The RCMP is being accused of four violations of the Canada Labour Code following investigations into last year’s fatal shooting of three RCMP members in Moncton, New Brunswick.
On May 14, Employment and Social Development Canada released its allegations related to a lack of equipment, training and supervision when RCMP members responded to a standoff with a heavily armed man, Justin Bourque, who fatally shot three RCMP members and wounded two others.
It was later learned Bourque was targeting the police.
Canadians wanted to know how this massacre could have possibly happened.
Now, we’re getting some answers to the questions, and it appears that the concerns about the force’s equipment, training and supervision have been in play for a long time.
One the key recommendations from the investigation of the shooting deaths of four RCMP members in Mayerthorpe, Alberta in 2011, was providing C8 carbines to increase the force’s fire power.
Recently, retired assistant commissioner Alphonse MacNeil, who issued 64 recommendations after the Moncton shootings, said the carbines could have saved lives, and should be rolled out faster.
He added the officers faced many problems, including communicating accurate information and securing protective equipment.
RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson, who was appointed by the Stephen Harper government in November 2011, was recently grilled by MPs about the Moncton RCMP shootings. He also shrugged off the complaints about how long it has taken to get the C8 carbines rolled out and getting RCMP members trained.
Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo Liberal candidate Steve Powrie says many RCMP members have talked to him “off the record” about their concerns, including being “so short of personnel they could not mount an effective response to a critical situation and about the military style ‘do as I say’ management model that leaves members feeling unrespected and disengaged….” (See page A4 in this edition).
Powrie says Harper’s government has slashed the RCMP budgets by 20 per cent and returned $1.7 billion in approved RCMP funding back to the federal treasury.
On Jan. 16, the Supreme Court of Canada gave rank-and-file RCMP members the right to engage in meaningful collective bargaining.
The Justices gave the federal government a year to create a new labour relations scheme, which would set the stage for talks among RCMP members, Commissioner Paulson and the Harper government.
These talks must take place, as Canada’s police force needs the best equipment, training and leadership to keep them safe while they are keeping us safe.