Promises and apologies came from the head of the RCMP Monday morning at another panel for the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) inquiry.
RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki sat at the front of the room answering questions about how the RCMP does its job and how it’s changing. Behind her, screens moved between photos, maps, and video of her answers, and a star blanket was displayed along with quilts sent from all over the country.
The inquiry panel this week in Regina is focusing on policing policies and practices. Witnesses to testify include people from provincial, municipal, and Indigenous police agencies across the country.
In the opening remarks, the commissioners explained that all organizations play a role in keeping communities safe and that it’s important to understand how cases are handled and how they can be handled better.
Lucki opened her responses with an apology.
“I’m sorry that for too many of you, the RCMP was not the police service that it needed to be during this terrible time in your life. It is very clear to me that the RCMP could have done better, and I promise you, we will do better. You’re 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.”
Questions continued about how the RCMP operates across the country, how they interact with Indigenous communities, and how things have changed.
Then Lucki started talking about cadet training. She explained that in response to some of what they’d heard in the inquiry, a new module has been added to cadet training centered around MMIW.
“We wanted the cadets to have exposure to this given some of the things that have come out of the testimonies. It’s important that they have recognition of the culturally sensitiveness of these investigations and the importance of knowing what to expect with these investigations.”
RCMP Depot also added something called The Blanket Exercise. It’s meant to actively teach about the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada and represent their experiences.
Lucki ended her testimony with praise of working together, saying the RCMP can’t fix this problem on their own.
“If we honestly think we’ve got it figured out, then shame on us. And if this inquiry has taught me anything, it’s about making sure that we are prepared to make change and make positive change for the communities.”