Gordon Hum, a civil liberties advocate and former school principal, believes he was racially profiled by a Campbellton RCMP officer in August 2016, when he was pulled over and issued a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt.

"At that time, the plates on the car were from Alberta but I had ownership," said Hum, who mentioned to the officer that he had been working in northern Manitoba. "The driver's licence was from Manitoba, and my insurance was from New Brunswick. But it was all current."

Hum, who lives in Campbellton, said he was disturbed by what came next from the Mountie.

"He asked me about my background. He said, 'Are you a native person? Are you from Listuguj? What's your nationality?'"

'He asked me about my background.' - Gordon Hum, describing questions at traffic stop

Listuguj First Nation is a five-minute drive north of Campbellton. 

"I said 'I don't think you need to ask me that type of question," Hum said. 

"I didn't think it was appropriate as a law officer."

Complaint filed

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Gordon Hum was pulled over at Arran and Andrew streets in Campbellton in August 2016. (Bridget Yard/CBC News)

Soon after the incident, Hum filed a complaint against the officer at the Campbellton RCMP detachment. He spoke with a sergeant and asked for an apology and more information about cultural sensitivity training provided to officers.

"I've been a school principal for 25 years and I thought, anytime I work with children or students if there's a wrong, first I try to get an apology out of it, and if there's a way to correct it, then I do that," Hum said.

"This is Canada, this is what we are — a culture of diversity."

Hum was told by the sergeant that some members of the RCMP take a two-hour course on First Nations treaties. He was then asked by the sergeant if he would be interested in designing a training program.

Hum, whose heritage is Chinese-Canadian, said he has considered the request, since he has worked with First Nations students across the country and created curriculum for school boards.

He is researching the issue and still mull over the request.

"These officers, our national police service, should be trained already in this," he said.

Déjà vu

The August 2016 traffic stop is the second alleged incident of racial profiling Gordon Hum has experienced.

In 1983, he was pulled over in Edmonton for outstanding parking tickets and speeding. The officer asked him if he was Canadian and where he was born.

Hum complained to the Human Rights Commission.

He discovered that the RCMP at the time used certain criteria to try to determine if someone was an illegal immigrant, as the officer in Edmonton suspected him of being.

The criteria included skin colour and clothes not generally seen in Canada, Hum said.

.

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Hum says he is a "proud Canadian" and loves hockey, as evidenced by his Montreal Canadiens flag, and embraces his Chinese-Canadian background. (Bridget Yard/CBC News)

"To this day, it seems like 40 years later, it hasn't changed," he said.

Hum plans to attend Campbellton court March 29 to protest the ticket he received in 2016. He wants to speak in front of the presiding judge about his treatment, rather than plead guilty.

Campbellton RCMP told Hum his complaint about racial profiling was still under investigation.

Const. Hans Ouellette, a media relations officer, said he cannot talk about specifics of the complaint.

"Any complaint made against a member of the RCMP is taken very seriously and thoroughly investigated," he said.

"The RCMP requires all members treat every member of public equitably regardless of gender, race, or nationality, and regardless of the situation."

He also said all members of RCMP receive cultural sensitivity training, which is delivered on a national level.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story said the RCMP had not replied to CBC inquiries about Gordon Hum's complaint. An RCMP spokesperson did try to reach CBC, however, the officer's phone call went unnoticed.
    Mar 29, 2017 12:19 PM AT