An internal email sent by the president of the Manitoba RCMP Veterans’ Association urged members to read a critique of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report.
Former RCMP sergeant Bruce Pitt-Payne alerted APTN News to the email after an opinion piece was posted to the RCMP Veterans’ Association’s webpage by its communications director.
The article “My Canada—Is it your Canada?” calls for its readers to “get on with life” and “move on” from residential schools.
The editorial was followed up shortly after with an internal email from the Manitoba association suggesting its members consider reading From Truth comes Reconciliation published by the Frontier Centre.
“This book is not for people who think that the subject and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report (TRC) are too sacred for either discussion or criticism,” the email said.
It was signed by the Manitoba president and contained the organization’s coat of arms.
The email said, “This book is for people with open minds, those who are willing to consider alternative perspectives, citizens who want to know more about how the schools operated, how the TRC Report fits into Canadian history.”
Pitt-Payne says he was shocked to see the email in his inbox after reading the opinion piece.
“[It] appeared to be a theme then in relation to the previous editorial, which is very revisionist, very reductive to the damage and even the objectives of the residential schools,” said Pitt-Payne.
The retired Mountie says the message minimizes the history of residential schools.
“What made it more disconcerting is that when I complained and aired my view to the author, which is the Manitoba president of the Veterans’ Association, all I got back was a short reply that said it is acknowledged.”
The RCMP Veterans’ Association did not respond to our requests for an interview about the email but provided a statement to our previous story on July 13.
“This ‘opinion’ piece was neither solicited by, nor endorsed by the Veterans Association. The article of interest is solely the opinion of the author, Ms. Mooney,” said James Forrest, director of communications.
“The RCMP Veterans Association stands with all persons and all groups in Canada who have felt the pain of individual or widespread injustice, neglect, violence and abuse.”
Previously, Forrest had prefaced the post calling it “excellent” on the Vancouver association website.
“We have been provided with an excellent op ed that appeared in The Pillar Society Bulletins discussing how we, as a nation are dealing with Truth and Reconciliation,” read Forrest’s introduction.
“Given the current events surrounding Canada’s Residential Schools program it was suggested that this article, by Iwona Kennedy (retired RCMP/CSIS) would provide another insight into the situation.”
Both websites no longer host the editorial.
The retired sergeant said the content the association is promoting is concerning.
“It was minimized to being institutions of education as opposed to the oppression that came out in Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” he said.