(Ottawa) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday marked the 150the th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police by recognizing the mistakes of the federal police in the past and expressing hope for change.
The RCMP has events planned for Tuesday and throughout the year, which federal police say are intended to demonstrate pride, but also humility and efforts at reconciliation.
In a statement, the Prime Minister encouraged Canadians to attend these events and called the RCMP one of the most respected police organizations in the world.
However, he also urged the RCMP to maintain its plans for improvements and changes.
“As we celebrate this important anniversary, we recognize that the mistakes of the past cannot be forgotten, but lessons can be learned,” said Mr. Trudeau. The RCMP will continue to support healing and reconciliation while ensuring the safety of our communities now and in the future. »
Acting RCMP Commissioner Mike Duheme said in his own statement that the anniversary “calls us to reflect on who we are, where we came from and where we are going, based on 150 years of teaching.” He said the RCMP has played a role in “some of Canada’s most difficult and darkest times” and faced some challenges.
He also thanked the more than 30,000 responders across Canada for their contributions, noting that the day-to-day life of police officers can be difficult but also life-changing. “It’s an incredible privilege that we should never take for granted. »
In a press release, the police announce that they intend to use these 150e Anniversary to share the RCMP’s efforts to create a more modern organization committed to genuine reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and ensuring the safety of all Canadians.
The RCMP is also touting its 2023 strategic plan to “build trust in policing,” although the plan doesn’t go into specifics.
Over the decades, inquiries and commissions have made proposals for police reform.
Mounted policemen played an important role in Canadian history. They attempted to keep order during the Klondike Gold Rush and served as Canada’s primary intelligence agency during the Cold War.
But the RCMP has also played darker roles over the past century and a half, including suppressing tribal uprisings and acting as “police officers” to enforce attendance at federal boarding schools in India.
As part of its mandate, the RCMP now provides varying degrees of support to national and rural policing across Canada – a model that has drawn criticism for poor coverage of remote communities.
The RCMP’s strategic plan includes recruiting people from diverse backgrounds and tackling systemic racism, increasing transparency on serious events and enhancing reconciliation efforts with indigenous peoples.
The RCMP plans to celebrate its 150th anniversarye Anniversary with events across the country. RCMP Musical Ride horse shows, barbecues and community events are on the schedule.
The History of the Mounted Police
When the Fathers of the Federation designed a federal police force, it was merely an emergency measure to quickly enforce Canadian law in a vast area then called the Northern Territories. West” – larger than the present territory of that name.
The day on which Parliament voted 150 years ago for the creation of this federal police service, May 23, 1873, is now regarded as the official birth of what later became the “Royal Canadian Mounted Police”.
But a first major criminal case, months later, marked the beginning of the long and sometimes painful history of this police force.
In the spring of 1873, a famine prompted a group of the Nakoda First Nation to move south from their ancestral territory to the Cypress Hills of what is now southern Saskatchewan.
They were camped not far from whiskey merchants when they encountered a group of American wolf hunters whose horses had been stolen.
“The hunters’ accusations against the Nakodas, who are innocent, lead to conflict. “The situation escalates and spirals out of control, to the point where the hunters are cruelly killing the Nakodas,” according to the government’s online report on the Cypress Hills Massacre. Twenty men, women and children are killed.
In the early days of Canadian federation in 1867, the first provinces to join the Canadian federation were each responsible for their own police services. The only national police force, the Dominion Police, was primarily responsible for protecting the Houses of Parliament.
When what was then the “Northwest Territories” became part of the Federation in 1870, this vast administrative region included what is now the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and much of the Prairies.
However, these then “Northwest Territories”, which did not have the status of a province, did not have their own police force. Three years later, in May 1873, the Canadian Parliament passed legislation creating the “North-West Mounted Police” – 150 years ago today.
However, it was not until August 1873, when news of the “Cypress Hills Massacre” reached Ottawa, that an executive order establishing the police force was signed. A year later, 300 recruits undertook the “West March” to secure the border.
The RCMP and the Canadian government agree that the Cypress Hills massacre spurred the establishment of the Federal Police Service. And while arrests were made at the time, the perpetrators were never brought to justice in a fledgling federal justice system.
The role of the police continued to evolve until the 1920s when the modern form of the RCMP was created, which has long since become an iconic symbol of Canada.
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