Police and Peace Officers Memorial Service

September 24, 2023

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Before I begin, I would like to take a moment to acknowledge that once again on Friday, we were reminded of the tragedies that occur to those officers who selflessly serve our communities.

Sadly, another partner, colleague and friend—RCMP Constable Rick O’Brien—was killed in the line of duty, in Coquitlam, B.C.

On behalf of my husband, Whit, and all Canadians, our thoughts and condolences are with his family, his friends and his colleagues. We mourn this loss with you. I would also like to send our wishes for a speedy recovery to those injured during this incident.

I would like to ask for a moment of silence, for Constable O’Brien and for all the officers we have lost this year alone.

I would first like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people.  Let us offer our respect to them as caretakers of this land since time immemorial.

Policing is a difficult job. It is a dangerous job.

As we mark the 46th annual Police and Peace Officers Memorial Service, it is important for us to remember and honour those officers who lost their lives in the line of duty. That is why we are here today. That is why I asked for a moment of silence. To honour those we lost.

Every day, police and peace officers, such as yourselves and those we have lost, help keep our communities safe. You do so without seeking praise or recognition.

You do so because it is your duty.   You do so because it is a commitment you have made to your communities.

As you know all too well, policing is becoming more complex in an increasingly complex world. You each play an important role in showing that policing can be done with professionalism, caring and understanding.  As the world evolves, you continue to adjust the way you interact with different people and situations, serving our communities with bravery.  

However, some…too many… have lost their lives while doing this important work.

As a result, many here today have suffered deep losses.

Loss of a colleague.  Partner.

Loss of a friend.

Loss of family.

To officers here with us today, we know that what you see and what you experience may be hard. It may go beyond any training or preparation. 

And when someone who you work with and depend on is killed in the line of duty, it can have a direct effect on your mental health.

To family and friends with us today, we also know that you provide the foundation of support to those who risk their lives.  You may understand the risk, but it doesn’t make it any easier to accept when someone you love is killed in the line of duty. This loss affects all aspects of your lives, including your mental health.

And so I encourage all of you to take care of yourselves. Take the time—make the time—to heal.

Every one of the officers whose memory we honour today had sworn to protect and serve.   Their sacrifice will never be forgotten.

To those who have lost someone, on behalf of all Canadians, please accept our most sincere condolences and our deepest gratitude.

Thank you.