A contradiction further exposes
the OPCC whitewash

The legislative committee’s final report confirms
seven MLAs deliberately blocked public input
from their sham inquiry into police complaints


With huge helpings of cynicism, arrogance and hypocrisy, a seven-MLA committee has served up its final report about B.C.’s Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner. The document further shows they used a phony excuse to ignore public submissions, while considering only info presented by the police status quo.

That was already obvious. But the March 7 report (http://www.leg.bc.ca/cmt/39thparl/session-4/cew/index.htm) provides additional evidence. The MLAs note (without acknowledging how this reflects on their own work) that the auditor general took a different approach to the inquiry.

The MLAs repeatedly (although belatedly) informed me that they could only inquire into “randomly selected” police complaints. Any cases submitted by the public, they claimed, were not “random” and had to be rejected.

That’s a laughably narrow reading of their terms of reference and a feeble excuse to evade their duty. In addition, their report contradicts that excuse on page 35, while referring to Auditor General John Doyle’s part in the inquiry:

“The Assistant Auditor General explained the methodology used by the audit team. The audit team decided that auditing a purely random sample of police complaints and investigations would likely not provide sufficient assurance regarding compliance with the [Police] Act. As a result, the decision was made to select a stratified [whatever that means] random sample of complaints and investigations—including one file where a death was involved—to increase the relevance of its work.”

The committee learned that nearly two months before informing me that my submissions (and those of two others) would be ignored because they weren’t “random.” The MLAs knew their interpretation wasn’t valid. They didn’t care. Such was their desperation to block public input.

The MLAs used that excuse to ignore not only written submissions but also my offer to appear before the committee. By the time the MLAs finally informed me (after I contacted them a number of times), their hearings were over. Had they informed me earlier, as they should have, I could have at least offered to appear without referring to a specific case.

Of course it would be hard to discuss police complaints without being allowed to refer to police complaints, which is how the MLAs pretended the process must work. But I could have addressed the MLAs about the OPCC’s hiring policy, its police culture and especially its lack of transparency and accountability. I would have also pointed out that the OPCC remains the most powerful of B.C.’s two police accountability agencies. It not only handles many more cases than the Independent Investigations Office, but the OPCC also holds investigative authority over the IIO.

Furthermore, one of my written submissions didn’t concern a specific police complaint. It called for an independent investigation into the OPCC by someone from outside the province and someone the calibre of Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin. I believe an investigation into the OPCC, similar to Marin’s investigation of Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit, would cause a scandal.

The committee ignored that submission too, even though their “random” excuse doesn’t apply.

But again, the “random” excuse is laughably feeble and enormously cynical. The auditor general wasn’t constrained by it (although we still don’t know how he conducted his part of the inquiry).

By ignoring those OPCC cover-ups, the seven MLAs are now complicit in them. One of the cases involves Vancouver Constable Taylor Robinson’s gratuitous assault on a disabled woman. Another concerns one of the most vicious Taser assaults I’ve ever heard of. Complicit in those cover-ups are:

BC Liberal MLAs Murray Coell (Saanich North and the Islands), Eric Foster (Vernon-Monashee) and Gordon Hogg (Surrey-White Rock)

NDP MLAs Kathy Corrigan (Burnaby-Deer Lake), Leonard Krog (Nanaimo) and Joe Trasolini (Port Moody-Coquitlam)

BC Liberal-turned-independent John Slater (Boundary-Similkameen)

Read more about this sham inquiry into the OPCC
Go to News and Comment page
See stories about Stan T. Lowe and the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner