EXCERPTS FROM TWO NEWS ARTICLES, below made me decide to write some questions that need to be asked.  I’ll send this to Commissioner Paulson.  (The bold is mine.)

Surely the murder of a law-enforcement officer, in the line of duty is a grievous thing, and Canada needs to express gratitude to those men and women who often wade into danger, in order to protect our society from criminals.

But there are some incongruous aspects to the RCMP response to death, the death of one of their own versus some notable deaths of ordinary people.

To begin, in what other line of work can a business spare so many employees from performing their various duties to attend funerals?

How is it that the RCMP have so much spare time on their hands, so that we see these grand and emotive parades of thousands, whenever a fellow officer dies?

Are these thousands of RCMP officers so redundant that they can easily spend days away from their duties?  Do they take unpaid leave, or does the public pay for their days off and their travel expenses?

Millions of employees in less glamorous occupations also lose fellow workers to death, sometimes because of job hazards, but that does not allow for their mates to take great chunks of time off, to show respect or mourn.  The pain of loss is surely just as great to a banker, or clerk or mechanic or stucco worker, as it is to a police officer, when one of their own die.  These great displays of RCMP in red serge are beautiful, but why is it possible to have  so many of them, so often, not working at their jobs?

This question is not sacrilege.  We need and appreciate the good job they do, but there are a lot of unanswered questions about this force that too often seems above the laws of the land.  Over the years there have been just too many instances of the RCMP being anything but noble.  The inclination to protect their own, even when their own have done low, despicable things belies the beauty of these grand public ceremonies.

Contrast the cover-up employed in the taser death of a poor Polish traveller at Vancouver’s international airport.  The RCMP let Robert’s mother travel with confusion and anxiety on a bus from the interior, for hours, all the while knowing she would not find him waiting for her. They had killed her son. Guess, like the lost bones of Stephanie Lane, above, they just kind of forgot to mention it to Sophie that they had tasered her son for waving an open stapler in the air.  Their treatment 0f Robert Dziekanski’s mother was crass and cowardly in the extreme. It was all about how to protect themselves.  Nothing noble about the RCMP when they kill someone needlessly, or carelessly forget to report on human remains, or spend tax dollars defending bad apples in their barrels.

The article below shows us that while the RCMP spend enormous time and money to honour their own, they could not be bothered to give the time of day to poor Stephanie Lane, a woman murdered by Picton, the man the police had in their sights for years.  And her mother continues in the agony of not even having her little girl’s death be even now, significant enough for the law to even bother pursuing a charge against her murderer.  Just a low prostitute, not an exalted member of the RCMP, so why bother about a broken mother’s heart.  Her death just does not count.

Yes, the death of a mountie is cause for grief, and it is right to honour the officer in death.  But two mothers cry, and there is no decent closure for them.


To Ms. Pineault, the two bone fragments are hugely consequential. They raise important questions. Why did authorities not use them as evidence to bring a murder charge against Pickton? Why did authorities not tell her the bones existed, until August last year?

A DNA trace was all investigators had of Ms. Lane at first. Police scoured Pickton’s six-hectare property after his arrest, and in March 2003, Ms. Lane’s DNA was discovered inside a deep freezer on the farm. In Ms. Pineault’s mind, that evidence alone confirmed that her daughter was among Pickton’s victims. But for Crown prosecutors, it wasn’t enough evidence to warrant a murder charge.

Ms. Pineault and her family have struggled with Ms. Lane’s death and the circumstances around it, and with events since Pickton’s conviction and failed appeal, including a controversial provincial inquiry that was meant to examine why police failed to apprehend the killer before 2002. The inquiry ended with many questions left unanswered.

The family can’t accept that Ms. Lane’s death — her murder by Pickton, they believe — should be left untried and unsolved.


THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl DyckMichele Pineault cries as she speaks about her daughter Stephanie Lane, whose remains were found on serial killer Robert Pickton’s farm, during a news conference in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday January 28, 2015. 

Last summer, Ms. Pineault received a call from the BC Coroners Service (BCCS). A coroner explained they had been in possession of the remains for four years. And, in fact, the bone fragments had been discovered in 2002 on the Pickton farm, and they had sat on a shelf in an RCMP facility before being turned over to the BCCS. It was the first that Ms. Pineault had heard of any bone fragments.

Ms. Pineault was given custody of the remains in September. “They told me [the remains had been] very safe in a storage locker,” she said Wednesday. “I was told it was an oversight. I think it’s more than an oversight. … I can’t take anything they tell me at face value.”

She thinks the bone fragments represent “new evidence,” which she says should be used to prosecute Pickton for her daughter’s murder. “I want Robert Pickton charged,” she said. Given all that’s unfolded since Pickton’s arrest, more charges are unlikely.

The BCCS released a statement later on Wednesday, explaining that the bone fragments “do not represent new evidence. The remains returned to Ms. Lane’s family were fully known and identified as part of the original police investigation.”

According to the BCCS, “the sole issue is the unfortunate delay in returning the remains to the family of Ms. Lane. … The BC Coroners Service regrets it cannot explain this delay, as none of the current senior management team were in their positions at the time, and those who were involved are no longer employed by the BC Coroners Service.”

The BCCS has apologized to Ms. Lane’s family and “does continue to extend its sincere apologies for any further stress caused them by the delay.”

The RCMP made no statement following Ms. Pineault’s press conference.

(Compare the respect for the dead shown below.  Yes, it is hard to compare a young woman who, in her wretchedness, risks her life daily, letting strange men use her body in prostitution, but surely we look to local police and the RCMP to deal with criminals and work to take vulnerable human beings out of such degradation and danger.  That the RCMP couldn’t even bother about this poor Stephanie Lane, even in her death, or to try to bring solace to her mother, somehow makes their great parades a mockery.)



Before the funeral, thousands of RCMP officers dressed in the formal red serge uniform, firefighters and paramedics from across North America marched behind a hearse carrying Wynn’s body during a procession through the city’s streets.

“I think it’s amazing that these officers put themselves in harm’s way to protect us,” said Jackie Heitzman, one of many residents who lined the route holding a Canadian flag.

“It’s prudent and a civic duty to pay our respects here for a man who died in the line of duty.”

Greg Southam/Postmedia News

Greg Southam/Postmedia NewsRCMP officers take part in a regimental funeral for Const. David Wynn, 42, on Jan. 26, 2015 in St. Albert, Alta.