Body cameras for police officers would amount to a “significant step” toward transparency, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday.
Mr. Trudeau said Monday that the issue of body cameras would come up with the premiers later this week. He said the federal government has jurisdiction over the RCMP but many other provincial and municipal forces should be looking at greater transparency measures as well.
“I will certainly be talking with the provinces and premiers about the need to move forward on measures like body cameras,” he said.
Canada has faced increased scrutiny in recent days over police conduct, such as a First Nations leader in Alberta who said he was beaten by police over an expired licence plate. Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation told The Globe and Mail on Friday he was brutally beaten by Mounties and his wife manhandled after they left a popular casino-nightclub in Fort McMurray, Alta., on March 10.
An independent and internal investigation is also underway after a video captured an Inuk man being struck by the door of a truck driven by an RCMP officer. Senator Dennis Patterson said last week the incident underscores the need for discussions on whether officers in Nunavut should use body cameras.
Mr. Patterson said he is convening a roundtable with stakeholders throughout the territory to explore the issue, adding that a serious dialogue is required to ensure the people of Nunavut don’t fear the police, and that officers can do their work to protect communities.
Chantel Moore, a 26-year-old originally from the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation near Tofino, B.C., was shot five times by an Edmundston Police Force officer performing a “wellness check,” according to her family.
On Friday, Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller said he first thought the shooting in New Brunswick was some kind of “morbid joke” when he first learned of it.
“I don’t understand how someone dies during a wellness check," he said. “I’m pissed, I’m outraged. There needs to be a full accounting of what has gone on. This is a pattern that keeps repeating itself.”
Mr. Trudeau also said Monday that Mr. Miller engaged directly with Chief Adam over the weekend.
The Prime Minister said a RCMP management board a number of years ago to help with civilian oversight over the force but he conceded there is more to do.
“That is a conversation I had with Commissioner [Brenda] Lucki this morning,” Mr. Trudeau said.
With files from Robert Fife in Ottawa and Greg Mercer in Halifax
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