Black RCMP officers–both current and former–are coming forward with stories of racist treatment in Canada’s national police force, charges the force is calling “deeply troubling.”
The complaints–expressed to Radio-Canada–come two months after Public Security Minister Ralph Goodale announced he was bringing in an external oversight board of civilian advisers to improve the force’s handling of bullying and harassment.
They also come a little over two years after the force delivered a historic apology to female officers and civilian members with a massive settlement over harassment, discrimination and sexual abuse claims that could cost up to $100 million.
Radio-Canada quotes a 27-year-veteran of the force, Alain Babineau, saying one of his bosses nicknamed him “black man” and that racial slurs were common.
“The word n–ger was used on regular basis.” Babineau told Radio-Canada.
Babineau retired from the RCMP in 2016 and currently volunteers as an advisor for Montreal-based Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations.
Radio Canada also quoted two other black officers.
Neither wanted his name used for fear of reprisals.
“Over the years, members have called me ‘black bastard,’ ‘uneducated black man’ and again recently ‘n–ger,'” one officer said.
The other officer told Radio-Canada that he wished his colleagues would stand up to defend him.
“I heard the word ‘n–ger’ more often in the RCMP than in the general public,” the officer said.
Radio-Canada says that while it chose not to disclose details of the incidents to protect the officers’ identities, the events were corroborated with documents and witnesses.
“I understand that there are racists in my police force. I don’t want them to be in my police force,” Paulson told a group of First Nations leaders.
With files from Radio-Canada and CBC