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Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)

The RCMP is Canada’s national police force – providing an array of services from municipal policing, to national security intelligence gathering, to the legendary Musical Ride. Despite a series of scandals in recent decades, the RCMP remains one of Canada's most iconic national institutions.

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Pride Toronto Votes to Keep Police Out of Parade

Members of Pride Toronto voted 163–161 to prevent uniformed police officers from participating in the city’s annual pride parade and related events, reversing a decision made by Pride Toronto’s board of directors in October. Police were barred from marching in the parade in 2017 and 2018 in response to a Black Lives Matter protest that halted the parade in 2016. Members of Toronto’s LGBTQ2+ community were also critical of the Toronto Police Service’s handling of several disappearances and murders in Toronto’s gay village.

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100th Anniversary of Winnipeg General Strike

The 100th anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike, which saw more than 30,000 workers in the city go on strike between 15 May and 25 June 1919, was commemorated with various events in Winnipeg. The 100th anniversary of “Bloody Saturday,” when rioting and police brutality left two people dead and dozens more injured, was marked with the unveiling of an art installation by artist and filmmaker Noam Gonick on 21 June. The installation, at the corner of Main Street and Market Avenue, features a sculpture of a half-sunken streetcar lit from within. It commemorates the overturning of a streetcar by workers at the height of the protest.

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BC Murder Suspects Found Dead After Nationwide Manhunt

Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod were found dead by apparent self-inflicted gunshot wounds in a densely forested area in Northern Manitoba. They had reportedly been dead for several days. The Port Alberni men, both 19, had been the subject of an extensive nationwide manhunt that lasted three weeks. They were suspected of murdering American Lucas Fowler, 23, and Australian Chynna Deese, 24, four days before also killing UBC professor Leonard Dyck, 64, in Northern BC. Schmegelsky and McLeod had been formally charged with Dyck’s murder and were the lead suspects in the deaths of Fowler and Deese. The murders had drawn international attention.  

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17 People Shot in Toronto Over Long Weekend

Toronto police scrambled to deal with 14 shooting incidents in five different neighbourhoods over the August long weekend. Seventeen people were injured. The violence led to renewed calls for a handgun ban in Toronto, including from Mayor John Tory. Former Toronto police chief Bill Blair, now the minister of border security and organized crime reduction, did not rule out a ban but said that more consultation was required.

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Thunder Bay Police Department Accused of Systemic Racism

A two-year investigation conducted by the Office of the Independent Review Director (OIPRD) concluded that “systemic racism and neglect” is rampant in the Thunder Bay Police Services and tainted their investigations into the deaths of nine Indigenous men. The report also recommended psychological testing for prospective officers to weed out those with racist attitudes. The day the report was issued, Maclean’s named Thunder Bay Canada’s “top city for hate crimes” and published an article titled “Something must be done about the Thunder Bay police.”

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Canadian Peacekeepers in Haiti

Since 1990, peacekeepers from the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and civilian police forces, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), have served in Haiti on various United Nations (UN) missions. The purpose of these missions was to help stop the internal violence and civil unrest that had plagued the country for years and help promote and protect human rights and strengthen police and judicial systems.

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Quebec Biker War (1994–2002)

The Quebec Biker War was an almost decade-long territorial conflict between two outlaw motorcycle gangs in Quebec: the Hells Angels and the Rock Machine. The war centred on control over the narcotics trade in Quebec. It was also driven by intense rivalries and deep-seated animosities between major figures in Quebec’s criminal underworld. (See Organized Crime.) The conflict involved over 80 bombings, some 130 cases of arson and 20 disappearances. More than 160 people were killed and over 200 were injured, including many innocent bystanders.

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Resources for BC Killers’ Manhunt Should be Available for MMIWG Cases, Advocates Say

As the hunt for two teens suspected of murdering three tourists in BC intensified, Indigenous rights advocates openly questioned why such extensive resources are not utilized in cases of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls. In response to the killing of three tourists in Northern BC, which drew international attention, the RCMP coordinated a search that involved different police forces and the Canadian Armed Forces. Armoured vehicles, drones, K9 units, all-terrain vehicles, boats and military and civilian aircraft were utilized. “It is a little bit eyebrow-raising because of the different response,” said Sheila North, a former grand chief. “Families that do their own searches are feeling a little bit let down and not respected in the same way as these other families are.”  

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Murdoch Mysteries

Murdoch Mysteries is a TV series about William Murdoch, a fictional Victorian-era detective who is ahead of his time and uses forensic science and technology to solve Toronto’s most complex crimes. Often referred to as a Victorian-era CSI, the long-running police procedural features a mix of humour, intrigue, science fiction, history and period production values. Based on Maureen Jennings’s successful series of mystery novels, the show attracted a cult following after premiering on City TV in 2008. It garnered a much larger audience after being picked up by the CBC in 2013. It was Canada’s highest-rated scripted television series in 2016, 2017 and 2018, and won the Golden Screen Award in 2017, 2018 and 2020. It is seen by millions of viewers in more than 100 countries.

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Robert Pickton Case

Between 1978 and 2001, at least 65 women disappeared from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Robert Pickton, who operated a pig farm in nearby Port Coquitlam, was charged with murdering 26 of the women. He was convicted on six charges and sentenced to life in prison. In a jail cell conversation with an undercover police officer, Pickton claimed to have murdered 49 women. The murders led to the largest serial killer investigation in Canadian history, and Pickton’s farm became the largest crime scene in Canadian history. The case became a flash point in the wider issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada. In 2012, a provincial government inquiry into the case concluded that “blatant failures” by police — including inept criminal investigative work, compounded by police and societal prejudice against sex trade workers and Indigenous women ­— led to a “tragedy of epic proportions.”

Warning: This article contains sensitive material that may not be suitable for all audiences.

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“Freedom Convoy” Arrives in Ottawa and Begins Occupation of Capital

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Convoys of truckers, which had been making their way to Ottawa from Western and Eastern Canada, finally arrived in Canada’s capital to protest public health mandates and restrictions. The convoys were cheered by supporters across the country, many of whom greeted them along highway overpasses. However, the protest’s stated goal of unseating Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and overthrowing the government left many Canadians uneasy and brought to mind the insurrection at the US Capitol on 6 January 2021 — as did the presence of Confederate and Nazi flags among the protesters. With 85 per cent of Canadians vaccinated, including about 90 per cent of all truckers, the protest was seen as a far-right fringe movement. Observers noted that online rhetoric surrounding the protest had grown “increasingly worrisome.” Similar Freedom Convoy protests formed blockades at a border crossing in Coutts, Alberta, and at the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit, Michigan, on 29 January and 7 February, respectively.  

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Notable Wrongful Convictions in Canada

Canadians like to think our justice system is one of the best in the world. But ask the dozens of people prosecuted and imprisoned for serious crimes they didn't commit, and you're likely to get a different view, especially from those accused of murder. In recent decades, more than 20 Canadians have been locked up — much of their lives destroyed — for murders they had nothing to do with. Their wrongful convictions are a stain on our history, while their subsequent exonerations give cause for hope. Here are six of their stories. (See also Wrongful Convictions in Canada.)