TRC head Murray Sinclair 'excellent choice' to lead review of Thunder Bay police board, says chair
Jackie Dojack praises Senator Sinclair's legal experience, his leadership on Truth and Reconciliation
The Ontario Civilian Police Commission's (OCPC) appointment of Senator Murray Sinclair to investigate the actions and attitudes of the Thunder Bay Police Services Board is being praised by the board's chair, Jackie Dojack.
"We think he's an excellent choice for this, so we're very pleased," she said.
As a retired judge Sinclair brings a wealth of legal knowledge to the task, but he will bring other insights as well, Dojack said.
"Being Indigenous himself he will certainly bring that perspective to the investigation."
Sinclair's role as the chair of the national Truth & Reconciliation Commission will also be very valuable she believes.
'What are we doing wrong?'
"He will bring the wisdom and experience from that and also we're hoping that his recommendations will reflect that as a community we really need to be moving towards reconciliation."
It's not known yet how the commission's investigation of the police board will unfold, said Dojack, but she is eager to get the process started.
"There's been this cloud, like 'what are we doing wrong'. I know that we all welcome the investigation commencing to look at how we have been carrying out our responsibilities and to have it finished with recommendations," she said.
The investigation comes after a recent series of deaths of Indigenous young people in Thunder Bay. In May, the bodies of Tammy Keeash, 17, and Josiah Begg, 14, were found roughly two weeks apart in a city waterway.
The OCPC stated in a written release Monday that Sinclair will investigate the commission's concerns around the police service board's ability to address issues raised by Indigenous leaders relating to those deaths and the quality of the investigations carried out by Thunder Bay police.
Questions raised, important to find answers
He will also investigate the commission's concerns about the systemic racism they allege exists within the police force and the recent criminal charges laid against the Thunder Bay police chief for breach of trust and obstruction of justice.
"I think because questions have been raised it's important to have those questions answered," said Dojack, and "where there is a lack of public confidence in the board, we hope that will be restored."