Passing of J. Michael Shoemaker, Q.C., Deputy Commissioner, RCMP


J. Michael Shoemaker
J. Michael Shoemaker

Michael, age 83, of North Saanich, B. C., died on Friday, June 16, 2017, at the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, B. C., with his beloved wife of 50 years, Brenda, by his side. He was born October 9, 1933, in Toronto, Ontario, to Helen and Wilfrid Shoemaker.

Surviving are his brother, Barry (Peggy) Shoemaker of Pleasanton, CA; his two sisters, Lynn Shoemaker of Toronto and Claire (Chris) Gordon of St. Andrews by-the-Sea, NB; three sons, Adam (Johanna) Shoemaker of Brisbane, Australia, John (Sandra) Shoemaker of London, Ontario, and David (Jennifer) Shoemaker of Beijing, China; and two daughters, Alexandra (Mark) Sywak of Sydney, Australia, and Victoria (Chris) Young of Perth, Australia. His pride and joy were his 13 incredible grandchildren, Rianna, Jakob, Annie, Michael, Nicholas, Jessica, Abby, Gabrielle, Christian, Brendan, Samantha, Anderson, and Billie, who will miss their Poppa greatly.

Michael grew up and attended school in Toronto. He attended UTS and won the Nesbitt Gold Medal and was chosen as class valedictorian. He also attended Trinity College at the University of Toronto (Class of 5T6), where he would serve as UofT Students’ Administrative Council (SAC) President in his final year. He graduated with an LL.B from the UofT Law School in 1959 and returned to school and earned an LL.M from the University of Ottawa Law School in 1995.

Ottawa was home for nearly four decades. Michael forged an illustrious career in public service. He served as an Assistant Secretary to Cabinet, the Executive Director of the CRTC, and the Senior Assistant Deputy Solicitor General. He retired in 1994 as RCMP Deputy Commissioner. His career in public service earned him a federal Q. C., the Public Service Award of Excellence from the Governor General, and the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal. In Ottawa, and the bordering Gatineau Hills, he and Brenda raised their family. He instilled in them qualities of honesty, education, ambition, and good humour that were Michael’s hallmarks. Michael and Brenda moved to North Saanich, B. C. in 1995 where they formed another two decades of friendships.

He loved his family above all, but took great joy in rituals and routines including grocery shopping, cutting firewood, after-dinner card games with his children and (later) grandchildren, the Montreal Expos, and watching Toronto Raptors games on his PVR.

Victoria friends who wish to express their condolences are invited to the family home in North Saanich between 1-4 p.m. on Friday, June 23, 2017.

A Life Celebration and reception will be held on Saturday, July 15, 2017, at 2 p.m. at the Beechwood Cemetery, 280 Beechwood Avenue, Ottawa (613) 741-9530

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Cardiac Care Programme c/o Victoria Hospitals Foundation (250) 519-1750

How J. Michael Shoemaker became part of the Force,

From a dissertation titled ,


 “Deputy Commissioner Jensen and Assistant Commissioner Stamler are quoted as having had concerns that the federal police had become co-opted by the political process specifically under the Mulroney era. Weekly meetings with the Solicitor General of the day meant that critical information about ongoing investigations was being shared with their political masters. After Solicitor General Kelleher recommended Norm Inkster for Commissioner to replace Commissioner Simmonds upon his retirement, Kelleher made his own Assistant Deputy Minister, Michael Shoemaker —a civilian bureaucrat— Deputy Commissioner of the RCMP. The then Deputy Commissioner Hank Jensen maintains that Kelleher’s intention had been to make Shoemaker Commissioner but that Simmonds and Prime Minister Mulroney had stopped it. As Jensen stated: “As the force became more and more bureaucratic in its approach, the government was able to exercise more and more control over the operations of the RCMP…My quarrel with Inkster and Shoemaker is not that they made the force more business-like, but they made the RCMP an agency of government. They politicised it.” The expressed intent of the introduction of people like Michael Shoemaker was to form a bridge between the RCMP and Treasury Board, Privy Council and the Machinery of Government people. While the merits or motivations of appointing anyone to the Deputy Commissioner position from outside can be debated, Shoemaker was an intelligent man who had held senior positions in the Ministry that dealt with policing. By the time Kim Campbell was Prime Minister, in a fevered bid to remain in power, government departments across Ottawa—including the RCMP—appeared to be there specifically to serve their Ministers rather than the people of Canada.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *