Aboriginal RCMP officers face racism, says ex-Mountie
Posted: Dec 21, 2011 7:01 AM CST
Last Updated: Dec 21, 2011 6:15 PM CST
A former RCMP officer who claims to have faced racism and bullying in the police force says she was not the only aboriginal Mountie to have experienced discrimination.
Marge Hudson, who was Manitoba's first female aboriginal RCMP officer when she joined the force in 1979, says she quit in 2009 as a result of years of harassment, bullying and racism in the workplace.
But Hudson says she was not alone, as almost every aboriginal RCMP officer she knows has experienced some kind of racial discrimination and harassment on the job. Some of them turned to her for help, she added.
"One night I got a phone call from a member stating that they're holding their gun against their head and they were going to shoot themselves. I spoke to that member for many, many, many hours on the phone until I knew that she was going to be OK," Hudson told CBC News in an interview.
When asked what the member was troubled about, Hudson replied, "The organization, the bullying … just everything. And I understood that, because that's the way I was treated, too."
Officers fear retribution
CBC News has spoken to about a dozen current and retired aboriginal RCMP officers who claim they have also faced discrimination, but Hudson has been the only one willing to talk openly about her experience.
Other members have declined interviews, saying they fear retribution if they speak out.
One current RCMP member, who did not want to be identified, told CBC News about feeling deeply depressed after being mistreated by a superior.
"He told me, 'Hush, don't say anything. You're opening a can of worms, and in the end you're going to be at the bottom.' That sounded like a threat," the member said.
The RCMP's commanding officer in Manitoba, Assistant Commissioner Bill Robinson, says he has no knowledge of racism, bullying or intimidation.
"These can be rumours, they could be anything. They can be people, they can be one person," Robinson said.
Willing to look at concerns
When asked if the problem is rampant, he replied, "I don't think it's rampant, no. But I will say this: if there are people in the organization … that would like to bring those comments forward, and they're concerned about them, we'll look at them, absolutely."
Robinson said he had no prior knowledge of Hudson's concerns, but added that he is willing to talk to her about them.
But Hudson said it's too little too late, and she wants to speak directly to RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson, who has promised to deal with allegations from current and former female RCMP officers who say they have experienced sexual harassment.
Hudson said she hopes to discuss with Paulson some solutions to make the RCMP more inclusive for its aboriginal members.
Latest Manitoba News Headlines
- Woman rescued from Assiniboine River
- A woman is lucky to be alive after being rescued from the Assiniboine River near Polo Park in the early hours of Friday morning. more »
- Man charged with drunk driving after Steinbach crash
- The RCMP in Steinbach, Man. have charged a man with impaired driving after a serious crash Friday night. more »
- Man, 44, charged in Charleswood double homicide
- Winnipeg police have charged a man with second degree murder in connection with a double homicide after two bodies were found inside a Charleswood home Friday. more »
- Steinbach police search for black car after hit and run
- Police are looking for the driver of a black, Ford Mustang after a hit and run in Steinbach, Man. late Saturday night. more »
Top News Headlines
- Search continues for 2 missing New Brunswick fishermen
- A search effort has resumed for two missing fishermen off the coast of New Brunswick, after a distress call was issued from their boat early Saturday. more »
- Jeep driver apologizes after stunt kills Edmonton woman
- A man claiming to be the driver of a Jeep that struck and killed a spectator at a charity event in Edmonton says he is sorry for what happened. more »
- Senior Pakistani politician shot dead
- Voting in Karachi goes ahead a day after gunmen killed a senior member of Imran Khan's Movement for Justice (PTI) party outside her home in Karachi. more »
- Virginia parade crash driver likely had medical problem
- Authorities believe the driver who plowed into dozens of hikers marching in a Virginia mountain town parade suffered from a medical condition and did not cause the crash intentionally, an emergency official said Sunday. more »
- Man, 23, killed in head-on crash near Brandon
- Man, 44, charged in Charleswood double homicide
- Second man charged in death of Winnipeg model
- Steinbach RCMP find marijuana grow-op, 65 plants seized
- Elijah Harper, key player in Meech Lake accord, dies at 64
- Athletics Manitoba director dies in highway crash
- Wall of ice destroys Manitoba homes, cottages
- 6 tips for Manitoba gardeners this long weekend
- Vince Li gets Winnipeg visitation privileges