BCCLA says RCMP watchdog must stop “cutting and running”

The BCCLA is disappointed by the CPC‟s response to a complaint filed by the BCCLA about sensitive files being withheld for more than a year by the RCMP. The BCCLA quoted from the CPC‟s own annual reports and letter to the BCCLA as the basis for the complaint. The CPC‟s response has been to dodge its own words.

“The dictionary defines ‘concealing’ as keeping secret and preventing disclosure. It defines ‘withholding’ as holding back,” said Robert Holmes, Q.C., President of the BCCLA. “It is hard to see how the failure of senior RCMP staff to respond to CPC complaint investigations for a year or more in embarrassing and controversial cases amounts to anything else. Instead of using this opportunity to inform the public, and get RCMP and parliamentary attention to an ongoing problem with RCMP response times, the CPC has responded to our news release by cutting and running.”

In a letter from the CPC dated November 23, 2011, which was attached to the original BCCLA press release, the CPC wrote: “The Commission provided its Interim Report in the Willey case to the RCMP on November 4, 2010 and continues to follow up with that organization while awaiting the [RCMP] Commissioner‟s reply.”

The BCCLA has consistently maintained that the Clayton Willey incident, where a hog tied man was Tasered repeatedly and ultimately died, is one of the most embarrassing and sensitive for the RCMP in BC. One of the officers involved, John Graham, had already been convicted for an on-the-job criminal assault, and had been found by a judge to have taken “positive and deliberate” steps to destroy evidence of a third incident involving him and use of the Taser. The Solicitor General of BC was the person who filed the complaint with the CPC in the Willey file.

The Commission handed its report to the RCMP in this notorious case more than a year ago. The CPC letter is clear: the CPC “continues to follow up” and hasn‟t gotten the RCMP Commissioner‟s reply for more than twelve months.

“The CPC asserts that it was not ascribing any bad motive to the RCMP. Who cares what their motive it? They should all get the job done,” notes Holmes. “When the law requires something to be done, it must be done within a reasonable time. Neither the CPC, nor the RCMP can change the fact that the RCMP has failed that and is not giving complaint investigations the attention they deserve. Our initial news release on this matter quoted the CPC‟s last annual

report, which criticized the RCMP‟s failure to respond and said it “threatens the integrity of the public complaints process.”


Robert Holmes, Q.C., President, (604) 838-6856

David Eby, Executive Director, (778) 865-7997