The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have a great PR image in the rest of the world … for many people, the image of the scarlet-coated Mountie is synonymous with Canada. But for Canadians, there’s a growing unease about the RCMP:
Canadians have mixed views of our national police force, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. We seem to admire the RCMP as an institution but are increasingly suspicious of the actions of individual Mounties and of the force’s brass — its senior officers and policymakers.
Our attitudes are further complicated by the fact that we seem to see the officers in our local detachments as good guys — they play on our men’s league hockey teams, help out with community charities, take their kids to school like the rest of us — yet we are beginning to see more bad apples elsewhere.
According to an Abacus Data poll of 1,000 Canadians conducted in late June, the Mounties remain one of our most trusted national institutions. A symbol of the country, the RCMP ranks right up there (69%) with the maple leaf (83%) and universal health care (78%).
Yet a majority of Canadians believe officers have used excess force (51%) and that sexism is rampant (54%) within the RCMP. Significant pluralities are also convinced problems within the force are “widespread” (43%) and are not being exaggerated (42%).
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But I would guess, the biggest strains on the Mounties’ credibility, particularly in rural Canada and the West, have been over guns. And the warrantless seizure of hundreds of firearms from the homes of evacuees following the flooding in High River, two weeks ago — in which Mounties broke open doors and removed private property arbitrarily — will only widen the existing trust gap.