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BCCLA in Federal Court Over Income Trust Investigation

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association is in the Federal Court today in Toronto to challenge the decision of Paul Kennedy, Chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, to refuse to review the BCCLA’s second complaint into the RCMP’s handling of the Income Trust matter in fall 2005.

In response to an NDP Member of Parliament who alleged criminal conduct, the then Commissioner of the RCMP Giuliano Zaccardelli responded by confirming that the RCMP would be commencing a criminal investigation. Several days later, the RCMP issued a press release confirming the criminal investigation. This information was released during the last federal election and resulted in significant media attention. The RCMP’s public confirmation of the criminal investigation into the matter also coincided with a drop in the polls for the Liberal Party and a rise for the Conservatives. The BCCLA made a complaint against the RCMP’s handling of the investigation.

According to BCCLA Executive Director Murray Mollard: “There are two critical issues at stake in this litigation. First, will there be adequate scrutiny about whether the RCMP failed to uphold the essential democratic principle that the police must not get entangled in political affairs of the state? Second, can the public rely on the Commission for Public Complaints and the RCMP Act to respond to their call for police accountability?”

The BCCLA had already made one complaint in the Income Trust matter which had been rejected by the RCMP. The BCCLA asked Mr. Kennedy to review that decision but he decided to hold the BCCLA’s request in “abeyance” while the RCMP investigated Mr. Kennedy’s own self-initiated complaint that was substantially the same as the BCCLA’s. Mr. Kennedy’s complaint was made on February 1, 2007 at the same time the BCCLA asked Mr. Kennedy to review the RCMP’s rejection of the BCCLA complaint. Upon a request to review the BCCLA’s second complaint which had been terminated by the RCMP, Mr. Kennedy again placed the BCCLA’s request for review in abeyance pending the disposition of his complaint. Mr. Kennedy’s complaint remains unresolved.

The BCCLA is represented by Kirk Stevens and George Glezos of Lerner’s LLP in Toronto.