FILE – NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh rises during a meeting of the Special Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Tuesday, June 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Jagmeet Singh removed from Commons after calling BQ MP racist over blocked RCMP motion

Singh had asked the Commons to recognize there is systemic racism in the RCMP

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh called a Bloc Quebecois MP racist Wednesday after a New Democrat motion on RCMP discrimination failed to receive unanimous consent from the House of Commons.

Singh refused to apologize for the words directed at Bloc member Alain Therrien. That prompted the Speaker to order Singh to leave the House for the rest of the day.

Singh had asked the Commons to recognize there is systemic racism in the RCMP and to call on the government to review the force’s budget, ensure the Mounties are truly accountable and do a full review of the RCMP’s use of force.

There was at least one objection that blocked the move, though it was unclear who said no.

Bloc MP Claude DeBellefeuille came to Therrien’s defence, saying the NDP was treating her colleague as “a racist person, which is unacceptable in the House of Commons.

The Speaker asked Singh to apologize but he refused.

“It’s true, I called him a racist, and I believe that’s so,” Singh said.

The parliamentary dustup followed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s acknowledgment Wednesday that existing systems have failed to adequately address concerns about police behaviour, including in the Mounties.

Asked about the fact it often takes years for the RCMP to act on recommendations from the force’s civilian watchdog, Trudeau said: “We are going to move much quicker on responding to these things, on making changes to our institutions, to really go after systemic discrimination.”

The Green party’s Elizabeth May wants a full inquiry into the RCMP, saying the national police force’s culture of unaccountability must be put under a microscope.

May, the party’s parliamentary leader, rhymed off a list of questions Wednesday morning about RCMP conduct, from deadly confrontations with Indigenous people to slow responses to formal recommendations.

READ MORE: Amid anti-racism protests, Trudeau promises to push police body cameras with premiers

READ MORE: History of systemic racism between RCMP and First Nations must be addressed: B.C. chief

But May told a media briefing the force acts as if it’s above the law in a way that goes beyond any one incident or report.

“The RCMP clearly sees itself as unaccountable,” she said. “One or two tweaking measures around the margins won’t make the difference.”

At his own briefing Wednesday, hours before the sitting in the Commons, Singh also urged more transparency and accountability from the RCMP and other forces.

In particular, Singh said there needs to be improved scrutiny of public complaints about incidents involving police.

“We found that throughout Canada this is an ongoing concern, that the investigations are not conducted in a way where people are left feeling satisfied that it was thorough and that it was independent.”

On Tuesday, Sen. Lillian Dyck called for RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki to resign for failing to understand systemic racism.

Lucki recently stopped short of acknowledging there is entrenched racism in the RCMP, only to agree days later it does exist.

May suggested the RCMP’s problems cannot be remedied by a simple change at the top.

“I don’t want to pin it on any one person because I think it’s cultural.”

She said Lucki could take positive steps now by acting on recommendations from long-standing reports about the policing of Indigenous Peoples.

—With a report from Lee Berthiaume

Jim Bronskill , The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

House of CommonsJagmeet Singhracism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Beckett Park officially open in Maple Ridge

A community celebration is being planned when COVID-19 pandemic passes

Quintuple open heart surgery motivates Maple Ridge cyclist to ride for kids

Ron Paley has already cycled 226 km as part of Great Cycle Challenge to help fight kids cancers

Fishing guide calls for ban on jet boats

Pitt River salmon being killed by jet boats: Gerak

Pitt Meadows Museum reopening to the public

Museum has been closed since Mar. 17 due to COVID-19 pandemic

Horse fly masks needed for Maple Ridge therapeutic riding organization

The North Fraser Therapeutic Riding Association needs masks to let their horses graze

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

Conservation seizes fawn illegally kept captive in Vancouver Island home

A Comox Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

Have you seen Berleen? B.C. pig destined for sanctuary goes missing

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Michigan plans dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles

First study of its kind in the U.S. to figure out whether existing lanes or shoulders could be used

Most Read