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Sask. Attorney General confident in public complaints commission after Machiskinic review released

CBC News with Michelle Stewart 02 April 2019

Saskatchewan’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice Don Morgan said he is confident in the ability of the province’s public complaints commission, while other voices are calling for an independent civilian oversight body.

Morgan was asked about the possibility of a police oversight body after the Regina Police Service released an RCMP review of the investigation of Nadine Machiskinic’s death.

“We think the model that we’re using is a good model, it’s reliable,” Morgan said on Monday.

Machiskinic, an Indigenous mother of four children, was 29 when she died in hospital after falling ten storeys down a laundry chute at the Delta Hotel in January 2015.

An investigation found no criminal elements in Machiskinic’s death. A coroner’s inquest ruled her death was undetermined.

The RCMP’s review of the Regina police investigation found Regina police did not meet the professional standards of a sudden death investigation. It cited long delays and a lack of communication between investigative units within the RPS.

“We have increased in this budget one additional investigator and we’ll look at and see whether we need to have another investigator,” said Morgan.

The commission is currently led by Brent Cotter, former dean of the University of Saskatchewan’s law school.

Unanswered questions

An independent civilian oversight body for the province’s police forces is “long overdue,” according to Michelle Stewart, an associate professor of Justice Studies at the University of Regina.

Stewart, who is also with the activist group the Saskatchewan Coalition Against Racism, called for a reform to the Police Act on Monday to allow for a civilian oversight body.

“Nadine’s case would have benefited from this. … And there’s many questions have been left unanswered,” she said.