As the debate over police officers’ use of force intensifies, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today he believes Mounties should start wearing body cameras.
During his daily news conference outside of Rideau Cottage, Trudeau said he raised the issue with RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki during a phone call earlier this morning.
“It is something that is, in my opinion, what we need to move forward with,” he said.
The prime minister said he also plans to raise a proposal to outfit officers with body cameras when he speaks with the premiers later in the week, “so we can move on it as quickly as possible.”
Watch: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau endorses RCMP use of body cams:
“I think there are discussions we need to go forward on logistics, on the cost, on the cost to provinces where there is contract policing in place,” he said.
“But the challenges that I’ve heard are more logistical and economic concerns about remote areas and the way those cameras would work.”
The RCMP is facing fresh allegations of racism and police brutality brought forward by Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam over the weekend.
Adam told a news conference that he was beaten by RCMP officers and that his wife was manhandled in March when police stopped him for an expired licence plate outside a casino in Fort McMurray.
Just last week, an RCMP officer in Nunavut was caught on camera using his truck’s door to knock a man over before arresting him.
Calls for RCMP reform are part of a broader debate in this country about police use of force, inspired both by incidents in Canada and by the continent-wide wave of protests triggered by George Floyd’s death in police custody in Minneapolis.
The RCMP has more than 20,000 members and, outside of its federal policing obligations, acts as the provincial police in most provinces and territories.
The RCMP has run two pilot programs on body cameras. After conducting a feasibility study in 2016, the Mounties opted not to implement body cameras until “such time as available technology can meet its specific operational requirement,” said RCMP spokesperson Marie-Christine Lemire.
Last year, the RCMP’s commanding officer in Nunavut requested that RCMP national headquarters look into body cameras in response to calls for police accountability from local politicians.
Lemire said the “review is ongoing and will be provided to the commanding officer when complete.”