Chair-Initiated Complaint and Public Interest Investigation into the RCMP response to the shale gas (fracking) protests in Kent County, New Brunswick, in 2013

The Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP (the Commission) is currently conducting a public interest investigation into the RCMP response to the shale gas protests in Kent County, New Brunswick, in 2013.

Between the summer of 2013 and early 2014, the Commission received approximately 16 individual public complaints and one group public complaint consisting of a petition signed by 245 individuals. These public complaints made general and specific allegations about the RCMP response to protests and protesters. The most common allegation was of use of excessive force. Other allegations included: improper arrests and detention, interference with freedom of expression and peaceful protest, and interference with Aboriginal Peoples spiritual ceremonies.

On July 30, 2013, the Chair of the Commission, Mr. Ian McPhail, decided, pursuant to subsection 45.43(1) of the RCMP Act (in force until November 27, 2014), to conduct a Public Interest Investigation into the several complaints. This allows the Commission to conduct its own investigation of all of the complaints at one time. 

In May and June 2014, after a formal request from the Commission, the RCMP disclosed a significant quantity of materials relevant to the Commission's investigation. 

On December 17, 2014, the Chair of the Commission notified the Commissioner of the RCMP and the Minister of Public Safety that he had initiated his own complaint about the RCMP's response to the Kent County protests pursuant to subsection 45.59(1) of the RCMP Act (as amended by the Enhancing Royal Canadian Mounted Police Accountability Act, which came into force on November 28, 2014). The Chair further notified the Commissioner pursuant to subsection 45.66(1) of the amended RCMP Act that the Commission would be investigating the Chair-initiated complaint concurrently with the existing Public Interest Investigation initiated on July 30, 2013.

The December 17, 2014, Chair-initiated complaint will examine the conduct of those RCMP members who responded to, or managed the response to, the Kent County shale gas protests in 2013, including a policy and practice perspective.

The Commission's investigators are conducting interviews with complainants, witnesses and others who have come forward with information that may be relevant to the investigation. Commission investigators will also be interviewing RCMP members involved in the events identified in the complaints as well as those involved in the response or management to the response.

Individuals who were personally affected by the conduct of RCMP members who responded to protests in Kent County, New Brunswick, or who have information that may be of assistance to the Commission's investigation, are invited to call the Commission at 1-800-267-6637 and leave a detailed message or to send an email to reviews@crcc-ccetp.gc.ca.

Upon completion of the investigation, the Chair will issue a Chair-Initiated Complaint and Public Interest Investigation Report detailing his findings and any recommendations he deems appropriate.

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