It should be no secret that I’ve already filed a complaint with the Military Police Complaints Commission, which I’ll refer to as the MPCC from here on in. This complaint is for the 2015 through 2018 portion of CFNIS investigation GO 2011-5754.
Yes, the MPCC is supposed to be an “arm’s length” agency, but bear in mind that all employees of the MPCC are government employees who may wish to move upwards in the governmental hierarchy, and who will more often than not act in such a manner as to not jeopardize their ascension up the ranks.
The Military Police Complaints Commission is charged with reviewing military police investigations. Generally the MPCC may conduct two styles of investigation. The MPCC may conduct a “Review” or the MPCC may conduct a “Public Interest Hearing”.
For now I’ll talk about a “review” and in a subsequent posting I’ll talk about a “Public Interest Hearing”
An MPCC REVIEW
The first style of investigation the MPCC may conduct is a “Review”.
Due to the design of the review process, findings against the military police are very rare.
During a “Review” the MPCC can only review the documents supplied to it by the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal.
During a review, the MPCC cannot administer oaths. There is no risk of penalty for uttering false statements to the MPCC.
During a review, the MPCC cannot subpoena documents or witnesses. This means that during a review, the MPCC can only take what the Provost Marshal has decided to give to the MPCC. Also, because witnesses cannot be forced to talk to the MPCC during a review the MPCC may find itself unable to interview key personnel.
During a review, the complainant cannot cross examine the witnesses.
During a “Review”, the MPCC does not “test” the evidence to see if it was possible to come to a different conclusion, thereby calling into question the investigative ability of the investigator or the supervisory ability of the investigator’s chain of command. All the MPCC does during a review is a basic check list.
Did Mr. Bees make a complaint?
Was the complaint investigated?
Did the investigator reach a conclusion that was within a range of resonable conclusions?
The Provost Marshal knows exactly what your complaint is about as you have to first submit your complaint to the Provost Marshal.
It can be seen then that the Provost Marshal can submit favourable documents to the MPCC that paint the CFNIS in a very favourable light. You as the complainant will have absolutely no access to any of these documents until AFTER the MPCC have rendered their final decision.
The biggest flaw with this is that any evidence that you intend to introduce at the Federal Court level in an application for Judicial Review is considered “New Evidence” and will be struck from the Judicial Review.
It’s almost as if the Canadian Forces created the MPCC and the review process to be defective by design.
Yes, Parliament would have crafted the legislation which created the MPCC, however, the Department of National Defence, the Canadian Forces, the Provost Marshal, and the Judge Advocate General would have had their input into the design of the MPCC. There would have been no representation from parties from which complaints could be expected to be received.
In the summer of 2015, MPCC chairman Glenn Stannard told the Globe and Mail during an interview that the MPCC has never been given the documents required to truly understand how the Canadian Forces Military Police and the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service operate. Mr. Stannard said during this interview that without those documents, the MPCC doesn’t even know what it should be requesting from the Provost Marshal.
Not very reassuring, now is it?
Yeah, and about the findings of the MPCC. The Canadian Forces Provost Marshal can still tell the MPCC to go piss up a rope if it doesn’t like the findings of a review. Reviews are non-binding and have no legal weight.
During a review, the MPCC cannot subpoena witnesses, the MPCC cannot subpoena documents, and the MPCC cannot administer oaths. The fact that statements given to the MPCC are not taken under oath means that there is no threat of consequences for perjury.
During an MPCC review, participation is voluntary.
Access to Investigation Paperwork
It would seem that it would make common sense for a complainant to have access to the paperwork from their investigation. This is apparently not how it works in Canada. Very few police review boards require that the complainant have access to documents that would be critical for the success of a complaint.
During an MPCC review, the complainant is not given access to the investigation documents, nor is the complainant given access to copies of the documents that the Provost Marshal submitted to the MPCC.
Yes, one could submit an Access to Information Request for copies of the documents and files related to a CFNIS investigation. I did. I submitted an ATI back in July of 2018.
Why is access to the CFNIS investigation documents necessary?
It allows the complainant to counter statements in the CFNIS investigation and prove errors committed during the investigation.
Did Sgt. Cyr fly down to Victoria, BC and meet with me personally to discuss this investigation as he told the MPCC investigators? No he didn’t.
Did “some lady from across the street” keep an eye on my brother and I from time to time? No.
Was I expelled from school in the spring of 1983 or was I kept at home to avoid being apprehended by Alberta Social Services for my father’s non-compliance with the family counselling program? It was the latter, which was all contained in the social service documents.
Did Sgt. Cyr properly record into his occurrence reports the details of our conversation on May 3rd, 2011. No he did not. Me telling him that I can remember P.S. taking me on 5 different visits to the chapel but that I can’t remember anything after being given “sickly sweet grape juice” is definitely not that same as “Mr. Bees stated that he remembered going to the church with P.S. but that nothing ever happened”. In fact being given the part about the “sickly sweet grape juice” isn’t in his occurrence report.
When Sgt. Robert Jon Hancock submitted his case summary to the Alberta Crown, why did Sgt. Hancock see fit to remove “anything he had been involved in as a youth has already been handled by the military” from the record of P.S.’s phone call to Sgt. Hancock in August of 2011. Why didn’t the MPCC pick up on this detail?
All of these issues I could have easily raised with the MPCC during my interview had I been given access to the CFNIS investigation paperwork. But I wasn’t. And as such when I went before the Federal Court with my application for judicial review, all of the copies of telephone bills and copies of emails between myself and Sgt. Cyr were struck from the proceedings as being “new evidence”.
The MPCC Investigators
The investigators conducting the MPCC review are retired police officers, which means that there is a serious bias from the get go. The thin blue line is not an urban legend. It’s a well known phenomenon that exists within police culture.
In my teens I worked for three Metropolitan Toronto Police officers that owned a amusement machine company as a side business. From dealing with these three I learnt quickly that police see themselves as being different from the civilians they protect. It’s bound to happen in organizations like the police.
Out here in Vancouver during the late ’90s we had a serial killer that was preying on women from the Downtown East Side. The serial killer was Robert Pickton.
As Inquiry Commissioner Wally Oppal concluded, the police didn’t really put any effort into protecting the women of the DTES because the police, both the RCMP and the VPD, viewed these women as “throwaways – unstable, unreliable.”
Wally Oppal was never a police officer. Wally Oppal had been a judge for most of his life. He then became the Attorney General for the province of BC. He was never tainted by the thin blue line. Which explains why he had no qualms about letting both the VPD and the RCMP wear the shame of the Pickton fiasco.
A few year ago, the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP looked at the desirability of police investigating police.
The document may be found here:
A copy may be downloaded from here:
Here are some excerpts from that document:
I was interviewed by the MPCC on July 19th, 2012. I left the interview stunned and nauseated. I was so stunned in fact that I went for a walk and just kept walking. I didn’t stop walking until just after midnight. The two investigators didn’t really listen to what I had to say, they already had their mind made up that the CFNIS investigators had gone above and beyond their requirements and conducted a stellar investigation.
Even back in 2012, I was still able to amass sufficient documentation to show that the 2011 CFNIS investigation left a lot to be desired.
The investigators with the MPCC referred to my documents as if they were trivial in nature and of dubious quality. The investigators with the MPCC even outright ignored the Social Service observations of my father.
Take for example where the MPCC investigators noted that my father told the CFNIS investigators that my grandmother only looked after my brother and I until her husband died. The CFNIS recorded my father’s statement in such a manner that it made it sound as if my grandmother only looked after my brother and I for a very brief point in time on CFB Namao and that “some lady from across the street would keep an eye on my brother and I from time to time”. My grandmother raised my brother and I from the spring of 1977 until about the spring of 1981. Her husband, Andy Anderson, didn’t die until sometime around 1985. Except for a very brief period of time in the spring of 1978 our grandmother was our primary care giver and raised my brother and I for just over four years.
In 2006, when I talked to my father about what had happened on CFB Namao, my father named the babysitter himself. I didn’t have to tell my father the babysitter’s name. My father blamed my grandmother for hiring the babysitter even going so far as saying that he warned my grandmother not to hire him. He also said that I should have told someone what the babysitter was doing and that it was partially my fault that it went on for so long and that I had no business allowing the babysitter to mess with my younger brother.
During my interview with the MPCC investigators, I made sure that the MPCC investigators understood the significance of my family’s social service records, especially the part where the psychologist hired by the Canadian Forces to interview my father determined that my father accepted no responsibility for his family, blamed others for problems with his family, expected others to solve the problems with his family. In turn the MPCC only recorded in their findings that my social service records indicated that I was depressed as a child.
There were other records that indicated that grandma was still living with us in 1981 and there were records that indicated that my father blamed grandma for issues that my brother and I were having.
Alberta Social Services indicate two key findings about my father. First, my father often told conflicting stories from one meeting to the next. Second, my father was found to tell people that he perceived to be in positions of authority what he thought they wanted to hear.
When I introduced my family’s social service records into Federal Court to dispute the observation of the CFNIS, this evidence was struck because it was “new evidence” that had not been before the MPCC during the review.
I believe that the inability of the two investigators assigned to the previous MPCC review to listen to what was being said was due to their police culture bias.
In my next blog entry I will discuss the “Public Interest Hearing” and how the Provost Marshal and the CFNIS are at a complete disadvantage.