Not everyone loves Dr. Bonnie Henry these days.
The National Police Federation, which represents thousands of RCMP officers in British Columbia, sent the province's top doctor a scathing letter following her recent comments at a committee on reforming the Police Act in Victoria on Monday, reports CTV News.
“One of the challenges that I find we have here in British Columbia with the way our police services are established is that we have municipal police forces that are — in my experience, anyway — more closely aligned with the community and the community norms and ideas and issues,” Dr. Henry said.
“We see a real difference in the culture and the understanding of the norms within British Columbia and the approaches within B.C. when we're talking with people who work with the RCMP versus a municipal police force.”
That statement deeply upset the National Police Federation, according to union president Brian Sauve.
“As the Provincial Health Officer and the perceived authority on such matters, I want to first raise your frankly offensive and incorrect remarks about our Members’ interactions with the province’s most vulnerable residents experiencing mental health and/or addiction issues,” responded Sauve.
“Our Members have advocated for additional funding, resources, and mental health specialists to support and complement these calls, but governments deny additional funding. This negligence is unacceptable, as is blaming our Members for government’s lack of leadership.”
Dr. Henry said during her remarks that the RCMP "refused to allow officers to carry (the overdose antidote) naloxone” due to an RCMP national policy. Once they did start carrying it, it was only for officers to use on each other if they were exposed to opioids.
“Their concept was that it was against the RCMP policy for them to provide life-saving medication to somebody who was overdosing and dying in front of them,” she said.
“As you well know, funding and resources for mental health and addiction services have been inadequate and declining for several years,” Sauve responded. “Our Members are increasingly being called to fill the gaps in these services.”
-with files from CTV News Vancouver