When I heard that Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum was planning on creating a new police force, I was very much against it.
I was, and still am, angry at the manner in which the new force was pushed on us. I signed the petitions and I approved of the signs on the lawns, the protests at city hall.
Then I did my homework.
I learned about the role the RCMP played in herding native children to the residential schools. Children were literally dragged from their families. I watched a documentary in which a child hid under a vehicle and got run over.
Needless to say, in this current time, with the discovery of thousands of graves of innocent children, we cannot ignore the reason the RCMP was created.
You may think that bringing up the past is irrelevant. That was then, this is now, we have reconciliation, let bygones be bygones. Well then, let’s talk about today.
Let’s talk about how people are dying during wellness checks. Let’s talk about how a grandfather and his granddaughter were arrested for trying to open a bank account.
Let’s talk about Hudson Brooks, who was shot to death in White Rock, unarmed and clearly in need of help. Let’s talk about the sexual misconduct of officers who are allowed to keep their jobs.
I ask you to reconsider wanting to keep the RCMP in Surrey. I urge you to take this opportunity to create a police force that is defunded, with the appropriate collaborations set up with mental health workers and ride-along nurses. Please work with the people who have been damaged by this history and give them the security and support they deserve from a police force.
Think about this – the public’s outcry at being forced to accept a new police force is only a small sample of how the Indigenous have been pushed around by the RCMP.
If you don’t like it, why would you knowingly let it continue for the disenfranchised, the minorities and the small voices?
Margaret Shearman, Surrey