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Thursday, September 24, 2009

National Post editorial board: Shame on the RCMP

September 24, 2009
Editorial, National Post

Is there a sadder spectacle in Canadian public life than watching the RCMP immolate themselves at the Braidwood inquiry into the tazering death of Robert Dziekanski two years ago at Vancouver International airport? A once proud institution -- the best known icon of Canada in the rest of the world -- seems hell-bent on destroying its last shreds of credibility.

New documents, the existence of which the RCMP had concealed from the commission and Canadians for over 18 months, now show that the force knew days before video of Mr. Dziekanski's killing became public that it had a time bomb ticking in its hands. Rather than deal with it proactively and forcefully by suspending the officers involved and conducting a thorough internal investigation, the Mounties devised a cover-up to mute or at least minimize the consequences.

This is shameful.

Even more shameful is the way the force has continued to justify its officers' behaviour and its own actions in papering over their offences. Instead of sweeping clean, new Commissioner William Elliott has quickly become the RCMP's apologist-in-chief.

The Mounties can begin to restore their reputation for independent, fair-minded policing only if they come clean, apologize for what their officers did, punish them and take their lumps in the theatre of Canadian public opinion.

National Post

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