Preliminary search finds no reports of coerced sterilization to police: RCMP

Dozens of Indigenous women say they’ve been pressured into sterilizations they didn’t want

New RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki appears at a House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security in Ottawa on May 7, 2018. The head of the RCMP says the police force is looking into whether any complaints of forced or coerced sterilization were made to law-enforcement agencies in Canada, but that a preliminary review of its own records show there were none. In a letter to NDP health critic Don Davies, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki says the Mounties searched their national database but did not find any reports of forced or coerced sterilization. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick —>

The head of the RCMP says the police force is looking into whether any complaints about forced or coerced sterilizations have been made to law-enforcement agencies in Canada, but a preliminary review has not identified any.

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki’s comment is in a letter to NDP health critic Don Davies, who called on the Mounties in February to launch an investigation into all allegations of forced or coerced tubal ligations in Canada.

Dozens of Indigenous women say they’ve been pressured into sterilizations they didn’t want or had them carried out without being asked when they were seeing doctors for other reasons.

The Saskatoon Health Authority publicly apologized in 2017 after Indigenous women came forward to say they were coerced into such procedures while a proposed class-action lawsuit has been filed against Saskatchewan, the federal government and doctors.

READ MORE: Federal government plans examination of coerced sterilization

But while at least three federal probes have been launched, Lucki did not say the RCMP will launch its own investigation. Instead, she said any evidence of criminal activity should be reported to police — which at this point does not appear to have happened.

Neither the external review that led to the Saskatoon Health Authority’s apology nor the proposed class-action lawsuit identified any complainants who had reported their allegations to the police, Lucki wrote to Davies on March 20.

“A search of our national database was conducted,” she added. “However, no files of forced or coerced sterilization were found.”

The RCMP will work with commanding officers in each province and territory as well as with other police forces to determine if any complaints of forced or coerced sterilization were made, Lucki said.

However, the commissioner said, “it is important that any evidence of criminal activity be reported to the police of jurisdiction where offences are alleged to have taken place so that they can be properly investigated.”

An existing Criminal Code provision speaks to the involuntary termination of pregnancies. Another provision on aggravated assault applies to anyone “who wounds, maims, disfigures or endangers the life of the complainant.”

But critics have said a legal void remains around forced sterilization.

In December, chiefs at a meeting of the Assembly of First Nations in Ottawa passed a resolution to support changes to the Criminal Code to explicitly criminalize forced sterilization.

The federal government has so far rejected the push to change the Criminal Code, saying existing provisions forbid a range of criminal behaviour including coerced sterilization.

The Senate’s human-rights committee last week became the latest to probe such practices, with a House of Commons committee also studying it and the federal government working with provinces and territories to discuss the scope of the problem.

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Sylvan Lake Yettis warned to not get a big head after massive first win

The Yettis won over the Olds Stingers 23-1 at the home opener, April 23

Strathcona County RCMP charge Eckville man for firearms, drugs

RCMP found the suspects at a high risk traffic stop on April 11 as a result of a 911 complaint

Sylvan Lake Town Council approves a 2019 supplementary tax

The Town expects to see roughly $40,000 in revenue from the supplementary tax in 2019.

Alberta’s 47 legislature newbies meet under the dome for orientation day

Most new members are with the United Conservatives, who won a majority government

Annual Home and Lifestyle Show coming to Sylvan Lake

The inaugural event will showcase local businesses at the NexSource Centre’s curling rink on May 11

VIDEO: Police dog in Oregon struck by 200 porcupine quills during pursuit

The German shepherd had to be sedated and was in treatment for more than two hours

Calgary woman killed in B.C. highway crash

Crash closed highway for hours

Assessment says Alberta woman facing animal abuse charges fit to stand trial

April Dawn Irving, 59, is charged with 13 counts of cruelty to animals

Canadian privacy watchdogs find major shortcomings in Facebook probe

The probe followed reports that Facebook had let an outside organization use an app to access users’ personal info

Provinces, Ottawa talk 50/50 split on abandoned bus-route service

B.C. has paid $2 million on a bus service for the northern part of the province

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Oil and gas company confirms death of one of its employees in Yoho avalanche

Dana Coffield died when he was skiing in the Rocky Mountains

Cenovus CEO estimates production curtailments will deliver billions to taxpayers

The curtailment program started Jan. 1 was designed to keep 325,000 barrels per day off the market

Robbery in Leduc County estimated at $40,000

Leduc RCMP investigate break and enter and theft of firearms

Most Read