The Canadian federal government seeks to improve public confidence in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) through a Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC); their work, however, will be kept secret.
Planning documents for Public Safety reveal that those working for the CRCC will be required to take an “oath of secrecy.”
The Public Safety department claims the new process will improve the investigatory powers of the complains commission, and assures the gag order is simply “administrative in nature.”
“This oath ensures that these persons pledge not to disclose any information that they come across in the course of their duties to anyone not legally entitled to that information,” reads the planning document.
However, critics have raised concerns regarding the new level of secrecy the government claims is needed to restore the public’s faith in the department.
“Unfortunately, I think any concern that the government is applying its excessive zeal for secrecy to the commission is legitimate,” said New Democracy Party (NDP) public safety critic Randall Garrison.
This latest gag order follows in the same footsteps of other recent moves toward secrecy within the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. In March, a new regulation was put in place binding all federal employees dealing with national security information to a lifetime of secrecy.
Commission spokespeople say that they can not comment on the details of the oath. They note that the gag order is necessary because RCMP investigations will now be able to access more information. Canadian Public Safety Official Paul Duval explained, “That’s a trade-off you make. By virtue of having such access, you will have to take an oath of secrecy.”
Duval said existing members of the Commission for Public Complains will not need to take a special oath to secrecy, and will be bound by the same oaths they have taken as federal employees since 2006.
Duval would not comment further on when the new commission would begin reviewing cases, but said the new regulations are “expected in due course.”
Source: Global News.