Aboriginal women killed: RCMP refuses to file two files

The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women asks the courts to have access to two RCMP files that the national police refuse to file “so as not to interfere with ongoing investigations”.

The commission is expected to release its much anticipated report on June 3, but hopes that these Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) files will complete its work on one of the saddest chapters in Canada’s recent history.

Little is known about these two issues, except for their titles: “Missing Person: Missing Aboriginal Woman” and “Homicide: Assassinated Aboriginal Woman”.

Catherine Kloczkowski, spokesperson for the commission of inquiry, said the two sides had agreed to an expedited process and hoped that the Federal Court hearing dates would be set before mid-May. Federal prosecutors who represent the RCMP have not yet submitted their observations to the court.

In a notice of motion filed on April 8, the commission asked the court to compel the RCMP to hand over the two files to its attorneys.

As part of its mandate, the commission has established a team of forensic experts to confidentially examine police and institutional records to identify systemic or other weaknesses related to Aboriginal women and girls. The commission must make recommendations on the underlying causes of the disappearances, deaths and acts of violence against Aboriginal women and girls.

The commission issued two subpoenas last September for the RCMP to disclose a number of cases, according to the notice of motion. In December, the federal police made written submissions citing the public interest in 59 cases because these cases are still under investigation.

Attorneys from both parties then negotiated the applications and two cases remain contested by the parties. RCMP’s prosecutors opposed their disclosure under the Canada Evidence Act, and the Federal Court will have to decide whether secrecy will prevail.

The court will have to weigh the public interest in the disclosure of the public interest to the secrecy of the investigation. In its motion, the Commission argues that the disputed cases “are no longer actively investigated” and should be disclosed.