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

Mountain biker admitted to hospital after being sent home

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Maple Ridge secondary students discover the art of children’s lit

Twenty students will be reading their books to Laity View elementary students

Maple Ridge’s public works manager stepping down

Frank Quinn retires in May, saw city’s population double

Maple Ridge public hearing blasts housing plan near river

People spoke for three hours against 26 homes

Pitt council pay increases partly in reaction to federal tax changes

Total cost of implementing the recommendations is an increase of $90,110 for council remuneration.

Paddling and pancakes, cleaning Katzie Slough shore

The fourth biannual canoe tour of the Katzie Slough took place on Sunday

Langley MP describes most recent diagnosis as a ‘miracle’

Tory Member of Parliament Mark Warawa doesn’t have pancreatic cancer, but operable colon cancer

Man driving wrong way on Highway 17 ‘seriously’ injured after crash: Surrey RCMP

Police say the driver hit a transport truck, then another car after merging from the off-ramp onto highway

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Police pursue pesky porker on Vancouver Island

‘This was allegedly not the pig’s first escape’

Rare ‘Snow Tower’ tree blooming in Vancouver city park

A plant rarely grown in Canada is now flowering at the Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park

Most Read