(A selfie taken by Mi’kmaq artist Thomas Clair Wednesday after he said he was carded by the RCMP. Facebook)
APTN National News
OTTAWA—A Mi’kmaq artist said he was carded by RCMP officers who claimed they were looking for a “suspicious Native man” after he left the grounds of Rideau Hall after watching the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Thomas Clair said he crossed Sussex Dr. after leaving the Rideau Hall grounds and was passing by the front entrance of the official resident of the prime minister when an RCMP officer stopped him.
“It was kind of weird actually. I felt funny about it,” said Clair, 53.
He said an RCMP officer approached him and asked him for identification. Clair said he asked the officer why he needed to see identification and at that point two more officers showed up around him.
“I asked, ‘Why? What was wrong?’ They said they had seen a suspicious Native man leaving the grounds,” said Clair.
The officers told Clair they had the name of the man. Clair asked him if the suspicious man’s name was Thomas, but the officers said no.
“The officer told me that it was not racial profiling if that’s what I was getting at,” said Clair.
The multi-discipline Mi’kmaq artist said he then showed the officers his ID because he didn’t want the hassle of getting arrested.
“I wanted to go home,” said Clair. “I was the only Native man in that area (on the street).”
Clair said he found the experience odd given that he just left the swearing-in of a prime minister and his cabinet that have promised a new Canada. He even took a photo of Trudeau as the prime minister-designate walked by on the way to the swearing-in.
“I was feeling pretty happy about Canada and Aboriginal people working together with our new prime minister,” he said.