Old Myths Die Hard: The Transformation of the Mounted Police In Alberta and
"Old myths Die Hard": The Transformation of the Mounted Police in Alberta and Saskatchewan, 1914-1939" is about the transformation of the world's most famous police force, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The force, formed in 1873, quickly gained mythic qualities. This mythic view of the Mounted Police would survive into the 1970s. The impetus for change was the First World War, at the end of which the force found its very existence threatened. A Mountie unit had been dispatched to Europe to fight in the war. In order to gain enough strength for such an undertaking, Mounted Policemen gave up their regular policing duties in Alberta and Saskatchewan, the only provinces where they served in such a capacity. Suddenly, Alberta and Saskatchewan discovered that they could survive without the scarlet-clad policemen. During the war, the Mounted Police began extensive security intelligence operations in Alberta and Saskatchewan as Mounties, among other security duties, dropped the uniform and went undercover. By the end of the conflict, the Mounted Police controlled security operations in western Canada. In 1920, the force absorbed its security rival, the Dominion Police, and the RCMP came into being. In 1927, the force replaced the Saskatchewan Provincial Police. In 1932, it similarly displaced the Alberta Provincial Police. By the start of the Second World War, the RCMP's powerful post as Canada's national police and security force was without challenge. The Mounties symbolized all that was important and powerful in the Canada of the period. They were Anglo-Canadian males who belonged to an organization with strong connections to the dominant British values of the Canadian elite. Between 1914 and 1939, these men increasingly directed both their regular policing operations and security activities against those who somehow represented a challenge to the status quo in Canada. Non-Anglo-Canadian minorities in Alberta and Saskatchewan, including those of Ukrainian and Chinese background, received a great deal of overt and covert Mountie attention in the interwar period. The state linked east and central Europeans to the tremendous disorder that erupted in Canada in the concluding months of the war and in its immediate aftermath. Labour unrest was blamed on "foreigners." In the 1920s, the appearance and activities of the RCMP's biggest foe, the Communist Party of Canada, were also connected to non-Britishers. Throughout the period, the Mounties in Alberta and Saskatchewan increasingly focused their resources upon those outside the middle-class and ethnic mainstream: left-wing radicals who challenged the status quo, ethnic groups who refused to assimilate to the Anglo-Canadian ideal, other minorities who practiced activities deemed immoral by the Canadian majority, and workers of the employed and unemployed variety who protested against economic inequality. In doing so, Mounted Policemen made themselves indispensable to the Canadian state, ensuring the force's survival and turning it into one of the world's most powerful police forces. In the 1970s, the force, specifically its security service, found itself surrounded by controversy. Scandals involving illegal activities by Mounties in Quebec in the war against separatism continually occupied news headlines across the country. The federal government eventually appointed a Royal Commission to investigate the breaking of laws by law enforcers. Based on the McDonald Commission's recommendations, the Liberal government of Pierre Trudeau stripped the force of its security/intelligence role, creating the Canadian Security Intelligence Service as a replacement. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)
Advisor:Waiser, William A.
School:University of Saskatchewan
School Location:Canada - Saskatchewan
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:no keywords supplied
Date of Publication:01/01/1997