The RCMP faces sentencing Friday for Labour Code violations in the 2014 Moncton, N.B., shooting rampage that left three officers dead – but a spokesman for members says the real work needs to come outside the courtroom.
Terry McKee of the Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada says what’s needed is accountability of the force’s top brass.
“The policing community as a whole is a victim out of this. It’s purely as a result of the incompetence of the senior executives of the RCMP,” McKee said.
“Justice is never served by imposing any amount of a fine paid by the taxpayer for fatal decisions made by individuals,” he said.
Constables Doug Larche, Fabrice Gevaudan and Dave Ross were killed, while constables Eric Dubois and Darlene Goguen were injured when gunman Justin Bourque went hunting police officers in a Moncton neighbourhood.
Bourque had targeted officers in the hopes of sparking an anti-government rebellion.
The force was convicted of failing to provide its members with adequate use-of-force equipment and user training.
Carbine rifles were not available to general duty officers at the time of the Moncton shootings, and during the trial, numerous witnesses said they could have made a difference.
The high-powered carbines were approved in 2011, but their rollout was delayed on several occasions.
Then-commissioner Bob Paulson testified during the RCMP’s trial that management had concerns over the possible militarization of the force.
WATCH: Crown hopeful RCMP Labour Code violation will have positive impact
He told the court he worried the carbines could “distance the public from the police.” His testimony was met with anger and frustration from some members of the force.
At a sentencing hearing in November, Crown prosecutor Paul Adams said imposing the maximum penalty would amount to “a clear declaration of disapproval” of RCMP conduct that left its officers outgunned.
He asked that a $1-million penalty include a $100,000 fine to the court, $500,000 to the Universite de Moncton for memorial scholarships, $150,000 to educational trust funds for the children of the deceased officers, as well as other donations.
And he asked that the RCMP be ordered to make a public statement on what measures have been taken since the Moncton tragedy. Adams told Judge Leslie Jackson that proper training and equipment would have been “a game-changer” for the RCMP officers.
“They (the force) was responsible to prepare the officers to deal with this situation, which they failed to do,” he said.
Bourque pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 75 years.
McKee said he believes there may need to be a civil suit for senior brass to become accountable.
“There have to be individuals held to accountability so that there can be true closure out of this,” he said.
McKee said even to have the force outline the changes that have been made since the Moncton shootings, it’s too little, too late.
“Members are still facing daily issues with safety, and it’s purely because of lack of equipment or updated equipment not being provided,” he said.