Published In

Osgoode Hall Law Journal

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2001

Subjects

Canada; Police Brutality; Commissions of Inquiry; Constitutional Law; Policing

Abstract

On 31 July 2001, a distinguished Canadian jurist reported on matters of unusual significance. Sitting as a Member of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP (CPC), Mr. Justice E.N. Hughes dealt with matters that go to the heart of liberal democracy. Any investigation of alleged police misconduct is important, of course, to a country that wishes to be governed in accordance with fundamental principles of the rule of law. This is so even in the seemingly most inconsequential instances. Important principles are involved even where "small" matters are concerned. The matters before Commissioner Hughes on this occasion however raise a number of large issues that only rarely come before formal inquiries. The matter known in Canada as "the APEC affair," and Commissioner Hughes' APEC report ("Hughes Report") focus on allegations of wrongdoing by the police and the Prime Minister of Canada at the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) Conference held in Vancouver in November 1997. The particular allegations, which have dominated the House of Commons and Canadian political life on several occasions, will be addressed in a moment. First, however, it is worth pausing briefly to consider some fundamental principles concerning police and politicians.

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