Tuesday, June 02, 2009

RCMP Commish Elliott Apologizes. Really?

It took almost two years, a bystander's video of a killing, a judicial inquiry and a senate committee hearing but, finally, RCMP Commissioner Bill Elliott has apologized for the death of Robert Dziekanski at the hands of four officers at Vancouver airport in October, 2007.

"We are very sorry for Mr. Dziekanski's death, and are committed to learning as much as possible from this terrible event," he told the upper chamber's committee on defence and national security.

"We must continuously strive to learn and to improve."

Somehow an apology from Elliott seems a little late, rings a bit hollow. I suspect Elliott has figured out the mauling his RCMP is about to receive from inquiry commissioner, Justice Tom Braidwood, and he sees a vision of blood on the floor, some of it perhaps his own.

In terms of damage control it's hard to imagine that the RCMP, from the Commissioner's office on down, could have made a worse mess of it. Knowing they had seriously misled the public with their account of the killing and doing nothing to correct their falsehoods until their hand was forced at the inquiry speaks of a culture of arrogance, indifference to the Canadian public and an utter lack of remorse at having taken this man's life. The close look at these officers provided by the inquiry has been anything but confidence building.

No, I think Elliott's apology should be chucked where it belongs - in the circular file.

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