‘Quebec Police Report’

Last year, headlines concerned allegations that ‘Sûreté du Québec’ (SQ) officers were sexually abusing aboriginal women. One year later, an official investigation has released its report. Despite the fact that the independent observer appointed to oversee the investigation has declared it “fair and impartial” — and the fact that the police union has declared the original accusations to have been a “witch hunt” by the CBC, whom the union is suing — aboriginal leadership is up in arms, demanding an investigation into “systemic racism” in the Quebec justice system: 

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“A wide-ranging investigation into allegations of police abuse of ‘indigenous’ {‘Siberian settler’} Quebecers produced only enough evidence to charge two officers, Crown prosecutors said Friday in Val-d’Or, Que. 

“The Crown did say the investigation produced enough evidence to pursue charges against two retired police officers in Schefferville, Que. Both Alain Juneau, of the Sûreté du Québec, and Jean-Luc Vollant, of Schefferville’s ‘indigenous’ police force, have been charged for sex-related crimes…

“But that is unlikely to be enough to ease the concerns of ‘indigenous’ people living in the Val-d’Or area. It was the accusations of women there, who claimed they were abused by provincial police officers, that prompted the investigation in the first place.

“In what they described as an “exceptional” measure, four Crown prosecutors publicly explained why so few criminal charges were laid… Of the 38 cases, one was kicked back to police for further investigation. In many of the remaining cases, there was insufficient evidence of criminal wrongdoing, or victims were unable definitively identify a suspect, the prosecutors said.

“Six provincial police who served in Val-d’Or were suspended after the allegations surfaced. None of them will be prosecuted…

“That has left ‘indigenous’ communities around Val-d’Or questioning the legitimacy of the justice system and calling for a provincial inquiry into ‘systemic racism’  {And the police questioning a knee-jerk reaction to unsubstantiated allegations…}.

One ‘indigenous’ leader predicted the decision not to charge the Val-d’Or officers would prompt civil unrest.

“I can guarantee you that there will be chaos in some parts”, said former Pikogan chief Richard Kistabish. “There will be some very angry people who will show up in the streets.” {Once again, an irresponsible aboriginal leader misses the opportunity to call for calm…}

“The justice system is not adapted to the realities of ‘First Nations’,” said Ghislain Picard, chief of the Assembly of the ‘First Nations’ of Quebec and Labrador. “There is something that is not working here.”

“On Friday, before the news conference at the courthouse, the prosecutors met with several ‘indigenous’ leaders as well as Val-d’Or Mayor Pierre Corbeil.

‘Indigenous’ leaders left the meeting furious.

“The Quebec system is not made for us Indians”, said Françoise Ruperthouse, a Pikogan councillor, as she made her way to her car…

“The Val-d’Or mayor addressed reporters after the morning meeting and reiterated calls for an independent inquiry into the allegations… 

Jimmy Papatie, former chief of the Kitcisakik community south of Val-d'Or, and Mayor Pierre Corbeil. (PHOTO: Jonathan Montpetit - CBC)
Jimmy Papatie, former chief of the Kitcisakik community south of Val-d’Or, and Mayor Pierre Corbeil. (PHOTO: Jonathan Montpetit – CBC)

“Corbeil’s statement, however, was interrupted by Jimmy Papatie, the former chief of the Kitcisakik community, south of Val-d’Or.

“I don’t believe in the justice system in Val-d’Or”, Papatie cried out at the Mayor. “How do you want us to live next to your city … when nothing changes.”

“Corbeil tried to soothe him.

“Jimmy I’ve known you for a long time”, the Mayor said. “I used to be your dentist.”

“Picard said the Assembly of the ‘First Nations’ of Quebec and Labrador would continue to push the Quebec government to hold a public inquiry. That desire was echoed by many who attended the protest outside the courthouse…

“The union representing Quebec’s provincial police, for its part, encouraged the Quebec government to continue to resist calls to hold a public inquiry of its own.

“We dare to hope that the government won’t cede yet again to pressure and won’t go so far as to establish a commission of inquiry, or another committee to review the Crown’s decision”the ‘Association des policières et policiers provinciaux du Québec’ said in a news release.

“The union also called out ‘Radio-Canada’ for its reporting on the Val-d’Or scandal. It was a Radio-Canada investigative team that first aired the allegations of police mistreatment in October 2015.

“The union referred to the reporting and the ensuing controversy as a “witch hunt”. A group of 40 provincial police officers are suing Radio-Canada, claiming the “Enquête” documentary was biased and defamatory”.

–‘Indigenous’ leaders lose faith in Quebec justice system after Crown presses few charges in abuse scandal’,
Jonathan Montpetit, CBC News, Nov. 18, 2016

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/indigenous-leaders-lose-faith-in-quebec-justice-system-after-crown-presses-few-charges-in-abuse-scandal-1.3856542

Fannie Lafontaine (PHOTO: Le Devoir)
Fannie Lafontaine (PHOTO: Le Devoir)

The independent observer tasked with overseeing an investigation into the alleged abuse of ‘indigenous’ women in Val-d’Or, Que., by provincial police officers concluded the process was “fair and impartial” in a report made public Wednesday.

“Fannie Lafontaine, a human rights lawyer and the Canada Research Chair on ‘International Criminal Justice and Human Rights’ at Université Laval, was appointed last November by Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard to act as a civilian auditor of the investigation.

“Montreal police led the investigation, which brought out concerns that it would not be a fair process since it would be one police force investigating another.

“The Montreal police did not try to protect their colleagues from the Sûreté du Québec”, said Lafontaine in an interview with CBC Quebec’s afternoon radio show ‘Breakaway’.

“They did explore every possible means of investigation to look for the truth. Even in cases, for instance, where the victim did not remember the exact date or the face of the police officer who had allegedly committed something.”

“Geoffrey Kelley, Minister of Native Affairs, said instead of a provincial commission, the government will be giving full powers to the national inquiry into missing and murdered ‘indigenous’ women and girls, which will be able to look into police relations…”

–‘Independent observer in Val-d’Or abuse scandal says police investigation ‘fair, impartial’,
Brennan Neill, CBC News, Nov. 16, 2016

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/observer-val-d-or-honest-impartial-police-investigation-1.3854117

Outside the Val-d'Or courthouse. (PHOTO: Jaime Little - CBC)
Outside the Val-d’Or courthouse. (PHOTO: Jaime Little – CBC)

‘Radio-Canada’ report detailed allegations of abuse’

“One woman told ‘Enquête’ that provincial police officers would ask her to perform oral sex in exchange for alcohol, drugs or money.

“Another woman described how officers would pick her up in their vehicle and drive her out of town, only to abandon her at the side of the road, kilometres away from residential areas.

Forty-one provincial police officers are suing ‘Radio-Canada’ for airing the report.

They are asking for $2.3 million in damages. The officers claim the report was “biased, misleading” and its content was “inaccurate, incomplete and untrue”.

“They added the Radio-Canada report created a hostile working environment for officers in Val-d’Or

“Prosecutors have been in the city 600 kilometres northwest of Montreal since Monday, meeting with the women who made complaints about police conduct.

“They deserve that we take the time to meet with them to explain what led to our decision”, Crown spokesperson Jean-Pascal Boucher told ‘CBC News’.

–‘No charges against Quebec provincial police in Val-d’Or abuse scandal’,
Brennan Neill, CBC News, Nov. 15, 2016

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/police-abuse-charges-val-d-or-1.3852390

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“It ruined the careers of young police officers who were devoted to the cause, young professionals, in a single program which aimed to get good ratings”, said Pierre Veilleux, President of the ‘Provincial Police Association of Quebec’ (APPQ)…”

http://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/justice-et-affaires-criminelles/actualites-judiciaires/201610/20/01-5032333-reportage-a-val-dor-41-policiers-poursuivent-radio-canada.php

http://www.journaldemontreal.com/2016/06/07/les-policiers-de-la-sq-songent-a-poursuivre-radio-canada
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From Oct., 2015:
“…the SQ has brought in a new commanding officer to lead the 60 officers posted to the town of 32,000 people, and instituted a working group that will focus on training officers in their interactions with aboriginals. Both measures are aimed at trying to restore confidence with the local aboriginal community and Quebecers at large.”

https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2015/10/23/quebec-probes-police-treatment-of-aboriginal-women.html
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“With a population of about 30,000, Val d’Or acts as an urban hub to the eight Algonquin communities within driving distance of the city. But because there’s also an airport in Val d’Or, it’s considered the gateway to northern fly-in communities and attracts many Inuit and James Bay Cree looking to attend college or trade schools in the area.

“It’s a mining town, a transient community with a lot of ‘indigenous’ people from diverse backgrounds”, said Tony Wawatie, the former president of Val d’Or’s native friendship centre…”

http://montrealgazette.com/news/montreal-police-to-investigate-aboriginal-claims-of-abuse-by-sq-officers-in-val-dor

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See also:
Finally, The Truth…’ (Missing Women) {November 25, 2015}:
https://endracebasedlaw.wordpress.com/2015/11/26/finally-the-truth/

NO GO’ Zones On B.C. Reserves{October 26, 2015}:
https://endracebasedlaw.wordpress.com/2015/10/26/no-go-zones-on-b-c-reserves/

Stop Blaming ALL Canadians{October 7, 2015}:
https://endracebasedlaw.wordpress.com/2015/10/07/stop-blaming-all-canadians/

Native violence starts at home, RCMP say{June 22, 2015}:
https://www.facebook.com/ENDRACEBASEDLAW/photos/a.336196793149227.59519.332982123470694/642177515884485/?type=3
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