As the Commissioner of the RCMP and as leader, I have the responsibility to ensure that our organization is free of racism, discrimination and bias, both inside and out.
I take this responsibility very seriously, and as professionals, I believe you do too.
During some recent interviews, I shared that I struggled with the definition of systemic racism, while trying to highlight the great work done by the overwhelming majority of our employees.
I did acknowledge that we, like others, have racism in our organization, but I did not say definitively that systemic racism exists in the RCMP. I should have.
As many have said, I do know that systemic racism is part of every institution, the RCMP included. Throughout our history and today, we have not always treated racialized and Indigenous people fairly.
Systemic racism isn't about the behaviour of a single individual or the actions of one person. It's in the institutional structures that reflect the inequities that persist in our society. And it shows up in policies, processes or practices that may appear neutral on the surface, but disadvantage racialized people or groups.
As an organization, we work hard to address this, to overcome it – we incorporate the lens of diversity and inclusion in our decision-making, in our training, in our recruitment. It has allowed us to better understand some of the unintended barriers that exist, and to work to correct them.
We now have the opportunity to lead positive change on this critical issue. It is time to double down on these efforts – there is so much more to do. There is no one answer, no single solution, no one approach. It is the ongoing commitment to work and continue to learn that will help us make real progress and I am motivated and determined to make change.
I appreciate the frank discussions that have been taking place and I have encouraged all employees to have the conversations that some may find uncomfortable. But I have been told that struggles and discomfort are one of the hallmarks of addressing racism.
I want to assure all of you that we are focused on thoughtful action, based on listening to people and continuing those conversations. I have sought the views of a wide variety of people, including members of both our Indigenous and Diversity Advisory Committees, Indigenous leaders as well as active and retired Indigenous members. I value all the feedback I've received, because it is a critically important part of our learning journey.
Canadians value an RCMP where good people are recognized for treating people with dignity and respect and making their communities better than they were when they got there.
The RCMP will not tolerate those whose actions are not in line with our core values and will be held to account.
As an institution that is committed to modernization, the RCMP is committed to listening and respecting the lived experience of others and continuing to learn from these conversations. This is when real change will happen.
I am proud to be the Commissioner of what I believe to be the greatest police organization in the world.