Trudeau liberals consider police racism from concerned public, email revealed


OTTAWA – They did not always agree on what to do, but letters from concerned citizens urged federal liberals to address police misconduct of Black and Indigenous people.

Hundreds of correspondence conveyed through the Access to Information Act reveal deep mistrust of the RCMP and other police services, as well as plenty of suggestions on how to improve things.

Several emails from May 25 to July 1 of last year were addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, though they all wound up in the inbox of Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, a mountain and cabinet member responsible for federal prison and border agencies. .

In most cases the names of the senders were removed, out of respect for confidentiality, before being released under access law.

“People should know that they are safe in the presence of the law,” a message from Toronto said. “Right now, not many.”

A Verdun, Ky., Writer stated that as a white male he had never experienced racial or gender discrimination, so he did not really understand the pain and anger of people of color. “But I feel their pain and will not be silent.”

Another letter added: “While we may need police in some specific instances, the unrestrained force they routinely use against Blacks and indigenous people is horrifying and completely unacceptable in a country like Canada.”

At an anti-racism rally in Ottawa last June, Trudeau placed one knee on the ground, his head bowed, as others knelt around him as well. The demonstration was one of several incidents in Canada, inspired by Floyd’s death at the hands of police after days of rallies against racism and police brutality in several US cities.

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucky initially subdued last June in support of Trudeau’s assessment that the National Police Force, like all Canadian institutions, exhibits systemic racism.

Shortly thereafter, when Lucky turns up, Lucky speaks with regret for not doing so.

A writer from the Powell River, BC, told Trudeau in mid-June that it was time for Lucky to leave.

“Enough! The replacement of the current commissioner will send a notice to our police and all our nation’s people that this will not be a law-fair hedging and outright denial.”

A New Brunswick correspondent advised the Prime Minister that RCM would not be rid of racism by demanding Lucky’s resignation, and instead recommended better recruitment and training of mountains. “Selecting better suited candidates will go a long way in improving the situation.”

The mountain must be removed from indigenous communities entirely, a writer in Amherst, NS, said after the violently watching a video from the RCMP arrested Athabasca Chippevan First Nation chief Alan Adam in Alberta.

“I have previously read that indigenous people have risen to distrust the RCMP and I now see why.”

A letter from Calgary urged Blair to take drastic action by receiving funding from police forces in late July, “by measures that actually address the root of the crime” such as education, mental-health services, housing And social work.

The message states, “There are countless examples of police brutality in Canadian history, and without acknowledging this fact and actively working to change it.”

An email from BC rejected the notion of reducing the police budget, instead calling for better training of officers in arrest methods.

Another paper writer urged the Prime Minister to take concrete steps to improve Canadian policing as soon as possible to eliminate racial prejudice.

“Unfortunately, we have not yet done enough work to save lives and the well-being of Black and Indigenous Canadians,” the letter said.

“I don’t know what the solutions are, but I encourage you to listen to those who do.”

The House of Commons Public Safety Committee is preparing to issue a report on systemic racism in policing.

In the throne speech last fall, the Liberal government promised legislation and money to address systemic inequalities at all stages of the criminal justice system.

It promised to take action on issues ranging from punishment and rehabilitation to better civil oversight of the RCMP and standards on police use of force.

Measures employed include modern training for police and other law-enforcement agencies, as well as comprehensive RCMP reforms that emphasize a shift toward community-led policing.

In addition, liberals promised to accelerate work on a legislative framework for First Nations policing as an essential service, which is important to ensure security in indigenous communities.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on May 5, 2021.

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