OTTAWA — Federal politicians are condemning a video of an RCMP officer conducting an “abhorrent” interrogation of an Indigenous teen who reported she’d been sexually assaulted.
Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett calls the interrogation “disgusting.”
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale calls the interrogation techniques shown in the video “abhorrent” and “profoundly outdated, offensive and wrong.”
And Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says he was “shocked and horrified” by the video, broadcast Tuesday by APTN News.
The video, shot in 2012, shows a Kelowna RCMP officer interviewing the Indigenous girl for two hours, including asking if she was “turned on ... even a little bit” during the alleged assault and questioning how hard she resisted her attacker, against whom no charges were ever laid.
‘Appalling and insensitive’: Goodale
The video was released recently as part of a civil suit against British Columbia’s Ministry of Child and Family Development; the girl was in the care of the B.C. child-welfare system at the time of the alleged assault.
“I trust I can speak for all members of this House when I say this morning I was shocked and horrified by a recently released recording, broadcast by APTN news, of an RCMP officer questioning a young female indigenous sexual assault victim,” Scheer told the House of Commons on Wednesday.
“Obviously, this line of questioning was appalling and insensitive to the young woman who was coming forward with her story.”
Goodale agreed that “what was revealed in that video was absolutely abhorrent.”
I don’t know where people get that kind of right to revictimize somebody. It’s disgusting.Carolyn Bennett
“The apparent attitudes and techniques that were on display in 2012 are profoundly outdated, offensive and wrong,” he said. “The RCMP and all police forces must work continuously to conduct themselves appropriately. No survivor of sexual assault should ever fear that his or her case will not be taken seriously or that he or she will be revictimized in the process.”
Bennett called the interrogation “totally inappropriate.”
“I don’t know where people get that kind of right to revictimize somebody. It’s disgusting,” she said outside the Commons.
Bennett added that training judges in the handling of sexual-assault cases “is something that is becoming increasingly important as we go forward.”
Former interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose introduced a private member’s bill in 2017 that would require judges to take training courses in sexual-assault law but it has been stalled in the Senate for two years.