The RCMP faces yet another critical moment to improve. But history leaves us sceptical

by David Korzinski | March 31, 2023 9:53 am

By Shachi Kurl, President

Can a police force with a rich and storied history deliver what’s required in the future? Is the RCMP irretrievably broken? Does something else need to replace it?

These are the questions we need to ask, not only as painful memories are revisited with the release of the brutal final report of the Mass Casualty Commission, but also due to the brutally lacking response from RCMP leadership.

The commission report[1] examines what went wrong (and so very much went wrong) during the April 2020 Nova Scotia rampage in which a gunman murdered 22 people while dressed as an RCMP officer and driving a replica cruiser. It is thousands of pages long and cites repeated breakdowns in operational response, communication, and duty of care during and after the massacre.

Many pages are disturbing. More are heartbreaking. But on the day the report was released – a full day after it would have been provided to him – interim RCMP Commissioner Mike Duheme said he had neither read the report nor the recommendations[2].

Consider the sheer arrogance of this. Consider the shallowness of his public comments that day, asserting his commitment to “rebuilding the trust and confidence of Nova Scotians” to ensure “the vital work of the Commission will have a lasting impact on public safety locally, nationally and internationally.”

In other words, blah, blah blah. It was all in the same vein as various government leaders and politicians whose verbosity without clarity was as meaningless as offering “thoughts and prayers”

The truth is, confidence in the RCMP is at a 10-year low. Only one in three Nova Scotians have confidence in the force[3], per polling conducted by the Angus Reid Institute last fall. Nationally, fewer than half of Canadians feel the RCMP is an institution in which it has much faith.

It didn’t happen overnight. This isn’t just about what happened in Portapique and neighbouring communities that awful spring day in 2020.

Read more from the article in the Ottawa Citizen here.[4]

Image – waferboard/Flickr

  1. commission report:
  2. he had neither read the report nor the recommendations:
  3. Only one in three Nova Scotians have confidence in the force:
  4. Read more from the article in the Ottawa Citizen here.:

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