Good afternoon Your Honours, Minister of Justice, Deputy Minister, ladies and gentleman.
Thank you, everyone, for being here; it means the world to me.
When I look across this room, I am humbled to see so many of my colleagues, fellow chiefs of police, provincial, municipal and federal partners, community partners, members of Indigenous and Black communities, veterans and former Commanding Officers.
Thank you, Russell Grosse, Executive Director of the Black Cultural Centre, and Elder Debbie Eisan for your introductions and support.
Thank you Commissioner Duheme and former Assistant Commissioner Ferguson for your kind words. And thank you to Major Brian MacDonald of the Canadian Armed Forces for allowing us to use their facilities for today's ceremony.
And a special note to Kentville Police Chief Marty Smith who was sworn in yesterday. Well done my friend.
First, I want to express my appreciation to John, who came to the Nova Scotia RCMP during a time of adversity. While his tenure as Commanding Officer was short, his leadership and guiding principles shone and he earned the title in every sense of the word. I am incredibly grateful for his friendship and am humbled to follow in his footsteps and build upon the foundation he so carefully laid.
As the Commanding Officer of the RCMP in Nova Scotia, I stand before you today with immense pride and honour.
Over the last year, I have witnessed the commitment of everyone in H Division to serve and protect.
Through hurricanes, fires, floods and more, our communities are always at the heart of our mission. The dedication and sacrifice RCMP employees have displayed, and continue to display daily, are the cornerstones of the RCMP's success.
As we move forward, my vision is to foster a culture of collaboration, transparency, and inclusivity within our ranks and with our respected partners. Our strength lies in our unity, and by working together, we can overcome any challenge.
As we strengthen our partnership with not only community organizations across the province, but also individual residents of Nova Scotia, we will continue to build trust and inspire confidence in our efforts to create safer communities, where everyone feels valued and heard. My hope is that this will also inspire the next generation of employees.
I am committed to strengthening our relationships with African Nova Scotians, people of African descent and Indigenous people. I recognize the importance of building trust, understanding and respect, and we are working hard to address historical injustices. As Elder Debbie Eisan reminds us, reconciliACTION is meaningful change that moves reconciliation forward. By collaborating with community leaders, organizations, and individuals, we are developing culturally sensitive policing practices and initiatives that reflect the unique needs and aspirations of these communities. I'm hopeful that this will also lead to a more diverse workforce, one that better represents the communities we serve.
Furthermore, I want to acknowledge the significance of the Mass Casualty Commission's report as a tool to help guide how public safety and policing services are strengthened in this province. As an organization, we've already made some changes and we look forward to working with our community partners to address the recommendations fully. My commitment is to champion new and effective alternate response models within the RCMP to help address shared outcomes; community safety and well-being.
To all of you in H Division:
I am deeply committed to ensuring your physical and mental health as the profession we've chosen evolves and challenges us every day. I will continue to encourage you to find moments to take care of yourselves and each other, and champion a culture of professionalism where a focus on wellbeing is the norm.
Our wellbeing allows us to serve and protect our communities.
And on that note, I would like to thank my loving family who play such a pivotal role in my own wellbeing: my wife, Bridget, who has supported my career and this lifestyle every step of the way, our four children, and now three beautiful grandchildren: Braden, our eldest and his wife Sara and daughters Emery and Hadley, followed by Brennan and his wife Janet and their daughter Maeve, Briony and her fiancé Bob and finally yet importantly our son Bronson.
I am very fortunate to be back in Nova Scotia, doing what I love. My very first post was in New Minas after all – so my career has come full circle. I've had many people in my corner over the years who have been the wind beneath my wings, propelling me forward in this journey. Many of them are here today and I am deeply grateful for their friendship and encouragement. To those who supported me during my first posting in Nova Scotia, you all mean so much to me. Especially Elaine Thorne who is here today, wife of my field trainer Brian Thorne who passed away in 2014.
I am truly honoured to stand shoulder to shoulder with all of you - members, civilian members and public service employees - as we continue the proud tradition of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Nova Scotia. I think it is safe to say that we are starting to get some of our swagger back, and in my opinion there has never been a better time to work for the RCMP.
Together, we ARE making a difference. Thank you for your trust, your support and your commitment to our shared mission. It is after all, at the heart of what we do.