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Your Honour, Lieutenant Governor Solomon Schofield, honoured guests; cherished veterans; employees; auxiliary and special constables; friends; partners; and most of all, family and loved ones of our fallen members. Welcome.
We will never forget their sacrifice. That is why we come together today and every year for the past eight decades – to honour and remember the men and women of the RCMP who have given their lives in the service of Canada. These valiant members paid the ultimate price for protecting us and upholding the Canadian values we hold so dear.
This year, we must sadly add the 238th name to our Honour Roll.
Cst. Richer Dubuc, an 11-year member of the RCMP, was killed March 6th in a collision between his vehicle and a tractor while responding to a call about an illegal border crossing near Lacolle, Québec.
At six-foot-five, Richer was known as a gentle giant with a big smile. A devoted husband and father, his family was everything to him. He loved spending time with his wife, Gracielle and four children, Eugénielle, Richer-Raphaël, Anthonyn and Jaïck-Olivier, whether it was going to the beach, watching a movie or sitting around a campfire.
Richer's colleagues from New Brunswick and Quebec speak of him as a great guy and the consummate Mountie – always the first to step up and help others, always professional. He was also known for his love of action and adrenaline, which ultimately led him to a career in policing, following previous experiences as a paramedic and volunteer firefighter.
A native of Joliette, Quebec, Cst. Dubuc spent most of his career at the Codiac Detachment in New Brunswick, where he worked general duty. The division also benefited from his expertise as a medic, which he contributed to the Tactical Troop and Emergency Response Team.
Last January, he was transferred to the Integrated Border Enforcement Team in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, and was happy to be closer to family.
While he was only in C Division a short time, he made a big impact on his detachment colleagues, as he did in Codiac.
Richer's funeral was a testament to his outstanding character and contributions, with hundreds of police personnel and emergency first responders from across Canada paying their respects to him.
Honouring our fallen and their families
This job, this calling to serve and protect comes with risk.
Not everyone knows what it means to take the oath of service as a police officer – the long hours, the unpredictable and dangerous situations. What it means to put your life on the line every day in order to serve and protect others. But families understand the risks their loved one faces every day. Richer's brother, Deiten, an American police officer, knows too well what it means.
We know the risks. We accept the risks, but it doesn't make it any easier when risk turns into tragedy.
We are indebted to our fallen because they stood on the front line for all of us.
They did this for the greater good… so that we can live and raise our families in safe cities, safe neighbourhoods.
We are also indebted to the loved ones left behind – many of whom are here today.
Their loss is a huge sacrifice, one which is recognized and honoured by all.
We can never fully repay the debt we owe to our brothers and sisters who died in the line of duty, nor can we repay it to their family and friends. But what we can do is take this time to remember and show our gratitude. This helps us heal and reminds us how important it is to continue on and live meaningful lives.
We also honour our fallen by looking out for each other – keeping each other healthy and strong so that we can continue to uphold the ideals for which our comrades died: keeping our communities and our country safe.
This is our small token of gratitude to our fallen members. We will never forget them.