Edmonton·FROM THE ARCHIVES

Nov. 14, 1989: Alberta rural reeves and councillors vote to ban RCMP from wearing turbans

Members of the Sikh religion who wanted uniformed RCMP officers to be able to wear turbans hit a roadblock when rural reeves and councillors voted to ban them.

We just don’t want to see them wear a turban in the police force’

A November 1989 resolution was passed by the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties to ban turbans as part of the RCMP uniform. 1:53

Members of the Sikh religion who wanted uniformed RCMP officers to be able to wear turbans hit a roadblock when rural reeves and councillors voted to ban the head coverings.

The Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties voted on the issue at its annual convention in November 1989. Only one delegate opposed the ban.

"We don't say, 'Do not join the police force.' We just don't want to see them wear a turban in the police force," said Garry Almond, reeve of the Municipal District of Starland.

The resolution didn't carry any legal weight but the AAMDC hoped it would provide a message to Ottawa on the controversial issue.

The World Sikh Association strongly opposed the move.

"I think this whole issue, the way it is being handled is absolutely disgusting and unbelievable," said Jasbir Singh.

In 1990, a federal ruling ended bans on turbans for RCMP officers.

In the video, Dana Lewis reports on the turban ban vote in Alberta and what the vote meant to stakeholders on both sides of the debate, which aired on CBC Newsday on Nov. 14, 1989.

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