NWT Mounties look to bring back former gang leader turned motivational speaker

After a half dozen successful speaking engagements with students in the Northwest Territories last month, the RCMP says it wants to bring ex-gang leader Michael “Bull” Roberts back this fall.

The inspirational motivational speaker from Newfoundland was brought to the territory by the Mounties and the NWT Department of Justice, Community Justice and Community Policing.

Roberts spoke to kids at St. Patrick and Sir John Franklin High Schools in Yellowknife, K’alemi Dene School in N’dilo, Deh Gah School in Fort Providence, Jean Wetrade School in Gameti and Mezi Community School in Whati.

The heavily tattooed Roberts who is an imposing figure, shared his powerful story of trauma and abuse as a youth which lead to substance abuse, violence, bullying and living the life of a career criminal.

Michael’s story is one of despair, sadness, fear but eventually hope and success.

He brought powerful messages to the youth and communities members, relating to life changing events and how his life was changed by choosing to do the right thing.

After this choice, he committed to living a positive lifestyle, which has led to collaborative relationships with the police and other organizations.

According to the Mounties – Michael’s presentations were well received in each of the communities.

NWT RCMP Cpl. Charmaine Parenteau, accompanied Michael on his journeys in the North.

“What I got from Michael’s messages, is as a person, not just a police officer, that no matter how far you have gone down the wrong road, you can still turn around. I believe that is inspiring for youth to hear”.

Director of Community Justice and Community Policing Leanne Gardiner from the Dept. of Justice, also had positive feedback on the community visits.

 “We are very pleased to be able to contribute to such a positive event here in the NWT for our youth to see a different role model. Change is always possible”.

Funding for the project was provided by the Gun and Gang Violence Action Fund.

RCMP say they will share more details on a fall return by Roberts once details are confirmed.

About the Author

John McFadden
John has been in the broadcast journalism industry since the 1980s. He has been a reporter in Yellowknife since 2012 and joined CKLB in January of 2018. John covers the crime and court beat as well as reporting on other areas including politics, business, entertainment and sports. He won seven national community newspaper awards while he was a journalist with Northern News Services Limited (NNSL). John worked in Ontario before coming North including stints as a TV sportscaster in Peterborough and senior news writer for CBC and CTV in downtown Toronto.