Soon-to-be retired RCMP commissioner failed to root out systemic racism: LeMay

After five years as the first female RCMP commissioner, Brenda Lucki failed to weed out racism in the national police force says Rose LeMay, a columnist with the Hill Times, a publication that covers federal politics.

“RCMP are never held to account for its own tragic, devastating wrongdoing,” she wrote in a recent article. “It’s time that Canadians demand better of police forces. “No more killings. No more outrageous breaches of duty without consequence.”

“If (the RCMP are) not held accountable, it sets a pretty low standard for police forces across the country,” said Lemay who is from Taku River Tlingit First Nation in B.C. and living in Ottawa.

Lucki announced her retirement on Feb. 15.

“Since my swearing-in on April 16, 2018, we’ve made some great progress to meet the expectations of Canadians, our communities and our contract partners and I know that will continue after my last day on March 17, 2023,” said Lucki in a statement posted online.

“As Commissioner, I was asked to modernize and address the RCMP’s internal challenges. This was a significant mandate and with the support of my senior executive team and the commitment of all RCMP employees, we’ve accomplished a lot.”

LeMay does not put all the blame on the outgoing Lucki who did little about systemic racism in the force.

“Has she failed? Yes,” said Lemay, “but I would say it’s the whole institution that has failed.  I’m not entirely sure how much influence she actually had.”

LeMay suggests the next commissioner be brought in from outside the force. She said when an organization gets so embedded in its dysfunction, it’s incredibly difficult to fix it from within.

LeMay agreed when asked by Nation to Nation if that person should be Indigenous.

“I think its time for an Indigenous commissioner. I really do,” she said, but believes there is zero chance of that happening.

International agency to advise Ottawa on possible unmarked graves found near residential schools. 

Special Interlocutor for Missing Children and Unmarked Burials at Residential Schools Kimberly Murray says a $2 million deal between the federal government and Dutch-based agency International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) is raising a lot of red flags.

ICMP will provide advice on what to do with the hundreds of possible unmarked graves found near former residential schools over the past few years.

Murray said that the work, which includes 35 engagement sessions, one town hall and one roundtable in Ottawa, is being controlled too much by Canada.

“Canada decides and tells the ICMP who they’re to engage with,” said Murray. “Canada has the right to attend every single meeting that the ICMP holds.

“All the reporting of any engagement sessions goes directly to Canada, not to survivors, not to communities, there no parallel reporting out to communities and leadership.”

Murray is also concerned the ICMP is too remote from Indigenous communities to conduct the meetings in a culturally sensitive way.

“It is an agency that is mostly white. All the commissioners are white. All the experts on the forensic science board are white,” she said on Nation to Nation

The ICMP is expected to have a final report ready by the middle of this June.

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