“This is about a group of people who are passionate about what they do, coming together to realize there is a better way”.
Dale McFee in Game Changers: A Documentary 2014
“We must learn to respect broader perspectives, the lived experiences of others, and seek to socially construct new forms of meaning and knowledge together.”
This quote formed part of my oral defense as I was completing graduate studies at Athabasca University in 2008. Who knew I would get the opportunity to put these words into action only a few months later? For the past 6 years, my team and I have had the career-defining privilege to be part of originating a social system change of epic proportion.
We started into this work as the province’s Future of Policing consultants, and we continue to work closely with Saskatchewan’s Police leaders, including former Prince Albert Chief and now Deputy Minister Dale McFee, and with the best collection of open-minded, courageous and tenacious architects and evidence-driven innovators from policing, corrections, justice, social services, health, mental health, addictions, education, and academia that I have ever had the pleasure to know
“We don’t have a policing problem … we have a marginalized people problem”
Personally, I can’t accept that violence fear and disorder should be natural by-products of cultural differences, or a given for any community or family that finds itself living on the margins. Single parent families may be coping with multi-generational poverty. New Canadians may be dealing with settlement issues. First Nations and aboriginal people may be coping with historical disadvantages and injustices. But no one wants to live in fear. No one wants their children to be victimized, or to become perpetrators of crime and violence against others. No one wants to look across at their spouse and see them unable to live a healthy life because of mental illness, or to watch their neighbour struggle through a continuing pattern of addiction and incarceration. These are not acceptable conditions anywhere, much less in a modern and prosperous Canada.
“What we are seeing out of Saskatchewan is a pretty fundamental re-think of the problem and the solution ...
Our entire system has been geared to incident-driven responses. In policing, this typically means enforcement and the suppression of crime. In child protection, it might mean state apprehension for the safety of children in a crisis environment. In mental illness and addictions, in our schoolrooms, in our courts and in our prisons, it too often means some form of reaction to a crisis that has already occurred. And, when we are in reactive mode, our options are always limited, and thus way too often they are completely ineffective in achieving any lasting change.”
Norm Taylor… addressing a multi-sector gathering in Ontario … 2013