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Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Legal and Constitutional Affairs

Issue 20 - Evidence for June 6, 2012


OTTAWA, Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, to which was referred Bill C-26, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (citizen's arrest and the defences of property and persons), met this day at 4:15 p.m. to give consideration to the bill.

Senator Bob Runciman (Chair) in the chair.

[Editor's Note: Some evidence was presented through a Mandarin interpreter]

[English]

The Chair: Good afternoon and welcome everyone, including members of the public who are viewing today's proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs on the CPAC television network.

Today we are continuing our consideration of Bill C-26, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (citizen's arrest and the defences of property and persons). This bill was first introduced in the House of Commons on November 22 of last year. The summary the bill states that it:

. . . amends the Criminal Code to enable persons who own or have lawful possession of property, or persons authorized by them, to arrest a person they find committing a criminal offence on or in relation to that property, within a reasonable time. The bill also amends the Code to simplify the provisions relating to the defences of property and persons.

Bill C-26 was referred to the committee by the Senate on May 15 of this year. This is our fourth meeting on the bill. We will be concluding our public hearings and proceeding to clause-by-clause consideration after today. These hearings are open to the public, also available via webcast on www.parl.gc.ca. You can find more information on the schedule of witnesses on the website under "Senate committees."

Our first panel begins with David Chen, Owner, Lucky Moose Food Mart and his lawyer, Ms. Chi-Kun Shi. As many of you may be aware, Mr. Chen was involved in the very high profile incident at his store in Toronto in May 2009. Joseph Singleton and Marilyn Singleton were also involved in a well-known case that occurred on their property in Taber, Alberta in May 2010. Mr. Alex Scholten is the President of the Canadian Convenience Stores Association, which represents over 31,000 members across Canada, including major chains and independent convenience store operators, gas vendors and food retailers.

I assume the three groups have opening statements or comments you would like to make at the outset.

Chi-Kun Shi, Lawyer, as an individual: Honourable senators, I will focus my submissions on clause 3 of Bill C-26, which amends section 494(2) of the Criminal Code, or the so-called "citizen's arrest provision." I am a lawyer and spend most of my practice in civil litigation, far away from the criminal courts. However, in 2009 I became involved in the public discourse about a citizen's right to arrest after Mr. Chen's incident. I had the opportunity to speak to many store owners and debate issues in an open forum and with the media in both the English and Chinese languages.

Throughout these discussions, two points emerged. First, that Canadians categorically reject a law that protects a criminal and condemns the victim. It offends their sense of right and wrong. Second, that Canadians are concerned that citizen reactivism is incompatible with our government's role in our lives. The proposed amendment to the Criminal Code before the committee today — in particular clause 3 of Bill C-26 — has fundamental implications as it attempts to recalibrate not only the competing rights between criminals and victims, but also the perceived competing roles of government and citizenry in the protection of our communities.

I should state outright that I support these amendments as a sensible first step of hopefully more that Parliament will take to further recalibrate our law. The proposed amendment eliminates the current unworkable restriction which limits the citizen's arrest to the very narrow window of time when criminals are in the process of committing the crime. In Mr. Chen's case, because he arrested the shoplifter an hour after the crime was committed, the police denied him the citizen's arrest defence.

What took place after that was dramatic. The system turned the essential elements of an arrest, any arrest, into serious charges of kidnapping and forcible confinement and turned the victim into a serious alleged criminal. The laying of serious charges immediately triggers penal consequences.

In Mr. Chen's case, he was held overnight in jail and had to go through a bail hearing in court the next day before he was released. Most shoplifters will not spend a night in jail even if they are convicted.

Therefore, the Criminal Code imposes harsher penalties on illegal citizen's arrest than on shoplifting. Bill C-26 will not change that.

I submit therefore, that more must be done to address this imbalance between how we treat a criminal on the one hand, and the store owner who is only trying to defend his livelihood. Serious considerations must be given to further amendments in order to provide victims of crime more space between undertaking a picture perfect legal citizen's arrest and suddenly becoming an alleged kidnapper. Another way to provide the victims of crime more protection is through the enforcement stage.

Although rarely invoked, Parliament does have the ultimate executive authority over the implementation of the Criminal Code. It should be more willing to exercise this authority in order to provide leadership, at the prosecutorial level, to the provinces and extend support to victims who find themselves caught by a system that can still turn against them on a dime.

During many debates, opponents of rights of citizen's arrest characterize it as "vigilante justice." Essentially, these opponents equate citizen's activism with anarchy. To some extent, the Criminal Code's harsh treatment of store owners also reflects this view. It reflects the government's unease about trusting Canadians to participate in the safeguarding of our communities. The debate surrounding citizen's arrest is an opportunity to re-examine the role that every Canadian should play in our community, and the partnership that we must engage in with our government in order to build a strong Canada.

I will always remember a store owner who told me that after he caught a shoplifter and waited for the police to come. He was more scared than the shoplifter as to what the police may do to each of them. This is wrong and it must change.

In Chinese, the word "democracy" is made up of two characters: One that means "citizen" and another that means "decide." Bill C-26 is a step in that right direction.

The Chair: Mr. Chen, do you wish to make a statement?

[Interpretation]

David Chen, Owner, Lucky Moose Food Mart, as an individual: My name is David Chen. I am the owner of Lucky Moose Food Mart. When I found someone was stealing from me, I had to call the police to come and arrest those shoplifters, but sometimes the shoplifters might run away.

Usually, they are repeat offenders and come to my store. They know as soon as they run away that the police will have a hard time finding them, locating them. Under the circumstances, usually if we have to call the police and wait for them to show up, if the thieves should hit us or kick us, the owner of the store or the employees may use some kind of non-excessive force to stop the kicking and hitting by the shoplifters. We believe the law should be on the side of the employees and owners of the stores because the shoplifters are the offenders, the criminals. Only by doing so can we ensure that the owners of the stores, the employees and the associates of the stores can be truly protected by the law and that the shoplifters will not run rampant without any associated criminality.

The current version of the criminal law says that when there is a confrontation between the owner of the store and the shoplifter, the interest of the shoplifter is much more protected than the interests and the rights of the shop owners. Therefore, the shop owners may have to spend a lot of time and money on the defence. If you do not want to spend too much money or time on this, then the shop owners will have to suck it up, basically.

This created a lot of inconvenience and hardship on the part of the shop owners and the shop associates. Those shop owners who have such an experience, when they encountered situations, they sometimes let it go because it is not worth the time and effort to do anything, and they will just write off the merchandise that has been stolen. Then, as a result, there will be more and more thieves and shoplifters coming to their shops to shoplift and steal.

The shop owners face shoplifters very often in their day-to-day operation because we face a lot of customers. It is hard for us to swallow the fact that they come and repeatedly steal from us. If this is the way it goes, we simply cannot run a business.

Let me give an example. If someone comes to your house and steals an apple from you every day, one of these days you will be angry over the fact that one apple is stolen every day from you. I have a customer. He stole something yesterday and came to the store again today. I told him that we know he stole something from us yesterday, and he said, "Well, I did not steal from you today, so what are you going to do about it?"

Every day we have to face such challenges and difficulties, so we hope this can be resolved as soon as possible. I thank you for your attention.

[English]

Joseph Singleton, as an individual: We would like to thank the committee for the invitation to appear before you. We feel honoured to be part of helping to change laws for all Canadians. As a homeowner who has been the victim of a break and enter and then later charged with assaulting the intruder, I am glad to see our government is taking steps to protect the rights of homeowners.

Though I welcome the amendments to the current Criminal Code through Bill C-26, I feel that undefined grey areas still exist. Concerning the proposed citizen's arrest and self-defence amendments, an individual's instinctive reaction has not been addressed. It must be expected that, upon hearing a startling noise or seeing something out of the ordinary, a concerned citizen or homeowner would instinctively investigate to protect their property, to quell curiosity or for no other reason than to eliminate frivolous calls to police.

Also, these citizens and homeowners would instinctively arm themselves with something for self-protection. This may not necessarily be a firearm but rather anything nearby at the time: a golf club, a baseball bat, a broom, et cetera. These instinctive acts would most certainly be expected of those homeowners residing in a rural community since, more often than not, they would encounter a predatory animal rather than a person.

With respect to self-defence, is this homeowner then regarded as the aggressor when confronting a suspected criminal? Would a cause-and-effect rule then be the determining factor in charges being laid against the homeowner, whereas upon seeing the homeowner holding something, the suspected criminal uses force against the homeowner, leading the homeowner to use greater force to protect himself?

I feel that grey areas such as these need to be refined to prevent homeowners and citizens from being unjustly charged and prosecuted for merely protecting themselves, their family and their property. As my wife Marilyn and I lived through this unjust persecution firsthand, we realized the great financial hardship and emotional stress caused by these very serious assault charges. The rights of the homeowner must be put first and foremost above those of the criminal, as the homeowner did not set out to do anything wrong and the criminal did.

We did not receive one bit of negative feedback from anyone in our community but rather comments of disgust at a system that would charge a person for protecting his family and property. We also heard numerous comments of "the laws are wrong and need to be changed" from everyone — from the average person on the street to respected members of the community to law enforcement officials.

I look forward to seeing Bill C-26 passed into law, and hopefully our police and prosecutors will be able to use these new amendments to prevent the courts from having to figure it out, as the costs are quite enormous and lead to the victimized homeowner accepting a plea bargain for fear of financial ruin. Canadians must be able to feel safe in their homes. I am confident that our government holds this feeling of safety in the highest regard.

One of the hardest things I ever had to do was answer questions from my young grandchildren and try to explain why their grandfather was in trouble for protecting their grandmother. When even young children can see the laws are not right, it is definitely time for change.

Marilyn Singleton, as an individual: At the time of our home invasion, I would never have dreamed that Joe would have been charged for possibly saving my life. If he had not taken action, it is possible he would have had to explain to our children and grandchildren why he did not protect their mother and grandmother. He would have blamed himself for not reacting.

I am thankful he was able to stop the intruder from possibly ramming through our garage door. Living through months of dealings with lawyers and the courts has left me disillusioned with the legal system. I watched repeat offenders get off with slaps on the wrist while our lives were turned upside down by a system that would prosecute the innocent, victimized homeowner. The emotional stress and the financial strain are factors we have to live with even today.

My hope is that the laws regarding self-defence will protect every Canadian from having to experience the injustice we went through.

The Chair: Thank you both. Mr. Scholten?

Alex Scholten, President, Canadian Convenience Stores Association: My name is Alex Scholten and I am President of the Canadian Convenience Stores Association. Our association represents and advocates on behalf of the more than 25,000 convenience store operators in this country. That would include all levels of the industry, from the chains down to the mom-and-pop corner stores we call "independents."

Our association very much appreciates the opportunity to speak before this honourable committee on the changes proposed to the citizen's arrest provisions found in section 494(2) of the Criminal Code.

Convenience stores are the true definition of small business in Canada. As an industry, we employ over 185,000 Canadians, but as individual businesses, each store employs on average only about seven people. Rarely are there more than two employees working at any one time, and most convenience stores simply cannot afford to or are not profitable enough to justify employing more people at once.

Our association does annual benchmarking surveys on the industry, and we have found that the average convenience store net margin before taxes is between 1 and 1.5 per cent. These are extremely tight margins to operate under. As a result, convenience store retailers do not have the resources to pay for trained loss prevention officers or private security guards in order to combat shoplifting or theft. The owner-operator typically works very long hours just to make ends meet.

For ordinary Canadians, the likelihood of your property being stolen is fortunately not an everyday occurrence, but for convenience store owners, it is a constant preoccupation.

By virtue of the long hours of operation and the number of customers that we serve daily — over 10 million Canadians visit convenience stores on a daily basis — shoplifting and theft arise constantly. The Retail Council of Canada estimates that losses due to theft at small businesses, like convenience stores, are approximately 1.5 per cent of net sales. In case you were paying attention to my previous number on the net margins, it is about the same as what the net margins are for owners and operators.

Given the extremely small profit margins, convenience store owners must be diligent and aware of everything that is happening in their store in order to prevent theft and remain profitable, which is not an easy task for a limited number of employees.

As an association, we do not encourage convenience store owners or their employees to take the law into their own hands. The police must be the first line of defence. However, the police are not available at every street corner, and shoplifting is certainly not a high-priority offence. Therefore, retailer involvement is very likely.

Given that it is often a matter of their economic survival, retailers will protect their property from being stolen by taking matters into their own hands and making a citizen's arrest and detaining a shoplifter until police arrive if they have no other satisfactory alternative. The existing citizen's arrest provisions are too narrow to prevent the victims of shoplifting or theft, the retailers, to become re-victimized, as illustrated by Mr. Chen's case. We do not want to see hard-working small business owners re-victimized, as Mr. Chen was, and our association strongly supports the modest changes proposed to the citizen's arrest provisions found in Bill C-26 to allow citizens some leeway.

The Chair: Thank you. We will begin our questions. We have until 5:15. Hopefully every member of the committee will be given an opportunity to ask a question or two. We will begin with the deputy chair of the committee, Senator Fraser.

Senator Fraser: You are telling me to be brief.

Thank you all very much for being here. Your testimony is very important for us to hear, and I know we are all very grateful to you for having made it to Ottawa to speak to us.

My first question would be for Ms. Shi. As I understand Mr. Chen's case, Mr. Chen's famous case — you are really about as famous as is possible for a shop owner to be in Canada, Mr. Chen — the key reason why he was charged with assault and forcible confinement was because after he and his friends had apprehended the shoplifter they had to do something. So what did they do? They tied him up and put him in the back of a van, and indeed the van was starting to drive off at the point that the police arrived.

Is it your understanding that, under this bill, that conduct would be legal?

Ms. Shi: That is an excellent question, and unfortunately the answer, I believe, is no. When Mr. Chen was first charged, the police accounting as to why they would charge him was really based on the fact that the arrest was made an hour late. I always thought that was the point. As Mr. Chen's advocate outside the criminal court — I did not handle his criminal proceedings — the focus of our lobbying was: How can it be that you can arrest someone an hour later? Then, at Mr. Chen's trial, which I attended, the prosecutor's focus was on the issue of excessive force.

Throughout the hearing, there was a lot of evidence and debate as to whether excessive force was used. I sat there and listened to it myself asking always, every step of the way: What would the police have done?

If when trying to arrest someone that person starts running away, you will chase, no? If you have a cruiser available, the cruiser will chase. When you catch that person and that person is kicking and struggling, you will put the handcuffs on. In Mr. Chen's case, they used some twine because they actually do not dream about apprehending people in their daily routine and have no handcuffs. After you put the handcuffs or twine on and the person is still struggling, what do you do? If you leave him struggling on the street, he could bang his head, get hurt, hurt someone else and they will be held to pay too. What did they do? One of his store employees had just returned after delivering goods and hence the van was there. They put him in the van. They meant to drive him to the store and wait for the police.

I cannot for the life of me understand at which point the force was excessive in the sense that police would not have done it. Police are supposed to be highly trained professionals and we are supposed to trust law enforcement exclusively.

It is of comfort to us in the end the system did acquit Mr. Chen. However, the question remains why he was charged to start with and what he had to go through to clear his name.

Senator Fraser: You do not think this bill addresses that issue?

Ms. Shi: No. I think until law enforcement's attitude changes, there is, as Mr. Scholten pointed out, still a lot of grey area. That is why in my submissions I point out — I know it is a rarely used authority — that perhaps Parliament ought to be more active and proactive in signalling to provinces, the Attorneys General of provinces, that they should have a policy about dealing with these situations that are more in line with Canadian values, our basic morality about right and wrong.

The other point I would like to add on this issue is the fact that Mr. Chen was charged with assault, concealed weapon — the box cutter that he uses every hour to open cartons — forcible confinement and kidnapping. The forcible confinement and kidnapping, I believe, was simply dropped without Mr. Chen ever being tried for it. I have never heard from the Attorney General's office as to how this came about that he was charged with such serious offences and yet were then just dropped. I did not hear that they unearthed any new evidence that made them change their mind. If there was no new evidence and the existing evidence was not sufficient to take it to trial, why was he charged to start with? There has never been any accounting. Those charges are important because those charges were the ones that led to his not being able to be released from the police station after he was charged and having to spend a night in jail. As I pointed out, that is a heavier penalty than most shoplifters would get after being convicted.

Senator Fraser: On the second round, I would like to put the same question to Mr. and Ms. Singleton. Do they think that this bill would protect their actions when they were confronted with a terrible situation? I know you will tell me that I do not have time now.

The Chair: I appreciate your cooperation.

Senator Di Nino: Welcome to all of you. It is a pleasure to have you appear before us.

I will address a question to the Singletons, if I may. Throughout the bill, we talk about the fact that the enforcement of laws is still the primary function and responsibility of police. Do you agree with that premise?

Mr. Singleton: Yes, I do. In our situation, the first thing that we did was to phone the police. Yet, it took approximately 20 to 30 minutes for the police to arrive at our house. I was not intending to mete out any vigilante justice or anything like that. I had merely stepped outside of our house, after hearing a noise, and seen the criminal in his vehicle. I told him to stay where he was and that the police were coming. He decided to flee and, in doing so, smashed into our car, then put his car into drive in what I believe was an attempt to ram through our garage door to escape. My wife was on the other side of the garage door calling 911, not knowing what was going on outside. I was in fear for her life, which is why I took the actions I did to stop him.

Senator Di Nino: Your first reaction, though, was to phone the police because it is their job, and we should get them to do this?

Mr. Singleton: Exactly.

Senator Di Nino: Mr. Chen, how big is your store?

[Interpretation]

Mr. Chen: Five thousand feet.

[English]

Senator Di Nino: How many employees do you have?

[Interpretation]

Mr. Chen: Only 11.

[English]

Senator Di Nino: How many days a week do you work?

[Interpretation]

Mr. Chen: Seven.

[English]

Senator Di Nino: I believe you acted because the offender was a repeat offender; is that correct?

[Interpretation]

Mr. Chen: At the time, he was going to escape. I told him to stop, to wait for the police. He started kicking and beating us, and we started to bind him, tie him up. We have a wagon, and we did not think it was safe to leave him on the street. Therefore, we put him in the wagon.

The previous day, we had a similar situation. We waited for four and a half hours. The police came, and it was too late. On that day, I did not know how long it would take the police to arrive. I could not wait for four and a half hours because we simply cannot afford that.

[English]

Senator Di Nino: You did phone the police first?

[Interpretation]

Mr. Chen: Yes.

[English]

Senator Di Nino: Mr. Scholten, in your comments, you talked about the modest change to the Criminal Code. Do you think that the changes that we are making will help to protect the individuals who act in protection of their own property, families and themselves better than the current Criminal Code does today?

Mr. Scholten: Absolutely. I think Mr. Chen's case is an excellent example of that. Any additional flexibility given to convenience store owners or any shop owners would be a welcome change. I think it does certainly help.

Senator Baker: Thank you. I want to congratulate all of the witnesses for their excellent presentations, and I especially want to congratulate Mr. Chen for his actions and for making this law a reality because now this law will be known as the "Chen Law." That is normally the way we interpret the laws as being the reason for the amendments.

I am puzzled. I would like to ask a question of your lawyer, Mr. Chen. Ms. Shi, you mentioned that you are a civil litigator.

Ms. Shi: Yes.

Senator Baker: As I recall, you have also been involved in other cases that are not just civil. You have been involved in some famous cases.

Ms. Shi: Uncivil cases?

Senator Baker: Partially criminal, having to do with the deportation and so on of people facing serious criminal charges.

Ms. Shi: Yes.

Senator Baker: I congratulate you for your record on that.

Ms. Shi: Thank you.

Senator Baker: Here is what puzzles me about this: The offence for which Mr. Chen was charged is what we define as "hybrid" in nature.

Ms. Shi: Yes.

Senator Baker: In other words, it could be prosecuted by indictment or as a summary offence — a serious offence or a less serious offence. Now, the Criminal Code says — we have passed these amendments to the Criminal Code over the years — that when someone's identity has been established at the police station, when the police have told them why they were arrested and they know who they are and where to get them, they are released. That is what the Criminal Code says. If the officer making the arrest does not release the person, then the superior officer must release the person when the superior officer is told by the arresting officer that the person is still detained.

It is only in matters of identification or in what are called "exigent circumstances involving other matters" that a person is held until the next day, and then the law says that you go before a judge within 24 hours. Then normally, with hybrid offences, the judge releases the individual on certain conditions.

Why was Mr. Chen held overnight?

Ms. Shi: My understanding was that, because the charges were so serious — specifically, the kidnapping and the forcible confinement — that he was not released from the police station and instead held overnight in a jail cell and released by the bail court the next day.

That is why I say that it is so important to improve the situation at the enforcement level. The law could never be black and white. If the law were black and white, we would not need judges. A computer could just spit out one plus one equals two. There will always be gray areas that require discretionary powers. It is so important, at the front-line, enforcement level, that police officers and the Crown understand that these store owners are not the enemy. They are often people who really do not know what else to do. Until we have an answer to the fact that the police cannot realistically get there in time to catch criminals, we should be a lot more sympathetic if the store owners do try to defend themselves and their property.

Senator Baker: What do you answer to someone who says to you, "Well, this new law that has been created for a citizen's arrest goes beyond the powers of the police in the next section of the Criminal Code, 495(2), which says that the police can only arrest someone who is found in the commission of the offence, while the offence is taking place"? What do you answer to those people who make that claim that perhaps this law goes too far?

Ms. Shi: My answer to that is that the police are not the victims. The right to the property belongs to the person. If we have rights to our property, we must have the right to defend it.

The nature of the positions is totally different. Police are doing a job. In a sense, they are our agents. We hire them to protect us. However, the right to defend, ultimately, in my respectful submission, must belong to the people. I think it is possible that some police officers forget that. They think that the right to protect property belongs to them, that we work for them instead of the other way around. That is why they take a dim view, when they see people like David taking proactive measures; they see it as an encroachment.

In my view, however, the police and citizens have to have a partnership. We must, as citizens, participate in the safeguarding of our community. Communities can never be safe without active participation of the citizens themselves. Shoplifting is a perfect example. Do we really believe that we will ever have the resources to have the police get there to catch a thief in the act?

The Chair: We will have to move on, Senator Baker.

Senator Baker: Good answers, Mr. Chair.

[Translation]

Senator Boisvenu: First, I thank you very much for your evidence. In my youth, my father had a corner store for seven or eight years, to raise eight children. One day, for a case of beer, a group of thugs beat him up and left him half dead. I understand very well, Mr. Chen, your concern; you wish that when criminals decide to commit this crime of theft for peanuts, the law says that this criminal put himself at risk, that the private owner has the right to defend himself and that the reasonable doubt must be in favor of the owner, in our justice system, not in favor of the criminal. I think we should shift the onus of proof in that situation.

You said at the beginning, Ms. Shi, that you thought this bill was very weak, you said it twice. I will ask you a very open question: what kind of rights should we give to those owners who often work alone at night in their store, and who have no other choice but to defend themselves because the police cannot be in each corner store? What would you propose as far as giving rights to those owners?

[English]

Ms. Shi: I would propose that there has to be change in not just the written law but in the values and in our attitude. Again, I go back to the enforcement stage because there will always be grey areas that, philosophically, the enforcement front line officers and Crown attorneys must recognize that the Criminal Code must never take the side of a criminal. If we have to choose as a society, we should always take the side of the victim instead of the criminal; otherwise, people simply lose faith in our justice system. In David's case, I was honoured to have been invited to so many talk shows and, as result, had conversed with so many Canadians. Their views are very simple. They said the law has been turned upside down. Everything has been turned upside down in David's case.

I doubt that the law could ever be written to such a point that this could never happen. However, it is more in its implementation that we could make sure that the justice system represents Canadian values, and I go back to the point I discussed earlier. I know it is rarely used, but the federal government does own criminal prosecutions, and although it overwhelmingly, most of the time, delegates that authority to the provinces, it does have the ultimate authority by reason of its legislative authority. It owns the executive authority of the Criminal Code. Perhaps it is time that the federal government considers filtering down to the provinces and to the police these values more often and to take a more proactive approach as to how the Criminal Code is implemented.

Senator Angus: Good afternoon, all of you, and thank you for coming. Congratulations on your very good evidence. I have a lot of questions, but I will start with you, Mr. Singleton, to let you tell the rest of your story. We did not get all the facts. Obviously, there was something going on with this criminal outside, and it was in a car, but had he been in the house taking stuff?

Mr. Singleton: Yes, my wife and I came home after an evening out. Approaching our house, we noticed the lights on in the house. I asked my wife if we had left them on, but we were unsure, second-guessing. As we approached closer, we noticed the vehicle in the driveway. Again, we thought it must be someone we know. It is a small community we live in. Maybe we left the door unlocked and there are houseguests waiting for us when we get home. We parked behind the vehicle. It was in our driveway because it was blocking entrance to our garage, opened the overhead door and entered through the garage overhead door. On the way in, something in the back of your mind — "what if." I have a little chopping block for chopping kindling for the fireplace. I reached down and grabbed my hatchet. We entered the house through the garage, took a couple steps in and noticed the house was upside down, turned around immediately. I pushed my wife back in the garage and said "Phone the police. We've been broken into," and then, like I say, she's on the phone to 911. I heard a noise outside and went out to look and seen the person in the vehicle.

Senator Angus: He has been in the house but got out when you were coming in through the garage.

Mr. Singleton: Correct. There were actually three of them in the house. The police apprehended two as they had gone to get a pickup truck, were heading back to our house to load up, I guess. Caught them just a hundred metres or so from our house, and like I said, I used force to stop this person from possibly ramming through our garage door and injuring or killing my wife. The criminal ended up running away. I basically let him run away, and later — it was actually five months later — I was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and assault causing bodily harm.

Senator Angus: Did you harm him?

Mr. Singleton: Yes, I did.

Senator Angus: With the axe.

Mr. Singleton: With the blunt end. I was wise enough to turn it around. I did not want to kill the person. I had to stop that vehicle from potentially crashing through our door.

Senator Angus: Listening to you telling it, it is a frightening experience. I can only imagine what it is like.

You mentioned the law needs to be clearer. There are nuances. In your view, does this bill do the trick, or does it not go far enough?

Mr. Singleton: I would like to see this bill passed. It is a very good start, but I think we always have room for improvement. As we learn new things and as things progress, definitely there is always room for improvement. I would like to see way more onus and latitude given to homeowners and business owners. Like I said, we are not the ones that set out to do anything wrong. It is the criminals that set out to do something wrong. We are merely protecting ourselves and our property.

Senator Angus: Thank you.

Ms. Shi, are you the lawyer representing Mr. Chen or just a friend?

Ms. Shi: I am a lawyer by profession, and you can say I represented Mr. Chen outside the criminal courts. I was his advocate, and I made many statements in public, went to many discussions and wrote open letters to all three levels of government on his behalf. The only thing I did not do for him was to represent him in the criminal court because I do not do criminal cases.

Senator Angus: You probably helped find a criminal lawyer to represent him.

Ms. Shi: Yes, my ex-husband.

Senator Angus: I am sure he did a great job.

A lot of lawyers have come here and told us that this law on self-defence and citizen's arrest is one of the oldest laws on our books. It goes back to the laws of Upper Canada in 1830 and has been on the books.

It is very complicated, we are told. It has been interpreted by the jurisprudence over the years and has a meaning to lawyers, who can read it and understand what it means. If we tinker with it, we are being told by lawyers both from the prosecution and defence bar that it will create more nuances and uncertainty rather than the clarity, which all of you folks are seeking. Of course, if you can believe the minister, it is also the intention of the government. As a very clear thinker and good attorney, what is your view? You said it is an excellent first step. In your opinion as a lawyer, is it clear?

Ms. Shi: I think that it will never be totally clear. No law is ever totally clear, otherwise I would be out of a job and so would judges; we would replace the justice system with computers. However, I would turn this attitude of saying, "It is so old, don't tinker with it" around by saying, "It is so old that we need to look at it and update it."

These cases illustrate on the ground level where the law is supposed to work for the people that it is not working. The fact that Crown attorneys who are not affected in a personal way by it want to keep it is no reason to have it. It is not working. Even with the amendment, as long as the attitude of front line enforcement people see store owners as the bigger menace than the shoplifters we will always have a problem.

The Chair: We will have to move on.

Senator Jaffer: I want to thank the chair and the steering committee for enabling Mr. Chen to speak in his mother tongue. In the 11 years I have been here I have never seen that and it is amazing. Thank you.

I have a question for Mr. Chen, Mr. Singleton and Ms. Singleton.

Mr. Chen, once this law is in place, do you feel that you will be able to make a citizen's arrest and not feel that the police will arrest you?

[Interpretation]

Mr. Chen: No.

[English]

Senator Jaffer: I have a question for your lawyer, Ms. Shi. The angst I have about the bill — and I agree changes will have to happen as we will also be out of jobs because we look at these bills — is that section 494 of the code says anyone may arrest, without warrant, a person whom he finds committing an indictable offence.

How do shopkeepers know whether someone is committing a summary offence or an indictable offence? This law is giving the wrong sign that you can arrest, but it is my understanding that you can only arrest for an indictable offence. How does a shopkeeper know the difference?

Ms. Shi: I understand that clause 3 of Bill C-26 endeavours to amend section 494(2), rather than (1).

Senator Jaffer: 494(1) says it has to be an indictable offence.

Ms. Shi: Yes, it is indictable offence and that is not something that the store owner sees every day; mostly they see shoplifting. I hope that it is something most of us will not have to come across. The law is pretty clear in that anyone can arrest another person who is committing a serious offence, such as murder or rape. However, the problem is in (2) where they say in the old act that in order for the store or property owner to arrest someone who he finds committing a criminal offence in relation to that property, it must be done while that offence is being committed. In shoplifting, you can have a great philosophical debate as to when that is committed. When the person is in the store taking the stuff, they have a chance to pay before leaving. Once they have left the store they are finished committing the offence and you cannot catch them.

Senator Jaffer: It is covered well; it says "in a reasonable time." It will cover the situation. My question is still that to arrest without a warrant; it has to be an indictable offence. How does the shopkeeper know the difference?

Ms. Shi: Section 494(2)(b) allows arrest for offences that are not indictable as long as the offence is in relation to property. It does not have to be indictable.

Senator Jaffer: In relation to property. However, I am talking about a person, such as self-defence as in a case like Mr. Singleton's. That still needs to be an indictable offence.

Ms. Shi: I believe that is covered under the clause where they say the person is not guilty of an offence if they use reasonable force.

The Chair: We have three or four minutes. Please keep that in mind.

Senator White: Thank you for your presentations. Policing in Canada is developed on a number of principles and one of those sets of principles is called Peel's principles that come from the United Kingdom, and most commonwealth countries follow them: The people are the police and the police are the people. Many police services have this on their websites, including the New Westminster Police Service, Peel Regional Police, York Regional Police and Ottawa Police Service. The police will use that — because I know that I did — to say that meant we have a relationship with the public. However, it also means that the public have a relationship to act upon evidence and information as if they are the police, and I would argue they have a responsibility.

All that to say, Ms. Shi, that when I look at the legislation I think it takes the necessary steps toward understanding Peel's principles; the police and the public are one and the same, often. I believe this will result in training that will be necessary for all police officers, and I can guarantee for all prosecutors in this country in cases like Mr. Chen and Mr. Singleton. Why do you think it will be ignored by the police and the prosecutors in the future? Typically legislation of this nature, that can impact Canadians at this level, will result in a high level of immediate training so that we do not find ourselves embarrassed as a police agency or government in charging people when they should not be.

Ms. Shi: I hope you are right. My anxiety came from the fact that after the government proposed the bill in the House of Commons I went on many media interviews. I was calling for the police and the provincial attorneys general to come out and indicate what they would do differently. I did not hear from them and have never seen them on any of the shows. I understand from the hosts that when they invited me they also invited these different levels of law enforcement. They did not come on those shows to explain to the public what will change for them and that is where I have anxiety. In this forum, as I have the opportunity to contact the federal level of government, I am calling upon it to use its authority to make sure we change it.

The Chair: Was there ever an approach from the Crown or police to get an appreciation of why they did not exercise their discretion — not in the public interest — to continue to prosecute? Was there an approach and answer given?

Ms. Shi: Approaches were made. I personally wrote open letters to all three levels of government and did not hear from the provincial government. The only response I ever heard from the Toronto Police Service — before the House of Commons introduced these amendments — was in the early days of Mr. Chen's case. The Toronto Police Service indicated the charges were fine, the law was fine, and that store owners should just be very careful about how they arrest thieves. That was the answer given, and as far as I can recall, the only response and comments I have ever seen from the provincial or the city level of government law enforcement.

The Chair: With your advice and submission about the rarely invoked parliamentary authority, you are talking about encouraging greater discretion by the police and the Crown. Is that what you are referencing here or something else?

Ms. Shi: Yes, that is what I have in mind. I know that, for example, the provincial Attorney Generals would often develop and have policies established for Crown attorneys as to how to approach certain types of cases, and that could be a good place to start.

The Chair: Thank you very much. We have gone a little over schedule, but this has been a helpful and informative panel, and we very much appreciate your appearance here today.

Honourable senators, our second panel witness is Ross McLeod. He is President of the Association of Professional Security Agencies. This is a national association that counts 18 security companies in its membership representing more than 30,000 security practitioners. Its mission is to enhance the image of the security practitioners industry across Canada through the maintenance of professional standards and adherence to a strict code of ethics. Mr. McLeod, the floor is yours.

Ross McLeod, President, Association of Professional Security Agencies: I am happy to be here representing APSA, the Association of Professional Security Agencies. Our member agencies employ over 80 per cent of all licensed security guards in the province of Ontario. I am the CEO of an innovating security company for the past 30 years. As APSA, we are grateful to have been included in the stakeholder side of the process from the outset some time ago. We are happy to see that one of our concerns about the evolving role of technology in the detection, tracking and apprehension of criminals has been widely discussed in these proceedings.

APSA welcomes Bill C-26 as a timely effort to update the language that is many generations old. The easing of the time tension between detection of crime and subsequent apprehension of the perpetrators will make the private agent's task a little more manageable and ultimately safer.

During these proceedings, Senator White suggested that you might look at the charge of assault to resist lawful arrest by police to include a security guard or private citizen. This is an interesting suggestion by an experienced law enforcement expert that merits further consideration.

In reading the proceedings to date, we see much intelligent debate between excellent legal scholars about the implications, positive and perhaps negative, around the subtle changes in Bill C-26. We leave these matters to other experts. We would like to gently, and with respect, speak to some stereotypes and shibboleths that occasionally pop up in some contributions.

The term vigilantism has been introduced by more than one contributor. This is a hot-button term that is less than helpful in these discussions. We have very little history and less culture of vigilantism in Canada. We might agree that vigilantism is often found where the writ of government runs thinly, if at all, and a cynical belief takes hold that citizens are on their own.

I would suggest that our many layers of government in Canada obviate that feeling. Where the evolution of modern society has led to a slow-to-no response by police to low-level crimes, the rise of the private security industry has helped to fill these voids and preserve a good working relationship with government authorities. Thus, a robust, regulated security industry is one inhibitor to vigilantism.

Some contributors have characterized the private security industry as unaccountable. This is far from the truth. We have a licensed and regulated industry in all provinces. Our SIU-type body is the public police, who charge our members if their investigations warrant it. Our government registrars, given compelling evidence, try and sanction individual guards and agencies with a range of fines leading to expulsion from the industry. Our insurance underwriters chart and score every claim against us, year to year, raising premiums and eventually denying insurance coverage in an industry where such coverage is compulsory.

Thus, the unaccountable stereotype is both untrue and unhelpful. If some would like to see us brought under the Charter, as some decisions in Alberta have held, that may indeed evolve across the country. We do not fear or avoid this possibility.

The private security industry has no design or ambition regarding core policing functions, which are the heart and soul of public policing in Canada. However, the cost of public policing in the context of a severe and prolonged economic crisis in Europe and North America is something most major cities are grappling with. It is easy to see that the growth of our industry will continue as we create public-private partnerships with police to handle and assist with non-core functions that were accreted to public policing over a previous generation of economic expansion.

In this context of the increasing integration of private and public enforcement, Bill C-26 is a small but positive step.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr. McLeod. We will begin the questions with the deputy chair of the committee, Senator Fraser.

Senator Fraser: Welcome to the committee, Mr. McLeod. As I gather, you have been looking at our proceedings and you are aware that your industry has come up quite a number of times. I noted with interest that you said that you, the industry — you used the word "we" — does not fear or avoid the possibility of being brought directly under the Charter.

Can you tell me what would be current practice, or what would most frequently be current practice, in relation to the Charter? In particular, would private security agents who do apprehend someone normally read them their rights?

Mr. McLeod: Yes.

Senator Fraser: At what point? Immediately?

Mr. McLeod: As soon as we have them under control, which, as a practical matter, usually means in restraints. At that point, we advise them of their rights. That is in Ontario. Things may be changing a little bit in Alberta. I am not completely up to date on that.

They are advised of their rights and held, of course, for the imminent arrival of the police. When the police arrive, as we have seen in their previous testimony to this body, they start their investigation de novo, from that point.

Senator Fraser: You are obviously most familiar with Ontario.

Mr. McLeod: Yes.

Senator Fraser: In Ontario, is reading of the rights a legal or regulatory requirement, or just industry practice? Also, do you know what the practice or regulatory requirements would be in other jurisdictions?

Mr. McLeod: In Ontario, it is not regulatory; it is a practice that is now part of the training curriculum that all guards have to go through and pass in the province.

In terms of other provinces, my information is only anecdotal. I believe it to be the same, with the exception of Alberta.

Senator Di Nino: Welcome, Mr. McLeod. Thank you for your short but very clear statement.

In your first paragraph, you say you employ over 80 per cent of all licensed security guards in the Province of Ontario. What is the percentage across the country?

Mr. McLeod: Of our membership?

Senator Di Nino: Yes.

Mr. McLeod: We are only in Ontario, but amongst our membership in Ontario, we have all the major agencies. Those are the big multinationals, on the order of G4S, Securitas, Garda and some of the very large Canadian operations. We do have representation, if you wish, in other provinces through those multi-city operations.

Senator Di Nino: Let me finish with this and then I will go to the other areas. What sort of standards are there, and who regulates or licences, or who are the other 20 per cent accountable to?

Mr. McLeod: All licensed personnel are accountable to the same registrar, which is a position housed within the Ministry of Corrections. It is similar across the country in each province. Each province has a registrar. All the provincial registrars have a national association, and there is a very active movement now — that our association is helping — to harmonize training standards across the country and to bring it into a national standard to ensure the portability of licences across the country.

Senator Di Nino: What you are telling me, then, is that the regulators would oversee that the training is appropriate, that the licensing is there, and that any remedial action or measures would then be available through other regulators in other provinces, if they do not belong to your organization — or to regulators in other provinces?

Mr. McLeod: Yes. They have their own investigative unit made up of seconded OPP officers in this province, who do investigations, and they hold quasi-judicial trials as a result of complaints from the public, et cetera. That is where they can administer sanctions, fines or cancellation of licences.

Senator Di Nino: You have basically similar standards across the country, as far as you are concerned?

Mr. McLeod: Yes.

Senator Di Nino: You are only in Ontario. What is the situation across the country? Are there other associations or organizations? What is the percentage of employees of the agencies that are under some jurisdiction, or are they all pretty well individual contractors?

Mr. McLeod: There are some other provincially-based associations. There is one in British Columbia that I am aware of. I believe there is one in Nova Scotia. That is about all I know.

Our association has a mandate from its members this year to try to establish branches across the country in concert with this movement of the registrars to harmonize the training and exam standards, nationally.

Senator Di Nino: This is my last question. You are of the opinion that, across this country, other associations and the regulators all work together to ensure that standards, although they may not be national, are of a high enough quality that those practising as security personnel, under the definition of your organization, are basically of the same quality in respect to be able to carry on their duties; is that not correct?

Mr. McLeod: Yes. That is definitely the mandate and the goal.

Senator Baker: I have a couple of short questions.

You mentioned, Mr. McLeod, that you were the CEO of an innovating security company for the past 30 years. What do you mean by that?

Mr. McLeod: When I came into the industry 30 years ago, arrests by private agents, in contradistinction to public agents, which are peace or police officers, were virtually nonexistent. I, as an entrepreneur and an academic, was aware that the public really wanted community policing. They wanted uniformed personnel to stay in their communities, get to know the people in the communities, and to remediate what is pretty low-level stuff that is very, very low on the police list of calls. I set about to create, if you wish, an enhanced security officer who would have the training and would understand the legal basis of authority to actually do this. There was a lot of R & D involved, a lot of lawyering of the concept. There was a lot of outreach to the police who, in the early days, 30 years ago, when my people started making arrests, reacted, because they had never seen this before, by arresting the arresters and releasing the arrestees.

There was a period of two years of my travelling around every division of the Toronto Police Service, plus the OPP and a little bit in Ottawa. On their ongoing education day, I would be invited to speak and show some film and talk about our project and explain how it was lawful. Eventually, if not enthusiastic sign-on, we got a grudging admission that it was lawful, and they stopped arresting our people and towing away our vehicles. We moved on from there.

In the past 30 years, my little company of 500 souls has arrested over 65,000 people in this country. No one has been killed. No one has been seriously injured, and against the dire predictions, we have not been litigated out of business. There is a business model. There is an insurance model. Law enforcement can be run like a business and it can make money.

Senator Baker: When you say "security agencies," does that include people who make arrests in department stores, grocery stores and so on?

Mr. McLeod: Yes. Yes, that is the area of loss prevention.

Senator Baker: In most of the cases we see — and we read about the judgments that are made — usually the Crown, in convicting on those offences, has not just the police officer but the security person as well with a tape recording of what took place in the store, at times. It seems to me, from reading those judgments, that rights to counsel, as you say, are given initially by the security person making the initial arrest, telling the person why they are being arrested and they have rights to counsel. Then the police do it all over again when they come, as you state. However, the actual evidence is pretty solid in these cases of arrests made by your security personnel. Would you agree?

Mr. McLeod: Yes. We are happy to see that one of the issues I put forward was listened to. Even before this bill was drafted, when preliminary discussions were being held here amongst government lawyers, I was invited in and really beat the drum of technological change, because it is ripping through our industry. It is ripping through policing. CCTV is become pervasive, particularly in retail environments such as shopping malls. Now, or very soon, you will not be able to go anywhere except a washroom in a shopping mall without being on CCTV. If we are going to do a contentious operation, we rig our people with CCTV so that we are constantly under the red eyeball as a protection against opportunistic allegations of improper conduct or excessive use of force.

Mind you, my program 30 years ago was before the ubiquity of CCTV. The CCTV that was there was expensive and extremely unreliable, and it was not done in shopping malls. We started in housing projects. It was a little less cut and dried than it is now; but that was then, this is now, and moving forward to the future, we will have more and more of this electronic evidence, and so I think there will be less and less grey areas.

Senator Baker: Pretty solid stuff. Thank you.

Senator Angus: Good afternoon, Mr. McLeod. Thanks for coming.

We have heard evidence here on this bill from a number of different points of view, and one has been the legal bar. Without suggesting that they all said identical things, one of the messages that I heard was that this law will create more confusion than it will solve and it will give maybe more power to private citizens than to the police and that those kinds of private citizens fall into the category of you and your people in the private security business. It made me start thinking how that must not sit too well with you. Here is a good chance for you to tell us your view on that.

Mr. McLeod: I have read every word of the proceedings that have been going on here and was a part of the earlier parliamentary proceedings. I am getting a little fed up with the straw man of unaccountability and vigilantism. They do not believe it; we do not believe it, but I guess some people have to keep saying it as part of their mandate as association heads or whatever.

It is absolutely true that any changes in these laws of self-defence and citizen's arrest will be most important to the private security sector because we are the ones who do this for a living. However, we are also the ones under the constant glare of those very legal associations. Many of them make their living off suing us and others make their living off defending us. Will it make more work? It might, but it will certainly not be the biggest gift to the bar that came down the pike.

Reading it carefully and looking forward and listening to the evidence, I do not see any big changes coming. I keep asking myself if we should change our training program. Our training programs are very conservative. Even if we thought we had some extra little modicum of power, we would not use it just because it is uncharted territory. We do not want to go there. We are quite busy enough with the territory we have to work with now.

Senator Angus: We heard a story about how people like you have contracts with these department stores, and you have agents up, say, in the fourth floor, and they are in contact with someone down on the third floor and they get a walkie-talkie or a communication saying there is a shoplifter down here and he or she has taken some merchandise. The person from the fourth floor goes down and arrests the person when they actually never saw them doing the shoplifting, and this was put to us as being a potential problem. Do you have experience with that and do you have a comment on that?

Mr. McLeod: Absolutely. This is where technological change comes in. The environments we deal in today, the retail environments, would have been science fiction 170 years ago.

As an example, Agent A is in a security room watching people at the small items of great value, like razor blades which are $35 in a small package, watching someone steal these things, select them, remove them, conceal them, in, say, a booster bag, which will not set off the RFID recognition technology. A gets on to B on the radio or texts B and says, "I have got the camera on someone who is doing this." B takes up the position. Who saw the theft? It almost gets philosophical, but it is very interesting. A saw the theft. The camera saw the theft, and the camera is eternal evidence to that theft. Can we have better language? Yes, we can. Has anything changed? Not really. The camera is just an extension of the eyes of A. The cameras are so sophisticated now that the RFID tags of those small items of high value, in a food store or a Walmart, are queued to the cameras. As soon as someone opens the door to remove the expensive item, the PTZ cameras know that, and they zero in. In telephoto, in living colour, in high definition, there is the person taking the stuff and putting it into a bag that has been created for the concealment of that item to get past the Sensormatic scanner. We have it in living colour for the police to review. It is a very low-priority call for the police, and it is frankly a pain. Down the road, they are going to give up. Even though now they say that they are not going to do it, they are going to do it. When they arrive at the scene, they usually have a very high-level security officer who will probably join their ranks in the fullness of time, and they have wonderful evidence that they can rely on. Things are getting better.

Senator Angus: Just for the record, what are RFID and PTZ?

Mr. McLeod: RFID is Radio Frequency Identification Tag. That is that little bump on the back of something expensive that, if it is not deactivated at the point-of-sale, as you go out of the store —

The Chair: Just give us a definition, please.

Mr. McLeod: PTZ is Pan, Tilt and Zoom. It is a camera that you can operate with a joystick, or, if you tag something, it will just follow the tag all around the store.

Senator Fraser: What is a booster bag?

Mr. McLeod: The booster bag is a bag that is lined with a medium that will block the signal from the RFID tag in the Sensormatic. Tinfoil will do it.

Senator Fraser: I hope no shoplifters are watching this.

Mr. McLeod: That is an old trick. We only talk about the stuff that is old and known to everyone, pretty well.

Senator Angus: We had a chair on another committee for years who, if any witness used an acronym like PTZ or RFID or XLQ, would make them pay five bucks. As inflation came along, it got up to 10 bucks, and it worked fairly well because Senator Banks was that senator.

The Chair: I will keep that in mind.

Senator Jaffer: I found your presentation very interesting. I have a question for you about training. Do you do ongoing training of the people who work under you in your organization? In this new bill — you will be sick of me asking the same question — the arrest is supposed to be a citizen's arrest on an indictable offence. Do you do this kind of training for people who work for you?

Mr. McLeod: Yes, we do. What we and other larger companies do is stream all of our employees into various streams — level 1, 2, 3. Some companies will have as many as 10 levels. Level 1 is very basic function, sort of a gatehouse, raising and lowering an arm, handing out parking permits. You have to get up to level 3 and take additional training and use of force. Before you can take use of force, which involves batons and handcuffs, you have to take a certificate course, which is non-violent crisis resolution — how to talk your way out of these things and de-escalate before the use of force. Only a level 3, someone who has those tickets and renews them annually, can make arrests.

Senator Jaffer: How long are your courses?

Mr. McLeod: They range from four hours to a day.

Senator White: Thank you very much for your presentation, Mr. McLeod. I echo your comments when it comes to legislative changes that might come along that would improve or increase the level of accountability of security guards. I do agree that the security industry will pick up the slack where policing has not been able to do so. In the future, I think that gap will widen.

I have heard you talk about Ontario. I would argue that Ontario has one of the greater levels of oversight, accountability and legislation in the country that I know of, and I have lived in a few of the provinces. What would you say to a national level of legislation that included requirements and mandates when it came to training, accessibility and responsibilities? I know you are talking about agencies across the country that you deal with, but I can tell you that they are not all what we have in front of us today. I have seen some of them in action, and I am not always impressed. Where do you think, from a national standard perspective, you or others that you are dealing with would sit?

Mr. McLeod: I would agree that a national standard would be a good thing. APSA is working with the Police Sector Council. You will probably know Geoff Gruson of the council.

Senator White: I am on the council.

Mr. McLeod: Sorry. He has spent the last two years working with the provincial registrars of the private security industry on this project, which I understand is federally mandated to harmonize nationally so that licences will become portable. We are working alongside him. There is a great interest amongst some of the key registrars like Ontario to add on legislation regarding the use of force in addition to the basic course. I have an interest in adding on a higher level of certification for private agents who would work in public-private partnerships with police. All of this is possible. There seems to be a political will, and, in fact, the bandwagon is rolling. I would concur that this would be a good thing. It would forever put to rest that bugaboo about improperly trained guards.

One caveat is that the private security industry is much larger and broader, in both numbers and scope, than public police. Our assignments range from the mind-numbingly trivial to the incredibly sophisticated. You often find us getting tarred with the stick of mind-numbing. Everyone loves to laugh at Mall Cop. I have seen the movie twice, and I still laugh. I prefer the television show "Republic of Doyle," where the private agent enjoys an intimate relationship with the public agent, but that is another story.

The Chair: We very much appreciate your extensive knowledge and enthusiasm, but I have a number of other senators and a timeline that we have to meet.

Mr. McLeod: Sorry; I digress.

Senator Chaput: I have a brief question. I understand that you are a regulated industry. There are some training centres across Canada, and you are talking about national standards. What is your relationship like today with the police? Do you see this becoming, at some point in time, a partnership?

Mr. McLeod: Yes, absolutely. The relationship is really a good one. There are various levels. There is the rhetoric of our industry association, which I am responsible for. There is the rhetoric of the police associations, which has its own agenda, and I respect that. The everyday working relationship with the police is an excellent relationship because they, notwithstanding what the associations say, do not want to do that mind-numbingly simple, stupid work, and they are happy to have others do it, with lesser pay and lesser training. They want a clean handshake that does not waste their time or tie up their resources. There is a great spirit of cooperation. I see this increasing going forward. We can look at other jurisdictions where it is farther advanced than we are now.

Senator Unger: Thank you, Mr. McLeod. In your handout, you say:

In reading the proceedings to date, we see much intelligent debate between legal scholars about the implications, positive and perhaps negative, around the subtle changes in Bill C-26. We leave these matters to other experts.

Are you satisfied with the provisions in Bill C-26? What are your thoughts about it?

Mr. McLeod: Yes, I am. I just want to give a nod to people who do not agree with me or people who have fears that there will be consequences that we cannot see. We go forward on case law, and I think that that will take care of any little bumps that are concerns. Therefore, my industry is totally in favour of it.

Senator Unger: With respect to the many years of case law upon which many decisions are based or, certainly, researched, you are not concerned about this upsetting the apple cart?

Mr. McLeod: I do not think all that case law will be out the window. There will be changes and tweaking on the go-forward, but nothing dramatic. I do not see a game changer here.

Senator Unger: Thank you.

The Chair: I am intrigued by your optimism about police cooperation and working together. My experience is that the police associations tend to be reluctant about giving up any turf, and, as you know, they are very politically active, unlike the chiefs' associations and others who do not get engaged in political commentary or elections. Are you seeing a change in attitude there as well?

Mr. McLeod: Yes, and out in the blogosphere and on LinkedIn, people are seeing the straws in the wind. You may be aware of what is going on in the United Kingdom where, holus-bolus, they just moved $4 billion worth of contracts into the private sector, in a very ill-considered clumsy way, I think, but they have privatized whole areas of policing over there. When you walk into a police station now in London, you will see someone sitting there in a police uniform, and it says "Securitas" on their jacket. I think that is the wrong way to go. I think there are better ways.

I think we can protect the brand, and, at the end of the day, that is what a lot of the associations are concerned with. They are concerned with protecting the public safety brand, and I think there are ways to do that intelligently while we construct public-private partnerships. However, all of Europe and North America is under the financial gun, and that will not go away, so something has to give. I just hope we can do it intelligently in this country, as opposed to the way they did it in the UK.

The Chair: I appreciate your appearance here today. Just before we adjourn, I remind honourable senators that tomorrow we will meet in the usual room in the East Block and deal with clause-by-clause consideration of this bill. Then we will begin our examination of Bill C-310, which is an act to amend the Criminal Code dealing with trafficking in persons.

That being said, the meeting is adjourned.

(The committee adjourned.)