What the Mounties told me

Reading about the solid block of lies the RCMP has admitted they dropped on the country after some of their finest tasered Robert Dziekanski to death twigged something I meant to blog a while ago.

A few weeks ago, the RCMP police dog training centre in Alberta released the names of the winners of their annual “name the puppy contest.” Kids across the country are invited to submit suggestions for names for the new German Shepherd puppies that will grow up to be police dogs. The names had to start with the letter “B”, and the winners included Bailey, Badge, Blaze, and Bullet. And — oh yeah — Barack, suggested by Marc Richard, age 6, East Royalty, Prince Edward Island.

When the press release came out, I thought it was interesting they had named one of their new police dogs after the president of the USA. I wondered if Obama would see it as an insult, or perhaps an homage (remember the dog in Due South was named “Diefenbaker”). At any rate, I thought it might be worth a little story. So I phoned the RCMP flack listed at the bottom of the press release, and put my question to her.

She hemmed and hawed a bit, and said “Hang on a second.” A few minutes later, she came back and told me that the spelling of “Barack” in the press release (appended below) was a spelling mistake, and in fact it was supposed to have two “r”s. As in “Barrack”.

“As in army barracks?” I asked.

That’s right she said.

Hookay, I thought…

But it was a busy day so I didn’t pursue it. But a few days later I sent the press release to one of my reporters and asked him to double check. I thought if we could get a hold of young Marc Richard, it might clear up any lingering doubts. We didn’t reach him, but the reporter did call the RCMP back to ask about Barrack the dog, and reached the same flack who had spoken to me.

Except this time, her story was that the dog’s name isn’t Barrack-as-in-army-barracks, it is Barack-as-in-the-POTUS. Which is what the original press release had. Which is what I called about. Which means the RCMP flack basically made something up to get the media off the phone.

You think the Dziekanski lies are troubling? This is an organization that will lie to the media about the name a six-year-old gave to a puppy in a contest. Lying to Canadians is written into Mountie DNA.

The presser below.


Innisfail, Alberta
April 15, 2009
Winners of the 2009 RCMP “Name the Puppy Contest”

Innisfail, Alberta – On Monday, April 6, 2009, ten lucky young
Canadians each won the privilege to name a working dog from the RCMP
Police Dog Service Training Centre (PDSTC) “Depot” Division. PDSTC
received over 8,550 individual and 343 school entries- an unprecedented
number in the history of this popular contest.

As in previous years, participants were creative and imaginative,
submitting names starting with the letter “B”. For multiple entries
of the same name, winners were selected at random. And the winners are:

Brock: Aidan Schafer, age 8, Red Deer, Alberta
Bailey: Zahara Wolsynuk, age 10, Whitehorse, Yukon
Breeze: Vanessa Harris, age 11, Keremeos, British Columbia
Bullet: Joel Dyck, age 15, Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan
Barry: Taylor Shurb, age 11, Brandon, Manitoba
Badge: Lauren Neufeld, age 10, Smithers, British Columbia
Blaze: Rickey Smith, age 11, Amherst, Nova Scotia
Bounty: Randi Johnston, age 15, Makinson, Newfoundland and
Bella: Julie Morneau, age 13, Saint-Isidore, New Brunswick
Barack: Marc Richard, age 6, East Royalty, Prince Edward Island

The winners will each receive a 5×7-inch laminated photograph of their
“officially” named puppy, an RCMP ball cap, a plush dog named
“Justice” and a certificate. Please note that the other entries
will also be used to name future puppies.

The three winning classroom submissions are:

Dinsmore Composite School, Grade 1/2, Dinsmore, Saskatchewan
École de la Rive-Sud, Blockhouse, Nova Scotia
Westwood School, Grade 3, Thompson, Manitoba

Each classroom will receive an 8×10-inch laminated photograph of RCMP
puppies, a plush dog named “Justice” and a certificate.

“The PDSTC would like to thank all the children who took the time and
made the effort to submit names for our potential police service dogs.
RCMP police service dogs are an integral part of front line policing.
They track and apprehend criminals, remove illicit drugs from the
streets, search and recover articles as well as people,” stated
Corporal Whitney Benoit, non-commissioned officer in charge of the
Breeding Program. “It is gratifying to know that Canadians realize
and understand the importance of our police service dogs and are playing
an active role in naming those who will be responsible for saving lives
and protecting our communities,” concluded Benoit.

The PDSTC, “Depot” Division, is the national training centre in
Canada for all RCMP police dog teams. Currently, there are 132
multi-purpose operational dog teams in Canada and 23 specialty dog teams
that detect narcotics or explosives. The RCMP Police Service Dog
Breeding Program has produced over 100 police service dogs that have
been in service to Canadians and over 65 dogs that are working with
Search and Rescue and with other police agencies in Canada and the
United States.

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