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LETTER: A sweat lodge at the RCMP — what next?

RCMP Sgt. Troy Bennett (left), a member of the Qalipu First Nation, sits with Assistant Commissioner Ches Parsons, commanding officer of the RCMP in N.L., at a media conference at RCMP headquarters in St. John’s Friday morning. The RCMP invited reporters to learn about and see a newly-built sweat lodge on the grounds of the building, which the officers say is for public use, as approved by local indigenous leaders.
RCMP Sgt. Troy Bennett (left), a member of the Qalipu First Nation, made the announcement about the new sweat lodge with Assistant Commissioner Ches Parsons, commanding officer of the RCMP in N.L. — Telegram file photo

Editor: I write in reference to the front-page story on Saturday, Nov. 16 (see related stories, below) about the RCMP in St. John’s building a sweat lodge.

I, for one, query why the RCMP is entering into the realm of religion at taxpayers’ expense and, of course, on taxpayer property. The RCMP have taken upon themselves to build or permit to be built a structure dedicated to a particular religion on land near the RCMP building.

I wonder if one does not wish to partake of these religious or semi-religious ceremonies, will one incur the ire of our new priest-constables? If one does wish to partake of this RCMP-approved provision to a particular religious service, will the priest-constables view one as now on the road of redemption?

The Telegram story neglected to provide us taxpayers with an account of how much this edifice cost. Are we not to be permitted to know the cost of the billing we will have to pay so the RCMP can virtue signal at taxpayers’ expense? The Telegram story also refused to permit us taxpayers a glimpse of this sweat lodge which we must pay for. Apparently, this particular sweat lodge is so sacred that the profane eyes of taxpayers shalt not look upon it by way of media. Interestingly, the sweat lodge in the Dartmouth Nova Scotia RCMP location can easily be viewed on the internet. So can many countless other sweat lodges be seen on social media.

I query if now a church, mosque, synagogue or temple can be built by this St. John’s RCMP headquarters at taxpayer expense? Or are some religions more equal than others?

Robin Reid
St. John’s

Editor’s note: Media were asked by the RCMP not to photograph the sweat lodge during the announcement of its construction at the request of indigenous leaders; nor was information provided on its cost.

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