Montreal police temporarily pack up their camouflage pants
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Montreal police officers have put away their camouflage pants until at least Friday night as their union and the city engage in intensive negotiations to try to reach a deal on pensions.
Late on Monday, the Montreal Police Brotherhood announced it was temporarily putting its controversial, nearly three-year old pants protest on hold.
With few exceptions, officers have not worn police-issue pants since July 2014 as part of pressure tactics over a pension reform battle.
The brotherhood said in a statement progress in negotiations with the city was behind the move to revert to the proper uniforms.
Officers will wear them until at least 11 p.m. on Friday, when a further decision will be made.
In addition to camouflage and other non-regulation pants, police have also worn red armbands and baseball caps as well as plastering their vehicles with union-issue stickers decrying the labour strife.
Mayor Denis Coderre, speaking to reporters at a conference of mayors in Montreal, said he was happy with the decision.
"It's been three years," said Coderre. "I think what's important is we've gotten to another step, we're negotiating right now and I think it's a good gesture.
"You know, I've always said authority comes with the uniform."
The brotherhood declined further comment.
Quebec Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux tabled legislation in April that would force police to wear the proper uniform.
He said if the bill passes, officers would face fines ranging from $500 to $3,000 for a first violation and possibly double that for repeat offences.
He said it's important for police to wear their uniforms to maintain public confidence and ensure officers can be easily identified.
Police have occasionally donned proper attire for events like funerals after receiving heavy criticism for wearing camouflage pants and jeans at the funeral for former Quebec premier Jacques Parizeau in June 2015.