MPs study of systemic racism in policing concludes RCMP needs new model

Over a year since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took a knee, a report from a Commons committee says the Trudeau government still needs to act to reform the RCMP and ensure full civilian oversight.

OTTAWA — The chair of a House of Commons committee studying systemic racism in policing says it's time for Canada to have a "reckoning" about the RCMP.

John McKay, the Liberal MP for Scarborough-Guildwood in Toronto, and chair of the House public safety committee, says the Mounties are a globally-known Canadian icon, but that it's time to acknowledge the RCMP's "quasi-military" existence is not working for all Canadians.

The committee's report published today is based on a nearly yearlong study and testimony from 53 witnesses who the report says gave a "resounding acknowledgment of the reality of systemic racism in policing in Canada."

The MPs made 42 recommendations for change that include transitioning the RCMP away from its paramilitary structure and training program, to a police service model with enhanced civilian oversight and a national police college with a focus on "modern, professional and bias-free policing."

McKay says he was particularly struck by testimony about the "dysfunctional" relationship between the RCMP and the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission.

The committee recommends the commission be given more power and funding and require the RCMP to publicly respond to the commission's recommendations within set timelines.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 17, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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