A former Manitoba Mountie who filed a class action against the RCMP alleging systemic racism in the force tells APTN News she is troubled by comments contained in an opinion piece recently posted to the website of the RCMP Veterans’ Association.
“With the residential schools and the police, I think it runs parallel because we have to remember that the RCMP was part of the taking of the children,” said Marge Hudson, a First Nations woman who worked as a Mountie for 30 years.
She says it’s painful to hear the comments and that she can’t imagine any good that came from residential schools.
“As a statement gatherer for residential school survivors and the fact that I went to day school and personally was sexually assaulted by a catholic priest, beaten by nuns … the goodness? What is the goodness out of that?” Hudson said.
The editorial by Iwona Mooney called for readers to “get on with life” after residential schools. That was followed up with an email from the Manitoba association’s president.
The article examined residential schools and Canada Day and was titled “My Canada—Is it your Canada?” The follow-up email encouraged members to read a book called From Truth Comes Reconciliation.
The president of the Manitoba association said, “This book is not for people who think that the subject of the truth and reconciliation commission report are too sacred for either discussion or criticism.”
APTN heard from many Indigenous people who were outraged by the post Including Grand Chief Jerry Daniels of the Southern Chiefs’ Organization who spoke to APTN this week.
“Obviously we’re never really surprised with these sorts of comments from colonial institutions,” he said. “I think that we were a little disheartened given the fact that multiple reports have came out stating that the RCMP is an institution that needs to be transformed and brought into the 21st century.”
Retired Mountie Bruce Pitt-Payne shared the article and email with APTN. He said he was disgusted with the material.
“It was minimized to being institutions of education as opposed to the oppression that came out in truth and reconciliation commission,” he said. “I was extremely offended by phrases such as get on with life and stop dwelling on it.”
The veterans’ association sent us a statement saying the post was an editorial and not associated with the organization. The post is scrubbed from their website.
We reached out to the RCMP itself for comment but they didn’t get back to us by publishing time.