RCMP head should resign in wake of Labour Code charges, says police group
National association calls for RCMP to plead guilty after Labour Code charges laid
The spokesman for the Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada says the RCMP should plead guilty to the Canada Labour Code charges against it in connection with the shooting deaths of three Mounties and wounding of two others in Moncton, N.B., last June.
Rob Creasser is also calling for the resignation of RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson.
"He has publicly told the media in many interviews that he felt RCMP members, especially in Moncton, had adequate training and weaponry. That was not the case, and continues not to be the case across the country."
The RCMP will appear in Moncton provincial court on July 9 to face four charges under the Labour Code related to equipment, training and supervision.
The charges stem from an investigation by Employment and Social Development Canada of the fatal shootings.
- RCMP court appearance on Labour Code charges set for July 9
- RCMP faces Labour Code charges in Moncton Mountie shootings
Creasser, who previously called for an independent inquiry when debate arose about the RCMP's readiness to deal with the gunman, said he applauds the charges.
"Members continue to be vulnerable to the political choices made by management," said Creasser, a retired officer who served 28 years with the RCMP and now speaks for the association, which represents about 2,000 of the estimated 18,000 Mounties across Canada.
"The RCMP moved quickly to paint [the Moncton shootings] as an unfortunate event, but members had doubts. We had been through the Mayerthorpe tragedy, we knew what we should be doing as an organization to protect and prepare members, but it wasn't getting done," he said in a statement.
One of the key recommendations of an inquiry into the 2005 deaths of four RCMP officers near Mayerthorpe, Alta., was to equip general duty members with high-powered, mid-sized rifles — namely the Colt C8 patrol carbine, a gun used by many other law enforcement agencies, due to its precision, higher magazine capacity and effectiveness at great distances, said Creasser.
Paulson, who was assistant commissioner at the time of the report, "inexplicably rejected [it] and stalled in implementing the rollout," the statement said.
Members have speculated that the RCMP was not keen to prioritize arming members when the RCMP was facing negative publicity on other use of force issues.- Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada
"Members have speculated that the RCMP was not keen to prioritize arming members when the RCMP was facing negative publicity on other use of force issues — a political trade-off that may have contributed to the Moncton tragedy."
Terry McKee, a retired RCMP corporal who had supervised two of the Moncton officers who were killed in the shootings, agrees Paulson should be held accountable and says he hopes the charges are just the beginning.
"I'm glad due diligence is being done with health and safety and we're proceeding," he said.
"I'm happy, but it's not a joyous occasion, because all of this took place with the loss and injury of members — not only physically, but mentally."
Three members of the Codiac Regional RCMP were killed and two others were wounded by gunman Justin Bourque as he wandered through a Moncton neighbourhood on June 4, 2014.
The Public Prosecution Service of Canada recommended the RCMP be prosecuted for contravening occupational health and safety provisions of the Labour Code.
There are four counts under Section 148(1) of the Canada Labour Code. That section of the code states that "every person who contravenes a provision of this part is guilty of an offence and liable" to a maximum $1-million fine and/or a prison sentence of up to two years.
It's not clear if individual RCMP members will face charges.
Any time a federal government employee dies on the job, Employment and Social Development Canada investigates.
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