RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki says she doesn’t believe there was a double standard in the way Mounties policed the Freedom Convoy protests and blockades earlier this year and the tactics used with Indigenous protesters.
During a heated exchange in a committee meeting Tuesday night, NDP MP Matthew Green asked about the scenes that played out during border blockades over COVID-19 health mandates compared to those during protests against a pipeline drill site on Wet’suwet’en territory in northern British Columbia.
Green referred to the cases as a “juxtaposition of policing — what I’ll call a failure of policing.”
The RCMP has come under fire after a U.K. newspaper reported that police were prepared to use snipers on Wet’suwet’en Nation protesters and argued for “lethal overwatch” in 2019.
Last year, video footage provided to the media showed RCMP tactical officers breaking down a door with an axe and chainsaw to arrest pipeline opponents at Coyote Camp during another protest on the territory. The RCMP is also investigating reports of violence at a pipeline construction site on Coastal GasLink property from this year.
Green contrasted that with reports that Alberta RCMP officers shook hands and hugged some of the protesters who had halted traffic at the United States border crossing near Coutts. Alta., to demonstrate against pandemic health mandates.
Coutts police honors, greets and hugs truckers who have blocked the US – Canada border for 18 consecutive days. <a href=”https://t.co/RL4F7l0JBh”>pic.twitter.com/RL4F7l0JBh</a>
RCMP said they seized more than dozen long guns, hand guns, ammunition and body armour from the site.
Lucki says police are ‘part of the community’
“How is it that you reconcile the double standard in policing?” Green asked Lucki Tuesday night, as a special joint committee continues to study the invocation of the Emergencies Act in February to disperse Freedom Convoy protesters.
“And what would you say to Canadians who have questions about the conduct of RCMP officers giving handshakes and high-fives and hugs shortly after these weapon stashes were found in what was admittedly a high-risk investigation and arrest?
“What I can say was there were many legal protesters at the Coutts protest,” responded Lucki.
“And our members, who police there, are part of the community, they shop in those stores. They’re neighbours to those people.”
Green interrupted, asking if it was because the protesters looked like the police.
“No,” said Lucki. “They live in those communities.”
“Can we acknowledge at least a double standard there?” asked Green.
“No, not at all, no,” the head Mountie responded.
Green ended his allotted time asking if Lucki would “at least admit that there were kid gloves for the protesters in Coutts directly after the discovery of the weapons cache.”
“No,” said Lucki. She said in Coutts, it was protesters and supporters who approached police at the scene.