Idle No More protesters have started their announced blockades of transportation thoroughfares. The OPP are ‘on top of things’, as the following quotes make crystal clear:
“We are trying to open lines of communication at this point with the people who are at the scene that are blocking the rail,” [an OPP spokesman said]. “That is the first step in ensuring that the police do their job, and that is protecting the peace and ensuring everyone has a safe environment to do their protest.”
Got that? Ensuring. That. Everyone. Has. A. Safe. Environment. To. Do. Their. Protest.
Sort of turns the traditional notion of ‘policing’ on its ear, don’t you think? (Maybe this is Franz Kafka’s unfinished novel coming to life?) I suppose this is just the next logical step in how idiosyncratically the OPP interprets its societal role.
A couple of weeks ago, they completely ignored a mandatory injunction to clear a railway line blockage issued by a Justice of the Superior Court of Ontario, much to his stated chagrin and consternation. The OPP replied to the judge’s displeasure with a metaphorical shrug, stating he was “entitled to his opinion“.
A couple of days ago, the commisar, er, Commissioner of the OPP telegraphed an interesting operational strategy, to the effect that he hoped the public didn’t expect them to “wade in and start arresting [lawbreakers]”, emphasizing repeatedly just how “difficult” their job is.
I’d think their greatest upcoming “difficulty” will be to slough off citizen inconvenience, property rights, ongoing commerce and the like, all in the interests of, you know, preserving a “safe environment” in which to protest.
We thought we’d seen everything with the venality, corruption and outright criminality of that former bastion of rectitude, the RCMP. Now, we have a provincial police force whose explicit conceptualization of their role is to provide onsite security for a protest movement. I have a feeling that Caledonia will look like a church picnic by the time this plays itself out.