Unreleased report finds stop checks, searches of protesters ‘unlawful’: Watchdog

VANCOUVER — A civilian police watchdog has released what Indigenous advocates in support of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs are calling an “explosive” letter condemning RCMP actions against Indigenous protesters.

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association filed a complaint with the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP alleging Mounties unlawfully restricted access to a remote logging road in northern British Columbia before they enforced an injunction this month on behalf of Coastal GasLink.

The association filed statements on behalf of eight Wet’suwet’en members and supporters who say they were turned away from the area when trying to deliver supplies, give legal support or visit pipeline opponents at a camp along the road.

Commission chairperson Michelaine Lahaie says in a nine-page response letter that she won’t begin a public interest investigation because she doesn’t want to delay the resolution of issues being raised.

She says similar issues and allegations against the RCMP have already been raised and investigated and she believes there is “significant” public interest in addressing them.

Lahaie says her unpublished report about RCMP actions in 2013 against Indigenous-led anti-shale gas protests in Kent County, N.B., found RCMP stop checks went beyond the limited purpose mandated by the courts and were inconsistent with the charter rights of vehicle occupants.

She says the Commission found there was no legal authority to require passengers to produce identification at stop checks in that case and that routine vehicle searches of individuals entering the protesters’ campsites were not authorized by law.

Lahaie sent her report to the Mounties in March 2019 but has yet to receive a response from the RCMP Commissioner.

“The report that has been completed is absolutely explosive,” Grand Chief Stewart Phillip said at a news conference in Vancouver.

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, director of the University of British Columbia’s Indian Residential School and Dialogue Centre, said the fact that the RCMP has not responded to the commissioner almost a year after receiving the report raises questions about the civilian oversight body’s power to compel the RCMP to act.

The people who filed the complaint in 2013 have yet to see the report and she said a seven-year delay in justice is unacceptable.

“Justice delayed is justice denied,” Turpel-Lafond said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19: First death confirmed in central zone, provincial cases reach 1,250

Alberta government confirmed a first death in the central zone Sunday. The… Continue reading

COVID-19 case reported at supermarket in Wetaskiwin

Sobeys will not release names to protect employees

WATCH: Red Deer emergency call centre hours change starting next week

Hours at the City of Red Deer’s COVID-19 emergency call centre will… Continue reading

Alberta Health Services provides COVID-19 prevention tips

Alberta Health Services has a number of recommendations for people amid the… Continue reading

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

Quebec Walmart worker struck by driver allegedly angered by COVID-19 measures

SHERBROOKE, Que. — A Walmart security guard from southern Quebec was fighting… Continue reading

Boeing to continue production shutdown due to coronavirus

Company is extending its planned two-week shutdown

Bars, cannabis sector eligible for $40B credit program from government bank

Applicants must go through their own banks to access the program

Actress-activist Shirley Douglas, daughter of medicare’s Tommy Douglas, dies

‘Sadly she had been battling for her health for quite some time’

Canada looking to disinfect used masks, Tam asks they not be thrown away

Best defence against COVID-19 is to stay home as much as possible, wash their hands frequently

With workers at home, feds eye ways to fast-track training program, groups say

How to help workers stuck at home or out of work to prevent their skills from becoming

Most Read