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

Easter visit!

Easter Bunny makes a visit to Points West Living

Scenes from the Stettler & District Music Festival

Don’t forget to check out the Grand Concert on April 28th

Happy Easter everyone!

Youngsters are excited for the holiday

UCP candidate Nate Horner triumphs in Drumheller-Stettler riding

Horner looking forward to moving ahead with UCP policies in the coming months

Kenney talks pipelines with Trudeau after election win, calls it cordial

Almost a year ago Kenney dismissed Trudeau as a dilettante and a lightweight

‘No answers:’ Canadians react to Sri Lanka bombings that killed hundreds

The co-ordinated bomb attacks killed at least 207 people and injured 450 more on Easter Sunday

Person airlifted to hospital after avalanche in Yoho National Park has died

The man was among a party of three involved in an avalanche Saturday afternoon

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Parents say Austrian climber missing in Banff National Park ‘lived his dream’

David Lama, Hansjorg Auer and American climber Jess Roskelley have been missing since Wednesday

Six months after legalization, high prices and supply issues boost illicit pot market

It has been six months since Canada became the first industrialized country to legalize recreational cannabis

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Storms blast South, where tornadoes threaten several states

9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia at a moderate risk of severe weather

Most Read