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Former Mountie leads systemic racism lawsuit against RCMP

Last Updated Jul 13, 2020 at 5:00 pm PDT

(Tom Ross/660 NEWS)

A veteran Mountie is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit that has been filed against the RCMP alleging systemic racism

Margorie "Marge" Hudson was with the Manitoba RCMP for 31 years and wants the suit to fix problems in the agency

Lawyer David A. Klein is leading the investigation and says it was a long-time coming

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Manitoba’s first Indigenous Mountie is leading a class-action lawsuit accusing the entire RCMP of systemic racism.

The focus of the federal court lawsuit, filed in Vancouver July 7, is abuse suffered by Indigenous RCMP members.

Filed by Margorie “Marge” Hudson and “on behalf of racialized individuals who currently work or formerly worked for or with the RCMP,” the lawsuit alleges “widespread systematic racism by RCMP non-racialized members and RCMP management and that the RCMP breached their Charter rights and failed to ensure that they could serve their country in an environment free of racism,” according to a release.

The 31-year veteran says she quit in 2010 because she was constantly passed up for promotions during her time with the RCMP in Manitoba.

“I thought they were always better than me. Everybody’s life matters,” Hudson tells NEWS 1130.

She says the RCMP needs help to fix problems within the agency.

“Well, I always spoke out, but no one would listen. They belittled us. They thought we were less than they were, basically.”

Hudson also says she had been a source of blame at her detachment, which she says she wasn’t able to defend, and she was sent out on calls alone while others weren’t.

“They weren’t worried about my safety,” she says.

The Statement of Claim describes racist and derogatory remarks, and a “double standard” Hudson says she experienced and witnessed during her time with the RCMP.

“My hope is that this lawsuit will bring about some positive change for racialized individuals who are still with the RCMP and those who join in the future, as well as give those who formerly worked with or for the RCMP, such as myself, the strength to come forward and perhaps open a path to the healing process,” Hudson says.

She now works as a trauma therapist.

‘A problem for decades’

Vancouver lawyer David A. Klein is leading the investigation and says it was a long-time coming.

“Racism in the RCMP has been a problem for decades,” he says. “But it’s only now that people who worked with the RCMP have had the courage to come forward. They realize that there are hundreds of them there, and there is strength in numbers.”

Noting Hudson’s decades of experience, Klein says she’s an ideal plaintiff for the case.

“She was there in those very early days, subjected to a high level of racism and discrimination when she served in the RCMP,” he says.

Klein says the goal of this action is to bring about meaningful change.

“Marge wants to ensure that people who are in the force now and who join in the future are not subjected to the kind of racism and discrimination she had to endure,” he says.

He’s hoping this case can be certified as class action by the end of the year.

RELATED: Study: Canadians agree RCMP suffers from systemic racism but split on if police force can fix itself

Since the case is before the court, RCMP says in an email, it can’t comment further.

“That being said, the RCMP is committed to providing every part of the country with culturally competent policing that can serve all Canadian communities in a professional manner with dignity and respect.”

It says there’s no room for racism in the RCMP, and it is “committed to ensuring that its policies, practices and standards are fully inclusive and provide employees with equitable opportunities within the spirit of the Employment Equity Act and the Canadian Human Rights Act.”