Val d’Or SQ Abuse Scandal Update: Charges May Actually Be Filed…Against Radio-Canada

Looks like the Sûreté du Québec (SQ)’s union have a new strategy for dealing with the allegations of systemic police abuse against aboriginal women: sue the ones who made them.

Seven months after Radio-Canada (French CBC)’s program Enquête aired shocking testimonies of aboriginal women describing widespread abuse of SQ officers in Val d’Or, charges could finally be filed…against Radio Canada. The Journal de Montréal is reporting that The Association des policiers et policières provinciaux du Québec (APPQ) voted in favour of suing the national broadcaster during a congress held last week.

APPQ Communication officer Laurent Arel denied that the mandate specifically targets Radio Canada. According to him, the members voted “for the association to give itself the means of defending the rights of its members,” but FTB is still awaiting specifications about what those means could entail and what rights did Radio Canada threaten. Arel didn’t confirm nor deny that a lawsuit is on the table.

Growing Evidence and Lack of Police Progress

Politicians and the public called for an inquiry following Enquête’s bombshell report. Eight SQ officers were suspended and Montreal’s police force (SPVM) was chosen as “an independent entity” to investigate the allegations.

Since the original report aired, Enquête received a growing numbers of alarming new testimonies from aboriginal women all across the province, allowing them to do a follow-up report in March. Despite this, the SPVM has yet to pursue any criminal charges.

Some will argue that lack of SPVM action proves how unreliable Enquête’s findings are, which incidentally provides grounds for a defamation lawsuit.  But such an argument would have to ignore how often this is the unsurprising outcome of police investigating police actions.

The SQ union initially and fervently opposed the opening of any public inquiry, arguing instead that body cameras and electric Tasers were the only changes they needed to implement to improve their relations with aboriginal communities. Now that they may be suing Radio-Canada, we’re left with a heavy question: are they more interested in preventing these stories from getting out or preventing their officers from abusing native women?

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