HASH(0xbf4444)

Quebec tables bill to force police to ditch colourful camo pants protest

Quebec tables bill to end cop pants protest

MONTREAL — In recent years, Montrealers have become used to seeing their police officers working in bright pink military-style pants, jeans and even leggings.

But while they don’t profess to be fans of the look, several Montrealers expressed mixed feelings about a bill tabled Thursday that would force the officers to ditch the colourful pants they’ve been wearing to protest changes to their pensions.

Lucie Landriault, 64, said she thought the pants were an embarrassment to the city but still wasn’t sure it was right to legislate officers back into their uniforms. 

“I’m divided because they don’t have the right to strike, and they don’t have a lot of pressure tactics (available to them),” she said on a pause from a bike ride in Montreal’s Old Port.

“At the same time it’s unsightly and embarrassing — downright embarrassing.”

Her spouse, Bernard Packwood, said he felt the protesting cops were disrespectful, especially when they wore camouflage pants and jeans at the funeral for former Quebec premier Jacques Parizeau.

“It’s a disgrace, it’s unsightly and it lacks class,” he said. “But I know they don’t have a lot of means of pressuring, so for the rest I’m a bit divided.”

Montreal police have been wearing camouflage and other brightly coloured pants since July 2014 as part of pressure tactics stemming from a battle over pension reforms.

The bill tabled Thursday by Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux would amend the Police Act to obligate officers and special constables to wear the uniform and equipment provided by their employer.

At a news conference, Coiteux denied he was taking away one of the police’s few available means of protest.

“We’re not curtailing freedom of expression, not at all, but it can’t be done through disrespecting the uniform,” he said.

“There are other ways to express disagreement than not wearing the uniform.” 

If the bill passes, Coiteux said officers would face fines ranging from $500 to $3,000 for a first violation, but that could amount could double for repeat offenders.

Coiteux added it’s important for police to wear their uniforms to maintain public confidence and ensure officers can be easily identified.

On Thursday, some Montrealers out on the street agreed with him.

“We’re talking about the forces of public order,” said 27-year-old Livia Miller when questioned on the issue. “If they want citizens’ respect.. its better if they have a unified look.”

But others said they don’t care what police officers wear as long as they perform their duties.

“It looks silly, but I’d rather they be doing their jobs than worrying about pants,” said Brian Naud, a resident of Montreal’s West Island.

Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

VIDEO: Explorers uncover Canada’s deepest cave in Fernie

The cave, named Bisaro Anima, was confirmed to have broken the record on New Year’s Day

New Glade ferry enters testing phase

The Glade II will be able to carry heavier loads and will emit less greenhouse gases.

Freezing rain warning in effect for B.C. Southern Interior

Environment Canada issued the freezing rain warning for most of the Southern Interior Tuesday morning

Rumble In The Rockies brings live boxing back to Fernie

Local boxer, Dylan Mitchell takes first career win at home

Smiles all around as province announces emergency ward funding

$2.1 million to go to much-needed upgrades

Solitary-confinement veto a chance to address mental health: advocate

B.C. Supreme Court made the landmark ruling Wednesday

B.C. civil rights group files complaint about RCMP arrest of man who later died

Dale Culver, a 35-year-old Indigenous man was arrested in Prince George last July

Lawyer says former B.C. government aide ‘barely guilty’ in ethnic vote scandal

Brian Bonney pleaded guilty to a breach of trust charge

Quite a few tears as homemade quilts distributed to residents of Ashcroft Reserve, Boston Flats affected by last summer’s fire

Quilters in B.C. and Alberta worked through the summer and fall to create more than 100 quilts.

Island Health: No need for alarm in wake of Victoria needle-prick incidents

Three incidents in a week prompts meeting between health authority, city service providers

B.C. coast loggers celebrate history, hope for improvement

Truck Loggers Association awaits B.C. NDP government’s new direction

Global Affairs aware of report of two Canadians kidnapped in Nigeria

The foreigners were heading south from Kafanchan to Abuja when they were ambushed around Kagarko

Whistler role in potential Calgary Olympic bid would be welcome: IOC

Calgary is mulling whether to vie for the 2026 Games, and could look to facilities in B.C.

Food industry failing at voluntary sodium reduction: Health Canada

Health Canada report shows the food industry made no meaningful progress in curtailing salt levels

Most Read