Policing in Canada Part II: Gender and the RCMP

In early 1978, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Constable Dennis Onofrey was shot and killed outside a motel in Virden, Manitoba. The shooter also fired on Onofrey’s partner, Constable Candace Smith, who survived a shotgun blast to the thigh and abdomen. Rendered momentarily unconscious from the blast, Smith was unable to fire upon or apprehend the shooter before he fled the scene. The shootout made national headlines for a few reasons, not the least of which was the terribly unfortunate death of Onofrey. Smith too garnered a considerable amount of attention, but for unfair reasons that deserve exploration. In our previous post we briefly explored the history of policing in Canada with a focus on the development of the RCMP. Today we build on that history by examining gender conceptualizations of policing in Canada, as well as the connection between the RCMP and representations of Canadian national identity.  

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