Statement from Minister Bill Blair in response to CRCC reports
OTTAWA, March 24, 2021 - Today, the Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, issued the following statement:
“My deepest sympathies are with the family, friends and community of Colten Boushie. I would like to thank the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) Chairperson Lahaie for her reports, while acknowledging that their release is another painful reminder of the tragic events that resulted in the loss of Mr. Boushie’s young life.
Canadians deserve police services that are accountable to them. The Civilian Review and Complaints Commission’s role is to support that accountability and ensure transparency in the resolution of civilian complaints.
These reports are the result of significant and thorough work, but faced significant and unacceptable delays. Timely, impartial and fair resolution of complaints is what our communities expect and deserve, and we are prepared to act to ensure our agencies comply.
In her insightful reports, Chairperson Lahaie addresses the entirety of the interactions between the Mr. Boushie’s family and the RCMP, as well as specific deficiencies in several areas of the RCMP response.
The first report importantly described the investigation conducted by the RCMP as generally professional and reasonable. The second described the manner in which the next of kin notification occurred, the search of the Boushie family home, and others. We need to look at these incidents while accounting for the scars and ongoing impacts of systemic racism within our communities.
The CRCC Chairperson initiated reviews into the conduct of the initial investigation into the death of Mr. Boushie and the treatment of the his family, which resulted in 17 recommendations. The Commissioner of the RCMP has implemented 16 of the recommendations, and is on track to fully implement all of them by April 2021. All employees of the Saskatchewan RCMP will have completed a mandatory Cultural Awareness and Humility course by April 1, 2021. This is a step in the right direction, but we expect that the RCMP will take further, ongoing steps to educate themselves on how best they can best protect our communities all across the country.
Police agencies are public services that exist to keep our communities safe. I have spoken with the Commissioner of the RCMP on how they can improve accountability in the force, and emphasized that it is our expectation that this will be implemented in full, as quickly as possible.
No family should ever have to experience the trauma of losing a child, and we are hopeful that answers to the questions that many people have had have been answered. My office and I have reached out to Mr. Boushie’s family, and I will make myself available to discuss the report and response to the recommendations. We are committed to doing everything in our power to never let this happen again.”
Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Public Safety Canada
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