At last, a (partial) advocate
for police accountability

But the B.C. Human Rights Commission
emphasizes identity politics at the cost
of some issues—and some people

November 28, 2021

BC Human Rights Commission report to legislative committee

HR commissioner Kasari Govender addresses some concerns
that other SJWs evade. But she sidesteps problems related to
OPCC corruption and IIO weakness, while her racial obsession
hardly serves justice for all.

 

The preoccupation with identity politics reflects the Gleichschaltung and has to be expected especially from a human rights commission. But although B.C.’s HRC has issued the strongest call so far (outside of my ineffective efforts) to reform police accountability, the commissioner’s recommendations falter by favouring what she evidently considers special needs groups—blacks and especially natives.

Still the HRC makes some valid points and, unlike the legislature’s response to my submissions, B.C. MLAs will find it hard to give HR commissioner Kasari Govender their collective middle finger. That would be especially true if native groups take up her recommendations as the focal point of a campaign.

Last week Govender released her report to the B.C. legislature’s all-party Special Committee on Reforming the Police Act. Her 29 recommendations largely address B.C.’s three police oversight agencies: the Independent Investigations Office (which investigates police cases involving death or serious injury), the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (which oversees cop-on-cop investigations of non-IIO cases involving municipal, tribal and transit police) and the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (a misleadingly named RCMP agency that investigates fellow Mounties in non-IIO cases).

Govender calls for “civilianization” of all three agencies, which would presumably expunge the CRCC’s cops and the IIO’s and OPCC’s ex-cops. She calls for the CRCC to come under provincial jurisdiction, either as part of the OPCC or in a “harmonized” arrangement. (The IIO already has authority over federal cops in cases involving death or serious injury.) Govender also wants the OPCC to conduct investigations itself instead of overseeing cop-on-cop investigations. (Most B.C. journalists think that’s already the case.) She also calls for the IIO to conduct sexual assault investigations against cops. (B.C. and Quebec remain the only two provinces that allow cops to investigate each other for sexual assault.)

These are all issues that I’ve been raising for several years. They’ve been ignored or glossed over by B.C.’s legislature and media, as well as the province’s legislature- and media-approved “official activists,” the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and the Pivot Legal Society.

But Govender doesn’t address transparency and accountability, very obviously lacking in the CRCC and OPCC. While working on this project over the years I didn’t have time to follow the CRCC, but I’ve brought to light four cases that the OPCC covered up, thanks to its secrecy and unaccountability.

 

Native BC Liberal and Green MLAs Ellis Ross and Adam Olsen

Native BC Liberal and Green MLAs Ellis Ross and Adam Olsen:
Two reasons to distrust native oversight.

 

Govender sort of approaches the issue of transparency, but in a limited and seriously flawed manner. In addition to calling for native appointees to police boards (and the creation of police boards in RCMP jurisdictions), she recommends that native appointees oversee investigations into cop cases involving natives. She also holds out the possibility of other overseers being appointed from other special interest groups.

That falls far short of real transparency. Transparency must be public, not limited to one or a few people and on behalf of only certain people. And even from the aboriginal point of view, the participation of aboriginals guarantees nothing, as native MLAs Ellis Ross and Adam Olsen have demonstrated.

 

Native MLAs Adam Olsen and Ellis Ross refuse to speak out about
the OPCC/Vancouver police cover-up of gratuitous cop brutality
against a disabled aboriginal woman. Kasari Govender’s indifference
to the OPCC’s secrecy and immunity also allows further OPCC/police
cover-ups, even with the collusion of white American poverty pimps
like the Pivot Legal Society’s Scott Bernstein and Doug King.

 

Govender doesn’t address accountability at all. OPCC officials do not answer for their conduct. They cover up for cops, make big money, then retire, often with praise from MLAs and media. That’s been the case for former police complaint commissioners Dirk Ryneveld and Stan Lowe, along with their deputies Bruce M. Brown and Rollie Woods. Former commissioner Don Morrison provides a partial exception as the only OPCC official to come under scrutiny. But that scrutiny focused more on his bullying behaviour to staff than his cop cover-ups, and he retired with a huge payout.

Meanwhile the legislative committee’s response to Govender’s report remains to be seen. MLAs wouldn’t dare give her their middle-finger arrogance, but when they make their own recommendations they’ll certainly want to bury hers, at least those that call for complete civilian investigation. The last committee did seem friendly to the idea of separate procedures for separate races. This committee will likely follow suit, relieved that Govender neglects the problems of OPCC transparency and accountability. Over the years every legislative committee on cop issues has supported the cop status quo by dismissing serious concerns. The all-party committees do so unanimously, suggesting pressure from their bosses.

Moreover the committees probably don’t even write the reports attributed to them. Hansard transcripts of the MLAs’ meandering chatter call into question their ability to organize information and express themselves clearly. Quite likely a political hack writes the reports, with minimal input from committee members but close consultation with the Solicitor General department’s senior ex-cops.

Whether in committee or legislature, and regardless of which party holds power, MLAs consistently give the impression they’re complying with a powerful police lobby.

That’s also reflected by B.C.’s “official” activists on police issues, the BCCLA and Pivot. They consistently avoid clear, focused statements on the subject. More recently, they’ve been masking their meaningless talk with fashionable wokery. The BCCLA’s most recent executive director, Harsha Walia, talked like a vapid teenager showing off her newly acquired slang while saying nothing. Meenakshi Mannoe, Pivot’s spokesperson on police issues, simply keeps repeating that police violence is wrong, especially against marginal people. That’s all she says, like a child reciting a simple refrain.

Nor has Pivot repudiated its complicity (under white American poverty pimps Scott Bernstein and Doug King) in the OPCC/Vancouver police cover-up of a gratuitous assault on a disabled native woman.

Pivot/BCCLA vagueness, not to mention their consistent refusal to question OPCC corruption, serves the political and legal establishment, preserving the SJWs’ paycheques and complementing their ambitions. (That might also explain Govender’s neglect of OPCC corruption. OPCC slimeballs included ex-cops but the OPCC slimeball-in-chief has always been a member of B.C.’s legal establishment—as is Govender.)

Pivot/BCCLA wokery, and the inarticulate ignorance of native spokespeople, allowed the legislature’s last cop-oriented committee to once again prop up the cop status quo, this time by cynically using SJW jargon. Prior to the HRC report the current process was a mere re-run, with the added advantage of George Floyd’s death obscuring B.C. issues with irrelevant American rhetoric.

But Govender’s efforts might not end here. She’s in a position to keep pushing for her recommendations, applying media pressure for their adoption. That’s just the sort of radical chic cause media would love to pursue, albeit with non-indigenous journalists. Additionally B.C.’s thus-far directionless native groups now have a manifesto, albeit from a non-indigenous author.

Her recommendations might resemble Mussolini’s corporatism more than liberal democracy, but that wouldn’t be the legislature’s objection. Full implementation—with full civilian investigation of cops—would obviously threaten the cop status quo. More likely, MLAs will support something along the lines of Govender’s racially segregated procedures. That would encourage confusion more than justice but media would herald such a change as wonderfully progressive. Cheerleading publicity would distract attention from civilian investigation, unless Govender presses the point. Regardless, transparency and accountability won’t enter the discussion. Again, a B.C. establishment lawyer like Govender would hardly challenge the ethical immunity of the B.C. establishment lawyers who head the OPCC.

As a result, there’ll be nothing to prevent further cop/oversight agency cover-ups like the Taylor Robinson case, even when the victims are disabled native women.

 

Myles Gray parents with photo of their son

Suggesting some lives matter less than others, Govender
doesn’t address problems that allow another Myles Gray outrage.

 

Meanwhile Govender’s racial obsession ignores not only OPCC corruption. Govender ignores issues like the IIO’s structural weaknesses and the need for police body cameras, starkly demonstrated by the Myles Gray outrage. From a justice perspective it’s almost a shame that the vicious, prolonged, deadly Vancouver police shit-kicking (followed by completely unreliable statements from the seven cops involved, five years of delay and the Crown’s decision not to lay charges) was wasted on a white guy.

Related posts
B.C. Police Act reform:
What MLAs don’t want to know
Another legislative committee will likely evade
the problem of OPCC secrecy and immunity
An open letter to the Union of British Columbia
Indian Chiefs and the B.C. Civil Liberties Association
Police cover-ups are more common than you might realize.
But you’re uniquely positioned to address the problem
The cop status quo matters
B.C. stands ready to manipulate identity politics
to support OPCC corruption
Three principles drive Adam Olsen’s career
He opposes police accountability, sells out natives and
lacks environmental commitment. But the Green MLA
stands firm on his pay, perks and pension
Just following orders
Some reflections on how B.C.’s arrogant but subservient
political culture props up corrupt institutions
The cop status quo stands,
thanks to five self-serving MLAs
Another sham legislative committee entrenches
the OPCC’s lack of transparency and accountability

 

Read more about B.C.’s sham legislative committees
Read about B.C.’s Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner
Read about B.C.’s Independent Investigations Office
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