The city of Montreal has called on the Essential Services Council to intervene in its contract dispute with police officers who started wearing camouflage pants this week as a pressure tactic.
Unionized Montreal police officers have been wearing blue jeans and red baseball hats since July as a symbol of their frustration with contract negotiations.
On Monday many officers showed up to work in camouflage pants, a tactic that affects their ability to carry out their jobs, according to police Chief Yvan Delorme.
Wearing camo gear sends the wrong message, given the fragile relations between police and certain communities in the wake of a riot in August, Delorme said.
Officers should not be walking around in camouflage in neighbourhoods with substantial immigrant populations who often “come from totalitarian regimes and military dictators,” he said.
“Authority and respect is reflected in what they wear, and how they look when they show up,” Delorme said in French.
The gesture is provocative and risky because “it puts police officers’ security in peril,” he said.
Montreal police officers have been without a contract for two years.