CBC reports that the Military Police Complaints Commission (MPCC), a quasi-judicial body independent from the government and the armed forces, has launched a "public interest investigation" into a complaint filed under section 250 (18) of the National Defence Act regarding the failure by the Military Police [MP] to properly investigate allegations of ‘torture’.
The original allegations were made by a single individual but corroborated by no less than four of his former comrades-in-arms.
The allegations state that between October 1983 and March 1984, recruits undergoing basic infantry training at the CFB Wainwright Battle School were subject to an ‘escape and evasion” drill, including a Prisoner of War (POW) exercise.
Approximately 33 recruits were involved.
Allegations of serious abuse of recruits
Recruits were made to remove their clothes and were placed in prison cells that were too small to allow recruits to move or sit.
Over the next 24 to 48 hours, the naked recruits were sprayed through the jail door bars with cold water from a hose while the windows were left open, letting in the outside air. The outside temperature hovers around -15 and -30 C. Recruits did not have access to bathrooms.
Allegations of torture were made to the Military Police in 2016. A few months later, the Military Police investigator phoned the complainant to advise him that the investigation had been closed. One of the reasons stated for the closure of the investigation was that, allegedly, “torture” had not become an criminal offence in Canada until 1985.
Public Interest Investigation into the MP failure to investigate
The ‘conduct’ complaint filed with the MPCC alleged that the MP investigator acted with professional negligence and incompetence in failing to investigate serious criminal allegations.
This is not the first time that the Military Police has been subject to a conduct and performance complaint to the MPCC. Consider the following:
At the end, the Military Police failed to acknowledge or recognize the serious deficiencies revealed through the hearing.
Following the publication of the Final Report, there were no indication that the Military Police regretted any of the egregious deficiencies observed in this case, particularly in the interactions with the Fynes family and the mishandling of the suicide note.
There was no indication as to whether the issues raised by the MPCC were even seen as serious failures, and certainly no indication as to how, if at all, they would be addressed by the MPs.
All in all, the MP rejected, directly or indirectly, most of the findings and recommendations, made by the MPCC to improve their competence and independence.
Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.