In The Mounties We Trust: A Study of Royal Canadian Mounted Police Accountability

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Date
2011-07-06
Authors
Wettlaufer, Stephen
Keyword
Royal Canadian Mounted Police , Accountability , Civilian Oversight , Policing
Abstract
Police and Canadian citizens often clash during protests sometimes resulting in violent outcomes. Due to the nature of those altercations, there are few other events that require oversight more than the way police clash with protesters and there is a history of such oversight resulting in a number of Federal Parliamentary documents, Parliamentary Committee reports Task Force reports, reports arising from Public Interest Hearings of the Commission for Complaints Against the RCMP, and testimony at various hearings and inquiries which have produced particular argumentative discourses. Argumentative discourses that have a great effect on the construction of a civilian oversight agency of the RCMP is the focus of this thesis. This thesis examines how it is that different discourses, as represented by argumentative themes in these reports, intersect with one another in the process of creating a system of accountability for the RCMP. Through the lens of complaints that arise from protest and police clashes one may conclude that the current system of accountability does not adhere to a practice of protecting the most fundamental rights as prescribed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; nor would the currently proposed legislation contained within Bill C-38 alter the system in a substantial way to allow for such protections. The power dynamic between the Commissioner of the Force and the Commission for Complaints Against the RCMP favours the police force in the current and proposed system. In order for the current political landscape to become a climate favourable toward producing a system of RCMP accountability that truly protects the rights and freedoms prescribed in the Charter, a significant shift must occur in different organizations, agencies, and individuals who influence the creation of legislation and policy in this nation. This shift must be characterized by an increase in strengthening the commitment of the RCMP to protect the rights and freedoms as prescribed by the Charter rather than its current focus and interest in trying to stem the erosion of public trust and confidence in the Force.
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