New Brunswick

Release report into RCMP conduct during Rexton protests, says anti-shale gas group

Anti-shale gas activists are calling for the release of an independent investigation into RCMP action during violent protests in Rexton six years ago.

RCMP vehicles burned, dozens arrested in October 2013 protests in Kent County

Vehicles were burned at the scene of a shale gas protest in Rexton six years. Anti-shale activists want the report into RCMP conduct during the violent clashes made public. (Courtesy of Gilles Boudreau)

Anti-shale gas activists are calling for the release of an independent investigation into RCMP action during violent protests in Rexton six years ago.

Dozens were arrested during months of protests near Elsipogtog First Nation that saw a blockade erected on Route 134 to stop gas exploration in the area.

In October 2013, RCMP officers used force to disperse protesters and six RCMP vehicles were burned during the clashes.

The independent Civilian Review and Complaints Commission investigated complaints about police conduct during the protests. Commissioners held public meetings in the Kent County area in 2015.

The New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance says it has heard nothing from the commission since that time, and it's tired of waiting. It's calling on RCMP and government officials to release the commission's findings.

Alliance spokesperson Denise Melanson says it's important to know the truth.

Denise Melanson, a spokesperson for the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance, said the group is becoming impatient and wants to see the report. (Radio-Canada)

"What happened was so anti-democratic and, you know, when governments use force and the secret state to impose things on the public, we're not talking about a democracy anymore," Melanson said. 

"This is really, really important. And it's not just that I need to prove that I was right about what happened. It's more that we really need to know that our government isn't behaving like this."

Report delivered to RCMP

In an email, a spokesperson for the commission confirmed the Rexton riot report was delivered to the RCMP last March.

When the RCMP commissioner's office reacts, the commission will prepare its final report, the spokesperson said.

The report contains testimony from 130 witnesses, 50,000 records and thousands of video files.

The evidence gathered is voluminous: 130 civilian witnesses were heard, 50,000 records and thousands of video files collected, which may explain why the investigation lasted so long.

The Council of Canadians is circulating a petition to ask Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale to release the report.

CBC News also contacted Public Safety Canada. The department referred the query back to the complaints commission.

With files from Radio-Canada

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