Monday, June 14, 2010

RCMP to get new oversight agency

CBC News

The federal government will introduce legislation Monday that would create a civilian oversight body for the RCMP, CBC News has learned.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews is expected to table the legislation in Parliament in the afternoon.

This follows the Conservative government's promise earlier this year to bring in a more independent watchdog agency to investigate complaints against the Mounties.

Right now, the RCMP often investigates complaints against itself. There is an independent Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, but its recommendations are non-binding.
In 2007, the federally appointed Task Force on Governance and Cultural Change in the RCMP told the government that the current system lacks transparency. The task force recommended a model where one body could review any incident or aspect of the operations of the RCMP, and all of its findings would be binding.

Task force members also said the agency should have the power to summon witnesses and compel testimony.

It's unclear how many of the recommendations will be included in the proposed legislation, but Toews will hold a news conference at 3:45 p.m. to spell out some of the details.

RCMP Commissioner William Elliott has repeatedly said he welcomes more oversight.

Earlier this year, he announced that until such an agency was created, the RCMP would have independent agencies investigate cases where Mounties were accused of breaking the law or where they were involved in a serious injury or death.

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