Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence

Issue 5 - Evidence - May 11, 2009


OTTAWA, Monday, May 11, 2009

The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence met this day at 3:34 p.m. to examine and report on the national security policy of Canada (topic: RCMP in transition).

Senator Colin Kenny (Chair) in the chair.

[English]

The Chair: This is a meeting of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. My name is Colin Kenny; I chair the committee. I would like to introduce briefly the members of the committee to you.

Senator Joseph Day is from New Brunswick where he is a well-known private practice attorney and engineer. He has served the Senate of Canada since October 2001. Senator Day sits on the board of governors of the Royal Military College of Canada and currently chairs the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance.

Senator Pamela Wallin is from Saskatchewan. She was appointed to the Senate in January 2009. After a long career in journalism, Senator Wallin served as Consul General of Canada in New York and also served at the request of Prime Minister Harper on the Independent Panel on Canada's Future Role in Afghanistan. She is the deputy chair of the committee and is also a member of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

Senator Fabian Manning has dedicated his career to serving Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans at all three levels of government. He was appointed to the Senate in January 2009. He also chairs the Conservative government's Atlantic caucus and is a member of the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans.

Senator Grant Mitchell was appointed to the Senate in 2005. He is from Edmonton, Alberta. He has had careers in the Alberta public service, the financial industry and politics. He is the deputy chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources and he is a member of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance.

[Translation]

We have with us Senator Pierre Claude Nolin from Quebec. He is a lawyer by trade and was appointed a senator in June 1993. Senator Nolin is currently the deputy chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. He is also a member of the Standing Senate Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament.

[English]

Senator Wilfred Moore was called to the Senate in September 1996. He represents the senatorial division of Stanhope Street/South Shore in Nova Scotia. He has been active at the city level in Halifax-Dartmouth and has served as a member of the board of governors of St. Mary's University. He is also a member of the Senate Standing Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce and the Standing Joint Committee on Scrutiny of Regulations.

Senator Tommy Banks from Alberta was called to the Senate in April 2000. He is known to many Canadians as an accomplished and versatile musician and entertainer. He is a member of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources.

Senator Michael Meighen from Ontario was appointed to the Senate in September 1990. He is a lawyer and a member of the bars of Quebec and Ontario. He is currently the chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce.

Honourable senators, we have before us today two distinguished members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. We have Mr. William Sweeney, Senior Deputy Commissioner of the RCMP. Mr. Sweeney was appointed to the Office of Senior Deputy Commissioner in August 2007. As senior deputy commissioner, he performs his duties as an associate to the Commissioner of the RCMP, Mr. William Elliott. He shares in many of the commissioner's duties, administrative or operational, but always within the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act's framework of there being one commissioner of the RCMP.

With him is Mr. Keith Clark. Mr. Clark is Assistant Commissioner, Officer in Charge for the Change Management Team of the RCMP. In 2008, Mr. Clark was assigned as Officer in Charge of the Change Management Team. This team was established by Commissioner Elliott in January 2008 to carry out the recommendations of the independent Task Force on Governance and Cultural Change in the RCMP, which, in its report in December 2007, called for a complete overhaul.

I should note that we had hoped to have Commissioner Elliott here with us today. He has sent his regrets. He is unfortunately and sadly absent because of the death of a member of the force while on duty, and he is currently attending that member's funeral.

Deputy Commissioner Sweeney and Assistant Commissioner Clark are here to discuss with us the transformation process that is underway as well as the Brown report, to advise us of which parts of the report have been accepted, to describe what has been accomplished to date and what the plans are for the coming year.

William Sweeney, Senior Deputy Commissioner, Royal Canadian Mounted Police: Assistant Commissioner Clark and I are pleased to be with you here and, as the chair indicated, Commissioner Elliott, unfortunately, is not able to attend at this moment because he is at the regimental funeral for a faller officer, Constable James Lundblad, who was tragically killed in the line of duty last Tuesday, in a motor vehicle collision in the Province of Alberta. It is important for the commissioner, the force and all Canadians to pay tribute to this fine young officer who has made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of his community and his country. The commissioner asked me to convey his regrets to the committee and his sincere appreciation for your understanding of the circumstances we find ourselves in.

I also would like to thank the committee for the opportunity to discuss significant activities underway in the RCMP and for your ongoing review and advice on matters relating to national security.

The RCMP holds a special place in the history of our nation and plays a unique role. Those of us who serve in this institution feel privileged in that role. We play many roles across the country and around the world, and although we receive a lot of attention, the media does not often report the fact that the RCMP responds to about 7,500 calls for assistance each and every day. We also are not often publicly acknowledged for the positive feedback we receive from Canadians who recognize that our men and women — our employees — go the extra mile to provide good service to Canadians.

By its nature, what makes news is the unusual — the exception. This is also often the case for what attracts criticism. This is not to say that all criticism of the RCMP is unfounded. We certainly have our challenges and weaknesses. Although we work hard to avoid doing so, we do make mistakes. It is very important, therefore, that we acknowledge our mistakes, learn from them and move forward.

We must build on our many strengths and address our weaknesses. As an employer, we need to better support our men and women. As a public institution, we need to be more accountable to the people we serve.

As the commissioner has said on many occasions, there is far more right than wrong with the RCMP and, most encouraging, the RCMP is an organization willing to adapt and change, and to learn and improve.

As recommended by the Task Force on Governance and Cultural Change in the RCMP, we have established the Change Management Team to help us lead our transformation efforts. Our transformation plan includes our vision for change for the RCMP to become adaptive, accountable, trusted, full of engaged employees demonstrating outstanding leadership and providing world-class police services.

The plan identifies three critical areas for the first phase of our work: governance, leadership and capacity.

It must be recognized that significant change will be neither easy nor fast. We are an organization of some 30,000 employees working across this great country. We have a broad and important mandate. We recognize that there are few, if any, quick fixes. However, change in the RCMP is real and ongoing. Allow me to briefly highlight some of our work.

Like many employers, the RCMP faces an aging workforce. By 2011, approximately 40 per cent of our regular members will have less than five years of service. Our youth represents both challenges and opportunities. We must ensure that our employees have the leadership, the equipment and the support they require to respond to the significant and growing demands of policing in the 21st century. We must also capitalize on the tremendous talent, energy and dedication the growing number of new officers bring to the force.

In order to ensure we have the officers we require, we have launched a highly successful recruitment campaign, resulting in a record number of applicants. In fact, for the period between January and March 2009, the number of exams written increased by 156 per cent compared to the same period in 2008.

We have also streamlined the application process, and many applicants are now being processed in as little as three months. This is a tremendous improvement for us. We are providing our cadets an allowance of $500 per week. Last year a record-breaking 1,800 cadets went through Depot, our training academy in Regina, and we are set to break the record again this year.

We are investing significantly in leadership and learning. Last month, we launched our national performance programs to build a leadership talent pipeline extending from new recruits to executives. Our expanded Field Coaching Program for new constables now has more than 1,000 fully-trained additional coaches.

A renewal initiative is also underway to modernize many of our human resources functions and processes. We have instituted a national backup policy to ensure that more than one officer responds to calls in a variety of potentially dangerous circumstances.

Mr. Chair, honourable senators, this is by no means an exhaustive list of the transformation initiatives that have taken and are taking place within the RCMP all across the country. We are proud of our change efforts to date, and our work continues.

For example, we are working to instill key leadership behaviours. This will be a significant focus for the next six months. We are currently drafting a strategy for a healthy workplace, focusing on education, prevention, screening and treatment. Employee wellness is dependent on many things, including work environment and supervisory competency. We need good leaders.

We know there is a strong correlation between physical and mental health, well-being and productivity. We continue to focus on moving forward in relation to governance, including identifying barriers to achieving our vision for change. We are fully in support of an enhanced, independent review and oversight of the RCMP and look forward to the government's proposals in this regard.

Our transformation efforts have been encouraged by the first two reports of the RCMP Reform Implementation Council. However, as we change, we must maintain our commitment to the safety and security of Canadians; our operational responsibilities certainly have not slowed down. As mentioned earlier, we respond to some 7,500 calls for assistance daily — more than 3 million calls a year.

Sadly, our experience has shown that any one of these calls or incidents, from a noise complaint, a domestic dispute or a traffic violation — as was sadly the case in Alberta — can result in risk for, and even death to, our members.

We are also busy preparing for security at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and next year's G8 summit. This is in addition to our daily work on organized crime and threats to national security.

I mentioned earlier the exceptional circumstances that give rise to media stories and criticisms and concerns both inside and outside the RCMP. Certainly, the subject of conducted energy weapons, commonly referred to as tasers, and the tragic death of Robert Dziekanski at the Vancouver International Airport two years ago, have been the subject of intense media and public scrutiny.

We await the recommendations from the ongoing Braidwood Inquiry. However, we have already undertaken many improvements to our policies and practices. Our commitment is to provide for the safety and security of Canadians, and we must do all we can to ensure we do this as effectively and safely as appropriately possible. We are very sorry for Mr. Dziekanski's death and we are committed to learning as much as possible from this terrible event.

We know that we need to work hard every day to earn the respect and trust of Canadians and to sustain and improve our national police force. Mr. Chairman, transformation in the RCMP is progressing well. It is a top priority for me and the commissioner and for the rest of the men and women who serve in this organization, this force, this family.

Thank you again for the opportunity to be here. Assistant Commissioner Keith Clark and I would be pleased to take your questions.

Senator Wallin: Thank you both very much for being here. We have gone over some of this ground before, I know, but we will try to do it again and bring people up to date.

From my own point of view, and perhaps for the members of the public as well, when we hear phrases like ``transformation,'' ``change management'' and all of those things, the eye does tend to glaze over just a little bit. I know you agreed with many of the changes in the Brown report, though maybe not all of them. You say your transformation is under way and you feel like you are making progress, but if we could go back to basics, what was wrong? What was the biggest single issue that internally you felt needed to be dealt with and that the Brown report also may have pointed out to you? I would like to hear from both of you.

Mr. Sweeney: I am not sure I can narrow it down to one item. There were various factors at play that perhaps were causing us to behave in a manner that was not acceptable to Canadians, and our organization was underachieving in many areas.

Senator Wallin: Just give us some examples. Sometimes anecdotes allow one to understand.

Mr. Sweeney: I think capacity was an issue, being asked to provide against a broad mandate but not having the resources necessary to deliver on that mandate. Leadership was certainly a factor. We had not been investing in the development of people in the same fashion that we had when I was a constable, for example. Those sorts of investments take their toll over time. People find themselves in leadership positions where they may be ill-prepared, and certainly not ready to fill the full range of responsibilities of those positions. Leadership and capacity would be two areas that I would focus on.

Senator Wallin: What would that mean on the ground? If an officer was called to a location in Wadena, Saskatchewan, or anywhere else, what would those issues of bureaucracy and lack of leadership mean on the ground?

Mr. Sweeney: I can relate back to my early days on the street. If I felt that my commanding officer, district officer or detachment commander did not appreciate the risks that I was facing, did not provide me with the appropriate training to fulfill the expectations of the job, did not give me the tools, was not concerned about my welfare and did not treat me with respect, all of those things would be demoralizing and would affect my productivity and my morale.

Senator Wallin: Was that rampant?

Mr. Sweeney: I would not say it was rampant. From my perspective, the time was ripe for us to be introspective. There were a number of very serious indicators that the force needed to change direction, that we were not abiding by the values that we had held for so long to be true to our own selves.

Senator Wallin: Mr. Clark, I know you are in charge of change and transformation, so what is your number one priority? What are you doing so that does not happen on the ground?

Keith Clark, Assistant Commissioner, Officer in Charge, Change Management Team, Royal Canadian Mounted Police: I must admit that when I was given this job, it was pretty daunting. We had the 49 recommendations; when we reviewed them, the RCMP supported 48.5 of them. Then we had additional recommendations from various committees — Justice O'Connor gave us recommendations, Dr. Linda Duxbury and so forth.

We looked at all the different recommendations and the environment the RCMP was working in. Like Deputy Commissioner Sweeney, I do not know that I have one thing, but there were a couple of things that I felt if we did nothing else, we needed to address in a hurry.

Certainly, accountability was a big issue. However, we needed to fill vacancies. If I would consider anything to be a pressure cooker in the organization when I took on this job, it was the comments coming from the field that said, ``We need more people. We are being asked to do more and we do not have enough people.'' Filling the vacancies was very important.

The next thing was addressing workloads, and they are related. I think we do a good job of addressing workloads at the field level. We need to do some work at the national level to address those workloads.

Culturally, we have a difficult time saying no to anything. We also have a difficult time letting go of things that traditionally we have been doing. A big part of the reality of policing in today's environment is that in order to manage the workload, you have to distinguish between what is critically important and what may not be critically important to the community. The only way to do that is working with the community to identify that.

The next thing is we have to provide timely training. We have a very young organization, which I think that is a real blessing, actually, to the RCMP. It is a blessing because we have a whole bunch of new thinkers coming into the RCMP with a whole bunch of energy. The caveat on that blessing would be that we have to provide them with training and good supervision to ensure they are going down the right road.

You touched on an issue that is huge problem, and that is bureaucracy. I do not think bureaucracy is unique to the RCMP. I have had two secondments outside the RCMP, and have found that both —

Senator Wallin: Do you mean the Senate?

Mr. Clark: No, there cannot be any bureaucracy in the Senate; but the RCMP is, as the commissioner describes it, an organization that is very bureaucratic. I agree with him. I do not think we do it because we like bureaucracy. Many well-intentioned employees are trying to develop processes that make us more efficient; and in the process of doing that, we create bureaucracy that may make us less efficient.

The last couple of things are very important. We need to improve communication internally and externally. In my travels, as I do town halls across the country, I hear that point over and over again. When will the RCMP be more visible and vocal outside the force? Internally, I think we would all agree that whenever we have worked in an area that has problems, many times those come down to a lack of communication between people.

We need to support employee wellness. I first took this issue on when I was the acting chief human resources officer for the force, when I was alerted to the rates of mental illness in the Canadian workplace. I checked to see whether our rates were similar to the Canadian workforce, and found that they were. That surprised me a little bit, because of the nature of our work and the situations we ask our men and women to go into.

Senator Wallin: You are not talking about post-traumatic syndrome?

Mr. Clark: Yes.

Senator Wallin: But other things as well.

Mr. Clark: I am talking about all types of mental illness, in particular. As an organization, we wanted to put the spotlight on mental illness, to try to get it out of the closet, and also to develop a strategy to ensure that we had a well workforce.

In his opening remarks, Deputy Commissioner Sweeney alluded to the creation of an environment, or culture, if you will, that truly promotes principled decision making. Over the past decade, there has been a trend, as in government, toward layers upon layers of rules. Rules are necessary, but when you reach the point where you are so rule-bound that it decreases your ability to adapt to a changing environment or to make decisions in a timely fashion, then you cannot evolve as an organization as well.

As opposed to the rule space, I would promote principled decision making. If things are moral, legal and ethical, then we should encourage our people to use creativity to problem solve and be less handcuffed by bureaucracy and layers of rules. I apologize for the long answer, senator, but of all the things we need to do, those are the keys to success.

Senator Wallin: Perhaps we could come back to some of those later. Thank you.

Senator Day: Gentlemen, one of the statistics you gave us is quite interesting in the extreme. You said that by 2011, approximately 40 per cent of your regular members will have less than five years of service. It has always been my understanding that the primary manner in which young RCMP officers are trained is on the job. You indicated that you are bringing in other mentors. Will this principle of training through working with a more seasoned, senior officer suffer as a result of a large influx of new recruits? Will you solicit some retired RCMP personnel to act as mentors to help you through this transition period?

Mr. Sweeney: We share your concern. Before I was transferred to Ottawa in my current post, I was the commanding officer for the RCMP in the province of Alberta. With the tremendous growth in Alberta, our numbers were even more startling than the 40 per cent that we indicated is the force-wide norm. Our numbers were getting into the vicinity of 55 per cent to 60 per cent of our detachment front-line officers who had less than three years' service. It was a preoccupation that, for all the reasons you have articulated, caused me to stay up at night.

We instituted a number of different initiatives. First and foremost, I should say that the quality of the young men and women who have been attracted to policing and law enforcement in our organization is incredible. When I walk into the detachments across Canada and see the fresh faces full of enthusiasm and dedication, I am reassured that the new members in our communities are top-notch, in my estimation. I am sure it is the same in other police forces.

We have to coach and mentor. RCMP members have six months of basic training in Regina and three months of field coaching that they must finish before they are fully trained, which means at the basic level. Training is ongoing from constable level to executive level. We have increased the number of coaches by over a thousand. We have kept people with experience in detachments longer than we normally would keep them, as they might have migrated into federal policing, only because of our great need to coach and mentor. In some of our statistics, you may see that federal policing unfortunately has suffered somewhat as a consequence. The vacancy rates are a little higher in our federal policing lines and in contract policing because we needed to keep that experience. With Treasury Board we have a reserve program whereby we bring senior members of the RCMP back to assist us in peak times, and we capitalize on their experience to teach. A wide range of activities focuses on ensuring that the men and women in our organization have the guidance to develop appropriately.

Senator Day: I am glad you made the point that they are in Depot in Regina for only six months. That is hardly enough time to start developing the culture. Their basic indoctrination in the expected culture would happen through on-the-job training when they are out in the field. That leads me to the most recent report in March 2009 by the RCMP Reform Implementation Council. It is likely that you have seen this. Regarding organizational changes, which you are deeply involved in on a day-to-day basis, the report states at page 33:

Even more important than the model itself, however, is the organizational culture within which it exists: a weak or inappropriate culture can undermine the effectiveness of the best organization.

How would you describe the organizational culture that we are talking about? What are they talking about when they say ``organizational culture''? Would it include officers looking after one another and standing up for one another? Is that part of organizational culture?

Mr. Sweeney: Senator, both of us will take a stab at that question because it means different things to different people, I believe. In my view, the culture represents a number of different dimensions. It is a culture that is not risk- averse; that allows decisions to be made at the operational level and empowers the people at the front line; that embraces the values we all hold to be true; that embraces respect for not only the people we have the privilege to serve with but also the people in the communities whom we all have the great honour to serve. It is a culture that recognizes treating people with common decency and respect and being true to the rule of law. All of those elements represent a culture that I am proud to be part of and, I believe, still exists in a fundamental and important way within our organization, although it has to be reaffirmed. We need to ensure constantly that there is no room for people who deviate from those components. We have to create systems and processes that complement the elements we hold important and we have to encourage individual behaviour that is uncompromising around values and around treating people with respect.

Senator Wallin: If an officer misbehaves or does not engage in that culture, do you have the freedom to fire the officer?

Mr. Sweeney: The RCMP Act does not allow anyone to be fired arbitrarily. The RCMP Act prescribes procedures when allegations are made. Investigations are conducted and allegations have to be proven on the balance of probabilities before a tribunal adjudication board, which can then order a dismissal. Following that, the matter is taken to the commissioner.

Senator Day: If a young RCMP officer steps out of line and does not meet the criteria that you have outlined, is the mentor held responsible in any way or do you hope that this will come from osmosis?

Mr. Sweeney: That might be one of the most troubling aspects of law enforcement agencies — finding themselves in a position of losing the public's trust. When people do not do exactly what we all should do on a regular and daily basis and when we see behaviours that are inconsistent with our values, then we have a duty to intervene; and that has not always been the case. Unfortunately, we must be vigilant about it and take our actions independently of what the RCMP Act says. That is a prescriptive series of rules that we rely upon when we do not do basic things that you suggest we ought to do — intervene quickly and in a manner that is very clear that our values are not to be compromised.

Senator Day: I understand you to say that maybe you have not been doing that quite as effectively over the past few years. I presume that is one of the changes that you are trying to implement.

Are there any other changes that you are trying to implement or that require change in order to bring about the culture within the RCMP that we all expect, which probably has been there but has been breached a few times in the past?

Mr. Clark: That is a very good question, senator. I am convinced that if we do not take a strong look at the culture and keep what is good — because I think, as the deputy said, there is probably more right than wrong with the culture — but address the issues that are failing us, that many of the tactical-level reforms or changes that we are making will actually reverse themselves.

We are undertaking presently an internal debate and dialogue designed to identify the top cultural practices of the force, and we are doing that by having our commanding officers go to their employees and ask them a simple question. We have a vision for change, and the vision for change has six elements — trust, outstanding leadership, accountability, adaptability, world-class policing services — and we ask this question: How will we know when we are trusted? How will we know when we have outstanding leadership?

That will identify behaviours. I plan to itemize those behaviours and bring them to our senior executive committee, and hopefully by June we will actually get them approved by our senior executive committee and embedded in the way that Deputy Sweeney and I are assessed. Embedding the behaviours that Deputy Sweeney spoke about will actually continue moving the RCMP along; it will focus on our values and our traditions. By embedding those into the way we assess each other, we will gradually start building on the culture that we have.

I will give you a good example. In my first answer I said we have to address bureaucracy. We prepared a plan on how to address bureaucracy, and I thought it was a good plan. I brought it forward to our implementation council, chaired by David McAusland, who, in his wisdom, said, ``You will fail.'' I thought we had a pretty good plan. He said, ``You will fail if you do not address the culture that creates bureaucracy in the first place.'' That is when the light bulb came on really bright. That bureaucracy is one of many examples of tactical-level initiatives we are doing that have to be underpinned by a culture that puts our values, our traditions, our principles first and foremost in the our decision- making criteria.

Senator Day: My time has run out, but I can tell you that you are working with a very good brand; you are not rebranding from the start. You obviously have a good basis upon which to develop. Thank you for that.

The Chair: I would ask the committee and the witnesses to give slightly shorter questions and answers. Every member of the committee is on the list with questions, and if we could move it along just a little faster it would be helpful.

Senator Moore: I am from Nova Scotia, and today our provincial newspaper, The Chronicle-Herald, has an editorial regarding the Mr. Dziekanski with the headline, ``Dziekanski inquiry: RCMP image battered.'' I want to read a bit of this to you, because it goes to the culture aspect of the force, which was raised by Senator Day and mentioned by Mr. Clark.

So far, we've seen how all four RCMP officers who responded to the incident involving Mr. Dziekanski on Oct. 14, 2007, at Vancouver's international airport afterwards gave four ``independent'' statements that managed to paint almost identical — and equally faulty — descriptions of what happened.

Then last week, the Mountie in charge of investigating Mr. Dziekanski's death insisted that he was not in a conflict of interest, when he clearly was.

Two days after Mr. Dziekanski had died, after being tasered five times and forcibly restrained by the RCMP officers, Supt. Wayne Rideout placed a ban on releasing more information on the case to the public.

Remarkably, at the same time Supt. Rideout also stated that he did not want the force to be in the position of defending or rationalizing the officers' actions.

But six weeks after the incident, Supt. Rideout sent out a release stating that the officers had monitored the man's vital signs until paramedics arrived, a clear response to media reports that had suggested the police had ignored Mr. Dziekanski's condition as he lay on the floor, handcuffed.

. . . The refusal — or inability — of the lead investigator to see, even 19 months after the fact, that he was in a totally compromised position is astounding.

. . . At the very least, the Mounties should have brought in police investigators from other jurisdictions across the country.

I would like to know two things with regard to the culture: first, the culture of using a weapon versus manpower to restrain or take charge of an individual you think is causing danger to himself or to other people; and second, the culture that is apparent in the actions of Superintendent Rideout.

You mentioned, Mr. Sweeney, that you have committed to learning as much as possible from this terrible incident. I would like you to tell us and the Canadian public what you have learned from this. An innocent Polish man who was trying to come here to live, to contribute to this country, is gone. Would you tell us about that, please?

Mr. Sweeney: Every Canadian who is aware of this case — and I am quite confident there are very few who are not — recognizes that this was a tragedy. Unfortunately, as it relates to this particular matter, as an officer of the court, I am precluded from commenting on matters that might influence the outcome of the Braidwood Inquiry. We do this in criminal proceedings, in commissions of inquiry. We reserve any comment until such time as the commission has completed its work and offered recommendations. I am looking forward to those recommendations, because, obviously, out of every sadness, every tragic event, there is a learning opportunity that would help prevent future incidents from ending the way this one sadly ended.

However, I will speak generally with respect to the use of force and incidents or situations where police officers find themselves resorting to those weapons.

As a commanding officer in Alberta, I had the sad duty to deal with a number of tragic incidents, including the Mayerthorpe situation. There is an amount of violence that our men and women face on a daily basis right across this country, in some of the most unusual places, such as the Arctic. I spent six years in the Arctic. The communities are very supportive of the men and women who serve in those locations, but suddenly, we have had two very tragic outcomes to incidents involving our people.

We train our people to survive. We train our people to protect others. We train our people to try to de-escalate situations by not having to resort to the tools with which they have been empowered. However, sometimes things happen so quickly that the outcome would not necessarily be the one we would have desired at the front. It happens in a millisecond. Unfortunately, in my days in policing, I have encountered situations where the outcome was not the outcome that I had anticipated or would have wanted to have happen, but things happen quickly.

We must train more on de-escalation techniques. In my day, we always talked. I spent many years on emergency response teams and attended at the most violent calls in the jurisdictions in which I served. We always prided ourselves on ``time, talk and, if necessary, tear gas,'' before any interventions that would cause physical harm. We need to refocus on that, senator.

Senator Moore: The culture got away from that, but you are hoping you will get back to it?

Mr. Sweeney: I am not sure we have moved away from that. It is incumbent on us to reinforce the de-escalation techniques in which we have trained our members. However, the environment has changed since I was a young constable on the road. It is much more violent today and things happen so quickly that officers find themselves in situations in which they do resort to those tools.

Senator Moore: I want to ask you about the organization of the force as compared to our American counterparts. I am one of the vice-chairmen of the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group. On April 13, I attended a symposium in Washington. We were advised by the manager of the security department at Boeing that they had installed two towers with cameras along the U.S.-Canada border. I asked whether the cameras were filming Canadian territory and whether the information was being shared with authorities in Canada. He would not answer the question but rather referred me to the customs and border patrol office of the United States.

Are you aware of those cameras? Are we working in concert?

After 2001, we devised a Smart Border action plan with our American counterparts. The theme was shared management of the border, but I believe that things are happing unilaterally.

I do not expect you to breach security, but are we working cooperatively? Are you aware of those towers being in place? Do you know what their purpose is? Are they sharing information with the RCMP or other appropriate Canadian authorities?

Mr. Sweeney: I would have to find out specific details about the technology you are referring to, but I can talk broadly on principles. We do share with the Americans technological solutions to make our borders secure. I would be very surprised if the information acquired with their technology, in this case the cameras, is not shared with Canadian officials. I will find out the answer to that question.

Senator Moore: Does that mean we will have cameras on our side filming their border? It is a matter of spending taxpayers' money efficiently and sharing information to the common good of both countries.

Mr. Sweeney: You are right.

Senator Moore: The morning after the symposium, we learned that the new Secretary of Homeland Security, Secretary Janet Napolitano, had maintained that the 9/11 terrorists came from Canada. The following week, Senator John McCain said the same thing.

On the communications side of your organizational structure, have you tried to convince the appropriate American authorities that this is not the case, that these people entered the United States with properly issued U.S. documents and did not come from Canada? Do you hear these false statements often? Do you have to keep correcting them?

Mr. Sweeney: Unfortunately, these statements do have a life of their own and from time to time we hear the same comments.

In this case, I believe the Minister of Public Safety and others publicly corrected the record. It would not be for the RCMP, in this case, to do that, but if it were a law enforcement agency, we would certainly be having the sorts of discussions that politicians —

Senator Moore: Is the communications side of this part of your organizational structure?

Mr. Sweeney: We do have communications, yes, but we would not normally make a release on a matter like this.

Senator Moore: You leave that to the minister to deal with?

Mr. Sweeney: Yes.

Senator Banks: Gentlemen, welcome. I am an Albertan, and I want to say, deputy commissioner, that you left Alberta with a sterling reputation after running K Division. We were sorry to lose you, but glad to see you go into your present position. You have a solid reputation for doing the right thing, regardless.

In some parts of the country, the RCMP is viewed differently. In Alberta, it has unique importance because of its history. Other senators talked about the brand of the RCMP. Canadians everywhere want desperately to be proud of the RCMP, because it is a world icon; it represents our country.

Is the change you are talking about not really a change back to where the RCMP was in the minds of Canadians?

Mr. Sweeney: I personally subscribe to many of your statements. It means something to me when you say that.

You are right. The officers who serve in the communities right across the province of Alberta, as is the case right across the country, are coaches of baseball teams, members of the Lions Club, teachers, and helpers in all sorts of efforts. They are part of the community. They are also the ones who run to the trouble when others are running away, and that endears them greatly.

It is truly an enormous privilege to serve the communities. I have been in law enforcement for almost 35 years, and I have often reflected on how much it has meant to me to feel a part of the communities in which I have had the pleasure to serve, and that is true for all of our men and women.

You are right about going back to the future. Commissioner MacLeod's interactions with First Nations were always built on respect, dignity and trust. Those sorts of values are timeless. We have to reach back to the things that made us what we are and reinforce them. We do not want to drop the torch.

Senator Banks: How do we get there? For years there has been talk of making the RCMP a separate employer, and that is referred to in the Brown report. Separate from what? Does senior management of the force, beginning with you gentlemen, subscribe to that concept or oppose it? What are the advantages and disadvantages of its becoming separate, and what is meant by being a ``separate employer''? You used the word ``regimental.'' I think most people perceive the RCMP as being a separate entity. From what does it need to be separated? This might have to do with the bureaucratic question that was talked about earlier.

Mr. Sweeney: Yes, it really boils down to that. You are absolutely right, senator.

At the heart of that recommendation is having the authority to conduct our business in a timely fashion. After the Jimmy Galloway killing in Stony Plain, the coroner and others suggested that the RCMP ought to have armoured vehicles. We are still negotiating with Treasury Board for those vehicles.

Senator Banks: Someone else is deciding what you need and when you get it.

Mr. Sweeney: That is where Mr. Brown and others were suggesting that we should have a new relationship with Canada, including considering becoming a separate employer. We are trying to take the organization into an environment where operational decisions and operational investments could be made in a much faster fashion than they are now.

When I was in the northwest region, I had responsibility for the Arctic. We needed a new facility in Iqaluit. When I say ``I,'' I mean the officials who represented the interests of the northwest region. Every time I prepared submissions to have the financial authority to build a new building, by the time we had the authority for that fiscal year it was too late to put the materials on the sealift coming into the Arctic. Therefore it would get delayed to the next year. Costs would go up; we would have to go back to the board. I stand to be corrected, but I believe this happened three years in a row, and it escalated the costs dramatically.

Those are the sorts of authorities we are looking for. Allow us to do the business with increased flexibilities so that we can do our procurement, do our contracting, build our buildings to keep roofs over our heads and detachment facilities at the top level we can possibly provide to our men and women. It is those things.

Mr. Clark: I do not know whether I could add much more to that, but if you look back to the six elements of the vision, adaptability is one of them. As I indicated, we can do many things internally to become more adaptable. Some of the issues that Deputy Sweeney talked about, some of the strings that we are tied to relative to real property management, procurement and contracting and so forth, make it very difficult at times to achieve that adaptability that we need in a changing policing environment.

We have, of late, been able to negotiate some additional authorities with the board, and we are very happy about that, but we believe that if we are really to set up the RCMP to be the progressive, responsive policing service that Canadians require of us, we need to be a separate entity, not so much a separate employer. There is a distinction between the two.

Senator Banks: Would you explain that, please?

Mr. Clark: As a separate entity, we would be looking at having under our own act total authority over the management of our financial resources. We would be able to look after our real property management; I believe we are one of the largest property holders in all of government. We would be able to procure goods and let contracts in a way that makes us adaptable. If we had our own legislation, similar to the legislation that Canada Revenue Agency has, we feel we would have that flexibility at hand. We also acknowledge that we have to balance that.

Senator Banks: With accountability.

Mr. Clark: With accountability, and that is why we strongly support internally a board of management and externally enhanced review. It is not as if we are going forward saying we need all of these authorities with no more accountability. We are actually saying that in order to be the progressive, nimble, adaptive policing organization to stay ahead of the people we are chasing, we need to have greater authorities, but let us balance that out with greater review.

Senator Manning: Thank you, Mr. Clark and Deputy Sweeney, for your presence here today and for your testimony. In your opening remarks you talked about the negative stories that are out in the public eye most of the time. I guess that is what sells in most cases, but I would like to congratulate the members of the RCMP with whom I have worked in many different capacities in Newfoundland and Labrador for some wonderful work on the ground and the efforts in community policing involving the entire community, from the kids in grade school right up to the businesses and community groups and organizations in the community. It bodes well for the future. I know my own two children took part in the DARE program at school, the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program. It was a wonderful experience, because when I was growing up in a small rural community in Newfoundland, when we saw the police car coming we did run away. Many times we were not doing anything wrong. My own kids now know who the police officers are in our community and they are back and forth to school on a regular basis and it is all part of the culture you are trying to create. I congratulate you on that effort and on creating that environment.

I want to touch on recruiting, because I know of several new officers in the past couple of years who have been from Newfoundland and Labrador, and I realize that your numbers are up somewhat in regard to cadets. Part of that was the $500 allowance brought forward, by the sounds of things.

What has that $500 allowance done to the recruiting efforts? We have the numbers for the past couple of years. Prior to that, what were your recruitment numbers? Is there anything you could offer us as a committee to improve that? You say you are breaking records for cadets, and at the same time we hear in the news that by 2011 40 per cent of your workforce will have less than five years of service.

Are you reaching your anticipated numbers for recruits with the allowance and the different ways of improving on that? Can you give us some knowledge of what happened prior to that?

Mr. Sweeney: A number of issues around this have contributed to what we believe is a success story in turning our recruiting around. Our facility in Regina was getting very tired, and actually the number of people we were putting through the facility through our training academy was quite modest; under 500 a year for an average year. Perhaps Mr. Clark might be able to offer more accurate figures from his old life as the chief human resources officer.

We had down-tooled our academy. We did not have the facilitators, and we had aging infrastructure. We did not have the recruiting assets that would assist us in attracting people to the organization. Our process for dealing with applicants was embarrassing. From the time an application was submitted to the time that person actually came into the organization could be well over a year. For young men and women starting a career, that is an incredible request for them to be patient for that period of time to do the processing. When they arrived at our training academy, many of these applicants had families and student debts. They had another six months of living away from their families with no income.

The success story is attributable to dealing with all of those issues. The Government of Canada has invested significantly in our training academy in Regina. We have reinvested in bringing in trained facilitators to assist in dealing with the numbers. We have invested heavily in our recruiting units right across the country. We have re- engineered our application processes and, of course, the Government of Canada has authorized the cadet pay.

All of those factors have made us confident that we will meet the numbers we need to renew the organization to meet all the demands on the organization over the next few years. We are putting about 1,800 cadets through our training academy right now. Sometimes two troops graduate per week. That has never happened in our history. When I joined the RCMP in 1974, we were in one of those pushes and we were graduating about 1,000 cadets a year. Now we are getting close to twice that.

Mr. Clark: I do not know whether I could add to that, other than to say that a lot of time, effort and money have gone into making Depot, our training academy, a world-class facility. If you have never been there, I would strongly encourage you to go. It really is something. Although our intake looks to be around 1,800 to 1,900 next year, if need be we could actually bump it up higher than that.

Senator Manning: In the information we have received, 37.6 per cent of the total workforce of the RCMP are women, and 19.9 per cent are regular forces. What efforts are you taking to enlist or recruit more women? I know from watching and reading what has gone on over the years that in some cases a woman police officer is more capable of handling certain situations.

Mr. Clark: As part of our national recruiting program, we put in place proactive recruiters. We did that for a number of reasons, one of them being to ensure that we were getting into the communities and recruiting out of the communities so that our workforce reflects the communities we serve. In order to be effective police officers or to be an effective organization, we do truly need to be reflective.

Our proactive recruiters are looking to increase the numbers of all of the different categories so that we are more reflective. We are making a concerted attempt to do that.

Senator Manning: How many employees are temporary, civilian employees?

Mr. Sweeney: I do not have the number, but I could get back to you on that.

Senator Manning: At what point does one go from being a temporary employee to a full-time employee?

Mr. Sweeney: We have temporary employees for different reasons. Some relate to the nature of the work we do. For example, monitors for wire-tap cases are not necessarily required 365 days a year. We simply bring them on staff when and if they are required. The same is true for people with linguistic abilities.

Then there are temporary civilian employees we bring into the organization where there is an established full-time position. Those temporary civilian employees may be there for a number of reasons. Some are personal. Perhaps they have not decided that this is the career choice they want, or we are reclassifying a situation or expecting it to be reclassified. Those situations are problematic, because those people should not be kept in temporary positions for extended periods of time. We have an effort underway within the organization to regularize them. There are still a number of other positions that will continue to be temporary civilian employees.

Mr. Clark: As Deputy Sweeney said, with the temporary civilian employees, who perhaps were once full regular members of the force and have come back, the goal is not to have them stay for an extended period of time; but in the time they are with us, they often play an important mentoring role. During this period when demographically we are a young organization, some folks with 30 or 35 years of policing experience have come back and are sort of partnered up with less experienced officers. It has been a way to keep that corporate knowledge transfer going more than it might have in the past.

The Chair: We are aware that you are at record levels of recruiting, but combine those figures with attrition and tell us what is happening with the force. I expect others will follow up on this line of questioning further.

Mr. Sweeney: I do have some numbers on that, but I will take a stab at answering from memory.

The Chair: If you would give us a short answer to that and then give us the numbers later, the clerk will circulate them.

Mr. Sweeney: It is my understanding that over the last three years we have had a little more than 2,000 leave through attrition and we have brought about 5,000 people into the organization, for a net increase of around 2,200 or 2,300 people, Senator Kenny. It is a good-news story.

Senator Meighen: Welcome, gentlemen. Thank you for being with us. Focusing more on this employment situation, I was glad to hear Mr. Clark say that you are making use of newly retired officers. I spent some time in small-town New Brunswick, and I know that is a valuable component of the policing in small towns. Is that a growing, stagnant or diminishing factor in your employment?

Mr. Clark: I think it is a diminishing factor because, as we have ramped up our recruiting efforts, we are filling all the positions or getting close to filling all the positions that were vacant, particularly in contract policing. As a result, as we get a regular member coming out of Depot, there is only so much money to go around, so some of the temporary civilian employees would no longer be working with us. However, they are still very much a part of the organization and play a valuable role.

Senator Banks: When those former officers come back to do what you are describing, are they still peace officers?

Mr. Sweeney: That depends on the capacity in which we bring them back. We do have a reserve program that allows them to come back and serve as police officers.

Senator Meighen: I think most people were astonished to find out that cadets were not being paid anything and wondered how you managed to recruit anybody, other than because the RCMP is an icon. It is tough if you have a wife and children to put yourself in debt to that extent and have to work it off for half your career, so $500 was certainly a help. Where did that number come from? Who set $500 as opposed to $750 or $350, and is there any possibility of an adjustment?

Mr. Clark: It certainly could be adjusted. We would have to go back to Treasury Board to seek authority for that.

Senator Meighen: Was it Treasury Board that established the amount?

Mr. Clark: Treasury Board agreed to it.

Senator Banks: They did not establish it.

Mr. Clark: That is right. The figure was based on 50 per cent of what a graduating cadet would make as an allowance throughout their training. In addition to what was said before, our average age has been fairly consistent on intake of about 26 or 27 years old. Senator, you are exactly right when you say many of them are married, many have children, many are bringing in debt.

Because of the allowance, many cadets are leaving without the debt they would have had before, and I am guessing that many others who shied away from joining because they could not incur that kind of expense are now joining. We are getting a broader range of applicants.

Senator Meighen: My information is you are competing against the Ontario Provincial Police and other forces that would pay trainees a constable's salary.

Mr. Clark: I could be wrong, but I believe the OPP pays constable salaries but also charges recruits for the training they receive, whereas we do not charge them for the training and we do not charge them for room and board.

Senator Meighen: You are suggesting it nets out?

Mr. Clark: I have not done the math, but it could be very close to netting out.

The Chair: Could you provide those figures, and also figures for the metro Toronto police, because we have heard contrary evidence that there is a significant gap, and further that a significant gap continues as one moves up in rank. If you are in Toronto, you can drive home to mom for three hot meals a day; whereas if you are in the RCMP, you may find yourself 3,000 miles from home.

Mr. Clark: That is a good point.

Senator Meighen: I do not want to flog this dead horse, but the $500 was agreed to by Treasury Board. Was that what you asked for, or was it a negotiation ending up at $500?

Mr. Sweeney: My understanding is that our human resources and compensation units conducted some comparative analysis, and Treasury Board accepted the recommendation of the commissioner.

Senator Meighen: Let us move on to the composition of the recruits in the force. I am looking at a table of employment equity statistics by rank, gender and designated group. What strikes me is that the force is made up of 80 per cent men and 20 per cent women. Yet, in the senior ranks, 95 per cent are men and 5 per cent are women. The numbers are even more stark for visible minorities.

That being said, it would appear that at the ranks of constable and corporal, perhaps you are starting to make some progress. Are you satisfied with your progress? What are you doing specifically to improve this trend?

Mr. Sweeney: I can offer my personal view. I am not satisfied with it. Part of the explanation — and the explanation is not adequate, but I will offer it anyway — is that all of our senior RCMP appointments are people who are at the 33- to 35-year range. It was only 35 years ago that the RCMP first authorized women to become members of the RCMP. It is absolutely astounding in today's context to think that only 35 years ago, the RCMP hired its first troop of women recruits. There is that dynamic at play.

However, we have to do better at recruiting, promoting and preparing women and visible minorities to serve in very responsible and key positions within the RCMP. We have initiated a number of programs to assist us on the recruiting end with employment equity. We have tried in many locations in the country to use incentive programs to designate positions for visible minorities that will allow them to develop.

In my old jurisdiction in Alberta, I was concerned about First Nation recruitment and putting First Nation people in senior positions, so we designated about 45 positions in the province exclusively to allow First Nations to reach their full potential. Then at the officer ranks, we have a full-potential program that focuses on visible minorities and women to allow applicants and candidates to develop and hopefully move into the commission ranks and then on to other key positions.

Senator Meighen: Have you ramped up your recruiting efforts at the high school, university or college levels?

Mr. Sweeney: Yes.

Senator Meighen: Do you think you are much more visible out there now?

Mr. Clark: My daughter, who goes to university, says we are not very visible in her school. Through the proactive recruiting that we are doing, we are much more visible than we were a couple of years ago. As the deputy said, our proactive recruiters are focused on recruiting all of the categories that would make us more reflective. I think we are having some success. I think you would be impressed with the diversity these days in the cadet classes at Depot.

Senator Meighen: Your colleagues in the armed forces have a great problem with retention, particularly retention in specialized trades or functions. Do you have the same problem? I notice you lose 2,000 plus out of 5,000 coming in.

Mr. Clark: Historically, our retention rate from zero to 20 years is about 98 per cent. That has remained consistent for years. From 20 to 30 years, our retention rate is about 75 per cent. Again, compared to many different sectors, it is very good.

Many speculate that once the economy gets going again, it will be harder to keep our experienced officers because they are very much in demand, so we are working on things we hope will convince them to stay.

Senator Meighen: We talked about people who do not work out or who commit some sort of grievous sin and are or could be dismissed following due process. Approximately how many dismissals per year would there be?

Mr. Sweeney: We will have to get back to you on that.

The Chair: If you could provide the clerk with that information, we would appreciate it.

Mr. Clark: I would put them into two different categories. One would be dismissals in the academy for performance or behaviour, and the other would be dismissals once they are actually sworn.

Senator Meighen: The first would be interesting, but it would be just as crucial as later on because you are always bringing in more and some people do not make the grade and do not get commissioned.

The Chair: Earlier you gave the impression that the RCMP was fully staffed. The contract aspect of it is fully staffed, but the rest of the force is not, is it?

Mr. Clark: That is correct.

The Chair: Describe that to us.

Mr. Clark: I am not in a position to comment on the vacancy rates in federal policing.

The Chair: More specifically, I am thinking of Mr. Brown's comments, that he did not go into a detachment that was not understaffed by 25 per cent to 30 per cent. That is a pretty big number.

Mr. Clark: Right. One of the challenges with any of our areas is that there are the real vacancies, and then there are the vacancies on paper. The real vacancies are created when you add up the people who are off duty sick or on secondment or on educational training or whatever.

On paper, we have a certain number of positions that are paid for. If you look at those statistics, I think we are very close to being 98 per cent full in the contract provinces. However, if you went into a detachment, you might find that it is a lot less than that because of maternity leave, paternity leave and all the other various kinds of leave. With respect to federal policing, the numbers are far greater than that.

The Chair: We would like to know what ``far greater'' means. We would also like to know what you mean by people who are on your payroll but who are not available for work.

Further, we would like to have an understanding of the report that we have seen out of British Columbia that suggests that with new legislation and with the Charter, you are spending far more time documenting your work, and that an incident that might have taken an hour's paperwork is now taking four or five hours. What impact does that have on police officers on the street? Mr. Sweeney, could you help us with that?

Mr. Sweeney: Right. I believe you may be referring to a report out of Simon Fraser. It is significant. The impact of judicial decisions with respect to disclosure and requirements to have judicial authorizations to perform functions that, in the past, did not necessarily require judicial authorization — with all of these circumstances, the complexity of the law has grown exponentially.

I hate to keep referring to when I was a young constable — with a title like ``senior deputy'' that is a dangerous thing to say — but when I was a young constable, it was not uncommon for me to be able to process an impaired driver in 30 to 60 minutes, depending on how close I was to the detachment and how available a breathalyzer operator was for my particular investigation.

Today, that same investigation can take hours. Disclosure obligations are crippling us in terms of using scarce resources to prepare cases for the court. It is a significant inhibitor for us.

The Chair: The only number we have is that you are at 97 per cent or 98 per cent in contract, which we would expect because you have signed a contract to say you will supply them.

As far as your shortage of people, you are just saying it is a big problem. I want to know how big a problem it is. Do not just tell us ``it is big.'' Can we quantify it?

Mr. Sweeney: We have adopted a resourcing methodology being introduced across the force. It was widely used in Alberta. It characterized and tracked inhibitors and factors we have discussed here such as maternity leave, training courses, sick leave, complexity of work and geography. These are all complicating factors that make life difficult in trying to identify the proper level of resources to provide the service the community is requesting.

I would invite you to have us return with the people who have developed this methodology. You might find it useful to understand how we conclude what level of resources is required for which services. It is a complicated explanation.

The Chair: I am sure it is, but I am trying to determine how big the problem is. We are looking at a lack of officers on the street or a lack of people doing federal policing. You have not given the committee an order of magnitude. Is it 20 per cent or 30 per cent? How many people are you short?

Mr. Sweeney: In terms of our current establishment?

The Chair: Yes.

Mr. Sweeney: I believe there is a 10 per cent vacancy rate. I have figures I can leave with you.

The Chair: Does that include the others?

Mr. Sweeney: That is federal.

The Chair: Does that include people on the rolls who cannot do the job that day?

Mr. Sweeney: No.

The Chair: How much is it including them?

Mr. Sweeney: We would have to get back to you with that information. It changes on a day-to-day basis.

Senator Banks: Would it vary?

Mr. Sweeney: Yes.

Senator Banks: There must be averages available over many years of how many people are sick, on course, on maternity and paternity leaves, et cetera. If you know that to maintain a detachment of six members, you need eight people, the answer is that you are short two members.

Mr. Clark: The resource methodology tool the deputy commissioner discussed factors in all those things. It will also determine how many people you need if you want a five-minute response time to priority-one calls. If you want to reduce it to three minutes, you will need so many more. It is quite a robust tool.

Mr. Sweeney: There are many variables, including the expectations of the community. For example, Senator Manning talked about the DARE program. Not every community wants to have that service delivered in their town. However, it is very resource-dependent when they do.

We measure the expectations of the community and all of these other variables. We can predict an average vacancy rate attributable to paternity, maternity and sick leave with some degree of certainty. However, the need could be in Red Deer today. Tomorrow, it will be Grande Prairie and the next day, High Level. We cannot have the resource base decreasing in High Level by virtue of the unique factors there. We would redeploy people. The target is moving, but we can provide general numbers to you, senator.

Senator Mitchell: I have mixed feelings as I listen to this. It conjures up all that I felt was good about the RCMP as I was growing up and then I was saddened by the discussion of what is not as good about the RCMP. I know you feel that too. I am invigorated to hear two articulate people like you representing a management group in the RCMP thinking about this in a concerted and thoughtful way. There is hope for getting through it.

On the issue of institutional culture, it is very difficult to change a culture. I think you are doing some encouraging things.

Almost as discouraging as the Robert Dziekanski death was what can be construed as the explicit lying that occurred after the event to cover it up. They are only allegations currently, but they are extreme and intense allegations. That is one of the most corrosive things that could ever happen to any organization and certainly to a police organization. You simply cannot have that. We would be much more impressed by an officer who said, ``Yes, I did it. I am sorry. I made a mistake. This is what I did and I tried to cover it up.'' If that occurred, you could have much more respect for the person who made a mistake. Currently, we have the sense that there is a conspiracy.

How widespread is that culture? Is it isolated to that one spot, and if it is, why would it have occurred there? If it is not, how certain can you be that it is not?

Mr. Sweeney: As mentioned earlier, I am not in a position to speak specifically to the incident. We acknowledge that it is a preoccupation for Canadians. Once the Braidwood Inquiry's report is tabled, we will be able to have an official dialogue. The RCMP and the commissioner will be able to comment publicly on the recommendations that we anticipate will be forthcoming.

I fundamentally do not agree that the RCMP is characterized or defined by this one incident. We respond to three million service calls per year. Significant arrests were made today of Red Scorpion gang members in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Significant arrests of the people responsible for the Surrey Six killings were made a couple of weeks ago. The incredible violence faced by our people in the Lower Mainland is unprecedented.

There are enormous accomplishments on a range of activities in Alberta, none of which is before Canadians on a daily basis. However, they are evident to the people who profess confidence in our organization. They do that many times because they see those accomplishments.

When the Braidwood Inquiry is finished and we are able to account for those things for which we will be held to account, the public will have a different perspective than what is constantly before them currently. It is difficult to be swamped by a deluge of criticism but unable to respond officially. We are looking forward to the commission's report and to the opportunity to tell Canadians what we believe is important for them to hear from us.

Senator Mitchell: Regarding the hiring of women and their appearance in senior ranks, 20 per cent of constables are women, which is not insignificant by any means. Could you reassure us that there is not still a structural bias against women in the RCMP?

Many organizations with long-standing traditions often have a bias against promoting women. Sometimes there is an atmosphere not particularly conducive to women. What is your assessment of that issue within the RCMP?

Mr. Sweeney: We have more work to do on this issue. When people compete for positions within the RCMP, the decision regarding the most suitable candidate for a position is often based on experience. Women with the range of service that would potentially make them detachment commanders or heads of major crimes units are often occupied during those years providing critical care to families, a responsibility sometimes not shared equally with male partners.

Many of our women seek positions that provide stability around the workplace so that they can fulfill those very important dual responsibilities. Sometimes we do not credit our women the way we ought to credit them for fulfilling both of those very important functions of citizenship. We have to be better at it, but I think the only way you get better is by first acknowledging that there is a problem.

Senator Mitchell: That is an outstanding answer. Frequently, people do not realize there are these structural differences that make it more difficult for women to do that job, perhaps, or to be seen to be able to do that job. However, if they are given some structural tweaking or an understanding that they need a certain kind of flexibility, it really can work and you will have many more women in the senior ranks, which I think is essential.

[Translation]

Senator Nolin: Labour relations are a central part of the reforms that will be requested at the RCMP.

[English]

You mentioned in your remarks that you are a structure of 30,000 employees. Of the 30,000, how many are members of the RCMP — the others being civilians? What is the breakdown?

Mr. Clark: The regular members of the RCMP account for about 20,000. Civilian members are about 3,000 to 4,000, and the balance is public servants.

Senator Nolin: The Public Service Labour Relations Act states that the members are not employees, as defined in the act, so you are not covered by that act.

Mr. Clark: Yes.

Senator Nolin: Does it mean that the 20,000 are not covered and more are not covered by this act, or only the members are not covered?

Mr. Sweeney: The members of the RCMP —

Senator Nolin: Just to ensure my colleagues understand where I am going, this act states that the term ``employee'' does not include a person who is a member or special constable of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or who is employed by that force under terms and conditions substantially the same as those of one of its members.

So it is its members plus. What is the total number of people who are not covered by the Public Service Labour Relations Act?

Mr. Clark: Approximately 6,000 or 7,000 are covered, so the balance are not covered. They are employed under the RCMP Act. All regular and civilian members are employed under the RCMP Act, and the balance, about 6,000 or 7,000 public service employees, are hired under the Public Service Labour Relations Act.

Senator Nolin: To structure the labour relations in the RCMP, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Regulations organize that. Could you explain to the committee how it is organized and why it is organized that way.

Mr. Sweeney: I am not sure whether I can answer the question of why, because this staff relations program was in existence when I joined the RCMP. It actually forms part of our regulations, section 96.

Senator Nolin: You joined in 1974?

Mr. Sweeney: Yes.

Senator Nolin: It was created exactly that year.

Mr. Sweeney: Yes. Like most members joining the RCMP, it was not something I paid much attention to. It only was later in my service that it became quite important to me to understand how the program is managed and how it works.

The staff relations program that exists in the RCMP is a creature of statute by regulation. This staff relations program is unique to the RCMP. It does not enjoy the same privileges as other sorts of bargaining entities in terms of collective bargaining.

It is not an adversarial system. It is funded by the RCMP as a consequence of the regulation. To try to deal with the expectation of Parliament, we try to resolve our problems through collaboration, consultation, discussion and debate.

Senator Nolin: Do you think this structure created under the regulations of the RCMP, which is called the Staff Relations Representative Program, is part of the chain of command or independent?

Mr. Sweeney: Personally, I have always treated them independently. I have always believed that the staff relations program should be arm's length from management in terms of the positions that they choose to adopt in their caucus or as individual members. However, as I mentioned, it is a unique system in that problem solving is supposed to be achieved through collaboration, consultation and debate, so there is more interaction with our staff relations programs.

Senator Nolin: You prefaced your answer by saying ``personally.'' Is that because the Brown report says it is part of the chain of command, not being independent?

Mr. Sweeney: I do not think he said that.

Senator Nolin: I think he said that in the report.

Mr. Clark: One of the recommendations was that they should be removed from sitting on the senior executive committee, and that has been done.

Senator Nolin: That was done when?

Mr. Sweeney: In April of this year.

Senator Nolin: That is recent.

Mr. Sweeney: Yes.

Senator Nolin: After the Brown report.

Mr. Sweeney: Yes.

Senator Nolin: It was to correct that, because the Brown report is basically saying, ``part of the chain of command of the RCMP organization.''

Mr. Sweeney: I can only give you my understanding; it is an interpretation and I may be wrong. I believe what he was saying to us is that the national executive committee of the staff relations program should not sit on the senior executive committee and be part of the discussions that we have at that forum. In prior terms, other commissioners felt they added value.

Getting back to the issue of collaboration, it is an opportunity for the voice of the membership to be heard at the most senior decision-making table within the RCMP. That was the motivation of prior commissioners to bring them there.

They do not act as managers. They do not vote. They contribute to the discussion by providing perspectives that may not have been immediately evident to the senior executive.

Senator Nolin: This will be my last area of questioning. How do grievances work?

Mr. Sweeney: Not very well.

Senator Nolin: Let me rephrase that. You both work in the North, in the Arctic. The detachment in Iqaluit is composed of how many people?

Mr. Sweeney: It would probably be in the range of 25 members.

Senator Nolin: It covers an area of what size?

Mr. Sweeney: The primary policing responsibility is the town of Iqaluit.

Senator Nolin: Only.

Mr. Sweeney: Yes.

Senator Nolin: You do not cover the inlets or the small communities in the area; is that correct?

Mr. Sweeney: Most of the communities in Nunavut have their own detachments. For example, in Kimmirut, Grise Fiord, Pangnirtung and other communities, there are established detachments. Some communities do not have RCMP members in them.

Iqaluit is a centre. Our air services are there, our headquarters are there, our support services — for example, our GIS units — are there. They will provide support to all Nunavut communities in specialized circumstances, including providing relief, but the detachment in Iqaluit's primary responsibility is policing the town of Iqaluit.

Senator Nolin: I will quote your remarks: ``We know that there is a strong correlation between physical and mental health, well-being and productivity.'' I think we all agree with that.

Let us say someone in Iqaluit pretends that the way you are asking him to perform is putting his physical or mental health, his well-being in jeopardy. How can that person complain to the chain of command?

Mr. Sweeney: There are a couple of opportunities for that person. I spoke about the value of leadership. If we had compassionate, capable leadership, individuals would have a comfort level with speaking openly to their immediate supervisor or leader. There are other escape valves, including our occupational health and service program with our member employment assistance people. Their exclusive responsibility is to look after the welfare of our men and women. People can access that source as well as their staff relations program representatives, which Iqaluit has.

Senator Nolin: We discussed that earlier.

Mr. Sweeney: Yes. As well, we are subject to the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act, and we have a public service disclosure commissioner, I believe the position is called. The commissioner provides another escape valve for those who find it necessary to go outside the normal chain of command for fear of reprisal if they bring their plight to the attention of others.

Senator Nolin: With all those options, it should work well. Why have you said it does not work well?

Mr. Sweeney: The grievance system is a creature of statute as well. Significant reform of Part III of the RCMP Act, which specifies procedures on grievances, is necessary. We have made those representations to the government. We have been assured that they will look at Part III of the RCMP Act after other, more compelling parts of the act are modified, including independent review, which is a priority for this government.

Senator Nolin: Will there be an independent review structure to look after the grievances?

Mr. Sweeney: No. With my apologies, I am not explaining myself well. Independent review deals with public complaints and investigations.

Senator Nolin: Are they from outside the force?

Mr. Sweeney: That is right.

Senator Nolin: They are not from within.

Mr. Sweeney: It could be a combination of both. We do not know yet what the new regime will be, but I believe Mr. Kennedy will speak to that today.

Senator Nolin: Yes.

Mr. Sweeney: We strongly support the notion of reform on independent review. Another section of the act deals with grievances and is not being examined at this time. However, we have been given assurances that it will be examined with a view to making reforms. What those reforms will be will be a matter of discussion, so I cannot say yet. However, it does not work well.

Senator Nolin: We could explore for many hours the fascinating area of labour relations, but time is short.

The Chair: We have run significantly past our time, which I attribute to the interesting dialogue. Senior Deputy Commissioner Sweeney, I am grateful to you and to Assistant Commissioner Clark for coming today. I have a sense that what I had hoped would be a short overview will end up in a number of drill-downs as we proceed through the rest of the fiscal year. A number of questions have arisen that have led to other questions. I appreciate your candid and helpful remarks in assisting us to understand the challenges that face you and the RCMP. On behalf of the committee, thank you.

On our next panel today is Mr. David McAusland, Chair of the RCMP Reform Implementation Council. Mr. McAusland began his career in 1978 at Byers Casgrain. He went on to become managing partner of what became Fraser Milner Casgrain from 1988 to 1999. At that time, he joined Alcan, serving as vice-president and eventually senior vice-president for mergers and acquisitions and chief legal officer. Since 2008 he has been chairing the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Reform Implementation Council.

Also on the panel is Mr. Paul Kennedy. Mr. Kennedy is a lawyer. He was a criminal prosecutor for the Department of Justice, General Counsel for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, and Senior General Counsel for the Federal Prosecution Service. In May of 1998, Mr. Kennedy was appointed Senior Assistant Deputy Minister for the then Department of the Solicitor General. In May of 2004, following the creation of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada, Mr. Kennedy was appointed Senior Assistant Deputy Minister with Responsibility for National Security and Emergency Preparedness, a position he held until his retirement in May of 2005. Mr. Kennedy was appointed as Chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP in October of 2005.

We are very pleased to have both of you here today. Please proceed with your opening statements.

Paul Kennedy, Chair, Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP: I will keep my opening comments brief, as I have already provided the committee with documents detailing both my rationale in support of the need to enhance the existing review mechanism for the RCMP and the specific powers that would enable the review body to better respond to the concerns of Canadians.

There are some key thoughts, however, that I would like to share with you at the outset. The RCMP is a federal institution that in addition to its national police role provides policing at both the provincial and the municipal levels. In 1981, the Supreme Court of Canada made it clear that the responsibility for RCMP conduct issues, even in their provincial and municipal contract roles, is constitutionally the responsibility of the federal government.

The RCMP shares policing responsibilities with non-federal police forces throughout Canada and partners with many forces in joint force operations and integrated units.

In 1976, Judge Marin authored a report calling for an independent civilian review of RCMP activities. He recommended a model that ``can bring the lamp of scrutiny to otherwise dark places, even over the resistance of those who would draw the blinds. If . . . scrutiny and observations are well founded, corrective measures can be taken in due democratic process, if not, no harm can be done in looking at that which is good.''

In 1988, Parliament enacted Part VII of the RCMP Act. I submit that that legislation, which has remained unaltered since its passage in 1988, fell short of the vision put forward for by Judge Marin.

From 1989 to the present, various chairs of the commission have called for legislative amendments. The need for enhancements has also been identified by the Auditor General of Canada in 2003; by Justice O'Connor in 2007; and of course by Mr. Brown, Q.C., in his recent report on the governance of the RCMP.

There are a number of key flaws in the current legislation. It fails to respect the principle articulated by the Auditor General in 2003, which is to ``ensure that agencies exercising intrusive powers are subject to levels of external review and disclosure proportionate to the level of intrusion.'' It has weak constitutional accountability, as members do not have to cooperate. Access to relevant information by the commission may be denied by the RCMP; and the RCMP Commissioner believes he is authorized to — and has — substituted his own factual findings for those of the commission.

There are no specific provisions that recognize the responsibilities of the eight provincial ministers who contract for policing services. Also, it is a reactive model that has to be triggered by the laying of a complaint. It has no audit powers, which I believe is a key to identifying issues before they become problems and which I believe would help to deter members from yielding to the temptation to ignore or circumvent policy.

Evolving public expectations concerning transparency and accountability must be addressed to successfully restore and maintain public confidence in the RCMP. It is trite to say that cynicism and distrust of public institutions abounds. What is relatively new, I believe, is the degree to which policing activities have become the subject of this focus. The RCMP, despite its iconic status, has not been exempt from such criticism.

A key reality is that the police need public support to fulfill their responsibilities. Police-authored justifications for their actions are viewed as self-serving. A credible, independent third party is required to address these growing expressions of public concern.

You might ask whether, if this is an accurate portrayal of the public's expectations of policing, anyone has taken steps to address these challenges. At the provincial level the answer is yes. Provincial governments have increasingly taken steps to address this matter. Ontario created the Independent Police Review Act in 2007; Alberta created the Serious Incident Response Team in 2007; British Columbia introduced amendments to its police act in March 2009; and a new police services act was introduced in Manitoba in April 2009. All of these are on top of existing structures they already had in place. The time to address the adequacy of independent civilian review of the RCMP activities cannot be deferred any further.

David McAusland, Chair, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Reform Implementation Council, Royal Canadian Mounted Police: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Reform Implementation Council, of which I have the honour of being the chairman, has now been in existence for over one year. We issued an interim report in September of last year and a second report in March of this year. Our mandate was recently extended, as I think you know, for another year, and specifically we anticipate two further reports, which will undoubtedly become public: one in September and another in March.

Beyond the obligation to report to the Minister of Public Safety, our mandate envisages advising the minister on the implementation of reforms, providing advice and assistance to the commissioner of the RCMP, and monitoring the progress of reforms. It is interesting to consider those because there is a significant degree of advising involved in our mandate. We have considered the mandate to be broad.

It is worth recalling that the council stemmed directly from the December 2007 report Rebuilding the Trust issued by the Task Force on Governance and Cultural Change in the RCMP, chaired by David Brown, and our mandate and work is entirely oriented — this is an important point — towards governance, management and cultural issues as opposed to specific police operational issues.

There are a few points worth highlighting in order to make clear the working environment and efforts that have been pursued by the council. We have prioritized the creation of an open and collaborative working relationship with the RCMP in accordance with our mandate, which is to advise. We have been of the view from the beginning that the benefits to the RCMP, the government and the Canadian public can only come to pass through a healthy working environment with reciprocal openness to discussion. I would say in general this objective has been attained. The RCMP has been open to listening and discussing the council's view. Note also that this approach serves as an example for the kind of leadership management culture to be developed within the RCMP itself, which is one of the reasons we have pursued it.

The council has never chosen to pursue its mandate on the basis of a box-ticking approach, that is, taking the various recommendations of the Brown task force on a narrow basis and looking at the specific implementation plans and tracking those for specific progress item by item. We have done that, for sure, but we consider that our mandate goes well beyond that, and indeed the most important parts of it go beyond that. We are much more focused on maintaining the big pictures on issues of capabilities and cultural change, that is, what is being done and pursued in order to achieve durable change guaranteeing the highest possible quality of police work to be made available to the Canadian public. As we said in our September report, the reform or transformation process in which we are involved deals with a broad set of central issues that define how the force is led and managed, how it recruits, develops and involves people, and how it accounts to government and Canadians for use of resources and delivery of public services.

I would like to make it clear that in general the council is satisfied with what is being done and the working relationship. Success in any initiative like this is very much a two-way street, and we have been involved with many leaders, especially in the change management initiative — leaders within the RCMP — who are both dedicated and open-minded in their dealings with the council. We have found the commissioner and the Change Management Team quite willing to listen to the council on any number of issues, even when we have sought to challenge them very strongly.

I would add that the council has enjoyed a similarly frank and clear relationship with the Department of Public Safety and the minister. We have enjoyed their support and have at all times felt a sense of trust and confidence in our work and capabilities.

One specific example would be our direct involvement in the discussions within the RCMP leading to the definition of its new vision. A lot of work went into that by the force at the highest levels, and the council was directly involved. We were consulted and I think we made some contributions; the leadership listened to us and adjusted their text and the vision around that. That serves as an excellent example of how we are working with the force.

[Translation]

Anyone interested in the transformation of the RCMP needs to understand some basic principles. There are changes or reforms of three types: those that are within the control of the force; those that are absolutely dependent on third- party action (legislative change, for example); and those that involve consultations and discussions within interested parties (contracting counterparties, for example). In other words, getting the RCMP to reach the planned or expected reform objectives will clearly require substantial support and cooperation from others.

Second, there is a new balance that must be struck between effective internal management and related governance systems (for example, an enhanced decision-making scope and the Board of Management), and external oversight and approvals. The RCMP needs more freedom of movement accompanied by necessary accountability. The council is very strongly of the view that accountability and decision-making authority go hand in hand. One cannot expect to enhance the accountability culture without providing corresponding decision-making authorities.

[English]

The council has met and will continue to meet regularly with the commissioner, the Change Management Team and other leadership elements within the force in order to catalyze, pursue and measure progress. It is to be noted, importantly, that we have met with people like David Brown, Linda Duxbury and others who have commented on the RCMP, the need for reform and the kinds of reform that might be envisaged. We have also spent significant time with provincial and municipal contract counterparties and officials of Public Safety Canada.

Most importantly, we have met with employees of the RCMP across Canada, quite often in situations necessary or useful for us in order to better understand the workplace challenges. Notwithstanding the many challenges facing the RCMP, one cannot do what we have done without acquiring a very strong and positive impression of the personnel who make up the force. There are many great people involved in the RCMP, and many of them are pursuing extremely rewarding and important careers.

During our first year, the council has focused on orienting and prioritizing the change management initiatives. In particular, we have emphasized the importance of maintaining a big-picture understanding of the reform process, as I mentioned earlier, making sure that there is a view of the forest and not just the trees. We have worked on helping the RCMP to establish a vision and agenda for change that will be enduring and to create an organization that is permanently adaptive, nimble and change-friendly.

Of course, a multitude of complex challenges remains and covers many categories of issues. We refer to these as ``heavy lifting.'' The common denominator, or sine qua non, to all necessary and successful change, reform or transformation is institutional culture.

Not surprisingly, there is a well-established culture within the RCMP of professional pride, sense of purpose, and loyalty. These elements are largely based on the force's great history. Nevertheless, the RCMP must look to its future, and its membership, as well as the Canadian public, must be convinced that the force's best years are ahead of it and not behind it. That is one of the most important ways we found of articulating that.

Employees at every level must be brought into the reform initiative in order to give the force the flexibility and efficiency necessary to meet the demands that are posed by new and aggressive criminal activities, technology and threats; and to require and enable the force to be more open and accountable to employees and reassert ethical values.

We have seen that employees want to be a part of all this and are probably impatient. Quite frankly, some are even skeptical, in general, as regards the subject of change. The RCMP, with the support of all others who can influence the reform and transformation process, must work hard to overcome this impatience and any related doubts.

I cannot complete the opening remarks without acknowledging the existence of certain controversies that have focused on the RCMP over the past year. The force is not a perfect institution and, as with any large organization, mistakes happen, whether in relation to matters of operational substance or communications. It remains absolutely true that there is more right with the RCMP than there is wrong.

This being said, much work needs to be done. One particular area in need of improvement concerns management and communication techniques and reflexes in those difficult situations when the judgment or the actions of the force are called into question.

It is a privilege to chair the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Reform Implementation Council and to be here to speak with you and discuss these important issues.

The Chair: Those were two very interesting opening remarks, looking at the issue through different optics.

Senator Day: Gentlemen, thank you very much for appearing. I have a few little points of clarification more than anything. The first point is for Mr. McAusland.

You indicate that your mandate and work is entirely oriented towards governance, management and cultural issues. Would that exclude you from looking at recruiting and training?

Mr. McAusland: Recruiting, training and HR issues would all be enveloped into that. Anything relating to HR is also clearly involved in that, other than when we go to pains to exclude operational issues. We are saying that because we do not want it to appear as though we have any sort of say or involvement in policy issues relating to policing — for instance, the level of prioritization for pursuing a particular drug enforcement policy. That is beyond the scope of what we do.

Senator Day: I am thinking particularly of your report of March of this year, where you talk about the importance of operational cultural issues. Would you be able to discuss or do you discuss with the RCMP the fact that six months of training for someone who could then be sent out to do night duty on the road as an RCMP officer six months after leaving high school or some other job might not be quite enough training to develop the kind of culture you are talking about?

Mr. McAusland: Absolutely, we do discuss the cultural and training issues. We might not necessarily discuss them in those specific terms. However, I can assure you that the level of discussion, engagement and — to use the wording from our mandate — advice that we have been giving in relation to culture goes very deep and far, and it does touch on HR issues extensively, certainly recruiting and training and the approach to those kinds of things. We have spent extensive amounts of time on that.

The council went out to Depot and spent some time there. We visited other places where training issues are very much in the forefront, and we have provided our feedback accordingly.

Senator Day: You have two reports so far and you indicate that you will have two more. Do they have specific recommendations that are accepted by the RCMP, or do you have to negotiate with the RCMP as to whether they will accept your recommendations?

Mr. McAusland: That is an interesting question. The blunt answer is no, we do not negotiate any part of our report with the RCMP. Clearly, it is our report and we do not negotiate it with anyone.

The question is good, and it is good to bore down on it further, because we do discuss our report. I have not discussed with the RCMP today what our report in September or March will be, other than maybe in the most general terms. However, in the past, when it came time to issue our report in September or in March, clearly we discussed it with the RCMP to indicate where we were headed and what we would say. I can assure you categorically that this was not done with a view to seeking anyone's approval or consent. It was to be sensible and complete and to say, ``Look, this is where we are headed. If you think we are off-base, tell us and we will listen. Maybe there is something we have forgotten, but maybe there is not.'' That has been the general approach we have taken.

Regarding the two further reports, we have not drafted them and we do not even have an outline. I do not want to sound guilty of that famous Yogi Berra saying, ``If you don't know where you're going, chances are you're not gonna get there.'' I think we will get there. However, the next reports are bound to be a little different than the first ones. As I indicated, we are shifting into a heavy-lifting stage. There are tough issues to get more granular on and to grapple with in a more hands-on, direct way.

Senator Day: We heard that there are 49 recommendations in the Brown report and 48.5 were accepted by the RCMP. Which one did they not accept, and are you involved in working on that?

Mr. McAusland: The half recommendation regards post-secondary education.

We have discussed all of the recommendations. A number of them have been nuanced, which is fine with us. You have to be careful when new information comes to light as you work down into these recommendations. As indicated in my opening remarks, we are not the type of council that is trying to force the RCMP to adhere rigidly to the precise letter of each recommendation. We are following them and overseeing implementation.

Our March report details each recommendation — what has been done and where it is going — which is important. However, you must be careful not to be overly narrow in examining those.

Senator Day: Thank you, Mr. McAusland. That gives us a feeling for what your council is doing.

Mr. Kennedy, could you tell us the status of the independent commission for complaints and oversight? We recognize that you would like to see that and that the Brown report recommended it.

Mr. Kennedy: You would need to talk to someone from the Department of Public Safety or the minister to find out the status. Three weeks after my appointment in October 2005, I appeared before Justice O'Connor in November to address the second part of his report. I outlined the obvious problems and what had to be done. I have shared that document with you.

In October or November 2006, I prepared draft legislation for consultation because I had not seen much action. Various ministers have indicated that they have ongoing consultations. I have been consulted on periphery items, but have no sense of the timing.

I point out in each of my annual reports that we should be doing something. Many of the ideas I have put forward publicly have been adopted by provincial governments in their regimes, but I have not seen anything appear at the federal level.

Senator Day: You have given us a good summary of what is happening in various provinces. We have just heard from two RCMP commissioners — a senior deputy commissioner and an assistant commissioner — who both support the idea you and others are putting forth. Would all of the flaws you have outlined in the current system be solved if this independent commission for complaints and oversight of the RCMP were implemented?

Mr. Kennedy: Yes. The model I put forward was based on regimes in place or being put in place by provinces. I also looked at powers currently exercised by other federal bodies, such as the Privacy Commissioner, the Information Commissioner, the Security Intelligence Review Committee, the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner and the Auditor General. These powers were being exercised, actually, by other federal agencies prior to the creation of my commission in 1988. These go back to 1982 and 1984. The decision was taken not to give similar powers at that time for some reason.

If this ever sees the light of day, I would recommend that you add that famous condition where you go back in five years to review to determine whether it actually works. We are frequently responding to public expectations that are generational. It may be that the current model was accepted in 1988. When an incident occurred, the default of the Canadian public was to believe the police. The police could go out and say it.

That default is no longer there. Today, we will have an incident and I will see it reported. The World Wide Web allows the public to comment today. Within 24 hours to 48 hours, you will see 800 comments on a story involving the RCMP. Easily 95 per cent of those comments are negative. The default position is not to believe the police. That is unfair. My job is to restore and maintain the public's confidence by identifying problems and straightening them out.

I have 35 years in the business. I think this model would respond to the public's need for a credible, independent oversight body. It does not mean that benchmark will still be there in five years. You should go back and review it, because it is essential for the public to have faith in and trust the police. We have major problems in this country if that is not occurring.

Senator Day: I think we all agree. Thank you, gentlemen, for your succinct reports.

Senator Banks: Pursuing Senator Day's line of questioning, Mr. Kennedy, you have given us a draft copy of model legislation. There is scrutiny and there is scrutiny. If you had to characterize your ideal situation, would you be looking at review or oversight? They are two quite different things. Would you give us a thumbnail sketch of your view?

Mr. Kennedy: What we are talking about here is review. I have talked publicly about ``oversight'' because the public does not make the subtle distinction that experts make.

Senator Banks: We are not experts, but we have heard from others who are.

Mr. Kennedy: People get upset and say, ``He wants oversight; he wants to be commissioner; he wants to tell us what to do.''

That is not the case. The technical definition of ``review'' is an ex post facto review. An event happens; you come in and look at what happened. ``Oversight'' is contemporaneous with an event happening. Clearly I do not want to be there second-guessing and quarterbacking the play while people are doing an investigation.

Senator Banks: Like Mr. Churchill on the street supervising the police.

Mr. Kennedy: That is correct. There has to be a review when something happens with no barriers as there are currently. Now, the police can say, ``I will not provide that information to you.'' However, the police work cooperatively with me.

Senator Banks: Can they say that to you currently?

Mr. Kennedy: Yes. There is no obligation for an officer to account for his or her duties — none. They can say, ``I do not want to talk to you.''

First, I am saying that if you are exercising a public function, you should account for what you have done. Second, we should have access to all information or files they have, just like the Security Intelligence Review Committee or other bodies have. They cannot raise a privilege by telling us that would disclose an investigative technique, damage national security or is a third-party confidence.

Currently, there is a statutory penalty. I will give an example. Part VI of the Criminal Code, wiretaps, says you can only disclose a wiretap in a particular case. They say, ``I would like to give you the information — it is an organized crime case — but the Criminal Code says I cannot give it to you.''

I have authority over the witness protection program. There is a provision in the Witness Protection Program Act that says you cannot disclose something that would disclose the identity of the individual, so I cannot look at the program that I specifically have authority for. It is problematic.

Senator Banks: Unless the level of secure access to information is granted to you and the board that you are talking about, in which case you could not talk about it either.

Mr. Kennedy: Yes, but the difference is that I have access to it. If I answer a question saying I have looked at it and I have had access to everything and I can give you an assurance that there is not a problem, that is the difference. When Justice O'Connor looked at these matters — or Justice Major or Justice Iacobucci in other inquiries — they had access to it. They did not disclose it.

In the regime I have put forward to you, I am saying I should have access to everything except cabinet confidence. However, if there is sensitive information there, the police identify to me that it is sensitive. I would share with them a draft of my report to ensure I would not inadvertently disclose that, but I could give the public the bottom line that I have looked at everything and satisfied myself.

The other thing is there has to be an audit function. In other words, I should not have to wait for a person to complain to me; I should be able to look at a program. People say what is the value of that?

Clearly, the Arar case is a classic case where information was shared. In Arar, there were policies in place by the RCMP, caveats that had to be put in place that regulated the sharing of information with other foreign jurisdictions. Those caveats and policies were lifted and ignored. That is easy to do if you are in a top-secret area of national security because you might think you will never have to account for this. If you know someone can go in and say, ``I want to look at your program, your information sharing,'' you will think twice about it.

I have spent over 20 years in the national security area. I have long since disabused myself of the notion that things will not come out, but that is a comfort that some people may have. You need the capacity to go in and do it.

I am looking at a program and I say, oops, there is a weakness here — before. Otherwise, I am reacting. I rarely see a case dealing with the role of the RCMP in its national police function — organized crime, national organized crime, national security, things of that nature. Why? Because most of it is covert. Individuals do not know they are subject to investigation and the programs tend not to come to light that would give rise to a complaint. The traditional thing is an individual on the street meeting an officer, and use of force. There are areas that are not being looked at because people do not know what is going on.

I am talking about review, coupled with that kind of an audit power, but with access to all the information, with the appropriate safeguards so that information is not inappropriately disclosed.

Senator Banks: In effect, the assurances you said earlier we used to rely on the police to provide would come from you?

Mr. Kennedy: It does not work anymore. I spent 35 years in public safety dealing with constables to commissioners of the RCMP; that default has disappeared. It is gone. I am keenly interested in how to retain and get back that public support for the police. We need that.

Former commissioner Zaccardelli, in a conference in 2005 before the International Police Association, came out and said that he had finally come around as well because he realized that his comments were no longer persuading the Canadian public. He recognized he needed a third party to do it. That is just the world we live in today.

Senator Banks: I think that is a fair comment, sad but fair.

Mr. McAusland, you talked about the broad mandate of your committee and the fact that you have consulted with the provinces who contract with the RCMP to provide municipal policing, and that you have considered the big picture.

Have you considered in the big picture the distinction between the kind of contract policing that is done and the kind of policing that Mr. Kennedy just referred to? There are certain things that all police officers, peace officers, need to know; but the policing that is done in those situations Mr. Kennedy just talked about is quite different from responding to a domestic disturbance call or giving a speeding ticket.

Have you considered, or do you know whether anyone else has considered, whether it is now time for the RCMP to remove itself from contract municipal policing and to concentrate on its federal responsibilities?

Mr. McAusland: The subject does come up. I come across people who mention that. Having met with various provinces and discussed issues with almost all of them now in very frank sessions, I have not detected any desire on their part to pursue a disassociation, other than as a matter of last resort because of frustration with the speed at which various decisions move.

It strikes me as being rather clear that the contract counterparties, in general, would have a very strong preference, all other things being equal, to remain with the RCMP as their critical partner. That is what I take away. I am not saying there are not problems and issues in the relationships; there are, and they need to be dealt with.

That being said, should you look at the situation from a grand objective —

Senator Banks: The forest, in other words.

Mr. McAusland: Yes. Could you argue that this great idea no longer makes sense, and let us have a disaggregation, if you will, of all these things that form the RCMP? My response would be that it would be a theoretically interesting management pursuit, and there are people who have thought about it, but I think there would be significant damage to the fibre of the RCMP the way it is built today. The disaggregation would ultimately damage many of the vital organs of the force, in my view, and you would end up with something entirely different.

The bottom-line answer to your question is that perhaps it is theoretically possible; certainly people have raised the issue. However, to inject that kind of potential objective into the current discussion I think would be devastatingly negative in terms of trying to accomplish what we are trying to accomplish as a reform initiative. Things would go seriously sideways and we would be back to zero, if not less than zero, in terms of the reform initiative. That is the frankest answer I can give you on that point.

Senator Wallin: I will try a new technique. I have a general question for both of you and then a question each, but I will put it all up front and you can be mulling over it.

Core to all this cultural transformation and change that is necessary is recruitment and training. You spoke about that. I will take the flip side of Senator Day's argument about training. Is it really a question of time or is it a question of content? Is that where we have the issue when it comes to training up the RCMP; or is it both and you cannot separate that, and that really is a content question?

To you, Mr. Kennedy, drilling down a little bit, we discussed with our two previous guests the matter of separate entity status with an internal board of management and an external board of review. The RCMP would be similar to an agency, such as the Canada Revenue Agency. Could you give us your views on that? You have talked about the importance of the audit function and how you would add that on.

Mr. McAusland, I am struggling with the following concept, which I have heard before and again today from our previous witnesses: the question of principled decision-making, where moral, legal and ethical issues have to be at the forefront, versus rules-based behaviour.

Mr. McAusland: On the issue of training, I will give it back to you a bit, if I may. To start the answer, I have a problem with your question. The problem with your question is that, in one sweep, you are generalizing or making generic the issue of training. Your question assumes that there is a one-size-fits-all training within the RCMP. Indeed, this is at the core of many issues that the force deals with. You cannot build a force with the breadth and complexity of the RCMP with one month of one-size-fits-all basic training. Of course, training goes well beyond that, and training and learning are lifelong.

I will delve a little further. You might have opened the door, but if not, I will open it, to one of my favourite subjects, which illustrates one of the key challenges within the force in the view of the council and in my view. It goes right to the heart of training and who does what and with what training in the RCMP. It begins with the trite observation that we are living in an increasingly complex world, and complexity goes up exponentially every day. For example, one of our favourites is technology. The extent to which the RCMP faces extreme technology challenges in order to defeat criminal elements is largely underrated. Criminals are turning to technology rather than to traditional violence to achieve their criminal ends.

What does that mean? That is a training challenge in today's world where the best high-tech minds are siphoned off around the world. There is the vision of the RCMP regular member, which is the foundation of the force, being the front-line man or woman in a particular community. Certainly they exist, but there are many other individuals with highly specialized, necessary functions, many of whom are not regular members, which is a significant point for the RCMP. The door I have opened is that the council is of the view that the RCMP needs to do a much better job in recognizing the vital and equivalent importance of non-regular members who have highly specialized expertise necessary and critical to the delivery of the services required from the RCMP.

Training is a vast, complex subject that cannot be viewed through the narrow lens of basic training for regular members. It is far more complex than that. It is a specialized world, so we must recruit and develop specialized people who might not be regular members. That six-month training for the man or woman in the high-tech lab trying to defeat the latest contraption with cell phones is absolutely just as important as it is for any of the other people, as well the person managing communications.

Senator Wallin: That speaks precisely to my point. We talked about six months at Depot and then six months in the field, which is not the issue in my view. Rather, it is about what they learn, not in what time frame they learn, because the learning is endless. Will you take that on, Mr. Kennedy?

Mr. Kennedy: I have had time to scribble some notes, so perhaps I can be persuasive and respond. For clarification, when I talked about an audit capacity, I do not see myself as a financial auditor. I will give you an example. Currently under section 25.1 of the Criminal Code, police are authorized to break the law to enforce the law. It sounds horrible, but I helped to put that in place at the time through the minister and Parliament. When police perform undercover duties, they might be required to things like possess and distribute counterfeit money, for example. The Supreme Court of Canada said that a police officer does not enjoy particular immunity distinct from a citizen and that if Parliament wanted them to do things undercover, a regime needed to be crafted.

A regime was crafted. I would like to audit that program to ensure that the power is being used in circumstances where it is appropriate, because it deals with common assaults and destruction of property as a guise if an officer is trying to get into a gang. I am looking at a policy audit, an activities audit, not necessarily a financial audit.

If they were to put a board in place, some of our recommendations could have financial implications. For example, deaths occurred in B.C. cells. There were no cameras and we did not know what had transpired. It was a highly significant challenge to the public's confidence in the RCMP when a young gentleman was shot and killed in the cells. I recommended that their cells should have digital cameras that conduct surveillance so that we have a record of anything that transpires. However, that requires the allocation of funds. What does that recommendation do compared to other pressures on the force? I could see some of our product going there and being considered in a bigger picture of competing priorities.

On your training issue question, one of the principles I have articulated today is that we look at an officer's conduct, which is shaped by his or her training and the operational policies in place. An officer is not a rogue. What he or she does is dictated by training. Sometimes when I find fault with an officer's conduct, I am able to track it back to poor policy or to the training. Our recent experience with the use of the taser is a classic case of officers doing what they are trained to do and what their policy says; and we find fault with that.

Our objective is to restore and maintain the public's confidence in the police. Just telling a particular officer that what he did was wrong does not identify whether it is the training and policies that are being followed across the country. We dig to look at that particular area.

Senator Day raised a question about an officer's function being to deal with the public. That is an exercise of discretion. Anyone vested with discretion will exercise it only if he or she has good experience and knowledge, which comes with actions and wisdom that is accumulated. A good judge has made a few mistakes in the past; and it is the same for a police officer.

Training will be key because there are significant cultural changes. We are at a historic juncture in the RCMP, with so many baby boom officers retiring and so many new recruits going through Depot. There were 1,700 to 1,800 in the last class and 1,500 in the class before that. The Vancouver Police Department has 1,200 officers, which is almost double. There is a massive influx of new people. Training, culture and mentoring are important. If you do not get it right, in a couple of years you will have a different police force than you had before because the tradition will not be passed along and the experience, judgment and mentoring will not be there. It is a huge challenge for all police forces, but for the RCMP in particular because of the size of the operation.

Training is important, and we had better get it right. Some unusual steps will have to be taken to ensure that the wisdom that has been accumulated through the years is passed on. Things are happening that make Canadians ask, ``What are they doing?'' People have asked me, ``How did that happen? That is not the way we do things in Canada.''

The way policing was done in Canada was uniquely Canadian. We did not have to compare ourselves to anyone or say that we are not American. It will be key to get that right in the next few years.

Senator Wallin: That is an entire other discussion, because the world has changed. I do not know that we just can keep saying, ``Aren't Canadians nice,'' and ``Aren't we different for doing that?''

Senator Nolin: You mentioned the amendment to the Criminal Code that we adopted recently. You are familiar with the concerns expressed in the Senate on that amendment and the fact that we want to revisit it in the future.

We may question your audit authority, but not because we do not want you to have it. We want someone to have it.

Mr. Kennedy: I appeared before committees in both the Senate and the House of Commons at that time in my role as a senior assistant deputy minister.

Senator Nolin: I am sure you remember Senator Joyal's concerns about that.

Mr. Kennedy: Yes, I do. That was the organized crime bill, Bill C-24. The issue was whether there would be oversight for it. That dealt with undercover operations and things going on in organized crime. There was a requirement for the minister to table a report with Parliament. There are many exemptions to avoid the disclosure of sources and operations.

It has become clear to me that we need someone who can look at all the information and give you a report, without disclosing anything damaging to sources and operations, on how it is being run, how often it is being used, whether it is proportionate, whether the people are properly trained and whether the right judgment is being used. You cannot fulfill your function without a report of that nature, and I cannot do that report because I am stuck with the same obstacles.

Senator Wallin: We have heard from the RCMP about the notion of principled decision-making versus rule-based decision making; so moral, legal, ethical behaviour versus following the rules. I am not convinced that they should be mutually exclusive.

Could we have your views on that briefly?

Mr. McAusland: I will try to be brief, but this is one of my favourite subjects and it goes well beyond the RCMP. It is an affliction of many organizations. It goes right to the heart of issues of bureaucracy.

I will give you a caricature of the situation. I used this in a large discussion with the RCMP and did not get any push-back on it, so I assume they saw themselves in it. If you have a management operation that repeats itself 1,000 a week, so something that is very regular, and one week there is a mistake that causes a big problem, so once out of 1,000 times, the reflex of the organization is that they need a rule to ensure that never happens again.

The Chair: Welcome to the Senate.

Mr. McAusland: That causes more friction in the system. At the heart of all of this is one important four-letter word: risk. There is a big distinction between intelligent risk management and ridiculous risk elimination. These are two opposed concepts.

The RCMP, like many other organizations, rather than moving toward intelligent risk management, including in management situations, has a tendency to gravitate to ridiculous risk elimination, because that is what people want.

Good management is about sensible risk assessment and applying judgment accordingly. When the Canadian public looks at a police officer, what is the key characteristic they look for? It has to be judgment. If your system is run by a book of rules that continuously gets thicker, your judgment is no longer important; you need only follow the rules. You must find a way to reverse all of that and talk about and accept risk management, which unfortunately means being able to accept mistakes and not allowing the lowest-common-denominator approach to drive the culture of the organization. It is not gravitation to the lowest common denominator, which is what is happening, and it is happening well beyond the RCMP.

This is where principles-based decision making and culture are far more important than rules-based decision making.

Mr. Kennedy: As I have indicated, discretion is the key.

Senator Mitchell: You can see us all nodding our heads, and I agree. However, part of the problem is that no credit is given by oversight agencies — auditors, for example — for the distinction between intelligent risk management and ridiculous risk elimination. If you make a mistake, you may be criticized in some audited documents. There are auditors auditing auditors auditing auditors in this government. People become paralyzed. They can use good judgment and still make a mistake, but if they make a reasonable mistake, they get treated the same way as if they made an unreasonable mistake.

Mr. McAusland: The easy response to your observation is to say, ``Why don't you guys fix it, if it is so endemic in government?'' The essence of the observation is that it is a problem for everyone and the RCMP just has to live with it. That is bouncing the ball back at you, or at the government at large, which I think needs to be done, but it is a big thing.

I think we can get at your observation more concretely in the narrower context of the RCMP by giving the RCMP a little more independence, if not significantly more, so that it can distance itself from what I would loosely call the more traditional bureaucracy that the RCMP is tangled up in. Distance it from that and give it its own decision-making environment, with lots of accountability. That gets into the board of management idea with sensible reporting that is properly overseen. I think something very material could be achieved, which would, by the way, lead to greater efficiency and cost savings in addition to more rewarding careers and training people with judgment as opposed to telling them to follow the rules and not their judgment.

Senator Tkachuk: On the question of rules-based and principle-based decision making, there is a great Corner Gas episode in which the two RCMP officers want to get more money so they go to work to rule. It addresses the issue in a much more humorous method than we are addressing it here.

Mr. Kennedy, how many members are on the commission? Do you have an investigative unit for complaints? Tell us about it in a short summary.

Mr. Kennedy: It is very small — small but mighty. It actually has an A base of about $5.1 million, and with that there are approximately 42 full-time people. Beyond that, I also retain some people under contract. We are fortunate that last year Minister Day gave us a one-time increase of $3.7 million, and this year I have been advised it has been renewed to the extent of $3.1 million. That has allowed us to do a bit of work and gives us approximately 12 more people.

It is a small organization, and part of my concern when I went there was that in 1988 the organization had $3.8 million. I went there in 2005 — and my A base today is still $5.1 million. When you factor in inflation, that is probably a reduction over time in actual dollars.

In the same period, the RCMP went from $1.3 billion to over $4 billion now, and the membership obviously has grown. Our jurisdiction is regular members and civilian members, so it is about 24,000 or 25,000 people. There has been a disparity in terms of the funding, but we have been creative and we are very agile.

Senator Tkachuk: Is the commission a panel? Who is on it other than you?

Mr. Kennedy: I am the chair and I had a vice-chair until a number of months ago; currently there is just myself as the chair. We have an intake for all complaints; currently we have 60 per cent, and the rest go to the RCMP, and they will send us copies of those as well. Under the act, unless I intervene, the file goes to the RCMP for investigation and adjudication in the first instance and then the person can appeal to us. We have approximately 275 or 300 appeals to us per year. I have a capacity beyond that to launch my own complaints and my own investigations, which I do on occasion, where there are deaths in custody.

Senator Tkachuk: What do you mean by that?

Mr. Kennedy: When we had the Dziekanski matter, for example, I launched my own complaint there to look at the actual event that transpired, not only the activities of the officers in question but also the follow-up investigation by the RCMP because there were issues of impartiality of the police investigating the police. I can scope out the extent of what I will look at, which may be broader than what a member of the public would want to raise with me.

Senator Tkachuk: In your arguments, some quite persuasive, to increase the influence or the question of audits and more independence and information, is there an equivalent organization in the United States, say with the FBI? Are there equivalent organizations in Ontario and Quebec, which have their own police forces, that you could look at and compare yourself to, both in budget and in powers of investigation of complaints and auditing functions?

Mr. Kennedy: This has been a hot area around the Western World. The United States is not necessarily a good example of that because they have 18,000 police forces. They do not necessarily have it broken down as we do, which is by provincial body and federal body. Cities have their own.

Senator Tkachuk: They have their own national force, the FBI.

Mr. Kennedy: Yes. They have an internal inspector general they use. Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland have been doing strong work in terms of review of the activities of the police. It is so strong that my counterpart in Australia, because of previous corruption scandals, has the ability to do criminal investigations of police, including wiretap and undercover operations. It is quite strong because they had major issues of corruption there.

The U.K. model allows them to intervene in some cases. There was the de Menezes case, for example, the shooting of a young man the police thought was a terrorist. He was going into a subway and was shot and killed. They can take over and do the investigation themselves.

Northern Ireland has probably the most extensive system. They do all investigations, all complaints themselves, with their own team of investigators. That is the most extensive one I have seen.

In Ontario they do a separate criminal investigation, separate from the police, of any police activity that results in death or serious injury. Their system is akin to the one I just talked about, dealing with public complaints that look at conduct and policy. Legislation was put in place, but they have been working for the past year or so to tool up that organization. It should come online sometime this year I would think.

Senator Tkachuk: Who oversees them when they are given all these extraordinary powers?

Mr. Kennedy: The ombudsman looks at the criminal investigative arm, and I do not believe he can do that vis-à-vis the separate one because it makes a public report. In British Columbia, my counterpart's office is a creature of the legislature and reports to the legislature because they appoint the person. You get to the point after a while that you trust nobody. Then you have to draw the line somewhere. If you do not trust the person who heads the organization, then you replace them and put someone else in place.

Senator Tkachuk: Mr. McAusland, the same applies to you, your council established as a ministerial advisory group. How many members are on the council? Whom do they represent? Is there a budget? How does the council work?

Mr. McAusland: We have five members. I am the chair and there are four other members: Jean-Claude Bouchard, Kevin McAlpine, Beverley Busson, former commissioner, and Jocelyne Côté-O'Hara. The council was not formed to be representative per se. Presumably, if I can be so bold, it was formed to be intelligent and reasonably varied in terms of experience, which I would like to think it is.

We do not have a budget per se. Frankly, we do not run up a lot of expenses other than spending our time being paid by the government at the very high rate at which we are compensated and then some miscellaneous travel. The budget is really, I would say, immaterial. Other than some of these slight — I am hesitant to call them investigative — but investigative trips where we have gone out to meet people and consider things, the lion's share of our time is spent studying and doing management planning with the RCMP.

Senator Tkachuk: Mr. Kennedy, we are running a little short on time, so if we wanted to follow up some of the points you made today about increasing the authority of the commission, who would be good witnesses for us to call who might offer either a positive approach to what you are saying or even a negative approach, so that we have a little debate on what we might want to proceed on?

Mr. Kennedy: I know my counterpart in British Columbia, Mr. Dirk Ryneveld, has just been replaced because he had a seven-year non-renewable term. He was an officer of Parliament, and I believe he was an adviser to Justice O'Connor during his policy review of the Arar file, looking at oversight of the RCMP and whether or not something should be done. There is someone who has seven years of experience doing a similar job at the provincial level, whom I have dealt with and who is a criminal lawyer. In addition to practising as a prosecutor in British Columbia, he was with the international court. Justice O'Connor thought he was credible. He is one example. I could provide you with a list of our counterparts.

Senator Tkachuk: It would be helpful if you could file that with the clerk, in case we decide to follow it up.

Senator Manning: Mr. McAusland, you said your mandate has been renewed for another year. We all agree with the mandate, what you and your group are trying to do.

In your comments, you said that in general this objective has been achieved in regards to trying to assist the RCMP to improve their operations in the country.

We heard from witnesses earlier today who talked about the culture of the RCMP over these past years, some positive aspects and some negative aspects. In any organization, especially one as entrenched as the RCMP is in our country, people are normally resistant to change. Could you elaborate for us somewhat on the task force's recommendations and some of the things you have been trying to do? Where are the stumbling blocks, if any, and do you see any ways that we could assist?

Mr. McAusland: First, I would like to clarify something. When I was speaking, I think in my introductory remarks, about having achieved objectives, I was talking about the working relationship we have with the RCMP, as opposed to specifically what we are trying to achieve.

If you look at the mandate as being advising as well as the willingness of the RCMP to listen to us and accept our advice, in that respect, the objective has been attained. In terms of the end result and whether the objective has been attained, we are not there yet. Clearly, much needs to be done. I do not want to go through the report and where we are specifically on the 49 recommendations.

Senator Manning: You said that you were not box-ticking, and I appreciate that.

Mr. McAusland: Let me talk about some of the tough things, if I may. They are in the trees, but there is the forest, too, as you look at them.

With respect to the governance model, I think I opened the door to this in my response to Senator Wallin's question on principles versus rules and the need to find a way to create greater independence for the RCMP in decision making. This is a big one, because the RCMP must get its mind around that, and then we have to get a whole bunch of other minds around it of people not in the RCMP. We do not only have to get their minds around it, but we also need their support — and in some cases not just their support but their specific sign-off and maybe even legislation passed. In terms of process, this is a whopper of an issue to make headway on.

Honestly, I do not think the content is that scary. The only thing that makes the content and the issue scary is worrying about all of these other people who have to agree to it, which is a legitimate thing, obviously, because there are mechanisms available.

With respect to the new, to-be-defined governance model, defining it in a way that will achieve the result and at the same time be able to get everyone on board with it is a big issue for the RCMP and for us. For example, a board of management for the RCMP is a component of this new model that has been repeatedly recommended. We have to get people on side with that. Therefore, governance is a big nut to crack.

Another issue I would highlight is communication skills, internal and external. It may seem like a small issue, but the RCMP has such a broad mandate, as we have discussed, and is so heavily scrutinized with such high expectations and a need to reinforce confidence, that communications are critical.

Arguably, because of its breadth, the RCMP has an extraordinarily complicated communications challenge. I have worked with many different organizations — private, for profit, not-for-profit, large, small, including the corporation I was most recently with, which was global, having operations in many countries — and I have not come across many organizations that have such a complicated communications challenge at different levels, with the Canadian public at large, the political elements here and there, contracting counterparties and different types of policing. It is extremely difficult. Then they have their own internal communications that are challenging.

This will require an absolute ``best in class'' team with a prioritization and recognition of that as a key competency in the police force. It goes clearly to the other issue I referred to regarding training and regular members versus non- members. There must be specialists involved in communications; they may be regular members, but they may be people who are not regular members and who are just experts in communications.

Progress is being made, but a lot of work needs to be done on communications, which will have a direct impact on the level of confidence in the force.

If I wanted to highlight one other issue, it would be the issue of capacity, which is linked to human resources and training. This is a complex subject. The point of departure in the council regarding looking at capacity was that we must look at training and capabilities first as opposed to numbers. With that being said, let me deal with the numbers first.

There is no doubt that, no matter how you slice it and dice it, the force needs more people, and, unfortunately, that means more money. It is undeniable. We will have to wrap our minds around that. That is a big challenge.

With that being said, the council is not prepared to endorse that as a general statement, because we think the capacity challenge goes hand-in-hand with the training, the type of people you are developing and the rules-based versus principles-based organizations, more efficient organizations. We cannot just throw more money at the organization so it can hire more people. However, I am not suggesting not hiring more people.

Senator Banks: They have to do that in some cases.

Mr. McAusland: They have to do that in some cases, but we have to do both. We have to find the right approach so that both are done. It is too simple to throw money at it and hire more people. You have to do the other items too.

Senator Manning: Mr. Kennedy, you pointed out flaws with the current legislation. Listening to you today, one can hear your frustration with that and a few other things besides. You told us that you receive some financial assistance to do your work, but your roadblock is with some of the legislation you encounter. What efforts are being made to address those concerns in order for you and your office to be able to do the work you were put in place to do?

Mr. Kennedy: I spoke of my frustration only because people have been calling for change for 20 years. I could sit down with colleagues and write a bill in two weeks. It could be done.

The other issue of importance that you cannot overlook is that the RCMP is co-located with other police forces that are subject to provincial regimes. For example, in British Columbia, the RCMP provides 80 per cent of the policing in geographically 80 per cent of the province to 80 per cent of the population. The B.C. government has introduced updated legislation, which is at second reading. It seems to have all-party support, so it will likely go forward regardless of the outcome of the election. Saskatchewan and Manitoba have done the same thing.

Provincial ministers and others are looking for a national standard. The Winnipeg, Edmonton or Calgary police forces are subject to an established degree of review. They want to know that the RCMP in the next city of their province has a similar regime. It causes concern with the public when they do not see this. The regimes do not have to be identical, but there should be some national norm.

We also have joint force operations where both police forces will be doing reviews with different subjects of inquiry. In the same manner that the police are integrated, provinces would like to see that oversight bodies are integrated so that we can work with each other.

For example, I had a case recently dealing with police activities on Canada Day in Victoria in 2008. B.C. legislation allowed the municipality — the City of Victoria — to designate someone to do the review on their behalf. We approached them and they designated us as their agent. Therefore, we could do one investigation of the RCMP and the Victoria Police Department. We got one legal opinion from counsel who litigates in the Supreme Court of Canada to provide the factual base and the legal opinion to the common decision makers. I shared with them a draft of my ruling vis-à-vis the RCMP.

There is now some degree of harmonization. It can be done. Nine provinces have regimes, which they have upgraded. The only one that does not have a regime is Prince Edward Island, which is in the process of introducing legislation.

The federal government has to recognize that the RCMP currently constitutes the police force in eight provinces, over 200 municipalities and 600 native reserves. Let us give Canadians one standard that notionally is the same.

I would like to have a model where I could give a decision I have rendered vis-à-vis RCMP behaviour in a province to the provincial minister, who has to stand up in his or her legislature and reply to the constituency. The model now is that I give a copy to the Commissioner of the RCMP and the federal Minister of Public Safety, but the person on the spot is the provincial minister who has contracted for these services.

Let us raise the federal mark to be similar to regimes seen across the country. They do not have to be identical. Let us harmonize and work together. That would be a true accomplishment if we could do it.

The Chair: If I understood you correctly, Mr. Kennedy, the federal government would not be setting a national standard. It would be setting a national example.

Mr. Kennedy: A national example?

The Chair: Unless you have a single agency operating under a single piece of legislation for the whole country — which I do not think we could squeeze through the Constitution — then you are arguing for the RCMP to have a regime that would set an example for other areas rather than a standard for other areas.

Mr. Kennedy: Yes. It is a national norm in the sense that I would like to see the RCMP across the country with the one standard applying to them that we can cite as an example of how it should be done. It is comparable to many of the standards and also recognizes the unique activities of the RCMP, in which other police forces do not necessarily get involved.

The Chair: Yes. However, the trend in policing is for more joint activity. You will inevitably have people subject to different levels of review as long as you have operations such as Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams and Integrated Border Enforcement Teams.

Mr. Kennedy: I want to reduce the gaps. For example, we will have international events coming up and there will be different police forces involved that will subject to different oversight bodies. It would be great if those oversight bodies could get together and cross-designate someone to establish a common factual basis. Those varying bodies would craft appropriate regulations for police forces under their jurisdiction.

It would be at least a notional bar that is similar so everyone involved knows they are treated the same.

The Chair: That sounds like 13 or 14 governments all agreeing to something, which is a challenge.

Mr. Kennedy: We have to start somewhere. We are the largest body. There are 30,000 RCMP out there.

I believe British Columbia's legislation contemplates that since they have asked us to harmonize with them. Nova Scotia did a study on tasers and identified that they should be able to work with us, as a federal body, to do joint research together.

The Chair: Do you think there is a demand?

Mr. Kennedy: If we take the lead, they will follow.

Senator Moore: Mr. Kennedy outlined flaws with the current legislation. Mr. McAusland, you said a new balance must be struck to include external oversight. Do you agree with Mr. Kennedy that the current legislation should be fixed to deal with the flaws listed?

Mr. McAusland: Thank you for the question, but let me draw a distinction. I was talking about oversight more in the context of management or governance oversight as opposed to the oversight of policing operations per se, which is what Mr. Kennedy is referring to.

I would rather not comment on specific legislation. There is clearly a need for improved oversight of behaviour. I prefer the term ``review'' of police actions in the operational context, the operational execution of policing duties.

The oversight I am referring to is the need for major change and a new or a seriously overhauled model in the management relationship between the RCMP and the Government of Canada. Who oversees what management decisions? What permissions have to be obtained? How are the budgets set, and so on?

Senator Moore: Are you dealing with oversight between RCMP operations and the public? You might want to answer that personally as opposed to as a member of the council that you represent.

Mr. McAusland: Yes. If we want to talk about oversight, clearly, in terms of review of operational activities — the execution of policing activities in the front-line sense, arresting people, and so on, as opposed to how the organization is run per se — we are concerned with the importance of that to instill confidence in the Canadian public. We have discussed this with the minister, who is working on a revised model.

I attended a session where immediately preceding my own presentation to the provinces, who were all meeting, the government made a presentation to the provinces about a potential new model for oversight. There was an interesting debate, which I thought was very healthy and important. It goes hand in hand.

I mention that because our view is that the matter is being pursued quite actively by the government, by the department in direct discussion with the provinces and contracting counterparties, to create a consensus around what they all think the right model might be. We are happy to leave that until we see what comes out of those discussions.

Senator Moore: Does your discussion about a strengthened, improved model include a strengthened commission for public complaints?

Mr. McAusland: It includes a strengthened and revitalized process.

Senator Moore: For the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP?

Mr. McAusland: Yes.

Senator Moore: A strengthened and a revitalized process?

Mr. McAusland: I would say revitalized and perhaps redefined to achieve the level of credibility that is necessary.

Senator Moore: I do not see how you will get the credibility unless you fill these gaps that Mr. Kennedy brought forward.

Mr. Kennedy, you indicated that your commission's access to information held by the RCMP is limited, and that the RCMP does not have to share information with your commission. What access do you have and to what degree has the RCMP complied with requests for information?

Mr. Kennedy: I want to distinguish now between the kinds of policing that they do. If it is a simple case of use of force during the course of arrest and stuff like that, that rarely is a problem. It happens on the street and it is fairly public.

The concern was fairly clearly identified by the commissioner back some time around 2005. At that time, he issued a directive. I have a copy of it here. It was on February 15, 2006. That was in response to a decision by the Federal Court of Appeal, where the RCMP had declined to provide information.

The commission then went to court. I was not the chair of the commission at that time. The court said no, the legislation does not give the commission that authority. The RCMP can, in fact, decline to do it. However, the court said they should at least tell us that there is something they are not giving to us.

Obviously, the pattern at the time was that information was being withheld and the commission did not know information was being withheld, which was highly problematic, to say the least. The court said if you are withholding something, at least tell the commission what you are withholding and what the reasons are for that.

There was a list. I have a document here and we can make copies in French and English for you. A simple example is material that had not been released would include something protected under section 37 of the Canada Evidence Act that, in the view of the police, would cause significant damage to ongoing investigations. That is a wide category. It includes any confidential human source, investigative techniques not known to the public, a variety of privileges, whether solicitor-client, litigation and so on, along with other recognized privileges. That is pretty big.

Senator Moore: What is that?

Mr. Kennedy: It could be anything. You would have to see what they tucked under that. They would come back and claim here is a privilege of common law.

The Canada Evidence Act, section 38, is anything that would, in their view, constitute risk of harm to national security, national defence and international affairs. You can see, with that, it would be difficult for this commission to do the Arar file when a complaint was made because you could not get access to the files.

Regarding other statutory prohibitions, I talked to you about Part VI of the Criminal Code, where if you are doing a case dealing with a wiretap or organized crime — I prosecuted for years and they are all organized crime cases with wiretap — you could not get that because the statutory prohibition says you can only disclose that in these cases. We are not one of them.

I talked about the witness protection program; there is an offence to disclose the identity that would allow you to tie in the individual's own identity.

Senator Moore: Let me stop you for a second. Are you being told we will not give you anything? Or are you being told we will not give you access because it involves wiretap, which, in the evidence, is key to an ongoing prosecution or investigation?

Mr. Kennedy: It does not have to be ongoing. It could be a historical file; there is an absolute prohibition.

Senator Moore: Are you are being told no; or you are being told that the evidence you are seeking involves wiretapping and we cannot give it out at this time because it is not appropriate for what we are doing? What are you getting?

Mr. Kennedy: Since February 2006, we are being told you cannot have this for this reason.

Senator Moore: And you are told what the ``this'' is.

Mr. Kennedy: Yes, only of as that date, because of the federal court.

Senator Moore: Yes.

Mr. Kennedy: Another is the Youth Criminal Justice Act. What has happened — and this is inadvertent because the RCMP is in many cases as frustrated as we are — is that they will say they would like to give it to us, but there is a statutory prohibition. What you have is legislation passed in 1988. Other legislation unrelated to it comes up, and when it comes up, a statutory prohibition is put in to protect the disclosure of information. There is no provision that says an exception is that the review body that does the review of the RCMP can access it. Inadvertently, we have created these obstacles and we are both frustrated.

We need something equivalent to what there currently is in the CSIS Act. The CSIS Act has a paramountcy clause. SIRC, the Security Intelligence Review Committee, has access to that, regardless of the privilege. When another piece of legislation is passed, it does not create an obstacle.

Here, we would have to look at every piece of legislation to ensure it does not inadvertently create an obstacle. There is a way to fix it that is similar to what other federal review bodies currently have, and that is what I am saying should occur here.

The quid pro quo is to recognize that the information is sensitive. Therefore, identify it — do not disclose it — to give you access to it so you can do your job. That is the balance you must have.

Mr. McAusland: I just wanted to return to one clarification in my response. If I can sum up our view on this with one nuance, we would be in favour of being careful about the distinction between review and oversight extending to things prior to an actual occurrence. We would see this as being something more focused on conduct.

The Chair: You are differentiating between review and oversight?

Mr. McAusland: Yes. The point was raised earlier on.

The Chair: I think he is saying that he does not want to be part of the decision-making process, but he wants to have a good look at it afterwards.

Mr. McAusland: Yes. If it is about proactive participation in management, decisions and policy of the force, that is a completely different concept.

Mr. Kennedy: If I can add something here, I believe my friend has a role to play. I made reference earlier to one of our recommendations in British Columbia, where there was a cell block shooting by a police officer and a young man died. We said what you require is video cameras in there to record this.

You will have one RCMP detachment — let us say in Surrey — with a station with 40 or 50 digital cameras. You will have another station with none, or it will have a VCR that you have to put in and put the button down with one officer in the station.

We asked how this could be. The policy thinking that said that station should have that investment requires it somewhere else. However, because those are municipal contracts, that municipality made the budget available and you have the video cameras. Somewhere else, someone does not make the money available and you do not have the cameras.

The B.C. government agreed to put digital cameras in these stations. That takes care of British Columbia, but what do I do with the rest of the provinces? Someone will be shot in a cell somewhere else, and the allegation will be that the officer exceeded his authority and shot this young man, and no record. I would like to see a recommendation that a management body consider the question of whether it makes sense to have cameras in one station and not all or in one province and not all, and then determine how to allocate the funds. They agreed to do it in B.C. but not nationally. It is a budget issue.

Senator Moore: They have to require each contract to have that clause in it across the country.

Mr. Kennedy: Yes, but now, everyone gets cut one at a time.

The Chair: The same problem will exist with the new backup policy as well.

Mr. Kennedy: Exactly.

[Translation]

Senator Nolin: Mr. McAusland, I would like to talk about labour relations. I was very happy to hear you say that you do not have a shopping list and that you interpret your mandate with your objectives in mind, rather than a restrictive list. And that is to your credit, especially since those who have examined it recently, and I am thinking about the Brown report, failed to seriously address the issue of labour relations within the RCMP, and I think that failure was intentional.

Earlier we heard that there are around 26,000 members, who, unlike other federal public servants, are not subject to labour relations legislation. Those members have to make do with a system that is specific to the RCMP, and I assume that you have heard much grumbling from a number of employees, whether members of the force or not, who are subject to that system.

My question, which is fairly simple, has two parts. Do you and your colleagues at the commission believe that those 26,000 people — who are all subject to the charter — have the right to join an independent association of their choice and the right to participate in collective bargaining? Thus the right to a slightly more balanced power relationship within the RCMP, between RCMP management and each member of the RCMP?

You also said that you had given a lot of thought to a number of controversies. I want to bring up one that is certainly not new to you.

Mr. McAusland: Thank you for your question. Obviously, you are referring to a recent development.

Senator Nolin: I respectfully submit that I am not referring to a recent development. On three occasions, I introduced bills in the Senate designed to set out the rights of those 26,000 individuals in a more respectful manner, rights that the courts have finally started to recognize. The Supreme Court has recognized that right for employees, including health workers in British Columbia and, more recently, farm workers in Ontario.

Mr. McAusland: I was referring to the decision. . . .

Senator Nolin: I did not bring up that decision because I did not want to give you an excuse to say that you could not respond.

Mr. McAusland: As a matter of fact, I was going to take advantage of the opportunity to do just that because it is an issue that is under consideration.

I can discuss it in more general terms. We had the pleasure and privilege of meeting with a number of employees from across the country. Last summer, I attended a key meeting of internal representatives and senior management in Prince Edward Island. That gave me a chance to hear from those who are elected by their colleagues to represent their interests before RCMP management.

Frankly, it was a very interesting experience. Clearly, I had the opportunity to address people in a plenary session and to speak with some in private. I definitely detected some frustration. However, I was not necessarily surprised by what I heard, and if I compare those comments with things that I had heard before in other situations within large organizations, I was not at all surprised. I even brought it up to the RCMP, perhaps not with respect to labour relations, specifically, but in terms of the overall issue of RCMP reform. It was an issue of concern for this group of people. I could have easily been at another meeting in another organization facing significant change initiatives; the comments were similar. The same concerns were raised. It made me think of experiences I had had in other organizations.

I was not especially shocked by the flavour, tone or content of the questions, which were indicators of a structural problem in terms of employee representation. So that is my answer in general terms.

Now, can we consider the issue from a much more objective standpoint? It is a political issue in the broader sense of the word. Very broad, indeed. The right of police forces to organize. Obviously, there are different opinions on the issue.

Does our council see employees' right to organize as critical to modernizing and reforming the RCMP? I do not think so. I think that reform can be achieved without an independent representation system or the right to organize and take part in collective bargaining. We do not necessarily need those things to achieve the objective of reform. That is the best answer I can give you.

Does that mean that we have a basic or fundamental problem with the concept? Not necessarily, but, yes, it could complicate reform initiatives because it throws another factor into the mix, creating more challenges when there are already plenty to deal with.

The simple answer is that we do not need any more challenges right now, but if it does happen, we will deal with it.

Senator Nolin: Earlier you heard me discussing the problem of grievances with the officers who appeared before you. I am certain that you have heard about the issue of expanding workloads and roles.

Mr. McAusland: Absolutely.

Senator Nolin: Obviously, I do not want to name any names, but there is a serious problem of harassment. You have no doubt heard about it in various divisions. The officers who are the victims of the harassment — usually women — are forced to make the often difficult choice between leaving and staying to fight within the organization. Do you not think that it would be appropriate for these individuals to be able to access the support of that famous independent association, which would help them shoulder the burden of these famous grievances, instead of these people having to take on the massive bureaucracy of the RCMP in isolation? I do not want to name names.

Mr. McAusland: Your question denotes your skills as a lawyer.

Senator Nolin: Do you not think that it would be appropriate for these individuals to be able to access the support of that famous independent association, which would help them shoulder the burden of these famous grievances, instead of these people having to take on the massive bureaucracy of the RCMP in isolation? I did not mention any names, and I do not intend to.

Mr. McAusland: Your question denotes your skills as a lawyer.

Senator Nolin: Thank you very much. Your answers denote your skills as well.

Mr. McAusland: I will try to draw on my skills as a lawyer in my answer. Because of how you worded your question, I cannot respond negatively or clarify the issue.

Senator Nolin: I am trying to draw a parallel between the rights of individuals and the need for comprehensive reform.

Mr. McAusland: First, the delays in the grievance process are a big problem. The human resources department is tackling that issue. I think that they are making some headway.

As for the specific issue of harassment, clearly, we cannot be in favour of such a phenomenon. I do not think that this issue specifically comes under our council.

Do principles of sound management exist to correct this type of problem? I am not here to deny that they exist, but allow me to clarify in any case. This is where our council comes in and contributes, that is, looking at how to manage a large organization to avoid this type of problem. Does the right to organize exist? No. These problems are totally unacceptable. I want to add that, even without the right to organize, a solution has to be found with the organization's leadership in order to avoid these situations. That is the best answer I can give.

Senator Nolin: I respect your skills.

[English]

The Chair: This has been a very constructive evening on a subject of great interest. On behalf of the committee, I thank you very much for assisting us with our studies.

If members of the viewing public have any question or comments, please visit our website at www.sen-sec.ca. We post witness testimony, committee reports and confirmed hearing schedules. Otherwise, you may contact the clerk of the committee by calling 1-800-267-7362 for further information or assistance in contacting members of the committee.

Colleagues, we will move into camera to discuss future business.

(The committee continued in camera.)