VANCOUVER, Dec. 28, 2015 /CNW/ - The Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada (MPPAC) is deeply concerned with the rhetoric used by RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson when he described many officers on his force as "racists".
"Some of these men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice and his sweeping generalizations frankly put our officers in harm's way both legally and personally," said Rob Creasser, MPPAC spokesperson. "His comments seem to paint all officers from across the country with the same racist brush. How is the public supposed to respect officers now, after their own Commissioner throws them under the bus?" Creasser said.
From a legal perspective Sebastien Anderson, a labour lawyer who is representing MPPAC membership in various cases, wonders why Paulson hasn't already dealt with racist members if he knows they exist. "If he believes that to be the case or had that belief for some time, the means to deal with it lay at his fingertips," Anderson said. "He has an extensive supervisory structure underneath him to deal with it. My question is: why hasn't he dealt with it before now?"
Police associations across Canada have a long history of working with governments to make sure officers have the training to deal with Canada's uniquely diverse communities. Officers who display racist behaviour on or off duty could be disciplined under the RCMP code of conduct that deals with treating people with respect and not bringing discredit to the force.
MPPAC President Banwarie, who is a visible minority originally from Trinidad and Tobago has suffered and experienced racism first-hand. He is now leading this movement for all RCMP officers to organize and have their rights respected not only as a citizen but as an employee. "MPPAC's drive toward certification is nothing for the Commissioner and management to be afraid of. It is about working together to make the lives of officers safer so that they can provide the level of public safety expected by all Canadians." Banwarie stated.
Coincidently, Commissioner Paulson's comments came just a few days after the Federal government's historic first steps in introducing The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Labour Relations bill, which gives officers the right to unionize. Of the 227 police agencies in Canada, 226 already have collective bargaining rights – the only exception has been the RCMP. The introduction of this bill will come after decades of court challenges culminating with the Supreme Court of Canada's decision earlier this year which found the current RCMP Labour relations program to be unconstitutional.
"We're happy to see the Liberal Government, wants to improve the lives of RCMP officers. We look forward to working with the Liberal Government under Prime Minister Trudeau and seeing the final bill. We hope this legislation will enshrine RCMP member's constitutional rights, the same rights enjoyed by every Canadian," Banwarie said.
The legislation will be introduced no later than the end of Feb. 2016.
SOURCE Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada
For further information: Rob Creasser, Media Relations, Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada, T: (250) 371-1071, E: [email protected]