Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security Monday, October 29, 2012 Chair

Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security Monday, October 29, 2012 Chair
Standing Committee on Public Safety and
National Security
SECU
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NUMBER 055
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1st SESSION
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EVIDENCE
Monday, October 29, 2012
Chair
Mr. Kevin Sorenson
41st PARLIAMENT
1
Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security
Monday, October 29, 2012
● (1530)
[English]
The Chair (Mr. Kevin Sorenson (Crowfoot, CPC)): I call the
meeting to order.
The Government of Yukon is in support wholeheartedly of the
changes that are found in Bill C-42. We are in support largely
because the concerns that we've seen across the country in relation to
the RCMP are concerns that are found in the Yukon as well.
Good afternoon, everyone.
This is meeting 55 of the Standing Committee on Public Safety
and National Security, on Monday, October 29, 2012. This afternoon
we'll continue our consideration of Bill C-42, An Act to amend the
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act.
On our first witness panel we have, from the Government of
Yukon, by video conference from Whitehorse, Mr. Thomas Ullyett.
He is the assistant deputy minister of legal services.
Welcome. I trust you can hear us loud and clear?
Mr. Thomas Ullyett (Assistant Deputy Minister, Legal
Services, Department of Justice, Government of Yukon): Yes,
Mr. Chair, we can hear you very well.
The Chair: Thank you.
We're also pleased to have, here in our committee room today,
from the Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada, Mr.
Patrick Mehain, president, and Mr. Rob Creasser, media liaison for
the British Columbia branch of the association.
We did our own policing review and issued a public report two
years ago, in December 2010, called “Sharing Common Ground”.
Many of the findings in that report, and the recommendations,
dovetail with the changes in Bill C-42, so we are very much in
support of the effort that Parliament is making in this regard.
Mr. Chair, I should just stop there and ask how long you're
anticipating I would have for opening comments.
The Chair: Generally we give a 10-minute range. Right now
you're at two and a half minutes.
If you want to shut down before ten minutes, that's fine.
Otherwise, when we get to ten minutes, I may try to get you to
wind things down.
I would welcome an opening statement from both groups.
Perhaps we'll go all the way to Whitehorse for the first one and
invite Mr. Ullyett to make his opening comments.
Mr. Thomas Ullyett: Thank you, Mr. Chair, and members of the
committee.
We're proud to appear before the committee. We're particularly
proud because our member of Parliament, Ryan Leef, is a member of
your committee.
The comments I make this afternoon are on behalf of Mike Nixon,
Minister of Justice and Attorney General for the Yukon. Minister
Nixon has asked me to make the remarks that follow.
I should say two things at the outset.
First, our comments today are of a more general nature. They are
not technical comments on the amending bill, as such, on Bill C-42.
We don't have any particular difficulty with the amending provisions
as provided in Bill C-42.
Second, our comments are not particularly lengthy, but I'll
provide, if I could, Mr. Chair, a brief opening statement.
The committee would love to question you, as well, following
your presentation.
Mr. Thomas Ullyett: Well, then, Mr. Chair, I will continue.
Like many places in the country, Yukon is now working under a
new police services agreement. As you know, there is a new 20-year
agreement in place. These changes come at a very opportune time. In
fact, during the negotiation for the new agreements we now have, the
need for reforms about many of the things contained in Bill C-42,
including public complains and internal disciplinary systems of the
RCMP, were raised by the Yukon government and other contract
partners. Certainly in terms of the discussions we had with our
colleagues at Public Safety Canada, we anticipated that the RCMP's
legislative regime would be changed. That was our understanding, so
we are happy to see that come. We're also aware of the Reform
Implementation Council's work and their recommendations made in
that regard.
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SECU-55
We certainly support the concept that it's difficult for an
organization, much less a police organization, to change and move
forward into the 21st century with archaic legislation. That's another
reason we are supportive of the changes. As I mentioned a moment
ago, Mr. Chair, Yukon had conducted extensive public consultations
in 2010 on policing as part of the policing review. That policing
review was instituted as a result of an in-custody death in police cells
of a gentleman named Raymond Silverfox in 2008. That led to the
RCMP, the Yukon government, and the Council of Yukon First
Nations to collaborate on an extensive policing review, resulting in
the report called “Sharing Common Ground” two years ago.
During the course of that review, we heard from members of the
public about the internal discipline system and what they felt was a
baffling and very opaque system, a system they generally found to
be remote and inaccessible. This is what we heard from Yukoners
with respect to the complaint process. It was also a system that did
not seem to be tuned in to the cultural sensitivity and realities of
policing in a northern remote area of Canada.
Many of the 33 recommendations, Mr. Chair, that are found in the
“Sharing Common Ground” report relate to the very changes being
made in Bill C-42, such as the internal disciplinary system and the
public complaints system. As I mentioned, we are supportive of the
changes because the Yukon public asked us to make changes, and we
know the changes fall within federal jurisdiction. You would
certainly hope that the new civilian review and complains
commission will shore up what is seen as a gap in terms of
complaints and by complainants with the system.
Here in Yukon, we ventured into arrangements with Alberta to
establish a regime for the investigation of serious incidents involving
RCMP members, utilizing Alberta's serious incident response team
—ASIRT, as it is called. Certainly Bill C-42 is in sync with that,
providing independent investigations for serious incidents and
changing the policy into legislation.
● (1540)
Finally, Mr. Chair, I would say that the implementation of these
legislative changes, we hope, will strengthen the partnership that we
have as a contract partner with the RCMP and that the actual practice
on the ground will be mirrored by the very good intentions that are
set out in Bill C-42.
Those are my opening remarks. Thank you.
The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. Ullyett.
We'll now move to our next guests, Mr. Mehain and Mr. Creasser,
please.
Mr. Rob Creasser (Media Liaison, British Columbia, Mounted
Police Professional Association of Canada): Thank you, Mr. Chair,
and this committee for recognizing the need to hear the views of the
rank-and-file members with regard to Bill C-42.
My name is Rob Creasser, and I am the national spokesperson for
the Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada and a retired
28-year member of the RCMP. With me is Corporal Patrick Mehain,
a current serving member in Coquitlam, B.C., with 15 years of
service.
October 29, 2012
One major problem that exists in the RCMP is the tremendous
power imbalances within the organization. Bill C-42, rather than
mitigating these issues, will only make them exponentially worse.
Staff Sergeant Abe Townsend, when asked about whether the staff
relations representatives were consulted on Bill C-42 during the
drafting stage, stated they had not been, yet in the commissioner's
own testimony before the Senate Standing Committee on National
Security and Defence in Ottawa on June 21, 2012, he stated that he
views the SRR program as vital in the RCMP.
This dichotomy is not a surprise to us, because this is the way the
consultative process works in the RCMP. Management only consults
when they want their directives transmitted to the rank and file, yet
the staff relations representatives still hold out hope of meaningful
consultation. In the meantime, members of the force continue to face
bullying, harassment, and undue delays in resolving their grievances.
While there are many provisions of concern in the bill, we will
focus on four major headings under the following: charter violations,
independence of the RCMP from political interference, extreme
powers given to the commissioner, and women's issues and
harassment. We will also provide three simple steps to remedy the
major issues of harassment, intimidation, and bullying in the RCMP
while making it more accountable.
Under charter violations, with reference to ordered statements and
proposed subsections 40(1) and 40(2), the requirement that compels
a member to make a statement even if it is self-incriminating is
contrary to charter rights and must be removed.
Ex parte warrants for the discipline process under proposed
subsection 40.2(1), again, are a violation of the charter rights of
members against unreasonable search and seizure. It is surprising,
because by Commissioner Paulson's own testimony police officers
had a vital role to play in drafting this bill and yet these very obvious
charter violations, which RCMP members would not be allowed to
commit during criminal investigations, are somehow okay when it
comes to dealing with citizens who are members of the force.
On independence from political interference, the appointment of
the commissioner and deputy commissioners at pleasure in proposed
subsection 5(3) opens the office of the commissioner up to the
problem of political interference in police matters. The commissioner and deputy commissioners of the RCMP should serve at the
pleasure and be answerable to an independent bipartisan parliamentary committee in order to prevent the RCMP from being used to
promote political motives.
October 29, 2012
SECU-55
Chief Superintendent Craig MacMillan highlighted various
problems in the RCMP in his doctoral thesis, “A Modern Star
Chamber: An Analysis of Ordered Statements in the Royal Canadian
Mounted Police”, yet Chief Superintendent MacMillan has completely gone against his own research into the culture of the RCMP
in helping draft Bill C-42.
This highlights yet another of the main issues that Bill C-42 does
not actually remedy, this one being that the current promotion system
has been used very effectively to silence those members who point
out issues, first by promising promotions and then, when that does
not work, by threatening their careers by withholding job and
promotional opportunities.
On national security, under proposed subsections 31(1.3) and 31
(1.4), the Minister of Public Safety has the right to direct the RCMP
to take an action under the guise of national security, but the minister
does not have to provide any evidence of the threat. The RCMP has
been ordered to violate existing Canadian law in terms of the use of
torture-related info. As police officers, we are sworn not only to
protect life and property but also to bring those who violate our laws
to justice.
● (1545)
Terrorism is a concern, but we can draw from the experience of
our compatriots across the pond in the United Kingdom and set up a
national security committee, which would include members from all
political parties in Parliament and would also have as members the
heads of the RCMP, CSIS, CBSA, and CSE, as well as special
judges who would hear the evidence the government has and make
the final decision. That way we involve those entrusted with national
security and also those who are sworn to protect Canadian and
international law decisions.
On power given to the commissioner, here we refer to proposed
paragraphs 20.2(1)(c), 20.2(1)(e), 20.2(1)(g), 20.2(1)(i), and 20.2(1)
(k) and proposed subsections 20.2(3) and 20.2(4). The Commissioner of the RCMP has always had the ability to get rid of members
who have contravened their sworn duty to uphold the law. We agree
that this process needs to be streamlined, but Bill C-42 gives the
office of the commissioner much too much power. The RCMP has
had problems with commissioners who have abused this power in
the past.
We also have concerns with the requirement for a member to
attend a doctor of management's choosing.
On firing people for economic efficiency, the force spends tens of
thousands of dollars to recruit, train, and equip members, and then it
fires these members, thus essentially flushing the money spent and
the investigative experience gained by these members down the
drain. When times improve, we have to spend taxpayers' money to
start the process all over again. This provision also leaves the
employment of members open to the problem of becoming another
tool for harassment and bullying by managers.
Another issue is the power of the RCMP commissioner, under
proposed subsection 20.2(4), to delegate authority to subordinates
for dismissals. The RCMP is predominantly made up of small work
sites—detachments—so quite low ranks could be making decisions
that reflect the entire force, yet training is sorely lacking.
3
Finally, on women's issues and harassment, there can be no
grievance in respect of the right to equal pay for equal work under
proposed subsection 31(1.2). Gender discrimination and harassment
are two of the most troublesome areas in the RCMP. This provision
in the bill actually works to legitimize the problem of treating female
and minority members in the RCMP as being unequal members in
the force.
Under Bill C-42, there is no provision for the protection of
whistleblowers within the force. Bill C-42 expressly prohibits a
member from speaking publicly about issues within the force and
lays out sanctions that the member will face for doing so.
If Bill C-42 is passed in its current form with the charter violations
and avenues for continued abuse of power by managers, rather than
correcting the issues that have plagued the RCMP, our Parliament
would be promoting the bad behaviour and cronyism by legitimizing
this type of behaviour.
In Chief Superintendent MacMillan's doctoral thesis, he stated:
One finding from the research is that the form of employee representation in the
R.C.M.P., which was created, paid for and run by management, contributes to the
actual or perceived vulnerability of members. Unlike other police employees who
enjoy some protection by membership in an employee association, this feature is
lacking in the R.C.M.P. Members simply do not have the numerical, moral or
financial support to challenge improper actions by management. Denying the
right to choose the form of employee representation by members undermines the
R.C.M.P.'s newly proclaimed empowerment and management philosophies.
If Parliament is truly interested in beginning the process to address
the problems that currently plague the RCMP, there are three simple
and yet powerful steps that can be taken.
● (1550)
The first step is to bring in a process of collective bargaining to
deal with employer/management-labour relations in the RCMP.
The second step is to bring in a process of independent binding
arbitration to resolve grievances that cannot be resolved between
management and labour. Make sure the arbitrator is independent of
the influence of government, Treasury Board, RCMP management,
and RCMP labour representatives. In the Vancouver Police
Department, for example, grievances take, on average, a maximum
of 28 days to be settled. The RCMP process takes much longer, and
some have gone on for seven years or more.
Finally, the third step is to enact legislation that repeals section 96
of the RCMP Act and thereby allow the members to have the ability
to have a free and truly democratic vote to elect independent,
member-funded labour representatives.
The rank-and-file members of the RCMP are proud to serve the
citizens of this country in all capacities, from the municipal level to
international areas. All we ask is to be treated with the same dignity
and be afforded the same rights as every other Canadian citizen.
Thank you.
The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. Creasser.
We'll move to Mr. Leef for the first round of questioning. You
have seven minutes.
Mr. Ryan Leef (Yukon, CPC): Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank
you to all of the witnesses for attending.
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Good day to Mr. Ullyett and Mr. Ford in Whitehorse.
Mr. Ullyett, I have in front of me the executive summary for the
“Sharing Common Ground” report you referred to in your opening
statements. I'll read a quick sentence here, to put some things into
context.
Part of the first page in the executive summary
says:We have heard many accounts of policing excellence, including stories of
RCMP members going above and beyond their normal duties. The purpose of the
Review is to improve the quality of policing services for all citizens in the
territory.
A bit further on, they recommend
the establishment of Yukon
Police Council, with a mandate to ensure that community needs and values are
reflected in territorial policing policies and practices....
Then they recommend a makeup of that kind of council. Is there
any appetite or effort right now in Yukon to have a separate police
council, or is the government currently satisfied with using the
current processes?
Mr. Thomas Ullyett: Thank you for that question, Mr. Leef.
Following the recommendation in the “Sharing Common Ground”
report that a police council be established, the government did move
forward to establish an independent police council. That council has
met on a number of occasions. It has done some public
consultations, all with a view to providing recommendations to the
Minister of Justice. Those recommendations have either just been
provided or are imminent to Minister Mike Nixon.
I can say, Mr. Leef, that I did attend one of the public sessions the
police council convened in early September at the Kwanlin Dün First
Nation Cultural Centre in Whitehorse, and I was quite amazed by the
number of groups and individuals who had come forward to speak to
the council.
Does that answer your question?
Mr. Ryan Leef: Yes, it does, absolutely.
In part of those meetings, now or in the future, will the public
there be made aware of any of the recommendations and changes in
Bill C-42, outside of the efforts that I make in the territory?
Mr. Thomas Ullyett: Most certainly they will, through a number
of mechanisms, most generally through the Yukon Department of
Justice website, where we have a specific number of pages. We also
have a specific site for the Yukon Police Council, and there is also
general advertising, both traditional and through social media.
● (1555)
Mr. Ryan Leef: I brought up several times in committee that a lot
of these things tend to shift their focus on the needs of the
community members, or at least the focus of conversation doesn't
always shift to the front-line members of the RCMP.
In these consultations, have you heard from front-line members of
the RCMP? Particularly during the police review, did you hear from
the front-line people who deliver policing services in the communities in the Yukon? If so, what were their comments?
Mr. Thomas Ullyett: During the policing review, one of the three
co-chairs was the commanding officer for M Division, Peter Clark.
Through that review, an incredible number of comments were
received from the general public, but it did not by any means
October 29, 2012
preclude the front-line members, as you say, of the RCMP. They
have had opportunity, and have exercised that opportunity, to
provide comment.
I expect that will continue in the future.
Mr. Ryan Leef: Great. Thank you very much for that.
Mr. Creasser—did I enunciate your name correctly, sir?
Mr. Rob Creasser: Yes, sir.
Mr. Ryan Leef: Thank you.
You mentioned in your statement the charter violations section.
Perhaps we can quickly go back to that aspect. Are you saying
there's a section in the act that is ordering statements on members
when there are Criminal Code violations conducted by members that
is superseding the fundamental rights of the Charter of Rights and
Freedoms?
Mr. Rob Creasser: I believe it's under section 7.
Chief Superintendent MacMillan noted in his thesis, when
referring to ordered statements, that even in code of conduct matters
that don't involve the Criminal Code per se, these statements can be
used in subsequent civil and other processes. That's obviously a
concern to us.
We understand the need to be accountable for one's actions. In
Chief Superintendent MacMillan's thesis, he looked at other police
departments, and he found that, to be honest, there wasn't the need
for these types of statements, and that they were able to effectively
investigate their members without the necessity of an ordered
statement.
Mr. Ryan Leef: Okay.
How much time do I have, Mr. Chair?
The Chair: You have about 30 seconds.
Mr. Ryan Leef: Thank you.
You had touched on that, and I just wanted to clarify it. I was
thinking that the charter would still apply in the Criminal Code
aspect of things, and I think you clarified a bit in terms of whether or
not those sections of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms would
actually apply.
You really did focus a lot on the negative aspects of what you see.
Is there anything positive that you see coming out of this legislation?
Mr. Rob Creasser: Absolutely.
I think you have to look at the RCMP front line as also being
stakeholders in this process. I think it's alarming that you have
24,000 people who are going to be clearly affected by this
legislation, but there was no consultation prior to getting to this
point. You have about 120 pages of legislation. It would have been
nice to have been in on the ground floor.
The Chair: Thank you. We'll leave it at that.
We'll go to Mr. Garrison, please, for seven minutes.
Mr. Randall Garrison (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, NDP):
Thank you to both of the witnesses for appearing today.
October 29, 2012
SECU-55
5
I want to start with a quick question to Mr. Ullyett regarding
policing in the Yukon.
you, or do anything they want, so you either have to testify or
ultimately you could face a decision of being fired.
Are there any RCMP who police in the Yukon who are not under
your contract? In other words, are there RCMP officers stationed
there who do federal policing responsibilities that are not under your
policing contract?
Mr. Thomas Ullyett: Yes, Mr. Garrison, that is certainly the case.
The great majority of police officers here are under the police
services agreement, but some are not.
Mr. Randall Garrison: You referred to your agreement with
Alberta to have civilian investigation of use-of-force incidents. Is
that agreement only for those who are covered under your contract,
or does that include all of the incidents that might take place in the
Yukon?
Mr. Thomas Ullyett: Just give me one moment, sir, to make sure
I have an accurate answer for you.
One of the problems with the grievance system we have is that, as
the RCMP, we can grieve anything. If I don't like anything, I can
grieve absolutely anything.
We believe the agreement with Alberta concerns all serious
incidents.
● (1600)
Mr. Randall Garrison: That's whether or not it was someone
policing under the contract or doing federal policing.
Mr. Thomas Ullyett: That's our understanding.
Mr. Randall Garrison: The question we asked other witnesses
who work at the national level was whether or not that provokes any
problems with federal policing across the country, but that's not
really a question I can pose to you. Thank you for clarifying that
point.
I'd like to turn to our other witnesses and say very much how we
appreciate your being here. We have had very little chance to hear
from rank-and-file RCMP members. I appreciate that it may not
always be the most comfortable position to come and testify before a
parliamentary committee, whether you're a retired member or a
serving member, so thank you very much.
I think it was a very clear presentation. Some of the things you
talked about are actually beyond the scope of the bill, unfortunately.
The questions of collective bargaining and the repeal of section 96
are, I think we've agreed at the committee, beyond the scope of this
bill for various reasons.
What we're trying to look for on our side are some improvements
to the bill. One of the things that others have expressed some
concern about is whether the streamlining of the disciplinary process
would allow time for dispute resolution or adequate appeals for the
members.
We agree that this whole process needs to be speeded up and
addressed and certain things designated that can or cannot be
grieved. The problem we have, as you stated, is outside the scope of
this bill. There is too much that isn't addressed or isn't under our
collective agreement that we can understand. As a member, I can say
I understand I can do this or that, and management can say they
understand they can do this or that.
One of the problems we have had historically is that we're
supposed to be governed by the Treasury Board, yet there is a caveat
in every part of the RCMP Act that allows the commanding officer or
the officer in charge to change that ruling simply because it makes
his business line much better or more effective, regardless of the fact
that we're supposed to be governed by Treasury Board. The way we
see it is that the bill, as it is now drafted, provides the commissioner
too much power. As Rob stated earlier, the commissioner has always
had the ability to fire people. That has never been an issue.
Mr. Randall Garrison: Would you think it would be a significant
improvement if the external review committee recommendations,
when the committee was dealing with disciplinary measures that
might involve dismissal or some other serious impact on a career,
were made binding on the commissioner?
Cpl Patrick Mehain: We're always seeking an independent,
binding resolution. Too often we hear the commissioner or senior
management or whoever is making that decision say it's nice that
you're giving me this recommendation, but I don't really necessarily
agree with it. If it's binding, absolutely. If it's binding, fair, and
independent.... Our fear is that it's going to be a binding
recommendation made by a group of officers or people who have
some sort of influence on the actual situation. That's the fear we
have.
Mr. Randall Garrison: But you would be happier if it were the
external review committee.
Cpl Patrick Mehain: Absolutely.
Mr. Randall Garrison: Okay.
What I was going to ask you about you have talked about already,
and that concerns the powers of the commissioner. When you raise
these charter questions, do you see those two things as related? In
other words, do you think it gives the commissioner too much power
to order those things that would violate rights? Are those two linked?
Could you say a little bit more about this streamlined process?
Corporal Patrick Mehain (President, British Columbia,
Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada): The issue
we see with Bill C-42 is that streamlining takes away from the due
process that all members should be entitled to with regard to a fair
hearing, etc.
Cpl Patrick Mehain: Absolutely. The charter allows due process
for the average citizen of the country, so simply because we wear the
red serge does not mean that we aren't entitled to that same process.
Whether it's an internal process or a criminal code process, that
doesn't mean we shouldn't have those same protections under the
charter.
The way we look at it is that the commissioner and his officers are
able to make decisions based on whether you provide a statement or
not. They could make a decision that could affect your career, fire
If you give a man supreme power to make absolute decisions
without due process, due consultation, you'll inevitably run into
situations in which that charter or those rights have been violated.
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SECU-55
October 29, 2012
Mr. Randall Garrison: You'll have to excuse me, but are these
new powers that you are saying do not exist at the present time?
● (1605)
against the charter for that officer to give information against
himself?
Cpl Patrick Mehain: The commissioner already has the power to
fire people, so this is expanding his power by removing a few
policies that are in place that make him go through certain steps to
ensure due process.
Mr. Rick Norlock: That is correct, but you're not referring to
information that he or she has gleaned from their investigation.
Mr. Randall Garrison: Right now there is not an ability to
compel statements, but if you don't give a statement, the
commissioner could still fire you.
Cpl Patrick Mehain: Yes, if you don't provide a statement the
commissioner can still find against you.
Mr. Randall Garrison: Yes, but right now he can't technically
compel a statement.
Cpl Patrick Mehain: It's not written in there that—
Mr. Randall Garrison: It's not in the law.
Can you say a bit more about the ex parte warrant? Is that about
search and seizure of evidence in a complaint or a disciplinary
charge against the member?
Cpl Patrick Mehain: That's correct.
The Chair: Time's up, but go ahead.
Cpl Patrick Mehain: In the bill the commissioner or the
investigator would have the power to go to court and say there's
evidence of something in this officer's house and they need to go in
and seize all his property, based on the RCMP Act internal
complaints process, whereas—unless you correct me—I do not
believe you can do that at present.
The Chair: All right. Thank you very much.
We'll come back to Mr. Norlock, please, for seven minutes.
Mr. Rick Norlock (Northumberland—Quinte West, CPC):
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Through you to the witnesses. Thank you for appearing today,
both by video conference and in person.
Having 20 years of police experience, I think I can relate to some
of the things you're saying.
With regard to the charter and making statements, under the police
act in some provinces, such as the Police Services Act in Ontario, as
a condition of your employment you keep a notebook. That
notebook is owned by the citizens of Ontario, not the individual
officers, and what you put in there is basically a work record. I think
it is necessary, therefore, to state that when we're sometimes talking
about an officer giving information against himself, 90% of the time
it's the information contained within the notebook, or the notes
relating to your investigation. That investigation is a matter of work
record.
You mention the charter. I always speak as if we're speaking to the
people at home who don't understand. In Ontario, of course, it's a
little bit of a different situation, so when you say charter rights, are
you referring to a police officer who has been charged with a
criminal code offence? Is that what you're referring to—that it's
Cpl Patrick Mehain: That is correct.
Cpl Patrick Mehain: No.
Mr. Rick Norlock: Okay, thank you very much.
I think it's important to make that distinction. Some people, such
as the average civilian who is not a police officer working within the
police community, wouldn't understand that.
To go back to Bill C-42, I am interested to know why you don't
believe that a timely resolution to problems or complaints wouldn't
be in the best interests of the officers themselves. This committee has
heard evidence from other witnesses....
Mr. Creasser, these questions are for Mr. Mehain, since he's a
serving member, but please feel free to kick in if necessary.
In your opening statement you said it has taken up to seven years.
Under proposed Bill C-42, many or most of these complaints would
be dealt with in a far more expedient manner. I'm interested to know
why you don't think that's a good thing.
Cpl Patrick Mehain: We do think that's a good thing. What we're
saying is that Bill C-42, the way we have read it, provides an avenue
for a speedier investigation against a member without that member
being able to defend himself.
The complaints that go on nowadays have gone on for the last 15
years. They have gone on since the inception of the RCMP. There is
a grievance process in place under which a member has 30 days to
file a grievance. They are then given set deadlines to respond.
Management has zero deadlines. The reason the grievance process
goes on and on isn't because of the membership: it is because
management is too busy, because they have everything else and this
is thrown at their lap, or they don't care or are somehow implicated
in the complaint.
Mr. Rick Norlock: The way I understand it, Bill C-42 also
encourages management—as a matter of fact, it legislates management—to make decisions in a timely manner. In what you referred to
that happened in the past against a member, the member may very
well be innocent. If it takes seven years, that member is living under
the weight of an accusation. In my experience, most or many of these
complaints or grievances, when investigated, usually come out to the
benefit of the officer.
Isn't it better to have a timely response? You say yes, it's timely,
but there is no demand on management to give a timely response.
My reading is that it legislates management to give that timely result.
You can elaborate somewhat on the answer because we have a
couple more questions, but isn't it better than what you have now? At
least it's moving in the right direction.
In other words, you may not have the full loaf of bread, but it's
better than what you have right now. Would that be correct?
October 29, 2012
SECU-55
7
● (1610)
Mr. Rob Creasser: I think, sir, you are correct, but only in terms
of the timeline. I think a speedy timeline is beneficial. Having been
under the weight of one of those complaints that dragged on and on
for years, I can tell you it does drag on you. I think the bill has
improvements in that resolution period, yes.
Mr. Rick Norlock: I would like to go back to some of the
testimony we heard from Ian McPhail, the current interim chair of
the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, who
recommended that since members of the commission are provided
immunity for exercising their duties and powers, those same
immunities should be extended to the chairperson.
You made the statement—and correct me if I misunderstood—that
the people representing RCMP on labour issues don't know much or
aren't aware of much. I don't mean to put words in your mouth and I
know you weren't trying to be disrespectful, but do you say they
don't know what's going on? I know you didn't mean it in those
terms.
Would you see having this immunity as beneficial to the chair of
the commission in his or her duties? In other words, as you have said
in some of your intercessions here, it would be so that they wouldn't
have undue pressure put on them.
Mr. Rob Creasser: I would agree with that. I would think the
chair should be immune.
Mr. Rick Norlock: Mr. Mehain, do you agree?
Cpl Patrick Mehain: I agree.
Mr. Rick Norlock: Thank you.
● (1615)
This question, once again, is more for people at home.
Canadians have asked for action in regard to the behaviours of a
few. I think it's important for everyone out there to know that it's
only a few of the thousands of RCMP, a few of the individuals
within the RCMP. Our government is trying to give Canadians that
assurance.
Do you not believe that it's a positive step to implement immediate
amendments to the discipline process as we perhaps work towards an
even better system in the future?
The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Norlock.
Go ahead, Mr. Creasser.
Mr. Rob Creasser: I think it's important that it does happen
quickly, but one of the disturbing issues for me is that up until this
point, the official representatives of labour relations in the RCMP
knew nothing. I can tell you that the members out there who are
educating themselves about the RCMP or this new bill are calling it
the Patriot Act for police. They're worried.
I think everybody would have been much more comfortable if the
members, the 24,000 employees of the RCMP, had been viewed as
stakeholders in this process. Having worked alongside some of those
people who have been in the media for all the wrong reasons, I am
very vested in making sure they don't work alongside me.
The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Creasser.
We'll now move to Mr. Scarpaleggia, please, for seven minutes.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia (Lac-Saint-Louis, Lib.): Thank you,
Chair.
Mr. Creasser, this has been a very interesting presentation, because
you've made it very concrete. Up until now we've had a lot of talk
about organization charts and process, and this really makes it real in
many ways.
Mr. Rob Creasser: Simply to clarify, sir, they may well be aware
of the bill, but that certainly has not been communicated to the
24,000 employees. They may well be aware of what's taking place,
but communication about this bill has not been transmitted to the
front-line membership.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: Do you feel that if you had a veritable
union, in the strict sense, this problem would not occur? I mean if
you were unionized in the strict sense.
Mr. Rob Creasser: I think there would be more engagement from
our members, yes.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: I agree with Mr. Norlock. There are
problems within the RCMP, but we don't want to tar the vast
majority of superb officers with the same brush. That's not what I'm
trying to do, but we know there are problems, and you mentioned the
fact that there are problems in the current culture.
I'm not quite sure I understood what you feel are the root causes of
those problems, of that imperfect culture. Some people have told us
that if we have a culture in the RCMP of letting things go by, it's
because the arbitration processes are too long. The minority of
members who have done something wrong feel this will go on for
years and there's not going to be any sanction, really, and this sends a
message to everybody else in the organization that complaints may
not amount to much or be taken seriously for a long time.
You're saying these processes that we have today are due
process—you call them due process—and maybe they have to be
strengthened. I'm only trying to understand what you feel the reasons
are for the current situation inside the force.
Mr. Rob Creasser: First and foremost, most of the high media
profile issues that we're focusing on as matters that have obviously
caused concern to the public and for us deal with the front line.
I have to tell you, sir, that probably a couple of the worst days that
I experienced in my service occurred when I was in the public
accounts committee room when former commissioner Zaccardelli
and current Deputy Commissioner Barbara George testified before
that committee. I have never been more ashamed to be a member of
the RCMP than I was in those two days.
Commissioner Zaccardelli lied to the committee. Deputy
Commissioner George gave such misleading testimony that I'm sure
if she had been in front of a provincial court judge, she would have
been found in contempt. As it was, she was found in contempt of
Parliament.
8
SECU-55
So the issues are not only the ones that make the newspapers.
Also, to address your issue about culture, in Chief Superintendent
MacMillan's thesis, he said the following:
Although police are frequently considered to be a homogenous occupational
group with the same interests at all levels, this thesis shows this is not the case.
Due to history, tradition and rank structure, the RCMP is a perfect example of two
cultures operating within a single police structure.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: So there is one culture that is
appropriate and good, and there is another that is, I suppose, harming
the force. Is that what you're saying when you say there are two
cultures?
Mr. Rob Creasser: Well, the cultural difference I was referring to,
sir, was the management executive versus the front-line operations.
October 29, 2012
We'll now move to the second round of questioning. These are
five-minute rounds.
Madame Doré Lefebvre is first.
[Translation]
Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre (Alfred-Pellan, NDP): Thank you
kindly, Mr. Chair.
I want to start by thanking the witnesses for joining us today, both
in person and from Whitehorse, up north.
If you don't mind, my questions will be for the gentlemen who are
sitting around the table today, Mr. Creasser and Mr. Mehain.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: Right.
How did the executive culture become so negative, from your
point of view? How did that happen?
Mr. Rob Creasser: To be honest, they've never been held to
account, not to the same level. There is a saying within the
organization that the further you move up in the rank structure, the
less accountable you are for your actions. I firmly hold to that belief.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: But if the minister has the power to
dismiss the commissioner—
Mr. Rob Creasser: Does he?
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: Well, we were talking about how the
commissioner serves at the pleasure of the government, so he or she
has the power to dismiss, I would think. However, that's something
you disagree with, because you feel that compounds the problem in
some way, so I'm not clear on what the answer is.
You say that a committee of Parliament should do the hiring of the
commissioner for a fixed term, but as a practical matter, if you have a
majority government, the government is going to be a majority on
the committee. It's simply an extension, in many ways, of the will of
the government, so it's not clear to me where the answer lies from
your point of view.
● (1620)
Mr. Rob Creasser: The view of the association would be that you
keep government out of it. If you're going to hire a leader, you create
a board made up of, say, police chiefs from across Canada. You
shortlist a bunch of candidates and come up with the best candidate,
and you keep Parliament out of it.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: I think that is the way it works in
municipal forces.
Mr. Rob Creasser: Yes.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: That's fine, Mr. Chair. Thank you.
The Chair: You still have time for an answer if you want to
elaborate.
Mr. Rob Creasser: Well, he's correct. It does work that way in
other....
I'm concerned, and our membership is concerned, about politics
interfering with our organization at the highest levels.
The Chair: Thank you.
Bill C-42 supposedly tackles sexual and psychological harassment, or workplace harassment in general, within the RCMP. Will it
really change anything in terms of the sexual and psychological
harassment that goes on?
[English]
Cpl Patrick Mehain: We haven't seen any change since
Commissioner Paulson came in and said he was going to get rid
of the dark-hearted people. It continues today.
The commissioner sent an email to Staff Sergeant Chad out in
British Columbia because he responded to a video message the
commissioner sent out to the RCMP talking about his concerns
related to the force. Staff Sergeant Chad responded, and the
commissioner took it upon himself to belittle him in an email, telling
him he was doing a disservice to him and asking how he dared to
talk to the commissioner in that manner.
If that isn't rank with intention of harassment in asking exactly
who he is in talking to the commissioner, I don't know.
It starts at the top. The commissioner hasn't done anything yet,
and it may be because he doesn't have the power and the processes in
place. That really doesn't help the situation, but there has been no
serious change in regard to what's going on.
Several complaints have gone ahead; it's all been window
dressing, saying how they're going to deal with it, yet nothing has
been done. It still goes on. There are still multiple complaints
coming forward.
[Translation]
Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre: Even if Bill C-42 were to give the
commissioner more power, it would not change the facts or
necessarily prevent harassment within the RCMP?
[English]
Cpl Patrick Mehain: It may, but part of the problem is that it's
management, whether that's a non-commissioned officer, a corporal
of my rank, or all the way up to the commissioner. We're generally
the ones who are conducting the harassment, because you're the
supervisors.
October 29, 2012
SECU-55
There is a big fear among the membership to say anything against
their bosses for fear of being classified as a troublemaker, a problem
child, or whatever. Those managers, whether they're corporals,
sergeants, staff sergeants, officers, or whatever, continue to harass
through giving them negative duties to do, or assignments they don't
really want to do, or making belittling comments, or going over their
work with a fine tooth comb, simply making it generally
troublesome for them coming to work. It happens today. It's still
going on. Members have told me, prior to my coming here, that they
won't be complaining; there is no point in complaining, because
nothing is ever done.
With regard to Bill C-42, if members aren't allowed to speak or
aren't allowed to blow the whistle, nobody is going to be talking, so
while you've effectively muzzled the RCMP and got rid of the
problem by shutting us all up, it doesn't take away the difficulties.
[Translation]
Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre: I understand.
When you read Bill C-42, you see that it gives the commissioner
the flexibility to go back on decisions made by the review committee
further to its recommendations. That is already the case. In my view,
that is what happens most of the time. One witness told us that more
than half the cases were reviewed by the commissioner after the
recommendations had been made.
Do you think a measure like this will help change the culture
internally? A number of members have told us that a cultural change
on the inside is necessary. Will Bill C-42 and its measures help bring
about that cultural change within the RCMP?
● (1625)
[English]
Cpl Patrick Mehain: I guess time will tell.
As you said, the commissioner already has the ability to review
and agree or disagree with the external review committee. Honestly,
I don't know. I'm hopeful.
We would like the bill in place to modernize the RCMP Act, but
we have concerns with certain aspects of it. Our concern is that it
gives management, specifically the commissioner, much too much
power. He has to have his power reduced, in our opinion, as opposed
to increased.
[Translation]
Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre: Briefly, I want to come back to
sexual harassment cases. Unfortunately, there have been many in the
RCMP. It's a shame to see. I know that in other police forces, things
proceed more quickly and sexual harassment cases are largely
prevented. That isn't the case with the RCMP.
Do you have any comments on that or solutions you can suggest?
[English]
Cpl Patrick Mehain: The investigations are still ongoing. Every
time something has come forward, a sexual harassment complaint or
a harassment complaint, it is taken fairly seriously. That is my
perception of the situation.
You know, investigations need to be investigated. One of the
problems has been that members have not come forward with those
9
harassment complaints or sexual harassment complaints because
they felt it was pointless, nothing was going to happen, and the
member perpetrating the harassment wouldn't be dealt with fairly or
properly, so why would they put their career at risk?
The Chair: Thank you very much.
Before we go to the next question, I have one question that I
would like to put.
Earlier you were talking about the ordered statement. Your
concern was that you felt that the ordered statement could be used
against you in a further civil or criminal code charge. However, the
act already says that you're compelled to give a statement but that the
statement can't be used against you. That's what the RCMP Act says
now.
How do you believe that this bill changes that? I can't see any
change in Bill C-42 that would change that. In the old act it says
you're compelled to give a statement but that the statement, under no
circumstance, can be used against you in a criminal charge or civil
suit.
Cpl Patrick Mehain: It is. It is on a regular basis. Regardless of
what that says, it's used on a regular basis against the member, no
matter what the legislation says. Regularly, we're investigated.
The Chair: You're basically saying that this isn't something that
changes with Bill C-42.
Cpl Patrick Mehain: No, and that's something that needs to be
addressed. There has to be something that will hold the RCMP
accountable, to say this isn't going to happen any more.
The Chair: Okay, thank you.
Go ahead, Mr. Hiebert, please.
Mr. Russ Hiebert (South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale,
CPC): Thank you, Mr. Chair, for taking the question right out of my
notes. I appreciate you jumping in and opening the door for this,
because I have a similar question.
You made the statement that it's unfair or unwise or unconstitutional for a member to self-incriminate. I'm trying to put my mind to
the situation in which, let's say, a serious action has taken place. If
somebody's been part of a criminal activity and wasn't in the RCMP,
that person would be asked to make a statement, or they would hire a
lawyer, but in this case, how do you get to the bottom of the
complaint if the person involved is not put in a position of having to
respond?
Cpl Patrick Mehain: We've always had to provide an account of
our actions. What this is saying is that you must provide a statement
now. It says you will sit down with me, I'm going to interview you,
and you're going to provide that statement.
An account of my action is, “ I got on duty; I went to the scene;
this is what happened; here are all my notes; here's my report, and
this is my action. If you have some more questions, here's my
lawyer, we'll answer those questions for you”, and there you go.
You're right that they're the same protections a citizen has. If you
commit a murder, I will ask you questions, but you have that right
not to talk and you have a right to speak to a lawyer, and if you can't
afford a lawyer, a lawyer will be paid for.
10
SECU-55
As we've seen in the RCMP, the commissioner will review every
time you're under investigation and he may withdraw that support.
He may withdraw that legal funding for your lawyer to protect you
under certain self-incriminating investigations.
Mr. Russ Hiebert: So you're distinguishing between an account
and a statement?
Cpl Patrick Mehain: That's correct, yes.
Mr. Russ Hiebert: An account is your activities, but how was the
statement different again?
Cpl Patrick Mehain: If you ask me to come in for a statement,
we'll sit down, and you will say, “Okay, tell me what happened”, and
I'll give you my account of the story. Then you will start
interviewing me on what you may consider are inconsistencies or
ask other questions you want me to further explain.
● (1630)
Mr. Russ Hiebert: It’s like a cross-examination.
Cpl Patrick Mehain: Exactly, yes.
Mr. Russ Hiebert: You don't have a problem giving information
from your book, as my colleague has suggested; it's this additional
investigation that poses questions to you without your having
counsel that you're concerned about.
Cpl Patrick Mehain: That's correct, absolutely. We should all
have to account for it. We've said that all my notebooks aren't mine;
my notebooks belong to the RCMP, and they're kept for 100 years.
The Chair: Thank you.
I apologize, Mr. Hiebert, but our time is up on this. We have to go
in to our next hour and the next round. When I pose a question in a
case like that, it's a question that our table has. In order to prepare the
study, sometimes I'll jump in, and it will be from the table.
To both witnesses today, from Whitehorse and here, we very much
appreciate your input to our discussion and debate and consideration
of this bill. We thank you.
After you leave here, if you think you wish you had answered a
question in a different way or that you would have expanded on it if
you had more time, please feel free to submit those to our clerk. He'll
be certain that we get those extended answers. We'd appreciate it.
We thank you, folks. We're going to suspend. We invite our next
guests by video conference to prepare.
Thank you.
● (1630)
(Pause)
● (1635)
The Chair: I call this meeting back to order.
In our second hour, we have a panel of witnesses today as we
continue our consideration of Bill C-42.
We’ll hear from the Quebec Mounted Police Members' Association. Gaétan Delisle is the association's president, Staff Sergeant
André Girard is the treasurer, and Mr. James Duggan is the
association's legal adviser.
We also have Tom Stamatakis from Vancouver, the president of
the Canadian Police Association, ready to testify. Also to testify by
October 29, 2012
video conference, we have Alok Mukherjee from Toronto, the
president of the Canadian Association of Police Boards.
We welcome each of you.
We will begin with the Quebec Mounted Police Members'
Association. Please give us your prepared statements. Then we'll
move on to statements from others and then to a round of
questioning.
Monsieur Delisle, go ahead.
[Translation]
Staff Sergeant Gaétan Delisle (President, Quebec Mounted
Police Members' Association): Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I retired from the RCMP 3 years ago. I was a staff sergeant at the
time. I spent 40 years with the RCMP, 33 of them as a division staff
representative, meaning I represented members internally. Initially,
you heard from Mr. Townsend. I did the same type of work he did. I
spent 33 years representing RCMP members. I think I am wellplaced to describe what happens in harassment cases, disciplinary
measures and so forth.
However, I would like to point out that the current version of the
RCMP Act was initiated in 1976, in response to the famous
Marin report, put out by the commission headed by
Justice René Marin. I hope you have a look at the report and the
200 or so recommendations it made. Two of the main recommendations called for the independence of both the external review
committee for public complaints and the external review committee
for RCMP member grievances. The report recommended not only
that they be independent, but also that their decisions be binding. It
took 10 years for that recommendation to become law. It did not
happen until 1988. So a tremendous amount of work went into that
component.
In addition, two years ago, Bill C-43 was introduced in the House
of Commons. My colleague will cite a few passages from it later.
That said, since the legislation was passed, this is where things stand.
One of the things I want to draw your attention to is the fact that
multiple reports have been prepared: the Brown report, the
Université de Montréal report and the submissions pertaining to
the task force. I have them all here so you can look at them. You will
see precisely what the RCMP's problems are as regards harassment,
intimidation and the inability of senior management to show
accountability in this area. I say “show accountability” because all
this time, these people have not been held accountable to anyone, as
my colleague pointed out.
That is why, as parliamentarians, you always have this ambiguity
on your hands, in terms of how to handle a large organization like
the RCMP. They are not formally accountable to anyone.
October 29, 2012
SECU-55
For comparison purposes, a police chief is accountable to a board.
So a group of individuals review his or her decisions. Those
decisions are made independently. As you can see, the brief we
provided to the committee was prepared with organization and
concision in mind. We wanted you to understand exactly what we
mean.
I will give you an example of the kind of decision made regarding
grievances filed by members. Decision TG-192—which I will leave
with you—says this:
● (1640)
[English]
This grievance also challenged a Force decision not to uphold a member's
complaint of harassment.
[Translation]
That's just one example of a decision, but you'll see there are
many.
The decision rendered reads as follows:
[English]
The Commissioner disagreed with the Committee's finding of harassment with
respect to the first incident and denied the grievance.
[Translation]
That has always been the case at the RCMP because the
committees aren't independent in their ability to make a decision.
That's what happens when you leave the decision to a person in a
position of authority. That is how things work at the RCMP now, and
this bill won't change a thing. You'll see the same kinds of situations
triggering all the investigations that have taken place and that will
continue into the future.
[English]
The Chair: You're at about cinq minutes. You have 10 minutes for
the whole group.
[Translation]
S/Sgt Gaétan Delisle: I think they're going to let me speak.
Let's not delude ourselves here. The point of Bill C-42 is to give
the commissioner of the RCMP more power. But, as you can see
from our brief, he already has all that power. Conversely, if we had
independent labour relations tribunals or other specialized tribunals,
you would see a major change in labour relations.
The committee has heard from division staff representatives such
as Mr. Townsend. They told you first-hand that they were
responsible for labour relations and represented all the members of
the RCMP. And yet, all of them told you that they weren't consulted
on Bill C-42. Imagine what kinds of work relationships occur in an
organization that has 17,000 officers across Canada. Don't kid
yourselves. These individuals don't represent members because they
are paid. These people work for the organization and are promoted
from within. I know, I used to be one of them.
But you won't see regular members coming here to testify. In fact,
I tip my hat to my colleagues who have already appeared before you.
The reason is quite simple. My colleague, André Girard, who was
also a division staff representative, and I have both been the targets
of harassment complaints. My colleague wasn't even able to
11
represent himself. Mr. Girard had sent a letter to the solicitor
general expressing his views on certain practices within the RCMP.
Don't kid yourselves. It has to be done.
Do I still have a minute or two?
[English]
The Chair: You have three minutes.
[Translation]
S/Sgt Gaétan Delisle: Mr. Girard will take over.
Staff Sergeant André Girard (Treasurer, Quebec Mounted
Police Members' Association): Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Distinguished members, we cannot thank you enough for the
opportunity to address you today. I am going to speak rather quickly
since we're short on time.
As my colleague mentioned earlier, I retired from the RCMP in
early June 2011. I served the force for 35 years, retiring at the staff
sergeant level. I spent over 30 years, 20 of them immediately prior to
my retirement, as a division staff representative, and I was elected a
total of eight times, almost consecutively.
I want to bring up an issue that has caused me some confusion.
Bill C-42 stems from Bill C-43, which made its way to second
reading on December 13, 2010. That bill was called An Act to Enact
the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Labour Relations Modernization Act and to Amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act and
to Make Consequential Amendments to Other Acts.
The bill was sponsored by a key Conservative minister,
Stockwell Day. Mainly, the bill sought to establish an entire labour
relations regime where an independent arbitration system would be
governed by the Public Service Labour Relations Act.
When introducing the bill in the House, Minister Day referenced
an Ontario court ruling. He said and I quote:
It is an act that would meet the demand of the court and say that certain provisions
would have to be followed, certain constitutional guarantees of representation by
members would be put in place, but it would leave that choice to RCMP members.
That is the nub of the issue. Those are the minister's very own words.
He went on to say:
There are a number of grievance- and disciplinary-related areas in th[is] particular
modernization that would assist the public and assist RCMP members.
Finally, he said:
I believe there is some support for having this legislation in place pending a final
ruling [because, at the time, the matter was before the Court of Appeal for Ontario] so
that whatever happens, the members of the RCMP, the men and women who have
committed their lives to keeping us safe, to serving us as admirably as they do, will
have the assurance that a mechanism will be in place that will not leave their
concerns unattended whichever way the final ruling in court goes....I would invite
careful analysis of this particular modernization act. I hope that we will find support
for it. This is being done in a non-partisan way....
Thank you.
● (1645)
[English]
The Chair: Thank you very much.
You came in 10 seconds under the wire. That was very well done.
12
SECU-55
We'll move out to Vancouver, please, to Mr. Stamatakis and the
Canadian Police Association.
Mr. Tom Stamatakis (President, Canadian Police Association):
Mr. Chair and members of the committee, thank you for providing
the opportunity to address you today regarding Bill C-42, the
Enhancing Royal Canadian Mounted Police Accountability Act.
I'm speaking today on behalf of the Canadian Police Association,
an organization that represents over 50,000 front-line law enforcement personnel across Canada in over 160 member associations,
including some members of the RCMP.
I have just a few brief opening remarks, and then I'd be happy to
answer any questions you might have.
I'd like to begin my remarks by saying that as police officers,
whether within the RCMP, a provincial police force, or a municipal
police force, having the confidence of the public we serve is of
paramount importance. While there's no doubt that recent events
have put our colleagues within the RCMP under the microscope, we
cannot emphasize enough that the men and women who make up
Canada's national police force are, by and large, a credit to our
country and the communities they represent.
Bill C-42contains a number of positive elements. However, there
are some areas of this proposed legislation that cause concern, and
I'd like to take this opportunity to briefly highlight those, particularly
from the perspective of a front-line police officer.
The first area I'll touch on is that there is no doubt that
streamlining the discipline and grievance process for RCMP
members is a desirable goal. Bill C-42provides the commissioner
with extraordinary powers in this regard, powers that go beyond
what one might find in other police services across Canada.
For example, in Ontario, a police officer who is subject to a
disciplinary process retains the right to appeal the decision to the
independent Ontario Civilian Police Commission, a quasi-judicial
body that provides an impartial review of the process and ultimately
a decision.
Without any additional, and most importantly, independent avenue
for appeal, I would suggest there is a possibility that RCMP
members could lose faith in the impartiality of a process against
them, particularly in situations in which the commissioner has
delegated his authority for discipline.
Clause 40 of Bill C-42 is another area of serious concern, as it
deals with investigations when an RCMP member has contravened
the code of conduct within the force. First, the legislation specifies
that an officer can be compelled to testify against herself or himself.
Second, the legislation sets out the conditions under which a warrant
can be issued under the RCMP Act to potentially search the
residence of an RCMP member, under the direction of the
commissioner of the RCMP or another officer who has been
delegated that authority. That's particularly troubling when we're
dealing with largely an administrative process designed to deal with
conduct issues that arise through the RCMP officer's employment.
Unfortunately, both of these provisions, while hopefully wellintentioned, are seemingly violations of the basic Charter of Rights
and Freedoms that all Canadian citizens enjoy and that should not be
October 29, 2012
ignored simply because someone is a member of the RCMP. In fact,
I can only imagine the public outcry that would follow should our
front-line officers conduct their own criminal investigations under
provisions similar to those included within Bill C-42.
A final area that I'd like to highlight comes out of the testimony
this committee has heard regarding avenues of redress that RCMP
members might be able to take following a ruling that calls for the
dismissal of an officer.
Officials from the Department of Public Safety, including Mr.
Richard Wex and Mr. Mark Potter, pointed out that judicial review
was always available for an officer who wished to appeal a
commissioner's ruling under the new provisions of this legislation.
Unfortunately, this runs up against a long-standing issue that the
Canadian Police Association has been trying to address, which is
that the RCMP remains the only police service in Canada that
continues to be denied the right to associate.
There's no doubt that judicial review is an important aspect, but, as
this committee knows, taking a case through the court process is not
without cost, and without an association to represent the member or
to help defray the cost, this avenue may be beyond the means of an
officer who has just recently lost employment based on a discipline
judgment in what most often will be largely an administrative
process.
● (1650)
Obviously this is only a brief overview of the concerns that the
Canadian Police Association has on this legislation. I'd be happy to
expand on or clarify any of these areas for the benefit of committee
members during our question and answer period, or on any other
areas I might be able to assist members with before you begin your
substantive deliberations on this legislation.
To conclude, there's no doubt that our colleagues within the
RCMP face unprecedented challenges, but there needs to be a sense
of balance. We cannot take steps to restore or enhance the public's
confidence with the RCMP at the expense of weakening RCMP
members' own confidence with their employer. There is room for
management and front-line officers to come together, as evidenced
by the collective agreements arrived at with provincial and municipal
police forces across Canada. I hope this committee is able to amend
Bill C-42 at this stage in order to best find that balance that allows
the RCMP to continue its role as Canada's national police service.
Thank you for your time, and I'd be happy to answer any
questions.
The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. Stamatakis.
We'll now move over to Mr. Mukherjee, please. He's the president
of the Canadian Association of Police Boards.
I'd also say before we begin that in one of those rooms there seems
to be a fair bit of background noise that makes it a little difficult to
hear as clearly as we would like. If you can straighten that out on
your end, it would be appreciated.
Please go ahead, Mr. Mukherjee.
October 29, 2012
SECU-55
Dr. Alok Mukherjee (President, Canadian Association of
Police Boards): Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Members of the committee, thank you for giving us an
opportunity to offer our comments on this legislation that is very
important to our organization, as it is to you and to the government.
The police boards and commissions that make up our members are
responsible for the governance and oversight of more than 75% of
the municipal police in Canada. They manage the police services of
their municipalities, set priorities, establish policy, and represent the
public interest to civilian governance and oversight. It is from this
perspective of governance and oversight that we generally welcome
Bill C-42.
It was over five years ago that we were consulted, and I was one
of them, by officials of the Department of Public Safety regarding
issues of governance and oversight for the RCMP. We believe that
Bill C-42 is a good step forward in enhancing accountability,
modernizing the force's human resources practices, and strengthening civilian oversight. It is to be hoped that these measures will
increase public trust in the RCMP, which, as Minister Toews and
others have noted, has suffered of late.
To this end, we applaud the objectives stated in the preamble to
the proposed legislation.
Rather than dealing with any specific element of the bill, I wish to
comment generally on some of the proposals with respect to
governance and oversight in terms of the implications of certain
provisions.
Our interest in effective governance and oversight of the RCMP is
twofold. First, insofar as the RCMP provides contract policing to
local communities, we believe that it should have a system of
governance similar to that for municipal police services. Second,
insofar as RCMP engages in joint operations and integrated policing
with our municipal police services, we believe that it should be
subject to effective oversight similar to that which exists for its
municipal counterparts.
Local governance in jurisdictions where the RCMP provides
contract policing is an important issue for us, as it should be for the
force and the government. About 65% of the RCMP's budget, we are
told, comes from contract policing. Further, in addition to providing
policing services to provinces and territories, the RCMP serves more
than 200 municipalities and 165 aboriginal communities across
Canada.
The proposed legislation does attempt to address some local
concerns. While beneficial, they are not measures that enhance local
governance in contract policing jurisdictions. We would urge you to
give consideration to this area in your deliberations. A report on
RCMP municipal contract policing prepared for the Federation of
Canadian Municipalities in 2009 makes the following observation:
A number of characteristics are generally accepted as essential to good
governance; these include being accountable, transparent, responsive, effective
and efficient, equitable and inclusive. Most respondents had concerns with
governance in RCMP municipal policing on these fronts.
Accountability to the community is perceived by many municipalities to be a
lower priority within the RCMP than accountability to RCMP headquarters.
13
Attention to governance generally, and not only to local
governance, is largely absent from Bill C-42. We—that is, the
CAPB—submit that strong governance would greatly enhance the
RCMP's accountability and transparency. This is, for us, a matter of
great importance, particularly given the increased powers proposed
to be vested in the commissioner by Bill C-42. It is one that we have
discussed extensively during our consultation with public safety
officials.
● (1655)
We submitted a letter to your committee dated October 18 that
deals with this subject at some length, so I will not say much more
about it other than that in our respectful submission, adopting a
modern, effective governance system for the RCMP will build
confidence by ensuring greater accountability to elected officials,
taxpayers, and most importantly, the communities served by the
RCMP.
I would now like to talk about effective oversight as distinct from
governance, particularly from the point of view of communities that
do not have contract policing but whose police services are
nonetheless involved in joint operations and integrated policing
with the RCMP.
The current situation is unacceptable, as I discovered in my role as
chair of the Toronto Police Services Board during the G20 summit in
Toronto. While the police service that we oversee—that is, the
Toronto Police Service—was held accountable by a system of
provincial and local oversight, the RCMP was not subject to
anything that came close for its role in this highly sensitive
integrated policing project with significant national security
implications.
The current oversight mechanism, the CPC, as has been noted by
several witnesses appearing before you, is woefully inadequate. I
believe that the provisions in Bill C-42 will go a long way in filling
this gap. We are heartened by the fact that the proposed CRCC will
have the power to undertake reviews of the RCMP's policies and
procedures, have access to more documents than is the case at
present, be able to compel evidence, and deal more expeditiously
with public complaints.
We are also very supportive of the ability of provincial ministers
responsible for policing to initiate investigations and of provincial
oversight agencies to undertake independent and joint investigations.
These are good measures and should contribute to greater public
confidence.
14
SECU-55
October 29, 2012
We do, however, share the concerns that have been expressed
already about some of the other provisions of the bill. We fear that
they could undermine true, effective oversight. In particular, we
would urge you to review the justification for the limits on what
documents the CRCC may not have access to, the ability of the
commissioner to cause an investigation to be suspended because of
the possibility of a criminal investigation, the ability of the
commissioner to refuse to investigate a complaint that in the CRCC
chair's view it would be in the public interest to investigate, the
absence of service standards requiring the force to take timely action
when such standards are envisaged for the commission, and the lack
of what interim CPC chair Ian McPhail in his comments to you
called “a robust review regime”.
when almost any other employee would face the same questioning
by an employer.
We share Staff Sergeant Abe Townsend's concern regarding the
concentration of that much power in one office, on the one hand, and
the inability of the commission on the other to make compelling
recommendations. Those are Staff Sergeant Townsend's words.
I think that we would all agree with you that where the public
interest is involved, a balance has to occur, and that the balance has
to reflect some of the concerns expressed by several of the witnesses
here, including Mr. Mukherjee, the witness for the CPA, and Mr.
Townsend, as well as in the question from Mr. Scarpaleggia.
Finally, we take issue with Director General Mark Potter's
characterization of handling of public complaints as CRCC's core
business and with Bill C-42's subjecting of reviews to availability of
resources, among other considerations. Unless these imbalances are
fixed, we are afraid that despite all the enhanced powers given to the
new commission, it will be seen to exist on the sufferance of the very
institution and the very head that it is supposed to oversee. We do not
think that this will contribute to achieving the objective that Bill
C-42 seeks, namely greater public trust through greater accountability.
I'll be glad to answer any questions, and thank you very much.
● (1700)
The Chair: Thank you all for your testimony.
We'll move into our first round of questions. We're going to cut it
back a little bit to about six minutes. Everyone will have the
opportunity to ask a question.
Go ahead, Mr. Hiebert, please.
Mr. Russ Hiebert: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
In the previous round of testimony we heard the witnesses and
some of the questioners ask about the use of statements, and in my
last and only question it was in reference to criminal investigations. I
would like to bring it back to the area of code of conduct
investigations.
The statement was made that it was improper to compel a member
to provide a statement in that scenario as well. I would like to hear
from everyone on the rationale behind that, because my understanding in looking at the code of conduct content is that this is the
kind of information or disclosure that would be necessary to address
a public concern, which is what we're trying to do here.
We're talking about rude or disrespectful behaviour, making a
false statement, or misusing alcohol or drugs. This is the kind of
behaviour that any employee would be held accountable for in any
employment setting. I'm wondering why a police officer engaged in
this kind of activity should not be compelled to provide a statement
and answer questions as to why they were engaged in this behaviour
The Chair: Thanks, Mr. Hiebert.
Go ahead, Mr. Duggan.
Mr. James Duggan (Legal Advisor, Quebec Mounted Police
Members' Association): I would have to take issue with you, Mr.
Hiebert. Almost all employees, including the employees who work
in the public service, have a right against self-incrimination and are
not obliged to provide a statement that could result in their being
disciplined or being dismissed.
What you have as a difficult task here is to balance the rights of
the members of the RCMP against being subject to absolute and
arbitrary power by a commissioner who is in fact judge, jury, and
executioner while at the same time balancing the public interest in
making sure of the institution.
The RCMP was a great pride to our country and has fallen into
disrepute because of the actions of a few members, so you don't want
to throw the baby out with the bathwater. That's what you're going to
be doing if you give more power to somebody who already has
absolute power. To me your question about forcing members of the
RCMP to give up all of their rights and incriminate themselves in
that context, with great respect, betrays an ignorance over how the
system actually works. Section 5 of the RCMP Act says that the
commissioner has absolute authority and power over members of the
RCMP. Can you tell me why somebody in that position needs more
power?
● (1705)
The Chair: Perhaps we would hear from some of the others as
well. Only two minutes are left.
Let's go to Mr. Stamatakis.
Mr. Tom Stamatakis: One concern is that there doesn't appear to
be any distinction between the types of examples of conduct or
misconduct that Mr. Hiebert is referring to versus allegations of
criminal misconduct. That's one big concern.
The other thing is that in other provincial statutory regimes that
exist to deal with police misconduct, there is an obligation to provide
a statement. I would tend to agree that typically in an employeeemployer situation, employees are obligated to account. In those
provincial statues that have been established to deal with
misconduct, there are also protections for the officers so that when
those statements are provided in response to a complaint around
rudeness or what would typically be viewed as minor or less serious
misconduct, there are protections so that those statements can't be
used in some other form. Bill C-42 doesn't appear to contain any of
those similar kinds of protections.
October 29, 2012
SECU-55
15
We have to recognize that when you are dealing with police
officers, it's not just going to be an investigation into misconduct
within the context of a police act or within the context of the Royal
Canadian Mounted Police Act; there typically will be a civil suit.
There will probably be some kind of a coroner's inquest. There may
be a public inquiry. There may also be a criminal investigation.
Dr. Alok Mukherjee: I think those are the—[Technical Difficulty
—Editor]
That's where you have to find the balance. You have to create the
mechanism for an employer, whether it's the RCMP or some other
municipal or provincial police force, to be able to get the information
they need and to be able to respond to the public, but while doing
that, provide some protection so that information can't then later be
used in some other process that puts the police officer in a significant
amount of jeopardy, and even the organization in some jeopardy,
with respect to civil litigation or other risk management issues.
The Chair: Thank you very much. We're out of time on that
question. I will take note here that Mr. Mukherjee didn't get the
opportunity to answer that question. I'll certainly give him time on
the next round.
I can give you an example. In Toronto recently, relating to the G20, the Ontario Independent Police Review Director decided to
undertake a systemic review even as he was dealing with individual
complaints. At the same time there were a couple of other reviews
going on, such as by the Ombudsman of Ontario and by the Toronto
Police Services Board, through an independent reviewer. What we
found was that each of these reviews brought out different pieces of
information. They did not conflict with one another and they
produced a very rich array of findings that was very beneficial. I
don't think there should be restrictions.
Mr. Garrison is next.
Mr. Randall Garrison: Thank you very much again to all of you
who are appearing here today in person or by teleconference. We do
appreciate your testimony and we think it has been very interesting
and important. We would have like to have had more time, but the
vagaries of scheduling and certain limits imposed by the government
have meant that we have less time than we would have liked.
Mr. Stamatakis, when you talk about the ordered statements and
the question of warrants for seizure of evidence, are you asking us
today simply to delete that section from this bill? Would that be the
solution?
● (1710)
Mr. Tom Stamatakis: In my view, yes, that would be the
solution.
Again, there has to be some distinction between the types of
conduct issues you are looking at. I can't think of any other example
in any kind of statutory regime or oversight process that is designed
to deal with issues that arise from employment in any other sector or
within any profession in which there is this wide authority to search.
Most police officers—and the public—generally would expect that if
there's an allegation of criminal misconduct, the investigating body
would enter into a criminal investigation. Then they would have all
the provisions that are available to them through that process to
search where appropriate.
When we are dealing with an administrative process looking at
issues related to employment, I can't think of a time when it would
be appropriate for a person's home to be searched to obtain
documents that are typically widely available in the workplace in
any event. That would be our submission, yes.
Mr. Randall Garrison: Okay.
Dr. Mukherjee, I would like to ask you about your comments on
subjecting the ability of the commission to do independent reviews
to limitations. The bill raises the question of resources. It also says it
would be prohibited if an incident was being investigated by any
other government entity. Should these two limitations be reviewed or
removed from the act to make it more independent?
It is important for the commission to be able to identify a pattern
and then initiate an investigation. I don't think those reviews should
be subject to availability of resources or other investigations.
The other concern I had is that sometimes the spectre of criminal
investigation can be used to stop or deter such reviews from
happening forever. I have faced that personally in Toronto, where a
similar argument has been used to stop some very significant reviews
from taking place in the public interest. Those criminal investigations will never be concluded, so those reviews will never take place.
We have to worry about the impact of these restrictions.
Mr. Randall Garrison: Thank you very much, Mr. Mukherjee.
Any little time I have left I'd like to give to Madame Doré
Lefebvre.
The Chair: We'll make sure she gets her time.
[Translation]
Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre: Thank you kindly, Mr. Chair. And
thank you to my colleague. I will keep it short.
Mr. Girard and Mr. Delisle, I appreciate both of you being here
and giving the committee the benefit of all your experience. I think
we really need it.
When you read Bill C-42, you see that the appeal process for a
member begins and ends with the commissioner. I would like to hear
your take on that.
S/Sgt Gaétan Delisle: If you have a look at our brief, you will see
that we are pretty clear on that issue. Obviously, access to the
process must absolutely go through an external channel. An
independent body must have the power to make a decision because,
as Mr. Duggan pointed out, the commissioner currently holds the
decision-making authority on sanctions. He reviews the allegations
and makes the final call.
I'll give you a typical example. When a recommendation
regarding a member is made, all the commissioner has to do is
reject it as he sees fit. We believe it's obvious that this cannot
continue.
● (1715)
Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre: You spoke about the independence
of committees and tribunals. Bill C-42 allows the commissioner to
overrule any decision. I know you suggested independent committees, but are there other solutions that members need in place?
16
SECU-55
S/Sgt Gaétan Delisle: A royal inquiry commission said it in 1974.
I contributed, in fact. I was pleased to learn that, five years ago, the
movement served by the Toronto representative was asked what it
thought about the content of Bill C-42. The suggestion isn't ours.
Bill C-43 sought to make it independent. I don't think I need to prove
anything in that regard, since the government itself sponsored the
bill. So from that perspective, it's obvious.
Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre: Thank you.
[English]
The Chair: Thank you very much.
We'll go to our next questioner.
That will be Ms. Bergen and Mr. Hawn, please.
Ms. Candice Bergen (Portage—Lisgar): He'll go first.
The Chair: Go ahead, Mr. Hawn.
Hon. Laurie Hawn (Edmonton Centre, CPC): Thank you, Mr.
Chair.
I'd like to start with Mr. Mukherjee and give an opportunity to
chime in with a response to what Mr. Hiebert's question started. It
was with regard to the power of the commissioner.
Dr. Alok Mukherjee: Thank you for that.
Actually, I'm in agreement with what Mr. Stamatakis said. There
has to be a balance and a distinction made between criminal
investigations and other types of conduct with investigations.
My concern is that quite often these conduct matters, which to my
mind are labour relations matters, are dealt with as if they are
criminal matters, and the due process has been confused. There is a
balance that is needed, as Tom said. I don't think there is an inability
to carry out a proper conduct investigation within the scheme that is
proposed.
Hon. Laurie Hawn: Thank you.
Sticking with the powers of the commissioner, there has been a lot
of talk about the commissioner having too much power, and so on.
We've talked generally in that vein. What specifically would you
suggest, Mr. Girard or Staff Sargeant Delisle, to restrict the power of
the commissioner?
S/Sgt Gaétan Delisle: You asked us what we thought about Bill
C-42. Bill C-42 enhances the power the commissioner already has in
the law.
Hon. Laurie Hawn: How would you restrict that? How would
you take away the powers of the commissioner?
S/Sgt Gaétan Delisle: Are you only working on Bill C-42 or do
you want to impose some other stuff? Can you do that as a
committee? I don't think so.
Hon. Laurie Hawn: I'm asking you, if you were writing Bill C-42
or if you were restricting the powers of the commissioner, what
would you restrict his powers to? How would you restrict them?
S/Sgt Gaétan Delisle: That's exactly what we've been talking
about.
Hon. Laurie Hawn: Well, give me something specific, not just
that he has too much power. What would you specifically do to
restrict his power?
October 29, 2012
S/Sgt Gaétan Delisle: Okay. It's with regard to any power that he
has over the administration of the force. A member can go before a
grievance process; give that independence to the grievance advisory
board. It would be the same thing that is in the RCMP act right now.
Do the same thing on discipline. You have an external review
committee; it's exactly the same thing. Take away that power.
The commissioner has the power to suspend someone. I was
suspended without pay for having been elected mayor in SaintBlaise-sur-Richelieu. It was done just like that. That same situation
can happen tomorrow morning with anybody.
The issue, though, is when you want to appeal that decision,
where do you go? Right now you go to the commissioner, so if you
want an example, take away that decision-making after the external
review committee, just as any other type of employee-employer
relationship.
Hon. Laurie Hawn: So the commissioner is not part of that
appeal process or that review process, in your view?
S/Sgt Gaétan Delisle: He is the last person.
Hon. Laurie Hawn: But he's still there. You're not taking away
his ultimate power.
S/Sgt Gaétan Delisle: Why do you have an external review
committee? It's to review a situation that has arisen. If you have
some people who are paid to do a job and they come to their
conclusion, that conclusion should stand.
● (1720)
Hon. Laurie Hawn: Okay, I don't disagree, but then you just said
the commissioner still has ultimate authority above that. Did I
misunderstand what you said?
S/Sgt Gaétan Delisle: That's the truth.
Hon. Laurie Hawn: And you're saying that's right or that's
wrong?
S/Sgt André Girard: What happens is that the commissioner has
the last say. You heard Madam Ebbs testify in front of the committee.
The committee members around the table gave an opportunity to
Madam Ebbs on many occasions to say what she would like to have
in a perfect RCMP Act, as seen from her point of view. She never
answered the question properly.
Instead of asking to have a power to render decisions that would
be binding and not just recommendations to the commissioner, she
did not said that. That leads me to the impression that the only thing
she was concerned about was protecting her own job. Unfortunately,
it has to go much further than that in order to create that balance
between the membership and the organization, in which, as Mr.
Delisle mentioned, the commissioner has ultimate powers right now.
Hon. Laurie Hawn: Thank you.
Mr. Stamatakis, I'll ask you this, but anybody else can chime in.
We talk a lot about the culture of the RCMP. People talk about the
bill changing the culture. I would submit that a bill at best would be a
framework for a culture change; the change in culture has to come
from the people, not the bill. That starts with the leadership and
works its way down.
October 29, 2012
SECU-55
I think it ultimately comes down to a matter of a culture of trust in
both directions, trust up and trust down, which I think needs to be led
by the leadership initially. That's just personal opinion.
Do you agree with that? Do you see any sense of commitment to
change the culture within the leadership of the RCMP, or do you get
any sense of a willingness to go a step in that direction by the
membership, to eventually come together in the middle and change
the culture?
I think only people can change the culture. A book can't change a
culture.
The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Hawn.
Go ahead, Mr. Stamatakis.
Mr. Tom Stamatakis: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I agree with you. I'll answer by touching on the question he just
asked.
I don't think it's an issue of restricting the authority of the
commissioner at all. I think the commissioner, like any police chief
in a municipal or provincial environment or any CEO of a private
company, has to have the appropriate authority in order to run that
business or provide that service.
It's about giving people who are involved in the dispute or who
disagree with the commissioner's decision—particularly with respect
to a conduct issue that could lead to dismissal—an opportunity to go
to an outside independent body or person to have that dispute
adjudicated and to get to a final and binding decision that everybody
then lives with. This is exactly what happens across this country in
every municipal police force and every provincial police force.
If you get into a scheme that has those outcomes, it will build the
relationship between the front-line police officers and the leadership,
who have to take the leadership role in the positions they're in, so
that they can come to an appropriate working relationship in which
there is no tolerance for inappropriate behaviour or conduct, but
there are fair and appropriate systems in place for those matters to be
dealt with properly. Then you can get to outcomes that allow for a
productive working relationship, which ultimately allows for better
service to the public, increased public safety, increased morale, and a
better quality of life in our communities across this country—and
that is what every police officer wants, including the front-line
officers with the RCMP and the leadership of the RCMP.
The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Stamatakis.
Probably our last question of the day will go to Mr. Scarpaleggia.
You have six minutes.
[Translation]
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I want to thank the witnesses for their statements.
Once again, it was very educational. In fact, this is the first time
we have heard from officers on the ground.
I realize that you believe the external review committee lacks
independence. The commissioner can reject a recommendation. But,
aside from that, would you say the grievance or complaints review
17
system as a whole is overly complex? Does it have too many steps
right now?
We often hear how long it takes for a case to work its way through
the system. If someone isn't satisfied with a decision at one level,
that person can file an appeal at another level. Then, at the very end,
the person can take their case to the external committee, but it takes a
very long time to get to that stage.
Do you think the system needs some streamlining so that cases
can move along more quickly?
● (1725)
Mr. James Duggan: I would like to respond, if I may.
There is no need to reinvent the wheel if you want the RCMP
commissioner to have the decision-making authority and to assume
his responsibilities.
For example, let's consider a dismissal case. Normally, in labour
relations, the responsibility for running a business lies with the
employer. The employer makes the decision to dismiss an employee,
who can then file a grievance or use the system to challenge the
dismissal. The system works quickly. The employee or officer can
access an independent tribunal.
Usually, a decision in a dismissal case takes between 6 and
12 months. I practice labour law. I have argued hundreds of
dismissal cases involving the RCMP. On average, it takes 7 months
for a case like that to be settled.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: If the commissioner took swifter
action and dismissed the person in the very beginning, would the
case go directly to the external committee? Would it happen sooner?
I don't understand.
Mr. James Duggan: Perhaps I condensed my answer too much. I
was trying to compare the commissioner to a business owner, who is
in charge of making the necessary decisions. If there's a bad apple, as
they say, and someone poses a problem from the RCMP's
perspective, then the commissioner must assume his responsibility.
That system applies in every other police force in the country. The
commissioner has the absolute authority to suspend someone
without pay and get rid of the problem officer. By the same token,
the dismissed officer can file a grievance, which goes before an
independent tribunal.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: Instead of going through several steps
at different levels.
Mr. James Duggan: Yes, the steps set out in the RCMP Act give
the officer in charge one year, from the time the identity of the
problem member and the alleged contravention become known, to
request an investigation.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: I see.
Mr. James Duggan: Once that year is up, the recommendation is
submitted to three RCMP officers who hold a hearing. It takes three
years before the hearings begin.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: I don't mean to cut you off, but I'm
short on time.
18
SECU-55
If I understand correctly, then, former minister Stockwell Day held
a view that was at odds with the approach taken in Bill C-42. He
didn't share the same view. It would't be the first time, for that matter.
In fact, on Bill C-30, which deals with Internet surveillance, the
minister at the time, Mr. Day, did not agree with the position taken
by the current minister, Mr. Toews.
Your comment speaks precisely to the fact that Mr. Day saw
things differently.
[English]
Mr. James Duggan: With all due respect, it's what they call
“Romnesia” in the United States. That's the situation of having
accepted certain principles, but flip-flopping from one day to the
next and doing the opposite.
In Bill C-43, what this Conservative government provided for was
access to collective bargaining and for a balanced and fair approach
for members. After a decision in the Ontario Court of Appeal, Bill
C-43 was completely disregarded, and now we have Bill C-42.
● (1730)
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: “Romnesia”. I like that. That's good.
October 29, 2012
I want to thank all the witnesses for appearing before our
committee today.
Actually, you have...I don't know if it's the honour of saving the
best for the last or whatever the deal is, but this will be the last of the
testimony that we hear before our committee.
To our committee, I would remind you that we begin clause-byclause study on Bill C-42 on Wednesday.
I would also remind all members here of the original motion that
was agreed to. I'll just read the last part of that motion or what was
agreed to:
That amendments to Bill C-42 be submitted to the Clerk in both official languages
before 9 p.m. on Monday, October 29, 2012, and that these amendments be
distributed to members in both official languages before the end of the day.
Just so you're completely aware of what this means, it means that
our clerk will be working here. He's brought in extra staff to work
here as long as he has to, to make certain that the amendments are
circulated and in your mailboxes tomorrow.
We've agreed to have these amendments in today. Please honour
that.
Am I done, though, Mr. Chair?
With that, I again thank each of you for your testimony.
The Chair: Yes, you're done. Thank you very much.
The meeting is adjourned.
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