The RCMP Veterans’ Association has spoken out against recent accusations of systemic racism levelled against the force.
In an open letter posted to the association’s website, President Sandy P. Glenn calls the claims “extremely disappointing.”
“Making sweeping generalization statements about any group of people is always unfair and in the case of a senior executive member, singularly inappropriate and inaccurate. Thoughtless statements from our political leaders put frontline Members of the RCMP at risk,” wrote Glenn.
“Not for a moment do we deny that there are anomalies in the National Police Force. It will happen in any organization and the RCMP is no exception. But the anomalies are not the rule and to paint the entire organization with the same brush is to deny the dramatic role that the Force has played in the establishment of this country and in continuing over many years to ensure peace in Canada for all our citizens. Not some of our citizens – all of our citizens regardless of race, creed, colour or gender.”
The responses come after several public officials and activists have levelled charges against the national police force for harbouring racial bias and discrimination.
Among those joining in on the anti-racism hysteria was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“Systemic racism is an issue right across the country, in all our institutions, including in all our police forces, including in the RCMP. That’s what systemic racism is,” said Trudeau
“In many cases it’s not deliberate, it’s not intentional, it’s not aggressive, individual acts of racism, although those obviously exist. It is recognizing that the systems we have built over the past generations have not always treated people of racialized backgrounds, of Indigenous backgrounds, fairly through the very construction of the systems that exist.”
The accusations arose after anti-racism protests flooded Canada. Protesters, who were inspired by similar movements in the US decrying the death of Minnesota resident George Floyd while in police custody, are calling on police forces to be defunded.
Prior to the association’s open letter, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki struggled with whether there was a systemic racism problem with the force.
“If systemic racism is meaning that racism is entrenched in our policies and procedures, I would say that we don’t have systemic racism,” said Lucki on June 11th.
On June 12th, Lucki reversed her position and said, “I did acknowledge that we, like others, have racism in our organization, but I did not say definitively that systemic racism exists in the RCMP. I should have.”
“As many have said, I do know that systemic racism is part of every institution, the RCMP included. Throughout our history and today, we have not always treated racialized and Indigenous people fairly.”