Indigenous people, along with other people of colour in Canada, are like children in a dysfunctional home. We feel somehow responsible and we want to do something about it, but as long as the parents continue to drink, fight, gamble and carry on there is nothing we can do.
Sometimes we just sit back and watch the white majority tie themselves in knots as they try to explain racism and how and why it doesn’t apply to them. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh had the temerity to call a spade a spade when he called Bloc MP Alain Therrien a racist. It got him kicked out of the House of Commons. Singh refused to apologize and Therrien wasn’t even asked to.
Earlier this week the RCMP was under attack for a string of shootings and gratuitous violence from Nunavut to New Brunswick. When she was asked if there was systemic racism in the RCMP, Commissioner Brenda Lucki stated that she was “struggling” with the definition of systemic racism and how that applies to the institution of the national police force.
“You know, it’s a question I haven’t been struggling with but I have been struggling with the definition of systemic racism and when I think of unconscious bias, there is unconscious bias in the RCMP, most definitely,” she said. “I think there’s times when our members don’t act according to our core values, including racism, and when that happens, we need to hold those members to account.”
Two days after her original comments, Commissioner Lucki walked them back. She stated that systemic racism is part of every institution including the RCMP, and historically as well as today, the force has “not always treated racialized and Indigenous people fairly.”
Senator Dyck said Commissioner Lucki was hired to eradicate racism and that her comments were not enough. She recalled when Lucki testified to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in 2018.
“It is very clear to me that the RCMP could have done better, and I promise to you we will do better,” Lucki said then. “You are entitled to nothing less than our best work in your communities. I believe it’s never too late to do the right thing, and I want this apology to be just one more step in the RCMP’s commitment to reconciliation.”