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RCMP ‘sitting on’ watchdog report into alleged spying on anti-oil protesters

Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press
Printed Wednesday, August 14, 2019 4:20AM EDT

OTTAWA — The RCMP has been sitting for 2 years on a watchdog report into alleged Mountie surveillance of anti-oil protesters, a civil liberties group prices.

In a letter this month to RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki, a lawyer for the British Columbia Civil Liberties Affiliation laments the “inordinate delay” that has successfully obstructed the report’s launch.

The affiliation lodged a grievance in February 2014 with the Civilian Assessment and Complaints Fee for the RCMP. It alleged the nationwide police pressure improperly collected and shared details about individuals and teams who peacefully opposed the deliberate Northern Gateway pipeline challenge and attended Nationwide Vitality Board conferences.

The affiliation stated monitoring, surveillance and data sharing with different authorities businesses and the non-public sector created a chilling impact for many who would possibly want to participate in hearings or different public discussions on petroleum points.

The fee launched a public curiosity investigation and accomplished an interim report into the matter in June 2017, forwarding it to the RCMP for touch upon the conclusions and suggestions.

The fee can not put together a last report till the RCMP commissioner responds, which additionally means the findings cannot be disclosed to the civil liberties affiliation or the general public.

In March, Paul Champ, a lawyer for the affiliation, wrote fee chairwoman Michelaine Lahaie to specific concern that greater than 5 years had handed because the grievance was filed, saying the RCMP might have violated the elemental freedoms of Canadians exercising their democratic rights.

“It is our view that this interminable delay undermines the credibility of the CRCC and, more importantly, calls into question its ability to fulfil its primary function: ensuring accountability of the RCMP and fostering public trust and confidence in Canada’s national police force,” Champ’s letter stated.

“It is regrettable that the CRCC may not be treating this complaint with the seriousness it deserves.”

After receiving no reply, he adopted up with one other letter in May.

Nika Joncas-Bourget, the fee’s director and common counsel for evaluations, instructed Champ in late May the watchdog shared his frustration with the Mounties.

“We can assure you that we have repeatedly expressed concern to the RCMP regarding the time it is taking to receive the Commissioner’s Response,” she wrote.

Joncas-Bourget stated as soon as the fee receives Lucki’s response, it can “promptly issue” its last report, one thing it often does inside 30 days of getting the highest Mountie’s enter.

The RCMP had no instant touch upon the explanation for the delay or when the commissioner’s response is perhaps coming.

In his Aug. 9 letter to Lucki, Champ famous the RCMP Act imposes a authorized responsibility to supply a response to the fee’s interim report “as soon as feasible.”

“In short, the RCMP has been sitting on this report for over two years and effectively obstructing its release to my client and the public,” he wrote.

“It’s our view that two years on your overview and response to the CRCC’s interim report is clearly an unreasonable delay not contemplated by the statute, whether or not the delay is because of inadequate allocation of sources or some other trigger.

“This delay is all of the extra severe when the allegations concern elementary rights and freedoms protected by the Canadian Structure.”

The civil liberties affiliation additionally complained in early 2014 about improper monitoring of anti-pipeline activists by the Canadian Safety Intelligence Service.

The overview committee that oversees CSIS dismissed the grievance in 2017, prompting the affiliation to ask the Federal Court docket to revisit the end result, a continuing that’s ongoing.

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