Civilian Panel of RCMP Complaints Needs More Authority

The former chairman of the civilian body aimed to address all complaints against the RCMP has stated that its organization needs “unfettered access” to the RCMP’s data files for its proper functioning.

The former chairman, Paul Kennedy, quoted that the government’s proposition in the Bill C-42 entitled to renovate the RCMP complaints process is extremely insufficient. He pointed out that the changes mentioned in the bill proposed does not allow proper access rights of the body to all the information it needs. The proposal allows the RCMP to take as much time as required for responding to any complaint, which is a major loop hole in the policy, leavening a risk of potentially lengthy delays. Kennedy was very critical of the new bill.

The Public Safety Minister of Canada, Vic Toews, had mentioned that the new Bill C-42 is aimed to improve RCMP answerability and regain the lost confidence of public as the RCMP gets caught up in various scandals and cases of misconduct by its members.

Kennedy stated that this set-up is a “repudiation” of recommendations of Justice Dennis O’Connor in the report of the Maher Arar affair.  He mentioned that “to be effective and credible, a review body must, as a right, be able to access any information held by the RCMP that it deems necessary and relevant.” Kennedy raised serious concerns regarding the lack of any sort of time limit since the bill allows RCMP as much time to respond “as soon as feasible.”

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