APTN National News
The RCMP is apologizing for a comparison likening the Idle No More movement to “bacteria” which was made by an Aboriginal liaison officer in an internal report.
RCMP spokesperson Staff-Sgt. Julie Gagnon said the comparison “is not reflective of the views and opinions of the organization.”
The bacteria comparison was made in internal site report by RCMP Cpl. Wayne Russett, Aboriginal liaison for the national capital region.
The report was part of a series of updates by Russett of the goings-on inside Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence’s camp on Victoria Island which was set up during her liquids-only fast during the height of the Idle No More movement.
The RCMP issued a statement distancing the federal police force from the comparison.
“It is unfortunate that one of our employees has referred in an internal email to the Idle No More movement in such a manner,” said Gagnon, in the statement, sent to APTN National News. “The RCMP apologizes to anyone who may have been offended by this unfortunate choice of words to describe the Idle No More movement.”
While Russett’s site report primarily provided close to real-time details of the evolving situation inside Spence’s camp, it also included a discussion of the Idle No More movement.
“This Idle No More movement is like bacteria, it has grown a life of its own all across this nation,” wrote Russett, in the Dec.24, 2012, document. “It may be advisable for all to have contingency plans in place, as this is one issue that is not going to go away.”
The report also struck an ominous tone.
“There is a high probability that we could see flash mobs, round dances and blockades become much less compliant to laws in an attempt to get their point across,” said the site report. “The escalation of violence is ever near.”
The document was titled, “Chief Spense’s Hunger Strike and the Idle No More Movement (sic)” and classified “for law enforcement only.”
NDP’s Aboriginal affairs critic Niki Ashton demanded during question period Friday that Public Safety Minister Stephen Blaney apologize for the bacteria comparison.
Ashton’s question was fielded by Conservative MP Roxanne James, the parliamentary secretary for Public Safety. James said she found Ashton’s question “abhorrent” and refused to issue any apology.
APTN obtained the site report under the Access to Information Act.
APTN filed the request under the Act in April 2013 and only recently received the documents.