POLITICS

Couillard: Probe Into Alleged Quebec Police Abuse To Have Woman Observer

11/03/2015 08:14 EST | Updated 11/03/2015 08:59 EST
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Philippe Couillard, Quebec's premier, speaks during an interview in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. Quebec's April election brought Couillard's Liberal Party to power with promises to cut spending, increase taxes and impose a hiring freeze to eliminate a C$3.1 billion deficit by next year. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images

QUEBEC — A woman will be named as the independent observer of an investigation into alleged police abuse of aboriginal women, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said Tuesday.

Couillard told reporters he's narrowed down the list of possibilities to a few names and hopes to announce the appointment soon.

Eight Quebec provincial police officers have been suspended amid allegations of assault, sexual misconduct and other abuses of power against aboriginal women.

Couillard is meeting with the chiefs of the Assembly of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador on Wednesday in Montreal to discuss the allegations.

Assembly chief Ghislain Picard has said native leaders would like a monitor of their choosing to also keep tabs on the investigation, which has been handed over to Montreal police.

Picard is on the record as saying the observer should be a woman.

"I think we are in sync with our colleagues from the aboriginal communities that it should be a woman," Couillard said Wednesday. "We are dealing with an issue that, first and foremost, involves women in a very vulnerable position."

The alleged incidents are reported to have occurred in the northwestern Quebec town of Val d'Or over several years and were the subject of a Radio-Canada investigative report.

Couillard has said his government would also be willing to launch a public inquiry into relations between natives and non-natives in the province.

Any such inquiry, however, would be "complimentary" to a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women promised by the governing Liberals.

Picard also called on the federal government to open a public, national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal woman within 30 days of being sworn into office.

Prime minister-designate Justin Trudeau and his cabinet are to be sworn in Wednesday.

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