Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence
Issue 15 - Evidence - Meeting of June 3, 2013
OTTAWA, Monday, June 3, 2013
The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence met this
day, at 3 p.m., to study harassment in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Senator Daniel Lang (Chair) in the chair.
The Chair: Welcome to the Standing Senate Committee on National
Security and Defence for Monday, June 3. Before we welcome our witnesses, I
would like to begin by introducing the people around the table. My name is
Senator Dan Lang from Yukon. On my immediate left is the Clerk of the
Committee, Ms. Josée Thérien. On my right, is our Library of Parliament
analyst assigned to the committee, Ms. Holly Porteous.
I would like to go around the table and invite each senator to introduce
themselves and state the region they represent, starting with the deputy
chair of the committee.
Senator Dallaire: Senator Roméo Dallaire, from the Gulf of St.
Senator Day: Joseph Day Liberal senator from New Brunswick.
Senator Mitchell: Grant Mitchell, Alberta.
Senator Plett: Don Plett from Manitoba.
Senator Patterson: Dennis Patterson, Nunavut.
Senator Nolin: Good afternoon. Pierre Claude Nolin from the
province of Quebec, and more specifically from the Salaberry region.
The Chair: Honourable senators, I would like to begin by
acknowledging that yesterday Canadians across the country paid tribute to
our women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces. I know that all members join
with me in congratulating our Armed Forces for the excellent job they do for
As we conclude our final day of public hearings on harassment in the
RCMP, we are honoured to have two outstanding Canadians join us to discuss
how the Canadian Armed Forces handled harassment and cultural
transformation: retired Lieutenant-General Andrew Leslie and retired
Lieutenant-General Michael Jeffery.
Welcome. I understand you have opening remarks. We have one hour for the
panel. Please proceed, Lieutenant- General Jeffery.
Lieutenant-General (Ret'd) Michael Jeffery, as an individual: Good
afternoon. I am Lieutenant-General Mike Jeffery, former Chief of the Land
Staff. I should note at the outset that I retired in 2003, so my
perspectives are clearly dated. However, I lived through the early days of
transformation of the Canadian Forces and of course the Canadian Army. I
will try to provide you with some perspective on the challenges in reforming
the Canadian Forces in a post- Somalia period. I would emphasize that I will
try to provide some lessons from that period, but I must say that I am not
qualified to judge whether those lessons are applicable to other
By their very nature, militaries have a very strong traditional culture
and as such are naturally resistant to change. For over 50 years, the CF had
a Cold War focus and was largely insulated from society, living overseas and
on isolated bases here in Canada. In short, it lived apart from society, did
not keep abreast of changes within that society and over time, I believe,
lost its focus on its professional ethics and values. In the early 1990s,
the Canadian Forces went from preparing for war to engaging in war. While
the operations in the Balkans were purported to be peace support operations,
they were in every way combat.
Similarly, the operations in Somalia demanded new skills and exposed
soldiers to new risks and challenges. In adapting to this new environment,
the institution was found wanting. There were incidents where, among other
things, leaders failed to live up to their responsibilities; the conduct and
discipline of soldiers was substandard and leaders failed to correct them;
the use and abuse of alcohol was a serious problem; there were incidents of
harassment and abuse of authority; there was an erosion of trust between the
leader and the follower; there was a growing internal dissatisfaction among
the rank and file due to a perceived lack of support by its leadership; and
the professional values of the Canadian Forces were eroding.
When faced with what was clearly a crisis, the leadership of the Canadian
Forces was slow to respond and resistant to change. There was a belief that
the institution was sound and that the problems were only a few bad apples.
It took time to come to grips with the issue, with the result that the
leadership was seen as lacking, and there was a critical loss of public
confidence. This forced change upon the Canadian Forces.
Given the deteriorating situation, the government demanded real change,
and that was critical. This saw the defence minister's Report to the Prime
Minister on Leadership and Management of the Canadian Forces charting a new
way forward for the institution. Given a change of leadership and the
existing situation in the fall of 1997, the Canadian Forces leadership
became seized of the issue and focused on a fundamental reform of the
institution. No aspect of the Canadian Forces was left unturned.
This saw, among other things, the development of a vision for the future
— CF2020; the development and publishing of a revised professional doctrine
as a basis for all teaching within the Canadian Forces; the overhaul of the
professional development system for both officers and non-commissioned
officers, which saw many changes including an increased educational
requirement; the introduction of command selection boards and greater
disciplining of the process for professional advancement; an updating of the
Code of Service Discipline and a revision of the National Defence Act; the
improvement to basic training; and many other things. In all cases, the
changes were heavily focused on the improvement of ethics and values, and
operations on the moral plain.
However, the key changes came as leaders at all levels truly reformed the
manner in which the Canadian Forces operated. This improved over time as new
leaders emerged who truly embraced the new culture of the Canadian Forces.
There are many lessons from that period, but I would like to emphasize
just a few. When faced with such a crisis, an institution as large and
complex as the Canadian Forces had to be forced to change. The Canadian
Forces, and indeed the army, was forced to change by government, the public,
and the rank and file of the military, who all demanded a new culture and a
new way of doing things. For a national institution, I think that context is
The leadership of the institution must be seized of the matter. If the
senior leadership do not believe reform is essential and are not invested in
it, nothing will change. The Canadian Forces took considerable time to get
there, but once the leadership embraced the task, they introduced sweeping
reforms of the whole institution. The full command structure needs to be
engaged. The issue cannot be just one of providing orders down to change.
The leadership needs to be committed personally and to communicate to all
levels, especially the leaders, on the requirement to change and the
standard that they will be held to. Leaders at all levels must set the
example and be held to account where they are found wanting.
The CF demanded that its leaders step up to the challenge, and those who
could not step up were asked to leave. Leaders at all levels must engage
soldiers personally and honestly on the difficult issues. It is not easy to
stand before soldiers and admit that the institution and the leadership have
failed them, but that was an essential step in rebuilding trust within the
institution. Ethics and values must be embedded at every aspect of the
institution and its teaching. This is not something that can be taken for
granted, but the institution must live its values constantly on a day-to-day
Programs need to be instituted that force leaders at all levels to face
the real issues. We institutionalized a number of things, such as harassment
courses, which were difficult for many of the leaders. However, it forced
them to come to grips with the reality of the issue, resulting in the fact
that they could no longer deny the problems.
Oversight needs to be maintained, for it will be easy for the institution
and its leaders to declare success early and slide back into business as
usual. In the CF, we were held to account by the minister's monitoring
committee and five other committees that kept watch over us for over six
Finally, it must be recognized that no matter how important it is,
reforming a large and complex institution such as the Canadian Forces takes
time. The institution can and must insist on standards of conduct and hold
people accountable, but only with time will a new way of acting be embedded
in the culture of the organization. While government must keep the pressure
on the institution to change, it must also recognize the magnitude of the
task that is faced and be realistic in its expectations.
Lieutenant-General Andrew Leslie (Ret'd), as an individual: Good
afternoon, honourable senators, I am very pleased to appear before you
today. I retired in 2011. In my last two posts, I was Chief of
Transformation and then Commander of Land Staff.
The CF has made huge strides forward in many areas over the last decade.
One of the most important has been the culture shift toward taking better
care of our people both on and off the battlefield. Focusing on the topic at
hand, the Armed Forces has introduced a coherent and well-thought-out series
of steps toward providing and ensuring a respectful workplace by promoting
the prevention of harassment and, insofar as possible, the prompt resolution
of harassment complaints.
I am not saying that the Canadian Forces are perfect in dealing with
harassment issues, be they sexual or of another nature, but they have
certainly come a very long way from the dark days of the Somalia crisis and
the resulting fallout, most of which pointed to deficiencies in leadership.
It is all about leadership all the time.
The families of leadership that were identified by the Somalia Commission
had an immediate impact on General Jeffrey, on myself and on the entirety of
the leadership of the Canadian Forces. You remember those days in 1997 and
the results of the commission being published. They focused on five broad
areas. There was an accountability and a lack of self-regulation amongst the
professional members and in the professional ethos of the Canadian Forces
and the training institutions. The second was in terms of oversight of the
conduct of individuals and collectives and poor discipline. The third was in
training. The fourth was performance, oversight and measurement —
quantifiable information, not just opinion. That was a huge shortfall. The
last and perhaps most important was a deficiency in the area of professional
values and the military ethos.
Quite frankly, the Armed Forces in that period — that dark period in
their history — needed a forcing function and a wake-up call, and the
Canadian people and our own members gave it to us.
Simply put, taking care of your people and the credibility of your
institution, be it the army, the Canadian Forces or the RCMP, is all about
leadership, and I will stop on that note vis-à-vis the leadership
Strong determined leaders, however, at all levels, not just one, are
required to put a stop to inappropriate behaviour and harassment of any
form. These leaders must have the backing of government to make the
sometimes difficult, contentious, ruthless, tough calls that might be
required to get to the bottom of systemic or cultural issues that could have
an impact on the institution's credibility. Tolerating an atmosphere that
does not do enough to stop harassment is inexcusable behaviour, and not
doing all that you can to help eliminate inappropriate behaviour, either by
condoning it directly or indirectly, is once again a failure in leadership.
In my opinion, this is best solved by understanding the limits and tensions
between obedience to superiors — a closed culture not used to reporting to
an external audience or responding well to external oversight and the need
to have those truth-to-power discussions on problem areas between the
members of the profession and those to whom they report — this body, other
supervisory or regulatory bodies and, indeed, the various ministers.
Of course, you have to relate this to the creative tension between
professional competencies and professional standards. Simply put, the first
step in addressing discrimination toward anyone, or harassment, is admitting
you have a problem. As an institution, it means having the courage to
discuss and solve it with your leaders, with your immediate subordinates and
with those who have been most effected — the victims. It means talking to
them, understanding what they have been through, those horrible acts that
we, as leaders, allowed to happen.
I will tell the tale, very briefly, of Captain Sandra Perron, a very
distinguished member of the Royal 22nd Regiment, alongside whom I had the
pleasure of serving, in the former Yugoslavia, under wartime conditions.
When she got back home, she was sent on an elite course. Her course mates
tied her to a tree, humiliated her and did all that they could do break her
spirit. That was completely and utterly unacceptable, and that, indeed,
triggered a rather direct and ferocious response from our Chief of the
Defence Staff at the time, himself a Van Doo, General Baril, an outstanding
officer who essentially applied those ruthless principles of leadership to
get to the bottom of the issue and to ensure that the situation was
addressed once and for all.
In the case of the Canadian Forces, as I have already mentioned, a
forcing function was required. That was the Somalia Commission. As well,
something else was required to kick us along the evolutionary ladder. For
us, this was, in the main, a significant number of brave and determined
young ladies — soldiers — who stepped forward to identify, in a public
fashion, the incidents to which they had been subjected by either an
uncaring chain of command or one that was not willing do all that it took to
expose what was actually going on. I salute them for their courage, their
spirit and the intestinal fortitude to step up and step out and to help
their Armed Forces become better.
I think other large, significant national institutions can learn a great
deal from the experiences that the Armed Forces went through and are still
going through. The bottom line is that the Armed Forces themselves are not
yet perfect in this very complex arena, but they have come a long way.
That concludes my statement.
Senator Dallaire: I am honoured to see two distinguished former
army commanders sitting here in front of this committee, discussing this
subject. Both of them are veterans of the era of exceptionally complex
missions in often ambiguous situations and have been part of the
implementation of the reform of the officer corps and of the Canadian
I have the October 1997 report on the recommendations of the Somalia
Commission of Inquiry, which now Senator Art Eggleton, but at the time
Minister Eggleton, signed off on. Within it, there were nearly 100
recommendations, a number of which were legal, but a whole other raft were
In the implementation, you mentioned that oversight committees from
outside the forces had input into it or advised the minister directly. That
then influenced the implementation of these recommendations in order to
ensure that you were getting ahead.
Could you give us a feel for how the processes were going on at the time
with regard to these recommendations, coupled with the fact that you created
new capabilities to meet that challenge? One of them was the Canadian Forces
Leadership Institute that produced formal leadership documents. One is
called Challenge and Change in the Military: Gender and Diversity Issues.
That is one among many.
Could you give us a feel for how the leadership dimension was able to
grow and blossom in this complex period, through either formal education,
development, experience or the like?
Lt.-Gen. Jeffery: You have covered a lot of ground there, senator.
In terms of the oversight, I must admit that to my mind the main thing
was the Minister's Monitoring Committee on Change, which oversaw all of that
change. There were then five other committees. I could not even name them
all at this stage in the game, but they were looking at various component
parts. There was one looking at the medical system, one looking at justice
and the Code of Service Discipline and so on, ensuring that we were actually
advancing in a number of areas. As General Leslie has stated already,
leadership was by far the big issue. It started going back to first
principles with the formation the Canadian Forces Leadership Institute and
writing or rewriting our fundamental professional doctrine, the production
of Duty with Honour — the doctrinal manual for the Canadian Forces
which emphasizes values and ethics in a big way — and a variety of other
similar documents for the Canadian Forces and for the services and the
institutionalization of that throughout the professional development system.
The upgrading of a professional development system went much further than
just fighting a war; it got into the core of what the profession of arms was
and looked at it in a much more academic, values-based way than ever before.
Those are the major areas. I could go on at length about the bits and
pieces, but that is where the development was and the constant pushing on
the leadership at all levels to reform the institution.
Lt.-Gen. Leslie: The 1997 MND Report to the Prime Minister on
Leadership and Management in the CF addressed a variety of serious
leadership deficiencies. Placing it in context to the issues with reference
to Bill C-42, in my opinion the value of standing up the six external
monitoring committees was to have a completely impartial, non-biased panel
of experts who could provide advice not only to the chain of command to the
Canadian Forces but also to the ministerial authority. In essence, as you
know, the minister is accountable.
You mitigated against the closed boy networks, the tendency of seniors in
the chain of command to downplay the seriousness of issues that were being
exposed, and provided an oversight mechanism to those female soldiers who
had identified themselves as being harassed or having gone through abuse of
authority. They felt safer talking in a transparent manner to the committee
structure than, at times, they did to the chain of command. Is that not a
condemnation of the chain of command?
Thankfully things have changed a great deal since then, much to the
better. I would say that the Canadian Armed Forces, though by no means
perfect, have evolved literally light years in their approach, creating a
more tolerant atmosphere and also being fairly bloody minded with
transgressors who engage in harassing activities.
Senator Dallaire: At that time, an ombudsman was introduced to the
forces. Both of you served with the ombudsman, already established by a few
years. Did the ombudsman provide a venue of confidentiality and protection
for individuals in raising some of the concerns that might have still been
difficult for the chain of command to handle? Did you see it as a positive
instrument or as something that was not absolutely essential?
Lt.-Gen. Jeffery: I believed right from the outset it was
essential. We needed to provide an environment that gave soldiers confidence
that they could go and deal with these issues and the chain of command would
not take it to out on them. That does not mean that I always saw eye to eye
with the ombudsman. We had our days where we disagreed quite significantly
on some issues, but the important thing was it was a forum and process that
allowed soldiers at all levels to have their issues dealt with to some
degree to their satisfaction.
I want to add one other thing. Lt.-Gen. Leslie emphasized a couple times
the harassment of female soldiers, members of the Canadian Forces. I want to
suggest that the harassment was much broader than that. I had equal concerns
with issues of abuse of authority where leaders in a number of areas — not
to do with gender differences, just in terms of their day-to-day activities
— were engaging in very dominant attitudes to subordinates which in this day
and age are not suitable at all. They were back in the Dark Ages. We had
major problems with that as well, but whatever the issue was, whatever
concern the soldier had, the ombudsman gave them an avenue to have the issue
Lt.-Gen. Leslie: I am fully supportive. I would recommend that
should those dark days ever re-emerge for the Canadian Forces, and hopefully
they will not, that an ombudsman or ombudswoman be appointed. In part, the
position was critical because the soldiers had in large measure lost
confidence in the chain of command and their ability to be objective and
rigorous in getting to the root causes of issues. The ombudsman provided yet
another degree of separation because it was well known that the various
ombudsmen we had to deal with during our tenures were very outspoken and
determined to do what they saw as the right thing and had the interests of
the troops at heart.
Senator Nolin: The experience of the CF in this area is important
for us. You both mentioned the oversight aspect as an important feature of
If you had the authority to create or approve a structure or a body, what
are the guiding principles in the oversight you would want to see? Of course
I have the inquiry process in mind, but I want to hear you on the capacity
to force change. I also have in mind the question of doing things in public,
in camera or a mix of both. I want to listen to your guiding principles. How
do you want to see those bodies or structures put in place? What guiding
principles you would like to see?
Lt.-Gen. Leslie: I believe there is a certain degree of value in
learning from experience. The results of the fallout of the Somalia inquiry
were deeply scarring on leaders at all rank levels, but not because anything
that was determined as part of the results was inaccurate or misinformed. It
was just shocking, the depths to which we had fallen or were in danger of
falling even further. The idea of independent, autonomous experts, but not
necessarily expert in the military, bodies of distinguished citizens, free
to publicly and discreetly criticize — and the choice was there depending on
the feedback — with published reports and updates to a ministerial authority
every finite period, provided really excellent dividends. In large measure,
that acted as the catalyst for change.
Thankfully we had leaders who stepped up to the plate, far more senior
than I at the time, who not only fought the problem but embraced most of the
recommendations. There is always creative tension between what committees
may decide and what the chain of command honestly feels is correct to move
forward, but there was an embracing of the idea that we had a problem, had
to work together to solve it and it was going to hurt. There was going to be
publicly distributed information that was going to hurt. That hurting, in
part pointing out how far we had fallen, acted almost like a cleansing
Senator Nolin: To what extent must this oversight process be
empowered of forcing changes and to what extent must the chain of command
accept changes? Of course they can argue that the oversight body does not
have the knowledge of the structure, but at the end of the day to what
extent must they accept changes?
Lt.-Gen. Leslie: When required, I believe that publicly or
privately pointing out shortfalls in process, leadership and ethos in either
generic or specific case studies to the chain of command, and then forcing
them to become accountable for either making the appropriate decision or not
making any decision whatsoever, is a forcing function that neatly separates
the wisdom from a committee structure, which does not have a remit under the
law to command or lead, and the chain of command who at times need a good
swift kick in the rear to get the cultural shift up to the next level.
Evolution sometimes can be painful.
Senator Nolin: Lieutenant-General Jeffery, do you have anything to
Lt.-Gen. Jeffery: I echo General Leslie's comments, but I would
add that the selection of the committee members is all important. I will be
a bit blunter than he was: The selection of the members of the Somalia
inquiry left a lot to be desired. I am not referring to a particular
individual but to the balance on the whole. You need a committee that is
very objective. Again, with complex institutions, you want that pressure
kept on — that is essential to make it go forward — but they also have to be
credible to the CF or to the organization they are overseeing. Selection of
a set of diverse men and women who are balanced and credible in their
overall approach is a key part of this.
Senator Mitchell: I have a feeling that you just offered us a
primer in cultural change in big organizations. Anyone confronted with this
problem should probably get this testimony, read it, and maybe call you in
and talk to you.
I am interested in the type of people you had on the monitoring board and
the five advisory boards. You gave us some insight into that, General
Jeffrey. However, could you give us an idea of how they were selected? Did
the military have input into who they would be, or was it strictly done by
the minister's office? Were people asked to apply? Was it a blend of general
organizational people with organizational expertise versus specific
technical experience in certain areas?
Lt.-Gen. Jeffery: I will keep my remarks short because I am
certainly no expert in that and was not involved in the selection process;
indeed, it was all done outside of the military. I believe there may have
been some input from the Chief of the Defence Staff in terms of key aspects
of it. However, by and large, it was done outside of the Canadian Forces.
Looking particularly at the minister's monitoring committee and the
individuals on that, I think there was a fairly broad base of expertise
there. To go any further than that would be misleading you.
Lt.-Gen. Leslie: I cannot give any more specifics; I have never
asked how it was set up. I am sure that information is readily apparently. I
do not want to leave you with the impression that the committee structure
was solely responsible for the evolutionary shift.
Also, there were inevitable tensions between any government that was not
desirous of having bad news trumpeted daily as compared to getting accurate
feedback on how quickly evolution was occurring from the Armed Forces, and
the tensions that situation can obviously create.
Choose your committee members wisely. The process will have to be as
non-political as you can possibly make it in a highly and politically
charged environment. Quite frankly, I do not have to worry about that
Senator Mitchell: I am very interested in leadership and the
education of leadership. Thirty or forty years ago probably the only place
that focused on that at all was the military. It is more widespread now.
The educational process that you invoked was interesting to me. I was
captured by the idea that you actually insisted at Royal Military College
and perhaps elsewhere that officers in training take liberal arts. That is a
very powerful element of leadership; namely, thinking beyond the technical.
Can you comment on that?
Lt.-Gen. Jeffery: It is interesting. When I was first
commissioned, the dominant theme was that we needed all the officers to have
engineering degrees. I never believed that. We needed as diverse an
organization as we possibly could have — people from all parts of the
academic spectrum. Fortunately, we have gotten there in many, many ways.
It is not just about the academic education; the professional development
within the institution similarly needs to be diversified. We are an
organization that focuses on being prepared to fight a war, so it is not
surprising that a lot of our development is in that vein. That is one of the
mistakes we made. We lost sight of the fact that part of what a soldier does
and what an officer is responsible for doing is to understand the dynamics
of societies and human nature in every part of the world. We are out there
in every part of the world, living on a day-to-day basis.
Over the last 15 to 20 years, we have seen a reformation of the
professional development system. The Canadian Forces College and the Royal
Military College are as good, if not better, than virtually every other
university in the world in terms of developing people with that very broad
humanitarian-liberal arts diverse education and understanding of the world
in which they have to live.
Senator Mitchell: General Leslie, do you have any comments?
Lt.-Gen. Leslie: There is an argument that you get the Armed
Forces or the police force that you are willing to pay for. Therefore, it is
rare to find a senior officer in the Armed Forces today without two or three
degrees. Usually half of those degrees have been funded by the taxpayer,
thank you very much, which means you have to create a sufficient capacity in
a training system to get a flow-through of professional education, which
costs both time and money.
In very similar cases, my colleague was on a year-long course much more
complicated than anything I went on. However, by the time we became
three-stars, five or six years over the course of 30 years had been spent in
full-time professional development under formal, rigorously examined or
That does not make anyone perfect. We know that aberrations get through,
and we have had our share of tragedies and monsters wearing the uniform.
Trying to shape the transformation of an organization does cost. One of
the ancillary benefits or approaches was that not only were the senior
officers and the officers educated, but equally as important, the
professionalization was elevated for our senior NCOs — our sergeants and
corporals — and our soldiers, right down to trooper level. Literally for
five to seven years, while we dealt with the immediacy of the crisis, for
virtually every course you went on over 30 to 40 days — there were hundreds
in the army alone — you had to have sexual harassment prevention training
and basic leadership principles built in to the curricula.
As a matter of fact, before becoming a senator, General Dallaire was
Chief of Military Personnel and gave a huge boost of energy to that program
in some of our darkest hours.
Senator Plett: Do I understand correctly that, under the Policy on
Harassment Prevention and Resolution, there is a policy in the forces that
can prescribe training when a complaint is determined to be founded?
Lt.-Gen. Leslie: Yes.
Senator Plett: Can you tell us a bit about the training available?
Also, how do you measure the success rate of that training?
Lt.-Gen. Leslie: Yes, sir. I can only really speak about my period
as a relatively senior general.
Since 2002, the number of harassment cases that were reported,
investigated and later determined either to be founded or unfounded is 513.
When you are dealing with an average population of 100,000 serving members,
regular and reserve, that is remarkably good. I do not mean to suggest we
should stand on our laurels, but that is 513 over that 10-year period.
Of that 513, 31, or 6 per cent, were sexual harassment complaints, of
which a number were founded, and those were dealt with very seriously
The range of training programs is very lengthy, running multiple weeks,
even months, for those trained in harassment counselling. There is a
private-public partnership for training development. A variety of experts
who deal with these issues in a very professional manner have arisen over
the last decade. They deal with everything from the latest techniques from a
variety of academic institutions to two- to three-day refresher programs for
riflemen and women who are in Afghanistan or are about to go to Afghanistan.
Once again, the main issue is focus. Focus results in the time and money
being carved out of the available allotments to make sure that, like
physical fitness, the ethical fitness is continually being refreshed.
Lt.-Gen. Jeffery: In the 1997-99 time frame when we were dealing
with the major reforms, we instituted a number of programs where every
person in uniform was required to go through several days of sensitivity
training focusing on these issues and reminding people of the values and the
ethics required. It gave them how-to and how-not-to instruction in terms of
sexual harassment and other issues.
Senator Plett: Certainly I agree that one case is one case too
many, but given the numbers, you are correct that the number is relatively
low. It would be very difficult to determine how successful the training is.
Lt.-Gen. Leslie: Senator, I understand the point. An absence of
crime does not mean that there are no potential criminals in your community
who need continual reminders and refresher training to keep them on the
straight and narrow.
I submit that the statistics speak for themselves, that a relatively low
number over 10 years shows that the training is working. It is much akin to
an interesting debate I had with the Judge Advocate General in my second or
third year as an army commander. He was of the opinion that at the army's
main combat training base in Wainwright there were an extraordinary number
of disciplinary cases involving young privates charged under the National
Defence Act for negligent discharge or for failing to appear properly
dressed or for being late. Did this show that we had a discipline problem?
No. It showed that discipline was working very well, and this was a
corrective measure for these young men and women before we sent them to
Afghanistan, where there was no second check for them. If they screwed up
there, they would die.
Senator Day: The first thought I had as we went through this
analysis is back when you were having difficulties in the Armed Forces in
the 1990s. Do you recall looking at the RCMP and saying, "Now, there is a
good example; they are doing some things right that we want to duplicate or
Lt.-Gen. Jeffery: I looked at some other armies because that was
the natural tendency, but I certainly did not look at the RCMP.
Lt.-Gen. Leslie: Senator, I was aware of the RCMP. I was in Regina
and remember seeing a graduating class that was mostly female RCMP officers.
I was very impressed by that. In terms of a study and developing stronger
links between the army and the RCMP, no, I did not, to my chagrin.
Senator Day: From the point of view of education, the model of the
RCMP is that they go to depot for training for a period of six to seven
months. Their main learning experience is in the field. Goodness knows,
wherever they go, they are still learning.
Compare that to the decision of the Armed Forces, as General Leslie said,
that the senior officers have several degrees today. It is mandatory to have
at least one degree in the Armed Forces. You do not lose your ability to be
promoted by virtue of taking a year off to follow an academic pursuit.
Can you compare the RCMP model to the model that we have decided to go
for in the Armed Forces? Can you bring about this transformation of
leadership through this apprenticeship program that the RCMP has?
Lt.-Gen. Jeffery: I do not know the RCMP model very well. It seems
to me we are arguing about the order in which we do things. There has been
debate in the Canadian Forces for years in terms of whether we have the
model right. There is a model that says that taking young men and women and
giving them their basic training and experience before investing in
education is actually a positive move.
As I said to a former colleague who ran the military college, we need to
focus on educating the motivated rather than trying to motivate the
educated. There is a balancing act to be struck there.
I do not believe we are saying that members of the RCMP are not well
educated. I know many who have advanced degrees, so it is a matter of
Education is an important element of being able to run large
organizations. While I take the point that resources are finite and we have
to be careful about that, I remind the committee that the military and the
police are the only two elements of society under law who are allowed to use
You want that in the hands of people who are well balanced and have an
understanding of all the implications in a complex environment. A good
investment would be to put the money into education in order to get the
professional leadership at the top of those organizations.
Lt.-Gen. Leslie: I do not believe the army would have enjoyed
success in changing the culture by weeding out the misogynists and allowing
it to perform to the levels it did in Afghanistan if we had relied on a
model that had a six- month period of initial training and that all or most
of the subsequent training was by an apprenticeship scenario in the field.
General Jeffery has alluded to the necessity of being highly centralized,
and that takes a huge support system.
The most important training affects the way our soldiers behave and react
in certain situations. It is not completely centralized, but for geography
reasons, it is highly centralized in order to ensure that we have the best
people possible to help with their continued training. It would be very rare
for a soldier to go a year without a centralized course. You bring them
together, and the instructors are brought up to date on the latest
techniques of whatever the subject is before they are allowed access to the
The cultural shift that was required for the army specifically, which is
the bulk of the Armed Forces, would not have succeeded if we had not had
centralized training and brought people back continually to refresh and
Senator Day: That is very helpful. Thank you.
Senator Dallaire: In the modern era, it took time for people to
become aligned with traits like ethos, ethics, self- discipline, even terms
we often hear such as zero tolerance. This is the era where the military was
not as isolated as it used to be but in fact wanted to become a progressive
instrument in society and not a conservative bastion held behind. What was
the length of time between the orders given by the minister in 1997 to when
this steady state of capability was established? How it was maintained, and
what might have taken so long to do it?
Lt.-Gen. Jeffery: It took several years just to sit down and write
that doctrine. I think "Duty with Honour'' came out in 2000 or 2001, so we
are looking at four or five years to develop that. We had taken parts of
that thinking and embedded it in professional development training earlier
than that, but we were into the early 2000s, so it was four or five years
before it started to be the norm in all of our educational and professional
development. The progress was continual. I have been retired since 2003, but
I have to sit here and say I am not convinced that all of this is solved. It
is a continual problem, and we are still growing in terms of addressing
those issues over time. I would think it will be four to five years at a
minimum before you start to see a basic return on that investment.
Lt.-Gen. Leslie: The statistics are just that: four to five years
for the serious bite of the cultural evolution to kick in.
Senator Nolin: General Leslie, I want to go back to your list of
four out of five important steps, including performance and evaluation. I
have three questions, which I will encapsulate in one.
The process, the importance of independence of the evaluators, who is
forcing changes after that evaluation? In the process, of course, is it
ongoing or periodic? Basically, how does it work? I think it is key to
whatever things we want to do. It is all good to change, but who will
evaluate if those changes are effective?
Lt.-Gen. Leslie: Senator, performance, oversight and measurement
was the fifth point. Talking about process, independence and who is changing
it, first, quantifiable data is important. That is achieved in establishing
a climate where you can conduct surveys, opinion polls, discussions with the
chain of command and the troops. This is where you have created a climate
wherein they feel they can answer truthfully, not necessarily what their
bosses want to hear.
We are gunners: we like numbers and facts, so having probably biannual,
which is the practice now, surveys done and linking that with the number and
types of complaints that go into the ombudsman's office that are transmitted
up the chain of command and then reporting those to external monitors who
have no axe to grind. All they are doing is checking the facts and reporting
up what they see, so there is an implied degree of independence. It is very
useful, and also the troops gain confidence from that, especially when you
are dealing, as we were right after the Somalia period, with a chain of
command that had lost a significant amount of confidence and respect from
Who is implementing the changes? Much akin to the six committees that
were set up, they gave advice, they prodded, occasionally chastised,
sometimes publicly, to the chain of command to get on with it. If the chain
of command does not do so, you now have an institution which arguably is in
danger of collapse because the leaders do not or will not respond to the
message of what Canadians want their institution to grow to become.
We were pretty close to that in those dark days, but here we are where
there are still problems. I say "we,'' but you know I am retired. We still
have dark days; we still have unfortunate incidents. My daughter is a
serving soldier and did a year in Afghanistan. Trust me, I was the army
commander at the time, and she would have told me. Plus she was always
armed, so that probably helped.
The Armed Forces have come a tremendous way. A variety of international
journals and books, one published three or four years ago concerning some of
the issues that our biggest friend and ally is having down south, make
mention of the fact that the umbrella policy of how the Armed Forces and the
leadership team in the last decade or so have worked their way through this
problem. It is actually an admirable role model. Canada, New Zealand and one
or two other nations get quite a bit of praise from the American academics.
Senator Mitchell: I am very impressed by this. I will long
remember the point that was made I think by you, General Leslie, your
acknowledgment of the brave young men and women who came forward. You said
that you, and I presume the military, saluted them. It addresses the issue
that we see to some extent and that we are hearing, in the RCMP as well,
that people are afraid to come forward because of a fear of repercussions.
Both of you have addressed that.
Could you be specific as to how you gave people comfort? Were there
special meetings with senior staff, with the senior leadership, with
victims, where victims could say, "This is what we feel''? Was it just the
outside advisory groups allowed? Was it just the ombudsman? How did you
create an atmosphere where people felt they could come forward without being
Lt.-Gen. Leslie: I was a lieutenant-colonel at the time of the
Somalia inquiry. Mike Jeffery was a lieutenant-general, Roméo Dallaire was a
lieutenant-general and General Baril was the Chief of the Defence Staff who
had to deal with these issues. I can say nice things about them that they
probably would not say themselves.
First, they were willing to embrace change. They recognized they had a
problem and they were charmingly ruthless in dealing with recalcitrants who
did not understand we had a serious problem to fix. They themselves went on
the SHARP training, the sexual harassment awareness training, with the
soldiers: You had three-stars with privates. General Baril came out to visit
me when I was later on a colonel. I had a huge brigade exercise, 5,000
troops around, and he wanted to talk about how we, as an army, were in
danger of drifting off the moral centre. He took questions from thousands of
troops all in a big ball as the sun was setting on the plains of Suffield.
Some of the questions were really tough and some of the answers were even
tougher. It is leadership.
Lt.-Gen. Jeffery: I would emphasize that. It is the personal
leadership from the top. Like General Baril, I and many of the other senior
officers at the time went out and spent time with troops in large
gatherings, talking to them, letting them ask the tough questions and giving
them the most honest answers we could.
As I have said, and I know General Baril said the same thing, you can ask
any question and I will give you the answer, but you need to be sure you can
handle the answer. There was a lot of mythology about where we were and what
we were grappling with. It was tough love, if you want to think in those
terms. It was not easy.
If you, as a leader, could not stand up there and have those sessions,
your credibility with the troops was very low. We had people who could not
get across that divide. That was the generation we built as we went through
The Chair: Lieutenant-General Jeffery and Lieutenant-General
Leslie, thank you very much for your service to our country and for your
very informative presentation this afternoon.
Commissioner, welcome back. We are glad to have you return to share your
thoughts on how the RCMP is handling the issue of harassment. I understand
that you have some opening remarks, and I invite you to please proceed.
Bob Paulson, Commissioner, Royal Canadian Mounted Police:
Honourable senators, thank you for your ongoing examination of workplace
harassment in the RCMP and for your invitation to be here today.
While I can report considerable progress in reforming the RCMP workplace
and implementing the action items in our Gender and Respect Action Plan, I
would also like to take a few moments to insert a little context about our
how workplace challenges are being understood these days.
I have tried never to be, or even appear to be, defensive about what goes
on in the force. Where we have done wrong or made mistakes, I will be the
first to acknowledge them. I am also committed to making us a better force,
so I will always want to hear about our issues. The only thing worse than
bad news is no news. All I seek is a fair hearing.
The Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP said, after their
comprehensive review of both our harassment policies and all our harassment
The data examined does not support the assumption that the RCMP is
experiencing a systemic problem with workplace harassment, including
However, I get that Canadians expect more from us, and I agree that we
must be held to a higher standard. That is why we have adopted the CPC's
recommendations and we are applying them. That is also why we have done an
exhaustive self-examination and produced a comprehensive action plan, which
I am pleased to say is being implemented. We have rolled out effective,
respectful workplace programs in each of our 14 divisions across the
country. Most of our action items are on track. I have just had the
commanding officers into headquarters again last week. I am exacting
accountability for the implementation of these action items.
We are progressing, honourable senators, believe me. However, like any
workforce or workplace, we have people who, for one reason or another, will
not get on board with the mission of the organization and are looking for
I understand you wanted to hear from Corporal Roland Beaulieu from
British Columbia and you were concerned that he did not come to testify. My
understanding of what our doctors told him was that, essentially, if you can
go to Ottawa to testify, surely to God you can get back to work in some
capacity in British Columbia.
The corporal has not been at work for quite a while. He alleges that he
got PTSD arising from workplace conflict and not getting promoted. However,
he is a prolific critic of the RCMP.
The Chair: Could I intervene? I do not think the committee is here
to hear about a situation or issue that is being dealt with by other
committee. In fairness, I think we should let the other committee deal with
it at this stage.
Senator Nolin: Do not talk about that.
The Chair: Is that okay, commissioner?
Senator Nolin: It is a touchy situation, commissioner. The Rules
Committee is dealing with that issue, and I think we should restrict —
Mr. Paulson: Mr. Chair, I am not arguing the propriety of his
testifying or not testifying, but I think it is important that we have all
the information around some of these circumstances.
Senator Nolin: The other committee will deal with that.
Mr. Paulson: Shall I carry on, Mr. Chair?
The Chair: Yes. In terms of that particular issue, another
committee is dealing with it. I am sure that if you have a position to put
forward to that particular committee, then that is the committee it should
be brought forward to.
Mr. Paulson: It has to do with harassment and how it is
understood, Mr. Chair.
Senator Nolin: It is a question of privilege. It is a very
sensitive issue, and I think the Rules Committee should deal with that.
The Chair: Please proceed with your presentation. I am not trying
to be difficult, but I am trying to be reasonable with respect to the issues
we are facing here vis-à-vis another committee.
Senator Plett, did you have a comment to make?
Senator Plett: Yes. The commissioner believes that this is
relevant to our hearing on harassment. The situation has arisen as a result
of our hearing on harassment. I am not sure he is planning to pass judgment
or to tell the Rules Committee what to do. I am sorry; I am not on the Rules
Committee. I am asked to deal with a report on harassment. We have a
commissioner whom we have asked to come in and testify. He feels it is
important that we hear this, and I have a problem with our not hearing it.
Senator Day: I agree wholeheartedly with Senator Plett. The
commissioner is here, and we thank him very much for being here.
The comments you feel you should make, I think you should go ahead and
make, quite frankly.
I think Commissioner Paulson has probably said everything he was going to
say on that particular matter in any event, but I do not think we should be
restricting our witnesses, Mr. Chair.
Senator Nolin: If I may, I do not want to restrict the witness.
Quite to the contrary, commissioner; I think it is important that you
have access to us and present your case. My point is that a question of
privilege was raised in the Senate, and according to the Rules, it was
referred to the Rules Committee. They will deal with it. The commissioner
will have his day in front of them, if they so wish.
I do not want to cause any problem with your rights as a witness there.
That is why I make the point.
The Chair: Colleagues, this is taking some time of the committee
and we do not have a lot of time.
I will ask you, commissioner, to proceed.
Mr. Paulson: I respect what the committee is suggesting and I will
steer clear of any comments about the propriety of his testifying or not
testifying or any question of privilege. However, I think it is important
that with respect to Corporal Beaulieu, we understand that he holds the
position of secretary of an upstart union effort in British Columbia,
without any difficulty. Just last week, he sent me a request for $700,000 —
or, alternatively, $500,000 tax- free, as he put it — a couple of promotions
and some extended pension benefits. In exchange, he says he will leave the
force. The implicit message I get from this is "or else.''
I understand you heard from Corporal Merrifield the other day on his
views of the force. He was suggesting that his bosses have all harassed him
and are cavorting with prostitutes. Here is a man who is just back to work
after considerable time away. He has been leading the drive for a union in
Ontario and was upset when we took issue with his running for Parliament,
because we have rules around that. He is also upset we took issue with his
commenting out of turn on national security matters and trying to take on
investigations that would be in conflict with our ethics. We have rules
around that, too.
You have no doubt seen the recent news about the filing of a lawsuit from
a former Musical Ride member named Staff Sergeant O'Farrell. The facts in
her statement of claim took place 25 years ago. She raised them 25 years
ago. The force responded to them 25 years ago by changing our policies and
practices and disciplining the members. That was six commissioners ago.
What she describes is terrible. Do not get me wrong; I do not dispute
what happened. How can I?
I met personally with the staff sergeant, who has been promoted three
times since this happened. I asked what I, what we, or what anyone could do
to help her.
She did not want our help. She would only hand me her Statement of Claim
ahead of it being filed, while telling me that if these matters about the
musical ride ever made it into the public, it would sure be embarrassing for
the RCMP. She sure was right.
My point here, honourable senators, is that I am bringing modern,
leading-edge strategies to bear to make sure that, yes, we have a respectful
and collegial workplace, but we also have an effective, efficient and
productive police force in which Canadians can always have confidence, trust
Let us face it. Some people's ambitions exceed their abilities. I cannot
lead a force that accommodates and seeks to compensate people for those
Policing is a very tough job. It is very rewarding but also very
demanding. Frankly, it is not for everyone.
PTSD is of great concern to me and the RCMP. It can impede a person's
ability to function, and where it does occur, we will and we do work with
our members and together, jointly, we get them through it.
The vast majority of my members and employees are actually out there
right now, every day, every night, all the time, busting their humps at
delivering a safe Canada for Canadians because they love the work and they
love this country.
These are the people I am beholden to. These are the people that deserve
a respectful, supportive and enabling workplace, which is not to say we do
not have problems or challenges. I have been very frank about acknowledging
the force's issues. There are, have been, and sadly may well be other bone
fide victims of harassment in the RCMP. When it happens in the RCMP it is
big news because of what Canadians rightly expect from their national police
force. It breaks their hearts. However, workplace conflict is a challenge
for all organizations. The less the better, I say. The sooner we get on top
of a workplace conflict or crisis, the sooner we can act to repair
relationships, develop solutions and get on with this important mission of
But for the love of Pete, we have to be open and fair-minded when we hear
about these issues and complaints lest they get misrepresented or worse,
misunderstood and then adopted as something they are not. I cannot be
continually defending against outlandish claims that have not been tested or
established but yet are being put forward as though they are gospel and
representative of the modern workplace experience of the RCMP, because they
What I need is your support to give me the tools I must have to manage
and lead my people in ways that contribute to our productivity and
effectiveness at keeping Canadians safe and secure in their homes and our
I need the tools I must have to manage and lead my people in ways that
contribute to our productivity and effectiveness at keeping Canadians safe
and secure in their homes and in our communities.
Thank you. If you have questions, I will be pleased to answer them.
The Chair: Thank you very much, commissioner. At the outset, I
want to acknowledge the work you are doing and the very difficult task that
you have. On behalf of my colleagues, I want to assure you that we
understand the RCMP. You are doing a good job on behalf of Canadians.
Although there are problems, we are here to help and assist you and your
members. We are undertaking this study in order to come up with
recommendations that will be helpful to you and your organization.
I am wondering if you want to respond to those who have said the RCMP
leadership has not shown compassion and understanding for victims or for
those still suffering as a result of harassment. What are you hearing out
there? Have you had an opportunity to meet personally with some of those
Mr. Paulson: The RCMP leadership is not responding compassionately
to the complaints of our members. I am just repeating the question to help
formulate my response; it is not an acknowledgment. I was always taught to
repeat the question as I formulated the answer. It gives me time and helps.
Well, as you just heard me, there is a fair bit of emotion tied up in
this issue. You have heard from a number of my leaders who have testified
before you. I can think of Deputy Commissioner Callens in British Columbia,
who has moved the yardsticks considerably in terms of how he has reached out
to his employees both personally and electronically but, more importantly,
meaningfully in demonstrating the force's resolve to respond to concerns.
That is the British Columbia experience. I have done it personally at town
halls across this country on behalf of the force.
We really need to take a moment and parse out the challenges that face a
national police force in the execution of our day-to-day mission, and how
that brings to bear special considerations for those men and women who have
devoted their life to that calling, as we have, and to provide systems,
processes, support, encouragement, motivation and training, which we do.
Some of the people whom I have described today who are the most vocal in
expressing the sentiment you put into your question are not always the most
meritorious of claimants, and they are not always the most insightful
windows into the heart of the organization.
It sounds like a denial. I do not want to deny we have problems; I
acknowledge that we have problems. As I said, we are moving the yardsticks
and changing how we manage, lead and train. Things are happening.
After a long ramble, the answer is I do not agree with that statement. I
agree that we need to do just what I suggested we do, which is understand
who is who and make sure that we are paying attention to the men and women
of this force who need our help.
Senator Dallaire: I am taken by surprise, commissioner, with the
line of response that you have brought forward today in regard to the
You have a big outfit. You have some people complaining who may not be
seen as credible, but they are getting the visibility, which is bringing
tension to your force.
In 1994, as deputy commander of the army, I had 55,000 people, and I had
a whole regiment that went rogue. The whole army was treated as if we were a
bunch of bandits. A popular opinion poll at the time said that 17 per cent
of Canadians had confidence in the army, yet there were a whole whack of
good people but also some who were not. It required significant action by
the leadership to adjust and sort that out, which is what we are looking to
you for and which you are saying is being implemented.
Over the last year, I have met four women RCMP. Two were in the field in
Africa and two were here in Canada. That is not a big sample. All four said
that on a weekly basis they do hear expressions such as "boys will be
boys.'' One has four years' experience, and it goes up to 27 years'
experience. Their supervisors take actions that are deemed to be against the
policies you have. It is still going on, and there seems to be no reprimand
or disciplinary process that is sorting these guys out. It creates that
I am most interested in the ethical training and workshops in your force,
the ethos development of your senior officer corps and the self-discipline
within your NCO corps in order to ensure that those things do not exist.
With Bill C-42 you will be able to do that.
Have you actually put into motion a reform, as you are describing, that
will go after exactly that sort of attitude or atmosphere within the force
to eradicate it in one way or another? I am sorry for the length of my
Mr. Paulson: No, I think it illustrates a number of the challenges
that I have, and that perhaps you have, in terms of trying to get our arms
and our heads around what we are talking about.
There is no question that female officers who are exposed to that kind of
a circumstance at their workplace, or anywhere near the workplace, is not
acceptable. My experience is that that does not happen a lot these days.
My experience, to be frank, as I have undertaken to be, is that it
happens occasionally. That is no good.
We are changing that, and we are changing it through these respectful
workplace programs, which are not posters on a wall. You have heard about
them, about what makes up these respectful workplace programs in each of our
divisions. Those are sort of a come-to-ground canvassing of all our
employees, an engagement of a new level in the RCMP. This is the appointment
of coordinators, the detachment and unit meetings to address these very
issues. We cannot have that, and that is not the force that we are. Where
those things happen, we are on it.
I struggle on the basis of a canvass of four female employees. I have sat
down with many what I will refer to as meritorious victims, legitimate
victims, and I have cried, held hands and cried with women as they have gone
out the door after they told me their horror story of the past 25-30 years
with this force. That is what is driving us and should be what is driving
our reform. It is what is driving our reform. We do not want that. I do not
want that. Our leadership initiatives going on at the officer level, the NCO
level and the front-line supervisor, and the new proposed legislation will
all go to assist us in bringing order, respect and productivity to our
Senator Manning: Welcome, commissioner. I wish you all the best in
your leadership. I will not ask you exactly what you think because I have a
fair idea from your statement how you are thinking these days.
I would like to touch on how we measure the success of your
transformation. What benchmarks have you put in place so you can return to
us in a year's time and give us some idea of the progress and where you are
going with that?
Given the sensitivity around the issues of harassment within the RCMP,
can you share with us any thought you may be giving to creating or
reclassifying a staff position for an ombudsman?
Mr. Paulson: For the first question, there are a number of
benchmarks. I will not relaunch the action plan, but you will recall that
the action plan has 37 items in it and has benchmarks for each of those
things. In fact, we spent a considerable amount of time last week with the
COs sitting across the table from me going down the list. I have committed
to reporting to Canadians on our progress there. You will see the benchmarks
for the implementation of our action plan.
We have 14 divisions in the RCMP, and every commanding officer has to
have a respectful workplace program in place. For example, I had a CO of
Manitoba Division saying he was about to go out and canvass all the
employees, and he asked if I was ready to get another one of these replies
back from the employees. I said yes. I think that is perhaps the best way to
measure the response from employees in terms of seeing the changes take
place, seeing the working conditions change. That is another way of
benchmarking. Sadly, I am not a big fan of survey evidence but, in this
case, I think it is very important.
Some of the other benchmarks that are in our plan include the number of
harassment complaints, the time frames in which they are resolved informally
in the first instance, and how conflict is resolved in the first instance. I
am satisfied that we have a number of objective measuring schemes for each
of these items and we will be able to report to Canadians and this committee
on how we are making out.
On the second one, I have not given any consideration to an ombudsman. I
have a couple of observations around that. First, I have brought in a
champion — I hate to use that term — an officer in charge of the
implementation of the action plan, Angela Workman-Stark, a very accomplished
and well-educated person, who is doing that for me. That is not the place of
I have a professional integrity officer and I have a grievance process. I
have the CPC, soon to be with this impending legislation, the committee for
complaints and review of the RCMP.
My understanding of the place for "ombudspeople'' is where there are no
other processes for employees or affected personnel to bring forward their
concerns, and I think that exists.
Senator Mitchell: Commissioner, one of the very clear and strong
messages from the two retired generals who were instrumental in bringing
change to the military when it confronted the kind of problem you are
confronting now was that it all comes from the top, personal leadership.
I am struck that you would single out two subordinates in public and be
very critical of them that way. I am struck that that sends a message, and I
would ask you what sort of message you think it sends to people who maybe
have a complaint or a concern and want to come forward but they can see they
might be singled out in a very public environment. What sort of message does
that send to the leadership throughout your organization who may be inclined
— some of them, but not all — to be a little dismissive of this problem?
What sort of leadership from the top have we just seen?
Mr. Paulson: It is not dismissive of the problem, and I do not
think any of my senior officers or my commanding officers are at all
Let me assure you, senator, that they are engaged on this. They are
active on this. The point of my opening remarks about some of those officers
is that there are people who cannot be reached and cannot be engaged in
solving problems. They just cannot be. I do not want those people to define
To be quite honest with you, the general membership has been on me, since
I have been appointed, to get out there and put some clarity around some of
these things. Look, we have some problems, everyone knows that, but the
problems need to be fairly described. I think, in terms of my leadership, it
is to bring the sort of sense of fairness and justice to understanding what
the problem is.
Senator Mitchell: In your report on your gender and respect
program, you say:
The RCMP stands little to gain by denying the obvious Ð and it will
not do so.
This is in the context of dealing with the many litigation actions.
Hundreds of cases of harassment suits have been brought to you. So often we
hear attacks on the people who are bringing them: They are alcoholics; they
have drug problems and there are different problems. Do you ever settle any
of these? If it is true that you do not want to deny the obvious, why would
the RCMP not be more inclined to accept that these people have problems and
deal with settling those cases rather than attacking these people in public?
What kind of leadership is that?
Mr. Paulson: Senator, we do not attack those people in public, and
I do not know of the hundreds of complainants you refer to. We have had
discussions with counsel for the class action lawsuit.
Senator Mitchell: Three hundred.
Mr. Paulson: We are trying to get our heads around that, but it is
a game of cat and mouse, in my estimation.
Senator Mitchell: It is not a game.
Mr. Paulson: People are making it a game, senator. I wrote that
paragraph that you read, and I mean that. However, I am not going to do it
on someone's poorly described and articulated assertions of fact. There has
to be some order to how we understand what we are talking about. I will take
your advice, senator, on how we should proceed, and I am happy to receive it
Senator Plett: First, commissioner, thank you so much for being
here again. I want to say again for the record that I believe the RCMP is
the best police force in the world. I say that at the risk of being
chastised by my good friends in Winnipeg when I return; nevertheless, I
stand on that.
We have a public interest investigation into RCMP workplace harassment. I
think it is fitting to at least put on the record again that for reported
workplace harassment cases in select Canadian police force services, the
RCMP are number 7 out of 10, and they in fact have one workplace harassment
case reported out of every thousand people. We want zero — I understand that
— and you want zero, but it is commendable to have that record.
However, I will ask two questions unrelated to that. Commissioner, if
there would be a grievance or a code of conduct violation that would or
could be a violation of the Criminal Code, what is the current process for
dealing with these and will that change with the implementation of Bill C-42
should it be enacted into law?
Mr. Paulson: Thank you for the question. In terms of the premise
of your question, whether a grievance or a code of conduct, we will separate
those for a moment.
If, in the course of a code of conduct investigation we become aware of
criminality or a reasonable basis to suspect criminality, then a criminal
investigation is undertaken. Depending on the substance of the underlying
facts — in other words, if they are related to serious injury, grievous
bodily harm, death or some other sensitive or serious circumstances — our
present policy requires that we apply our external investigation policy.
There are a number of permutations and it depends on what is going on,
but that will be enshrined in the new act. In other words, if those things
are discovered during a code of conduct investigation or inquiry, then the
act provides, in law, effectively what we have in policy right now, so
external investigations. There is a cascading level of independence or
externality that has to be satisfied.
I am not sure if that answers your question.
Back to the grievance part of your question, the new act proposes that
there is a consolidation of all our multiple grievance processes, which will
streamline grievances so that members and employees will have a more
responsive approach by the organization for their grievances.
Senator Plett: You have been quoted as stating, "This is not the
RCMP that I joined. And this one cannot continue.'' Could you elaborate on
that statement and share with us the challenges you face in bringing about
the cultural transformation in the RCMP that you would like to continue
Mr. Paulson: Yes. I was referring to the many discipline cases and
public airing of complaints, which I think we have all talked about here,
which gave a flavour and a tinge to the organization that required, as many
of you have asked me about, some direct leadership to resolve. From the
moment I was appointed, I talked about leadership and accountability being
the two main ingredients to resolving these situations.
My experience through the organization has not been predominantly
distracted by these types of events. Therefore, it has not been my
experience and it certainly is not something I can allow to stand as the
chief executive of the RCMP. That is why we are taking a very earnest,
serious, deliberate and measurable approach in terms of how we have
implemented these changes.
I have also commented publicly about the difficulty and the cultural
change because, to me, changing a culture is not as easy as making new
rules. It is about finding ways to change the core behaviour of the people
who make up the organization, and then you get the change in the culture.
Any number of processes and systems are at hand and available to do that,
but that is my objective. That is why I say it cannot stand. I do not want
this happening anymore. I do not want these cases to exist at any level.
That has been my experience as commissioner.
Senator Nolin: Thank you, commissioner, for accepting our
invitation. Can you share with us your plan for the new code of conduct?
Mr. Paulson: The new code of conduct will be a little more
detailed than the existing code of conduct. In preparation for coming here
today, I reviewed our existing code of conduct and most of our discipline
processes. Effectively, they all revolve around one of the offences in our
code of conduct, namely, disgraceful conduct, which is very broad and seems
to be the charge that is brought in most of our conduct cases. We are trying
to frame that up a little more.
Once the code of conduct is finished, that will be through a regulation,
if the legislation passes. Then we will have a regulation that will spell
out for everyone the specific type of conduct we are seeking to prevent and
avoid. Many of the offences will be in our existing code of conduct, but
there will be more elaborate discussions around limits of behaviour.
Senator Nolin: Mr. Commissioner, as the highest-ranking police
officer in the federal police organization, you have certainly often heard
the expression "not only must justice be done, but it must be seen to be
done''. The same rule must apply in matters of codes of conduct as in
matters of criminal law.
We heard one of your colleagues last week, Chief Hanson, the Calgary
Chief of Police, and we put questions to him on the code of conduct which
applies in Calgary. One of the aspects which interested us was the whole
issue of penalties for breaking the Calgary police code of conduct. Chief
Hanson was very open on the issue. We are concerned by the sanctions imposed
for breaching a code of conduct. I want to know if, in the application or
implementation of this new code of conduct, there will be clear penalties
for breaching the new RCMP code of conduct.
And so my question is the following: in the code of conduct, will there
be specific penalties for breaking the code?
Mr. Paulson: Yes, I understand your question very clearly. I am
not sure that we are going to have penalties associated with the code of
conduct. We are going to have a scale of sanctions.
We will have a list of penalties that can be attributed by various
authorities. We will have more serious penalties given to higher level
persons within the organization. As I have said today, it takes some effort
and some considerable work and patience to come to a clear understanding of
what actually transpires. Our limit of sanctions will range from
counselling, reprimands, days of pay, requirements for counselling or
perhaps a transfer.
In addition, new in our approach will be the ability for the conduct
authority, as they are being referred to, to have room to innovate around
how a particular sanction might respond to the conduct. You have to
remember, despite all that has been said about our new approach to conduct,
the underlying requirement is to fix the behaviour. The last resort is to
punish people. We are trying to have a corrective approach.
Senator Nolin: For prevention?
Mr. Paulson: Correct. Perhaps that is not clear enough.
Senator Nolin: No, it is very clear. Thank you very much.
Senator Day: Commissioner, as Senator Plett has indicated, we have
dealt with Bill C-42 here, and we are hopeful that it will give you the
tools you need to bring about the cultural transformation and fix the
behavioral problems you have been talking about.
During your discussion, you said your plan is to bring about order,
responsibility and productivity. What did you mean by productivity? I have
not heard that word being used in the focus of cultural change and
Mr. Paulson: The idea of productivity is something that I and we
have been looking at for the last couple of years. It is very difficult to
understand how individual members of an organization contribute to
productivity. There has been much said recently about the economics of
policing, and in my mind you cannot have a discussion around the economics
of policing without including some measure of productivity.
In prevention, for example, how are your officers being deployed and how
are you satisfying yourself that they are producing the desired results you
are after in terms of prevention? How many school talks are they having? How
many children are they following? How many teachers have they partnered
with? How many community health workers have they engaged with? On the
enforcement side, how many charges have they brought? It seems heretical
these days to ask officers how many charges they have brought against
people. We champion some of our most productive officers in terms of
impaired driving, thefts, robberies and solve rates on murders.
We need to understand that we are a police force first and foremost, and
our core business is policing. As we bring our workforce along in these
other areas, we need to remember that we have to be productive and effective
in using those resources, Canadians' resources, Canadian tax dollars to make
sure they are getting the most bang for their buck.
These discussions around productivity interest me greatly, and we have
already begun the move towards measuring how individual officers, how teams
of officers and how units of officers contribute to public safety in more
Senator Day: Thank you. That helps me understand.
You were here for part of the testimony of Lieutenant-General Leslie and
Lieutenant-General Jeffery previously. They indicated that they could not
have brought about the cultural transformation and change they needed
without educating the officers first, but then all the way down through the
system. They talked about getting someone away from the workplace,
centralizing them and teaching them about issues like psychology, sociology,
human relations, issues that are not technical on how many tickets you write
or how you write a ticket, but more human relations type of issues, such as
languages and cultures.
Are you in the process of implementing that? That requires building
capacity to allow certain people in the field to come in. If you need to fix
behaviour, you will not get it if after six months you send your junior
officer out to pick up whatever attitude the people have in that unit he or
she goes to. You need to develop an overall ethos, and the system you have
now is not going to achieve that by itself.
Mr. Paulson: No, that is right.
I will speak about two groups of training initiatives. One is the
in-service training that goes on day to day, week to week and month to month
to help officers do their job. We need to be better at deploying those
systems out there, such as Breathalyzer technicians, the state of the law
with respect to theft, burglary, all of those things.
Perhaps more relevant to your discussions, and what I heard the generals
talk about and what I agree with, is the development — and we have talked
about this at this committee before — of a professional officer corps, a
professional leadership group that can understand in ways and in terms that
have not previously been brought to them what is going on in the workforce,
in society or in the world that, frankly, is impacting our work. We are
doing that in terms of our officer development work.
I am looking at an initiative to consider bringing in direct entry
officers with specific skills, specific accomplishments in academia and
specific accomplishments in industry and perhaps blend them in. We are
looking at using our police college in ways we have not used it before. We
are dependent right now, ad hoc, as I have told this committee before, to
contributing piecemeal to different leadership and executive development
initiatives in other organizations, such as the military, industry and
banking. We need to develop our own core development program for our
officers so that we can sustain this professional officer corps, and we are
engaged in that.
Senator Day: Thank you.
Senator Patterson: The Commission for Public Complaints Against
the RCMP in their report on issues of workplace harassment noted that the
true extent of harassment at the RCMP was difficult to ascertain because of
poor documentation practices. I would like to ask you about that.
You now have a better record of initiation and resolutions of both formal
and informal complaints, which would give more reliable baseline data to
assess progress. As part of that, I am wondering if this committee does
return to this issue, as we may want to, would you agree that that data
should be made available to it? I am talking about the future, say in three
Mr. Paulson: Absolutely. I will undertake to make available
whatever data is necessary to your examinations of this. That almost goes
without saying, but I will say it anyway.
In terms of the first part of your question, I have said this to this
committee and other committees several times that we have centralized the
administration, the oversight and the management of harassment complaints.
Perhaps where some confusion and room for criticism exists is where we
are rolling out our Respectful Workplace Programs, we canvass our members.
We will ask a group of members in a division, say here in Ottawa, "How many
of you have ever been harassed in your service?'' You get numbers that are
quite distinct, separate and larger — because I have done those surveys, and
I had answered "yes'' that I had been harassed. I never raised it, but I
answered "yes.'' Some of the committee's work has featured Mr. Smith's work
and the work of British Columbia in having a frank discussion with the
employee base about what has happened to them. When you do that, you get a
sense that it is bigger than the statistics of formally asserted complaints.
We will have ambiguity for some time as we continue to canvass our
employees and engage them in discussions around respectful workplace
initiatives. As I mentioned earlier, in Manitoba, the CEO is concerned about
the news that 40 per cent of employees there have been harassed. I am sure
that will get some headlines and some notice. Understanding it is so very
important, and we are open to that, and we are open to making whatever data
we have available to you.
Senator Patterson: Thank you for that.
The two pillars of Gender and Respect — The RCMP Action Plan are
changing the culture of the force and changing its composition. Can you
speak today about the recruitment of women RCMP members? First, could you
give your opinion on why that is important?
Second, I understand that the aim is for women to make up 30 per cent of
RCMP regular members by 2025. Why would you not have a target of 50 per
cent? Is that a longer-term goal?
Mr. Paulson: If you read the action plan, you will see why even 30
per cent by 2025 is a very ambitious target. Our big influx of people over
the last several years has biased the numbers against future recruiting
efforts impacting the overall number.
It is unheard of in policing to have a composition of 50 per cent women,
but that would be ideal because the underlying principle is to have a police
force that reflects the community that you are policing.
The difficulty lies in market availability, the interest of women to join
the force, and our projected recruiting needs up to and including 2025 to
enable us to achieve that number. It is ambitious, but I think it is doable.
Striving for higher numbers in less time would set us up for failure.
We are reaching into communities, schools and groups that could
contribute to the organization to help us achieve those numbers. It is no
The Chair: Commissioner, I would like to return to the code of
conduct, which I view as very important from the force's point of view as
well as from the point of view of the general public. It sets the moral
compass and the moral standard for which the RCMP stands, and for which we
and you expect it to stand.
I am concerned about the number of decisions made with respect to
breaches of the code over the past year by some members of the force, albeit
very few, and the consequences that were meted out for those offences. Will
you comment on the review of the code of conduct and setting the bar for the
expectations of the force with respect to it and to consequences for serious
offences so that the public and members of the force will be aware of what
has gone on, in order to illustrate the importance of the code of conduct?
Mr. Paulson: I agree with you about the importance of the code of
conduct, and that is why I think it is so important that this legislation
succeed. In my simple country cop mind, I believe that our administrative
discipline system has become so legalized and adversarial and is tied up in
so many processes that mirror our criminal justice system that we have been
incapable of delivering an effective administrative conduct management
approach. This new system will appoint conduct authorities. The boards will
not be as legalistic and as adversarial as they have been. They will be
designed to engage with the affected member early and to bring discipline to
bear in a corrective manner. Where there are instances that reach the
outrageous standard that is not difficult for anyone to define, there will
be a mechanism for dealing with them. If they are not dealt with in those
discipline processes, I and the conduct authority will have a means of
appealing that, as will the member. I could not appeal any of these cases. I
could not appeal the Ray case, which has come up in this committee several
times. I tried to bring it to the Federal Court but could not.
Bill C-42 fixes that. It is very important that we be able to standardize
our approach to all the cases across the country.
The Chair: Thank you very much, commissioner. We really appreciate
your attendance. Any time that we have invited you, you have been happy to
You have a difficult task ahead of you. As I said earlier, we are here to
assist where we can.
(The committee adjourned.)