THE STANDING SENATE COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SECURITY AND DEFENCE
OTTAWA, Wednesday, May 30, 2018
The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence met this day at 12 p.m. to examine and report on Canada’s national security and defence policies, practices, circumstances and capabilities; and, in camera, for the consideration of a draft report on the subject matter of those elements contained in Part 4 of Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures.
Senator Gwen Boniface (Chair) in the chair.
The Chair: Honourable senators, welcome to the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. Before we begin, I will ask my colleagues to introduce themselves.
Senator Dagenais: Senator Jean-Guy Dagenais, from Quebec. I am the deputy chair of the committee, not the chair.
Senator Doyle: Norman Doyle, Newfoundland and Labrador. I’m replacing Senator McIntyre.
Senator Griffin: Diane Griffin, Prince Edward Island. I’m replacing Senator Brazeau.
Senator Oh: Victor Oh, Toronto, Ontario.
Senator McPhedran: Marilou McPhedran, independent senator from Manitoba.
Senator Wallin: Pamela Wallin, independent senator from Saskatchewan.
Senator Richards: David Richards, independent senator from New Brunswick.
Senator Jaffer: Mobina Jaffer, British Columbia. I’m the deputy chair.
The Chair: I’m Senator Gwen Boniface, chair of the committee.
I want to welcome the new RCMP commissioner, Brenda Lucki. In April of this year she was appointed the new commissioner. We are very pleased to welcome her to the committee today for the first time.
Colleagues, unfortunately we only have one hour for this session, so your cooperation in keeping questions and responses brief would be appreciated. I’m sure we’ll have an opportunity to arrange an appearance with the commissioner when we will be able to have a more extensive exchange in the future.
Commissioner, I understand you have a few comments you would like to make, after which we will have questions. Let me extend a very warm welcome to you.
Brenda Lucki, Commissioner, Royal Canadian Mounted Police: Thank you very much. Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for inviting me to appear before this committee.
Since taking over as the commissioner in April, I’ve been so amazed each and every day by the hard work and the unwavering dedication shown by our employees. I couldn’t be prouder to be leading this organization.
Last week, the RCMP celebrated 145 years. While honouring our history is important, it is also equally important to learn from that past and move forward towards the future.
Guided by the mandate letter provided by Minister Ralph Goodale, I plan to steer this organization through a period of transformation, modernization and innovation. The opportunities and expectations for the RCMP are clear, and I'm ready to take on the challenge.
I know five years from now, when we’re celebrating our one hundred and fifty-fifth anniversary, the RCMP will be a much different organization. To me, modernization means addressing opportunities and challenges in two key areas: our people within the organization and the communities in which we serve. Let me explain.
The RCMP is an immense organization and we would be nothing without the tireless efforts of our employees. We’re made up of almost 30,000 individuals who work across Canada from coast to coast to coast.
Every single person who is part of the RCMP works hard to keep Canadians safe and secure. But we must also make sure our own people -- RCMP employees -- are taken care of.
Respect is one of the RCMP’s fundamental core values, and it is something that I’ll be emphasizing during my time as commissioner. We must respect each other, as well as the groups of people in the communities we serve.
Respect is also the foundation of a safe, healthy workplace. That means having an environment that’s free from bullying, discrimination, harassment and sexual violence. I have zero tolerance for this behaviour and I will do everything in my power to eradicate it.
We’ve updated policies and we’re building programs to eliminate this behaviour and change how we operate. Our new Workforce Culture and Employee Engagement Unit is leading change initiatives to eliminate bullying and harassment within the RCMP as we speak.
I’ve told my employees that they not only need to have the courage to hold themselves to account, but they also have to be accountable for others and take a stand if they see something wrong, because reforms can only happen when all levels of our organization are committed to culture change.
But change can only happen through ethical leadership. We need leaders who will walk the talk and set a good example for the behaviours and attitudes that we expect.
I plan to develop those strong leaders, and support them with modern and accountable governance structures. We recognize that the public needs us to be open, transparent and accountable for the work we do.
Another part of creating a respectful workplace is supporting the health and mental wellness of our employees. As part of our Mental Health Strategy, we have rolled out mental readiness training, peer support networks and employee assistance services to keep our employees prepared for the daily stresses of working in a police environment.
We also recently introduced a disability management and accommodation program to help sick and injured members recover and return to work as valued, productive employees.
Feeling valued is very important for employees of any organization, and that means receiving fair compensation. I plan on leading the RCMP through the unionization of regular members and reservists. I’m looking forward to working with these new bargaining agents, who will be active advocates for our members and employees. I fully support the need for our members to be represented.
If employees are safe, healthy and happy, they can provide communities with top notch policing services.
My philosophy has always been quite simple: you must make every community better than what it was when you got there. Every day our officers and employees do just that. They respond to calls, solve crimes, visit schools, and patrol the streets in big cities and rural towns across Canada. Through hard work, tenacity and compassion, they engage their communities and build close relationships with residents.
But to keep building the trust and confidence of Canadians, we need to be reflective of our communities. Canada is diverse and evolving, and I want all Canadians to be able to see themselves in their RCMP. The more diverse we are, the better we are to be able to serve everyone.
Trust is also key to building strong relationships with our Indigenous communities. As Canada’s national police force, I believe the RCMP has a big role to play in reconciliation.
Today, the RCMP serves more than 600 Indigenous communities across Canada. To renew our relationship with First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples, we’re developing a reconciliation strategy based on our fundamental core values -- accountability, respect, professionalism, honesty, compassion and integrity. If we continue to be guided by those values, I’m confident we’ll build the necessary trust to serve all communities with fairness and respect moving forward.
With such a large number of employees working in all corners of Canada, it can be hard to stay modern. The police environment is constantly evolving, and we're facing new challenges every day.
We now live in a world where everything can be done through a computer or smartphone, including all types of crime. To protect vulnerable citizens, the RCMP has created cybercrime strategies and teams to target Internet-based fraud and exploitation.
Internally, we must continue to embrace new technologies and invest in our technological infrastructure to make sure employees have the right tools to do their job. We’re developing business intelligence systems and improving our analytics to showcase the good work we do in communities.
As crime evolves, so must our responses. The opioid crisis is but one example of how the RCMP responds with tact and innovation in emergency situations. We developed new techniques to safely train police dogs to detect fentanyl, issued naloxone kits to every front-line member, and we’re collaborating with our partners in health care and social services to help curb the crisis.
We continue to update our police officer training to stay current with the latest best practices and policy changes. For example, in response to the proposed cannabis act, we’ve worked with partners to develop courses to inform officers about the pending legislation and train them to better detect drug-impaired drivers.
These are just a handful of examples of how our first responders work closely with communities and partners to serve and protect Canadians.
Although there are challenges ahead, I’m confident that we can build our strengths — our people and our communities — to make positive change. I will challenge every assumption and I will ask all our employees to do the same. I would like my RCMP to be more agile, more capable, more inclusive, more tolerant and more respectful, and I want us to be more trusted by the communities we serve.
I’m eager to work with employees, our partners, our communities and yourselves as we work together to modernize our RCMP. Thank you and I welcome your questions.
The Chair: Thank you, Commissioner Lucki. We will now move to questions, starting off with our vice-chair, Senator Jaffer.
Senator Jaffer: Thank you, commissioner, for being here. Commissioner, I have to say to you that I can’t believe it. I want to pinch myself to see a woman commissioner. It’s a very proud day, as a member of the Defence Committee, to welcome you. As I said to you privately, now my granddaughter can dream of being like you. Thank you for being here.
Commissioner, I have some questions on harassment, but, before I ask you questions on harassment, we know that people watch these programs. The fact that we ask the questions on harassment doesn’t mean that we say it’s rampant and that everybody is harassed. There are lots of new members, as I said to you privately, who are very happy working for you, and we want all to be happy. That’s the goal.
Commissioner, victims of sexual harassment and harassment are calling for an external, independent oversight body that would investigate complaints of harassment and sexual harassment for years. A lot of times, the RCMP members simply do not feel safe going to their superiors, and it’s easy to see why because of the issues of chain of command. We heard that there has been retaliation, and reprisals are prevalent. People are worried about putting their lives and their careers at risk because they speak out on sexual harassment.
Commissioner, do you intend to implement an independent, external oversight body for complaints of harassment?
Ms. Lucki: Thank you for your question. It honestly doesn’t matter what we think as an organization. I really believe it matters what the victims think and their perceptions, because their perception is their reality. Even if we think we have the greatest system in place — and I think there are many good things that we do in that regard — if the victims don’t feel that, then it’s not a good system. So we definitely have to look at it and examine. We have a team, right now, examining potential options.
My one fear is that, because we are such a vast organization and we go from coast to coast to coast, as commissioner, I have to be certain that how people are dealt with in harassment on the West Coast is the same up North as it is at the other end of the country, and that it’s standardized so that one place isn’t doing anything different than another place. It’s a bit of a challenge, but I think it’s not insurmountable.
I really do want to applaud all of the women that came forward in the Merlo Davidson lawsuit. It’s a sad day that that had to happen and the fact that they had to come and tell their story for us to wake up. But, if we don’t do something because of that, then shame on us. We really need to wake up and be the example for everyone. It’s not something that I think is unique to the RCMP, and we need to be the example for all police and law enforcement agencies so that people can look at us and say, “This is a good way of dealing with it.”
We have to look at how our members react to situations. As I said in my remarks, it’s one thing for them to be accountable for themselves, but they have to be accountable for others. I always use the example that, if I walked in here and lit up a cigarette, there wouldn’t be one of you that wouldn’t say, “Hey, put the cigarette out.” So we need people to say, “Hey, that is not good behaviour.”
It’s not as black and white as we think it is, because I think it’s not as obvious as it used to be. It’s very subtle, and the victims often don’t even know that it’s happening until it’s too late. But I can tell you that the people around the room know it’s happening, and shame on them. They need to be able to feel that they can come forward without reprisal. If that means going outside of our organization to make that happen, absolutely.
Senator Jaffer: Commissioner, I know you’re new, and I appreciate all the steps you’ve already taken. But, on Monday, we had Rear Admiral Bennett here from the Canadian Armed Forces. I have another question, but it just occurred to me from what you were saying. My colleagues can correct me if I didn’t get it right, but I understand that, in the Armed Forces, they now have a bystander program where, as you were saying, bystanders also have to be involved. Perhaps you could look at that model.
My question really was on people feeling that, once somebody has been complained about, the person against whom the complaint was made resigns and then doesn’t face the consequences. People who have been harassed and some that I have spoken to feel that that’s a real challenge because then there are no consequences.
Have you had time — I know you’re new — to address that issue as to how you’re going to handle it?
Ms. Lucki: I haven’t had the time to address that, but what I do know is that the numbers are quite low, and some of the reason why that happens is because our process is way too long. That, in itself, would cause the issues, in some cases, for people, just by the length of the process.
Everybody needs to be treated fairly, including the person who is the suspect or the subject of the complaint, so to speak. But, if our processes drag on so long that we never get an opportunity to actually deal with it, it’s all lost. So we need to look at that and make sure that the processes are more efficient and more timely.
The Chair: I remind everybody we only have another 45 minutes, and I want everybody to get their questions in. So be brief.
Senator Dagenais: Once again, Ms. Lucki, thank you for having accepted our invitation. I also want to congratulate you on your appointment.
Over the past ten years, several studies have been done on sexual harassment within the RCMP. They gave rise to more than 200 recommendations. Have you had an opportunity to read those recommendations? If so, do you intend to implement some of them on a priority basis, and to do so quickly? You mentioned the length of the process.
Ms. Lucki: I am aware of the 200 recommendations and they are top of mind, as is the report on the Merlo-Davidson class action suit. The recommendations were also mentioned in the Fraser report.
I think there were times it was mentioned in the Fraser report as well. We’re taking each and every one of these recommendations and operationalizing them, so to speak. We have actually created new divisional gender and harassment committees that report up through my office. I have a national committee. That is one of the recommendations. The scholarship fund has been started. This summer is the first round of that. We’ve changed some policies already with that.
So, yes, some of the recommendations are being activated as we speak.
Senator Dagenais: You mentioned in your presentation that you would soon have a union and that RCMP members would be unionized. Do you intend to involve union representatives in the resolution of these issues, particularly sexual harassment issues?
Ms. Lucki: I think a lot of things will be clearer once we have the union.
The members need to be represented in all aspects, good or bad. All members need to be represented. Right now, we’re going through the processes with quasi-representation. I think there will be a lot of clarity that will be given when a union or a bargaining agent is in place to deal with that, and it won’t go the same route. So we’ll have to figure out.
I think it’s really important that, when we talk about preparing for a union, we have, obviously, the compensation and conditions of employment. If we can get through that compensation piece, I would rather focus on conditions of employment because I think it’s far more fruitful to do that. Money is but one issue, but everything can get clouded by that.
Senator Dagenais: Your members are going to be trained regarding new Bill C-45 on marijuana. In a press interview, you mentioned that your troops were ready.
I am a former police officer and I was a breathalyser technician. It's difficult to take cases to court, especially impaired driving cases, if you don't have approved devices. We can talk about random tests, but I'm sure you know as well as I do that before the courts, that is not always enough.
Do you intend to use approved devices to detect drugs in impaired driving cases?
Ms. Lucki: We are ready. We currently have 200 drug recognition experts and another 500 in the other municipal police forces that we will draw on if needed. We have 22 courses planned this year alone just to increase those numbers.
This isn’t new for us. We’ve had drug recognition experts for quite some time, so driving while impaired by drug is an issue we’ve been dealing with far before the talk of cannabis legalization. So we’re ready for that in that respect. We are creating training for the legislation piece for our members to know how to work through the legislation.
Also, the generations now are different. The people who aren’t drinking and driving — I don’t think there’s going to be an increase. People always ask me, “Do you think there will be an increase in people driving under the impairment of drugs?” I don’t think so. The generations now are taught not to get behind the wheel.
Obviously, there are people who still choose not to follow the letter of the law, but I believe with the increase in training for drug recognition experts and the training with the legislation, we’ll be ready.
Senator Dagenais: Do you have approved devices in your possession? We were told that the government had not decided to use any device in particular. And yet, you say that you have already put in place approved drug testing devices.
Ms. Lucki: No, we don’t have any apparatus for the detection of drugs. We’re studying other police agencies. Europe is very advanced in this field, as is Australia. We’ll be looking at that.
The issue that will prolong that is that we’re going to need those studies, but that means we need legislation to make those levels part of the Criminal Code. It’s not going to be overnight, but we’re going to have to look at that part of it.
Senator Dagenais: Thank you, Commissioner Lucki.
Senator Oh: Congratulations again, commissioner.
Ms. Lucki: Thank you.
Senator Oh: I want to ask you about your opening remarks on diversity. To keep building the trust and confidence of Canadians, we need to reflect the community, and that’s important.
I want to ask you about visible minorities and sexual harassment. Do you know what the percentage is of visible minorities in the RCMP?
You have about 30,000 employees?
Ms. Lucki: Yes.
Senator Oh: What is the percentage of that?
Ms. Lucki: I don’t have the numbers for you today, but I can absolutely get those numbers. I’ll take note of that.
Having been the commanding officer of the RCMP Training Academy, the increase in diversity I’ve seen in the less than two years I was there was amazing. If you actually get a chance to go to the academy, you’ll see it’s very diverse. The troops are very diverse.
Senator Oh: What about sexual harassment among diverse groups? Is it serious? Is there anything to be alarmed about?
Ms. Lucki: I don’t have specific statistics as to whether it’s worse for a particular group. Obviously, the forefront has been women. There is talk about other diverse groups, but we haven’t been alerted to it, and our statistics don’t show that it’s more one group than another. We keep an eye on those statistics and watch for harassment, inappropriate comments or behaviours, but not necessarily sexual. With some of the recent news about Facebook and some of the recent comments that have been made toward Indigenous people, we’re very alert to that. We have to ensure that it’s not targeted at one particular group or that there’s racism in the organization.
Senator Oh: Good. Thank you.
Senator Griffin: My question is very short because Senator Dagenais took the same topic. All great minds think alike, indeed.
For the 200 officers who have taken the training — and you’ve said there are 22 courses scheduled for this year — what is the cost per person for the drug recognition certification? I understand they have to go down to the southern U.S. for this?
Ms. Lucki: Actually, we did our first course two weeks ago in Vancouver when we moved the course to Canada. The course has specific needs and we didn’t quite have those needs in Canada, which is actually kind of a good-news story in itself. We were able to successfully graduate people from a course in Vancouver two weeks ago. We want to reduce those costs, bring it to Canada and keep that in a Canadian context as well. It’s good news.
I can’t give you the specific costs, but I’ll get my colleague to write it down, and we can get you that.
Senator Griffin: Thank you.
Senator McPhedran: Thank you. Brava to you on the commendations for your services as a Canadian in UN peacekeeping.
I wanted to ask you a question that picks up on your statement to us this morning where you said the RCMP has a big role to play in reconciliation. That’s thinking boldly and thinking big and it’s good for us to hear. I have a couple more specific questions on that commitment you’ve made for the big role for the RCMP to play.
First of all, can you tell us how many of the 94 calls for action that were released as part of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission have actually been reviewed and selected to inform some of the outcomes and deliverables you’ll be looking for? That’s the first part of my question.
A second part is: Have you engaged or will you engage in cultural competency training throughout the force, with a particular emphasis on Indigenous cultures?
The third part of the question is: Are you familiar with the CAF work with their Bold Eagle recruitment program?
The last part of my question is: Could you give us a number of how many members of your troops and trainees identify as being Indigenous?
Ms. Lucki: Okay. With regard to the calls to action for reconciliation, they’ve all been reviewed. We are working to operationalize every recommendation.
Last year, we hired Shirley Cuillierrier, a high-ranking First Nations woman, to be a senior adviser, specifically on reconciliation. She has been working side by side with the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, and she has gone to listen to each and every testimony.
With that, she’s working closely with the group so that none of the recommendations will be a surprise to our organization because they’ve been working side by side on many of those recommendations. We’re waiting for the completion of that, because we think a lot of it will correspond with some of the other recommendations or calls to action.
I, personally, have reached out to every senior First Nations and Indigenous leader in the country — the national groups. Yesterday morning, I met with National Chief Perry Bellegarde. We had a couple-hour meeting that was super positive, looking at the way forward with regard to reconciliation.
We have also brought in the eagle feather to Nova Scotia so that members and people of the public can swear their oaths using an eagle feather, as opposed to affirming or using a Bible, for instance.
In training at the RCMP Training Academy, we’ve introduced the KAIROS blanket exercise, which I myself went through. It’s a powerful way of visualizing and learning empathy for and the history of First Nations, and creating a better understanding. Each and every new cadet goes through that training.
We also have cultural bias training inserted into the program that covers all nationalities or all cultures.
We have embedded a new module for training. If we do something at the RCMP Training Academy, we can quickly change generations in a very short period of time, given that 1,200 of them graduate every year. It’s a good way of inserting that.
We’ve changed one module specifically for missing people and, in consultation with Indigenous people, we’ve made the victim First Nations and brought in processes in that file so they know how to deal with the community and how to communicate better with the community, because that has been one of our shortfalls with certain files. We’ve had that training.
Each and every member who graduates must do Aboriginal awareness training within two years and each division has their own cultural perceptions training, much of it depending on where it is. The one I took in Manitoba was geared specifically for First Nations. There was a sweat lodge and people who had been victims of residential schools came and spoke so our members could relate to that.
In regards to the Bold Eagle program, I’m very familiar with it. We’ve had many presentations. When I was in Alberta, John McDonald, one of the representatives for the Aboriginal advisory committee to the commanding officer, was leading that program. It’s something we need to look at further.
We do have our own First Nations program where we bring high school students from every province to the RCMP training academy and they get two weeks of a sort of a camp to try to get their interest.
We also have another camp where there’s one community member and an RCMP member who travel together from a northern community or territory that is having issues. They take a week where they pick an issue, whether it’s suicides or substance abuse, unique to their community. During the week they develop an action plan with measurables and the two of them go back and work with the community on that problem. It’s a really excellent program.
Regarding your question on numbers, we have approximately 1,900 identified First Nations members in the RCMP, 1,500 of which are front-line police officers.
Senator McPhedran: Thank you very much.
Senator Wallin: Welcome. You’ve done a lot of hard work, so congratulations on not only taking on this role but also committing — and we’re all pleased to hear that — to changing cultural and attitudinal approaches inside the force within five years.
We also know that takes a lot of resources. You’ll know where I’m from, north of Regina, where you were. What happens in small detachments is, at any given time, we have people off on mat leave, pat leave, training, health issues, whatever it might be, and all of those very rural detachments are strained for resources right now. You’ve got competing demands that exist right now and even more with the legalization issues on pot that will be coming forward.
Can you do all of these things with the resources you’ve got?
Ms. Lucki: Obviously, we can always use more resources, but we have to ensure that the resources we do have are doing what they’re supposed to be doing. That’s part of it. Right now we’re in the midst of a departmental review. Part of that is ensuring that we look at the kinds of resources we’re utilizing and where we’re using them.
For example, do we need a gun-carrying, six-month-trained person at Depot Division to help us deal with cybercrime or economic crime? Probably not. Can we look at those so that we can supplement it? That is, instead of always getting that regular member who is highly trained to do a specific function, which is mostly front-line policing, can we use that member to actually do that and look at more of a civilian approach for other duties?
We do want to ramp up Depot again, but we have to ensure that we’re recruiting the right people. That means that we have to look at our recruiting and ensure that we can fulfil that ramp-up.
At the Training Academy, we’re specifically looking at cadets who are there. If they have a specific specialty, then maybe they will not go the regular front-line uniformed member route. In order to ramp up, we’re looking at other police colleges and trying to work side by side, so that we can take graduates who aren’t getting jobs, for instance, in the Atlantic Police Academy, and taking them and determining what they need to fill the gap to be in the RCMP. Instead of giving them six months, maybe we just give them three or four weeks of training and then bring them into our organization.
It’s the same with Nicolet. They graduate so many cadets, but there are not enough positions for them to get a position in Quebec or in the Atlantic.
With the strain in some of the areas, especially in the North, we definitely have to work with our contract partners because there’s a limited amount of money when we’re dealing with a contract. We have to ensure that we have the right number of people for the type of area and the geographical area.
Rural crime is obviously a big concern. We need to ensure that we’re addressing that through the resourcing and through the programming, because we don’t always want to be reactive. We want to ensure we’re still in the schools and still working with the vulnerable sectors, such as youth at risk, so we can maybe prevent that from happening.
Senator Wallin: We saw the provincial government in Saskatchewan try to react to the shortages. They’ve commandeered conservation officers and traffic officers, basically. It’s not something they signed up for and it doesn’t instill confidence in the public’s mind either. Are you trying to use this recruitment from other police colleges to replace that?
Ms. Lucki: Yes. We want actual full-fledged members. However, we’re only putting through 1,200 and our attrition is high. Again, we have to look at our recruiting and our retention. That is, why do we need to recruit more? Why are we losing people? We have to look at fair compensation. It’s all this chicken-and-egg stuff. I’m not even sure how to do so. In many respects, in order to attract the best people, we have to be a great organization. Again, that goes with compensation but it also goes with culture and putting the two together so we are the employer of choice.
Senator Wallin: Thank you.
Senator Richards: Thank you very much for being here today. Congratulations.
Ms. Lucki: Thank you.
Senator Richards: I’m going to go back a bit to the Moncton tragedy. I’m not too certain what these police officers could have done differently in the moment. One RCMP officer was barbecuing hamburgers and he just jumped in his squad car because he heard he was needed. The RCMP was reprimanded over this and over the state of readiness. They were coldly ambushed at that time.
I’m just wondering what the new measures are and have they come into effect yet with the RCMP?
Ms. Lucki: One thing that Moncton has taught us is that if we identify a risk to life with RCMP or the public, we must deal with that risk. Part of the issue with Moncton is there was an identified risk in relation to bringing and deploying carbine. There was a plan in place, but obviously the plan wasn’t in place at the time of Moncton. That’s the biggest criticism that resulted from Moncton.
Now the carbine plan is in place, where we have deployed the majority of the carbine and we’ve increased our training tenfold. It’s part of the RCMP Training Academy. Every cadet gets the carbine training so that will increase our numbers. Our commitment was, I believe, to be 65 per cent by this year and we’ve surpassed that as far as 65 per cent of the membership being trained.
Can we avoid those tragedies every single day? No. Like the person in Moncton, there are many of those people who are in our society. With the right bad combination of events, something could happen. But as long as we feel our members are prepared and have the right equipment and training, I think we’ll be fine.
Senator Richards: Thank you.
Senator Jaffer: I want to follow up on what Senator Oh was saying, and that was on the issue of diversity. When I first came to this country 42 years ago and started working as a volunteer with the RCMP, I was extremely impressed by how much the RCMP was trying to understand people’s cultures and what it was like to be in the shoes of the people who dealt with the RCMP. At that time I thought the RCMP was really making progress. I still think that.
But I do hear from members that there is very subtle racism when it comes to promotions and the kinds of jobs you get. People do feel there is racism, and I have no doubt that you will not tolerate it. You may not have had time to work on this, so I will wait for the next time you are here. May I ask that you look at it? Besides issues of gender and sexual harassment, racism is an issue that’s not talked about as much, but it certainly exists, as it exists in society. Now it’s something happening in the south. I’m told by members that they see a difficult situation working with the community and within the organization.
Ms. Lucki: I think you’re absolutely right. Racism isn’t as black and white as it was before. It’s not out there like it is. It’s almost gone underground. We need to deal with that. It’s not as easy to deal with it when it’s not standing right in front of you.
I think if we get people to take more ownership of their organization, we will have people who will hold others to account because, if we don’t do that, the person who is racist will continue to do what they do without reprisal. Members need to own it; employees need to own it and say we’re not accepting that. It’s definitely on my radar. Thank you.
Senator Jaffer: Thank you, commissioner. There’s a lot of talk about creating safe places for people to complain, so their chances of promotion, their ability to stay in the profession — because whoever chooses to go into the RCMP, they plan to retire and not to leave midstream. May I ask you to consider creating a safe place, where people can complain and do so in a way where their careers won’t suffer, and where steps are taken to deal with the racism rather than having the person leave the RCMP? May I ask you to consider it, please?
Ms. Lucki: Yes. Absolutely I will consider it.
Senator Dagenais: To add to what Senator Jaffer just said, but on another note, you probably know that I was a Sûreté du Québec union leader. On what date do you expect your first collective agreement with the union to be signed? I imagine you've held some talks on this. There is the process of forming a union, but have you agreed on a date for the signature of the agreement?
Ms. Lucki: Right now we have two unions who have sought certification, but part of the requirement for a bargaining agent for the RCMP was that there would only be one across Canada. So one union that is in the process of getting certified has been permitted to go forward with their vote, but the vote, from what I understand, will be held in abeyance because the second union that is out of Quebec has asked to be considered as one of the unions. Until the board decides on that, the results of the vote will not be made public. They won’t be certified until the vote is made public.
Senator Dagenais: If I am not mistaken, the Minister of Public Safety, Mr. Goodale, entrusted you with the mandate, among other things, of bringing about gender parity in the RCMP. This initiative will probably generate costs. Did the minister commit to providing additional funds?
And if so, how do you intend to proceed? This won't happen overnight, but police forces have for some time been hiring a lot of women.
Ms. Lucki: As I said previously, we are in the midst of a departmental review. Because we have been temporarily funded for so long, the government wants to get a set idea of our permanent funding model.
We need to have a good, solid plan. I’m calling it a five-year plan because anything over five years is pretty hard to capture. We don’t have that in place, so we need to have that five-year plan.
Part of the permanent funding won’t actually be described or narrowed down because under my new mandate there are so many new things that have been put in the mandate letter that we need to look at. We’re very leery to say, “This is what we need and see you later.” We need to make sure we capture all the new initiatives, as exactly what you’re saying — increasing diversity, visible minorities, gender and women.
When we talk about diversity, for us the other big chunk is diversity of experience and thought. That’s where we go into civilianization in certain aspects of our deliverables and make sure we aren’t always looking at that uniformed member to do everything we need to do.
Obviously, anything that we’re needing funds for might show up in the departmental review, but it might be one of those where Treasury Board says, “We need more information. Can you submit an MC or something further?” We’re going to work through that whole process and capture exactly what we need to do.
We’re in the midst of reviewing our federal mandate as well, so that will be part of it. Maybe we get people back on the mandate. We might save here, but it might cost more there. We’re reviewing absolutely everything.
Senator Dagenais: Thank you, Commissioner.
Senator McPhedran: I have another multi-part question, commissioner. The general theme is deployment outside Canada.
Part A of my question relates to the role, for example, of a liaison officer in an embassy or perhaps an RCMP officer assigned to a UN mission. Is there any difference in access to the procedures and remedies that are available if that officer were to be in Canada when in fact the RCMP officer would be reporting on what they’ve experienced, any aspect of their treatment along the continuum of harassment offences, but they’re reporting from outside Canada? Would there be any difference in their access or support to them in procedures as well as the potential remedies?
Ms. Lucki: I can’t say for sure. I’m pretty confident that it wouldn’t be exactly the same as if they were in Canada, obviously, because we have such a big network of support. What I can say is that the world is small, obviously, with computers. They have access to all the information that they would normally have within the RCMP in Canada as far as actual information. Services not as much, but we do give them links to where they can get the services when they’re overseas.
If they did want to make a complaint, they would have the same process in the realm of harassment. Some might be held in abeyance because of not being able to be here if it came to testimony and that kind of stuff. For instance, if it was a question of getting a statement from them, we can absolutely do that if they were overseas.
Senator McPhedran: Maybe an aspect of what I’m trying to get at here is this, and I’m wondering if you would be good enough to just inquire a bit further. If I could boil the question down to this: Is there a disadvantage to RCMP serving outside Canada if they need to pursue a complaint about experiencing any of the aspects of harassment that merit a complaint?
Ms. Lucki: I’ll definitely follow up on that. I can’t see there being a great disadvantage, but I absolutely could see that, if they needed specific services for wellness and psychological services, they might not get the full gamut that they would get in Canada. But I will follow up.
Senator McPhedran: Thank you. I would appreciate some further information on that.
Part B of my question — this question only has A and B — I want to begin with a shout-out to Senator Jaffer. Both Senator Jaffer and I work quite a bit on sex trafficking, both in Canada and outside of Canada, and ways to counter and prevent that. Yesterday, we were witnesses before the Justice Committee of the House of Commons. We both spoke to this, and we agree.
My question is on something that we would both very much like to see, and that is whether you would be prepared to consider pushing for officers in embassies and high commissions, so the RCMP liaison officers. My question comes partly from having worked, recently, in our embassy in Thailand and having spent some time with RCMP liaison officers who are focused particularly on sex tourism and sex trafficking as part of their assignments.
My question is directed to whether you would be willing to consider and/or implement an officer dedicated to this in the countries where we see Canadians regularly engaging in sex tourism and often, as a result of their engagement, actively exploiting children who are forced into serving for their sexual gratification.
Ms. Lucki: Yes, I’ll definitely bring that forward to our federal policing officer to examine. He may, in fact, already be looking at that, but I’ll follow up with that.
Senator McPhedran: I think we both have reached the conclusion, from our own experiences, that there really does need to be a dedicated position in these key embassies and high commissions.
Ms. Lucki: Excellent. Good idea.
Senator McPhedran: Thank you.
The Chair: I’m going to take an opportunity here to ask a question.
Commissioner, I’d be interested in an update on where you currently sit on an advisory committee on Indigenous issues. Some of your predecessors had a committee of outside advisers. Can you tell me whether or not that committee still works?
Ms. Lucki: That committee is still alive and well.
The Chair: Glad to hear it.
Ms. Lucki: I actually was supposed to meet with them — I’m not sure — maybe during this meeting. No, I’m just kidding. I’m supposed to meet with them in the near future. Yes, there’s still a committee. Each division has their own committee, which I’ve been a part of as well. In every division I’ve ever been to, they’ve always had a divisional committee that feeds up to the national committee.
The Chair: We have just a couple of minutes. Senator Jaffer has indicated she has a question. If we can make it very brief.
Senator Jaffer: I appreciate Senator McPhedran bringing up the issue of sex tourism. What I found when going to the regions — and the senator covered it as well — is that, for example, in Malaysia you have somebody embedded in the embassy. They are just focused on issues of trafficking. As you know, people can be prosecuted here for trafficking or sex tourism abroad.
When the investigation, which I don’t need to convince you, is done by RCMP officers, it helps better with prosecution, but it also sends a strong message to Canadian men that you cannot abuse children here or abroad. So embassies like the Dominican Republic, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, that is what I would like to consider.
I just have a minute, and I want to say to you that there’s such a laundry list of things I’m asking. Forgive me. This is the first time. I will probably always be asking you. When I was the envoy in Sudan, I went with female RCMP officers to Darfur, where they set up rape kits and taught how to investigate rape. I was recently in Sudan, over a year ago, and they said that was the best thing that has happened, not just in Darfur but what they learnt in other parts of Sudan. I also heard that in Uganda they were using those kits.
So, your international work, can you look at this? That was a real service done to teach people how to investigate rape and how to use those kits. I ask you to also put that on your list. Sorry, I’m giving you so much homework.
Ms. Lucki: No, that’s okay. It’s amazing, again, being the commanding officer of the Training Academy, to see the amount of countries that come to see what we do and to learn from us. We’re in the midst, of course, of doing a lot of work in the Ukraine and a lot of it is with gender as well and teaching them how to police in a more democratic society.
Anytime we get to advance the causes, it’s always a great thing.
Senator Jaffer: Thank you very much.
The Chair: Commissioner, we have brought you right in on time, with your hard stop for 1 o’clock. I want to thank you very much for appearing before our committee and for sharing your views. I know I join all members of the committee when I wish you the very best in the challenge you have ahead, and we look forward to, sometime later, having you back on specific issues. Thank you very much.
Ms. Lucki: I, too, would welcome anytime you need me to come to your committee. I would welcome the opportunity. I know I was speaking to Senator Wallin at another event. But, obviously, I have not a lot of experience in Ottawa, and navigating Ottawa is another beast that I haven’t learned. I don’t know if I’m supposed to even call it a beast.
Senator Wallin: Yes, you may.
Ms. Lucki: Okay. It’s going to be the big quote of the day.
If you have something in your head that you think can help the RCMP, please share it. Maybe we do not see it as much in Ottawa, but I’ve been in many other divisions and people like the RCMP. I tell my staff: “Don’t ask me how to fix it because my answer is going to be, ‘We’re not broken.’” Because we are not broken.
Do we need to innovate, and do we need to modernize? Absolutely, but we should have been doing that a hundred years ago and 50 years ago and now and 10 years into the future. We’re not broken, and I’m not here to fix it. But we need to move forward from those past experiences, and, if we don’t, shame on us. If you have a great idea of how you can help me to navigate things, don’t be shy to call me.
The Chair: Thank you very much, commissioner.
(The committee continued in camera.)