‘The commissioner is watching’: New top RCMP officer says she won’t tolerate racism in the ranks

The country’s new top Mountie says racism in the ranks “will not be tolerated,” following a number of troubling comments about Indigenous people posted in two secret RCMP-only Facebook groups first reported by APTN News.

(RCMP Brenda Lucki, and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale meet with media Monday in Ottawa. Photo: Lucy Scholey/APTN)

The country’s new top Mountie says racism in the ranks “will not be tolerated,” following a number of troubling comments about Indigenous people posted in two secret RCMP-only Facebook groups first reported by APTN News.

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki, the first woman to permanently step into the role, has been mandated to improve the force’s beleaguered relationship with Indigenous peoples.

“We need to always build better trust with all of our communities and with First Nations,” she said Monday, following her first appearance before the House of Commons public safety committee.

Watch APTN Investigates: Racism in the Ranks

APTN reported on a number of racist comments about Indigenous people posted in two separate closed Facebook groups for RCMP members only.

In one group, shortly after Gerald Stanley’s acquittal in the shooting death of Colten Boushie, a female officer posted, “Too bad the kid died but he got what he deserved.”

In the other RCMP Facebook group, which has close to 10,000 members, commenters called Indigenous people “racists,” “lazy” and “with a sense of entitlement.”

“Such behaviour will not be tolerated in the RCMP and we will do our investigation into that,” said Lucki.

Lucki highlighted her work to improve the relationship between Indigenous communities and police in northern Manitoba, but said there’s work to be done across the country.

“Sometimes we’re not accurate. Sometimes we need to be more respectful, but I believe that we are working hard at that and I know we’re doing well in many, many communities across the country,” she said. “Sometimes when we’re not doing so well, we need to learn from that and then try to make it a more respectful and more trustworthy relationship with all communities including Indigenous.”

In his mandate letter to Lucki, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says her role will be to “modernize and reform the RCMP’s culture.”

“This transformation includes continuing to ensure the health and safety of RCMP employees and members are protected, including from harassment and violence in the workplace, and enhancing its role in reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples,” the letter reads.

Lucki, a 31-year veteran of the RCMP, is replacing Bob Paulson, who in 2015 acknowledged that racism is an issue in the ranks.

Larry Hay, the director of Intelliquest Investigations and an RCMP veteran, previously told APTN an officer could lose a day’s pay as punishment for these types of racist comments.

Goodale says the RCMP takes these types of comments “very very seriously.”

“I think sitting here today and hearing the commissioner say that is simply unacceptable in the standards of the RCMP is a very powerful signal. It’s a signal to the force and it’s a signal about the force that this behaviour is going to change and it needs to change.

The commissioner is watching.”

4 thoughts on “‘The commissioner is watching’: New top RCMP officer says she won’t tolerate racism in the ranks

  1. I have often wondered why the “And Indigeneous communities” are needed to be said. Once again inclusion is distinct….like First Nations people need to be included too! Thank you. At least you know we exist…..sigh…..

  2. I have often wondered why the “And Indigeneous communities” are needed to be said. Once again inclusion is distinct….like First Nations people need to be included too! Thank you. At least you know we exist…..sigh…..

  3. Abuse of power should not be tolerated! Too many FIrst Nations people suffering brutality, (Saskatoon Starlight tours) FN people getting beat up while in custody! Do the members receive cultural sensivity training? Been hearing too much of RCMP acting inhumane in Canada!

  4. Abuse of power should not be tolerated! Too many FIrst Nations people suffering brutality, (Saskatoon Starlight tours) FN people getting beat up while in custody! Do the members receive cultural sensivity training? Been hearing too much of RCMP acting inhumane in Canada!

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