The BCCLA has filed a complaint against the most senior members of the RCMP for undermining the RCMP complaints process in the most serious and sensitive investigations of the force. Information received by the BCCLA from the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP (“CPC”) indicates that the RCMP has ignored years of requests by the agency to review files in a timely way, and return them so the CPC may release them publicly.
The information came to the BCCLA from the CPC after the BCCLA expressed concern that the Clayton Alvin Willey police-involved death investigation report had not been completed by the CPC for two years after a complaint filed by B.C.’s Solicitor General. In correspondence, the CPC alleged that the RCMP has been withholding the file from the public, without consequence, for more than a year, and there is no end of the hold up in sight.
“The Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP told us that they have no ability to force the RCMP to return complaint files so the public may see them, and that the RCMP is concealing some of their most potentially embarrassing investigation results by refusing to return them,” said Robert Holmes, Q.C., President of the BCCLA. “If the CPC isn’t going to hold the RCMP accountable for this kind of conduct, what, exactly, is their purpose, and when will the government fix this problem?”
The BCCLA complaint alleges that the most senior levels of the RCMP have had three years of notice that they have been inappropriately withholding files from the CPC, but have not fixed the issue. 22 complaints have been sitting on the Commissioner or Acting Commissioner’s desk for six months or longer without review, and have not been returned to the CPC as required by the RCMP Act. Three complaint investigation files have been concealed by the RCMP from the public for more than a year.
“What is the point of investigating the RCMP at all if they can act in a manner that stymies the entire complaints process, and all the body that regulates them will do is shrug it off as somebody else’s problem?” noted Holmes. “The entire RCMP complaints system is broken, and the sooner our federal government gets moving on fixing it, the sooner Canadians can begin restoring their faith in our national force.”
Robert Holmes, Q.C., President, (604) 838-6856
David Eby, Executive Director, (778) 865-7997