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

Dash-cam video in trial of accused cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

PHOTOS: Dads, car enthusiasts flock to annual show

Mission’s Old Car Sunday in the Park takes place every year on Father’s Day, thousands come out

Parents of Mission murder victim want personal belongings returned

Lisa Dudley’s parents, Rosemarie and Mark Surakka, were at the Mission RCMP detachment Sunday

COLUMN: Llamas, goats and snakes, oh my!

Making friends on the Ryder Lake Ramble not a walk in the park

Mission stabbing victim taken to hospital

Mission RCMP are investigating incident, injuries called non-life threatening

PHOTOS: Elusive ‘ghost whale’ surfaces near Campbell River

Ecotourism operator captures images of the rare white orca

Victoria mom describes finding son ‘gone’ on first day of coroners inquest into overdose death

Resulting recommendations could change handling of youth records amidst the overdose crisis

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Dinosaur statues from defunct Dinotown theme park stolen in Chilliwack

The dinosaur figures once graced the theme park but were destined for Chilliwack fundraiser

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Langley’s oldest and last strip bar shuts its doors

The Alder Inn, in operation since 1957, has reportedly been purchased

Anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak in Surrey

He’s keynote speaker at Surrey Environment and Business Awards luncheon by Surrey Board of Trade Sept. 17

Otters devour 150 trout at Kootenay hatchery

The hatchery has lost close to 150 fish in the past several months

Most Read