Paulson will jump at the opportunity. I think I’ll need your help to persuade him to take us up on our offer.

Please send the commissioner a note, today. It will only take a few seconds.

Thanks for taking action.


John Bennett, National Program Director
Sierra Club Canada Foundation
1510-1 Nicholas Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 7B7
John on Twitter / Bennett Blog