Missing Women Inquiry: Brother of Pickton victim calls on RCMP to apologize
Vertlieb went on to ask if Williams – the only RCMP officer to appear so far at the Inquiry, which began last October – had been approached by anyone in the force's “top brass” to discuss an apology on behalf of the RCMP.
Williams replied that he was contacted in December by RCMP Chief Supt. (Wayne) Rideout, who “indicated they were going to be making some submission along the lines of an apology but that's as far as it got,” Williams testified.
Bronger said that if any opinion is expressed by the RCMP, that will not happen until the Inquiry's final submissions in several months.
“Mr. Commissioner, if the question is what is the position of the RCMP,” he said, “the answer to that, of course, is it will be provided at the time of closing submissions once all the evidence has been presented. It is not going to be provided today.”
Neil Chantler, a lawyer representing 25 families of murdered women whose remains were found on Pickton's Port Coquitlam farm, told the Vancouver Observer that he is surprised the RCMP is reluctant to apologize. He also rejected arguments that Williams cannot speak on behalf of the RCMP.
“It's surprising, given that the VPD has conceded the mistakes made by its officers and was forthcoming with an apology to each of the family members who testified,” Chantler said. “The families we represent would like to see an apology from the RCMP in the strongest possible terms.
“It's regrettable, given (Williams') seniority within the RCMP – no forthcoming witness will be in a better position to speak for the RCMP generally about systemic issues. It was a missed opportunity for the RCMP to address these issues publicly.”
The Vancouver Observer contacted the RCMP's 'E' Division – which provides policing for most of B.C., including Port Coquitlam – but the force said it would not comment immediately. According to a B.C. law, an apology or statement of regret cannot be used to prove guilt in subsequent litigation.
“The VPD has apologized, and to some extent I appreciate that,” Crey said. “(The RCMP) are so arrogant that they didn't feel they had to do what at least the VPD manned up enough to do: to say, 'Look we made some major, major mistakes and we're sorry about it, and we're apologizing to you as the families of missing and murdered women.”
Crey added that it's not too late for the force to issue an apology. He speculated that the RCMP is laying low in light of 65 outstanding sexual harassment cases brought by female officers, which have cast the force in a bad light.
“I think it speaks to some ongoing issues and attitudes of senior-ranking male officers towards women,” Crey said. “If they have so little regard for women in their own employ, you can imagine the regard they would hold towards women like my sister.
“I just tremble to think the attitude they have towards women such as many of the murdered and missing women. It's a very troubling picture to me.”