Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Harper slashes RCMP watchdog funding

because watchdogs have this annoying tendency to call you out.

Last June, RCMP watchdog Paul Kennedy issued a scathing report on the RCMP use of TASERs, citing the RCMP's over-reliance on the TASER™ manufacturer in developing their policies and training, sloppy reporting of TASER™ use, use of "the folk terminology excited delirium" as an excuse to deploy the TASER™, and failure to treat it as a "firearm".
The report from the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP recommended that TASERs™ be used only on suspects that present a clear physical threat.

Two weeks ago Mr. Kennedy told the public safety and national security committee that he is powerless to tell whether the RCMP have made the changes needed to prevent another Maher Arar affair.
Justice Dennis O'Connor's federal inquiry two years ago into the RCMP's role in the rendition and torture of Maher Arar called for an overhaul of the RCMP complaints commission that would give it new powers to keep an eye on the Mounties' intelligence activities.
Mr. Kennedy told the committee that because this recommendation was not implemented and he does not have full access to RCMP files, he is unable to determine whether the RCMP has cleaned up its act.

Yesterday : Feds slash RCMP watchdog funding
"The Harper government is slashing nearly half the funding for the watchdog agency that monitors the RCMP and recently helped pressure the national police to craft a new policy on Tasers."

Mr. Kennedy said the funding was supposed to produce more than a report on Tasers.
"The commission is close to completing a report on cases where RCMP officers have been involved in deaths and been investigated by their own colleagues.
A spokesman for Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan said the project is now over, and the government is consulting with the provinces about other ways to bolster the RCMP complaints process."

In his report last June Mr. Kennedy warned of the danger of the RCMP behaving like "a group distinct from the public" and following "a model in which officer safety takes precedence over that of the general public."
"The cumulative effect of these trends over time may reduce the degree of co-operation of the public that is essential to public safety in Canada."

Obviously. Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan evidently has other priorities.

Meanwhile over at Runesmith, Jennifer is on a mission to save another government watchdog, Kevin Page, who has issued a public plea for help. Go.

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