Racist officers in the RCMP have to go, the force’s commissioner Bob Paulson said Wednesday in addressing leaders of Canada’s First Nations.
“I understand that there are racists in my police force, I don’t want them to be in my police force,” Paulson said in a speech to members of the Assembly of First Nations, The Globe and Mail reported.
The commissioner was responding to B.C. Grand Chief Doug Kelly, who told him: "We encounter racism every single day. Some of the worst racists carry a gun and they carry a badge, authorized by you, Commissioner Paulson ... We need you to confront racism in the ranks."
Paulson promised reconciliation between the RCMP and indigenous communities in his address at the annual AFN meeting in Gatineau, Que. It was the first time an RCMP commissioner has ever attended the assembly.
“I would encourage you all, though, to have confidence in the processes that exist, up to and including calling me if you’re having a problem with a racist in your jurisdiction or any other problems,” he said.
His comments came on the heels of the Liberal government’s announcement Tuesday that it will begin an inquiry into Canada’s missing and murdered indigenous women in the next two months.
"From what I see, they haven't taken my daughter's case seriously since day one. To put it bluntly, it’s racism."
The father of one of these missing women, Wilfred Catcheway, told CBC News he’s “happy” the problem is being brought into the open.
"From what I see, they haven't taken my daughter's case seriously since day one," he said. “To put it bluntly, it’s racism.”
First Nations chiefs have a long list of issues with the way the RCMP handles cases of missing aboriginal women, according to The Toronto Star.
Last year, former aboriginal affairs minister Bernard Valcourt said that 70 per cent of murdered indigenous women were victimized by indigenous men, which was not explained in the RCMP’s first report on the issue. One chief called this notion a "myth."
In October, an independent watchdog finished an investigation of the RCMP after a human rights report detailed allegations of rape, excessive use of force, and faulty handling of missing-persons cases, The Globe and Mail reported.
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