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

VIA Rail lays off 1,000 unionized workers across the country

Northern B.C. route Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert is not affected by VIA Rail layoffs

Sunflower Highway, art initiative to connect Fraser Valley, Thompson-Nicola and Okanagan

Sunflowers made out of reclaimed materials will be installed on public art trails

Residents warned to stay away from flooded Cache Creek park

Water might look shallow, but is several feet deep in places

Ashcroft receives grants to get new hot tub and lift station

‘The hot tub is a major benefit for many residents’

Cache Creek gets funding for improvements on Old Cariboo Road

Work will help to mitigate damage from water and debris flows during flooding

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Lower Mainland YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Haida matriarchs occupy ancient villages as fishing lodges reopen to visitors

‘Daughters of the rivers’ say occupation follows two fishing lodges reopening without Haida consent

Most Read