THE SPECIAL SENATE COMMITTEE on the Anti-terrorism Act
OTTAWA, Monday, April 11, 2005
The Special Senate Committee on the Anti-terrorism Act met
this day at 10:30 a.m. to undertake a comprehensive review of the provisions and
operations of the Anti-terrorism Act, (S.C.2001, c.41).
Senator Joyce Fairbairn (Chairman) in the
The Chairman: This is fourteenth meeting with witnesses
of the Special Senate Committee on the Anti-terrorism Act.
In October 2001, as a direct response to the terrorist
attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania, and at the request
of the United Nations, the Canadian government introduced Bill C-36, the
Given the urgency of the situation then, Parliament was asked
to expedite our study of the legislation, and we agreed. The deadline for the
passage of that bill was mid-December of 2001.
However, concerns were expressed that it was difficult to
thoroughly assess the potential impact of this legislation in such a short
period of time. For that reason, it was agreed that three years later Parliament
would be asked to examine the provisions of the act and its impact on Canadians
with the benefit of hindsight and a less emotionally charged public situation.
The work of this special committee represents the Senate's efforts to fulfill
When we have completed this study, we will make a report to
the Senate outlining any issue that we think should be addressed and provide the
results of our work to the Government of Canada and the Canadian public.
The House of Commons is undergoing a similar process at this
The committee has so far met with government ministers and
officials; the Director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, CSIS;
international and domestic experts on the threat environment and individual
Today we will hear from those exercising the powers of the
act on the front lines. This morning we are pleased to have with us Mr. Giuliano
Zaccardelli, Commissioner of the RCMP; Ms. Gwen Boniface, Commissioner of the
Ontario Provincial Police; and Mr. Vince Bevan, Chief of the Ottawa Police
We thank you all for taking the time to be here today.
Colleagues, this is obviously a heavy-duty panel. Our time is
limited and I would ask you to be concise in your questions and answers so that
we can accomplish as much as possible this morning.
This is Commissioner Zaccardelli’s initial visit and he will
return on another occasion with colleagues from the RCMP.
Mr. Giuliano Zaccardelli, Commissioner, Royal Canadian
Mounted Police: Thank you very much, Madam Chair and senators for the
opportunity to be here today to discuss Canada's Anti-terrorism Act. My remarks
this morning will describe the philosophy of integrated policing in action in
this country in the service of all Canadians.
I would like to share with you this morning my thoughts in
three important areas. The first is that law enforcement's integrated and
measured response to terrorism is consistent with the Anti-terrorism Act that
respects the rule of law. Second, law enforcement fully respects the rights and
freedoms of individuals while pursuing the goal of ensuring safe homes and safe
communities. Third, law enforcement in this country views the Anti-terrorism Act
as a made-in-Canada solution to a global problem that aims to prevent, deter and
disrupt terrorist acts from happening, and provides consequences for those who
commit these criminal acts.
The police community’s main objective has been, and will
continue to be, ensuring public safety. For the police community, the
Anti-terrorism Act focuses on terrorists, their criminal action and support
networks. The Anti-terrorism Act did not put the RCMP back into national
security. The RCMP has always been involved in the investigation of criminal
offenses related to terrorism. That authority was never taken away from the RCMP
and it was reinforced in 1984 when the Security Offences Act was enacted.
The Air India investigation is just one example of the RCMP’s
investigative efforts that predate the Anti-terrorism Act. Although the RCMP is
the national law enforcement agency with the primary responsibility for
investigating crimes that threaten Canada’s national security, we do not have
exclusive jurisdiction. The RCMP must work with its federal, provincial and
municipal partners in an integrated fashion which supports our national security
mandate and makes the most effective use of our combined strengths.
The mandate of the RCMP is in relation to criminal
intelligence, criminal investigations and prevention, while the mandate of CSIS
is to advise the Government of Canada on matters related to security
intelligence. In other words, the mandates of CSIS and law enforcement are
complementary. Some have suggested that, because some measures of the
Anti-terrorism Act have not been used, they are unnecessary. This notion does
not reflect our experience. The Anti-terrorism Act now guides all
law-enforcement, terrorism-related criminal investigations and, therefore,
provides an important framework for investigators. These investigations are
often complex and may take many years to develop. The rights of individuals
require us to gain sufficient evidence before undertaking certain investigative
steps that the Anti-terrorism Act allows.
It is true that some provisions have been used more often
than others. From our experience, this is normal just three years after the
legislation came into force. It is also true that we in law enforcement have
attempted to be balanced in our use of the provisions of the act.
With respect to the so-called preventive arrest provision,
some of you may recall that when I addressed the Standing Committee on Justice
and Human Rights on October 23, 2001, I provided certain assurances that this
legislation would be used rarely. I indicated that this legislation would be
applied in very rare circumstances by highly skilled officers in full
consultation not only with their senior officers but with members of the legal
Three years later, I hope that you will recognize that we
have delivered on that assurance. We have been restrained in the use of these
powers and will continue to be so in the future.
Nevertheless, we already have had important successes.
Although there is a court-order publication ban that prevents me from discussing
the details in the Khawaja case, it is important to understand that cases
such as this are illustrations of the usefulness of the act and should not be
overlooked. The bottom line is that we are using the Anti-terrorism Act to
investigate, prosecute and prevent terrorist activity, including terrorist
financing and facilitation.
Let me turn to our respect for the rights and freedoms of
Canadians. Law enforcement's great strength in this country has been its
commitment to building relationships with the people and communities that we
serve. We recognize in law enforcement that the diversity of Canada's population
is evolving, and in an effort to keep pace, our community policing approach is
The RCMP remains committed to serving our diverse communities
domestically and to sharing our expertise with the global community through
peace-building and peace support operations around the world. Our role in
international policing represents an ongoing commitment to help maintain the
principles of human rights worldwide. Here at home, this commitment is equally
true. We contribute to the safety and security of our neighbourhoods by building
better relationships with the people we serve through consultation and
cooperation. Every outreach activity must be specific to the community affected,
whether it is the outreach activities undertaken with the South Asian community
following Air India, or with the Muslim-Canadian and Arab-Canadian communities
following September 11.
In law enforcement, we have taken steps to better understand
the needs of the diverse communities we serve through our hiring practices, our
training and our community outreach activities, and we will continue to work
with all Canadians.
Importantly, the provisions under the Anti-terrorism Act were
accompanied by a significant number of safeguards and other measures to ensure
democratic accountability, including the need for Attorney General approval
before investigative steps are taken followed by judicial authorization. No
other police powers have such safeguards.
This three-year review and annual reporting of investigative
hearings and preventive arrests ensure accountability to Parliament and the
people of Canada.
I would also like to emphasize that, as policing
organizations, all our investigations are subject to the laws of Canada,
including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
A little more than three years ago, governments around the
world and the United Nations made it clear that new legislative action was
needed to fight terrorism. Canada worked with the international community and
developed a made-in-Canada piece of legislation that I believe enables us to
better protect the safety and security of Canadians and allows us to assist our
international partners to ensure the safety and security of their citizens.
One example of this made-in-Canada solution is why we are
here today. The Government of Canada wanted to ensure an opportunity for all of
us to review the legislation and determine its effectiveness. I truly welcome
this opportunity to review and discuss this important legislation.
Since this legislation was passed just over three years ago,
much has happened. Events in other parts of the world as well as events here in
Canada have given us plenty to consider with respect to Canada’s Anti-terrorism
Act. The safety and security of all Canadians is paramount, but so too are the
victims of past attacks. Canada and Canadians are not immune from terrorist
activity. Twenty-four Canadians died in the September 11 attacks, two Canadians
were victims of the Bali bombings and most of the 329 victims of the Air India
bombing were Canadians.
You may recall that I said three years ago that I wish I
could say in three years we will not have an issue here. Everything tells us
this will be a long, protracted issue that democracies will face. Now, it is
three years later. Unfortunately, we have seen that those challenges still face
us. The threat of terrorism is more complex, extreme, sophisticated and
transnational than ever before. Globally, there is clearly an ongoing
willingness on the part of groups, individuals and even states to use violence
in support of political, ideological and religious agendas. Cooperation on the
domestic and international level is crucial to combat the threat effectively.
The pervasive nature of terrorist activities in the world
today means we will continue to need the provisions of this act for some time to
I want to make sure that we as a country and as police
organizations have the legislative tools to protect the safety and security of
all Canadians, to prevent and deter terrorist activity in Canada and to assist
our international partners to do the same in their countries.
Thank you for your kind attention and I welcome the
opportunity to further discuss this legislation with you today.
I and my colleagues anxiously await discussion that will
ensue the rest of the time we have before us.
The Chairman: Thank you very much, Commissioner. I
understand that Mr. Bevan and Ms. Boniface do not have statements of their own.
Mr. Zaccardelli: No, we thought we would give the
committee more time to ask questions.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: You will understand why my first
question has a personal aspect to it. I live in the Eastern townships, about
five miles from the Vermont border in a straight line. I was not the only one
surprised to read that the RCMP was going to close a number of detachments in
that area, and I was wondering if you could reassure me that closing those
detachments will not affect the problem of border crossings and the general
security of the area when it comes to the application of federal legislation.
Mr. Zaccardelli: I can assure you, first of all, that
there are no resources being taken out of Quebec. The whole objective behind the
restructuring has been to improve the safety and security of Quebecers and the
rest of Canada. This was to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the use
of those resources. There are three things that are sure in life — death, taxes
and shortage of resources. My job is to make the most effective use of those
resources by deploying them in the most strategic way possible. The challenge we
face changes on a daily basis, therefore I must be able to adapt the use of
those resources to those new challenges. My colleagues and I believe the
restructuring taking place in Quebec has made it more safe and secure along with
the rest of Canada. I cannot guarantee that security and safety, but I am
convinced as a commissioner that we are more able to be effective with the use
of our resources now than before those changes.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: How can you reassure me and
others living in that area that by closing nearby detachments the security of
that area, particularly the need for increased protection of our border, has
been increased or remains the same?
Mr. Zaccardelli: We believe in two fundamental things in
policing at the beginning of the 21st century. The first principle is in being
intelligence-led. The second principle, because of the shortage of resources, is
being totally integrated as much as possible to leverage our collective
We have an 8,000-kilometre border with the Americans. There
are insufficient resources in Canada and the United States to guarantee that no
one will cross the border unchecked by a police officer or a customs officer.
Our principle is to use our best intelligence to strategically locate our
resources in order to respond in the most effective and efficient manner based
on that intelligence. The vast majority of people crossing our borders are
law-abiding citizens, and I am not interested in checking every law-abiding
person. Rather, I am interested in obtaining the best resources and that is why
we created integrated border enforcement teams. We have integrated our resources
on the Canadian side in collaboration with our American partners. We have a
seamless operation along the border. In Canada and in the United States we have
strategically located integrated enforcement teams along the border to respond
to any issue. Those teams require certain critical mass, which is the
fundamental point. It would be nice to have two Mounties in every small town and
community in this country because they look good and communities like them.
However, I do not have that luxury, and Ms. Boniface and Mr. Bevan also do not
have that luxury. Two or three members cannot tackle many of the issues that we
face so we are regrouping the resources to create a critical mass that will
respond to the threats. The existing small units are incapable of responding to
the threats that you and others have legitimately raised in our communities. By
regrouping the resources, we are in a better position to attack the serious
problems that Canadians face, which is the whole objective behind this
Senator Lynch-Staunton: I will be more precise. According
to a newspaper article by Mr. James Gordon in The Gazette in Montreal
today, a document states that the Canada Border Services Agency has compiled a
list of 116 ports of entry and their distances to the nearest law enforcement
detachments. Nearly one half of them are located at least 25 kilometres away and
most rural ports are located 50 kilometres or more from the nearest police
station. After reading that, how can I be reassured that Canada's border is
protected better than before September 11, 2001?
Mr. Zaccardelli: Senator, you raise a good point but keep
in mind that I have limited resources.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: Why do you not ask for more
resources? I believe that you received about $500 million more in this budget
than in the previous year's budget. Is that not enough money?
Mr. Zaccardelli: Every day I ask for more resources and
some people kick me out of their offices for that. I know that you understand
what I am saying.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: Yes, but I do not know why you
dismiss what I say. I understand that you have created this critical mass and
that you are as secure as you were before. I believe that the physical presence
of police officers, even two per small village, is more important than
regrouping those officers further away, where, perhaps, they might be more adept
at obtaining information.
Mr. Zaccardelli: I did not dismiss what you said. The
reorganization is meant to help you and the concerns that you have raised. In
Quebec, the RCMP is a federal agency, where there are also a provincial police
force and municipal police forces. Integration is about everyone collaborating
and fulfilling their respective mandates. I do not have the resources to police
locally in Quebec and I do not have the authority, the mandate or the resources
to do that in Ontario. My job and my mandate are to ensure that those federal
resources work according to their mandates, and to leverage them in
collaboration with my provincial and municipal counterparts. I have made Quebec
more secure and safer, but I do not have the resources to place a Mountie in
every town. I am certain, if you were to ask Commissioner Boniface, she would
tell you that she cannot place a provincial police officer in every town in
Ontario. Given the limitations of our resources, it is a matter of how to best
utilize those resources. We have always faced a challenge in respect of Canada's
borders — that is not new. Not only are we working with our policing partners
but also we are working with customs agents and immigration agents in
collaboration with our American counterparts.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: The article I referred to says
that one guard at a Saskatchewan crossing explained that if an emergency
situation were to arise at night and the RCMP were asked to respond, the closest
on-call officer would have to get out of bed and drive 40 kilometres to attend.
Another staffer working at a remote Manitoba post recalled an incident last
summer in which a Canadian was flagged by the database as dangerous and was
refused entry to the U.S. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers escorted
the subject back to the border while the Canadian staffer called in the
Mounties. Two hours later an RCMP officer showed up. U.S. border patrol officers
were kind enough to stand by while the staffer dealt with this dangerous
individual on the Canadian side and waited for the RCMP.
Why is such a thing allowed to happen? I do not understand
why any government can refuse resources when such an incident can happen. One of
these days an incident might involve more than someone carrying a bit of
marijuana or some illegal cigarettes; it might be someone bringing in something
Mr. Zaccardelli: I appreciate your support but the
reality in Canada, especially in rural areas, as Ms. Boniface can speak to, is
such that I have one police officer who covers 1,000 square miles.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: I have one last question on this
issue. Mr. Zaccardelli, do you see any value in having armed customs officers
and immigration officers?
Mr. Zaccardelli: No, I do not see any value in that.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: Why is that?
Mr. Zaccardelli: The nature of the work does not require
those officers to be armed. As well, they have new powers in that they have the
authority to arrest people in certain situations. I think it would be dangerous
for us to arm these officers under the assumption that we would be safer because
a customs officer has a gun on his hip. I am saddened by what is taking place in
British Columbia where the B.C. Transit Commission and the provincial authority
allow the transit police officers to be armed. That is a dangerous escalation in
Canada and is unnecessary because we can deal with these issues in other ways.
Parks Canada wants its staff to be armed. I asked a Parks Canada officer why he
wants to be armed. His answer was that in Banff, Jasper or other provincial or
national parks on a weekend, it becomes quite rowdy with people getting drunk
and causing disturbances. I replied that I understood the problem but that
having a gun might not solve it. Rather, it would be best to de-escalate such a
situation and not cause more problems. I am strongly against arming people
simply to create the notion that we might feel more secure. We want to be very
careful before we go down that road. I am aware that working at the border can
be risky and that there are certain dangers. However, a customs officer shooting
at someone who runs through the border is not the answer, and so we need to look
at other options. Arming people is not the optimum answer to many of our
Senator Lynch-Staunton: We will agree to disagree.
Senator Day: Welcome, Mr. Zaccardelli, Ms. Boniface and
Mr. Bevan. My question flows from the discussion Mr. Zaccardelli had with
respect to community outreach. Recognizing the diversity of Canada now and in
the future, what hiring practices exist to ensure that the RCMP represents that
Mr. Zaccardelli: I will comment and then ask that Ms.
Boniface and Mr. Bevan comment as well. One of our priorities in the RCMP is the
recruitment of visible minorities, and we have met with some great successes.
The matter arose during the Air India investigation 20 years ago when we did not
have any Sikhs on staff with the RCMP. Now, there are a number of Sikhs on staff
with the RCMP, and we changed the uniform to allow the wearing of the turban.
This is a priority action for the RCMP. In Richmond, British Columbia, more than
50 per cent of the population that we police are Chinese.
Currently, 25 per cent of our officers at the detachment
today are Chinese, so we have a very specific recruiting target. This is
difficult to do. In certain communities, there is a reluctance to become a
police officer, often because of experiences that the families or the
communities had in the past. We are working very actively on that.
I was glad to hear a comment made to me a little while ago by
someone who visited our training academy. The comment was, "The academy is
starting to look like the United Nations." I took that as a bit of a compliment.
I hoped the person meant it in the right way, and he did. We are actively
working on this. The outreach is taking place in every community in every
province of this country. I think Ms. Boniface —
Senator Day: Maybe your two colleagues might comment on
this. Do you see anything wrong with a proactive hiring policy that ensures that
you have certain seats available and certain positions available for racial
Ms. Gwen Boniface, Commissioner, Ontario Provincial Police:
We have been working very hard in the OPP to reach into communities and work
with community leadership. We have run three programs, a third of which are
about to take place. One such program is OPP Bound, which is looking for
candidates for recruits. In the first initiative, our target was to increase the
representation of women. The second initiative, which we did last summer, was
for Aboriginal peoples. The third initiative that will take place is OPP Asia
Experience. We are trying to reach into communities where we have less
representation and create an interest, both in terms of community involvement
and also to create candidates.
There has been tremendous curiosity and interest, and I think
we have been successful in piquing that interest in a number of communities. Let
me give you an example. When we took the initiative forward for women, we had
100 seats to run a program called, "The One-Week Introduction to Policing." We
had over 2,500 applicants for those 100 seats. That told us there is an
interest. We are finding the same sort of pattern. The numbers are slightly
less, but there are still three or four people applying for each seat. That
exposes them to policing, and the communities have been extremely supportive of
What I think is necessary in our efforts as we move forward,
particularly with the diverse community in our province, is to create the
candidate pool coming forward so that the interest is piqued in policing. It
allows us to have a broad range, both in language capabilities to work in the
communities and to have that contact within the communities, as well as from a
community advisory perspective. I work with two community advisory committees
that have been instrumental in helping advise on those sorts of initiatives.
Mr. Vince Bevan, Chief, Ottawa Police Service: Certainly
within the Ottawa Police Service, we have a very close connection to our
community, and we have recognized for some time that we need to do better in
this particular area. Currently, 21 per cent of the people who live in Ottawa
were born in another country. More than 18 per cent of our residents here in
Ottawa identify themselves as visible minorities.
Approximately two years ago, we began a study with the School
of Business at Carleton University to develop a business plan. Last year, we
translated that business plan into an action plan. We have adopted an outreach
recruitment program in collaboration with community partners. We use key
community leaders in diverse communities as champions to help identify
appropriate candidates within their communities so that we can work with them to
ensure that they are qualified for a career in policing.
Last fall I met with our executive command, with all our
senior officers, and with our middle managers, particularly at the sergeant and
staff sargeant level, to talk about the business case, to talk about why we need
to become a more diverse organization. It is not simply because we want to
reflect the community we serve. We have operational reasons. If we do not speak
the languages our communities speak and cannot communicate with them, it will
encourage misunderstanding and mistrust between the police and the communities.
If we are unable to understand cultural reasons behind certain activities taking
place, we are disadvantaged.
Organized crime can come in many forms. If we do not
understand what is happening because we do not understand the culture and the
language, then we will not be able to deal effectively with those organized
crime issues. That pays a disservice to the entire community.
We have worked very hard. We want to make sure that we are a
welcoming organization. Once we recruit people into our organization, we are
taking steps over the past nine months, and currently, to make sure we are a
welcoming organization inside so that when we do recruit the right people, they
feel welcome. They feel valued within the organization, they will stay, and they
will say good things about the Ottawa Police to encourage others to come.
This week I will swear in another recruit class, and that
recruit class is more than 50 per cent diverse. I can certainly provide you,
senator, with an article that we have written for a policing journal and a human
resources publication in Canada.
Unfortunately, it is available only in English.
I am sure this panel would have the capacity to have it
translated. I can certainly provide that to you.
Senator Day: Chief Bevan, we could arrange for
translation if you could provide that to the clerk.
As part of the requirements under the act, in order to prove
a terrorist offence, it is necessary to show a motivation that is religious,
ideological, or political. I am wondering if you have done any thinking about
that requirement. Is it necessary and desirable, and does that not lead your
police officers to automatically be led into a racial profiling role?
Mr. Zaccardelli: Senator Day, that is a good point. When
you look at the legislation, one of the things that comes up is the definition,
because it is not as clear maybe as it can be. From the perspective of law
enforcement, we are interested in gathering information and intelligence that is
only criminal in nature. Our only interest is to investigate and to prosecute
offences that are contrary to the Criminal Code.
In this area, as you are very much aware, our powers are very
strictly controlled by having to get the approval of the Attorney General. Then,
it must come before a judge, so there is a very good balance there. We are very
much aware of the fact that we do not concentrate on the person's religious
background or whatever political views they may have. It is the act that we are
concerned about. If the act is one that is contrary to the Criminal Code, if the
person is interested in committing an act, that is what we investigate. We
investigate the crime.
Senator Day: In charging or conferring a charge in
relation to a terrorist act, your policing officers do not test motivation?
Mr. Zaccardelli: The motive is an issue. We do discuss
the issue of motive. However, do not forget, especially in this particular case,
before any act is taken, any charge, it must come to the most senior levels in
the police organization, and then it must go to the Crown for that review. There
are checks and balances in there to make sure that the investigation is not
simply one where we are concerned with the person's political or religious
beliefs, but it is what they are doing relative to possibly committing a
Senator Day: Do you need that particular portion of the
charging section where motivation is required to be proved? Do you find that a
help or a hindrance in providing your policing activities?
Mr. Zaccardelli: At the end of the day, we apply the law
as it is legislated.
Senator Day: I understand, and we are reviewing the law
to determine whether it should stand as is or be amended. I am asking you about
that particular test to look at motivation, which is not a common type of test
being provided in the normal criminal investigation. You know that there are
many complaints by minority communities with respect to racial profiling. You
say you do not do racial profiling. I say maybe you are not doing it
intentionally, but maybe the law is leading your personnel to apply a type of
racial profiling through this requirement for looking at motivation.
Mr. Zaccardelli: I would ask my colleagues to comment.
However, I would support, in general, any clarity that can be brought to any
law. In my view, this legislation does not lead our investigators in any way
down the possible path of racial profiling, which is totally prohibited. One of
the reasons I say that with absolute certainty is because every investigation
that starts in this field must be approved by the most senior officers in the
organization, and there is very close scrutiny. Nothing takes place without it
coming back for supervision and review by the most senior people involved in our
organization. That happens in no other area of law enforcement.
Senator Day: Is it only the most senior people who have
the training to avoid racial profiling or do you give training across the board,
and what type of training is involved?
Mr. Zaccardelli: It is given right across the board. It
starts right from the very first day at our academy. I can say with absolute
certainty that all police academies in this country have a very extensive
training program as part of recruit training. Then there is ongoing training
throughout our members' careers — sensitivity training and a whole series.
Remember, we are talking about a very small number of police officers that
actually work in this field. For example, in the RCMP, out of more than 23,000
employees, less than 300 work in this field.
Senator Day: Do you train them all on that issue?
Mr. Zaccardelli: Yes, because racial profiling goes well
beyond this area. Sensitivity training goes beyond this area. For example, we do
Aboriginal sensitivity training, which is sculpted to meet the needs of our
Aboriginal communities, and to be sensitive to their cultural needs.
This type of training goes on right across the board, but in
this particular area, there is extra training. Very senior investigators have
very specific courses given to them as part of their training before they go to
work in these areas. I would ask Commissioner Boniface to elaborate further on
Ms. Boniface: If I could just go back to your question
around the section itself, it is my understanding of the history of the
legislation that it was put in place to limit, particularly around the protest
side. In agreeing with Commissioner Zaccardelli, if there is further clarity
that somehow can be brought to it, it is really a question of what the
philosophical approach is. The question would be easier to answer if we knew
what the alternative might be. However, if there is some clarity you can bring
to a section, or some comfort level from that perspective, I do not think we
would disagree with that.
Mr. Bevan: As well, I would like to add my support to
what Commissioner Zaccardelli has said, and speak to the issue of training. We
recognized early on, immediately after September 11, that there would be
concerns in the Muslim and Arab community about possible reaction by Canadians,
and even government, in relation to their being resident in our community. It
was on September 14, 2001 — in part because we have such a close relationship
with our diverse communities — that we invited Muslim and Arab community leaders
to come in with all religious leaders. We had a meeting at the City of Ottawa so
that we could confirm for them in particular that an attack on any one of our
groups in our community is an attack on all of us.
Out of that developed a good deal of extra work that we have
undertaken in the police service, and jointly with the RCMP, to train our
members. We have put more energy in training our members on this issue than we
have in training them on the Anti-terrorism Act.
We work with the Council on American-Islamic Relations
Canada, CAIR-CAN, and we have had regular contacts with them. In February 2002,
we invited them into our organization to provide training for our members. We
invited our partners at the RCMP, and we have maintained that training of our
front-line members ever since.
Each year they come in to do sessions with our patrol
officers, and twice a year they come in to do sessions about cultural issues
with our investigators who are engaged in working in this area with the RCMP. As
a matter of fact I can report to you, senator, that already CAIR-CAN has
provided training to our specialty units twice in 2005. We are working very
closely with that community to educate our members, the community that feels, or
in some quarters would feel, that they are being targeted.
Senator Day: My time has run out, but let me congratulate
you on the training that you are doing with respect to sensitivity and racial
profiling. Let me also encourage you to hire in the areas of visible and ethnic
minoritie, as you have indicated you have been doing.
The Chairman: Colleagues, we have had a very good and
interesting beginning with our first two questioners. We have six others on the
list, and we have about 60 minutes left for the hearing, so I would ask you to
be as crisp as possible.
Senator Kinsella: Thank you, chair. Given the structure
of the panel, I am somewhat confused as to which direction to go in. I will take
the lead from Commissioner Zaccardelli. He drew to our attention the importance
of policing agencies in Canada acting in concert. Had a representative of the
Sûreté du Quebec been here, I would have said that is what we will concentrate
Just for clarity, commissioner, the RCMP has the primary
responsibility for criminal intent vis-à-vis attacks on our national security;
therefore, the RCMP is the lead police force in Canada. Am I correct?
Mr. Zaccardelli: That is correct, Senator Kinsella.
Senator Kinsella: The Auditor General last week issued a
report dealing with issues of emergencies. If I have understood what the Auditor
General, in part, told us in that report, she raises concerns about the command
and control structure. Have you looked at her report on that particular issue?
Mr. Zaccardelli: I have not read her report. I have some
people who are looking at it. I thought the report was a little complimentary
toward us, so I felt good; but I have not read the full report.
Senator Kinsella: My understanding is that she does have
concern with the command and control structure across the Government of Canada.
My question is about technical issues. While the RCMP was not criticized, she
seemed to raise a concern with the integration of these many other agencies into
the total picture, and which minister will be ultimately the minister that we in
Parliament can hold accountable. Will it be the Minister of Immigration and
Citizenship, the Minister of Justice, or the minister to whom you and other
agencies report, the Minister of Security?
To complete other elements of the question I am trying to
knit together, in the Province of Quebec, the Sûreté du Québec play a major role
in the enforcement of criminal activities under the Criminal Code vis-à-vis
security. They, in that jurisdiction, would play a major role, if not lead
agency. How is that integrated domestically?
Mr. Zaccardelli: Senator Kinsella, you have raised maybe
the most important issue that came out of the post-9/11 period. The reality is
that we view safety and security as a continuum. When we say we view it as a
continuum, we mean that all of us regardless of what level — federal, provincial
or municipal — have a role to play. The challenge has been to try and make sure
that the different agencies, the different organizations, and the different
levels of government carry out their mandates in an integrated and seamless
fashion so that you maximize the security of the country and minimize the
threats to it.
We believe very strongly that if you practice the philosophy
of intelligence-led and integrated-policing philosophy, the whole can be much
greater than the sum of its parts. That is what we have been pushing every time
we get the chance.
The reality is that we do have divisions of power in this
country. The RCMP, under a federal act, is given primary responsibility to
investigate the criminal aspects related to national security, but by no means
does that give me exclusive authority as the commissioner. As a matter of fact,
whether it is a municipal or a provincial commissioner or director of the Sûreté
du Québec, they have every right to investigate anything that might happen in
that area that is related in any way to the criminal aspect of national
Through the philosophy of integration we work in a
collaborative way for the greater good of the country. We have these integrated
teams in Quebec, Ontario, and throughout the country, where the agencies and
different levels of governments or whatever, come together and we look at the
problem as one; everyone contributes.
From the practical perspective, from the law enforcement
perspective, that is not an issue. The question of who coordinates this is also
an issue that is discussed. I believe, since 9/11, we have had huge success in
modeling to the world how good we are in Canada for coming together, whether you
are at the federal, provincial or municipal level.
Minister McLellan, in her new ministry, has been given the
primary responsibility at the federal level, but for her to be effective — and I
say this with the greatest respect — she needs the collaboration of her
provincial counterparts, which happens and is going on right now. There are
meetings and discussions, and we have brought that together.
That is happening in this country, not because we passed a
law that says we must be integrated. It is happening because we actually believe
it is in the greater good of Canada, the provinces, and the municipalities for
us to leverage our collective resources.
Senator Kinsella: In the use of some of the powers that
the Anti-terrorism Act makes available to peace officers, within the various
agencies is there coordination as to the use of preventive arrest or these other
powers? Would you know if the Sûreté du Québec were going to use that power? Is
there coordination on the use of these extraordinary powers which Parliament has
Mr. Zaccardelli: The short answer is, absolutely yes,
Senator. Again, through the creation of the integrated teams, we know exactly
what is taking place in every part of the country where there is an
investigation in this area. First, in terms of starting an investigation from a
law enforcement perspective, everyone is aware of it and the team agrees this is
what we will do. Then, if any further steps have to be taken, whether it is to
charge someone or to have an investigative hearing, the team is aware, all the
agencies are aware, and the governments are aware of what is going on. Then, in
this particular case, we must obtain the approval of the Attorney General and a
judge. The facts are presented to a judge. It is not the police who make these
decisions. It is very important that we understand that. The judge determines
whether or not a hearing will take place, whether conditions will be attached to
someone's movements and so on; it is not the police. That is a unique situation
given the powers that are given to the police, but they are counterbalanced by
the fact that the police cannot act in terms of — I cannot compel someone to
appear for an investigative hearing. It is only the judge that can order that. I
cannot do that so the balancing act takes place that way.
Senator Kinsella: Commissioner, some would say that in
the United States there is a public perception that in Canada we are not doing a
very good job in counteracting terrorism. Some in the United States have a
perception that we are somehow a sieve. The new Ambassador to the United States
counteracted this with a letter to The New York Times that was published
last week. That is a public perception that exists. At the Canada-United States
policing relationship level, what is the perception that is shared by your
American interlocutors, whether it be the FBI or the CIA, vis-à-vis the work
that you and your domestic colleagues are doing combating terrorism, using
sometimes the power that is contained in the Anti-terrorism Act, and your
American counterparts, the FBI, the CIA and others using the powers contained in
their Patriot Act? What is their perception as to what we are doing in Canada?
Mr. Zaccardelli: I would like to make two points about
that, senator. First of all, everything that I hear and I am told in my
interactions with my American counterparts is they are truly thankful for the
work that we have done for them, given what they went through in 9/11. They have
the highest regard for law enforcement in this country. As a matter of fact, a
number of the initiatives that have taken place in the United States relative to
law enforcement were actually initiatives that we discussed with them and we
suggested that they do and they bought into that. At the operational level,
there is nothing but the greatest respect and harmonization of our work. I can
assure you that for Canadians and American people on the ground, it is one
seamless, effective machine that is working there.
I accept that there is this perception in Canada. I agree
with you that we have that. Let me give you one example. Two weeks ago, I hosted
the Secretary-General of Interpol in Canada. He came here to visit Canada.
Interpol is the largest organization outside of the UN, 182 countries. At a news
conference, a reporter asked him if it was true that Canada is a superhighway
for terrorists to get into the United States. I will paraphrase his answer, but
I think I am close. He said, I am an American citizen and I have to tell you my
country got that statement half wrong when Americans say that Canada is a
superhighway for terrorists into the United States. The only half that is right
about that statement is that Canada is a super country. He said Canada is a
leader in terms of its policing methods and what it does to help other countries
around the world, and he is very proud of what Canada has done, and for doing
its share. There is no sieve; there is no superhighway that this country has to
We have challenges here, just like everyone else. That is why
we believe we should stop talking about who is better and worse. Let us start
talking about how we can collectively bring our resources together so we can
make that pie greater than the sum of its parts. We have nothing to be ashamed
of in this country. We are doing a lot of things to protect, not just Canadians,
but Americans and other countries around the world.
Finally, our friends in the United States are doing what we
are doing here in Parliament. They are reviewing the Patriot Act, as we are
reviewing the Anti-terrorism Act. One of our American colleagues in the United
States Senate, Senator Larry Craig, has proposed some amendments to the Patriot
Act, mainly dealing with extra safeguards from a civil liberties point of view.
He is receiving a fair amount of support for them.
It is important for members of this committee to not only
understand the rhetoric that is associated with our own national sovereignty,
and we will decide things our way in Canada, but we would be naive if we did not
keep our eyes on the ball of what is happening around us.
Many American senators, including Senator Craig, have
recognized that the Patriot Act has extraordinary powers, and want to make
amendments to it.
If this committee was to recommend some modifications to the
Anti-terrorism Act, would you be comfortable with that? We have not used the
preventative detention power and we may not have used some other powers.
Mr. Zaccardelli: I would ask comments from my colleague.
I know it is tempting to say we have not used certain provisions, therefore, why
do we need them? I would be very cautious there. We have not charged anybody
with hijacking lately in this country, but there is a hijacking section in the
Criminal Code. We have not charged anybody with treason, but there are certain
sections relating to that. The key is in an area such as this, where there are
indications of threats or potential threats, we need to have the tools, if and
when they are required, immediately. I would be very cautious about any
recommendation in that area.
I would welcome comments from Mr. Bevan and Ms. Boniface on
Mr. Bevan: Senator, I would certainly support
Commissioner Zaccardelli on that. It is well-designed legislation. It is
uniquely Canadian in comparison to some of the other acts, particularly the
Patriot Act implemented in the United States.
I would equate it to an insurance policy. You would not
cancel your insurance policy because you have not had any problems in your
neighbourhood. Some day someone may unfortunately break into your house and
commit some matter of mischief there. You would like to have that insurance
policy in place at the time.
This is very much a preventative act that is provided to law
enforcement in this country to try to deal with issues that may arise from time
to time. Because it has not been implemented or certain provisions have not been
used ought not to be read as an indicator that we do not need to have these
kinds of powers to deal with issues that may come up in the future.
Ms. Boniface: It is important for Canada to be a global
player, and legislation that is put in place is part of the world response to
terrorism. From what we have seen around the world since 9/11, it is apparent
that we need legislation such as this on the books.
Senator Joyal: Mr. Zaccardelli, I would like to come back
to the issue of border security. This is a key issue, of course, between the two
neighbouring countries of Canada and the United States.
Recently, I was watching CBC and it was reported that last
year the number of cars that did not stop at the border was in the vicinity of
1,600, whereas in past years it was 700 or 800. I do not recall the figures
exactly. Is this a trend? How do we explain that suddenly there are a greater
number of people trying to enter Canada without stopping at the border?
Mr. Zaccardelli: Senator, I do not have the specific
numbers in terms of the increases or decreases compared to other years, but I do
acknowledge that running the border is not something new. It is something that
has happened for many years.
Senator Joyal: Could you provide us with some statistics
because this is an important issue we will want to revisit.
I was crossing the border yesterday, and I had those figures
in mind. The only thing that was stopping cars from taking another line than the
waiting line was a small plastic orange post about 24 inches high. Any car with
a good bumper could have gone through that. Would it not be better to have a
gate when the posts are not used? At least they would be blocked. We do not need
a royal commission investigation on security to come to that conclusion and it
would not cost billions of dollars either. You would close the gates and not use
those orange posts that anybody can run over. Who is responsible for that?
Mr. Zaccardelli: I agree that there are many practical
things that can be done. Those things are in fact being done. Since 9/11, the
30-point plan between Canada and the United States has been discussed at the
ministerial level in terms of improving the flow of commerce and making sure
that we can interdict on a risk-assessment basis those that should not be
crossing. This is actively being pursued. Roads are being built and more
security systems are being put into place.
As police forces, we are consulted on what we think should
happen there but we are not the lead on that. It is at the ministerial level. At
the border, the customs department is responsible for that.
More importantly — and this was raised in the first question
by the senator — there are many unguarded border crossings, which are issues for
us. We have 8,000 kilometres. How do you manage this issue of a huge border?
Often I hear the question, why do we not fix the border in Quebec? What about
the other provinces? It is not about filling just one or two gaps. This is an
8,000-kilometre challenge. We do not believe it is possible to have sufficient
resources for police officers or customs officers to hold hands at the border.
Therefore, we believe in strategically locating critical mass teams that can
respond when we have good information or good evidence of activity that we do
not want to take place. This has been our strategic response to this challenge
in collaboration with our American friends.
The Americans have a border patrol, but they will admit they
cannot control the whole border either. Look at the southern border, for
Senator Joyal: I am talking about Canada right now. The
Mexican border is another issue. We will probably have an opportunity to raise
it at some point.
What happens when a vehicle crosses the border without
stopping? Is it reported to the closest RCMP detachment? What kind of
investigation do you start?
Mr. Zaccardelli: The policy is that the customs officer
has to make a decision whether or not to report it to the police force of the
closest jurisdiction. That police force then has to determine whether they have
the resources or the capacity to respond. That is how it happens. It might be an
RCMP detachment, but it might be an OPP office or an office of the Sureté du
Quebec in certain parts of Quebec. That is the way they are dealt with.
Senator Joyal: Is there not an automatic report about
such a vehicle if they were able to catch the number of the plate, a description
of the vehicle or whatever details could be provided to police forces to open an
Mr. Zaccardelli: No, there is not. They do not have
police officers waiting in a car to respond to a possible running of the border.
That is a question of resources.
Senator Joyal: It is essentially a question of resources.
If somebody crosses the border without stopping, there is a chance, and I do not
want to measure up the chance in terms of proportion, but there is a chance that
the person goes away without being bothered later on.
Mr. Zaccardelli: That does happen, yes.
Senator Joyal: How do you explain the fact that the
number of people who do not stop seems to be increasing? Does it bring us to the
conclusion that there is something wrong in the system, and that people see a
loophole and just go through without stopping?
Mr. Zaccardelli: You are right, senator. There could be
many reasons. If the Americans make a minor amendment to their immigration
policy, or the perception is that they will be getting tougher, that could have
an impact in terms of the movements of people. There are all kinds of reasons
for that happening. It happens. I concede that it happens.
My job, and the jobs of my colleagues at the provincial,
federal and municipal level, is to try again to look at our collective resources
and manage them and use them in the most effective and efficient way. That is
what we try to do, and that is what we are doing.
Senator Joyal: I do not want to create a worst case
scenario, but in other words, a terrorist can cross the border with explosives
or dangerous materials and just make sure the vehicle is sufficiently strong to
go through it. The chance that he or she goes through without being bothered is
Mr. Zaccardelli: Certain things are possible. The Ahmed
Rassam case is a good example.
Senator Joyal: I was not going to quote it.
Mr. Zaccardelli: We all know. It is very public. Mr.
Rassam was stopped by an agent at the border, so the system worked. Again,
senator, we have to deal with 8,000 kilometres, and I believe we are dealing
with it very effectively in collaboration with our colleagues on our side of the
border and with our American friends on the other side of the border. We have
integrated our radio systems. We are using the same policies now. We are working
on each other's teams, all to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of our
presence on both sides of the border. I am proud of what we have done since
September 11, 2001 to enhance that.
Can I say that every person and every car will be stopped? I
cannot give you that guarantee, but I know how much we have improved our
effectiveness on our border.
Senator Joyal: Do you have any statistics of what happens
in the other direction? How many people coming from Canada are forcing their way
across the border on the U.S. side, how many are arrested, and what kind of
reaction do they have in terms of capacity to stop that?
Mr. Zaccardelli: I do not have that, but I can ask our
friends in the Department of Homeland Security if they can provide information
that we could share with the committee, senator.
The Chairman: Thank you very much. I would remind
committee members that we will be hearing again from Senator — I keep trying to
bring you into the group, commissioner — Commissioner Zaccardelli.
Mr. Zaccardelli: I have enough of a challenge just being
The Chairman: The commissioner and some of his folks will
be back on another occasion, and we will have a second shot at that.
Senator Fraser: Racial profiling, as you know, has been
an abiding concern of a number of people. You have said firmly, Mr. Zaccardelli,
that the RCMP does not do racial profiling. I may be wrong on this, but
certainly I have the impression that some forms of profiling are useful tools in
criminal investigations. How do you define the difference? What is it that you
are saying RCMP does not do when you say it does not do racial profiling?
Mr. Zaccardelli: When I say we do not do racial
profiling, I mean we do not say we will target somebody because of their skin
colour, religion or certain beliefs. That is the basis of profiling. For
example, we do not profile people who have a certain colour of skin.
When we talk about profiling, we talk about criminal
profiling. We profile people involved in certain criminal activity or who have
the potential to be involved in certain criminal activity. Whether they happen
to be black, white or yellow does not matter to us. That is the difference. It
is based on solid information or intelligence that leads us to believe these
people are involved in a criminal activity.
This is a major issue for us, and it is important that you
get a broad perspective. Much of this started in Ontario, so my two colleagues
can speak clearly on this.
Ms. Boniface: First, I agree, and second, a great deal of
effort has been made to ensure it is clear to front-line officers. In the OPP,
the education goes all the way down the line. Senior managers can articulate
their way through this issue when they are answering questions and have an
exchange. They understand the depth of the issue, reinforcing it in specialized
units, in front-line officers. Certainly in the U.S., this became a significant
issue in traffic stops. We have responded with policies within my organization
that speak to professional traffic stops. You can specifically walk officers
through, both in training and in policy, the thought process they should go
through as they make decisions on whether to stop or not stop. You can do the
same thing with specialized units in terms of the types of work that
Commissioner Zaccardelli referred to.
Mr. Bevan: Our police service has been on the record
officially through what we have said about racial profiling, but more
importantly by what we have done with regards to racial profiling. I will not
repeat what my colleagues have said, but we recognize internally that we are a
business that employs people, and sometimes people have differing views. We set
into place clear guidelines and standards, and we enforce those guidelines and
standards. It is an offence under the code of conduct, and anyone who practiced
racial profiling would be held accountable. We do the education and the
training. We work with our community. We also have those standards to hold
Senator Fraser: Has anyone in any of your forces been
disciplined in the past three years for engaging in racial profiling?
Mr. Bevan: Not within my organization, no.
Mr. Zaccardelli: I have no specific cases. I can tell you
we have had a number of cases where the allegation has been made. They have gone
to the public complaints commission that looks after complaints by the public,
but I do not have specific figures on that. I dealt with a very controversial
one recently where that was one of the allegations. The person was found in
contravention of our code of conduct, although the court found that there was no
evidence of racial profiling. I was very concerned that it was part of the
member's action. The courts found him to have assaulted the person, but they did
not go so far as to say that the assault was part of the racial profiling.
Ms. Boniface: I have no specific recollection, other than
conduct issues generally. There is nothing I can think of specifically, but I
would be happy to get back to you.
Senator Fraser: I would be grateful if you would both do
The second area I want to ask about has to do with the
Commission of Public Complaints Against the RCMP. That is a complaint-based
body; it cannot act unless it receives a complaint. However, in the new world we
are living in you may not know why you suddenly cannot get a job or your
neighbours are no longer talking to you. It could be because the police have
been making inquiries and leaving suggestions in people's minds.
Would it not be more desirable for the public complaints
commission to have a greater degree of autonomy so that it could initiate
reviews on its own without waiting for complaints?
Mr. Zaccardelli: Thank you for raising that point. I have
to correct what you have said. The chair of the Commission for Public Complaints
Against the RCMP has the right and authority to initiate an inquiry or public
hearing on her own, and this has happened in a number of cases.
For example, there have been a few high-speed chases in
British Columbia —
Senator Fraser: I am sorry to interrupt you, but due to
time constraints I would like to say that it is my understanding that the
chairman can initiate a complaint on her own, but it must be a specific
complaint related to a specific case rather than a review of procedures in
general. Am I wrong about that?
Mr. Zaccardelli: Yes, you are wrong about that.
High-speed chases are a perfect example. There was no complaint, but the
chairman took it upon herself to hold an inquiry and do a review. We worked with
her and, as a result, we changed a number of our policies.
The act clearly allows the chairman to initiate a review of
anything related to the RCMP. Most of the issues that the commission reviews do
come from public complaints about interaction with the RCMP. The chairman has
quite often used the power to initiate reviews, especially in high-profile
issues. She can hold a private or a public hearing.
Senator Andreychuk: All the witnesses before us today
have indicated that our act is well designed and uniquely Canadian. Can you tell
us why it is uniquely Canadian and necessary, in your opinion as law enforcement
officers, that we put into the act the definition of terrorist activity as
politically, ideologically or religiously motivated? What is it in Canada that
makes you believe that we need those components in our act whereas most other
jurisdictions do not have them? I understand that Britain has that definition
and I understand why it is uniquely British, but I do not understand why it is
necessary to have that in the Canadian legislation.
Mr. Zaccardelli: With regard to the religious and/or
political issue, I must say that I am not a lawyer, but the act made it clear
that we cannot investigate based on political or religious beliefs. It is meant
to curtail law enforcement's ability to initiate. That is a safeguard in the
act, and I think it is a very good thing. It makes it very clear that we cannot
Senator Andreychuk: I understand the safeguard. It was
put in by parliamentarians because they were worried about the consequences.
Why do you continue to maintain a definition of terrorist
activity that would include identifying political, ideological or religious
motivation rather than simply talk about activity of a terrorist nature? Why do
you maintain that we still need those three elements when UN Secretary-General
Kofi Annan has put forward a working definition at the United Nations that does
not include those factors? The Patriot Act also does not include those factors.
They do not feel constrained in how they work to protect citizens around the
world. Why do we need to send those signals that cause so much stress to certain
groups in our society? Why do you still defend it?
Mr. Zaccardelli: I am not defending it, and I do not
think we defend any act. At the end of the day, we enforce the act. We give
input, and then legislation is passed or not by elected officials. We carry out
the law and work with it in the best way we can.
As I said before, we welcome this review. We believe it is
good to bring different perspectives to this. Hearing what law enforcement
agencies have done and are trying to do may enable you to have a better
understanding. We welcome the review and any input you can give us to better
We will live with whatever happens at the end of the day. We
will do our duty, carry out our mandate and investigate serious matters. If
there is any threat or possibility of criminal offence, we will investigate.
We strongly believe that various sections of the act are
helpful, be it to prevent terrorist organizations from using charities to raise
money or the provisions that help us to better identify organizations that may
use money laundering to facilitate terrorist activity. Those are all good
things. We also believe that there must be checks and balances against those,
which I think the act provides, especially the two more well-known sections
dealing with investigative provisions and so on.
Those are useful for us. If they were not in the act, we
would still do our job but, considering the potential threat, it is important
for us to be proactive in this area. In law enforcement, we always have to react
to offences. The danger is that the threat may be so serious that to simply
react to it will not be of much solace.
This act gives us the ability to be more preventive in our
work, and that is where we think we have hit the right balance, but the balance
is always moving. If there is an opportunity to improve it, we welcome that.
Senator Andreychuk: We passed this act rather quickly
after 9/11. We were hopeful that we struck the right balance between prevention
and rights. We are now studying whether that is the case. You say that you need
the preventive tools in the act, regardless of whether you have used them.
My concern is that some of those tools are pretty invasive
for those individuals who are targeted, and we can only hope that the right
people are targeted, and not innocent people.
We have had this legislation for more than three years. Are
there no other tools that we need? You are defending the act, saying that it
includes preventive tools. I am not sure that those are the right preventive
tools. In three years, have you not determined what might be more helpful to you
than what is in the act? What can we do to protect Canadians that we did not
think of right after September 11, 2001?
Mr. Zaccardelli: One area we could improve upon is
related to notification. As you know, we can defer notification of wiretaps for
three years, but there are other means by which we gain access to certain
information, and deferral of notification with regard to those means is for
shorter periods. Those periods should be harmonized. With the approval of the
courts we should be able to delay notification for three years in the use of
search warrants and other technical searches.
While we need not notify of information obtained via wiretap
for three years, if we must reveal that we have obtained information through
other means, that blows our case.
Harmonization on this issue would be helpful.
Ms. Boniface:As we work interprovincially, within the
provincial borders, and I will use Sûreté du Québec as my example, we do not
have the ability to work across that border seamlessly with our counterparts.
There is not an easy mechanism to do that legislatively. When we spoke to this
issue sometime back, it was one of the points we brought forward as being
important. For instance, for me in Ontario, I have a very close working
relationship with the Sûreté du Québec because I border it, and some of my
detachments are within arm's reach of a Sûreté du Québec detachment. As we try
to integrate our efforts more effectively, because of constitutional and
provincial differences, it is not as easy as it should be for the purpose of
Mr. Bevan: Could we use other powers? Absolutely. I know
there is other legislation before government directed at lawful access. We need
to update the ability to intercept, to get current with technology, and I
realize there is other legislation. That is just one kind of additional power,
based on our experience to date, and certainly with matters that are before the
court, that really have underscored the need for changes in the ability of
police to lawfully intercept communication.
Going back to your original question, in my view, the
definition of terrorism is critical in that piece of legislation because we need
to differentiate between other types of criminal conduct, and criminal conduct
that is motivated by terrorist purposes. We need that definition in order to
pass the threshold and invoke the provisions of the legislation that are
available to law enforcement to help us do our job and to prevent criminal acts.
I just wanted to make that comment.
Senator Andreychuk: I am now a little confused. Are you
saying that you need a specific definition of terrorism, or do you need the
particular one that identifies political, ideological and religious motivation?
The point I was making is the United Nations does not need to put in political,
ideological or religious motivation. Are you saying you have to? Do you need a
specific definition that is workable?
Mr. Bevan: We need a definition that is workable.
Senator Stratton: Before I return to Senator
Lynch-Staunton's question with respect to the borders, I would like you to think
about what the greatest threat is to Canada regarding terrorism.
The shortage of resources, in effect, that Senator
Lynch-Staunton had spoken about in Quebec, bothers me. Then there was reference
in the newspaper article that he went through about Manitoba and Saskatchewan,
in particular, with regard to resources.
When you said that there is a shortage of resources, the
sense I got from your response was the shortage of resources was primarily
monetary, that you could not get or obtain more personnel.
My sense is you have a shortage of personnel now. Is that
true Commissioner Zaccardelli?
Mr. Zaccardelli: The fact is, we are given certain
resources, and my job is to deploy them as best I can. The resources I have do
not enable me to do all the things I would like to do, or what a lot of the
folks in our country would like me to do.
I must distinguish here. In Quebec, as in Ontario, there are
clear mandates that we each have. I do not have the mandate in Ontario or in
Quebec to be a uniform presence, to provide a police service to the local
communities. I do not have that. I have a very specific mandate.
Senator Stratton: You do in Manitoba, and as I understand
it, Saskatchewan. You are telling me that in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, if you
have an ordinary complement of officers in those two provinces, you are not
short of officers in those provinces?
Mr. Zaccardelli: We are short.
Senator Stratton: That is what I was expecting you to
say. Can you explain why? It is not something particularly secretive. It is well
known that you are short of officers, in my province in particular. Is there a
reason? Is there an explanation, and are you making moves to fulfil that
complement of officers, because the concern again is security. You are
responsible in Manitoba for that, and would you tell us what steps you are
taking to fulfil that complement?
Mr. Zaccardelli: I want to put things in perspective,
senator. It took the RCMP 126 years to go from zero to a $2 billion budget. In
the last six years, we went from $2 billion to $3 billion. We have been treated
fairly kindly by the government.
As I said, we still have a shortage of resources. In Manitoba
we are the police force of jurisdiction provincially. The uniform presence that
we have in Manitoba is not determined by me or by the federal government. That
is determined by the province, by contract. It is whatever the province decides
they wish to spend on policing. That determines how many bodies I can have in
uniform. That is complemented, as you know, by a federal presence. Those federal
resources provide a certain type of specialized policing: federal policing,
organized crime and drug sections. They work in a complementary way with the
uniform people, and they are also integrated with Winnipeg and Brandon. At the
end of the day, the bulk of our presence in Manitoba is determined by the
elected officials in Manitoba, in terms of how much they want to spend on
policing in Manitoba.
In both cases, I have argued strongly for the federal
government to increase its presence, and I have also argued with Premier Gary
Doer to increase the complement. This year he has increased it. He has given us
28 more positions in Manitoba. We are actively negotiating with the Province of
Alberta, for example. We are looking at over 300 positions in Alberta. They have
no deficit in Alberta, senator. They can afford more. Every province is
different. Every province and territory has to be negotiated between Minister
Anne McLellan's office and the provinces, so their ability to pay or how much
they want to allocate determines how many people I can put on the ground.
Senator Stratton: In my view, at least from what I have
heard, you are still short of men and women under the existing budgets, are you
Mr. Zaccardelli: No.
Senator Stratton: Are you short individuals, personnel,
on the ground in Manitoba? Within the existing budgets, are you still short of
Mr. Zaccardelli: No, we are not. We are spending right up
to the cap.
Senator Stratton: This may be a soft topic, but I would
like to ask you about security on the Hill. The United States Congress and
Westminster each appear to have one unified force within their facility, whereas
we have two. The House of Commons and the Senate each have their own security
Do you believe there should be one unified security force on
the Hill, or can we manage with two?
Mr. Zaccardelli: It will get me into trouble senator, but
my view is you have to unify that.
The Chairman: Thank you very much, Senator Stratton. That
was a very good, snappy answer there, commissioner.
Senator Smith: Commissioner Zaccardelli, in your
submission you referred to striking the right balance between security and human
rights, and I think we all want to do that. Whether that balance is perfect, it
may be, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder. On balance, you seem to be
comfortable, but in terms of whether there were areas that could be improved,
you referred to this wiretap situation, where you can have that notice postponed
for three years but not in the case of a search warrant. That is fairly clear.
Commissioner Boniface, you referred to no easy mechanism to
work across provincial borders. I am not sure exactly what there might be that
would be within federal jurisdiction to resolve that, but we would want to hear
about it if there was. Mr. Bevan, you referred to matters before the court.
On these specific things, if you want to clarify these little
fine tunings that might address these areas of concern, I think it would be
helpful. I would invite to you write us a letter and spell it out, and you can
give some thought to it and get whatever legal counsel is appropriate, so we
have it as precisely as possible. I do not need to ask a question because they
are all nodding that they will do that. I am being concise and succinct.
The Chairman: An admiral example, Senator Smith.
Colleagues, that will bring this session today to an end. I
want to thank our panel. Clearly, the committee takes your presence and your
importance within the larger issue very seriously, and I am sure, if given a
long leash, we could go on for the entire day.
This has been a valuable morning. I thank you all.
The committee adjourned.