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LETTER: RCMP refuses to see the problem

From reader Erica Scott

I have been reading the “Broken Dreams. Broken Lives” report by Chief Justice Michel Bastarache on the rampant racism, misogyny, sexual harassment and assault that is perpetrated within the RCMP.

I had expected numerous news stories on this report, but instead, crickets. Even the local RCMP have not heard of this report.

These are the men we are all supposed to trust. If you ever wondered why only five per cent of all sexual assaults in Canada are reported to the police, I believe that this should go a long way towards explaining it.

“When considered together, these reports reveal a layered and concerning picture of workplace dysfunctions that would be unacceptable in any organization but is of particular concern in a national police force,” the report states.

These kind of reports have been coming out on a regular basis since the Marshall Inquiry Report of 1989, in which it was found that an innocent Indigenous man was arrested, tried, and incarcerated for over 11 years simply because he was Indigenous.

Mounting litigation costs resulting from this ongoing corruption are causing politicians to suggest scrapping the RCMP entirely and starting over. Within the RCMP there is a refusal to see the problem, no real accountability, and frequent retaliation towards victims.

“Despite their advocacy and despite the many internal investigations, I infer that sexual violence and harassment continued within the RCMP because there was a lack of sanctions for unacceptable conduct,” Bastarache writes.

The system is rotten. We should join communities all over the world shifting funding towards social programs that prevent harm, and away from a dysfunctional justice system.

“In my view, the time has come to ask some hard questions about the structure and governance of federal policing in Canada. The past has demonstrated that change cannot come from within the RCMP,” says the report.

Erica Scott

Nelson