Prime Time Crime


(Prime Time Crime exclusive Sept 30, 2017)


Convicted in Absentia

By Bob Cooper

During the trial in which the Royal Canadian Mounted Police faced 4 charges under the Canada Labor Code relating to the murder of 3 members and the wounding of 2 others in Moncton, New Brunswick, Commissioner Bob Paulson appeared to testify.  With one foot out the door and his pension secure (Top Mountie says it was acceptable RCMP didn't have carbine rifles during shootings).  He was not under subpoena, he did so of his own volition in order to justify the slow roll-out of training and issuing front line members with the C-8 carbine.  The central theme revolved around the ‘militarization of the police’, a catch-phrase usually uttered by the anti-police crowd, civil liberties types, and others with no idea of the realities of day to day police work.   

While I give him credit for taking personal responsibility for the delay (up to a point), the array of excuses he offered were simply astounding, particularly the following gems.

It's not just about image; it's about the relationship with people, said Paulson. It also affects quality of life in Canada, he said.

The inclusion of the word ‘just’ means it’s very much about image and the rest of his evidence makes it clear they were running scared after the heat they took over Tasers in the wake of the Robert Dziekański death at Vancouver International Airport in 2007.

He went on to describe the 7 year delay in deploying the carbines as “reasonable” owing to studies he believed were necessary to justify them.  This in spite of no less than 6 RCMP internal reports recommending carbines.  He then claimed his feelings had nothing to do with the delays. 


Paulson said he didn't feel carbines were the appropriate weapon for the RCMP in 2009-10, but on Sept. 6, 2011, he supported the decision to equip Mounties with Colt C-8 carbines.

He doesn’t mention where, on the road to Damascus, his conversion occurred.  Or why.

"Very emotive discussions go around the carbine," he has said. "The use of our tanks, because we have all that equipment — we got tanks, we got drones, we got machine-guns. But, you know, are we going to be going into shoplifters with a carbine?"

That’s simply stupid.  To the point of being insulting.

Paulson appeared to tear up as the Crown reviewed the number of RCMP officers killed by gunfire in the line of duty since 2010. Ten of 11 were killed by long guns, not including the Moncton Mounties, the courtroom heard.

He was able to stifle his tears long enough to respond by saying that no one can say that any one of them would survived if they had been armed with a carbine.  Fair enough.  I’ll give him that.  But it would certainly have evened up the odds and given them a fighting chance.

Under direct examination by Mark Ertel, defence lawyer for the force, Paulson said there was no way to foresee an active outdoor shooter event.

Of all the Commissioner’s claims this had to be one of the most absurd.  Most uniformed RCMP members work in rural areas and usually in one-man cars.  Some of these detachments are extremely remote with the nearest cover unit being miles and sometimes hours away.  Of the 78 Mounties slain in the line of duty, the vast majority have been killed in ‘active outdoor shooter events’.  A classic example was the murder of 3 RCMP Constables in Kamloops, BC in 1962 (C/Supt. Jack White).

As can be seen, the decision by 2 plainclothes members to go home and get their hunting rifles made all the difference that day.


The murder of 4 RCMP Constables on a farm in Mayerthorpe, Alberta in 2005 by an ‘active outdoor shooter’ spurred the first serious discussion of carbines, and in the mind of most police officers, the discussion should have been limited to what kind and how fast can we get them? 

Paulson’s testimony prompted this response from a very outraged, not to mention ballsy, Cpl. Patrick Bouchard 'You are not a leader', whose letter to the Commissioner went unacknowledged.

Judge Leslie Jackson found the RCMP guilty on one count, not guilty on two others, and issued a stay on the fourth.   RCMP failed to provide adequate equipment, training in Moncton shootings.

When Commissioner Paulson made his appearance in June, he told reporters "Well, I'm the accused.  I represent the RCMP and as the accused individual, the commissioner that's in charge, I thought it appropriate to come and tell my story. And so I did."

Not a single member of RCMP management was present this morning when the verdict came down.  Not even The Accused.


Bob Cooper is a retired Vancouver policeman.  He walked a beat in Chinatown and later worked in the Asian Organized Crime Section and the Homicide Squad.

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