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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.

[English]

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.

[Translation]

Senator Dallaire: Senator Roméo Dallaire, from the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

[English]

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.

[Translation]

Senator Nolin: Good afternoon. Pierre Claude Nolin from the province of Quebec, and more specifically from the Salaberry region.

[English]

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 Canada.

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 organizations.

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 critical.

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 basis.

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 years.

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.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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 discussion.

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 Forces.

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 on leadership.

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 dealt with.

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 the undertaking.

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 function.

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 add?

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 anymore.

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 supervised circumstances.

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 indeed.

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 copy''?

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 priority.

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 violent force.

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 students.

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 check.

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 the troops.

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 further harassed?

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 this process.

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.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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 investigations:

The data examined does not support the assumption that the RCMP is experiencing a systemic problem with workplace harassment, including sexual harassment.

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 easy street.

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 and pride.

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 unachieved ambitions.

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 ours.

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 are not.

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 communities.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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 individuals?

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. Test that.

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 complainants.

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 atmosphere.

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 question.

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 workplace.

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 an ombudsman.

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 dismissive.

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 the problem.

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 from anyone.

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 with?

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.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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.

[Translation]

Senator Nolin: For prevention?

Mr. Paulson: Correct. Perhaps that is not clear enough.

Senator Nolin: No, it is very clear. Thank you very much.

[English]

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 transformation.

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 objective terms.

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 years.

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 small challenge.

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 attend here.

You have a difficult task ahead of you. As I said earlier, we are here to assist where we can.

(The committee adjourned.)