Government wants integrity czar's probe of alleged RCMP wrongdoing tossed out - InfoNews

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Government wants integrity czar's probe of alleged RCMP wrongdoing tossed out

November 27, 2014 - 12:36 PM

OTTAWA - The Conservative government is trying to quash a finding of the federal integrity commissioner concerning alleged wrongdoing within the RCMP.

The government is asking the Federal Court to set aside an Oct. 31 decision of the public sector integrity commissioner's office.

A notice of application says the commissioner's office began investigating in November 2013 following a disclosure from a whistleblower.

There is little other public information about the case, and details of the purported offence remain a mystery.

In general, once the integrity commissioner concludes a case he is supposed to inform the whistleblower, any others involved and the head of the relevant organization — in this case the RCMP. When there is a finding of wrongdoing, the commissioner can make recommendations to the organization and must report the finding to Parliament within 60 days.

In the court filing, the government argues the integrity commissioner's decision — which remains under wraps — should be tossed out because the matter is already being dealt with under another, unspecified parliamentary provision.

The government says the commissioner violated procedural fairness by inadequately explaining the substance of the alleged wrongdoing, relying upon evidence not fully disclosed to the RCMP, and not permitting the Mounties to submit further relevant evidence.

It also argues the commissioner failed to notify all parties who may be adversely affected by the investigation.

Finally, the government says the commissioner made a legal mistake by basing his decision on an "erroneous finding of fact."

The government has asked the integrity commissioner to disclose:

All documents considered by the commissioner's investigators during the almost year-long probe, all interview notes and any material obtained from interviewees or subject-matter experts.

A spokeswoman for the commissioner's office said confidentiality provisions prevented her from discussing the file.

The Justice Department lawyer the government has assigned to the case did not answer a phone message left last week.

The RCMP had no immediate comment.

NDP public safety critic Randall Garrison said while the subject of the probe may be confidential, the government could at least spell out what is being done about the allegations.

"Instead of fighting the publication of this potentially explosive report in court, what action is the minister of public safety taking now that he's aware of these serious allegations of wrongdoing in the RCMP?" Garrison asked during question period.

Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said while the government expects the RCMP to conduct itself to the highest standard, it would be inappropriate to comment further because the matter is before the courts.

Follow @JimBronskill on Twitter

News from © The Canadian Press, 2014
The Canadian Press

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