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Greens and NDP want civilian investigation of police-involved deaths

Both the provincial NDP and Greens are in favour of civilian investigation of police-involved deaths, while the Liberals will not consider the option until 2013 at the earliest.

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association released a survey this past weekend outlining the parties’ positions on police accountability and a variety of other issues including privacy rights and legal aid.

“It is an important issue and obviously there are differences between the positions that each of the parties take,” said BCCLA President Robert Holmes.

Both the Greens and the NDP responded by saying they support independent civilian investigation while the B.C. Liberals said they have “introduced comprehensive revisions to the Police Act to ensure effective oversight” and will wait for an audit to assess the success of the changes in 2013.

The survey also asked the parties if the RCMP should be subject to the same complaints process as B.C.’s municipal forces.

The NDP and Liberals said they are in favour of similar processes for both municipal forces and the RCMP, while the Greens said it would replace the RCMP with a provincial police force to encourage greater accountability.

The BCCLA also asked the parties about amendments to the Election Act, including stricter voter identification rules and requirements that third parties register with the government to speak publicly during an election.

The New Democrats said they voted against the legislation introducing the amendments. They would ease voting rules and said “the government has not presented any evidence regarding problems” with third-party election advertising.

The Green Party would also repeal the changes to voter identification. The party would make registration requirements less onerous on small organizations and individuals, however stopped short of calling for a repeal of the law.

“It is important for the democratic process to be citizen-oriented rather than one dominated by ‘which organization can shout the loudest,’” the Greens replied in the survey.

The Liberals said they introduced the legislation and have no plans to repeal it.

The BCCLA survey with full party responses including questions about legal aid, SLAPP lawsuits and electronic health care records can be found here.

Garrett Zehr reports for The Tyee.

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