RCMP on the Missing and Murdered: Next steps, next phase, next to nothing done?

Writing in The Tyee last week, (March 8, 2021) journalist Amanda Follett Hosgood reveals that despite a complaint to the Office of the Information Commissioner one year ago, the RCMP has still not provided a response to The Tyee’s Freedom of Information request concerning how much the RCMP has actually spent on investigating missing and murdered Indigenous women.

If the RCMP were serious about building trust with families of Indigenous women and girls who have gone missing or have been murdered, they would be providing this information freely and openly. And as Dr. Anita Harper has made very clear in a position paper commissioned by the RCMP itself, transparency is critical to reconciliation. The RCMP needs to take the Calls to Action of the Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission seriously and follow through with the recommendations of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. If Indigenous peoples are to start trusting the RCMP, nothing less than systemic change, starting at the top and working down, will suffice.

On the RCMP’s national website there is a “National Operational Overview”. It was last modified in 2014. In it, there is a section on “Next Steps”, where the police force tells us “The completion of this report marks the beginning of the next phase of the RCMP’s effort as a component of a more global response to the challenge of murdered and missing Aboriginal women.”

How are these “next steps” being applied? Why the reticence in telling us? Perhaps the fact that the operational overview appears not to have been updated since 2014 give us the answer: we’re not talking about what we are doing because we aren’t doing much of anything.

If, like us, you believe that journalists and therefore the general public, whom the RCMP serve, deserve to receive information and transparency when we request it, we urge you to contact RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki at Brenda.Lucki@rcmp-grc.gc.ca. Correspondence will have even greater effect if you contact Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Justin.Trudeau@pm.gc.ca, Minister of Public Safety the Honourable Bill Blair Bill.Blair@parl.gc.ca (Public Safety is the Ministry that oversees the RCMP) and the Honourable David Lametti David.Lametti@parl.gc.ca who is our Minister of Justice.