By Balwant Sanghera
VANCOUVER: There are some agencies like the Fire and Rescue and police who usually don’t get the credit they deserve. These men and women put their lives at risk in order to keep our communities safe and peaceful.
Take for example, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). In our city of Richmond here, this federal police consisting of more than 226 well-trained, competent professionals is a credit to our city.
Richmond RCMP is one of the most culturally diverse forces in the province. Eighty-five of its officers also speak another language in addition to English. As a matter of fact, our local Mounties ( as officers of the RCMP are called) are well versed in 29 different languages and dialects. These bilingual members assist other units or sections (including IHIT) throughout the Lower Mainland (Vancouver area) when translators aren’t readily available. This fits well with Richmond as a model of multiculturalism and multilingualism.
RCMP’s six guiding principles – integrity, honesty, professionalism, compassion, respect and accountability – reflect very well its dedication to provide the citizens of Richmond with safe homes and a safe community.
Recently, management of the India Cultural Centre of Canada – which is home of Gurdwara Nanak Niwas – invited the local police administration and some of the frontline officers to a delicious vegetarian lunch. It was good to see a number of young Indo-Canadians as part of this group .The main purpose of this meet and greet initiative was to thank our officers for the excellent job they have been doing in keeping our community safe. The gurdwara management was joined by some of its neighbours along the Highway to Heaven.
On behalf of the Gurdwara management, India Cultural Centre of Canada’s chairman Asa Johal, president Chain Batth and general secretary Balbir Jawanda welcomed and thanked Superintendent Rennie Nesset and his officers.
The RCMP officers were issued an open invitation to visit the Sikh Temple any time and interact with the congregation. Superintendent Nesset, in turn, thanked the India Cultural Centre management for the warm welcome and open invitation. This writer, as one of the organizers of the event, found it as a privilege to work with Sgt. Cam Kowalski to co-ordinate this get-together. Sgt. Kowalski made sure that each segment of the Richmond RCMP was very well represented. These types of initiatives go a long way in enhancing communication and collaboration between the community and those who are charged to keep it safe.
(Honoured with the Order of British Columbia, Balwant Sanghera is a Indo-Canadian community activist based in Richmond on the outskirts of Vancouver)