MMF Responds to Vandalism of RCMP HQ

February 26, 2020

I was saddened, yet not surprised, to witness with my own eyes, the desecration of a monument dedicated to Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers in Winnipeg today. That brand of cowardice was also evident at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, and the office of St. Boniface Member of Parliament and Metis Citizen Dan Vandal.

The vandalism on the monument, dedicated to RCMP officers who lost their lives in the line of duty, is particularly troubling for me. The RCMP have worked diligently with the Metis Nation and other Indigenous Peoples when it comes to reconciliation. To have a site dedicated to people who have fallen, including Indigenous Officer Constable Dennis Strongquill, vandalized, is reprehensible and cowardly at best. I challenge the people who did this, to think how they would feel if someone broke into a graveyard at night and did this to a relative's headstone or gravesite? People also need to understand, this monument was created through the fundraising efforts of the RCMP and member families.

As I have stated time and again this month, our Metis Government will not endorse or support protestors who are now choosing to deface public property under the guise of protecting Wet'suwet'en land or people from resource development. Can we honestly say we know that's what these protestors are supporting?

Imagine how the families of those officers who died in the line of duty must feel. Imagine the pain that will resurface when they see this monument vandalized. I shudder to think what lies around the corner. Will an actual life be lost in the name of protest?

I'll remind all of you again that the Metis Nation is a Nation born out of resistance and fighting for what is right. We have carried out our own protests in the past and will do so in the future. The difference here is that we will always fight for a common and united goal.

That is obviously not the case in this current dispute. Some say they're fighting for Indigenous sovereignty. Others will say this is a fight against systemic oppression. There are some who say this is all about protecting the environment. Having all of these splinter groups does nothing to move us forward.

Instead of fighting for the Wet'suwet'en people, you are now turning Canadians against each other and are defacing sacred places.

This is not what reconciliation looks like and it is not what protest should be.

People who commit violent acts and vandalize property will never represent nor receive support from the Metis Nation or other democratically elected Indigenous governments.

My prayer now is that these kinds of actions do not escalate further.

 


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