The Honourable Senator Peter Harder, Government Representative in the Senate
June 15, 2017
Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Honourable senators, my question to the Government Representative is about Joannes Rivoire. He was a missionary posted to various communities in Nunavut from 1960-64 and again from 1975-93. He returned to his native France in 1993. In 1998, a Canada-wide warrant for his arrest was issued. He faces three different charges from three different complainants: one for indecent assault and two counts of sexual intercourse involving females under the age of 14 in Rankin Inlet and Repulse Bay. Not having its own territorial attorney general, Nunavut has to rely on the Federal Public Prosecution Service of Canada. It is this body that could initiate an extradition order on behalf of the victims.
I wrote on April 3, 2017, to Minister Wilson-Raybould, urging Canada to push for the extradition of Father Rivoire. He took a position of trust in the communities and misused it in the most egregious manner. He should be tried for his crimes in order to provide closure to the complaints and their families. It is also believed this trial will bring to light other complainants who did not feel comfortable coming forward.
I can assure you there is a great deal of public concern about this case in Nunavut. Will the Minister of Justice, in the spirit of justice and reconciliation, direct the International Assistance Group to begin the formal process required to ask for Mr. Rivoire’s speedy extradition to Canada?
Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for bringing this case to my attention and the attention of the Senate. Extradition requests are confidential state-to-state communications. It would not be appropriate for me to confirm or deny the existence of an extradition request in this matter.
I can, however, indicate that Canada and France are party to an extradition treaty, and I will, of course, bring your representation to the attention of the minister.