Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Robert-Falcon Ouellette Profile
Lib. (MB)
Thank you very much, Commissioner, for coming here today. I really appreciate the opportunity to be able to question you on these very serious allegations concerning forced sterilization of women, especially indigenous women, in Canada.
Obviously, you said that no complaint has ever been made to the RCMP.
View Robert-Falcon Ouellette Profile
Lib. (MB)
Is there a statute of limitations on the sterilization of women? If someone came forward and said they had a complaint, would you be able to say, “That happened 20 years ago, five years ago, 10 years ago”, or another number, and say, “We can't investigate”?
View Robert-Falcon Ouellette Profile
Lib. (MB)
Obviously this has been in the media for a number of years now. It's been out there. If the allegations that are being debated in society are false, I believe that deserves to be investigated. If those allegations are true, that deserves to be investigated. One, if they're false, obviously it's in the media. This undermines and destroys people's reputations: doctors, nurses and social workers. If it's true, these are very serious allegations.
If at one point someone has already raised it in the media, at what point would the RCMP, our national police force, start investigating? What would be the trigger, the moment you would say that this is something serious enough for us to take a deep look at and send an investigator to have a conversation, at least, with a lawyer?
View Robert-Falcon Ouellette Profile
Lib. (MB)
What is the level of trust right now between indigenous peoples and the RCMP in Canada? Have you been keeping statistics on that and understanding surveys about that? Obviously that's a very important consideration. If someone's not willing to make a complaint, why are they not willing?
View Robert-Falcon Ouellette Profile
Lib. (MB)
You obviously are trying to build a relationship with indigenous communities, but the history of the RCMP was one also of suppression of indigenous peoples.
View Robert-Falcon Ouellette Profile
Lib. (MB)
That's a point of view.
Genocide is one of the things that has come up in the last little bit and this is a very serious accusation. Obviously you have a very important role in the maintenance of law and order and the protection of human rights.
Do you believe the RCMP should be taking more of an active role in investigating and ensuring that if crimes have been committed against women in this country, they are afforded the full protection of the state against those who continue to perpetrate those crimes?
We even heard from a witness that these crimes are still ongoing, or at least there are allegations that they are still ongoing.
View Robert-Falcon Ouellette Profile
Lib. (MB)
If someone who is a third party made a complaint, would you accept that as a way of moving an investigation forward?
View Robert-Falcon Ouellette Profile
Lib. (MB)
For instance, if this committee asked you to investigate this in a more in-depth way, would you then start investigating or would we wait for someone else to come forward?
View Robert-Falcon Ouellette Profile
Lib. (MB)
I was just wondering how the RCMP would balance this out between criminal investigations and the professional obligations of professional bodies, such as the college of physicians, which also has to conduct investigations and regulate its members. Is there a difference? How do they balance out?
View Robert-Falcon Ouellette Profile
Lib. (MB)
Meaning that a doctor could have not taken the necessary precautions to ensure that someone truly wanted to have sterilization or a tubal ligation yet proceeded with the procedure anyway and the college could determine they had broken its code of ethics, but it might not be a criminal matter.
View Robert-Falcon Ouellette Profile
Lib. (MB)
I have another short question. If someone wanted to make a complaint to the police—indigenous people often don't do this—how would they go about doing that? Is there a number for the RCMP that you can call?
View Robert-Falcon Ouellette Profile
Lib. (MB)
We're talking about Saskatchewan, where we say there's a very great problem and a great gulf between police services and indigenous peoples. If I don't trust the police in Saskatchewan, how am I going to call them? Who am I going to call?
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