rcmp-cost-feature"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane" – Marcus Aurelius

By Erroll G. Treslan

Last week's slaughter of three RCMP officers in Moncton has provided us with a sobering reminder of the risks that those who protect our communities take every day they go to work. If ever there were an example of something good coming out of a tragedy, it would be the images of Moncton residents lining up to hug officers in a contemporaneous display of both grief and gratitude.

Tuesday, approximately 7000 police officers and first responders converged on Moncton to attend the fallen officers' funerals. The question I would like to pose is whether the expense associated with this mass show of respect is justified.

Police and fire-fighting professionals have accepted a vocation that entails a high risk of injury or death but not the most dangerous; that unpopular prize goes to those who work in the logging industry. In any event, the law of large numbers (which ensures stable long-term results for the averages of random events) guarantees that a fairly predictable number of brave law enforcement official will die on the job each year. Recognizing that this is the case, is it necessary for a representative of each police force in North America to converge on the scene of a tragedy after the fact to mourn with the family and colleagues of someone they didn't know?

I submit that the expenses associated with these mass police/firefighting attendances is unwarranted and that this practice should be abolished. Just to use Tuesday's ceremony in Moncton as an example, over $7,000,000 will be spent on travel/accommodation expenses if every attendee were limited to a $1,000 budget. We can be almost certain that the actual expenses will be greater. Just imagine the good that could be done with that money if every force that sent a representative instead donated even half of that money to a fund in honor of their fallen comrades.

This column is in no way intended to disrespect the memory of constables Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, Dave Joseph Ross and Douglas James Larche. They died in the service of their community, as have many before them and as will many more in the years to come.

My point is simply that the practice of having their out-of-province colleagues attend their funeral is wasteful and that those funds could be used in a far more productive manner.

Erroll Treslan is a father, husband, contrarian, epicurean and litigation lawyer. He lives, works and writes in Owen Sound.


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