Chief Charles Bordeleau acknowledges the existence of some racism

After the death Inuk artist and Ottawa resident Annie Pootoogook, an Ottawa police officer, Sgt. Chris Hrnchiar, left some racist comments about Pootoogook on Facebook. They were gross. They played into the typical stereotypes–the typical hate–routinely thrown at the Inuit and First Nations people. I’m not going to quote them here.

After they were made, there was, understandably, a public outcry. Ottawa has a significant Indigenous population, and we really don’t want a lot of hateful racists patrolling our streets.

Chief Bordeleau knew better, and wasn’t really willing to acknowledge the bigoted elephant in the room:

“I’m certainly hearing that they’re being seen as being racist comments,” Bordeleau said. “I certainly appreciate and understand how those comments are being received.”

That was September 29. This, however, was October 13:

“The comments are racist, they don’t reflect the value of the Ottawa police service,” said Bordeleau, during an interview with APTN’s Nation to Nation program which aired Thursday. “They have undone some of the tremendous work that our officers are doing each and every day to build strong relationships with our Indigenous communities.”

That’s a nice little turn. I mean, he doesn’t acknowledge a problem of racism in the OPS, but, this is something.

Of course, he’s unwilling to admit that there’s a problem with racism in the police force.

He’s unwilling to admit that the death of Abdirhaman Abdi had anything to do with racism.

He’s umwilling to condemn carding as having anything to do with racism.

But, minor victories, I guess.


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