Proceedings of the Special Senate Committee on
Issue 8 - Evidence - Meeting of November 15, 2010
OTTAWA, Monday, November 15, 2010
The Special Senate Committee on Anti-terrorism met this day at 1 p.m. to
examine matters relating to anti- terrorism.
Senator Hugh Segal (Chair) in the chair.
The Chair: Honourable senators, this is the ninth meeting of the
Special Senate Committee on Anti-terrorism, of the third session of the Fortieth
I want to let our witnesses know that we have translation services into
English and French, so feel free to use whichever official language you prefer.
As we await legislation from the House of Commons, we continue our inquiry
into the changing nature of the terrorist threat in Canada. Today we have
representatives from police forces in three major cities — Toronto, Montreal and
Before we begin, colleagues, I want to point out, as some of you may already
know, that the former deputy commissioner of the Canadian Security Intelligence
Service, Jack Hooper, died sadly and tragically of a heart attack at the age of
57. I want the committee's permission, on your behalf, to convey the committee's
condolences to the family and our deep and compelling appreciation for the work
he did in the defence of Canadians and in support of anti-terrorism activities
throughout his distinguished career. If I have your permission, I will proceed
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Let me introduce our witnesses for today. From the
Vancouver Police Department, we have Inspector Robert Stewart of the criminal
intelligence section, CIS. This section focuses intelligence probes on various
organized crime groups based on the findings of national, provincial and local
threat assessments. In addition to organized crime concerns, CIS works closely
with the RCMP and maintains a liaison role with British Columbia Integrated
National Security Enforcement Team, E-INSET, in support of their mandate
regarding national security investigations. Inspector Stewart joined the
Vancouver Police Department in 1977 and is a third-generation Vancouver police
Philippe Pichet, Commander, Montreal Police Force, Counter-terrorism and
Emergency Measures Section, Operational Planning Division. Mr. Pichet was born
in Montreal and joined the city's police force in 1991. He has a management
certificate from the École des hautes études commerciales de Montréal and
recently obtained his master's degree from the École nationale d'administration
Robert Chartrand, Chief Inspector, Montreal Police Force. In October 2008,
Mr. Chartrand was appointed Chief Inspector and Deputy to the Assistant Director
of the Special Investigations Unit of the Montreal Police Force (SPVM). Mr.
Chartrand also sits as the SPVM representative on a number of committees,
including the provincial committee on the Police Counter-Terrorism Management
Structure — Operational Management Cell. He has a master's degree in public
administration from ENAP and has received a number of distinctions in the course
of his career.
From the Toronto Police Service, intelligence division, we have Inspector
Gordon Sneddon. Inspector Sneddon is a 30-year member of the Toronto Police
Service. He has spent the majority of his career in various investigative roles
focused on the investigation and management of major criminal investigations.
For the past 18 months, he has been seconded to the Integrated National Security
Enforcement Team, located in Toronto, where he is in charge of operations.
He is accompanied today by Superintendent Tom Fitzgerald, intelligence
division. Superintendent Fitzgerald has been a member of the Toronto Police
Service for three decades. He has spent the majority of his career in an
investigative capacity, primarily in divisional police command. For the past two
years, he has been the unit commander of the Toronto Police Service intelligence
Gentlemen, we are honoured you made time from your busy schedules to assist
us in our deliberations. I will call on our colleagues from Vancouver to make an
And we will ask our other colleagues to say a few words before asking
Robert Stewart, Inspector, Criminal Intelligence Section, Vancouver
Police Department: On behalf of the Vancouver Police Department, I thank the
committee for the opportunity to speak today about the evolving terrorist threat
in Canada and the issues surrounding homegrown violent extremism. Although
combating terrorism falls within the prescribed mandates of our national
security agencies such as CSIS and the RCMP, I hope to point out the critical
role that local law enforcement plays in the overall national security
As I am sure you have heard in previous presentations, the threat environment
as it affects Canadians and Canadian interests has evolved over the last 10
years. Although we still need to be concerned about global terrorist cells such
as al Qaeda, who has labelled us as one of the crusader countries and thus a
viable target, there is growing concern about the possibility of
self-radicalized individuals and, in particular, a lone wolf, striking terror
from within our borders.
In the former case, where an international terrorist plot requires a high
degree of coordination and planning, the chance for interdiction and disruption
by authorities has improved greatly over the last few years. In the latter case,
this situation may not be the case. The perpetrator of a homegrown terrorist
plot may well be a Canadian-born individual with no direct ties to any
particular terrorist cell other than to be inspired by their ideology, and due
to an inherent understanding of Canadian culture, may remain undetected until
the actual attack.
In general, Western societies are aware that the greatest terrorist threat
currently stems from violent Islamist extremist ideology, given that most of the
attacks since 9/11 have been carried out by young Muslims. The frightening trend
is that the perpetrators of these attacks have been citizens or residents of the
countries they are targeting, and they are becoming radicalized in their home
cities and communities.
There has been much discussion around what causes a seemingly normal member
of society to engage in violent extremist behaviour. In February 2009, the RCMP
national security criminal investigations community outreach division produced a
report called Radicalization — A Guide for the Perplexed. The report
discusses, as a probable cause, what it describes as the "single narrative."
This is described as the Islamist extremist global message that the world is at
war with Islam. One can see then how it may be possible, in the absence of a
counter narrative, that disenfranchised youth can develop extremist views that
may lead to violent behaviour.
What role does local law enforcement play in keeping our community safe from
the evolving threat? One principle of modern day policing goes back to the days
of Sir Robert Peel, where he stated that the police are the public and the
public are the police. Successful law enforcement agencies adhere to this
principle as they strive to attain close ties with the communities they serve.
In the United Kingdom, the British government has developed a national
strategy aimed at countering violent extremism. Part of the program is in
support of police developing effective relationships with at-risk communities.
One philosophy behind the program is a belief that communities themselves will
defeat terrorism and that the information needed to uncover and disrupt a
terrorist plot will come out of the community through a local police officer.
In Vancouver, we have a number of community-centred programs that are
entrenched within our daily deployment. Programs include community policing
centres, a hate crimes unit and a domestic violence and criminal harassment
unit. We also have direct liaison with the Aboriginal community, the homeless
and sex trade workers. Our youth services section is well entrenched within the
framework of youth activity in the city and regularly takes a lead in diffusing
youth in crisis situations. In addition, we deliver a four-day citizens police
academy, where community leaders and business leaders learn about police culture
and receive police-related training.
Furthermore, we have a visibly diverse police force that attempts to mirror
the communities we serve. Our recruitment efforts are aimed at selecting members
from our local communities who bring with them a better understanding of the
community issues, which helps foster a healthy relationship with the police.
Regarding the Muslim community specifically, the chief constable has held
community leadership meetings that included prominent Muslim leaders from the
Metro Vancouver area. Our diversity unit continues to maintain professional
relationships with many ethnic and cultural federations and societies. Also, our
domestic violence unit delivers presentations on family violence to many ethnic
groups, including Muslim women.
Healthy communities have a history of working with the police to keep their
communities safe. It is through these partnerships and relationships that we and
other government agencies can demonstrate and provide a positive response to the
Citizens as a whole have responded well to the number of community police
initiatives aimed at protecting their communities. This response is evident by
the success of such programs as Block Watch, Citizens' Crime Watch and Crime
We have two programs at the Vancouver Police Department specifically designed
to educate the business community on indicators of a terrorist plot: Operation
Securus and Project Griffin. The purpose of Operation Securus is to identify,
inform and liaise with businesses in the city of Vancouver who provide a service
or product that may assist a terrorist or terrorist group in executing an
attack. The goal of the program is to protect the critical infrastructure of
resources in the city against any terrorist activity.
To that end, identified businesses are approached and asked to participate
voluntarily and become partners in our counterterrorism efforts by reporting any
suspicious activities or encounters related to their day-to-day operations.
The Chair: Inspector, for example, if someone is in an agriculture
supply business and someone purchases a large amount of fertilizer who does not
seem to be a normal purchaser of that product, is that the kind of support and
advice you are looking for?
Mr. Stewart: That is correct. They know their clientele best. If they
spot unusual buying patterns or amounts they find to be suspicious, it probably
is suspicious and they would let us know.
Of course, we assist by providing them with information about possible
Program participants, which are proprietors, operators and their employees,
have a wealth of knowledge and experience specific to the business or industry.
Right now we currently target eight categories of business: storage facilities,
vehicle and craft rentals, hotels, training facilities, chemical labs, bulk
fuels, outdoor equipment and supply, and hospitals.
Through Project Griffin, we train private security staff in the business
community and reach out to the community as a whole to encourage reporting of
any suspicious activity.
In the United States, they are rolling out a national campaign called "If
You See Something, Say Something." It was originally implemented by the New
York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority and is now supported by the
Department of Homeland Security. This campaign is billed as a simple and
effective program to raise public awareness of indicators of terrorism, crime
and other threats. It emphasizes the importance of reporting suspicious activity
to transportation and law enforcement authorities.
In December 1999, the Millennium Bomber Ahmed Ressam stopped in Vancouver
where he constructed a bomb that was intended to target the Los Angeles
International Airport. Fortunately, Ahmed Ressam was arrested in Washington
State as he attempted to enter the United States. Had these types of programs
been in place at the time, it can be argued that his plot would have been
discovered earlier, given the number of indicators that were evident during his
stay at a Vancouver hotel.
Simply put, terrorism is a crime. A terrorist is a criminal and often a
murderer. What ultimately sets the terrorist apart from being labelled a
criminal lies in the motivation for the crime. A criminal or criminal
organization usually commits the crime for personal or financial gains. A
terrorist's goal is to bring a strong sense of fear to the community while
bringing attention to, and further defending, their cause.
The responsibility of law enforcement at all levels is not only to
investigate but, more importantly, to prevent crime to maintain a high level of
public safety. The police are required to stop and prevent violent behaviour
regardless of the motivation, and assistance from the community is a necessary
and valuable tool.
The important role that local law enforcement plays in the national security
picture came to light in the commission report by Justice John Major that
detailed the findings of the Air India inquiry. At that time, the Air India
bombing was the largest act of aviation terrorism in the world prior to 9/11.
The report recognized the valuable knowledge that the Vancouver Police
Department had in relation to the existence of extremism in the Sikh community.
A quote from the report states:
This was particularly true about Sikh extremism in Vancouver, where local
police had successfully used a community policing approach to gain access to
numerous sources in the Sikh community, from whom they had been able to
obtain a wealth of intelligence about Sikh extremist organizations and
individuals. . . .
The report also points out that there were challenges and deficiencies with
the sharing of information and that there were insufficient networks in place to
facilitate the flow of information from frontline officers to the national
security entities. The report goes on to suggest that, "had information been
officially shared, it might have prevented the destruction of Flight 182."
Today, we continue to work hard at improving the sharing of information among
our national security partners. I can attest that Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Assistant Commissioner Michaud is working diligently to ensure that the
Vancouver Police Department is kept informed about nationality security issues.
However, due to fiscal constraints on the part of the national security program,
the ability to pay salary dollars for seconded members to work side by side with
the E-INSET personnel is greatly restricted. As a result of our financial
situation, our current working relationship is based on a liaison model.
Given that the overarching mandate for national security lies at the federal
level, a best practice would be for the federal government to fund a branch
office of E-INSET in one of our local facilities to be staffed by both local and
federal resources. This branch office would greatly enhance the flow of
information between the street and national security criminal investigations.
Working closely together helps build the much needed trust that is required to
ensure efficient sharing of information that can be vital to a successful
It is the responsibility of our national security agencies to develop
effective international networks to ensure the transmission of intelligence
necessary to keep Canadians safe from the global threat. I believe that through
partnerships with local law enforcement, these federal agencies can enhance our
shared responsibility to keep Canadians safe from the real threat of domestic
The Chair: Thank you very much.
Before I ask the representatives from the Montreal police force to make their
opening statement, I want to point out that they submitted a brief to the
subcommittee. However, it is in English, even though the charter is bilingual.
Do I have permission to hand out the document for the purposes of our
discussion and the presentation? The document came in just five minutes ago.
Senator Joyal: You are putting me in a very difficult position. I
think our witnesses are familiar with the requirements of the Official Languages
Act. Documents must be submitted in both official languages.
The Chair: There is some text in English and some text in French, but
there are not separate presentations in each language. There is only one version
of the presentation that incorporates both languages.
Senator Joyal: If the same document incorporates both languages, that
The Chair: Thank you very much
I will ask the clerk to distribute the documents to our colleagues in the
I will now ask our witnesses from Montreal to give their presentation.
Robert Chartrand, Chief Inspector, Service de police de la Ville de
Montréal: Mr. Chair, I want to begin by outlining the key events that led
the force to take action against terrorist attacks in Montreal and Quebec. And I
will explain how the Montreal police force works to combat terrorism. You have
our presentation in front of you.
On December 6, 2004, a bomb damaged a hydro tower in Coaticook, a small town
in the Eastern Townships, just outside of Montreal, following President Bush's
visit to Canada on November 30, 2004. The admitted goal of the group responsible
was to damage the Radisson-Nicolet-des-Cantons power line, which supplies New
England and Boston with power. It was a way for them to express their
disapproval of American imperialism.
Two years later, on August 8, 2006, the vehicle of the vice-president of the
Canadian Petroleum Products Institute exploded in front of his home. Again, the
explosion was purported to be an act of retaliation against the oil cartel and
the exploitation of the public.
More recently, this past summer, on July 1, 2010, a federal building in
Trois-Rivières was the target of a bombing. Fortunately, no one was injured.
After carrying out various intelligence measures and communicating with
partners, we learned a number of things. For the past few years, the Police
Counter-Terrorism Management Structure, which brings together Quebec's three
main police forces — Sûreté du Québec, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the
Montreal police force — has been sharing all intelligence. The action plan has
The first part focuses on the response. In other words, whenever an attack or
an event occurs, it is immediately followed by an operational deployment.
Next, an investigation is conducted to determine the reasons behind the
incident and, if possible, make arrests.
Since its creation, and in light of these three major events, the Police
Counter-Terrorism Management Structure, along with our force, has used every
means at its disposal to gain insight into the acts and, above all, to arrest
According to our analysis, these three events all seem to point to a reality
specific to Montreal. Apparently, a small group of anarchists has formed a close
attachment with the student community, enabling the group to find funding and
recruit sympathizers. These activities generally take place in settings where
students are involved in politics. Political science and social science students
are especially targeted by these groups.
These groups make the police's job easier when they choose to protest in the
streets. For example, every year since 2005, about 300 to 500 people have
gathered in the streets of Montreal to protest against police brutality.
Since then, the Montreal police force has been able to make more than 400
arrests and to gather a significant amount of intelligence from within these
groups. That figure says a lot about how diverse those who participate in this
event are. The number of participants varies from year to year, which makes our
job harder. Nevertheless, the information sharing that goes on between the three
major police agencies gives us a lot more insight into this world.
What concerns do we have right now regarding the future and dangerous
elements? Obviously, these people have some skill in making explosives. We saw
evidence of that during the G20 Summit in Toronto, where people from Quebec,
from Montreal, were arrested for having Molotov cocktails in their possession.
So they have the capacity to get their message out using violence.
On the island of Montreal, our police vehicles are very often the target of
graffiti and vandalism, both inside and out, as are our buildings; so we have
put preventative strategies in place, such as cameras and undercover officers.
That gives us the ability to get closer to these groups.
Obviously, the various demonstrations organized by groups to protest against
police brutality put a drain on police resources. My colleague mentioned it
earlier, the more costly and the larger the event, the harder we have to work to
control the situation. Once again, partnerships play an important role at the
national and provincial levels.
The underlying principle of these groups and coalitions is the rejection of
authority in organized society. Under the doctrine of anarchism, the purpose of
rejecting all government control is to create a society without domination,
where individuals manage themselves through voluntary cooperation.
A great many people on the island subscribe to that philosophy. On June 9,
2010, for instance, a man in his fifties was arrested for an attack aimed at
John Abbott College. So whenever a response is required, both the RCMP and
Sûreté du Québec are notified, and that way, we are able to develop effective
tools to deal with future activities.
As we speak, we are working on a joint management and co-location initiative
to coordinate the intelligence efforts of Montreal's three major police
agencies. Then we will be even more equipped to further penetrate this world
through the collective sharing of key information.
If a terrorist act were to happen in Montreal, or Quebec, the structure would
be deployed, making it possible to draw on the resources of the three major
If something more serious were to occur in Montreal, we also have a structure
in place to respond very quickly, both in the heart of the city or on the
outskirts. I will let Inspector Pichet explain that to you.
Philippe Pichet, Commander, Service de police de la Ville de Montréal:
I am in charge of the response component. My unit determines how to coordinate
the efforts of our troops with those of the other first responder groups on the
island of Montreal, in terms of how we should proceed to foster a more
integrated response and to achieve interoperability with the various
Keep in mind that Bill 19, respecting the organization of police services in
Quebec, confers the responsibility of providing the response in the event of a
terrorist attack within Quebec's borders to the Montreal police force.
My colleague talked about the Police Counter-Terrorism Management Structure,
which is involved in intelligence and investigation, on one hand, and response
measures, on the other.
I am going to talk about how we provide that response in Montreal, not only
in coordination with the other police forces, but also in partnership with
paramedics, firefighters and other stakeholders.
When I use the word "response," I am of course referring to readiness. We
have various rules for intervention; we come up with methods to help our
officers respond appropriately to a terrorist incident. We focus a great deal on
the CBRN dimension.
As you will recall, Tokyo was the target of sarin gas attacks in 1995. In
1998, we received calls regarding a bomb and chemical threat in a Montreal
subway station. Large numbers of police officers, firefighters, paramedics and
city public health officials were called in. Everyone did their own job on their
respective end. Bear in mind, we were not used to dealing with events of that
nature. Our explosives technicians are used to handling explosive packages, but
they are not equipped to handle chemical threats. Our firefighters have that
capability, but they cannot deal with explosive packages.
A few things happened that year, prompting the people in our organizations to
come together and form the Montreal counter-terrorism advisory committee, which
is covered on the second page of the presentation.
The committee was formed on September 25, 1998, so three years before the
9/11 attacks. At the top, you can see the SPVM and the logos of the various
agencies. There are about 11 in all. The committee is headed by the police force
because we are talking about criminal acts. To the right, you will see the Royal
Canadian Mounted Police, Sûreté du Québec and the Canadian Forces, because in
terms of capacity, we are still a municipal police force, and the response
required to deal with, say, a chemical or radiological attack would quickly
exceed our capacity, and we may have to rely on the armed forces.
Further down, you have the fire department, Service de sécurité incendie de
Montréal. Earlier, I mentioned chemical, biological and radiological attacks,
and these people are the experts; they have teams trained in the management of
hazardous materials. So they are involved.
The Chair: Pardon me, but those groups are specially trained in that
Mr. Pichet: Hazardous materials, they have haz-mat teams.
Lower down, you have Urgences-santé Québec, the ambulance service that
provides paramedical services on the island of Montreal. Next you have the STM.
Why is the STM there? We are very aware that public transit is an easy target
for terrorists. So since those first events occurred in a subway station, we
included the city's transit commission, the Société de transport de Montréal.
You should also note that we use buses in our decontamination procedure.
Then you have the city of Montreal's civil protection authority, the Centre
de sécurité civile, which is responsible for consequence management. You also
have the province's civil protection authority. Finally, you have the city's
health and social services agency, the Agence de la santé et des services
sociaux de Montréal, which is responsible for coordinating all hospitals on the
island of Montreal and includes the public health branch, the Direction de la
santé publique. So we have doctors on our committee who are specialists in
radiological, chemical and biological materials. When it comes time to establish
the rules for intervention, having doctors at the table goes a long way. That is
the committee, as it was formed in 1998. I will say that it may not have been
easy in the beginning, but now that the committee has been around for 12 years,
we have built relationships based on trust, and working together is easier. In
the event of a terrorist incident, all the stakeholders would deploy resources
to advise the commander on the scene.
I mentioned the rules for intervention. The committee established rules for
intervention, and they were reviewed this year. We are in the midst of
completing the process. In the event of a chemical incident, for instance, all
the organizations would be included in the same response protocol. So each
organization has a small part to play. Despite having different missions, we all
share the same objective in the end: to better respond to the incident in
We also put a lot of focus on training, in other words, how to train our
people, from the police officers to the first respondents, what equipment we
should be buying and so forth. After 2001, considerable amounts of money were
available, and a lot of equipment was purchased at that time. But progress is
always being made, so we need to make sure that we always have the best
equipment at our disposal.
And, of course, we do simulations, tabletop exercises and communications
exercises. We carried out a full-fledged deployment exercise, called Métropole
2005, somewhat similar to what they did in Vancouver with TRANSGUARD I just
before the Olympic games.
I will come back to that before I move on to the next slide, but essentially,
we got to know one another over time. What is important to understand is that
each organization has its own mission, and what the committee brought to the
table was ensuring that all the organizations were able to carry out their
respective missions while working towards the common goal.
I come back to the provincial structure on the next page. You can see there
is a synthesis. On one hand, you have the intelligence and investigation
component, and on the other, you have the response. The way we, in Montreal,
provide that response is through CAAM, the counterterrorism advisory committee
of Montreal. That is how we do it, because we feel interoperability is critical
from a response standpoint.
The last page shows Montreal's civil protection plan. Quebec has a civil
protection act, and those stakeholders are involved in managing the
consequences. You have the incident and the scene. The scene itself requires
management, but that gives rise to many other challenges, so the civil
protection authority, in terms of the emergency response coordination centre, is
responsible for managing the consequences in the event of a terrorist incident.
Before I finish, I just want to say that I usually give this presentation in
an hour, but I cut it down for the purposes of the committee. Basically, what we
are really trying to achieve is interoperability.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
I will now ask our colleagues from Toronto to give us their overview of the
Gordon Sneddon, Inspector, Intelligence Division, Integrated National
Security Enforcement Team, Toronto Police Service: On behalf of Chief
William Blair and the Toronto Police Service, I thank the committee for inviting
us to speak and to keep issues related to terrorism on the minds of all
You already heard of my background, but I want to reinforce that for the past
18 months I have had the opportunity to work at the Integrated National Security
Enforcement Team, INSET, within Toronto, where I am the inspector in charge of
Turning to threat environment and radicalization, I echo the sentiment of the
previous witnesses from the RCMP and CSIS. The threat of terrorism to Canadians
is real, fluid and ever-evolving. Al Qaeda and those inspired by al Qaeda remain
a significant threat to Canadians at home and abroad. The conviction of the key
members of the Toronto 18 should act as a wakeup call to those who question the
extent of al Qaeda's inspiration and the existence of domestic radicalization in
our communities. We should never lose sight of the fact that, had this group
been successful in their plan, the loss of life and damage to property in
Toronto and elsewhere would have been catastrophic.
An additional concern that increases the threat level has been in the
reduction in the length of time or window of opportunity necessary to take an
attack from conception to execution. For example, the planning and final
execution of the September 11, 2001 attacks took several years. The reality
today is that attacks are planned and executed over a much smaller window of
time. Recent documents distributed by al Qaeda via the Internet have advocated
just that approach and given detailed direction and continued encouragement to
those who may be contemplating such actions. This reduced window of opportunity
drastically increases the pressure on law enforcement and security officials to
prevent, detect and investigate criminal acts of terrorism as early as possible.
Going from global to local, Toronto is one of the most culturally diverse
cities in the world. While this diversity has strengthened the city, it attracts
some with loyalties that extend well beyond simply cheering for the soccer team
of their birth country. Frequently, what happens a world away has an immediate
ripple effect on the streets of Toronto. In fact, many global events have
elicited local reactions. As an example, the decimation of the Liberation Tigers
of Tamil Eelam, LTTE — an illicit entity in Canada — by the Sri Lankan
government resulted in weeks of protest by LTTE supporters, many of whom showed
open support of the terrorist group.
Of great concern to us is the current situation in Somalia and the impact of
the global call-out for foreign fighters by the terrorist group al-Shabaab. The
response by some Somali youth to answer this global call for support has shed
light on the existence of radicalization in the U.S., and may offer insight into
the extent of radicalization in Canada, particularly within our local Somali
The Toronto Police Service, like all municipal police services, provides
first response policing services through its community. Our officers are often
at the front line in the prevention of, and response to, criminal acts of
terrorism. That first response also provides us with the opportunity at an early
stage to detect, prevent, interrupt and interdict those who may be inclined to
involve themselves, or are thinking of involving themselves, in such activity.
Being intelligence-led allows us to be proactive as opposed to reactive; in
the fight against terrorism, being reactive equates to failure. The Toronto
Police Service has taken a multifaceted approach to fighting terrorism and other
crimes. It is recognized universally throughout the police service that only
through the support and trust of the public can the police effectively combat
crime, including terrorism.
The notion that the police are the public and the public are the police,
espoused by Sir Robert Peel 150 years ago, is as true today as it was then.
Every day, all the officers and civilian staff of the Toronto Police Service are
engaged in efforts at developing, building and maintaining the public's trust.
Specific efforts I can point you toward are the work of the community
mobilization unit, the local divisional community police liaison committees, the
chief's advisory council, the chief's youth advisory committee, the work of the
community consultative committee serving the needs of many communities within
Toronto and the newcomer outreach program.
A focus on the community consultative process allows the Toronto Police
Service to create meaningful partnerships with all our communities. The Toronto
Police Service is, and continues to make efforts to be, reflective of the
community it services and consequently, it actively recruits in areas where
there is need to increase representation.
While our work to achieve a diverse workforce continues, we have made
considerable strides in achieving that goal. In fact, since 2008, the Toronto
Police Service has been selected consistently as one of Canada's best diversity
Increasing our diversity has strengthened our police service while providing
another avenue for building trust with our community partners, thus increasing
our capacity to fight terrorism.
As I have mentioned, the Toronto Police Service is a contributing partner on
the RCMP-led Integrated National Security Enforcement Team, INSET. As you have
been told previously by other witnesses, there are four INSETs in Canada located
in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Ottawa. Through the INSET framework, the
Toronto Police Service formed part of the joint management team, actively
assisting in the investigation of terrorism-related offences as well as
collecting, analyzing and sharing national security-related information and
intelligence among its partners.
Specifically related to terrorism, the Toronto Police Service continues to
meet with community leaders and members to discuss issues related to terrorism
and radicalization. I stress that these discussions on radicalization are in the
early stages, but they are actively ongoing.
The conviction of those involved in the Toronto 18 case has brought renewed
recognition and acceptance by some in the Muslim community who, prior to the
convictions being registered, had expressed a sense of denial or disbelief.
Additionally, the Toronto Police Service has made enhancements and
improvements over the past few years to its intelligence-gathering process,
placing emphasis on becoming truly intelligence-led in policing and developing a
capacity to predict, prevent and interrupt all crimes before they take place,
In the absence of prevention, vigorous enforcement of all laws against those
who seek to carry out terrorist acts is an effective way to proceed.
I will identify three areas of concern and consideration for possible
legislative change for your consideration. The first concern is the
intelligence-to-evidence debate. The Toronto Police Service enjoys an excellent
relationship with the RCMP, CSIS and all Canadian law enforcement agencies.
However, as a police agency, our ability to make full use of intelligence is
limited and conflicted as a result of the obligations of the Crown to make full
disclosure in a criminal trial. The obligations of disclosure, when balanced
against the need to protect sources, origins and techniques used to obtain that
intelligence, present difficulties for the police, and I would suggest, CSIS and
the court. The exceptions to the obligation to disclose are limited and, of
course, legitimately subject to argument at trial. The Canada Evidence Act
provides some measure of comfort, but is subject to argument and the decision of
an individual court. Frequently, that argument and decision places CSIS
information at risk with the prospect of a CSIS officer testifying in court,
which until recently had been an unusual occurrence.
Consideration needs to be given to gathering intelligence from the outset,
with the eye on the problem of how to turn information into admissible evidence
in court at some point in the future.
CSIS, in its intelligence-gathering role, with increasing frequency shows an
interest in people under active criminal investigation. That interest raises the
prospect of two domestic agencies — CSIS and the police — gathering information
or evidence independently, with the prospect of one of the two agencies not
recognizing the significance of a piece of information that one may have that
may be crucial to the other. Even with regular de-confliction between CSIS and
the police, the potential for a gap to exist is real and unacceptable. This
complex area is not unique to Canada and is one that, as a police officer
involved in investigations and matters relating to national security, provides
me with a strong sense of discomfort.
The second area that warrants a closer look relates to the open display or
support of an illicit entity or terrorist group. The current anti-terrorism
sections of the Criminal Code do not address this area. While respecting the
Charter rights of Canadians, particularly freedom of speech and expression,
during the demonstrations held in both Toronto and Ottawa in 2009 many witnessed
frequent and open support for the illicit entity terrorist group. It became
commonplace to see hundreds of LTTE supporters waving flags and wearing clothing
that was supportive of the terrorist group, both on Parliament Hill and on the
streets of Toronto. The United Kingdom addresses this issue by creating the
offence of belonging to a proscribed group or wearing clothing that arouses
suspicion that one is a member or supporter of the proscribed organization.
The final area of concern is when people depart from Canada. Monitoring the
movement of Canadians and others as they leave Canada is a contentious issue.
However, recent terrorism investigations into people leaving Canada to go
overseas and fight with a terrorist group or to receive training in countries
that support terrorism have been hampered by our inability to track when and
where an individual left Canada. While the Canada Border Services Agency, CBSA,
is responsible for managing the access of people and goods to and from Canada,
it does not track people exiting Canada as others jurisdictions do.
In conclusion, the Toronto Police Service, along with its law enforcement and
security partners, is actively engaged in investigating criminal acts of
terrorism. While much work needs to be done with respect to understanding
radicalization and the extent to which it occurs in the affected communities,
the Toronto Police Service is committed to engaging its citizens on
terrorism-related issues and seeks to empower its citizens through education and
other consultative processes.
The Chair: Thank you very much. We have several senators who have
expressed interest in posing questions. I will invite Senator Joyal from Quebec
to pose a question.
Senator Joyal: Welcome, gentlemen. My first question is in relation to
an incident that happened less than two weeks ago and one about which the
Canadian public was generally informed, namely, the package that was sent to
Canada from Yemen. What did you do when you learned about it? Were you privy to
that information before President Obama went on air to inform Americans that it
was coming? What did you do? Did it trigger reaction on the part of your
services or did you say that it did not happen so we were safe that day?
I could have put the question to Mr. Chartrand because the plane was supposed
to land in Montreal. What happens in a case like that? I imagine that those
watching are probably wondering the same thing. What is the reaction when that
kind of news is broadcast and when Canada is exposed not to a risk that emanates
from a local anarchist group but to one that comes from outside the country, one
that has the potential to cause major damage within the country?
Mr. Chartrand: For years, prior to the attacks on New York, North
America, as a whole, never saw itself as the target of an attack. Never did it
imagine that a threat could cross the ocean and target it. From that point
forward, groups joined forces and became organized. Massive amounts of money
were spent on the two airports, especially to control access and entry to the
country. Despite all that, we realized that there were still vulnerabilities at
the border; groups are at work within our borders. That is very clear.
An area where we were weak, on which we did not really have a solid grasp,
was private freight transportation; that was somewhat overlooked in our
oversight efforts. Obviously, as a result of that incident, we have taken swift
action in terms of agreements and companies that can fall through the cracks. We
realized that we still had work to do, that is for sure.
Senator Joyal: I invite your colleagues to answer also. I have
additional questions as well.
Mr. Sneddon: As it relates to the specific response, obviously that
happened quickly and came about unexpectedly. No real intelligence led up to it.
An active criminal investigation commenced that included all partners conducting
their own investigation, including CSIS, for example, liaising with CBSA and
Transport Canada to ensure that Canadians were safe; ensuring that appropriate
steps were taken for any future packages; and monitoring the sharing of
information to ensure that it was taking place broadly with all the government
agencies so that those in power to make the decisions could make the right
decisions and be fully informed.
Senator Joyal: Perhaps Mr. Stewart can answer as well.
Mr. Stewart: In that case the federal authorities made sure that the
correct news releases were in place so that the public knew what was happening
in respect to issues involving Canada.
From the police perspective, we received a communiqué from criminal
intelligence investigations almost immediately saying that there was nothing
directly involved with Canada at that point in terms of any additional
information that we needed to be concerned about.
From the local department perspective, first, we looked internally to see if
we had any intelligence on our books that might relate to that case. We did not,
but, again, it is everyone's responsibility to look at their own databases and
what they know about similar modus operandi and if they have something to share
about that case.
Senator Joyal: Mr. Chartrand told us that you can coordinate once the
incident has happened, but how do you coordinate before the incident happens? I
think Inspector Sneddon alluded to that coordination with CSIS. Each entity
watches their realm of information. CSIS has information, the RCMP has
information, and the Ontario Provincial Police department may have information.
Sûreté du Québec has information. How do you share information to prevent an
incident? Are you each more or less left to your own devices before an incident
happens? In that case, you are much more likely to react to an incident rather
than prevent it. What kind of coordination is there in terms of sharing
information to prevent incidents like the ones you described?
The Chair: I will add to that gathering evidence, gathering
intelligence and prosecuting the bad guys. Everyone understands that. However,
when there is opportunity for a lawful interruption of an activity before it
takes lives — and, I take it that is Senator Joyal's question — that implies a
measure of coordination and cooperation on a preventive basis.
Are you able to share from your perspective how you think that coordination
and cooperation is operating; whether it is at an optimum level or whether it
can be improved? Feel free to comment on the federal agencies and whether they
are sharing the information that you need to protect the public on a real-time
They share with you the information you need to protect the public.
Mr. Chartrand: There are no borders when it comes to the flow of
information, be it in Europe, Asia or North America. More and more, people are
communicating with one another. In this case, specifically, I think a gap
originated at the cargo shipping level, and as far as I know, there were no
explosives. It opened up an opportunity for use, but there were no explosives.
If there had been, would we have been able to counter that shipment? We are
asking ourselves that.
The coordination of intelligence happened both domestically and abroad;
Interpol was involved, as were various sources of information on different
continents. So in that respect, as soon as you have a threat, the information is
communicated and shared. Our lines of communication are very viable and
In this case, specifically, the private transportation of cargo is an area we
have not examined. Fortunately, there was no explosion. Of course, each time ill
intentions manifest in some unique way, we, too, continue to learn about new
approaches, as we did with the New York attacks. In this case, we were not able
to anticipate the incident, but that is less and less frequent.
Senator Joyal: As for my second question, how do you share information
to prevent potential incidents if you do not have access to information on
certain groups or individuals that CISIS, for example, is monitoring, or if the
RCMP does not share with you how it can manage information it has obtained
through Internet communications and so forth?
How can you be effective under those circumstances?
As Inspector Sneddon has said, they want to protect their source because they
are afraid that if they go to court, they will be compelled to disclose; and
with that fear, there is a tendency to keep the information for oneself. In my
opinion, unless I am badly informed, I think this point is where we are weak in
the exchange of information that you described in your chart as being from one
to the other.
Mr. Chartrand: It is also important not to discount the public's
participation in terms of groups or individuals who decide to rent an apartment
or space that seems unusual. A lot of information that police forces have comes
from the public. Obviously, between when an arrest is made and when there is an
obligation to identify a complainant or the person providing the information,
the important thing for us is still to forestall the potential for violence. Not
everyone is charged. But one thing is certain: there are a lot more
interventions than what you read about in the paper. So there is no doubt that
the public provides information that is highly useful and that often goes
unmeasured in terms of the percentage it represents. That is another way that we
obtain important intelligence.
The Chair: I know Senator Tkachuk wants to ask a small supplementary
Senator Tkachuk: Senator Joyal asked an interesting question and I am
not sure if we have an answer to it yet.
When they were searching that airplane in the United States and there was a
suspicion that there were explosives on board, what were the Canadian police
forces doing? They did not have any information ahead of time either; it was a
big surprise to them. Was any action taken directly by the Canadian Forces that
day or night with the packaging coming in from Yemen, the United Arab Emirates
or other Middle East countries?
Mr. Pichet: I understand your question. If you look at the sheet we
handed out, the biggest one, you will see a box in the top right corner
referring to the strategic cooperation intelligence committee. A lot of
intelligence goes through them. In this particular case, my intelligence
division is responsible for gathering that information, which it receives from
our federal and provincial partners. Sûreté du Québec also works with people in
the U.S. If a specific intervention had been necessary that day, at the
Montréal-Trudeau airport, for example — which was not the case because there was
no real threat to Canada — the intelligence would have been covered by our
An intelligence committee brings together the three intelligence divisions of
Montreal, the RCMP and Sûreté du Québec. If the information comes from Montreal,
we share it with our colleagues. If it comes from our colleagues, they share it
with us. And if we need to use that information or intelligence to carry out
specific interventions in terms of prevention, the intelligence component
communicates with the response component, so we can take tangible action, such
as searching more passengers or tightening up security by posting more police
officers. But everything is communicated under that structure.
We also work with the RCMP in terms of a program to report suspicious
incidents, and we notify partners through an information-sharing mechanism. If a
transport company, such as the Société de transport de Montréal, notices
something suspicious anywhere on its premises, it communicates that information,
which will make its way to the appropriate police authority, so not just the
Montreal police force, but also the RCMP and Sûreté du Québec. That is how the
committee, which meets regularly, shares information.
That brings me back to suspicious UPS or FedEx packages. As soon as that kind
of incident happens, the media pick it up and give it widespread coverage. That,
in turn, makes our partners insecure and they want information. The intelligence
division gives me information, which I can then use to reassure my partners if
But if action is necessary, we will all intervene together. If prevention
measures are needed, we will take them. But information flows much better than
it did before because it is no longer isolated in the hands of a particular
organization and can be found in the same place. So information sharing happens
Senator Joyal: Is there a connection between organized crime and
individuals or groups who, in your opinion, pose a threat to Canadians in terms
of possible terrorist initiatives?
Mr. Chartrand: We see more and more criminal activities such as fraud
and data retrieval via the Internet being used to obtain funding for terrorist
activities, and that is extremely detrimental. That is clear.
The Chair: Can I ask our colleagues from Vancouver and Toronto whether
they care to respond to the question about the link between terrorist
organizations and traditional organized crime? I know there have been concerns
on the contraband tobacco side, for example, about investing from some of these
terrorist organizations. Is there any light you care to shed for us on that
question from Senator Joyal?
Mr. Stewart: Is there a link? I think there definitely can be, because
organized crime is in the business to make money. That is what organized crime
is all about, whether it is the drug trade, fraud, counterfeit products or
whatever. There is a lot of money to be made. In every investigation into
organized crime, it is prudent to make that probe to see where the money is
going, whether it is financing terrorism overseas or around the country.
Without going into specific situations, we have seen this happen before, to
varying degrees. All I suggest is that when you target organized crime, the
investigators would be prudent to continue to monitor where those funds go.
Organized crime is a huge source of money that any organization would not
overlook in terms of a viable way to fund an operation, including a terrorist
Mr. Sneddon: I agree. The Toronto experience has been in relation
particularly to the LTTE; the amount of fraudulent activity committed by
supporters of that particular terrorist group, and then the funnelling of those
funds back to Sri Lanka. Of course, that is where we run into difficulty,
because we have no way of establishing what the end product is, where the money
goes and what the money is used for. Ultimately, that is what a court must
determine, and that is where the difficulty arises in the evidence collection
The amount of money funnelled through that community is enormous. We are all
well aware of previous investigations where large amounts of money have been
funnelled to support the terrorist group. It would be naive to think that there
are not elements of organized crime from within that community who are doing
that, almost like a split ideology, where so much of the money goes to support
the terrorist group and the rest goes to line their pockets.
The Chair: You made a recommendation about possible statutory activity
that we might undertake around not having any association with terrorist groups.
We now have legislation, as colleagues know, with regard to motorcycle gangs.
Not only can they not be a member of any of those designated gangs, but they
cannot be their accountant or rent space to them. Those associations are all
potential criminal violations.
Are you suggesting essentially that we would be wise to consider, relative to
the named terrorist groups on the official list, a similar criminal interdiction
about any association demonstrating on behalf of those groups or wearing clothes
that identify them, as the British have done?
In your view, are you saying that your preventive job would be easier if we
had a specific criminal interdiction for that kind of activity?
Mr. Sneddon: That is exactly what I am saying.
The Chair: Thank you.
Senator Furey: Thank you, gentlemen, for coming today.
Inspector Stewart, you talked about cooperation. If we put aside the issue of
evidence gathering, or information gathering and the information becoming
evidence, is there willingness among organizations like CSIS, the Royal Canadian
Mounted Police, provincial police forces and municipal police forces to share
Mr. Stewart: I will say yes there is. What stands in the way, though,
is there is often not a proper structure in place to make the information
sharing happen. There can be policy issues from each agency that make it
difficult to share information.
A structure needs to be put in place to facilitate the sharing of
information. In my experience as a police officer over the years, I can remember
in the 1980s and 1990s where I might have said "no" to that question. However,
today there is a huge willingness to share information, but we struggle with how
to share it and make it efficient and effective.
The Chair: With respect to Vancouver and the remarkable job all the
police forces, supported by the Armed Forces and others, performed on that
security operation for the Olympics, was there a horizontal body where the
senior officers for the various groups in theatre, in situ, shared data on a
real-time, situation-room basis so you all felt you had the data necessary, day
by day, to react as constructively as you did?
Mr. Stewart: Yes, it was called the Joint Intelligence Group. We had
the Joint Intelligence Group operations centre that was staffed with all those
agencies — the RCMP, CSIS, military, local agencies — in an operational centre
that was running 24/7. Anything that happened, or any request for information,
was immediate and the response was immediate, and it was shared amongst everyone
in that centre. It worked well because, again, that structure was in place to
make that sharing happen.
The Chair: Are you saying, in answer to Senator Furey's question, that
operational coherence and intelligence sharing does not now exist, in the
absence of a special event of some sort, for which people are preparing?
Mr. Stewart: I do not say it does not exist, but it certainly can be
improved upon. We know, for example, in Vancouver, as was mentioned earlier, we
have the liaison position with our intelligence unit to work with the RCMP
INSET. We are invited to a weekly briefing in that sense.
To share intelligence, however, a critical piece is trust between the
agencies. I do not believe we can build that trust unless we are working side by
side on a regular basis. When the event occurs, if we do not have the trust, we
are behind the eight ball. We need it ahead of time, we need the structure in
place, and we need to build that trust and be working side by side on a variety
of issues. When intelligence comes in or needs to be shared efficiently,
effectively and immediately, that structure and trust is in place and we can
move forward. I think there is willingness in the police community in this
country to share information. It is a matter of building the right types of
units and centres, if you will, or operational centres, whatever it takes. It
will take more study to ensure we find the best way to do it, but we need to
build the structure of sharing information.
Senator Jaffer: You have spoken about structures. You said the
Olympics worked because — if I understood you correctly — there was a structure
in place. Are you talking about a structure like the one used in the Olympics,
where you work together on a regular basis? Also, do you look at this structure
as being a structure set by the federal government?
Mr. Stewart: Leadership from the federal government, especially in
terms of national security, is paramount and must happen. The federal government
must show that type of leadership and make it happen.
In the United States, the Department of Homeland Security is providing that
structure by developing 72 fusion centres throughout the country. The idea of
those centres is to bring local, state, national and tribal police forces and
agencies together into one area to share information. With each person they have
the database of that person's agency, which is critically important. That
structure is now in place to share.
Again, at the end of the day, it depends on how well the groups get along,
but that is where that trust needs to be built. That is what I am talking about,
the structure in place where we have the people with their databases in place in
a common environment to build an intelligence-sharing environment.
Senator Furey: I am interested in your views, gentlemen, on the
Internet. The vast majority of witnesses who came before us, when asked about
the Internet, expressed concern about it being used as a communications tool, a
tool for disseminating information, a tool for proselytizing new recruits.
When asked about it being used as a tool for wreaking havoc, for disrupting
governments, institutions, like hospitals and banking institutions, et cetera,
they did not see the Internet as a way that terrorists can create a lot of havoc
in society. Do you think they are missing the boat here or do you think there
should be more concern about the use of the Internet as a terrorist instrument?
Mr. Sneddon: I think cybercrime in particular is something we have to
be concerned about and pay strong attention to. Not to speak on their behalf,
but the leader in that regard is probably CSIS. That is the first point of
contact to look for elements of that cybercrime happening, either in Canada or
abroad, and taking steps to interrupt it.
It is a concern, because the point you raise of someone being able to access
the networks of a government, banking institution or a large corporation could
have a devastating effect on the country.
Mr. Stewart: In addition to those types of institutions, major
critical infrastructure is controlled electronically. Our dam system,
hydroelectricity and all that, if someone hacks into those systems it will cause
disruption to the security of the country by shutting down the power grid and
things like that. That can be done through hackers and destroying the critical
infrastructure controls. There is a concern with that too.
Senator Furey: Commander Pichet, looking at your chart — and I am glad
to hear you have had simulation exercises — how does it work? The protocol in
terms of who is in charge, do all the agencies fall into line in terms of who
calls the shots, and does the protocol work well?
Mr. Pichet: In fact, the Montreal police force is responsible for the
committee. It meets twice a month to share information on what is happening.
Everyone is kept informed of what is happening, and tendencies are studied.
There is a member of our organization who looks at what is happening around the
world and analyzes the various practices.
We meet twice a month, and if you are talking about a chemical intervention,
health experts, firefighters and a police officer are in attendance, and they
are responsible for adapting a chemical intervention protocol.
In terms of each member's specific expertise, keep in mind that the goal is
to develop protocols that target interoperability. Just like the health experts
and police, firefighters are very involved, and they serve as experts, as
explosives technicians, and as forensic technicians.
At the beginning of each year, the committee outlines a work plan for the
entire year. Once again, the committee meets twice a month under statutory
requirements. Two years ago, we did a capacity study. At the federal level, the
CBRN Research and Technology Initiative imported a DHS model.
We used the model to carry out a capacity study on our level of readiness. We
were able to assess the situation and establish a work plan for the years ahead.
And we carry out our activities in accordance with that plan.
Developments in terms of terrorist activities happen very quickly, and that
is why the committee must continue its work and remain active.
Senator Furey: However, in a crisis situation, a committee cannot be
making decisions. Someone has to take charge. What is your protocol? Who is the
boss, who calls the shots, who deploys the various agencies in terms of an
assessment of what is going wrong?
Mr. Pichet: We have an operating procedure at the Montreal police
force. If something happens, be it an envelope containing suspicious powder or a
larger scale terrorist incident, I am the commander on the scene. I am deployed
to the scene, in the capacity of joint commander, and the committee advises me.
However, I agree with you in that the committee cannot make the decisions. When
an incident or a crisis occurs, you need someone in charge. I am the scene
commander, of course, supported by our command centre. There is a higher
authority calling the shots at the headquarters level, but I am in charge of
operations on the scene.
Senator Joyal: When the incident happened involving the package from
Yemen, did you call on someone in your team to determine whether there were
other countries on the same track as Yemen? In other words, countries where
terrorist activities are on the rise? Should we not be trying to figure out
whether there are planes from other countries that could also be carrying
similar packages, packages that could do considerable harm, in terms of either
passengers or crew members, or even when the plane lands? In other words, have
you rung the bell to bring everyone together in an effort to figure out where we
stand in terms of similar risks from other countries?
Mr. Pichet: Again, it all comes back to this: I rely heavily on what
my intelligence people tell me. When I say intelligence people, I mean people on
the inside, on the Montreal team, and those in our provincial structure. As far
as the response goes, I am quick to communicate with the person in charge at the
airport because the incident involved aircraft carrying cargo. I am in contact
with the people at the airport. Our commander in charge at the airport is in
contact with airport security, as well as carriers. In this instance, there was
no reason to step up our efforts or proceed differently. The intelligence did
not suggest that we should consider Montreal a potential target for other
packages. If that had been the case, communication with the airport would have
been established quickly. If it had been necessary, in Montreal, we would have
kept planes on the tarmac and inspected packages one by one; we would have done
that because we were already in contact with those in charge. What do I do? I
call the person in my force who is responsible at the airport, who in turn is in
contact with the airport employees involved in that kind of situation.
The Chair: If I recall correctly, the Canadian Forces escorted an
aircraft from the region through Canadian airspace until it entered U.S.
airspace, at which point the American air force was waiting to help with the
aircraft. I would imagine that you were aware of that incident, and that it was
handled as you described.
Mr. Pichet: We were aware, but it is important to bear in mind the
speed at which information travels nowadays. As soon as the information is
received — or sometimes shortly afterward — it is available on the Internet or
on television. It is extremely fast.
Senator Marshall: I will start with a question for Inspector Stewart
because he mentioned community involvement in his opening remarks but I am
interested in hearing the views of all witnesses. You were talking about how you
cannot fight terrorism on your own. You do have to depend on the community, and
you spoke about outreach programs and approaching different groups. You also
mentioned that certain suppliers have been identified that are considered high
risk and how they are asked to report suspicious activities. Can you speak about
your experience with regard to the uptake by the community and whether there is
a general receptiveness or reluctance to working with the police? How successful
has the interaction with the community been?
Mr. Stewart: Our experience in Vancouver and probably in all major
cities across Canada generally speaking is very good, very healthy. It is by
exception that we have these issues that we are talking about today. The
communities understand that the police are there to protect them. They
understand there needs to be a positive working relationship. As I mentioned
earlier, the programs we have in place are healthy, like Block Watch, which is a
program where we train a block captain on how to take care of their
neighbourhood. They enlist people in that block to help them report on
suspicious things, and we inform them of activity that could come to their
neighbourhood. They see a great benefit to that. It has been healthy.
In terms of visible minorities, our department hires visible minorities as
well. I think 20 per cent of our department is classified as visible minorities;
25 per cent of our department is female. We look like the community itself, and
so interacting with the community is what we do. It is facilitated by looking
like the community.
They understand that, in terms of public safety issues, we will inform them
if there is a public safety issue. We recently had gang shootings in Vancouver
that we were concerned about, gang activity on a certain weekend, so we made a
public statement about it. It was risky to make that statement; it might raise
the level of fear in some people, but it was something we needed to do. The
community responded well to it.
Senator Marshall: Is there much reluctance to becoming involved? Do
they not want to become involved or sense a risk if they do?
Mr. Stewart: Generally speaking, people will always be a little
reluctant to give evidence in court, which is why Crime Stoppers is such a
valuable program. We receive lots of information through Crime Stoppers; it is
For much of our information, they will not necessarily be required to give
evidence in court. In making contacts with the community, I am not talking about
developing sources, a clandestine picture. I am talking about knowing the shop
owners and the people who work in the community, the people who come to our
community for entertainment purposes, people who tell us about things that are
happening with the people around them. They might know someone. We take that
information and look into it and see if there is anything to it.
The risk of helping is not always there in terms of witnessing maybe a
violent crime where they may have to give evidence and perhaps the suspects in
the crime are organized crime figures. Yes, there can be a risk I suppose, but
it is not always like that, and generally speaking, the public is receptive to
the outreach programs that we have.
The Chair: I want to come back to Crime Stoppers. Do we have the
equivalent of Crime Stoppers across our large cities operating in languages
other than English and French for the communities where we have an interest in
ensuring that as much information as possible that might come from those
communities to assist us in our preventive activities is easily accessible? Can
people in those communities make the same anonymous calls to assist us as other
folks can in English and French about more normative criminal activity, as
opposed to terrorist kinds of activity? Are you comfortable in your cities that
Crime Stoppers or its equivalent exists in that kind of diversity so that if
someone, let us say in the Tamil community, a lawful member of the Tamil
community, heard about precisely the kind of concern that Inspector Sneddon
shared with us, that person would have a place to call in confidence to give
information to assist police in their work?
In Montreal, in the large North African community.
Are you comfortable that those capacities are now there for citizens who want
Mr. Fitzgerald: In Toronto, during some of the Tamil demonstrations,
the large ones, in cooperation with our partners in INSET, we produced business
cards instructing the Tamil community that the Crime Stoppers program was an
option if they had information they wished to share with police. When someone
phones Toronto Crime Stoppers, and I am sure it is similar in the other large
jurisdictions, a translation service is available immediately over the
telephone. It very much has been considered and is active.
Mr. Chartrand: In Montreal as well, the communities provide police
with an opportunity to sit down and have a dialogue. In some communities, we
often see people with problems adapting from one generation to the next.
Encouraging people to get involved, either through crime stoppers telephone
programs or neighbourhood watch programs, helps both sides gain insight into
their respective realities. You will recall the incident in north Montreal,
which taught us to adjust our approach and to understand the realities in
Without necessarily getting into racial profiling, this helps police
understand certain racial differences, to get out of their vehicles and to meet
with people on the street. We are getting back to basics. Unfortunately, it
takes these kinds of events for things to change. We learn from different
Just like my counterparts in large municipalities, I would imagine, it is
increasingly necessary for police to have close ties with the community, to try
their best to form ties at the street level, if you will, without prejudice on
It is also important to teach communities about our role, which is more than
just arresting people, but protecting them as well. I think big cities, at
least, work very hard to do that.
Senator Marshall: Earlier you talked about protocol like keeping all
the police forces, the army and the ambulance in the same loop, so there must be
in each jurisdiction a protocol set up to receive public input, public
complaints or reports from the public. Do I understand that correctly?
Mr. Chartrand: Absolutely. In Quebec, the police ethics committee
gives the public an opportunity to denounce police attitudes, but before things
reach that level, there are watch committees that meet regularly to establish
positive relationships. Very often, minor issues can be settled during those
discussions, without necessarily having to fill out a form or file a complaint.
I think we have been successful over the years in terms of fostering
encouragement and closer ties.
Senator Marshall: Is the same true in Vancouver, Inspector Stewart?
There is a formal protocol for community involvement, a standard structure and
involvement is not ad hoc?
Mr. Stewart: Formal in the sense — I am not sure I understand the
question. There are a number of outreach programs. For example, outreach starts
at school age with the school liaison officers in all the major schools and
elementary schools. They interact. Our schools are diverse because we have a
diverse city. From an early age, they interact with the police and understand
the police role in the community. There is a lot of reporting and a lot of back
and forth information- sharing with the children in the schools. As they move
through the schools and grow up in the community, they have this relationship,
and that is the goal of the outreach.
I think I saw a statistic the other day that said with our youth services
program and because of the other programs we have, such as a social worker in a
car who attends to domestic violent calls, and through the teachers we have
partnerships with in the city of Vancouver, we reach 25 per cent of the
population of the city with a message. We teach them how to approach the police
and how to talk to the police. It is all part of the outreach.
I do not know if your question related to the 911 service as well.
Senator Marshall: Yes, it related mostly to the 911 service and how
that kicks in; if there is a standard protocol, system or process.
Mr. Stewart: Vancouver is unique because we have something called
E-Comm, which is basically a 911 service. It services the city of Vancouver but
also all other outlying jurisdictions. If you know the layout in Vancouver, it
is not like a metropolitan police force. There are a number of other police
forces and many contract RCMP forces, so the calls come into a central dispatch.
Senator Marshall: Then they are handled. Is Toronto the same,
Mr. Sneddon: Yes, it is. The calls come into the communications bureau
and are disseminated from there, not only to the police services jurisdiction
but to any other policing agency that needs to know what the information is.
Senator Jaffer: It is interesting that you spoke about the public as
the police and the police as the public. Inspector Stewart, I am biased; I come
from your area and was involved in the Vancouver Police Department many years
ago with building a multicultural police force.
I want to know what exists in Toronto. Does your police force reflect the
community that exists presently in Toronto, especially in leadership roles? I
have the same question for Montreal.
Mr. Sneddon: Absolutely; if you look at the structure of the Toronto
Police Service and how that structure has changed, particularly over the past 10
years, you will notice there is a significant change and opportunity for people,
whether they are female or minority, to be placed in positions of authority.
That has been the position for some time.
If you look at the past three years in Toronto, in particular with hiring
practices, 50 per cent of the classes have been either minority-based or female.
The police service is working hard to achieve that structure.
Mr. Fitzgerald: It carries on right through the staff development
processes so people from visible minorities in our communities as well as women
are receiving opportunities to develop their policing skills. It has made it
easier for us to transition people into higher ranks who are fully prepared to
assume those responsibilities.
Mr. Chartrand: I would say the same thing, but I also want to mention
the hiring of young police officers of Asian origin in Chinatown, for example.
Their role slightly resembles that of a police ambassador in terms of speaking
to the public with more ease. The same applies to the Haitian community in north
Montreal or the Jamaican community in the Côte-des-Neiges district. It helps
foster a better relationship.
Senator Jaffer: Is that also the case with the North African
Mr. Chartrand: Yes, them too.
Senator Jaffer: One of my preoccupations is the radicalization of
homegrown terrorists, especially young people who are born here. One wonders
what happens to them that they become radicalized.
Do you have national coordination between the police forces where information
is shared on what is happening in different parts of the country? We know that,
for example, in Toronto they may have a large Tamil community, whereas in
Vancouver we do not have as large a community. I am talking about the Muslim
issue. Do you have coordination? Is there cultural sensitivity — perhaps not
cultural sensitivity but knowing the language of radicalization? Are you
reaching those young people and finding a way to deradicalize them?
Mr. Sneddon: The whole radicalization process is something we are
still learning about. I do not think there is any argument, whether you talk to
the New York City Police Department that has published articles on
radicalization — they have done a lot of work in that regard — or whoever on
what their experience has been.
If you talk to policing agencies across the country and across the world,
everyone is striving to get a handle on radicalization. No one seems to be able
to do that. The ability to interrupt the process, and know or recognize the
signs when someone is headed down a path where they are becoming more
dissociated from their friends and perhaps starting to dress a different way,
become more religious, that type of thing, are those possible indicators of
radicalization? Possibly, but it can be due to other interests. It is something
we are more aware of, but it is something we have much work to do to catch up
on. There is a long way to go there.
The difficulty is exacerbated when we look at the communications over the
Internet among groups like al Qaeda, which are focused on the individual and
encouraging individuals to commit terrorist acts. They recognize that difficulty
too, and they are astute enough to target those individuals and those people
with a view to say, this is what you should do, and not only that, but this is
how you should do it.
Senator Jaffer: I asked many questions and I want others to answer,
but especially with the Toronto 18, have there been any programs to deradicalize
them? I know in the U.K., they have programs with the police where they are
deradicalizing youth that have been radicalized. Do we have programs like those
in our country?
Mr. Sneddon: The issue is being studied. There is an ongoing study
devoted to that issue on how these people became the way they are. That study is
being completed by a professor from the University of Waterloo. It is ongoing
now. Do we have all these things in place now? No, we do not.
Mr. Stewart: I do not believe we do. That is an area we obviously need
to look at.
I was studying the British situation, and one of the issues about Islamic
radicalization was not so much that the local communities were helping to
radicalize the youth. It was that they were not helping with the counter
narrative. They felt more dialogue was needed in the community about the
opposite of that single narrative I spoke about earlier, namely, that the world
is not at war with Islam; there are other issues. Part of the de-radicalization
or the counter radicalization process would have that type of dialogue in those
communities, or a counter narrative to what was said over the Internet or in
coffee shops where particular individuals hang out and discuss those things.
Senator Jaffer: What is the situation in Montreal?
Mr. Chartrand: The anarchist movement is a rejection of all power
structures. As far as police organizations go, it is difficult to open up
communication or build a relationship. There is some apprehension there. The
issue is not so much willingness on the part of police, but more so on the part
of students and fringe groups. There are a slew of social and economic realities
that govern police agencies. Despite the desire to help, and to understand and
penetrate this world, we always encounter some form of resistance. First of all,
you need to locate these people, which can be difficult given that they are on
the fringes of society and belong to a number of splinter groups that we do not
have access to. The first gateway is through student groups.
We try to give as many talks as possible on the subject. We patrol and try to
have a presence in big institutions. The unfortunate events at both Dawson
College and the École Polytechnique de Montréal were perpetrated by students who
were feeling some level of frustration. So we try to penetrate and integrate
into these institutions, both in and out of uniform. It is not a matter of
simply gathering intelligence, but also having a presence. We sometimes organize
soccer games or sports activities with students to encourage them to approach us
and to show them that police officers are accessible and human.
Anarchists in Quebec are concentrated exclusively in Montreal. So the
movement is not limited to just immigrants. In some immigrant groups, it is hard
to change the way police are perceived. Despite our best efforts, cultural
barriers lead to a negative perception of the police as a result of the
corruption in some countries.
It can also be difficult to hire members of certain ethnic groups. We
encourage the hiring of people from these ethnic communities. Some cultures,
however, make that impossible to achieve. We put a lot of energy into that. We
spend more and more time out in the field. It is still hard for certain
communities to be receptive to us.
Senator Jaffer: Is there coordination across the country on
radicalization? Inspector Stewart talked about coordination on different issues.
Is there a group set up to share information across the country on how the youth
Mr. Stewart: I am not aware of a particular group, but we share
information in publications, reports and hypotheses in reports that are
generated by Public Safety Canada and by the police. We share information, but
there is no particular group that I am aware of that coordinates that sharing.
Senator Smith: On the subject of radicalization, Senator Jaffer
referred to the Toronto 18 and the fact that a number of them were born and
raised in this country. One good thing about it is that the majority of them
pleaded guilty and did not deny it. We had a witness about three weeks ago from
a group within the Muslim community that has a program, and we should provide
you with a transcript of that evidence.
To what extent are your forces making a conscious effort to recruit people
from these communities where some of the young people are vulnerable? You have
officers that, over the long run, have some rapport, and, where there is a
language benefit, that as well. Are you making an effort to recruit from those
communities where there is a kind of chemistry such that they might listen to
someone from their own community, whereas they are not so open-minded about
outsiders like us. To what extent is there a conscious effort to develop people
within your forces who have an advantage when it comes to trying to
Mr. Chartrand: Members of the Montreal police force are increasingly
representative of the city's population. Approximately one in two Montrealers
belongs to an ethnic group. Thanks to the force's representativeness, we have
the human resources to send members out to visit schools and to give talks to
spark the interest of fellow members of their ethnic communities. Nevertheless,
the audience still has to be open and receptive to that message. We deploy many
efforts on that front.
Mr. Fitzgerald: Toronto is robust in trying to recruit from all our
diverse communities. A considerable amount of effort and resources come through
our committee work, which Inspector Sneddon touched upon, both at the chief's
level with the consultative committees available to the chief, and at the
grassroots in each of our divisions. As well, there are community policing
liaison committees where people from all ethnicities, cultures and religions
from around the world are invited to be part of those committees. These
committees assist the division, and that is where the rapport is built with the
frontline officers and where the trust begins. Through those efforts we have
opportunities for recruitment and hiring people, not only in civilian and
uniform positions but also in auxiliary positions and other volunteer capacities
within the service. A considerable amount of effort goes into recruiting from
those communities so that we are more reflective of those whom we serve, but
recruiting from those communities has an operational benefit as well, which is
what you are touching upon, senator.
Senator Plett: Inspector Sneddon, I read your presentation with
interest last night, specifically, the comments about open displays of support
for terrorist groups. Inspector Stewart in his opening comments said that
terrorism is a crime, pure and simple, and I support that view.
Promoting hatred is a crime, and people go to jail for promoting hatred. I
equate promoting terrorism with promoting hatred. Is there a gap in our law
there? Clearly, to be a terrorist is illegal. What many of these people are
doing is unconscionable, for example, giving money to terrorist organizations,
as you referred to, and there seems to be nothing we can do about it.
I find that strange. If I stand on Parliament's steps and I promote hatred
against a minority group, I will go to jail. Why do I not go to jail for
promoting hatred against my country?
Mr. Sneddon: You are speaking about a section of the Criminal Code
that does not relate to terrorism provisions. I know what you are talking about
when you say the wilful promotion of hatred, advocating genocide and all the
provisions in the Criminal Code. We actively make use of those provisions.
Where the gap exists is that for someone to facilitate the activities of a
terrorist group, for example, raising money on behalf of, or in support of, a
terrorist group is one issue. However, for someone to show open display of
support for a terrorist group or for someone to be a member of a terrorist group
is not an offence.
Senator Plett: To be a member of the group is not an offence, and yet
to perform the act is an offence.
Mr. Sneddon: That is exactly right.
The Chair: I think it is fair to say that when we raise this kind of
issue, the response we tend to receive from the Department of Justice is that
the Criminal Code is complex enough. This issue came up when there was a
specific proposal from Senator Grafstein for a specific Criminal Code
prohibition on suicide bombing, not because we can do much to the suicide bomber
after he or she has committed the deed, but because conspiracy to commit a crime
is a crime. Hence, if people are circulating plans for bombs on the Internet, if
people are counselling others on how to become a suicide bomber, we give the
police more instruments with which to work.
What the Department of Justice has tended to say to both governments of
different affiliations — so the civil servants have the same advice — is that
any time we add more complexity to the Criminal Code, we make the job of the
police and the Crown attorney tougher, not easier. What I heard Mr. Sneddon say
is that in this specific case, with respect to showing support for a terrorist
organization or being a member of a terrorist organization, that specificity in
the Criminal Code would be of assistance to police, as opposed to causing more
complexity and other difficulties. Do I understand that correctly?
Mr. Sneddon: That is correct. We have to look at the effect of
allowing people to show that support. If we allow people to display support
openly for a terrorist group in our major cities and on Parliament Hill, but at
the same time we have already said it is a terrorist group, a prohibited entity,
at this time within Canada, that situation is contradictory in my mind. The
group is a prohibited entity but it is okay to support it openly.
The concern I have is that when we have people who openly support a terrorist
group, it starts to dilute what the real message should be, which is that there
is a reason why Parliament said these entities or terrorist groups were illicit.
Anything that takes away from that message diminishes that reality.
The Chair: Now I want to ask the representatives from Montreal. Do you
agree? Would it be helpful to introduce a specificity in the Criminal Code
stating that being a member of a terrorist organization is a crime and cause for
Mr. Chartrand: Absolutely. We are moving in the right direction with
the provision against organized crime, which has helped us immensely. Obviously,
these matters require extremely lengthy and expensive investigations; but the
provision is nonetheless effective in thwarting associations with criminal
groups. We should use that initiative as a model going forward with respect to
terrorism, which has become the focus for the next decade.
Senator Plett: Thank you for clarifying some of that issue. I want to
support that view because, in my opinion, counselling someone to commit murder
is a crime and the person can be put in jail for that act. Counselling people to
blow themselves up as a suicide bomb is committing a crime. Terrorism is clearly
there to commit crimes; therefore, counselling someone to commit terrorism
should be the same.
I appreciate your comments and want to, again, commend you for the tremendous
work you are doing. I am a substitute on this committee but I appreciate some of
the challenges you face. Thank you for the work you are doing.
Senator Joyal: I want to come back to that concept of Inspector
Stewart, which is to offer a counter narrative.
I want to illustrate my example for Inspector Chartrand with something I
heard on the weekend, related to the events involving Mr. Rizzuto. Reporters
were asking people about their reaction to the murder. I was shocked by the
number of people who said that it was not serious, that they killed within their
organizations so it was okay to let them peg each other off, that when so much
rivalry exists between groups, they end up killing each other off.
To tie that back to the cargo parcel bombs, I get the sense that when
incidents of this nature occur, the public pays a lot of attention to what the
police says. No matter what, it is up to you the police, not the politicians, to
I would have liked the Montreal police to call a press conference to explain
to people that what happened was extremely serious. This was not some western
shootout where the good guy wins in the end.
The public does not understand just how complex the mafia, organized crime,
is nowadays. We heard from witnesses who told us that it was at the point where
organized criminals had even managed to infiltrate the judicial system and
perhaps even the police. So this is not just some fight where the bad guys get
rid of one another.
In the case of the cargo parcel, the public's attention and all media
coverage was totally focused on the incident for a few hours. You had a captive,
receptive audience, and you should have used that opportunity to send a message:
You need to be cautious, you should know that, and so forth. Then people would
The timing, the psychological moment, is there. I feel, as a citizen, it is
missing. You conduct the right investigation, I am not questioning that.
However, the privileged moment where you can pass the message to the citizens —
because they are aware, they are watching everything that takes place — is, to
me, something important.
This morning was the funeral. I watched the news at 12 after the funeral. It
was as if the funeral was for an honest citizen who had been unfortunately
killed. I am sorry, but this is not what is happening there. It is a serious
The policemen who answered questions said only that we are doing this and we
are doing that on the investigation, but this information is peripheral to the
message that we should deliver that day. Of course, that is what would happen in
any other city in Canada, be it Toronto or Vancouver. It seems to me when there
is an incident like this one, we have a privileged moment to call on the
interest and attention of citizens to say, this is where they have a role.
As you said and as you answered to other senators, you can try to appear nice
to some communities and I totally support that; there is nothing more credible
to a community than someone coming from that community. There are challenges
there, but you have responsibility for the whole citizenry. The values of a
society to be receptive to fighting terrorism and to fighting organized crime is
not something that the citizens can say the police are taking care of it and I
can go my own way. People in their own milieu have a responsibility. That is
what we have been told around this table.
I wonder whether you are not missing golden opportunities here. You have a
window for a few hours, or even two or three days, when you can get a message
out. But what the public hears is inspectors or investigators measuring the
bullet's trajectory, size and so forth. That is secondary to what is happening
right then in society. I think you should rethink your approach. You should not
be afraid of speaking to the media during those times.
The Chair: I believe the deputy chair will permit me to say that it
strikes me that my colleague is adding to the mission beyond protecting the
public, which is complex; beyond gathering evidence for lawful prosecution under
the Constitution, which is complex; and beyond lawful interruption of events
before they happen to protect the public, which is complex. He asks a
fascinating question, which is the public education opportunity that people in
uniform have in a fashion that the rest of us around this table never have.
Politicians are open to a certain kind of public view that police officers,
thank goodness, are not subjected to for all the right reasons.
The question may be a tough one to reflect on, but your advice will be of
immense value to us. Part of the goal of the committee in taking a look at
anti-terrorism activities is that of public education. Therefore, we will
benefit from your advice. Even if there are qualifications or sensitivities that
prohibit you from being engaged as fully as Senator Joyal suggests, we will be
happy to hear about those, as well.
Mr. Chartrand: With respect to the murder of Vito Rizzuto, around 5
p.m. on Wednesday, when the police force was informed that an individual had
been shot through the window of his home, the head of the gang squad took part
in a media scrum in an effort to reassure the public.
The first role of the police force is to reassure the public. Of course,
there are situations beyond our control, but in the flurry of activity that has
surrounded Italian-based mob crime for the past year, the police has questioned
some high-ranking gang members.
Information gathered in the course of the investigation suggested that
certain other members could be targeted. That is why we had met with Mr.
Rizzuto. Our role was precisely to reassure the public by explaining the
circumstances and the situation to the extent possible, because, as was
mentioned earlier, there are indeed some pieces of evidence that we cannot
What interests the media and forms the public's connection to the event?
Obviously, it is the calibre of the gun, the length of the barrel, but also the
facts, what happened, the circumstances of the murder. We have often tried to
provide an explanation or to describe the facts, but there are times when people
simply choose not to listen.
When the commander closes his remarks by saying that the incident occurred
just three hours ago and that investigators are only starting to understand what
happened, the media turns to so-called experts to speculate on what happened,
which shifts people away from the facts and the focus. The voice the public
hears is that of the media, and citizens cannot use the same channels of
Nevertheless, the media tries to obtain information to understand what
happened. We are not trying to minimize the opportunity it presents or to hide
so as not to disclose information, but very often the media will steer the
conversation where they want it to go. And I do not think that is in the
public's best interest.
I will tell you that we strive to communicate basic information and to
pinpoint areas of concern, but there is always some information that is
uncertain, depending on the circumstances or the event in question.
The Chair: Do witnesses from Vancouver or Toronto wish to engage on
Mr. Stewart: The senator has a good point and we often miss an
opportunity to do exactly that. Police departments have to be careful in
messaging in terms of what that message is when it comes to public safety
because, although we have to inform, we do not want to incite fear when fear
should not be there. We have to be careful.
In saying that, our department, and likely other departments as well, have a
media relations office where we consider exactly that and how we will put the
message out in relation to that crime or event. The message is carefully thought
out. What we are talking about today can be added into the mix and considered
from time to time. I agree it makes good sense to look at the event as a good
opportunity to send out that message.
Mr. Fitzgerald: I will echo those comments. In the early stages of any
of these serious cases, such as the murder of Mr. Rizzuto, the role of the
initial responding police is to preserve the integrity of that case and be
careful about not misinforming the public or other police agencies who may be
engaged in supporting that effort.
At the same time, if we are to release this type of information, we want to
provide some form of messaging to the community about public safety, and
reassure them the community is safe and that the incident is an isolated one or
that it likely will not impact ordinary folk minding their own business in that
There is a need for the police to speak openly about the impact of organized
crime and terrorism in our communities. Sometimes in trying to preserve the
integrity of that case, we sometimes miss those opportunities in the short
windows we spoke of. Our public affairs folks will remind investigating officers
that they should speak to this need as well while they deliver the nuts and
bolts of the investigation that they are prepared to release to the public, not
to the detriment of the integrity of the investigation as a whole.
Your point is well taken and there could be many more press conferences or
news conferences to raise Canadians' awareness of the dangers of organized crime
in our communities.
Mr. Sneddon: I want to add to that. What we do raises an interesting
and valid point. I want to bring you up to speed as to where we are in
addressing it. Having a whole media strategy, having open dialogue with the
media and being more up front with the media is very much on the forefront from
the perspective of our own Integrated National Security Enforcement Team, INSET,
from an RCMP-led perspective, and for Gilles Michaud, Assistant Commissioner for
National Security at the national headquarters in Ottawa.
To give you an example, earlier this year, immediately prior to the G20,
3,300 pounds of ammonium nitrate were obtained fraudulently from a grower supply
warehouse. It was of explosive grade, so it is a type of material that can be
easily developed into an explosive device.
The thought process around that event was twofold: To send the message out to
the public to see if we could locate the product to recover it as quickly as
possible, but we also wanted to educate the public at the same time: This
product is dangerous product and can be misdirected and directed for other
purposes. We were fortunate in that regard.
As far as engaging the public through the media, within 20 minutes of the
press conference, we had all the information we needed. Going back to your
initial point, there was a strong focus on enhanced media engagement in a manner
in which you have described.
Senator Joyal: Thank you. May I have another question?
This is an issue related to each of your presentations, and that is the Air
India report. One major recommendation in that report was the appointment of a
national security advisor who would have the responsibility to arbitrate between
you, the RCMP, CSIS, DND sometimes and other services that might be involved in
case there is a "problem of communication" between the various agencies to
ensure all the agencies continue to play together.
I do not ask you to tell us the story of problems you might have had. I
understand there have been problems in the past, and we have been told about
them. However, do you favour the kind of proposal that was in the report, and do
you see a real role for an arbitrator such as a national security advisor? Do
you think it would be helpful in the performance of your duties?
Inspector Chartrand, despite the solid understanding that seems to exist,
according to Inspector Pichet, would it be helpful to have that person support
you in your role, given that you still need to rely on the various other
agencies to achieve security objectives?
Mr. Chartrand: I would say the important thing is to act as a lever.
There is no hiding that every police organization has its own philosophy and
And as is often the case with integrated teams, the tendency is toward joint
management, co-location, where being on the same floor finally brings people
together under a shared ideology.
Unfortunately, certain ideologies still clash, and organizations will share
information but leave out little bits along the way because they each have their
own boss, their own jurisdiction, and that is normal. Something we still need to
improve on is knocking down the barriers. I am certain that it can only help to
cement our ties and strengthen our information sharing.
Senator Joyal: May I have feedback from the other inspectors we have
had the pleasure of hearing from today?
Mr. Sneddon: I will be happy to respond. It is essential because,
within the national security environment primarily but not exclusively, the RCMP
collect information and evidence to one database. CSIS, another domestic agency
in the same country, collects intelligence in a separate database. Those two
databases do not link. The information flow from the police to the intelligence
service is robust, and moves back and forth in an open and frank way. For a
number of reasons, the information coming back that way cannot be as direct.
That situation creates the potential for a piece of information or a piece of
evidence that could be the solution to a particular crime or to advance an
investigation, whether that be a criminal investigation or an intelligence
probe, to sit in either of these databases without anyone knowing it exists. In
the absence of knowing it is there, we are stuck.
In terms of your thinking of a national security advisor, I hope that the
person has the appropriate number of staff because that person could be busy. I
see an opportunity to have a person or an electronic system that monitors both
databases to ensure that information is linked and pointed in the right
The Chair: We have seen interesting developments in the United States,
where their security czar has had difficulty because of existing interagency
battles. The United States has a larger, more robust bureaucracy so those
tensions are understandable with 18 or 19 national security agencies competing
with each other in some fashion, which we do not have.
You said that you hope a national security advisor will have staff. Would you
not need a statutory base for information sharing? What else could force a CSIS
investigation to share data with a national security advisor who, as we speak
today, is another deputy minister like all other deputy ministers appointed to
the Privy Council Office?
We assume good faith and that people cooperate, share, work together and
understand the imperatives of doing so, but without statutory requirement there
might always be a reason not to work together, either because we do not want to
see the intelligence operation fouled up by an evidence-gathering operation or
vice versa, or because we do not want to get in the way of gathering evidence by
sharing information in the wrong way, which might place an investigation in a
Do you agree that we need a statutory basis to force that sharing? Would that
basis be resented at some level? For example, our friends in the Ontario
Provincial Police operate under the same Criminal Code but in another
jurisdiction. Another example is our friends from the Sûreté du Québec that have
I probe a little because you folks at the table here today have the
operational experience at the highest level to help us understand what will make
the most constructive difference to assist with the task.
Mr. Sneddon: The desire exists to share that information or to have
the capacity to share it. Everyone is working as best they can, given the tools
they have. Going back to your point of whether there should be legislation
stating what these agencies must do, that legislation would be required
absolutely. Candidly, I see legislation as a good way of keeping everyone honest
and as a clear way of ensuring that nothing is missed. I am certain our greatest
concern is missing something because no one wants to see anything missed because
one miss is potentially disastrous.
Mr. Stewart: From our perspective, I most definitely agree with that
point. I do not know how the NSA position would be mandated, but if it could be
done in a statutory way, that would be great. If the position were created to
develop the structure and framework that would hold everyone accountable, it
would work well. It is not so much the fact that the willingness is not there,
but rather that there is no system in place to ensure that it is done.
The Chair: There is no formal obligation.
Do our colleagues from Quebec have anything to add?
Mr. Chartrand: What I can tell you is that right now, in the country,
we have SARC, an automated criminal intelligence system.
It was supposed to be a national system. I am not sure that all organizations
follow that direction.
I think that if everyone contributes, the system is there and it works; it is
just a matter of being willing to use it. There are still some major
investigations that have been completed and that have yet to be inputted into
SARC, the provincial SARC of Quebec, Sûreté du Québec-Montréal. There is already
a system in place that the RCMP can use to access our data; the same goes for
Sûreté du Québec.
Now, does every office make sure that its people contribute to the system
correctly, inputting the most detailed and timely information? That remains to
Senator Jaffer: Mr. Sneddon, you said something about disclosure. You
are a person seasoned in the court system, and disclosure is at the heart of the
Canadian court system. Can you explain what you mean by not disclosing
everything so as to protect sources? How do you test the material when you do
not have full disclosure?
Mr. Sneddon: That is the balance we have to achieve. I said that it
was a complex issue, but I did not say I had all the answers. I will explain it
this way: CSIS in particular is happy with its sources of information and with
how the information is collected. CSIS would be happy to convey the information
provided there was some level of comfort that its source was not about to be
compromised. I will give an example. On the policing side, a confidential source
has a privilege. That privilege is well enshrined in law. The source holds the
privilege and only the source can waive the privilege, except for a couple of
circumstances. However, a CSIS source does not have that privilege because no
legislation addresses that aspect; and that is where I see a gap. Cases will
come through the courts in the near future where that gap will create an issue.
That is an example of the kind of thing that can be adjusted and tweaked with a
view to making it work better for everyone.
Senator Jaffer: We are aware of cases coming up and we will watch what
happens. I will prod you a little more on that issue. Do you see the information
being given to the judge? We have challenges in some of our current hearings
where the judge and a court advocate can see the information. What were you
thinking about how the information is to be conveyed, because it has to be
conveyed to someone, whether a judge or a special advocate? How do you see the
system being set up?
Mr. Sneddon: Without question, the judge needs to see it. Of course,
there is the issue of whether the accused has the right to see it. That issue
brings in this whole notion of special advocates. That step is positive. I do
not propose to have all the answers that flow from that notion. A step in the
right direction is having an independent counsel who represents the court and
advises the judge as to what is contained within the material. The judge then is
able to make a decision.
The Chair: It is deemed to be trusted by the Crown for the exercise of
Mr. Sneddon: Correct: That step is in the right direction, but it is
only a step. It is a question of how far that goes.
Senator Jaffer: On the other end, how the information was obtained and
where the information was obtained are issues because we have seen challenges
there as well.
Mr. Sneddon: That is right, and there are two other sections in the
Canada Evidence Act that allow the Crown to make application to protect
information that may be deemed injurious to Canada, whether that be information
that has come from a foreign government or intelligence information. There are
many unknowns, and the unknowns are what create discomfort and cause
consternation on the part of people regarding information as it relates to the
prosecution of these types of cases and the ability to share information
Senator Jaffer: Terrorism is a global issue. We have to share
information with other countries and so we have to find ways, creative ways, of
protecting information if we are to protect our public. We will have to keep
looking at this issue of how we protect information. I am sure our committee at
some stage will look at this issue.
The Chair: Thank you very much. Before I go back to Senator Joyal, I
have a brief general question.
I think the average Canadian citizen would be of the view that all the police
forces represented here today with respect to the normative criminal activity
issues — drugs, prostitution, murder, immigration fraud and all the rest — would
maintain whatever resources were appropriate with a view to your constraints
relative to undercover activity to assist in the normative criminal intelligence
work that you need to perform your tasks.
Should Canadians be confident, based on what we all know and accepting that
there are never enough resources to do everything as well as we would like, that
on the anti-terrorism and homegrown terrorism front those similar covert
resources, which may be necessary from time to time, are reasonably available to
you and that you are able to deploy them in a fashion that you are comfortable
assists you in doing your job, or is there a serious deficiency either because
of lack of language skills or community integration that we should be thinking
about regarding how to make recommendations that assist our police forces in
Mr. Stewart: Are you talking about undercover operations in terms of
investigating terrorist plots?
The Chair: It was a general question. I know that police officers do
not comment on operations. I am not asking you to do that. It was a general
question about resources.
Mr. Stewart: Everything we talk about is related to a crime, so that
means if we have intelligence and it is criminal intelligence and there is a
nexus to a crime, we prioritize our resources based on the magnitude of that
crime. Therefore, yes, I think people can rest assured that we will make that
right prioritization and obtain the resources we need to infiltrate, if need be,
The Chair: You would be able to sort out the data sets you need?
Mr. Stewart: Yes.
Mr. Chartrand: I would say that there is always some loss of
resources, obviously. But I think we need to have confidence in the police's
management of those resources because the police are increasingly skilled at
allocating them properly.
Mr. Sneddon: The key to proper resourcing for these types of
investigations is that the effort is not individual. One policing agency does
not have ownership or jurisdiction but we take the collective approach, and if
we have all players on the team going in the same direction, then we have a
better chance of having the right result. We take that approach and continue to
take it in these types of areas. Do I feel we have adequate resources to allow
us to do what we do? Yes; sometimes I would like more language skills in
particular areas, but that is something that will take time to achieve and we
are working towards it.
Senator Joyal: I want to come back to Commander Pichet's table. You
mentioned, at the bottom of the second table — which lists the different
security agencies involved in counterterrorism efforts — the three police
stakeholders: the RCMP, Sûréte du Québec and National Defence. Then you have the
fire department, the emergency health agency, Urgences-santé, and the transit
There are many more public agencies. You referred to Hydro-Quebec towers and
other colleagues mentioned the electrical dam — I think Inspector Stewart
mentioned it. Those infrastructures are public, and there is also private
infrastructure that is even more critical to a point than some of the public
infrastructure. How do you involve the representatives of private infrastructure
to ensure that they are responsive and pass on information to you if they have
tips or if they feel they are exposed to a greater risk than they were before?
I will give you time to think about it. You rightly talked about the STM,
which manages Montreal's subway and public transit system, but what about the
equally important railway service or road transportation such as buses?
Targeting a jam-packed bus on a Friday afternoon could do just as much damage as
a subway train. So there are also major risks involving private infrastructure
that provides public or semi public services. How do those organizations fit
into your counterterrorism plan?
I ask the same question to you in Vancouver and Toronto. I feel that the
challenge is the same.
Mr. Stewart: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is rolling out a
program called suspicious incident reporting, and that is exactly what they are
trying to do. They are working with security, either private or public, of
critical infrastructure and working out a program where they are trying to
obtain security clearances for their main security personnel in those agencies
or utilities, if you will, to be able to share information back and forth with
the RCMP, and in turn, they train their people to look for suspicious incidents
and report them.
Another piece of that puzzle is that if the suspicious incident occurred
within the city of Vancouver, then we would be in the loop with what they were
seeing. I cannot comment on where that program is at right now, but it is being
rolled out and is something they are working on it at a national level. It is
called Suspicious Incident Reporting, SIR.
Mr. Pichet: That is an excellent question. Over the years, a lot of
agencies and organizations have tried to be a part of this committee, but we
have to choose our members. There are 12 to 15 of us on the committee already,
and if we gave everyone a place, we would quickly turn into a very large and
less effective committee. The larger a committee is, the harder it is to manage.
I would also point out another reason why the STM has a place on the
committee: it supplies equipment. Wherever we need to intervene on the island of
Montreal, the STM supplies us with buses, not just for decontamination but also
for the transportation of the wounded. It was not an easy decision. No doubt,
administrators at the Montréal-Trudeau airport, the Montreal harbour, the
eastern region of Montreal, the energy sector and so forth would like to be on
the committee, as well. So we continue to maintain ties with my unit, while
relying on subcommittees to incorporate those stakeholders.
At the airport, for example, there may be certain issues we need to address
jointly, and the airport structure includes members of our police force, airport
security, the Canada Revenue Agency, as well as the Canadian Air Transport
Security Authority. Further to formal requests, we make sure that we keep people
in the loop, but through the participation of subcommittees. That is how we are
able to maintain ties with the stakeholders. If their infrastructure was the
target of an incident, all of our members would participate in the response, in
addition to the owners of the targeted infrastructure.
The same goes for the Port of Montreal. It recently acquired radiation
detection equipment, like Halifax, I believe, so all import containers pass
through a radiation detection portal. Our committee sat down with the port
authority and the federal government in Ottawa to work out a user protocol
specific to this portal. The first alert results in internal checks. On the
second alert, first responders are called to the scene. Our committee was
involved in that.
We will be conducting a simulation the day after tomorrow. An exercise to
implement that procedure will be carried out at the Montreal harbour. I will be
the person responsible on the scene, but I will be calling on everyone to do
their jobs, and the port authority, as the site of the event, will play a
complementary role. A spot on the committee is in high demand. First, there are
the services: the people on the ground, police, paramedics and firefighters.
Then, there are our police counterparts in other forces and the Canadian Forces,
the people who can provide support in a chemical, biological or radiological
situation, and the STM in terms of equipment. We still get stakeholders asking
to join the committee. This is the way we have always managed the committee,
which still looks like it did in 1998.
The Chair: Did colleagues from other jurisdictions want to comment?
Mr. Fitzgerald: Toronto has programs similar to what has been
described here. The SIR program by the RCMP is very much in play in the Toronto
area. The people from the various sectors you described — energy,
transportation, et cetera — know that if they have a suspicion about an incident
that occurs in their area, they phone the number for national security in Ottawa
and alert the RCMP INSET folks to become engaged.
Toronto Police Service is also reaching out to our security professionals in
the Toronto area through a program called Toronto Association of Police and
Private Security, TAPPS, which is well established in the downtown core. We are
looking to expand that program with other private security partners trusted by
the police that have a reputation for sharing information and being reliable in
the information that is shared with them. Finding the mechanism to expand that
program is a bit of a challenge, but to be honest, I believe our private sector
partners will be helpful in that regard.
The Chair: Colleagues, on your behalf, I want to express our profound
appreciation to the senior police officers, inspectors, who have come from
Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto to share their perceptions on this issue with
us. It has been a constructive working session. It has been helpful to us.
So no one takes this issue for granted, none of us on this committee — and I
think we speak for all Canadians — underestimate the complexity of your task,
the intensity of your commitment to it or the challenge of keeping an open and
free democracy safe from anti-terrorist activity, specifically one as diverse as
On behalf of committee members, I want to thank you for the work you do.
Thank you especially for the time you gave us today to assist us in our
I remind colleagues and those viewing this hearing that on November 22 the
committee will benefit from the presence of advisers to the British Government
on the issue of radicalization. Dr. Tobias Feakin from the Royal United Services
Institute and Professor Andrew Silke from the University of East London will
share their information and insights with us.
(The committee adjourned.)