RCMP to interview retired officers on sled dog killings
“It won’t just be our opinion of something that did or didn’t happen”
The RCMP has launched a fact-finding mission on the killing of Inuit sled dogs, based on what former police officers witnessed in the Arctic decades ago.
In the coming months, a police officer will travel throughout the North to interview more than 10 retired colleagues about how and why dogs were shot from the 1950s to 1970s. Most officers were Inuit guides and special constables.
Insp. Paul Young, of the RCMP’s “V” Division in Nunavut, said he’s assigned the research project to an Inuk officer from the Iqaluit detachment.
But he refused to release the officer’s name, saying that would put too much public pressure on him.
“The citizens of Nunavut have my word that whatever is out there, it will form part of my report,” Young said. “It won’t just be our opinion of something that did or didn’t happen. I intend on getting to the bottom of this.”
Young said the RCMP research paper will eventually be handed to Anne McLellan, federal minister of public safety and emergency preparedness.
McLellan’s office ordered the report, against the written advice of Inuit groups, after the federal committee on aboriginal affairs passed motions calling for a judicial inquiry about the dog killings.
Bernard Cleary, a Bloc Québécois MP on the committee, made the motions with the backing of two Inuit groups, Makivik Corp. and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association.
Cleary recently denounced the RCMP research project, saying that it showed a “complete lack of respect” for Inuit.
“It was the RCMP all along who hid what happened,” Cleary said. “It’s like asking a criminal to judge his own trial.”
RCMP hope to finish the report by August.