Mounties have a choice between fur and toques, despite Harper’s intervention

RCMP fur hatThe Royal Canadian Mounted Police listened to their members and the public, then came to a decision: a toque would be better than a muskrat fur hat for regular cold weather conditions. But in a knee-jerk reaction to the fur lobby, the Conservative Party of Canada announced they would fully overturn that decision.

But it seems now that RCMP officers will have a choice – and it’s one that’s costing tax payers money.

According to Postmedia, who obtained internal emails under access-to-information laws, confusion over precedent for the Ministry of Public Safety imposing uniform regulations, confusion on policy wording and confusion over the acquisition process of both hats.

The muskrat fur hat costs $48 each, according to Postmedia, whereas the new toques were sourced at $20 each – significant savings when the nearly 20,000 non-civilian members are counted.

In one of the emails, assistant deputy minister of Public Safety Kathy Thompson asked if the government’s directive meant the toques would be scrapped entirely, if an option would be given to the RCMP and whether or not the RCMP had been consulted “to determine whether the force still had a supplier for the fur hats.”

The latest communications between the RCMP and the media indicate that members will have the choice between the toque and the fur hat – though originally they wanted to move away from the fur entirely (except in extreme cold weather conditions).

What is clear is that this government’s interference in a simple procurement process has created a great deal of confusion, angst and a waste of taxpayer’s dollars.

As winter looms heavier we’re hoping to see more toques than we do fur hats – and we hope our supporters will remind officers they have the choice, regardless of what Stephen Harper’s Conservatives want.

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