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BC’s new top cop has fond memories of northern BC and no tolerance for racism in the RCMP

Brenda Butterworth-Carr is now the Commanding Officer of the BC RCMP, the largest RCMP division in the country. Originally from the Yukon, Butterworth-Carr is the first Aboriginal woman to hold BC’s top RCMP position. She was also the first Aboriginal woman to lead the Prince George RCMP detachment and has served in Saskatchewan and the RCMP National Headquarters. During her time in Prince George, Butterworth-Carr was adopted into the Frog Clan of the Lheidli T’enneh by Elder Violet.

We asked if she ever imagined she’d be BC’s top RCMP officer when she first joined the force in 1987.

“Nope – not at all. I was actually speaking to my spouse about that recently – he reminded me that my aspirations early on, given the fact that I joined the organization as a Native Special Constable, was that maybe, one day, I would have the opportunity to be the commanding officer of the Yukon Territory.”

She says her career has far exceeded her initial expectations. Despite serving in multiple jurisdictions and planning to retire to the Yukon eventually, Butterworth-Carr feels a deep connection with BC.

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“I have strong work ethic because I love what I do. I enjoy being in the organization. British Columbia has treated me very well. This is like my second home and I’ve always been raised to know that you look after your home and that’s how I view this as well, in this role.”

But it won’t be solely smooth sailing. Last month, the RCMP’s Civilian Complaints Commission published its report on policing in Northern BC. One of its findings is that, in many northern communities, the RCMP is perceived as racist toward First Nations people. Butterworth-Carr says she has no patience for any such behaviour from RCMP officers.

“Where there are individuals that are behaving inappropriately, they will be held accountable. There’s zero tolerance for any kind of inappropriate behaviours, whether that’s within our indigenous communities or any of our communities. We certainly have the policies and processes to be able to respond accordingly. I have zero tolerance for it.”

She stresses that the RCMP has accepted all 45 of the commission’s recommendations and that 26 have already been implemented.

Here’s the full interview:

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