Vancouver Sun columnist Ian Mulgrew: The RCMP deserves being disbanded
Photo: Rally in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en land defenders, Ottawa, February 2020.
Vancouver Sun columnist Ian Mulgrew writes: “In November, [British Columbia premier David] Eby was courting voters with billions of their own money, tossing $230 million to the RCMP to increase manpower and resources. Meanwhile, [Public Safety minister Mike] Farnworth was trying to defuse a timebomb — an unpublicized, five-year-old report of the RCMP’s Civilian Review and Complaints Commission indicting B.C. Mounties.”
Mulgrew explains: “About a dozen mainly poor, vulnerable, First Nations girls in the early 2000s made allegations implicating Prince George Mounties in heinous crimes — the rape of a 12-year-old and sometimes-violent racist harassment from about 1992 to 2004.”
Mulgrew further notes that the complaints commission slammed senior BC Mounties for failing to assess renewed allegations in 2011, that an interim report went to RCMP commissioner Brenda Lucki in 2018, but that she sat on it until 2021, and that in October 2022 the retired Mountie who filed the complaint sent the report to reporters.
Finally, in late February, Farnworth announced: “The director of police services has ordered an independent investigation by an external agency.”
Mulgrew concludes: “The RCMP has had its day. It’s time to replace it with a new national civilian force, similar to the FBI. Far past time.”
Disbanding the RCMP
Musqueam defender Audrey Siegl commented: “Since its inception, we’ve never been safe in ‘Canada.’ The RCMP was created to quash the Indian rebellions. The police were created to protect and serve the colonial state.”
Pam Palmater has also written: “Canada through the RCMP continues to violently oppress and dispossess Indigenous peoples. Peaceful land defenders, water protectors, and Indigenous rights advocates are vilified, criminalized, surveilled, suppressed, and incarcerated at ever increasing rates. This stands in stark contrast to Indigenous lands defenders’ goals of protecting the lands and waters for our future generations.”
She has further argued in Canadian Dimension magazine that: “The only way we are ever going to stop RCMP racism and brutality against Indigenous peoples is to declassify, deconstruct and defund the institution itself.”
Both K’asho Got’ine negotiator Daniel T’seleie and Dene Nahjo founding member Dëneze Nakehk’o have also called for defunding the RCMP.
And on November 23, 2021, after four days in custody following being arrested during the third militarized RCMP raid on Wet’suwet’en territory, land defender Sleydo’ commented: “C-IRG and the RCMP need to be abolished. Anybody who is not into prison abolition should be after this experience that we’ve had.”
Campaign to abolish the C-IRG
Peace Brigades International-Canada has recently joined an informal network of activists, academics, lawyers and organizations that is calling for the abolition of the C-IRG, the RCMP’s “community-industry response group”.
At this time, we also recall Amanda Follett Hosgood reporting on the approval process of the RCMP raid on Wet’suwet’en territory on November 18-19, 2021.
She wrote that “Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth declined to comment on when approvals were granted for the RCMP action, reiterating the province’s talking points that the government does not direct police [but] the ministry confirmed that Farnworth gave verbal approval to deploy provincial resources [on] Nov. 15.”
Her article also notes a letter, dated November 26, from Farnworth to RCMP Assistant Commissioner Dwayne McDonald noting his verbal approval on November 15 that continues: “I am authorizing the temporary internal redeployment of resources from within the Provincial Police Service to the extent necessary to maintain law and order, and to ensure the safety of persons, property, and communities in the area.”
For a further in-depth read, please also see The C-IRG: the resource extraction industry’s best ally by Molly Murphy and Research for the Front Lines (January 5, 2022).
And to see PBI-Canada’s recent webinar on the C-IRG, click here.