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Ujjal Dosanjh

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RCMP recruits must be Canadian Citizens!

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The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is set to change several policies to attract more men and women of all backgrounds into policing; a laudable objective. There are some proposals designed to enhance diversity in the ranks of the RCMP--a good thing.

The Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada that represents the rank and file Mounties in the country is concerned about some of those changes. I understand as much as the next person how some organisations oppose change. Change by definition is unsettling to the entrenched bureaucracies and management structures. They are hard to shake. And the RCMP has been one such institution, an icon among our national institutions, and quite resistant to change. The battles for change have been fiercely fought and resisted.  As an example I remember the struggle for opening up the RCMP to turban wearing observant Sikhs. And there were others too.

One proposed change that stood out in my reading of the proposals is to allow Permanent Residents to join the force. So far the force has only recruited Canadian citizens into its ranks. .  The Mounties' association strongly objects to this proposal. Mounties do need to make a lot of changes but this is one change they do not need. I too believe only Canadian Citizens should be recruited into the RCMP or any other police force for that matter.

As the Charter of Rights and Freedoms came into effect in the 80s many changes followed in Canada. Vast majority of them made the Country a more egalitarian and inclusive place. But one change that I disagreed with--while my many learned friends from the legal profession welcomed it-- was to allow permanent resident lawyers to practice law. I had felt as officers of the Court, and as part of the system of justice the lawyers needed to be Canadian citizens. The courts ruled that denying permanent residents the right to practice law violated the Charter.

A similar argument may be pushing the Mounties' management to throw the doors open to permanent residents. Nonetheless I have my reservations with respect to this proposed change. I believe law enforcement requires one to be connected to the country in a more robust legal fashion than a permanent resident is. A permanent resident's commitment to Canada can't legally be said to be the same as that of a citizen.

I understand all the arguments about how if one lives, works and pays taxes in the country one should be entitled to absolute equality. On the face of it is as compelling an argument as any for equal opportunity but the same people making it won't ever argue that a permanent resident, without becoming a Canadian citizen, should have the right to become the Prime Minister of the country.


We should expect more permanent commitment to the country from anyone that hopes and demands to be investigating crimes and enforcing the law in our towns and cities. It should not be considered too onerous a demand of our law enforcement personnel that they be Canadian citizens.


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