Greens' Elizabeth May wants inquiry into RCMP that believes it is 'above the law'
Published Wednesday, June 17, 2020 9:14AM PDT Last Updated Wednesday, June 17, 2020 11:14AM PDT
Green party Parliamentary Leader Elizabeth May leaves after holding a press conference on Parliament Hill amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Wednesday, June 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
OTTAWA -- The Green party's Elizabeth May wants a full inquiry into the RCMP, saying the national police force's culture of unaccountability must be put under a microscope.
May, the party's parliamentary leader, rhymed off a list of questions Wednesday about RCMP conduct, from deadly confrontations with Indigenous people to slow responses to formal recommendations.
But May told a media briefing the force acts as if it's above the law in a way that goes beyond any one incident or report.
“The RCMP clearly sees itself as unaccountable,” she said. “One or two tweaking measures around the margins won't make the difference.”
At his own briefing Wednesday, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh also urged more transparency and accountability from the RCMP and other forces.
In particular, Singh said there needs to be improved scrutiny of public complaints about incidents involving police.
“We found that throughout Canada this is an ongoing concern, that the investigations are not conducted in a way where people are left feeling satisfied that it was thorough and that it was independent.”
Asked about the fact it often takes the RCMP years to respond to formal recommendations from the force's civilian watchdog, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pointed Wednesday to general shortcomings in addressing concerns about police behaviour.
“We are going to move much quicker on responding to these things,” Trudeau said. “We know that things have been far too slow.”
The comments follow Sen. Lillian Dyck's call for RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki to resign for failing to understand systemic racism.
Lucki recently stopped short of acknowledging there is entrenched racism in the RCMP, only to agree days later it does exist.
May suggested the RCMP's problems cannot be remedied by a simple change at the top.
“I don't want to pin it on any one person because I think it's cultural.”
She said Lucki could take positive steps now by acting on recommendations from long-standing reports about the policing of Indigenous Peoples.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 17, 2020.