Time to act on RCMP oversight: NDP

Cullen says binding civilian oversight of the RCMP long overdue

OTTAWANew Democrats are calling on the Conservatives to support civilian oversight and finally take action to fix serious problems in the RCMP. Nathan Cullen (Skeena-Bulkley Valley), seconded by NDP Chief Whip Chris Charlton (Hamilton Mountain) introduced the Civilian Oversight Act in the House of Commons today.

“This bill would create a national body guaranteeing fully independent investigations and oversight of the RCMP that Canadians can count on,” said Cullen. “Binding civilian oversight is a critical first step towards restoring public confidence in the force. Systemic issues need to be fixed, including ending an internal culture that allows harassment and bullying.”

The current oversight agency cannot make binding recommendations to the RCMP commissioner, and primary investigations into incidents of death or serious bodily harm are contracted out to provincial or municipal police forces or still conducted by the RCMP themselves, rendering it effectively powerless.

New Democrat Public Safety Critic Jasbir Sandhu (Surrey North) joined in supporting the introduction of the bill.

“Conservative mismanagement of the RCMP and political interference in the operations of the force has eroded the public trust,” said Sandhu. “It is time the government finally move forward on ensuring proper civilian oversight to the RCMP.”

Along with public interest groups, civil rights advocates and RCMP officers themselves, the NDP has long-called for improved oversight of Canada’s national police force.

“Canada needs a fully accountable national police force to deal with the real issues of crime and gang-related violence in communities across the country,” said Sandhu.

Cullen first introduced the bill in 2009 after Ian Bush died in RCMP custody in Houston, B.C.

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