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A Tasteless, Jingoistic, Paramilitary Embarrassment at the RCMP Musical Ride

June 28th, 2015

Black-uniformed officers in body armour assume combat postures, the sharp “bang” of stun grenades, smoke bombs releasing white clouds, a huge, black armoured-personnel vehicle circling the scene .… ending with the take-down in the sand of a bad-guy in jeans and no shirt, who is then thrown into the truck and whisked away. All while an enthusiastic voice-over extolls the important goal of keeping Canadians safe.

Welcome to the 2015 version of the RCMP Musical Ride, showing nightly at “N Division” in Ottawa and featuring the legendary equestrian skills of the Mounties as “ambassadors of goodwill … promoting the RCMP’s image throughout Canada and the world.

Is there no place now where Canadians can be spared the Harper government’s jingoistic militaristic bleating with its conjured-up images of dangers lurking around every corner, nurturing the fear that “others” are out to rob us of our freedoms?

Oh, there were beautiful horses and red uniforms and long lances and exciting charges and smart jumping police dogs too, fear not.

After all, that’s what thousands of families – virtually all with children below 8 years old – visiting the capital from all over Canada had come to see. So they thought.

But within minutes of the show’s opening – and well before the amazing horses performed their fantastic routines – the audience is treated to a bombastic, paramilitary show-and-tell that had many adults around us shaking their heads in bewilderment. And a few little kids crying too.

Along the way, there were some anodyne recruiting messages for the Mounties, and at the end, a mass recitation of the pledge all new Canadians make when they become citizens.

But Commissioner Bob Paulsen, really …..  who takes their children to a horse show on a Saturday evening expecting a scene from an average day’s viewing on CNN  of heavily-armed police working the streets of Ferguson, Missouri?

The RCMP should be embarrassed.

61 Responses to “A Tasteless, Jingoistic, Paramilitary Embarrassment at the RCMP Musical Ride”

  1. Donna Poupart says:

    Thank you for this…..
    I had seen the Musical Ride last Wednesday with friends. I was very impressed with the whole show, so I returned Saturday with my grandchildren, 4 and 2. I was stunned when the whole “surprise” tactical squad blazed onto the field and watched in horror as all were subjected to the drama which ensued. Someone commented that the whole thing lasted only 4 minutes as part of a 2 hour show, yet almost three days later, my grandson only speaks of the “bad guy” when asked about the “horse show”. It was the wrong place and time for this kind of sensationalistic scare-mongering. I was also dumbfounded by the annoucer’s comment at the beginning of the ceremony….that this was probably the safest place on earth with all the armed policemen present!

  2. […] operation, right? The booming voice telling you that this is “keeping Canada safe” and literally reciting the pledge immigrants make when they move to Canada isn’t jingoistic at […]

  3. Denis says:

    The RCMP is a para-military force, always has been. What would you say next? Maybe that we take out the cannon at the same Sunset Ceremonies in Regina because it’s militaristic? You people are transferring your hate of a government on a perfectly normal police force.

    Shame on people who can only criticize a job they can’t even fathom doing, no matter what your political affiliations are.

  4. Frank, please repost your blog to UnpublishedOttawa.com so we can share it with our audience. UO is a social media website for current affairs in Canada. We have a few other former journalists posting regularly to the site as well as interested citizen journalists.

    This kind of thing needs to reach as large an audience as possible so Canadians can see first hand what’s going on.


    James O’Grady, President
    Unpublished Media Inc.

  5. Frederick says:

    Frank Koller your take on this performance is so far out to lunch I can’t believe someone let you post it. So did Trudeau JR pay you for this piece of crap? Do a real report on how we as Canadian cannot go to bed without making sure all your doors and windows are lock anymore. Because of the liberals take on Immigration and letting everyone into our country we had to train our police this way to protect and serve our wonderful country. Take what as happen over the last few months with the killing of two soldier here on Canadian soil. As for the people on here supporting your story they should look around because if not for the RCMP, Local police and the military they would not have the freedom they have today. So if you can’t write the truth then don’t write anything.

  6. Robert Rose says:

    It doesn’t matter that the RCMP has always had armoured personnel carriers and flash bombs and SWAT teams. This is the MUSICAL RIDE. It’s not a demo of all the RCMP is. It’s about red serge and horses and music.

  7. Jen says:

    The only thing I see wrong with what they did was not give people a heads up, but when someone murders or holds up a store, there is no warning. As a parent I rather explain to my children how there are bad people and thanks to our trained police and RCMP, they try and keep our country safe. There was no warning in the Ottawa shooting and my kids were more afraid of that.
    And what the heck does this have to do with politics? Really?

  8. Pat says:

    Ummm hate to break it to you, but this same pre-ceremony demonstration has been happening for years (I saw it over 5 years ago!). According to the Citizen article today, it was introduced 10 year back…

  9. Carl says:

    What a bunch of malarkey!! Robert Rose, go to the website. It’s called the Sunset Ceremonies NOT the Musical Ride. The Sunsets were never intended to be a completely Musical Ride show only. I have been part of the Sunset Ceremonies for many years now….I actually spoke to some of the guys on the ERT this year. This was a 5 minute demonstration in a 2 hour show. It’s been part of the show for years. Nothing to do with Harper at all. Just a demonstration of their capabilities. What’s wrong with that? Just to remind you, these are the the GOOD guys showing how they catch the BAD guys. Are you not reassured by that in these extraordinarily trouble times?? They could save your butt one day. Give them some support.

  10. Mitch MacLeod says:

    This display predates Harper…not sure what your point is. Our national police service is more than horses and red uniforms.

  11. dunbar says:

    Agreed we don’t need these public displays of mock take downs by RCMP ERT systems
    In Fact If the ERT had members who were of sound mind and clear thinking Greg Matters would alive today
    these ERT systems are way more than fooreces required They have watched way too many Yankee shows of similar bizzareness

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