RCMP Veterans’ Association post says ‘get on with life,’ move on from residential schools

Public Safety Minister’s office condemns materials


An opinion piece posted to the RCMP Veterans’ Association’s website and posted by its communications director said that members should consider alternative views to Canada’s residential school history. The material was denounced by Canada’s Public Safety Minister Bill Blair’s office.

Despite the many discoveries of unmarked graves found across the country the post entitled “My Canada — Is it your Canada?” suggests to “get on with life.”

APTN News shared the post with Blair’s office and requested an interview. That was declined but communications staff sent the following emailed statement in part.

“We disagree strongly with material that denies the pain and suffering caused by residential schools, or that seeks to minimalize the continued injustices faced by Indigenous peoples in Canada today,” it said.

Read the Public Safety minister’s office statement here.

RCMP
A screengrab of a post on the RCMP Veterans’ Association website on July 7, 2021

“Today’s generations cannot be responsible for the actions of our forefathers,” the post authored by Iwona Mooney read in part, adding, “The Truth and Reconciliation Commission report (TRC) revealed many ugly truths from which we need to learn, not apologize for.”

Read the full post here: My Canada — Is it your Canada? Now available on the RCMP Veterans’ Association of Vancouver website.

The original post was on the national association webpage last week but it was taken down after this article was published. The post is still available on the RCMP Veterans’ Association Vancouver website with an introduction by RCMP Veterans’ Association director of communications James Forrest addressed to members.

“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.”

“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.” The introduction reads.

The Pillar Society is the retirement/veterans’ organization for former RCMP Security Service and former CSIS officers in Canada.

The RCMP Veterans’ Association did not respond to our request for comment.

NDP MP Leah Gazan told APTN that the material shows there is a serious issue with systemic racism within the RCMP.

“Let’s not forget that the RCMP were a part of the apprehending of children to take them off to residential detainment centres,” said Gazan.

RCMP
A screengrab of a post on the RCMP Veterans’ Association website on July 7, 2021

She said the material misses the whole story of genocide in Canada and denial is dangerous.

“I think genocide denial is really dangerous and a part of the story is taking down statues and changing names, but the other part of the story is the genocide that resulted in the deaths of thousands of children of residential schools across the country,” she said.

“Unless you’re willing to look at the whole story it’s going to be really difficult for this country to forward.”

Correction: The post mentioned in a previous version of this article was published by the director of communications of the RCMP Veterans’ Association and not authored by as previously stated. Iwona Mooney is not the communications director. We apologize for the error. 

Investigative Reporter

Brittany grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba and is a member of Northlands Dënesųłiné First Nation. She continues her studies at University of Winnipeg and has a keen interest in justice reporting. In 2019, she was selected as the third recipient of the CAJ/APTN Indigenous Investigative Fellowship and is now an Investigative Reporter with APTN Investigates.