RCMP association calls for commissioner to step down after charges laid
WATCH: The charges against the RCMP follow a Global News investigation into whether Mounties have the proper equipment and training to deal with active shooter situations. 16×9 Chief Correspondent Carolyn Jarvis discusses the charges and the fallout.
The head of the association representing Canada’s RCMP officers urged Friday the commissioner, along with several executives, step down in the wake of charges against the force stemming from the Moncton shooting rampage in 2014.
The RCMP is facing four charges under Section 148(1) of the Canada Labour Code, stemming from the June 4, 2014 shooting spree, in which lone gunman Justin Bourque murdered Constables Doug Larche, Fabrice Gevaudan and Dave Ross. Constables Eric Dubois and Darlene Goguen were also injured in Bourque’s rampage.
WATCH: The charges against the RCMP come on the heels of an explosive investigation by Global News’ current affairs show 16×9. Its chief correspondent, Carolyn Jarvis, has the latest.
“Commissioner [Bob] Paulson has come out publicly in the media and said that in the aftermath of what took place in Moncton that RCMP members had proper equipment and training and clearly that is not the case,” Bob Creasser, a spokesperson for the Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada.
“Our association is actually asking that commissioner Paulson resign over this entire incident and hopefully he takes some other senior executives with him. This has been an absolutely debacle.”
Lawyers for the RCMP are scheduled to appear in Moncton provincial court July 9 on charges under the Canada Labour Code, in connection with the shooting deaths of three Mounties in New Brunswick last June, according to Dan Brien, a spokesman for the Office of the Public Prosecutor.
The first charge alleges the RCMP failed “to provide RCMP members with appropriate use of force equipment and related user training.”
WATCH: Liberal MP Wayne Easter slams Feds for “disarray” in RCMP in wake of charges
RCMP officers who spoke to 16×9 during an investigation into the shooting said they were at a drastic disadvantage due to a lack of semi-automatic carbines.
Creasser suggested outdated or ineffective equipment isn’t a new problem and was an issue when he started with the RCMP in the mid-1980s.
“I don’t know if its safety culture, there’s a problem in the RCMP in terms of proper resourcing and that stems from governments that are supposedly tough on crime,” he said.
The second charge alleges the RCMP failed to provide members with “appropriate information, instruction and/or training to ensure their health and safety when responding to an active threat or active shooter.”
Officer preparedness was another issue exposed by the 16×9 investigation, as a significant number of RCMP officers – in Moncton, and across the country – had not received training on how to deal with an active shooter. On June 4, 2014, only 59 per cent of the RCMP officers in Moncton had completed active shooter training.
The third charge alleges the RCMP failed “to provide RCMP supervisory personnel with appropriate information, instruction, and/or training to ensure the health and safety of RCMP members when responding to an active threat or active shooter.”
WATCH: Global News has learned the RCMP is now facing four charges under the Canada Labour Code. Vassy Kapelos explains.
The fourth charge accuses the RCMP broadly of failing to “ensure the health and safety at work of every person employed by it.”
If convicted, the RCMP faces up to $1 million in fines (for each charge), and up to two years in prison. The charges cite the commissioner of the RCMP as the employer. The current commissioner is Bob Paulson. The RCMP has not yet entered a plea.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper refused to comment on the charges specifically when questioned Friday during a visit to Truro, Nova Scotia.
WATCH: Government refuses to comment on charges against RCMP in the wake of Global News report
He did, however, say he has confidence in the law enforcement agency’s ability to react to recommendations on the shootings. Harper said he had been briefed by RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson on what happened in Moncton and he is confident the country’s largest police force will act where it needs to on a report it commissioned.
Harper’s comments were echoed by Roxanne James, the Parliamentary Secretary for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness during Question Period on Friday, when she was asked by NDP MP Rosane Dore Lefebvre.
“This news raises troubling questions. Why weren’t all RCMP officers provided with the proper training and proper weapons to handle an active shooter situation?” Lefebvre asked. “Why did it take a tragedy for this minister to act?”
James responded: “Our government has full confidence in the RCMP to enforce the laws of Canada and keep all Canadians safe. The RCMP commissioned a report into this incident and is acting on those recommendations. Because this matter is now before the courts it would be inappropriate for me to comment on this matter further.”