The RCMP failed in its linguistic obligations during a fatal shooting

RCMP failed in language obligations during fatal shooting

Ittook 90 minutes for the RCMP to post a first message in French after his English alert.

The Yukon has 14 Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachments, including the one in Whitehorse, which is bilingual.

< p class="e-p">The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) failed in its linguistic obligations in terms of emergency communication during a shooting that killed three in the Yukon, concludes the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages ​​in a preliminary report. x27;survey. It recommends the establishment of a national policy to guarantee communications in both languages ​​in the bilingual divisions of the country.

The purpose of the investigation was to determine whether the RCMP had respected its linguistic obligations under the Official Languages ​​Act and whether it had provided the public with services of equal quality in both official languages, according to the preliminary report obtained by Radio-Canada.

The complaint was based on the fact that the messages published by the RCMP on its social media during the fatal shooting in Faro, in particular to ask people to l'abri, were first published in English and that it took several hours to obtain a complete version in French.

Yukon RCMP had announced on Twitter an emergency in Faro, asking everyone in the town to take shelter.

This is not the first time that the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages ​​has raised issues related to bilingual communications during emergency situations. In 2020, in its report on the impact of emergencies on official languages, it was mentioned in particular a problem of bilingualism during an alert concerning the disappearance of #x27;a child in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

As I have pointed out in my report, such incidents have revealed glaring and recurring shortcomings that can lead to harmful consequences, even endangering the lives of Canadians. , writes commissioner Raymond Théberge in his preliminary report on the failures of emergency communication in Faro.

On October 26, 2021, a man fired a gunshot in the community of Faro, over 350 kilometers northeast of Whitehorse, killing two and injuring one.

Plaintiff seeks including messages posted by the RCMP on social media in this case.

On the day of the shooting, a first message is published on the English-language RCMP Twitter account at 1:57 p.m. , asking people to take shelter. A second message is published on this account at 2:29 p.m. to tell the population that the threat is lifted.

A post on the Yukon RCMP Twitter account on October 26, 2021 at 2:29 p.m. indicates that the shelter-in-place order has been lifted. RCMP are advising residents that they can expect a heavy police presence and that more information will be released as soon as possible.

It was not until 3:26 p.m. that a first message concerning the shooting in the municipality was published on the RCMP's French-language twitter account, which only mentioned that there was a press release in English. French translation will follow approximately one hour later.

The RCMP has not fulfilled its obligations to ensure that communications of equal quality in both official languages ​​are transmitted to the public, writes the Commissioner of Official Languages, affirming that the complaint is founded.

The Yukon RCMP indicated on their French Twitter account on October 26, 2021 at 3:26 p.m. that a translation of their press release would be available soon.

In their preliminary report, the police makes three recommendations to the RCMP, one of which provides for the development of a national directive to ensure that messages posted on the social media of designated bilingual detachments are disseminated in both official languages ​​at an equal level of quality.< /p>

They should have ensured that communications came out in both languages, especially in a security situation, says the executive director of the Association franco-yukonnaise, Isabelle Salesse.

Isabelle Salesse is the director of the Association franco-yukonnaise.

The Association has also filed a complaint about the manner in which communications and the alert system were handled during the Faro shooting, ensuring the alert was only sent in English.

“It's a safety issue. We want to make sure that people understand, but it is also the obligation to respect the law and, in this case, the law has not been respected. »

— Isabelle Salesse, Executive Director of the Association franco-yukonnaise

In the case of Faro, for example, there was a word, I don't remember which, but everyone wondered what that meant, that is to say that we weren't sure if it meant that the killing was going on and if people should continue to stay at home locked up, explains Isabelle Salesse.

The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages ​​registered two admissible complaints against the RCMP in the Yukon in relation to communications with the public in October 2021 during a #x27;a shooting in the municipality of Faro, the police station also confirms by email.

The RCMP did not respond to requests for comment from Radio -Canada.

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