Royals welcome but not the cost

Royals welcome but not the cost

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By Lyonel Doherty

So, Harry and Meghan want to make Canada their part-time home. Most countries would be honoured, in particular B.C. But what we wouldn’t be honoured doing is paying for their security detail. Why should we? 

Canadian taxpayers pay (overpay, actually) for a lot of services, and unfortunately a lot of government waste. So, the last thing they should be responsible for is security costs for a couple of royals — the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. By the way, Harry and Meghan stated they want to be more financially independent of the Queen, and with their millions they shouldn’t have any problem doing that. So why not let them be independent, meaning let them pay for their own security.

A recent Angus Reid poll found that 73 per cent of Canadians don’t believe they should be responsible for covering these and other costs associated with the royal couple. But according to the RCMP, Harry and family (including little Archie) are entitled to protection while in Canada. These costs will reportedly be covered by the existing operational budget. Boo! Doesn’t the taxpayer have a say in that? Obviously not.

Another unsettling issue is the disciplinary hearing for an RCMP officer charged with allegedly committing a lewd act in Penticton last year.

Now we are informed by the RCMP that the hearing will take place behind closed doors without public or media scrutiny.

The officer, who worked out of a special unit in Osoyoos, has been suspended with pay.

A code of conduct board ruled that the hearing be conducted in-camera.

The main reason given is that the disclosure could be “injurious to the defence of Canada” or “injurious to law enforcement.”

Whatever the reason they want to give, it certainly appears on the surface that people in authority are given far more protection than the average Joe. 

This decision is an affront to transparency and doesn’t improve our trust in the legal system in terms of treating everyone fairly.

Without an open disciplinary hearing, we are left wondering if the alleged offence occurred or not. What if the incident never occurred or was a big misunderstanding? If the facts aren’t made public, the officer (Cst. Ryan Fulcher) won’t be exonerated in our eyes.

Last Friday’s official opening of the new emergency department at SOGH was good news.

Patients will now have more privacy and improved triage assessment. But a glaring question remains: If local doctors still do not have pay equity with their Penticton counterparts, how is that going to address the overall problem of emergency room staffing?

Our doctors’ pay gap needs to be filled because they deserve better. 

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