VANCOUVER, B.C. – A member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has sued the Canadian government after he was sent home from a mission in Afghanistan where he helped train the Afghan police force. Dennis Ross says his racially diverse team’s complaints of racial tension from white officers in Afghanistan were ignored.
Ross, a 21-year veteran of the force, claims in B.C. Supreme Court that shortly after arriving in the war-ravaged country, he and his ethnically diverse team were subjected to subtle racism by another, mostly white, team of officers who had arrived in the country a month before them.
Ross claims that palpable “racial tension” between the two teams poisoned the work environment, and that superiors balked at the notion when his team member tried to bring up the subject.
Ross says he and his team were treated as inferior, excluded from activities and “targeted for ill treatment.” He says they were criticized for “not being ‘military’ enough” and were “disproportionately assigned the most menial tasks.”
He claims superiors ignored the issues, which culminated in a meeting between the two teams in August 2007 where “the plaintiff and others expressed their dissatisfaction with Team A’s treatment of Team B, the racial undercurrent to the tensions, and the inappropriate direction that the plaintiff felt the mission had taken with Team A members engaging in activities with the military that he considered unnecessary risks in an already hazardous environment and which were outside the unit’s mandate.”
After the meeting, Ross says, he was forced to leave Afghanistan while he was subjected to a “spurious” investigation for code of conduct violations and harassed by the RCMP for confidential medical information while on sick leave.
Ross is represented by Marjorie Brown of the Victory Square Law Office.