To the Editor,
Reading M.M. (Marc) Bedard’s (superintendent commander, OPP Municipal Policing Bureau), letter entitled “OPP billing Equitable” (as published July 5, 2016 - Haliburton Echo) caused me to half smile with some confusion until I chose to read it again...
While the letter’s manner at first glance provides a factual insight into our current OPP billing model, the reality is that it entirely fails to respond to the key points as outlined in Chad Ingram’s article “County drafts complaint on OPP billing” dated May 31. In fact, the key reasonings in the County of Haliburton’s submission to the office of the Ombudsman of Ontario aren’t directly responded to.
That’s when I stopped smiling because they seem to be ignored. Presumably because it wouldn’t be appropriate for Bedard’s office to comment directly about a file on the desk of the Ombudsman of Ontario. Begging the question: Why bother commenting at all? Until you Google search and find a smattering of similar style of letters to newspaper editors all over Ontario, in other municipalities, responding to others who have vocalized matters concerning the OPP’s municipal policing matters.
The directive from the Auditor General of Ontario’s Annual Report (2012) indicated a more transparent and simpler OPP billing model was required and on the surface we’ve got one. Though if you still end up with winners and losers – just different ones because all you’ve done is redistribute costs – then clearly something went wrong in the process of intention, consultation and determinations.
While I would not want my observations in any way to suggest that I am not a supporter of our OPP or the administration of the OPP, I am quite concerned that the efforts being undertaken by the superintendent commander’s office – to control the narrative – are not entirely appropriate, or factually correct (and they are not in this specific case) and more to the point; are working at cross purposes to what his office wishes to achieve.
As M.M. Bedford has previously stated (in a differing letter, in another paper, in another municipality raising concerns on OPP municipal services); “It is critical that we engage in accurate and informed discussions on all policing matters so we can continue to work together in promoting and improving community safety and well-being.”
To be clear; Bedard’s letter in the Haliburton Echo doesn’t deal with the subject at hand (the article he’s commenting on), isn’t entirely factually accurate, is placed in a editorial forum that given it’s factual mannerisms won’t promote informed discussion (presumptively most folks don’t have access to the level of analytics as his office does) and he’s trying to work together with us to… promote? Tell us the billing is equitable? Really? Gotta say “I’m smiling now”!
David W Douglas
Redstone Lake - Haliburton