A public inquiry has found widespread failures in how the Mounties responded to Canada's worst mass shooting and recommends that Ottawa rethink the RCMP's central role in Canadian policing.
"The RCMP must finally undergo the fundamental change that many previous reports have called for," commissioner Leanne Fitch said in written remarks prepared for delivery Thursday.
In a seven-volume report spanning more than 3,000 pages, the Mass Casualty Commission also says police missed red flags in the years leading up to the Nova Scotia rampage that resulted in 22 people being murdered on April 18-19, 2020, by a denture maker disguised as an RCMP officer and driving a replica police vehicle.
The murderer, Gabriel Wortman, was killed by two Mounties at a gas station in Enfield, N.S., 13 hours into his rampage.
The final report delves deeply into the causes of the mass shooting. These include the killer's violence toward his spouse and the failure of police to act on it, and "implicit biases" that seemed to blind officers and community members to the danger a white, male professional posed.
In response, the commissioners call for a future RCMP where the current 26-week model of training in Regina is scrapped — as it's no longer sufficient for the complex demands of policing. The academy would be replaced with a three-year, degree-based model of education, as exists in Finland.
More broadly, they want Ottawa to pass a law with the guiding principle of "a prevention-first approach to public safety," that sees police as "collaborative partners" with better funded centres for rural mental health and front-line workers who combat intimate-partner violence.
But the massive document begins with an account of the police errors in the years before the killings, and the events of April 18 and 19.
The report's summary says that soon after the shooting started in Portapique, N.S., RCMP commanders disregarded witness accounts, and senior Mounties wrongly assumed residents were mistaken when they reported seeing the killer driving a fully marked RCMP cruiser.
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