UBCIC Calls for Comprehensive Investigation into Tasering of Aboriginal Child

News Release - April 14, 2011
The Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) demands a formal, independent inquiry into the immensely disturbing recent tasering of a vulnerable, eleven-year old Aboriginal child by the RCMP. The child was living in a group home on the outskirts of Prince George, while in the care of the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD).

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of UBCIC asked, “How is the Provincial government going to address the trauma suffered by this extremely vulnerable Aboriginal child? Equally important, how is the Province going to respond to the larger context of deeply rooted and interconnected socio-economic issues that contributed to his being in care in the first place?”

UBCIC is calling for a comprehensive investigation into the full context of this tragic situation including:
  • Care context of protocols, accreditation, training, and evaluation standards for “privatized” group homes and specialized facilities;
  • Cultural context of the exorbitantly disproportionate number of Aboriginal children in care. Over half of all children in care in BC are Aboriginal, despite the fact that Aboriginal children only account for approximately 9% of the total child population in BC;
  • Policing context that led to deployment of a taser device with potential to inflict serious harm to the point of being lethal, on an eleven-year old child.
Further, UBCIC demands:
  • An urgent, high-level, cross-ministry response from the Province;
  • That the Province works with appropriate Aboriginal leadership and the Representative for Children and Youth to immediately create short and long-term strategies for reducing the number of Aboriginal children in care. This includes a detailed and comprehensive analysis of the root causes, and a solid workplan with built-in accountability and reporting mechanisms;
  • Full implementation of the Braidwood Inquiry recommendation that BC develop a civilian-based criminal investigative body to investigate all police-related incidents occurring throughout the province.
“We absolutely agree with the Carrier-Sekani Tribal Council, First Nations Child and Family Wellness Council, and the Representative for Youth, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, who have called for a full investigation into this case,” stated Grand Chief Phillip, “Unquestionably, this must be the last time that a child is tasered. The eleven-year old Aboriginal child who received such physically and emotionally abusive treatment from the RCMP must be given every possible chance for success and recovery from the impact and damage of this experience.”

Media inquiries:
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President, Union of BC Indian Chiefs
Phone: (604)  684-0231

UBCIC is a NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.