The closing ceremonies at the Vancouver Olympics were supposed to show the world that Canadians have a sense of humour but many members of the RCMP weren't laughing at how they were depicted, according to an internal memo obtained by CBC News.
"A number of RCMP employees have expressed concerns about the depiction of the RCMP during the closing ceremonies ... specifically, the 'Mountie costumes' worn by the female dancers and entertainers," assistant Commissioner Bud Mercer said in the memo sent to all RCMP members across the country.
'It is regrettable that this event unfolded as it did and that offence was caused to our membership.'—RCMP Assistant Commissioner Bud Mercer
The force's concerns were communicated to VANOC chairman John Furlong, who apologized, Mercer said in the memo.
At issue was a production number featuring Canadian crooner Michael Bublé singing a jazz version of The Maple Leaf Forever while accompanied by a group of female dancers dressed as RCMP officers in red mini-skirt outifts that could not be described as "regulation."
"The RCMP core value of respect includes the respectful representation of female members," Mercer's memo said. "The RCMP does not condone any behaviour ... that could possibly be perceived as demeaning.
"It is regrettable that this event unfolded as it did and that offence was caused to our membership."
Mercer said he received hundreds of messages from RCMP officers about the costumes.
Furlong was concerned that some RCMP personnel were offended or disappointed in the display, Mercer said.
"Mr. Furlong asked me to pass along his regrets and assure our membership ... [of] VANOC's overwhelming support and appreciation for the terrific work done by the RCMP ... as the lead for the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit."
Both VANOC and the RCMP declined interview requests on the controversy Friday.