RCMP delays in providing documents on the C-IRG for systemic investigation being conducted by federal watchdog

Published by Brent Patterson on

Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chief Na’Moks says the C-IRG must be abolished. Video still: Chief Na’Moks speaks on a PBI-Canada webinar, February 21, 2023.

The federal Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) watchdog agency launched a systemic investigation into the activities of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Community-Industry Response Group (C-IRG) on March 8 of this year.

Five months after this launch, the CRCC now says: “Progress is coming along well although delays in receiving the relevant material is a concern.”

That’s from an email dated August 3 seen by CBC News.

CBC News further reports: “Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chief Na’Moks (John Ridsdale) was not surprised by reports of delays, pointing to understaffing and underfunding at the CRCC. ‘I believe they’re trying their best with what they got,’ he said. ‘But it is the tactics of the RCMP and C-IRG itself to stall, stall. [The C-IRG] must be abolished.’”

Photo of Noah Ross by Jerome Turner.

The article also notes: “Some complainants wanted the investigation to have more teeth, like the potential to recommend disbandment, said lawyer Noah Ross, counsel to Fairy Creek arrestees and counsel on two CRCC group complaints.”

Ross says: “The complaints speak to systemic, organized violations of charter rights and that’s what their experiences are. It just doesn’t appear the concerns are being responded to with alacrity or a kind of urgency that my clients feel is needed.”

6-week timeframe for RCMP to produce files

The CBC also reports: “The CRCC said via statement the investigation was comprehensive and covered a a five-year span, with thousands of documents already disclosed and more coming. But the commission has a deal with the Mounties, spelling out timeframes for the production of documents, which, in this case, is six weeks.”

Delays in receiving files from the RCMP

When PBI-Canada contacted the CRCC this past June, three-months after the investigation had been launched, the CRCC responded: “We have received some of that information so far, and are awaiting confirmation on when the RCMP will be able to compile and provide the remainder.”

They added: “The CRCC strives to complete its systemic investigations within 12-18 months; however, the timely provision of requested information and access to RCMP personnel will largely determine when the CRCC’s report will be available.”

Upcoming

The six-month mark of the systemic investigation will be September 8.

If the RCMP committed in early-August to producing the documents the CRCC has requested that timeframe would be about September 15.

Meanwhile there are concerns that the C-IRG could be imminently deployed against Pacheedaht land defenders and allies at Fairy Creek on Vancouver Island.

In an Open Letter to the CRCC (March 22, 2023), the Abolish C-IRG coalition stated:

“While we welcome the CRCC’s investigation, the current Terms of Reference (TOR) for this process fails to create a meaningful forum for accountability. Given the nature of the complaints and substantial evidence supporting them, we argue for the suspension of all C-IRG deployment in BC pending investigation and resolution of all complaints currently before the CRCC. The CRCC reviews can take years to complete, and it is irresponsible to have this unit continue operations during that time, enabling the continuation of unlawful use of force, arrests, detentions, and assaults that have sparked such an investigation.”

The full article by Brett Forester can be read at RCMP watchdog concerned with delays in B.C. C-IRG probe (August 14, 2023).


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