2020- 2022 Policy Process | Green Party of Canada
Where GPC membership collaborates to develop our policies
G21-E008 Meaningful Oversight of RCMP
The Green Party supports the creation of an independent, civilian-led oversight and governance body for the RCMP with the ability to ensure that RCMP policies and activities are in full compliance with Canadian law, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Constitution, and the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP).
This initiative will begin eliminating a culture within the RCMP that treats certain Canadians unequally, violates civil liberties, and ignores court orders, particularly in its role of enforcing court injunctions involving resource extraction projects. In particular BIPOC people, and environmental activists and their supporters have been increasingly denied fundamental rights such as equality under the law and the freedoms of expression and assembly. Additionally, recent RCMP actions have diminished the press’ ability to report on police activities.
Supporting Comments from Submitter
The current RCMP watchdog, the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC), has found the RCMP’s actions in various situations to have been inappropriate, sometimes exceeding their powers. Yet the CRCC has no power to discipline members, or mandate changes within the force.
The RCMP continues to carry out some of its activities with little change, flouting court findings and contravening civil and human rights. Such activities are carried out in violation of Canada’s commitments under UNDRIP, and in defiance of basic rights enshrined in the Canadian Constitution, the Charter, and in Canadian law.
• The RCMP are resorting increasingly to the use of heavily armed paramilitary units, with K9 units, sharp shooters, and helicopters to enforce court injunctions that favour resource extraction companies, and ignore and violate the rights of Indigenous peoples in particular. RCMP units have been repeatedly seen to target people of colour and Indigenous peoples as they enforce these injunctions, sometimes violently, and sometimes resulting in injuries. • In its attempts to keep their activities out of view and away from public scrutiny, the RCMP continues to use arbitrary exclusion zones, which have been declared illegal in court. The exclusion of media, and in some cases arresting media, is a serious threat to democracy by preventing public scrutiny of police activities.
• The RCMP have been illegally confiscating personal property from land defender protestors, sometimes destroying it, and refusing to return it to its owners.
Currently there does not appear to be any oversight group or government agency that has the authority to tell the RCMP when their activities and approaches are in violation of the rights and freedoms guaranteed in Canada’s Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and to compel changes in their practices. These violations are especially egregious in light of Canada’s desire for meaningful reconciliation, for the true equality of all people, and as a modern democracy for the universality of the rule of law.
Such behaviours and activities risk undermining the public’s confidence in our policing agencies, trust in our courts and government, and the integrity of our democracy.
Civilian Review and Complaints Commission reports prove that RCMP raids and arrests at Wet’suwet’en Indigenous camps protecting traditional lands were unlawful. The CRCC has no authority to compel change. There were no consequences, and no directives for police practices to change.
Despite the CRCC’s findings, these activities have continued and appear to be escalating in frequency. Very recently, heavily armed police violently invaded land defenders’ camps on Wet’suwet’en territory for the 3rd time in 2 years, arresting and jailing leaders, chiefs and journalists.
Recently Justice Douglas Thompson of the BC Supreme Court denied the extension of a court injunction in the Fairy Creek logging conflict. In his judgement he stated that RCMP activities and practices were so seriously infringing on the civil liberties of forest protectors as to undermine public confidence in the court’s credibility. Despite this ruling, the RCMP continued to block journalists, set up illegal exclusionary zones, and arrest forest protectors, often seen to be targeting Indigenous people and people of colour.
Police try to cover up from the public their use of violent tactics.
This motion was discussed at a special meeting of the North Island-Powell River EDA on November 25, 2021. It was unanimously agreed by the ten people present that this motion be crafted and submitted as an emergency motion. It is deemed to be an emergency because of the recent escalations in militarized and violent RCMP actions against people peacefully opposing a number of resource extraction projects. Such actions are in violation of Canada’s obligations to reconciliation with First Nations, fail to honour Canada’s climate targets, and are a threat to our democracy. These actions cannot be allowed to continue, and it is imperative that the Green Party of Canada craft policy to help address this matter immediately.
Social Justice, Respect for Diversity, Non-Violence
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