B.C. First Nation members allege racial discrimination by RCMP in its investigation of John Furlong

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      The RCMP is facing a complaint of racial discrimination over its investigation into former 2010 Vancouver Olympics chief John Furlong.

      The Mounties' probe found no wrongdoing after several Indigenous residents in the Burns Lake area swore affidavits alleging they experienced or witnessed mistreatment by Furlong while he was working at a missionary school in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

      The complaint was filed by six members of the Lake Babine Nation in northern B.C.

      They are Cathy Woodgate, Richard Perry, Dorothy Williams, Ann Tom, Maurice Joseph, and Emma Williams.

      A media release Monday (June 29) by Dorothy Williams, hereditary chief Ronnie West, and counsel Karen Bellenhumeur recalls that the complaint was accepted by the Canadian Human Rights Commission in January 2017.

      The release notes that following an investigation, the commission requested that the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal hold a hearing.

      The date of the hearing has yet to be determined.

      The release likewise states that the six complainants have filed a statement of particulars before the tribunal.

      A copy of the statement of particulars, dated June 29, 2020, acknowledges that the RCMP’s concluding report indicated that it found nothing to corroborate allegations against Furlong.

      According to the document, the six complainants are claiming that they received “adverse differential treatment and denial of access to police services based on race and national or ethnic origin contrary to Section 5 of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA)”.

      The statement notes that the case “describes at least two ways in which the RCMP’s investigative methods are discriminatory”.

      “First their traditional investigative methods fail to meet the needs of Indigenous victims...and are executed with biased attitudes,” the document states. “Second, the RCMP failed in their obligation to modify their traditional practices to meet Indigenous people’s cultural needs, an obligation arising from the known distrust of the RCMP by Indigenous people.”

      Nearly five years ago, former Vancouver Olympics chief John Furlong won a court fight against Laura Robinson, a former freelance writer for the Georgia Straight who obtained affidavits from the complainants. Robinson sued the former Vanoc boss, alleging that he repeatedly defamed her, but the case was dismissed by B.C. Supreme Court Justice Catherine Wedge.

      One of the witnesses in the case was RCMP Cpl. Quinton Mackie, who testified about his investigation of Furlong.

      "Cpl. Mackie did investigate the allegations contained in the Response to Civil Claim as best he could, given their vintage," Wedge wrote in her ruling.