I read the notice in the Record about the Town of Comox unanimously proclaiming an annual RCMP Appreciation Day.
I have various concerns about this, including:
* The racism behind the creation of the RCMP (or NWMP) in the first place,
* The role the RCMP played in forcing generations of Indigenous children into residential schools,
* The role the RCMP played and continues to play in removing Indigenous children from their families in the name of “child welfare,”
* The role of RCMP in quelling any protests/demonstrations to bring attention to the injustices Indigenous and other people of colour continue to face,
* The role of RCMP (and other police forces) in the killing of Indigenous and other people of colour during interactions with police,
* The RCMP’s role in the over-representation of Indigenous people in Canada’s criminal “justice” system,
* More recently, the RCMP’s violation of journalists’ and forest defenders’ rights in service of Teal Jones Logging company at Fairy Creek (as found by a BC judge), and
* The RCMP’s militaristic behaviour toward the Wet’suwet’en and ignoring the legal sovereignty over their territory, and the violation of journalists’ rights there in service of the Coastal GasLink pipeline.
* In terms of misogyny and sexism, the treatment of women within the RCMP itself.
While I have never had a negative interaction with the RCMP personally, and I appreciate that they are the Comox Valley’s only police service, I have serious concerns about this white-washing of the past and current involvement of the RCMP in reinforcing systemic racism and systemic sexism in Canada.
Something like this needs to include a broader conversation with honest acknowledgment of the very real impact of the RCMP as an institution on already marginalized people. If we’re going to have a Day of Appreciation every Feb. 1, let’s make it a day of learning and broader understanding of the complexities involved, and hopefully a vehicle of true reconciliation. True reconciliation must start with acknowledging the truth.