First Nations day school students want new investigation of abuse claims, say RCMP probe marred by ‘bias’

CBC News

July 2, 2020

By Jorge Barrera

The B.C. RCMP investigation into First Nations day school abuse allegations against John Furlong, the former 2010 Vancouver Olympics CEO, was tainted by “bias” and “discrimination,” according to a recent filing with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

The filing by six members of the Lake Babine Nation itemized the failures of the RCMP investigation, ranging from limited questioning of alleged victims, to a failure to follow leads or to obtain additional information through production orders.

“The case demonstrates the inequality that Indigenous communities experience in accessing justice,” said the Complainant’s Statement of Particulars, submitted with the tribunal on Monday.

“It reveals the biased attitudes and systemic discrimination that exists in police investigative methods, and shows how Indigenous victims of abuse suffer adverse impacts, such as being disbelieved and/or dehumanized. Bias in favour of powerful non-Indigenous individuals, even if unconsciously held, results in harmful treatment to Indigenous complainants of abuse.”

All six Lake Babine Nation members attended the Catholic-run Immaculata elementary school when Furlong taught physical education there in 1969. The institution was a day school in the First Nation, about 220 kilometres northwest of Prince George, B.C. The school closed in the 1980s.

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